Wednesday, 11 September 2019

All Bear, a collection

Over the past twenty five years, I have been blessed by the support I have received from the lovely people who have collected my teddy bears.  I will be forever grateful to these very special collectors, for their belief in my bears and also for the opportunity they have given me, to continue creating the bears I love.


Now and again I am sent photographs of my bears in their homes and a few days ago, received this picture of a fabulous collection of 'All Bear by Paula' teddy bears, now living contentedly in Germany. Their owner kindly gave me permission to share her photograph.  I hope you enjoy seeing her beautiful collection of 'All Bear' teddy bears, as much as I have.  

Don't they look stunning together!!!

:-)

Monday, 9 September 2019

In glorious technicolour

In my last post I promised glorious technicolour and I think you will agree, it really doesn't get more glorious, or more technicolour, than this teddy bear!

20" Rhubarb


We are talking bold, we are talking fun, but most of all, we are talking ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!!

This cheerful 20" mohair clown teddy, is now available for adoption and one thing is absolutely certain, Rhubarb Bear will brighten the darkest room and bring sunshine smiles to his new owner every day!

If you would like to know a little more about Rhubarb, please pop over to visit him on my website:


:-)

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Glorious technicolour

For those of you who read my previous post, I am happy to say my little Grandson seems to be settling happily into his new school life. I collected him from school with his Daddy on Tuesday and was delighted when an excited Toby flew through the school gates to give his Nana a big ol' hug, clutching his first official reading book. He was full of beans and eager to tell us all about his day. Yes, I think he'll be just fine.


So, I can now swap my 'anxious Nana' head, for my 'busy bearmaker' head but first I should mention, I am sat at home today waiting for a very special parcel ... my vintage Singer sewing machine is due to arrive! Whoop whoop! I am very excited to receive this beautiful old lady. My poor dogs are far less excited though, as it means their walk has been delayed while we wait for the doorbell and they have had to satisfy themselves with barking at the window cleaner rather than running on the field. Sorry girls!

By the way, I plan to finish a new teddy bear this afternoon, a lovely cheerful clown bear. The black and white pic is just to whet your appetite, I'll reveal all in glorious technicolour shortly!

:-)

Monday, 2 September 2019

Big School

Thinking of my Grandson today, as he takes his first independent journey across the playground, into 'Big School'. We have shared so much in our own little world of fun and laughter over the past four years, I don't mind admitting, I am going to miss our days together hugely. 


It occurs to me that we ask a huge amount of children at this tender young age. They are expected to cope with wearing strange clothes, being left at a strange building and then taken into an unknown world by someone they may have only met on the very briefest of terms. We ask that these little people trust their parents to be there when they exit theirnew classroom at the end of the school day and also to understand, that this rather brutal separation from everything familiar and secure in their world, is somehow for the best.

Over the past few weeks, I have watched as my own Grandson and his Mummy and Daddy prepared steadily for the start of term today. I couldn't be more proud of them both for the calm support they have given whenever he has been overwhelmed by the turn his little life now has to take. There have been moments when our intrepid little dinosaur hunter has broken all our hearts with his desperate four year old pleas not to have to start school and I am absolutely certain, that if any one of his parents, or grandparents, could have waved a magic wand to make school disappear, we would have happily done so for him ... but the Law is the Law and for Toby, the time for this first educational milestone has now arrived.

I saw my own children safely into school for the first time as a young mum more than thirty years ago and of course, found myself gulping back tears when the classroom door swung urelatingly shut behind my entire world. The ensuing hours until 'home time' seemed never ending.  As with most parents, my heart was in my mouth as I walked back to school to collect them later that day ... but thankfully my fears were needless and my son and daughter both exited through the same door, clutching school bags, clearly relieved to see me but also eager to tell me about their first day at school. I remember feeling mixed emotions of relief and pride as I reached possessively for them ... tinged a little sadness at the budding sense of independence I could already see taking root.

Years ago, I worked as a teaching assistant in the reception class of a local infant school. I absolutely loved my job and was always excited to start a new year, with a fresh intake of four year olds. It never ceased to amaze me how well most coped once inside the classroom. On the inside of that door, tears and trepidation at leaving anxious parents, were quickly replaced with curiosity and an eagerness to prove themselves capable. It was never long before the children settled to play and began to enjoy their new activities. School routines were soon established and little personalities were quick to emerge.

My super-thoughtful daughter-in-law, took a moment before school this morning to send me a photograph of my Grandson wearing not only his new school uniform but most importantly for this anxious Nana, a confident smile, before he climbed into the car for the journey to his new school.

And I don't doubt that for one moment, that both mummy and daddy both drew a deep breath to steady themselves, as they proudly waved their son off across the 'Big School' playground for the first time ... 

Well done gang. 
I am so proud of you all!

 xxx

:-)

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Skylark

I have been pottering my way through the summer holidays, enjoying walks with my dogs and funshine days, playing and reading with my grandchildren. Between times, whenever the weather was cool enough, I made time to work on an occasional summery teddy bear.


There is the slightest hint of Autumn creeping into early mornings now, so I don't suppose it will be long before my bears take an autumnal turn and my thoughts turn to knitting needles and cosy yarns. Before Autumn happens though, there is just enough time to introduce a lovely summer clown, created from softest peach and pale bluey-grey mohair. I called him 'Skylark' and popped him onto my website this very morning.

19" Skylark

Skylark is a striking teddy bear, with chunky proportions and a tilt growler in his tummy. If he tugs at your heartstrings, I would be delighted to hear from you...

To find out more about this lovely clown bear, please pop over to my website:

www.allbearbypaula.com

Thank you!

:-)

A vintage Singer

Recently it dawned on me that twenty five years of designing and creating teddy bears is really quite an achievement, so I should probably mark it somehow. But the question was how? Then I had a lightbulb moment...

When I was a little girl, I remember being fascinated by an old treadle sewing machine which stood behind the door of my Gran's living room. Back in those days, the living room was a place in which we kids were under strict instructions to sit politely while the grown-ups chatted, making certain to stay quiet and keep our feet off the settee. There was plenty of time to peer at the myriad of tiny glass animals held captive in a glass fronted cabinet next to the black and white television and of course, to admire Gran's lovely old sewing machine.

I have had a secret yen for a vintage sewing machine for many years, but have never really known much about them.  In view of my quarter century anniversary, I decided to invest some time researching their history, in the hope my investigations might lead me to find one of my very own to commemorate twenty five years in the wonderful world of teddy bears. I wanted my machine to have age, to be British, beautiful and interesting, but most importantly, to be working! It has been a completely absorbing study and did indeed eventually lead me to discover a special sewing machine. So, I have taken the plunge and placed an order for my first ever vintage sewing machine, a beautiful hand cranked Singer 128k, almost a hundred years old. My dream is that one day, this sewing machine will pass to my Granddaughter and hopefully help to inspire her creative journey.


Nana and Izzy

My vintage Singer hasn't arrived yet, but for those interested, I promise to share a pic when she does ... am so excited!

:-)

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Castle Canines

We always enjoy a visit to beautiful Hever Castle in Edenbridge and one of my favourite times to visit is when 'Castle Canines' dog show is being hosted in the grounds. There is something completely joyous about seeing the Southern Golden Retriever Display Team strut their formation stuff to music; they always seem such happy dogs!


Naturally, we take Polly and Betty with us as they love to be involved in trips out and always enjoy a visit.


They are such good girls whenever we take them out and they love all the attention they receive from other visitors, especially the children. Hever Castle is a very 'dog friendly' place to visit and although dogs aren't allowed inside the castle itself, well behaved dogs are welcome to enjoy the beautiful gardens with their owners, so long as they are kept on leads.


And those gardens are breathtaking!


I especially love the Italian Gardens and the formal Rose Garden...


In fact, near to closing time, while the garden was quiet, I couldn't resist taking a few photographs of my girls posing rather regally among those gorgeous roses!


We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Hever Castle this year and after eating way too much ice-cream, mooching around fabulous gardens, seeing the many other dogs visiting and watching the Southern Golden Retrievers display team, we headed towards the lake to spend one last hour strolling right round the water along meadow flower paved pathways. It was such a pretty, peaceful walk!


Polly and Betty enjoyed their visit to Hever Castle too and even though they were on leads, so didn't have a run that afternoon, they didn't seem to mind in the least. In fact, they were both very sleepy when we arrived home on Sunday evening. Trips out are both exciting and exhausting it seems!


Hever Castle is a very lovely, dog friendly, place to visit. 
We will definitely visit with our girls again!

:-)

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Summer

Summer is in full swing in the UK and so here is the perfect teddy bear to celebrate our sunshine season ...

15" Summer

Butterflies, flowers, peach mohair and a carnival pink striped nose ...  definitely Summer in a teddy bear!

This pretty girl was snapped up super fast from my website yesterday and I am delighted to say, is now on her way to Germany meet her new family.

:-)

Friday, 2 August 2019

Competitive Investments

The deadline for the 2019 TOBY Industry's Choice Awards has now arrived and after a time away from competition work, I decided to stop umming and aahhing and actually enter this year. Not that I am terribly hopeful of success, as my experience of the TOBY Awards has been mixed over the years. That said, I did have the honour (not to mention shock!) of winning a couple of times with entries several years ago, so I guess you never can tell!


You could have knocked me down with a feather when I received notice that my big clown, 'Billy Buttons' had won a 2008 TOBY Industry's Choice Award... my very first TOBY Award!

And in 2011, I was absolutely thrilled to receive the TOBY Award again, this time for my careworn style 'Lonesome' teddy bear.


That said, it has been a good while since I last entered a competition after a disappointment with another competition, regarding an award I won three years ago. Sadly, despite contacting the organiser many times, my trophy was never sent and as competitions are costly and somewhat nerve-wracking to enter, I felt a little discarded after the initial joy of winning an award. As a result, I decided to take a step away from competing for a time.  Bear artists invest not only their hard earned pennies, but also fragile self belief, into submitting competition entries and to my mind, organisers should respect that investment.

So, why even enter artist bear competitions? 

Well, as I see it, teddy bear competitions are about so much more than who has made the 'best' bear that year. They are about promoting teddy bear artistry as an industry and validating those bearmakers who put heart and soul into their creations. They are also about inspiring creative talent in others, whilst sharing passion for the teddy bear, his heritage and also his future.

My 2019 TOBY Award entries (there are two) have now been submitted so there is nothing else to do but sit back and enjoy the suspense, while judging takes place. I dare say there will be a twinge of disappointment if at least one isn't placed this year, but if that's the case, it certainly won't be the first time and probably won't be the last either!

:-)

Thursday, 1 August 2019

The universal language of teddy bears

After twenty five years of creating teddy bears and sending them all around the world to live, I was excited to add a new country to add to my list of globetrotting teddy bears this week ...


This sweet fellow will be the first of my bears ever to emmigrate all the way to South Korea!

I have been trying to list all the countries my bears now live in ... it's not easy to remember after so many years as a teddy bear maker, but I think these just about cover it:

United Kingdom
United States
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Japan
China
France
Germany
Italy
Finland
Denmark
Belgium
Spain
South Africa
Luxembourg
Singapore
Hong Kong

And now ... ta da ...

South Korea!



Teddy bear hugs, it seems, speak a universal language!

:-)

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Vintage cars on the Green

My little boy (now 34 and far from!) has always had a passion for cars, so after a sleepover with my Grandchildren the night before while Mummy and Daddy had a night out, we all went to a super little car show held on Bearsted Green at the weekend. I loved mooching around in the sunshine with my family, listening to the 1940's tunes warbling from a corner of the Green, while we admired the beautifully polished and much loved elderly cars ... I'm no car buff, but isn't it strange how old cars have the power to evoke a sense of fond nostalgia?! I must admit, I found myself recalling all kinds of long forgotten trips and visits from my youth!


My four year old Grandson on the other hand, was very impressed with this HUGE American fire engine!


We had a lovely afternoon but most of all, I loved seeing the excitement in my son's eyes, as he shared his enthusiasm with his son.




The old music was good too and my Granddaughter had a lovely little dance to the Lindyhop!


My daughter took a bit of a shine to this wacky VW Beetle ...


... and as we weren't driving, we enjoyed a crafty glass of lovely bubbles in the sunshine!


After a fab time wandering around the vintage car show, we headed to the pub garden across the road, to cool off with a pint and take a front row view of all the cars as they left the Village Green...


And one very excited little boy and his daddy, parked themselves firmly on the pavement opposite, to wave the old cars goodbye. They were absolutely delighted when the NYPD police car obliged onlookers by leaving with a very loud siren blast!


Mr Mod also kindly gave my Grandson a cheery goodbye wave, as he headed back home to his garage.





We had a very enjoyable afternoon at 'Vintage Cars on the Green' in Bearsted at the weekend. The sun shone, the cars were fabulous, the atmosphere was relaxed and fun and it was a great way for a family to spend an afternoon together!

:-)

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Cosy Cables

This week I finished a very sweet teddy bear and have been enjoying some quiet time in my garden, knitting him a cosy cable jumper to wear. 

I first attempted to knit with a little pair of pink plastic needles when I was about five years old. My mother was a keen knitter when I was growing up, making many items of knitwear for my sisters and I. She tried to pass on her needlecraft skills to me, but as Mum was right handed and my left handed self didn't translate instructions easily, it didn't end very well! It wasn't until I was expecting my own daughter thirty seven years ago, that I became sufficiently competent with my knitting needles, to knit her baby clothes.  Since those first clumsy attempts, I have continued to enjoy knitting for nearly forty years, cable or Aran knitting especially ... which of course, is ideal for making cute little jumpers for my teddy bears to wear!

14" Sammie

Sweet Sammie is now looking for his special person to live with. If you would like to know more about him, please pop over to my website:


:-)

Updated: Sammie has now been adopted and will be flying off to the United States!

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Lovely Lupin

I have just finished this beautiful teddy bear ...

20" Lupin

Another truly fabulous mohair from the famous Schulte company in Germany; this time, a stunning kid mohair with a soft wave to the pile ... in possibly the prettiest shade of lavender ever.

In fact, I think this is the perfect mohair with which to celebrate Summer!

Lovely Lupin is now available for adoption from my website. 
I hope she makes you smile!


:-)

Update: Lupin has now been adopted and will be flying to the US!


Monday, 1 July 2019

Life's a beach in Norfolk

Back home after a lovely week enjoying peaceful countryside and beautiful beaches in Norfolk. We knew we were almost home on Saturday, when we left quiet roads and lush green fields, only to arrive on a completely gridlocked M25 on the hottest day of the year so far ... now we are dreaming of a return to Norfolk as soon as possible!


Polly and Betty have had an absolute blast on the local Norfolk beaches and met a curious grey seal on beautiful Sea Palling beach. He popped up out of the sea to get a better view of the dogs and they all had a lovely time playing along the shoreline together. Thankfully my girls have excellent recall, so when the seal came up almost onto the beach, I popped them back on the lead, just to be on the safe side. It was an amazing experience and one I don't think any of us will forget in a hurry.



We were so lucky with our holiday this year. Taking two large bouncy hairy dogs on a self-catering holiday, can be tricky because so many properties don't welcome more than one little dog and never seem to actually have the fully enclosed safe gardens they claim to have, which of course are essential for dog owners. We have been frustrated by this many times over the past few years and a couple of years ago, even discovered our Betty in a nearby field of cows, up to her eyeballs in cow dung!


This year I searched even harder to find a perfect dog friendly property and hit the jackpot with 'Pack Holidays', run by lovely Gail.  Gail invited us to stay in her own fabulous and completely 'dog friendly' property and on arrival, we were bowled over by the care she had taken to ensure that our dogs were able to have a wonderful, safe, fun holiday.  Not only was the garden totally secure, huge and beautiful, there were dog blankets, beds, toys, tasty treats, a poo bin, food bowls, poo bags, great suggestions for dog walks, a vet, pet shop ... the list went on! There was also the piéce de resistance, a full 'doggy salon', complete with walk in, fully tiled, warm water showers!  Our girls were made to feel completely welcome and so were we.  I really can't recommend 'Pack Holidays' highly enough if you are looking for a genuinely dog friendly, 'home from home' style of holiday.  Gail really does set the Gold Standard for dog friendly.


It has been almost forty years since I last stayed in Norfolk (that was a very different holiday, as I was there working with an Club 18+ plus group, so saw nothing of the local surroundings but plenty of the nightlife in Great Yarmouth!) This time we fell in love with the unspoiled Norfolk coastline, quiet fields of corn, winding streams and wildlife.  We saw deer, swans, a hawk hovering over sand martin nests in the cliffs and those fabulous grey seals at Sea Palling!  The beaches were sandy and endless, so Polly and Betty had an amazing time chasing through waves and running along the shore to their hearts' content ... now they are back home again, they are very, very sleepy pups!


I loved seeing my girls on the beach and so wish we could play there together every day ...


Ah well, as lovely and relaxing as our holiday was, I guess it's time to return to my teddy bear workroom now and finish the pretty bear I left on my sewing table.  Will share soon I promise!

:-)

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Olde English Charm

It has been a while since I worked with dense straight mohair, so when I saw this piece in a beautiful aged gold, I decided it was time to indulge myself...


I love trimming a bear's muzzle in this mohair .. it gives such a gorgeous effect.


And I make no apologies for creating such a traditional teddy bear ... in fact my days of fiddling around with fancy techniques for the sake of contemporary embellishment, are long gone. The plain fact is I love making traditional bears and these days will happily leave the modern twists and turns for someone else to battle with.


In fact my latest bear is so traditional, I designed him a classic Harris Tweed waistcoat, lined with Liberty print cotton - it really doesn't get much more classic than that! I even taught myself how to embroider my first proper buttonhole by hand.


So here he is, 'Tomas', a beautiful, 18" classic teddy bear with lovely chunky drumstick legs, designed in the traditional style of fine old English teddies.


My apologies if you just fell in love with Tomas and his drumstick thighs, he is a bit of a heart-breaker with all that olde English charm of his I know, but as we speak, he is on his way to meet his new owner in America!


Boy Voyage Tomas!

:-)

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Tweedy Teds Tags

Since making and selling quite a few Tweedy Teds over the past few months, I think they have earned the right to their own postcards and hang tags, to celebrate their unique identity.

The Tweedy Teds!

My new 'Tweedy Teds' stationery arrived yesterday and I confess, I am delighted with it! Next time you adopt one of these stylish cloth bears, he or she will arrive with official 'Tweedy Teds' hang tag attached and a matching 'thank you' postcard.


The first 'Tweedy Ted' to be released with this smart new hang tag, is of course, the rather debonair 'Loveday Tweedy' ... which seems only fair, as he is the bear featured on it!

:-)

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