Tuesday 29 September 2009

Autumn, all stitched up.

At this time of year, as twilight falls early and flipflops make way for fluffy slippers, the tv planners have a dreadful habit of scheduling football.  In case I haven't mentioned it before, I should tell you, I hate football!  So, while Stuart and my son grunt and groan at the tv, I find myself tuning them out as I reach for my knitting needles.  There's something very reassurring about the gentle 'clack, clack' of a pair of bamboo needles, whilst sat, curtains closed, coccooned in the cosy glow of my living room.  With my 'Magical Mayhem' show (mini show!) planned for All Hallowes Eve, I now have the perfect excuse for indulging in a little knitting and am working on a snuggly orange and black 'bat' sweater for a small bear ... with a little luck it should be cute!  I even have some sweet little pumpkin buttons to detail it with.

Knitting a teddy sweater for Halloween

Rather than make too much of a fuss about the football, I'm planning to use the time to brush up my needle skills from the comfort of my armchair.  This year, I thought I would enjoy some simple embroidery as well as my knitting.  As it's been a long time since I embroidered anything more complicated than a bear's nose, I hunted online and found a great 'doodle' book to get me get started with a little free form stitchery - I've also ordered an embroidery stitches encyclopaedia, which is on its way to me.  I think they may ultimately help give me an added dimension to my raggy dolls.  We'll see! 

'Doodle Stitching' by Aimee Ray

And when my poor old hands begin to complain about all the needle activity, I'll put my feet up and use the time to flick through a few of my favourite crafting magazines with a mug of hot chocolate ...

Soft Dolls & Animals, Teddy Bear & Friends and Australian Bear Creations magazines

Yep, I think I have these chilly Autumn evenings all stitched up!

Friday 25 September 2009

Magical Mayhem!

Hey, guess what? 
I have decided to put together another ALL BEAR webshow this year!
I'm calling it my 'MAGICAL MAYHEM' show because it will take place over Halloween weekend. 

I can't wait to get starting on conjuring up some fun new show bears ... in fact, I'd better put on my witch's hat right now and start stirring my teddy bear cauldron!

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Casting her spell ...

Oh dear, this mischievous little witch stole Tuesday afternoon too!  There's no stopping her now, the twinkle in her eye tells me I will have to finish her quicksmart - before she meddles with my bear making schedule too much more.  She seems to be casting spells already and the naughty miss is not even dressed yet!

Bewitching green eyes ...

Bad hair day!

One shameless witchypoo doll wearing 'nowt but her stockings and pointy boots!

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Cackling? No, CRackling!

Okay, so the great Dolly Doodle Witchypoo Project spilled into Monday ... by only a pointy toed boot's worth!  On Sunday afternoon Stuart and I took a walk through our local woodland to collect sticks and twigs for dolly sized witchetty broomsticks and yesterday, I painted, crackled glazed and antiqued my witchy boots ... this project is proving to be a heap of fun!

Collecting twigs for broomsticks ...

Witchetty boots, painted, crackled and antiqued.

Next comes the really fun part - making the witchypoo's heads!  If I listen carefully, I'm sure I can almost hear cackling in my workroom!

Sunday 20 September 2009

A bewitching weekend project ...

Prim Dolly Doodle Hocus Pocus!
When I was a little girl I always had my nose in a book.  I remember being particularly enchanted by a school library book all about All Hallowes Eve and the Halloween witches ... well which fanciful little girl wouldn't be eh?!  Whilst I'm not keen on the whole 'trick or treat' aspect of Halloween, I confess I do love a fairytale and find witches quite betwitching, so with only a month of weekend dollying time available to me until Halloween arrives and doll forum challenges aplenty, I thought I'd treat myself to a hocus pocus Prim Dolly Doodle witchypoo project!  Here's what my cauldron has cooked up to so far ...
A witch's brew of tea stained dolly parts drying on the washing line ...
what must my neighbour's think?!

Pointy witchy stockings ...

Witchypoo boots drying in a pot ...

Headless and limbless bodies waiting patiently on my sewing machine!

I can almost hear the cackling in my workroom already!

Friday 18 September 2009

Sunflower Susie

Back in March, I promised my sister Tina I would make a Prim Dolly Doodle as a prop for her photography business, but the days flew past and after a series of disastrous, paint splotted heads during the summer, 'Sunflower Susie' was left headless on the back burner as I switched focus in preparation for the Teddies 2009 bear show.  Poor thing has been hiding away in my work basket for several long months, so this week I promised I'd put things to rights and bring her to life. 

'Sunflower Susie'

Tina visited back in March for my daughter's birthday celebrations and we spent a lovely afternoon chatting raggies.  We eventually settled on a sunflower theme for Tina's raggy doll, to would suit the gorgeous wooden cart her partner Ian had recently restored for her.  'Sunflower Susie' will hopefully help Tina create cute shots of kiddies in the cart, when they visit Tina for photographic portraiture.

Tina has helped me so many times by taking beautiful, professional teddy bear photographs, so it really is my pleasure to return the favour with one of my Prim Dolly Doodles!

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Autumn mosaic

Before I start work on some new bears, I thought I'd celebrate my Teddies 2009 show bears one more time by creating a mosaic to display on my website.  I used www.bighugelabs.com to create the mosaic .. the software is easy to use and the finished result looks great, don't you think?!

You can see it on my website at www.allbear.co.uk 

Monday 14 September 2009

The morning after the day before ...

So here we are, already it's Monday morning and the Teddies 2009 show is now no more than a memory.  Ah, but such a memory!  There were happy smiling faces aplenty as visiting collectors enjoyed the fabulous array of bears on offer yesterday.  Many went home clutching precious bags bursting with teddy bears, their queue to enter the hallowed halls of Kensington Town Hall, well rewarded.
My stand in Hall 2 at the opening of the 'Teddies 2009' show

As usual, my show day in Hall 2 was spent chatting and laughing from start to finish.  Aside from the business of selling bears, catching up with friends old and new at shows is something all we bear makers enjoy.  I had a lovely time hearing news from friends who had travelled from around the world to visit the show, some to exhibit, others to collect and somehow, between each those conversations, my bears and dolls flirted with collectors across the aisles and secured themselves caring new homes!  Dear old Pumpkin wasn't quite so fortunate - he was perched on the highest shelf and watched anxiously as his pals on the lower levels hopped excitedly into new bags and into the hearts of their new owners.  I'm sure Pumpkin will soon find someone very special to adopt him, but in the meantime, it's lovely to have him keeping me company in my workroom!

Pumpkin is hoping to find his special someone very soon!

Friday 11 September 2009

Teddies 2009 show preview!

Teddies 2009 show collection

I think I can safely say my show bears and raggy dolls are now complete; all that is left for me to do is sew on hangtags and pack everyone carefully for their big day out in London on Sunday. I finished my show final bear yesterday (actually, I made the entire 20" bear from start to finish in a single day ... quite a feat!)and this morning, I have been diving in and out of the garden between sunbeams, taking photographs to share with you.

Dusty & Mabel

Pumpkin and Peppercorn






Tilly Turnips and Grubby Gerta  

Dotty Daydreams, Little Chickadee and Annie Apples

If you are coming to the show at Kensington Town Hall on Sunday 13th September, please stop by stand 75 in Hall 2 to meet the bears and dolls and say hello!

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Able Mabel.

I'm a weary bear maker this evening; preparing for a show is always tiring, but this one has been a little more so than usual and I think I'll probably take a few days off after the show to treat myself to a spot of Paula time.  There's still plenty to do before Sunday though, so I mustn't get sidetracked yet!  Thursday and Friday are still clear for bear-making and as I have a very pretty piece of 'antique maroon' coloured mohair, there is no excuse for me not to create one last bear ...

'Mabel' will debut at Teddies 2009 on Sunday!

Today I finished 'Mabel', a sweet 16" girly bear, with a nostalgic flavour. I've been drawn towards more vintage looking mohair for this show collection - I love the muted colours and textures. Mabel has been created from a wispy mohair in pretty 'shabby chic' colours and she has original boot button eyes. I hope you like her!

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Raggy baggies!

... must just pop in to share these with you quickly ...  the courier delivered my raggy baggies for the Hugglets show just now - aren't they the cutest little bags ever?!  My littlest raggy dolls will slip into them perfectly! 

Raggy baggies for the Teddies 2009 show!

Tilly Turnips

Do you like this raggy's little boots?  I'm so pleased with them!  They were the finishing touch to my newest Prim Dolly Doodle 'Tilly Turnips' yesterday afternoon ... somehow I managed to smear paint all over my denim shorts in the process of creating them - that'll teach me to wear an apron next time eh?!

20" Tilly Turnips'

Anyway, as I was saying, Tilly was crying out for a pair of good stout boots to grub around the garden in, so I played with my paints and potions and eventually came up with what looks like a vintage pair of leather boots.  Of course, once she was wearing her boots, laced and ready for potting, I realised her stockings were way too perfect, so then spent another half hour or so 'darning', which reminded me of the days I first started wearing 'grown up' tights in school (American Tan, urgh!)  ... they kept snagging on those mean old wooden desks, so I stitched 'em and dobbed red nail polish on the tops of the ladders - tres elegante!

Saturday 5 September 2009

Counting down to Teddies 2009!

The prestigious 'Teddies 2009' show takes place in Kensington Town Hall, London SW8, on Sunday 13th September. There will be over one hundred and seventy teddy bear related exhibitors and a fantastic array of artist designed bears available to purchase!  

'Pumpkin' will make his debut at the Teddies 2009 show!

If you would like a pre-show peek at the special show bears and friends I have been busy creating for this exciting day, please visit my website www.allbear.co.uk

I do hope you will be able to come and join us in London - it's a great day out and if you love bears, you'll have an absolute ball!

Visit www.hugglets.co.uk for full show details!

Thursday 3 September 2009

The Golden Season

There are few pleasures in life I enjoy more than clomping through woods on a Sunday afternoon. Stuart's grandson came visiting at the weekend, so after lunch the three of us strolled along the lane, while the little man trailed his stick in the dirt absorbed in drawing 'monster feet' to guide us to the local woods.   
From little acorns ...To be honest, Autumn hadn't really registered with me until Sunday when I noticed acorns scattered on the ground and all manner of wild berries growing in the hedgerows - it was only then I realised summer had made way for the discreet arrival of the golden season.

Gathering blackberries with Grandad
Our own little oak soon discovered the joy of ruining his t-shirt with blackberry stains, as sweet purple juice burst on his tongue ...

Enjoying the September sunshine

Autumn  fruits

There's no doubt about it, while I was preoccupied with bears, show preparation and the general business of life, I blinked and almost missed the changing season ... our English countryside is now rich with Autumn fruit and golden colour.  Beautiful!


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