Wednesday 31 August 2011

Autumn Days

There's a definite nip in the air here in Kent and already there are early signs of Autumn ...

Woodland brambles are bearing juicy blackberries ...

Oak trees are preparing to shed their cargo of acorns ...

Hedgerows are dotted with pretty red rosehips ...

Orchards are laden with golden pears ...

The corn has been harvested ...

And here in the All Bear studio, my new 'Autumn Days' bears are wearing cosy hand knits!

Yes, Summer is drawing to a close in England and soon our countryside will be aflame with the rich russets, plums and golds of glorious Autumn ... once more. 

Missing you Dad x

Tuesday 30 August 2011

In days of old, when knights were bold ...

Truth, integrity, resolve, courage, justice, generosity, diligence, humility ... the virtues of an ancient medieval, chivalric code of honour.

And such colourful fun for a little boy on a Bank Holiday weekend!

We visited Hever Castle with my daughter and Stuart's grandson on Saturday and had a super time exploring.

It's such a beautiful place to visit and even if you have absolutely no interest in the fate of poor Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, there is still plenty for all ages to enjoy!

For example, the gardens are fabulous!

I especially loved the walled rose garden with its heady perfume ...

Oh, and this cheeky fellow!

But best of all, was the walk through the stunning Italian gardens down to the breathtakingly beautiful lake ... 


My beautiful girl

It was the perfect spot for some happy family snaps!


Me, Fay and Calvin ... and Calvin's 'brave knight' sword!

These are just a few of the many photographs I took during our visit - there were far too many to post here today!  If my pictures have whet your appetite for a visit, I would suggest choosing a day when you are able to enjoy one of Hever's special outdoor events, such as the jousting or a falconry display, as these events definitely add an extra sparkle to your visit! 

Please visit the link below to discover more about Hever Castle:

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Autumn in August?

Would you believe it's mid afternoon in the middle of what should be one of our lovely summer months here in the UK, but already I have my lamps on because it's so dark, wet and generally miserable outside!  Where has Summer disappeared to?!  Ah well, with the tv chatting away in the corner and the warm glow of the table lamps, I'm feeling all autumnal, so am taking the opportunity to cosy up in my favourite armchair with a pair of bamboo needles ...

With a hand knitted, vintage style jacket to wear on the big day, this bear will be dressed to impress in plenty of time for the 'Teddies 2011' show in London on the 11th September!

Thursday 18 August 2011

One thing leads to another ... and another ... and ...

One thing always leads to another doesn't it?!  First the 'phone call from a shop, then fabrics are ordered, bears designed and several weeks later a collection is finally created.  That's only the beginning though, because when the last ear is stitched in place, I need to set up studio and take photographs - which is what I've been doing today.  Peculiarly, my legs ache like billyo now, must be all that clambering around on my knees to find the perfect camera position!

Autumn/Winter advertisement for
The Teddy Bear Annual

Just as I'd finished taking photographs of my Autumn collection this afternoon, the telephone rang; 'would I like to advertise in the forthcoming issue of 'Teddy Bear Annual?'  Hardly a question in need of an answer - of course I would, it's a great mag!  So, as I was saying at the start of my post, one thing led to another and after fiddling around in Photoshop, my 'Teddy Bear Annual' advertisement is now good to go ... which led me to remember another ad needing my attention! 

2012 UK Teddy Bear Guide Advertisement

The 2012 UK Teddy Bear Guide will be published by Hugglets in October and as the copy deadline is only two weeks away, it's time to get my advertising act together!  Unfortunately my limited budget doesn't stretch to two full colour ads, but no matter, I think this ad works well in black and white.

By the way, do you recognise the little wooden chair I've used in these ads?  Yes, it's the one I bought from Christopher's Chairs back in June, at the Stratford show!

Well, that's the photographing and advertising taken care of, now I just need to pack up these bears and send them on their merry way before starting work on my 'Teddies 2011' show bears - there only three weeks to go, so I think I may need a miracle!

Monday 15 August 2011

Wormshill, The Setting Sun

When my 'townie' sister Fiona and her other half Simon, moved to the country after many years living within spitting distance of the local multi-storey car park and busy shopping centre, I must admit, I wondered whether Fo would be able to settle among resident cows and sheep but settle happily she did and with spectacular sunsets like this at the bottom of her garden, it's hardly any wonder!

Thanks again to the both of you, for yet another convivial evening in the beautiful wilds of Wormshill!

Friday 12 August 2011



To be honest 76,293 visitors seems a staggering number of visitors to my quiet corner of Blog Land.  I had  absolutely no idea my new counter gizmo would reveal so many 'Bearing All' readers!

So, to those of you who have visited and discovered a snippet or two of interest, I thank you  for sharing your time and hope you will return again very soon.  To those of you who visit but leave empty handed and perhaps a little disappointed, I thank you for calling in and wish you better luck as you flutter past to blogs anew!

Thursday 11 August 2011

Rain, rain, you are welcome today!

It seems someone has turned off Summer here in the UK and instead set the dial to rain - again!  On a positive note however, apparently rioters prefer not to get wet while they trash their own communities (!) so the unseasonable weather has at least played a part in dampening down the current madness in our towns and cities ... thank those grey heavens above!

 July and August are historically quiet months in terms of bear sales, with funds stretched tightly as collecting folk pay for family holidays, new school uniforms and days out for their kids.  Despite that, it is still a busy time of year for bear makers because the Autumn heralds an exciting new season of teddy bear shows and shop collections and we need to prepare!

So I'm using this quiet period to work on new bears for a Winter shop collection and although they aren't all finished yet, I really don't feel like tackling the stuffing today, so I've parked myself in the conservatory to listen to the rain and enjoy my garden while I knit a waistcoat for one of the bears ... (and of course, wherever I am, my lovely Puddle is never far away!)

As soon as I've finished this collection, I plan to start work on my show bears for the 'Teddies 2011' show in London on 11th September.  I do hope the current appalling behaviour reported in the news broadcasts won't put you off visiting this super show in Kensington Town Hall ... it's a moment of unwelcome madness and with or without the rain, it will pass.

Monday 8 August 2011

Service with a smile ...

The doorbell woke me from a deep sleep at half seven this morning, which is the middle of the night as far as I'm concerned.  By the time I'd shaken myself into action, the offending bell ringer had absconded leaving a card on the mat threatening a repeat visit tomorrow morning.  I groaned as I realised I'd missed a crucial delivery from my stuffing supplier - a delivery he had gone above and beyond the call of duty to send to me, after receiving my order at the start of his summer shutdown ...

Supervisor Puddle!

Not only am I trying to work towards a big show in September, I have also been working on a collection of five bears for a shop and time is running out, so when I realised my supplier would be closed for over a week, I could have kicked myself!  However, it seems customer service is not a thing of the past and not only did my lovely supplier send my order on time despite being closed for a well-earned break, the delivery courier also took pity on this sleepy-headed bearmaker today and decided to pop back at a more sociable hour to re-deliver!

So thanks to good old-fashioned customer service, the bear in my basket can now get stuffed this afternoon ... thanks guys, what would I do without your help?!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Cats know, you know

We said a fond farewell to dear old Toffee recently.  Poor old boy slipped downhill fast over the course of a weekend and after fifteen years of giving me the run around, it was clear my crafty old boy's time had come.  You'll forgive me if I don't share his picture with you - it's still early days, as I'm sure you'll understand.

Puddle and Daisy have settled comfortably into their new 'girls only' routine and seem to be lapping up the extra fuss lavished on them ...



... it's reassurring how naturally pragmatic cats are about the grand scheme of life. 

Cats know a thing or two, you know.

Monday 1 August 2011

Messing about on the River Medway

The River Medway passes through Maidstone and once a year, the river banks are moored with all manner of boats bedecked in flags and the town throws what amounts to a lively river party!

The little girl in me loves the colourful spectacle, but I confess the grumpy old lady in me struggles with crowds of hot, sweaty folk.  Still, the child within should always win such battles, so on Saturday Stuart and I took a stroll into town to see who was messing around on the river this year!

The sun was hot, the music loud and queues for ice-cream too long, but nonetheless, it seemed most of the townsfolk of Maidstone found their way down to the river, to share in the annual summer fun!

'The Allington Belle' paddle boat

After battling our way through the sweaty masses, Stuart and I decided to continue our walk upstream, in the hope of finding a little tranquility, not to mention a chilled pint or two ...


Our favourite boat of the day was 'Eddie's' pride and joy, a beautifully polished little wooden paddle steamer ...

Eddie's paddle steamer

And our favourite port of call after a long walk in hot sunshine, was the pub!

Enjoying cold beer and crisps at the Malta Inn in Allington!


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