Friday 25 November 2011

This Sceptered Isle

I know much of the world is in a right royal fug and wherever you live, disgruntled folk will no doubt complain about weather, economics, Government, neighbours - even the numbers of potholes in local roads!  Yes, you name it and I'm sure someone will be moaning about it.  

'Victor' 2008

But I'm an old fashioned girl and have never been touched by the 'grass is greener' lure of the great wide beyond.  I'll pack my flip-flops, hop on a plane and dip my toe in warmer waters once a year with the best of 'em, but despite potholes a-plenty in my tiny corner of the world, a depressing economic climate and weather so unpredictable you might be wearing t-shirts one minute and raincoats the next, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

'Jack' 2010

I love our beautiful British countryside, the hustle and bustle of historic towns and cities, the freedom to wander up hill and down dale ... yes, I confess, I even love the mystery of our English weather!  (After all, whatever would we talk about if the sun always shone?)

'George' 2011

So, on this sunny November day, here in the 'Garden of England',  I would like to introduce you to three special patriotic bears ...
Victor, Jack and George.

And a rather lovely poem ...

This Sceptered Isle

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England

From Richard II, Act 2 (Shakespeare)

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Finding the key ...

I may have said before ... this year seems to be flying past, with me clinging to its coat tails in a rather undignified fashion.  I don't remember losing an entire year before - usually my years are punctuated with family fun and well defined seasons.  There has of course been an element of both, but in truth my head has been pretty much on auto-drive this year.  Much of it I am sure, is to do with losing Dad just over a year ago ... as you can imagine, such a profound event swallows you whole for far longer than you could ever imagine and leaves you wondering where you parked your sense of self ...

Christmas will be with us in less than five short weeks and with or without the key to said sense of self, it really is the one time of year which is categorically impossible to drift through in oblivion ...  even this woolly headed bear maker can't fail to notice the arrival of twinkle and sparkle heralding the impending festivities!

So this week, I have taken my festive bull by the horns and decked the All Bear website in preparation.  Inspired by that small token, who knows, next week I may even feel the urge to begin some Christmas shopping!

Friday 18 November 2011

Ready, steady, go!

I'm sat here, way past my bedtime, sipping a warming glass of brandy as I wait hopefully for adoption notifications to arrive from the 'Christmas Treasures' show.  Yes, after weeks of anticipation and preparation, the online show has at last started ... I'm delighted to report my little 'Angel' bear found a new home in the first few minutes and will be flying Stateside for her Christmas!

My 'Christmas Treasures' collection
(Angel is the little pink bear in the middle of the group.)

I experienced a brief flash of panic at the start of the show when for some unknown reason, the show website wouldn't allow me to change little Angel's status from 'for sale' to 'adopted', but fortunately that was soon ironed out.  Now, after the initial flurry of anticipation, I confess, this particular bear maker is beginning to wilt ... the five hour time difference between the show host in New York and my swivel chair in England, is definitely starting to make its presence felt and already I'm yawning between each sip of my amber nectar!

If you would like to find out more about my 'Christmas Treasures', please visit the show by clicking the link below -  I would love to find new homes for my special show treasures in time for the forthcoming festive season! 

The 'Christmas Treasures' show will remain open until Sunday, so there's still plenty of time for you to peruse each of the lovely festive teddy bear offerings!

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Christmas Treasures!

Together with many other international bear artists, I have created several special seasonal bears for the Teddies Worldwide 'Christmas Treasures' show, which will be held online between 18th and 20th November 2011. This is a fun, festive online webshow ... I do hope you will join us!


I'm really looking forward to this weekend and hope you will visit the 'Christmas Treasures' show to share our festive fun!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Dusty Rose

I made this lovely plummy pink bear a few weeks ago and since then she has been sat on my workroom shelf waiting patiently while I busy myself with other, more demanding projects.  It doesn't seem at all fair that she has been overlooked, so this week I am offering her for adoption and as Christmas is on the way and many bear collectors are gazing longingly at bears they can no longer afford in these tougher economic times, I've allowed myself to be a teensy bit carefree and sent her to Ebay with a starting price at almost a hundred pounds less than she would usually retail for.  Once in a while it feels pretty good to do something a little less than businesslike - don't worry, I won't be making a habit of such madness, let's just have some fun while I'm feeling generous!

'Dusty Rose'

If you would like to join in the fun this week, please click the link below to visit Dusty's auction page:

Friday 11 November 2011

The Eleventh Hour

I first learned this poem at high school and dizzy headed teenager as I was, it struck a chord.  These days I'm mum to two adult children, an onlooker watching fall the tears of soldiers' mothers on my tv, while they weep for lost sons and daughters, sacrificed fighting overseas ... in the here and now.

It is Armistice Day today and at the eleventh hour, of respect, we will fall silent, 

... lest we forget.

The Soldier

Written by Rupert Brooke in 1914

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Monday 7 November 2011

Remember, Remember ...

Huntley & Palmer biscuit tins from Christmasses past, packed full of assorted fireworks.  Hats, scarves, gloves, toes snug in wellies, sparklers ... our names momentarily glowing in the air.  Orange flames licking towards a starry night sky.  A saggy, baggy, newspaper guy dressed in Dad's old trousers, flakes of grey ash twirling on a November breeze.  Dad bent double at the bottom of the garden reaching for reluctant touch papers ... rockets blasting unpredictably from milk bottles sunk into flower beds, Catherine wheels flaring on fence posts, Roman candles fizzling ... girlish squeals, eyes bright. 
As kids we loved Guy Fawkes night. 

Stuart and I wrapped up warmly on Saturday, then stepped out into the night  with my kids and Stuart's grandson, for a clomp down the road to watch Allington's community firework display.  We stopped at Humphrey's fish 'n chip shop along the way to warm ourselves with tasty battered sausages and fresh-cooked chips, then joined the local crowds in celebrating Guy Fawkes' night in traditional style.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below

To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

I know we're experiencing challenging economic times globally, but sharing tradition binds families together and for me, that's what Guy Fawkes Night is truly all about.

If you would like to learn more about Guy Fawkes, please visit the link below:

Saturday 5 November 2011

Christmas Treasures!

There are only two weeks until the online 'Christmas Treasures' show and my work table is covered with all things twinkly and festive.  Next week will be a very busy week, as I put the festive finishing touches to my show bears.


While we wait for this fun show to open on the 18th November, please spare a moment to pop over to the Christmas Treasures Show Preview and have some festive fun choosing your favourite show preview bear from each category. 

Thank you!

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Five Bears and an Ellie!

It is immensely satisfying when the very last ear has been stitched, the final ribbon tied and of course, a good stout box safely sealed for an imminent courier collection.  Yes, drumroll please ... I can at long last introduce you to my 'Five Bears and an Ellie' collection!

Ta da!!!!

'Five Bears and an Ellie!'

This higgledy piggledy group of teds was commissioned by the 'One More Bear' shop in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, where they will soon be made available for adoption.  The bears range in size from 13" to 20" and in case you're curious, the pretty pink ellie is a very cute 16"!


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