Friday 28 September 2012

Time to cast YOUR vote!

It's time to cast your vote! 
The '2012 Teddy Bear Artists and Friends Awards' are now open for public voting; this is a lovely competition full of creative talent, so please spare a moment to support the artists by choosing your favourite entry in each category, thank you!

Needless to say, I couldn't resist entering!
Here are my entries ...

Category: 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

Category: 'Raggy Doll'

Category: 'They came two by two'

Category: 'Christmas comes but once a year'

Your vote really does count!  
To take part in the 2012 TBAAF online voting, please click the link below, thank you!

Thursday 27 September 2012

Time to Knit

We've switched from Summer to Autumn in what feels like the blink of an eyelid here in the UK and  I must admit, I really don't mind.  Despite the early morning chills, rainy days and brisk breezes, there's something inherently warming about watching our landscape begin to flame gold ... and of course, the dark Autumn evenings are perfect for cosy armchair knitting!

I am so excited about becoming a Great Auntie for the first time!  There are a still a few weeks until our new little one arrives, so plenty of time for me to finish knitting and lining this little pram blanket, to help keep my niece's baby snug in the chilly months to come.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

On the Scrap Heap?

You may remember way back in March, when I told you about the 'Scrap Heap Challenge' I dreamed up for our Master Bearcrafters members - well, here we are six months later and I am delighted to be able to share some very exciting news with you ...

Our 'Scrap Heap' challenge bears have been published in 'The Teddy Bear' magazine this month!  

And as the magazine says, 

"It only goes to show what can be achieved with a large dollop of ingenuity and a generous helping of talent."

My personal thanks to Kathy Martin, Editor of 'The Teddy Bear', for all her support and long-standing commitment to the magical world of teddy bear artistry.

If you would like to read my earlier 'Scrap Heap Challenge' posts, please click the links below:

Monday 24 September 2012

Special Things ...

Stuart and I insisted on a 'no wedding list' gift policy for our wedding ... we've both been married before, own a home together and to be honest, there are only so many toasters a couple need!  We wanted our wedding day to simply be a day for our families to share and enjoy, so were completely unprepared for the lovely cards and gifts we received.  Several family members spent many hours labouring over hand made gifts, so I'd like to share those here with you today ...

For me, the surprises began as I was dressing on the morning of my wedding day.  My daughter popped into my bedroom to present me with a beautiful silver and amber bracelet, created in our Autumn wedding colours.  Such a precious gesture from my very precious daughter.  I wore it to take my vows and will treasure it always.

Later that day, we were further overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of our families and needless to say, many special tears and hugs were shared ...

My lovely niece Kerri, who travelled all the way from Hampshire to share our day, has recently been teaching herself to knit and she completely bowled us over by knitting 'Mr & Mrs' Bear' and presenting them to us in a beautiful 'Special Things' box!

This fabulous contemporary 'From this day forward' freestyle embroidery sampler, was created by my son's talented girlfriend, who has been learning how to master a sewing machine for the first time this year.  Such a thoughtful gift, thank you so much Hannah ... my son is a very lucky boy! This now takes pride of place on our dining room wall.

And unbeknownst to me, my sister Lynda had been busy embroidering by hand for many months, to create this amazing traditional wedding sampler in celebration of our special day.  It's absolutely stunning and now hangs proudly in our living room.

Not only is Lyn an amazing embroiderer, she also makes her own cards and gift tags ... there really is no end to her talents!!!!

Lyn has been passing on her talents to my mother, inspiring Mum to make her very first  hand made card in honour of our wedding (on the left) ... my youngest sister Laura also made us a very pretty card (on the right) and we were delighted to receive a hand made card from Simon's mum too!  It seems card making is very popular and I must admit, I'm dying to try it myself now!!!

Several of my nieces were eager to join in the card-making creativity and they too created gorgeous wedding cards for us!

We are so grateful to our nearest and dearest for sharing their time, creativity and above all, their love with us.  

We feel very lucky indeed to have such a wonderful family xxx

Thursday 20 September 2012

Tying the Knot

A few of our many wonderful wedding photographs ... I think I'll let them speak for themselves.  

I hope you enjoy this private glimpse into our very special day.

Thank you so much to my sister Tina for capturing these special moments with such love and understanding.

My beautiful Autumn rose bouquet, 
This photo taken by my youngest sister Laura.

We had a perfect day.

Important note: 
These photographs are copyrighted to Tina Allingham Photography and may not be reproduced in any form.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Making it happen

When Stuart dropped to one knee with a proposal of marriage in August of 2010, I had no idea of what was yet to come.  We sent announcement cards to our nearest and dearest and in return, received a flurry of congratulations, one of which came in the form of a telephone call from my delighted Dad, so eager to give his blessing to our marriage ...

I learned soon after, it is impossible to know what lies around the corner.  When I received a heart-rending telephone call from my sister Tina a little over three weeks later, breaking the terrible news our larger than life, indestructible, twinkly-eyed Dad, had passed away in the night, my world fell apart and our wedding plans were postponed indefinitely.

2012 heralded a fresh start when my amazing sister Fiona and her super partner Simon tentatively broached the subject of wedding arrangements again, kindly offering to host a reception at their home in the countryside of Wormshill, a place I knew Dad loved to visit.  We instantly knew it would be the perfect reception venue and suddenly, our wedding plans began to roll! We lost Dad on September 18th in 2010 and for me, setting a wedding date in September was hugely important because I wanted to be able to celebrate the season, just as I knew Dad would have been enjoying it, during his final days.   Naturally, the first step was for me to start planning an autumnal wedding cake - after all, we girls take our cake very seriously!

Despite the fact I still hadn't a clue what the more 'mature' bride should wear, my daughter convinced me we needed flowers, so plans to source a local florist to create a bridal bouquet, corsages and buttonholes were soon underway ...

A little hint of devilment told me Stuart would not be expecting a wedding car, least of all a VW Beetle (!) By some miracle, I convinced Stuart we couldn't get married without 'Polly Pootles', a very special 1960's vehicle, to escort us to our wedding venue and reception.  A vintage car for a vintage bride!

We have the good fortune that our local Registry Office is in the 'Archbishop's Palace', a lovely historic building, so there was never any question as to where we would be married.  Back in April we finally set the date, Sunday 16th September 2012.

That was when the work began in earnest!  Fiona and I formed a 'Wedding Committee'; the membership was made up of Stuart, our kids, their partners and Simon as our ' Committee Chairman'.  We had many planning and crafting meetings throughout the Summer months, sharing much laughter as we all worked together to create my dream 'Autumn Country Garden' wedding.

Hannah, Fay and Lauren made giant string baubles to decorate the trees

Fay and Hannah worked in the garden creating jam jar vases for table flowers ..

Simon designed tables for a wedding gazebo ...

The kids shifted, lifted and assembled ...

Fiona and I sewed table coverings and hessian runners  for the 
wedding gazebo ...

We ate, drank and made merry ...

Played games ...

Painted ...

Planted ...

Sewed ...

... and of course, planned.

The day before our wedding was crazy busy!  Fay and I bought a trolley full of gorgeous Autumn roses, carnations and freesias (the freesias were to remember my Gran because when I was a little girl, we used to take her bunches of freesias on a Sunday).  We filled my car boot, then drove to Wormshill to meet the rest of the Committee and begin the final preparations.

The boys built ...

My son wired the entire garden to indulge my inner 70's disco diva ...

And Simon converted his lovely conservatory into an Autumnal chiffon wedding dream (he even kept a smile on his face whilst so doing!)

The girls arranged flowers ...

Cleaned ...

Planned tables ...

And ate sticky buns!

Fo dashed around organising everything to perfection, until she was fit to drop!

Then finally, on the morning of 16th September, while I was putting on my wedding dress and titivating at home in my bedroom, angels came and worked their magic in Wormshill ... 

Flowers, balloons and butterflies were put into place ...

Garden tables were dressed and just as Dad always said they would, fairies appeared at the bottom of the garden!

My cake lady Charlotte arrived while we were at the Ceremony and quietly set up her fabulous wedding cake in our gazebo.  I hadn't seen the finished item until we arrived at our reception ... WOW!

I don't have enough words to express how grateful Stuart and I are to our 'Committee' members.  They have supported us with so much enthusiasm, hard work and love.  We certainly couldn't have made our special day a reality without each and every one of them.

Most especially, I want to thank my sister Fiona (shown here with her beautiful girls, my nieces Leah and Lauren) for all her support during tough times and fun times.  Sis, you are amazing x

And finally, Simon ... daft as a brush but also the most generous spirited man I've ever known.  He has looked after me throughout, been a true friend to Stuart and honoured Dad.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone and very specially thank you Fo and Simon, for sharing the warmth of your Wormshill home with us xxx


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