Monday 31 December 2012

So that was 2012 ...

As regular readers will know, Stuart and I began this year by fixing the date for our wedding. Two years after losing my Dad so very unexpectedly, I made a decision at the start of 2012 to take up the reins of my life again ... I knew Dad would have told me, 'life is for the living Paula', so we went ahead, booked the date, told our families and with the much needed help of our 'Planning Committee' members, launched head first into months of wedding preparation.

Our Planning Committee

Before wedding work started in earnest, my daughter surprised me with tickets to see 'Phantom of the Opera' in Her Majesty's Theatre in London and we shared a very special mum/daughter day up in town together.

Stuart and I took a brief break half way through the year with the intention of recharging our batteries before the wedding but unfortunately, temperatures soared so high in Crete, we wilted and couldn't wait to come home again!

In June we squeezed in a fun Wormshill village picnic with my sister's family, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee ...

Closely followed by my lovely niece's 21st birthday party.

We also managed to fit in a couple of trips to Portchester to catch up with my sister Tina and her family ...

Tina then travelled back to Kent for a 'pre-wedding' photo shoot at the Archbishop's Palace to help me iron out my looming bridal photo nerves.

And once that was done and dusted, we enjoyed a lovely relaxed 'sisters' afternoon, nattering and walking, at Leed's Castle.

Only 48 hours before our wedding day, we received a 5am call to tell us Stuart's new Granddaughter was on her way and our services were needed to take the expectant mum to hospital. Thankfully, Stuart's new granddaughter arrived speedily and healthily!

Stuart meeting his new granddaughter for the first time

Our big day dawned on the 16th September 2012 and what a fabulous day it was!  Such a happy, fun, family wedding ... we absolutely loved it. It was a a truly wonderful start to married life.

A few weeks later we returned to a favourite haunt for our honeymoon and had a super time clomping through Cornwall's woodland, cliff paths and beaches in the glorious late autumn sunshine.

And in November I was absolutely thrilled to become 'Great Auntie Paula' for the very first time! Thank you so much Leah and welcome to the world baby Ella xxx

Stuart and I wound up 2012 in our capacity as grandparents, by taking a trip to London with a very excited grandson yesterday, to see the 'Walking with dinosaurs' spectacular at the O2.

And after such a hectic year, I think we're beginning to feel a little like old dinosaurs ourselves!

So that was 2012 in a nutshell ... I wonder what 2013 will bring?!

Christmas 2012

As always, Christmas came and went in the bat of an eyelid ...

There were lovely family presents ...

And a glass of Champagne raised to my Dad ... together with a fine turkey dinner cooked by Stuart.

There was festive onesie fun ...

Happy boys with new toys ...

Some very special visitors ...

And of course, a lounge knee deep in wrapping paper!

After several Christmas family gatherings and rich party food, Stuart and I took ourselves off, slip sliding our way round a flooded and very muddy Mote Park, to blow away the festive cobwebs on Boxing Day ...

Where oddly enough, rather than taking his well earned rest, we found Santa still hard at work driving a steam engine!

So that was our Christmas 2012 in a nutshell and I can hardly believe it's New Year's Eve already ... but I think I'll save that for another post!

In the meantime, here's wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May 2013 bring you peace.

Friday 21 December 2012

Prunella Poinsettia

I've tidied my workroom, zipped my camera back into its bag and am about to curl up in my armchair with something festive on the telly and my knitting in my lap ... yes, my Santa's Sack work is almost done and dusted for another year.  There's just one more Prim Dolly Doodle to introduce you to, before the All Bear studio closes and I down tools in favour of my sherry glass!

'Prunella Poinsettia'

Introducing 'Prunella Poinsettia' my last Prim Dolly Doodle of 2012!  I have popped her into Santa's Sack on my website ... so if she finds a new home in the UK today, there should still just about time for her to sit under your tree on Christmas Eve!  She's a girl who doesn't mind travel though, so if you're overseas and don't mind her being late to your festivities, she'll fly to you, as soon as she can!

Never forgetting x

'Angelica' ... a Prim Dolly Doodle request fulfilled to bring comfort to a customer at a tricky time of year.  Sometimes bears and dolls do important jobs and I am privileged to be able to help ... Angelica is one such dolly.


Remembering our special people this Christmas.


Tuesday 18 December 2012

O Christmas Tree!

I thought we'd never be ready, but thanks to the combined efforts of my daughter and Stuart, we do now have a beautiful, baubled spruce tree parked in our living room, with a few days to spare until the main event.

So looking forward to the moment I will be able to sink into my armchair with a glass of sherry to welcome Christmas properly ... never before have I been quite so unprepared for the arrival of Christmas!

Monday 17 December 2012

Christmas Kisses

The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' challenge group members always relish a festive challenge, so this year I set one titled 'O Christmas Tree', with four creative elements to choose from: members could design a 'Star of Wonder', 'Christmas Fairy', 'The gift', or a 'Beary Tree Decoration' ... and if they had the time and were feeling inspired, they could also create a vignette incorporating three of the four festive tree elements!

'Christmas Kisses'

As I have mentioned in previous posts, finding time has been a challenge in itself lately, so there was no hope of me ever completing the advanced challenge in time for the deadline, but I did manage to squeeze in one of the standard challenge elements and had fun designing my first Tiddler Christmas Fairy, complete with beaded wings!

Many thanks to my fellow Guild challengees for spurring me on to design 'Christmas Kisses' and to end this year's creative work with a lovely new Tiddler bear design!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Christmas Wonder

I was starting to wonder if I would ever find time to complete a Christmas bear this year, so was very relieved when I put the finishing touches to this fine fellow yesterday afternoon!

19" 'Christmas Wonder'

Usually I would have made several Christmas bears for Santa's Sack by this time of year, but everything has gone haywire, so Santa's Sack is running late!

Monday 10 December 2012

Competing Creatively!

The 'TBAAF Awards' originally caught my eye as I felt they offered a fresh perspective on existing awards programmes by inviting participants to enter creatively themed categories, rather than the usual 'bare bear/dressed bear' style of competitions we have become used to. So this year, I chose several categories to enter and am delighted to tell you, was rewarded with sufficient votes from the public to receive four awards for my work!
'Valentina' won 1st place in her 'Raggy Dolls' category.

The most exciting news for me was that my Prim Dolly Doodle 'Valentina' had won an impressive first place in her 'Raggy Dolls & Friends' category - I'm not used to winning doll-making awards, so this was a very special thrill for me!

'Buttons' won 2nd place in the 'Christmas comes once a year' category.

I was also delighted to discover that one of my most favourite Christmas bears, a lovely shabby ol' fellow named 'Buttons', achieved second place in his 'Christmas comes but once a year' category. Way to go Buttons!

'Midsummer Magic', 'Peaseblossom', 'Titania' & 'Oberon' won 3rd place in the 'Midsummer Night Dream' category.

Peaseblossom, Titania and Oberon were honoured with a very respectable third place in their 'Midsummer Night Dream' category.

'Be my Valentine' won 5th place in the 'They came two by two' category.

And by no means least, two of my favourite bears from 2012, a pair of soulful classic teddy bears, were placed 5th in the 'They came two by two' category. 

I am so pleased the public enjoyed my entries and would like to thank everyone who took the time and trouble to vote for my work in this lovely creative competition, thank you all so very much for this super confidence boost!!!

Friday 7 December 2012

Creating Christmas ... owls?!

The owl bug has definitely bitten me of late and for some strange reason, I have been compelled by unknown forces to create a Christmas owl ...


Introducing 'Gloria', my first festive owl shelf sitter - she's perched herself in my workroom for the time being and if she's still sat there on Christmas Eve, I may let her fly into our living room to sit with Miss Tingle Twankey by the Christmas tree.  

'Miss Tingle Twankey'

In the meantime, normal bear service is about to resume, I promise!

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Old Pals

I've called this lovely trio 'Old Pals' and they are my last shop exclusive bears for 2012.  They are travelling to the One More Bear shop in Stoke on Trent today ...

Betsy, Secondhand Sam & Matty

I have worked with many shops, both in the UK and overseas, throughout my twenty or so bear-making years ... some experiences have been good, some less good, some shops are still trading and sadly, several great bear shops are no longer trading. I am happy to say the shops I work with today are owned and run by genuinely nice, bear-minded people, who care about their customers and bear artists and have a true passion for teddy bears.

In particular, I would like to say a big thank you to Tracy at the 'One More Bear' shop in Stoke on Trent, Robert at 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich and Graeme at 'Apple Pie House' in Gloucester, for inviting me to create teddy bears for their shops throughout this year ... it has been a privilege to work with you and a pleasure to share my work with both you and your customers.

I am delighted to be adding an old friend to my portfolio of shops in 2013!  Lovely Pat Johnson from the beautiful Teddies of Mt Holly shop in New Jersey, has invited me to create a limited edition shop exclusive for the New Year.  I have arranged to meet Pat in London at the end of February so she can fly the bears back to the US to meet her regular collectors in person.  Several years ago I enjoyed working regularly with the Teddies of Mt Holly shop, so I am thrilled to be making special bears for them once again!

And now that my 2012 shop orders are all finished, I think it's time to welcome in the festive season with some Christmas tunes while I work on a couple of beautiful big bears for 'Santa's Sack' ... better late than never eh?!

Monday 3 December 2012

My sister, my friend

Great company, a roaring log fire, carrot cake and a glass of sherry raised to wish my sister Fiona a very Happy Birthday ... I guess there are far less pleasant ways to spend a chilly Saturday afternoon!


Fo's always been a great sister to me ... we've been through so much together over the years.  We fought like cats as kids, became firm friends in our teens, shared our families as young mums (and still to this day) and supported each other through the toughest times of our lives.  We've laughed together, cried together, worked together and on rare occasions, argued together ... (we are sisters after all, lol!)

My sister Fiona

Happy Birthday Fo, 
With much love to you.


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