Thursday 28 March 2013

It's a fact, Dolly Doodles dissolve discombobulation!

I had intended to pop out to the Post Office this afternoon, to return a pair of Cinderella shoes I'd decided against for my niece's wedding in August, but after the small, but not insubstantial shock of receiving an email from my Dad's email address this morning, I'm feeling a little discombobulated and the shoe refund will have to wait.  Instead I'm going to eat a large slice of chocolate cake, wash it down with a mug of hot chocolate and curse those hateful email stealing spammers for their heartless theft of Dad's good name.  How dare they treat Dad's friends and family in this cavalier manner now that he is no longer with us?! I called the email hosting company after receiving the email, explained that sadly Dad is no longer with us, his email has been hijacked by spammers ... thankfully they closed the account immediately .

So, on to Prim Dolly Doodles.  Time to focus on a very welcome diversion this afternoon, some Spring doll making!  My Dolly Doodles have been on the back burner since Christmas, so it's about time I allocated them a few days sewing time. Yesterday I had fun selecting cotton fabrics for frocks and bloomers and picking out hand dyed yarn for hairdo's.

Then I drew out three dolls (a nice number to work on in one doodling session) cut out my pattern pieces, stitched them and turned the pieces the right way out. I'm still playing with where best to stitch my lovely new satin 'Paula's Prim Dolly Doodle' labels, so this batch will be fixed into the back of one of dolly's leg seams, beneath the bloomers, but above the shoes.

I prefer my dollies to sit comfortably, so like to box off the bottom of the body sack to make a good solid seating area. 

Then I make a little slit in the back of the body and weight the bottom third with either glass beads or polyester pellets.

Before I wound up my day yesterday, I stuffed the bodies firmly with polyester fibre, making sure the neck areas were strong enough to take the weight of a doll's head, (which will be attached separately).  I also stuffed a couple of pair of striped legs, but only as far as the knee ... that way each dolly will be able to perch happily on a shelf with her feet dangling!

That's better, now I feel in a far better mood and can start working on the third pair of dingly dangly dolly legs - yes it's a fact, Dolly Doodles do dissolve discombobulation!

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Buddies in The Bear Shop!

When a shop asks me to create three lovely big bears to showcase, I am always delighted to oblige!  Robert at 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich is one such super shop owner and he is an absolute pleasure to work with.

17" Hugo

For this order, I opted to take traditional design through to modern classic, for my group of shop exclusive bear buddies.

17" Natty

As you can see, Hugo is a notably traditional fellow and his pals Natty and Buddy, although still undeniably classic bears, have a slightly more contemporary edge with their fuller figures and expressive hand painted glass eyes.

19" Buddy

Hopefully these three bears will offer 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich something to meet all customer tastes!

Monday 25 March 2013

My Girl

Thirty years ago on the 22nd March, this little bundle came into my world and changed my destiny forever ...


She arrived at 7.50 am weighing 7lbs and 12 ozs (isn't it strange how mums never forget these details?!) with ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes and the prettiest little face I had ever seen.

Since then she has grown into the most beautiful young woman, bright, bubbly, ambitious and loyal. She has a kind heart and a strong, generous spirit. To share both her strengths and her weaknesses is a privilege and as her mum, I can honestly say, I wouldn't change her for the world.  

The past thirty years have been a gift.

Happy Birthday Fay Anne xxx

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Blogging for the Guild!

I have my 'Guild Admin' hat on today (although still haven't managed to write this week's or last week's newsletters ..where does the time go?!) but on a more productive note, have at last managed to create a Guild Blog!  

This idea was suggested to me by a clever member via the Guild's 'Suggestion Box' some months ago and at the time I thought it was a great idea but wasn't entirely sure how best to make it work, so put it on the back burner thinking that if the concept was a good one, it would nudge me again when the time was right and today I am delighted to tell you, is that very day!

I hope our shiny new Guild blog will be of benefit to Guild members and also to anyone with an interest in the wonderful world of teddy bear artistry.  I plan to share members' creations on the new blog and introduce readers to our very talented teddy bear artist members ... and of course, chat about some of the projects we are involved with and any other Guild news that might be relevant.

With a little luck and your kind support, I think our new Guild blog should evolve into an interesting, fun and informative look at the fabulous international teddy bear creativity currently on offer.

If you could take a moment to visit the Guild Blog 

... and follow its progress, I would be delighted, thank you so much!

Thursday 14 March 2013

A Bear of Significant Proportion!

Back to my roots this week with a bear of significant proportion. Sometimes a piece of mohair is simply so glorious, it would be criminal to do any less than showcase it in all its glory as a properly big teddy bear ... those little 'uns are all fine and good, but only a really substantial bear can truly do justice to this kind of luxury!

21" Orson - a bear of significant proportion!

Throughout my many years of bear-making, the German company Schulte has, in my humble opinion, always offered the ultimate in teddy bear mohair.  Dense and delicious ... it really is a complete joy to work with!

Tuesday 12 March 2013

A job's a job?

Whenever I'm asked about my job, I always say I'm a bearmaker and have been for almost twenty years, which of course is true, but that's not my most important job ...

First and foremost I am proud to say I'm a mum and have been for thirty years.

My two playing together, just over twenty years ago.

Sharing their passion for music at a gig in 2010.

Being a mum continues to make my world turn even now my kids are adults and in control of turning their own worlds.  So thanks kids, for showing me on Mothering Sunday who I am to you ... the cards, gifts and flowers were a lovely treat, but the most precious gift of all for me, is you two, just being you.

Me 'n my kids

They'll groan and tell me off if I get too cheesy, so suffice it to say, I have two great kids and am one incredibly proud mum!

Friday 8 March 2013

Long may he reign supreme!

Not that I don't enjoy the challenge of contemporary design, but traditional bears were my first love and they still know how to tug at my heartstrings today ...

'Becks and Scrump' circa 1996

In fact, I remember my early classic bears as old friends.  'Becks' and 'Scrump' for example, two super teddy bears made by my sister and I, way back in the mid 1990's.  They were made from glorious Schulte mohair in two alternative shades of gold.  My sister Fiona designed Scrump (right) and I created Becks (left).  We didn't collaborate beyond choosing the mohair together over a cuppa and yet when completed, our bears looked just as though they were brothers, meant to be together!

'Orwell' Circa Circa 1995

Then there was Orwell, another early 90's bear, beautifully big and totally traditional. I think I made about ten of these bears, but never kept one for myself ... now I so wish I had!  I recall being absolutely delighted with this 25" teddy bear as it was the first time I felt as though I had succeeded in creating the kind of teddy bear I would like to buy for myself.

'Timeless' Circa 1995

Not long after Orwell, came 'Timeless', a whopping 26" growler.  He was made for the  final Hugglets' 'Festival of Artist Bears' show, in Stratford Upon Avon.  I stood behind the table with Fiona and as the doors opened a lady flew across the room to scoop him into her arms ... we watched as she fell hook, line and sinker in love with him!  We had a super time at that show standing among the most fabulous bear artists of the time - it was a completely thrilling day for two bear-making sisters quite new to selling their work!

'Gorgeous George' Circa 2007

Luckily for me, traditional bears really are timeless and a decade later they were still very much in demand.  'Gorgeous George' was another bear of whom I was very proud. I gave him a gentle nod to modernity by introducing hand painted glass eyes and subtle shading to the eye socket, but as you can see, he remained true to his forebears.

'Bellamy' 2009

Since the traditional teddy bear heyday of the 1990's, I have made many, many teddies of all shapes, colours, styles and sizes, but throughout those years have never been distracted from my first love and what I consider to be 'a proper teddy bear'.  Leaping forward some fourteen years, brings us to 'Bellamy,' a magnificent 23" bear commissioned by a devoted gentleman collector.  Once again, I used only the very best Schulte mohair to help me create a bear I could be proud of.  There's something so special about Schulte mohair, not only is it fabulously silky, dense, gloriously rich in colour and strong ... it is also absolutely perfect for creating teddy bears of distinction!

'Stirling' 2011

There's no doubt in my mind, traditional teddy bears should never grow old or become outmoded.  They are bears to care about, bears to cherish and most definitely bears to take with us into the future.

Hip hip horaay for our traditional teddy bear!
Long may he reign supreme!


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