Monday 29 April 2013

Teddy Bear and Friends Picnic

Usually by now I should be thinking about bears I want to make for the Stratford show in June, but this year I've decided to give that show a miss as Polly Puppy will be too little to leave. I still need a focus to punctuate my creative year though, so have instead applied and been accepted to take part in the 'Teddy Bears & Friends Picnic' online show, which will be the perfect early Summer inspiration for me ...

This show is especially for teddy bears and their friends, so watch out for some cheerful new ellies and maybe even a Summery rabbit or two from my workroom!

Friday 26 April 2013

Puppy Perspective

It's been a somewhat testing week but none of that matters a jot today ...  

Yesterday we collected our beautiful new puppy girl and happily, she has settled in to our home perfectly ... already we have had so much fun with her!

She is gentle, playful, eager to please, curious and clever!

We are so thrilled this gorgeous girl has come to live with us and I am completely delighted to have such a special friend to share my days with!  

Welcome home Polly!

Wednesday 24 April 2013

The heart of the matter ..

To become a respected teddy bear artist takes years of dedication, to become a respected teddy bear advocate takes even longer ...

I first fell in love with teddy bears as a little girl and my passion for these silent friends has remained true for half a century.  As a teddy bear maker, I'm not the kind of person to make demands of the wider 'bear industry', in fact a quiet corner in which to stuff and sew, welcoming faces at shows and of course, kind words, are all I ever ask of my creative life.

Years of trial and error have taught me that knowledge shared not only cements progress in a broader sense, it also helps creative people to grow.  Bear makers are usually isolated in their work and welcome opportunities to share creativity and encourage one another ... it helps drive us.  Throughout my twenty years of bear crafting, I believe I have learned a few things worth sharing, so enjoy helping other bear makers find their way too.  

Today I was saddened to see my reputation slandered for no other reason than that of self gain.

Thank heavens, after many privileged years working with warm, honest teddy bear folk, I am confident that such wilfully destructive people are an extremely rare breed in our teddy bear kingdom.

Monday 22 April 2013

Warm Welcomes

Monday, Monday, where did the weekend go?  Well, aside from the usual household chores, it was another crazy busy weekend and this time, full of babies!  On Saturday I drove out through open countryside in the warm Spring sunshine, to visit my sister Fiona and her family in Wormshill.  Little Ella, (my Great Niece and Fo's Granddaughter) kept us utterly enchanted as we drank coffee, ate cake and chatted all things girly ... definitely one of my favourite ways to pass a Saturday afternoon while Stuart is at footy with his Dad!

'Cute, Pretty & Special' sums this cheeky little bundle up perfectly
... my beautiful Great Niece makes the sun shine even brighter!

Christening Day for Stuart's Granddaughter

On Sunday we were invited to attend Stuart's Granddaughter's Christening at St. Paul's Church in Maidstone.  It was a lovely, friendly service and little Cara looked gorgeous in her Christening gown, behaving impeccably for her very special welcome into the world, before promptly falling fast asleep in Grandad's arms!

It is such a privilege for us to be able to share special times with the newest generation of our family members and something we both cherish.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Doing what families do best ..

My sister Tina and her family live a couple of hours' drive away, so my sister Fiona and I aren't able to just 'pop in' for a cuppa regularly like we do with one another - to remedy this, now and again we schedule a day visit to Portchester for a sisterly catch up, more often than not with a variety of offspring and their partners in tow ... 'Auntie Tina's' it seems, is a popular outing!

The rabble ...
(And a rare shot of the 'lesser spotted Tina' on the far right!)

Last weekend, we arrived mob handed with Stuart's grandson, my daughter, my son, his girlfriend, my sister Fiona, her partner, daughter and their granddaughter, in time for a lovely lunch followed by a tromp round the armouries at Fort Nelson.  

Walking and talking ...

Unfortunately a rain squall blew up from the Solent, so we couldn't explore as much of the fort grounds as we would have liked, but we still had a great time exploring the fort's tunnels ... and the boys spent ages inspecting the museum's massive guns, as I suppose most boys are apt to do!

My son immersing himself in big gun history

The girls were understandably slightly less enthused by weapons of destruction, but even so, enjoyed the opportunity to be out and about, doing something a bit different together.

Fay inspecting arms!

Never quite off duty, Tina, a professional photographer by trade, snapped away on her camera while the rest of us went exploring ...

... and one little boy proved to be a very popular subject!

For Stuart, it was a special day packed full of boy stuff with his grandson ...

Stuart and his grandson doing boy stuff

... and for all of us, it was a day to relax, chat, laugh and share family time together ...

Wet and windy, walking with my daughter

My niece and her mum



... because that is what families should always do best!


Incidentally, catching Tina on camera is nigh on impossible as she always has a camera pressed to her nose!  Thanks Tina, for capturing these special family memories for us all and most of all, for a lovely day ... here's to next time, see you again soon xxx

Most of the photographs above were taken by my sister Tina ... if you would like to see her professional photographic work, you are welcome to visit: 

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Happy Birthday Boy!

We celebrated my little boy's 28th birthday at the weekend and I know this is almost a cliche, but really, where does the time go?!

Anthony aged about 5

Ants and his lovely girlfriend Hannah make a great team, they've been together through thick and thin since they were fifteen and over the past two years, have worked very hard to create a beautiful home together.  On Saturday Han invited us to share Anthony's birthday and made him this amazing Maltezer and chocolate fingers 'Mr Bump' cake - that girl certainly knows her man!!!  

Putting on the finishing touches!

Ta da!!!!

It seems only a blink ago that Anthony was a slightly shy, very cheeky lad who loved to play practical jokes on us all and now, at a strapping 6'3", he completely dwarfs me (and most other folk!) still has the same cheeky twinkle in his eye and can never quite resist the urge to indulge in a spot of mischief!  He won't thank me for telling you this, but he also has a heart of gold, has been a huge support to me during very tough times, never lets me down and has made me an extremely proud mum.

Anthony, all grown up?!

Happy Birthday Boy, with all my love always, Your Muva xxx

Monday 15 April 2013


I had intended to start work on my next shop order of Tiddler bears at the end of last week, but made the mistake of painting a pair of pleading eyes on the doll below ... try ignoring a pair of eyes pleading 'please finish me' as you move around your workroom, believe me, it really can't be done!  So 'Maisy-May' came to life and found her new mum straightaway and today I will start a fresh batch of Tiddlers ... 'all's well that end's well', as they say!


My Prim Dolly Doodles are so much fun to make I have decided to let them have their own Facebook page to play on ... if you would like to visit them, please click the link below:

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Sunshine days ahead!

The daffodils are blooming, the roses in my garden are leafing and we have Spring weather forecast for the weekend ... it's official, Winter has at long last passed!

'Rosie Red'

To celebrate the change in season, I'd like to introduce 'Rosie Red', my first Prim Dolly Doodle of 2013 and yes, before you ask, she is wearing knickers!

And to warm the cockles of your heart, a splash of daffodil yellow ... here's to sunshine days ahead!

Tuesday 9 April 2013


Following on from my 'Doodles Discombobulate' post last week, this is Dolly Doodle's progress report and as you can see, she's not quite finished yet, but it won't be too much longer before this little lady will be able to meet her new mum!

After my previous post, I stuffed Dolly's arms and stitched her limbs to her body.  It's fair to say my dollies always look a bit strange at this stage!

Next I painted her shoes and pinned her head in place temporarily, to see if she was coming to life ... judging from her slightly embarrassed expression, she was!

Then it was time to cover her modesty, so I made a dress from pretty rose print cotton fabric and removed Dolly's head (poor girl!) for a dress fitting. From past experience, I have learned fitting the dress without the head in place makes life so much easier!

After gathering the sleeves of her frock, I stitched Dolly's head in place and cut a few strands of wool for her hair - she's hoping for a cute little snippy fringe and lovely full bunches, so there's more hair styling to do ... and I'd better not forget before I send her off on her travels, my little lady still needs her knickers made!!!!!

Not quite the usual hair stylist technique, but effective nonetheless!

Her hair needs a trim and some red hair ties, and there's a little more finishing to do, but all in all, my first Dolly Doodle of 2013 is almost ready to meet her public!

Monday 8 April 2013

Paws a-while ..

She has been what feels like a long time in the pipeline, but at last I can introduce you to the newest member of our family ...

She's a wee bit too little to come home just yet, so we are busily preparing for her arrival with puppy paraphernalia arriving daily to make the transition from her litter of beautiful brothers and sisters, as welcoming as possible.

While her siblings played happily in their pen, one little girl waddled over and rolled onto her back, inviting my daughter to tickle her tummy.  A snuggly cuddle later and it seemed we'd passed muster ... this perfect little lady had adopted us!

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Knitting through the decades

By rights our Great British daffodils should have brightened Easter Bank Holiday, but it's still so cold here they couldn't quite bring themselves to open and who could blame them?!  If the weather had been a little warmer, a walk might would have been on our agenda for the weekend but chill winds defeated us, so instead I settled into my armchair with my latest knitting project, a cotton cardigan for the Spring ... that's if it ever arrives of course!

Spring 2013, my new knitting project!

I'm knitting a lovely textured pattern by Kim Hargreaves in Rowan's 'hand knit cotton' in the hope that when it's finished I will be able to wear it over t-shirts and jeans. Fingers crossed it fits when it's completed - it's been years since I knitted myself anything to wear!

1988 with my son at Chessington Zoo

Since I wrote my last sentence I couldn't resist hunting in the loft for old photo albums ... thankfully there aren't many pics of me wearing my own hand knits, but I did find a couple of 'interesting' ones to entertain you with!  The 'dog-tooth' mohair jacket in the photo above, taken with my son (also wearing one of my knits) on a visit to Chessington Zoo, was quite a corker and the over-sized pink 'basket weave' jacket below has haunted me for many a long year since I knitted it in 1988 and wore it for my daughter's 5th birthday trip to London Zoo with my mum on a bitterly cold March day ... as I recall there wasn't much sign of Spring then either! 

Visiting London Zoo with Mum and my kids, back in 1988

I first taught myself to knit in 1982 at the tender age of nineteen ... my Mum always had a knitting project on the go, but had no success teaching me, a hopeless leftie, so when my first baby was due, I borrowed an instruction book and battled through my frustration to knit some warm baby clothes ... and now, thirty one years later, I still have my knitting needles beside my armchair ready for use.  Let's hope I finish the Kim Hargreaves' cardigan I've just started, so that in thirty years I will be able to remember it as fondly as my earlier hand knitted jackets ... let's also hope the design doesn't date quite as quickly as that blue mohair dog tooth check jacket!


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