Tuesday 30 December 2014

Christmas Keepsakes

My Christmas began in Wormshill with a lovely family 'do' at my sister Fiona's house on Christmas Eve.  The house was bedecked in fairy lights and filled with warm hospitality.  Three of we five sisters gathered with our families, to raise a glass (or several!) to welcome in our 2014 festivities.

Sisters, sisters, never were there such delightful sisters!

We had a fun Christmas Day with my daughter and the lovely new man in her life ... (gotta love a Christmas romance eh?!)

A new romance for Christmas!

And after pressie openings, followed by a very tasty turkey dinner prepared by my husband (thanks Stuart - nice work!) the four of us wrapped up warmly to tromp off the pud in our local fields and pear orchard, with Polly dashing between trees and leaping into muddy puddles, with all the festive excitement only a young goldie can muster!

Muddy Christmas Polly!

For me, Christmas is all about sharing time with family, so this year was especially important because it was my gorgeous Grandson's very first Christmas.

Walking with Toby and his mummy

Little Toby snuggled into a sling with his mummy to come walking in Wormshill with us for the first time on Christmas Eve ...

Our Boxing Day walk

... then again on Boxing Day, when we took Polly and my kids for a very muddy tromp along the River Medway at Teston Country Park after a tasty cold turkey and pickles lunch.

Playing airplanes with Daddy

At just three months old, Toby is  a proper little character, full of sunny smiles, wide eyes and delightful talky sounds ... and he gives the very best cuddles.  As you can imagine, I loved us being able to spend Boxing Day together!

Toby's first Christmas gifts

I was delighted with the generous gifts received from my family this year, but to receive my very first 'Nana' gifts, was extra special.  I was so touched by the care, creativity and thoughtfulness Toby's mummy and daddy put into the design of these beautiful keepsakes, together with the beautiful reindeer footprint cards Hannah made to accompany them ... these mementos of my Grandson's first Christmas will always be very precious to me.

Christmas snooze time

It won't be long until I disrobe the Christmas tree, vacuum up all the fallen needles and tidy away our baubles and tinsel until another year.  Christmas seems to become more and more commercial each year, but above and beyond all that tinsel and sparkle madness, I still believe the heart of Christmas is intact.

 I have loved sharing these precious few days with my closest family!

Friday 19 December 2014


I entered this year's 'Teddy Bear Artists and Friends' awards several months ago and had all but forgotten the competition, so to learn my bears won 1st place and 3rd place in their respective categories, came as rather a lovely surprise this morning!

'Kingsley' was voted a 1st place winner in the 'Rustic Bears' category and this delighted me as he was one of the few bears I really wish I had kept.

You may remember 'Chester' from the front cover of Hugglets' 2013 UK Teddy Bear Guide; as you can imagine, I am thrilled he has also been awarded 3rd place in the 'Touching Tradition' category of the TBAAF Awards this year!  

And as a firm supporter of our traditional teddy bears, I am even more delighted this particular category has been so well subscribed with gorgeous traditional bears from all around the world.  It is good to know the traditional teddy bear never grows old!

A big thank you to Lanie and Darren for organising this lovely competition to help promote teddy bear artists. :-)

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Winter Tucker

Been promising the arrival of this little Winter Tiddler bear on my website for what feels like ages! I finally gave up trying to find time to set up my studio and yesterday, snapped him 'au naturel' by our Christmas tree instead ... 

Cute eh?

The cosy Christmas lighting has made Tucker's mohair appear a little lighter than it actually is, but never mind, this little fellow is every bit as cute with or without fairy lighting!

If you are interested in adopting Tucker, please pop over to  my website where full details can now be found: www.allbearbypaula.com

Update: Tucker has been adopted!

Monday 15 December 2014

Festive Spirit Tiptoe

I took my eye off the ball and didn't see December coming this year ... talk about unprepared!  So, despite a raging sore throaty-cold-bug of the kind only the threat of Christmas can bring on, I cast a steely eye over the situation this weekend and came to the conclusion there was nothing for it but to grab hold of the impending festive season by its coat tails and get on with it.

By handy coincidence my sister Fiona is the real Christmas Tree Fairy (!) and as it happens, she and her fiance own a truck.  They were kind enough to help me hunt down a lovely bushy tree last week, without a single pine needle dropped in my car, which was such a big help!  Fo and Simon, whatever would I do without the two of you?!

I missed 'Stir up Sunday' by a country mile this year, yet didn't want to give up on making a home made Christmas pudding, so instead had a late 'Stir Up Saturday' afternoon at the weekend, shutting myself in the kitchen with a large mixing bowl, glorious array of sugary, fruity ingredients and the remnants of last year's Sherry bottle ... which I duly guzzled as I mixed, in the search for  my festive spirit.

Between scribbling Christmas cards on Sunday (still haven't bought any stamps) and frantically ordering gifts online (not to mention praying they will arrive in time!) I also squeezed a little time to smear melted apricot jam over the cake I baked a few weeks ago, then rolled out marzipan in the hope I may actually manage to ice my calorific creation next weekend - that really will be a Christmas miracle!  I confess I've given in and bought mince pies this year as fiddling with pastry when our local supermarket sells such yummy buttery ones, seems a trial too far.

By the time Sunday evening turned up, my husband and I were both tired with colds in full snotty swing, so the last thing either of we grumps felt like doing was decorating our Christmas tree but with glasses of brandy to hand (purely medicinal you understand) and fairy lights twinkling merrily, a sneaky hint of Christmas spirit tiptoed into our living room without invitation.  

So whether we're ready, willing and able or not, begrudgingly I have to concede, it really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Keeping pace with Christmas, or not!

Finding it a bit of a challenge to fit in my Christmas bears this year ... eeks!

I've been busy behind scenes proof reading a forthcoming teddy book for a publishing company, so Christmas bear making time has been limited this year. With a little luck, this work will soon be finished and I will be able to squeeze in one or two bears for my website before Christmas Eve ... not to mention a promised shop order for 'One More Bear' in Stoke-on-Trent. 

I completed the little fellow above, as a special commission this week, but of course, he's already spoken for.

There's no doubt in my mind, Christmas is looming way too fast for this teddy bear maker to keep pace this year!

Please keep an eye on my website for new introductions.  
As soon as I am able, I promise to add new bears!

Monday 1 December 2014

Special Birthday Wishes

Today is a very special day, because it is my sister Fiona's birthday. 



Fo is an amazing Granny to her gorgeous Granddaughter Ella ...

A very proud Great Auntie to my Grandson, little Toby ...

A much loved mum to her lovely daughters Leah and Lauren ...

A friend, love and dancing partner to fiance Simon ...

A trusted, loyal, fun and supportive auntie to my kids ...

A generous, thoughtful, caring sister and daughter ...

And above all, I think she's the glue that cements our family together.

So Happy Birthday to you Sis! 
Thank you for always caring, never doubting 
... and never being afraid to tell it like it is.
Much love to you, always xxx

Monday 24 November 2014

We three bears!

We're heading to 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich this week and we're so excited about the special Christmas 'Open Day' being held next Sunday!

My name is Dustin and I am the second bear in a special shop edition of just four, created especially for The Bear Shop.  I am an impressive 19" tall and as you can see, rather a handsome chap! 
PS, I have a growler in my tummy ... Grrrrr!!!!

My name is Ned and I'm a bit smaller than Dustin at just 16".  I think it's fair to say I am a nice middle sized bear, a fine traditional fellow at that.  I'm not part of any edition ... I'm just me, all by myself.

Don't forget me! I'm called Rufus and I'm one of a kind too!  I am 16" too, so middle sized I guess, just like Ned.  I've been told I will bring colour to your Christmas and cheer to your New Year ... sounds good to me!

We'd love you to visit The Bear Shop in Norwich on Sunday 30th November; please come along and give us a cuddle!  The shop owner Robert is definitely feeling the Christmas spirit already ... he's gifted you some very special vouchers to use in his shop that day!

Full details can be found on the link below:

Friday 21 November 2014

A tasty seasonal inspiration!

Every year, my daughter and I love to start our Christmas with a couple of  thick slices of moist Italian panettone slathered in butter, with marmalade on the side and a glass of fresh orange juice to sip ... this has become a bit of a family tradition over the years.

All Bear by Paula: teddy bear designed by Paula Carter
14" Panettone

So, inspired by our favourite Christmas breakfast, my first seasonal bear of 2014 is a chubby little panda bear named 'Panettone' ... I hope he helps ease you gently into the festive spirit!

Panettone is now available to share your festive celebration.  
Please visit my website for full details: 

On the right track..

So, this little beauty arrived in the post yesterday ...

Such a thrill to receive a lovely crystal trophy!

To receive an 'Excellence' award from a panel of internationally respected industry judges, is an honour, but also a validation of the somewhat less than 'normal' path I have chosen.  

Throughout the past twenty years there have been many times I have questioned my creative direction, so thank you judges, for letting me know I'm still on the right track.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Open Day at The Bear Shop

This week I have been working hard to complete an order for lovely Robert, the owner of The Bear Shop.  I am delighted to say, I now have three beautiful bears ready for their journey to Norwich. They will be heading there this week, just as soon as I have taken their posh pics in my studio.  In the meantime, I hope you don't mind making do with a quick end-of-day Iphone snap of one of the bears... 

Robert has organised a very special Christmas Open Day at his shop on Sunday 30th November, so please pop along to say hello and meet all the wonderful teddy bears ... what better way to start this year's festive season!

Monday 10 November 2014

A Perfect Princess

It is my Great Niece's 2nd birthday today and yesterday, I went to her 'Frozen' (which I am told is the latest Disney film - must keep up with the trends Auntie Paula!) birthday party.  Ella had a lovely time celebrating her special day and was a perfect little princess throughout ...

Happy Birthday Ella!

Ella is the first child of a brand new generation for our family, an important role for any princess.  She has already taken our latest addition, my Grandson Toby, under her wing and is proving herself to be a very gentle, caring, second cousin to him ... her mummy told me yesterday, all babies are now 'Tobies' as far as Ella is concerned!

Meeting cousin Toby

Ella kindly invited Toby to share her birthday celebrations yesterday, providing him with the perfect opportunity to meet their Great Gran-Gran for the very first time ...

Toby's first cuddle with Great Gran-Gran

It seems our new generation of little people instinctively understands how to share joy and bring family together.  

Walking with Ella

Happy Birthday Ella, 
With all my love always, 
Your very proud, 
(Great) Auntie Paula 

Friday 7 November 2014

Christmas Countdown

It's hard to believe there are less than seven weeks until Christmas ... my goodness, this year is flying past so quickly!  

Work in progress

As regular readers of www.pollyandpaula.blogspot.co.uk will know, I have been very busy obedience training my gorgeous goldie girl Polly throughout 2014 and to do her training full justice, I had to fit my bear making around her needs, so apologies if you noticed a slight reduction in my bear production this year!

Training Polly

I confess, I also squeezed a little time for some baby knitting to help keep my baby Grandson cosy this winter.

Little Toby, modelling one of Nana's hand knits

Aside from dog training, little Toby's arrival in the world and building a smart new website for my bears at www.allbearbypaula.com I have of course been running 'The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' and blogging throughout the year - as you know, I do love to blog!

So, as I was saying - here I am, with less than seven weeks until Christmas, which of course means only four or five weeks in actual bear making terms!  I have two shop orders and a couple of urgent commissions to complete before I rediscover my desktop ...

And once those bears are safely on their way, I will be working on the pile of pretty new wintery mohair fabrics in the photo above.  Fingers crossed I manage to turn them into beautiful teddy bears for my website before Christmas Eve!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Meet the folks

We celebrated my grandson's arrival with a family party at the weekend ...

I haven't baked with my daughter since she was a little girl, so it was heaps of fun working together to create cute cupcakes for Toby's guests on Sunday morning.

Toby was a little star throughout the afternoon, snuggling contentedly with his guests and quickly winning their hearts!

Meeting Great Auntie Laura

Snuggles with cousin Leah

I am proud to say, my son has already proved himself to be a thoroughly modern and very 'hands on' Daddy, sharing feeding duties and nappy changes without qualm.

Dinner time with Daddy

And it is a true joy to watch Hannah, who I have known since she was a shy young girl of sixteen, blossom into her new role as a mum. Toby really couldn't have two more devoted parents!

Toby with his mummy

It was lovely to be able to introduce my Grandson to members of my family and also to catch up with them for a relaxed natter over a cuppa and a cupcake or two. 

My Great niece Ella having fun with her Granny, my sister Fo

Two of my cheeky nieces

Auntie Fo and our cheekiest niece Erin

Catching up


With everyone's lives as busy as they are these days, sharing family time becomes ever more important, so thank you little Toby, for doing a grand job of bringing your family together and thank you family for making time to welcome my very precious Grandson into your lives.


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