Saturday 27 February 2016

Change is as good as a rest

The Winter Bearfest will be taking place in London tomorrow but sadly I won't be among the exhibitors this time.  Rather than worry about reserving teddy bears for shows, I plan to work at my own pace in future, fitting  my bear making in, with time for Polly, Betty and Toby.  After exhibiting with Hugglets for twenty years, I sure will miss all the fun of being in London with everyone else this year, but hopefully will be able to make a return with my bears in the not too distant future ... fingers crossed!

20" Marshmallow

I will of course, continue to make special bears for special people!  This pretty 20" pink 'n white girl was recently commissioned by a keen collector.  She is named 'Marshmallow' and will be meeting her new mum next week.  New mum has been waiting for my tennis elbow to settle so I could finish the knitted dungarees ... thank you so much for being so patient!

Wishing all my bear making friends and teddy bear collectors a wonderful show in London tomorrow.  I hope the day is full of magical teddy bear buzz! Have fun!

Friday 26 February 2016

Sunday Lunch

Have 'borrowed' this pic from my daughter after our lovely Sunday lunch with her and her fiance last weekend. It was a special treat, posh grub at Michelin Star restaurant in Royal Tunbridge Wells ... very swish!

 I miss our Mum 'n daughter time since my beautiful girl flew the coop just over a year ago, so catching up regularly is important to us. Fay and I rarely have photos together, so this lovely happy photograph snapped as we tucked into a fabulously pretty desert last Sunday, is very special.

Thank you for a lovely fun lunch you two, 
See you again very soon!


Handmade with love,

It was my birthday earlier in the month and I completely forgot to write a blog post ... birthdays seem to come round far too quickly the older I become!

My day was full of birthday visits, gifts, cards, flowers, laughs, family chat and a dinner with my children, their partners and of course, my gorgeous grandson.

Speaking of grandsons, this is the very precious memory board Toby's mummy and daddy created for my birthday gift this year.  I am so touched by the love and care they put into making it.

Thank you so much for my special 'Nana' present Ants, Han and Toby ... it makes this very proud mum and Nana, smile every day!


Tuesday 23 February 2016

That's not tennis!

My bear making has been limping along at a snail's pace lately because I had a flare-up of tennis elbow; twenty years of bear-making takes a toll on joints unfortunately.  I've had to start using a support which I wear below my elbow while working ... thankfully, that is helping.  So, the pink 'n white bear I mentioned in my previous post is waiting for knitted dungarees (knitting is particularly painful with this condition) and her ears still need stitching on (mustn't forget to do that!) ... but we are making progress, albeit slowly.

On the plus side, having to rest my arm has at least provided me with much needed time to tidy my workroom, which is now lovely and organised ... 

I'm relieved to say my arm is feeling a bit stronger now and I'm looking forward to making a lovely bear crafting mess in here again in a few days' time!

Thursday 11 February 2016

Pink 'n white in progress..

It's been a while since I shared a work-in-progress pic here, so this is my current project, a lovely big pink 'n white girl; a special commission for a customer.

I think she's coming along beautifully and I'm looking forward to assembling her because then it will be time to start work on a cosy pair of knitted dungarees for her to wear and as you know, I do enjoy a snuggle on my sofa with my knitting needles of an evening! 

So I'll share another pic when she's finished and I hope you will pop back to see how she progresses ...


Monday 1 February 2016

Positively staying in step..

Training this little pickle to walk politely on her lead is proving a challenge.  At eight months of age, she now pulls like a proverbial steam engine.

Walking Betty on her lead together with big sis Polly, just isn't practical at the moment.  It's a constant strain on my arm joints .... not to mention my stress levels! So I have had to walk my girls separately most days, to give me time to focus on teaching Betty lead etiquette.

Little Miss Boo loves to live life in the fast lane and is always very excited by the big wide world, so wants to explore at super puppy speed, which as you can imagine, is not conducive to walking calmly.  She is an absolute sweetheart and so much fun, but boy oh boy, can Betty Boo pull!

In search of good advice, I have watched a stack of 'You Tube' 'how to teach your dog ...' videos, listened to advice from all kinds of doggy quarters, read heaven only knows how many dog training/psychology/behaviour advice books and have been taking Betty to obedience training school for the past four months.  I have to say, it is truly amazing just how much conflicting advice is spouted when it comes to dog training!

I absolutely loathe the notion of aversive methods to train, so for my girls there will never be choke chains, electronic collars, or the like, no matter how long it takes, nor how difficult/frustrating it is, to train them to a reliable obedience standard.  In fact I don't even like to walk them on their collars, I prefer harnesses as I think they are kinder.  After educating myself as fully as I could manage, my heart and common sense told me instinctively that 'Positive Reinforcement' would be the right dog training path for us to take.

Betty is actually pretty darned obedient off lead, so I am sure that if I can teach her how to walk more slowly by my side without a lead, I should be able to teach her how to apply that skill to lead walking. So, this week we've been playing games indoors and also on the local playing fields, to encourage my lively girl to stay in step with me, firming up her focus on my movements by using a clicker to click and treat whenever she put herself into the correct position ... she loves to learn in this playful way and that little blue clicker really captures her interest. There are no harsh yanks on her lead and no cross words while we do this, just gentle, calm encouragement and praise, as Betty works out what is expected of her.  

Today I noticed a marked improvement on our lead walk as she began to make the connection between our games and walking on her lead outdoors. Of course,  there were times when she still forged ahead, but when she pulled too far forward I simply stopped walking and waited until the penny dropped and she turned back and positioned herself by my side again.  As our walk progressed, I noticed she was spending more and more time by my side and checking with me to confirm she was doing okay ... progress, yay!

I am under no illusions this is early days, after all, the world is a very exciting place for a perky young pup in her first year exploring the great outdoors ... and dog training is hard work, time consuming and requires a great deal of commitment.  However, I am beginning to see light at the end of our lead walking tunnel and am hopeful it might not be too much longer before both my girls are able to enjoy a polite stroll by my side on their leads, without Betty pulling us all along single pawed!



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