Wednesday 31 May 2017

A Horrid Walk

With a name like 'Horrid Hill', the location for our Bank Holiday walk didn't sound nearly as fun as it actually was!

We had heaps of fun crossing the causeway to explore this tiny 'island' at Gillingham's Riverside Country Park. I love the landscape here, the backdrop of the power station on the horizon contrasts with the natural shoreline and many rotting boats, laying peacefully on their sides, long since reclaimed by the sea. I think it's a fascinating place and it was a super way to pass a Bank Holiday with my son and his family.

As for the dogs, they had an absolute blast and I was so surprised to see our Betty (she who usually steps round puddles rather than walk through them) undertake her first swim in the sea, under the watchful eye of big sis Polly ... way to go Betty Boo!


Monday 29 May 2017

On the prowl

At a little over twelve weeks of age, our young Rodney is fast learning how to be a cat ... and a dog! He has decided he prefers to hang out with Polly and Betty, rather than our older cat Puddle, as she's still a bit grumpy with him but the dogs love him and he loves them right back. In fact he has even opted to share their big bed at night. He's a cheeky scamp, that's for sure!

Yesterday evening, our intrepid explorer succeeded in slipping into the garden as we were enjoying the last of the day's warmth with a glass of cider and the obligatory barbecue, so I decided to let him explore for a while and grabbed my camera to record his first moments outside in the big wide world ...

He wasn't sure about the feel of grass under his paws to begin with, but soon got the hang of things and had a lovely time prowling through the shrubs.

He looked just like a mini tiger, crouching with ears pricked and eyes saucer wide whenever he spied a bird, I have a feeling our local feathered residents had better pack up and ship out for the Summer - just to be on the safe side you understand!

Mind you, if he continues to climb my trouser legs and new curtains with those sharp little claws, he will have his garden privileges rescinded before they've even been officially granted ... naughty boy!

Rodney is now one of the family and all you would hope for from a scrappy ginger tom-cat, full of mischief, affectionate, bold, bright and curious. Definitely my kinda of cat!


Thursday 25 May 2017

Fairy flowers

The bluebells have been absolutely beautiful here in the UK this Spring, so when I found a pretty blue mohair, of course I had to make a 'Bluebell' teddy for 2017!

15" 'Bluebell'

I have loved walks with my grandson and dogs through our little patch of woodland along the lane this Spring and pray the local developers are refused permission to plough a road through the heart of this much loved ancient woodland.

Every Spring our patch of woods is carpeted with these gentle fairy flowers and the air filled with their soft perfume. I love these peaceful bluebell walks, they really are quite magical!


Update: Bluebell has now been adopted.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

A rose called Peace

I was washing dishes by my kitchen window yesterday evening, when a fresh new bloom caught my eye ...

A rose called 'Peace'.

Music, joy, innocence.
Thinking of Manchester.


Monday 22 May 2017

The original Schulte mohair

This is the traditional teddy bear I was working on last week. Taffy was a joy to make for his new owner as his mohair was just so silky and luxurious!


Over the past twenty plus years, I have created teddy bears in many fabrics, but in my humble bearmaker's opinion, the dense 'original Schulte mohair', manufactured in Germany since the early 1900's, is a teddy fur to rival all others. I have always loved working with this beautiful fabric!

Long may the Schulte Company continue to produce such fabulous teddy bear fur!


Thursday 18 May 2017

A hang tag history

As I work pretty much at a snail's pace these days, a box of hang tags lasts me quite some time but I was almost caught out recently, when I realised I have only a very few left ...

A new 'All Bear by Paula' hang tag for 2017

I decided to create a new design for my future teddy bears to wear, something fresh and representative of my style of work. The first box has just arrived in the post and I am very happy with them ... I hope you will be too when you receive a teddy bear from me!  It dawned on me that the postcards I send with my bears could also do with updating, so that will be my next task.

The mid 1990's - my very first hang tag

It has been more than twenty years since I attached my very first hang tag to a teddy bear (back then I traded under the name 'Auntie Bears') and in those days, they were all made and written by hand and tied to teddy's wrist with ribbon ... I wonder how many are still in circulation?!

2000 - my first 'All Bear by Paula Carter' hang tag

My first 'All Bear by Paula Carter' hang tags were made from black card with a gold foil logo on the front back in 1996 and were designed to tie in with my stand, back in the days when I exhibited regularly at shows. I can't imagine too many have survived over the years, unless carefully preserved by their owners, as that black card was quite flimsy!

The mid 2000's - a hand laminated hang tag

When the hot foil man went out of business, I had to make my own hang tags on the computer and laminated them myself on a little portable laminating machine. That was a fiddle!

2006 hang tag

2007 hang tag

2008 hang tag

2010 hang tag

2012 hang tag

About ten years ago, my photographer sister told me about an online company called Vistaprint and since then, I have used their software to create my tags and postcards, which has made life much easier!

My current hang tag, about to be retired

There have been many hang tag designs for my work over the years and now that I look back, I see they chart my history as a teddy bear designer. Each tag was attached to a bear about to make his way to a new owner and I always attached my hang tags with a sense of pride in my work and pleasure that someone somewhere in the world, wanted to adopt one of my teddy bears and was looking forward to receiving him, or her.

So when you purchase one of my teddy bears, I hope you will enjoy the fact that that little card attached to him, telling you about his components and year of creation, is actually also a tiny historical 'All Bear' document, with love, from me to you! 


Wednesday 17 May 2017

My sweet girl

Hard to believe it has been two years since our Betty first made her way into the world, but on Monday, we celebrated her 2nd birthday.

Seven weeks old

Our Betty Boo is the sweetest natured and most gentle of girls, always so full of fun ... in fact she loves nothing more than to entertain everyone around her with daft antics!

One year old

When we first decided to adopt a second pup, we were under no illusions and knew it would be extremely hard work. The first year of training and organising routines took time, determination and much effort, often leaving me plain worn out! That said, the work has all been so worthwhile as Betty has since grown into a delightful young lady, eager to learn, even more eager to please and an absolute joy to share my days with. 

Our Betty Boo, aged two!

So Happy Birthday to you my sweet little Betty Boo. 
There is never a day goes by that you don't make me smile and think how lucky I am to have you in my life!


Monday 15 May 2017

The important little things

Goodness it's been a busy weekend ... fun though!

I especially loved strolling through our local nature reserve with my family and dogs on Saturday afternoon. Toby, my grandson, now a determined and chucklesome two year old, bravely scooted his way along the paths on his 'balance bike', stopping often to search for spiders, 'dinosaur' leaves, sticks and bugs. His Uncle and Daddy couldn't resist teaching him how to climb a tree, (boys will always be boys after all) and he kept us all entertained with his lovely sense of curiosity and natural enthusiasm for everything around him. In fact I think we all enjoyed the privilege of witnessing the wonders of the natural world from the vantage point of such young eyes. There's nothing quite like a youngster for making everyone stop in their tracks to take notice of the important little things in life!


Thursday 11 May 2017

Variety is the spice of life

This spicy little chap just made his way onto my website ...

11" Tabasco

He's a lovely tomato red mohair, so I called him 'Tabasco'.

22" Gulliver and 11" Tabasco

This morning I popped into the garden to take Tabasco's photos for my website and just for fun, sat him on my stone bench with 22" Gulliver ... they looked so handsome sat there together; I love the contrast of size and colour!

Hopefully they will both find a special new home soon and maybe even a lovely garden to enjoy.

If you would like to know more about either of these teddy bears, please pop over to visit them on my website ... thank you!


Monday 8 May 2017

The other side of the line

We've often wandered what lies on the other side of our local railway line, so yesterday we took our girls over the tiny railway bridge and went a-wandering, from Barming, through to the village of East Malling.

Polly loved her Sunday afternoon stroll, toddling cheerfully along at her own pace. Betty is still at the charging everywhere at-a-hundred-miles-an-hour stage of life, so she walked on her lead until we found suitable places for her to explore freely.

As for me, well I loved the beautiful church and graveyard we found in East Malling village ... it was just so peaceful.

And my husband? Well, from the grin on his face I think it's safe to say he loved his pint and crisps in the lovely garden we settled ourselves into at the local village hostelry!

The girls loved their run in the pretty village park.

And we all enjoyed the fabulous views across the fields, as we trundled, fresh air sleepy, all the way back home for a well earned cuppa!

This was a Sunday afternoon walk with something for everyone, so definitely one we will be taking again soon!


Sunday 7 May 2017

Don't rain on our birthday parade

Since we were first 'encouraged' by our mother into ballet shoes at a tender and clumsy young age, my sister Fiona and I have always loved the ballet. As a special birthday treat, Fo recently took me to The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury to watch a magical performance of the Hans Christian Andersen story 'The Red Shoes' created by the amazing Matthew Bourne (he who can do no wrong in our eyes!) We left reality on the pavement and sat mesmerised, as this enchanting fairy tale swirled us through a wonderful evening together.

Last night, it was my turn to treat my sister to a birthday special. I surprised Fo with tickets for the West End musical 'Funny Girl' to celebrate her birthday and after a lovely sisterly natter over dinner and a rather naughty pud in a local restaurant, we settled ourselves back into our theatre seats to enjoy yet another superb musical performance, woven with laughter, tears, cracking good songs and magical story telling. It really was an absolute joy of an evening.

Sister time is very important to both of us and sharing things we have loved since childhood makes it even more special. Thank you so much for our time together Fo and a big 'fifty somethings' 'Happy Birthday to us'!


Protectors of our teddy bear heritage

Reminding myself of the bear maker I truly am, with this fabulous new big bear!

22" Gulliver

Those who have followed my teddy bears since the mid 90's, will best know me for creating large, traditional teddy bears with soulful faces.  

I love these stately bears, protectors of our teddy bear heritage, guardians of our childhood memories ... and I am so proud to continue to make them for collectors around the world, twenty three years after creating my very first traditional teddy bear.

If you would like to know more about Gulliver, please visit him on my website:

Thank you!


Friday 5 May 2017

Making time, making memories

A super night out with my beautiful daughter in Camden on Saturday! We visited The 'Hardy Tree' in St Pancras Old Church graveyard, ate tasty street food, meandered through colourful Camden town and as evening fell, danced to a fun live performance by jazz singer Caro Emerald!

A visit to 'The Roundhouse' in Camden with my daughter

Best of all, I had my daughter all to myself for a few precious hours. I wonder if our kids ever truly realise how much they are missed when they finally leave home? Somehow I think it must be impossible for them to know, not at least until they have children of their own ...

Now they live such busy, independent lives, I am so grateful to my son and daughter for ensuring we still share regular time together - this makes all the difference in the world to an 'empty nest' Mum.

So thank you daughter, for my very special 'Fay-style' visit to London. It was so much fun seeing the sights, visiting the places you love, hearing all about your times there and going to see a singer you knew I would enjoy ... but most of all it was lovely to see you and to spend precious mum-daughter time together!


Thursday 4 May 2017

If at first you don't succeed ...

What with the arrival of Rodney the Kitten, my general dog, household and grandson duties, together with a couple of lovely visits to the theatre ... (one with my daughter to see Caro Emerald perform in Camden and the other with my sister to see the latest Matthew Bourne ballet 'The red shoes' ... both of which were superb performances and very fun nights out!) ... time for artistic endeavour has been rather limited.

However, somehow I managed to squeeze a little 'me' time on Bank Holiday Monday. Having only just mastered control of my pencil, I challenged myself by plunging head first into the unpredictability of watercolour paint - oh dear, whatever was I thinking?!  My first picture left much to be desired, in fact I probably made just about every mistake ever recorded in that single sloppy portrait. Never one to be defeated though, I set the wretched thing aside for a few days until I could see how to justify the time I had 'wasted' ... and this morning, the penny dropped!  I poured myself a mug of  strong coffee, reached for my pastel pencils and began to work over that original picture. I haven't quite finished fiddling, but at least I'm smiling now when I look at it, rather than grimacing, so I think by adding my favourite pastel pencils into my watery wanderings, I may have found a creative Creative comfort zone ... for now, at least!



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