Thursday 26 September 2019

A labour of love

My rocking chair was looking a little jaded after twelve years parked in a corner of the conservatory, so last weekend, I decided to rejeuvenate it with a splash of colour and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease!

Fortunately the rocker was unvarnished and the wood was lovely and smooth, so I launched straight at it with a pot of  Zinsser Cover Stain primer.

I had several sample pots of Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint tucked away in the depths of our garage and as I am a far from perfect painter and have a rather slap happy approach, I thought this would be the perfect paint for my chair. Annie Sloan's chalk paint is very easy to use but best of all for the messy painters among us, it is extremely forgiving! This lovely paint also comes in the most beautiful complementary colours. I chose 'Provence' and 'Arles' because they reminded me of holidays spent in the South of France and Kefalonia... the colours also happily complemented the oilcloth covering on my Grandchildren's painting table!

The first coat of paint went on easily and once dried, I enthusiastically slapped on a second coat. I should probably have watered the paint down a little first though, as it was rather thick in places but I didn't worry too much because I had complete faith that everything would remedy when I gave it a good rub over with a medium sand paper. What I had learned from my bedroom furniture renovation last year, was that chalk paint sands to a smooth finish perfectly and all lumps and bumps soon disappear with little effort and a keen eye. Also, it is a very satisfying (if dusty!) process.

My two sample pots were enough to cover the top of the rocking chair with two coats of paint, but I ran out before I could complete the rest of the chair, so left it overnight, then dragged my rocker back out to the patio next morning for sanding of the top half, while I waited for the Annie Sloan website to dispatch more paint for the bottom half. Incidentally, the dust really flies when you do the sanding, so I'd recommend using a dust mask and wearing old clothes. I didn't have a mask handy so spent the afternoon coughing heartily ... !

Sanding the chalk paint to a smooth finish lightened the colour to a lovely soft shade and revealed white primer in places ... which will be perfect for the shabby chic, waxed finish I hope to achieve. I wiped my chair with a damp cloth after sanding, then popped it back in the corner until I can paint the whole thing over, re-sand gently and finally wax.  It's a labour of love, but I am enjoying my rocking chair project and so far, am delighted with the result!  I will share the finished result when I'm finished and my chair is ready to receive a nice new cushion.

By the way, if you haven't yet tried chalk paint, why not give it a go ... it is so versatile and really fun to use. I have found it really rewarding to bring my tired wooden furniture back to life, as I don't particularly enjoy change or trying to buy new furniture. I would much rather revitalise and personalise the furniture I have shared my life and my family with. Now it makes me smile whenever I see it!


Friday 20 September 2019

The gift of Autumn

Golden hues and Autumn sunshine are now beginning to cast a beautiful glow over the countryside on my walks and although this beautiful season will always be tinged with sadness for me after the loss of my Dad in the midst of a sensational September nine years ago, somehow his loss has gifted me a greater appreciation of how beautiful Autumn truly is...

12" Chutney

I am so thankful to be able to express my enjoyment of this wonderful season with you, through my bearmaking.


Update: Chutney has been adopted!

Thursday 19 September 2019

Life is for the living..

I love early Autumn walks, so popped the dogs into my car yesterday morning and headed over to the Woodland Trust for a wander in the Autumn sunshine...

It was very peaceful; the girls enjoyed a good run and plenty of serious sniffing ... there's bunnies in them thar hills ya know! Thankfully, the bunnies stayed snug as bugs, tucked up safely in their burrows.

It wasn't until later that morning, when we arrived home after our lovely walk and I opened the door of my fridge to make myself a coffee and saw a bottle of Chapel Down wine, that I realised the date. September the 18th. Nine years to the day of that breathtakingly beautiful Autumn morning, when I received the telephone call that told me you had gone forever...

And with that sudden intense memory, came a realisation that eventually our world did turn again and life is for the living.. just as you always said it should be. You have never been forgotten Dad and never will be, but I know you would be reassurred to hear, that now, nine years on, we are no longer submerged in unending sadness.

My family and of course, Polly and Betty, gently lifted my soul from the darkness of deep loss and carefully guided me back towards the sunshine over. It is has been a long process and one that probably never quite ends, but it taught me that weaving threads of great sadness through joy, can help the pain of loss ease over time.

And speaking of joy Dad, I hope that somehow you are able to know the Great Grandchildren you never had the chance to meet. My goodness, they are so inquisitive, fiesty and fun! Every so often I catch a glimpse of you in my Grandchildren when I least expect it, a twinkle in their eye, a determination to fathom a problem, a raucous belly laugh...

You so would have loved them!


Wednesday 11 September 2019

All Bear, a collection

Over the past twenty five years, I have been blessed by the support I have received from the lovely people who have collected my teddy bears.  I will be forever grateful to these very special collectors, for their belief in my bears and also for the opportunity they have given me, to continue creating the bears I love.

Now and again I am sent photographs of my bears in their homes and a few days ago, received this picture of a fabulous collection of 'All Bear by Paula' teddy bears, now living contentedly in Germany. Their owner kindly gave me permission to share her photograph.  I hope you enjoy seeing her beautiful collection of 'All Bear' teddy bears, as much as I have.  

Don't they look stunning together!!!


Monday 9 September 2019

In glorious technicolour

In my last post I promised glorious technicolour and I think you will agree, it really doesn't get more glorious, or more technicolour, than this teddy bear!

20" Rhubarb

We are talking bold, we are talking fun, but most of all, we are talking ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!!

This cheerful 20" mohair clown teddy, is now available for adoption and one thing is absolutely certain, Rhubarb Bear will brighten the darkest room and bring sunshine smiles to his new owner every day!

If you would like to know a little more about Rhubarb, please pop over to visit him on my website:


Update: Rhubarb has been adopted!

Thursday 5 September 2019

Glorious technicolour

For those of you who read my previous post, I am happy to say my little Grandson seems to be settling happily into his new school life. I collected him from school with his Daddy on Tuesday and was delighted when an excited Toby flew through the school gates to give his Nana a big ol' hug, clutching his first official reading book. He was full of beans and eager to tell us all about his day. Yes, I think he'll be just fine.

So, I can now swap my 'anxious Nana' head, for my 'busy bearmaker' head but first I should mention, I am sat at home today waiting for a very special parcel ... my vintage Singer sewing machine is due to arrive! Whoop whoop! I am very excited to receive this beautiful old lady. My poor dogs are far less excited though, as it means their walk has been delayed while we wait for the doorbell and they have had to satisfy themselves with barking at the window cleaner rather than running on the field. Sorry girls!

By the way, I plan to finish a new teddy bear this afternoon, a lovely cheerful clown bear. The black and white pic is just to whet your appetite, I'll reveal all in glorious technicolour shortly!


Monday 2 September 2019

Big School

Thinking of my Grandson today, as he takes his first independent journey across the playground, into 'Big School'. We have shared so much in our own little world of fun and laughter over the past four years, I don't mind admitting, I am going to miss our days together hugely. 

It occurs to me that we ask a huge amount of children at this tender young age. They are expected to cope with wearing strange clothes, being left at a strange building and then taken into an unknown world by someone they may have only met on the very briefest of terms. We ask that these little people trust their parents to be there when they exit theirnew classroom at the end of the school day and also to understand, that this rather brutal separation from everything familiar and secure in their world, is somehow for the best.

Over the past few weeks, I have watched as my own Grandson and his Mummy and Daddy prepared steadily for the start of term today. I couldn't be more proud of them both for the calm support they have given whenever he has been overwhelmed by the turn his little life now has to take. There have been moments when our intrepid little dinosaur hunter has broken all our hearts with his desperate four year old pleas not to have to start school and I am absolutely certain, that if any one of his parents, or grandparents, could have waved a magic wand to make school disappear, we would have happily done so for him ... but the Law is the Law and for Toby, the time for this first educational milestone has now arrived.

I saw my own children safely into school for the first time as a young mum more than thirty years ago and of course, found myself gulping back tears when the classroom door swung urelatingly shut behind my entire world. The ensuing hours until 'home time' seemed never ending.  As with most parents, my heart was in my mouth as I walked back to school to collect them later that day ... but thankfully my fears were needless and my son and daughter both exited through the same door, clutching school bags, clearly relieved to see me but also eager to tell me about their first day at school. I remember feeling mixed emotions of relief and pride as I reached possessively for them ... tinged a little sadness at the budding sense of independence I could already see taking root.

Years ago, I worked as a teaching assistant in the reception class of a local infant school. I absolutely loved my job and was always excited to start a new year, with a fresh intake of four year olds. It never ceased to amaze me how well most coped once inside the classroom. On the inside of that door, tears and trepidation at leaving anxious parents, were quickly replaced with curiosity and an eagerness to prove themselves capable. It was never long before the children settled to play and began to enjoy their new activities. School routines were soon established and little personalities were quick to emerge.

My super-thoughtful daughter-in-law, took a moment before school this morning to send me a photograph of my Grandson wearing not only his new school uniform but most importantly for this anxious Nana, a confident smile, before he climbed into the car for the journey to his new school.

And I don't doubt that for one moment, that both mummy and daddy both drew a deep breath to steady themselves, as they proudly waved their son off across the 'Big School' playground for the first time ... 

Well done gang. 
I am so proud of you all!




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