Thursday 31 October 2019

Pumpkin Huntin'

On Sunday afternoon, we set off in the car, welly booted and with cameras primed, in preparation for our autumnal deer spotting outing at Knole Park in Sevenoaks. However, our plans for a fun family tromp were thwarted, as for some reason unbeknownst to us, Knole Park had closed its rather grand gates to the public. Determined not to give up on our planned family walk, we drove past the park opening and rang my son and his wife to see if they had any bright ideas ... which, thankfully, they did!

Five minutes later, we met up with everyone at a mystery destination, the lovely Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, which despite having lived in Kent for forty plus years, I had never heard of before ...

So rather than deer hunting, we spent a fun afternoon exploring beautiful gardens and hunting for pumpkins instead!

Riverhill is a family owned property and the Estate is managed today, by the Great-great-great-grandson (and his wife) of John Rogers, who bought this fabulous property back in 1840. We thoroughly enjoyed the dog-friendly (on leads please) gardens and were made very welcome.  The gardens were a magical blend of the formal and the more mysterious ... absolutely perfect for exploring with my grandchildren.

In fact we had such a fun afternoon at Riverhill, we very quickly forgot all about our original plan to visit Knole!


Monday 21 October 2019

A spooky little clown

I rarely create themed bears, but couldn't resist making a little bear for Halloween later this month ...

14" Twilight

This spooky little clown might be perfect for Halloween ... but he'll also be heaps of fun all year round too!

If you would like to know more about this sweet Twilight teddy bear, please visit him on my website:

Before I head back upstairs to my workroom, here is a link to my earlier Halloween blog posts, full of bears, dolls and of course, lots of spooky family fun ... I hope you enjoy the read!

Wishing you all a safe, fun and of course, mischievous Halloween 2019!


Update: Twilight has been adopted.

Thursday 17 October 2019

A little goosebump!

I am thrilled to have my little 'Goosebump' teddy bear featured in this month's 'Teddy Bear Times & Friends' magazine!

TBT's 2019 Halloween Spooktacular, 
features Goosebump (bottom left)

It has been ages since I thought to send any photographs to the specialist teddy bear magazines as time just seems to run away with me these days, but the thrill of seeing my bears in print never diminishes, even after so many years of bearmaking. I have a real soft spot for this particular magazine, as it played a big part in helping to launch my career as a bearmaker, so a huge thank you to TBT! 

If you haven't yet purchased a copy, this issue is available either individually, or as part of an annual subscription, from the TBT website:

With the fun of Halloween on the horizon, I am inspired to finish a new spooky little bear ready for the trick and treatery. I'm cutting it fine as usual, but hope to have my Halloween teddy to share with you in the next few days ... maybe I should cast a magic spell to help speed up his progress a bit?!

Thursday 10 October 2019

A Dinosaurus-roarus Birthday

Wishing my amazing little dippy dinosaur explorer Grandson, a very happy 5th birthday today ...

The poor lad had to go to school on his birthday (boo!) so I am looking forward to sharing a birthday cuppa and a little cake when I catch up with him later today.  I can hardly believe how much this whirlwind of a boy has taught himself about his favourite subject (and also his Nana and everyone around him during the past year!) He really is quite the walking talking dinosaur encyclopedia.

Happy Birthday Tobes, 
May your 5th birthday treats be every bit as dinosaurus-roarus as you are hoping they will be!

With Megasaurus love always,
Your super-proud, 
Jurassic Nana xxx

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Autumnal Inspirations

I fell in love with this Harris Tweed the second I saw it and just knew it would make a stunning Tweedy Ted ...

 18" Mackenzie Tweedy

 Up until now, my previous Tweedy Teds have had classic three piece heads (not including their ears!) so I thought it would be fun to design a four piece centre-seam head for this particular fellow. I have designed centre seam mohair bears over the years as they provide scope for shaping - for example, if you design a gentle curve into the head gusset, it offers more depth and creates a wonderful dome shaped head. I thought it would be fun to translate that lovely dome into my Tweedy Ted and happily, this design worked really well.  If you would like to know more about Mackenzie Tweedy, please pop over to my website.

Update: Mackenzie Tweedy has now been adopted!

It is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and I am loving the daily walks I take with Polly and Betty, my Golden Retrievers. The countryside is rich with berries and the leaves are beginning to turn beautiful shades of orange and gold. It is a time of year I have always found especially inspiring ... the dogs are loving it too as there are now lovely muddy puddles to splash through on their walks! They really are such a pair of muck magnets.

These are a few photos I snapped on our walk through Oaken Wood last weekend...

Needless to say I spent the rest of the afternoon armed with shampoo, towels and a hose!

Whatever the season where you live, I hope you too are enjoying all it has to offer!


Friday 4 October 2019

A post from The Dark Side

Black bears can be so tricky to photograph!

12" commission teddy 2019

I usually use my Canon Eos camera to take bear pics, but I don't mind admitting this fellow, a commission finished last week, caused me a few photographic headaches!  I gave up trying with my posh SLR camera and resorted to my mobile phone camera instead. Hey presto, after all the frustrating twiddling of manual settings on my proper camera, one press of a little screen button and my Samsung Galaxy 10+ did a pretty decent job of things.  I live and learn!

20" Mischief was made in 2018

Not only are black teddy bears notoriously difficult to photograph, they are also a real challenge to make. Marking a pattern on black mohair is pointless if done with my preferred lead pencil, so I need to use a fine gold Sharpie pen instead. Cutting out, trimming and sewing black mohair with black thread is also very tiring on my eyes, so I only ever work on black mohair by my workroom window, in bright natural daylight. 

15" Blackberry was created in 2009

So, if you have ever wondered why black artist teddy bears are almost as rare as hen's teeth, it is because black mohair is probably one of the most challenging fabrics for a teddy bear maker to work with!

Black Magic was created in 2006

I have been trying to find photographs of some of the black bears I have created over the past 25 years, but unfortunately it is proving a rather thankless task. I know there have been occasional black bears peppered throughout the years, but goodness only knows where I filed those photos!  

Merlin was created in 2011

I'll keep hunting for those black bear pics, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little blog post from the dark side! 



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