Wednesday 27 November 2019

Santa's Sack

So here it is, Merry Christmas!  
(Well, almost!)

20" Plumduff

Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and for this bearmaker, it is a time to cosy up in my workroom and simply enjoy creating a few special teddy bears, with a gentle nod to the spirit of our most festive season.

20" Brandysnap

The first two such teddy bears are Brandysnap, now wearing a cheerful Christmas collar tied with seasonal gold ribbon and Plumduff, who jingles happily whenever he is hugged. Both of these beautiful teddy bears are now on my website, hoping to hop into Santa's Sack in time for Christmas Day!


Update: Plumduff and Brandysnap have now been adopted!

Monday 18 November 2019

Bigger Hugs!

I recently began putting an annual portfolio of teddy bears together and as I sorted through photographs of my 2019 bears, it dawned on me, there have been fewer big bears this year, which, I must admit, was something of a surprise to me.

20" Brandysnap

Years ago, most of my designs were substantial, truly 'hug me' teddy bears, the kind of bears who demanded their own armchairs. I have always been well known for creating big bears and of course, still love to make them but am aware that such teddies take up considerable space and so many collections nowadays are feeling the squeeze after years of loyal teddy bear collecting.

It has been refreshing to work on medium and small sized teddy bears this year, but I would hate for my 'big 'uns' to become the dinosaurs of the bear world, only to be found in storybooks and imagination!  There are so few bear artists still making proper big teddy bears that I am very reluctant to let mine go.  So, as we roll towards Christmas Day, I plan to include at least one or two 'bears of stature' on my website, because as you may already know, bigger bears give bigger hugs!

Hopefully there will be a collector or two, with a cosy corner waiting in their collection, for just such a special teddy bear.


Sunday 10 November 2019

They sit no more at familiar tables of home..

Our town honoured the fallen with a parade on Remembrance Sunday, so we stood watching, as uniformed soldiers, service personnel, First Aiders, Air Cadets and of course, the British Legion veterans, marched proudly across the old stone bridge to pay respect to their comrades, at the War Memorial.

It was a beautiful, cold, crisp November day.

Polly and Betty, wearing poppy bandanas as a mark of respect, were on their very best behaviour, as we followed the march up the road, to join in the Service of Remembrance.

After the service, we headed to a little snack bar for hot drinks and freshly cooked sausages to thaw us, before walking back to the memorial to see the poppy wreaths and to pay our own respects.

It was lovely to witness the town coming together to honour those who gave their lives to protect us, to hear the congregation singing the National Anthem together and to listen to the bugle play the 'The Last Post', but the most moving moment was as we read the hand written message on a tiny wooden cross laid at the end of a row of similar such crosses in the garden, placed discreetly behind the main War Memorial...

It read simply.

'For my Dad'.

The Fallen
Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Monday 4 November 2019


A new little bear to share ...

12" Juniper

This isn't the official website photograph, but it's so cute, I couldn't resist sharing it here. It was taken on my mobile 'phone in my living room on Saturday evening, just as I finished knitting and took a moment to dress my little bear in his cosy new jumper for the first time.

It made me smile. 
I hope it makes you smile too.


Update: Juniper has been adopted.

Guy Fawkes Night

Fireworks are a strange entity for me ... I hate how they frighten my dogs, but since a little girl, have always enjoyed celebrating Guy Fawkes night with my family.  So, after settling my dogs into their beds with cosy fleece blankets, a plug-in herbal calm thingummy and the radio turned up, we headed out into night to a local organised display, completely overdressed for what turned out to be, the mildest of November nights...

My Dad always enjoyed bonfire night and I have happy childhood memories of dressing a 'Guy' in his old pyjamas to sit on the bonfire in the garden. On Guy Fawkes Night, there would be an old biscuit tin in the shed containing a selection of rockets, fountains and Catherine Wheels; Dad would hammer the Catherine Wheels onto the garden fence where they never quite spun freely, but enchanted us kids nonetheless. The fountains usually made a half hearted effort to flare and fizzle at the bottom of the garden and rockets, which were launched from empty milk bottles secured in the flower bed, would either zoom heavenwards leaving a magical trail behind them before landing in our neighbour's gardens, or, more alarming, would shoot unpredictably back across the garden towards we kids, as we ran shrieking away from them as fast as our legs would carry us!

These days we are of course, far more risk averse and sensible, so opt for an organised display for our annual family celebration ... and as I watch my Grandchildren and my grown up children enjoying the sparkling Bonfire Night sky, there is always a moment when I sense my Dad is still enjoying that magical night sky with us.


Traditional British poem

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow.

By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah!
Hip hip Hoorah!

A penny loaf to feed ol' Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say: ol' Pope is dead.


Saturday 2 November 2019

November days..

There is definitely something about Autumn that has me reaching for my knitting needles...

My latest teddy bear Violet, is modelling a pretty jacket I knitted earlier this week. I have a stash of vintage dolly knitting patterns which I collected over the years, so I adjusted the measurements of this sweet vintage knit to fit my teddy girl's slightly more curvaceous proportions. 

Happily, Violet was adopted from my website a couple of days ago and is now on her way to meet her new owner in the US.

It is such a gloomy day here in Kent. I can hear heavy rain hammering against my windows and the wind howling around the back of the house, so once I have braved the great outdoors with my dogs (not looking forward to that today!) I plan to light candles and cosy up in front of the tv with my knitting needles, as I have a new teddy bear to dress. I promise to share him with you just as soon as this miserable rain stops and I can take him into the garden to photograph on my little bench...

In the meantime, sending you soggy grey hugs, from a rain soaked UK!



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