Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Autumn leaves..

I have been doing quite a bit of crunching through Autumn leaves with Polly and Betty of late, so I guess it was inevitable my thoughts would drift to Autumn teddy bears and knitting yarn, as we strolled along our local lanes, basked in glorious golden sunshine.


So, this is 'Scrumpy', a rather fine (if I do say so myself!) traditional teddy bear, created from Schulte's finest kid mohair, in a gorgeous shade of pale cinnamon.  I couldn't resist knitting him a hat and scarf, after all, it won't be long before the early Autumn sunshine turns to October chills, when those cosy knits will be perfect for snuggling with!

20" Scrumpy

I hope you will be pleased to know Scrumpy is now available for adoption from my website. Please visit the link below if you would like a few more details ...


:-)


Sunday, 18 September 2016

September song ...




Another year has slipped by ... we girls talk about you often, laugh at our memories, share them with your Grandchildren and when we feel your loss the most, may still shed a quiet tear, but no worry Dad, life has moved us all forward, just as you would have wanted.  

I watched a nature programme recently and the presenter mused that September was the month for leaving; he meant the skylarks of course, but I thought of you ...

 xxx

The Domino Effect!

Domino was adopted so quickly, I blinked and missed my opportunity to post a blog to introduce him at the time. So, here he is, a little retrospective, but still well worth showing off ... he was such a handsome chap!


20" Domino has been adopted!

:-)

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Drawing into a new half century

I was never confident in art lessons. Left handed and ill at ease with paintbrush and pencils, I was usually to be found lurking at the back of the art room, planning how best to skip future art lessons ... in fact, it was with a sense of great relief I dropped the subject from my school curriculum as soon as possible, at the tender age of thirteen.  It wasn't that I didn't enjoy drawing as a child in the privacy of my own home (I always loved using Dad's posh set of Caran D'ache art pencils when I was allowed and to watch him sketching his favourite subject - budgies) but as a shy child, submitting anything artistic to an unimpressed teacher at school, was enough to send my creative self shrinking into a dark corner.

My first eye

As I began to share crayon, paint, pencil and paper with my little Grandson this Summer, I was frustrated by my own lack of drawing ability. A tiny glimmer of determination began to dawn as we happily splashed and smeared colour onto sheets of paper in the sunshine and that glimmer brightened rapidly. Almost before I realised what was happening, a small collection of 'learn to draw' books, tins of graphite and coloured pencils, sketch pads in assorted sizes, a variety of erasers, a green ruler and a drawing board made their way into a big bag, tucked away in the corner of my living room ... within easy reach of my sofa.

Three eye sketches later ...

It was at that point I tentatively mentioned my new hobby to my sisters and discovered my youngest sister had recently started learning to draw and one of my middle sisters was also keen! Spurred on by our shared interest and limited drawing confidence, we launched a sisterly challenge to see if we could each sketch an eye ... one thing led to another and we now have a private family art group on Facebook, set up to encourage one another and anyone else in the family who fancies a dabble ... it turns out, nieces, daughters, daughter-in-laws, a brother-in-law and even a great niece have 'come out' to draw together!

Becoming bolder and starting to play with colour!

We've had loads of fun commenting in our private drawing group and have run several family challenges already, designed to stretch abilities into different directions. 

'Draw a favourite cartoon character'

For me, learning a 'new' skill and facing my drawing demons, is both absorbing and relaxing. I've a very long way to go as there is an immense amount to learn, but at least I am no longer daunted by the prospect ... and the ghost of my old art teacher is fading fast!

Witch in graphite pencil

In fact, last week I even plucked up confidence to try my hand at a couple of portraits based on photographs ... neither of which ended up looking like the people in the photos, but no matter, they are at least recognisable as faces!  Plenty more practice is of course required, but a couple of weeks ago I would never have believed I could even have begun to tackle these!

Portrait drawing in graphite pencil

So, now I've started, I suppose I ought to try drawing a teddy bear at some point eh?!

Challenge: Design and draw a toy

In the meantime, remember my cloth dollies? Well, using coloured pencils, I tried my hand at a little sketch of one of my 'Prim Dolly Doodles', trouble was I made a complete hash of her lower half (who knew sitting a dolly on a flower pot could be so hard to represent?!) so took the liberty of heartlessly cropping her wayward legs off ... until I can find time to try drawing them back on again.

Challenge: Cartoonize yourself!

Teaching myself to draw at this advanced age (let's just say I have edged well into my second half century) sure is proving heaps more fun than my art lessons at school, all those disillusioned decades ago!

:-)

Friday, 26 August 2016

Mellow Yellow

After my Buttercup post, I had yellow bears on the brain, so started hunting for photos of some of the yellow bears I have made in past years. Sadly, some were lost thanks to the failure of an old hard drive (am hopeless at backing stuff up) but I did find these and couldn't resist putting together a little 'Mellow Yellow' montage to share here with you today ...


Sunny Jim, featured in the central pic taken with me, is one of my all time favourite teddy bears ... I can't quite believe it has been ten years since I made him, where on earth did they all go?!  Looking at these bears, it seems I have used yellow mohair for Spring, Summer and Autumn teddies - I couldn't find a wintery yellow bear though; maybe yellow is just too cheery for a chilly winter teddy bear?  Or maybe there lies a challenge for me to rise to this coming winter ... create a wintery yellow bear ... hmmn, might give that further thought!

:-)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Build me up, Buttercup!

It has been quite a while since my last smallish bear, let alone a yellow one, so this this little girl is long overdue!



'Buttercup', is a 12" teddy girl.  I do hope she makes you smile!  During the twenty years of my bear making career, I haven't created many yellow bears (proper yellow mohair, rather than pale gold, is quite hard to source) so I was delighted to discover this pretty lemon yellow Schulte mohair, a few months ago. I tucked it away in my stash 'til Summer arrived, as it's a perfect Summer teddy colour!

I knitted Buttercup's lace dress from a vintage dolly knitting pattern; vintage doll's clothes patterns are perfect for teddies, with a few tweaks to the pattern to ensure a perfect fit.  It has been lovely sitting knitting under my garden parasol, sipping coffee in the gorgeous sunshine this week.

I hope you will be happy to learn, Buttercup is now available to adopt from my website and hopes to find a lovely new owner very soon.

Please visit the link below if you would like further details:

www.allbearbypaula.com

Update: Buttercup has been adopted!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Simple Pleasures

Sunshine, a freshly part-cut field and our goldie girls for company.
Simple pleasures are most definitely the best!


I hope you too have had a lovely weekend ... wherever you are.

:-)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A new arrival!

It's been a while since my knitting needles were gainfully employed, but with the safe arrival last week, of Esmé, my second beautiful Great Niece, it was time to bring them out of retirement ...


I popped along to meet little Esmé on Saturday and was welcomed with a precious newborn cuddle and a cuppa.  It was so lovely to find my niece Leah, relaxed and radiant at home with her family, after delivering her new daughter into the world only a couple of days earlier.


Welcome to the world little Esmé and welcome to your wider family too.  We are all very much looking forward to getting to know you!

:-)

Friday, 12 August 2016

The colours of a rainbow

Keeping an almost-two-year-old entertained each week has proved to be less of a challenge than I at first imagined it might be. Little Toby has a wonderfully curious mind and a delightfully active spirit, so we are having heaps of fun together and as his Nana, being granted an opportunity to see the world through such fresh young eyes once more, is a privilege I truly treasure.


The weather has been glorious here in Kent this week, so I put up my parasol to provide some shade on the garden patio, smeared my Grandson in 'Factor 50', cut up one of my t-shirts to make him a painting smock, rolled out a leftover length of wallpaper, gathered large pebbles to weight it, squeezed out the colours of a rainbow ... and let him loose!


He had a whale of a time with the paint and was completely focused on making his picture with whatever came to hand, be it brushes, sponges, or feet and hands.  It was so much fun to watch him create his first masterpiece.  I sent the entire roll (several feet long!) home with Toby, to share with his mummy and daddy, but couldn't resist keeping a little picture he painted while we were waiting for the big one to dry in the sunshine.  I framed it and hung it on his bedroom wall at Nana's house, for him to enjoy whenever he visits ... and every time I look at it, I can't help but grin and think of my little artist at work!

:-)

The Traditional Vibe

I've been feeling my traditional vibe again of late.  It's always good to know classic teddies never grow old with collectors and beautiful mohair is as much of a joy for them, as it is for me!

20" Sterling

This gorgeous golden bear, created from Schulte's finest German mohair, will be heading to the US next week.  He has been a pleasure to create for his new owner and I couldn't be more delighted to send him on his way to share the teddy bear love 'across the pond'.

Bon voyage Sterling!

:-)

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Being Nana

We visited Leeds Castle with Toby yesterday afternoon.  Seeing the grounds of this beautiful place through a toddler's eyes was a real treat.  To keep our little charge entertained, we went in search of showy peacocks, ducks and their ducklings, a big boat, a green train, a castle and an adventure playground with ramparts to climb.  He loved his visit and we loved exploring with him!


Being this little man's Nana is such a blessing; he brings me so much happiness! When I was younger, I had no idea becoming a grandmother would be quite so special ... Toby, Nana loves you to the moon and back!

:-)

Thursday, 28 July 2016

What a wonderful world ..

As I stitched on teddy's ears this afternoon, my little orange Roberts' radio crooned the old song 'What a wonderful world' ... I couldn't help but smile because it was a tune my Dad always enjoyed and I remember him singing it when I was a little girl.


And so 'Louis' the teddy was named, a bear christened from a smile, a magical voice, happy memories and a beautiful sentiment.

Update: Louis has been adopted!


xxxXxxx

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
Sung by Louis Armstrong 1968

"I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world."

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

We're having a heatwave!

As pavements sizzled and temperatures bubbled into the 90's here in Kent yesterday, there was nothing for it but to dip my toes and join my Grandson for a welcome paddle.


With a parasol to shade us and water to cool us, we managed to enjoy our afternoon safely.  Polly and Betty (my golden retrievers), slept indoors on the kitchen floor for most of the day, instinctively hiding themselves away from the scorching rays until sunset, when it felt fresh enough to take them for a lovely walk around our local bean field.


It is so warm here this week, working on my teddy bears isn't an option, so best to eat ice lollies, dip toes in the paddling pool and enjoy the Mediterranean blue sky from beneath my garden parasol!  I've no doubt we will soon be treated to the 'crash bang flash' of heatwave thunderstorms and until then, we intend to stay as cool and sunburn free as possible.

Normal bear-making service will resume again shortly, just as soon as this sizzling weather eases ... phew!

:-)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Summer breeze please!

The weather has been way too hot for making bears today, but with a cold drink to sip and the shade of my parasol to shade me, I did manage to add the finishing touches to my new alpaca teddy this afternoon.


I found a shady spot among the flowerpots to take Fuchsia's photograph, then popped indoors to upload her to my website and send out a newsletter introducing her to all my mailing list collectors.  Being inside on the computer was a welcome relief from the heat of the day outside I can tell you ... my goodness it's been hot out there!

Fuchsia flew off my website to a new owner in a heartbeat, so if you visited and missed her, I am sorry for any disappointment and promise to have another lovely new bear to share with you very soon.

:-)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Rambling Inspiration

I have been enjoying my garden this summer, planting pots, pruning roses, sitting and breathing the summery scent.  It has been lovely to have my gardening mojo back as it went into hibernation when Dad passed away. Dad lived in a countryside cottage and was a keen gardener, often regaling me with stories of how his plants were doing and what he'd been up to in his garden ... he always preferred to be outdoors rather than in.  I think of him often these days, when I'm pottering in my own garden.  


Anyway, I digress!  Recently, I was admiring a honeysuckle I had planted in a big terracotta pot, in the hope it might climb and disguise a drainpipe.  This summer it climbed high, wrapping that boring black drainpipe with lovely soft green leaves and delighting me with dainty peach and pink flowers.

As often happens, nature kindly provided me with a teddy bear inspiration and my rambling honeysuckle led to 'Honeysuckle', a 19" teddy bear!

Full details for Honeysuckle may now be found on my website. 

I hope you enjoy your visit:


:-)

Update: Honeysuckle has been adopted.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mr Buddy Guy

Oh what a night! 

As a special birthday treat, my daughter took me to see a genuine blues legend, Mr Buddy Guy, play live at the Hammersmith Apollo in London last weekend.  


We had a fantastic night!


With no regard whatsoever for his octogenarian status, Mr Guy kept both us and the entire audience, completely entranced with his colourful repartee, boundless energy and breathtaking guitar playing.  It was a rare treat indeed to share this man's rich talent with my daughter, who, after queuing with a determined glint in her eye, went home clutching a vinyl copy of his latest album, 'Born to play guitar', signed by the man himself, while she waited patiently.

Thank you for a wonderful night Fay and for knowing me so well.  I am so glad we were able to share such legendary live music together!

 xxx

Friday, 8 July 2016

Making a Statement..

It has been a little while since I made an enormous teddy bear, so I was thrilled to be asked to create this summer clown for a keen collector ...

'Peaches' is a whopping 25" tall when standing!

Making such a large bear is jolly hard work, but very rewarding. I enjoy making BIG bears (as long standing readers will already know).  They take a heap of stuffing and are tricky to manoeuvre when it comes to stitching on ears, but the end result is always worth the extra elbow power required to bring them to life.  

I think it's fair to say, a huge bear makes a huge statement in any teddy bear collector's hug and I think this bear's statement is something along the lines of, 'Summer is beautiful, so let's have fun together!'

:-)

Monday, 27 June 2016

A slower pace of life

Devon was lush, green and beautiful ... we loved it! Our holiday home was a 250 year old Devon longhouse, renovated to provide a most welcoming family home and the garden ... oh my, that garden! It wrapped around the house with sheep and cows greeting us over the fence each day. Polly and Betty had so much fun out there!


After behaving perfectly in the car throughout the long drive to Devon (six hours on the rear seat with brief pit-stops to stretch their legs) my accommodating pair made themselves right at home as soon as we arrived. From then on, we all had heaps of fun together, playing games, visiting beautiful beaches and making the most of the wide open spaces whilst generally making the most of a slower pace of life.


Betty visited her very first beach on holiday and after a moment of wide eyed wonderment, dipped her paw in the sea and was soon rock pooling excitedly with Polly. I was delighted after three solid years of dog obedience training, to be able to allow my girls to run free on the dog friendly beaches, safe in the knowledge they would return at the beep of a whistle. They were so well exercised and entertained each day, they slept peacefully in our holiday home, from the very first night.


After our much needed break, it's back to real life and of course, back to work on my bears. Devon in June was a perfect relaxing break for us but now I'm refreshed and raring to get started on the mohair again!

:-)

Monday, 13 June 2016

Here comes Summer!

Polly and Betty are enjoying their Summer walks, bouncing through as much long grass as they can find and generally making the most of outdoors now the warmer, drier (yay!) weather has at last arrived.  Betty's obedience training is coming along well and her tendency to pull is on the decline (hallelujah!) She's loving her 'Real Life' training classes (as is Polly) and I must admit to a sneaking pride whenever I take her out and about, because she is so eager to show off how well behaved she can be (as you can imagine, this is owner heaven)!  Just in case I am in danger of sounding a little too pleased with myself though, you may be delighted to hear my clever little girl has recently also learnt how to roll in fox poo .... urgh!


As for big sis Polly, she's now three and a half and has settled beautifully.  For a while last year, she went through a phase of being a bit grumpy with other dogs if she was lead walking with little sis (I think she thought she needed to guard me and Betty) but with plenty of consistent training around other lots of different dogs (our Real Life training classes have been a terrific help in this respect) she's much improved and now able to say hello to oncoming dogs in a calm and friendly manner again. She's also much calmer with other dogs generally when she plays off lead now. I can't recommend consistent, targeted training highly enough, as it really can pay dividends when you stick with it and make an effort to look at life through your dog's eyes.


We'll be heading off to Devon for a holiday with our girls this Summer to explore some sandy beaches, green fields, leafy lanes, woodland pathways, maybe an ancient castle or two and of course, a few of those yummy Devonshire cream teas ... can't wait!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Elizabeth Rose

So, while I was waiting for fabric to arrive from Germany and enjoying my roses, I decided to finish work on a Summer bear I started a little while ago and as I pondered what to call her, it dawned on me our amazing Queen has been celebrating her 90th birthday this weekend, so my pretty pink girl teddy bear has been named 'Elizabeth Rose' in her honour ... wishing you a very Happy Birthday Ma'am!


20" Elizabeth Rose is now available for adoption from my website.  If she tugs at your heartstrings, please pop over to:

www.allbearbypaula.com 

Thank you!

Update: Elizabeth Rose has been adopted!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Time to smell the roses..

I have been knocked sideways by a nasty tummy bug for a few days, so not much of anything to report this week I'm afraid, as it's been rather a wobbly one.  The weather has been beautiful though, so once the worst passed, I parked myself in the garden among my roses, to gather strength and take my mind off the churning within. Urgh.


I'm back on form today though and eager to tackle the jobs left undone while I was indisposed.  First up this afternoon will be a beautiful pink mohair bear I began work on last week.  She is definitely in need of a rose related name - must put my thinking cap on. I also have a magnificent commission bear to work on requiring some handmade buttons, which should be fun (buttons made by me by the way. I've never made clay buttons before, so more news of that project soon!) Oh and if you are interested, I have a couple of simply gorgeous pieces of kid mohair in line for traditional teddies. I know I am going to love creating all these bears, the fabrics for them are a complete joy.

I've probably mentioned this before, but roses are my favourite plants in the garden, I absolutely love them and they never fail to inspire my creativity ... they are such a tonic!

:-)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Beau

At last, time for me to introduce a new teddy bear!  

'Beau'

This is 17" 'Beau', my latest alpaca bear.  He flew off my website within moments of arriving earlier today, so please accept my apologies if you blinked and missed him ... !  

Beau has been adopted and will shortly be winging his way to the USA to meet his new owner.

:-)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Happy Mum

My little girl (now aged thirty three!) found herself home alone and without a car at the weekend.  A round trip to Tunbridge Wells to scoop her up and bring her back to our house, meant I could tuck her up in her old room for the night and make the most of a whole weekend of precious 'mum/daughter' time.  We shared dinner on Saturday evening with my son and his family and as I listened to my kids nattering away in the living room together while I prepared dinner, I couldn't help smiling ... it was just like old times.


On Sunday, we set out for a walk with all my girls, (Fay, Polly and Betty). Fay walked Polly and Polly was noticeably on her best behaviour.  In fact, she has had a huge soppy grin on her face all weekend ... like me, she has been so thrilled to have 'her' Fay back home to stay!

Having your grown up kids leave home is a real wrench, but you really do appreciate them so much more, whenever they are able to come home.  

I have had such a lovely weekend with my 'mummy' head on!

:-)

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Life's a ..

My lovely sunny Sunday at the seaside, with my son and his family ...


I loved our visit to Whitstable last weekend. Enjoying the beach together and watching little Toby exploring on the shingle, was a really super way to blow away the cobwebs.  

It was so good to see you all.
Thank you for the invite kids! xxx

:-)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Happy 1st Birthday Betty Boo!

Exactly a year ago today, this beautiful little puppy entered into our world and came to live with us a few weeks later.  She turned out to be a clever, funny, sweet natured, oh-so-very cuddly girl, who loves munching carrots, chasing her favourite glo-ball and playing ferocious games of tug on my back lawn with her big sis Polly.


 Our first year together has been a complete joy and Betty's antics have made me laugh every single day.  She is a total sweetheart, such a gentle girl.


Happy 1st Birthday to you Betty Boo, my gorgeous Puppy Girl!

:-)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Knit one ..

I am happy to tell you, that after an afternoon spent knitting under my garden parasol yesterday, 'Blossom' is now dressed and ready to meet her new owner. 


Many thanks to Theresa Roberts for the free cardigan knitting pattern. Such a sweet little bolero top, a pleasure to knit and the small size is the perfect fit for my Summer girl teddy bear!

:-)

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Rumour has it ..

On afternoons as beautiful as this, there is nothing like being able to work quietly outside, sat under my parasol.


This pretty Summer pink teddy girl is a commission order and she's waiting patiently while I knit her a little something to wear.  So here I am, enjoying the sunshine from the comfort of my garden chair and listening to Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' album while Polly and Betty doze on the lawn.  
It's a tough life!

;-)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A walk on the town side ..

I took Betty 'Real Life' training in town with our obedience group this morning.  We tackled heavy traffic, narrow pavements, sirens, lorries, pelican crossings, a railway station, prams, walking sticks, shop doorways, a graveyard (!) and the formidable walls of Maidstone prison; in fact she coped with heaps of unfamiliar sights, sounds and situations and even visited a pet shop! I couldn't resist taking a quick pic of her doing a very smart sit stay right next to the munchie chew bars ... they were quite a temptation for such a young dog, but she was a very good girl and didn't put a paw wrong.


Training Betty to be a polite pup while we're out and about is hard work, but genuinely rewarding ... and I am proud to say she is coming along a treat!  

Good girl Betty Boo, you certainly earned your treats today!

:-)

Monday, 9 May 2016

A picture paints a thousand words .. or does it?!

And just in case anyone thinks all that dog training provides me with perfectly well behaved dogs, this is the truth behind trying to have a pic taken with them!


Daft pair!

The weekend has been absolutely glorious and I have loved our walks, but today it's time to knuckle back down and get some work done -  that said, it is still beautifully sunny and warm, so maybe that work will be done on my garden table, under the parasol!

;-)



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