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.

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!

'Taffy'

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'!

xxx

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:

www.allbearbypaula.com

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!

:-)

Monday, 24 April 2017

The arrival of Rodney

When I heard whisper of a ginger kitten needing a home locally, I knew just the right owner (!) and so 'Rodney' arrived in our home on Friday afternoon. Three days later and this scrappy little kitty cat has already made a big impression on us all ... I'd almost forgotten how much fun and mischief a kitten brings!


He made himself right at home, boldly snuggling himself down in the dogs' bed on his second day with us. My golden retriever girls Polly and Betty are rather bemused by our tiny new addition, but I am happy to say, with careful supervision and a bag of training treats to hand, I have been amazed at how restrained and gentle they have been with him.


Puddle Cat, now ten, is taking her time with this cheeky young upstart as her nose has been put a little out of joint by young Rodders' arrival; she'll come round in a day or two, I'm sure. She's a kind and gentle girl, but a wee bit shy, so this lively youngster has been a surprise to her. She's tolerating him from a distance at the moment and in true pussycat style, will no doubt befriend him on her terms, but only when her ladyship is good and ready.


By the way, I do hope you enjoy these beautiful photographs of Rodney aged just eight weeks. They were taken on Saturday by my daughter's talented fiancé (copyright Dotpix Photography) when they popped in to meet Rodney for the first time. I was thrilled with them ... I think Neil has made my scrappy ginger kitty look like a feline movie star!

:-)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

My boy

My little boy is now thirty two years old!


I don't know where the time goes, really I don't. It seems only yesterday my boy was toddling around and playing football in the garden in his bunny slippers, yet here he is today, a husband, a father and of course, still my son ... one I couldn't be more proud of.

Happy Birthday Ants,
You're doing great.
My love to you always,
from,
Your couldn't-be-more-proud,
 Muva 
xxx



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A pretty Petal

Gardens everywhere are bursting with pretty Spring flowers at the moment. I am enjoying them immensely in my local area as I walk Polly and Betty each day, so much so in fact, I was inspired to make a Tiddler teddy girl called 'Petal' this week ...

8.5" Petal has been adopted

I am delighted to tell you, my little Spring Petal caught the eye of a collector as soon as she made her way to my website and will be flying overseas on the Spring breeze next week!

:-)

Friday, 7 April 2017

Time for a Tiddler!

Little Jim is such a cutie!

'Little Jim' has been adopted

Little Jim will meet his new owner in person next week and hopefully this sweet wee bear will make a big impression upon arrival!

If you have been waiting patiently for a Tiddler to arrive, you might like to know I will have a Tiddler girl teddy arriving on my website in a few days' time. 

Please visit www.allbearbypaula.com a bit later next week, if you would like to meet her. 

Thank you!

:-)

Friday, 31 March 2017

Colour me happy!

As I've mentioned before, whenever the mood takes me and I can squeeze a few spare hours, I have been trying to teach myself to draw ... not only to battle old artistic demons, (leftover from disappointed art teachers whilst at school!) but mostly because it now completely absorbs me and I find it very relaxing. I have been keeping an art journal and with the help of an online course, recently completed my first pastel face ...







I genuinely had no idea I could ever achieve this!  


Now of course, I have the bug and am itching to learn how to draw anything and everything, so have treated myself to a posh set of pastel pencils and am looking forward to colouring my world!

:-)

Sniffin' the breeze

It's been all about dogs today. :First, a town based obedience training session for Betty featuring scary traffic, echoe-y subways, crazy people (!) busy pavements, litter, the river, ducks, pigeons, steep steps, a wobbly bridge, ... you name it, we had it thrown our way. I was so proud of my little 'un, she coped brilliantly and definitely earned a run in the park with her little staffy pal afterwards.


Home for a bite of lunch, then 'ding dong, round 2'!  A lovely off lead walk with Polly through pretty woodland and an orchard, then across a couple of huge fields, pausing to sniff occasional blades of grass, leaves and of course, the breeze! Eventually we turned back to retrace our steps and headed home at a leisurely pace. I love walking with my big girl in the Spring sunshine and except a few bulldozers carving up the local landscape (grrr!) there wasn't a soul to be seen today.

Perfick!

:-)

Monday, 27 March 2017

Mother's Day

I not afraid to say, I absolutely love Mother's Day! 

Whilst others may complain of its crass commercialism, I delight in the opportunity to spend time with my children, both of whom now live independently. I love the gentle fuss of Mothering Sunday of course, who wouldn't? (!) but most of all, I just love having my kids back home with me for a few very precious hours, laughing, joking, teasing me and making sure I know that grown-up as they now are, they will always care. Yes, they do that other days too, but the point is, they never fail to do it on Mother's Day.


I loved our time together strolling along the riverbank and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows in the Spring sunshine yesterday afternoon.


Thank you so much kids, for always making the time to be with me.


Love you loads,
Mum xxx

:-)

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A Primrose

I finished work on a lovely teddy bear yesterday, a commission to celebrate the new season.

20" 'Primrose'

As I have mentioned before, finding pretty yellow mohair for large bears isn't always easy, so I was thrilled to find a gorgeous primrose yellow mohair recently. It has been fun to knit for this project, although I confess, calculating the sizing for her short sleeved cardigan proved a bit of a headache! It was worth the struggle though, as that purple yarn and yellow mohair look stunning together. Oh, and I hope you'll agree, my pretty crochet flowers add a perfect 'Spring time' flourish to this lovely teddy girl's outfit!

:-)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A view point ..


I took this photograph of Westminster Bridge, The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, from a river boat, whilst bobbing on the Thames one rather chilly April day, three years ago. My husband and I were in high spirits, enjoying the sights as we celebrated his 50th birthday.


It's impossible not to be awestruck when you experience this view of the heart and soul of our democratic nation, either from the river ... or if you happen to be strolling across Westminster Bridge.


Since I was a child I have loved visiting London. The architecture makes such a proud statement against the horizon, a statement of steadfast belief in freedom, respect, equality and the future. It feels as though the River Thames pulls you on its journey through the Capital's history, right into the here and now.


Like so many other tourists, I have paused on Westminster Bridge, to take happy snaps of my loved ones, enjoying the colourful hustle and bustle, whilst hoping to hear Big Ben declare the hour.


And like so many other tourists over so many years, I have also wandered through Westminster, eager to photograph the bricks and mortar of our country's Government.


When I heard the news of yesterday's terror on Westminster Bridge, perhaps selfishly, my first thoughts were for the safely of my children because they work in London. Thankfully I was quickly reassured. The timing for other families was tragically less fortuitous ...

I really don't understand how anyone justifies terror, nor how anyone believes human lives should be so instantly dispensable. 

No-one has the right to steal the future from innocent bystanders. 

No-one has the right to strike terror.

I fear that crossing Westminster Bridge may never feel quite so free again.

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