Monday, 27 June 2016

A slower pace of life

Devon was lush, green and beautiful and we loved it. Our holiday home was a 250 year old Devon longhouse, renovated to provide a most welcoming, comfortable 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) the pair of them made themselves right at home as soon as we arrived and from then on, we had heaps of fun together, playing games, visiting beautiful beaches for the next week and 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, the two of them having a super time together. 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 to me at the beep of a whistle. They were so well exercised and entertained each day, they slept peacefully in our holiday home, from the first night.


After our much needed break, it's back to real life now and of course, back to work on my bears. Devon in June was a perfect relaxing break for us and 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!

;-)



Sunday, 8 May 2016

Wandering ..

Lambs frolicking, a carpet of bluebells as far as the eye can see and my lovely girls to wander with. What better way to pass a Saturday afternoon?!


Happy Springtime everyone!

:-)

Friday, 6 May 2016

Bluebell Magic

And while little sis naps after her training this morning, me 'n Polly have been strolling through our local bluebell woods. 


It's a very warm Spring day, so this is the perfect, calm walk, for my heavily coated girl and a lovely, relaxing walk for me ... and I swear if you listen carefully, you can even hear a little magic happening in those bluebells. I do hope so!

:-)

Work, rest and play!

Little Betty isn't so little any more.  Her first birthday is almost upon us and our year together has flown past.  We have walked miles and miles together, up hill, down dale, through beautiful countryside and of course, along local pavements (yawn!) ... basically, anywhere that will have us!  Betty and her sister Polly continue to obedience train daily, as dog training isn't so much a hobby for us, as a lifestyle these days.


In fact, I've just come in from a 'Real Life' training session with Betty this morning.  We walk and train with a guide-dog instructor and small group of friendly dogs each week.  We visit all manner of local places to give the dogs the broadest training experience. This morning Betty ran with her pals through bluebell woods at Penenden Heath, walked to heel across a scary high level motorway bridge, tackled steep steps politely, trotted along a noisy road and practiced loads of 'sit stays' (her least favourite thing to do - she is such a fidget bum!) in close proximity with the other dogs.  She also did her bit in a synchronised group routine on the Heath.  Mind you, breaking Betty of her pulling habit continues to be an on-going battle, but I am proud to say, my cheeky Miss Boo has improved hugely of late.


I don't think a dog's life should only be about obedience and training though.  After work comes rest and play ... and boy do my two LOVE to play!


Time to put the kettle on now and find a couple of chews for my girls.  They've certainly earned them this week!

:-)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Moving Mountains

Watching this little man explore his world and find his way, is my greatest joy right now.


I love our days together.  He opens my eyes to the tiniest points of interest on walks, things my adult eyes had long stopped noticing ... yesterday we took a walk through the local bluebell woods, found sticks to poke fallen leaves with and stopped very, very still, to watch a blackbird watching us from a low branch.  We sat on a log, listened to a bumble bee buzzing around, then held hands to climb a mud hump. Such simple, yet enormous, pleasures.


When we aren't out walking, we play, chat, sing, dance and read silly stories together. Sharing books with my eighteen month old grandson is very precious and to hear him 'reading' the last word in sentences from books I too loved as a child, makes me grin from ear to ear, every time!


Colour, imagination, fun, mischief, wonderment, sunshine whatever the weather and so much love, enters my world each time my Grandson steps through the front door.  

:-)


So, Toby, for when you are old enough and need to think about where to go in your future, here is a little message, with oodles and poodles of love from your Nana. 

(I have borrowed a few words from Dr Seuss, who, as we have discovered, seems to know a thing or two about such important stuff!)


Oh the places you'll go!

You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

...

You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

...

You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

...

On and on you will hike.
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems,
whatever they are.

...

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

xxx

Monday, 2 May 2016

May Bank Holiday

A lovely way to pass May Bank Holiday Monday, a walk in Mote Park with the girls ...


With Spring leaves and blossom everywhere, the park is especially beautiful at the moment. Polly and Betty had a great time running around, playing games, meeting other dogs and sticking their doggy noses into rabbit holes. By some small miracle we actually managed to keep the pair of them relatively clean and dry too ... but best of all, after so much fun they are now very, very, sleepy, so I think we're in for a peaceful evening. Yay!

Time now for a roastie and a glass of something chilled and white.

Happy Bank Holiday everyone!

:-)

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Bud

I seem to have made a run of Spring girl bears lately, so about time I balanced things up with a boy I think ...


 This is 'Bud', little brother bear to my 15" alpaca girls ...



I hope he makes you smile!

If Bud tugs at your heartstrings, please pop over to my website for further details and a couple more pics.  He is currently available for adoption and is happy to travel worldwide to meet you.

:-)

Update: Bud has been adopted and will soon be living in the US!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

My little ray of sunshine

In other news, Tuesdays alone with my Grandson, are an absolute joy. I really look forward to them.  We laugh, explore, play, read, sing, dance and chat together, all day long ...


In fact, being Toby's Nana is the best job ever ... this cheeky little man brings sunshine to my day, whatever the weather!

:-)

A breath of fresh air..

Our local woodland is carpeted with magical bluebells at the moment and I am so disheartened by the prospect of them being destroyed by developers next year.


It seems to me, some arrogant someone somewhere, must have overlooked the fact we need trees to enable us to breathe.  According to Louis Villazon, science writer for the BBC Focus magazine a human breathes about 9.5 tonnes of air in a year, which when calculated by someone far more clever than me, works out very roughly, to seven or eight trees per person. By the time our little patch of woodland has been torn down and turned into a road serving an additional five hundred properties planned for the field that aligns the woods, nature's fragile equilibrium will never be quite the same here again.  So sad.

:-(

Monday, 25 April 2016

Shades of April

I created 'April' for a customer who fell in love with 'Lily' (the pale pink sister bear I created earlier this year) but was pipped to the post on the day I offered her for adoption.  I hate when collectors are disappointed so put my thinking head on and found this soft 'duck egg' blue alpaca.  I was also lucky enough to find a matching alpaca/merino blend yarn to knit her a hat and scarf.  I do so love it when a teddy bear crafting plan comes together!


'April' will be jetting off to live with her new mom in the USA this week.

Bon voyage bear!

:-)

Friday, 22 April 2016

In the Purple Rain

It was the 80's ...

The lights went up and my sister and I waited as the auditorium emptied. We made our way to the front of the stage where a handful of hopefuls gathered ... a few moments of anticipation and then Prince strolled back onto the stage, guitar in hand!

We could hardly believe our eyes, or our ears, as he grinned right at us, then played one last amazing song.  He didn't quite make it to the end of his performance because 'Management' dutifully pulled the plug on his electric guitar ... but not before we were given a gift we will never forget.


3rd October 2007 ...

" Mum, how would you feel about coming to see Prince at the O2 with me?"

My forty something grin, spread rapidly from ear to ear and two days later, high heeled boots cast carelessly aside, my twenty four year old daughter and I willingly submitted to a beat I have loved her entire life.

I last had the privilege of watching the genius who is 'Prince', play live in London, twenty years ago.  His performance was breathtaking ... and two decades later, twenty thousand purple glow sticks waving in the dark to 'Purple Rain', laid testament to the fact his unique magic remains unclouded with time.


21st April 2016 ...

Sexy, sassy, passionate.
A musical talent created somewhere beyond the stars ...

Rest in Peace Prince.
May you dance forever in the Purple Rain.

Listening to my all time favourite Prince song as I write ...

The Cross


Monday, 18 April 2016

Mote Park

I'm sure I've mentioned this many times, but I love walking in Mote Park, a place I have visited regularly over the past forty years and enjoyed in all seasons.  Over the years I've witnessed new paths being laid and fresh vistas cleared, so don't mind admitting, that from time to time, I have been concerned such 'meddlings' might change the nature of 'our' park ... and I suppose to some extent, they have, but not necessarily for the worst.

Strolling past the Volunteers Pavilion, with Betty

In fact one of the more recent projects (2010) was to renovate the long forgotten, much overgrown, 'Volunteer's Memorial', originally built in 1801 to commemorate a visit by King George III and Prime Minister William Pitt, when they paid a visit to the park to inspect around five thousand assembled troops of the Kent Volunteers. In addition to the troops, twenty thousand visitors turned out that day to catch a glimpse of their King, guns were fired, a feast held and the next day it is reported that the leftover food fed six hundred starving 'Maidstonians' ... I reckon that must have been one heck of a party!


Nowadays the Volunteers' Pavilion stands proud and the park is as popular with locals as ever it was. Families gather with picnics, children ride bicycles along the new paths, wheelchair users have greater access than ever before and of course, we dog walkers relish the opportunity to stroll in such a beautiful open space, in the heart of our town.


And if like me, you have walked in the park for many years, you will know the most peaceful areas in which to walk, avoiding children on bicycles, families with picnics, playgrounds, Segway machines (how I hate those!) and so on.  Polly and Betty love to explore the less cultivated areas of the Estate, so that is exactly what we did yesterday afternoon.  In fact, Mote Park covers 440 acres, with a perimeter walk of around four miles, so there really is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy!

:-)

Friday, 15 April 2016

Mr Grey Skies

After the gorgeous Spring sunshine we've had here lately, I received a right royal soaking when I took the girls for their walk earlier this morning, so to prove even the darkest days can have a silver lining, I have called my latest bear ... 

'Mr Grey Skies'!



I hope, wherever you are, 'Mr Grey Skies' will remind you that the sun will shine again and when it does, it will be ever more beautiful after those dark skies.


Speaking of which, something I noticed on my rainy walk was how beautiful the Spring blossom looked against such heavy skies. I couldn't resist taking a photograph to share with you!

:-)

Update: Mr Grey Skies has been adopted!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Family man

Yesterday was my son's thirty first birthday. 

The number surprises me because those thirty one years raced by so fast.  It truly doesn't seem possible the little boy who snuggled on my lap to watch Warner Brothers cartoons, pushed Corgi cars around my living room carpet and delighted in being thrown in the air, could possibly be a grown man with a family of his own already.

But he is!  


In fact I'd go so far as to say, that little boy grew to be the best adult son this mum could ever have wished for.  He has been a shoulder to cry on whenever I have needed one, unfailingly loyal in challenging times, a lovely family man, amazing daddy to my grandson and ... always knows how to make his mum laugh!

I am so very proud of the man you have become Anthony.

Happy Birthday Boy,
With all my love always,
Your Muva xxx

A reason for being ..

From time to time, I receive a telephone call reminding me exactly why I am a bear maker.  Today was one such day.  The 'phone rang just as I was about to give Polly and Betty their breakfast, so I asked them to wait while I picked up the receiver ... 

On the end of the line was a lady 'no longer in the first flush of youth' (her words not mine!) asking if I was the person who made teddy bears 'for the Auntie Bears firm'.  I smiled to myself as I told her yes, I had made bears in the past under the 'Auntie Bears' label, way back in the mid to late 1990's.  It was then she told me about a very special teddy bear she had recently purchased, after much careful deliberation, from a local antique shop.  The teddy was large, ivory white and wore a delicate net collar, now yellow with age.  She told me she came with a beautifully handwritten tag, bearing the name 'Lilian' ... did I remember when I made her?

Sometimes, when a collector rings with such a question, try as I might, it's not easy to remember their bear after so many years because I have made so many teddies over the past two decades ... but I knew this lady's bear in an instant.  'Yes I remember Lilian,' I told her with a smile, 'I named her after my Grandmother'.

My caller espied Lilian tucked away among the antiques and fell instantly in love.  Being a lady of sensible disposition, she left the shop without Lilian in her arms, but the bear wouldn't leave her thoughts.  The next day she decided the only answer would be to return to the antiques shop and claim Lilian as her own.

Lilian was a beautiful bear, one of the few I made that even tugged my own heartstrings.  I recall being reluctant to sell her and for quite some time, kept her with me, until I had no choice but to find her a new owner.   I don't recall who bought her back then, but sometimes a teddy bear's path takes twists and turns and their first owner may need to find them a new home. Lilian was one such bear.  


I couldn't be more delighted that the beautiful white bear I made twenty years ago and named in memory of my Gran, found her way to that antique shop, then into the life of the lady who rang me this morning.

Sadly I no longer have a photograph of Lilian teddy to share with you, so  I will have to leave that to your imagination and instead share some pretty white Spring blossom.

:-)

Monday, 11 April 2016

Up hill and down dale

Now she's the grand old age of eleven months and has some obedience training under her belt, we've been able to take Betty on more adventurous walks at the weekends.  She still pulls like a steam train if she has to wear a lead in new places, but her recall is pretty good, so we let her off lead as much as possible ... she is so excited by having freedom to explore the big wide world for the first time!


We took the girls to White Horse Country Park on Detling Hill on Sunday.  It was a beautiful afternoon, a bit breezy on the hill, but glorious in the April sunshine.  We hardly saw a soul while we were there and the girls had a fab time sniffing, chasing and sticking their doggy noses into every available rabbit hole.  It's an 'up hill and down dale' walk, very steep in places, so we sat on the side of the hill to catch our breath a few times (we're not quite as young as we were and sad to say, definitely creak a bit more than we used to!) to admire the spectacular views.

Today I must admit I'm feeling the burn after yesterday's long hilly walk, but I have managed to walk Polly and Betty locally (a boring ol' pavement walk followed by a game of ball on the local playing field) and am now looking forward to a quiet afternoon working on my latest bears, while my sleepy girls snooze on the living room rug.

:-)

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