Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Forever in blue jeans

It's was a long time in the making, but last week they finally sealed their sixteen year deal - my photographer sister Tina and her partner Ian were at long last married!

A very relaxed, happy couple - Tina & Ian

The wedding service took place in secret on Friday, then on a very sunny Sunday afternoon, they threw open their home to invite family and friends to celebrate with them, in a super relaxed 'I do in denim blue' garden party celebration.

Making bubbles - Tina and Great Niece Ella

Tina and her daughters must have worked incredibly hard to create the denim garden decorations and pretty blue and white trimmings, not to mention the super denim mugs Tina and Ian printed for everyone to take home!  Ian's hard work in the flower beds and decking looked absolutely beautiful and he cooked up a huge lunch for everyone on his enormous barbecue.  The lawn was full of fun games for the children and the rifle range in the driveway was a stroke of genius, keeping all the big boys and girls entertained for hours!

Fun on the rifle range: Annie Oakley move over, here comes my daughter!

Tina and Ian's reception party was a true reflection of my sister and her new husband ... fun, relaxed, creative and most of all, full of family warmth.

Opening wedding gifts

The one person I know Tina would have wanted present, was definitely with her in spirit throughout the celebrations.  Our Dad never missed a good family knees up and certainly wouldn't have missed this one!  We five sisters were delighted to be able to share Tina's happiness with Auntie Mona, Dad's sister ... and thanks to Tina's generosity with her photographic studio throughout the afternoon, we were thrilled to secure our first ever group photograph with our very special Auntie.

Auntie Mona and her five nieces - Tina top left, Fiona top middle, Laura top right,
Me bottom left, Auntie Mona centre, Lynda bottom right

Ian has been part of our family for many years and it doesn't feel quite right to welcome him into our family at this late juncture when he's been part of our family furniture for donkey's years!  So instead, I'd simply like to wish this very happy couple many more years of happiness and partnership together ...

The groom's speech

Cheers you two!!!

'Forever in blue jeans'

And in case you were wondering ... yes, of course I made a bear to celebrate!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Refreshing Read!

A very dishevelled, undeniably sweaty bearmaker stepped through my front door after dog training this morning, only to find a copy of the latest 'Teddy Bear Times' magazine waiting on the mat.  Published in its hallowed pages, was not only my new advertisement and one of my recent clown bears in the forthcoming Hugglets show preview, but also a rather lovely 'My Workroom' article, featuring an entire page of chat about little ol' me 'n my bears!!!

I may have been making bears for the past twenty years, but believe me, seeing them in print is a privilege I never take for granted - it is every bit as much of a buzz today, as it was way back in the mid 90's.  Seeing my bears published today refreshed up my hot, sticky self instantly!

If you would like to buy a copy of this month's 'Teddy Bear Times' magazine, please check out your local WH Smith store (UK readers) or alternatively, if you are unable to visit your High Street, or you live overseas, simply pop over to where it can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door ...

Happy reading everyone!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Postcard from Cornwall

The sun shone, the scenery beguiled and Polly made a wonderful walking companion ... Cornwall last week, was a fabulous breath of fresh air!

Here are a few of our Cornish holiday snaps, I hope you enjoy them.

I have been visiting Cornwall for about twenty of the past thirty years and if you have ever walked the Cornish coastline yourself, I am certain you will understand why this magical county has the power to draw me back time and time again.

We hiked across the Lizard Peninsula, which I think has to be one of the most beautiful walks in the UK.

Tangy sea air invigorated us as we gazed from pretty St Mawes castle, across the Fal Estuary.

And wherever we went, Polly came too .. even up on castle ramparts!

We visited picture perfect English castles ...

Spectacular English gardens ...

Lands End ...

And of course, no visit to Cornwall would be complete without time to paddle on a few of those glorious unspoiled Cornish beaches!

Cornwall steals my heart every time I visit and I never ever tire of it, no matter what the weather ... but sunshine and Cornwall?  I defy any other destination in the world to beat such an amazing holiday combination!!!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Real Time

To spur me on to finish this little bear before teatime yesterday, I decided to have fun by tweeting work-in-progress pics from my mobile 'phone in real time throughout the afternoon ...

I had previously drawn out, cut out, trimmed, pinned and stitched all the pieces together and stuffed my bear's head, so the first job of the afternoon was to carefully stitch his nose.

Then I set in one eye ...

By the time both eyes were fastened, kind Tweeters had begun to 'favourite' and retweet my little bear's progress among their followers!

I zapped my pics through 'Photoshop Express' on my Iphone to liven them up with a colour filter ... I love using this little gadget to personalise pics.

Without the Twitter pics, I might have talked myself out of finishing my new bear yesterday, but interest from generous Tweeters is a great creative motivator, so I worked hard, tapped my foot to the blues guitar of fabulous Albert Cummings and stuffed and sewed ...

My little bear made good progress during the afternoon and by the time Polly came to collect me from my workroom to make her dinner, 'Marvin' had created a lovely stir among my Twitter friends.

Ready or not, my new bear was consigned to the worktable overnight.  Polly had been very patient with me while I worked during the afternoon, so it was only fair to feed her and indulge in some daft dog rough 'n tumble playtime on the living room rug, before cooking dinner for my husband and daughter and settling down with them for the evening.

This morning we were at dog training, so Marvin had to wait a little longer for his formal photos.  Polly worked hard at school so thankfully, by the time we came home, she was very sleepy and ready for a long, lazy nap (I was too, but no such luck!) I set up the studio in my lounge, grabbed my Canon SLR camera and these are the results ... 

Cute eh?!

Marvin is now ready to find a new home, so I've popped him onto my website in the hope he might catch a kind collector's eye ... 

Fingers crossed!

By the way, if you would like to follow me on Twitter to gain an informal, real time insight into what goes on in my workroom (and beyond!) you are very welcome to join me at:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Dreaming of Dreckly Time ..

I confess to dreaming of Cornish cliffs and cream teas when I should probably be planning ahead for the 'Teddies 2014' show in September ...

 It's always hard to focus on work when days are long and skies are blue ... if I'm honest, much as I enjoy bear-making, I'd far rather be tromping with Polly in the countryside, or sitting in a deckchair with a cuppa and a good book, (preferably a thriller!)

I'm delighted to tell you my latest collection of five teddy bears all found new homes and shipped out to reside in America, Germany, N. Ireland and the UK.  Receiving lovely emails from delighted new owners has been a pleasure and a relief ... it has been good to hear the bears arrived safely, but even better to hear they were well received because that made all the summer sewing worthwhile!

I have a small bear waiting on my worktable and as it's overcast outside, I won't begrudge him the time spent working today, but while I sew I may indulge myself in a little Cornish dreckly time daydream ... and yes, it may involve fresh scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream! YUM!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Creative Clutter Clean Up

After seven years of waffling in the form of 857 posts relating to my life, the universe and almost everything in between, not mention over 331,000 'visitor hits', I think this blog earned the right to a smart new makeover for 2014, don't you agree?!

Since I wrote that first post all those years ago, my blog has accumulated so many links, photographs and heaven only knows what else, I grudgingly confess it has become rather overly cluttered, so earlier today I decided to make a determined attempt at sweeping clean with as much minimalist style as I am ever likely to achieve.  

The trouble is, when every photograph is a precious memory and every widget a link to creative impulse, it's really not easy to clear my blogging deck absolutely, so rather than a completely clean slate before bedtime, I have instead achieved what I hope will be a tidier, fresher, slightly smarter corner of the World Wide Web, in which to host my waffle.

I hope those of you who regularly pop in will find this somewhat more contemporary blogging outpost every bit as comfortable as the old one - but hopefully a little better organised.

Before I sign off and head up the wooden hill to bed, I want to say a very special thank you to those of you who have been reading my blog since that fateful day in 2007 ... you know who you are and I hope by now you also know how important your support continues to be to my inner writer.

With warmest hugs and eternal gratitude from,

Your De-Cluttered Blogger xxx

My first ever blog post (March 2007) can be read by clicking the link below: 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

An important business

It has been a very positive week for All Bear adoptions with Tuppence, Papa Bear and Marshmallow all finding lovely new owners over the past few days.

Papa Bear and little Marshmallow have been adopted in the UK!

Tuppence has been adopted to the good ol' US of A!

Robinson and Tootsie waved their pals off with exceptionally good grace, but were naturally a little envious as they hopped back onto my workroom shelves to wait patiently for their own someone special to invite them home ...

Robinson is still waiting hopefully to be adopted ...

And Tootsie is looking forward to meeting her special someone ...

We have received a great deal of enthusiastic interest for both Robinson and Tuppence, but adopting a new bear is an important business and not to be undertaken lightly, so they understand the need for patience and I have told them there is always the right person for the right teddy bear, but sometimes it takes just a little while longer to find that special person!

If you would like to find out more about either Robinson or Tootsie, please pop over to my new website as they are very eager to meet you!

29/6/14 Update: Tootsie has been adopted!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

An advertisement for nostalgia

It has been quite some time since I last advertised in a magazine, so recently I booked a little run of ads in an old favourite of mine, the 'Teddy Bear Times'. I remember the days when I advertised frequently in this popular publication ... the internet sure has changed the shape of marketing over the past fifteen years.

Technology may advance relentlessly, but I still don't think you can beat flicking through a magazine with a nice cuppa and as it's always a thrill to see my work in print, I decided to allow nostalgia to guide me on this occasion.

So my first ad featuring 'Robinson' will appear in the Aug/Sept issue, on sale in July.  If you would like to support our specialist teddy publications by ordering either a print, or digital subscription online, please visit: 

Alternatively, you might find this lovely magazine stocked in a branch of WH Smith, on your local High Street.

If you haven't bought a copy for a while, why not treat yourself?!  Let's all do our bit to keep our favourite publications in print!

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Fabulous Four!

I am delighted to tell you that at last, I have uploaded some lovely new bears to my lovely new website!

Tuppence & Tootsie

There are four really rather fabulous teddy bears in all (if Ido say so myself!) the two Summery clown bears in the photo above, a dashing sailor bear and a magnificent alpaca fellow.  I'd love you to see them!

All my latest bears can be found at: 

Thank you so much for visiting!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Making time ..

It's been a bit frantic here of late with the 'Teddies and Friends on Vacation' show fast approaching.  Unfortunately I failed to find a spare moment to take proper studio pics of this pair of shop exclusive bears during my rush to meet the show deadline, so no sooner were their hang tags were fastened, than they were shipped out the door to take up temporary residence at 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich.

19" Finian

19" Barney

Now that my June shop exclusives and show bears are completed, I am planning a little quality time with my knitting needles as I really must finish the baby knits I began work on weeks ago ... preferably in time for my first grandchild's arrival in October!  After such an intensive month of bear-making I am now well ready for a change of creative scenery and will be happily swapping my workroom for the conservatory couch for a few days!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Life goes on ..

Father's Day.

Three and three quarter years on and still not an easy day to get through ... going through the motions as an onlooker rather than as the daughter I was, painting on a cheery smile when deep down, all I truly want to do is tuck myself away somewhere private and sob my heart out, until the day has passed.

But Dad would have been the first to tell me with a twinkle in his eye 'Chin up girl, life goes on' and he would have been absolutely right; so yesterday, my garden was filled with a lively rabble of grandchildren, Stuart's daughter, my daughter - his step-daughter, his parents, brother-in-law and sister ... and of course, my Polly in the thick of it all, having a whale of a time!

Most importantly, Stuart and his Dad shared their Father's Day together.  Just how Father's Day should be.

As for me, I smiled, chatted, took pics, enjoyed the kiddies' games and took a pride in how gentle Polly was with them.  I saved my tears until today, after all, such a huge loss never quite diminishes.  How I miss that lumbering form appearing unexpectedly on my porch step, telling me to 'stick the kettle on PJ' ... and how I miss putting our worlds to right over a steaming hot cuppa. But most of all, like my four sisters, I just miss knowing he's here with us, indomitable, steadfast, strong ... our Dad.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Here, there and everywhere ..

I am making a concerted effort to catch up with some bear-making this week because not only do I have a shop order to complete for 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich, I also have a fun online Summer show looming large on my calendar.

Hopefully I will soon have a new bear to add to my website too ...

Between my bear-making and baby knitting for my new grandchild due in October, not to mention researching how to patchwork quilt, I'm feeling as though I have unfinished projects here, there and everywhere at the moment! 

I really need to bring something to completion as soon as possible, so must get back to work and tackle that pile of teddy bear pieces first!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Fun in the sun

I'm being very British today, a polite post about the weather!

We've had a beautiful few days filled with warm sunshine ... a little too warm for Polly during the day perhaps, but perfect for a peaceful stroll in the evening.  Life really doesn't get much better than walking through woodland with sunshine filtering gently through the trees!

To keep her cool during the day, I confess to buying her ladyship a little paddling pool for the garden ... well, why not eh?!

And as the sun begins to set, we've been enjoying a few games of 'tug' and 'fetch' on the back lawn.  I think it's due to rain tomorrow, but never mind, it really is starting to feel like Summer here in Kent, so I'm sure the sun will be back with us very soon!


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