Friday, 27 March 2015

May dreams come true ..

We celebrated my daughter's first birthday in her new home last weekend and yes, of course Polly was invited to be part of this special family visit.

Although we miss Fay very much, it really is lovely to see her settled into her beautiful flat and after years of being a complete domestic disaster area, I must say, I am taking a great deal of satisfaction from seeing my hopelessly messy daughter, master the fine art of keeping a tidy home at last!  In fact, I am truly delighted to see her so proud of the comfortable home she and Neil are creating together.

As is traditional, there were cards, gifts, birthday cake, candles to be puffed and a special wish to be made ...

And as her mum, I think it's only fair that I too claim a birthday wish for my daughter ... one of dreams coming true with her lovely partner Neil and a long, happy life ahead together.

By the way, the baby in the picture is Fay's nephew, my gorgeous Grandson!

As for a gift, I knew exactly what I wanted ... what else could be more appropriate for my newly independent daughter than her very first sewing machine!

My first camelia bloom of the year was a birthday gift too. Dad gave me the plant for my own birthday many years ago and I carefully transplanted it into our new garden when we moved home just over eight years ago. Surprise, surprise, this year Dad's camelia bloomed its very first flower on his eldest Granddaughter's birthday!

Happiest of Birthdays to you Fay. 
You make me so proud each and every day.
All my love to you always,
Mum xxx

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Finishing Touches

After spending two unsuccessful afternoons knitting in the vain hope a jacket, or cardigan, might suit this bear, yesterday I finally abandoned my knitting needles in a bit of a sulk!

I prefer my bears to be uncluttered, but this particular bear was an awkward sort, seemingly refusing to wear anything at all!  Then I remembered a cute little homespun bib collar I made a while ago and after hunting through the depths of my workroom cupboard, my problem was solved ...  I found the bib collar and it was the perfect finishing touch for 'Bailey' bear!

Happily Bailey was adopted in next-to-no time too!

Friday, 20 March 2015

In the Spotlight

As I was updating the Guild of Master Bearcrafters' blog earlier this week ( it dawned on me that in my eagerness to showcase Guild members' talents, I hadn't actually added my own 'member profile' since I first started writing the Guild blog!  I found myself scratching my head and frowning as I pondered  my long bear making career, but eventually, did manage to make sense of it all!

So, if you have ever wondered why I have continued to design and make teddy bears for two long decades, I hope this blog post answers your question ...

A word from PAULA CARTER
creator of
Bearcrafter since 1995


Paula Carter

My bear making career evolved from a love of vintage English teddy bears since I was a little girl, particularly the wonderful Hugmee bears created by the Chiltern Hygenic Toy Company between 1908 and 1967.  I have a small collection of these dignified teddy bears and even now they never fail to inspire my creativity.

Some of my Chiltern Hugmee teddies:  C1930's to 50's

It hardly seems possible it has been twenty years since I designed my first teddy bear; the time has flown by!  Since then I have become immersed in the world of teddy bear artistry and am passionate about helping to steer our beloved teddy safely into his future.


It is never easy to describe one's own work, but if pushed to do so, I think I would say I tend to create in a fairly traditional vein.  Now and again I veer gently towards contemporary with my laughing bears, but mostly my bears hark back towards those gentle Chiltern Hugmee teddies, with their solid proportions and no nonsense charm.


For me, a teddy bear should spark a sense of nostalgia and security in his owner, he must be soulful, comforting and honest in his design. My creations honour the teddy bears of my childhood and are protective of his heritage.

Beau was a 2015 Excellence in Bear Artistry award winner

I have been fortunate enough to achieve a collection of international teddy bear crafting and design awards throughout the past two decades and have had my work published many times in specialist publications around the world.  It is of course, always lovely to receive such accolades, but the very best rewards are the smiles and kind words I receive from collectors when they adopt one of my bears ... those smiles are at the heart of my bear making.

A trio of my careworn style teds

As part of my commitment to the future of the teddy bear, I established 'The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' back in 2009.  At the time I had a vague concept of providing a forum which could unite teddy bear makers from around the world, but had no idea it would quickly grow to almost eight hundred international bear crafting members.  I am immensely proud of our members' dedication to creating bears of outstanding creativity and am certain that in their safe hands, the beloved teddy bear will be ensured of a long and happy future.

With hugs and smiles,
Paula xxx

To discover more about Paula's work, please visit her website and blog:

I'd love you to spare a few moments to visit The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' Blog.  I began writing it back in 2013 to showcase incredible bear crafting talent from Guild members.  As you will see, outstanding artist bears are being created all around the world!

You might also like:

Monday, 16 March 2015

Mothering on Sunday

It was Mothering Sunday here in the UK yesterday and my sister Fiona and I were delighted to spend the afternoon celebrating with our families.

Mother's Day at Doddington with our families

A big thank you to this lovely bunch for caring enough to travel from their respective homes on a freezing cold afternoon to share Mother's Day with us at Doddington Place Gardens.  We loved having you all together in these beautiful gardens and were especially delighted to celebrate our special day with Leah and Hannah, our two newest mummies.

Mother's Day selfie with my kids, their partners and if you look carefully, 
you'll spy my little grandson!

I think it's only when your kids finally leave home for good, you really discover the true essence of the work you have done raising them. Watching them fly your nest is tougher than any mum can ever foresee, but helping them leave to build their own families, knowing they will be confidently independent, is the best reward of all for the years of hard work as a mum.

My sister with her daughters and granddaughter

Mother's Day may be heavily commercial these days, but that really doesn't matter.  I don't believe the heart of this special day is purely for children to show mums they love them, it is also the perfect opportunity for we mums to let our kids know that no matter how old, or independent they are, we will always be there for them.

So to our kids and their lovely 'other halves', we wish you a very Happy Mother's Day. Thank you all so much for taking time out to show us how much you care.  
We couldn't be more proud of you all ...
With our love always.
Your Mums.

Friday, 13 March 2015

In the pink!

Between walking Polly each day and pondering what I will do with my newly enforced freedom, I've been sat in my conservatory, enjoying the Spring sunshine through the windows, whilst knitting this vintage style jacket for my sweet centre-seam teddy girl ...

I am very happy to say, 'Betsy Rose' found a lovely new home after I shared a few 'work in progress' pics on Twitter ... all hail the power of the Tweet!

I often post quick snaps of what I'm up to on my Twitter, so if you'd like to see more, you are very welcome to join me by clicking the link below:

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


I was a little too busy to blog last week as my daughter finally flew the nest into a new independent life.  I couldn't be happier for her ... beautiful flat, lovely man, an exciting future ahead.


I won't pretend it wasn't a wrench; after thirty two years living together and taking care of her, living apart will be very different.  I will miss the simple daily things we've always shared at home, like sitting in dressing gowns, girly chatting over a cuppa whilst wearing no make-up and saying goodnight before bedtime.  As she's diabetic, I guess now it's time to learn not to worry about her quite so much too, but that will be easier said than done.  No doubt we'll work it out all out in time ...

Fun with my kids

So with both my kids now grown and flown, that's me pretty much redundant.  I've been an at-home mum for so many years I've no idea how to fill the gap yet, but it's early days, so hopefully I'll get the hang of things in time ...

Anthony, Hannah and Toby (and Polly!)

It may have been thirty two years, but my goodness, they flew so fast!  I have loved my time at home as mum and can't quite believe it's over so soon.  I wish Fay and Neil everything and more for their life together and know that just like Anthony, Hannah and now little Toby too, they will make a happy, secure future together.

My son

So kids, stay safe, be kind to each other and have heaps of fun in your new lives ... and never forget, I will always love you more than anything in the whole wide world ... and back again.

My daughter

Right, now that's off my chest, I think it's time to order wallpaper, pretty bed linen, new pillows and replacement furniture, so we can begin to re-decorate Fay's room and turn it into a comfortable guest room ... once she's returned to clear out the final bits and pieces of her lifetime of clutter that is ... some things never change!

Monday, 23 February 2015

A big name for a little bear

Hey, it's a double blog post day!

 Thought I'd add this little teddy before I go to bed.  
I just finished him this afternoon ...

I named him 'Maximus' - a big name for a little bear!

He is a shade over 8 inches and happy to sit neatly in the palm of your hand.  He really is a sweetie!

I'll pop him on my website now ( then it'll be up the wooden hill to bed for me.  

Sweet dreams everyone!


So this is George

I snapped a few Iphone pics from my desk as I worked last week ...

Stitched and ready to stuff.

Nose embroidered so now it's time to insert the glass eyes.

Painting melted wax onto this fellow's nose ...

Using a hairdryer to melt the wax deep into the embroidery thread.

Buffing the first layer with brown paper.

Another coat of wax, more melting and more buffing and this bear's nose is now complete.

End of day workroom pic - hey, hello bear!

And finally, a posh studio photograph session! 

So this is George. 


Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Gift

I called my finished panda bear 'Li Wu', which I am told means 'The Gift' ... so appropriate for a teddy!

Li Wu quickly found a lovely new home with one of my regular collectors, so I know he will be well cared for and made a welcome member of their 'All Bear' hug.

Loyal collectors are very special to me; it always gives me pleasure to place a new bear with someone I know has enjoyed my bears over time and who continues to support my work by returning time and time again, to adopt my new bears. 

So, a moment to give my heartfelt thanks to those of you who invite my bears into your homes around the world ... you make my creative world turn and for that I am and always will be, very, very, grateful xxx

Monday, 9 February 2015

Panda in progress

Since making my recent shop exclusive panda bear, I've been dying to create a lovely big brown and cream panda ( I love that colour combo!) especially for my website.

I can't remember how long ago it was that I last made a large panda; quite a while, that much I do know.

By close of bear making today, I had my panda stitched, including proper inset mohair eye patches.  Now he/she is ready to stuff, so that will be tomorrow's task.  

Please pop back soon if you would like to know how this panda bear turns out!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Four teds and a panda..

These teddy bears will be winging their way to Tracy's lovely 'One More Bear' shop in Trentham Village, Stoke-on-Trent (UK) early next week ...

Introducing, Tian Tian the panda bear, Giorgio the big curly fellow on the left in a knitted neckerchief, Giovanni the brown chap wearing a snuggly scarf and little Gruff and his pal Guthrie, also wearing hand knits.  They range in size from 8.5" to 18".

These bears will be appearing soon at:

Wishing them every success in their search for caring owners!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The best gift of all..

Happy Birthday to me!

Blowing out birthday candles with my gorgeous Great niece

Yesterday I had a lovely day filled with my close family, just the way a birthday should be.

My Grandson enjoying his first taste of Nana's chocolate birthday cake

The years seem to pass so fast and this year sharing my birthday with a wonderful new generation of our little people, definitely made my birthday extra special!

Beautiful birthday flowers - thanks Mum x

Loads of love and thanks to my family and friends for all the thoughtful messages, cards, gifts and visits, but most of all, thank you all for taking the time to show me you care ... knowing you are there for me is the best birthday gift of all xxx

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hoping for a Happy Ending

I am delighted to be able to tell you, I have now completed my first big bear of 2015!

I've called this cuddlesome fellow 'Benjamin' - a nice smart name for a nice smart teddy bear.

20" Benjamin

After making a spate of smaller teddies lately, it has been so good to create a substantial teddy bear once again!  I've missed my big 'uns!  Benjamin is a super bear to begin this year with ... big, blonde and even if I do say so myself, really rather beautiful.  He will definitely stand out from the crowd. 

If you think this lovely teddy might be the one for you, please pop over to my website to find out all about him ... I am hoping he will find his happy ending very soon!

Update: Benjamin has been adopted.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Slow off the blocks

2015 has been slow to fire up my creativity; usually I'm pretty quick off the blocks, but this year there seem to have been a hundred and one other tasks, not least of which is my Tax Return, stealing time away from my new year's bear-making schedule!

14" Lumi

That said, I've been trying hard to make bears between other commitments and have at last finished a lovely wispy bear, created from softly tipped mohair.  As it's Winter here in the UK, I have called him 'Lumi', meaning 'snow'... not that any has fallen here in Kent yet, but I suppose there is still time!

8.5" Tucker

I popped Tucker on my website right before Christmas, but unfortunately didn't have time to photograph him in my studio and had to make do with a quick snap instead.  Hopefully this clearer photograph will help find him a nice new owner soon.

14" Tian Tian is a shop exclusive

One of the reasons I have been slow to add new bears to my website is that I have also been working on the shop order promised to 'One More Bear' before Christmas ... I didn't manage to complete the order in time because the rotten 'flu bowled me over!  This mohair panda bear is part of that order and so is little 'Guthrie' the alpaca bear in the pic below ...

8.5" Guthrie is a shop exclusive

With any luck, I should have three other shop exclusive bears ready to join them in the next week or so and I have also promised to create a special birthday bear for a collector by the end of this month ...

Once my decks are clear of January's catch up, I intend to take full advantage of my 'no Hugglets show' freedom in February and give myself permission to work on the bears waiting patiently in my head!

Onward Paula!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Winter Bearfest Break

I should probably mention I will be taking a break from this year's 'Winter Bearfest' show at Kensington Town Hall in London at the end of February.  With too many other prior commitments dominating my time, I thought it highly unlikely I would manage to create sufficient bears for the show this year, so decided reluctantly, to give myself permission to decline my invitation.

My apologies to anyone who may have been hoping to see my bears at the Feb show ... I will miss you!  I will be exhibiting at Hugglets again in September though, so hope to see you there instead.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Dear Dad..

Dear Dad,

Who would have thought four and a quarter years could pass so quickly, proving that pointless old adage ... life does truly go on.

Given less impossible circumstances, we would have shared many a long natter over a cup of tea by now, or put the world to rights on the 'phone ... me curled in my armchair, you, hidden away among your tools, enjoying the privacy of your garden workshop.

Since your departure, you have been much missed at several unmissable family events, but I don't doubt you were with us all in spirit. The birth of your two beautiful Great Grandchildren (a girl and a boy) a Christening, two Engagements, three weddings and a Degree ... one thing's certain, you would have been so proud and thoroughly enjoyed those celebrations!

We're all moving on with our lives now, we miss you of course, but the shock of losing you so unexpectedly did, by some miracle, eventually ease.  As per your usual instruction in times of gloom, we 'girls' did the 'chin up' thing, as best we could and thankfully, are now able to laugh and include you in our conversations with smiles and of course, an occasional raised eyebrow.  Yes, you were right all along, life is for living.

So, I'm taking this quiet moment to wish you, in the only way I know how, what should have been your Happy 79th Birthday.

With all our love on your birthday Dad, from the five of us, your Grand-kids and your Great Grandchildren.
We miss you. 

PJ xxx

Dad, the journey:


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