Thursday, 16 November 2017

Peggy Sue flew!

You may have blinked and missed this pretty teddy girl on my website today as she flew off the site within a nanosecond of making her debut.

15" Peggy Sue has been adopted

In fact, she was adopted so quickly, I didn't even have time to post my mailing list newsletter! Please accept my apologies if you were wondering why you hadn't received notification of my latest arrival.

I have several more lovely teddy bears planned for my website in the coming weeks, so please don't lose hope, your special bear may be just around the corner!

:-)

Sad news

Away with the fairies is a lovely place to be on a day when the world might seem a bit too topsy turvy to make sense of ...


Yesterday I heard the sad and unexpected news of Beatrix Harries' passing. She was the creator of the most beautiful, sweet faced teddy bears and a truly generous teacher of the bear making art. Beatrix was well respected internationally but more importantly, well liked within our magical world of teddy bears.  Beatrix, you gave so much of yourself through your creativity and it has been my pleasure to know you. Your lovely smile and wonderful bears will be missed by so many. 

Goodnight and sleep tight, lovely lady x

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

One day, you will be old enough to read fairytales again

'One day you will be old enough to read fairy tales again' ... I stumbled across this lovely quote recently and for some reason, at the grand old age of fifty four, it struck a chord, inspiring me to start a new art journal. I plan to escape reality within those hot pressed pages, by filling it with fantastical characters and fanciful stories!


After all, no one should never be too old to believe in the magic of fairy tales, should they?!

;-)

Champagne and Oo-bi-doo

I've been working on a big teddy bear for a collector in the US ... 'I'll leave it up to you Paula' she said, when asked about mohair choices. So, I created this lovely big cuddle of a bear in the hope 'Champagne' might be the perfect bear for my collector and happily, he was!

22" Champagne

So yesterday was 'up, up and away' day for Champagne. I booked a courier collection for the afternoon and quite literally, jogged back from our local playground with my grandson and two dogs in tow, to ensure we could be home as the van pulled up, to hand our precious cargo over in person.  We waved the van off, then settled on the sofa to watch Disney's 'Jungle Book'. Oh how I love grey November afternoons snuggled with my Grandson, singing along to 'Oo-bi-doo!' and 'I'm the king of the swingers'! Fun, fun,fun!

:-)

Friday, 3 November 2017

Success on a whim

I very nearly didn't enter the EBAA's year, but at the last minute, changed my mind and on a complete whim, entered my cloth teddy 'Lolly' ...

Lolly is a 2017 Excellence in Bear Artistry Award Winner!

Then I promptly forgot all about the competition until I received an email a few days ago, telling me my cloth bear has been honoured with a 2017 'Excellence in Bear Artistry' Award" ... as you can imagine, I am thrilled to bits with this unexpected news!

:-)

Thursday, 2 November 2017

They're spooky and they're scary!

As regular readers will know, I have enjoyed the magical mayhem of Halloween since I was a very young girl. My favourite childhood stories always featured spooky witches and sad ghosts ... and even now, almost half a century later, I still clearly remember a picture from my favourite school library book featuring witches flying in silhouette across the night sky.

Halloween fun with my family

To be completely honest, I'm less than keen on playing dress-up these days (feeling my age I think!) but did scrape myself into a long black witchypoo cape, a pair of rather fetching black and orange striped tights, batty t-shirt and a small pointy hat, to join my family for some Halloween fun at my niece's house-warming party last weekend. 

Everyone rose to the occasion by dressing in Halloween finery for the evening. The house was dressed spectacularly in cobwebs, cackling witches, bats, spiders and carved pumpkins, with all manner of spooks dangling in dark corners. It was heaps of fun to see everyone in costume, although at first glance, quite tricky to work out who was who in some cases!

The party went with a swing and the dance floor quickly filled with an eclectic group of witches, ghostly pirates, skeletons, a vicar, a nun and even a ghostly jester! The children had a wonderful time (except my sweet little Great Niece, who is just a year old and was understandably a wee bit overwhelmed by the Halloween madness in her house). The older kids danced, apple bobbed and chased around excitedly, relishing the spooky atmosphere. As for our very own mini werewolf Toby, well, he soon had the hang of Halloween, dancing happily with the spooks, eating chocolate apples and at the grand old age of three, simply accepting the fact that sometimes adults behave rather strangely!

:-)

An INKRedibleTOBER inspiration

I am still busy teaching myself to draw and paint, so throughout October, took part in a fun challenge called #Inkredibletober.  The idea was to interpret Halloween prompts each day using ink in one form or another.  I didn't manage to complete the entire thirty one prompts, but I did do most, learned heaps and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge!

Here are a few of my favourite prompts ...






Last but not least, I squeezed in a little Trick or Treat teddy bear!


In fact I especially enjoyed drawing teddy bear scenes, so with Christmas on the distant horizon, I think I might try to paint a little festive teddy bear and if he turns out okay, could even be bold enough to turn him into a Christmas card ... fingers crossed!

:-)

Travelling Teddies

This teddy girl will be travelling far further than I ever have!  She will be heading all the way to Australia to meet her new owner.


It never ceases to amaze me when my teddies travel such incredible distances to meet new owners. Aside from the many who live in the UK, I have bears living in Australia, Singapore, Japan, China, America, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland and Ireland! 

Wishing this little girl a safe journey to her new home.

:-)

Friday, 27 October 2017

Autumn trompin'

If you have been a regular reader over the past few years, you will recall that each year, I gather my family together to share an Autumn afternoon in the beautiful Knole Park estate.


In past years my sister and her family have joined us for a ramble, but this year they needed to take a rain check, as they are very busy renovating my lovely niece's first home and helping her fly the nest towards independent life. I am sure we will find time for a get together once the final coat of paint has dried and her new curtains have been hung in place.


So, this year, it was just my immediate family who donned wellies and joined my husband and I for our annual 'family tromp' ... and of course, Polly and Betty too!


My son did a sterling job carrying not only a large rucksack around the park on his back, but also his son's bicycle ... and when those little legs couldn't manage any more walking, my Grandson also hopped onto Daddy's broad shoulders!


It was so lovely walking and chatting with my family in such beautiful surroundings. I love that they still want to do this as a family as it's hugely important to me that we make time for one another now that we live apart.


 I think the dogs were rather excited at the prospect of finding deer (hence their leads) and Polly was delighted to have my daughter to walk with. As for Betty, her excitement levels were so high she pulled like a steam engine, just like last year (!) then slept like a log in the car on the way home. Being young and excitable is exhausting apparently! Polly on the other hand, was on her very best behaviour for Fay.


I'd like to thank my daughter's fiancé for taking fab photos of our family visit. Although he was busy discreetly taking pics, he didn't quite manage to avoid the camera lens himself as I managed to snap him hard at work ... aha!


I was also determined to photograph at least one deer myself before we left the park, so my daughter and I left the dogs with the others and undertook a spot of deer stalking with my grandson. Fay collected chestnuts and the deer were happy to approach her for a snack while Toby and I watched from a safe distance.


Those fallow deer were so pretty!


To round off my very special family afternoon, a magnificent stag obliged by looking our way long just enough for me to take his photograph, then he bellowed loudly ... it's rutting season and I am absolutely certain all the ladies must be most impressed by this fine fellow!


Thank you family, for making time for our lovely Autumn walk. Here's to doing it all again next year!

Friday, 13 October 2017

There should always be cake

My Grandson is growing up fast and this week, celebrated his third birthday! Those three years have raced by and he is becoming more and more independent by the day. I still take care of him while mummy works each week and can't tell you how much I love our time together. We pack our days full of funshine ... climbing, reading, playing, creating, chatting and of course laughing. There is never a dull moment to be had with this all-action lad!


 I had no idea in my pre-Nana days, of quite how much joy becoming a grandmother would bring me. I feel truly blessed to have this little boy in my life.


So Tobysaurus, your Nana wishes you, not only a happy 3rd birthday, but most importantly, a happy, safe life, full of laughter, love and lots and lots of cake! 

All my love to you always,
Your Nana xxx

:-)

Brightening a grey day

It's a grey day here in the UK and the perfect day to introduce a little 'Candy Cotton' to brighten things up!

14" Candy Cotton

She's cosy in her handknits and a real cutie. 
All she needs now is someone to fall in love with her!

If you'd like to know more about Candy Cotton, please pop over to my website. Thank you!


Update: Candy Cotton has been adopted!


Thursday, 12 October 2017

EBAA Awards, Lolly's a winner!

I am delighted to blow my own trumpet today (and why not!) as I just received notification that my entry into this year's 'Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards' has been honoured with an award!


My head was nowhere near in gear for entering competitions this year, so I very nearly missed the EBAA submission deadline, but on a last minute whim, I put my tweedy cloth bear 'Lolly' forward for judging and was delighted to receive an email earlier this week telling me she has been successful.


I really didn't expect to win an award this year, but thought it might be fun to enter a hairless bear into the competition for a change, never once thinking my tweedy bear might stand a chance against all those glamorous mohair bears.


So the moral of my little story is, don't talk yourself out of things ...  whatever it is, give it a go and believe in yourself!

If you would like to help Lolly in the Public Vote category, please visit the final 'Judges' Choice' EBAA winners on the link below and cast your vote ... thank you! 


:-)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Bramble

I love the delicate palette of my latest big teddy bear. The beautiful oyster pink Schulte mohair really lent itself to soft pinky-beige velvet paws and dusky pink highlights and I think, makes a lovely variation on the Autumn teddy theme. I hope you think so too!

'Bramble' is 22"

I am happy to tell you, Bramble has hopped onto my website and is now available for adoption. Please visit for further pics and full details. Thank you!


:-)

Update: Bramble has been adopted!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The road to obedience

I have been obedience training with Polly in my favourite park today. The trees were beginning to turn red and gold, sun shone through the early morning mist, dew glistened on the grass ... and my beautiful girl was in fine fettle!


Although at four and a half, Polly is now a well mannered girl, we thoroughly enjoy obedience work, so continue to attend 'Real Life' classes regularly. We have worked hard to overcome the typical golden retriever stubborn streak, to build focus and most importantly of all, to create a close bond between us.  I don't mind saying, I am very proud of all Polly has achieved since we first began training together four years ago.

If you would like to know more about the trials and tribulations of training a dog, particularly a golden retriever, please visit Polly's blog. It hasn't been updated for a while (I never seem to have the time lately but am hoping to bring it up-to-date soon) but there is plenty of information, a list of books I found helpful and many very honest accounts of the challenges Polly and I faced along the road to obedience.

I hope you can 'paws-a-while' to enjoy the read and if you are a new goldie owner, I hope the blog helps you meet the challenges that may come your way and also that it gives you encouragement to persevere with the training. It is worth the effort, truly! Golden Retrievers are such fabulous dogs when they trust you and are given positive, fun and enthusiastic training.


:-)

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sunshine and Showers

It has been a weekend of mixed emotion, on the one hand a celebration of five years of marriage, but on the other, there is still the sadness of losing my Dad so unexpectedly, one glorious Autumn day, seven years ago.  All in all, the weekend has been a bit like a typical Autumn weather report ... one of sunshine and showers.


Stuart and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with Polly and Betty, by taking a pleasant walk (lively romp in their case!) through our favourite local park on Saturday. The girls had an absolute blast as we pottered along contentedly in their wake.


We enjoyed a delicious dinner at 'The Windmill', a cosy pub restaurant in Hollingbourne in the evening ...  my goodness that chef sure knows how to tickle tastebuds!


And of course, seven years on without Dad, life is just as he used to say ... it does go on.  Loss has a knack of finding a corner of your soul, burying deep and becoming part of you. Tears still fall from time to time, but joy does return and those forthright words of wisdom only he could give, still come unbidden in quiet moments, when I need them the most.

:-)

Turnip Teddy

Horaay, I have a new teddy bear to share with you today!

15" Turnip

Introducing 'Turnip', a 15" Schulte mohair teddy bear with velvet paws and cosy hand knitted scarf (made by my own fair hands). After making several big teddy bears in a row, it was nice to work on a medium sized bear for a change as they are a little less work to stuff, so kinder on the hands! To give you an idea of stature, a 15" bear is the ideal size for sitting on a shelf, or the back of a comfy sofa ... and for snuggling with too!

If you would like more pics and to find out a little more about my sweet Turnip teddy, please pop over to visit my website ... www.allbearbypaula.com ... where this perfectly sized sweetie is now waiting with paws crossed, to be adopted. 

:-)

Update: Turnip has been adopted!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A howling success

Storm Aileen howled around the UK through last night, but I didn't hear a thing as I'd spent the day playing with my Grandson and walking my girls, so slept like a log!


It is still gusty here today, but there's warmth in the bright autumn sunshine and the morning has been perfect for walking. I arranged to meet our dog training group at a local country park with Polly and Betty earlier, so the girls have been playing with their pals, obedience training, chasing balls into the pond and hunting for fallen apples. They have had so much fun ... dogs sure know how to party when they get together!

:-) 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Family Fun

It was so good to spend time with my son and his family at the weekend.


We shared a chippy tea, played, chatted and laughed together. Simple family pleasures really are the best!

:-)

Friday, 8 September 2017

A very fine fellow

I would like you to meet my new autumnal teddy bear today ... and if I do say so myself, he is a very fine fellow!

20" Septimus

Creating a teddy bear from such beautiful mohair is a real privilege. Many years ago, when I first fell in love with antique teddy bears, I was always drawn to those made from dense, curly mohair. I remember visiting 'The Petersfield Museum' in Hampshire (sadly no longer open) about thirty years ago and drooling over a fabulous 1930's Chiltern Hugmee sat in a glass case - he was made from long wavy mohair, a magnificent fellow! Little did I know back then, that one day I would be creating my own teddy bears from such magical mohair!

So, I am proud to introduce you to Septimus. I hope he makes you smile and if he should tug at your heartstrings, please visit him on my website, where he is now waiting to be adopted. Thank  you!


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and hoping the Autumn sun shines!

:-)

Update: Septimus has been adopted!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Enjoying the process

By the way, if you were curious after my earlier posts, in my 'spare' time, I am still enjoying my exploration into the world of artistic endeavour ... despite frequent frustrations along the way! 


Lately I've been playing with pencils, pens and paint as I try to breathe life into 'faces' ... which is easier said than done, believe you me!  I'd love to be one of those gifted types, the folk who can whistle a sketch from their fingertips without breaking into a cold sweat but I've a very long way to go before I will be able to claim any real confidence - for now I am just grateful that my faces do now look like faces and I am able to enjoy the process at last!

:-)

Monday, 4 September 2017

From Allington to Aylesford

Another Sunday afternoon, another river walk. We tried this walk a few years ago, but were beaten back by a crumbling towpath and overgrowth. After hearing the path had been rebuilt and cleared, we decided to give the Allington to Aylesford section of the River Medway a visit yesterday. It was overcast, but not at all cold, so we set off in jeans and t-shirts after giving Polly and Betty a fun run in the local open space nature reserve first ... one thing about goldies, they love to swim and chase birds, so if you fancy a peaceful stroll, river walks are safest undertaken on leads after they've had a good run!


Just down the road from the nature reserve is this pretty building, which I think was the gatehouse for Allington Castle (discreetly tucked away around the corner) I might be wrong though.


We crossed Allington Lock on the footbridge and although it was wrench, passed our favourite little coffee 'n cake haunt 'The Little Old Tollhouse' (they do great panini's too!) without stopping. Then it was up and over the main bridge, pausing to take a quick snap of the boats up river as I went, before turning away from the path into Maidstone and and heading towards the village of Aylesford instead. 


There has been quite a bit of work undertaken along the riverbank since last we tried to access this path, so we had no problems toddling along with our girls on Sunday. Polly loves a walk with Dad, lead or no lead, so she was content to trot along by his side, walking beautifully to heel all the way. Little Betty on the other hand, was overexcited and anxious about the new route, so very distracted. She forgot her manners and pulled me all the way to Aylesford!


This walk isn't what I'd call pretty, but it is reasonably interesting if you don't mind a more industrial view of the river. It's also not the most peaceful section of river to walk as the M20 crosses it. Still, at least it was what you might term colourful!


Along the way we saw ponies, cows and sheep, as well as long stretches of imposing steel fencing, leaving us in no doubt that once the river would once have been an important element of industrial life in Aylesford. I'll spare you the photos of grey perimeter fencing protecting stacks of rubber tyres and the like - yawn!


Eventually we arrived at 'The Old Bridge at Aylesford'. It's a very pretty spot but to be absolutely honest, can be a bit pongy thanks to a sewer on the other side of the river!


Anyway, here is the bridge in all its fourteenth century magnificence. We decided to take a wander around the village before looking for a return path on the far side of the river.


We mooched around St Peter and St Paul's, a beautiful Norman church and very much part of our recent family history, as my niece was married here a few years ago and my Great nieces were both baptised here, the youngest in August this year.


It was lovely to wander quietly around the Church without being togged up to the nines for a change!

My family all togged up on my Great Niece's Christening Day.

Anyway, that's enough talk of family celebrations, we should get on with our walk! 


So, as I was saying, we wandered around the old village, tightly packed with pretty medieval houses mingled among newer buildings ... it certainly has charm in places, but is primarily a thriving residential area.


And of course, no village would be complete without a public house or two, but we resisted the temptation for a swift half as we passed 'The Chequers' and headed back towards the old bridge.


A quick stop in one of the passing places on the bridge (I wonder what they are called? I'm sure they must have a proper name!) to record our visit, before a spot of detective work to fathom out how to make our way home to Allington.


It didn't take long to work out that if we turned left and crossed the road, we could pick up a footpath sign and follow the river back on the far side of the river. By this time I was happy to hand my little steam engine over to my husband for our return journey!


And the return journey was a more scenic affair. Polly was delighted to be granted off lead privileges across a field running alongside a fenced railway track and I popped her lead back on at the far side of the field because I wasn't sure what lay beyond ...


As it turned out, it was a good call as we found ourselves very near to the motorway (and another fine example of local artwork!)


There was nothing for it other than tackle the high level bridge across the busy M20. I was so proud of Polly as she trotted calmly by my side, walking high over noisy speeding traffic below. Our 'Real Life' obedience training sessions have really paid off!


The rest of the walk was along a narrow, fenced pathway which ran along the railway line and behind an industrial estate through dark woodland, so I didn't bother with my camera until, after a round walk of almost six kilometres, we suddenly popped out onto Castle Road, only a few yards from where we had left our car, ten and a half thousand steps earlier!

So that was our Sunday walk. Not necessarily the prettiest scenery, but pleasant in places and it was interesting to see what happens along our local riverbank. Good exercise for two fifty somethings too!

:-)

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