Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Still preparing for Hugglets

I have been burning the midnight oil bear making this summer.   It is a treat to have the time to focus on the bears...another week and it's back to work, so I've been making the most of the time I have now.

Hamish is made from Schulte alpaca and has cashmere sculpted paws.  He has six joints, including a double neck joint and a hand-moulded epoxy clay nose.  He is wearing a tartan organza bow.

Above is Jonty.  He is made from a very dense Schulte alpaca.  He has sculpted leather paw pads, six joints and a hand-moulded nose.  He is wearing a gold and ivory bow.

This is Chance.  She is made from blush Schulte alpaca.  Never has a bear given me as much trouble as her.  She should really be called Last Chance.  Her head was originally on my reject pile.  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong as I made her.  I persevered and have grown strangely attached to her.  She may end up a keeper.

The above two photos are of Toffee.  She is all eyes - a bit of a cutie.

Lastly, is a photo of an unfinished bear.  He is made from some gorgeous, silky, wild ivory Schulte mohair.  I wanted to try my realistic pattern in mohair.  I always use alpaca, normally.  I have had to adjust the pattern.  The arms have been altered to a classic teddy style as I didn't feel my normal paw style would suit this mohair.  I am going to have to look at him for a couple of days to work out how to finish in the meantime he will sit in the rocking chair!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I Can't Help Myself

OK, so I admit it.  I just love mohair and alpaca.  Because most of my bears are made using alpaca, I have ended up with a good sized (understatement) stash of mohair.  I am particularly keen on soft, silky, curled kid mohair.  I cannot resist it, so I buy it and then don't know what to do with it.  If anyone knows of a treatment for this addiction, please let me know. 

Another issue I have with curly mohair is that it is difficult to use on  bear faces where I tend to prefer straight fur to work with.  A little while ago, I designed a new pattern that I called my 'Popsies'.  Blushes and Peaches both came from this pattern.  I thought it might be interesting to use a yummy piece of toffee-coloured  curled mohair from my stash with my Popsie pattern. 

I constantly fiddle with my designs or should I say 'I develop my designs' :) and the following bear has the Popsie head , my panda pattern body and arms, and leg pattern adapted from my realistic bears.  Does this make me a Dr Frankenstein? It surprised me how well the different elements from my different designs have gone together.  Anyway, 'Autumn' is the result.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Thinking ahead!

It seems like a travesty to start thinking of autumn while still in the midst of August.  I don't really usually think in terms of the seasons when it comes to bearmaking, but have decided to have a go and make some bears using autumnal colours.  Rollo is the first with autumn in mind.  I just adore these standing clown bears and cannot resist making one from time to time. He is made from two shades of Schulte mohair - a lovely ginger mohair that I fell in love with straight away and a complementary blonde shade.  I think the oranges and reds really suit him.

Hope you like him.  He will be making his debut at Hugglets.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Fruits of Summer, holidays and new bear, Matilda

Matilda is finished.  She is made with a really lovely antique gold coloured Schulte alpaca.  It is difficult to accurately capture the colour. She is quite heavy and cuddly.  She has been made for Hugglets in September.

What a wondeful time of the year.  We have just returned home from a week in the New Forest.  We had great weather, very warm, with only one day of rain.  We also visited the Isle of Wight and after a brisk walk took this photo of the Needles.  The sea looked beautiful...almost Mediterranean in appearance.

Spring is my favourite time of year in the garden, but August and September comes a close second because of all the beautiful fruit we have.  Our fruit season starts in June with strawberries.  In July we harvest our Beauty of Bath apples and Stella cherries.  The apples are small, red and a little tart. They do not keep very well, so those we don't eat, we juice.  In August we get raspberries, blueberries and James Grieve cooking apples.  We freeze our excess apples, raspberries and cherries. In September the Conference and William bon Chretien pears and Lord Lambourne apples are ready.  This year our pears are looking the best they have for years.  We also have several Kentish cob nut trees (a type of hazelnut), but our local squirrel, Harvey, has taken most of them for the past two years.  I also have  lemon, orange, lime and pink grapefruit trees (one of each).  These are in containers and spend the winter in the conservatory.  These often come into flower in winter and we pick fruit in summer, but this can vary and is a little hit and miss.  The lemon is the most reliable.  

If anyone has any recipes for keeping pears, I would be grateful.  I'm thinking maybe in terms of preserving them in alcohol but other suggestions are welcome?  A few photos taken this morning follow:

Lastly, my dogs Daisy, Monty and Oscar are enjoying the summer.  They cannot stay in the sun for long as, being fair, they get sunburn very easily!

I hope you are all able to enjoy the summer!