Wednesday, 29 February 2012

So much to be grateful for...

Firstly, many thanks to all the collectors who stopped to talk to me at Hugglets on Sunday and, of course, to those who took my bears home with them!  We had a great day, and I managed to find time in the afternoon to have a look at some of the thousands of wonderful bears that were there on the day.  The halls were crowded and the show had a wonderful, exciting atmosphere.

I am already busy with new designs.  I am working on a new, large realistic sitting bear pattern with several design changes.  This new bear will be revealed towards the end of March.

I have also been sorting out my stash of mohair.  It is such a joy to be able to work every day with some of the most luxurious, fabulous materials.  The mohair below is waiting patiently to become mischevious little bruins!

Today is incredibly mild and sunny here in Kent and I popped into the garden to take a few photos of the first flowers to appear this year.  The camellia has been in flower since December!  There isn't much yet, but it is a start!

On Saturday I went with my future daughter-in-law and her mum to her wedding dress fitting.  I cannot say much as my son might read this, but she looked stunning.  The wedding is in June - so we need to hope for a nice day.

So much to be grateful for!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

More Bears for Hugglets

Have managed to take a few photos of more bears coming to Hugglets.

Alaska - he's a large polar bear made with the softest German alpaca! Now adopted

Angel - made with Schulte's most wonderful ivory mohair. Now adopted

Cherry - made with a lovely copper coloured German wavy mohair. Still available

Choccy - made with a rich brown Schulte alpaca. Now adopted

Just need to create their adoption tags and get everything ready for tomorrow!  :)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Magic of Bear Making

I think it must be difficult for non-bearmakers to understand the fascination of bearmaking.  After all, a bear is usually made from similar components - head, arms, body, and legs.  For me, a large part of the appeal is that I never know what my bear will look like when it's made.  Today, I created two bear heads from the same pattern.  One is made from a gorgeous, curly ivory white Schulte mohair, the other from Schulte alpaca in a lovely rich brown.  I took a sequence of photos of the heads as they progressed.  In my opinion, although the processes used were identical and I worked on them together, the look of the bears is completely different.  Each develops its own personality and appearance. I don't think I will ever tire of the pleasure and surprise at how the bears turn out!

The heads start out as two rather shapeless blobs.  I always feel that this stage requires faith!  When I started bearmaking, some heads never got beyond this point, because I thought they would never turn into anything resembling a bear.  Now I know it's important to keep the faith, and the bears usually turn out OK.

 I have done some basic trimming and have attempted to straighten the mohair in the muzzle area.  It is very difficult to trim when it is very curly.  I wet the mohair and then dry it with a hairdryer and brushing as I dry.  I have positioned pins where the eyes will go.
I have replaced the pins with eyes.

I have positioned and sewn on the ears.
Next, needlefelted around the eyes, then moulded the noses freehand using epoxy clay and have attached them.
So, same pattern, same treatments but completely different look!  The mohair has a firmer backing that the alpaca, so I believe the apparent difference in head shape is caused by the alpaca having more 'give' in it.  The alpaca is extremely dense.  The mohait is very dense as well, but it's curl, when straightened around the muzzle area, narrows the appearance of the muzzle.
They just need bodies now!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Can't Wait!

It is raining and very grey here today, but I couldn't resist snapping a photo of three little bears that will be coming with me to Hugglets on Saturday.  I will try to take some better photos when the light improves.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hugglets this weekend!

I will be at Hugglets this Sunday - at table 18D in Hall 1.

This was an unexpected booking and due to a late cancellation, so it will now be all hands to the pump to ensure I am ready!  I will probably be on my own so please come and say hello if you get the chance. 

I will take some 'show preview' photos and post them later in the week.

My British Bear Artist Award arrived in the post this morning.  Pakak, my winning bear, now has a wonderful home in Belgium so is not pictured with the award.

Ta ta for now - I have bears to finish!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Manuela Schulz Free Pattern Giveaway

Manuela is giving away some of her great ebook patterns.  To join in the fun, go to her blog by clicking on the image below:

There is a translation tool on her blog!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A Kindle Cover

Mike replaced his broken Sony eReader with a Kindle 4 last weekend.  It survived a drop onto a hard floor yesterday, so I thought I would try making a padded cover for it.  I cannot claim the design - I bought a pattern from Whistlepig Creek Productions on Etsy.  You can see more of her great patterns at  I am a girl in a hurry!  I have a backlog of bears waiting to be made.

I wanted to  come up with a colour scheme that wasn't 'girly'.  Most of my fabrics are very feminine. However, back in the autumn I bought a good selection of quilting fabrics with an autumnal theme.  I make no apology for the fact that the colours are unseasonal.  We still have 6 inches of snow outside and I didn't want to risk driving to the fabric shop.  Perhaps I'll make a few more (when I catch up with my bears) - one for each season!

I hope Mike will like it.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

First Snowfall This Winter

We have been having a very mild winter.  The temperatures dropped like a stone about a week ago and last night we got the first snowfall.  The snow started falling in Kent at about 11pm last night, and it kept falling until about 6am.  We woke up to a wonderful, pristine world this morning.  The dogs normally love the snow, but it was too deep for them and they didn't want to stay out for long.  I couldn't resist the temptation to take a few photos.