Sunday, 28 August 2016

Holding Post #2 - This time waiting for supplies

Hello there again, Everybody! 

I can stand - sometimes - provided I am propped up:  but prefer sitting
I had hoped to be able to introduce another Baby Mobile - or its components at least:  however, due to an oversight we found we'd run out of the smallest joint discs Isobel needs for our Baby Foxes, so she has only been able to almost complete the second (of four - for the Mobile at least).  They fortunately arrived on Thursday.   Then some developments happened at the housing complex where we live which required Isobel's secretarial input, so her mind has been elsewhere - so Cuddlies old and new have had to take a back seat a bit as a result.  (Isobel is Secretary to the Tenants Committee at the complex and her Minute recording abilities were needed for an Extraordinary Meeting this week).

However, having said that, there have been some developments on the Toy front this week - where we've welcomed back some of the Cuddlies who have been on display at one of the Shops in Kirkby-in-Ashfield since earlier this year.  The Shop - The Ark - where they'd been - is unfortunately closing because of lack of volunteers to keep it open. So, although several Cuddlies did find their Forever Homes via that route, the rest were collected by Isobel on Friday and have just been put back into their places in the Cuddlies Storage Bag.

When she comes back from her holiday (which I mentioned last week), Isobel is going to do some serious shop-hunting in other Towns in the area - so more people can find out about us in the Area. There's a lot of work that has to be done before that happens though.

The Wanderers Return
These Cuddlies are now safely tucked up - until new display areas can be found for them, but in the interim, Isobel has managed to get another Baby Fox almost completed.  Just the ears need to be attached, and then at least two more (for a potential mobile) and maybe another two - to be offered singly and unattached to anything - and then ......... well you'll have to wait and see.  (I haven't got a clue, but then I don't get told anything you know!)  New storage facilities have been created in one of the hall cupboards in our flat - where all the new Baby Toys and the Mobiles can be kept in some sort of order.

Potential Partners in Crime, maybe?
So, that's it for this week - hope everyone has a good one in the upcoming one.  Looking forward to being able to tell (and show) more soon.

Sitting on the Cuddlies Storage Bag - which is getting quite full! There's another two thirds to my left!
Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Not much to report this week, so this is a "Holding Post"

Hello there Everyone:

Taken when we still lived in Wiltshire:  me sitting in a branch of a Mulberry Tree
Cy Bear reporting in with really not much to say or offer today.  It's just as well the Olympic Games only happen once every 4 years, because we'd get nothing done in our Shop -  All this week, when she normally sits and sews new Cuddlies, Isobel has been glued to the television, watching all the splendid action being shown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (She's not been able to sew and watch (as she normally can), because the action has been so fast and furious!) However, because our wonderful Followers have got used to reading something about us Cuddlies  every Sunday,  when we miss a week-end post, our viewing figures - 50,883 when Isobel checked a moment ago - go down.  As it takes some time for them to build up again, we decided I should just check in.  Since this is likely to happen during September, when Isobel is away on holiday in Devon, UK (and she may not have access to WiFi so we can use the computer) we decided on this "Holding Post" - so that our viewing figures don't drop away too fast as September gets going..

This afternoon as well, on one of the Teams Isobel actively works with on ( ) their Monthly Heart Attack session begins at 0900 EST and goes on until 2100 EST.  This means all members post their new items, or renewed items, and everybody clicks on the individual items' "hearts" so that by the end of the day, lots of extra people get to see the items and it can result in lots of new folk learning about the Shops involved and it can also end in sales of the items too.  So, that's where Isobel is going to spend her time this week.

There are several of the Cuddlies due to be renewed/relisted - take your pick: the result is the same!  A .20c renewal fee, and the chance to be seen by the World for another 4 months, before they are renewed, deactivated or "killed off" - depending on the circumstances.  There will be more that will be listed during the evening/early night.

Here's a selection of Cuddlies that will be being given the treatment first this afternoon, after we've finished chatting here.

Novelty Rabbit Slippers Yellow Plush Slipper Plush Lined Slipper Made to Measure Warm Foot Gear Unisex Indoor Shoes Unisex Adult Slippers

Winston Wombat, 3-Way Bed Pillow. Pajama Case, Plush Pillow Case ,Pyjama Cover, Novelty Hot Water Bottle Cover, Faux Fur Toy
Coyote Hand Puppet Activity Toy Teaching Aid  Buchanan Tartan Fabric Lined Glove Cool Toy for Tots Toddlers Toy Tots or Toddler Activity Toy
Koala Bear Slippers Adult Novelty Slipper Made to Measure Footwear Indoor Foot Gear Unisex present Unusual Gift Special Occasion Gift.

There are several other Cuddlies who are due to be re-listed in coming weeks in August/September, and they may well be given an outing on the FRU HEART ATTACK session too.

Isobel is also planning on officially introducing our Blue Plush Baby Monkeys and the Brown Plush Rabbit Head Shoe Ornament we mentioned in an early post.  So, as she's got a busy afternoon ahead of her so I'll have to end this week's bulletin now.  Good to have chatted - even if it was a bit of a "make do and mend" effort this time around.  We'll try to do better next week.

Have a good one Everybody.  See you then.  Your Friend Cy Bear.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

A Week of New Starts

Hello there Folks - Cy Bear back again.

As the title implies it's been a week of new beginnings, even if there's not been too much other activity around on the Coldham Cuddlies front.  

This week's post is therefore likely to be somewhat shorter than of late - but mainly because the call of the Olympic Games,  being beamed from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - with the constant need to switch channels to watch a particular sporting activity which catches Isobel's fancy - has proved a bit of a distraction for her!  She's been doing some sewing:  but not as much as usual.  Thus there has been a bit of a hiccup in the "production line" that has been the norm of late.

First of all, as I told you last week, a Baby Hedgehog was scheduled to leave us for pastures new. Our customer, was given a choice of two Baby Hedgehogs currently in stock -,

and the one on the right was picked out from this photograph - which was included, if memory serves, at the end of last week's post.  The Baby Hedgehog on the right was the winner - and so on Tuesday, he/she/it (your choice!) was duly wrapped up and prepared for its trip to Lindon, Utah - but not before the usual Farewell Photograph had been taken:

Baby Hedgehog duly began its journey into the unknown, but still exciting prospect of its Forever Home on Wednesday afternoon.  (That means replacements need to be factored into Isobel's production programme for our new Cuddlies of the future.)

Then, in between watching the Olympics, Isobel began a new project - which involves a Baby Fox, or two (or more).  She's made a Baby Bear or two recently - as can be seen here:

Here's the Baby Fox pattern she's been using - for the first time ever, even though it's been in our Toy Pattern Library since she started making Toys way back in the late 1950's at school.  Her book of Animal Patterns has this one (which can be made as a Baby Lamb or Bear), so as she has got an idea for another Baby Mobile, she thought she'd start with this chap(ess):

As you can see, the ears are still to be properly attached - but the "look" is encouraging!  Although the pattern does not call for it, Isobel decided to give this Baby Fox arms that moved - because in the original pattern photo, they looked a little "forced"- for want of a better description.  In the picture, the arms were sticking out and just did not look right!  Allowing them to move seems a better option - but now we've got to source some more discs, as we've only got enough for 3 more (Isobel's has plans for more Cuddlies of this size - which are somewhere between our Baby Rabbit patterns and the one for our Baby Koalas).

These Foxes will be a little larger when finished than are the Rabbits and Piglets we've made recently, and may actually not look right if we attach them to a circular Baby Mobile frame.  That we won't know until more made, and experiments with ribbon sizes etc are done.  We think the final Little Foxes will be just a little smaller than our current Baby Koalas - shown here.

What our Baby Koalas look like sizewise
So, that's what looks like keeping Isobel's fingers occupied this week - in between watching the rest of the Olympic Games, of course!

Until next week - from either myself or Isobel - here's wishing you a great one, wherever you are based.

Your Friend,  Cy Bear.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Here's the completed Fantasy Bear Baby Mobile - and other news as well.

Good afternoon, Everyone - from Cy Bear!  

Yet another week has slipped by, but at least we've had some sunshine during the daytime - although at the moment we're being battered by very strong winds.  Apparently, they're unusually strong for the time of year and it certainly makes taking photographs outside difficult - as Isobel found when she had to take some pics of  two Baby Hedgehogs on Saturday afternoon (more about that later).

As the title of this week's post indicates - the Fantasy Bear Baby Mobile is finished -

All four now have a light aquamarine 7 mm (1/4 inch) satin ribbon around their necks and forming the hanging threads by which they will be strung to the main Mobile frame.  The checked cotton ribbon which forms the hanging handle matches these ribbons, although in the photographs, the colour comes out showing the blue more than the green shade it is in "real life".

The polyester circular frame is 9 inches in diameter (22.86 cms) and it's been covered with white satin ribbon all round.  When Isobel came to use the check ribbon, it became obvious that she didn't have enough to cover the entire frame.  She suddenly remembered she'd used some already for a decorative bow for one of our Light Brown Teddy Bears (   before he left for his Forever Home last year, so there wasn't enough for this particular Baby Mobile.

Light Brown Bear Toy, Teddy Bear Cuddly Toy, Brown Furry Bear Toy, Stuffed Brown Bear, Bear Toy for Tots  Plush Toy for Tots, Cool Kids Toy.
The ribbon had been used on a previous version of these two Bears, which can have ribbons attached if wished.
However, as the ribbon was aquamarine/white check, she decided to use the check ribbon as the handle and then use the white for the frame - there was just enough ribbon, with a small bit left over, from the 5 metres (16ft 4.8 inches) that Isobel had bought earlier when visiting one of our local habadashery stores recently - to be used in just such a circumstance.

Once the ribbon had firmly attached to the frame (it's usually an overnight job!) the rest of the 7 mm satin ribbon was cut into equal lengths, tied to the frame and attached to the ribbon sewn on each Fantasy Bear.  (They now all have their full quota of ears - in last week's post, our Bear at the left front of this photo was sporting just one ear!)   Now Isobel has chosen this method, because the knots used can be untied and the eventual user of the Mobile can adjust each Fanstasy Baby Bear - if that is what they'd like to do - so that the result now looks like this.  

When the wind eventually dies down, Isobel intends to take some outside shots of the latest Baby Mobile, but meanwhile this does give you an idea of what the finished object looks like (and you can see the pretty pastel green shade of the hanging ribbons too).

During the week, we received an order for one of our Baby Hedgehogs.  Isobel needed to take photos of the two Babies currently in stock. (A third is on display in one of the Kirkby in Ashfield Shops, which is currently closed for the month of August!)  The reason was that we needed to establish a "Hedgehog Catwalk Display" so that the Buyer could choose which Toy she would like us to send next week.  

We'll let you know which of these guys our Customer chooses, together with the usual formal Farewell Photograph with me, next week.  We've still to hear from our Customer which one she actually wants.  But, you can see from the way the fur is "moving" just how windy it was yesterday in the sheltered corner of our garden - where the wooden bench, on which the two Hedgehogs are sitting, is placed!  (It's a lot windier today - these fellows would have been blown right across the garden had the photo session been going on today)

Hedgehog Babies - a side view
So that's the news for this week folks.  See you all - everything being equal - this time next week.  

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

News about a Special Day Trip, as well as our new Baby Mobile Project

Good afternoon Everyone - this week's bulletin is going to be a joint effort on Cy Bear and My part, and in two sections as it were.

Component parts for the New Baby Mobile Project - more below! 
Early in the week, Cy Bear was left  "on guard" in our flat while I joined Clare, Alan and GrandsonE on a day trip to a really special place - in our lives at any rate.  We drove nearly 300 miles - there and back in the day.  That distance for those of you in the States who are among our regular Followers - and other far flung places, is not that far.  Believe me, in the UK with our much narrower roads, and much heavier traffic (some of our motorways can resemble City Traffic in rush hour, all day at times) that distance is a TREK!

Our destination was the Shrine of St. Winefrede at Holywell, in Flintshire, North Wales.  So, not only did we do 300 miles, but we also visited another country at the same time!  St Winefrede has a well-deserved reputation for healing (in all its forms) and the Shrine is also known as the Lourdes of Wales.

St. Winefrede became a Saint by virtue of  being martyred - as most Saints are!  In her case, she had dedicated herself to God, but the son of the local Lord of the Manor at the time wanted her for himself.  She refused his advances, and in the presence of the local priest (who happened to be her Uncle) the thwarted young man cut off her head with his sword.  The priest picked up the separated head and placed it on the young maiden's neck, it "took", and St. Winefrede was saved.  She lived for at least another 25 years (in the 6th Century) becoming a well known and respected Abbess in the process.  Where the head fell, though, a spring appeared - and it has been "springing" ever since.

Over the years, people have visited the Shrine and it's one of the few religious sites in the UK  that survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII  at the time of his argument with the Church in Rome.  The story goes that when the soldiers arrived to do their destructive best, they were warned "don't mess with St. Winefrede"- so they didn't!   A shelter was placed over the spring, which over the centuries has become what it is today - 

We went there on a coolish, Monday morning, and reached it in time to participate in the daily Prayers over a relic of St. Winefrede (not obligatory if one is seeking help of any kind, but one which we like to be able to attend when we go there). The congregation (numbering about 20 on the day we were there) stand around the Spring, which is clearly visible in both these photographs) and the services lasts about 10 minutes.  

The adults in our party all had their own  reasons for visiting the Shrine, and mine in particular was to repeat the experience of holding my increasingly arthritic hands under the tap which has been erected.  It saves one immersing oneself in the bathing pool one can see in this photograph (the water is very cold - as genuine spring water is, but it also enables visitors to take bottles of the water back home for use as and when needed.)  The tap is located just on the left of the photo below, and one can either pay for bottles from the Shrine's Shop - through which one enters the holy area - or one take's one's own bottles and fill them up (without charge) for use back home.

 This visit was the third time I had immersed my hands under the tap (having done it twice - at the beginning and end of our visit -  on the only other occasion I've been able to go three years ago).  The brave couple in the photograph were just attempting to put their feet in - and clearly weren't enjoying the experience.  Although when I showed them my improving hands, they were emboldened to carry on for a while more!

On both occasions I have experienced immediate relief from the swelling and discomfort associated with osteo arthritis, and look forward to a third visit ere long,  The story goes that if one goes three times, the sought-after cure can be permanent.  In between the two visits, though, I've been able to gain relief by sprinkling the contents of the bottled water collected on my first visit. (Clare and Alan and brought me back further supplies in the interim).  Not being too sure if one can say that two immersions in one trip equates to three different visits, I'll hope to be going back sometime in the future!.

This time too, though, I collected some small bottles from the Shop, filling them up to give to several of my fellow residents in Old Chapel Close.  Already one has told me she has had "the best night's sleep" she's had in months, so one does not have to be a Catholic - as my family and I are - to benefit from St. Winefrede's help.

Now over to Cy Bear for a brief update on matters pertaining to our Shop -

Hello there, Everyone!

Having completed the Blue Plush Monkeys we told you about in last weeks' bulletin, Isobel is now busy on another Baby Mobile project.  She's almost finished the four Toys which form the hanging bits:  she's still cogitating about the colour ribbon she will be using to cover the circular frame.  She's purchased some sea green satin ribbon to which the Fantasy Bears - as we're going to call them - will be attached.  Three of them are finished and ready for their ribbons:  the fourth just requires his/her second ear to be attached.  Allow me to introduce them to you.

Floral Print with a Apple Green background
Pink background with Blue and Red Floral print
White Backround, with Blue and Green Floral print
And here's the fourth Fantasy Bear - they've been made using the same pattern used for our Polar Bear Baby Mobile by the way. (

Another White Background, with  a Blue Floral print
Hopefully, we'll have the finished article to show you next week - so this is Cy Bear signing off on behalf of both of us.  Have a good week, Everyone!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Blue Monkeys join the Coldham Cuddlies

Hello there Everyone - this is Cy Bear back again, with a relatively short post this week.

Isobel ended last week's bulletin with the news that we'd heard back from MsMH, who was interested in buying one of our Monkey Toys, as long as they were blue ones.  She indicated that she liked the look of what Isobel had done with the Blue Plush fabric we'd found in response to her enquiry.

It didn't take her long to finish off the third Blue Monkey toy and stuff all three of them.  She then picked the one she thought MsMH would like, embroidered a face on the head section, attached the ears  and then wrapped up the finished Toy.  However, before that final stage of preparation for the journey was done, one of our usual Farewell Pictures was taken, which can be seen below:

You can see just how small these little Toy critters are, in comparison with me!!!  Makes me look huge!  (Very different from when I sat beside Colin, the Giant Koala before he left for his Forever Home before Christmas last year!)

After being wrapped (first in chemical free tissue paper, and then with bubble wrap),  Blue Monkey was placed in a polyester mail envelope and Isobel posted it first thing on Tuesday morning - from the main Kirkby-in-Ashfield Post Office.  

The previous evening, the task of finishing the other two Blue Monkeys began, with the task being completed by mid-week.  While sewing these smaller Cuddlies takes Isobel about an hour and a half apiece, the finishing off can take at least another evening session when it comes to stuffing each toy and sewing the facial features.  Because they are small, their "fiddliness" makes it more difficult for Isobel's fingers to do them quickly these days.   (Ears still cause Isobel problems, and these Monkey versions are no exception).  

The two Blue Monkeys are going to be officially launched after this post is completed, when they will be listed for the first time in our Shop (  Here's what they will look like when that happens:

The two of them are standing on cushions in one of the chairs in the living room of our flat here at Old Chapel Close.

Because the blue plush fabric with which they are made is very shiny and soft, we were not able to get them to stand upright on the newly-found spot in the dining room (on top of the central heating radiator).  That has a gap between the back of the radiator and where it is fitted to the wall, and these guys kept slipping into the grove!!  (Not aided by the fact that the surface of the radiator is a shiny metallic one).

Here's what the rear view(s) look like, while here are a couple of shots showing each Monkey Toy individually:

As ever, although they've both been made using the same pattern as each other, they do look different, with one of them - the top one - being somewhat stouter than the other!  That's the point of a HAND MADE TOY - when compared with those that are mass-produced.  They are NEVER the same!

Isobel is now working on a new Baby Mobile offering - which hopefully we'll be able to reveal next time we meet.  Meanwhile, I'll close this week's blog by wishing every one a really great week - hope the weather is what you're wanting - wherever in the world you are reading this!

Till next time - your Friend, Cy Bear!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Rabbit Head Shoe Ornaments - A New Product based on Old Friends

Hello there Everyone - Cy Bear beginning this edition:

Last week I believe Isobel did mention at the end of last week's bulletin, that she was experimenting like mad in making an ornamental rabbit clip-on for a lady's shoe.  She's been working on it all week, and finally got it done - and photographed fully - this afternoon.  So, I'll leave her to take over:

Thank you Cy Bear - and greetings to you all!

Here are the two rabbit heads awaiting their stuffing, having just had their eyes placed in situ - accompanied by the ears for each Head.  The pattern I used was that for all the Baby Rabbits (the Fleece variety can be viewed here  - .  By sewing  quarter-inch seams all around as opposed to the normal two-tenths I usually do, the heads are actually slightly smaller.  I cut off the pattern template at the under arm seams of the rabbit pattern - as well as leaving out the chest insert.  I felt there could be too much fabric to make a steady platform for the finished article.

We've moved on here to one of the Rabbits having had his head stuffed with our usual polyester fibre - meeting all international safety standards -  and then had the ears added, as well as the facial features (embroidered with black double knit yarn).

After a bit of research, I was advised that the hair clips originally purchased were not really what was needed.  They were too metallic and unforgiving for fitting on to a shoe - and I dread to think what the effect might have been had they come into direct contact with hosiery!  So, while wandering around our local department store, and chatting with an assistant in the craft area, I decided to go with these hair slides (barettes):  (Not unnaturally, they were to be found in a completely different section of the Shop - which is I why I'd not come across them before!!).

They were not expensive, and I decided to go with the ones on the far left.  They actually bend to open, and straighten out when fitted and are basically plastic on top with a very light metal clip on the bottom.  There doesn't seem to be that much of a problem if the clips do come into contact with bare skin  - or stockings for that matter.  If the customer does purchase these, I shall be enclosing the whole card with the Rabbit Head clip-ons - so the eventual user can ring the changes with whatever shoe colour she chooses.  (I do know it is intended for an adult  female - as opposed to a girl child!!).

Using one of my own slip-on shoes to demonstrate if they would attach satisfactorily, I took this snapshot to send to my potential Buyer - who still is "potential",  as opposed to being a definite customer! ( At the time this was taken, I was still working out how on earth I was going to fit the clip on under the head base!.)

Having slept on it, and fiddled about a bit, I eventually worked out the solution and we now have two heads, attached to a pair of my black court shoes (I don't have a brown pair at the moment) and have today sent the latest version to the client, with a request for a definite answer - Yay or Nay!!  Basically, I created a pocket (using seam binding) and sewed it on the underside of the neck area.  The plastic upper side of the Clip slides in and then the Head is attached to the shoe and the whole clip bent into the closed position. (It's not possible to permanently attach the head to the clip - doing so would prevent the clip performing it's clip-on activity.  NB: There are no guarantees as to how long the ornament will last!) 

(I'm beginning to think that this may end up as one of those wild goose chases that have occasionally happened to me in my Etsy journey since starting up in 2010 - but this time, unlike  Colin the Giant Koala - - at least the finished article is not as large or potentially costly to my "bottom line"!.  Good customer relations etiquette demands I follow through to the bitter end, however - and one never knows,  someone reading this post this afternoon might be interested - if the original Enquirer fails to materialise!)

Rabbit Head clip-ons - sans clips!

There seems to be a problem with my attempt to get in touch with MsMH as well.  She has actually ordered (and paid for) one of the Baby Monkeys - (last week, as you may recall, I was trying to find out if she really did want hers to be as depicted in our listing for the Monkey Nursery Mobiles - or in blue plush, as stipulated in the order itself)

Baby Mobile, Monkey Baby Toys, Animal Toy Mobile,  Monkey Mobile, Toy Animal Mobile, Childs Shower Gift, Cool Kids Mobile, Cool Cot Toy.

However, while I was browsing through the haberdashery department of our local store - looking for the clips -  I did find some rather pretty pale blue plush fabric (which had nearly run out!).

So I decided to purchase half a metre (leaving plenty of fabric for lots of baby monkeys, and other Pram or Cot Toy animals in future) and actually have cut out and sewn two models of a Pale Blue Plush Monkey version - which look like this at the moment.

(My apologies:  the quality of these last  photos are not up to normal, because I've just snapped them to illustrate this post).

 A third Blue Monkey needs to be given the same treatment, and then all will be stuffed and listed in time for next week's bulletin. The dispatch date for the order is actually 26th July, so I'm still well within the time-frame.  The Blue Monkey will be en route to Devon, UK by Tuesday of next week at the latest - having hopefully heard from MsMH!  It will be sent regardless, however, because that is what I have contracted to do!!

STOP PRESS:  This bulletin was actually drafted yesterday evening.  When I signed in this afternoon (Sunday), I received a message from MsMH, apologising for not "being on top of things"!  So, I've just sent her the snaps above, and asked her if she likes what she sees - saying her Baby Monkey  will be dispatched on Tuesday, 19th July.  Apparently, her friend's baby is due any day, and she is anxious to have something ready to present upon his arrival!!  So, after all this, it's now a question of who will arrive first- my Blue Baby Monkey (if the customer likes what she sees here) or her friend's Baby Son!!  Watch this space!!

Ah well -the ups and downs of Toy Making - and I  suspect much like the experience all us Crafters endure from time to time!!  However, lack of communication on the part of customers is definitely one of the frustrations with this pastime.  On this occasion, though, its especially so,  as both customers live somewhere in the UK and therefore might be contactable via telephone!

On the upside, though, if the Rabbits don't get accepted, by the end of next week, COLDHAM CUDDLIES will number 100 in total - the magic number towards which I have been working since 2012, when the Shop and this blog became a full time occupation for yours truly - after Peter died in the May of that year.  It will be great to have finally made it!!

So far, no joy on the Rabbit Head clip-on front though!!!

See you all next week, folks.  Your friend, Isobel - oh, and Cy Bear too!