Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Puppet Personalities become Associate Cuddlies - The Smith Puppet Saga: Part 1

Hello Everyone - sorry, yet again,  for the lapse in posting here, but what with a successful Craft Show now over, and replacements required before it started, and the subject of this (and subsequent posts) to also create, I've not been free to post - however much I've wanted to.

One of the exciting things of being the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toymaker is that one never knows when, or – more often – if, one is going to get an order which will result in a Cuddly finding his/her Adoptive Home.

So, early in October, when I received a “Convo” - the Etsy “technical term” for a message from a potential Customer – from JS, whom I subsequently discovered hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma – enquiring whether I would be able to make him a Hand Puppet larger than the ones we already offer in our shop at www.Etsy,com/shop/COLDHAMCUDDLIES, I was definitely up for the challenge.

(Regular Followers of my Blog will know that I rarely, if ever, refer to my customers by anything other than their initials.  They all get copies of the post in which their Adopted Cuddly(ies) are mentioned, but I prefer to keep their full names private.  However, on this occasion I am using the surname I have been given just for the title of this, and subsequent installments, but carrying on with using intials where required. It takes up less ink, too!).

JS suggested that my Big Teddy Bears would be about the right size for what he was looking for, and I sent him a photograph of this one. 

 He replied to the effect that was that it was absolutely spot on for size and that he was looking for a Tiger Puppet, which he called Daniel and sent me an initial picture of whom he was talking about, and lo and behold the original was not an unknown quantity.

When we lived in Canada during the 1970's and 1980's, Philippa and Clare  (not to mention Peter too) were avid followers of the  American PBS television programme “Mr. Rogers' Neighbourhood” . They never went to bed in the evening without having watched that day's adventures which involved characters such as Daniel Tiger – who lived in a clock, and was not a fierce Tiger, Grandpere and Henrietta Pussy Cat. I have to say that while I recall their voices, I did not often see the puppets, because the programmes coincided with my preparations for the family evening meal. However, that has not caused a problem, because pictures of all three characters are readily available online, and JS has been able to provide me with sufficient examples to enable me to carry on with the challenge.

While waiting for his response to my initial suggestion, I'd decided that a combination of patterns would be required – the head being based on my Tiger Golf Club Covers

 and the body using the pattern for the Big Teddy Bears.

When JS's answer came in, I suggested I would start the ball rolling by making a prototype, which would become his if it worked, or would be added to the ColdhamCuddlies family, if it didn't.     Regular readers of this blog know, I'm no use without a pattern with which to work and I'm not that good at altering stuff either

Copyright issues were raised (by me – I am very careful in such matters) and having been assured that JS – incidentally a puppeteer himself – has matters of this importance well in hand and well covered (the background is contained here) I got on with the prototype. 

"My 23 year old son is a professional stage actor and has been branching out into
voice acting and has recently done some work for Funamation Studios, dubbing a
Japanese Anime series into English.   We have submitted a proposal to the Fred
Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent's College
in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.   

Part of their mission statement is to:
"Maximize the potential of the Fred Rogers Archive as a resource for study and new work."

Without a proper Daniel, we submitted the following video.   They would like to see more....

This is why I'm trying to 'clone' Daniel.

Not only do I love the idea of having these puppets for myself, but
I'm doing this in a effort to help my son,  and his very promising voice career."

 So, I got on with the commission - delighted and somewhat awed by the responsibility I now have - and the result was Tommy Tiger:

Once completed, it quickly became obvious that Tommy's body was quite a tight fit for my (fairly small) hand, and that JS's hand could certainly not be accommodated.  

Tommy being modelled by Clare

However, by the time this state was reached, I'd changed by plans for the DanielS.  When I'm makng Toys, I often find ways to alter them as I go along, and so had decided that the pattern used for my Hand Puppets -

was actually a better body shape for this purpose, and that it would be easily adapted to meets JS's own hand width. Accordingly, he was asked to provide his personal dimensions – both for his hand width and his arm length (from finger tip to elbow).

While making the Tiger Golf Club Covers, I have been looking out for animal print fabrics in a slightly more realistic Tiger colour than the one  being used for my current Tiger toys. The original one  - used for my Long Legged Tigers  and  the Childrens' Medium Sized Novelty Slippers 

– had ceased to be available from the Shop Clare had discovered for me while I was still in Wiltshire.

When she went back for replacements, the current orangey version was the only one available – but as it happened to match the Double Knit yarn used for the knitted metal handle covers for the Golf Club Covers, I went ahead and purchased a metre so I could meet an order that I then had in hand.

I was not happy with it, however, so when JS's commission arrived, I contacted another of my fabric suppliers (from whom I had bought the poodle faux fur used for lining all my slippers) and was thrilled to bits to find this material.

Cy Bear supervised proceedings
I promptly ordered it and upon arrival took a photograph of it and sent it off to JS.  It met with his approval, and I was then thrilled to receive the suggestion that he'd like DanielS (his version of Tommy) to be made in the lighter colour, and if possible could I then make Grandpere using the more orange shaded background of the new fabric. That did not seem to be beyond my capabilities, but  not wanting to run before I walked, I suggested that we wait to see how DanielS turned out before we committed ourselves any further.

So, I'll now leave the rest of the Smith Puppet saga until next time. I'll try not to keep you in suspense for too long!

All the best for this evening – and thanks for your patience.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Friday, 14 November 2014

Baby Koalas have a Makeover

Good afternoon everyone!  Cy Bear calling in, with an update from the COLDHAMCUDDLIES shop  (https://www.Etsy.com/Shop/COLDHAMCUDDLIES ).

It's been a couple of weeks since Isobel was last on here, and the time has gone by so fast that she's not been able to do all she wanted to do here.  However, with a Craft Show on the horizon - this Sunday morning (November 16) at St. Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham (taking place between 0900-1330) - she's managed to get some replacement Baby Koalas made - which also now look more like our other current Coldham Koalas -   be they Big Koalas, Giant versions or Mens Slippers,   versions
 This is the last of our original colour Baby Koalas still looking for a new home


Our new ones look like this:

They will be relisted later today, so the original Brown and White fellow will not be visible in our shop once these guys get put on.  We're hoping he will find a new home on Sunday!  He and his predecessors often do get new homes when they appear at Craft Shows.

Just because Isobel is incapable of making any of us look EXACTLY the same, even though she uses the same "ingredients" for each specimen, here are the  four new recruits to the COLDHAMCUDDLIES world, taken from left to right in the preceding picture:

They do all have two eyes, despite the way they look in these snap-shots!  We're still trying to find the best places in our new abode where we can take good photographs!

Koalas have not been the only things that have kept Isobel's fingers sewing since we last posted.
Instead of typing posts here - she's made two new Arm/Hand Puppets (in the form of Tigers).  We promises to tell everyone about them as soon as she is able - after the Craft Sale on Sunday is a possible starting point!  This one is made using the same fabric as used for our Tiger Head Golf Club Covers https://www.etsy.com/listing/168592299/golf-club-cover-tiger-head-animal-print?-   whereas the other Tiger Puppet has been made with a tiger print fabric which results in a Tiger with a Siberian Tiger look!

Tommy Tiger is the prototype Puppet for a series of three, maybe four others, that Isobel has been asked to try and produce.  One has been completed, posted and safely arrived at this destination.  We'll be telling you all about him too.  The order for the second one is awaiting payment, and the other definite one is still being discussed.  The fourth one is still not a certainty!

Also, for the Sunday Craft Fair, Isobel found she was very short of Baby Bunny Rabbits.  So, since last week-end, she's cut out, sewn up and now is stuffing and putting on the facial features to 8 more Fleece versions:  two each of Pink, Blue, Purple and Brown, each with White Chests.  

Think this explains the lack of action here!  Hope so, anyway:  will be back soon, I hope.  All the best everyone - it's nice to be back here again once more.

Your Friend, Cy Bear
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ready to Celebrate Halloween? Here are Three Cuddlies eager to help you!

Hello Everyone!

 Cy Bear has been hinting that I've not been doing my bit here on the blog,  so I've decided to take over for this post - since it contains a description of how some new COLDHAMCUDDLIES have arrived in the Family.  

Cy Bear did mention them in our post last week - so now allow me to tell you more about our Halloween Spider (HS) Friends.  I really do hesitate to label real spiders as "cuddly", but these guys do buck that trend!  They are not only cuddly, they're furry and completely safe for People of all ages:  because grown-ups are needed to operate them at their full capacity, although Little People can also snuggle up without fear.

Etsy Listing #207688666

If you read our last post, HS is based on a Spider Toy made over 40 years ago by Alan's sister, who was a Patient in our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic.  https://www.etsy.com/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration-clinic?.

In that story Cy Bear told how I made a template before sewing Spider up once more, and this is what HS (and all future Spiders) will be based on.  It might also be possible to adapt him as a Frog Finger Puppet, but that experiment will have to wait for a week or two.

Essentially, this is what is required for this Activity Toy.  It didn't take me long to make each one (I actually did three), and the decision to use Black Plush for the Upper Body, and Yellow Plush for the Under Belly was obvious, given the proximity of Halloween and it's Arachnid associations!  They could be made in Fleece fabric too, and it may well be that future Spiders could emerge in that form.

The final piece of template are for the eyes and mouth - and I decided to give the eyes a white double knitting yarn highlight, just to give the Toy some more facial character.

The rectangle piece of fabric is folded with the edge meeting the bottom of the mark on the template.  Then I folded it lengthwise and cut the fabric to match the edge: and then folded each half once more to get the four fingers.  One then folds each finger and sews each finger pocket.  As the canvas backing for some plushes can fray, I blanket stitched each seam to give a firmer edge to each finger - potentially they could get quite a lot of hard wear.  You should get something looking like this when you've done that bit of sewing.

I then sewed the finger piece to the underbelly along the seam line indicated on the underbelly circular pattern piece - making sure that the fingers are facing in the right direction (the first time I did it, I didn't!  Which meant I had to start the attachment all over again!)  One also has to make sure that the fabric pile is going in the same direction - from front to back, for both the underbelly and upper body. (I leave turning the fingers inside out until I've done the whole Toy.)

Once the finger guide is attached to the circular under belly, one can fix it to the upper body, 

sewing all the way round, but leaving an opening through which one can turn the whole Toy inside out and put the stuffing.   Again, because some plush fabrics can fray, I blanket stitched the seams to ensure it's long-term integrity.

 Then once the opening is closed, the toy is stuffed and the eyes and mouth  are attached - and should look something like this!

The Arm Puppets Cy Bear spoke about are coming along well.  The prototype is completed and will eventually join the  Cuddly Family and introduce yet another size Puppet Activity Toy to the Cuddlies Collection.  Meanwhile, the individual pieces for the Puppet due for the American puppeteer have been sewn and pictures sent for approval to the customer.  Once he's replied (hopefully in the affirmative), I'll be able to build the toy - with eyes, facial features and head stuffed:  arms lightly stuffed and attached to the body.  I'll tell you how that happens in a future post.

The Halloween Spider Threesome
Good Night - God Bless - and see you all here again soon.  Isobel

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Re-opening the Restoration Clinic in a new location

Hello Everyone!
Despite our promise to be back again soon, I'm afraid that yet another weekly post date has passed and we've not got back to you.   Life still seems to be getting in Isobel's way, and as you know I'm not much of an author without her behind me.  However, there seems to be a chance for us to get the computer switched on this afternoon, without all the usual Etsy daily administration to be taken care of, so we're going to tell you about our latest (and newest, in this location at any rate) patient in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic https://www.etsy.com/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration-clinic?

He, for it is a he as far as this post is concerned, is a Spider.   He used to be a toy that Alan (Clare's husband) played with when he was a small boy.  It was made for him by his elder sister, who is a very clever seamstress in her own right, and has been responsible for the originals of several Cuddlies  who have also been patients in the Clinic (the Black and White Kittens for example https://www.etsy.com/listing/110444487/cuddly-furry-kittens-black-and-white-art? and not to mention  our Yellow Plush Sleepy Teddy Bear https://www.etsy.com/listing/107350815/sleepy-teddy-art-doll-yellow-plush-furry?)

This what Spider looked like after he'd been taken to pieces and given a clean-up.  This is his rear view.  (We forgot to take blow-by-blow pictures of his therapy - but it took the usual course of :

(1) The seams being unpicked and his stuffing - which looked like an accumulation of nylon make-up remover balls - mixed with nylon rusty-colour stuffing.   This was discarded, needless to say - as these days such material is unacceptable for us toys due to it's inflammability)
(2) Spider's  pieces being given a bath in lukewarm soapy water - so the accumulated dust from many decades of living an an attic could be washed away.
(3)  Then Isobel took a template because she decided he would make a great addition to the COLDHAMCUDDLIES family - especially with Halloween coming up.
(4)  Then Spider was sewn up again, re-stuffed and had some new facial features added - two round black felt eyes and an orange felt mouth.
He now looks like this:
These pictures were taken with Spider sitting on the back of Isobel's armchair in our living room - he looks good against her woollen rug, doesn't he?  That rug has a history of its own by the way.  It's been with Isobel since she was a school girl in the 1950's, and has travelled to and from Canada and all around the UK!  Apparently, it's especially good at keeping legs warm  during the colder evenings.
Here's another photograph of Spider, showing how his legs are made - so that his New Friend will be able to make his legs work.  Although having said that, it may be sometime before a Little Person's fingers will fit in the finger slots - because they have been made so that a grown-up can operate him and keep a Little Person entertained.  Never mind, because he's an ideal first Toy for any little Boy or Girl, because he can be cuddled quite safely - there's not a spiky edge on him!
The next couple of shots show Spider at different angles, so that you can see what he looks like from both sides.

The template Isobel  made before re-sewing Spider back together and returning him to Clare and Alan has already been put to good use.  There are now three COLDHAMCUDDLIES Spiders available in our Shop and we'll be telling you (with step by step photographs of how they came to produced) in our next blog.  I hesitate to say when that will be - suffice to say, we will do our best to not leave it too long.  (Spider meanwhile has been put away in what is destined to become a Little Person's "Quiet Bag" - for use when the prospective Adoptive Little Person arrives and gets big enough to need one - when the family go to Mass, for instance)
Isobel is  now deeply involved in making a prototype Arm/Glove Puppet - to meet a Custom Order from a puppeteer somewhere in the United States, who is anxious to have three new ones with which to "play"!   (See what I mean about "life getting in the way! ? 
Never having made puppets as big as this, she's taken the templates for one of my Teddy Bear Friends' body and arms and the head from our Tiger Golf Club Cover  https://www.etsy.com/listing/168592299/golf-club-cover-tiger-head-animal-print?  - because it's at least two different Tigers that are required.  

Although this version is not exactly what our Buyer  now  has in mind, Isobel is continuing with it to its conclusion,  so she can satisfy herself that she can offer our customer exactly what it is he is looking for.  The prototype should be completed later today - and work will commence on the first of the actual puppets over the week-end.  We've had to wait until some special Green Cat Eyes arrived - and apparently Isobel  has actually used some (of another colour) she ordered for her own use at the same time from a fellow Etsian, Clara from  https://www.etsy.com/shop/6060 for the prototype Tiger Puppet.
We'll be telling you about those too.  So until then, Good Bye and Good Night!  
Your Friend, Cy Bear.
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A New Look for Old Friends - The latest in our Golf Club Covers to see

Greeting everyone!  Cy Bear, back again with some news from the home of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES!  

Despite her best intentions, life seems to have got in Isobel's way - yet again - and this post has been delayed a day or two.  However, we seem to be getting back into a more organised lifestyle, with a patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic, ( https://www.etsy.com/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration-clinic? ).    He is going home tomorrow and will form the basis for another post.  (I think it's been because there's not been too much NEW to tell you about that has been the real problem for Isobel to get me to tell you about!!)  

So, with no more ado - allow me to introduce you to our three new Tiger Golf Club Covers: ( https://www.etsy.com/listing/168592299/golf-club-cover-tiger-head-animal-print? )

This is the first time Isobel has taken bulk pictures of our new offerings in our new home, and she's still finding out where the best place is to do it.  We'll probably be taking better pictures once we've got ourselves organised, but as you can see - we've now got some different, patterned covers for the metal Golf Club handles, and the middle Tiger is a good example of them. 

This picture shows the middle Tiger Cover being modelled over the Golf Club.  The next two are the other Tigers, both with black woollen handle covers, but - as usual, because Isobel can never make two Cuddlies exactly the same - with slightly different faces.  In this case, it's not only because of the facial features, but the stripes on the fabric make them different too.

The second black woollen handled Cover looks a little skewed in this picture, but he appears to have slipped on the pillow on which he was laid!  He does have a straight look when modelling with the Golf Club inside him!

Then, we now have three more Panda Bear Golf Club Covers  ( https://www.etsy.com/listing/107241362/panda-bear-golf-club-head-cover-black? ) - made in the same way as they all are, but this time Isobel  has given rein to her imagination in creating different patterns for the woollen handle covers.

They all have blue safety eyes - as do all our Panda Heads, and we've used plastic noses for them - whereas the Tigers have had their facial features embroidered with Black Double Kntting wool.  We're rapidly running out of the noses, which is why they were changed during the manufacturing process.  Isobel is looking out for a supplier in our new locality - so far without success.

The next photograph shows one of the new Pandas, doing what he was made to do - cover an entire No.1 Wood Golf Club, which has been put into the walking stick stand in our hall way, as that's the best way we can illustrate how they work!


Right, this brings this post to an end.  I'll be back (or Isobel will - we've not decided yet) to tell you about the latest Patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic.  But I can tell you that when he was in pieces, Isobel made a template of him (as is her wont on these occasions) and we'll be adding Spiders to the Coldham Cuddlies family of Toys shortly.  He will be a Finger Puppet though - which makes a change from the bunch of Hand Puppets  (https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/COLDHAMCUDDLIES/sections/10500546 ) we already have in the family!

Until then - have a great Day or Evening - depending on what part of the world it is when you read this post!  

Your Friend - Cy Bear.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 28 September 2014

New Beginnings - Nottinghamshire, here we come!

Well Hello there Everyone! 

 Cy Bear back again after an even longer absence than originally intended.  I bet you've all given Isobel and I up for lost!  However, being merely a Beaver Lamb Bear, I'm unable to operate without Isobel's input, and although I've been ready to post for weeks now, she has not! What with visiting Philippa in Buckinghamshire (a visit planned well before our recent move from Wiltshire) and then house-sitting (while Clare and Alan went to spend time with friends in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) it's really only in the last week that we've been able to even contemplate a post here.
Then at the end of last week, there was a MacMillan Cancer Coffee morning held here - and as an introduction to Nottinghamshire, the results have been pretty good.  Two Baby Bunnies (one White Fleece  - https://www.etsy.com/listing/166974565/baby-bunny-toys-white-fleece-washable? -  and one Black Plush - https://www.etsy.com/listing/55187979/black-or-black-and-white-plush-baby?,  as well as a Baby Koala - https://www.etsy.com/listing/55190188/toy-koala-tree-bear-light-brown-and?) together with our Yogi Bear Golf Club Cover -  https://www.etsy.com/listing/82955598/brown-bear-glove-puppet-beige-velvet?  all found Forever Homes

This evening, one of our new neighbours rang on our front door to tell Isobel, that the lady who purchased the Yogi Bear Golf Club cover wants to give our Panda Bear - https://www.etsy.com/listing/91356474/panda-handglove-puppet-art-activity-toy? and Tiger Head Golf Club Covers -  https://www.etsy.com/listing/168592299/golf-club-head-cover-tiger-head-animal? -  new homes too! 

So, I think one can say that Coldham Cuddlies have arrived in Nottinghamshire with somewhat of a BANG  So Isobel has got to get sewing to make replacements galore.  Thus blogging will have to take a bit of a back seat once again - unless of course, I can get her to stop sewing for an hour or two and post about how she's getting on!

In the interim, we have some new CUDDLIES to introduce to you:  all three of them are Hand Puppets - we thought that with Christmas coming up, they'd make great stocking stuffers (seems that Isobel might be on to something, given our recent results!). They were made over last week-end and during the week up to Friday - hence why we didn't post here earlier!

 So, we have two Fox Hand Puppets to introduce to you:

as well as a Golden Plush Coyote Hand Puppet

You will observe that these new friends of mine have a Scottish theme about them!  The Coyote sports the Buchanan Tartan, together with a dashing white Felt Collar edged with Orange embroidered French Knots, while the two Chestnut Plush Foxes have two different other Tartan patterns.  Both have White Felt Collars, with French Knots in matching shades of blue around their respective edges.   Alas, I am unable to tell you which Scottish clans they represent - if indeed they do - because the fabrics Isobel chose were off-cuts provided to her over the months, from our local sources in Wiltshire.  However, given that Scotland has featured largely in the news in the United Kingdom recently, we both thought it was appropriate to use these plaids for our newest Family Members.  

Incidentally, there were originally two Coyotes made - one with the Hay Tartan, which is a bright red one and was used for my friend Hermione Hay Wolf (https://www.etsy.com/listing/178799382/toy-brown-gold-faux-fur-dressed-wolf-red?)  but that one was purchased by Clare on Friday at the MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning.  It's going to form the basis for a "Quiet Bag" for whomever soon comes to live with Clare and Alan - who have recently been formally accepted as Adoptive Parents.  These Quiet Bags are very useful for keeping Little People quiet in Church, I am told!    So, what with one thing and another, life is getting to be very exciting on all fronts here in Nottinghamshire.  We still miss Wiltshire, but there's been no time to be too sad about leaving our friends down there.  

Right.  I think I've been rattling on quite enough for tonight.  Hopefully, we won't wait another six weeks before posting here again.  We won't, if I have anything to say on the matter!

Good night.  God Bless.  Thanks for your patience, and we both look forward to returning to our former regular posting ways!

Your Friend  Cy Bear
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Friday, 22 August 2014

Relocation Update No. 4 - Well we made it: and other news too!

Hello Everyone - and to echo the title of this post,  Cy Bear and I have made it!

We now reside in a quiet, residential complex for mature folk in the small Nottinghamshire town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, some 25 miles north of Nottingham itself.  We're two weeks into our new surroundings, although I only moved in myself at the beginning of this week (August 18th to be precise).  Cy Bear, together with all the Cuddlies, moved away from Wiltshire on August 11th and were duly deposited in their new home on August 12th

To say the experience was breath-taking is an accurate description.  The removal crew were so quick and so efficient, that things got packed away before I could tell them they should remain in situ - for others to remove after my departure. The result - first thing next day, was a cry for help to Alan's father for his assistance in removing one double mattress to the local dump.  It had been  rejected on the grounds that the important fire retardant label had been removed (seem to recall Peter got fed up with it scratching his legs everytime he passed by it and used a convenient pair of scissors to remove it!)  The British Heart Foundation benefitted from the other one and the North American style, three foot wide 3-drawer steel filing cabinet which had accompanied Peter and I in our various moves since it's purchase in the early 1980's (with hardly a scratch to show for it's adventures!). Those items, together with a working washing machine (which  was sold!) were the only things that could not be fitted into my current dwelling.  The result admittedly is a tight squeeze, but there's room enough for me to move around - or there will be when everything is in it's correct place eventually!

The whole moving experience lasted a total of  six and one quarter hours - 3.5 hours packing everything into two vans the first day,  and 2.75 hours unpacking the next.  The task was undertaken by two fathers and their respective sons, who were obviously used to each other's reactions in such situations and the task was accomplished with very little chit-chat between them.  Nothing was broken, and they even took the trouble to leave pathways in the living room in my present abode to enable one to move between the piled up boxes during the unpacking process - while they placed the furniture in the bedroom, living room and kitchen areas according to the floor plan I had created.

Clare and Alan, having just moved home themselves, were still in relocation mode themselves.  This resulted in all the many boxes - I lost count after about 30! - being unpacked and the contents distributed somewhere into the nearest convenient place (for me to sort out over the following days). All the packing cases had been taken to the dump by the Thursday morning!  I don't move as fast as heretofore - and fitting a two-bed flat into one living room and one bedroom has taken a bit of doing. The process is on-going - but we're getting there.  Hopefully, this will explain the gap in publishing posts here over the past few weeks. We will try to do better - soon!

One thing emerged during the packing up process however - once all the other unbreakable objects had been packed by me.  My fabric stash was, and still is MASSIVE.  I was not prepared to sacrifice much of it given the quality of plush fur accumulated - not to mention all the other plush, tweeds, velvets etc that had accumulated during the 4 years since starting COLDHAMCUDDLIES in February 2010.

This was just the bottom half of the fabric store cupboard.  There was a canvas travelling case semi-full which normally resided under my former double bed, coupled with that stored in the upper shelves above the cupboard, shown below:

Here all the fleeces, some leathers and felts were kept, and then there was all the sewing equipment and sewing machine to packed too.  As I  packed, a sinking feeling started and the thought occurred that I might be biting off a bit more than I could chew, but nevertheless having started, the process one carried on.

The result was that the fabrics alone looked like this when awaiting relocation into a removal van -

to be followed by the "Body Bag" (the family description after they had been purchased before we returned from Canada in 1987!) containing all the Cuddlies in their various plastic bags on top of the pile.

At the Nottinghamshire end, my fears were pretty well realised when, after finding spaces for rest of my stuff, the three of us faced the prospect of fitting that pile into the one big cupboard in the flat, next door to the front cupboard - usually housing vacuum cleaners etc in any other normal person's home!  The result is now like this:

Cy Bear sitting on top of the Body Bag containing his fellow Cuddlies, which is on top of one of the fabric Body Bags in my bedroom.  The rest of the Cuddlies raw materials are unceremoniously stuffed into the cupboard like this.

and the top of the same cupboard:

So how are we contemplating solving the seemingly unsolvable?  Someone - I think it could have been Philippa - suggested acquiring vacuum bags and these have accordingly been purchased.  They arrived earlier today, and the process of housing the plush will begin tomorrow.  We do have some leeway however:  the two canvas suitcases are destined for Clare and Alan's home - to be used in the not too distant future by them - if they choose to.  They contain baby clothes that I have saved - and are still in good condition.  They have been worn  by every family baby since Philippa - the oldest cousin - was born. (Clare and Alan received the good news that they have been approved as prospective Adoptive Parents this very day (having passed their Adoption Panel last week after a pretty stressful few months).  Together with the space the cases have occupied since Cy Bear and I arrived, and the two shelves in the next door front cupboard - I'm hoping the vacuum bags will prove my "salvation". (An update on that will come in the next post or two!)

The uppermost shelf here is currently occupied by painting material left behind by the maintenance staff who only managed to redecorate the living room before we all arrived on August 12th.  Their materials will remain for them to complete redoing the hallway (the bedroom really doesn't need it) during the few days I am going away to stay with Philippa at the end of next week, so that shelf will be available eventually as well.

Cy Bear has recovered his equanimity after being unceremoniously pushed into a very convenient corner in one of the boxes which contained books and house linen.

He was not a happy Bear to begin with, because he had to perch on top of the travelling case containing all the Cuddlies  in the new bedroom. 

 (That is still where he is put each night when I hit the hay, as the new - very comfortable - single bed is now not large enough to accommodate the two of us.  Not that he did before - I'm a very restless sleeper, and I don't think Cy Bear is the sort who would appreciate being uncermoniously removed in my sleep!!!)

Until the next time - as I look forward to the next stage in the life of  COLDHAMCUDDLIES, which  is beginning to look very promising - on all fronts.  

Good night - and God bless you all  Isobel.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic