|The Stripeless Tiger Arm Puppet also going to Mt. Shasta this week|
Sunday, 15 November 2020
Sunday, 1 November 2020
Hello there Everyone! Cy Bear back again - with latest updates on the Tiger Front.
The Orange Tigers - Puppet and Toy - posted about two weeks ago, reached Brooklyn, New York safely - within the stated deadline: that doesn't always happen these days, I fear . From the photograph you'll see that the Toy Tiger was being inspected with interest when that picture was taken:
As the Tiger Toy travelled in the same package as did our Orange Tiger Arm Puppet, we assume that too was approved of, and that the family are now all settling in well and getting to know each other. Isobel and I are very grateful for the speedy response to the request for this news and wish everyone a really happy life together going forward
While the Tigers travelled quickly to Brooklyn, once dispatched from our local Post Office, Isobel quickly finished off the Tiger Who Lost His Stripes Arm Puppet that our new San Diego-based friend, MrsML had ordered be sent to her best friend's 7 year old grand daughter, MsC living in another part of New York. That package departed last Wednesday afternoon, and having just checked with Royal Mail Tracking Service Isobel finds that it has left the UK on its way to America, but so far the United States Postal Service hasn't yet received it officially. Some journeys, even to the same postal City can take longer than others - and in the case of as big a City as New York, may even take longer still (depending on which airline handles the package, and which airport the package lands). Anyway, we know it's still travelling - and looked like this before being wrapped up and packed into its Royal Mail plastic Air Mail envelope.
It was just before this Tiger Arm Puppet was wrapped up that Isobel noticed that it didn't have the usual black yarn embroidery around his orange nose. So, before the final wrapping took place (but after this photo was taken) that the missing facial feature was added. When this Arm Puppet arrives in Sunnyside, New York (isn't that a nice sounding address?) she will therefore look complete, rather than how the photograph shows her.
While still on the subject of our 2020 Saga about our Tiger Arm Puppets, Isobel finally received a refund for one Arm Puppet who got lost in transit during his journey to Medina, Ohio in May this year. This Tiger was dispatched from our local Post Office together with another one headed for Raleigh, North Carolina. We had assumed both reached their destinations as usual, but at the end of July, the customer wanting her Tiger Puppet to go to Medina wrote to us (just in time, fortunately) to ask what had happened to it. She had wanted her grand daughter to receive it for her birthday, but it hadn't arrived. Isobel learned about this about five days before the deadline for her to make a successful claim against Royal Mail for non-delivery of goods. When we heard from MrsSG (the Ohio buyer) Isobel naturally refunded her in full - and set about claiming for the lack of service (which is why we ALWAYS send all Coldham Cuddlies via Royal Mail International Tracked/Signed For service)! What with Covid19 and the usual checks that take place on such occasions, we finally got our payment - IN FULL - at the end of this week. Next job for Isobel is to pay that cheque into the Cuddlies' Bank account in Sutton in Ashfield (which will happen either Monday or Tuesday of this week).
So, that is all for this week My Friends. England is going into "full" Covid19 lock down as of Thursday next week, which is almost as severe as it was earlier this year. Whatever happens, Isobel will still be able to visit TeamACE up the road, and do her shopping. She is currently busy with three Tigers, two of them Toys, and one further Arm Puppet - all destined for Mt Shasta, California. The Toys are are being made like the New York Orange Tiger Toy, but made in another Plush fabric - I'll show you those, when they're completed - as Isobel goes along. Also things are moving on the UK Department of International Trade Export assistance front that I told you about earlier this year, so she will be kept busy, whatever else happens.
I'll be back again, next week - meanwhile you all keep safe, my Friends: wherever you happen to be.
Sunday, 25 October 2020
Hello Everybody: Cy Bear glad to be back again.
Isobel is currently still busily immersed in making Tigers - whether our Arm Puppets, or more recently Orange Tiger Toys - so she thought you'd like to see what she's been up to when not helping me write this blog.
The former uses the same pattern as our popular Tiger Who Lost His Stripes Arm Puppets (two of whom have recently found their Forever Homes with a new good friend of the Coldham Cuddlies, Mrs ML). Thus one Orange Tiger Puppet (pictured below) is currently on its way to MrsML's nephew and wife in New York, accompanied by our most recent addition to the Shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies) our Orange Tiger Toy - which is intended for their 6 months old daughter, MsR:
This Tiger Toy is being accompanied by a matching Orange Tiger Arm Puppet shown below - both of them are travelling in the same parcel via the usual Royal Mail Tracked and Signed For Service and are due to land in their Forever Home sometime next week - all being well. (In these Covid pandemic times, one can never be totally confident of what is normally a pretty trouble free service!).
Ready to be wrapped and packed up to travel to Brooklyn, New York
Although not intended specifically as a Halloween present, we're all hoping that this bundle of potential family fun will get to New York in time for this year's commemoration of all things spooky, even though neither of these toys can be classed in that category! (Unless, of course, to begin little MsR is a bit startled by the bright colours, and dark stripes). Equally, not every child is immediately intrigued by toys that don't have their full number of paws/legs! As Toy makers, Isobel and I have to be ready for the odd initial hesitance in accepting a new toy in a family: although, to date, that has not lasted too long (fingers crossed).
Getting acquainted prior to the start of their joint journey
The lighting for the last two photographs shows that these were indeed taken just before the two toys were readied for their trip (just as Isobel had finished sewing the Puppet, and then going to bed on the evening before they left the UK!). So not really a photograph: just a quick snapshot!.
It's been sometime since Isobel has been asked to use this Orange Tiger print fabric, so there was even greater care needed in trying to match the stripes in such a way that everyone didn't get eye-strain with the decorations going in all different directions. Making so many Tiger Who Lost His Stripes Puppet versions has meant Isobel having rather lost that skill in a way. However, we're both satisfied that the final outcome is not too much of a strain for family onlookers and their friends.
The stripe arrangement for this side of the Tiger Toy was much easier to accomplish on this side!
Our Orange Tiger looks a little fierce (or maybe a bit startled) here - just because of the arrangement of stripes on the side of his face and mouth. One doesn't want to lose too much fabric in the process of matching up the pattern while creating the toys with existing printed patterning on the material.
MrsML (of San Diego, California) is fast becoming one of the ColdhamCuddlies best customers, because not only did she decide to keep the two Tiger Arm Puppets that comprised her initial order to Isobel, but she's ordered another, smaller version non-stripey Tiger Arm Puppet for her best friend's grand daughter living in another part of New York). (Isobel is close to finishing this smaller Tiger Arm Puppet).
Then she has been asked to make two more Tiger Toys (imitating this Orange Tiger, but using the Biscuit Premier plush fabric we use for our original Tiger Arm Puppet), plus another normal-size stripeless Tiger Arm Puppet - with all of them being sent to the same address in another part of California. You might say, we're inundated with Tigers presently! Its a very good thing Isobel enjoys making these toys!! Far from being overwhelmed though, we'll happily accept requests from all-comers!
With that, I'll end for this week. Hereabouts, we are expecting to be put into the highest tier of Covid 19 Lock Down measures in England this week (maybe as soon as Monday, but more likely on Wednesday). That means Isobel will be more restricted than she has been lately, but she can still visit Team ACE, her family 3 doors away and also do her essential shopping. She's well prepared, and will continue do her best to keep safe - something we BOTH urge all our friends who read this, and support the Cuddlies, to make sure they do too.
See you again next week!!
Sunday, 18 October 2020
An Armful of Grampy Cats
Grampy Cat No 1
Grampy Cats 1 and 2
Grampy Cats with Green garments
Maybe the Choice is emerging?
and Being Sealed with a Kiss?
Sunday, 11 October 2020
Hello there Everyone!
Cy Bear back again with two weeks missing in between! One was - as ever - a technical hiccup: the other Isobel started to do this post, and found she then had filed the photos for the finished Toy Cats destined for MsVS and the family in Tulsa somewhere on the computer - and couldn't then find them for including here! We're hoping that we can conclude the story this time around.
Our last post ended with the hope that I'd be able to start telling you about the Cats - then called The Memory Cats. These were the result of a commission by MsVS, daughter of Cuddlies Friend and Designer, MrSS who sadly died earlier this year. Isobel hadn't realised that he'd been living on borrowed time, so when the event took place, it was a bit of a shock. Not only had MrSS been the "go-to" designer for Cuddlies for whom Isobel didn't have a pattern, but he'd also become our Best Buyer - by far, as he seemed to buy all the new models of our Clerical Bears - who can be seen here - https://www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies?section_id=27506818 - but also had been responsible for introducing his daughter and her family to the Cuddlies, as well as his Mother.
The first Cat Head, as well as two of the 4 calico cut out bodies
Anyway, MsVS contacted Isobel in the early summer and asked if she would be prepared to make a Memory Cat if she sent us some of her Dad's favourite shirts to make them with. After a battle to get the right price for the package sent to us in the UK - from Tulsa, Oklahoma - the fabric eventually arrived, and we were able to get started on the commission.
As Isobel deactivated the order when it was completed, she's unable to give me a photo of the fabrics to show here. It consisted of two shirts (one blue and one sports shirt in a lovely green colour, and a bit of a family joke fabric consisting of material with lots of yellow ducks - the kind that kids play with in baths). Once Isobel understood the significance of the last item, she had great fun deciding exactly how to incorporate the ducks (which faced in all sorts of different directions on the material) - once she had unpicked both shirts so that she could use the fabrics without seams getting in the way. (That wasn't an easy task, because both items were well constructed - and she also had to try to save some decals that were incorporated on the two shirts as well).
While undertaking the unpicking task, Isobel decided that instead of doing just the one Cat - as she had already decided - she was going to make the Cat using at least two, if not three, of her existing Toy patterns. As she could think of at least 4 close family members who might like to be eventual Best Friends with the Memory Cats (MrSS's Daughter, Grand daughter, Son and Mother), she began to plan her attack on the fabric and go for the full foursome.
First to be cut out was a Lady Cat using the green shirt for the Cat's skirt. (She decided she would make two Girls and Two Boys, and leave the Family to decide who would get which cat). The Cats' Faces, Paws (hands and feet) and Tails were to be made with our Grey Premier Plush fabric - which is lovely and soft and most recently used to make our Elephant Toy
She then cut out a similar number of Ducklings to be added to a Blue Skirt (with the lady Cats having Tops made with Blue or Green, depending on which Skirt one was looking at). The Gentlemen would have a similar colour choice - and you can see what I mean by looking at the then headless Cat Boy Toy below. MsVS had stipulated she didn't want Shoes or Boots, but Furry Feet and Paws, and this Isobel set out to provide. The Snoopy decal was delicately prised off the Blue Shirt when she was unpicking the shirt seams. Where appropriate, she used the Lucky Ducky material as linings, which she backed with thin interfacing, as the fabric was a lot thinner in weight than the two shirts.
You can see the first Boy Cat's clothing a bit better in the photograph below. All the Cats' arms were made so that they could be moved once finished - giving the eventual Best Friends as much opportunity to arrange their own Memory Cat to suit the eventual spot where they would spend their forthcoming lives.
When the heads got cut out and sewn, no matter how she tried, Isobel couldn't help feeling that they didn't look as much like Cats as she would like - even though the pattern she was using most was said to be from a Cat Puppet! That may have been because the Grey Premier Plush didn't really lend itself to looking like the desired animal, but in the end, Isobel decided to carry on carrying on - because whatever she did, none of them would necessarily look like each other - which was the effect she was trying to achieve.
This is how the First Cat Toy looked when finished - we decided that a dark blue satin waist band gave the Toy a good completed look,although she also definitely needed something around her neck too.
A photograph of the first completed pair shows the Boy's jacket closed by using a popper (under the gold button), because we felt it would spoil the jacket if Isobel made a button hole with which to close it. Also, the Lady Cat now has a neat white, embroidered collar to finish off her outfit.
Then Isobel turned to the other two Cats she had in mind, alternating the fabrics to get different tops and bottoms, although she felt the Green material made the better trousers. The decal on this Girl's top was taken off the original Green Shirt fabric - and has a horse depicted on it. MsVS's family are keen horse-people, so she was keen to include this item in the Memory project (it was originally off the Green shirt - a Ralph Lauren product). The waist band, this time, is provided by a matching pale blue satin ribbon tied in a bow at the back. The skirt and waist band are sewn in, and the finishing touch of a felt collar was added, because both the Girls' necks looked a little bare without something there. The collars have embroidered edges, picking out the main colours in their outfits.
Isobel felt that all of the Cats needed to have their own tails, so she made all four of them furry ones to match their head and limbs and they ended up looking like this.
The Cat with the Green Skirt can sit down - and actually prefers to do so. The Blue-Skirted Cat is not able to do so, because Isobel forgot to do the necessary seams to enable it to do so! (We're not sure what the speck is in the photo here - because all the Cats had soft furry ears on the outsides, with a grey lining for all ears to complete the look).
The Memory Cats, as they were called when they left us, lined up for their final pictures before each were individually wrapped and fitted into one of our biggest postal envelopes - nice and snugly. They travelled quite fast this time around. (During our relationship with MrSS there had been times when Toys had gone for longer journeys than intended and one nearly being returned, because the wrong Zip Code had been provided to Isobel!). They were picked up from their local post office, after the postman had initially not been able to deliver them - and were given a seal of approval from MsVS's daughter, who was originally intended to get just one.
While she looks like she's happy to love them all, we now await to hear which family member gets to house which Grampy Cat - as they have now been named now that they are arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Technology is once again intervening, and not allowing me to copy and paste them from their original Facebook files. We'll work on the problem over next week, and show you some of the photos then).
Until then, I'll sign off for this week,
An Important announcement follows:
- MrSS and Isobel had originally crossed paths when he contacted her to make a series of Tiger Arm Puppets about 5 years ago - and he then gave us the patterns for us to use for all our Arm Puppet Toys in the Shop. So you see why Isobel is so grateful that she was given the chance to make these Memory/Grampy Cats for the Smith family. MrSS has been a large part of the reason that this week, COLDHAMCUDDLIES is able to announce that we have now made 200 Sales from our Etsy Shop since we started (and that doesn't count all the sales we've made OFF LINE - at craft bazaars and other events in the same period). We're looking forward to making many more as the months go on - but meanwhile want to thank EVERYONE who has supported us since our start in September 2010.
Sunday, 27 September 2020
This is what the lining of a Tiger (or any other) Arm Puppet looks like when first sewn
Here is what the latest Tiger Who Lost His Stripes looked like before being turned right side out
After the Cats, Isobel began another Tiger Who Lost His Stripes Puppet - this time for a Buyer (MsML from San Diego, California - the photos here were taken to keep MsML updated on how her commission was progressing!). There's a real story attached to this one, which will form another blog, after I've finished the Memory Cats Saga.
Sunday, 6 September 2020
|11+ days on the run beginning to take its toll|
|Now begins the long job of getting her settled into the family - at her pace, not ours.|
|This one needs a Nose/Mouth Job, as well as his Tail being attached|
Work on the Smith Memory Cat Project has moved ahead steadily. Two are now nearly fully complete: and the rest are in pieces. These now need to be assembled, stuffed and put in place. Cat No.1 has had her ears changed, but now needs to have her tail added in the appropriate spot on the back of her skirt. She now has dark blue sash around her middle (not yet stitched in placed), and will have a white collar (suitably embroidered with some of the colours her outfit is made with).
|Waiting for her Tail and a Collar around her neck|
|Still requires the addition of buttons/holes and a head/neck and tail before he's complete|