Sunday, 19 May 2019

Some Creative Musing on the Cuddlies Front: plus Order News too!

Hello there everyone!  

Cy Bear back again, this time in a bit of a hurry.  Things are hotting up in these parts, and I don't necessarily mean just the weather!  Last week's post about our latest Golf Club cover, our Otter Club Cover may - or may not;  one can never tell we find - have resulted in two new orders for the same kind.  




One, when they are made shortly, will be off to New York State, U.S.A.:  the other will be headed shortly afterwards to Austin, Texas,U.S.A.  There's just about two days in between the receipt dates for their respective orders, so I'd guess that Isobel will be making these in tandem, as it were!

Meanwhile, Isobel decided to have a bit of a break from Clerical Bear production - even though we  collected an off-Etsy order for another Padre Bear (which now makes 20 sales to date!) last Monday when Isobel was at a St.Barnabas Cathedral Craft Group meeting.  She was helping to finish off the banner-making in which she and her fellow member have been involved since the beginning of 2019.  We already have an order in for another Sister Breda Blue Nun Bear (the third or fourth version since she was originally introduced early in 2019). As you can see,  Isobel is being kept well out of mischief!!

As a breather from Bear-making (do not understand why she should need one, mind you!) Isobel embarked on having a go at making a brand new Golf Club Cover.  After all, it is golfing season now - at least that's what I'm told - and when making the Otter earlier in the year, she felt she had been challenged to have a go at making another kind,  as she mentioned in last week's post. 

We'd found a pattern for a bird (not a Peacock one - there were plenty to choose from, but none that looked like one we could use for our purpose) that Isobel felt she could use to create what she was aiming for - from that well-known site Pinterest:




This was traced off, and Isobel stuck it on to some of the cardboard (formerly cereal boxes, kept especially for this purpose!).  After cutting out each piece as printed, she then created a slightly larger version which she felt would be a better finished size for the Peacock Golf Club cover she was aiming for.

The materials needed for making the Peacock Club Cover had been in hand since the challenge had been received.  So, she first knitted up the metal handle cover - this time using a chunky yarn, rather than the usual double knit variety she usually uses.  That's proved to be a wrong decision, because she's currently involved in re-knitting the finished cover, because the original was just not wide enough to accommodate the club head when it is put together.   Isobel couldn't remember exactly the size of knitting needle best suited to this weight of wool, so she guessed, and although it looked good, it hasn't yet proved to necessarily be the right choice - not wide enough to give sufficient space for easy placing/removal of the wooden club head.




The two small bits on the right of the picture above are the proposed wings made in felt, and backed with a spare piece of white long-pile plush, which Isobel is now using as stuffing for club covers.  It's less bulky than full-on stuffing, and seems to work well.  During the week, however, she decided to cut out another set of wings in felt, remove the plush backing, and sew a second felt backing to each wing.  The plush was making the wings out of proportion to the body of the proposed Peacock!  However, the rest of the bird pattern was sewn with the white plush fabric to make the body.  It's meant, in this version anyway, that every piece has needed to be sewn to the backing, and then  the pieces of felt turned inside out, so that the pile is on the inside of each pattern piece.  As the plush backing does tend to fray, it's meant that each seam involved has needed to be over sewn too - so the creation process is quite long-winded.




This gives you an idea of what the Peacock began to look like as the "building up" process went along.  The beak is in two pieces, using black felt.  The "crown" was made by rolling up a small piece of left-over felt, and cutting thin tassel-like pieces half way down the finished roll.  It results in a fairly recognisable peacock "crown", and we feel is acceptable for this particular purpose.  After all, this is an experiment, isn't it?  We just need it to be recognisable as a Peacock:  not an exact replica!

Then the tail was created.  Using the tail pattern piece, Isobel used the two different-sized pattern pieces for that part of the bird, and created a fan type final product.  We cut out two pieces of the final tail piece, and on one of them, using coins as a template, Isobel created the circular peacock type eye decorations, and sewed them in place on the top piece of felt, with black double knit yarn knot as the centre piece, holding all the other colour pieces in place.  She then sewed round the darker yellow felt bit to keep each decoration in situ.  She then placed a backing piece, with wrong sides together and blanket-stitched the two pieces together, ending up with a tail piece like this,  She used pinking shears to cut out the tail pieces - hoping to give an impression of feathers:



At this point, Isobel got in touch with the gentleman who originally, had gestingly suggested a Peacock Golf Club cover - to see if he might still be interested in having one as his special golf club cover.  Initially, we don't think he was - he'd probably forgotten about it, and didn't want to be reminded!  However, the next day, the gentleman emailed Isobel to say "great work:  lovely colours.  Keep me posted!"  So, that's just what we have done, and will continue to do.  (By the way, Isobel is a little bit surprised at herself at the moment:  this is not her usual modus operandi, but we are both a little intrigued at how things are turning out!  Perhaps, she should have been as bold as we feel we are being here, earlier?)

Meanwhile, Isobel was scrolling through past conversations with customers - as she does from time to time - and was reminded of an incident just before Christmas 2018, when a customer asked us to make some Mice Golf Club Covers.  Now, other than Mickey Mouse and his Friends (all of whom would be taboo for us to use as models, due to copyright issues), mouse figures don't really lend themselves to becoming Golf Club Covers in the dimensions or pattern shapes we currently work with.  So, Isobel did suggest the lady might like to have one of our Panda Golf Club Covers instead:


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https://www.etsy.com/listing/573989964/

However, she had trouble persuading her husband (for whom they were originally intended as Christmas presents that year!) to make up his mind (and during this week's contact, we discovered he'd gone ahead and got some for himself elsewhere!).  At that time, Isobel did find out that the lady was a golfer herself (as she'd mentioned she might be interested in the Pandas herself ), so she was told about the Peacock project.  We'd never really finished that original conversation, and two Christmases have intervened since, so Isobel felt it might be worth renewing contact!   The outcome of that last exchange of convos, is that she, was pleased to be contacted, and she, too, asked to be kept informed about the Peacock, and would like to see the final outcome!!   So, fingers crossed, if the original challenger isn't interested  (he will be given first choice once (or if) the Peacock Golf Club cover is listed ), we might still have an interested buyer on the horizon.  Exciting times, eh?

To get back to the Peacock saga - Isobel found some suitable eyes in our collection of such items, and added a white felt background for this latest Cuddly offering's facial features.

Then she starting putting the wings in place and sewing up the different parts of the body - tummy and back.  It was at this point that Isobel thought the original wings were out of proportion to the rest of the bird, and the new wing format was decided on.  (Making brand new Cuddlies is always a longer process than they become as they are repeated!) 




She's not sure, if the finished product may not need a little extra stuffing, because the seams here don't seem to be as neat as Isobel likes to end up with.  However, that decision is still for the future.




This is how the Peacock is now looking, with feet added, tail sewn in place (with the final decorative circle in place on it) and seen from the other side to our earlier photographs. (We think he's still looking a little thin in the body area!).

We now await the grand-putting together of the two golf club cover pieces.  Current thinking is that once we've got a wider handle cover, and it slips over the wood head as easily as our other models do (which the original knitted version did not - too few stitches had been knitted on the needle) the top of the knitted handle cover will be gathered, to create a sort of "nest" on which the Peacock will be sewn.  Then some elastic will be used lower down the knitted cover to create a pocket into which the golf club head can be housed - about 4-5 inches below the top :  the elastic will have to be sufficiently long to easily slip over  the wood head, because these covers tend to be replaced (and removed!) fast by the players when in use.  

So, there's still some way to go - but we think we're nearly there!  Am hoping matters will go smoothly, as life with Isobel is always much better when these experiments go well!!

Until next week, then:  hope everyone has a good one.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

New Creatures in the Golf Club Area

Hello again, EveryoneCy Bear back again, and after that short week, slightly breathless!  Where did those days we DID have, go?

While Coldham Cuddlies were off line earlier this year, following the various technical issues we suffered, as you know Isobel's sewing activities were not hindered.  What with the Clerical Bears, who have kept her busy - and still do, and the four Bears (Two Yellow and Two Silver Grey) she was  asked to make (all of whom I've posted about here in recent weeks), she also was approached by a keen Golfer to see if she could make him a Custom Order Otter Golf Club Cover.

As you know, Isobel is always game to have a go, but is useless when it comes to creating a pattern from scratch.  However, fortuitously, daughter Clare had come across an Otter pattern (from Pinterest) a week or two earlier, and had sent it to Isobel - saying she thought that making an Otter Toy would be a great addition to the Coldham Cuddlies Shop...(https://www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies ).  We're very lucky having her nearby offering such constructive ideas!  

While researching it further, Isobel got in touch with the original creator of the pattern to ask if she would mind us using her original as a Golf Club Cover"Fluffmonger" is the name of the creator, and we were given the go-ahead - and asked to let the originator have photos of the finished piece, as well as us giving her credence for her pattern (She creates other animal patterns, and makes them as well)

This we did - as we are doing here too - when we sent the Otter Golf Club Cover off to our customer, MrPH.  (He is a member of an English Golf Club - near Liverpool - and many of the members have club head covers with animals related to their surnames, which are also often their nick-names among the group of friends).  Our customer's surname was HoltOtters live in "holts", so the obvious animal head he needed for this purpose was that of an Otter:  so, he'd found Isobel/ColdhamCuddlies on the internet, and approached us to see if we could help.




The original picture is for two stand-alone toys (Mother and Baby Otter):  so Isobel decided to use the top half of the Mother Toy pattern, and the arms that were also included in the pattern.  She also tried a new technique for stuffing the animal head part of our Golf Club Covers.  Normally, she makes a lining for each head, and lightly stuffs the resulting space with our usual polyester fibre stuffing.  However, we've had a supply of white long-pile plush fabric in our stash, which ought to be used for making polar bears or other white toys.  The fabric pile is too thick for our dressed Rabbit Toys, the pure white colour is really impractical when it comes to long-term Toy usage, and it's been taking up valuable space in our store cupboard.  So, Isobel cut out identical pattern pieces of this white plush fabric, and sewed each Brown fleece fabric to them, with the pile (fluffy side) on the wrong side of each fleece piece. This results in a less bulky final product, and a harder-wearing inside lining to each Club Cover.  We thus had a stuffed Otter Head ready to be attached to the knitted Club Handle cover which forms the rest of the Golf Club Head Cover.  (It's also a lot less cumbersome than the other Heads, although no one has complained about them to date).


The two separate bits joined together
In order to make our Otter Club Cover more manageable (the flapping arms would not be an acceptable "look"), Isobel decided he needed to have his arms actually holding something - and tried her hand at creating a fish!  Now this was real experimental stuff on her part, you understand, but we were both delighted with the outcome:  because the end result does actually resemble a fish!


Fish being held in place with pins prior to sewing securely to the Club Cover

This arrangement is in addition to what happens with our Golf Club covers to date, which have a collar where the head and handle pieces meet, and look like these:


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 https://www.etsy.com/listing/573989964/black-and-white-panda-bear-head

This is the kind of golf club that all these Golf Club Covers are intended to cover.




This one is the sample Isobel was given when she first made these items for sale in our Shop, and although the more modern examples are made with more light weight materials, they have a lot more technical features added to them - which is a very good reason that Golfers like to look after their clubs by giving them covers.


Golfers also like to keep their special clubs from damaging each other when they are in their golf bags being "caddied" around the golf courses during their games:  and these club covers do just that as well..




Here you can see the finished Otter Golf Club Cover on the Golf Club I've shown you:  and here it is when it arrived with MrPH:




MrPH was also kind enough to write to his golfing chums in the following terms - (this was a non-Etsy connection, as many of our Orders can be).

"May I introduce you to Isobel, cc’ed above, who recently hand made my “Otter” head cover for the princely sum of £15 plus delivery. Isobel is aware of the animal nickname tradition we have…. 

So…..if any of you are interested in a bespoke peacock, wombat, seahorse or whatever…….Isobel may be able to help!!

Isobel can be contacted through - www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies, and then scroll down the left side of the page to the section "Golf Club Head Covers". She can also be contacted on pimstgabriel@hotmail.com if some are a bit hesitant about the "cuddlies" connection!

Cheers!"

This did result in one of the 17 fellow golfers he contacted responding fairly promptly (using the suggested alternative link!).  Apparently his nickname is "The Peacock" (or something like it), and Isobel felt that the response, although very welcome, was somewhat doubtful as to whether a Peacock Golf Club Cover could actually be created!  (Don't tell anyone, at the time, so, too was Isobel!). 

However, as time has passed, and a change from the production of Clerical Bears began to be contemplated, Isobel has been cogitating.  That's always a "dangerous" thing - and just recently she has started to work on a prototype Peacock Golf Club Cover (without approaching the gentleman concerned!). 


Using the new modus operandi for creating Golf Club Covers - one semi-complete wing - centre front

If it works, Isobel will offer it to him (she kept the correspondence on file, for just this possibility).  If it doesn't, well there's no harm done........but watch this space!  The finished product, if the Challenger doesn't want to go through with the idea, and if it's acceptable quality, will then become a new member of the Coldham Cuddlies family!  We'll keep you updated as we go along!

See you all again next week, everyone.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.



Sunday, 5 May 2019

News About Some Toys that Aren't Bears: Tigers For Starters

Good afternoon EveryoneCy Bear greeting you all again! Good to be back.

Some really popular toys (other than Bears!) Isobel has made for the COLDHAM CUDDLIES family since 2010 are Tigers.  Most have been in the form of Hand/Arm Puppets, but they have also been in the form of  Long Legged Tigers too - they can be seen by clicking here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/656861636/long-legged-tiger-fun-toy-presents?ref=shop_home_active_6.

These are based on one of our early Patients in the Stuffed Toy Animal Hospital ( https://www.etsy.com/listing/670854959/animal-toy-hospital-dog-and-bear-toys?ref=shop_home_active_4) whereas the Arm Puppets are made using a pattern provided to us when Isobel first "met" MrSS - one of our best customers, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma Isobel and He first collaborated when he asked for some Tiger Puppets he was working on for a private project connected with a very popular TV programme in the USA and Canada (in the 1970's and 1980's) - "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood".  There were several Tiger Puppets in the stories, and Isobel was asked to make copies of three of them, and then was allowed to keep MrSS's pattern for future use in the Shop.  

That has recently resulted in Isobel being approached to make two variations of one of the programme's popular characters, who accidentally lost his stripes!  One came from a gentleman, who is a professional Counsellor, who thought having a Puppet would help him deal with some of his Patients and had fond memories himself of that particular television programme.  We don't use the name of the character (we don't want to have copyright issues!), but refer to the character as the "Tiger Who lost his Stripes", and our Buyer wanted his puppet to be a Tiger type, but, colour-wise,  looking more like one of the other characters too - so the first version was made in Grey Plush, and looked like this, before it was put together.




Until this batch of puppets came to be made, Isobel used to make finger guides - for the operating digits to fit into - with cardboard rolls covered with calico which were then sewn into the neck area of the puppet involved.  That worked well for the smaller puppets (https://www.etsy.com/listing/700871997/brown-plush-rabbit-glove-puppet-toy?ref=shop_home_active_6), but with these arm length ones with their larger heads, the heads did tend to be somewhat "wobbly" to operate.  (It also meant that the finished puppets couldn't really be exposed to water, making cleaning "accidents" a problem).  So, she decided to make a separate fabric only, circular, opening to make a larger aperture - through which more than one finger could be fitted.  (It gets sewn in the neck opening). It ended up looking like this:




This seems to have done the trick, and this is what the finished Grey Tiger Who Lost his Stripes looked like before being sent off to his Forever Home - with one of Isobel's friends holding him up to demonstrate the new arrangement.  (The lady was a valuable source of great sewing ideas, as well as providing a useful prop for such occasions!)




 -  and the lower photo showing what he looked like last August, when he was originally made.


(This Puppet headed to Exeter, Pennsylvania, USA)

Not having done an Arm Puppet for some time, and actually "up to her eyes" in the preparations for introducing The Clerical Bears to the World,  Isobel was surprised (and delighted too!) to get another enquiry from a lady - this time living in Mississippi, USA.  She wanted to have a similar Arm Puppet, but instead of it being in grey long haired plush, she asked if it could be in a tan colour.  Her partner was also a devotee of the same television programme, he had a birthday coming up within a few weeks, and she and her Partner's sister, felt this would be an ideal gift to celebrate the occasion.  So, after locating suitable (fleece this time) fabric for the task, and as a break from The Clerical Bears,  Isobel set to, used the same, new finger guide pattern as well, and very soon, Tan Tiger Who Lost His Stripes was winging its way to its Forever Home.

Modelled by the same elderly friend (who is, alas, no longer available for this service) this is what our Tan Tiger looked like before being wrapped up and sent off to Brandon, Mississippi:




Showing a similar, rear view as his Grey Tiger Puppet friend:

The Tan Tiger Puppet survived the international journey, and reached his intended destination in good time for the "special occasion" for which it was intended:


Sarah D added a photo of their purchase
Operated by his new  Forever Friend

This is the review we got from our Buyer for this Coldham Cuddlies export:   

Sarah DNov 5, 2018
5
This stripe challenged tiger is absolutely the best purchase I have ever made!! Isobel has an amazing talent and we are so grateful she has shared that gift with us.  I have a VERY happy Mister (Rogers for Halloween!) and several Littles who thought it was “the best thing ever!” If/when the need may arise again, I will be purchasing again!!

Getting reviews from buyers is something Isobel really appreciates - and so far, all the 75 reviews we've received have all been the full five-stars! (It also helps potential Buyers when they might be considering a purchase!!!)  We've actually sold a lot more Toys since we began in 2010, but many have been off-line so don't show up on the Etsy stats, and they represent about half of the actual Etsy - based sales Isobel has achieved.  (How do we know?  Well every Cuddly has a Coldham Cuddlies label sewn somewhere on it, and Isobel is well into the second batch of 500 labels!)  One cannot MAKE Buyers leave reviews, but it's a terrific boost to IsobelI know (and we are sure as important for all her fellow Sellers) when customers do take the time to leave a nice message like MsSD did on this occasion.

Clerical Bear orders continue to steadily flow in (18 just now, and counting!)  - and we're always willing to receive them (from anywhere in the world!), so I'll finish this week's post - hoping that everyone has a good one.  We've got another Bank Holiday this Monday (we've got 3 of them in an eight week period in 2019 - which does seem to be a lot to have so close together!!)   So, we've got another "short week" ahead of us,

See you all next week-end, all being well.  Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Introduction of New Sister Bears: and Catching Up on a Recent Patient

Hello again Everyone! Cy Bear signing in once more.

My word, but this week has flown by:  but it's good to be back again, and starting off this week's post with the promised photographs sent to us showing Benjie Bear (a.k.a. Teddy Bear Thornton, when he was a patient with us before Christmas last year).  These were taken after he'd met his Forever Friend (from the current generation of the Thornton Family) MsAT,  What is rather nice is that MsAT has created a biography-to-date, which sums up where Benjie's life is now:


On his new seat when at home with MsAT

Sporting his newly provided warm scarf

Sitting on a carpet shortly after meeting his new Friends

I'm now going to include Benjie's Story up till now, but you know the thing that caught my eye?  That is that he's already a centenarian!  He's now 104 years old!!  Isn't that great?  




This is Isobel's main reason for loving restoring toys for use by future generations!  Thanks a million to the Thornton Family for both introducing us to Teddy Bear Thornton in the first place - and allowing us to make him ready to face the future!


Now to some Bears who we are hoping will prove as long-lived in another context.  Our Clerical Bears were originally created purely as a fund-raising tool to help the St. Barnabas Cathedral Restoration Fund which helps to keep the Cathedral maintained.  However, their mission has been extended to being part of the 175th Anniversary Celebrations of St. Barnabas' Opening which begins in May this year.  The original 6 Bear Collection has now been expanded with the addition of three new Sister Bears, all of whom are made "in the style of" Orders of Nuns who have served in the Parish during that period.  These have included The Sisters of Mercy, Poor Clare Nuns (as they were/are known) and The Little Company of Mary (or The Blue Nuns - for reasons that are pretty obvious:  their distinctive blue veils).  

So, as they are all made from the same pattern, with just their habits and veils being different, I'll show you pictures of each of them, with a brief description of how they are made:

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Sister Breda

Each Sister Bear has a separate body cut out in the same colour fleece as their head, paws and ears.  The fleece paws get sewn to the appropriate colour "habit" fabric, and then each arm is stuffed separately, with a plastic disc sewn in to the top of their two arms.  The bodies and heads get stuffed, with the eyes and nose being fixed in the head, before the stuffing gets added.  


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Sister Clare
Then the veils are attached to each head, with each Bear's ears being sewn on, and once each Sister Bear's bodies have been stuffed, the "dress" is pulled over the body, and the arms are fixed in place with a matching plastic disc - through holes in the side seams of "habit" and body pieces. (That's quite an exercise for Isobel's increasingly aarthritic fingers, and now has to have the assistance from a pair of pliers in order to get the arms safely in place.)  The arms can therefore move slightly - something that should become easier as time goes by:  but currently, their movement is somewhat limited. 


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Sister Mercy
Once the head and body are sewn together, Isobel then puts the outside collar - where there is one - around the Bears' necks and sews that in place. (The narrower collar is sewn in place before the head gets attached to the body).  Then a small plastic crucifix (obtained from the Cathedral Repository as and when needed) is fixed in place with the aid of a piece of double knit yarn.  (That's an after thought on Isobel's part, and is easily removed, if the eventual recipient deems it to be a good idea!).

There is also a Pink Nun (in the style of the Order of Holy Spirit Adoration Nuns, who can be found across many States in the United States of America).  She was ordered by Coldham Cuddlies' good friend, and multi-buyer, MrSS from Tulsa, Oklahoma (he's also helped Isobel design Cuddlies as well as buying them from us!).

Sister Ruth and Sister Rose

The ladies of the St. Barnabas Cathedral Artisan Arts & Crafts Group (Isobel is a member, and the financial results from the Clerical Bear sales are being calculated with the contributions that the Group makes towards St. Barnabas Cathedral's well-being)) felt that Isobel should give each Sister Bear their own names:  one of the original Pink Nuns - like Sister Ruth went to Tulsa, and Isobel made two different versions to become part of the Clerical Bear Collection so that they balance the dual look of our Missionary Bears!


Clerical Bears Missionary Staff - still awaiting names!

All the Clerical Bears Collection are due to once again be displayed after Mass once the Anniversary Celebrations begin in May. The original Sister Rose is the name given to another model like her being purchased by MsMP, a regular at St. Barnabas Cathedral masses  - who is determined to have her own full collection of Coldham Cuddlies Clerical Bears.  She's bought several already:  but keeps finding people to give them away to as presents!!  Isobel has reassured her she'll keep making Sister Bears (as well as Padre Bears and Bishop Bears - she has bought those too!) for just as long as she keeps sending in her orders!  So, watch this space, folks!!


The Clerical Bear Originals in September 2018 on a bench in St. Barnabas Cathedral garden

It's been some six months since the Clerical Bears were first displayed on several Sundays after the mass celebrations each week.  Isobel is intending to combine these appearances, with "spreading the word" about the Sisters (and the Gentleman Clerical Bears as well) with articles in local newspapers, and possibly other media outlets too.  She's got a busy few months ahead of her seemingly - oh, and the total sold, including the Vicar Bear who I told you about last week, now is 16!  We hope we'll be settling lots more all over the UK and the world, soon too.


See you all next week!


Your Friend, Cy Bear

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Yet more Bears - Headed for Many parts of the Globe

Hello there Everyone - Cy Bear back once more, and wishing you all a Very Happy Easter from both Isobel and Me, and the various Coldham Cuddlies who remain in the Storage Area awaiting Forever Homes - from anywhere they may need to travel to!


This week, I'm going to tell you about four new Teddy Bears, made from the same pattern that I am made with.  Two of them were made with Silver Grey Plush fabric, and two in Yellow (or Oatmeal as the supplier insisted on calling the fabric colour!) plush.  One Grey and One Yellow Bear were ordered by a good friend of  Isobel's family, a fellow worshipper at St. Barnabas Cathedral, who wanted to give two young boys a special gift before they left with their parents for a missionary life in Papua New Guinea.  She had watched both little fellows grow from being babies to the ages they currently were (something like 6 and 4 respectively), and wanted them to have something special to take with them to remember her by.


Before Both Oceania-bound Bears left our Shop

So, just after the Clerical Bears had been introduced to the world, she began on the Silver Grey Bear.




He eventually ended up looking like this and originally had both arms and legs that moved  (as in the picture earlier).  However, after a week or two, our Buyer decided she would be happier if only the legs moved, so both Bears returned for a brief spell in the Animal Toy Hospital, to have their arms sewn on to their respective bodies.  The Silver Grey Bear's face ended up looking somewhat solemn - but MsJP, who ordered them from us, liked this expression, so we ended up calling him Solemn Grey Bear - for the purposes of listing him on our Shop (www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies).


Once Silver Grey Bear had been finished, Yellow Bear was cut out and sewn, and ended up looking like this:




The photo of Yellow Bear shows him with his arms sewn in place (whereas Silver Bear's picture does not) - and keeping his arms immovable means it's easier to get both Bears to sit comfortably when  being hugged as happened to these two eventually once they'd been introduced to their Forever Friends.


When both were finished, Isobel placed them in a large plastic bag she had handy, and delivered them to MsJP one Sunday morning, after Mass just before Christmas, last year.  (The yellow ribbon tied on the bag, looks like it was "snaffled" by Yellow Bear's Forever Friend upon introduction!)









Then, in the last couple of months, we got a request in from a long-term family friend, for two copies of these bears.  MrsCC-F actually lives in  BedfordNew York State, USA but for some time lived in a small village in Normandy, France where Isobel's sister- and brother-in-law have lived for the past 30 year.   She had ordered a similar bear for another family member once before.  He looked like this fellow - who has proved to be a popular guy over the years" too.


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https://www.etsy.com/listing/618964107/cuddly-decorative-present-for-anybody

This time, Silver Bear was destined to be a Forever Friend for a young man, called Thomas, who  is grandson to a friend of hers and lives in the same village in Normandy, or nearby.   The Yellow version is destined to become the Forever Friend of MrsCC-F 's newly arrived Grand Daughter, who lives with her in New York State.  This really does show just how multi-national Coldham Cuddlies has become over the 9+ years we've been in existence - a fact we are delighted to crow about!!


Isobel first completed the Normandy-bound Silver Grey Bear about 10 days ago.  We hoped it would arrive in the village in time for Easter, but he looked like this before he left for his new Forever Home






In her order for this Silver Plush Bear, MrsCC-F asked Isobel to both wrap him up in Easter paper, and also include a message - in French - explaining that the package was intended for their friend's grandson.  There's a another photo of the latest Silver Plush Bear, sitting on the paper in which he was wrapped up, and then wrapped in bubble wrap.  The whole package was then placed in a polythene mailing bag and sent off to Normandy at the beginning of April.  


The New York State-bound, Yellow Bear was sent off about 5 days later, and was wrapped in our normal way - chemical free tissue paper, then in bubble wrap, and then placed in a similar polythene mailing bag, and posted the normal way for all Cuddlies travelling  overseas - Royal Mail Air Mail Tracked and Signed for.  (We've just checked on the Royal Mail website, and find that this package reached Bedford, NY on 18th April!)   We're delighted.  We did want both Bears to get to their individual destinations in time for Easter, although Yellow Bear is actually intended as a first birthday present for MrsCC-F's Grand Daughter sometime in June!  


We're delighted to be able to tell you that we've received another order for a Clerical Bear - which takes us one step closer to the 20 Bear sale count!  This time, though, it's for a Vicar Bear - and is the first order from what we suspect to be a non-Catholic source!  The Buyer, MsDB, from Fordingbridge, Hampshire, UK indicates she wants one exactly like our model, but with the addition of a crucifix.  The original photo - below (used as the main one in our Shop listing)


image 0
https://www.etsy.com/listing/676735856/vicar-bear

does show him "sans crucifix", but as the model Isobel includes in our travelling Clerical Bear Collection, he does now wear one - 


image 1

The original also does have a somewhat crooked smile!  Isobel will endeavour to create him with a slightly more "normal" look. (It's difficult to change the original look here, because as the facial features are done in black double knit yarn, there is a tendency for a mark to appear/stay whenever a correction is made).   Vicar Bear is  made slightly differently to all the other Clerical Bears, in that his body is not separate from his clothing - and he's also a little bit taller than all the others.  (All the other Clerical Bears, Men and Women, have separate bodies, that are individually dressed).  MsDB, our customer, wants him to have the same colour shirt and trousers, as well as the crucifix - but as many of you may know, Vicars - and their lady equivalents (Peter, Isobel's late husband used to call them "Vicarenes", which I think is a rather nice, grand title for these important ladies) often have their shirts in many different colours.  Isobel is more than happy to accommodate all reasonable alternative suggestions!!  She's already got cream, blue and pink fabrics and stripey patterned alternatives in stock, if anyone else would like to order one!!!


That's it for this week:  I think next week, if we live and do well,  I'll show you the photos we received from the Thornton family (Forever Home to my good Friend Teddy Bear Thornton, a.k.a now as Benjie Bear) and tell you more about the recent additions to the Clerical Bear Family - Sister Bears called Sister Breda ("Blue Nun"), Sister Clare (Brown Habited Nun),  Sister Mercy, and Sister Rose (our "Pink" Nun).  I included a photo of the quartet at the end of last week's post!


Do hope you're all having a great Easter long week-end.  See you all next week - all being well.

Your Friend.  Cy Bear.
  


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Two More Happy Patients (Now Anyway) To Tell You About

Hello again, Everyone - your Friend, Cy Bear delighted to be back with you once more!


Before going too far, however, I need to tell you that there's no problem about telling you how the Coldham Cuddlies Toy Animal Hospital operates, and what happens  to their Patients.  We all love Everyone to know how we looked when we arrived, and how we go home better looking (in some cases), as well as different.  This week, we have two Patients to tell you about - as I promised I would last week.  Also, I'm pleased to tell you that we have the missing photographs, plus some extra information about Teddy Bear Thornton - TBT (known now as Benjie Bear) that I mentioned in last week's post as well.  Will share those with you once we've completed this week's news stories.

Very shortly after TBT arrived in our home, Isobel got a telephone call from a worried parent (Dad of a little girl whose Best Friend had got too close to an electric heater, and ended up with a damaged face, with no eye on one side, and a bad hole in one ear).  He'd found out about the Coldham Cuddlies restoration services by "googling" (whatever that is!) and decided to see if Isobel could help.  He was scheduled  to be driving past our driveway a few days after the contact,  and asked if he could call in and show us the damage.


Our new patient upon his arrival


We found out that this cheerful (or normally cheerful) chappie was called Lollopy Dog and his Forever Friend - a small girl - took him everywhere she went.  However, she wanted him to look as he'd done before he got too close to that fire - and was prepared to let him stay with us for as long as it would take Isobel to get him right. 






From a quick inspection (it was Dad's lunchtime, and he had a meeting to go to that he didn't want to be late for), Isobel felt we could do something to assist.  So Lollopy Dog stayed in our bedroom with me, until we could find suitable fleece fabric with which to undertake the necessary repairs.  We'd got brown fleece already in store:  it was the pale yellow that we needed to match.  As we were still waiting for TBT's mohair fabric to arrive from our supplier, Isobel got on a 'bus next day to see if she could find the fleece she needed at one of our local suppliers - the main one, in nearby Mansfield.  She was in luck, with a colour match - even if the fleece fabric was somewhat different (it was actually a piece of felt)  -  so we could begin work pretty well immediately.


Then, out of the blue, one of our previous customers for small Bears this time - MsHG - (who lives almost at the other end of the UK from us - in Devon) contacted us to see if we could help her out with a new Bear purchase she had just made.  He was a finger puppet when she purchased him from somewhere "on-line"  but really wanted him to be able to sit/stand on his own when he came to live with her - and wondered if it would be possible?  That didn't sound too much a problem, and as we were then very much in the treatment/waiting  mode - what with TBT and Lollopy Dog staying with us - Isobel asked MsHG to post him to us.


Little Pooh Bear on arrival

You can see from all these pictures, that Little Pooh Bear was quite a lot smaller than TBT, who is shown minus his right ear (which had been sent to the Mohair Bear fabric supplier for his new coat to be matched).





With Isobel now waiting to begin work on Lollopy Dog and TBT, she looked through our fabric stash, and found a suitable piece of fleece (which is what Little Pooh Bear is made with).  Although it wasn't an exact match, as he was going to be standing on the new base and therefore the work done not in sight, we decided to go ahead and get him back to Devon as quickly as possible.  The job didn't take long.   It consisted of Isobel putting enough polyester stuffing in to the hole where a finger had previously been used to manipulate Little Pooh Bear when he was a Finger Puppet, sewing the resulting seam caused by the new base so that it looked as though he'd always been a small, standing Bear, and then wrapping him up and posting him back to Devon. 


He looked like this before he left us -


The labels were with Little Pooh Bear when he arrived:  so we kept them in place

and as far as we now know, he's been travelling around in MsHG's handbag ever since.


Little Pooh didn't have any mouth:  and we weren't asked to provide him with one - so we didn't!

Now back to Lollopy Dog and his special treatment.  He was quite a handful to cope with, because in the end, Isobel had to replace the whole of his front head and face, as well as both ears. (Using felt instead of fleece really necessitated this drastic change).  This required the existing head to be de-stuffed, and the damaged front of the head to be cut away from the back, which was retained.  She then threw away the damaged ear, and took a template (drawing round the left ear on cardboard), and cutting out the resulting shape for both the ear (cardboard) and the front face (using the existing fabric shape as a guide).  


The brown fleece we had in stock was somewhat darker than his original ear colour, so we decided he would look "odd" if both ears were not the same when he returned home.   Isobel managed to rescue the one remaining eye, made a template for a new one, and using the same fleece used with the new ears, made two new eyes, so that they too matched each other.  Lollopy Dog's nose was re-used too, and as his smiley face had fade a bit with all the loving he'd gone through, Isobel re-embroidered that as well.   She had one or two worrying moments - when she couldn't remember exactly how the face pieces originally went together.  But once she'd fiddled around a bit, all went well, and Lollopy Dog ended up looking like this.


We rescued both eyeballs, so they could be attached to the new cut out eyes

While Isobel had been handling Lollopy Dog, she noticed that he was pretty floppy, and decided  he could do with some bulking up.  Realising that part of his overall charm was that he should be floppy, (we guessed that had something to do with how he was called!)  she was careful not to make him too firm, but at least now,  when Lollopy Dog and his Forever Friend are together, he'll be more of a cuddly armful to be played with - and, hopefully,  last for many more years than he might otherwise have been able to do.


Lollopy Dog stayed with us for a couple of weeks before returning home - so that he could be picked up by Dad when he was going home after another meeting with his client in our area.  As far as we know,  everyone had a terrific Christmas and life now goes on as normal.  (But hopefully, without Lollopy Dog getting too close to electric fires again!)


Meet Sister Clare, Sister Breda, Sister Rose and Sister Mercy Clerical Bears

Since our  Patients returned to their respective homes,  Isobel has been busy with the Clerical Bears.  They have increased in number - with the whole collection now numbering 9.  Plans are being laid for another session of Sunday morning airings after Easter - to remind people that they are still available, especially as St. Barnabas Cathedral is about to start a year long celebration of being 175 years old this year.  She's also made four Big Bears (using the same pattern as me) recently, so we'll be telling you about these new Coldham Cuddlies in the coming weeks, too.  They're all destined to be well-travelled Bears when they've got to their eventual destinations!


Meanwhile, that's it for this week.  Hope to be back again sometime next week-end, but it  is Easter Week-end, and who knows what might happen then?  Have a very Happy Easter, Everyone - until we meet again.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.