Sunday, 3 March 2019

Despite Technical Glitches, Bears Galore - This Time not All of the Clerical Variety

Hello again Folks!

Cy Bear back again - and so pleased to be too.  Thought I'd begin by showing you this:  the beginning of a new look for Coldham Cuddlies.

Currently, this is only visible at the head of our Shop Page - and is the result of wonderful help provided by one of Isobel's Etsy friends and a Leader in one of the Teams of which Isobel is a member. We've retained the original Orange, Green and White of our corporate colours (if you can call us "corporate"!!).   Our friend has always been there for Isobel when she gets into Team technical difficulties (rather more frequently than Isobel likes, really!).

We've had the banner you can see at the head of this post since the early days of ColdhamCuddlies in 2010 (provided, then as well, by a kind fellow Etsian - because we wouldn't have known where to begin!) and Isobel decided that the arrival of 2019 was perhaps a good time for a change of "look"!  We plan using a version of the new banner here soon - when we're sure that technical glitches are over - and also with our business cards.  But we've got a large number of those with our existing design to hand out, so that will have to wait for a bit.

Sorry we were missing last week, but yet again, a technical glitch caused Isobel to be temporarily deprived of access to the laptop.  She has, however, been getting better acquainted with her smartphone (about time, I would say - given that she's had one since it was acquired in November 2017 - in time for the Winter Christmas Bazaar at Thoresby Hall!).  That's happened, because she's found some books that explain exactly how to use a smartphone, and they've really helped her!  That did enable her to keep abreast of some developments in our Shop, even though all is not well there, either.  The listing pages for the Shop are subject to hiccups (caused since technical changes by Etsy itself - the platform from which all the Coldham Cuddlies' activities are launched)  Everyone involved with have been affected in one way or another, and it's taking time for us to all get used to the new changes.

As regular readers of this blog will know, we do make Bears that are bigger than the recently introduced Clerical Bears, and in recent months, we've made three of our Big Plush/Faux Fur Bears - as well as having a couple of  Patients staying in our Stuffed Animal Hospital -  (that's another story, though!).  We have also been asked to make an Elizabethan Bear (see photograph below), using the Clerical Bear pattern as a base.

This was the result of  an order from our good friend, MsKA - who asked Isobel to make seven versions of my good friend, Oscar Blue Rabbit early last year (2018).

One of the Oscar Rabbits - under construction

Then one of  Isobel's Friends from St. Barnabas Cathedral - and a long time family friend of  the family -  asked us to provide two plush Teddy Bears for young friends of hers who were leaving the UK to live with their parents in Papua New Guinea.  This she did, and here is a photograph of the two of them before they left us to meet their Forever Friends.

Finally (for this week, anyway), yesterday, Isobel was able to hand over the most recently created Coldham Cuddlies Bear - who is actually the 15th version of our Hairy Bear:

It looks as though this Bear is going to become a Lady Bear - which is a somewhat unusual outcome for us Coldham Cuddlies!  She is possibly going to be named  "Izy" - according to MrsGW, who has become a friend of Isobel over recent months, while both of them attended the weekly session of one of the local Slimming World groups.  She loved a farewell photo she was shown, before the 14th Hairy Bear left us - just before Christmas 2018 to live somewhere in Leicestershire, UK.   Izy was handed over yesterday (and is due to join a seemingly large collection of Teddy Bears).  With that outcome, I'll end this week's post.

Getting Acquainted
We're gradually catching up with the events of the last few months when this blog was temporarily off line.  But there are still a few more items to tell you about, and I hope to be back again next week - provided there are no further technical hitches!

Until then, have a great week, Everyone!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Introducing the Current Members of the Coldham Clerical Bear Collection

Hello there Everyone:

Glad to be back again, and this time with only our usual break to deal with.  We're still as busy as we were last week, but Isobel is about to complete the final order received pre-Christmas (off-line) and then we will be able to keep to our previous regular order schedule.

This week has seen the arrival of another order for a Brown Sister Bear (a picture of her is included at the end of this post)- and as she has not been commented on in a post from us before, Isobel thought it appropriate for us to bring you up to date about what has happened in this sphere of the Coldham Cuddlies World since September last year.  

The photograph below shows what the original group looked like (with me supervising "The Bunch") when they were all ready to be presented to the outside world - pre the Artisan Craft Fair in October 2018, which was their official presentation date.  They had actually been unofficially introduced to the St. Barnabas Cathedral Parish before the Craft Fair, when Isobel displayed them throughout September between 0900-1200 every Sunday during the weekly Coffee Mornings that follow the two Masses - and they generated a lot of interest, as well as potential orders:  some of which did actually follow through!

We'd already received an order for Padre Bear 1 (front right, next to one of the Missionary Bears), who winged his way to Tulsa Okalahoma once this photograph was taken).

His departure was followed quite quickly by an order for a Bishop Bear - which came from a London, UK customer, with suspected links to the Anglican Church, because of the address to which "His Grace" was sent. 

Farewell Photo before Bishop Bear departed to a Westminster, London, UK address

As I said last week, to date the orders that have been received - and completed - have resulted in £70.00 ($90.25 USD) being paid into the St. Barnabas Cathedral Restoration Fund.  We've got £15.00 ($19.34 USD) waiting to be paid over to the Fund, and last evening received another order from MsCW - resident of Lawrence, Kansas, USA -  for a "Brown Nun", which joins another similar version of our Sister Bears, which will head off  to Tulsa, OK when she is made very shortly. That will result in a cheque for a further £25.00 ($32.24 USD) being handed over to the Cathedral Dean, once these two ladies have been cut out, sewn and completed.  

Who, or what, is a Brown Nun, I hear you ask?  Well, she was the first Custom Order generated during our pre-Craft Fair displays from a long-term St. Barnabas Cathedral parishoner, who was keen to give this version to her Great Grand Daughter as a Christmas present. (There were at least two further orders for Padre Bears during the pre-Craft Bazaar displays). This began something that is now developing into quite a tradition - of Custom Orders from Buyers, who wish to commemorate their own experiences with the "real thing" - personal encounters either during childhood, or as adults.  We've completed two further versions of this particular Sister Bear - who reminded our original customer of Sisters who had served in the Cathedral Parish when she herself first arrived in Nottingham.  They are made "in the style" of a Poor Clare Sister.  (Isobel uses the same basic pattern for all our Sister Bears, no matter the difference in colour and style of their "looks"!)

 (to distinguish her from our original Sister Bear in the Coldham Cuddlies Clerical Bear Collection - who has a Black Veil and Habit.)

As the weeks have passed, Isobel decided that our original Sister Bear (seen in the first photo here)  looked a little "bare around the neck, so that when the first orders arrived for an Original Sister Bear (we're not going to call her a "Black Sister" for obvious reasons), all future versions will now look like the second Sister Bear (which headed for the same Tulsa home that Padre Bear went to) a few weeks into the sales season.  Isobel also intends to add a collar around our original Sister Bear, but she's been so busy what with one thing and another, that there's been no time to dress her properly!!  We're hoping to redress this omission shortly though!

Our Tulsa-based friend, MrSS was our original first enthusiastic customer for the Clerical Bears and stated his intention of buying at least four different members of the Collection, including Padre Bear and the initial Sister Bear (with collar attached!).  Now, Isobel knew that MrSS lives in an area of Oklahoma, which is served by an Order of Nuns known as the Order of Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters - who dress themselves in a Pink and White Habit. 

MrSS was thus offered a choice a choice when ordering his second Sister Bear (he has a small grand - daughter - who featured in my last week's post by the way) whom he evidently loves to spoil (and we at Coldham Cuddlies benefit as a result!).  This Order of Nuns is referred to as "The Pink Nuns" locally, and so too will our "Pink Nuns"!!  As we are anxious for the entire Clerical Bear Collection to be as inclusive as possible, Isobel suggested he might like to have this version made in the darker Fleece which had been suggested for one of our original Missionary Bears - shown below:

Presently, we have two different Orders of Sisters serving the Cathedral, one of which is known as The Little Company of Mary.  They are based in Hyson Green, a part of the City of Nottingham, where they were originally founded, and the current Leader of the local Community, Sister AMcD has become very friendly with Isobel since she and the Bears made each others' acquaintance last September.  Just before Christmas, Sister A asked if Isobel could make a Bear replica displaying their somewhat unique colour veil.  It took some doing, but eventually we were able to find some fabric which provided a pretty good match for their head dress.  It has recently resulted in the appearance in our Shop of our "Blue Nun"   

We have been told that Sister Blue Nun now occupies a prominent position in the Little Company of Mary's Hyson Green Heritage Centre - which Isobel intends to visit to learn more about the Order's work sometime soon (when time allows).  On 7th February, a special celebration Mass was held in the presence of  Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Order's Founder, Venerable Mary Potter being declared Blessed by Pope St.John Paul in 1988Blessed Mary Potter's remains are actually interred in the Cathedral - and at the service, a special banner (created by Members of the Cathedral Artisan Crafts Group) to commemorate this Anniversary was blessed by the Bishop.  (Isobel belongs to this group, and the proceeds of our sales of the Clerical Bears do get included in that Group's overall contributions to the Cathedral Restoration Fund). 

Before closing, let me include a picture of the latest two versions of our Brown Nuns

They were originally intended to respond to an order from another St. Barnabas parishoner, who has bought several Clerical Bears - for herself, and as gifts for her friends - as well as be the final purchase from MrSS.  However, while making them, Isobel got a little "wild" with the iron, when pressing the hem of the Sister Bear she was then working on  - and although the scorch doesn't show, Isobel knows about it:  and that makes it definitely not suitable to offer as a new Clerical Bear in our Shop!!  So, this "damaged" Sister Brown Bear is going to join in the Coldham Clerical Bear Collection - so she can be seen (but not too closely!) when they are called upon at future Craft Fairs - or special anniversary events at the Cathedral, which in 2019 celebrates 175 years since it was originally built!!  More of that anon, I am sure!!

So, we've brought you up to date with what has happened with the Clerical Bears - and look forward to telling you about other activities in the Shop during the period when our communications has been interrupted.   See you next week, hopefully.  

Have a good one, Everyone

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Did you miss us - as much as we've missed being here?

Well Folks - a very Happy New Year to all our Followers!  A little late maybe, but better that than never.  (For a few weeks recently, we've feared that indeed this could be the likely scenario!!)

Betty Yellow Bunny getting prepared to travel to her Forever Home in the USA

Believe me, Isobel and I did not mean there to be this long a gap in communications here, but what with one thing an another, it went on longer than we ever thought it could!  A lot has happened (mostly technical, and everyone who knows Isobel, knows what that can mean!).  However,  that gives us the chance to create several new future posts - and, as always, news from the COLDHAMCUDDLIES does not really date.  Be assured, though, that the Shop -  has had several additions to the Family, the Clerical Bears were duly introduced, and are proving popular, and Isobel is just finishing off orders that were received after the Christmas deadline, where the Buyers were all prepared to wait. (This year, the run up to the Holiday was hectic - and included two Animal Toy restoration projects as well!)

So, let's begin with the catch up!  Having just re-read our last post, there is such a lot of it to do, that we'll be here for ages if Isobel were to do it bit by bit.  So, some of the subject matter - such as a Clerical Bears update -  will be "squashed" up, and issued in instalments. Others, we might do in coming weeks, as a full blown post, as they are new Cuddlies in the Shop, or catching up news on those who've found new homes like Betty Yellow Rabbit.  We did mention in our last post in September 2018 that she had surprisingly been ordered by one of our long-term, good friends from Tulsa, Oklahoma - so we thought we'd begin with a bit more about her today.

To begin with - here's a photograph of the Clerical Bears on display at the Artisan Craft Fair early in October, when they made their official appearance.

The spiral staircase used to great effect here is one we'll borrow, when we need to, for future Craft  Fairs at St. Barnabas Cathedral - because it was "found" while the Craft Group were preparing for the inaugural Show in October. (There have been three additions to the Clerical Bear Collection - all different Sister Bears, who have been specially ordered - so this news will have to form a post all of it's own!)

We're pleased to announce that since the Show, we've contributed £70.00 to the St. Barnabas Cathedral Restoration Fund (at £5.00 for every Clerical Bear sold), and Isobel has another £15.00 collecting in our bank account.  There are several potential orders in the offing, so we'll wait a week or two (on all fronts), before we pay in/tell you more about them. (The Sister Bears are way ahead in what could be called "The Clerical Bear Stakes" were this situation to be a horse race!!).  Several Padre Bears (3 at least) have found homes, we've sold one Bishop Bear, but so far, no interest has been expressed in either of the Missionary Bears or the Vicar Bear.  There's plenty of time yet, as we're going to keep them in the Shop with no time limits set on when they'll be withdrawn.  They've got plenty of potential good to do yet!!!

In Betty Bunny's case, she had a trouble free trip to Tulsa, but unfortunately, the zip code Isobel was given was incorrect!  Betty Bunny was within a whisker of being sent back to the  UK by United States Postal Service (USPS), when Isobel - who likes to check on our Cuddlies' progress when they are en route to their Forever Homes - alerted MrsKD (the actual Buyer here) that Betty should have arrived!  The zip code error was then discovered.  Fortunately, the family in Tulsa got together, informed USPS of the correct zipcode, and MrSS (son of MrsKD) - who has received several parcels from the Coldham Cuddlies (and is still being supplied, incidentally!) was able to take Grand 
DaughterV, accompanied by her Mum, to pick Betty Bunny up.

After they met, MissV feeding Betty Bunny with her carrot, to help get over her journey

Still inseperable - several weeks down their road.

Right, I think we've gone on long enough for this weeks' post.  Isobel will try to organise things a bit better so we can get you updated on COLDHAMCUDDLIES' World events/new members and new looks since we were last together, and we'll pick up from here next time we get together.

It's so great to be back again chatting to you all. Do hope we can take up where we were getting to when we all last were together.

Your Friend.

Cy Bear.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

This Week's Update on The Clerical Bears + Other Developments

Hello there Everyone - from Cy Bear:

So good to be back, and able to bring you the latest developments in the increasingly busy world that has become The COLDHAMCUDDLIES Clerical Bear Collection.

During the week, Isobel was able to finish off the first Padre Bear - ordered by MrSS from Tulsa, Oklahoma (mentioned in last week's post).  He left for the United States on Wednesday afternoon, which meant that he probably didn't actually get to an aircraft until Friday.  (Isobel has just used the Royal Mail Tracker Number checking system, and learns that Padre Bear is "In Transit", leaving the UK.)  So he's definitely en route.   

Here's a finished picture of him:

Isobel was able to get The Clerical Band of Brothers and Sister together- and  Padre Bear 1 is in the centre of the group:  (numbering them, in an attempt to keep them in order, will be the "name of the game".  The initial Sample Models will not count in that record, as we intend to keep them to ourselves!)  It was only when looking at this picture on the camera before we cropped it for use here, that Isobel realised she must stop her current modus operandi of "plonking" the Bears in any old pose.  We need to make sure they are looking, and standing, facing the same direction!  However, this does show the Group getting used to their future "duties". 

Then Isobel took a Farewell Photograph with just me to wish him well prior to his being wrapped up and put into a polythene airmail postal envelope, labelled and addressed, together with the requisite Customs Form that we have to complete on all parcels headed towards the USA and Canada.

Although the last two photos were taken while we were posing on Isobel's bed, we feel that The Clerical Bears can equally well fit onto a Study Desk, an Office Bookshelf or any other convenient place where their Forever Friends put them, so they can survey their surroundings - and keep the peace?

As soon as Padre Bear was packed up, Isobel began completing Sister Bear 1 - who had been ordered off line by MsMP when The Clerical Bears were first being set up en masse for display two weeks ago.  To get a head start for the production line, Isobel  cut out 5 sets of bodies, heads and ears, all of which are made in the fleece fabric we're using for this project.  So, when getting on with Sister Bear 1, all that was needed was to cut out the pattern pieces required for her habit, veil and boots.  This meant we were able to complete her in time for Isobel to hand her over to MsMP (having alerted her to the delivery time on Saturday evening by email/and Messenger - after attempts to telephone her had failed.)  

(NB;  Last Tuesday, Isobel  went to Derby to get another supply of the fleece.  Although the fleece was still available, in the interim a new supply has come in - and we have been subject to the usual hazard of re-supply that Crafters (knitters, as well as sewers) the World Over face - changes in dyes.  The newer batches, once our original supply is complete, will appear in a slightly different colour tone).

Sister Bear 1 was a bit more of a problem to complete - there are always one or two Toys that just don't go to plan, and alas, she was one of them.  All the hiccups were overcome, however, and this is how future models of  Sister Bear will look (although, of course, they won't be exactly alike, because Isobel never can do that!):

Sister Bear 1 revealed

There are slight differences between Sister Bear 1 and our original model shown here - as a reminder:

Original Sister Bear Model

Apart from her head/face being somewhat smaller than the newer version, our original Sister Bear didn't have a collar:  she always looked a bit bare around the neck, so Isobel has decided that as Sister Bear 1 does have one - and in our view, looks more "complete" - this is going to be the future look for this member of The Clerical Bear Collection.  (Incidentally, two of the human Sisters who are on the Cathedral staff were introduced to The Clerical Bears this morning.  Both were highly amused by the depiction of Sister Bear - and promised to spread the word around the parish community!)

I'm delighted to tell you, that we've already received an order from MrSS for his first Sister Bear (he's mentioned he wants to buy 3 in total!)  She will be made and dispatched, after we've completed the order received from a London-based Buyer, MsNE  for a Bishop Bear.  We think, but haven't yet been able to confirm, this could have Anglican connections - given the address to which "His Grace"  is headed.  Isobel plans to cut out Bishop Bear later this evening, or early tomorrow morning and hopes to have him en route by the end of the week.  (One passer-by the Display Table this morning in St.Barnabas Church Hall indicated she would like to buy a Bishop Bear - next week, so fingers crossed!).  The purchase pattern for The Clerical Bears is beginning to take shape in an interesting fashion!

The developing Work in Progress schedule  means that we then have to cut out and make the latest version of  a Tiger Arm Puppet, which has been purchased via our Shop ( by MsSD from Brandon, Mississippi, USA.  We will then return to the Clerical Bear Production Line to complete Sister Bear 2,followed by Padre Bear 2 - who was ordered this morning when Isobel set up the Sunday Morning Display in the St Barnabas Hall Repository.  (We also have the prospect of another sale - for Bishop Bear 2, mentioned earlier (and a Sister Bear 6 - if we include the Tulsa orders here), with both potential Buyers stating they'd come back next week with the funds.    

Today's confirmed order was from a fellow attender of the 1000 Mass, who actually paid us by card - enabling Isobel (with Daughter Clare's technical assistance!) to use our PayPal Card Reader for the first time!!  We're getting so technical, you would not believe!!  (When she opened the computer before starting this post, Isobel found that PayPal had already notified her of the payment - so IT WORKED!!!!).

What has been a pretty busy week was rounded off with an unexpected, but totally thrilling order from MrsKD - who wanted to buy Betty Bunny Rabbit for her Great Grand Daughter, MsVK.  This order contained a special message for Betty's Forever Friend, which will of course be incorporated in a special card.  Isobel texted MrsKD while she was on the 'bus home from Nottingham after today's Clerical Bear Display to discover whether Betty is intended as a Christmas Present, a Birthday Gift or indeed to celebrate upcoming Thanksgiving in November - and if she wants the parcel to be gift-wrapped.  It's all part of the  COLDHAMCUDDLIES customer service.

Betty Bunny was originally made as a Custom Order from a Lady in the UK, wanting her little daughter to have a similar Dressed Yellow Rabbit to her own - but who still wanted to keep hers, which had a blue check frock like Betty Isobel made one dressed in Blue Gingham check, and one with a Blue Floral Pattern and the Lady chose the Floral PatternBetty has been residing in the Big Toy Bag (on which she and I are pictured here) for some time, so she was a little shocked to hear that she would be leaving the Rabbit "Burrow" for Tulsa, Ok , USA sometime next week.   (Yes, MrsKD is part of the same family - we at COLDHAMCUDDLIES are beginning to wonder how we ever managed without the support and friendship, plus design expertise, on offer from that direction!).  I've been having a gentle word with her - so that she won't be too shocked when the farewell ceremonies take place - probably Wednesday or Thursday next week.  

It's likely to be the latter, because Isobel has to represent the Old Chapel Close Tenants Association at the funeral of one of our Residents on Wednesday afternoon  (who died sadly very soon, and suddenly, after arriving in our midst).  As that is the usual time she has her weekly play session with GrandsonE, she's booked for that this week on Tuesday afternoon. So, already the week looks like being as busy as the last one was!

See you all next week - hope you all have a good one.

Your Friend,

Cy Bear.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Where Did That Time Go? We've been SOOO busy, that it's passed in a FLASH!

Hello there Everyone!!  Did you think we'd gone for Good?  Not that I'd blame you, but as the title suggests, Isobel has been so busy with one thing and another, that she's not been able to type the blog on my behalf, so it's had to lapse for a week or two:  we now realise that it's over a month, since we last posted - and it's time we did.

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The Free Church Bear, now entitled "Vicar Bear" was duly completed, after the Alternative  Missionary Bear (described in our last post)  and thus completed the present intended collection of Clerical Bears.   They are being Made to Order, so who knows:  someone seeing them either via this post, in our Shop Listings - - or via the St. Barnabas Cathedral website (a link is given below) might suggest another version, and Isobel will be delighted to have a go - provided it doesn't stray too far from our current basic patterns!

Photo taken in part of the Cathedral gardens, with photograph taken by Fr. Kevin de Athaide

They've now all been listed - and have also been highlighted in the St. Barnabas RC Cathedral website -  - and Isobel learned that they have a whole page to themselves - all thanks to Fr. Kevin de Athaide.   We're so grateful for his unstinting encouragement and help since he was told about the project at the beginning of the process. (Alas, he's been posted elsewhere by The Bishop, and leaves us tomorrow (09/17/2018) and we wish him all the luck he deserves in this new post as Assistant Priest, based at St. Thomas More, Church in Leicester - where two priests look after four separate parishes!  Isobel and family have just returned from a farewell "bunfight" they all attended earlier today ).

Immediately Isobel had finished sewing the Clerical Bears, she got on with an order that had been waiting in the wings - from a family Friend, MissJP,  who we meet regularly at Mass every week.  These two Teddy Bears will be shortly moving to Papua New Guinea with their intended Forever Friends (2 small boys - who live next door to MissJP).  She wanted to give them something to remind them of her, and the UK, when they fly off towards the end of 2018.

Allow me to introduce first, Yellow Plush Bear:

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and his fellow Teddy Bear, Silver Plush Bear

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They haven't been handed over yet, because MissJP is currently away on vacation, but we expect that meeting to take place next Sunday before Mass, which is when Isobel usually has a quick chat each week.  Meanwhile, they've been bundled up together to await that meeting,

and a Farewell photograph (as is the custom for departing COLDHAMCUDDLIES  Ornamental Toys) was taken of the three of us together.

We're all made with the same pattern:  it's just that we're made with different fabrics

The Clerical Bears have also appeared officially in public before the 1000 Mass for the past two Sundays, (and the 1115 Mass) as well as being listed and getting their own page on the Diocesan Website, so they are beginning to get known.  So far, we've had 6 Orders, either placed and/or promised.  Four of them will be eventually flying off to Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA - with the first, Padre Bear - hopefully flying off early next week.   Isobel is just finishing off his cassock, with everything else needed for a completed Bear ready to be attached to an already stuffed body. 

Our good friend,  MrSS - who designed the Oscar, Blue Rabbit Mascot for us earlier this year -

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has told Isobel that he will also be requiring 3 Sister Bears to join Padre Bear, one at a time, once he has got to Tulsa safely.  ( Isobel wanted them to be ordered separately - so that the COLDHAMCUDDLIES shop statistics can benefit by showing the different orders we are currently beginning to get!  And, it's not only of Clerical Bears, I must also add:  this week, we also received a Custom Order for another Tiger Arm Puppet, which I'll be telling you about shortly, when the Tiger order comes to the top of the list - probably in about 14 days time).

Another Sister Bear is going to be joining my good friend, Panda Bear - who found a home with MsMP just before Christmas last year.

MsMP  did tell Isobel she would be ordering a Sister Bear when she appeared, and happened to see her last Sunday when The Clerical Bears were first being displayed on a table in The Repository area of the Church Hall.  She's been cut out, and will be the next Bear to be worked on by Isobel, after Padre Bear flies off to Tulsa.  As you know, orders received are made in the order they get listed:  we're still waiting for the Tulsa-bound Sister Bear orders, so as MsMP's was received last Sunday - and in "real time" as it were, hers will be the first one going off to her new home.  (Isobel is going to show all The Clerical Bears for the next few Sundays, until they  are booked to appear at a forthcoming Christmas Artisan Bazaar - planned in St. Barnabas Church Hall for 12th and 13th October.) 

So Friends, I've yattered on long enough - but it has been quite a while that we've not been in touch, so I didn't think you'd mind me doing so this time around.  We'll try to be a bit better at keeping in regular touch, and meanwhile, I'm signing off with a sincere wish that all our Followers in the wake of  Hurricane Florence are safe and well, and that everyone else has a great week.  See you all again soon.

Your Friend,

Cy Bear.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

On the last leg: Alternative Version of our Missionary Bear now ready.

Hello once more Everyone!  

Cy Bear delighted to be back and to be able to share the progress - first reported in last week's post - about our Alternative Missionary Bear.  He's now complete and has joined the other Clerical Bears awaiting the BIG REVEAL - towards the beginning of September, which is getting ever closer.

His head and ears are level, although they may not look it in this photograph. We think he looks a very welcoming sort of Bear Toy, and are hopeful he and his fellow Clerical Bears will soon find  Forever Homes - as Toys or as Ornamental Decor Items in lots of people's homes, and so become good fund-raising tools for the St. Barnabas Cathedral Roof Maintenance Fund  in Nottingham.

A frontal view 

Looking at this photo, though, he does look as one of his ears could do with a bit of adjustment!  The line of buttons also doesn't look straight, but actually that is the way the picture has been taken, as well as the way the garment hangs on the Bear's body!  (Close-up, they are below each other in a straightline! Isobel will see to the ear,  before he is shown to the St. Barnabas Cathedral Craft Group tomorrow, when she is due to attend a gathering in the afternoon.  (She has also still got to sew that "ColdhamCuddlies" label into the Original Missionary Bear too! - she's been quite busy this week, though, with one thing and another.)

A side-ways view: where the ear doesn't look too bad!!

Followed by one from his rear:

And now, from the other side:

And finally, here's Missionary Bear Two waving to you all (or providing a "blessing" maybe?)

The construction of the final member of the Clerical Bear Collection is well under way - with the Free Church Bear cut out, with head sewn and ready for the facial features to be added.  Isobel is currently making a start on sewing up the body.  The footwear needs to be sewn, and then will come a different set of garments.  Keep a watch out folks:  next week should see this last addition completed, and work begun on the Two Plush Teddy Bears headed at the end of this year for Papua New Guinea (firsts for a COLDHAMCUDDLIES family member!).

Have a great week.  By the way - it's unlikely that we will be posting next week, as the family is involved in an August Bank Holiday event being held outdoors in Kirkby in Ashfield next Sunday, and obviously Isobel cannot be in two places at the same time.  Let's hope it will be blessed with the kind of weather we have had up to this week, and not the rather cool, threatening rain one we are having as this post is being prepared.

See you all again soon.  Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

New Clerical Bears to See, but not yet Touch.

Hello Everyone - Cy Bear back again!

Here we are  - a Sunday afternoon once more, and time to update you on the COLDHAMCUDDLIES  Clerical Bears Project. (Last week's post was missed, because there was little more to add - other than the the Grey Plush Tiger Puppet was still en route to his Forever Home.  I'm delighted to tell you that he did get delivered on 7th August.)   This week has seen Sister Bear completed, and also one of the two versions we propose to offer for our Missionary Bears.  

The first to be ready for introduction to the St. Barnabas Cathedral Craft Group last Monday, using the toffee-colour fleece fabric with which most of the Collection will be made, was the one currently being referred to as Sister Bear:

Isobel decided to give her black boots - based on the pattern we use for our dressed Lady Rabbit, Foxes and Wolf Toys - rather than the pattern she's using for the Padre Bear and his male companions.  Based on this picture, we think Sister Bear is currently looking a little "naked" around her neck region, and we're thinking about possibly giving her a white collar.  With the current veil she has on her head, there wasn't enough body space for the cape that Isobel had prepared for her, so it was left off.  There may therefore be a change in appearance before the final version is revealed to the public early in September.  Watch this space, Everyone!

With every version being produced, Isobel is working faster - and the first version of our proposed Missionary Bear is now done.  The cassock and body were ready to be shown at last Monday's Craft Group meeting at St. Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham, and finally completed (minus the "COLDHAMCUDDLIES" label, which has inadvertently been left off!) yesterday afternoon.

Isobel was delighted with the way she was able to slip the laminated white paper "dog collar"into Missionary Bear's collar.  It's so satisfying when these "experimental" suggestions actually work!  You can see the difference in the footwear- in the "shoes" this Ornamental Bear is "wearing" in this picture, but even better in the final photograph at the end of this post.

The next Clerical Bear to be worked on is the "Brother" Missionary Bear - which Isobel began by cutting out last evening.  This is where she's got to - 

The Head is sewn, and now waits for nose and eyes to be fitted in place - before being stuffed and sewn at the neck.  Below the Head are the arms, and the label which will be fitted somewhere on the finished Ornamental Toy.  Below the unfinished arms, are the cut out shoes, including cardboard bases which are fitted into the shoes before the stuffing is put in - to make it easier to get the finished Toys to stand without being propped up.  (The second label is the one destined to be sewn into the finished original Missionary Bear).

On the right of this picture can be seen the body waiting to be sewn together, as well as the cut out cassock pattern.  At the top is the back of the garment, with the lower pieces being the fronts - which are produced somewhat back to front.  In most garments (for toys or anywhere else) the garment fold is usually at the front.  However, with all the buttons that need to be sewn to a real Priest's garment (33 for a human - 10 in the case of this Missionary Bear) the fold is in the front of the cassock. 

Unusually, Isobel doesn't seem to have any light brown lining with which to complete the second Missionary Bear's ears, so tomorrow will see her travelling to one of her fabric suppliers to see if they can provide her with what she has in her minds eye.  "With luck - and a following wind", as the saying goes - the preliminary Clerical Bear models will be completed by the end of next week.  

We have an order for two Cuddly Teddy Bears - destined to be Forever Friends for two young boys who are going to be living with their parents - coincidentally with their Dad headed to become a pilot flying missionaries in Papua New Guinea, Oceania later this year!  (The Cuddly Bears are to be in plush fabric - different colours, so no quarrels will ensue! - and thus will be bigger than these Clerical Bears).   Then, we'll be returning to stock up the Clerical Bears - in time for their public appearance at the start of September, to be followed by being on sale at the upcoming Christmas Bazaar the Cathedral Craft Group members are working towards which is scheduled for early October.  

Good Heavens:  Christmas Bazaars already?  It only seems yesterday, we were all preparing for the last one the Cuddlies appeared at last November at Thoresby Hall.  Where did the time go?

See you all next week:

Your Friend,

Cy Bear