Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Post for 2012 - Looking Ahead to 2013

Hello everyone!  Hope you've all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to 2013!  Isobel has recently returned from her holiday with Philippa (having seen Clare and Alan too) and we both thought we'd include a so far unpublished photograph of me - since some of you may not actually know who I am, and what I do here!

My name is Coldham Yogi - Cy Bear to my friends and I'm Mascot and Co-Author to the ColdhamCuddlies

 Isobel has asked me to write this post - as she’s been blown away by what happened just before she left for High Wycombe and the Christmas celebrations, while she was making one of her daily visits to our Etsy Shop  (   

It all started with a notification on the Etsy Activity Site, that she’d been added to  a certain Joel Barnett’s  Etsy Circle, when she was checking out her emails.  When that happens, Isobel ALWAYS returns the favour, and makes sure the person(s) know it’s happened by dropping them a short line - or two… or three!  So this particular encounter  began with Isobel responding to Joel in a convo, saying :

“Just dropping by to tell you that I've returned the favour you paid me by adding ColdhamCuddlies, via me, to your Circle! Good to know you, and I look forward to getting to know you and your daughters even better as time goes by!

Now you've discovered us, perhaps you'd be interested in visiting my blog at where I post about the toys I make, mend and otherwise create (some folks might say "play with"!) We'd love to see you there, and if you'd like to follow us and comment too, that would be tremendous.

Hope preparations for the upcoming Holidays are going well! All the best to you all.”

(Isobel was brought up to always say “thank you” if anyone helps her - and she continues to do so whether she’s on Etsy or this blog).  I try to do the same as well, so am taking this opportunity to thank Joel (and everyone else who has done so during 2012) for being prepared to help Isobel navigate her way around Etsy, Blogger and everything else she does on the internet;   as well as being there for her after her husband, Peter, died in May.

Now this all took place on a Friday afternoon, about two weeks ago.  So judging by Joel’s location (his Etsy Profile says he lives in Boisie, Idaho), we estimate that he must have just switched on his computer (actually, he's probably got a tablet or some such technical device!) and was having a look-see at what had happened over night/during the day.  Being only a Beaver Lamb Bear, my geographical knowledge of anywhere is sketchy, but Isobel believes that Idaho is in the middle of the American Continent.  She admits that her geographical memory of the United States of America has always been hazy - but she  thinks that mid afternoon in the UK would make it early-ish morning in Idaho - right?

(Isobel here!  At one time, I could draw the great Mississippi river from source to basin, and similarly the Missouri too.  My Geography mistress, who had many years’ experience of questions set in UK national exams, always made sure her pupils knew these two.  Her other “dead cert” were  the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.  While, I might still make a good stab at this one, alas, the two rivers would not fare so well with my current map-sketching skills.)

To return to the subject of this blog:  while Isobel was still checking her Etsy Activity list (she had finished her e-mails by then), she got a notification of a new Conversation, so went to see from whom it emanated:  this is what awaited her.  It was  from Joel, himself - as opposed to via Etsy!


I had to look at your shop from your nice letter and when I did I was absolutely amazed, you have some absolutely amazing stuffed animal Cuddlies. I went ahead and favorited all of your items to my over 1000 followers here on Etsy. Your store deserves way more sales. They are truly adorable.

Here is my piece of advice that I know will really help your store, if you can get a photographer to take some shots of your Cuddlies and get some really good shots in lighting and with scenes and such you can definitely become a hit, I truly believe that. I think there is some photographers on Etsy that you send your products to and they take stunning photos, email you them, and send your products back to you. I would do a search for Product Photography and look for the best ones.

That stuffed animal clinic is great, I would change the title to Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic just to really grab peoples attention. The story about the bear from the raffle is great, I love seeing sellers that share personal stories and I know buyers do too.

I want you to succeed, your story is great, with you having arthritis and still making these beautiful creations I truly applaud you. I am inspired.

If there is any way I can help you just say the word, I can do a full shop evaluation for you and help you with SEO, Search Engine Optimization (How People Find You).

I hope your holidays are filled with joy and happiness and I wish you the best in all of your future sales and travels.

To which Isobel immediately responded:

Hello again Joel!

Wow, what an offer! Yes, I will take you up on your helpful suggestions, but may we leave it until after Christmas, which this year is being spent away from base by me.

Think you just might be the Christmas present I’ve been looking for: a saviour to guide me around this mystery called social media/internet selling/ SEO's etc. et al. Hope you don't regret your offer to assist - my family (
and friends - I’ve just added this bit:  Cy Bear)  tend to regard me as a dangerous silver surfer: one who clicks on things, without realising the consequences, and then spends time trying to put things right!

Have a great Christmas, and I'll be back in the New Year (sometime after Jan.3).

Thanks again.

Isobel Morrell

The almost immediate response was:  (Isn’t technology wonderful - when it works?)


I meant every word I said and I stand behind my word to help you in any way that I can. I regret nothing that I said and I look forward to your return in January.

See you then.”

The conversation ended with this response from Isobel:

Fair enough! You look and sound a Big Boy! On your head be it!

As I said, I'm deeply grateful - and look forward to learning a great deal!

Facetiousness aside, we’re both very moved by, and happy to accept, this wonderful offer of help.  Isobel will definitely be considering all his suggestions (some may just not be viable at this point in time) but I’m sure they will be able work together to great effect.

 Incidentally, we’ve already acted on one of his first suggestions - the Soft Toy Clinic title has been changed already to the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185).

Just wish us (and the ColdhamCuddlies family) luck!  We’re just so excited!  Happy New Year everyone!  Cy Bear

PS:  Isobel here:  have joined another Craft site, having received an invitation from Alison Woods of Art of Crafts and today, there's been a purchase via Amazon - which, hopefully, will enable me to take better photographs to illustrate existing and future Cuddlies!  I'm not comfortable with posting my Cuddlies away from home to be photographed, as has been suggested. 

 Meanwhile, I'll be getting back to Joel, as promised (or threatened?) on January 3.  WATCH THIS SPACE!

PPS:  As of today, our viewing figures here at have reached 10,210!!  Thanks so very much for all this support!  

Happy 2013 to you all - and may you receive all you wish for yourselves (and some nice ones you didn't)!  Isobel

Friday, 28 December 2012

Treating the Waggstaff Bears: Part Three - Mohair Bear

Mohair Bear, as well as being the oldest of the three Waggstaff Bears, has also really been the most interesting project.  He arrived with his head dropping off, his face looking as though he'd been in a street fight in which he'd definitely come off worst, and was definitely so tightly stuffed as to not be a cuddly armful at all.  Indeed, until I began to de-stuff him, I thought his innards were comprised entirely of wood chippings.  In the end, I found it was a mixture of varying coloured cotton-wool, packed very tightly together.  The hardness had occurred, I later discovered, because the attic in which he'd been stored for many years was located by the coast, so damp had probably been absorbed which added to the hardness.  Here is a shot of what he looked like upon arrival.

Overall, Mohair Bear is not in bad condition at all.  His paw pads were incredibly hard - perhaps being leather which had hardened in the damp conditions he'd been kept in, but they needed to be replaced as they looked chipped, as though they had indeed been walking a long way!  By removing them and putting in some soft, glove quality leather instead, I was able to remove all his existing stuffing from his limbs without the need to take out the cotter-pin discs with which he had been created originally.

While he needed to have his head re-attached to his body, and new eyes put in - he had two leather buttons in place when he arrived - it was his mouth area that fascinated me.  You can see that he obviously had a red tongue originally, and that he had a red roof to his mouth area as well.  When I took his head to pieces,

 this is what I discovered.  The jaws had literally covered a disc contraption which looks like this.  No wonder his head was so hard, because while it, too, had the compacted cotton-wool stuffing, it also accommodated this piece of engineering - as well as the cotter-pin disc for attaching the head to the body!

A close-up picture of the mouthpiece contraption, showing how it is damaged - and therefore not to be recommended for re-use - is provided below

As the head was detached, I'm not quite sure exactly how it worked in practice, but presume the cotter-pin was somehow attached through that big hole in the top of the contraption.  Though when in place, I still cannot figure out how it actually worked!

Anyway, NickiW  came in for a further consultation before going any further - and we both agreed that this would no longer feature inside Mohair Bear's head and that I would endeavour to remake his mouth and jaw (which had several holes in the fabric where the jaws had rubbed during use).  To do this, I took about a 1-1/2 inch wide piece of fabric from the neck area of the body which by then had lost any stuffing that may have been there originally.  Using this, I patched some of the biggest holes and darned those that were easily treated in that manner and managed to create a nice new face for Mohair Bear - which I hope will serve him well for many years to come.  He also had two nice new Bear Eyes fitted, which are a whole lot better than his former leather buttons.

The rest of Mohair Bear, given his age, required no further treatment - although there was a bad hole at the top of one of his arms.  Once I'd de-stuffed that limb, I was able to use the remaining piece of cut away fabric as a patch.  The paw pads were all cut away and, once each limb had got its replacement stuffing, the new leather pads were stitched in place.

The newly-made head was fitted in place with a modern replacement plastic disc (cotter pins are still used, but I find them difficult to handle with my arthritic fingers, so prefer the plastic variety - they are less cumbersome, too!) and Mohair Bear was then ready to take his place in the banana box with his two younger friends.  With head and all limbs re-stuffed, all that remained was for his body to get it's quota of polyester stuffing and for the remaining seam to be sewn up.  Before doing that, however, I was asked to replace a tiny sea shell which had appeared on the scene from out of the huge pile of the previous cotton wool stuffing.   NickiW felt it would be a nice reminder to Mohair Bear of his previous, long term home!  It was indeed replaced, but carefully in the middle of his tummy, well away from any of the mohair fabric!

Mohair Bear now looks like this and Cy Bear was pleased to approve his new appearance!  Here is a final picture of the Waggstaff Threesome, together with their newly made friend Cy Bear.  He could not be left out of it, could he?

Now that the Saga of the Treatment of the Waggstaff Bears is complete, I have just one more post to complete drafting.  This may get done before I leave for High Wycombe to celebrate Christmas, but it may well have to wait until my return.  I hope to be able to post these three while I am away, but access to a computer for the time required for me to do my usual activities associated with these posts may not be possible.  So, in case I do not get the chance, I'll end my posting activities for 2012, by sending all of you, our wonderful Followers (270 in all, and getting ever near 10,000 views since we began in March 2011) my very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!  Isobel

Monday, 24 December 2012

Treating the Waggstaff Bears: Part Two - Ted Bear

This is Cy Bear taking over the description process this time, so here goes!

When he arrived, Ted looked like this. Because of his light colouring, he looked dustier than Bum Bear whose treatment was described in our last post, so we decided that once he had been de-stuffed, he would have an overnight soaking in cold water, and then have a luke-warm soapy bath and continue drying on the clothes airer in the work room.  He seemed to be made from similar fabric as that used for Bum Bear, and in the end,  he had not re-acted badly to being washed.  So Isobel was more confident about applying this treatment to Ted.

When he was inspected, we found he did not need to be taken apart at the head - he had this gaping wound in his side:

He also needed completely new facial features, although both his eyes were intact.  One of his ears needed to be rescued, as it had been badly treated - probably used as the means by which to carry him during his playtime days.  So, Isobel got to work by removing all his foam stuffing and putting him  to soak overnight in the bath.

The water was not that colour when he came out of the bath, I can tell you.  He had a hand wash, and then several rinses in cool water to remove the soap suds, and then, once dried, he was turned inside out and Isobel began to inspect his seams.  He was a very different colour on the inside -

However, his seams were showing signs of fraying, or were very thick - because his fur had not disappeared as much as Bum Bear's had.  So, the seams were thinned out and over-sewn, and those on his upper torso are what all the seams eventually looked like.

This picture shows one of the legs, before Isobel got round to over-sewing the seams.  In the end, to preserve Ted's seams entirely, Isobel did all the seams with button-hole stitching, and he should now be a good long term prospect for his new surroundings.

 (As we understand it, all three bears have, for decades,  been in an attic belonging to NickiW's mother, who has recently down-sized and moved into a smaller home.  The daughters were helping their mother to move and discovered the three bears.  Isobel had treated AdamW's Teddy Bear, who needed more stuffing, earlier this year, so she brought the three Bears round to be assessed.)

Once all the seams were done, Isobel discovered a bad slit in his back which actually made it much easier for Ted to be re-stuffed.  As many Bears have a seam up their back, Ted's slit did not look out of place.  Accordingly,  the slit was treated as a big buttonhole and once Ted had been turned inside out, Isobel used the resulting opening to re-stuff Ted completely.  He then had a new nose and mouth created, (using Brown Double Knitting yarn, rather than the usual Black yarn we used for facial features) and his old ear sewn back into place.  Then he, too, was returned to the banana box in which all three Bears had arrived - but not before we had this picture taken of the two of us together.

Now, I'll close this post, so that we can prepare the final post of this series on the Waggstaff Bears - describing how Mohair Bear was transformed.  I think that Isobel will be taking over from here on in.

So, I'll end, by wishing everyone - again - a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!  (Not that I really understand what that all means - but then I'm just a Bear made from Beaver Lamb Fur! - but that's what I keep hearing Isobel being wished at the moment).

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Starting the Wagstaff Bear Treatment Saga - Part One: Bum Bear

Here is what Bum Bear looked like upon his arrival in mid November 2012, accompanied by his friends Ted Bear and Mohair Bear.  Bum belongs to NickiW, Ted to her sister, and Mohair Bear is their mother's Bear, whom she inherited from her own mother, so Mohair Bear is the oldest of the trio, and has to be nearing the 100 year old threshold!  The other two are in their late 30's to mid-40's - mere whipper-snappers in comparison!

Treatment in the ColdhamCuddlies Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185) always begins with an assessment of each patient, and normally attracts a £25.00 Consultation Fee for each Patient (which is applied against the final cost of the treatment when the Patient returns home).  In the case of the three Wagstaff Bears, because two of them really did not require too much effort, and Mohair Bear was such an interesting case, the initial £25.00 Consultation Fee was applied to all three.  (One of the joys of being one's own boss is the ability to make such decisions I find!)

Bum from the rear - you can see how he got his name!
Looking at both photographs, there does not appear to be an immense amount of treatment required - and so it proved.  His right eye needed to be replaced - there was a huge hole where the original one had been and he needed to be given a bath (or undergo some other form of cleansing) to try and recover his original cream plush colour.  He also needed to received fresh stuffing, as his innards were chopped up sponge foam.  This was a familiar stuffing in the 1970's-1990's, before foam stuffing (for toys as well as soft furnishings was recognised for the inflammable material it is).

Thus I took my trusty Quic-un-Pic instrument of Bear torture in hand and attacked his seams, from the top of his head down to his neck on both sides of the body.  The stuffing was removed from head, arms, body and legs - in that order- and then discarded.

The foam rubber stuffing, ready for dispatch

With vivid memories of what happened to daughter Philippa's Bear of a similar vintage - when he was left overnight to soak in cold water and then have a bath in warm soapy water the next day, most of his fabric collapsed -  I decided to give him a dry clean in a bag of bicarbonate of soda.  This involved the soda being tipped into a bag, followed by Bum Bear, and both being shaken vigorously for several minutes.  I then left them together overnight, gave everything another vigorous shake next morning and then extracted Bum from the bag and gave him another, thorough shake in the bath (the soda is easily washed away and cleans the pipes as it goes down!).

The soda, minus Bum Bear - with flakes of dust etc.

Bum was then turned inside out and inspected to see the state of his seams. Before going any further, though, I could not help noticing that my hands were stinging a little - which I put down to the residual soda on his remaining plush and backing fabric.  So, I decided to risk a quick soak in cold water - lasting about 2 hours, rather than overnight.

This resulted in  Bum coming up even cleaner and the stinging sensation disappearing - without any of the disastrous break down of the fabric experienced with Philippa's Tommy Teddy (who was completely re-made using what I could of his original remaining pieces!).  (Bum's fabric was definitely more of a mohair quality originally, than was Tommy Teddy - who was pure plush only).

Bum Bear's seams were, in the main, reasonably free from fraying - although the black fabric was worse than the cream variety.  I thus over sewed those seams that were worse for wear and proceeded to see what we could do with his eyes.  There was a dilemma.  I had two matching eyes which were available for use.  Alas, the good eye already in place was sufficiently rusted as to make it's safe removal a no-goer - it could not be removed without causing a big hole, so I left well alone.  So, I darned the large hole, as well as putting in a patch of black furry material, where the missing eye had been, and attached one of the pair  in stock - it's a little larger than the original, almost a match, but when Bum was completed, the difference does not show, and at least he now has two eyes with which to view his current surroundings.

Cy Bear giving his approval of Bum's treatment

One ear needed to be removed (it was hanging by two or three threads!) and re-attached, and then Bum was re-stuffed and replaced in the banana box in which he had arrived accompanied by his companions.

We'll continue the Saga of the Wagstaff Bears in our next post - when we deal with Ted Bear's therapy.  Meanwhile, good night and good-bye from Cy Bear and myself, Isobel!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Here's a Quickie - a Christmas Farewell

Hello Everyone:  Cy Bear  here, to tell you about the Farewell to Silvery Brown Furry Bear (SBFB for short!) - who is on his way tomorrow to White Plains, NY, USA.

He's been waiting to make his travel arrangements since the beginning of December, but it was only this morning that the payment was received.  So his travel plans were speeded up and he will be posted from the Codford Post Office tomorrow morning, using a special postal travel plan which we hope will get him to his Forever Home in time for Christmas Day.

SBFB all wrapped up, ready for the journey

The payment evidently got caught in the "Christmas delivery holdups", Isobel tells me - whatever that may be!  Anyway the cheque arrived in a lovely Christmas card to Isobel, who only then found out that the Lady buying SBFB is a family friend.  She and her husband are former neighbours of IvyM (Forever Friend of Mons. Reynard and Mme. Lapin - who have both been patients in our Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185), with each having had their treatment reports earlier this year.

 In case folks wish to be reminded, Mme Lapin was featured in two posts on February 18 and 20, 2012, and the Rejuvenation of Mons. Reynard was posted on March 4 and 7, 2012). 

MrsPC-F, is the grandmother of MylesF who lives in White Plains, and she and her husband, MrC-F, live in Florida.  So, when we parcelled up SBFB, I wrote a little note to MylesF - just explaining what was happening and introducing SBFB  as his new Forever Friend.

I naturally could not tell MylesF - who is only 4 months old - what his new Forever Friend  is called - because, of course, that will be  for Myles to decide, and of course one cannot spoil the surprise.  I'm sure, however, that SBFB won't remain Silvery Brown Bear's nick-name for very long - it's not terribly Forever Friendly, I don't think!

Anyway, I'll close this now - so that we can all go to bed.  Hope you're all well and getting ready for Christmas - it's my first real Christmas this year, and I'm getting quite excited by all this.  Isobel is going to be away - which is why she and I will be sharing the blogging in the next week or two and I'm being left on guard of the other Coldham Cuddlies while she is away.  It is an immense responsibility!

Bye for now. Cy Bear.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Treatments recently offered in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic

In our post  on November 15 ("A Commissioned Coyote + a Rocking Horse called Prince), Cy Bear first referred to the Bear Quintet of Patients in our Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic, together with a picture of them all sitting in, or near, the Lloyd Loom Chair in my bedroom.  It is pleasing to be able to announce that three of them have now received their treatments, and we'll be posting about them in the next few blogs.

However, there is one thing that needs to be highlighted.  A very new Etsy acquaintance suggested in a series of  convos late last week  that the Clinic might be better named  if it were to be referred to as The ColdhamCuddlies' Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic.   Cy Bear and I could not agree more - so, that is how  Etsy Listing #79124185 will be named in future. The title has already been changed in our shop at to reflect this change. 

The November 15 post dealt, in the main, with the way our Tweed Coated Coyote had been constructed.  We can now tell you what has happened to him since.  He's arrived at his Forever Home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and will eventually become the Forever Friend of recently arrived AndyB, daughter Clare's most recent Godson.  He was also accompanied by the Yellow Plush Baby Bunny (the last of his variety due to my having run out of the fabric) and here is a picture taken of them both prior to their departure. This little fella has been given to AndyB as one of his first toys, as he only arrived on December 6.

(You will see that Cy Bear is included in this official Farewell photograph!  I know when I'm beaten - although I do hasten to add that past omissions in this regard have not been intentional.  Merely, there has been a need to catch the post and it's not necessarily been convenient to set up camera and Cy Bear prior to their departures!)

In this photograph, another Yellow Bunny is included.  He was also a Patient in the Clinic, having travelled back with me after we had interred Peter's ashed in early November.  He had spent the last few decades in a cupboard belonging to PatC - Fred Bear's Forever Friend (himself a former Clinic Patient) - and appeared when she was turning out her haberdashery hoard which has since been donated to me.  I had to leave the hoard with Philippa when I came back because there was so much of it.

(The hoard has been duly delivered, but I've been so tied up with the treatment of the Wagstaff Bears (three of the Quintet) that there's been no time to do the sorting properly.  That's one of my New Year resolutions! )

Little Yellow Bunny was sadly in need of further sustenance.  His years in the cupboard had resulted in much of his stuffing be knocked out of him, and he was minus his fluffy white tail.  PatC asked if I would put him right, and it did not take long to sort him!  He was de-stuffed of what remained in his little tummy, had a good wash in soapy water (and changed colour!) and then had his innards replaced, together with a replacement white fluffy bobtail.  He now looks like this - and has been returned to PatC, who I think intends to return him to his original Forever Friend - her son! 

(As is my custom, I have taken a template of this little guy, and he will be appearing in our Shop ( sometime in the New Year!  The Wagstaff Bears used up most of my stuffing store, so I had to get a refill last week.  At the same time, I picked up some new fabrics - both plush fur and other toy-making fabrics - and they too will be featuring as replacements or new Cuddlies in 2013.)

The treatment of the three Wagstaff Bears is now complete - and since there is quite a lot to tell you about their individual treatments, I intend to break the reports into three separate posts (hopefully drafting them before leaving Heytesbury for the Christmas Holiday with Philippa in High Wycombe.

 (As mentioned earlier, I leave on Thursday, December 20 travelling by train, via London.  The idea is that I will be driven back either on Sunday, December 30 or Wednesday, January 2 (depending on prevailing weather conditions at the time).  Emails and blog will be checked during that time, but will no posts will be  be compiled - hence the drafting plan:)

 Thus, I shall end this post, and get going on the next few posts!  Meanwhile, here is a picture of the three Wagstaff Bears - as they were upon arrival at the beginning of December.

L to R:  Bum Bear, Mohair Bear and Ted Bear - the Wagstaff  Bears

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Finally a Sale on Etsy - we thought ColdhamCuddlies had disappeared off the Etsy radar!

Cy Bear calling in again - as promised in Isobel’s last post after the blog had been nominated for The Liebster Award.

The title of this post says it all - and I’m sure that most, if not all, our great Followers (now 265 with viewing numbers up to 9,700+!) will sympathise.  Isobel has been re-tagging, changing pictures, filling in “variations” - whatever they may be - all seemingly to no avail.  However, maybe our luck has changed, because guess what?  Silvery Brown Bear (the last remaining Big Bear in the Coldham Cuddlies Family - except me, but I’m Cy Bear) has found a Forever Home in White Plains, NY, USA.


The confirmation order arrived in our e-mail inbox this morning, and we now await payment for the transaction to be completed.

Isobel intends to produce lots more Bears, using some of the new plush fabrics she’s been hoarding over the past few months (without having time to use them properly!)  The time has simply not been there for her to do it just recently - fortunately!  However, with the Christmas break coming up (Isobel  is away from home from December 20 by the way, so I shall be on guard duty until she comes back) she is planning on taking cut-out versions of as many different bears as she can carry in her luggage. (Occupational therapy for her arthritic fingers, you see!)  She’s going by train, and coming back with Philippa in her car either December 30, or if the weather is awful, sometime in the New Year, when said weather has improved.  That means blogging will be curtailed although she will be monitoring comments (and responding appropriately) as usual.

A Full Length View!

We thought you’d like to know that the Christmas Bazaar held at the Wylye Valley Primary School in Codford on Saturday, December 1 was a success as far as the ColdhamCuddlies stall was concerned. No photos were taken, but the stall looked similar to this one (which was taken earlier this year when attending a Craft Fair in Heytesbury).
Silvery Brown Bear is middle left, in front of the window,  in this picture, when there were 3 Bears!

Isobel tells me that it was her best result yet from the craft fairs and bazaars we have attended since got started on Etsy in January 2010 (although sales did not begin until September that year).  Goodness, our third anniversary coming up!  How doth tempus fugit!

We derived a healthy profit for Isobel (and Philippa’s) efforts and Winston Wombat, our Multi-Purpose Bed Adornment Toy, Two Baby Rabbits, a Baby Hedgehog and the remaining Brown Rabbit Hand Glove Puppet all found new Forever Homes.  (One Rabbit Hand Puppet had found her Forever Home some time ago).

As I wasn’t present - being on guard duty, you understand - there was no formal Farewell Photograph.  There WILL be before Silvery Brown Bear sets off though, I can assure you!  I shall INSIST on it!  So, not only do our Big Bear Family members have to be replaced, but all these fellows too!  2013 looks like being a busy start for Isobel!

I’ll end this post with the news that Isobel is deep in Bear treatments for the Patients in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185).  The mohair fabrics required for the two renovation projects are in the clinic, but will not be used until after Christmas, there being no deadline for these therapies.

Edward Bear (L) and Ted Wilson (R) - both awaiting renovation
The other three will hopefully be ready for delivery before Isobel leaves for Christmas, as their current Homes are here in Heytesbury. 

The one on the left has no stuffing in it (Isobel has removed it and he's had a quick rinse and is awaiting a new eye and nose):  the other (right)  has to have his innards removed, some seams re-sewn and over-sewn to preserve them from fraying and then both will be re-stuffed.  The Big Mohair Bear (centre), will, hopefully also be ready in time - he just has to have his stuffing removed, his Head re-attached to his body and his facial features improved, including proper Bear Eyes, rather than Brown Buttons. 

Right:  time for me to stop babbling!  Isobel needs to get on sewing, and she cannot do that until this post has been published.  Good bye for the time being - and in case I’m not allowed to post before Christmas, I really do wish EVERYONE  a really Great Christmas and a New Year full of everything you all wish yourselves!  Cy Bear.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Great News - We've been nominated for The Liebster Award - again!

Thanks to Vanessa Young  - Captain  of the Etsy Vintage Toy Addiction Team, has just been nominated for the Liebster Award for our blog for the SECOND time!  Am very flattered, and have told her so - but first let's get things out in the open - Vanessa is a blogging friend of mine, she's been a customer (she's the Forever Friend of a Panda Bear she's called Peter) and we've been in touch on Etsy for quite a long time! (She even found me the pattern for the Hedgehog Family!)  No matter - I value her support, am delighted to comply with the rules associated with the Liebester Award - which seem to feature the Number 11 quite a lot!   So here are my answers to her 11 specific questions about myself - for those who are interested!

Vanessa's 11 specific questions to me were: 
1. When crafting do you prefer music or a movie?
    Music, but am quite happy sewing in silence.  Get more creative ideas then!     
2. What’s your favorite movie?
    Lawrence of Arabia - think I’ve seen it at least 7 times.
3. Favorite song?
    Don’t really have one - am a classical music fan, which tends to be more instrumental
4. Do you have a job outside of Etsy?
    No:  I’m a retired silver surfer, with a dangerous tendency to click on the wrong buttons and then     have to face the consequences.
5.Do you have a pet?
    Not now:  have had  both cats and dogs in the past though.  Like both equally. Offer dog-walking/minding services to the local population!
6.Favorite book?
    Too many to list!
7.Favorite drink?
    Sherry - Amontillado or Medium Dry for preference
8.If you could live in any time period what would you choose?
     Victorian, I think:  their garments concealed an awful lot!
9. Which is the favourite place that you have traveled to?
    Both South Africa and Kenya - just love that Continent.
10.Favorite quote?
    If in doubt, don’t!11.Favorite toy you had growing up
    A Bear called Betty - who disappeared when I first went to boarding school and wasn’t allowed to come with me as she was deemed to be too tatty!  Must be why I'm enjoying rejuvenating old bears in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic these days

In addition, those of us who are lucky enough to be nominated for the Liebster Award also have to tell folks 11 things about oneself:  at the risk of repeating myself  (it’s a while ago since the first award), here are some facts about this dangerous silver surfer, with a tendency to hit the wrong button - and then have to face the consequences!

(1)    I’m a recent widow - as of May 26 this year.  We would have celebrated 43 years of marriage this  September had Peter lived, although we’d known each other, and been good friends, for 7 years before we tied the knot.

(2)    I’m the mother of two wonderful daughters and a great son-in-law - of whom I am very proud, and consider myself lucky to have their support.

(3)    I was born in Pakistan  72 years ago (then British India - my father was an officer in the British Indian Army) and was orphaned by the age of 10 months - too long a story to tell here

(4)    I was lucky enough to be staying with an Aunt and Uncle in South India when that event happened, so I lived with them until I grew up.  My uncle was a Tea Planter of some note.

(5)    I went to school in Bath, about 20 miles from where I now live.  The school was then known as The Royal School for Daughters of Officers of the Army:  it is now known as The Royal Bath High School.  Whilst I cannot say they were the happiest days of my life, I have always valued the education I received.  It has stood me in good stead.

(6)    After training as a Shorthand-Typist in Norwich, Norfolk, England, I have been lucky enough to work in London, England, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, ending up helping Peter to operate our own printing and publishing company both in Canada and the UK.  One does not have to be university educated to have an interesting life - although it would have undoubtedly helped!

(7)    We spent 12 years, with the girls growing up, in Canada, and returned to the UK in 1987, because we couldn’t face another Edmonton winter and we wanted the girls to receive their tertiary education in the UK (on the advice of our Canadian educational friends).  We have not regretted it, and still keep in touch with friends made there!

(8)    Our house started to fall down after we’d lived in it for nearly 2 years (despite being built for over 100 years) - the cause being put down to tree roots ruining its foundations. Lesson learned?  Beware Poplar trees!

(9)    The resulting legal battles over the house resulted in Peter’s health breaking down, and he never recovered properly despite battling for 23 years until his release earlier this year.  I was his full-time carer.

(10)    The Coldham Cuddlies world has been a wonderful grounding force for me since Peter left us, and I’m looking forward to blogging, making more new toys as well as replacements for the existing ones in 2013 - and some possible extensions to these activities in the not too distant future.

(11)    On top of all this activity, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to my wonderful family - and myself - in 2013 and wish everyone a great New Year - hope you achieve everything you wish for yourselves!

Finally - and I hope you’re not all tired out reading after all this - I’m directed to nominate 11 Blogs I follow for the Liebster Award, who do not have 200 Followers or more already.

 I’ve recently learned how to Blog Hop, join Linky Parties and the like, so have collected a whole heap of such sites, and I’ve just picked 11 out at random that qualify.  Please, do go and visit them:  follow them so that they can get noticed by the Big Boys of Social Media and be helped along in the way I have been since being first nominated for the Liebster Award - way back when there was an Etsy BESTeam Blogging faternity (or should that be sorority?).  Both have helped me - so good luck to the following blogs!

1    www.A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall.
2    www.Amanda’s Books and More.
3.    www Channelled Creations.
4.     www.Confessions of a Newlywed.
5.    www.cook-love-craft
6. and sea.
7    www.Georgia Dunn Studio
8.    www.Howling at the moon
9.    www.Joie Joelle Creations
10.    www.  i felt like it
11.    www.In Designer Jeans

Planned to blog about other matters, until this happened earlier today!  However, there's always next time.  I'll hand over to Cy Bear then, too!  Meanwhile, all the best - and thanks again, Vanessa!

Now I'm off to informl the new Award winners what's happened to them!  And ask them the following 11 Questions!

(1)    Got your Christmas cards done yet?
(2)    What do you hate most in life?
(3)    Now the opposite - the best thing for you?
(4)    Dogs, Cats or Another Animal?
(5)    Favourite Carol?
(6)    Apart from Wallmart, where do you shop?
(7)    Your favourite food?
(8)    Favourite colour?
(9)    New Year’s resolution yet?
(10)    Christmas this year:  home or away?
(11)    New Year wish?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Meet Percy and Penny, The Pig Twins

Hello Everyone!  Cy Bear here again, and I'm absolutely delighted to be able to introduce you to the latest two members of the ColdhamCuddlies Family - who have been waiting to be dressed and listed for some months now.  Isobel finally managed to fit the dress-making in before doing the last Christmas orders and then starting on the Treatment of the Bear Quintet - about which I will be telling you shortly in another post, not to mention the Christmas Bazaar held at the Wylye Valley Primary School in nearby Codford on Saturday, December 1.  From what I've been able to gather, it was quite a successful venture - which means, I suppose that I'll be losing some of my fellow Cuddlies soon. It's always sad to say Good-bye, but great to know they're going to their Forever Homes!

The Pig Twins, Percy and Penny are actually adopted Coldham Cuddlies - having been originally handmade by a long-term family friend of the Morrell Family.  It was such a long time ago,we've been told, that we don't actually know how old these two really are.  But it's certainly ten years or so that they've been wrapped up in one of her cupboards, and re-discovered when PatC (Fred Bear's Forever Friend - see our posts about Fred's treatment in the Soft Toy Clinic - 18/08/2012 and 24/09/2012) was clearing out her sewing stocks.   (Isobel has now got a huge collection of leather off cuts, trimmings, embroidery silks galore and other things from both PatC and Pat's sister, who was also looking for a home for her sewing stores).   Both ladies are now alas, unable to continue to sew and PatC also donated both Percy and twin sister, Penny, for Isobel to complete their clothes. That  having been, The Pig Twins are now ready to be adopted by a Forever Friend - either together, or on their own.

Percy Pink Pig - Etsy Listing #116181155
If Percy finds his own Forever Friend, he will be charged at £12.50 (20.00 USD).  Should the Forever Friend want to buy both Penny and Percy together, each Pig will be charged at £10.00 each (16.00 USD), a saving of £2.50 (4.00 USD) per Toy.

Penny Pink Pig - Etsy Listing #116922925

Both Percy and Penny are  handmade with Pink Fleece fabric, from a vintage pattern - of which Isobel only now has the clothing instructions, although she does have the templates for the Pig bodies and their clothes.  Percy  is dressed with Green and White Candy Striped Poplin Shirt and a Light Green moleskin type dungarees, which are attached with braces - sewn at the back and fixed with poppers under golden, portcullis-patterned buttons.  The clothes are removable - unlike the other Dressed Coldham Cuddlies in our shop (  He has a very fetching, curly tail.

Penny has a similarly fetching tail, but it cannot be seen until she is undressed!  Her dress is made with Green and White Candy Striped Poplin, with Green RicRac edging at the hem, wrists and neck.  She also has a white Cotton Apron, fixed with cotton cord at the back.  The Apron, and Penny's Dress also have White Lace edging - all round in the case of the Apron, and at her wrists and neck in the case of her Dress.

The Twin's  vital statistics are:

    Height (top of head to tip of toes along the back)  ..    ..    ..  18 ins (40.6 cms)
            Head round nose                                                     ..    ..    ..  16 ins (40 cms)
    Arm tip to Arm tip, across back                             ..    ..    ..  15 ins (30.8 cms)
            Weight  - Percy                                      362 g (c. 13 ozs)
                           Penny                                     296 g (c. 11 ozs)

Percy and Penny Pink Pig - dressed

Percy and Penny Pink Pig - on arrival earlier this year!
The Twins can be created in Pink (the stock version of pink is a more rose pink than shown here!), White, Blue or even Purple Fleece should there be a request for such versions.

Both Twins will be able to travel separately at the Standard Small Packet Parcel rate charged by UK Royal Mail. If they are able to find their Forever Homes together, then they will probably have to be charged a the Higher Small Parcel rate operated by UK Royal Mail.  Customers are always advised prior to posting should there be a change to the listed postal prices.

Right, this is all I can tell you about Percy and Penny Pink Pigs - so until I get back to you, Good Night Everyone! Your Friend, Cy Bear

Monday, 26 November 2012

Welcome to some Handsome Stuffed Frogs, Newest Coldham Cuddlies members

Green Stuffed Frogs - Etsy Listing #116285186

These Handsome Stuffed Frog Toys have just been listed in our shop ( and are the result of a custom order placed in September this year.  They are hand made for folks who enjoy collecting Frogs as a pastime.  Indeed, the customer who suggested they become members of the ColdhamCuddlies Family has a close relative who already has over 40 in place.  I was persuaded to think about it, as the customer was keen  to buy one, even providing a deposit, and suggested that there was definitely a market for such a Toy.  I promised to look into the matter, found  I already had a Vintage Frog pattern in house, so then had no excuse not to have a go.

I have to confess that to date I have never regarded Frogs as being Cuddly - however both these guys have made me change my mind.  They have been great fun to make, don’t take too long and, above all, have provided my arthritic fingers with a real workout during their construction.  I decided to make two versions - to familiarise myself with the production process and to provide my Customer with a selection.  The second version was easier than the first - so I have high hopes of becoming quite adept at Frog construction. 

There are a number of colour combinations already available - they don’t just have to be variations on a theme of GREEN.  They could already be Brown and Orange, Brown and Yellow and Brown and Beige and any other combinations customers might like to suggest.  If they are not in stock, I am happy to go source them.  They could well look good in Fleece, as well as the fabrics shown.

Dark Green Frog has been selected by my Customer, Mr.GSHe approved of both versions, but felt the Dark Green one was most realistic!  He can be easily replaced (he took me 2½  days to make) and is made from fabric I purchased when a local glove factory (from whom I buy my leather off  cuts) was moving to a new manufacturing site and was having a clear out sale.  The dark green fabric has the feel of a raincoat - very appropriate for a Frog, and actually has a soft black reverse side, which is what attracted me in the first place.  The green velvet look chest actually has a rubber backing.  So this version could well be described as waterproof.  He is, in any case, washable. 

Green and Orange Frog is made from an off-cut obtained from my supplier of such fabrics and feels like felt or moleskin, with a cotton backing (and recently appeared as the trousers for our custom Tweed Coated Coyote, now on his way to his Forever Home in Canada.  The orange chest is made with velvet and the eyes are plastic with pupils that move about  - giving the Toy a realistic look.  The fabric used for this Frog may well not be washable - but could respond to dry-cleaning if necessary.  Crafters  know all about   velvet's fraying capabilities,  Thus, although Dark Green Frog had no worries on this score, I ensured that all seams on both versions were over sewn:  just to reinforce their long-term integrity.

Both Frogs are stuffed with polyester fibre meeting all international safety standards and their vital statistics are as follows
Measurements    Body - Nose to Tail       11 inches (28 cms)
                           Chest - Nose to Tail        7 inches (17.7 cms)
                           Girth - under arms         13 inches (30.3 cms)
                            Body, including legs     22.5 inches (50.6 cms)
                      Weight                        271 g  (10 ounces).

This means that both Frogs will travel at the Standard Small Packet rate charged by UK Royal Mail.  Buyers are asked to bear in mind that as I now no longer drive, I am reliant on local public transport to reach either of the two Post Offices in the vicinity that are equipped to deal with parcels.  This is done every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Should there be any question of a tight deadline involved when Buyers are placing an order(s), please take this restriction into consideration.

I've almost finished dressing two more new members of the ColdhamCuddlies Family - and hope to have them listed in our shop at later this week, so you'll be hearing all about them then - probably from our friend Cy BearI've finally managed to track down some mohair fabric which two of my five Bear Patients in the Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) require for their renovation/rejuvenation treatments.  The other three don't need to be matched up - merely thoroughly cleaned up and re-stuffed..

Thus, will close now - and get going on some sewing.  Bye for now.  Isobel

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Prize-winning Collectable Dressed White Plush Rabbit, Handmade in the UK using a Vintage Pattern and Upcycled Fabric

Meet Jubilee Rabbit, a prize-winning member of the Coldham Cuddlies family, complete with the prize-winning certificate awarded by the Wiltshire County Branch of the UK Royal British Legion Womens Section in the soft toy category  of their annual Handicraft Competition.  Jubilee Rabbit also contributed to the Heytesbury Branch  of the Royal British Region winning the Handicraft Cup for 2012.  The award was received November 23, 2012.

This White Plushie measures 18 inches (46 cms) from the tip of her ears, over the nose to the soles of her Blue Felt Shoes.  Like all the other Lady Coldham Cuddlies toys, she has a pair of  pantaloons, with pale blue poplin fabric delicately edged in white lacey trim.

Her Blue Gingham Dress is edged with white RicRac binding, and her white Felt Collar is edged with red white and blue French Knots - to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II of the UK.

This White Plushie comes with a white furry tail - as all good bunnies do.  In addition, like all the Coldham Cuddlies Lady Toys, she has an Apron, which is decorated with red RicRac binding.  It is made with white Muslin and has red white and blue floral print ties.

 Jubilee Rabbit is completed with a juicy orange Carrot topped off with fresh green felt Carrot Leaves.

The final look!