Tuesday, 22 May 2012

BESTeam Feature Blog for May 20, 2012 :  Featuring Danielle Saletzky and her shop Chicky D’s.

The Boosting Etsy Shops Team's goal is to offer support
and promotion of one another's Etsy shops primarily through our
personal Blogs, and also through our Twitter Accounts and Facebook Fan pages.
Commitment to this common goal is what makes our team the BEST! 

Danielle Saletzky’s off line base is Peru, Illinois, USA and she has been  operating two Etsy shops - one concentrating on vintage photography and ChickyD's which specialises in decorative items for personal and home adornment. She holds down a full time graphics design job as well, so I was very grateful that Danielle felt able to answer some questions with which I’ve been able to craft this post.

Your Profile indicates that ChickyD's was something of an afterthought in your business activites originally. Is that still the case?

The initial start of Chicky D's came completely by chance. I wasn't setting out to start a second Etsy shop at all, but once I got going and began learning more and more styles of accessories it was no longer an afterthought, but rather my main focus.

Do you propose to continue both enterprises indefinitely - as well as your "day-job", or will one ultimately take over?

I've basically phased out  promoting my first shop, Danizabeth. While I am still passionate about the photographs I captured, the success I have seen with Chicky D's has made me put the focus on that shop. There just aren't enough hours in the day for me to put forth as much energy as both shops deserve.

The Shop at www.Etsy.com/shop/ChickyD’s currently offers 77 separate items - divided into six different decorative areas: among them are:

Boutique Bows

 Loopy Bows

 Flower Clips

 - and on a slightly larger decorative stage, pillows. 

While visiting the shop, you’ll notice I became rather fixated with the colour Pink - not a normal colour in my pallette but caused by the  items  that caught my eye particularly.

How to you divide your time between the three different lifestyles - and cope with home life too?

I started Chicky D's during a time in my life where I was needing an outlet to cope. It filled a void that I was needing and since then my professional and personal life has changed for the better. Because of this, I do find it a struggle to dedicate as much time as I used to. I think the best advice I could give, and one that I am still working at, is to set aside a specific time for your hobby or craft. It will give you something to look forward to - and also hold you accountable.

Do you have any difficulty obtaining the raw materials for your pillows, ribbons and accessories - and are there any particular difficulties you encounter during your business activities?a

Any difficulty in obtaining material would come about from custom orders and I have been able to still fullfil the orders. The town I am in is not a large city with several retail options at my disposal - so sometimes extra planning and trips to bigger cities are necessary to create certain products.

Where do you hope to see ChickyD's in, say, 5 years' time?

I hope that in the future I am still seeing success with Chicky D's. Ideally, I would like to have a specialty item figured out by then.

Do you have any particular favourite materials with which you like to work?

For my shop grosgrain ribbon has been the most useful and best for me to work with. Recently, in my personal crafting adventures I have become obsessed with burlap. It seems to be somewhat trendy right now and fits with the decor I'm trying to transform my space into.

My thanks to Danielle - both for her help in creating this post for me, and for the experience in visiting her shop.  Why don’t you follow me in and see for yourself the beautiful decorations on offer?  You will not be disappointed.

Her shop can be found at www.Etsy.com/shop/ChickyDs. 

This forms part of my commitment to the BESTeam - where we undertake to feature members' Shops.  It's a great way to promote our products and we'd love to be able to do the same for anyone else who'd like to come and join us!  We're a great bunch!  Why not call in and find out for yourselves?

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Man and Beast........Part One

The post that follows was actually drafted (and should have been published) May 21 before Peter and I left for a week-end re-visiting old haunts in Nottinghamshire, to where we returned from 12 years in Canada in 1987.   As with all plans, it did not exactly work out that way........

However, as it was ready for consumption I've decided to publish it today after telling all my wonderful Followers (we've reached 180 as of today!) that, alas, although we made it to daughter Clare's home and began our visits, Peter died very suddenly on Saturday, May 26.  A post mortem was required  (we'd seen our Doctor within the 5 day period before the event, and because it all happened when we were away from home).  The cause of death was established as a Pulmonary Embolism caused by a deep vein thrombosis.  The Diamond Jubilee celebrations for our Queen meant that nothing official happened until June 6, by which time the Cathedral of St. Barnabas in Nottingham (where Clare and Alan married nearly 10 years' ago) was unavailable for Peter's Requiem until June 15.  So, it was only last Thursday, June 21 that I returned home again.  

Since then, older daughter Philippa and I have been sorting things.  Both my girls did not want me to come home alone for the first time and it has helped enormously to have Philippa with me - until she returned to her home base (and work, tomorrow) earlier today.  I really have returned home and the neighbours here have all been very supportive, but it is going to take some getting used to. September this year would have seen us celebrating 43 years of marriage - although we'd known each other as good friends for 50, so there is now a big hole to be filled.  

The Cuddlies - up to now just a therapeutic pastime are going to come into their own - hopefully - as I try to build up the business now that there is more time to devote to it.  With hard work on my part, and the assistance of  all you folks who kindly comment and follow us at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com, I am hoping that you not only will continue to do so, but recommend us to your friends, family and acquaintances, especially those who might like to have a Cuddly of their own!

Now - to the post that I talked about earlier:

"There's a new Cuddly Bear on the block:

Or, rather, another  member of the ColdhamCuddlies Family, is in our shop at www.Etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies.  He has been listed in the shop for almost a week now, but this is the first time I've been able to sit down to post about him.  Strictly speaking, he's not really NEW, but a replacement for the Light Brown Bear that  featured in the shop until he became one of The Italian Mob and departed for Italy and all points south early in February this year!  (See our post "Sequel to the Tales of the Italian Mob" - 17/05/2012.

This version of our Light Brown Plush Bear is actually the fifth one to have been a ColdhamCuddly.  The first and second live in England, both not too far away from here in Heytesbury:  the third - and actually the first, ever sale for ColdhamCuddlies went to Massachusetts, and the fourth - as mentioned above - went to Sequals, Italy. As you can see, he has an extremely determined look!  So much so, that that is how he has been listed in the shop (Etsy Listing #69778158). He is now also a Limited Edition Bear (there will be 6 in total) because I am finding more toys that I can make using this particular plush fabric - and variety is, after all, the spice of life, is it not?

 I took pictures of the construction process, and will start at the beginning.

Here you can see all the relevant bits and pieces involved in the construction of any one of my Bears.  There are two ears, which have already been turned to the right side - top left corner of the photograph.  Then there are the two arms, two legs, head and main body, all with the relevant spots requiring the limbs and head to be affixed correctly.

As I have made more Bears - and the other toys - I've developed a fixed order of doing things, and am thus able to cut out two different toys (not necessarily of the same species) and work on them at the same time.  This guy was cut out at the same time as Ben Barn Owl (Etsy Listing #99686556), and when he was safely listed and posted about (see the post on 12/05/2012)) I was able to get on with the latest Light Brown Bear.

The next picture along the production process shows him with both legs and arms attached and just waiting for his head to be attached - using plastic post joints, each complete with its matching washer.

The joints are almost impossible to detach once put together, so one has to be careful when placing them together.  I have been able to prise one apart (on the occasion that the fabric gave way because I had cut carelessly in the first place) - but pliers and a great deal of brute force was required.  I am therefore confident, that barring really rough treatment on the part of  my Cuddlies' Best Friends and careful preparation of the hole on my part, all limbs and heads should stay where they are put!

While the arms and legs are pretty straight forward to fix, I do find that the heads can sometimes be a little awkward.  My arthritic fingers don't always co-operate and when combined with the thickness of the plush pile (one has both the neck piece of the head and the body to cope with), and the plastic post attached to the disc is not always long enough.  I find that by cutting the pile fairly close to the surface of the fabric (hence the problem of the fabric wearing, if one is not careful) and making a very small hole through which to push the plastic disc post, with the aid of an old-fashioned, wooden (not plastic) cotton reel - with a nice round hole which usually covers the post, I can use the weight of my body to force the washer on, provided the head is in contact with a solid surface - hard wood floor, shelf or some similar unforgiving object!!

 (This tip was passed on to me by my elderly neighbour who is a retired Teddy Bear maker and from whom I inherited most of my toys' eyes to date, as well as some of the plastic joints!  We also both suffer with arthritic fingers!)

Finally, here is our latest Cuddly with his head and limbs in place - and waiting to receive his body stuffing, ears, and his facial features - now that his eyes are in place!

Since this post has gone on quite long enough, will end this story for now.  I'll complete the production story shortly - but have to warn everyone that I'm away from my computer for a few days so that we can have a family get-together at our younger daughter, Clare's home in Nottinghamshire (about 4 hours journey away) and given the programme that has been laid out, there simply will not be sufficient time for the next episode to appear until we return early next week.

 Determined Bear does have a soft side - and to prove it, here's a picture of him looking sweet!

So, with good luck and a following wind, Cy Bear and I will be back again soon!  Isobel   

PS;  The next installment of how Determined Bear arrived in the shop at www.Etsy.com/coldhamcuddlies will follow shortly.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Sequel to the Tales of The Italian Mob:

Good evening everyone - this is Cy Bear, Mascot to The ColdhamCuddlies enterprise reporting in with the latest news about my friends Ed Ted, Big Koala, and the other Bears and  Baby Koalas who form the group we've christened The Italian Mob.  We posted about them first on February 2 - Reporting the Departure of The Italian Mob, when they started their journey to Sequals, Italy with their new Best Friend, Mr. RFE.  Their mode of transport was a Jaguar car, and they were all in a black garbage bag - to keep them together and clean.

Then on March 19, I was pleased to tell you that they were staying for a while in Essex, while Mr. RFE was busy arranging all the travel details involved in taking his Jaguar car away from England, UK so he could drive  himself and The Italian Mob to Sequals.

Today, it is my great pleasure to announce that they've reached their Forever Home (in the case of Ed Ted and Big Koala) while the others are staying with Mr.RFE until he has decided who of his young friends in and around Sequals will be able to give them their own Forever Homes.  One of the Baby Koalas has a new Best Friend - called Jessica - and we learn that they have been inseparable since they first met.  He goes to school with her every day and is massively popular with all her school friends.

Isobel and I thought you would like to see some pictures of The Italian Mob outside their current residence - must say, after looking through the window in Isobel's work-room at all the rain that has been pouring down  just recently, that sunshine does look wonderful.

Here they are, sitting on the bonnet of the Jaguar - it's nice colour isn't it? - outside "The Castle", which is where a friend of Mr.RFE lives when she is in Italy, and is, I think, next door to their home.

Then this one is a close up of The Italian Mob - they look very pleased with themselves and seem to have settled in very happily.

Finally, here is another view of the Happy Mob!

That finishes my contribution to the blog for the time being.  Hope everyone of my Follower Friends (now having reached 184!) are well and that you all have a great week-end.  Cy Bear

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

 The Boosting Etsy Shops Team's goal is to offer support
and promotion of one another's Etsy shops primarily through our
personal Blogs, and also through our Twitter Accounts and Facebook Fan pages.
Commitment to this common goal is what makes our team the BEST! 

BESTeam Feature Blog for May 13, 2012 -  FashionWire owned and operated by Connie Tescar

Connie describes herself as a wire wrap jewellery artist and designer - and I have to confess that I’ve never come across that term before.  However, the longer I am a BESTeam member, the more I come to realise just how many kinds of jewellery artists abound in our group, and the wide variety and scale of their artistic capabilities.  Connie is no exception, and kindly made time to answer some of my questions when I put them to her late last week.

Seeming to specialise in offering ear rings and pendants, Connie uses semi-precious stones and other materials and for this feature, I’ve decided to concentrate on highlighting some of the ear-rings.  Had I got pierced ears, they would certainly be on my shopping list - and I suggest they might well become strong contenders in many other folks’ lists as well.

Here’s one pair for starters:

When did wire wrapped jewellery first become your modus operandi?
December 2010 is when I started playing with wire. By January, I was a die hard wire wrapper!  (Now that’s a speedy conversion, if ever there was one - especially with Christmas within that time scale!)

Wouldn't this  make a good Christmas present?  It’s never too early to consider them:  in my book anyway.

Why that creative process in particular? Would you like to expand - without it being a tutorial, as it were.  (That rider is added, because not only does Connie wire wrap her jewellery, but she shows folks how to do it as well.  There are several tutorials included in her shop for those who have the finger dexterity to have a go.  That, alas, is something I now lack, and I don‘t think I‘d be safe with the soldering that I imagine must be required during the process!)
 Well, it all started when I visited my mother in December  2010. She showed me her new hobby, which was beading (stringing beads onto a wire). I thought it was really cool, and when I got home I bought some basic beading supplies and started beading as well. I started searching the internet for "jewelry making" tutorials, and came across wire wrapping. To me, it looked MUCH more challenging than just stringing beads, so I decided I wanted to do the harder and more challenging craft, and on that day I became a wire wrapper :)  (That sounds like some folks I‘ve come across:  given a choice between a molehill, or a mountain - guess which one many will almost always follow?)

Answering the obvious need for a challenge, how about this little example?

If you were not already a wire wrapper, do you feel there is another art form you might consider that would give you the same degree of achievement?  If so, what would it be?

I think I would do well with polymer clay and metal clay if I had the time to learn something new (which I don't).

Do you attend craft fairs, as well as sell on Etsy - and which selling method do you prefer?
I live in a very small Georgia town that doesn't have craft fairs and things like that, so sadly I don't get to do that. All of my jewelry creations are online in my Etsy store. Selling online works for me because I can do it at my own pace, in my own time. I work full time as an account manager, so I don't have any time whatsoever during normal work daylight hours to devote to my craft and my Etsy store.

Perhaps, Connie won’t need that outlet - with this example to show for her endeavours in the time she currently has available to her.

 Next time, I’ll concentrate on her equally lovely pendants, but in the meantime, why not visit her shop at

    www.Etsy.com/shop/FashionWire  or Twitter:  @wire wrapping
                     Connie also has a Blog:  http://connietescar.blog.com.

See you all soon - either with another BESTeam feature for you to enjoy, or at www.ColdhamCuddliecalling.blogspot.com with another toy story for you to follow.  Isobel

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Introducing another New Cuddly and an update of a former one;

Please allow me to introduce you to Ben Barn Owl - the newest addition (as of half an hour ago) to the ColdhamCuddlies Family.

He is an experiment - using another pattern from the book which was the initial source for Winston Wombat earlier this month - but  Ben Barn Owl has just been completed  and listed in the shop at www.Etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies.

 He could have been online earlier, but there seems to be a blip on the photo-uploading mechanism (if that is the correct expression?) on Etsy this afternoon.  It took for ever to upload all five of them, whereas it's not usually a problem.  It was to begin with when I was an Etsy Newbie, but then it was a case of not having a powerful enough server - which is when I moved to Firefox.  That's the problem of having a computer that is now all of five year's old!  Cannot get my mind round how quickly electronic hardware gets "old"!  Once we've been to France (at the end of this month!), the next thing the ColdlhamCuddlies will hopefully help to finance is a new computer, which hopefully will serve me for sometime to come.  I certainly now use my laptop a lot more than I did when it first appeared on the scene in 2007 - but that was well before  I'd even heard of Etsy or conceived the Cuddlies enterprise!

To return to the Ben Barn Owl though:  he's made with the Light Brown Plush fabric that hs been used previously for the Baby Koalas (Etsy Listing #55190188) and the Light Brown Furry Bear (Etsy Listing #69778158).   As an experiment, Ben Barn Owl has turned out rather well, in my view - do hope you think so too, my Followers (now numbering 178).  Ben will be the first of several versions I intend to make in the coming months.  They will not all be the same, as his eyes will only be replicated once more. There are only one more pair exactly like Ben's, but I do have some Teddy Bear ones that are similar, and can be used for other the versions -when required.  He took me just a couple of evenings to make, so not a difficult proposition and one I've enjoyed doing. 

 I've been fortunate since starting the ColdhamCuddlies enterprise because eyes and joints have not needed to be purchased too often.  An elderly neighbour, who used to make Smaller Bears than Light Brown Bear - and still lives with over 100 of her creations! - was forced to stop because her fingers stopped working and donated her remaining supplies to me!  That donation is now rapidly diminishing and stocks will have to be replenished when the Shop (www.Etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies) closes for my vacation at the end of this month.  More of that anon!.

( Light Brown Bear is currently shown as "Sold Out"  in the shop (www.Etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies), but I am in the process of sewing another version and will be showing the production process in an another post shortly.  The last Bear was part of The Italian Mob who departed to Sequals, Italy in February this year - posted about by Cy Bear on February 1 here at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com).

Here is another photo of Ben Barn Owl, taken this afternoon in our garden here in Heytesbury, Wiltshire,  in front of a collection of yellow poppies that have appeared following our recent rains!

Before closing, in a post authored by Cy Bear on March 21 this year, you were introduced to Barry the Beaver, who was a custom order toy for a young girl living in Denmark called Astrid.  Astrid is mad about Beavers, and knows a lot about them,  so I was a little apprehensive as to how Barry would be received.  All is well, I am pleased to say.  Astrid's Grandparents delivered Barry to his new Forever Home just after Easter and last week, I received the following two pictures of Barry - just to prove how well he is settling in.

This one is with Astrid herself:

While this one shows Barry with his other furry companions.

That's the lot for tonight folks!  Must get back to the production of replacement Light Brown Bear - about which you will hear shortly.  Meanwhile, have a great week-end all of you.  Isobel


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

 The Boosting Etsy Shops Team's goal is to offer support
and promotion of one another's Etsy shops primarily through our
personal Blogs, and also through our Twitter Accounts and Facebook Fan pages.
Commitment to this common goal is what makes our team the BEST! 

Feature Blog for May 11, 2012 - Joy Silk of Planet Joy:

Having been on Leave of Absence - thanks to my internet connection travails - thought it might be appropriate to feature my fellow BESTeam members’ blogs, shops and the artists themselves in a slightly different format.  After all, there are only just so many ways one can enthuse about separate items in their shops - and sound as though you genuinely mean it! 

When did painting on silk first become your modus operandi?

I first fell in love with silk painting when my dear friend Rosie was doing it the summer of 1989. She had mainly airbrushed ready-made cotton garments, but the silks were hand painted and possessed the most incredible vivid colours. I was enthralled and begged her to show me or allow me to watch her, but she refused. So when I moved to Oregon, she shared her supply sources and wished me good luck! I ordered my silk and dyes and have been painting silk ever since!!

This is just a taste of what Joy can produce with her artistry on silk.

Why that creative process?

I am a colour "junkie" I love the way the colours look so rich on silk fabric. There are so many types of silk, so it's always fresh and exciting!

You can see what she means by rich colours, can’t you?

If you didn't do such gorgeous work this way, do you think you could achieve the same  degree of quality, satisfaction in what you do with another artform? If so, what?

I am so satisfied with silk.  I do expand on my creativity by designing new products when I can.

This year I've designed a few new items, the main one being the Scarflette, which I launched on Earth Day this year.
 It's a scarf with some jewellery elements, so it's like a scarf and a necklace. Versatility is a key factor in all my accessories, I want to make things that are exciting to wear because
   a) Your style is unique with art to wear fashion accessories and,
   b) You like to accessorize your style with Joy Hand Painted Silk because its fun and you look great!

I do have a line of earrings and pendants available in my Etsy store, the jewellery items are fashioned from mother of pearl and crystal that have a transfer image of my hand painted silk on them. So, the jewellery goes perfectly with the scarves or makes a great simple gift on their own.

Here are examples of items Joy mentions.

From your blogs, we know you're well into outside projects and exhibitions. Could you name some, please - and which you feel will promote your product most fruitfully?

The Silverton Fine Art Festival is GORGEOUS in Silverton Oregon, and the Celebration of Creativity in Portland is a wonderful show with a lovely group of talented artisans.

The shows in California are new this year and I don't know what they will be like, but they are all in the Bay Area and I hope to meet new people and establish new accounts while I'm down there!

June 2-3 Foster City, CA
The Foster City Arts and Wine Festival takes place at Leo Ryan Park (Corner of Hillsdale Blvd & Shell Blvd.) Free Admission and Free Parking at Parkside Towers.
Festival Hours
Saturday, June 5 11am - 7pm
Sunday, June 6 11am - 5pm

July 28-29 -  Alameda’s 27th Annual Park Street Art & Wine Faire
The Park Street Art & Wine Faire is Alameda's biggest event. The annual street festival takes place every year on the last weekend of July between Encinal and Buena Vista Avenues
Saturday July 28 10am - 6pm
Sunday July 29 10am – 6 pm

August Silverton Fine Art Festival
The eleventh annual Silverton Fine Arts Festival is set for August 18-19 in Silverton's shady Coolidge–McClaine Park at the intersection of Coolidge and Charles Streets. The artist and food booths are open Saturday, 10am–7pm, and Sunday, 10am–6pm. Complementary shuttle service and free parking are available at the Robert Frost School parking lot at 301 Westfield and The Oregon Garden at 879 W. Main Street. Admission to the festival is free. The family-friendly days feature two entertainment stages, an international food court, a wine and beer garden, and arts activities.

September 8 & 9, 2012
Mountain View Annual Art & Wine Festival — considered one of America's top art festivals, art lovers will pour into Silicon Valley's epicenter for this "Cultural Community Celebration" presented by the Chamber of Commerce Mountain View. Hours are 10am-6pm both days. Admission is free. An authentic and moveable feast for the senses. Exceptional handcrafted work by 600 of Americas top artists and craftmakers. Stellar live music on stage and street throughout downtown

So - all you folks who live in travelling distance of any of these venues know what you must do!!  Go….see… and acquire a Joyflower item which you can be sure cannot be replicated!  What more can a gal want?

For those of you not so fortunate as to be in touch with the US West Coast, Joyflower and her products can be seen as:

Blog: http://www.joysilk.blogspot.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/JoySilk
Shop:  www.etsy.com/shop/JoySilk
Twitter: @JoySilk

In return for the privilege of being a participant in the BESTeam Forum on Etsy.com, I am committed to highlighting the activities of my fellow team members, as well as encouraging others to consider becoming members too.  Hopefully, this post will have inspired others to visit our site. 
 You won't be disappointed - and I'm looking forward to meeting more of you soon!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Introducing a New Cuddly:  Winston Wombat - and further updates

I've just completed an experimental new addition to the Coldham Cuddlies Family.  He was finished in time for daughter Philippa's arrival and proved to be a major sensation as far as she was concerned.  He's  meant to be a Badger - using a pattern included in the book present from daughter Clare for our UK Mothering Sunday in March.  The book is entitled "Making Soft Toys for Children" and the author is Pamela Peake and my version was first printed in 1988 and reprinted in 1991.  The patterns in the book required enlargement - which I was able to have done by our Village Newsagent/Printshop:  but the end result was far too big for my purpose.  So I reduced each pattern pieces on my home printer and then tried to get the head to look right for use as a Glove Puppet.  Whilst that has yet to be achieved, I'm still very pleased with this result!

When I came to actually examine the plush fur pieces, I found that the striped plush off-cuts suitable for a Badger were not as many, or as large, as I had initially thought, but they could make a One of a Kind toy - and that is what happened!.  While some folks will say he looks like a Badger - being very kind people - he's not really, but does remind me of a Badger/Dog cross!  Philippa immediately said he was a Wombat - even though real Wombats are not stripey!

(When one is in the Cuddly Toy market, exact replicas are not always necessary - but this is really my first venture into such territory.  Promise you, it won't be the last, as I've quite enjoyed seeing what happens when I begin to experiment!)

 So,  please allow me to introduce you to the O.o.a.K.Winston Wombat Hot Water Bottle Cover or Bed Adornment or a really Cuddly Plush Toy.  After that long title, his Etsy Listing is #99230084, for those who want to see more about him and he took his place in the shop at www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies yesterday evening (BST).  The plush fur is so tactile that one's immediate instinct is to stroke him - and everyone who has seen him, has done so.

Winston Wombat's "stuffing" is actually a separate pillow, stuffed with the usual polyester fibre material I use for all the Cuddlies.

 When required to become a Hot Water Bottle Cover, the pillow can be extracted and the bottle inserted.  The bottle's top is slotted into Winston's tail, which I have made as a pocket - with the underside side made in black felt, and the top side using the plush fur material.  You can see that the pillow has it's own label (refer to my last post - 05/05/2012 - if you don't know what I'm talking about!), and there is an additional label stitched to the inside hem lining of the pocket.

This striped version of Winston Wombat is a One of a Kind, but Philippa has been sufficiently smitten with the original, that she has  decided her Christmas/Birthday presents this year for her Little People Friends around the country will be a Wombat Hot Water Bottle Cover.  Her versions (she has ordered 4 of them) will be made in the same material used for the Silver/Brown Bear  made earlier this year (Etsy Listing #95205668) - which, in fact, actually resembles a Real Wombat's coat!

There is also a lot more of that plush material available to me at the moment, than there is of the striped plush - but I'm still determined to try and create a Badger Glove Puppet!.  I'll be able to mix and match with my usual brown and white plush fabrics, used in conjunction with the striped stuff I've used for Winston.  Just keep watching this space, please!
Before closing:  I've been invited to  join a new blogging team - www.etsy.com/teams/misanthropy-creations-blog-team - and this post will be the first of mine to be sent to the Team Leader for her to edit and publish in due course.  Michelle, the Team Leader, is well plugged into the social media scene - and the objective of the team members is publicise our blogs (as well as our shops), using her existing social media exposure to the mutual benefit of us all.  Not sure how long  I'll last, but I'm willing to have a go.  I have to prepare this whole post in a HTML version and send it to her email - and then leave it to her.  Will keep you posted (or you may want to watch out on Stumble, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, WeHeartThis and Tumblr,  amongst others!.

See you around soon.  Isobel

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Closing the Rusty Saga and attending to some Administrative Matters:

As promised in our last post on May 1, I managed to take two pictures of Rusty before he left Heytesbury for his current Forever Home in High Wycombe, driven by his Best Friend, Philippa Because the weather was inclement, and neither of us wanted him to get wet after all he's recently gone through, Rusty was transported in the same plastic bag in which his stuffing was provided by my suppliers!

You can see, he took up a lot of the back seat of Philippa's car - so much so that he was actually blocking a clear view from her rear view mirror.  So, for safety's sake, and as his arms would have caused some impediment to her safe driving if he'd sat in the passenger seat beside her, he ended up on his side for the journey home.  Thus a satisfactory end to what has been quite an experience!  He's a good match with her car, isn't he?

Now, to some slightly more mundane, but equally important matters.  At the end of March, (in a post on 31/03/2012) I mentioned that in future all Coldham Cuddlies listed at www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies would carry a label somewhere about their frame.  The woven labels finally arrived and the first new creation to be labelled was Cy Bear II, who was the subject of our last post - on 01.05.2012.  While acknowledging the usefulness of these additions (if only to provide some provenance should a Cuddly become a future valuable antique!) I've always felt that to have them on a Bear's foot pad for instance actually detracts from the overall appearance of that toy.  So, I've chosen to put my labels in a more discreet position - where possible - on their bottoms.  Thus, they will be labelled clearly - but it won't spoil their looks!

Since completing Rusty - who left on schedule (04/05/2012) with Philippa - I've been diligently applying the labels to all the existing toys in stock. (It does take me back - to the 1950's, when at the beginning of each school year, my mother and I set to, attaching name tapes to any new additions to the school uniform!)   The only toys who will probably not carry this additional embellishment are the Baby Rabbits (all versions) because their rumps are a little small for the labels with their existing dimensions.  The labels threaten to overwhelm them!   The Baby Koalas (Etsy Listing #55190188) are sufficiently big to carry the labels off!   There are now just 6 Dressed Toys that are listed at www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies, that still require their labels - all the others have been attended to.  Maybe, down the line, I'll get a smaller version of the labels, and then the Baby Rabbits and their ilk will not escape!There need to be some more sales first!!

Interestingly, and while on the subject of labels,  my stuffing source has recently also taken to attaching a label to the bag in which the polyester fibre is sold  to me.  For the sake of good order and the record, here is what it says:

                        " CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE
                         Filling materials have been tested by our supplier(s)
                         and meet the requirements of the Furniture and 
                         Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988-BS5852 
                         part 2."

In past posts I've mentioned that the source for this (and the plush off-cuts and other materials  used for some of my Dressed Toys) is a Soft Furnishing/Upholstery Factory based in Frome, Somerset.  This information provides me with great comfort:  I  hope it does for you, my readers  - and all my toy customer friends as well.

Before closing:  I've been invited to  join a new blogging team - www.etsy.com/teams/misanthropy-creations-blog-team - and this post will be the first of mine to be sent to the Team Leader for her to edit and publish in due course.  Michelle, the Team Leader, is well plugged into the social media scene and  - I think - the objective of the team members is to publicise our blogs (as well as our shops), using her existing social media exposure to the mutual benefit of us all.  Not sure how long  I'll last, but I'm willing to have a go.  I have to prepare this whole post in a HTML version and send it to her email - and then leave it to her.  Will keep you posted (or you may want to watch out on Stumble, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, WeHeartThis and Tumblr,  amongst others!). Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ I do have some connection with:  the rest, I've not even tried to "play" with!

Given my recent luck when attempting to access new pastures on the internet, I'm a little fearful, but...... hopefully,

I'll see you around soon!     Isobel

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Celebrating a Cuddlies' milestone, while returning to a  more normal life

Hello Everyone!  Cy Bear putting in an appearance!  After the recent trials and tribulations of life on the internet faced by Isobel, and then telling everyone all about the Renaissance of Rusty Bear,  I've finally been given the chance to tell you about some more exciting news for the ColdhamCuddlies family.  Before I do so, though,  I've got to apologise to him for calling Rusty, the Monster BearI was not being rude, but compared with me, he is a Monster:  oops, sorry, a Giant Bear.

Now to the good news.  We have reached the quarter century of sales in the shop at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com.  25 sales have taken members of the Cuddlies Family to  live in their Forever Homes all around the world.  Several are in the USA, some in the UK and others in Australia, Saudi Arabia, France and Italy.  And, yesterday, Isobel was contacted by MrsSA who lives in Anchorage, Alaska who wants Charlie Coyote (Etsy Listing #67039032) to go and live with her daughter Lucy and make his Forever Home with them.  Lucy is mad about Foxes and is having a Fox Birthday at the end of May.  MrsSA said in a note to Isobel that Charlie "is the cutest (coyote that can be a) fox that I have ever seen!!!".  So, that's the beginning of the next quarter century of sales - here's to it being 50 before too long!

So, today Charlie has been wrapped up and Isobel took him to one of the Post Offices nearby who deal with international packets and parcels.  There's been a price rise in the cost of posting things in the UK (with effect from April 30), so all our postage rates have got to be changed.  Isobel had been hoping to wait to do that when the shop is shut for the summer holidays (June, July and August), but with Charlie travelling at the end of this week to Anchorage, the cost of his ticket had to be calculated and MrsSA told about the change in price before he could leave us.  Charlie will remain wrapped in his tissue paper and bubble wrap until the end of the week (when all the payment details have been settled), but meanwhile, we've had confirmation from Alaska that they are prepared to accept the postal charge hike - so all systems are "GO".

Then, I've been joined by someone who really does look like me.

That's him on the left and he doesn't have a real name yet - but to differentiate him from me, Isobel has called him Cy Bear II.  Not very original I know, but there we are.  He's made with the left-overs of the Beaver Lamb coat from which Isobel made me.  There was just sufficient whole pieces of hide  - and because the mistakes made with me have been learned, he does not have sharp seams on his limbs.  He would be a lot more child-friendly than I am, but he's not going to stay with us for long, though. He is a sort of custom order and his Forever Home is going to be in Normandy - living with Mons. Reynard and Mme Lapin - and he's going to travel with Peter and Isobel when they go to see MmeIM at the beginning of June.  Apparently it was seeing me, and learning that there was some Beaver Lamb fur left over that caused Cy Bear II to be ordered!

Isobel is worried that he and I will not last as long as the other toys living with MmeIM  have done - because we are both made of REAL fur, rather than the plush fabric used for all the other Bears and toys in the Cuddlies Family.  Once the hide was cut out to make us, the hide - being nearly 100 years' old - began to split as Isobel sewed the seams - particularly with Cy Bear II.  It's been nearly a year since I was made, and the hide had dried out even more.  The seams should hold for a while, but she cannot guarantee that we will last.  However, as neither of us are likely to be played with by Little People, and we will spend our lives sitting on a shelf, dressing table or bed, we may do better than some of the more modern toys in our world!

Isobel has also finished all 10 Baby Koalas that were ordered by MrRFE from Sequals in Italy.  They too were wrapped up, and got ready to travel today, but we don't know where MrRFE is presently.  He divides his time between Sequals (his home), UK and Dubai - where he works, and he's somewhere in between all of them at the present time.  All 10 Koalas have been individually wrapped in chemical-free tissue paper, and then wrapped in twos in bubble wrap.  Then the five individual bundles have been carefully placed in the polythene envelope in which they will be posted, and weighed to see how much the travelling costs will be.  As soon as we hear from MrRFE, they too will be off to their Forever Homes..

There will be some pictures of the  Baby Koalas - together with Cy Bear II and me in our next post. But in the interim, here's another of us two from a slightly different angle.

Meanwhile, that's it for tonight!  It is so good to be back with you all again.  Cy Bear.