Thursday, 27 September 2012

Now for the Rejuvenation of the Lop Earred Rabbit Arm Puppet

Good evening again Everyone:  Cy Bear being allowed to tell you about the treatment of the last Nottinghamshire-based Patient in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185)Isobel has been calling him Lop Eared Bunny Arm Puppet and he, too, has spent the last few decades living in PamL's Toy Box and being played with when Little People visit her.

Now in my view, that is a very  long name to repeat every time one speaks about a chap, so  I’ll call him Loppy Lugs. (Peter always used to refer to his hearing aids as his “Lugs”, and this Rabbit’s ears were certainly floppy when he arrived.  Isobel has given him some new velvety linings and although they don’t stay upright all the time, they are certainly firmer than they once were, so Loppy Lugs (or maybe even LL for a briefer reference) is how I’ll carry on referring to him for this post.

As with all the Patients in the Clinic, once he had been taken to pieces  he found himself immersed in lukewarm, soapy water and left there overnight.

The pieces had been rinsed at this point

Isobel had always intended to take a template from him, because he is the first Arm Puppet (as opposed to Hand Puppet) she has ever come across.  She feels there may be some customer interest in him when he gets listed in the shop at   So next morning, she hung LL up to dry out and once that result had been achieved, she drew round each piece on cardboard and cut out the pattern.  These are now in their special filing envelope and will be developed after the Craft Fairs that are coming in the next two weeks, and once Isobel has been to France for a few days at the beginning of October.

Then the sewing together began and here is a shot of the first stage - both ears put together, beside the original very faded lining used originally for LL.

 Isobel says that basically, LL is a pretty simple toy to make.  His body is a rectangular piece of material, folded over to have a front seam.  The sides have two holes cut in them at the top and bottom of the resulting fold.  These make what passes for LL’s limbs, which are basically two smaller rectangles of the same length, with one of the rectangles cut into two equal pieces.  The long, uncut one becomes his arms and the two shorter ones his legs.  The ends are then pulled through the side seam holes and sewn in.  Hopefully the pictures show this clearly.

When complete, the “arms” are looped over the playmate’s head and shoulders.

 Once the legs have had the same treatment, you can see that the legs are joined together with white elastic.

That's because these have to expand to go over the playmate’s lower body and allow sitting,  if necessary.  It is difficult to explain, which is why Isobel has decided to find a child model and photograph LL and playmate together - giving everyone an idea as to how he is made to work. (It may well be that the elastic will have to be shortened - the bit from which the length was measured had expanded and lost it's elasticity!)

It's great to be able to tell you that Isobel has been able to borrow a child from the Village.  He is actually the Best Friend of a Bear that was an earlier Patient in the Soft Toy Clinic.  The Patient was called Teddy, and Isobel just needed to give him some more stuffing - he’d been loved so much by AdamW (the Best Friend I’m talking about) that he’d got very scraggy.  Also the seam on Teddy's back had come adrift.  It only took Isobel about half an hour to mend him, so he was not a proper Patient.  

 However when Isobel was going to get her newspaper from the Village Shop yesterday, she met AdamW’s mother and asked if she would mind lending him.  No problems:  so the photographic session is set for Tuesday evening next week, and then we hope to write the “How To Use Loppy Lugs and Enjoy him properly” post - probably by Isobel, this time.  (Lucky encounter actually:  as getting just one model if Isobel had gone to the School might have been a problem:  lots of children might have wanted to be models, and making a choice could have been difficult!)

Isobel did find that LL had not really been sewn terribly well, and she has high standards - as you must by now realise!  So, she has neatened all the seams involved by using straight seam binding - which should mean LL can last for even longer once he returns to Nottinghamshire.

When the body was ready for attaching to the head, Isobel then had to sew the head together.  Here is LL - from different angles, and also showing LL’s neck, which is where the hand goes to manipulate his head when a Best Friend and LL get together.  

 LL now has more stuffing in his head then he had, which means there is not as much room for the hand to fit in if an adult is working LL, but Isobel hopes it will be fine as it is for when AdamW has a go during the modelling session next week.  (It's another reason for having this modelling session - so we can iron out any snags for future Arm Puppets).  As you can see, LL has a nose, but no mouth - so Isobel is going to add a mouth, which may not show up as well on LL as it does on our other toys - because, as you can see, his fur is very fluffy.

Once the head was complete, both bits of the Puppet were sewn together, and LL is now in a chair waiting for the final photos to be taken.  When he was originally introduced to you early in July, the photograph Isobel took of him was not very good -  because he is so floppy and there was no way to show him properly.  Which is the reason Isobel decided on the modelling route.  So, you’ll all have to wait until that session has taken place to see the completed Loppy Lugs!

The plan then is for Isobel to wrap up all the Nottinghamshire toys, place them in an envelope and send them home to their Toy Box.  Then, the next thing on the agenda, before Isobel begins on the Christmas commissions (6 of them so far), she is going to attend to Blue Bear - whom you may have forgotten about.   Must admit, I had:  because he’s been in another room all this time.  He’s a Big Bear - like my friend Tommy Teddy and Golden Teddy - so was sitting down in a big chair out of the way, while Isobel attended to the smaller toys' treatment.

Until the next time then:  hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about this new Friend of mine.   Cy  Bear.