Thursday, 29 August 2013

This time our slippers feature.....FROGS,

Good evening, everyone:  here we are, Thursday already, and I've not blogged since the week-end.  I just wish there were 48 hours to each day, not the normal 24!

As you know, I'm  presently deeply involved in making slippers for both sale (and display) shortly, and these are the latest in the series.  We're offering two pairs of Mens slippers (Small and Medium sizes - the Large has yet to be produced, but are in the pipeline):   and Childrens' varieties in Small - Fox Heads, Medium - Leopard Heads using Leopard Print fabric, and Large - Tigers' Heads, again using an Animal Print Plush Fabric.  Now I've embarked on the Ladies, and these are the newest - destined for Sizes 2-3 (UK) Ladies feet.

These Green Moleskin type Frog Head Ladies Slippers  are part of the 2013 ColdhamCuddlies Specialities Product Offer available with effect from September 2013.   They are listed as examples in our shop at - in case someone requires them as a gift for overseas family members.

They are made from a pattern that has developed since the first, experimental Rabbit Slippers emerged earlier this year - following extensive conversations between a particular Etsy contact and myself -  please visit  During the ensuing  production process, Size 5-6 and 7-8 slippers have been produced, but these were the result of local neighbours' commissions.  They are about to be reproduced for sale here on Etsy - although their listings do already feature in our Shop.  These can be seen here and also

These Green Frog Head Slippers have a Memory Foam insole base covered by faux leather - which has a matt finished, but CANNOT be GUARANTEED slip proof.

The outer layer is made with green moleskin type fabric, with a white lining, and is sewn on to the insole together with a cream Poodle fur fabric lining.  They are attached in such a way that no seams are visible - thus preventing unnecessary seam contact with an individual's skin.  The sole of the slipper is separately sewn with a cream Poodle fur lining and the entire slipper is then encased at the ankle with a Green Satin Ribbon edging, through which 1 cm (1/2") wide elastic has been threaded.

To ensure a satisfactory, personal fit, sufficient leeway has been created for the elastic to be pulled to meet individuals' requirements.   An opening under the ribbon bow allows access for any adjustments to be undertaken.  While there are no feet "in residence", the toes are currently stuffed with tissue paper in order to hold the slippers shape!

These slippers usually take me between 3-4 days per pair to produce from cutting out the fabric pieces to completion.  They do not have to be Frog Heads - the choice is down to the Buyer, who can visit our Shop site to review the other Toys' Heads - and arrangements will be made to accommodate any choice of Animal or colour specified.  The pattern is based on slippers I made one Christmas (way back in the 1970's) for all the male members of my significantly large family - but those were made with felt, and didn't last as long as I believe these will.

To ensure the finished product is "Made to Fit"  when ordering  ALL the following information will be most helpful, but are  not absolutely vital.  The items highlighted with a ** ARE needed however.

Frog Slipper for the Left Foot
(1) Your normal shoe size. **
(2) Colour combination(s) - if different from those shown**
(3) If possible, a drawing of each foot - to accommodate individual shapes!
(4) Measurement of each foot from Toe to Ankle OVER the instep arch.
(5) Width of foot from side to side, OVER instep arch.
(6) Ankle circumference at top edge of slipper - to accommodate any possible swelling involved.

This is for the Right Foot - despite the apparent twist  at the toes!
Armed with this information, it should be possible for me to meet your specific needs!  Otherwise, they fit or they don't!  I am always prepared to re-work, provided any returns have not been damaged in the process of being sent back!  So far, it has not been necessary.

Etsy Listing #160760658
Slippers can be made for Children, Ladies and Men - once all the above information is provided for each person.  However, please be aware, that no matter the fact that they are made in the same way, just as I can never produce a completely identical toy, the same holds true for a pair of Slippers.  I have noticed, however, that even with the mass-produced variety, although they may look identical on first sight, they can vary in fit when a foot is actually inserted!  But, isn't that the joy of HAND MADE?

A pair of Ladies Size 4-6 (UK) are in the process of production. Number One slipper is almost complete - all it needs is elastic being threaded through:  however, Slipper Number Two has not worked as well - the seamstress trying to do things too quickly, I fear! (I had only taken 2 days to do them so far!) So, the work will have to be undone - and re-started:  oh, that's another "joy" of HAND MADE!  It's not too difficult to undo something that has gone more than slightly skewed!  And it also shows that I must allow at least 3-4 days for each pair to be sure of an acceptable result!

Back again soon - meanwhile, it's both hands to the slipper - with the trusty "Quic Unpic" to the fore! (Makes a change from applying them to unsuspecting Bears!)  Good night  lsobel 

PS:  These Slippers have already found a home!  The lady comes to visit me every six weeks or so to treat my feet - and she is frog mad.  When she saw them yesterday during her latest visit, she agreed to purchase them at our next meeting - in mid-October.  Meanwhile, I have permission to display them on my stall as "Reserved - Already Sold"!  Let us hope that is an omen of things to come!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Treating Bernard Bear - Part Two

Greetings Everybody - this Cy Bear back again itching to finish the story of Bernard Bear's Treatment. 

He'd been sitting in the Lloyd Loom Chair (next to the bedside table where I sit when I'm not guarding Isobel's bed during the daytime) for a while before Isobel was able to get around to opening the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) to treat him.  So he and I kept each other company and as he is such a big Bear, his leaving to go home again has left quite a gap in the ColdhamCuddlies family.

Now Isobel left off the description of Bernard's treatment with him in pieces, hanging on the clothes maiden after he'd had an overnight bath.  So, the next thing we had to do was to sew up the limbs, leaving the ends where the paw pads are fixed, open.  Isobel then attached new plastic safety joints to the arms, legs and head and attached the new paw pads to the arms.

She didn't sew them all round the paw, because she needed an opening through which the stuffing could be pushed.  This picture shows the pads ready to be sewn to each limb, and Bernard's two new ears ready to be attached to his head.  The head and body are placed on top of each other at the back of the photograph, on the right hand side.

Then it was time for Bernard's face to be replaced. First, having removed the remaining left eye before Bernard had his bath, two new amber coloured eyes were fitted into the holes that were left in his face.   Isobel removed the existing nose yarn and gently drew the shape of his whole nose.  Then she embroidered the new feature within the new lines, followed by a new mouth - which followed the exact line it had been sewn previously.

Stuffing was then pushed into the hole left at the back of his head where Isobel had unpicked the seam to ear level.  As soon as he had been properly stuffed - he no longer looked quite so severe.  It was because the wood chipping and cotton wool mixture had deteriorated that his face had shrunk - which gave him the severe look he had when he arrived:  here's a reminder!

Then the head was fixed to his empty body with the largest plastic safety disc we were able to locate and Bernard looked like this.

Bernard then needed to have his ears attached.  These had to be made with completely fresh mohair fabric which actually matched him a bit better BEFORE he had his bath, than it seemed to do when we first attached the ears to his head.  However, in electric light the difference did not seem as obvious, and he does look so much better with two ears in place now, doesn't he?  It must have been very difficult for him to properly  hear what was going on around him before he became a Patient in the Clinic, I think.

(A complete match with Bernard's original mohair fur was always an unlikely proposition:  dyes and production processes have changed greatly in the intervening period since he was first made, and the fabric Isobel managed to find was the closest her supplier could find for us).

Isobel then turned her attention to the holes in Bernard's body.  The biggest one has been by the top of his left arm, so she used the new material to patch the hole - you can see it in this picture, and as there was a  smaller hole at approximately the same spot near the top of his right arm, another patch of about the same size was attached there.  That made Bernard look more balanced we thought and he certainly seems to agree!  Another patch had to be attached on his left leg, which I'm not going to show you - largely because Isobel forgot to take a picture of it!

Then all the limbs were each stuffed, and the paw pads on his arms sewn into place - closely followed by a similar stitching to his legs.  The discs were then threaded to his empty body through the same holes where the limbs had previously been attached and the body was then stuffed.  He was firmly stuffed with the polyester fibre which meets all international fire and safety standards, and he now looks like this. 

His arms look a little out of shape in  this picture - partly due to the angle Isobel took the photograph (he's a big Bear to accommodate in our photographic sites in the flat where we all live!) but also because the discs are somewhat smaller than those they replaced.

Bernard's paw pads are now made from glove quality tan leather and are much softer to touch than the ones they replace - and I think look a lot more comfortable, as well as a better colour now he is a cleaner looking Bear!

Before he left to go home, we had one of our Coldham Farewell photographic sessions, and this one of Bernard and I sitting on Isobel's bed is the best of the bunch!

I'm very pleased to tell you that Bernard travelled in comfort in the back of the car belonging to MrGS's friends who live in our village.  He was carefully strapped in with the car seat belt and we have since learned that MrGS is very satisfied with his new look.  He is apparently sitting in a comfortable armchair in his Forever Home awaiting the arrival of various grand children to play with him when they come to see MrGS.  We have been promised some photographs - and when they arrive, I promise we'll feature them in a future post.

Meanwhile, I'll end this - with the hope that you are all enjoying this last Bank Holiday before Christmas as much as Isobel is:  she has her elder daughter staying for the week-end, and they seem to be very busy driving around the area in Philippa's car doing various errands, one of which has been to stock up with bags of stuffing so that Isobel doesn't run out when making up the slippers and Christmas presents she hopes to be making in the upcoming weeks!

Goodnight to you all.  Cy Bear.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Treating Bernard Bear - Part One

Goodness me - it's Wednesday afternoon, and several days have passed since I posted about Pooh and Brown Bears' Happy Endings.  I've been very busy with one thing and another, and although the photographs have all been prepared for publication, I've just not had the time to sit down and write the story about Bernard and his particular problems.

 So... with no more ado, here is what happened to Bernard Bear, who spent some time in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing  79124185) before treatment could begin - because a decision needed to be made as to whether he should undergo the full  Coldham Bear Therapy, or merely a partial one.

His arrival actually coincided with that of Pooh and Brown Bears, but as their needs were more easily tackled, and Bernard's treatment was dependent on a decision on his future looks, he remained sitting in the Lloyd Loom chair in my bed-room, which seems to have become the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic's waiting-room.

His requirements were pretty obvious:  he'd lost both his ears, he only had one eye, his nose was somewhat disfigured, his mouth needed attention and he had some pretty large holes in his body and head which either required total coverage, or patching.  While a decision was awaited, closer inspection revealed the need to replace all his paw pads - which had become very hard and  needed to be removed, together with separating his limbs from the body, so that the holes could be adequately treated - which ever route was taken.

Given Bernard's age - approximately 40-50 years we believe - and the fact that he'd not been played with for a very long time, spending the time in cupboards, he was not really in too bad a shape.  But the mohair fur definitely showed signs of the loving attention he had received when his Forever Friend, MrGS was playing with him.  It needed to be matched if possible, and a price for the fabric obtained.  Once that had happened, the decision was taken to go the partial restoration route, and so his treatment began.

As usual, with the "Quic-Unpic" - without which such operations cannot happen - at the ready, his head seam was undone from the back, as far as ear level and all the wood chip stuffing removed.  In the head and limbs, the wood chips were mixed up with disintegrated cotton wool.  This often  happened during the period I suspect Bernard was made - because I've had to deal with similar concoctions in some of my previous treatments.  It came away quite cleanly, and I was able to remove the stuffing adhering to the seams with my hand held vacuum, although the cotton wool rapidly fell to bits, and became very dusty.

Then came the main piece to be treated - his body. I decided to try and keep the body as intact as possible, because patching the holes would be easier to achieve.  So, it was the main back seam that was unpicked from the neck to his bottom.  The stuffing here was all wood chipping, and it came away quite easily.

 However, one thing was striking:  the way his seams were created.  Where the seams were clearly visible, they had been machine-stitched.  However, at the extremities, the fixing was very rough and ready. The seams seem to have been held together and string used to wrap it round very casually. then gathered to form a roll,  and then the ends sewn in to the body near the seams. The joins were hidden by the head and limb joints!   I've tried to show this in the following photograph of the seam towards his legs:   the same happened at the end of all the limbs, themselves.

It's not the first time I've come across this way of completing a Bear's seams, but it was particularly noticeable in Bernard's case.   Which makes me wonder if Bernard was originally a hand-made bear, rather than  a mass-produced bear.  All the others where this phenomenon occurred were mass-produced, but the string was only used for a short time.  One will never know - but this is one of the fascinations for me of restoring old,  much-loved bears.  Speculating on how, when, or where they originated, closely followed by their very individual stories.


Once the wood chip stuffing had been removed, I then could remove the cotter pin joint discs.  Three (out of a total of five) of them are shown in this photograph, together with the pliers and screw driver with which I tried to open the pins, which had been very firmly fixed, with very thick steel.  (All of the joints were 2-1/2" inches in diameter - perhaps explaining why there were holes near the joint edges in Bernard's coat!)  Two of them defied all my efforts - my arthritic fingers could not cope - so in the end, I had to resort to seeking help from one of my gentlemen neighbours.  Even he had a problem  (which did make me feel slightly less useless!)  He had to resort in the end to using a small hand saw to separate the two layers of cardboard discs by cutting the pins so that we could get the discs out of Bernard. The pins had broken while he and I had tried to twist them undone with our respective pliers and other tools.   In so doing, two of the discs - which are made with very thick cardboard, which had hardened over the years of being in place - were damaged beyond photography!  You can also see the paw pads which had been removed: they, too, were as hard as I suspected and definitely needed to be replaced.   (In all, the removal of the cotter pins took the two of us nearly two hours from start to finish, because we were both anxious not to damage Bernard's remaining coat any more than it had already been).

Once this tricky operation had been successfully completed, Bernard was immersed in luke-warm soapy water to remove the dust that he had accumulated, and spent the night soaking in the bath.

 Next morning, Bernard's pieces were firmly wrung out, carefully shaped and hung up  on the clothes maiden in my work room. His head is in the middle of the back row, next to the body:  his two legs are in the front, and his arms are on the right of the photograph, one behind the other.   You can see that he is a Big Bear!

This seems to be an appropriate point at which to end this post - the next installment will follow shortly, and will probably be handled by Cy Bear.  He does like to be involved at least once in the Bear treatment reports!

Hope everyone is having a good week!  We're looking forward to a Bank Holiday this week-end, the last before Christmas!  Where on earth has this year gone?

Good night - and God Bless!   Isobel

Friday, 16 August 2013

Pooh and Brown Bears' Happy Ending

Evening everybody - it's Cy Bear back again.   Was wondering when it would happen, but Isobel has been so busy recently, that blogging has had to take a back seat.  However, I can now tell and show you what has happened to my good friends Pooh and Brown Bears - both recent Patients in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185).

Pooh Bear is now happily living with his original Friend, MrJA-B and his young son MA-B.  We thought you'd all be interested - so here are some pictures for you to see.

MrsPA-B took the photographs with her Ipad (whatever that might be) and sent them to Isobel.  One of the reasons for the delay in our not letting you know about them before is that it's only this evening that we've (and by that I mean Isobel, of course) figured out how to transfer them here to the blog!  Anyway, better late than never.

"I do love you Pooh Bear - just like Daddy did!"
The caption under this photo was provided by MrsPA-B, and it's so lovely that we felt it should be incorporated here.  (We have got full permission to do whatever we like with the photos, and a copy of this post will be sent to the family after we've published it later!)

After being introduced to the new Pooh Bear,  young  MA-B decided that he needed to be shown round their garden - and the first place they went to was the nearest Hydrangea bush:

Now, we must not forget Brown Bear must we?  Well he was reunited with his Forever Friend MrAA-B and his fiancee MsL (their wedding is later this year).  Apparently, it was MsL who actually saved  Brown Bear from being thrown away because it was feared he was not worth saving.  I mean to say - what a good thing MrsPA-B knew Isobel and had asked if we could have a look at Pooh Bear.   When MsL heard about us, it was speedily decided that  the two Bears would come together to the Clinic.    Brown Bear was not in nearly such a state as my other friend.  MsL is already great friends with Brown Bear - as this photograph proves!

And as I believe they say in all good stories - they all lived happily ever after!

I must say it was such fun having these two Bears staying with us, and I've missed them since they went to their respective homes.  However, it was not long before we were able to get on with treating Bernard Bear, who arrived at about the same time as the other two.   Isobel has been able to treat Bernard Bear now - and he went home to his Forever Friend earlier this week.

Another small Bear, known to us in the Clinic as TJ Bear  arrived here about 10 days ago.  He didn't need as much work done to make him better, and he is going home tomorrow.  His Forever Friend, MrsEJ had always called him Teddy until he met us - but it gets so confusing when so many Bear Patients are called Teddy or Ted.  So, when they met, Isobel told TJ's Friend that we would be calling him Ted Johnson (TJ Bear for short).  It makes telling the stories of their stay in the Clinic so very much easier.  Their treatments will be described in the next couple of posts - coming shortly.

 Isobel meanwhile, has also been busy putting new titles on all 57 toys and slippers now on offer in our Etsy Shop ( and also doing something called "tagging".  Apparently we'd not been doing it as well as we could, and having been given some great help by our friend LauraC - for whom the Golden Yellow Slippers were made, you may recall  they got done over the past three evenings.  It takes a lot of time to do it properly, and we're hoping that all this work will result in lots of Cuddlies finding their Forever Homes between now and Christmas.

So - with that thought, I'll end this post.  Lovely to be back with you all again - and here's to the next time!  Cy Bear

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Latest Slipper Offering - Badger Stripes, with or without the Head: your choice!

Hello Everybody!  Isobel opening up to show you the latest item to be listed in our shop at  It's the latest in the Slipper offering - a Size 9-10 Man's Slipper - and was listed earlier in the week.

The Slipper production line is taking a temporary break, while our two Bear Patients (featured in our last post earlier this week) receive therapy in the Stuffed Animals Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185).  However, after parking the needle and thread, we did list the Man's Size 9 to 10 Badger Striped Slippers - presently headless, but capable of having one added to each one at the request of the Buyer.  Equally, since I now have patterns for a Skunk and a Raccoon, and stripes similar to Badgers in real life seem to be a feature of both, I would be more than happy to provide them instead.

 (Buyers can contact me on the convo section of our shop at to discuss your specific requirements.  To be perfectly honest, I'm eager to have a go at these two animals - it's long been an ambition to make a Raccoon, and I was lucky enough to find patterns for both on offer at the same time earlier this year).

Etsy Listing #158935304
The plush fabric is very soft and tactile, and the slippers have been completely lined - including the sole - using cream Poodle faux fur fabric.  They should keep a gentleman's feet beautifully warm during the winter months - and an initial tight fit at the toe will soon relax to fit the whole foot, as the slipper has been made around a memory foam insole, covered with a fabric which prevents too much slipping.

The Size 9-10 Men's Slippers from the rear, showing the stripes, together with the Brown Satin ribbon binding, which includes elastic to aid a comfortable fit around the ankle.  A gap has been left at the head of the binding on both slippers enabling the elastic to be pulled through - and an allowance has been made for the fit to be loosened or tightened, as needed.

A view of the interior of the slippers, showing the Poodle Faux Fabric lining.  All seams have been sewn by hand so that no seam is actually visible - thus avoiding a potential cause of discomfort to the wearer.

A view from the sides of both slippers, where the badger markings are clearly visible. 

The price of these Slippers listed in our shop ( is USD61.50.  This is for slippers with their heads in place.  Headless, they will sell at USD53.50, a reduction of USD8.00 per pair (or USD4.00 per slipper).

These slippers will be added to the growing collection of Children's Slippers, Ladies Slippers, and Men's Slippers which I will be taking to display (and hopefully take orders!) at various upcoming Craft Sales in the Autumn.  They will all make someone - small, medium or large - a great Christmas present.

Meanwhile, Bernard Bear's treatment has begun.  He's had his bath - and looks a different colour!   Tomorrow, having thoroughly dried - as I type this, there are still residual damp patches at the lower end of each piece of his limbs, body and head - the patching remedial work commences, and hopefully he will be ready for delivery to MrGS's friends by Tuesday,  for onward delivery towards the end of the week.

Good night, everyone!   Hope you're all having a great week!

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Pigs have flown - to Italy: Four Cuddlies have found Forever Homes - and there's a new Patient to treat

Hello Everybody - this is Cy Bear once again.

As the title implies, The Pig Twins have been chosen as a First Wedding Anniversary present by SnraCF  for her son and daughter-in-law and are already en route to Italy.  Funnily enough, their destination is not far away from where my friend Ed Ted and The Italian Mob (**) are now living.  They left us last Tuesday by first class Air Mail, and with luck should be with SnraCF in a few days time.   They are not needed until sometime in September though.

Before they left, the customary farewell photograph was taken -

Now, while awaiting their replacements - someway down Isobel's "To Do" List I think - am delighted to tell you that another Patient was admitted to the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinc (Etsy Listing 79124185) at the week-end.

 A selection of the Cuddlies - not the usual suspects - together with a sample selection of the Slippper Collection, were taken by Isobel to become a Craft Stall at the weekly Produce Sale in Heytesbury Church. The Hospital of St. John, where we live, was the appointed organiser and when that happens, we are invited to take a stall.  Isobel then contributes 10% of her takings to the overall total sales for the day.   Four Cuddlies found their Forever Homes - and alas, as I wasn't present (I was guarding the remaining Cuddlies, which were strewn across Isobel's bed in their various carrying bags until the roaming Cuddlies returned) no farewell photographs could be taken.

However, we do know a little about where their futures are going to be.  Jubilee Rabbit is going to become the Forever Friend of a little girl, whose first birthday is today.  The Fox Childrens' Slippers are destined for her brother who has a birthday sometime in October, and the third grandchild of the lady resident in the village (who doesn't have a birthday close by, but wasn't going to be left out by Granny) will become Hal, the Baby Hedgehog's Forever Friend.  (He's currently de-activated in our shop at, but will be up again soon - as he doesn't take Isobel very long to make when she gets going!)

The fourth Cuddly - one of the Baby Koala Bears (Etsy Listing #55190188) was bought by one of the S Hospital's Trustees - and at present, we don't know where his Forever Home will be.  Isobel will have to find out the next time she sees MrsC and I'll let you know then.  So, on top of the slipper production to form the 2013 Christmas Sales Campaign, Isobel is going to have to do some rapid replacement sewing - once Bernard Bear's treatment is complete.  That begins today or tomorrow I believe.

Meanwhile, allow me to introduce our new Patient and Associate Cuddly - he belongs to Mrs EJ a lady who lives here in Heytesbury and until Saturday had always been called "Teddy".  So, in order to differentiate between all the Teds or Teddys we've had the pleasure of welcoming to the Clinic, Isobel told MrsEJ that for our purposes, he will now be known as TJ Bear.  It does make things so much easier if our patients can have their own individual names.

Compared with many of our Patients, TJ is in pretty good shape. His coat has very few bare patches, but  he does need re-stuffing though, particularly in his limbs and body.  His head is very hard, and Isobel suspects it is full of wood chippings or something similar, so MrsEJ has agreed that new stuffing should be used there as well.  He needs his nose re-doing and has got a rather slanted smile at the moment.  MrsEJ  would quite like his mouth to be straightened, but we'll see what he looks like when he's completely re-stuffed.  The slant does give him some sort of character doesn't it?  Apparently, he used to have a growler once upon a time. So, while he's getting his body re-stuffed, a new one will go in.  Also, having had a chance to look at him closer, Isobel is going to suggest that we replace  his paw pads and claws at the same time as re-stuffing his arms.

Sitting on Bernard Bear's lap, you can see that TJ is quite a small Bear - as we Bears go.

Here I am - keeping an eye on things, perched on the back of the Lloyd Loom chair where all our Patients wait until their treatment turn comes around - with the fabric that is going to be used to patch Bernard Bear and make him look a smart Bear once more.  The plush actually matches his existing fur a lot better than the pictures shows:  that's because the backing fabric is a lot lighter than Bernard's original one.  A long time has passed since he was first made and dyes have changed;   he's been in a cupboard for many years too, and may look a lot lighter once he's had one of Isobel's regular luke warm baths, before he gets re-stuffed.

Until next time - it's been good to be with you all again.   Cy Bear.

(**)  If anyone wants to know about them, Ed Ted and The Italian Mob featured in several posts earlier in the life of this blog.  Ed Ted was in a dreadful state when he appeared, and it took 9 posts between 28.06.2011 and 31.07.2011 to describe his treatment and rejuvenation:  and the Italian Mob were mentioned in a post dated 02.02.2012.  One of the Italian Mob was Big Koala - whose own treatment was featured in a post published 16.01.2012)