Friday, 20 September 2013

Some Cuddlies in their Forever Homes -and our latest news.

Hello Everyone!

Cy Bear back again, even though I'm at home in Heytesbury, and Isobel is away staying with her daughter, Clare and husband, Alan in Nottinghamshire.

Regular readers of this blog should now be aware that Cuddlies can now come in two versions.  The ones Isobel makes, like me - and those she restores to a new life in our Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185),  Recently, because we both feel the latter become honary Cuddlies while they become Patients, she has called her hand-made ColdhamCuddlies (CC), and those that are treated in our Clinic we have labelled Associate Cuddlies  (AC).  All our Patients qualify, but so do toys like the Pig Twins, who were listed in our shop at until they were invited to go to Italy to meet their new Forever Friends.

The Pig Twins were the first Associate Cuddlies, because Isobel only finished  them off by providing their clothes, as they had originally been made by our good family friend, MrsPC.  It was their arrival that made Isobel decide to create the Associate Cuddly tag - so that everyone who comes to stay with us leaves feeling they are part of our family.

The Pigs left Heytesbury on August 5 this year at the behest of SnraCF who wanted them as a First Wedding Anniversary present for her son DP and his wife, MTC.   She promised to send us photographs of the gift-opening ceremony, which took place over the first week-end  of  September.  You can read more about the Pig Twins in our post dated August 5, 2013 entitled: "The Pig Twins have Flown - to Italy"

Receiving the Present

The First layer removed

The Forever Friends together for the first time
SnraCF is a fellow member of the Etsy Seniors Rock Team, one of the regular Etsy Teams in which Isobel is a participant,  and we've been told that her family are expecting to be joined bya Little Person sometime in April 2014.  Depending on the gender of the Little Person who does arrive, we have been asked to provide a small Piglet to complete the family as a Welcome to the World present sometime in April 2014.  Isobel has a suitable pattern from which to produce either a little Boy or Girl dressed Piglet, so we'll keep you posted, obviously.

Then I was really pleased and excited to hear further news from my friend, Bernard Bear, A.C.  His Forever Friend, MrGS sent us a picture of Bernard sitting comfortably in his own armchair, and Isobel and I thought you'd like to see him.  

Accompanying this photograph of Bernard, was the following message from MrGS:

"Bernard with his two original older friends, Hephalump and Dog who are 

both in a very sad state, but pleased to be reunited."

The following photograph shows Bernard's two long-term friends better, and I'm so pleased to be able to have it remind me of the good time we had together while he was a Patient in our Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic!

With that, I'll end this post.  Do hope everyone is having a good time - and that everyone is well.  My guardian duties continue while Isobel is away - and it would appear that she is having a great time while staying in Nottingham.  The preparations for the Big Bash are coming together well and the Birthday Girl had a great day earlier this week - by all accounts.

Good night everyone - until the next time.  Cy Bear.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Here Come the Owls - The Final Piece for the 2013 Cuddlies' Slipper Collection

Three months ago - or thereabouts - I set out on a new venture for the Cuddlies - Novelty Slippers,  Having responded to a challenge from one of my fellow Etsians,  LauraC  of EighBoardsFarm, who wished she could have a pair of Yellow Plush Slippers, I was challenged to have a go.  Now, many of you know that  I'm not normally a great one for making ANYTHING without a pattern to work with, but was reminded by one of my daughters that way back in the 1970's, I had made a lot of felt slippers for Christmas presents.  With that reminder as a starter, the Yellow Rabbits became a reality - after a couple of false starts - and the decision to have a selection of slippers in three sizes for Kids, Women and Men - preferably in time for Christmas - was formed.

Having first finished some commissions in our Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185),  now - some weeks later -  I can show you the final item in the ColdhamCuddlies 2013 Christmas Slipper Collection.  They are  Owl Headed  UK Size 12 Mens Novelty Slippers made with some of our special, but limited supply, of  Brown and Gold Flecked Plush fabric.

Etsy Listing #162884385
This time, we feature Owls Heads, using a pattern that I've been wanting to use for some time.  They are originally from a vintage pattern for a Glove Puppet made in felt, but I decided to try and convert it into a Plush Head which I could then attach to the Mens' Slipper pattern that LauraC had found for me during our initial conversations about her slippers.  We've already listed, which represent the Mens' Medium Size model and our Small Size Mens' offering.

These Owl Heads have been hand made in the same fashion as all the slippers.  They both have a Memory Foam insole covered in fabrics which hopefully will prevent slipping on floors.  They are NOT  GUARANTEED not to slip, but as long as care is taken where feet are placed, they should not let the wearer down.  Going outside in them - particularly if the surfaces are wet - is not recommended.  In our view ColdhamCuddlies' Slippers in particular, and all Slippers in general,  are indoor footwear, not outerwear!  In the Owls' case, their foot covering is made with faux leather and the body of the slippers is attached (both on the inside and outside) by ladder-stitching all round the perimeter of the insole.

These are the Owl Slippers seen from their rear view.  The fabric colour is difficult to convey even though they were taken in daylight, with a north facing window behind me.  It was  raining too hard at the time for one to attempt an outdoor shot - and in any case, following my remark about outdoors not being an appropriate place to wear them, perhaps an outdoor setting for the pictures would be equally inappropriate!

As with most of the slippers in the Christmas Collection, the lining has been made with Cream Poodle Fur fabric, and the ankle is trimmed with golden satin ribbon, through which elastic has been threaded to fit the wearer.  Adjustments can be made via the seam positioned in the middle of the back of each Owl Head.  The ends of the ribbon, rather than having a bow (as with our Ladies' Slippers - shown with a pair made not with Plush fabric, but with a moleskin type fabric - are crossed under each Owl Head's chin and fixed to the front arch of each foot with a wood toggle-shaped button.

This photograph shows the Cream Poodle Fur  lining and Gold satin ribbon trim, with the elastic seam before the ribbon was tied and fitted to the front of each slipper.

This is the Right Owl Head Slipper - and here is the Left Slipper -

If this Owl Head looks as though it's had a hard night on the tiles, it's because when the photos were taken, neither slipper had been stuffed with the tissue paper that currently replaces the wearers' feet!  As the photographer,  I was unable to undertake having a hand in the slipper to support each head, while actually shooting the frame!  Before they are displayed at the upcoming MacMillan Cancer Greatest Coffee Morning in the World Craft Fair next Monday, September 12 not only will there be some tissue paper in place, but I hope to have a better illustration of both Slippers up in as well.

Meanwhile, I'll end this post - not quite sure when the next post will occur, but it could be before the end of the week!  Until then, hope everyone is well, and hopefully enjoying some crisp, fine autumnal sunshine.

Good night and God Bless! Isobel

Friday, 13 September 2013

Celebration Time -The ColdhamCuddlies Shop is Three!

This should have been published yesterday - but, although drafted, the final publication button was omitted - because I got involved  in something else!  Am sure everyone has had plenty of such moments!  Isobel

Good afternoon Everyone!  Cy Bear here - on a Big Day for us Cuddlies.

Today, SEPTEMBER 12, 2013, the Coldham Cuddlies shop on Etsy (   is three years' old!  Actually, it is the day on which the first five items were listed in the Shop, and we have now got 59 items available for sale - from Big Teddy Bears like me,  various other kinds of  Bears,    Rabbits galore, and Foxes, Coyotes, Frogs, Beaver and a Wombat - not to mention a variety of Slippers in various sizes. (Isobel actually joined Etsy in January 2010, but spent six to nine months after doing that making some Cuddlies - which included me).

 Isobel is actually away from Heytesbury at the moment, but thanks to technology (which I don't understand, being merely a Bear, made from Beaver Lamb Fur), it is the Slippers that Isobel wants me to tell you about today.  She's been making them for the last few weeks, and is actually working on the last pair she wants to include in the 2013 Slipper Collection, which are being launched for sale today!  So we felt that you might be interested to hear how she goes about making them.

She's made slippers for Children (in Small, Medium and Large sizes), Ladies (also in Small, Medium and Large Sizes) and when she's finished, there will be the same variety in Mens' sizes too.  The Mens' and Childrens' versions are based on patterns she was given by her friend LauraC who operates two Shops herself on Etsy (one of which is, while the Ladies' ones are wholly Isobel's own invention (based on a custom order from LauraC some months ago).  Most of them are made using the special plush fabrics we are lucky to have sourced locally, but we are more than prepared to make them in any other fabrics folks might like to consider for a pair of warm winter footwear.
Indeed, the Frog Ladies Slippers (Etsy Listing #160760658 ) were made in some moleskin-like fabric, not our usual furry plush materials.--

While making the Ladies Size 6-7 (Large) versions recently, Isobel took some photos as each step was reached, and this is how the process goes - featuring some Panda Head Slippers:

Ladies Panda Head Slippers - Etsy Listing #155281164
First, we use a pair of memory insoles that Isobel can get from a local multi-purpose store in Warminster.  The insoles have a diagram of  every size variation for Ladies and Mens shoes - in UK sizing.  She then cuts out the shape for a Ladies' Size 7 slipper following up by drawing the shape of both left and right feet  on the wrong side of a some faux leather fabric - allowing for about a one inch seam all around each insole.  Then the leather is tacked on to the insole and the finished bits look like this:

The right slipper has its' piece of poodle fur lining ready for fixing later on in the process.

Having cut out the poodle fur lining and outer plush fabric to fit around the outside of both slippers, Isobel then tacks them together, with wrong sides facing, so that they look like this:

In the background of this picture, you can see the unstuffed Panda head on the right, the black plush ears in the middle, and the front foot insert Isobel uses to make sure that the fabric goes round - allowing room for toes. She stitches the ColdhamCuddlies label on before attaching the outer straight edges to the insole.  They have been cut to not quite reach the tip of the toe, because Isobel puts a gusset in around the toe area, to allow for maximum wriggle room - and for really cold-blooded individuals among our friends, there is room for a sock to add extra warmth, if required!

Here, we have the slipper with the outer edge, complete with lining, sewn to the insole, the Panda head  ready for stuffing, complete with its eye patches in place, and the ears ready to be turned inside out prior to being attached to the stuffed head. Once the head is stuffed, and ears fixed, Isobel apparently attaches the bottom of the head to the poodle fur lining and then ladder stitches the outer edge to the head around the neck. She then ladder stitches around the whole outside of the slipper, attaching the outer fabric to the leather-covered insole.

The final piece of construction involves sewing the black and white checked satin ribbon edging around the ankle area of the slipper - so that the finished item looks like this (sideways-on view here).

Then here is what the slippers look like from the rear:


The Panda Head Slippers have joined the rest of the collection and are currently packed safely away in the Cuddlies carrying case all ready for the MacMillan Cancer Greatest Coffee Morning in the World sale we've been invited to appear at  on Monday, September 23.  By then, Isobel hopes to have completed the Large Mens' Size slipper, which features an Owl Head (another version to my friend Ben the Barn Owl Etsy Listing #99686556 ) - and another new introduction to the Cuddlies family.  We hope to have them listed shortly and feature them in another post early next week.

Until then, I'll end this story - and look forward to being with you again shortly.  It's nice to think that while I'm sitting on guard on the bed in Isobel's home in Heytesbury, I can still be with you here on the blog too!

Good night!  Cy Bear

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A New Associate Cuddly - Meet Teddy Johnson!

Hello Everybody - Cy Bear once more being allowed to post about the latest  Patient in the ColdhamCuddlies Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185).

Teddy Johnson (TJ for short - it's a bit of a mouthful otherwise!) did not stay long with us, because overall he was in a very good condition, as you can see from the picture below.

His coat was in remarkable condition when you consider what some the Bears look like when they arrive for treatment!  But over the years, he'd been cuddled to the point that his stuffing had become withered and he'd lost his voice.  So, his Forever Friend, MrsEJ, when she saw what had happened when Pooh and Brown Bears had been Patients in the Clinic, asked Isobel to see what she could do for TJ (Teddy Johnson is what we decided to call him, because - as in a great number of cases, he'd always been called Teddy by MrsEJ.)

As we already had a Growler in stock (that is what Bear's voices are called when Isobel has to order them), the week after he had arrived in the Clinic - and because we were already treating Bernard Bear - TJ went with Isobel to the weekly Produce Stall in Heytesbury Church (which is where many of the cases seem to originate from!)  The Growler was tipped up to produce the sound that it made, MrsEJ said that was just what she wanted, and back into the plastic bag he was being carried in went TJ, accompanied by his Growler. What Produce (which I understand to mean vegetables, cakes, pies and coffee) and Toy restoration have in common, I just fail to comprehend!  However, in the last few weeks, we've had Pooh Bear, Brown Bear and now TJ arrive after weekly visits paid by Isobel to these events - so there has to be some connection.  I'll never understand humans.

While he had been staying in the Clinic, sitting on the Lloyd Loom Chair which has become the Waiting  Room, Isobel noticed that his paws was not very clean, and that his claws had started to come to pieces.  So, when  trying out the Growler, it was also decided that TJ would also have some brand new paw pads made for him, and that his face would be treated so that his nose and mouth were easier to see.  MrsEJ said she would not mind if his mouth was straightened if Isobel decided he would look better.  

Once Bernard Bear had been finished and sent on his way home, Isobel got to work on TJ.  His head was in very good condition, and the stuffing was still quite firm, so it was left alone. 

Looking at him, Isobel decided that the slightly quirky look of his mouth - with a slanting smile on one side of his face - gave him a bit of character, so she retained it when re-embroidering his mouth.  She drew the shape of his original nose before cutting away the remaining wool yarn used, and then re-placed the nose with some new double knitting yarn.

Then she undid the back seam and removed the stuffing.  It turned out to be a mixture of cotton wool and kapok, that quite literally disintegrated as it was taken out of TJ, creating quite a lot of dust.  No wonder he had become so limp over the years!  Then we had to put the Growler into his tummy.  It was first wrapped in a layer of polyester fibre, and put in the middle of his body.  Growlers come in a tube like structure, with one end having a set of holes.  Depending on whether a Bear talks when he leans forward, or backwards, the Growler is fixed with the holes set facing in a certain direction. ( Isobel never remembers, and has forgotten as she is typing this, but she has a set of instructions to which she refers each time a new Growler is required.) Quickly filling the rest of the space in TJ's body, his body was made much plumper and the seam sewed tightly together again.  Then Isobel turned her attention to the limbs.

By removing the paw pads, which were made of a felt like material, Isobel was able to get hold of the cotton wool/kapok mixture from each limb and then re-stuffed each arm and leg.  Then, discarding the felt pads, each one was replaced with beige glove quality suede leather.  TJ now has a much smarter, longer-lasting set of paw pads.  The claws were embroidered back with the same double knitting yarn Isobel had used for his nose.  He now looks like this.

TJ Bear is now safely back home with his Forever Friend, Mrs EJ and back sitting on the bed on which he had been residing before his treatment.  As a result of his treatment, TJ Bear has been awarded the status of Associate Cuddly in the ColdhamCuddlies Family archives - as are all the ColdhamCuddlies Patients.  He can also now stand up with a little assistance, and Isobel did have some photographs which showed him doing so - however, somehow, in transferring them from camera to the computer and now to here, these have disappeared.  As TJ is now back home again, you'll just have to take my word for it that he does now stand up!

The Slipper manufacture has been carrying on - with a hiccup or two - but Isobel is now down to the last two pairs needing to be sewn before she leaves for her holiday with Clare in Nottinghamshire.  That happens at the end of the week, and I shall then be left on guard sitting on our bed here at The Hospital of St. John - an onerous responsibility which I take very seriously! 

However, I shall not have as many toys to keep an eye on this time, as the plan is that not only will the 2013 Novelty Slipper Collection be travelling with Isobel, but also several of the Cuddlies too.  There are plans for at least two Craft Fairs at which they will be on display, and who knows,  maybe one or two more may appear.   I'm told that the computer on which we post these blogs will be going too, so there will be some posts being published while Isobel is away - if she has time, that is - but I shall obviously not be posting them.  So, this will be the last contribution from me for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Isobel has just received back some very encouraging comments on her writing attempts which she submitted for Assignment 2 for her Writing for Children Course - and is intending to take Assignment 3 with her - to prepare for the next stage in this exciting and challenging enterprise!   She's going to be busy, is'nt she? We'll keep you posted!

Goodbye:  until the next time!  Your Friend, Cy Bear