In the last post, mention was made that the production line for the Christmas Bears had to be halted because we ran out of limb joints for the final two. Once we had got them into the right places in our very disorganised storage system (sorting them out is one of Isobel's "To Do" Things for this month!), production could once again commence.
Isobel began by getting the replacement for Silvery Brown Bear sewn together and almost all the pieces turned inside out. You can see just how furry the limbs are, because the one leg is standing upright, without any polyester fibre inside to keep it firm! Believe me, they are very soft and silky to handle (or so I'm told - us Bears don't tend to relate to each other in that way!) so like the other four, Silvery Brown Bear II will make a very soft and cuddly Forever Friend when he is listed in the shop at www.Etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies.
Once all the pieces are collected together, then the next stage is for the ears to be turned right side out and the raw edges button-hole stitched together. It's apparently easier to fix the ears to the head with a firm edge to work with. Isobel has recently started with the ears, then done the head, and then sewn the body and limbs as they appear in the "to-do" pile for each Bear. Then the head, having had the eyes fixed as soon as the seams have been completed, is stuffed and the ears attached in place.
Now there have been problems in the past at this point (the latest Hairy Bear version - as mentioned in our last post - being a prime example). Isobel's fingers can fail her sometimes when intricate stitching is required and sometimes the ears don't stay in the places they are pinned to! It has involved quite a lot of unpicking before our highest standards were achieved - but while doing this last batch of Bears, some of them actually looked rather cute (according to Isobel) and different characteristics were highlighted, so it may mean in future some of the Cuddlies may end up with ears and other facial features that are not quite aligned or spot-on perfect.
(A comment was received after the last post was published that in the case of Hairy Bear's ears, they should remain where they were! So, I've decided to leave well alone pro tem, but if his eventual Forever Friend - or their family - wish to have them corrected, of course, that will be done prior to his departure for his Forever Home! - Isobel)
Once Silvery Bear's pieces were all stuffed, they were then attached to his body (which had already got the ColdhamCuddlies label attached in the usual place - just where Bears normally sit down!) - beginning with the head. It's easier to do first, because when all the limbs are in place it can be harder to squeeze the plastic joints together as the arms and legs flap around in different directions! Then Isobel usually does the arms first and then the legs. Once all four limbs and head are firmly in position, the final stuffing is applied to the body (though a gap left at the bottom of the body) and then the gap is sewed up - and the Bear is completed.
Here are a couple of photographs of the second Light Brown Bear sewn up over Christmas. We've decided he looks a Happy Light Brown Bear for the purposes of labelling for the eventual Etsy Listing process (later today or early next week).
Happy Bear has actually got his arms and one leg attached here, as well as his head and in the second photograph is sitting on a pair of pliers that come in useful for Isobel when the needle she is using gets stuck in the pile while she is sewing bits together,. Her fingers sometimes don't have sufficient strength to do the job properly or as quickly as she wants. The pliers are normally used for getting old-fashioned cotter pins out of the Patients in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185). The final limb was then attached, the body stuffed firmly, and Eureka! Happy Bear was ready.
Here are both Silvery and Happy Bears - ready to be listed in the Etsy shop -
|Silvery Brown Bear II|
|Happy Light Brown Bear|
All six Bears are now in two storage bags waiting for a space in one of the cupboards here, but meanwhile, before they were put away, here is a picture of all six of them together. I shall, of course, have picture taken before they are separated in order to go to their Forever Homes - as is the normal procedure.
|The Christmas Bears in toto|
Isobel has continued to be busy on the Etsy shop publicity programme mentioned in our last post - she has now added more than 150 new Etsy Shops to our own shop Circles, and almost all of the folks approached have added our shop to their Circles. They have all been thanked for their support - as we feel is only correct! That should, hopefully, at least result in a lot more folks learning about the existence of us Cuddlies - as well as Isobel discovering some more nice friends with whom to correspond (when she is isn't attending to us, that is) and new products to admire! The variety and quality of the crafts on display, are I am told, amazing!
Another development - Isobel has been invited to join the Puppetsy Team - where every member has something to with puppets. The invitation was only received this afternoon, and we have joined the team, but really haven't explored the potential yet! We will be reporting in due course - never fear!
Right - time for me to depart to my place on the bed - watching what goes on around me! Until the next post from me - Good Bye! Cy Bear.