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.