Sunday, 29 June 2014

A Bevy of Bunnies - Dressed for a Party

Greetings again everyone - now, could someone please tell me where this last week went to?  I've been moved with normal regularity from the bed to my perch on the bedside table each evening, and back to my sentry post for the day, and it only seems like yesterday that you and I were getting together so I could  tell you about our new Brown Plush Rabbit Hand Puppets last week-end.  How the time does shoot by!
This week, Isobel and I decided that I should tell you some more about my good friends, the Coldham Cuddlies Lady Rabbit Toys - beginning with Jemima Rabbit 

Etsy Listing 112432364
This version of Jemima is a recent one - because as of January this year, all Lady Rabbits are supplied with their own juice carrot.  They can come looking like this - holding the carrot and looking as though it's ready to be eaten, or they need not have a carrot at all.  In which case, the overall cost of the Lady Rabbit will be slightly less.
(We still have a couple of  Lady Rabbits in stock that didn't have carrots when they were made - but it doesn't take long for Isobel to make one, so anyone interested in giving a "carrot-less" Lady Bunny a home just needs to tell us and it will be provided.  They, too, will be slightly less than the published price if no carrot is required.  Have a conversation with Isobel when you are making your decision, and she'll be happy to accommodate you.)
Esty Listing #103038453
Now this White Plush Dressed Lady Bunny doesn't have a name as such (and she's one of the carrotless specimens I've just talked about!).  She's dressed in colours that Isobel thought are particularly associated with Halloween - but as this picture shows, she looks great in Spring or Summer sunshine too.  Her dress is made with an unusual Black and White Gingham fabric, which has a floral overprint - if you look closely at the photo, you can just make it out below the nylon apron, which has a bright orange ric rac trim.  The apron waistband has been made with an orange print ribbon and Isobel embroidered the edge of her white felt collar with orange and black French Knots just to complete the outfit.  You can also just see her black felt shoes peeping out from under her skirt.  (By the way, the dress fabric is in limited quanitity too - enough, Isobel thinks for two more versions.  So, one could describe this Lady Rabbit as being a Limited Edition I suppose.)
Etsy Listing # 72168846
Those of you who study these things will realise from the Etsy Listing number that these two White Plush Rabbits appeared in our shop quite early in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES  operations.   They were one of the early members of the Cuddlies Family of which I am the proud Mascot (in case newer Followers of this blog are not aware of my  official status).  
Versions of this Cuddlies Toy can be found around the UK and the last one was originally destined as a friendly gift to a new Mum, but in the end, because - alas Isobel had sold out, and hadn't replaced them - she was replaced by our Green Candy Striped Dressed Rabbit - who I'll tell you about in a moment. 

Etsy Listing #63369098
Its really curious to me that Toys Isobel makes using the same fabric can look so very different, but this is certainly the case with my next Rabbit Friend, our Grey Plush Lady Rabbit.  Her dress is made with the same fabric that the Purple Dressed Rabbits are shown wearing  - and yet Grandma Grey Rabbit looks as though her dress is made with a Blue Print fabric.  Whether it's the grey plush used for her head and paws, or the fact that she has a White Collar - rather than the Purple ones adorning our other White Lady Rabbits - I do not know.
However, this example of the Coldham Lady Rabbit family is another One of a Kind offering.  Her grey
 plush fur is very limited - there may just not be enough for a Big Bunny:  although we might just be able to squeeze a Baby one (or may be two) with a white chest from what we have left in our fabric stash.  Another reason for her being special is that the dress fabric is getting short on supply too.  It was a remnant given to Isobel when she first began the business in 2010 - from a lady in the village, who was trying to clear out her own handicraft supplies!  We're just surprised that we've managed to get as many Lady Rabbits - Grey or White - out of the remnant.  We think there may be just enough dress fabric for another one.
Etsy Listing #60491625
Finally, and perhaps one of the most popular of our Dressed Lady Bunnies,  is Belinda Brown Rabbit.  She had a sister at the end of last year (when Isobel was  making the Purple Rabbits above.  But one went to Queensland, Australia and was accompanied by a Panda Glove Puppet  The puppet was intended for the expectant Dad - so he could entertain the new Baby Girl,  and one of the Pink Fleece Baby Rabbits also went too.  
(That's certainly been the biggest consignment of Cuddlies in one go that Isobel has had the pleasure of posting since our enterprise began.)

Now there's somewhat of a scarcity for this Brown version of my Rabbit Lady friends, because for some unknown reason Isobel cannot get the plush fabric in that shade of Brown anymore.  She's been trying for ages - so she can make some for Rabbit Head Ladies Novelty Slippers, but without success.  So, with the assistance of Philippa, we've now re-supplied ourselves with a golden brown plush - so future versions of this Candy Stripe dressed Lady will look a little different.
Right that's the end of this catalogue of my Lady Friends:   if you get the idea that Isobel enjoys making these particular Cuddly Toys, it's fair to say you'd be on the right track.  She likes making the gentlemen too, but the girls are not as fiddly as the coats, linings etc that come with Gentleman Rabbit territory and I suppose she can let her sewing creativity run riot too!
With that thought in mind, I think I've rabbitted (the pun is intended!) on enough today.  Good to be back and I hope to be with you again next week.  Isobel does have some other things to attend to in the upcoming weeks, but is going to try to ensure that we don't lose touch completely.
Good night my Friends - have a great week!  
Your Friend Cy Bear

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Collection of Browns - Renewed Plush Rabbit Glove Puppets to the Fore

Cy Bear being permitted to once again drop in to tell you about some new Coldham Cuddlies -Brown Plush Rabbit Glove Puppets we've now got in the shop at 
 They're replacing some girl Mad March Hare Glove Puppets who have  found Forever Homes some weeks ago.  Isobel was able to get them finished and photographed yesterday - while the sun was out, but not too bright.  Apparently, that's the best time to take pictures outside - or that's how Isobel is kidding herself anyway.
When the heads were first cut out and sewn, Isobel intended them to be used for a pair of our Ladies' Rabbit Head Novelty Slippers which also needed renewing.  However, she found she'd run out of fabric and hasn't been able to replace it with anything that matches the existing heads.  So, finally, she decided to see if she could find some brown fabric that would make a suitable Glove Puppet.  She found some lovely soft  Brown Fleece - which alas is not a match, but is not too much of a contrast.  To finish them off, she's created a smart Tan  tie to fit under each Puppet's chin, and again, although the ribbon is not a match, it does seem to a good job co-ordinating the head and body.  There's yet another shade of brown included in the Puppet's paws - hence our title "A Collection of Browns"!
The pictures was taken with both Puppets fitting over a knitting wool cone, into which the finger guide to work the Rabbits' Heads is fitted.
We have several of those, donated by one of the residents here at The Hospital of St. John.  She is a dab hand at using a knitting machine to make wonderful cardigans, sweaters and lots of socks - for all the hunting, fishing and shooting afficionados that inhabit Heytesbury and the surrounding villages.  The lady is one of the oldest residents here (being in her 90's) and normally gives the cones to the Village School for their crafting activities.  However, Isobel happened to notice a collection of them on her window sill on a visit, and asked if she could spare us a few.  We've now built up a collection of about a dozen, which will stand us in good stead for future Craft Bazzars where the Glove Puppets can be displayed to stand up by themselves.
As I said before the heads are made with a light brown plush fabric, and the body - which will accommodate a man's large hand,  When Isobel puts her hands - which are quite small ones - into the space, her thumb and index fingers do find it difficult to get the arms and head  to work properly.  A full-sized man, however, using the Puppet to entertain a baby or young toddler would find there is plenty of scope for all sorts of manoeuvres.
The Rabbits seem to be enjoying the scent being wafted from the lavender stems,  They are growing in a bed  next to the wall on which the Rabbits were perched for this photo shoot.  I think there are some red fuschia plants in the background there too.
As you can see, they have yet another brown colour for their eyes - this time our amber plastic eyes have been used, both of which have metal safety washers to hold them firmly in place.  The head is stuffed with our usual polyester fibre which meets all international safety standards - and all together they both make for a safe, cuddly toy for children of all ages.  Their facial features have been embroidered with our usual black double knitting yarn.
Their paws have been sewn on with button-hole stitches, using some suedette material that we use for our Teddy Bear paws, when they are not having leather ones attached.  Isobel has also used the suedette fabric for the beaks of our Owls too.
There are likely to be some exciting developments in the COLDHAM CUDDLIES' world soon, which I'm not yet at liberty to disclose.  However, it's going to take up quite a lot of Isobel's time for a few weeks, so the blogging and toy replacement exercises may be somewhat intermittent.  She's determined not to let the schedule slip too much, but I've been told by her to give you an early warning!
Till the next time, then.
Your friend.  Cy Bear
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 15 June 2014

One Coldham Coyote finds a new home - his Twin is still hoping!

Hello Everyone:  I'm giving Cy Bear a rest from his posting duties:  it's been somewhat hotter this week, and he spends a lot of time in the sunshine during the mornings, and the time has come for him to find a cooler spot so he can recoup his energies.  He finds writing quite an effort!
He  has been in action as Coldham Cuddlies Mascot this week in that he's participated in a Farewell Ceremony for a Coldham Coyote, who is now on his way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
This picture was taken before the Harrisbug Coyote had his tie attached, because I had not got the right width ribbon available with which to construct it.  However, it did provide MsHL, our Buyer, with an idea of what her present for her Mother would look like - but minus his tie - and I'm pleased to say that this photograph, together with pictures from different angles, enabled her to send back a message "He's gorgeous:  she should love him! " which is just the reaction I seek whenever one of my Cuddlies finds his/her Forever Home.
He left on Friday - following instructions received from Ms HL from San Franciso, California who wanted to give him as a present to her Mother, MrsHR - who is celebrating a significant birthday in mid-July!  As his travel documents allow him to travel via the International Signed For service - which UK Royal Mail guarantee will deliver him within 5 Working Days of dispatch - we are hoping that he will be in his Forever Home by the end of this coming week. 
Harrisburg Coyote, complete with Tan Tie and Cy Bear prior to departure
When the order arrived, I found that the original Charlie Coyote had actually already departed for his new Forever Den, but as there was time in hand, I offered to make a new one - with Free Shipping for the disappointment. The offer was accepted, together with my suggestion that perhaps he should be sent wrapped in suitable gift paper - for which I do charge an additional fee (£5.00 - USD 8.48 - plus cost of paper and suitable card).  On this occasion, the refundable Shipping Cost covered this additional charge, and there will be refund of the cost on its way to San Francisco, by Monday June 16, 2014
Alas, Charlie's Velvet Jacket has had to be replaced by a similar colour Moleskin Gilet (Sleeveless Jacket - a natural by-product of my using recyclable fabrics where possible), but other than that,this version is the same as his original model. 
With experience gained over the years that has been in existence, together with the increased spare time available to me now that full time Carer duties are not required,  I can make one of these Dressed Gentleman Toys within 3-5 days of an order being received  (provided I'm not committed elsewhere, of course).  In fact, on this occasion two of the same Toys were made - with a slight variation in appearance.  Not noticeable to the naked eye - unless the difference is highlighted.
This one has a plastic moulded nose attached with a metal safety washer - whereas, his companion's nasal feature has been embroidered with double knitting wool. 
The latter has been the way my Gentleman Foxes/ Wolves and other assorted Toys with muzzles, etc. have been offered since COLDHAMCUDDLIES were opened in January 2010.  I only stumbled across the plastic noses earlier this year while browsing through one of the two haberdashery outlets in my local town of Warminster earlier this year.  The options have since offered for my  renewed Baby Koalas (Etsy Listing #55190188), as well as my recently introduced Wolves (Etsy Listing #178799382), together with the option of having their noses sewn as of  yore.
Initially, the two heads were made, after the multiple bits and pieces involved in  a Fox/Coyotes Toy had been cut out - jacket linings, body, arms, paws and feet.  Then a photograph of both heads, side by side - as well as the two shown here - were sent for MsHL to decide which one she wanted for her Mother.
As a matter of interest, these two heads were constructed over a week-end, and the rest of the two Coyotes were completed between Monday and Thursday of last week. (It was the left hand head that was selected).  They have both been made with an off cut which allows me to make just one more head and two paws, so the remaining HeytesburyCoyote (where we live presently- which will be listed in the Shop after this post has been published can justifiably be offered as a Limited Edition, as there will now only be one more version exactly like this one.

I am having the utmost difficulty in locating Brown Plush or Faux Fur - which these fellows are made with.  Seemingly the dyes used are either too difficult to obtain - or, alternatively, the colour is so popular that the manufacturers I had available locally in the UK (online too!) are unable to keep up with demand.  I simply cannot believe that Brown Plush/Faux Fur Rabbits, Slippers, and Coyotes are not as popular as they once were.  If anyone has a link to a manufacturer I can contact, especially if you can recommend them for quality and price,  I'd be most grateful to hear about it - I have a definite need, if no one else has!!!
There have been some interesting developments on the home front in the last week, which will be discussed shortly - once they have been confirmed and planning is under way.  In the meantime, I think this post has gone on long enough, so I'll close for the time being.  
The Shop reorganisation proceeds - at snail's pace, because so much seems to be happening (see last paragraph), as well as in my social media activities on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  I've long been aware that I've not been using them to full potential.  Whereas I probably still am not completely au fait with them, think I'm beginning to get a better handle on them.  However, they are time-consuming, and as yet - in common with everyone else - I've yet to find how one can do them all, and sew Toys - new or replacements - at the same time!  Anyone with any ideas are most welcome to get in touch!!
Have a lovely week everyone:  it's been great chatting with you all once again.  Cy Bear will probably be back soon too.  
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 8 June 2014

More Coldham Cuddlies - in Black and White

Greetings to Everyone:  Cy Bear back again.

Goodness me, another week has flown by and Isobel has not yet got down to posting here.  So, I've given her a severe reminder, and she's allowing me to choose three more of my recently renewed COLDHAMCUDDLIES friends to be the subject of today's chat with you all.
As the choice is mine, I decided to have a Black and White theme today, beginning with the Wombat Hotwater Bottle Cover.  Now, I know they are strictly not Toys, but they are based on a Badger pattern we have in our files.  (That reminds me, I must ask Isobel when she's going to make a Badger - she keeps telling me that she has plenty of suitable faux fur fabric in her store cupboard.)  However, back to Winston Wombat and his friend, who presently doesn't have a name (and between you and me, I'm not sure which one in this picture is Winston, and which one isn't!).
Winston Wombat  Home Decor Art Doll  Plush Pillow  Pyjama Cover Novelty Hot Water Bottle Cover Grey White Black  Plush Home Decor Adornment

Isobel calls them our "Three in One" Cuddlies - because not only are they a Hotwater Bottle Cover (their tails are where the bottle head fits when the bottles have been filled), but they can be Bed Decor  ( presume that means they can sit on pillows like they are shown here?).  
Both of them are stuffed with their own pillows - all filled with the polyester fibre used to stuff all us Cuddlies.  (It meets all international safety standards, by the way).  Then, the third way they can be used are as Pyjama or Nightdress Cases.  They are lovely and soft to touch and have plastic eyes fixed with metal safety washers.  Their noses are made with black felt, into which Isobel has put some stuffing - just to make them look more like noses, rather than a black patch on the front of their heads.
Then I'd like to introduce you to Panda Bear - who is a great friend of mine.  His legs are made to move, but the rest of him doesn't and he's a bit smaller than me.

Panda is made with Black and White Plush, and his eyes have black felt backings held in place (as well as stitched in place) with brown plastic eyes fixed with metal safety washers.  Isobel embroidered his claws with white embroidery yarn and his nose has been sewn with black double knitting wool.  I'm told that Coldham Pandas have found homes in Saudi Arabia and Missouri, U.S.A  for starters:  wonder where they will turn up next?
While on the subject of Pandas, Isobel has just renewed some of our Glove Puppets, and taken their pictures among the flower beds here at The Hospital of St. John.  Here is a photograph of the remaining one in our shop ( - his partner in crime having gone to his Forever Home in Australia just before Christmas last year.
This time around, though, Panda Glove Puppet has blue eyes - which I think suit him rather well. Perhaps  Isobel was running a bit low on the usual brown ones she uses for the Pandas and other Bears.  Then, before I forget - and to demonstrate the versatility of the Pandas, they can also become Golf Club Covers - as shown here.
Golfers Novelty Gift-Plush Golf Club Head Cover-Panda Bear Head-Black and White-Plush Fabric-Black Double Knit Handle Shield-Fun Present
Finally, still on a Black and White theme - here are the Coldham Kittens
They came into the Coldham Family via the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) when the original Kitten was a Patient about two years' ago.  That Toy had spent most of the past 40 or so years in a Toy Box kept in Alan's childhood home and had been made originally by his sister - who is a very clever designer of something called Lingerie.   (You'll know what that is:  I'm afraid I don't). 
Anyway, White Kitten arrived looking somewhat dusty and in need of a good bath.  So, Isobel took him to pieces, gave him a luke-warm bath - part of our usual therapy for Animal Toys that need some tender loving care - and then made a template from the pieces before sewing him back together again.  He was then stuffed and sent back to live with Alan's Mother in Nottinghamshire.  (Isobel saw him when she was last in Kirkby the week before last, as the Toy Box has now been moved to a new home, and Clare and Alan now live in his childhood one).  

These little Kittens were made some months later, and this latest photograph shows them basking in the sunshine on one of the many stone walls that divide our garden - and incidentally, make very useful places for Isobel to use as photographic bases and/or backgrounds.  Both have been made with the same Black and White Plush fabric as the Pandas and are stuffed with the same polyester fibre mentioned earlier.
Isobel, apart from helping me with this post, has been very busy catching up with Shop activities, making Treasuries and sewing Coyotes - one of whom is due to leave us at the end of this coming week to find his Forever Home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA.  He's destined to become a Companion Toy for a lady's mother, who is celebrating a significant birthday in the middle of July. 
This shows that Coldham Cuddlies don't just have to be Toys for Little People.  We pride ourselves on being Companions for People of all ages.
I'll  end now:  hoping everyone is well and having good summery weather.  We keep seeing the sun for short intervals here, and then it disappears behind thick clouds.  So far, we've not had too much rain, but it has meant Isobel has not been able to do any more photoshoots - not that she's had the time for that just recently!
Good night.  God Bless - and see you all soon, hopefully!  
Your friend - Cy Bear