Sunday, 27 July 2014

Coldham Cuddlies Teddy Bear Parade - and Relocation Update No. 3

Greetings Everyone:  Cy Bear with you once more.
This seems to be developing nicely into a weekly blog post that Isobel manages to do on a Sunday afternoon, while we get ourselves organised for the upcoming translocation from Wiltshire to Nottinghamshire.  In my last contribution, when we introduced Jasper Teddy Bear (Etsy Listing #197033773), I forgot to remind Isobel to put Update No.2 in the title.  Perhaps, she'll get round to doing it when she's finished helping me this afternoon.
Towards the end of last week's post, I mentioned that all Coldham Cuddlies Teddies will henceforth have a tie, bow or other decoration around their necks.  The five current Coldham Teddy Bears have now got their own ribbons, but it was decided I would not have one.  All of their necks move around, and we thought it might help their Adoptive Friends if a bow is under their chins to begin with - to help decide which is the Bear Front and which the Bear Back.  The way us Cuddlies can get treated - if Isobel didn't wrap us up well with tissue paper and bubblewrap - could mean that they arrived with the head in the wrong direction! (The reason I declined to be so adorned is purely because my head is firmly sewn on and doesn't move, and besides I don't like the feeling of being constricted in that area of my torso.)
Earlier today, Isobel went into the garden here at The Hospital of St. John and chose a conveniently placed bench which was also not too exposed to the bright sunlight we are currently experiencing hereabouts.  It's been lovely but all the humans are saying it's a bit too hot in the middle of the day, so the photo shoot didn't last long, and Isobel wanted to get on with lots of other things too. 
 Unfortunately, she didn't realise that the skirt of one of her friends was in the picture too - but it's actually very appropriate that this lady does appear in this photograph.  MrsEP is someone Isobel often visits and she is also a very valued critic of every Cuddly that has been made since the COLDHAMCUDDLIES were set up.  She has extremely definite views as to what she likes - or doesn't, as the case may be - and her criticisms have been extremely helpful in the eventual outcome of how we all end up!  She lives on her own, is nearly ninety years of age - so she knows what she is talking about - and actually has a Mummy Hedgehog (Etsy Listing #956533310) and a Baby Hedgehog (Etsy Listing #95653745) of her own.  They sit on the back of her recliner chair, I am told.
Now, allow me to introduce each of my Teddy Bear Friends in turn - complete with their new neck gear. Some of the ribbons are a little long I think - so, too, does Isobel - but the detail is going to have to wait until we reach the other end, and a new toy-making and blogging routine is established.  As I thought, the idea of a Teddy Bear Parade and photo-shoot appealed, because it was relatively quick and easy to do.
First in the line-up - going from left to right  is Silvery Grey Bear (Etsy Listing #95205668) with his apricot coloured bow.  As a normal rule, Teddy Bears in this family tend to be Boys - but there's no reason why they should not be Girls.  So, perhaps the fact that Silvery Bear's ribbon tends towards the female colour spectrum may suggest a Girl could easily  become his Special Friend sometime soon.  His fur is incredibly silky to look at, as well as feel, and he always looks optimistic - whatever everyone else's mood might be!
The next to Silvery Bear is Jasper - about whom I wrote last week.  He's settling in very well with the other Bears, but is a little apprehensive about this move of ours.  Am sure it will all be all right, because it's the second time all of the Cuddlies have visited where we are going to live and they all came back safe and sound -except those who found their Forever Homes.  They appeared at a MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning in September 2013 at MrsPL's home.  That now is at the bottom of Clare's garden, three doors away from where we are going to live.  (Clare and Alan recently moved into what was MrsPL's house!)
Here is Happy Bear, who is made with the original Light Brown Faux Fur Isobel began making Teddy Bears with when COLDHAMCUDDLIES (  first came into being in January 2010. (Well before I came on to the scene, too!) He's got a rather smart striped tie, with dots on it, in a nice brown and gold colour scheme.   There have been several versions of  Happy over the intervening period, and he also has a twin whom I call Grumpy Bear.
He's not really grumpy, but looks a lot more serious than Happy, and he too has a Yellow Ribbon around his neck, which Isobel hasn't really arranged in either a tie (like Happy has) nor a bow.   Not sure why that's happened, but, as I said before, there are lot more important things for Isobel to think about at the moment, and such matters as arranging ties, bows etc for us Bears can wait!  It's the starting LOOK we talking about here!  Incidentally, another difference between Happy and Grumpy, is that the former does prefer to sit, whereas the latter can be persuaded to stand upright for sometime!
Then finally, but by no means the least, comes Goldie Bear (Etsy Listing #120705327) - named as such for pretty obvious reasons!  His maroon bow looks the smartest of the lot of them, but I think could still do with a little bit of a trim.  He looks (and actually is) a bit smaller than the rest of Family, as well as when he's measured against me.  However, although the same pattern is used for all of us, the thickness of the fabric pile which each of  Bear has been made from does vary - and results in some of us looking fatter than each other, as well as smaller, as is the case with Goldie.
Moving Saga developments:  Part 3
The Bear Parade now being over, I'll just update you on this matter.  I'm told that "the cartons" are being delivered tomorrow afternoon.  This means that there's going to be even less room for Isobel to move around in throughout the flat, but she's come up with some strategies to cope with that problem.  Meals are not going to be eaten at the dining table (which will be folded up and stored against the wall in the living room).  The four chairs will be stacked against the wall and on each other, leaving a space in which cartons can be packed one at a time.  She will use her cushion tray (whatever that is) to put her plates on until the move is over.
On Wednesday of this week, one recliner chair, a side table, a bookcase and the Persian Rug will all be picked up by The Van Man from Warminster and taken to Philippa's home in High Wycombe.  That will give Isobel some more space in which to move (and fill with more packed cartons!).  The initial idea was that ALL the packing would be undertaken by the removal firm.  However, Isobel decided she would go "stir crazy" surrounded by books and things she could pack in her own time - and thus speed up the eventual departure of our goods and chattels on Moving Day - which is August 11, 2014.  
Between now and Wednesday, there will be lots of shredding undertaken and the collection of books severely trimmed.  There are apparently quite a large number that are simply out of date, Isobel has never used a recipe from a considerable collection of cookbooks, and so on.  One of our friends from the village is coming round on Wednesday afternoon to give Isobel a lift to Warminster, where she will distribute some stuff at the dump and other books etc at the Barnado's Donation Depot.  Rumour has it that that charity is "crying out" for books and Isobel would love it if someone can really use them when she cannot.
I'm exhausted just thinking about all this.  So, to cut a long story short for this week, I'll end with a final picture of the Bear Gang - this time sitting on a comfortable leather chair in the sitting room of one of our near neighbours.  MrsJB used to make lots and lots of Teddy Bears, and still has a considerable number arranged around her flat.  I've never met them, but she had to stop doing them when her fingers got so badly affected with arthritis that she could no longer handle a needle and thread safely.  She too has been a tremendous help to Isobel in critiquing us Cuddlies as we appeared on the scene, but she doesn't have quite as strong views as our other neighbour (referred to earlier in this post).
Until the next time - have a great week everyone.  Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Introducing Jasper Teddy Bear - Newest Bear in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Collection

Hello there Everyone:  Cy Bear calling in to introduce you to a new Bear Friend of mine.
In between getting things organised for the COLDHAMCUDDLIES relocation adventure - whatever it may be for Isobel, I'm getting quite excited at the prospect of a different view from the bed on which I am regularly perched every day - Isobel has managed to make another Teddy Bear.  When she was taking the introductory photographs of him the other afternoon, one of our neighbours asked to cuddle him - she's one of the older residents of The Hospital of St. John - and she insisted he should have a name:  not be just Teddy.  So, when challenged to provide him with one, she suggested he should be called Jasper - and so allow me to introduce him:
The decision has been taken that henceforth all Bears will be introduced with a bow around their necks. We just happened to have this piece of Cotton Blue and White Check ribbon in stock, and it has a floral pattern.  I believe there is a tradition among humans for the colour blue to be associated with Boys and pink with Girls.  We at COLDHAMCUDDLIES strive not to be gender specific, so Isobel thought by having some flowers involved, we could make Jasper equally suitable for either a Boy or a Girl - and, since he was obviously such a hit with MrsMcC-B, our friendly neighbour - even aspire to become an Adult Companion Toy
Jasper's initial photograph in our shop at is this one - sitting down :
Unlike some of my other Bear Friends, Jasper can actually stand up quite easily - his Light Grey Faux Fur (which has some random Dark Brown stripes scattered around his arms and body) is actually quite thick, and once Isobel had sewn his suedette paw pads on, and he was stuffed, we found he didn't need to have anything to lean against, hold on to or whatever else is available as a prop when it comes to taking photographs. 
He is also one of the first of the COLDHAM Bears to have a plastic nose.  Whilst it may look more realistic as a facial item, I'm quite happy with my hand sewn one.  It will be up to our Buyers to let Isobel know which version of the ursine probiscus they would like their Best Friend to appear with.
When Jasper stands up, he measures a stately 15 inches (38 cms) - taken from the middle of his head, between his ears, down to the floor over his back. Sitting down, though, and measured from between his ears, over his nose, down to his seat, he is 13.5 inches (34 cms).  Now, perhaps an embarassing statistic for some, his tummy measures 16.5 (42 cms) around his waist.  As far as Bears are concerned, I would suggest that to be a comfortable state to be in - but perhaps not necessarily a healthy one!
The fabric that Jasper is made with is one of a number of Faux Fur fabrics that we've been lucky enough to be provided with from Fine Quality Feather Company of Frome, Somerset - our source of polyester fibre with which we are all stuffed, and which meets all international safety standards.  His large Teddy Bear eyes are a nice bright Amber and they are firmly affixed with metal safety discs.  With the fur pile surrounding them, it will be a difficult, if not impossible, task for any little person whose fingers might try to get them out - as I'm told can sometimes happen. 
Isobel tells me that we don't have as much of this particular striped furry fabric as we have in some other colours, but there could well be enough to make at least two more Jaspers, if Jasper No.1 finds his Forever Home fairly soon.  Oh, before I forget, like all of us Cuddlies, Jasper has been made in a totally smoke-free environment.)
Earlier this afternoon, I overheard Isobel telling daughter Clare (the one who lives near to where us Cuddlies are being re-located) that she's given all the other Teddy Bears waiting for their Forever Homes ribbons too. 
(Now, I've not seen them yet, nor have I been offered one either.  So, I shall be having a word with her and maybe we can have a Teddy Bear Parade with all of us modelling our new appendages. That would make quite a good and easy - given Isobel's other pre-occupations at the moment - post for next week.  I'm not promising, but I'll see what we can come up with between us).
In the meantime, we do have other Bears in our Family - not just Teddies.  If anyone is interested, you can click:
Now:  just a brief update on what is happening on the relocation stakes - as far as I understand them. 
The tenancy agreement has been signed. 
We've had various nice gentlemen come around our present home - all with tablets or clipboards in their hands - and Isobel has been showing them which bits of furniture (most of them) and whatever else has got to be moved.  They've all been a bit amazed at the fabric stash!  But I have to say, they don't seem to be in the least fazed by it - which is just as well I suppose. 

 Isobel is increasingly confident that she's going to be able to fit almost all she currently has in three rooms into the two that are going to be available - it's going to be a snug fit, but quite feasible!  
Philippa has spent the week-end with us ferrying Isobel around to the outer reaches of her friendly circle in Heytesbury and surrounding area so that she could say thanks to people like our Butcher, and others like that whom she may not have time - or be able to reach by 'bus - before she goes.  She wants to say "Good Bye" face to face as much as possible, because they've all been so nice to her since Peter died and made her feel so well cared for.  
The ladies also took the opportunity to do some sorting of towels, sheets etc that Isobel will not need (double sheets for example, as Isobel is looking for a single one in the new flat) and other such important household impedimenta.  So, that means there's just a little bit less to pack - and find room for at the other end.  (I'm reliably informed that Clare is well supplied in that particular area - and in any case, will be getting the left-over stuff that may not quite fit into our new home!)
On that optimistic note, I'll end this post.  Good to be talking to you all again - until the next time.
Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Friday, 11 July 2014

Coldham Cuddlies are relocating - Stage One: The Announcement

Hello Everyone!

While I'm currently to be found - until next Monday (July 14) - in Nottinghamshire (East Midlands, UK) and Cy Bear remains at his sentry position on my bed in Heytesbury, (Wiltshire, S.W. England) regular blogging is being interrupted - as Cy Bear did mention in his last post.  

Cy Bear en garde together with the Piglet Twins preparing to depart for Italy
The reason for this temporary separation is because I am arranging a move to a new home just three doors away from my younger daughter, Clare - and have decided that the time is right for the Coldham Cuddlies and myself to relocate.  Currently, I find myself living four and a half hours drive from Clare and two hours drive from Philippa and have decided it is time to rectify this separation.  It is simply illogical for me to expect the girls to have to visit me - especially were the occasion to be an emergency,  and equally uneconomical for me to continue the cost of travelling myself to see them via Britain's railway network.  Added to which, the Cuddlies have now reached "saturation point" in the Warminster area, and without transport of my own, the opportunities to rectify this situation are limited.  So the chance offered to spread the word  about us in another area of the UK seems to make good commercial sense,since my new home is located in a small, regenerating town not too far from the City of Nottingham. (There's plenty of England's "green and pleasant land" within easy striking distance all around!)

Cy Bear keeping Mr. White Rabbit company while his travel arrangements are made
The tenancy agreement has been signed by me - and  now awaits confirmation from the landlords which hopefully will mean that we all leave for pastures new sometime during the week beginning 11th August, 2014

 Personally, I shall be very sad to leave - in all our years together, Peter and I had never really found somewhere like Heytesbury before.  It's where we really felt we had come home and where the girls insisted I return to when Peter died two years ago, since we had developed a very good network of friends and acquaintances - who have been a wonderful support to me.  However, Peter is now in a far better place where he is no longer in pain, and I have begun to develop life on my own once more.  So while my health remains good, now is  a good time to start afresh. 

Providing company for Charlie Coyote prior to his departure  for USA recently
Blogging and Etsy marketing etc. is thus likely to be interrupted in the coming weeks therefore - while I organise the move.  This current visit to Nottinghamshire has enabled me to see my new home - (Clare had been to see it after I was offered it and felt it would be suitable).  It is a one-bedroom apartment. with similar facilities to those offered at The Hospital of St. John.  With Clare just 3 doors away, and having recently moved with Alan to a larger home herself, visits from Philippa are not going to be a problem and she can reach Nottinghamshire almost easier than previously. (There were no similar, suitable properties near to Philippa, although I had searched diligently).  It requires fewer major roads to negotiate than she currently has to when visiting Heytesbury and the journey is broadly similar in time spent driving.

The central garden - The Hospital of St. John, Heytesbury
I already have a network of friends in the Nottinghamshire area - what with Clare and Alan's friends and those I've made when Peter and I lived in the next door county of Lincolnshire when we first returned to the UK from Canada in 1987 - and, as one of my unannounced hobbies could be said to be "collecting people", I'm looking forward to making lots of new ones once I've settled in. 

I think there's going to be space aplenty (whether in the flat or in Clare and Alan's attic) for my toys and my toy-making/restoration materials.  I look forward with keen anticipation to the future - although the immediate present is a little daunting.  Despite having moved between 33-35 times (lost count after about 28!) in nearly 45 years, I am well aware of the pitfalls involved - not to mention the new mistakes that can occur.  An added dimension is the logistical challenge of fitting a 2 bed apartment into the smaller 1 bedroom one.  Please bear me in your prayers my Follower Friends and thank you all so much for your continued, sustained support. (Earlier this evening, while preparing this post, I noticed that page views here have nearly reached 25,500!!)

Will be in touch as and when I can - with Cy Bear's help 

So, for tonight, Good Bye.  Isobel

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic