Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ready to Celebrate Halloween? Here are Three Cuddlies eager to help you!

Hello Everyone!

 Cy Bear has been hinting that I've not been doing my bit here on the blog,  so I've decided to take over for this post - since it contains a description of how some new COLDHAMCUDDLIES have arrived in the Family.  

Cy Bear did mention them in our post last week - so now allow me to tell you more about our Halloween Spider (HS) Friends.  I really do hesitate to label real spiders as "cuddly", but these guys do buck that trend!  They are not only cuddly, they're furry and completely safe for People of all ages:  because grown-ups are needed to operate them at their full capacity, although Little People can also snuggle up without fear.

Etsy Listing #207688666

If you read our last post, HS is based on a Spider Toy made over 40 years ago by Alan's sister, who was a Patient in our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic.

In that story Cy Bear told how I made a template before sewing Spider up once more, and this is what HS (and all future Spiders) will be based on.  It might also be possible to adapt him as a Frog Finger Puppet, but that experiment will have to wait for a week or two.

Essentially, this is what is required for this Activity Toy.  It didn't take me long to make each one (I actually did three), and the decision to use Black Plush for the Upper Body, and Yellow Plush for the Under Belly was obvious, given the proximity of Halloween and it's Arachnid associations!  They could be made in Fleece fabric too, and it may well be that future Spiders could emerge in that form.

The final piece of template are for the eyes and mouth - and I decided to give the eyes a white double knitting yarn highlight, just to give the Toy some more facial character.

The rectangle piece of fabric is folded with the edge meeting the bottom of the mark on the template.  Then I folded it lengthwise and cut the fabric to match the edge: and then folded each half once more to get the four fingers.  One then folds each finger and sews each finger pocket.  As the canvas backing for some plushes can fray, I blanket stitched each seam to give a firmer edge to each finger - potentially they could get quite a lot of hard wear.  You should get something looking like this when you've done that bit of sewing.

I then sewed the finger piece to the underbelly along the seam line indicated on the underbelly circular pattern piece - making sure that the fingers are facing in the right direction (the first time I did it, I didn't!  Which meant I had to start the attachment all over again!)  One also has to make sure that the fabric pile is going in the same direction - from front to back, for both the underbelly and upper body. (I leave turning the fingers inside out until I've done the whole Toy.)

Once the finger guide is attached to the circular under belly, one can fix it to the upper body, 

sewing all the way round, but leaving an opening through which one can turn the whole Toy inside out and put the stuffing.   Again, because some plush fabrics can fray, I blanket stitched the seams to ensure it's long-term integrity.

 Then once the opening is closed, the toy is stuffed and the eyes and mouth  are attached - and should look something like this!

The Arm Puppets Cy Bear spoke about are coming along well.  The prototype is completed and will eventually join the  Cuddly Family and introduce yet another size Puppet Activity Toy to the Cuddlies Collection.  Meanwhile, the individual pieces for the Puppet due for the American puppeteer have been sewn and pictures sent for approval to the customer.  Once he's replied (hopefully in the affirmative), I'll be able to build the toy - with eyes, facial features and head stuffed:  arms lightly stuffed and attached to the body.  I'll tell you how that happens in a future post.

The Halloween Spider Threesome
Good Night - God Bless - and see you all here again soon.  Isobel

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Re-opening the Restoration Clinic in a new location

Hello Everyone!
Despite our promise to be back again soon, I'm afraid that yet another weekly post date has passed and we've not got back to you.   Life still seems to be getting in Isobel's way, and as you know I'm not much of an author without her behind me.  However, there seems to be a chance for us to get the computer switched on this afternoon, without all the usual Etsy daily administration to be taken care of, so we're going to tell you about our latest (and newest, in this location at any rate) patient in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic

He, for it is a he as far as this post is concerned, is a Spider.   He used to be a toy that Alan (Clare's husband) played with when he was a small boy.  It was made for him by his elder sister, who is a very clever seamstress in her own right, and has been responsible for the originals of several Cuddlies  who have also been patients in the Clinic (the Black and White Kittens for example and not to mention  our Yellow Plush Sleepy Teddy Bear

This what Spider looked like after he'd been taken to pieces and given a clean-up.  This is his rear view.  (We forgot to take blow-by-blow pictures of his therapy - but it took the usual course of :

(1) The seams being unpicked and his stuffing - which looked like an accumulation of nylon make-up remover balls - mixed with nylon rusty-colour stuffing.   This was discarded, needless to say - as these days such material is unacceptable for us toys due to it's inflammability)
(2) Spider's  pieces being given a bath in lukewarm soapy water - so the accumulated dust from many decades of living an an attic could be washed away.
(3)  Then Isobel took a template because she decided he would make a great addition to the COLDHAMCUDDLIES family - especially with Halloween coming up.
(4)  Then Spider was sewn up again, re-stuffed and had some new facial features added - two round black felt eyes and an orange felt mouth.
He now looks like this:
These pictures were taken with Spider sitting on the back of Isobel's armchair in our living room - he looks good against her woollen rug, doesn't he?  That rug has a history of its own by the way.  It's been with Isobel since she was a school girl in the 1950's, and has travelled to and from Canada and all around the UK!  Apparently, it's especially good at keeping legs warm  during the colder evenings.
Here's another photograph of Spider, showing how his legs are made - so that his New Friend will be able to make his legs work.  Although having said that, it may be sometime before a Little Person's fingers will fit in the finger slots - because they have been made so that a grown-up can operate him and keep a Little Person entertained.  Never mind, because he's an ideal first Toy for any little Boy or Girl, because he can be cuddled quite safely - there's not a spiky edge on him!
The next couple of shots show Spider at different angles, so that you can see what he looks like from both sides.

The template Isobel  made before re-sewing Spider back together and returning him to Clare and Alan has already been put to good use.  There are now three COLDHAMCUDDLIES Spiders available in our Shop and we'll be telling you (with step by step photographs of how they came to produced) in our next blog.  I hesitate to say when that will be - suffice to say, we will do our best to not leave it too long.  (Spider meanwhile has been put away in what is destined to become a Little Person's "Quiet Bag" - for use when the prospective Adoptive Little Person arrives and gets big enough to need one - when the family go to Mass, for instance)
Isobel is  now deeply involved in making a prototype Arm/Glove Puppet - to meet a Custom Order from a puppeteer somewhere in the United States, who is anxious to have three new ones with which to "play"!   (See what I mean about "life getting in the way! ? 
Never having made puppets as big as this, she's taken the templates for one of my Teddy Bear Friends' body and arms and the head from our Tiger Golf Club Cover  - because it's at least two different Tigers that are required.  

Although this version is not exactly what our Buyer  now  has in mind, Isobel is continuing with it to its conclusion,  so she can satisfy herself that she can offer our customer exactly what it is he is looking for.  The prototype should be completed later today - and work will commence on the first of the actual puppets over the week-end.  We've had to wait until some special Green Cat Eyes arrived - and apparently Isobel  has actually used some (of another colour) she ordered for her own use at the same time from a fellow Etsian, Clara from for the prototype Tiger Puppet.
We'll be telling you about those too.  So until then, Good Bye and Good Night!  
Your Friend, Cy Bear.
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A New Look for Old Friends - The latest in our Golf Club Covers to see

Greeting everyone!  Cy Bear, back again with some news from the home of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES!  

Despite her best intentions, life seems to have got in Isobel's way - yet again - and this post has been delayed a day or two.  However, we seem to be getting back into a more organised lifestyle, with a patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic, ( ).    He is going home tomorrow and will form the basis for another post.  (I think it's been because there's not been too much NEW to tell you about that has been the real problem for Isobel to get me to tell you about!!)  

So, with no more ado - allow me to introduce you to our three new Tiger Golf Club Covers: ( )

This is the first time Isobel has taken bulk pictures of our new offerings in our new home, and she's still finding out where the best place is to do it.  We'll probably be taking better pictures once we've got ourselves organised, but as you can see - we've now got some different, patterned covers for the metal Golf Club handles, and the middle Tiger is a good example of them. 

This picture shows the middle Tiger Cover being modelled over the Golf Club.  The next two are the other Tigers, both with black woollen handle covers, but - as usual, because Isobel can never make two Cuddlies exactly the same - with slightly different faces.  In this case, it's not only because of the facial features, but the stripes on the fabric make them different too.

The second black woollen handled Cover looks a little skewed in this picture, but he appears to have slipped on the pillow on which he was laid!  He does have a straight look when modelling with the Golf Club inside him!

Then, we now have three more Panda Bear Golf Club Covers  ( ) - made in the same way as they all are, but this time Isobel  has given rein to her imagination in creating different patterns for the woollen handle covers.

They all have blue safety eyes - as do all our Panda Heads, and we've used plastic noses for them - whereas the Tigers have had their facial features embroidered with Black Double Kntting wool.  We're rapidly running out of the noses, which is why they were changed during the manufacturing process.  Isobel is looking out for a supplier in our new locality - so far without success.

The next photograph shows one of the new Pandas, doing what he was made to do - cover an entire No.1 Wood Golf Club, which has been put into the walking stick stand in our hall way, as that's the best way we can illustrate how they work!


Right, this brings this post to an end.  I'll be back (or Isobel will - we've not decided yet) to tell you about the latest Patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic.  But I can tell you that when he was in pieces, Isobel made a template of him (as is her wont on these occasions) and we'll be adding Spiders to the Coldham Cuddlies family of Toys shortly.  He will be a Finger Puppet though - which makes a change from the bunch of Hand Puppets  ( ) we already have in the family!

Until then - have a great Day or Evening - depending on what part of the world it is when you read this post!  

Your Friend - Cy Bear.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic