Monday, 5 May 2014

Make way for the Coldham Koalas! And a sad case of being taken for a ride.

Well it's now been some weeks since I was involved directly with this blog - other than in guiding Cy Bear, of course.  So, having been up to my eyes in Koalas just recently, I decided to write this next post, especially as it's a day or so later than intended.  (Blame email issues this time:  at least it makes a change from computer worries!).  Think they've been resolved, but I'm still somewhat wary!
However, back to the Koalas.  You wonderful Followers here will be familiar with our Baby Koalas (Etsy Listing #551901188), many of whom have found Forever Homes around the globe.  Some of you may recall an early patient in our Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) who needed to be completely remade - as his original real Koala hide was about to disintegrate, and his owner wanted to preserve him - for old time's sake.  He ended up looking like this and for the purposes of the Clinic, was named Big Koala (not very original I know, but it described the situation as it was!):
When completed, Big Koala (BK for short) - together with a bunch of  Baby Koalas and our very first Big Teddy Bear Patient - Ed Ted - all went off  to live with their Forever Friend, MrRE in Sequals, Italy.  Here is a photograph of them waiting for their journey to begin, but minus Ed Ted.  There were actually another eight more Baby Koalas who joined the party later!  
You can see the difference in size between the two Coldham Cuddlies Koala versions.  I've always intended to make another  BK to replace the original model, and took precautions to ensure I had a template of the Patient while he was undergoing treatment.  However, it was not until earlier this year that I decided to go ahead and make him, this time using the same faux fur fabric used for our Koala Head Mens' Slippers (Etsy Listing #158098231) -
No sooner had that decision been taken,  than an enquiry landed in the convo section of our shop at from someone quoting the Etsy Listing for the Baby Koalas, but seeking a bigger version.  To begin with, the idea of  Big Koala in the new fabric seemed to suit his requirements, so I offered to make it and take pictures of the finished article - even though he seemed to be set on an even bigger version.  I was hoping that when completed, BK would melt his heart!!  It seemed unreal that there even could be a Buyer lined up before a Toy had actually been made!
To cut a fairly long story short, the new version was made - quite quickly as it happened, because there are not that many different component parts involved.  The new version BK now looks like this:
He's sitting very comfortably on top of a privet hedge in our garden at The Hospital of St. John where we all live and I think has turned out pretty well. (Have to confess though that the faux fur pile on his head is actually lying in the wrong direction, which gives him a somewhat different look to the original Big Koala, but the rest of him has his fur going the right way!)  He's a very cuddly armful, wrong pile direction or not!
Now back to the prospective client.  While he was very taken with the final outcome, even allowing for the look, the customer was still insistent that he'd like him double the size!  Now my Friends, I am not the adventurous type when it comes to patterns for my Cuddlies.  I like to stick with what I know and am familiar with.  However, I'm now three years into life with COLDHAMCUDDLIES in its current incarnation, I've made many more Animal Toys - in various sizes and descriptions - and the challenge was just too much for me.
I also was beginning to think that perhaps the customer was leading me on somewhat - and I suspected that this could be the basis of a classic spamming exercise.  Nevertheless, because I am blessed with quite a good stash of this particular faux fur, and because I was keen to see if  I could overcome my hesitation about enlarging a pattern, I agreed to go ahead and try to meet his  needs (and believe me - by this time,  he was talking in those terms!) and try to come up with a Koala which was as near as possible to the 24" in height the customer was literally yearning for!  Girth etc. was not mentioned, but that was the ideal height!  I suggested that a down payment of a third of the estimated cost would at least get me started and also stated categorically that I would not proceed until those funds were in my local bank account in Warminster.  The immdiate answer was that was fine, but his next wage cheque was not due until the end of the following week (Good Friday, as it turned out).  
However, by this time, my interest having been thoroughly piqued, I had purchased some graph paper with 2" squares and had actually enlarged all the BK pattern pieces - although the customer was not aware of this I hasten to add.  My mind was made up:    I was going to make a Giant Koala come what may.  If worst came to worst, and my suspicions got confirmed, then I'd try to find him a Forever Home - either via the Etsy Shop, or maybe by donating him as a Raffle Prize, or the reward for guessing his name, to one of the Charities I have connected with in the past.
I think this post has now gone on long enough:  so I'll complete the Koala Saga next time around. 
In the meantime, I've just received a picture of the latest Koala, Kili Whitestar as he is now known, sitting on the end of a table in his Forever Home in Maryland, USA
MsAW, Kili's new Forever Friend tells me that he is very comfortable perched just there - although he is constantly on the look out to avoid being knocked flying by her cats!  As I said to her in response - that's a very much more exciting life he's now leading.  (He had previously been living in a plastic bag with his other Baby Koala Friends)
 The last one of his batch has just been joined by three new Baby Koalas, all of which have got plastic noses, instead of the embroidered ones they've all had to date.  Having come across a local supply, I'm trying them out for size.  They were only completed last evening, and I've not yet had a chance to take photographs of them - but when I do, I'll provide them to illustrate the difference in outcome! 
 Probably, this will happen in the next installment of The Story of Colin, The Giant Koala - coming soon.
PS:  While searching in my photo files for Kili's picture, I came across this photograph of BK, Ed Ted, the four Baby Koalas and one of our Light Brown Teddy Bears (Etsy Listing #69778158) who formed the initial party en route to Sequals in 2011. (I'd forgotten that Light Brown Bear had formed part of the contingent!) They travelled across the English Channel and across mainland Europe from the UK  in a black garbage bag in the boot of MrRE's Blue Jaguar car, but this photo taken was before their epic journey across the Channel  began.  Followers of this blog can read all about these fellows in posts written in early 2011 by accessing our blog archives.
Meanwhile, until the next time - Good night and God Bless!  Isobel
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic