Sunday, 25 October 2015

Our UK Hedgehogs Campaign moves a little further on.....

Greetings everyone.  Cy Bear back again.

As the title implies, things are moving on in the Cuddlies efforts to help save the British Hedgehogs. Isobel has been working on it pretty well all week, and I'm in a position to report on some of the developments.

First of all, here's a picture of the Hedgehog Family taken when Isobel was at  the October meeting of the Ashfield U3A Group on Thursday morning this week.  She only took a few of us, because this was the first time she had gone to a group meeting, and it was more of a "getting to know you" type of  occasion - because she obviously was not the only visitor there.  Another reason was that she had only taken half a coffee-type table as well!

A Cuddlies Selection on display at the Ashwood Centre, Kirkby in Ashfield , 22.10.2015

The Frog's leg is large and floppy - and would not move out of the picture!
She was, however, the only visitor/member who had a table on display and I'm pleased to say that one of the Baby Hedgehogs (seen on the right of the photograph) did get adopted, and so the first 10% contribution towards the Saving UK Hedgehogs Cuddlies Campaign is "in the bag".  Not a large sum, maybe:  but it's a start.

After spending a long time on the internet trying to find where the source of the faux fur fabric she uses for the Hedgehogs originated from (other than from where she used to get it when we lived in Wiltshire) - and not succeeding, Isobel "bit the bullet" on Monday morning and rang The Fine Quality Feather Company in Frome, Somerset to see if they could let her know.  Guess what?  The firm gets ALL fabric they use from a wholesaler which is based here in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, where we now live.  So, most of the fabric we now have in the hall cupboard must originally have come from there in the first place! Serendipity or what?

Daddy Hedgehog, on show at "The Artful Buttoner", Kingsway, Kirkby in Ashfield.
So, then Isobel googled Roma Fabrics Limited, found the correct email address to contact and duly sent a brief description of what Coldham Cuddlies is about, and how we had dealt with Fine Quality Feather Company, by taking off-cuts they didn't want and using them for us Cuddlies.  

Roma Fabrics, being wholesalers dealing direct with the trade, don't do off-cuts!  Isobel responded by saying that she is accustomed to being treated as "Trade" by the plush and tartan fabric suppliers she deals with.  Roma Fabrics, then told  her she could apply to be treated as a Trade customer.  This has been done - and we now await approval of our registration.  (Our application went in late on Friday afternoon, so probably the department concerned with such matters had already shut shop and gone home for the week-end).  

If accepted (one never takes these things for granted), Roma Fabrics' minimum order is 0.5 metres (half a yard, or thereabouts):  most of the other companies we deal with demand a minimum of 1.0 metre (39 inches for those unaccustomed to metric measurements).  I'm told by Isobel that one can get quite a lot of Hedgehogs made with half a yard (width usually being 54 or 60 inches).  We do have some of the Hedgehog special speckled fabric in stock, but Isobel does want to ensure she can get replacements quickly, as and when required.

Mommy Hedgehog - watching what's happening in "The Artful Buttoner"
Kirkby in Ashfield is a very friendly place.  Isobel finds she gets chatting with people even when she's sitting on the 'bus going into Town for her weekly shopping, or to check on whether any Cuddlies have been adopted from "The Artful Buttoner", where the Hedgehogs had been sitting, until removed for the Craft Fair earlier this week.  (They'll be going back again next week)  From our neighbours and Claire Lilley, Owner and Operator of "The Artful Buttoner" (who is more than happy for the Shop to be used for any photographs by the local newspaper - which Isobel has yet to contact) she learned about a Wildlife Sanctuary right here in Kirkby. 

Subsequent Googles disclosed that quite literally it is based down the road and around the corner to where we are based. (Again, what a coincidence, eh?)  There were two email contact address connected with this Sanctuary,  and they handled ALL wildlife needing help, not only Hedgehogs.  Isobel - not knowing either of the personalities involved - not unnaturally chose the first one.

Turns out that, alas, the gentleman is now now longer involved.  Isobel discovered however that he is a print and publicity material designer, likes our idea of helping Hedgehogs, and has offered to help with any publicity material we might need on either a "f.o.c." or at cost basis.  (Isobel presumes that "f.o.c." means "free of charge", and at the moment has responded "Yes please", but no need at present!)

Baby Hedgehog - who was adopted from the Craft Display on Thursday 22.10.2015
However that may now change.  Having tried to contact the other person involved at the Kirkby Sanctuary, and not being made exactly welcome, (almost the first rebuff she's had since moving up from Wiltshire), Isobel was surprised and somewhat bowled over on Saturday afternoon.  While checking one of her two Facebook pages  she found a message sent from one of her Etsy team colleagues about a story run on Friday evening's local BBC TV News programme from the West Midlands (based in Birmingham) giving the name of another lady based near Walsall, in the West Midlands, who is actively seeking funding for her work. 

 Now, Melissa Miller (another funny coincidence, actually, because Isobel's maiden name was Miller!) from Alabama, USA  runs and she is a fellow member of the Etsy Team  Melissa is a great Anglophile, and has often mentioned items she's seen when watching BBC programmes when she and Isobel are "chatting" on the Team Chat Thread (led for the Team by Isobel, incidentally), but this link is mind blowing.  Having "commented" (as I'm told one does when operating on Facebook, giving a link to my first mention of our Save the Hedgehog Campaign ) Isobel  then telephoned BBC Midlands Today offices in Birmingham.  The switchboard put her through to the department who produced the story last night (it hadn't even been uploaded to BBC iPlayer at the time), and was given the contact details of the lady involved.

Immediate contact was made and I'm delighted to tell you that  it's been telephonically agreed that some of the 10% proceeds from future Coldham Cuddlies Hedgehog sales will be going to Joan Lockley, c/o West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue. Joan has been rescuing Hogs for over 15 years, and in that time has taken in over 5,000 animals - never refusing any of them.  Isobel is now going to write a press release (she used to do a lot of this when Peter and she operated a P.R and Publishing Company in Canada called Coldham Press Ltd),  The draft will be sent to Joan to check facts for accuracy before the next steps on this part of the campaign are taken.

These will probably involve contacting the local weekly Ashfield District newspaper and BBC East Midlands and BBC Midlands to officially launch the campaign, and maybe even inviting "The Lady" magazine to come to the party too!  After all, it was the result of an article in the latter, that started all this off, wasn't it?

We've not been inactive in other areas in the interim.  The Hedgehog Family will now be created as a ColdhamCuddlies entity in itself and listed.  The three separate Hedgehog Toys are already listed and featured in our Shop (//  and every time someone "follows" any or all of them, Isobel writes to tell that person(s) about the need to save our UK Hedgehogs.  So, slowly, it's getting known on too.   Everyone has been very verbally supportive to date - and hopefully, Isobel will be busy sewing lots of Hogs between now, Christmas and beyond.  We'll be telling you all how we get on, obviously, as the days go by.

The Hedgehog Family when they first arrived in "The Artful Buttoner" earlier in the Summer
That's all for this week.  Your Friend Cy Bear

PS:  Isobel has just been able to upload this video all about Joan Lockley and her amazing Hedgehog "Hosprikal"!  Enjoy. (If it works, of course).

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Introducing the Kirkby Koalas - and Hedgehog update(s)

Good afternoon everyone - 

Isobel here, giving Cy Bear a rest from posting.  He's been busy elsewhere today, anyway, and one mustn't over work the Bear, must one?

For instance, marshalling the Kirkby Koalas in line is REALLY hard work!
As the title implies, the latest batch of Coldham Cuddlies Baby Koalas (or Tree Bears, as the original pattern designates them) are now ready for listing - and they will be, just as soon as this post has been published, and duly publicised via Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, not to mention just about all the  6 Teams that I'm on regularly.  There's quite a routine to be observed - in the hope that the Cuddlies will get viewed by more and more people.  

They're going to be listed at their current price of £14.50 each, but if more than one is required - and they make great Stocking Stuffers for anyone wanting to fill that empty space this Christmas(or even small gifts at Thanksgiving, Cyber Friday or any of the other upcoming holiday season commercial bonanzas)- a discount may well be available.  Two or three will be able to travel for much the same price as one, because in the end, they don't weigh very much when each goes on the scales. Convo me at, and I'll be delighted to discuss the matter with you.

Talking of blog publicising, I've just checked on today's number of views for this blog and since we began in March 2011 and they amount to 40,871.  Given that I normally just natter about the Cuddlies (with some brief excursions elsewhere), I'm pretty pleased with that result - and want to thank everyone who reads us regularly for this wonderful total.  

Can't help feeling that all the material I'm gathering in all these posts (counting this one, it will be 322) that there should be a way of capitalising on the stories incorporated in these posts - but, frankly (getting over a touch of bronchitis as I currently am) my entrepreneurial spirit is somewhat diminished today.  The antibiotic I've been prescribed is the strongest I've had to date, and while it's doing its stuff, it's taking it out of me a bit as well.  Definitely not firing on all pistons could well describe how I'm feeling today.  Perhaps one of you wonderful Followers - when commenting, as I hope you will continue to do, can give me a suggestion as to how this new venture might be approached?  Thanks in advance.

To return to the Kirkby Koalas (illustrated above)  - they've been made with the current Koala fabric of grey faux fur with black flecks, are as tactile to touch as usual, and ready to be pram or cot toys, mantle piece or bedside table decor or whatever else comes to mind.  They're certainly one of the most popular Cuddlies - and especially so at Craft Fairs and Bazaars we've attended to date. 

I'm due to go to one on Thursday next - if I feel up to it, and can arrange a bit of transport assistance.  It's within Kirkby, and as I'm not taking the entire 88 COLDHAMCUDDLIES contingent, I may actually be able to make it by 'bus (that leaves close to our front drive, and is free to me, as a Pensioner).  The local University of the Third Age group is holding their "Interest Groups Display" for their regular October meeting, and when I met members of the Committee at a local Seniors Forum in town a couple of weeks ago, I was invited to take half a table (at no cost). So, that's what I will attempt to do!  

(In the past, the transportation has been provided by Clare since I moved up - but with the arrival of my small Grandson, she has more than enough to do, and Little One is not yet ready to meet his public full-on - although he does pretty well when we go to Church each week:  but that's a different kettle of fish all together!)

Not all of these will be going, but maybe a couple or three will - and they'll be accompanied by some Cuddlies that I currently have in stock (other than those that are already on show in The Artful Buttoner craft shop in Kirkby Town Centre.

I took some of our Novelty Slipper selection down to the Shop earlier in the week, just to give a different flavour to the Rabbits, Foxes, Wolves and, of course, Colin, the Giant Koala.  Hopefully, with both Winter and Christmas approaching  (when Slippers seem to attract a lot of attention) some pairs may be adopted this year, especially for the Children's versions.  I like making the adult versions, but somehow they are not as appealing to work on as the smaller ones are - not to mention taking that much longer, and using more of my special faux fur fabrics!  Will have to really work at finding an alternative source for these, similar to the one I had when living in Wiltshire - but that's for another day!

The Kirkby Koalas from the rear
A quick update on the Hedgehog campaign.  Nothing much more to report, other than that I've been working to publicise the attempt.  However, this week's The Lady magazine contains a letter from a reader who found she had been "adopted" by a female Hog, who after being fed with cat food, duly produced a litter of Hoglets.  She writes that she is duly flattered to have been selected as a safe haven.  She has provided two Hog Houses and hopes to be able to host many more litters. 

While still hoping that Cy Bear's post a couple of week's ago will attract some attention from that source, I'm attempting to get hold of the local weekly newspaper to see if they might like the story - and in the process have discovered that there is a local wildlife hospital (which treats Hedgehogs, as well as other animals who need help).  I'll be following up on that as well - and promise further news next week, and in the future, of course.

Until then, have a good week - and hopefully, I'll be feeling a bit more like myself by the time either Cy Bear or I post next Sunday.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Cuddlies' Hedghog Mission - Latest: plus news of Old Friends

Hello there Everyone:  sorry to be late this week, but events in Isobel's life overtook us, and this is the first time we've had a chance to work together on our latest bulletin from the COLDHAMCUDDLIES' World.

Toy Baby Hedgehog Unisex Animal Doll Flecked Brown Plush Faux Fur Light Brown Fleece COLDHAMCUDDLIES Stocking Stuffer Christmas Present
Our Baby Hedgehogs, taken outside in a garden
First of all, the latest on the Hedgehog front:  Isobel has posted details about our intended campaign on our Shop About Page, ( as well as in the Shop Announcement section. They are also on the first row of our Shop Page when anyone calls in to the Shop to see what we Cuddlies look like.

Toy Mommy Hedgehog Art Doll Brown Cream Plush Faux Furry Safe Pram Cot Boy or Girl Toy Adult Companion Stocking Stuffer Christmas Present
This is Mommy Hedgehog sunbathing on a convenient wall

Then whenever anyone shows support for ANY of the Coldham Hedgehogs, they get personally thanked by individual convo message via with a brief background to the campaign - just in case they had not read about it in our last week's bulletin.

Toy Daddy Hedgehog Art Doll  Brown Plush Faux Fur Cream Black Flecked Animal Furry Pram Cot Toy Boy or Girl Christmas Stocking Stuffer
Daddy Hedgehog, among the bluebells

This week, in between other things Isobel has to do (as well as fighting off the cold that she fears is "cooking") she hopes to get in touch with local media (print and broadcast) to see if she can get news about our campaign "out there" in the REAL WORLD:  so far it has basically been centred on the internet and other social media.  Will report on progress, as it happens - IF IT HAPPENS:   that's now down to YOU FOLKs, as well as us!

Now, our title promises you some news about some Old Friends - and official Associate Cuddlies.  They tend to have been Patients in our Stuffed Animal Resoration Clinic at one time or another, and this is true of some of those whose photographs I'm including here.  They all belong to Philippa. Isobel's eldest daughter, and as do all Bears, each have a story of their own - some more exciting that others maybe.

First of all there's Count Rusty de Benj - Rusty to his Friends. He was originally a raffle prize in the local pharmacy when Isobel, Peter and the girls lived in Canada, and has been with the family since the early 1980's.  When Isobel learned that one of her tickets (each time one spent over a certain amount of money, a new ticket for the raffle was issued - and I think there were about 10 that had accumulated by the time it was drawn) the only way Rusty could come home was to be strapped into the passenger seat of the family car.

Having created quite an impression on the way home, at 4ft 6ins from head to foot, Rusty has kept it up ever since.  He's travelled with Philippa around the UK each time she has moved for work purposes, and while she was in Belgium, spent some months in storage.  During that time, he got somewhat limp and dusty, so when he arrived as a Patient in the Coldham Cuddlies Clinic, (   he was de-stuffed,  He had polystyrene balls inside him (a pet hate of Isobel's) had a good warm bath and was then re-stuffed.  He now resides in the rocking chair in Philippa's bedroom in the UK

This is Tommy Teddy, and he doesn't look in the slightest bit like he originally did.  He was originally made with a blue and pink plush fabric and arrived in Philippa's collection of Bears when she was about 3-1/2 years old.  We'd gone to visit some Loretto Sisters in their convent in Manchester (Granma Morrell had been educated by them, and Peter spent his early years in Manchester and was therefore well known to the Sisters)

Mother Superior arranged a mysterious delivery of this big Teddy Bear which at the time was almost the same size as Philippa herself, and he was promptly named Tommy Teddy.  He travelled with the Family to and from Canada, and also with Philippa around the UK, with Rusty.  He alas did not stand up as well to the same treatment, and indeed is a lot older than Rusty.  So, when he arrived in the Clinic he was duly taken to pieces and de-stuffed (he had foam pieces inside him, and that is no longer an acceptable form of stuffing in these days of "Health and Safety").  However, his original skin did not survive the luke-warm bath!  Isobel was able to rescue sufficient of the pattern to be able to recreate him in this more modern version using Blue and Pink Fleece, and he now sits with Rusty on the same rocking Chair in Philippa's UK home.

Now the third ursine member in this Bear family picture is known in the Family as "Big Teddy".  He was given to Philippa by Peter and Isobel for her first birthday and despite being the oldest member of  the trio, really looks in remarkable trim given his age.

When he first arrived, he was a definite favourite with his young Forever Friend:  however, shortly afterwards, a favourite Aunt and Uncle arrived from Kenya to meet Philippa for the first time, and brought with them a bright Yellow Plush Teddy Bear who became known as Sleepy Teddy.  For some reason - probably because he is a softer, cuddlier Bear - the invader ursurped Big Teddy in Philippa's affections.  Sleepy Teddy has been EVERYWHERE with her, even when she used to travel overseas to Australia, America and other exotic places for work, and he's been re-covered at least twice in his life.  (Isobel says he needs another new coat, but so far has not been able to achieve her aim of providing it).  Meanwhile, Big Teddy continues to sit serenely with his two fellow Bears - looking almost as good as new.

Isobel is busy making Baby Koalas, in between the Hedgehog Campaign arrangements, so hopefully there will be some up to date photographs to show you next week.  She's made 6 of them, and they're coming along fine.  Currently, its the battle of fixing heads to bodies that is occupying her.

See you all next week - hopefully on the right date this time around.  Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Cuddlies Go on a Mission - to help UK Hedgehogs.

Hello Everyone - Cy Bear with you once again, this time to tell you about something new we COLDHAM CUDDLIES are going to get involved with. - trying to do our bit to save the extinction of British Hedgehogs.

This has all come about since Isobel read an article in a weekly magazine to which she subscribes called "The Lady".   In the edition for 25th September 2015, there is an article entitled "Is it the last hurrah for The Hedgehog?".  Apparently Hedgehogs in the UK are declining at such a rate that by 2025, it is thought hedgehogs could become a "mere urban myth, perhaps vanishing from some urban areas completely".  "The Lady" says that in the 1950's there were 30 million of them:  by 1995, they had reduced to 1.5 million.

That's an awful thought for any one who likes Hedgehogs as I do - especially as I have three Coldham Cuddlies friends who are Mommy, Daddy and Baby Hedgehogs - seen here, all together on a table in "The Artful Buttoner", the craft shop in Kirkby in Ashfield - where last week, I was telling you that Colin the Koala has now taken up a spot,

Isobel took this photograph of them yesterday morning, so we could start work on our campaign to help the Hedgehog survive in the 21st Century in the UK.

The Coldham Cuddlies Hedgehog Family
Isobel and I have put our heads together and decided we're going to try and do something to help save our Hedgehogs and would like to ask for support from all our Followers here, on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and anybody else who might be reading this post today.

All of our Hedgehog Toys make great companions for anyone - from birth to whatever age you want to choose, there's no upper limit.  We've got Cuddlies who are companions to a former good neighbour of ours who lives in The Hospital of St. John, Heytesbury, who has a Mommy and a Baby and is nearly 90.  That's where we used to live until we moved to Nottinghamshire last year. There also used to be a lady who lived in the Village there, who made a point of buying a Baby Hedgehog for each great grandchild as he or she arrived in the world (think there were at least 3 before we left Wiltshire) - so you see they have great appeal.  They are also always popular when they appear at Craft Shows and Charity Bazaars.
Isobel has decided that anyone who wants to buy one of our Hedgehogs - the prices are shown if you use the links given to each individual Toy - she will donate 10% of each sale and send the proceeds to (

In addition, if you add up the cost of all three Hedgehogs it comes to £49.50 - which is £50.00 as near as makes no difference.  So, if anyone wants to buy the Family all together, she'll reduce the price to £40.00 for the three of them, which means £4.00 will go to Tiggywinkles for each Family purchased.  There are some in stock, and they don't take too long to make:  orders will be treated strictly in order of receipt.  Baby takes a couple of days, with Mommy and Daddy taking a day or two longer each.  Isobel tells me that if folks would prefer Daddy to be in the prone position like his wife and child, she'll be happy to accommodate that request.

I'm told that there are two particularly famous Hedgehogs in the world:  a Mrs. Tiggywinkle, who is the heroine of a book of the same name, written by a lady called Beatrix Potter.  Isobel is particularly fond of that story - as were/are Philippa and Clare,  her daughters.  There is also a relative newcomer in the world of fictional hedgehogs, this time in the field of video games (whatever they may be) called Sonic the Hedgehog.

 Isobel doesn't know much about the latter, but she's determined to do what she can to help save the real time Hedgehogs - and asks all of you Followers, Readers and anybody else who are interested - to think about possibly getting a Hedgehog for Christmas (to begin with) and any time else, afterwards.  They make great Stocking Stuffers I am told (again, whatever that might be.  I think I would be too big for that).

Thanks for reading this - and I do hope you will think about it.  Isobel will make them as quickly as she can - so if it is for Christmas 2015 that you want them - you'd better get on with ordering them!

Until next week:  your friend, Cy Bear.

Coldham Yogi is my full name.  I'm Cy Bear to my friends.
PS: The LADY magazine  has actually featured the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic - we wrote about it in this post in 2014 -   (and if this link doesn't work, you can reach it by going to the right side of our blog page, and finding it under the blog for 16th January 2014).