Sunday, 30 October 2016

Canadian Christmas Presents under construction.

Hello there Everyone:

Cy Bear calling in.  We're just a little behind schedule this afternoon - because Isobel forgot to include a lunch date fixed for her immediately after attending St. Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham  for Mass earlier this morning.  Today, also, something called "Putting the Clocks Back" occurred in the UK, which meant that Isobel had an extra hour in bed this morning - something that always seems to throw everything out of kilter I've discovered to my cost!!  (The clocks don't have to "go back" for that to happen, by the way!)
Anyway, she's begun to catch us up, and I'm delighted to be able to confirm that the Panda and Polar Bear Slippers destined for Italy and SnraCF's grand daughters for Christmas were safely posted on Tuesday morning.  
Before they left, the usual "Farewell Ceremony" took place, with me supervising the packaging of the items:

This was the two pairs of slippers together after the second Panda Slipper was completed, and prior to their being packed, first in chemical free tissue paper, and then together in bubble-wrap. Finally the package was put into a Royal Mail plastic envelope and taken by Isobel to the local Post Office in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, where they were sent via First Class Airmail Tracker Service.  We've yet to hear that they're arrived safely, but parcels to Italy can take up to 10 days to arrive.  SnraCF lives not far from a long time family friend (who has given lots of Cuddlies their Forever Homes in the past) and they've taken that long to get to their intended destinations.

Newest Novelty Slippers prior to departure
Once this project was safely completed, Isobel then checked our Slipper supplies to see how many were likely to fit the measurements of her Great Nephews in British Columbia, Canada - which I did mention  (in last week's post) would be the next job on our agenda.  It gives me great pleasure to be able to tell you that all of the boys, and their younger sister, Mum and Dad can all be accommodated!  (The ladies and Dad have been added to the intended Christmas parcel by Isobel, as she didn't want them to feel left out)  Actually, Dad is going to need his own, because he shares the same measurements with one of the Boys, and we only had one example of each Slipper in stock.  (Over the coming weeks, Isobel will be replacing these items - but meanwhile, it does mean we have a bit of space in our Cuddlies stores to accommodate some of our newer items!).  In the event of orders being received for any or all of them in the interim, we allow sufficient space between receipt of order and dispatch dates for Isobel to be able to make them up in due time. 
So, Isobel has now begun work on a pair of Dark Grey Rabbit Slippers for Canadian Dad (CD) - and she's got as far as this to date:

The leatherette under sole has been attached to the insole (which has been cut out to the dimensions required for (CD)) and the back of the slipper is almost attached to the sole of the slipper.  

So far, this has taken Isobel an evening to get to this stage. (Cutting out all the bits and pieces needed for two slippers took another evening).   The first slipper should be ready by end of the day on Monday, and the second one will be started on Tuesday.  So - given no unexpected hiccups, these Rabbit Slippers will be ready to be packed for Canada by the end of this week.  Isobel decided to make CD some Rabbit Slippers, because the measurements received for Canadian Mum (CM) happen to match a pair of Brown Rabbit Slippers too, but the trim is in a colour more suitable for a lady.  So, we thought it would be nice for the Parents to have similar, but not the same Slipper for their Christmas 2016 Present.  Everyone else is getting a different Head on their Slipper Present - (CM reported that she didn't think the Boys would mind either way - to have a Headless Slipper or not.  Because they all think it's "cool" to be getting Handmade Slippers from their Great Aunt this year!!)  We'll try not to let them down!

On the front left of the last picture, you can see the cream poodle faux fur lining which will be sewn in over the insole, once the top of the slipper has been attached in the same way as the back of the slipper.  The lining of the upper has been tacked together to await that development.  Then the whole thing will be turned inside out and the side seams sewn together - lining to lining and the Silver Fox Plush (the name of the fabric) pieces on each side of the slipper. (That way no seams appear).   Then, Isobel intends to sew black satin ribbon around the ankles - finishing off with threading it all with elastic - and, then the first of the last Christmas Slipper will be complete.

We'll keep you posted of developments - as and when.  Meanwhile, here's wishing you all a good week, whatever you are planning on doing - and may all those plans come to fruition.
See you all next week. 

Your Friend - Cy Bear.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Slipper Production continuing - in full spate!

Good afternoon Everyone!

Another week has gone by, and it's time once again for me, Cy Bear, to update you on what's been happening in the Coldham Cuddlies World.

As the title for this post indicates, the Baby Slippers we told you about last week are well under way. with the White Polar Bear Slippers now completed.

The Polar Bears were joined on Friday evening by the first of the pair of  Panda Bear Slippers ordered at the same time by SnraCF - and Isobel sent her the photo above to update her on the order's progress.  The second slipper is well under way, and we're hoping to get that completed by the end of  Sunday evening.

The basic slipper is complete, and production of the second head is under way.  It needs the black eye patches and plastic eyes to be attached, the black plush ears as well,  and then the pink ribbon sewn on and the elastic threaded through.

All being well, we're hoping that both the Italy-bound Slippers will be en route early next week, well in time for Christmas - which is when SnraCF plans on giving them to her Granddaughters E and A.

Then, it's checking the measurements we've received for the Isobel's great-nephews to see how many new pairs of slippers need to be produced - once we've checked our existing stocks to see if, perchance, we may have some already made that could fit the bill.  At the same time, we'll be checking to see if the intended recipients want to have them with animal heads on

Owl Novelty  Slippers Brown Fleck Faux Fur Made to Measure Poodle Plush Lined Man's Size 12-13 Practical Warm Footwear Unusual Unisex Gift
or for them to be just conservatively plain and simple!

Unisex Novelty Slippers Badger Stripe Fur Unusual Footwear Special Faux Fur Shoe Made to Measure Head Optional Custom Orders Very Welcome.
Then, it will be all systems go to see that they're off in time to reach the Williams Lake area of British Columbia, Canada in time for Christmas.

To make sure that we don't run out of the insoles - which form the base of the feet for the bigger slippers (for ladies and gentlemen) - while in nearby Sutton in Ashfield, our next door town yesterday, Isobel stocked up with a new supply of these vital slipper parts. They're made with "memory-foam" and have the different foot sizes printed on one side of each foot template.  Please see below:

We get ten pairs at a time, so that we've always got some in stock - and this is the second time that a stock up has been required since we began making slippers in 2012 (and the first since we arrived in Nottinghamshire). 

Isobel cuts out the pattern size required, and then starts the construction process.  Because we're not sure if the sizes given here are for American or European foot sizes, Isobel is going to cut the Boys' slippers to the measurements (from heel to toe) given us by their Mother, MrsAS- Isobel's niece.  That's the way, we went with SnraCF's grand daughters' slippers, and they should allow room for growth, because as all prudent grandmothers do, she allowed for such eventualities when she provided the vital statistics for the slippers shown above.  (All our Slippers, so far, have fitted their intended owners to date I hasten to add!!)

(As you may recall, being a Beaver Lamb Bear, I always include a lady's - or come to that, a gentleman's - title before their initials when referring to them in a blog post here.  I've also never met MrsAS, so it's another reason for a well brought up Bear to do so here!)

In between times, during the week, Isobel was taken by daughter Clare, together with GrandsonE, to the Our Lady's Shrine at Walsingham - where Peter's ashes are interred.  It's almost four years since that happened, and the family have tried to get there at least once a year to pay their respects. Normally it rains, and the Shrine (pronounced a Basilica by Pope Francis last December we discovered when they got there - because of it's importance in the life and history of British Catholics) is located very close to the East Anglian coast of North Norfolk. (That's the round bit on the right side of a map of Great Britain - for those who might not know where Norfolk is in the UK). It's thus always windy there, and Wednesday morning was no different.  However everything was accomplished in comfortably cool conditions, and the travellers returned home safely, with the driver (Clare) having done a 222 mile round trip in 7.5 hours, with a short break for a picnic lunch in between.

I'll end this post for this week, with a photo of the Chapel of  Reconciliation (a major focal point of the Basilica) with surrounding trees in all their full autumnal glory.  (In the 1970's, Peter was on the Committee charged with the building of this central feature of  the National Shrine - which is why the authorities at Walsingham were agreeable for his remains to rest there)

You can just see the back of  Clare and GrandsonE - on the right of the photo.
Do have a very good week, everyone.  See you all next week - with the latest from the Slipper Department, and whatever occurs in the days to come.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

New Novelty Slipper Production now in full swing

Hello once again, Everyone.

 Cy Bear reporting in - and hopefully being able to do things better now that Isobel got the computer seen to on Monday.  It only took the Techy Guy 50mins from start to finish:  goodness knows how long it would have taken Isobel to try and sort it (as was suggested by the system, I believe!) and definitely worth the monthly fee we've signed up to for 12 months hence!!

The business regarding the hiccup on the Etsy Custom Order system was eventually sorted - but not before both sides of the transaction almost gave up on the order system totally.  Actually, we've got one on the official Etsy Order system (which is well under way - you can see where it is at the moment.)

This is the first of a pair of  Polar Bear Novelty Slippers - destined for SnraCF's youngest GrandaughterA, who is now about 12 weeks old.  The picture was taken last night and sent to Italy, just to make sure that it is what SnraCF was looking for. (IT IS!!  So, full steam ahead......!)

The second pair of  Novelty Slippers (this time featuring Panda Bears) are ready to be cut out, once the Polar Bears are complete. (They were eventually ordered between SnraCF and Isobel, via their mutual PayPal accounts!  It does mean that the second pair won't show as an official Etsy Order, but who really cares - when the funds are well and truly in Isobel's bank account!).   Once both items are finished, they will be converted into normal Coldham Cuddlies Novelty Slipper listings, and be added to that Section in our Shop (  That will take our listings total further forward and nearer the 110 mark, which will be exciting.  

With the success of the Polar Bear slippers, Isobel has had an idea as to how she can use some small Brown Rabbit Heads that she was left with earlier in the year - after someone contacted us, got Isobel to make them, and then disappeared before the custom order was completed.  This time, though, it was not such a problem as it has been in the past!!  (We actually blogged about them here )  Isobel was never entirely sure that the Rabbit Heads would work as Shoe Ornaments, but we are pretty certain there won't be a problem as Baby Slippers.  So, watch this space - I'm pretty sure they will end up in that role, rather than that for which they were originally produced.

Meanwhile, we've finally  been able to "find" the missing pictures showing how our Gentlemen's Badger Stripe slippers, recently shipped to MrMW in San Franciso, were put together.  (You can see the difference in fabric usage between Slippers for a 12 week old youngster, and needing a slipper to fit a size 9-10 for our gentleman customer!)  You may recall that I told we'd shipped them on Friday afternoon a week ago - so they are probably still en route, as we may have missed a California-bound 'plane from the nearest airport (we're not that far from Birmingham, Manchester and/or Nottingham International Airports) but Isobel has found that packages bound for overseas destinations need to be in our local post office by mid-morning on a Friday, if they're going to make it before the week-end.  I'll let you know when they do arrive safely.

Meanwhile, here are the rest of those photographs I was telling you about:

This photo shows one, almost completed, Badger Stripe Slipper - but giving our customer the choice of a grey or brown satin ribbon trim.  (He went with the Brown, which is what we thought would be the case!)

The grey ribbon will come in handy though because Isobel is making Christmas slippers for her Great Nephews who live in British Columbia, Canada, and they may well need to have special slippers made for them.  Their foot measurements were received during the week, and Isobel anticipates having to make at least a couple more pairs - although, hopefully, some will be met from our existing supplies. Some of the great nephews are healthy teenagers, with feet measurements to match!!!  In all, there are 4 Great Nephews who need foot warmers for this winter- ranging in age between 5-21!  (Isobel is of a generation that one does not become fully adult until you ARE 21!!).

Another view of the slipper and ribbons.

San Francisco-bound Slippers, completed.

The Slippers for MrMW before they were packed for the Journey.
So, that's all for this week, Friends.  Hope to be back with you again next week - with the latest from the Slipper Department of our Coldham Cuddlies Shop!!  Have a good one!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A return to Rufford Abbey - this time in Autumn surroundings.

Hello again Everyone - this week, I intend to let Cy Bear take over.

That's because Isobel has got herself into a fix on the computer (YET AGAIN!) and am hoping her friendly Techy Guys from Hewlett Packard will be able to sort her out early next week.  Some things still operate:  but not all!  So, here's an update about what has been possible!!

After a busy week in which a successful MacMillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning was held - and resulted in a total of £500.00 ($620.75 USD) being sent to the Charity.  The actual event raised a little over £280.00 (with the help of our regular Tuesday Coffee Morning attendees, and their friends).  The rest was made up with a contribution from the Old Chapel Close Busy Bees Club amounting to £200.00 and the total being rounded up to the final amount with a personal donation from one of our residents. 

(The Busy Bees meet regularly on a Monday afternoon and consist of a regular group of ladies who "knit and natter".  They create knitted toys, baby clothing, and tea cosies, which get sold on a Womens' Institute stall at nearby Southwell Market each week.  Once the WI have taken their share (ten per cent of any item sold), the monies are returned to the Busy Bees, who then decide once a year on which local charity they would like to support.  Isobel is one of the weekly regulars - but uses the time to do some Cuddlies preparation, as she rarely knits these days.  The Monday Regulars are quite happy with this arrangement!)

Isobel celebrated her birthday on Saturday, spending it with Clare, Alan and Grandson E - involving a stomp around Rufford Abbey Country Park - about which we posted earlier this year - (on 24/04/2016-Rufford Abbey, Part One and 02/05/2016-Rufford Abbey, Part Two).  It was a beautiful, autumnal day, plenty of feathered friends came to meet the Party, and a good time was had by all.

Ever hopeful avian friends

A very regal Swan - keeping an eye on family (out of sight) and friends

A gaggle of  Brent Geese - gathering in anticipation!
Whereas the previous stroll around the Country Park had taken place in the Spring, this time the trees were in full leaf (getting ready to drop in some cases), and the visit concentrated on the lake area, finishing off with a delightful picnic lunch in the Rose Garden.  Here are some more photos of the occasion:

Queen Mother's Walk in full leaf - at the beginning of our visit.
A tantalising first glimpse of the lake, with autumn colours appearing
A view of the lake - with the furthest point in sight

Playing with a new found friend
A last glimpse of the lake at the end of the trail
The clock tower of Rufford Abbey, seen from the Rose Garden as lunch was being unpacked
The rest of the week involved Isobel finishing off the order for a pair Size 10 Mens' Fux Fur Novelty Slippers, which were dispatched on Friday afternoon, and will hopefully be in situ in San Francisco by the end of next week. 

We've also received two custom orders for some Children's Novelty Slippers - from  a returning customer, SraCF, living in Italy.  Isobel has got to clarify something with the Etsy Custom Order system - which doesn't seem to be recording the request as 2 separate orders, largely because we think the client based her Custom Request on the same original Slipper listing.  Isobel may be wrong - but it's another of these things that need sorting........ if only to see that the correct charges are applied!!!. 

So, you could say that this week has been somewhat frustrating on the Coldham Cuddlies front - but overall has been a good one for Isobel.

Hope to be back functioning with All Systems Go next week - I'll close for this week.

Your friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Return to normal service - hopefully!

Greetings Everyone!

Back at base once more, after a splendid holiday in Devon, and stop overs with daughter Philippa in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on either side of a five day visit to one of my cousins.  Lovely time, helped by the fact that the English weather actually co-operated all the way through, with rain only starting as I got off the train on the return journey at Kirkby in Ashfield Station, in time to catch my 'bus for the final stage home.

While there was Wi-Fi linkage where we stayed in Devon, it's not really the done thing to spend one's usual time dealing with the daily Etsy business for www.Coldham when in one's family members' home (or anyone else's when it comes to it!)  so I just checked in each day, and then began to catch up when I returned to High Wycombe at the end of our week away. (Last Sunday, when I might have been able to do something, frankly, I didn't feel like it - so, hopefully, we've not lost too many of our regular Followers as a result of this dereliction of duty!!!).

So, this week's post is really a bit of a catching up one - to bring you up to date on matters here at base.

The travelling version of  Winston Wombat!
However, we did hear that the package, with Winston Wombat on board, arrived in time, and that the recipient was "very pleased" with his gift!  The Slipper order that we spoke about in our last post has been started, and the first slipper is at the final stage - where the ribbon trim needs to be added.  MrMJW, the customer, was kind enough to give me a little more lee-way in dispatch time, because of course when I got back it was to find myself head over heels in preparations for the upcoming MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning we are holding on Tuesday - 4th October - for which I had prepared the Crab Apple Butter (posted about in our last but one bulletin a week or two ago - visit here to see more -

These are now ready for display- and sale - at the Coffee Morning

There are eleven jars in all - and I'm planning on taking them over to the Residents' Lounge, where the event is taking place, tomorrow afternoon.  I'll be rushing around setting up the Coldham Cuddlies sales table on the actual day!!

One thing all this "extra-curricular" activity has done though - is to encourage me to return to the baking stakes.  Since Peter died, four years ago, followed by the move from Wiltshire to Nottinghamshire, I've really not felt motivated to do much baking - but this year, I got the urge!  So, earlier this afternoon I had a go - largely as an experiment, in case my oven didn't play ball.  Much to my surprise, it did co-operate, and this is the resulting offering!

While studying my pantry shelves prior to this foray into the baking stakes, I discovered I still have two jars of Strawberry Jam (made in July 2007!) using berries grown by myself in our West Lancashire garden , so one of them is going to be opened to form the sandwich middle of this Victoria Sponge.  I'll be making a second one, as celebration of my return to the baking stakes!  (The jam looks darker than most Strawberry Jam - because Peter couldn't eat anything baked with White Sugar, so all my baking - which included breads, etc - all used Brown Demerara Sugar.  I still use it - from habit - and really think the flavour is improved as a result!)

In between all this week's activities on all fronts, I've also had time to list two new Cuddlies - which have been mentioned in the past few weeks, if memory serves.  Either Cy Bear or I will tell you more in coming weeks (in between posts showing the places I visited in Devon - which lived up to all expectations!) - but to whet your appetites, here are pictures of the two new members of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Family -
The missing ear belonging to the Fantasy Bear on the left is now firmly attached I hasten to add - it was listed in this way as a way to illustrate Cuddlies en route as it were!!

Also listed this week, was the associated Fantasy Bear Baby Mobile - seen here.

Fantasy Bear Mobile, Bear Toy Mobile, Nursery Baby Mobile, Poplin Toy Mobile, Kids Room Decor, Unisex Child Present, Unusual Shower Present.
Now, after a frustrating afternoon trying to find all these pictures - all as a result of some new manoeuvres I'm required to do on my computer, which seem to have emerged since I left for Devon (don't know what wrong button I landed on this time around!!) - I'll end this week's update.

Look forward, together with Cy Bear, to being with you all next week.  Meanwhile, have a great one!

Your Friend,  Isobel