Tuesday, 27 December 2016

COLDHAMCUDDLIES say Good Bye to 2016 - Welcome to 2017

Greetings Everyone - with this last post about the  COLDHAMCUDDLIES from me for 2016.
Overall, it's been a good one for the Shop, and we're all looking forward to 2017 to see what happens next.

We've heard that the Blue and White Fleece Baby Rabbit, and his travel companion, one of our Grey and White Plush Baby Rabbits, arrived safe and well in time for their Christmas meeting with their Forever Friends.  MrsSS sent us this series of pictures just before things closed down for the Christmas holiday (and before the meetings took place):

Then over last week-end, we received an enquiry from MsSS - whose twin sister has recently become Mum to a little boy - and she was hoping that we would be able to send her a pair of Pink Fleece Piglets in time for Christmas.  As she lives in the UK, and we did have the Pink Fleece Piglet Twins shown here in stock, we were able to pack them up and posted them on Wednesday morning, while I was doing part of my weekly shop in Kirkby in Ashfield.  Cy Bear did our usual Farewell Ceremony prior to their being packed up.  

Yesterday - Boxing Day - I was absolutely delighted to get photos from MsSS showing the Pink Piglet Twins with their Forever Friend.

The message from MsSS read as follows:

      "Thanks Isobel. They are lovely! I'm sure he'll have them for life. Merry Christmas xx"

(I never get over how fast things can happen these days - thanks to modern technology, and on-line Shopping!  The order was received Sunday, payment confirmed on Monday, the funds reached my UK bank account on Tuesday, but too late for me to send the package that day - but Royal Mail Special Delivery ensured it could reach its destination on Thursday mid-day, after I'd done the posting on Wednesday!!  Simply great - when everything works well!!)

Our prospective Buyer enquiring about the Brown Bear Golf Club Cover (which Cy Bear spoke about last week) was in no hurry to have it for Christmas, as she was only interested in a Yogi Bear type Club Cover - and was prepared to wait for it to be made between Christmas and the New Year.  There's still one more special party to attend, later today, after which I'll cut out two of these Club Covers and send one of them off to Runcorn, Cheshire sometime next week - making it the first Order for 2017!  (It so happens, I've actually got two knitted handles waiting for their respective heads - whomever they may be - in stock).

As ever, technology is defeating me and the font has mysteriously morphed into another one.  So, I'll end this post by wishing you all the very best for 2017.  May you all receive everything you are wishing for yourselves and your families - and Cy Bear and I look forward to meeting you regularly next year.  As ever, thanks so much for being here for us!

Your Friends  Cy Bear                                      and                        Isobel


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Bits of This .... and bits of that!! A Lot has happened this week.

Greetings Everyone- once again:  from your Friend, Cy Bear.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, where the dickens did this week go?  It seems no time at all since I was posting last week's bulletin, and here we are again, catching up with what has happened this week.

First of all, as promised at the end of last week's post, on Wednesday, Isobel packed up and dispatched the Orange and Brown Tiger Golf Club Cover to MsAR, who lives in Cary, North Carolina - when she replied to our question about which of the three Golf Club Covers she actually wanted:

That was after Isobel had sent off the Two Baby Rabbits to MrsSS - again as I told you last week.

As Isobel prepares the draft of this week's offering, she's waiting to hear whether or not another Golf Club Cover has found a Forever Home.  Someone living just across The Pennines from Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire - in Runcorn, Cheshire to be exact - wants to have a Yogi Bear Cover, as illustrated here

Golfers Novelty Gift Golfers Accessory Bear Golf Club Cover Unusual Golf Gift Gift for All Adult Golfers Unisex Golfing Gift Golfer Present.

Regrettably for MsMS,  our Yogi has also found a home recently, and Isobel had not delisted him - so we could illustrate the range of Covers we can supply!  We're waiting to hear if any the Golf Club Covers that we still have in stock (see below) would be of interest to her

If the answer is a positive one, we'll be able to get the item dispatched on Tuesday morning - meaning it will be in Runcorn by 1300 GMT on Wednesday, in time for Christmas.  Isobel has offered to make another Yogi Bear Golf Club Cover if not, but it would not be possible for that to happen until after Christmas, with a delivery date in the first week of January 1917.  See what I mean about things happening here this week?

With the two packets going off last week, and the recent orders received and sent off as well, Isobel decided we needed to get more bubble wrap.  Given the treatment often meted out by the postal authorities when Cuddlies are travelling, she likes to feel that they are well wrapped and snug before they leave us here in Nottinghamshire.  So, she dug out the last order from our suppliers (the task was undertaken just before she hit the hay on Tuesday evening) and ordered what she thought was an exact replica of our previous box of bubble wrap.  Unfortunately, she had chose the wrong catalogue number (she was wrong by just one digit, she tells me!)

Anyway, you can imagine her astonishment when the front door bell rang to announce the arrival of the bubble wrap delivery on Friday afternoon (it had travelled from Surrey, England, UK in the interim) to be faced with this sized object

I'm standing as high as I can, by the way!

Not only would the dimensions of this roll of bubble wrap be difficult to store, but even our biggest Cuddly would be drowned in a piece of this - although doubtless Isobel might have been able to cut a piece of it to size, had she kept it.  However, it certainly wouldn't fit in the space where our bubble wrap normally does - on top of the tissue paper on top of the bedroom cupboard:

Our flat is best described as "snug", and our bedroom even more so!  Had we kept this roll of wrap, the only place available would have been here.

Now that is where Isobel stores all her washing paraphenalia - as shown by the clothes maiden on the right of the picture and the corner of a laundry basket in bottom right! - and the suitcase, on which it is shown perching dangerously, doubles as storage space for bed clothes (e.g. duvet cover)  amongst other things!!  So it was obvious, that we had to make arrangements for its speedy return to our suppliers in Farnborough, Surrey - Engelbert Strauss Ltd.

This was accomplished, with the help of a lift from one of our friendly fellow residents,  to the Kirkby Post Office, only for Isobel to find that the return label provided to us by Engelbert Strauss Ltd was allegedly not useable by this particular Post Office, so that we could claim the free postage offered by our supplier.  So, Isobel decided to pay for the roll to be sent anyway (you'll understand why, I'm sure - from this photo of me beside the roll while it was on the suitcase). 

I'm perched on the end of the case, with the return label safely inside the plastic envelope in which the suppliers' documentation (including the allegedly wrong label) had been when it arrived.

When she returned home, not unnaturally, Englebert Strauss were informed about the dilemma, We've been dealing with the firm for the best part of 15-17 years now, and nothing like this has happened previously.  The Customer Services Department staff member was somewhat flabbergasted that she had had to pay, when the label works everywhere else it has been offered!! The young gentleman dealing with Isobel on the 'phone has promised to do his best to see if some, if not all, the monies expended on returning the label can be refunded - their current systems apparently don't do so.  Meanwhile, the Post Office has apparently been paid twice for the same transaction!!  (Isobel has suggested that as there is a refund due for the exchange of this roll to the previously purchased size -which is a lot smaller, and definitely fits into the space on top of our cupboard! - the postage be added to the refund.  Like all big firms, there is a system to be followed..... so we'll have to hope that it can be arranged).  The receipt from the Post Office is on its way to Farnborough, and we look forward to seeing what happens next.   We're going to probably have to wait until after Christmas because the receipt is having to travel through the annual festive season rush, with all the potential for getting lost and/or delayed in the post!

Isobel often tells me that some transactions can be jinxed from start to finish.  I can't help feeling that this bubble wrap incident might be one of them.  Results of the transaction are awaiting with bated breath!  We've been pleasantly surprised at how well the Cuddlies have done in our last year of trading. It's resulted in a healthy profit, rather than just a meagre one - or loss, when Isobel also did our accounts this week - but even so, £12.98 ($16.21 USD) is quite a bite out of anyone's spending money all in one go!! We'll let you know what transpires, never you fear!

Now, its time I stopped waffling on.  So, I'll leave you by wishing everyone a "Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year", and look forward to being with you again, sometime after Christmas, which of course is next Sunday (when we would normally be posting the next bulletin).

Your Friend, Cy Bear

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas 2016 gets ever closer......

Hello Everyone once again!

Cy Bear at your service - with the latest Coldham Cuddlies activities from this week to tell you about.

As the title indicates, Christmas and its attendant traditions in Isobel's family is bearing down upon her.  I've been told the "overseas cards" have all been sent - and now the UK and local ones need to be attended to.  That is scheduled to begin sometime this coming week. 

However, there are more Cuddlies' departures to tell you about too - beginning with:

This shows both the Snowy Owl Slippers, destined for MrPD of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as they were being photographed prior to their departure on Wednesday of  last week.  (I did tell you a little about one of them last week!)   Once the required shots had been taken from all appropriate angles (to be used when Isobel lists them in our Shop - www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com), the farewell photographs were taken before I oversaw the wrapping and packaging of the items prior to their departure.

Then it was a question of cutting out some Grey and White Plush fabric in order to create three new Baby Rabbits to add to our overall Baby Bunny collection.  One of them is destined to join the Blue and White Baby Rabbit we featured at the start of our post last week, and I'm pleased to be able to tell you that both the Baby Toys are now wrapped up and ready to be sent off tomorrow, Monday December 11, to our good friend, MrsSS from Port Washington, NY, U.S.A.  (She has already been a Cuddly purchaser - in the form of one of our Hedgehogs, around about this time last year.).  These Rabbits, we understand, are destined as Stocking Stuffers for her Grandsons, one of whom only arrived in the World in October this year.  Here's a photo of the travelling Grey and White Baby Rabbit - atop Isobel's computer last evening, prior to his being wrapped up ready for the journey:

He was joined, before the farewell photograph ceremony took place in Isobel's bedroom, by his Blue and White Fleece travel companion: (despite the size difference, they are both made from the same vintage Rabbit Toy Pattern:  it's the different fabrics used that results in the size differentials!)

And here they both are, before the wrapping process began:

It's always good to know that Cuddlies are beginning their journeys to foreign parts, but it is also a little sad to see them leave us here in the UK.   But that's what COLDHAMCUDDLIES is all about, I suppose.

Just as Isobel was completing all the Baby Bunny packing - when she went to the computer to complete the delivery note to accompany the two Toys - she saw we had received another order, this time from a Buyer in Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A - and this time for a Tiger Golf Club Cover.  (If all goes well, they too should be en route to the US Eastern Seaboard in time for Christmas.)  We think we'll have to refuse any orders that come in after Wednesday, December 13 - because even with the International Signed For and Tracker package they travel with (which allegedly arrives at destinations within 5 Working Days of dispatch, ALL OVER THE WORLD), we won't be able to guarantee a firm Christmas Day Delivery after that date.)

We've sent this photograph to the customer, while we wait for all the payment procedures to be completed. 

(Because the order came in over the week-end, the monies won't get sent to Isobel's UK Bank account until Monday).  Isobel needs to know which of the three specimen Tiger Golf Club Covers shown here, and in stock, our customer would like us to send.  

The decision will be conveyed next week, hopefully - although be warned, it might be subject to a delay, because Isobel is invited to an Advent Party for the St. Barnabas Cathedral Parish Choir, with whom Clare is a regular Cantor at the 1000 Mass each Sunday.  It's being held at Clare and Alan's home up the road from our flat.  These affairs can go on sometime - so it may not be practical for a post to be created in the regular Sunday afternoon slot we try to write in each week.  YOU ARE WARNED!

With that, I'll close this week's bulletin.  See you sometime soon - as and when we can fit a news bulletin in!! 

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Good News on Arrivals and new Departures

Hello once again, Everyone - from Cy Bear!

It's been a busy week:  two orders received, both of which need some sewing to be done on Isobel's part.  The first one is almost completed:  the second one, from MrsSS - who is a returning Cuddlies supporter - is for two Baby Rabbits, one of our Dark Blue and White Fleece Bunnies, and the other a Grey and White Plush Baby Bunny.  We've not got any of the latter in stock, so it's going to mean Isobel making some and getting one off as soon as possible after the first order is completed. (With the last guaranteed date for Christmas deliveries overseas being 10th December, Isobel has got to get her sewing fingers going, methinks!)

The Bunny on the left is the one destined for MrsSS.

Following an unexpected, but much appreciated, order from MrPD, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, that we received on Sunday evening last week, Isobel has been busy making some new Owl Slippers.  Our customer requested that his pair be made in White Faux Fur, so on Monday Isobel got to work - during the weekly get-together of the craft-inclined Residents of Old Chapel Close (named "The Busy Bees") - and cut out the pattern for the pair of Owl Slippers (we're calling them the Snowy Owls for the purposes of them being listed in our shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com).

This is the first slipper which is all but completed.  The elastic has yet to be threaded through the blue double satin ribbon trim around the ankles (MrPD was offered Dark Blue, Green or Brown - to match Owls' eyes and beak.  As you see, he chose the Navy Blue).  Isobel is just waiting to hear the exact measurements MrPD needs us to cut the elastic to fit.

The photo above is what the second slipper is currently looking like.  The head is ready to be lightly stuffed, and once the side-lining has been sewn all round the slipper, it will be turned inside out, so that the insole (lying beside the slipper in this photo) can be attached.

Remaining pieces of 2nd Snowy Owl Slipper 

Then the sides will be sewn to the upper and the whole slipper turned inside out.  The outer layer of the slipper will then be sewn to the insole,  The ribbon will then be attached around the ankle, after which the head will be attached - and hopefully, it will look a bit like this.

Then both slippers will have the elastic fitted through the ribbon trim and the pair of slippers will be ready to be packed and readied for dispatch to Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe.  We think that's likely to be Wednesday of this week.  Meanwhile, here is another shot of the almost-done Slipper.

Now, Isobel has got to eat a bit of humble pie - at least that's what she says!  After being highly sceptical about UK Parcel Force's ability to be able to deliver the Canadian Christmas Parcel in the 5 Working Days from dispatch claimed - or anywhere near that timetable, we got an excited message from MrsAS, Isobel's niece in British Columbia, Canada, to say that it did arrive on Wednesday of this week.  As the parcel was dispatched on the Wednesday afternoon of the previous week, it only took extra Working Day to get to its eventual destination, so given the distances involved and the remoteness of the location, that's really not too bad.

However, it would appear that it didn't entirely escape some adventures en route:

This is was what happened - and the damage would appear to have been deliberate (perhaps a Customs Officer just making sure that what was on the label was indeed true?)

However there was another picture that accompanied it - which showed that the top of the parcel did survive intact!  So, perhaps it was just as well that Isobel did have so many knots in the string when she was tying up the package!!

It does give some indication of the treatment meted out to our packages when we entrust them to the international postal authorities!  (Isobel did debate with herself if she should put "FRAGILE" labels all over the package - which is what happens when actual toys are posted everywhere - but decided that because they were Slippers, this should not be necessary!  Given the treatment shown, she's now not so sure!).

So, the final installment of this saga will now have to wait until later this month - as the message from Isobel's niece indicates.

"Thank goodness it's soft items!!! But yayayay. It got here!!! James had to go to town today so he picked it up!! Now the anticipation waiting till xmas! Lol. Probably open them xmas eve with p.j.'s!! 😊. Thank you so much auntie!!! "

I've got to tell you, that Isobel and I are almost as excited to hear what the intended recipients think of their presents too!  I believe it's been arranged that photographs will be provided - so, although we may not blog over Christmas Day and Boxing Day, you can be sure that some, if not all, will be shared in the coming weeks. MrsAS also told Isobel in a subsequent message, that her older daughter (aged 10, I think) asked if Isobel could come for Christmas!  When told that we live in the UK, she understood that it was not likely to happen! Very nice to have the invitation though.  (Isobel here:  my travelling days over such distances are well and truly over, too!)

That's all folks for this week.  Hope you're all well, and that you've not had too much cold weather wherever it is that you're reading this post.  We've had some pretty sharp, wintry weather but I've been told it's not going to be as cold this coming week.

Until the next time then.  Have a great week everybody.