Sunday, 30 April 2017

Some Travelling Coldham Cuddlies - and News of their Easter Homecomings.


Hello there Everyone:  

Cy Bear back once more with good news of the recent departed Coldham Cuddlies Toys - one Duckling - who left for Alberta, Canada a week before Easter,  and the Fox Hand Puppet that was posted to Santa Cruz, California when Isobel returned from her Easter Break.  Both travellers appear to have reached their separate destinations safely - the Duckling having taken longer to get to Edmonton, Alberta than did the Hand Puppet - which appears to have reached Santa Cruz in around 7 Working days - although both destinations are situated on the western sides of Canada and America respectively.  (Just goes to show how much depends on the timing of the Toys arrival at our local Post Office, whether or not they catch the "right" 'plane in which to travel to their individual destinations, not to mention the attentions of the Customs authorities of both jurisdictions!)

A day or two ago, Isobel received an Etsy "convo message" regarding the Hand Puppet from 


A copy of the Departure Photo shown in last week's post.

MsBB  in which we were told that she would try to send us a photograph of the Hand Puppet "in action"  for us to use in a future post here - which made Isobel feel that the Puppet had indeed got to Santa Cruz.  Until we hear otherwise, we'll assume that this is another satisfactory "Job Done"!


On the same day, we got an email, with a series of photographs of the Alberta-bound Duckling,, which had actually left us in Kirkby in Ashfield, UK a week before Easter, but only finally arrived in Edmonton 2 weeks later.  From the photographs, (used with permission of MrsHB, AndyB's mother)  it would appear that the wrapping had done it's stuff, and Duckling arrived in one piece.  He and new Best Friend, AndyB. are now, presumably getting to know each other.







Meanwhile, here in the UK, and almost on the other side of the world, AndyB's Duckling Companion and an Easter Chicken were providing some excitement for Isobel's GrandsonE - who was so pleased with his Easter presents that they accompanied him to St. Barnabas Cathedral, in Nottingham, for the 1000 Mass on Easter Day, and is still creating pleasure on an almost daily basis (among a selection of trucks, cars and trains as well, of course.)


Shown with permission of Daughter, Clare

And, now, we can complete a story that actually began around Christmas time last year.  A good Friend of the ColdhamCuddlies, MrsSS - who has bought a Cuddlies Hedgehog in the past - ordered these Baby Bunnies for her two Grandsons, one of whom was celebrating the Festival for the first time..  Although they arrived in plenty of time for that Holiday, given the huge number of other Toy gifts that she knew were being provided for the young gentlemen, MrsSS decided to keep these two Baby Bunnies back and give them when they might appreciate them somewhat more.




So, a few days before Easter, her grand children arrived to see her, and found the two rascal rabbits well hidden among a basket of seasonal goodies.  (I did try to enlarge the photograph somewhat, but it was even more unfocussed than this one - but I think one gets the idea!!  Guess, one does have to "grab the moment" when Little People are around!).




That's it for this week, folks.  Isobel has been doing a lot of work online this week - because there was a big need for her attention to be focussed there - largely because the Etsy "Shop Manager" site is being "re-jigged" for want of a better description.  That has meant Isobel having to find her way around, which she doesn't really like doing - but if we want to continue meeting friends and selling our Toys to those who want them, it's a necessity for her to do it.  (The learning process is apparently not as difficult as she had at first feared!)


Hopefully, things will settle down somewhat soon, and we can return once again to more regular and "normal" behaviour.  Until next week then - wishing you all a good week.


Your Friend, Cy Bear.



Sunday, 23 April 2017

Safely Back Home - and Some Up to Date Cuddlies' News as well.


Hello Everybody!  


Isobel here with a shorter post than usual, because I only got back to Kirkby in Ashfield on Tuesday afternoon, and much of the time after that has been spent catching up with all that happened while I was away in Buckinghamshire with elder daughter, Philippa.  A lovely break from normal routine, and reasonably easy travelling conditions, it's very good to be back home again - and almost back to normal (or what passes for it these days!).


Cy Bear, in his last post here, mentioned that we'd recently received an order from Santa Cruz, California for a Fox Head Hand Puppet - and I was able to cut it out and almost finish the sewing involved BEFORE leaving for my Easter Break.  So, when I got back, I got on with the rest of what was needed.  Basically, making the finger guide and sewing it into the Neck region of the Puppet's Head and finishing off the seams for the Glove component, and putting together the lining and outer cover.





Here is the new Fox Head Hand Puppet, with it's white felt collar - decorated with orange and green  French Knots, joined together with a yellow running stitch, picking up the main colours of the Buchanan Tartan plaid fabric with which the Glove component is made.  The paw-pads are created with our brown leatherette fabric (which is often used for the beaks of our Owls Toys - see below)


Barn Owl Toy,  Stuffed Toy Owl, Fluffy Barn Owl Toy, Brown Cuddly Toy, Cool Toddlers Toy, Collectible Toy, Cool Toy for Tots, Kids Toy Gift.
Beak and Talons made with the Leatherette fabric

I also used a Copper-coloured plush fabric for the Fox Head and Ears, which are lined with a matching copper-coloured satin lining.  (Previously, I've always described the Plush Fabric I use for making my Fox Heads - and Squirrels - too) as being "Chestnut Brown").  However, recent changes to the Etsy Listing processes have resulted in the colour being called "Copper", so that's how the relevant COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toys will be described in future!


Red Squirrel Toy, Copper  Squirrel Toy, Plush Squirrel Toy. Squirrel with Acorn, Special Toy Squirrel, Toy for Tots. Toy for Boys or Girls.
Our Red Squirrel Toys - previously made in "Chestnut Brown" Plush!

The Fox Glove Puppet was duly dispatched to Santa Cruz to our Buyer, MsBB on Saturday, a day later than I had hoped - for a very good reason.  I've not always been satisfied with the way my Glove Puppets' final "look" can turn out:  because until now, I've finished the lower part of the glove component with seam binding tape - which can sometimes result in a "scratchy" finish.  Making the California-bound Puppet, I decided to see what it would look (and feel) like if finished off with a satin ribbon (as I do with my Novelty Slipper' trim around the ankle area)- 


Snowy Owl Slippers, White Owl Slippers, White Faux Fur Slippers, Made to Measure, Gender Neutral, Gift for Her, Gift for Him, Cosy Footwear.
Our Snowy Owl Novelty Slippers, complete with Brown Satin Ribbon trim

Frankly, I like the new look (and feel), so in future all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Hand Puppets will be finished with a suitable satin ribbon trim, looking like this


Showing the Puppet's finished base area
One of the great things of making toys as I do, is that it is an ever-evolving process.  I can experiment as I go along, and adopt the ideas I feel work best - and discard those that don't!  (And, there's no one to tell me which way is best!!!  Other than, of course, my individual Buyers!!).


I also managed to re-list two of our Toys which had inadvertently been deleted while I was learning another listing technique a few weeks ago.  This did mean that I had to wait until the weather was right to take the new-look photographs, because I do think Foxes and Wolves look better with an "out-doorsy" background.  I do hope you do too!!  (Previously, the photographs had been taken inside, and while effective, it's good to have a change!!)


Our re-listed Fantasy Fox Toy- https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/526389261

 as well as the newly re-listed Grey Wolf Toy -


Grey Wolf Dressed Toy, Grey Wolf in Blue Dress. Wolf Dressed Toy, Traditional Animal Toy, Dressed Wolf Toy, Furry Wolf Dressed Toy, Toy Wolf
Listing Number : https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/526385477

Well folks, that's it for this week!  I'm hoping to be able to get down to some much-needed replacement sewing this week,as well as to update the listings in the Shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com).  Most of the Toys are listed as being particularly suitable as Gifts for Easter - and with that Festival now a week away already, it's time to find another suitable Occasion or Celebration (new Etsy-inspired "attributes" which have to be taken into account when listing the COLDHAMCUDDLIES these days).  With 105 different Cuddlies available nowadays, that can take some time to achieve too!!  So, I'd better stop now and get on with it!!


Until the next time - sending you best wishes from Cy Bear (who held the fort magnificently while I was missing last week-end!),here's a photo of the Fox Glove Puppet and Cy Bear, before the former got wrapped up and prepared for the  journey to California.


Showing off the new-look Glove Puppet formula!
.
Your Friend, Isobel


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Duckling Toy Production - Part 2

Greetings to you all!  Cy Bear here again, on a beautiful sunny afternoon - with temperatures in this part of the UK at summer time ones today.


We've been very busy here in the ColdhamCuddlies Shop this week, with Isobel spending a lot of time marketing us Toys (that's what she calls all the time she spends on the computer!) as well as sewing new Poultry Toys.  


We've now got 3 more Chickens in the Coop, and  3 new Ducklings - and I'm delighted to say that the Chicken and Duckling promised to our Friend, MrsSF (who provided Isobel with the original patterns for the toys - as I told you last week) were sent off on Friday.  They arrived in Worcester, in the UK West Midlands (we live in the East Midlands!) on Saturday.  We received a very nice message from MrsSF to the effect that she was pleased with the way they'd turned out!!




Here's one of the farewell photos that Isobel took before the pair left for Worcester.  We've found that these Ducklings and Chickens really do need a dark back ground if they are going to show up on any pictures!!


Now to the second phase of making the Ducklings - having left off last week, where I told you that Isobel likes to begin her toy-making by sewing up the "peripherals" - the beak, and feet - for the Ducklings, in this case.






She's now made three more Ducklings since these photos were taken.  The pictures were used for the listing in our Toy Shop (COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.co) - 

 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/508463030/baby-duckling-toys-yellow-duck-toys-baby?ref=shop_home_feat_1

and has now got the production process down to just over 2.5 hours from beginning with the beak, then doing the feet and wings, sewing up the body and finally attaching the feet and wings.


The process is as follows:


Once the feet are sewn and turned inside out, Isobel stuffs them lightly, and creates a "web-look" by sewing through the stuffing on each foot.  Then having sewn the beak and turned it inside out, she rolls the beak and attaches it to the spot on the Duck's head where that should be.  She then sews the eyes in place.


To make the eyes, Isobel makes a knot at the end of a piece of Black Double Knit Yarn.  She decides the spot on the head (on each side) where the eyes should be placed, and then using a darning needle, she pulls the knotted piece of wool through, with the knot on the right side of the Duck's head. (The process is repeated on the opposite side of the body/head piece).  She then fiddles with the knot, gets it into place, and then - using matching black cotton - she stitches the knotted wool into an eye shape, and finishes off the whole process (on the wrong side of each body-piece) to make sure the knot/eye remains in place.  Choosing the right spot is helped, in the case of the Duckling Toys at least, because when the beak is in the right spot, the tip is pretty well where the eye needs to be!


Then the body pieces are sewn together.  Over the week, she's found it's best to sew the body sides to the body front - from under the beak to the tail, first.  She sometimes then sews the body back half-way to the tail, leaving an opening through which the stuffing is pushed. (MrsSF suggested we left the gap under the tail area, but Isobel found it easier - with her arthritic fingers - to do it via the back).   Then the whole Duck's body is turned inside out and the stuffing pushed through and manipulated into place to produce a Duck Toy that looks like the middle one in the photograph below.





The two feet are then sewn in place onto the body of each Duckling and then the COLDHAMCUDDLIES label is sewn under what looks like the tail of the Toy Bird.  That helps to make sure that the Toys stay more or less upright.  They can also be "persuaded" to stay that way by some pressure being applied from on top of the body!!


Then the wings - you can see them on the right of the middle toy in the picture above - are each lightly stuffed and sewn into place on each side of the body, and you are left with the completed Toy - ready to take "wing" to wherever.....





Here are the completed original three Ducklings.  One, as I've said already, has been sent to MrsSF (the one in the middle of this photograph, actually.)  The one on the right of the picture was the one selected by AB, son of MrsHB - who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -  and is the lady who ordered one of the Ducklings almost immediately it was first listed in our Shop a week ago, yesterday.  The third one, who was provisionally booked by one of Isobel's friends at Mass last week, is still with us.  but has been joined by two more fully-fledged Duckling toys, with another in the process of being made.


Here's how they look in our Etsy Shop (link given earlier in this post) - beginning with the one just above us.  Then:-



A side view of the Duckling Toys


The Ducklings from the rear


The Duckling Alberta-bound.

And finally, the Duckling on the left of this final photograph is the one that has now landed in Worcester, UK.





We also received an order, early last week, for one of our Fox Hand Puppets this week - see below


Coyote Hand Puppet, Plush Coyote Puppet, Cool Toy for Tots, Toddlers Toy Gift. Tots or Toddler Toy. Scottish Toy Coyote, Kids Activity Toy.
A similar Hand Puppet Toy to this Coyote, but with a  Fox Head instead.

The one chosen from the Shop had recently found a Forever Home, and what with Ducklings and Chickens, Isobel had not had time to replace it.  So the Order will be fulfilled and sent off after Easter.  It will still reach it's intended destination in good time - and well before the official dispatch date on the Order itself (which is not until the end of April).


 Isobel is due to spend the Easter week-end in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire,  with her daughter, Philippa.  This time - as she's only going to be away for 5 days, and has a busy schedule of activities already fixed down there - she's not taking the computer with her.  Thus, there will be NO BULLETIN from here next Sunday.  I shall be in charge of the Shop - supervising the Toys from my spot on Isobel's bed.


So I'll close this post by wishing you ALL a very Happy Easter, and look forward to telling you about the Fox Hand Puppet and the preparatoons for its final destination - Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A. - in two weeks' time.


Until then, have a wonderful holiday Everyone.


Cy Bear, Your Furry Friend.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Introducing our Easter Ducklings as well as News of Old Friends.

Hello Everyone:


Cy Bear being allowed to chat with you again!  Once Isobel gets going, there's no stopping her, and I never know if - or WHEN, for that matter - I'll get the chance to chat with you all again!!!


Our post last week concentrated on the Baby Chickens made during the previous week:  one of them, the one in the middle of this photograph, was bought by a family friend when the Chicks, and our new Ducklings, were being shown to friends and fellow Mass attenders at St.Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham, during the coffee session this morning.






I'm very pleased to tell you that we now have three Yellow Fleece Ducklings, made with the same fabrics used for the Chickens last week, and they were listed in the Shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com) last evening.  Here they are, together with a link to them if any of our Followers feel similarly inclined!  You can see, although the same pattern was used for all of them, none of them look exactly alike!



https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/508463030/baby-duckling-toys-yellow-duck-toys-baby?ref=shop_home_active_1


Isobel opened up the computer just now and found that an order has already been placed for one of them - by Mrs HB, best friend of her daughter Clare, who is one of the best customers we have.  (This will be her fourth order since we opened the Shop in 2010).  Thus, as they are "in stock", one of the Ducklings shown here - MrsHB has been asked to let us know if she has a preference - will be winging (pun intended!) its way to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada just as soon as the money transaction has been completed  (I gather that means just as soon as the funds reach the Shop's Bank Account.  So I guess the departing Duckling will be posted on Wednesday afternoon, when Isobel does part of her weekly shop and can post the parcel while she is in Kirkby in Ashfield Town Centre.)


I'm told, too, that one of the Ducklings was "booked" by a family friend during the Coffee Session in the Cathedral Hall today, but wasn't actually purchased.  (Neither Isobel nor the potential Buyer had sufficient change for the transaction!).  That will take place next Sunday, other things being equal - or that is the current plan!  Looks like Isobel is going to have to cut out some more of each Poultry species, in case there is a sudden rush for them before Easter - both on line, or in real life!


There is good news too of my young Friend, PuffinDR - made as a dry run model for PuffinR who returned home to Rhode Island, NY at the end of February.  PuffinDR has found himself a Forever Home too! 


During the Heart Attack session Isobel told you about in last week's post, we received an order for PuffinDR from a former team member (on another Etsy Team, of which Isobel no longer is a part) with whom she has kept in touch via Facebook.  MrsLLS has recently become a Grandmother for the first time, to a little Boy - and she and her daughter picked PuffinDR to become BabyM's Best Friend.  So, as PuffinDR was in stock, once the payment had been completed (see above for that procedure!), a package was assembled.  After the usual Farewell Ceremony that I supervise had taken place, off PuffinDR went - headed for Marysville, Washington State, U.S.A


The photograph below was actually taken before PuffinR (originally our Patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic - https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration-clinic?ref=shop_home_active_1was dispatched.  But Isobel felt that it was nice that it should be used now - celebrating the fact that the two COLDHAMCUDDLIES Puffin Toys will shortly be effectively "straddling" the United States of America!  Now we've got to see if we can fill some of the spaces in between on that huge Continent - with more Puffins from our Bird Colony, as well as any other COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toy lucky enough to find a Forever Home too!  But that's going to mean Isobel sewing up  a storm - not only with the Poultry Toys, but also some replacement Puffins pretty darn fast too!


Puffin DR is on the left of the picture

Incidentally, we received a 5 Star Review for the work done on PuffinR this week: DadR kindly said in it


james rhodes
james rhodes on 30 Mar, 2017
5 out of 5 stars
Puffin made it back sooner than anticipated, fully restored and wholly loved by his forever friend.

The plan for today's post was originally intended to be a story as to how the Ducklings came to be made.  However, like all good plans, they can be changed if necessary - so I'm  now going to START the Duckling Production saga, and finish it off next week.


A couple of posts ago, Isobel told you that the pattern for the Ducklings, as with the Chickens, were provided by MrsSF - fellow member of a Facebook Group on which Isobel is very active these days (as well as the Teams on Etsy).   This is all part of the necessary online sales activity to try to attract Buyers for the Cuddlies from all over the world.  MrsSF provided the patterns free of charge - for which naturally we were very grateful.  Last evening, after the Ducklings were listed, Etsy Shop links for both the Chickens and Ducklings were sent to MrsSF (together with good wishes for her New Home - she was due to move in on Saturday, 1st April!) inviting her to choose which Chicken and Duckling she would like for her children in return.  (Another reason why Isobel is going to have to do some rapid sewing this week too, methinks!)


Isobel likes to start any Toys off by sewing the "peripherals" - be they beaks, feet, wings or arms and legs.  So in the Ducklings' case, she began with the beaks and feet - shown here, cut out and ready for action!  The Beaks have been sewn together, but the feet (three pairs) have yet to have that attention.






Sewing the body of the Duckling did not prove to be a problem.  Nor did the feet, this time around.






Here are the relevant pieces waiting to be sewn together for the first Duckling.  However, even at this stage, the Beak did seem somewhat large and out of proportion to the rest of the Duckling Toy's body and wings!






Isobel tacked the first beak into place, and alas our suspicions were confirmed.  You can see how very "top heavy" - if that is the description - the beak does look.  So, she took the beak out of the Duckling's face and parted the two layers.  She then only fitted the lower beak, having cut off the narrow end of the pattern piece and folded the sides together.  This is the resulting Duckling "look" with which Isobel was much happier.  The Toy's eyes are constructed by tying a knot at the end of a piece of Black Double Knit Yarn, and then sewing it into shape and place with matching black cotton thread.






The feet were just being sewn in place when the photograph above was taken, but I think you will agree that the protruding beak looks very much more comfortable with only the lower part of the original pattern being used.  (Isobel has kept the upper layers - just in case she decides to make use of them at a later date.  NOTHING goes to waste in this Shop!).  


Think this week's bulletin has now gone on long enough, so I'll close it - and we'll bring you the full Duckling Listing details - and any updates on the fortunes of both our Chickens and Baby Ducks  -next week. Until then, wishing you a really good week - and hoping all the children breaking up for their Easter Breaks/Vacations  have a great time too.

Your Friend,

Cy Bear.