Sunday, 29 October 2017

Latest News from the Coldham Cuddlies Production Line

Hello again EverybodyCy Bear here again with all this week's progress to report.

This photo shows Thoresby Hall, near Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, UK - in whose grounds, The Courtyard (and actual venue for the upcoming WINTERFEST2017) is located.  The Christmas Craft Fair/Bazaar is scheduled for 25/26th November, 2017, and Isobel, Clare and all The Cuddlies are expected to be displayed - over just the first day.

In the excitement of the visit to this lovely spot, Isobel forgot to take photos of The Courtyard, which is a separate facility nearby, with it's own separate entrance. (The Riding Hall is one of the Shops located in the Courtyard itself, together with a very nice restaurant, called The Bay Tree - where lunch was consumed by the the "Reconnaisanace Team"!)  Thoresby Hall is now a Hotel and Spa (formerly the headquarters of the National Coal Board of the UK), now owned and operated by a hotel chain - Warner Leisure - which operate separately, but in conjunction with  The Courtyard (if that makes sense!) .  Visitors to both are encouraged to visit the other, I suppose is the gist of it!!!  (She'll remember to take some photos when she and Clare go to set up the stall, the day before the event - Friday, 24th November:  that is, of course, weather permitting!!)

Clare drove Isobel and her GrandsonE  last Tuesday to check out The Riding Hall in which the event is going to be held - and are delighted to tell you that they are more than satisfied with the proposed location of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Stall.  The room itself is rectangular in shape and in one corner (the top of the rectangle as it were) Santa's Grotto will be stationed.  On the opposite side of the room, on the outer wall of the room, and furthest away from the entrance (so Isobel and Clare will avoid draughts!), the WINTERFEST organiser, MsRB told them is where our Stall will be located.  There are going to be 20 stalls in all for the event, and ours is the ONLY Toy Stall!!  At the lower end of the rectangle, and on the same side as our stall will be, a Cake Stall.   So the likelihood is that many folk will go past our stall (and, hopefully, stop to look at all the Cuddlies on display!) more than once during their visit.  We're excited at the prospect especially with the lack of direct competition for our product.  So - roll on November 25th!!

That has inspired Isobel to get going on the sewing production lines!!  The Owls are all but completed.  One more needs to be stuffed, and the final Owl Toy Ornament just has a few more seams to be completed before all the replacements are in place.

The Completed Owl Quartet

The Baby Owl booked last Sunday by MrsEH - a family friend who attends St. BarnabasCathedral each week with Isobel and the Family - was purchased today (it was the second one in from the left of this photo!), and another good friend promptly booked another one of the four shown above, but didn't have the money available to complete the purchase today.  However, all parties to this latest transaction decided it always looks good at a Craft Fair/Bazaar to have notices saying "ITEM SOLD", and this Owl will remain with us (even if it's been paid for prior to November 25th!) just so Isobel and Clare can put such a notice in front of the selected Bird Toy on The Day!!

The components required for a Baby Owl Toy Ornament.

Other developments this week include:

The delayed new Business Cards had mistakenly not been sent, and after an emailed enquiry from Isobel, are now expected to be delivered on Monday, 30th October.  I'll show you the new design next week, together with the wrongly delivered old design we still have in stock.  We're going to hang on to the latter until after the event, in case the new version all get picked out by visitors to WINTERFEST2017 (wouldn't that be terrific?), because we only ordered 1,000 first time around, and with 2,000-4,000 visitors expected over the 2 days, that just could happen!!

The Baby Owl ready for the Head/Back seam to be done - NB:  all seams are over-sewn - to prevent fraying.

The purchase of the smartphone is scheduled to take place on Tuesday next week  - or at least, Isobel and Clare are going to investigate what is available, taking the Chip Card Reader with them, of course.  Then depending on their decision (or whether it might be a good plan to then investigate any bargains for the selected model being available elsewhere, on-line!) the deed will be done and the PayPal staff be contacted (once it has been received) so that the necessary credit checks can take place to verify Isobel, and the newly upgraded account between them. (Isobel has had a personal account with PayPal since the COLDHAMCUDDLIES began operations in 2010:  however, we now have an upgraded, business account in the name of COLDHAMCUDDLIES - which requires these checks).  I don't understand what this means, of course (being just a Beaver Lamb Bear) - but apparently, PayPal like to do them when their equipment is part of the equation and when multiple card transactions between Isobel and the public are involved.

Close up photo showing thread marking for wing placement on each Toy's fronts - wrong side of fabric
Same thread marking, but on the right side of one front

The wings are then sewn on each side of the face, where you can just about make out the orange silk thread marks,  and the entire body/wings etc are turned inside

out and the back of body/head sewn in one seam, with the resulting Owl looking like this:

With facial features showing
Sideways on, with the Base in place and stuffing gap in centre of the base seam.

These pics are the Toy before it is finally turned inside out prior to stuffing.  This can be quite challenging for Isobel, with her stiffening fingers, because the gap the pattern allows is not that big to allow both wings, feet and head to get through, although she's now developed a good modus operandi to achieve the end result, without too much of a struggle.

The final 2 Baby Owls awaiting completion.  Front - final seams required.  Back: Stuffing needed.

Just to change the subject slightly - to one of the projects awaiting Isobel once WINTERFEST 2017 is finished.  I told you about the Whale that had been ordered last week:  well, this Saturday, Isobel took one of the completed Owls, and one of our Blue and White Fleece Rabbits, to show MrsPA, who has asked us to make the Whale as a Christmas present.  

Two reasons for this action:  Isobel wanted to show MrsPA some of the actual Ornamental Toys we make and sell, and also for her to approve the projected Blue Fleece fabric that Hermy the Whale will probably be made with.  MrsPA was happy to approve of both!

Right, that's it for this week folks.  We're looking forward to another action packed week next time around.  But one decision has already been taken.  Once November arrives, Isobel has decided not to do as much Etsy Team-promoting until after WINTERFEST2017 is finished.  It seems a bit counter-productive for her to be sewing like mad to create more stock for the Christmas Craft Show, and still be trying to sell the self-same objects on line.  There will be plenty of time for her to carry on what she's been doing all these months and years, after November 25th, and meanwhile, she needs to have as many Cuddlies on display as she is able to produce in the final 5 weeks before WINTERFEST 2017 arrives!

See you all next week, folks - hopefully.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

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