Saturday, 31 December 2011

Resolutions for 2012 + some future plans

Here we are at New Year's Eve 2011 - and I suppose it's time for New Year resolutions.

Obviously, one of mine has got to be more regular blogging - and I really will do more, other things permitting!
 My ideas for guest blogging are firming up.  It will take a bit of time to set up, but they should increase the posting flow.  Aim to begin inviting guest bloggers in the next few weeks, to if you're interested, please watch this space!  Meanwhile, anyone considering joining us in this pastime at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com might like to think about their most favourite toy.  If they can dig out pictures of it - particularly if it includes the owner, too, that could really start the ball rolling.  Must stress, though, the items should ONLY be soft toys;   bears, obviously - but rabbits, foxes, coyotes, and any other animal toys (elephants, horses, donkeys do spring to mind - but more exotic items would be more than welcome) that would be great. As I've never been a DOLL person, they are unlikely to  feature in any future ColdhamCuddlies related blog post!

Secondly, am going to improve my photographs.  The ones at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com are better than they were when I first started, but could probably be improved.  At someone's suggestion, I've concentrated on taking outdoor photographs.  However, with winter conditions prevailing - which means predominantly grey skies, if not actual snow in the UK so far this Winter - I'm well aware that those I often include here in my blogging efforts could DEFINITELY do with improvement, as they do tend to be snapshots, rather than photographs.  They illustrate what I'm doing, but don't really show things as they ought to appear and are taken as needed, rather than properly prepared.  So.... I've got two new possibilities to work with here.  One is experimental:  with toys, I hear folks ask?  Yup .... just carry on reading.

While recently away visiting eldest daughter before Christmas, Peter and I were invited as special guests to a Christmas Lunch organised by said daughter.  One of our fellow guests, when primed about my toy-making ventures, suggested that a small company in which he had an interest might well be able to increase my sales greatly.  As one does, when being wined and dined well, I welcomed the idea of an approach - any time ... as you do, don't you!  The follow-up call happened - the next week;  and it was an eye-opener.  Basically, the company has a gizmo that takes up to 50 images of a product from every known angle, and  a few that probably would not normally be thought about, and makes them into a composite 3-D image.  The idea of one of my toys getting the treatment was immediately appealing.  The flip side was that the cost was a little more at 50.00GBP (77.62 USD) an item than www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com can currently handle!  However, the young man was nothing, if not a good salesman.  I'm being offered a FREE SAMPLE - and who can resist such an offer?  Will keep you all posted about what happens next - but if it works for me, I bet it could be interesting for many of you my lovely Followers, as well as lots of other fellow Etsians too.

With the permission of my France-based sister-in-law, Ivy, I'm going to use Madame Lapin - currently patiently awaiting rejuvenation treatment in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic.  Early next week, she is going to be posted to this company's offices for a series of  "Before Treatment" shots.  She will be returned, and after I've de-stuffed her, washed her clothing and re-stuffed her, she will return to the photographer for the final "After Treatment" pics.  Thought a one-off free sample could be really well used to highlight the Clinic's services, rather than spending hours deciding which of the 25-odd toys at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com should be the chosen "victim".    Here's a picture of Madame Lapin as a reminder:


You can read some more about Madame Lapin in the post "The Coldham Cuddlies French Connection(s)/11/02/11 if you feel so inclined!


The second option occurred a few days later.  Looking through the myriad of freebie catalogues that fall through our letterbox at this time of the year (and all year, come to that) I spotted a mini-photographic studio (light-box type of thing) at a very reasonable price and decided that the business could afford to give me (and itself) a Christmas present - which could well result in a whole lot better indoor photographs, once I'd got my head round it.  I was on the telephone almost immediately to order it, the item arrived three days later - which completely threw me! - and it's currently sitting under the desk on which I am preparing this post, awaiting a thorough examination in upcoming days.  It consists of a three-sided platform, a tripod - complete with its own rigid platform - for a digital camera, two spotlights and three different coloured backgrounds to vary the outcome of any portrait. Everything folds up into a carrying case, and it is sold specifically for taking pictures for insurance or internet auctions, so I felt it was tailor-made for the Cuddlies.  Watch out for better indoor photographs ...... hopefully .... in the not too distant future.

Right, think that is enough for everyone to be going on with - should take me until at least March 2012 to achieve anything like I'm hoping to do, so I'd better begin now!

A Happy New Year to everyone.  Here's to 2012 - for everyone!  Cheers.  Isobel

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Following on - and getting ready for Christmas!

During the last post I published ten days' ago - where does the time go, I wonder? - I made mention of the Christmas Bazaar held here in Heytesbury on December 10.  I mentioned that I had made 7 sales and that the toys who have left the ColdhamCuddlies family will need to be replaced - somehow, sometime!

Well, having written our annual round robin letter to our friends, in which we update folks on the Morrell family's activites during the current year, printed them off, written individual messages on both the letters and the cards into which the letters are inserted and addressed/stamped the envelopes, I've just come up for air and am ready to face the blogging scene one again.  So - as a follow on (implied in the title of this post), here is a photograph of the table of toys in the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Heytesbury - before the sale began.

Crib in the background, together with part of the pulpit showing a splendid carving

It was our luck to be placed there - right next door to a hot radiator (just to the left of the Golden Teddy Glove Puppet shown in this picture).  As it was  one of the first really cold days we've suffered this Winter, and believe me, English churches can be cold - even in high Summer - every time I began to get a little chilly, I just moved to my right and sat on the radiator!  LOVELY!

The local paper was invited and actually attended.  Several pictures were taken by the reporter, who also "interviewed" me, asking me about the Cuddlies - and showing particular interest in the concept of the Soft Toy Clinic and it's activities - I'd given him a card earlier in the morning!  The report has not yet appeared - but as The Warminster Journal seems to be about two week's behind in its reportage, I suspect if anything does appear,  it will be in an edition after Christmas.  If I feel it is a good story, I will include it in a future blog.  Even if it's only a brief mention, all publicity is good publicity - and a good ending for my first full year as Toymaker to the ColdhamCuddlies, and, hopefully, a good start for 2012 as well.

In the front of the table, you can just see the latest additions to the ColdhamCuddlies family:  a medley of Baby Bunnies, made in Pink, Purple, White and  Blue Fleece and decorated with a green holly leaf collar with a bright ribbon for use as a pram or cot toy.   This has been my latest project, which I've just completed having made four of each colour.  They will be listed in our shop after I've completed this post and although a little late for this Christmas, they can stay in the shop until next Christmas - or I can always change the collar and hanging ribbon for any colour that is requested.  (Hot off the Press:  Etsy Listing #89020911)

Two of the bunch (an all-Purple Baby Bunny and an all White Baby Bunny) have already left us - destined as a Welcome to the World present for a young man called Michael who arrived on December 13 - weighing in at 10 lbs! - which just happens to be Peter's birthday as well!  So no excuses on our part to forget this young man in future.  He was sent the Purple Baby Bunny, and his big sister was given the all White one - just so she could play with her little brother later on.

A Christmas ring of Baby Bunnies
Here, for your amusement are close-ups of the various Bunnies prior to joining their plush versions in the Baby Bunnies storage bag!  Their eyes are all made using Black Double Knitting yarn, and are also firmly sewn in, as well as being tied together and fixed into the individual toy's stuffing.  Little fingers should not be able to get them out, but if they do, they will probably collapse under the strain!

The remaining Purple Fleece Baby Bunnies.

Little Michael's present is similar (because I am quite incapable of making identical ones, however hard I try!) to the Bunny in the centre.

Here are the remaining White Baby Fleece Bunnies - the centre one's tail doesn't really show up!

These are like the one sent to Michael's Big Sister.

These are the Pink Baby Fleece Bunnies - choice of White fronts, or not, are up to the Buyer!

These are the Blue Fleece Baby Bunnies - their tails do show up!

All the Bunnies have furry white Bob Tails and do sit up if firmly placed on their respective surfaces - unless of course they are being hung up in a pram or the side of a cot.  They'd all also make ideal stocking stuffers, and I'm considering making them up - if they don't go before - as hanging mobiles in time for next Christmas!

Right - I'm now off to list them in our Etsy shop - www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com.  See you all soon!  Isobel

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Happy Endings: new beginnings

Hello there - expect my regular Followers/Readers have decided that Cy Bear and I have just about given up blogging.  Not true, but since the computer went off for it's MOT (UK Ministry of Transport shortform - relating to vehicles over 3 years old) and used by everyone when check-ups (whether vehicular or human) are in the offing), and Peter and I returned from a brief visit to Philippa, accompanied by the rejuvenated Tommy Teddy, I just don't seem to have had the required time to compose a post.

The next couple of weeks prior to Christmas don't seem to be much better, but I do have a spare moment tonight, so am getting down to it again.  I have some happy endings to report.  Noel, the Xmas Rabbit - last mentioned as being somewhere between UK and Richmond, British Columbia has reached his Forever Home and seem to be settling in  remarkably well! Here is a picture of him, together with part of the message from his new Best Friend, Lyrawing (a.k.a. CK,):

"Hi Isobel,

Noel has arrived! He is so adorable and even cuter than the photos..... I've attached some photos of him with some very early Christmas cookies."


This is the best of the three pics Lyrawing sent
Then, after we returned from our trip away, I received the news that the Saudi Baby Bunnies had been gleefully received by their intended Best Friend, so that's another Cuddlies' story satisfactorily completed.

Then, finally, as I mentioned earlier, Tommy Teddy is now back home surrounded by his friends in the Morrell Bear Family.   Daughter, Philippa, was delighted to have him back, quickly got used to his new appearance, and as far as I know, Tommy Teddy's chums are also happy with both aspects too.

 
Rusty is the Big Fellow:  Teddy (L) and Sleep Teddy (R)
Rusty is indeed a Giant - he's in need of some refurbishment too, and is due to accompany Philippa here for his treatment, when she comes to see us at Christmas, so he will be registered as the latest member of the Soft Toy Clinic.  Just to give you some idea of his dimensions:  if he stands beside me (and I'm about 5ft      7 inches in stocking feet), he comes up to my armpit!  Philippa is threatening to have him sit beside her as she drives him down from High Wycombe to Heytesbury!  It should be interesting to compare the reaction of British drivers with those in Edmonton, Canada in the mid-1980's, when I drove him home one Christmas time, as he sat beside me in the front of our car, after winning him in a raffle!  He made an unexpected present and addition to the toy family that year!  Until then, I'd really not been that successful in raffle and other such competitions:  since his arrival, I have had the odd success, every now and again.  Not regularly, but enough to keep one carrying on trying!  More Anon about Tommy Teddy & Co.

Earlier today, I had a successful couple of hours selling 7 Cuddlies while participating in the Christmas Fete held today in the Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul. HeytesburyTwo Koalas, Four Baby Rabbits and the Rabbit Glove Puppet are on their way to their new Forever Homes - all destined as Christmas presents for some little folk.

On that happy note, I'll end this post - and get down to drafting our annual Christmas letter to our friends so that I can get the cards all sent out.  Regret that I shall not be sending them to you all - my lovely Followers - this year, but I'm taking this opportunity to wish you all a truly Blessed Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year (before I forget to do so in the hustle and bustle we face in the next couple of weeks!)  The Festive Season has caught up with me this year - normally, I'm much better organised!  Must be the blogging and toy-making taking up more of my time than of yore.

Bye for now.  Isobel

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tommy Teddy's Rejuvenation Therapy

As suggested by Isobel a couple of nights ago, I've got the great pleasure of telling you all about Tommy Teddy's rejuvenation.

Although he arrived here in the summer, we've actually not had him "in person" since about mid-September when he virtually fell to pieces after Isobel had unpicked him and washed him very gently - by hand, in specially soapy mixture for delicate fabrics.  We were a little worried as to how we were going to put him back into a Bear shape and our task was made a little easier when Golden Teddy arrived and spent a week with us - enabling Isobel to trace his shape (without taking him to pieces) and then taking him back to his home (at the back of Heytesbury Parish Church).

Golden Teddy and I before he returned home after helping us


Then, Isobel had a problem finding fabric that would be suitable to make the new Tommy Teddy - eventually, after searching the local haberdashery outlets, sending an ear to Susan at Bear Basics in Wincanton (she couldn't help, alas) and finally searching the internet, Isobel settled on a pale blue and a pale pink fleece (the latter being used in the interim for the Baby Pink Rabbits that recently went to Saudi Arabia - which Isobel posted about on November 14, 2011 - "Welcoming Three New Baby Rabbits.)

Isobel began the process of making Tommy Teddy by tracing the various pattern pieces from the cardboard templates she'd created when Golden Teddy was with us.  The pink fleece is not at all like the salmon pink Tommy Teddy's face and paw pads were originally made with.  However, Philippa - Tommy Teddy's Forever Friend - had been sent swatches of  materials (we got about four different shades) and had chosen these for the final version.
Tommy Teddy's pieces before being sewn together

Isobel first sewed his head pieces together, put in the eyes - Philippa decided that Teddy Bear eyes would be better than the hand-made ones Tommy Teddy had somehow acquired during his earlier life, and then stuffed it.


Then she added the ears and embroidered the facial features:


Then Tommy Teddy's arms and legs were stuffed and attached to his body.  Isobel finally stuffed the body and here he is before the head was added to the body



Finally, Isobel put the head on to the shoulders and there was Tommy Teddy looking like a new Bear.  It was only at this point that we all realised that the finished version was a very big bear - even bigger than my friend Ed Ted.

Tommy Teddy - a frontal view
Isobel then took a side view of the new Morrell family addition - because he really is  new Bear to look at!


Just to prove how big he is, and because most of our Followers have got used to seeing me saying goodbye to the Cuddlies when they leave the shop at www.coldhamcudlies.etsy.com for their Forever Homes, here is a picture of Tommy Teddy and me together!

Just see what I mean?

Don't think I really need to say any more, do I?   Tommy Teddy will be travelling with Isobel and Peter when they go to stay with Philippa next week.

Isobel also tells me to tell everyone that the blog will shut down for a few days, while our computer has an MOT - in the UK all cars have to have this every year, once they have reached the age of 3 and means they are roadworthy!  Suppose a computer MOT is somewhat similar.  Someone is coming to take it away while Isobel is away, and once they return, the computer will come back.  The "doctor" is then going to set it all up again, and tell Isobel what NOT  to do, so that it will work really well - and we can blog even more, and better!

Before I go - Isobel has heard from AB from Ardwick, Manchester that Brown Bear Plush Glove Puppet is "beautiful:  even better than the photo".  So, he's arrived at his Forever Home and it's a good way to end this post.

Good night everyone, and here's to the next time!  Cy Bear.

Friday, 25 November 2011

News from near and far

Signed on to www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com at the week-end to find this message and attached picture in the Convo section.  Cy Bear thought you'd like to see confirmation that one of the latest Cuddlies has got home safely!
                                                                  "Hello Isobel,
                                                   Uncle Brendan is now in Versailles.
                                                   Thank you very much. I like it.
                                                    It 's a very beautiful rabbit.

                                                   Find attach 2 photographs of it in my kitchen.

                                                   Thank you again.

                                                                   Anne"
                                                         
Uncle Brendan in the Kitchen of his Forever Home


We're still waiting to hear if Noel, the Xmas Rabbit has reached his Forever Home, but as it took over a week for Uncle Brendan to get to Versailles, France (just across the English Channel from us here in Heytesbury, Wiltshire) and Noel had to get to the other side of Canada, it's likely to be another week or so before he gets to Richmond, British Columbia.  Two Foxes and a Koala Bear that I sent to a great neice and nephew in British Columbia - admittedly in a more remote area of the Province - took about six weeks to get to their destinations, so we've plenty of time yet.

At last, after all the recent orders I've been lucky to receive and managed to meet,  I've managed to do some therapy in the Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) - specifically to rejuvenate Tommy Teddy, a long time member of the Morrell Bear Family residing with elder daughter Philippa.  We're due to visit Philippa at the end of this month, so it was rather important that I got the job done before we left, and as he's turned out to be another large Bear, he'll be accompanying us when we drive to High Wycombe (just outside London) rather than undergoing the more adventurous journey by Royal Mail.  Certainly it's a less expensive option!


Tommy Teddy came to live with the Morrells in the early 1970's.  He appeared one afternoon when Peter, Philippa, (then a toddler of 2 and a bit) and I were visiting some friends of ours - a congregation of Catholic Nuns known as the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.  Philippa had been whisked off by the younger sisters on our arrival, while Peter and I talked to Mother Superior, and just as we were about to depart, in came this big bear, with Philippa's little legs the only bit of her to be seen!  He was THAT BIG, and certainly the largest member of our Bear Family until the late 1980's, when we were joined by a huge bear called Rusty, who made Tommy Teddy look quite reasonably big.  Since then, he's travelled everywhere we have - to and from British Columbia (where we first landed in Canada) and then for 12 years in Alberta, as well as all over the UK when Philippa has moved around as her job dictates.  In the process he had become somewhat battered, faded and grubby (pale blue and salmon pink are not ideal colours to keep spic and span!).  So, when the Clinic opened, Philippa asked if I'd accept him as a patient, once Ed Ted (posted about earlier this year between 11/07/2011 and 31/07/2011) had received his treatment.

He really was salmon pink and blue - promise!
He arrived sometime in the summer and has been waiting patiently ever since.  The trouble was that when taken to pieces, his coat literally fell to pieces when he was given a gentle hand wash.  There was a point I despaired of being able to rejuvenate him.  I then met Golden Teddy - who plays an important part in keeping children quiet during services in the Heytesbury Parish Church and who featured in a post all of his own on 13/08/2011 - Introducing a New Friend.  I've used him as a model for the pattern, and as I'm not the greatest artist in the world, I have been more than a little apprehensive as to how Tommy Teddy in his new form would look like.  Am reasonably happy with the outcome - which you'll all see when Cy  Bear describes the treatment process in our next post.

Model for Tommy Teddy's transformation

Just before I close - we're almost at the 100 target for Followers:  92 as of today!  Thank you all so much for your support.  Here's to the last 8, before I have to sit down and think about how I'm going to expand this blog and invite guest bloggers to post here. Feel that 100 Followers makes it worth everyone's while to create another post in addition to your own!

In the meantime, goodnight and God Bless.  Hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.  Isobel

Saturday, 19 November 2011

November's Hail and Farewell!

Hello again, everyone - Cy Bear entering the posting block again with the news of a departure from, and a new arrival in, the www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com shop.

The new arrival is Nick, The Festive Bunny, a O.O.A.K Brown Plush Rabbit dressed in a Lime Green Velvet Coat, with a  yellow printed cotton waistcoat trimmed in green braid which itself is decorated with red French Knots.  He's got some very smart Brown Leather boots - which Isobel found rather tough to sew through!  However, he looks so smart  in them that she is definitely going to make toys using the same leather again - at the appropriate time.  He is completed with a green felt stock, with a pearl button to hold it down in any wind, which matches the turnover on the boots.  She does have some non-dressed toys to make first - like renovating Tommy Teddy (which starts tomorrow) and replacing all the Fleece Baby Bunnies and then rejuvenating Mons. Reynard and Mme Lapin from France.

Nick, the Festive Bunny is listed in the www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com shop and his Etsy Listing is #86564271.   Here is the first picture of him in all his glory!

On a wall, beside a bush with orange berries
Here is another picture of Nick, the Festive Bunny - from the rear view!

Taken inside, standing on our printer
Isobel has been invited to guest blog with Jessica Currie of CurrieDesignsHandmade.com - it is scheduled to appear on December 12, so no more will be said about Nick now.  Jessica has asked for a blog based on a tutorial, and we've prepared one on how Nick was made.  However, we will also be listing the other tutorials that have been included in earlier posts on this blog for Jessica to look at.  So, if Jessica decides to go with one of the older  posts, we'll do one about Nick's production process later.

Then, who has left the www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com shop?  Well, it's one of the Glove Puppets - who was invited to join his Forever Friend last week-end.  AB, whose Etsy User Name is annabelrebecca, contacted Isobel last week-end, and once all the preliminaries had been completed, Brown Bear Plush Glove Puppet was posted off to Ardwick, Manchester, England, UK this morning.  We naturally had our customary farewell picture taken - and here it is! 

Don't we look alike?  But I'm much bigger than him!
That means the Glove Puppet population is now down to three - Foxy Lady, Brown Rabbit and Golden Bear puppets - until Isobel has time to make replacements of the others too.  She's got her work cut out, hasn't she?

Cheerio for this evening.  See you all soon.  Your friend, Cy Bear

Monday, 14 November 2011

Welcoming three new Baby Bunnies

Recently, a regular friend of the Coldham Cuddlies - GandalfThePink - contacted me to ask if I could make some Pink and or Purple Baby Bunnies for one of their regular baby-sitting  clients.  As I hadn't made any in that format before, I had to research availability of fabrics for the commission, and discovered that while they could be made in Fleece fabrics, plush fur is not available in those colours (from my regular sources - nor, indeed, from the internet either).

After an exchange of convos via Etsy, and working out how to process the order - given that the specified products were not yet available in our shop at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com - we decided to created four non-existent White Baby Bunnies  to that shop listing, and proceed through the Etsy purchasing process as though there were!.  Once funds were in place, I got going on the production (which took about 10 days all told - there were 4 required for the whole order):

Four little rabbits - pink, purple/white, pink/white and all white fleece 
As making the baby rabbits follows the same process as any other toy - viz. attaching body pieces together (for the Baby Rabbits - whether fleece or plush - that means sides including the head, crown for the head and chest piece first, then sewing up the ears and bob tails, stuffing them as they are then all in one piece and attaching the ears and tail).  In a way, their formation is not unlike that for the Koalas (Etsy Listing #55190188),  who are just that little bit larger and easier to handle.

Three out of the Four waiting to be turned right side out

After completing the White Fleece Baby Bunny, all four were turned to their individual right sides and then stuffed - one does have to make sure you stuff the feet and paws first and being smaller cavities, they do take a bit of fiddling to get them stiff.  If one doesn't do it, I've found in the past, that they then don't look as though they belong to the bodies!

The Pink Baby Bunnies, one with white chest, from the side

I recently ordered a packet of glass eyes from Bear Basics, one of my local suppliers, and used them for the first time.  Normally, I create eyes for the Baby Babbits if made with plush fur by making a big knot in the same black double knitting wool I use for noses and other facial features, and then creating a round eye shape and sewing it into the fabric at the right place on both sides.  Then I tie the two pieces of wool tightly on the inside of the body.  They then get stuffed with the polyester fibre I prefer to use for all my toys, and lose the resulting knot in the stuffing.

I have become used to using the plastic eyes for the existing Cuddlies of all sizes since starting up www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com, and they require a different technique to be fixed.  The plastic eyes, which I rarely use for the smaller toys,  have a secure metal disc that one places on the post on which the eyes are attached and nothing can move them - unless brute force is used.  In the case of the glass ones, I had to pierce the fabric at the appropriate place, then tied them together with firm thread on the inside of each bunny, leaving a length to be woven through the stuffing.  That way, little fingers will have a mighty struggle to get anywhere near pulling them out, as the thread gets lost amongst the stuffing. Think I will continue to use these glass eyes for this particular bunch of Baby Rabbits - it differentiates them from the plush variety I think

The White and Purple Baby Bunnies complete

At this juncture I would normally add ribbons round the neck if the Bunnies were to become the first toys to be presented to new born babies or those up to 6 months' old!  However, the intended recipient of this bunch of bunnies is 6 years' old and MBP and CBP, my Saudi Arabian based clients,  were of the opinion that they were not required for their birthday girl friend.

I received the news today that their journey has been safely accomplished - so felt free to blog about them today - because they were intended to be a surprise for the customers as well!  Here they are all together and Cy Bear and I are looking forward to seeing a photograph of everyone once the first meeting has taken place.  Birthday is sometime towards the end of November - so watch this space!

(By the way, the purple Baby Rabbit really is a lavender colour when not on camera!  Try as I might, I could not get the photograph to show up anyway but blue!  There's probably some technical explanation for it - and these photographs were all taken in daylight - so lighting is not the cause!)

Before their departure for Saudi Arabia

Because I wanted to make sure they reached their destination in good time for the birthday, Cy Bear did not get the chance for an official goodbye photograph on this occasion.  Once I've replaced them, however, I'll make sure one is taken - if only to pacify Cy Bear, who does like to have his chance in the limelight!

Time to re-read this post and then publish it.  Wish the time did not fly by so fast!  Bye for the time being.  All the best to everyone. Isobel

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bon Voyage - as they say in France and elsewhere!

Hello there Everyone - Cy Bear being allowed (at last) to have a word with you all.

Isobel has been somewhat "otherwise engaged" lately - what with car problems, not quite sorted:  finishing off another version of Uncle Brendan (mentioned in our post dated 11/02/11/The ColdhamCuddlies' French Connection(s)).  This post attracted a whole heap of comments, incidentally - thanks to all of you who did so.  There have been visits to hospitals and car show rooms too;  because the car will have to be replaced - so everyone keeps sane!

So, today, I am very pleased to announce that Noel, The Xmas Rabbit - has already found a Forever Home. (He was the subject of a post dated 10/24/11 - "Latest Rabbit to Join the ColdhamCuddlies Family)  Last Sunday, Isobel received an order from CharmaineK  (a.k.a Lyrawing), an Etsy crafter based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada for Noel.  Everything having proceeded smoothly, he's on his way by Air Mail Small Packet post - as of this morning.  He was wrapped, as is everyone leaving us,  in chemical free tissue paper, bundled in bubblewrap, placed in a polythene envelope and posted in Warminster - the nearest place where the Post Office can deal with packets/parcels of the size of the Gentleman Rabbits, Foxes and Coyotes in the ColdhamCuddlies Family - as well as us Bears too.

Noel and I waiting for him to be parcelled up

At the same time, it is very pleasing to be able to tell you that Monsieur Brendan Lapin (mentioned in our post dated 11/02/11 - The ColdhamCuddlies' French Connections) caught the same post as Noel this morning, destined for his Forever Home in Versailles, France.  He has proved to be a bit of a problem one way and another - through no fault of anyone, really.  First of all, Isobel, having used all her previous stock, could not find the Brown Plush fabric, locally or online,  needed to make his head, hands and ears.  Then, once she'd got going, she really had a problem making his boots look right. 

This time, it was her fault!  She cut out the wrong pattern - using the one for the Lady Rabbits' shoes, rather than the Gentlemen Rabbits' boots. (T'would seem to be related to the fact she usually does the cutting out in the evenings, when she's perhaps not as fresh as at other times in the day!)  Then, not realising (or thinking about it, actually) that leather has a grain in it, when the boots were sewn, up the seams looked terribly crooked. A pigeon-toed rabbit really did look very peculiar!   After sewing them five or six times, she gave up, cut out a completely new set of boots - and finally last night, at the first time of re-trying,  was able to complete the latest member of the ColdhamCuddlies and send him on his way.  Fortunately, the project was completed within the 28 day deadline Isobel asks everyone to give her - just so she can cope with the production requirements of www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com. and allow for any possible emergencies in her life.

(Isobel here:  when Peter and I ran our own print/publishing company in Canada in the 1980's, every now and again, one project would be a difficult one, where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong!  Alas, MmeAB's project for Uncle Brendan, has been just like that - and I'm very grateful indeed for her patience and understanding).

Getting ready to travel to France - the official farewell photo

Whilst I'm REALLY PLEASED that both my Rabbit companions have gone to their new homes, I am very sorry not to have been able to get to know them better.  Noel has not been in our Shop (www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com)  for very long and Uncle Brendan (his Forever Friend, MmeAB has decided she prefers the Anglicised version of his name, so he will now be referred to as Uncle Brendan) never even got to spend any time there at all!  I know that is the object of Isobel's exercise, but even so.......

Then, yesterday morning, a local neighbour came to the front door and asked if she could buy someone from the ColdhamCuddlies to give to her new grandson, who had arrived in The World the day before.  Needless to say, Isobel was more than happy to accommodate her - and shortly thereafter, a White Plush Baby Rabbit and a Yellow/White Baby Rabbit were selected for the new arrival, together with Granma White Rabbit, who is going to become the Forever Friend of BabyF's big sister, aged two years.

So, the stock at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com is beginning to get a little depleted - Isobel has got a lot of replacing to do, once she has given Tommy Teddy the treatment for which he has been waiting in the Coldham Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) since the summer.  The therapy is due to start after this post has been completed and Isobel has given Peter his evening meal.   (Isobel again:  decided to leave the cutting out until tomorrow and catch  up on blog-related matters instead!)

A blow-by-blow account of the process (otherwise known as blogging!) can thus be anticipated shortly, together with the promised post about Slater's Barn (where the MacMillan Cancer Greatest Coffee  Morning in the World was held on September 30) and one about the Purple and Pink Baby Bunnies recently sent to Saudi Arabia, once we've heard they've arrived safely.  Where Isobel will get the time to do them, I haven't a clue - but do them she is determined to do!

The three of us together - isn't it nice the way they seem to like me?

Cheerio for today - it's actually the afternoon we're doing this, rather than at night time!  All the best from your friend Cy Bear, the Official Mascot to ColdhamCuddlies!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Coldham Cuddlies French Connection(s)


Am having a frustrating few days dominated by car troubles, so in an effort to calm the nerves, have decided to post about the current toy-making projects.  Am well into the creation of the replacement Brown Rabbit destined for his Forever Home with MmeAB in Versailles France.  Have decided, given that he is the  first French connection for www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com that I'll call him Mons. Brendan Lapin for the purposes of this blog at least.  What MmeAB decides to label him upon his arrival (hopefully he'll be on his way by the end of this week) is entirely up to her, of course.

Waiting to be topped and tailed
As it is getting close to the festive season, I've given him some braiding decoration around his cuffs and around the neck of his waistcoat.  His boots are ready for sewing together and stuffing and his head is on its way as you can see by the next illustration.

Still needs a face and ears - not far off!
Completed his white bobtail last night and sewed the ears together.



The latter are due to be attached after I've done this blog and are shown below, together with the boot pieces awaiting attention.  Being real glove leather they do take a bit longer to sew - I don't use the sewing machine, even though my Janome Harmony 2039 model is supposed to be able to handle it and I do have a needle capable of doing the job.  The Coldham Cuddlies are hand made toys, and I'm sufficiently picky as to feel that is what they should be - by and large.  When making up the calico body prior to dressing them, as well as some of the jackets, waistcoats and dresses, I do resort to the machine.  The seams involved make it seem a worthwhile exercise.



Now to the other Coldham Cuddlies French connection:  in the last post I mentioned the arrival of  a Mr. Fox and a Mrs. Rabbit made in the 1970/1980's for my sister-in-law.  Well IM, my sister-in-law, being Mauritian by birth is a French speaker and actually lives in France - and has done for many years.  So, I feel justified in describing  Mons. Reynard and Mme Lapin as French residents as well.  Here are a series of pictures showing them as they arrived for treatment in the Coldham Cuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) last week.




I've taken several other photos, and will post them as I describe their treatment - but here is a taster.  There's no deadine for the jobs to be done, but it's nice for all of you to see them before their transformation.


For toys that over 35 years old, think they are in pretty good condition.  Mme Lapin is in the best condition, both need re-stuffing as I seem to remember I used either cut up foam rubber (highly unsuitable these days) and/or cut up nylon stockings/tights - again similarly unsuitable.  However, I'll fill you in on their requirements as and when I get to them!

In the interim, must close so that I can have a sewing session on Mons. Brendan as planned!  Goodnight and all the best!  Isobel

Saturday, 29 October 2011

This and that - tidying up some loose ends

Hello there, everyone!

I Have been doing a lot of sewing this last week, as well as sending off the Baby Rabbits (yet to be listed) to Saudi Arabia, so there are a few loose ends to tie up.  I've also completed the O.O.A.K item now known as Noel, The Christmas Bunny and he's been listed in the Cuddlies' shop at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com earlier today.  This is the main picture of him in the shop, all complete in his party finery - and the Etsy Listing is #84913542.

Standing on the printer in my work-room

Some of the pictures on the site were taken last evening, in the setting sunlight.  Thus, his colouring is somewhat different to those you've already seen in our last post (10/24/11/Latest Rabbit to join the Cuddlies family).  After completing the post, I finished off the final Saudi Bunny and the next night got to grips with Noel's wrongly sited boots!  These are now firmly on the right legs and this is how he looked when I quickly snapped him last night, before the twilight completely disappeared!

Standing on a garden bench in the twilight
I've got a whole collection of lovely pictures of the Saudi Baby Bunnies, but as I said in my last post - and have repeated to MB-P and CB-P, my clients, I'm not going to publish them until they've arrived safely in their hands, and they've given them their approval!  I'm pretty satisfied with them myself, I have to say, and am confident the my clients will be happy with their purchases, but I don't want to take anything for granted.  After all, the customer is always right, aren't they?  Nevertheless, it is awfully tempting to include just one taster picture -- but I'm not going to!

We had an unexpected, but lovely surprise visit from husband Peter's brother, who normally resides in France on Tuesday afternoon.  He, his wife, son and his partner, and their lovely young daughter called in on their way back from a visit to nearby Glastonbury last Tuesday.  It was our first chance to meet our Great Niece and her Mother, and as it's Little One's third birthday on November 11, she was offered the choice of an early birthday present from the selection of Glove Puppets.  She made a bee-line for the Panda Bear version and he was duly christened "ME"!

Not only did we meet Little One, but I was re-united (after over 35-ish years) with a Mr Fox and a Mrs Rabbit that I made for my sister-in-law, after making them for my daughters and her son in the late 1970's!  They've been settling in to the Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185) to await their turn for treatment.  (There are two other long-term patients waiting for their therapy still!).

There is really not that much wrong with them, I am pleased (and not a little surprised) to say.  Mr Fox requires proper eyes and re-stuffing.  Originally, I made the eyes with felt and yarn and he looks a little slant-eyed - although they do appear quite foxy-looking.  Mrs Rabbit, however, does need a bit more attention.  Her apron has accumulated a lot of dust, which may not respond to a wash, and her dress has got to be replaced because the skirt is faded, and I cannot just replace that alone.  The dress top and sleeves are made separately, and in any case I cannot match the green gingham from which she was originally made.  She, too, needs re stuffing.  I think I used either foam rubber or nylon stockings to make them - neither of which I am prepared to countenance today, but at the time, located as we were in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada it was all I could find!

Needless to say, they will be shortly the subject of a blog post - just to show what they look like now (so that comparisons can be made once their treatment has been completed).  Fortunately, none of my current patients have a deadline by which they have to be completed, but Tommy Teddy (daughter, P's Bear) has been waiting a long time and I've promised him he'll be done just as soon as I've completed the two Uncle Brendan Rabbits in production at the moment!

That means, Panda Bear Glove Puppet is temporarily deactivated from www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com - but the replacement will have to wait until I have completed the two versions of Uncle Brendan Brown Rabbit (Etsy Listing #56013030).  However, they are both cut out, and one version - the one destined for MmeAB in Versailles, France has most of its clothes sewn, I'm due to get going on his head, paws and boots this evening, and all being well he should be on his way by the end of next week.  The delay in providing them has been due to my complete inability to source brown plush fabric from any of my sources - at least until yesterday morning, when - praise be - my local haberdashery shop in Warminster came up with the goods!  What a relief!

Right, those are the loose-ends - all but one, anyway - tied up.  The continuing one is the promised post about Slater's Barn, the venue in the village where the recent MacMillan Cancer Grand Coffee Morning was held.  As some of you will recall, it was when I was taking the pictures of the place that my former camera upped and died on me!  Having rescued the pictures on a disc, I've just now got to do some research about the place, and then will be able to post about it - as I think my 68 Followers will be interested, and it makes a change from my constant waffle about the toys!

Till then - God Bless and take good care of yourselves!  Isobel

Monday, 24 October 2011

Latest Rabbit to join the ColdhamCuddlies family

Hello  Folks - Cy Bear here again to introduce the latest member of the family to you all!

Noel, The Christmas Rabbit, as he seems destined to be called,  is not quite complete, although he looks like it to me.  However,  Isobel has just decided that his boots don't look right, so they're coming off tonight, before his final portrait is taken, and together with his various other views,  listed at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com. Apparently, when sewing them on, the right boot went on the left leg and vice versa!  Result is that he doesn't look quite right and standing is definitely not too easy for him at the moment!

Before going any further, though:  here are some pictures of Noel's head before it got completed and fixed to the body - which usually is one of the last items to be added when Isobel makes one of these toys.


This picture is Noel's right side image, with his eyes and ears added.  The next one shows him head-on, but still needing his facial features.  You can see - he's a very hairy rabbit!  And, because we've finished all the brown plush fabric, he's also likely to be a "one-off"!


You had a taster in our last post - when Isobel was announcing the arrival of her new camera - of what his jacket looked like at the beginning of the dressmaking process.  Here's the jacket, the other way around, with the edging being where the hem of the jacket is when finally completed:



Alas, this is really mid-way into the process of making a Gentleman Rabbit - be he a Daddy, Uncle, Cousin or whatever!  But, Isobel forgot to take the pictures as she was going along doing this fellow, so she will include these early steps when she makes up the two Uncle Brendan replacements - which are next-but-one in her list of "Things to Do!"

The reason they are not the next item is that there seems to be a dearth of brown plush fur fabric to be purchased anywhere we've tried, and Isobel is having to wait until the end of this week before she can get any to make the two Uncle Brendans! 

Noel has been made with the last of her brown plush fabric stock, after making the two Brown Rabbit Glove Puppets in time for the MacMillan Cancer bazaar at the end of September - and try as hard as she has, so far, Isobel has been unable to locate anything - on the internet or locally.  She's been promised some for Friday this week,  by our local haberdashery supplier in Warminster, so we're all keeping our fingers crossed.  We did get a sample sent from the supplier of the fleece we're going to use to rejuvenate Tommy Teddy.  I'm told it was beautiful quality stuff - but far too good (and therefore pricey) for the job(s) they are intended for.  As a ladies' coat, absolutely spot on:  as a skin for a cuddly toy, well -  not really appropriate!

So, having missed the basic elements of rabbit body making, here is the first shot of Noel, The Christmas Rabbit beginning to get dressed.  Once his body is stuffed, Isobel makes his plus-fours/jodhpurs/riding kit - call them what you like - and fits them on to the body.  Noel's are made in a shiny, silvery satin type fabric which we felt looks nice and festive!  To keep the trousers' shape, Isobel then added a little of the polyester fibre stuffing.  With the darts that are added to the waist line, it's usually a pretty tight fit, so adding the stuffing can be tricky - but is usually accomplished with the aid of a judicially placed knitting needle, shoving the fibre between leg and trousers!

Isobel  then makes up and puts on the waistcoat.  It's cut out double, front and back being sewn separately, turned inside out and pressed and then sewn together at shoulders and along the side seams.  They have to be fitted individually, because whatever Isobel does, she can never make an identical body each time she makes a toy - whether it is a lady toy or a gentleman one.



Here is Noel with his waistcoat on, showing his jacket arms already in place, together with his furry paws.

Once the waistcoat is on, the furry white  bobtail is sewn together, stuffed and added to the body, and when adding the jacket, Isobel has to make sure there is a gap cut and sewn in the jacket back to accommodate it.  You can see that quite clearly in the jacket picture above, as well as the taster photo in our previous post.

Tail being attached with yellow-headed quilting pins, and  cotton trailing

Then she adds the jacket, which she has sewn together at the shoulder seams and neck.  The jacket is lined in order to hide the seams because velvet - as everyone who has used the fabric knows, frays incredibly.  Sometimes, Isobel has to over sew all the seams, but on this occasion, it was not necessary on all the seams.  So that saved some time. The jacket arms have already been made and sewn into the body, so the jacket is added and sewn to the body, using ladder stitch all round the armhole gap - which is why all our rabbits have arms outstretched to their sides.  That's the way the pattern goes!

Once the jacket is on, then come the boots, which have to be sewn together, individually, and Isobel tries to help them to stand up by themselves, by adding a bit of cardboard cut in the shape of the sole of the boot before she adds the stuffing.  It's not always successful, but does give them some sort of a platform which helps them to lean better against an upright wall, shelf or what-ever!  All gentleman toys boots are made in real leather - this fabric is obtained as off-cuts from a local glove manufacturer, based in Warminster.  The firm is called Dents, and has been making gloves and handbags for over 150 years here in the West Country of the UK.

A contrast piece of felt is then cut, sewn and added to the bottom of the trouser leg and then the boot gets sewn on - in theory at least.  However, Isobel really does have a problem sometimes in getting the boot  and legs right first time around.  Noel is not the first one to have his boots taken off and re-fitted - and I don't expect he will be the last either!

(Don't tell anyone, but she has a similar problem with getting heads on the toys first time around too!  She had quite a job with mine, before she was satisfied, and Noel's had to be taken off at least once!  Still, that, I suppose, is the good thing about hand-making soft toys - you can change it before you finally list it on www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com!)

While Isobel has been waiting for the brown plush fabric to arrive, she has not been idle - you'll be pleased to hear, I'm sure!   The four little bunnies destined for Saudi Arabia have been cut out and sewing has gone ahead -  for two reasons.  The little six-year old girl for whom they are to become a birthday present needs them by November 29, and they have to be on their way as soon as possible, in order to negotiate the postal services involved between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.  Two are completed, a third is almost there and the final one has to be stuffed, and have his ears and tail sewn on.  We're hoping they will be on their way by the middle of this week.

The next post will show Noel, The Christmas Rabbit completed and ready for listing (if he has not already arrived at the www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com shop).  We will wait to tell you about the production of the Saudi Arabian bunnies, and show pictures of them, until they have safely arrived.  After all, they are as much a surprise to MB-P and her sister, CB-P, as they will be to their little baby-sitting client and to show them in a blog post before they arrive would spoil it for all concerned.  We know that we have readers in Saudi Arabia (according to the Blogger Stats, anyway) so they may be among them!  Suffice to say that Isobel and I think they're very sweet and that they should be enjoyed by all concerned!

That's it for now. Goodnight everyone! Cy Bear.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Back again - quicker than expected!

Hello everyone - as the title indicates, things haven't turned out too badly after all.  But, before going any further, thank you so much for your sympathetic comments on my plight!  I heard from several new people (welcome to the world of Coldham Cuddlies!) and some good friends too.  It was such a comfort! Especially to find that some of you had suffered in a similar manner - and felt as bereft  as I did earlier this week!

As I feared, though:  original picture-taker, a.k.a digital camera. was declared terminal when I took it into the camera shop in Salisbury city centre on Monday!  Guess what, though?  There was a special offer on, and I'm now the proud, if slightly apprehensive, owner of a Canon Power A1200. It seems to be easier to understand and get my non-technical head around than my original, but...... the practice pics I took when I got the new toy home certainly seem to be a lot better than I have been taking, so....  once I've completed the sewing tasks, etc listed in the last post, I'll have to take new shots of every one in the shop at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com - because as husband P says, this new gizmo should certainly help to sell the toys better!

My fears regarding the memory card on the original camera were also realised.  However, the problem of saving the pictures I had on it have been solved.  Originally, I appealed to techie daughter and son-in-law, who were prepared to lend their expertise without equivocation (bless them, I knew they would!)  However, I just happened to be going past Boots, The Chemist's local shop in Warminster yesterday, and wondered if they could help - and guess what?  They have a Kodak Instant Photo kiosk within their walls!  So, this morning I negotiated the various steps involved in transferring pics to CD, and this evening have managed to transfer them from CD to my picture gallery.  So, in the next day or so, once I've taken the final pics of Christmas Rabbit (he's going to have to be called something else when listed, but this name will do for the time being) and listed him, his construction process will be posted here, with relevant illustrations along the way.

The pictures of Slater's Barn have also been salvaged - and, as promised, will feature as a separate post.

As I said, not such a bleak picture after all! And, here's just a taster for the next Rabbit post!

New Rabbit's jacket in its early stages
Good Night - and God Bless you all.  You're a bunch of stars in supporting me!  Isobel

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Update - with mixed news

Isobel just looking in with a quick update - and as the title indicates, the news is mixed:  mostly good, but some problems are looming, which may mean a break in blogging activities for a week or so, but hopefully not!

Let's deal with the problem first:  my digital camera has succumbed to a recumbent position!  In other words, it's kaput.  Was in the middle of doing a shoot of Slaters Barn (where we held the MacMilllan Cancer Coffee Morning on September 30) when everything just jammed.  Even turning it off, taking out the batteries, putting in news ones all resulted in the same thing - a black screen with "Version 1" blinking.  Occasionally, the pics would come back when I hit one of the buttons (I tend to panic when technology goes wonky!) but it would be accompanied by a pathetic beep, so I realised things were bad.

On Saturday morning, I took the offending equipment to the only place in Warminster that might have been able to give an opinion - the local photograpy shop (we don't have such a thing as a camera shop in town!)  The young man there said the Menu button was stuck - and without that, the camera was definitely unwell, if not terminally ill!  I cannot even get the memory card to load onto the computer, which the young man in the photographer's den said might be a possibility.  So, the pics I had in the camera - some blow-by-blow accounts of the latest Christmas Rabbit as well as Slater's Barn - are on the memory card, but I don't have a camera with which to load them onto the computer.  Without a camera therefore, blogging is going to become somewhat boring for you nice folks to read;  hence the possibility of a break in communications.

However, all may not be lost.  Tomorrow, husband (P) and I are due in Salisbury for one of his regular hospital check ups.  I know they have camera shops in that city, and one is  near a shop that we have on our shopping itinerary!  So, will take said dying camera in to see if they can resurrect it - and if not, well we'll have to see about getting a replacement.  The camera in question was purchased some five or six years ago, as a special offer (saving some 30-40 GBP) and was not quite the latest thing at the time - only offering 6.0 megapixels, when 7.5 or 8.0 megapixels were the latest thing!  Didn't really know what that meant then (am not sure that I really do now, actually!) but I know cameras that are on the market now offer a whole lot more.  When I got it, I was fearful of it - now cannot do without it, whether it be on www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com business or general family duty.  P and I have decided a replacement must be considered, so.....watch this space.

Thus, all may not be lost, because I presume that the memory card I have should be useable in the new one?  Unless, of course, like everything else related to technology, they have moved on and the one I have has now been superseded by some whizzy new version that will not accept my current card!

So, having covered the bad news - and got it off my chest!  What's the good news?  Have got two more orders.  Yes - two of them, all in one week!   Another Uncle Brendan Brown Rabbit has been requested by Mme. AB a resident of Versailles in France (and the replacement for Uncle Brendan currently en route to Everett, WA has yet to be started!).  Then the funds arrived by the usual route from MB-P in Saudi Arabia for the four customised Baby Rabbits.  

Incidentally, I am indebted to MB-P for the title, tag, label - call it what you will - for the Purple Baby Rabbit she has ordered.  When I make a batch to list on www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com, once the project is complete and the Birthday Present is on it's way,  they will be entitled "Lovely Little Lavender Rabbits"!  (If they were French, they'd have to be "Lapins" would they not?)  Think the alliteration rather catchy - don't you?  Anyone got an idea of how to label the Pink ones that are also part of the custom order?  All ideas welcome, as I'm not really terribly original when it comes to catchy names!

Christmas Brown Rabbit is almost complete (he was originally meant to be Uncle Brendan's replacement - but I got hijacked by some other material I came across when sorting out fabrics for the replacement project, never dreaming I'd get another order for him so rapidly!  His leather boots are stuffed and ready to be fixed to his legs, his coat just needs to be firmly attached over his waistcoat - and he's going to have a bow-tie rather than a stock to finish off his oufit.  Then he'll be brushed off and get listed (once I've got the pictures ready to do so!)

So, guess what - not only may I not be blogging because of lack of professional equipment, but I'll be busy sewing the rabbit families in order to get them off.  Wish someone could invent a way of sewing, blogging and photographing all at the same time!  Life might not get quite so complicated then!

William White Bear - looking a little wistful.  He'd love a new Christmas home!

Wish me luck - on all fronts.  Bye for now.  Isobel

Monday, 10 October 2011

Off to Everett, WA and Home again once more

Hello Everyone:  it's Cy Bear continuing the information provision about all our family and friends at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com!
Brendan Rabbit and Cy Bear at the door
As I told everyone in our last post, Brendan Brown Rabbit is now on his way to his Forever Home in Everett, WA, USA to join his new Best Friend, Georgia Dunn who is a fellow blogger under the name of Pseudoctopus - The Art & Adventures of Georgia Dunn.  She paints wonderful pictures and tells great stories about them.  Isobel loves reading them and thoroughly recommends folks to visit the site and see for themselves.

Am pleased to say that Brendan's replacement is well on his way to joining the Family at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.comIsobel has sewn his head - he just needs his facial features to be embroidered on - and his body and clothing is ready to be put together.

We've heard from our great friends in Saudi Arabia, too.  Eldest daughter of the family, MB-P, is leading this order for 4 special baby rabbits.  There's one of our White Baby Bunnies in the collection, but it is being joined by an all-Pink  Baby Bunny, a Pink and White fronted Baby Bunny and a Lavender and White-fronted Bunny.  They are destined as a 6th Birthday Present for a little girl that MB-P and her sister baby-sit and Isobel has got to have the package in Saudi Arabia by the end of November.  Not much time left, then!

And, finally, for this post anyway, we've received a picture of our friend Brr Bear - enjoying the late Autumn sunshine with his Best Friend, Mrs. DK, sitting on a table in the garden a couple of week's ago.  Doesn't he look a smart, happy chap now he's got his new coat?

That's it for this post.  Cy Bear signing off - until the next time!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Officially introducing the Coldham Glove Puppets

This is Cy Bear posting tonight, because Isobel feels it's appropriate for me - as Official Coldham Cuddlies Mascot - to introduce the new members of our Family to you and by that I mean The Glove Puppets..  There were six in the picture below, but only five have been listed at www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com - because one of them, Rabbit Glove Puppet - was sold on the very first day they were launched by Isobel last week.  Just to remind you, here is the picture of the six Puppets:


Isobel has already replaced Rabbit Glove Puppet and she will be listed on Etsy after we've completed this post.

As you can see, some have neckwear, others do not.  The neckwear is different - to differentiate them as boys and girls.  Boys have stocks, or neckties:  the girls have collars, on which Isobel has embroidered dots and crosses, and because they are intended as Christmas presents or Stocking Stuffers (whatever that means!), the colours Isobel used for the colours are bright, festive ones - reds, greens, yellows and in the case of Fox Glove Puppet, they are blue and purple decorative additions.

So, the first Glove Puppet to be featured in this blog is the one on the left - Golden Teddy (Etsy Listing #82953359).  He has appeared in a previous blog, when Isobel first told you about the original Bear Puppets patients in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185).  But, in case you can't remember - or cannot be bothered to look for the photograph - here he is again, but this time the picture is taken outside in the garden here:

(Etsy Listing 82953359)

All the Glove Puppets are the same size in the hand area, but their head dimensions do vary because they have different shaped ears and faces.  The bear puppets, because Bears look more complete with them, have paw pads made of suedette.  The others do not, because when Isobel pinned them on, they did not look right!  However, if anyone buying any Puppets lacking these additional features - but wants them - of course Isobel will be happy to add them.  The hand area of the puppets are 9-1/2 inches (20 cms) wide and 13-3/4 inches (35 cms) long from shoulder to hem.  The hems are bound with cotton seam binding and all the finger guides are cardboard, covered with calico - to keep the polyester fibre stuffing used in each head from being pulled through when being played with.  That does mean that the Puppets are not washable, but could certainly be dry-cleaned if they got very dirty.  But then, I am sure whoever becomes a Forever Friend of a Puppet would not make them dirty in the first place!

The next Puppet to be introduced is Fox Glove Puppet (Etsy Listing #82957532)- who has a white felt collar decorated with purple dots and blue crosses.  Here is a picture of her:

Fox Puppet, with hand inside
Panda Glove Puppet comes next sitting on the bench, and although he is a Bear Puppet, he does not have paw pads as you can see.   Because his arms are all black - instead of being all the same colour as the other puppets are - Isobel felt that he had sufficient additions without having brown suedette or felt coloured pads fitted.  He has a blue stock, which is fixed in place with a sprig of holly, made with felt, sewn on.  If anyone wanted a girl Panda Puppet, that would not be a problem.  Isobel just needs to be told.

The hand inside Panda is a man's big hand which just fits!
The next Puppet featured is Rabbit Glove Puppet - the one who was sold on September 30.  As I said earlier, she has been replaced, and will be listed later - so at the moment she does not have an Etsy listing.  We'll give that to you all in our next post, but meanwhile here is a picture of her:


Sitting next to Rabbit Puppet is the Puppet which looks a little bit like me.  He's a Brown Bear Puppet (Etsy Listing #82955598), and together with Golden Teddy will be given away (or a replica of them will be) to a children's hospital or hospice, once Ed Ted's Best Friend has decided where they will be sent.  He has paw pads made of light beige felt, because the suedette would not show up very well.  The two bear puppets don't have neckwear, because they were made from the composite of the two original home made puppets who were Soft Toy Clinic patients, and they had pads, but no neckwear.  The ties and collars are  Isobel's additions - and I  like them.  Hope you all do too!

The lady' whose hand is moving Brown Bear had her spectacles round her neck at the time!
Our final picture is of White Rabbit Glove Puppet (Etsy Listing #82961072).  He's terribly fluffy and looks much bigger than the others, but is made from exactly the same pattern as all the others.  He was made from a piece of fabric Isobel was given which was just the right size to be used for this project.  He has a bright green felt stock tie on, which is fixed in place with a yellow, felt star (or Isobel's version of a star!).  He  was almost sold on September 30 in place of the Brown Rabbit puppet.  The lady who made the purchase decided that Brown Rabbit was perhaps  more "practical" for a 2-year old Forever Friend than White Rabbit would be.

(Etsy Listing #82961072)
So, there you are - the whole Glove Puppet troupe, all looking for their Forever Homes and meanwhile, waiting to be joined by who ever Isobel decides will be made next.  Presently, she's begun to make Brendan Rabbit's replacement.  He's off to Everett, Washington State, USA at the week-end, and we'll be posting a farewell picture of him and me when we come together next.  Meanwhile, think this is enough for you all to be going on with.  Bye for today!  Cy Bear.