Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Rejuvenation of Little Red Ted - Part 1

As promised (or threatened?) recently, am now ready to tell you what has been happening in this field of activity in the life of the Coldham Cuddlies (all of whom are featured

 Little Red Ted (our name for him:  we don't know what his owner calls him) joined us at the end of March when his owner - I'll call her Mrs. P for this article - and I met at a meeting of the local branch of  The Royal British Legion Women's Section here at the Hospital of St. John.  Having seen pictures of Cy Bear, she asked me if I could do her a Big Red Ted for her youngest grand daughter. (She specified Red, because she had had one as a child herself and loved it to bits!)   When I went to see her to show a sample of the only red plush fur fabric I could find from my current suppliers, she introduced me  to Little Red Ted - who was indeed very much loved, but in such a sad  state of repair that I offered to see if I could rejuvenate him.  She was happy for me to do so.

So, in order to be able to create a pattern to carry out the process, I unpicked the seams - and found some problems.  In order to prolong his existence,  he had been "mended" very often - threads of at least three different colours had been used over the years and the seams were threadbare.  When he was made, hand made toys used very different materials. Polyester fibre had not been invented so he was stuffed with a mixture of kapok and wood shavings (large sawdust) and his eyes were glass with a very thin wire stuck to it (with what I do not know).  When the deconstruction process was complete,  I separated these items - and took this photograph to show what I found.

The wire on which the glass eye was fixed had just simply been shoved into the kapok, which provided a thin lining into which the saw dust had been poured.  No attempt had been made to stop the items from being pulled out and, even if they were the originals, the thought of what might have happened if "little fingers" had been active, is somewhat horrifying.  Mrs. P told me that Little Red Ted has been played with by her, her children, and grand-children, as well as having been attacked by a dog(s) in the past!  As it was, when I attempted to carefully separate the wire from the kapok into which it had been pushed, one of the eyes separated from the wire.

The cotter pins are very much thicker and heavier than the plastic joints which are now used when making Bears or other cuddly toys.  Little Red Ted's body was almost too small to handle five of them (head + four limbs).  So I decided to remove them totally and replace them with the modern versions which are much lighter and less cumbersome.

The next stages were to create cardboard templates from the original body pieces, trim round the edges and applique them on to calico sheeting.  I then cut out another set of pattern pieces in the new red plush fur fabric, laid the appliqued pieces on the matching new fabric pieces and sewed them up to create a new, unstuffed toy.  

                                                                  Showing treated head pieces and an arm

The pale "cut out" areas are where the cotter pins had been placed

The next instalment in the rejuvenation process will follow in the next blog.

Friday, 29 April 2011

After the Royal Wedding - what next?

We've spent practically all day glued to the television - watching the crowds in London watching the Royal Wedding.  Was very restrained and did not switch the television when I first got up (the broadcasts began at 0600 BST) but waited till my husband got up and allowed him to put it on instead (that was about 0800 BST) and it stayed on .... and on..... and on. Very moving and thoroughly enjoyable:  makes one proud to be British again.

However, am pleased to say that it did enable me to finally repair the damage to Big Red Ted.  The interrupted photoshoot will thus take place tomorrow, and then I will be in a position to blog about the production of both Red Bears (Little Red Ted's rejuvenation as well as the production of Big Red Ted).

The rejuvenation process was indeed a challenge, but it's given me an idea:  to broaden the Coldham Cuddlies shopping experience (visible by visiting  by offering to rejuvenate the beloved Teds of everyone else.  There are few households around I suspect that does not hold a beloved soft toy (not necessarily just Bears) that is in need of some TLC. Some folks might say the tattered toy has "character"  and it would be shame to lose it - but how about prolonging its existence for a few more years instead?   If I did proceed, dolls would not be included - have never been a "doll person" and I'm not planning on becoming one now!  Have nothing agin them:  just prefer cuddly, furry animals instead.

It needs thinking about - but meanwhile, wonder what the great big Etsy (and others) world might have to say?  While I await - with bated breath - any comments on this idea, I'll end for today with a picture of Cy Bear with all the new Baby Rabbits, four of whom were included in yesterday's post.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

New Listing on Etsy as part of the Social Media Blitz e-course


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Re-opening the blogging posts

Blogging regularly is about to re-start - in a day or so.  However, yesterday, I began to follow the latest offering from Tim Adams, leader of the Handmadeology Team on which is designed to help those of us who are clueless about Social Media - full-stop!  Believe me - I'm the original  in that department.  Know that there is something called Facebook, have used it to post photographs of my toys being offered in my Etsy shop ( but am still not sure that either of the sites talk to each other or how to correct the fault if they do not.  Am a Twitterer, and tweet occasionally (when I remember) and yesterday registered with Digg, Stumbleupon and a couple of other sites recommended by the Social Media Blitz course. 

Was supposed to blog about it yesterday, but I find myself doing all this internet stuff quite late at night, and being a Silver Surfer, can get in a bit of a muddle at times as a result.  Doing it during the day doesn't always work - husband, Peter, often comes in and wants to know what is happening, without really being that interested.  However, he can have a malign influence on my computer - so his enquiries are not always appreciated!

So, having discovered Handmadeology, following my interview on the site earlier in April, I've been trying to keep up with all the helpful hints being provided.  They are wonderfully helpful, but they don't seem to be doing much to assist my problem in making sure that folks are actually reading the blog.  However, now I think about it, I was warned by a fellow Etsian (Yenbo), who was kind enought to create the Shop banner for me,  that it could take 6 months before I began to get regular comments on the blog.  SundayAfternoonHousewife has also been most helpful, and I hope soon to be able to follow her helpful hints too.

This may explain the lack of blogging from me in the last couple of weeks - and I've also been up to my eyes in Red Teds.  Little Red Ted is now fully rejuvenated - and will form at least a couple of future blogs (stage by stage pics will be included) and so, too, is Big Red Ted.  However, this afternoon, the latter suffered an unexpected injury by losing his left arm while involved in a photoshoot.  Until I've re-joined that to his torso, photography has had to be suspended (much to Cy Bear's annoyance - he rather likes his involvement as the ColdhamCuddlies mascot!).  However, it's not such a big deal, and I hope to resume progress in that matter tomorrow - as well as find out a bit more on how to make Facebook and Twitter work for the ColdhamCuddlies product and myself  - from the Social Media Blitz e-course being provided via Tim Adams.

Till then - bye for now.Isobel

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

News from Nottinghamshire

Hello again:  Cy Bear calling!

Isobel has just had the following message regarding the reception given to the Little Black Bunny that was sent to Nottinghamshire earlier this month.
"Thought you would want to know... Laura's Bunny (the black and white one) was hand delivered on Saturday. She LOVED it. Put it on her wrist right away and danced around the house with it! :) After much debate we decided it was a girl rabbit, and we decided that it would be nice if it were to be called Isobel! :)

Sam's rabbit has also been delivered... I think he is going to get his bunny on Easter day though! I shall report back when I know how he liked it! :)"
Isobel tells me that "Laura" is something called a God-Daughter to one of Isobel's own daughters and Sam is her God-son!  We're looking forward to hearing about Sam's reaction to his Easter present:  somehow we don't think it will be to dance around the house:  but you never know!

Not much has happened today on the ColdhamCuddlies Etsy site ( because it was the  annual clothing changeover (from winterweight gear to their summer wear for Isobel and Peter.  That means ironing shirts, dresses etc. so it may mean there won't be a post tomorrow.

Meanwhile, to end today's input, here's  another picture of me and the newest Little Rabbits - Grey, Brown and Black/White.  It was taken with some of us balancing on the trunk of a very old Mulberry Tree in our garden here at the Hospital of St. John - which may (or may not) be nearly 400 years' old.  Certainly, Isobel says the trunk seems to be  made of metal, not wood!

Bye for now - Cy Bear

Monday, 18 April 2011

ColdhamCuddliescalling: Further look at the new Baby Rabbits - as promised...

ColdhamCuddliescalling: Further look at the new Baby Rabbits - as promised...: "Hello there - Cy Bear back again! Isobel is really getting going with the Rejuvenation of Little RedTed - and she'll be telling ..."

Further look at the new Baby Rabbits - as promised!

Hello there - Cy Bear back again!

Isobel is really getting going with the Rejuvenation of Little RedTed - and she'll be telling you all about it next time she gets in front of her computer.  She's been taking pictures as she's gone along - she'll include them in her post - so she can remind herself how she did the job.  However,  she's been thinking!  (Always a dangerous sign, her family members might say at this point!)  If Little RedTed's owner is happy with the result, Isobel is thinking of going into a new sideline - setting up a ColdhamCuddlies' Soft Toy Hospital!  Seemingly everyone she talks to has (or knows someone who has) an old bear (or other cuddly toy) that has loved to bits (many times, quite literally) that  could well be made to look young again.  She's thinking about it anyway....

Meanwhile, whilst working on Little RedTed she's been trying to find time to do the other pictures of the Baby Bunnies in their individual colour groups - so they can ben listed on our Etsy site (  Unfortunately, either the sunlight has not be in the right spot, or when it was, the batteries in her camera were too low!  However, she's hoping that everything will be in place tomorrow, so that she can complete the job and concentrate on finishing Little RedTed and then cut out and starting sewing Big Red Ted!

In the interim, I did promise to include more pictures of me with the pesky little rabbits - and here they are!   Until next time......

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Unexpected contact - needing information

As a relative newbie to Etsy, I was amazed to get an e-mail a few weeks ago, from a lady living in California.   Now I don't know many people who live there and the enquiry related to the foxes in my shop (  (I was very encouraged that I could be reached in this way!)  ValerieW is her name and the message read "...I was just looking on the Internet for information on some old toy foxes that I have.  I found your web page with Ferdinand and Freda  and Freddy Fox (illustrated below)  .

Fred and Freda Boss Fox were made as Mascots

Ferdinand, a Hunting Gentleman Fox
Valerie went on to say that she also has a fourth fox - "named Flossy."  She wanted to know a bit more about their background.

Having replied, I got another message saying that she reckons her foxes were sent to her "in Texas, from my auntie living in Manchester, probably around 1953.  They have travelled with me to Oklahoma, South Carolina, back to Texas, to Turkey, back to England and then to California...."  Now apart from being well travelled, they are also long-lasting! 

One of the tags I use in all my toys' listings is just that - "long-lasting".  The longest lasting Fox that I have been responsible for is now over 35 and still going strong!  Think "they" say" and the Cuddlies look forward to welcoming you for a visit sometime soon!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Introduction of new members of the ColdhamCuddlies family

Hello again, folks!   It's Cy being allowed to have a word and hopefully Isobel and I will be able to start blogging again (alternate posts) in a more regular way.

Finally the 10 new baby rabbits are finished and almost ready for listing in the Etsy shop.  Just need to take some more pictures of them in their colourful groups, rather than en masse as the picture below shows.

There are ten of them altogether, and believe me, they are a handful when they get together!  We had a photo session in the garden here at the Hospital of St. John and although the sun wasn't shining as brightly as when the other pictures of me were taken, think this gives an impression of the happy handful.
Isobel says that they are little smaller than her other Baby Rabbits - because she left out a pattern piece!  Careless, or what?  However, she's happy with the way they've turned, will probably be offering them at a slightly lower price, and hopefully they'll soon find new homes.  Because they are littler than usual, Isobel's silly fingers took longer to cope with the seams etc - hence the length of time spent making them!

Some other pictures were taken elsewhere in the garden too, and another one is posted below:

There were a couple more, but I'll save them for another day.  Time to end this post - wishing you well for the upcoming week-end.  Cheers.  Cy Bear

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Trying to get organised

Not easy, because there seem to be so many strings to the Etsy world and I don't seem to be getting the real hang of it all - just bits of it!

However, having started to make some sales (ever so slowly) am now concentrating on replenishing the shop and at the same time working out how I'm going to renovate Little Red Ted in a way that will not upset his long time owner.  Think I've worked it out:  once I've finished all the Baby Rabbits that Cy talked about in the last post (have two and a bit to go!) I'll get going and hopefully be able to do that project, as well as the Big Red Ted in time for April 27, which is when I expect the client to be attending a monthly meeting of the Ladies Section of the Royal British Legion, here at the Hospital of St. John.  By default, I am a member, and the meeting last month was where I was introduced to the Red Ted concept in the first place!

The Baby Rabbits have taken me longer  to do that usual - being so small, it really does work my fingers and thus is harder work than when doing projects like Cy and his Teddy Bear chums.  Haven't helped myself because I inadvertently missed a pattern piece out - which is resulting in the little fellas being smaller than usual.  When ready for the big world, they will be sold at a slightly lower price than the normal baby rabbits.  They will still have their ribbons etc. but are just littler!

Am also wondering what the effect of being interviewed by Mama Melinda for the on April 13 will be.  Probably not much, but on the other never knows.  Have also followed her link to an outfit called Handmadeology, which is a site linked to Etsy and operated by a fellow Etsian.  His name is Tim Adams, and he seems to know what he's talking about not only about business on Etsy, but also in "the real world".  He runs an internet course which I'm also following, and think it will certainly be helpful in getting me to understand what I'm doing (or meant to be doing!) selling on the net.  See what I mean about "getting organised"?

Must stop now so that I can do some sewing:  am spending far too much time on the computer these days, but it is necessary (or so I keep telling myself).

Thursday, 7 April 2011

"Missing Bear" finally located

Hello there:  it's Cy Bear back again.

Sorry for the delay in getting back, but Isobel has been so busy complying with my suggestion that her Etsy shop ( should be replenished after the recent departures for Edmonton, Alberta and Nottinghamshire, UK that she's not been able to put our thoughts down in a new post.

The Baby Rabbits are shortly going to be boosted by the addition of 10 more models:  two Black and White ones - they are still in bits:  four Grey ones (two with White fronts) - this time, their fur is a darker Grey and they are sewn together, but need stuffing and the addition of their tails and ears;  and four new Brown ones, two with White fronts.  Two of the Brown ones are stuffed, and one still needs ears, tail and facial features and ribbon added.  Isobel has also been deciding the best way to restore Red Ted to an acceptable state - poor chap really was in a state and in danger of letting down the Teddy Bear team!

Another problem that was exercising Isobel was the "Missing" Bear (this is him in this picture!)  that had successfully completed his journey to Massachusetts.  Although she had seen a picture of him in his very smart new sweater, she was unable to find the illustration when she came to put it in this blog.  She and Etsy have been working on the "disappearance", and this afternoon, she was delighted to find the message from Light Brown Bear's new owner and his picture on her Feedback bit of her Etsy Shop.

An update on the Edmonton crowd that left England a week ago today.  We got a message back yesterday that they, too, have arrived safely, and there was a picture of them too!

Got to go now - after doing this post twice (really, Isobel has got to get to grips with this blogging business!  Bye!  Cy Bear

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Just a brief call

The material for RedTed and RedTed11 arrived today - and it was only ordered yesterday afternoon!  Royal Mail can do it.....when they want to.

However, had planned on a few days' grace before its arrival as I listened to Cy's comments regarding the need to replenish the Etsy stock!  So despite the new material having arrived so fast, am now deep into replacing the Baby Rabbits, initially.  The Grey ones are being made with and without white fronts (two of each) using a deeper grey plush fur, the two Black Baby Rabbits are going to both have white chests, and am making four Brown Baby Rabbits, two with white fronts and two without.  Have already got one Brown one waiting to be stuffed, so all being well - the baby rabbits stocks should be up and running by mid-week.  I can then start the RedTeds project and then Hairy Bear (have actually renewed him on the Etsy site - just in case someone else wants one.  If so, the Baby rabbits will have to be pushed down the list!

Getting late now - so will end and Cy can have his say next time around. 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Surfacing once again, following a postal hiatus.

What a day it was yesterday!  Meant to post again, but there was a bit of a problem in arranging the journey of Hairy Bear, Koala and the two Baby Rabbits to Edmonton, Alberta.  Hairy Bear (as well as the other Bears in the Bear Family) are really quite large and it's nip and tuck whether they will pass as a "Small Packet" when being considered for their tickets at the Post Office.  Light Brown Bear, when he recently left for Massachusetts just made it.  Hairy Bear was originally meant to be accompanied by the other three going to the same address - but alas, the dimensions of the packet, as well as combined weight, were just too much for the "system".

So, all of them, still wrapped in their travelling packs - chemical free tissue paper, plus bubble-wrap to save them from the inevitable bumps involved in international travel - had to be separated.  Hairy Bear bravely agreed to travel alone while the other three fitted into a smaller envelope and went at the same time later that day.  Heather in Edmonton has been advised of their departure - we all now wait with bated breath to see how they all got on and hope they arrive by the end of next week.

In the meantime, I've been asked to try and repair a very much loved small teddy bear who is falling apart after many adventures and was (when in his prime) a bright scarlet bear.  He's smaller than the current Bear Family and when finished with his new modern fur fabric coat should be a little bigger than the Koalas and a bit smaller than the Pandas.  RedTed lives just three or four houses down Heytesbury High Street from The Hospital of St. John and I've today made new pattern pieces so that I can cover him and make him smart enough to be on show.  His owner has lots of grandchildren, but was anxious to be able to give one of the latest a scarlet teddy - similar to RedTed - because she had had such fun with him all her life (quite a long one, incidentally, and full of international travel - Army background: need I say more?)

I now have a set of pattern pieces to be used for other similar Little Bears (with RedTed's Mum's agreement), but unfortunately, because RedTed has been sewn up so many times - after adventures with children and dogs -  it's going to be difficult to put him together again. So, I'm going to collect all the bits, sew as many together  as I can and wrap him up carefully when providing a more modern version (with much safer joints, eyes and stuffing) and return him to his home.  Do hope his Mum will be happy!  Meanwhile, RedTed  II will also be made (same size as current Teddy Bear Family) for the grand-daugther.

No pictures of RedTed yet, so will close this post -  with a picture of one of the Baby Rabbits now on their way to a new home.

Wishing everyone a good week-end.  Isobel