Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ed Ted's treatment - latest developments

Not too much to report on Ed Ted's treatment today, except to tell everyone that his pattern pieces have survived the washing process, they have all been ironed and I am now in the process of pinning the individual bits onto the calico sheet backing so that I can start the appliqueing process.  I tell you - he's a different colour  now, so it's just as well we did not progress with the potential purchase via FatPumpkinBear - because despite all the choices Karen offered, none of them now match Ed Ted's current appearance!

I do have a tendency to move headlong at things - bull in a china-shop fashion.  One of my many failings.  Many mistakes have occurred in the past, not only with crafts, but in other parts of my life.  Seemingly, I never learn!

Incidentally, there has been a further development in the supplier field for the Cuddlies.  After deciding not to proceed with FatPumpkinBear, I decided to check one or two other UK suppliers I had been recommended to contact.  The search may have ended with my finding a definite possibility which is located about twenty-five miles down the road from where Coldham Cuddlies are located here in Heytesbury.  Now seems to me that it might make much more sense  for us to check out this new connection.   Prices are very competitive, and 25 miles down the road is a lot closer than having to deal with the intracies of international mail services, not to mention the distances caused by the Atlantic Ocean and a lot of the USA as well! The new outfit invited me to send them a sample (half of one of Ed Ted's ears is already in the post!) and a search for a "perfect" match will then ensue.  Obviously, given Ed Ted's age, a perfect match is unlikely, but it would be nice to get as close a one as possible.

Another thing happened this week - the new business cards I ordered a couple of weeks' ago are on their way.  That is really going to help me promote Coldham Cuddlies locally.  Have got the contact details of  the  new gallery in Warminster, and once the cards arrive, the next step is to make an appointment and go meet the proprietor of The Footprint Gallery to see if we have any common ground.  Think the time has arrived for me to also spread the word myself, rather than relying solely on word of mouth - however good that is.

Cy Bear and I will be keeping you in touch as things progress, but now I'm going to get on with the pinning and stitching Ed Ted now requires for the next stage of his treatment.

Will be back soon.   Isobel

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Treating Ed Ted - the first step: Continued

Hello once again from Cy Bear - Isobel has agreed that I continue to describe what has been, and is, happening to my new friend Ed Ted.  HEALTH WARNING:  some of the following images may be somewhat alarming to some readers!

Pattern pieces for Ed Ted's head, with ears and eyes in centre, and cotter pin attaching head to body next to them
The picture also shows the two tools Isobel has used to perform the operations on Ed Ted, and the ironing table on which they have been performed.  We've had to use newspaper underneath him, because as we take out the stuffing, a heap of dust comes out too. It's meant that each piece has been brushed so that as much dust and remaining kapok is removed before they are soaked and prepared for applique work.   Isobel has been sneezing her head off (and coughing too) while she's been doing it.  Very fortunately, I'm not so afflicted!  It all sounds most uncomfortable.

These are the contents of Ed Ted's tummy.  Again, kapok and wood chips.
This has now all been collected, put in a plastic bag and placed in the garbage bin, together with all the kapok in Ed's arms and legs, which can be seen in the next picture

Ed Ted's arms, around the tummy contents
Here one can see how his paw pads have disintegrated over the years. There had been attempts to sew them back on, but because the fabric involved was somewhat brittle, it had not been altogether successful.  Which is why, in the first photograph of the poor chap, we saw him with bandages and socks on to keep the stuffing together.

In this picture, you can see the enormous cotter pins that were used to keep Ed's limbs attached to his body.  Isobel raided Peter's tool-box for a pair of pliers and managed to unwind them so that we could take them out of three out of four attachments.  The fourth had to be cut around, but we should be able to make a pattern without that particular limb, so when he's finally made up, Ed will have two arms and two legs that match.

Here is a photograph of the five cotter pins together, before disposal in the garbage bin, together with the pliers that managed to extract them without causing too much damage to Ed's remaining body fabric. They took up a fair amount of space within his body, didn't they?

Now the first stage of Ed's rejuvenation thereapy is over.  Currently, as Isobel types this post, all the pieces are soaking in warm, soapy water in order to remove the inevitable grime that has accrued after years of playtime and other adventures with RFE and others.  They will be rinsed out before Isobel goes to bed tonight, and hopefully will be dry enough for ironing tomorrow - when Isobel has a whole lot of laundry to deal with anyway.

We've asked for a biography of Ed Ted so we can include it in a future blog, but - so far - it's not arrived.  RFE is travelling, so it may prove difficult to pin him down, but we'll keep trying.

It's been a long blog today, but there are a lot of pictures to break up the prose!  Hope you've not been too upset by some of them.  But, to be fair to Ed Ted, they had to be shown.  Cheers for now.  Cy Bear

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Treating Ed Ted - the first step

Greetings once more Everyone:  Cy Bear allowed to contribute again, and pleased to be talking to you.
One development since we last posted about Ed Ted is that Isobel has received the swatches she asked for to make his new outer covering from her local suppliers.  Although there was a possibility this could have been done in mohair, we heard today that the cost of using it was higher than Isobel was prepared to consider, so we've had to tell our Etsy contact FatPumpkinBear in USA that we won't be doing business with them after all.  We're very grateful for all the help Karen from that site was prepared to give us, but the budget for the project would have been exceeded before we'd started had we gone down that route.   Isobel's normal UK supplier for plush fur fabric has provided a pretty near match - so, Ed Ted is going to be made in Honey Fur Fabric.  The order will be sent once Isobel and husband, Peter, have returned from a routine hospital visit in Salisbury  tomorrow.

So, while waiting to receive the sample fabrics, Isobel began the delicate task of taking Ed Ted to pieces.  She found that by and large, the seams were in very good shape, although some had obviously had to have attention in order to keep the old fellow in shape.  Even though the pictures we've shown of him show that his stuffing was in danger of coming out from his legs, they had actually retained their shape pretty well.  The worst treatment had been meted out to Ed's arms, which were in a very poor condition, but now the seams have been unpicked, Isobel is confident of being able to take a good pattern from all the original pieces.  She  can then applique the old bits onto a backing fabric and sew them in at the same time as sewing up the new outside covering.  This is method she established with Little Red Ted. (The story of that was contained in three posts in early April - see Rejuvenation of Little Red Ted).

Ed Ted is now in pieces and Isobel has thrown out the original stuffing - which caused her to do a lot of coughing and sneezing as she was dealing with it.  Here are some pictures she took as she set to work with her "quick-unpic" and scissors.

Ed Ted's front, showing the wood chip stuffing and kapok
This was the first seam Isobel "attacked", and then she separated the head from the body.  The stuffing from the head is shown next:

The nose is wood chips:  the rest kapok
When Isobel was taking the head pieces apart, she discovered that the nose had been embroidered through the fabric into the wood chips:  it made what remained of Ed's nose a little difficult to unpick, but she achieved it without damaging the outer fabric, thus preserving the shape for creating the template for later work.  Once the stuffing had been removed, it became obvious that the next stage (once all the pieces had been undone) would be to scrape the remaining stuffing sticking to the fabric and washing each piece by hand.  That's going to be needed in order for Isobel to be able to get the correct shape for each piece before she can applique them on to the backing fabric. Some ironing is likely to be required as well. You can see how curled up the seams are - and most of the kapok has been scraped off the material.

Head pieces, plus ears and eyes, and cotter pin attaching head to the body
Now, I could go on all night, but this post would then be too long - so I'll finish for tonight, and Isobel or I will continue with the next post - hopefully tomorrow.  Bye for now.  Cy Bear

Saturday, 25 June 2011

First Bulletin on Ed Ted's treatment

Ed Ted wth some bandages removed

Following Cy Bear's introduction of Ed Ted, we thought you'd like a quick update on what is happening (or not) with the poor fellow.

I've heard back from Ed Ted's Best Friend, RFE, and he's given me carte blanche as to what I do with him to make him better.  That should cut down on the time frame for his treatment, as it's my intention - if I do go ahead with setting up the Coldham Soft Toy Clinic - to keep the patient's family fully informed at each relevant stage of progress.  If they're not an Etsy member, that can take time.  RFE is a busy chap, spending time in UK, Dubai and Italy, when he's not in New York (or some place else!)  So. he's difficult to pin down, to say the least.

The UK fabric supplier I've already contacted for swatches has yet to come back to me - but they have more than one shop location in the south of England, and the colours I've specified may not all be in the same place.  So there is likely to be a delay in finding the rolls from which to cut the swatches.

In the interim, I was checking on the Etsy Activity site of last night and found one of my Circle friends had favourited a site called FatPumpkinBear - based somewhere in the great USA.  The name was enough to catch my attention, so I had a further look - and lo and behold, Karen the site proprietor supplies Bear fabrics, among other activities on Etsy.

We happened to be online at the same time yesterday evening and I think's she's actually got some golden mohair fabric (rather than the plush fur I normally use) which, allowing for the differences computer colours can be to real life, looks to be to be spot on. There were a couple of others sample pictures she sent which might also be a good match, so I've asked for swatches from her too.  So, I will have to hope that US Mail and Royal Mail co-operate and that I can soon be able to make a decision and place an order.

Ed Ted's next treatment stage is for me to take him to pieces and make cardboard patterns from which to cut out his new form - both in the fur (when it eventually arrives) as well as the calico base on which I shall applique his existing pattern pieces, thus preserving what I can of his original body.  From the pictures already shown and those that follow, you can see that he's in pretty good shape, except for his arms.  Also, his stuffing is dangerous - being wood chippings (as was the practise when Ed Ted was new) and kapok filling, both inflammable and thus a real fire hazard.  When one thinks of the open wood,coal and gas fires that were prevalent when he and RFE were young and playing together, it's little short of horrifying, isn't it?  But, then, no one realised it, it's up to me to make him a safe Bear to play with.

Ed Ted from the left side, with his eye hanging down

Right:  that's enough for tonight's bulletin.  We've got a daughter for lunch tomorrow, which may prevent much getting done tomorrow.  So, there may not be a post from either Cy nor me until early next week.  Isobel

Friday, 24 June 2011

New Covers for Kitchen Appliances - Part 2

Greetings One and All!  Cy Bear here once more and delighted to be able to chat with you again.

Isobel, having re-started the blogging process yesterday, has asked me to take over today and here she said when ending her rather long blog last night, she has now completed the covers for her kitchen appliances sewing project and we'd both like to prove it with a couple of photographs to show some of the final products.

Left - Food processor cover:  Right- Toaster

New look for Isobel's kitchen counter
Now, having got that little project out of the way, perhaps we can now return to the REAL business Isobel is supposed to be working on - toys (which can be seen at our shop  Think she's mentioned that she is seriously considering a new section for the shop - which will involve renovation of soft toys, rather than just making new ones for her to sell.  We've already been involved with one such project where we re-made Little Red Ted, as well as making a brand new Bear called Big Red Ted. (please visit Rejuvenation of Little Red Ted.  There were three posts involved, with pictures of me in the third one, as well as Big Red Ted).

Isobel did so enjoy rejuvenating the little fellow that when a friend of the family mentioned he'd just found his old Bear (while engaged in the sad business of clearing his late mother's home) and that he was in a bit of a mess - she suggested that he send his Teddy to us to see if we could help to get him better.

Well, after thinking about it - understandably, folks are so fond of their Bears (and other toys) that they are sometimes reluctant to let them be mended.  It is, alas,  inevitable that they will never return to the way they once were, and folks are leery (good Canadian word for wary) of changes.  Anyway, the Teddy arrived yesterday in the post and although he is indeed a well-loved Bear, he has certainly been in the wars by the look of him.  Just have a look-see...
The new arrival
Isobel has had a look at him, taking off his "bandages" and is pleased to say that although this pictures looks somewhat alarming (to another Bear at least), she thinks she can help him return to his former glory - even though she may not be able to exactly match his original colour.  Fabrics and dyes have changed in the years since he was a new bear.  By the way, for the purpose of this exercise, he's going to be called Ed Ted, as his Best Friend has "Edward" among some of his names.  Easy to remember and pronounce.

Isobel has contacted her fur fabric supplier and found four different fabrics that might be nearly right.  She's asked for swatches to be sent and will then send them to RFE (Ed Ted's best friend) so he can choose.  Then, the remedial treatment can begin.

We'll keep you posted - and meanwhile, here is another picture of Ed Ted to end for today.  Bye!  Cy Bear

Ed Ted from the rear

Thursday, 23 June 2011

New Covers for Kitchen Appliances - Part 1

Back again, having completed the domestic sewing project I'd been putting off for ages!

I don't know about anyone else, but the thing I hate most in this world is housework.  I know - it's a necessity, but if I can find a way of making it easier to do, I follow it.  So, in the kitchen, to keep my various small appliances releatively dust-free - blender, steamer, slicer, toaster and food processor - I keep them covered.  That cuts down on the dust they collect and means I can be pretty sure I can use them whenever I need to, because - of course - I've cleaned them after use each time!!

About eight years ago, when I was in the patchwork/quilting mode, I used up lots of scraps I'd been collecting while making a larger quilt and made five patchwork covers for the appliances. Because they were quite colourful, I piped each one with a cream straight binding enclosing ordinary household string - we did not live too close to a haberdashery shop at the time, so I made do with what was close to hand.  It worked quite well, by the way - and was certainly less expensive than getting the piping to do it!   I lined each one with the stuff one uses when making curtains from scratch, and then finished each one off with straight seam binding in a colour that reflected the main one used in the patchwork.  It was a sort of wine-coloured binding and worked well.   However, after all this time, and several washes in the interim, the covers were beginning to look a little worn out and faded, and needed replacing.

Shortly after we moved here in 2008, one of our neighbours (two unmarried brothers, who are some of the best neighbours one can find) approached me (knowing that I am a sewer) and asked if I could help them shorten a pair of curtains they had inherited when they themselves moved in a couple of years or so before us.  Had a look and was able to help them - and in the process inherited the leftovers for any project I might create sometime in the future.

Then I got involved with making toys - first for friends of my daughters, then for one or two folks locally - then I learned about Etsy:  and the rest, as they say, is History, after I registered in January 2010 and started listing in September 2010, after building up some stock in the interim.

Then earlier this year, I remembered the green/cream patterned material I'd been given.  Found  I had just enough material from the curtain-shortening episode to make new covers for the latest generation of appliances in my current kitchen.  (Some appliances had had to be replaced after breaking down during the 8 years since I first covered them, and I had boxed and coxed to make the original covers fit the new ones).  So, I cut out the material, after roughly fitting them round each item fully intending to complete the project the next day.

However, then came my first Etsy order - very exciting - and since then, I've been fairly busy toy-making both via the shop ( plus local commissions and orders via the daughters and friends.  My mind was distracted somewhat further when I started this blog, so really the new covers project really did get left on the back-burner - until it became a matter of urgency that the old covers were replaced.  So, after my last blog on June 20th, I sat down and got on with the job.

Cover for the Toaster almost complete

Probably not the most eficient way of doing it, I got the pieces I had cut out, pinned them round each appliance, then tacked them and machined them.  Just to liven them up a little, I got some green straight seam binding, and some piping which can be used to decorate a cushion.  I had some black piping already in my sewing trolley, so did not have to buy in new.  I placed the piping into the binding, and pinned it so that the piping was in its own tube.  Then I pinned the two sides of material together, with the binding in between and machined the whole lot together.

Then I lined them, using the pillow cases in which my soft-furnishing outlet in Frome, Somerset, pack the polyester fibre I use for stuffing the toys - again, pinning round each appliance (and the cover), sewed the lining together and fitted both bits over the appliance.  Finally,  I've completed each cover by making a hem with plain white binding. I think the final product looks quite smart - and it certainly lightens up the kitchen a great deal!  However, time will probably prove that white straight binding is not necessarily the most practical colour to have chosen for the job!  It finishes the cover off nicely though!

Lining being placed over cover for the Blender
I took a couple of days to do the Blender, Toaster and Food Processor.  Then had a break - our social calendar suddenly became full! - and today finshed off the covers for the Steamer and Slicer.  Now all five are in place on my kitchen counter and ready to provide a dust-free service for a few more years.  I'll include pictures of the final items in my next blog. - just in time to begin telling you about my new toy project:  the Rejuvenation of Ed Ted (whose imminent arrival I did allude to in my last post).

Until then - happy days to one and all!  Isobel

Friday, 17 June 2011

Latest developments

A quickie tonight, because there have been some new developments in the life of the Coldham Cuddlies!

Having got fed up with no business cards to hand out - it's beginning to be a problem! - and having found that getting them printed off line, using local businesses, were prohibitively expensive (we are still a small operation with small funds to play with!) I bit the bullet last night and spent a long time working on a new design.

Have used the artwork for the banner in both this blog and the shop ( and using a white matt finish cardstock, have included all the relevant contact details for ColdhamCuddlies and myself, giving myself the title of Toymaker!  That is, after all, what I am, isn't it?  The internet source I have gone with is the company which the original, incorrect batch came from.  (I have to admit, that the problem was probably all mine, because I was even less adept at using the computer than I am now, and did sign the proof as being correct!).  The cost is about a quarter of the cheapest I was quoted hereabouts, including delivery and Value Added Tax and I can expect them within 21 days.  So, no contest really, is there?

Second thing is that it looks as though I am about to make the acquaintance of a second Teddy Bear in need of rejuvenation.  Think I've mentioned in an earlier post ("Looking on the Bright Side - Continued" - early in May this year, that following the Rejuvenation of Little Red Ted - there were three posts about that earlier too,  that I am seriously thinking of offering a Soft Toy Clinic option, as well as the Shop to be seen at (  Our long-time friend R.E. has just 'phoned to say that his Ted is in a jiffy bag and he just needed our postal address!  I've not forgotten about this new potential business, and the new arrival is just the trigger I need to really put plans into action.

Think I shall formulate the plans - and blog about them shortly - particularly as I don't really know what is coming to be treated!  Just to remind readers, here is a reminder of what happened to Little Red Ted!

Starting the treatment

Little Red Ted completed, with Big Red Ted and Cy Bear!

Now, I had better get back to the domestic sewing projects I mentioned in my last post a couple of nights ago!  Two are complete:  four more to go!   Then it's back to the toys!

All the best .  Isobel

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

ColdhamCuddliescalling: Just keeping in touch

ColdhamCuddliescalling: Just keeping in touch: "Hello there! Am taking a short break from toy-making - as long as it takes me to do some domestic sewing projects that have been mouldering..."

Just keeping in touch

Hello there!  Am taking a short break from toy-making - as long as it takes me to do some domestic sewing projects that have been mouldering on the back-burner while I've been enjoying the toys!  Cannot put them off any more, so, while I'll still be blogging, it may not be concerning the toys.  May include some pics of what I'm up to in this field:   let's see how I go on.

On the other hand, there are some updates on previous posts:   the potential sale of  a Fox or two to the local primary school in Heytesbury has yet to take place.  Although I contacted them in May, only heard from them today.  They must have got the vibes I was sending out that I would call in unannounced!  With the school year-end in sight, money is not available for such "frivolous" (my description, not theirs) purchases so we have agreed to leave a get together until September - the beginning of a new school year - when hopefully money will be available.  Have booked a table for their Christmas bazaar though, and got a toe in the door - which was the general idea in the first place.  As a former School Governor, I had an idea that funds would not be readily available at this stage of the school year!

Have been trying to get prices for the replacement business cards I really am beginning to need.  So far, none have beaten the internet site who made the mess-up on my previous set.  So, may have to return to them, this time being a lot more careful before pressing the final button to set the whole thing up!  Will try to do it in daylight this time, rather than at night, when inevitably one is tired and not as accurate in proof-reading.

Am really excited to report that following a contact with Stephi of StephisWhimsys (a fellow Etsian), I was able to purchase a Bear and Doll magazine with several possible bear patterns.  As I've said before,  I'm not into dolls - although some of the patterns are charming in the magazine.  But the Bears templates offer some distinct possibilities for future Cuddlies creations.  They will be based on the patterns in the magazine, but not  follow the instructions entirely.  Don't want to run the risk of infringing any copyright still vested in them by the magazine publishers.  Still, it's very exciting to have some new directions to follow.

Have also been given a lead to a newish Art Gallery in Warminster - our local town - which seeks to feature local artists.  A kind friend enquired whether the owner would be interested in featuring a Cuddly or two, and she was kind enough to say she'd like to meet me.  So, now, it's a question of finding the time to go and meet her, introduce some Cuddlies, and see if we can do business.   Such actions are a new direction for me, so will have to be carefully considered.

It's now getting late - I need my beauty sleep:  husband is well in the Land of Nod, so had better go and join him!

Until the next time.  Isobel

Cy Bear and Miss Prim

Monday, 13 June 2011

Making Mr. Fox - the final instalment

Finally, the weather listened to the forecast - and the sun came out this afternoon, sufficiently for Isobel to get some photos of the latest addition to the Fox family in our shop at  He's just been listed (#75921238 and he's been named Sir Francis Fox!)  Isobel feels he looks somewhat aristocratic (whatever that is?) and certainly he seems happy with it!  He has a slightly wonky left ear - but no matter what Isobel did to straighten it, the end results were always the same - slightly off kilter:  so in the end, that's the way she decided Sir Francis wanted it to be!  Makes him look individual, anyway, doesn't it?

Sir Francis Fox, completed

From this picture you'll see that his total "look" has changed.  His jacket is now neatly sewn on to his body, and has a double silver button fastening.  Isobel has sewn it on very tightly, and it will take some getting off - but even so, just to be safe, she doesn't recommend that Sir Francis becomes a companion toy for anyone under 5 years' old.  Little people apparently have a tendency to try to put things like buttons in their mouths (what ever for, I wonder?  They cannot taste that good, surely?)  That's why we've got Baby Rabbits, Koala Bears and Pandas for sale at - because they are all very suitable friends for little people from 0-5 years of age.  The dressed members of the Cuddly family really are better companions for the older folks, although Isobel knows of one  - Mr. Toby Rabbit, who left the family before Isobel had heard of - who became the best friend of a little chap on his 1st birthday.  The two of them became completely inseperable!

Isobel also took some more photographs of Miss Prim Fox (Etsy Listing #75340524) - as promised, and also some of the two new Foxes with me.  Here is one of the new Miss Prim Fox portraits:

Miss Prim Fox on a bench in our garden, showing off her pantaloons!
Finally - for today, at any rate:  in an earlier post about the Foxes, I said that neither would be "officially" members of the Coldham Cuddlies, unless and until, they had been photographed with me!  So, Isobel heard - and took action this afternoon.  This picture now entitles both Foxes to become Coldham Cuddlies at!  Welcome to the family Miss Prim and Sir Francis.

            Bye for now! Cy Bear

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Making Mr. Fox - the next stage

Cy Bear did such a good job describing what I do when making Foxes for addition to our shop on that I think I'll let him carry on.

That's kind of Isobel - so here goes.  Once Mr. Fox's boots were firmly sewn on, the next addition is the furry tail.  Mr. Foxes have a white tip to their tails, so when making up the patterns, Isobel has to cut two bits for Mr. Fox's version (the lady foxes have a self-colour version which takes less time to make up).  Then once having joined the white and chesnut plush fabrics, the tail is sewn in one piece, stuffed and sewn (firmly - it's ideal for little people to hold on to when playing with them!) through the trousers and onto the body.

Mr. Fox's tail viewed  from the side
In this picture, you can also see Mr. Fox's head, without facial features, next to Isobel's pin cushion and in the background is the envelope in which all the pattern pieces for the Fox family are stored.  They all repose on top of the spare fold-away bed that is kept in the second bedroom (used when elder daughter comes to stay the night).  In between, it makes a useful surface for Isobel to work with - as well as a platform for taking pictures from.

The picture also shows Mr. Fox with his jacket on.  That takes quite a bit of sewing before reaching the stage shown in this photo.  The original pattern calls for the jackets to be made in felt alone.  However, Isobel likes to use other materials - in this case a nice dark blue tweed material, which has a darker blue circle pattern incorporated into it.  Many of these fabrics tend to fray, so the jackets have to be lined, and sometimes the seams have to be over-sewn to prevent them falling apart.  Then she added some light blue braid around the lapels (to match those on the cuffs) and fits it on to Mr. Fox's body.  The rear has a slit cut into it to accommodate the tail.

Showing the jacket, with rear slit for tail
Then the delicate and sometimes fiddly part of sewing the head on to the shoulders, and fitting the jacket round the neck begins.  That can take a lot of sewing, undoing - because the head hasn't gone on straight, and then fitting the jacket round the tail and so on.

Now, we did intend to finish the Mr. Fox production story today, but plans had to change - because we've still not taken the photographs of the finished Mr. Fox.  The weather also took a turn for the worse and the light was not good enough for outside pictures.  Isobel does want to have some pictures of  a completed Mr. Fox (hopefully, we'll have a name for him soon - it's so formal continuing to refer to him as MR Fox!) taken outside in the garden so photography sessions have been postponed.  At the same time, we'll take some more pictures of Miss Prim Fox ( and then she can replace some of those already in the Shop at the same time as Mr. Fox gets listed. Meanwhile, here is a final picture of Mr. Fox still minus his head, but this time leaning on Isobel's sewing machine.

Mr. Fox's body from the front, with head waiting to be fixed on
So, weather permitting, hopefully we'll be able to complete the Mr. Fox production story tomorrow - and will have decided what to name to give him when he is listed at the Shop (  Bye for the time being!  Cy Bear

Friday, 10 June 2011

Making Mr. Fox Part 2

Evening All! Cy Bear addressing you again! Isobel has graciously permitted to have a word tonight, goes.

Main item to announce is that Mr. Fox is actually completed - but has yet to have his final pictures taken, including the official one with me! No one becomes a member of the ColdhamCuddlies family these days unless I give them the once-over!  Isobel may list them in the shop ( but as far as I'm concerned they are not one of us until I'm involved too.  After all, what is a mascot all about, eh?

Right:  now to the matter of Mr. Fox's construction:  Isobel forgot to mention (even though the pictures in the last post showed them) that once the body is made, she has to attach the arms and paws of Mr. Fox.  In this case, the arms are made in a rather smart blue tweed material, with the plush fur at the end for his paws.  They are stuffed and sewn in at the appropriate point on Mr. Fox's body.  Then the waistcoat can be placed on the body.

After than, come his plus-fours.  They are made in a cream linen type material, which feels velvety to the touch.  In order to make the trousers stay in the plus-four shape, they have to be stuffed lightly with the same material used to stuff all of us - which meets all  international safety standards.  There's a picture of Mr. Fox at this stage coming up now!

Rear view of plus-fours, arms and paws in place

Then comes the construction of Mr. Fox's boots.  Isobel has a good selection of different leathers, obtained from a local glove-making factory which has been in business for over a century, and is based in our nearby town of Warminster, Wiltshire, England, UK.  This time she chose a beige suede leather for Mr. Fox's boots which she says were a lot easier to sew than some of the other leather boots she has made for the Rabbits, Foxes and Coyotes in the shop.  (How about visiting to see what I mean?)   Once sewn, she put some cardboard in the soles to help him stand up (not all of the toys are as good at it, when completed, as others!) and then the boots are tightly stuffed.  Before being added to the legs, Isobel cuts out felt for the boot turnovers (this Mr. Fox's are blue, in tune with the overall colour-scheme) and then she attaches the boots to each leg using a ladder-stitch).  Isobel makes sure that the join is secure - otherwise they don't stand up at all!  Then the turnover is manipulated into place - and hey presto, Mr. Fox has boots.  Think he looks rather smart, don't you?

Mr. Fox's boots seen from the front
Isobel wants me to stop prattling now, so that we can complete the description in our next post - probably tomorrow.  So, goodnight for now.  Cy Bear

Thursday, 9 June 2011

ColdhamCuddliescalling: The start-up of Mr. Fox

ColdhamCuddliescalling: The start-up of Mr. Fox: "Hello there! Yet again, I've been overtaken by the overwhelming urge to link with folks - now that I seem to be getting somewhere. Daytim..."

The start-up of Mr. Fox

Hello there!

Yet again, I've been overtaken by the overwhelming urge to link with folks - now that I seem to be getting somewhere.  Daytime and other home life pressures prevent me being able to do too much during the day and it's a question of time allocation - do I blog, sew, or link?  Also since the last blog, I've also been getting on with the production of the new Mr. Fox.  He will have to remain with this formal title until he's finished - when, hopefully, his name will be come obvious.   (As in the case of Miss Prim Fox -  His shirt is made in the same material as Miss Prim's dress:    and although blue is the colour theme, he is  his own unique self (as are all the Coldham Cuddlies featured at

However, before describing the Mr. Fox production process,  here's an update.  As alluded to in my last blog, Charlie Coyote, Mascot for the Wylye Coyote's After School Club, has presided over an award ceremony.  I promised to include the picture which accompanied the report in last week's Warminster Journal - and here it is:

As ever, the quality of the picture suffers from the fact that is taken from a newsprint pic, but one can see Charlie quite clearly being held by the Wylye Coyote on the far right of the pciture.  Permission to include this in our post today has been given by Mrs. Kate Brayne, Manager of the Wylye Coyotes After School Club.

Now to the process of producing Mr. Fox:  obviously, one starts with cutting out the pattern using my special template for the Fox Family.  I have used these since I began making the foxes in the late 1970's while living in Canada (although I have had the pattern book since 1971).  Making the male foxes is a more complicated process than the lady foxes, because there are so many more pattern pieces involved.  Once they are all cut out and the materials vary - using plain sheeting or calico for the body, plush fur for the paws, tail and head, tweeds or similar weight material for the plus-fours and coat, cotton poplin for the waistcoat and completing the outfit with leather for the boots.  Leather finishes the toys off, I feel personally,  even though the original pattern calls for the boots to be made with felt.  I can do so fairly easily at the moment, because we are located close to a Glove Making factory - in business for over a century - (which also makes quality handbags and other leather goods) and I can buy off-cuts from them. 

This time around, I made the body with white sheeting material - of which I am fortunate to have a good supply.  The soft furnishing factory which provides me with their off-cuts (plush fur and tweeds mainly) is also where I purchase the polyester fibre which is used to stuff the toys. They provide it to me at trade rates, which is handy, and I can get it by the kilo (approximately 2.2 pounds weight) for roughly the same price as I could in a haberdashery outlet for 200 grammes (or approximately a quarter of a pound!)  This meets all international safety standards.  The factory usually stuffs the fibre into a pillow made with the sheeting material - and I am able to get several toys out of one pillow's worth of sheeting.

The latest Mr. Fox's body was then stuffed and the waistcoat made and placed on the body shape - as shown in the picture below.
Mr. Fox from the rear
The production process continues - and the description of it will follow in the next post - hopefully, tomorrow.  If he's good, I may let Cy Bear do it this time!  Bye for tonight. Isobel


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Updates on recent posts

Hello there - blogging has taken a back seat recently because I've been busy linking!  Have mentioned in earlier posts that I had not got a clue about how to do it.  Now,  thanks to help given by a fellow Etsian - CuffandCollar ( - I've finally got the hang of "Liking" etc and have been taking a lot of action along the lines he recommended.  He gave me about a dozen sites on which to log for starters, and I've since gone to several others I've found along the line.  Have left messages on their Facebook pages in particular.  Thanks a million CuffandCollar:  am looking forward to seeing the effect that more folks are being plagued by me is going to have!

Not only have I been doing that, but I've also been reading more of other folks' blogs:  particularly those from Scoutie Girl, who posts to me daily.  As a result I commented/followed (again on Facebook) with who specialises in helping dilly folks like me to communicate about their businesses.  Was terribly fortunate here, because the day after we made initial contact, she very kindly featured ColdhamCuddlies shop and this blog on her own blog - giving me some very constructive hints as to how I can improve this blog.  The subject of her blog ( that caught my eye was the need for self-empowerment for us newbies on the internet:  and boy has she given me a boost - am still terrified of what will happen when I get going, but so far with the linking, my confidence is gaining ground!  Whatever happens, I'm deeply grateful to Noelle for the help to date - and her invitation to return if I need to consult!  Have a feeling, I'll be doing so before too long!

Now to the updates promised in today's title:  Miss Prim Fox was listed in the shop at yesterday:  her listing is #75340524, and while I was at it, I renewed all the Foxes/Coyotes section at the same time.  Visiting the shop a little while ago, Miss Prim has already been favourited by one person!  Not bad going for a new girl, is it?

Talking about the Coyotes:  there's been some news in the local newspaper, The Warminster Journal, this week about the Wylie Coyotes and a picture appeared in the edition of Charlie Coyote celebrating the fact that the After School Club had scooped a  Healthy Eating prize after winning the Improving Healthy Eating in Children, Young People and Adults competition.  The award ceremony took place at Salisbury City Hall last month and the competition is being run by Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Partnership.  The Club provides a home-cooked evening meal every evening for the children who attend, as well as a safe area in which to wait for parents to return home after work.  Will include a scanned item (like the other item included in the blog last month) once I've got permission from Kate Brayne the Coyotes Manager.  It is an even better picture of Charlie Coyote, who is very much in the foreground in this one!

Then a couple of days ago, I received a message from Mrs. B-P from Saudi Arabia.  Apparently the Hairy Bear she ordered to be posted to Portsmouth arrived safely, is adored by his new one-year old friend, who cuddles him, says "aw........" and cannot get enough of him!  So glad - it's nice to have such a satisfied customer - and I've been assured that the Saudi Arabian contact will be continued later in the year and there may even be a picture of Hairy Bear and chum to prove the new friendship as well!

Right - I've babbled enough tonight.  Am going to print off Noelle's comments and recommended improvements and will begin to apply them to both the shop and the blog.  Just hope that I'd don't lose some of the Archive in the process, but then Noelle's introductory article to our association was all about self-empowerment, wasn't it?  Taking a deep breath.......results, good hopefully, soon!

Oh, and finally - a friend was visiting the other day and took some photos of Cy Bear, Miss Prim and I.  Some now appear as profile illustrations at the shop ( and on my Facebook page, as well as on Google.  Makes a change from the originals! It also explains the lack of action on the blog too, hopefully.

Bye for now.  Isobel