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 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 - 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 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!)

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 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 - 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 business or general family duty.  P and I have decided a replacement must be considered, 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, 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!
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 - 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.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Report on the MacMillan Cancer Greatest Coffee Morning in the World 100th Anniversary Celebration

As promised in the last post, here is a more detailed report on the recent 100th Anniversary celebration of  the MacMillan Cancer charity organised in Heytesbury, Wiltshire, on September 30, 2011.  It was but one of many such parties taking place in the local area, as well as around the country.  I have just telephoned the organiser of the event to learn that the grand total at our particular venue raised a magnificent 1,157.00 GBP (USD 1,780.53)!  The whole national jamboree was entitled The Greatest Coffee Morning in the World.

It was a two-hour session, held in a venue situated in a parkland setting, about 3 minutes drive from our home, and while normally walkable, with all the Cuddlies in their various bags to haul round, a car ride was the logical means of delivery!

The venue is called Slater's Barn, and  has quite a story attached to it - which will form the subject of another blog.  The building  looked most inviting upon arrival last Friday morning.  The sun was shining, the temperature was comfortably warm at the start - heating up rapidly as the event carried on - and seemed to be well attended.   Apparently, from a regular participant's viewpoint, the turn-out was a little disappointing, the cause being the unseasonably hot weather.  When temperatures are hitting the low 80's, one does not tend to think about Christmas presents - rather when it will be possible to get to the seaside with the family, I think!  Most years, the autumnal weather is a more reasonable 50 degrees max, usually damp and purchasing Christmas gifts do provide a welcome distraction.

This snapshot was  taken by a neighbour who happened to be passing the table on which the Coldham Cuddlies from, were displayed.  I didn't lay them out in any particular order of preference or size, but somehow they all looked very happy to be where they were.  They certainly must have preferred being open to view - rather than cooped up in plastic bags however spacious- and squeezed into a cupboard in our bedroom, which is where they are usually to be found!  Ed Ted and the gentlemen toys were propped up on the window behind me - which was open to a gentle breeze wafting in and keeping the blazing heat from making everyone in the facility over warm.

There was sufficient space between each display stall for ease of movement from front to back of each table, and I must say,  I was very impressed by the facility itself.  There was a nice carpetted floor, the walls were a neutral cream shade, which set off everyone's products well and there were about eight stalls offering their hand-crafted materials and products for the citizens of  Heytesbury and the surrounding villages of the Wylie River valley.  There were several radiators to be seen - a comforting prospect for most occasions of this sort in the UK and there seemed to be adequate lighting on offer too. Mind you,  my experience is limited  in matters of  charity bazaar venues - this was only my first attempt at participating in a bazaar sale.

One accessed the venue through a floor to ceiling glass door - if memory serves - and entered a vestibule with sufficient room for a table offering hot beverages (coffee, tea - and on this occasion, plenty of cold drinks).  Exhibitors were plied with as much coffee/tea as they required (for free!) and products ranged from the Cuddlies hand made toys, via decorated plant pots, painted key holder boards, and key rings, via a stall offering hand-made electric clocks (with backgrounds which could be chosen to order), there was a table for selling Christmas cards and wrapping paper, another featuring aromatherapy products - many home made, two more were selling raffle tickets (well attended - and I won a bottle of cider!) and finally a table featuring handmade calendars and cards of Heytesbury and the surrounding villages.  In the entrance area, as well as the Coffee area, there was a Home made Cake Stall which seemed to do brisk business.

In the opinion of the organiser, the Silent Auction (a variation of the Tombola theme) was responsible for the greater proportion of the final total.  This is a fund-raising concept that I'd not come across before arriving in Heytesbury three years ago.  Items on offer are laid out (there were three on this occasion, including a three-day trip to Paris in a 5 star hotel - which raised 300 GBP (USD 461.54) by itself) with a sheet of paper and a pencil beside it.  Visitors are invited to place a value on the item and the winner is the one that places the highest value on it.  The modus operandi seems to be very popular hereabouts - I wonder how many of my Followers and readers have come across it?

From my viewpoint, the event was the launch pad for the new Glove Puppet range I had been developing over the past few weeks - which have featured in recent posts in this blog, particularly in "Introducing Glove Puppets to the Cuddlies" - 02/09/2011.  Despite plans to make 8 or 9, time ran out and I was only able to produce 6 completed Puppets.  Having photographed them the day before, so that they could be listed after the event on, they were given a prominent place on the table and I was surprised and very pleased that they attracted a lot of positive attention, and one was even sold.

Six Glove Puppets sitting on a wooden bench

All the Glove Puppets, shown together in the picture above, will feature in their own blog shortly, so I won't tell you which Puppet was sold.  She is destined to become the Forever Friend of a little 2 year old relative of the wife of the former Head Coachman to H.M. Queen Elizabeth.  She and her husband have a home in the village.  I don't think Glove Puppet will be living at Buckingham Palace, but I do know that the gentleman has sons who presently continue to fulfill that duty for Her Majesty - so maybe, Glove Puppet could be living after Christmas on the estate at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, where I believe the Royal Coaches are kept when they are not on duty at various State Occasions.

In addition to the Glove Puppet sale, two Baby Rabbits (one Brown and White (Etsy Listing #73079287) and one Grey and White (Etsy Listing #73147987) found New Best Friends.  The Grey and White Bunny's Forever Friend (due to be a little girl) was in fact due to arrive in the world that very day!  Have yet to discover whether that happy event did take place.

For a first attempt, I was satisfied with the proceedings.  I learned a lot about display etc. made some new acqaintances from the village, and  may be receiving another patient for the Soft Toy Clinic - another bear.  The lady took a card - but, alas, I was not "on the ball" enough to take her contact details at the same time.  My sales technique requires some brushing up!  However, one lives and learns - and as I mentioned earlier, it was my first venture into such activities. 

Till the next time - when the new Glove Puppets, already listed at, will be featured.  All the best.  Isobel

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Just checking in - and playing catch up as well

I cannot believe that it is nine days since I posted here - so think it's appropriate that a degree of catch up takes place with me notifying you of what you're likely to be seeing from both the Etsy shop ( where we have a definite departure scheduled for later this week, and six new listings.  Both items will probably form the subject of at least one blog post.

The Greatest Coffee Morning in the World in aid of MacMillan Cancer's 100th Anniversary took place as scheduled on September 30.  Attendance, according to the regular participants, was not as great as usual.  That  may have been because the temperatures were soaring into the high 70's-low 80's and people's minds were just not focussed on Christmas present purchasing - more likely to be how they could pack the family off for the week-end to the nearest coastal town to bask in the promised sunshine.  Nevertheless, from the Cuddlies' point of view, we had three sales in the two hour session - one of which was a newly-launched Glove Puppet.  I'll be posting a separate blog about all of them, of course, but meanwhile here is a taster:

Six Little Glove Puppets sitting on a Bench

I'll not identify the one on her way to a  2 year-old New Best Friend for Christmas.  That can wait till the blog itself appears.  All the Glove Puppets were received with enthusiasm and have been listed at with their own Glove Puppets Section.  It is my intention to make more of them, once I've sorted myself out.  They are attractive, individual, reasonably quick to make (2-3 days maximum) and I think are an exciting addition to the ColdhamCuddlies family. All five remaining ones have already been favourited by one of my fellow Etsians - and they were only listed late on  Saturday evening!  Even allowing for the fact that the USA is behind us in time zones, think that is a pretty amazing result!

The venue for the Charity Bazaar is a pretty amazing one - Slater's Barn  is a specially constructed facility which presumably is used for outside functions, besides the annual MacMillan Cancer jamboree.  It has it's own kitchen facilities and is carpetted, has central heating (so can be used year round) and good lighting (which was not required on Friday morning - given that blazing sunlight was streaming through the windows).  I know I said I would take the camera with me to take pictures of the display table - alas, in the rush to get out in time to set up, although I took spare batteries, the camera did not make it into the bag!  (All was not lost, however:  one of our neighbours was dragged by his wife to the bazaar, he had his camera with him and he kindly has provided some snapshots - which give an indication of the stall and it's owner!) 

However, I have a cunning plan:  the property owner is a fellow attendee at the weekly Zumba Gold exercise sessions I have recently started to attend.  We had a brief chat at the Bazaar, and this Tuesday, I'm going to ask if I can go round and have a clicking session on my own.  If that happens, think Slater's Barn history would make an interesting change of subject for a future post.  It is set in idyllic parkland, about 3 minutes drive from our home. There are several examples of lovely parkland settings  in this delightfully picturesque village - and provided the weather plays ball (which it looks as though it's not going to!), that can make the fifth future post  lined up for your edification!  Must be something of a record - at least for this embryonic blogger!

Then I'm pleased to say that one of my dressed Male Rabbits has found a new home - in Everett, Washington State and will be on his way early in the week.  It's Uncle Brendan Brown Rabbit (Etsy Listing #56013030) who has been selected, so that's another replacement project to be scheduled in between the rejuvenation of Tommy Teddy and Big Koala - the two remaining patients in the Soft Toy Clinic (Listing #79124185) .  Here is a picture of Uncle Brendan to remind you of how he looks:

There's another potential new development too.  For the past few weeks, I've been discussing with Ed Ted's Best Friend, RFE the possibility of having some special ColdhamCuddlies labels woven. (RFE  is a very capabale Graphics Designer, whom we have known since we returned from Canada in 1987, now based in Italy, but travelling regularly to Dubai and, occasionally, the UK!  Thank goodness for the internet - how did we manage without it for such matters, I sometimes wonder?)  One never knows - sometime in the future, the current Cuddlies might one day become valuable vintage toys - whose value can only be enhanced if there is a recognised label attached.  My husband has been keen to see if the idea was practical and it is increasingly looking as thought it might be!  We've got the artwork, we're in the process of getting quotes - and I hope to be attaching the chosen labels to future Cuddlies in the not too distant future.  That could form the basis of yet another blog, methinks.  I'll have to make a list - or I'll forget what I'm going to do - I'm not immune to "senior moments" these days, alas!

Right, I think I have caught up - will be posting, with Cy Bear's help, in the next few days.  Meanwhile - good bye for the moment!  Isobel