Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tommy Teddy's Rejuvenation Therapy

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

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

Golden Teddy and I before he returned home after helping us

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

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  The pink fleece is not at all like the salmon pink Tommy Teddy's face and paw pads were originally made with.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

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

Then she added the ears and embroidered the facial features:

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

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

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

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

Just see what I mean?

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

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

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

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

Friday, 25 November 2011

News from near and far

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

                                                   Find attach 2 photographs of it in my kitchen.

                                                   Thank you again.

Uncle Brendan in the Kitchen of his Forever Home

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

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

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

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

Model for Tommy Teddy's transformation

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

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

Saturday, 19 November 2011

November's Hail and Farewell!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 14 November 2011

Welcoming three new Baby Bunnies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The White and Purple Baby Bunnies complete

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

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

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

Before their departure for Saudi Arabia

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

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

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bon Voyage - as they say in France and elsewhere!

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

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

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

Noel and I waiting for him to be parcelled up

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

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

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

Getting ready to travel to France - the official farewell photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Coldham Cuddlies French Connection(s)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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