Sunday, 24 November 2013

Goodness me - just how the time flies!

Greetings to everyone!

It is some time since an entry was made on this blog, but just how long has only been revealed when  arriving here a moment or so go and saw just HOW LONG it has been since either Cy Bear or I have been here.  My apologies, but until I have figured out how to sew and type at one and the same time, something has to give - and I am afraid it has been!  I will try to improve, but cannot promise.

However, my sewing has had to be at the forefront in recent weeks, as regrettably, with the almost complete focus on creating the 2013 Coldham Cuddlies Novelty Slipper Campaign during the summer, some sales took place - locally in Heytesbury and surrounds.  They were then duly renewed in our shop at  The problem was that I omitted to replace the items that found their Forever Homes - as I usually do when the renewal process takes place.

 In the last week or so, three items were suddenly ordered (after a barren period on the Etsy sales front) and alas, all three were not available immediately.  I fear my stock control system has been found wanting - although, as my kind Buyer pointed out, I have been lucky to have those sales in the first place.

So, to begin with, there was an urgent need for Panda Glove Puppets (Etsy Listing 91356474).  That urgent need was quickly fulfilled over a week-end, as they don't take long to do.  So, it occurs to me that a post about how the replacements were achieved might well be in order - so here goes.

Making a glove puppet the way I now do hasn't varied too much from when I posted about them many months ago when they first featured in the Coldham Cuddlies Family listings.  However, I've now developed a way of doing multiple versions at one and the same time, and in the case of these fellows, it worked quite well.

Basically, each Glove Puppet Head consists of two side panels and a gusset, two pairs of ears (in contrast black plush fabric), two felt black patches through which the safety backed eyes are then fixed.  In the case of the Pandas, the arms are also made with the contrast Black Plush fabric and then sewn to the body in the appropriate places.

This picture shows both Glove Puppets, complete with their heads - with the eyes (blue plastic safety backed ones in this case) attached through the felt eye patches and then both heads having been stuffed with our usual, washable polyester fibre filling.  In the middle, between the two glove bodies you see the finger guides.  I roll up some cardboard - approximately 2" long (5 cms) which I then stitch in place to keep the roll together. Stapling, were it to be practical, is not recommended - because they could then scratch the Puppet handler!  They are then covered with calico, which is also then stitched in place - this results in a more comfortable finger guide, and hopefully will give it a longer life when in use as an Activity toy.

 (I have lots of calico to hand, because my polyester fibre comes in pillow case sized bags and are kept for such purposes - as well as for making the bodies of my dressed Gentlemen and Lady toys).

Before going any further, I have recently begun to do the facial features of all the Cuddlies before going any further in the construction process. (I'm finding it is easier for my increasingly arthritic fingers and hands to cope in this way - rather than in the way recommended by the original patterns.)   So, once the eyes were in place, the the nose and mouth were embroidered - removing some of the fabric pile in the nose area.  Otherwise there can be a problem with it getting caught up in the thread.  It's a time-consuming process, removing the pile from the thread - and can result in some choice words being uttered.  (I leave that to the imagination of my lovely Followers!!)

The covered finger guides are then inserted into the neck area of each Panda Head and firmly stitched in place.  Then the Head is inserted into the Glove body area, and attached to the body around the bottom of each Panda Head.  Then I get a wire brush and "groom" each Glove Puppet so they look smart and shiny and ready to be played with.

In the case of this order  - which is destined for Queensland, Australia - I then sent some pictures so a selection of precisely which Glove Puppet was preferred could be made.

Without having the correspondence between us to hand, I'm not absolutely sure which one was eventually selected, but I believe it is No. 2.  Suffice to say that when the selection was made, he was put in a plastic bag (to prevent unnecessary exposure to the elements), together with the already selected Pink Baby Bunny.

The rest of my time has been spent in sewing two each of Grandma White Rabbit (dressed in a Purple Floral Print dress) and Brenda Brown Bunny, who comes with a Green Candy-Stripe dress.  Both of them had been sold during the summer, and, alas, needed to be replaced.  Two are already completed, two more will be sometime tomorrow.  There will then be another photocall - so that MrsEB, my very patient Buyer, can choose which she would like to have. (She was having difficulty in choosing between the White and Brown Plush versions at the last count).

(When the order first arrived earlier this month, I had the impression that it was needed urgently:  fortunately as it has turned out, the imminent arrival of her friend's baby girl does not take place until next year, so this time I've not caused a major problem.)

It's been a well learned lesson for me though!  Do not renew, unless a replacement is already in place!!

I'll be back again with a post about the replacement Dressed Lady Rabbits - whose design has been updated somewhat - although they do basically remain the same.  Oh, I'll also include a brief report about the very successful Christmas Present Sale which took place on Saturday, November 23.  One of our Frogs (Etsy Listing #116285186) found a Forever Home in the Village, as did another Pink Baby Bunny.

Until then, I'll end this post in the hope that everyone is enjoying getting ready for the rapidly arriving holiday season - starting with Thanksgiving in the US next week!

Good night - and God Bless.  Isobel

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Gathering of Golf Club Head Covers - and how one was made

Hello Everyone:

Cy Bear back again, because Isobel is busy doing other Etsy type things, and is letting me tell you how Tiger Head Golf Club Cover was made, and - since they are all made the same way - showing you (and maybe, reminding you) of some of our other Golf Club Head Covers at the same time.

This is how both the Tiger Head Covers I showed you in our last post look like at the beginning.  There's the knitted handle cover, the two ears in the middle front foreground, with the head ready to have the eyes put in behind them, and then the white calico lining which surrounds the golf club head when it's pushed over it.

Before going any further, the safety eyes are put in place and fixed.  All our Toys' eyes with safety backings are as tight as these.  So the only way they could be taken out is for the total eye to be pulled out and leave a major hole in the fabric.  Isobel can only fix these backings using a pair of pliers, and it results in a very close fit.  It would have to be a really persistent person who would succeed, after a lengthy interval - and most Little People would have lost interest in the attempt well before that point arrived!

Here we have the calico lining stitched in place (Isobel tacks it along the centre of the head on the reverse side of the head) waiting for the stuffing for the head to be inserted between the lining and the plush outer cover.  This is why the lining has to be the length it is.   We don't use as much stuffing for Golf Club Head Covers as one does for the Cuddlies Toys, because there has to be room for the Golf Club itself to fit into the interior of the Tiger Head - thus resulting in something looking like this - with a very soft, squashy feeling:

Next come the addition of the ears and embroidering of the nose.  We cut the plush close to the pile in the area where the nose will be sewn.  One can get plastic noses, I believe, but Isobel prefers to sew them on - they're softer to the touch in her view.  The Tiger Head is now almost complete.

Front View of the Tiger Head Cover
Here we have the Tiger Head cover shown from the rear, together with the Coldham Cuddlies label to provide the provenance for the finished article.

Then we fix the knitted handle around the top of the lining and Isobel sews it firmly in place around the neck of the Tiger Head.  She then sews the seam to form a tube - and because the knitting tension is quite loose, she is able to pull it over the Golf Club Head to finish looking like this:

With a close-up view of the finished Tiger Head Golf Club Head cover to end this section of the post.

Etsy Listing #168592299
While I am here,  however, we thought you might also like to see the other Golf Club Head Covers we have in stock at  As I said earlier, their construction is always the same, so there's no need to repeat the stages described earlier in this post.

First we have the Panda Bear Head Cover:

Etsy Listing #107241362
Then there is the Yogi Bear Golf Club Head Cover

Etsy Listing #107242111
Followed, finally, by the Golden Bear Head Cover

Etsy Listing #107240612
If any one wants to have a special Christmas Stocking Stuffer gift for their golf-mad partner or sibling, Isobel would be more than happy to provide one with any of the animal heads available in our Etsy shop (  These could include a Beaver, Badger/Wombat, Fox or Rabbit for starters.  They don't take long to produce - these Tiger Heads were created over three days last week-end for example, although the knitted handles had been done separately, and took about three days to do them both - so each finished item would probably require three days each to complete.

Right, that's enough for tonight.  Hope you are all having a great day/evening - depending on what time of the day you are reading this post.  See you soon, I hope.  Meanwhile, Goodnight and God Bless.  Your Friend - Cy Bear.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Tiger Head Golf Club Head Cover - latest Cuddly to hit the ground running

Hello Everyone:  Cy Bear here once again having been allowed to take over the introduction of this latest Golf Club Head Cover, which has been listed in our Shop at earlier today.

Etsy Listing #168592299
These Tiger Head Golf Club Head Covers are the result of a specific request from a customer with a young golf-mad friend.  One of them is destined to be his Christmas present this year.  Given the association of Tigers with Golf, it is anticipated that they could prove a popular addition to the Coldham Cuddlies Family.

The Tiger Head on the right of the picture is stuffed with one of the knitting yarn cones we use for keeping our Glove Puppets upright - which is why it looks somewhat shorter than the Tiger Head in the foreground.   Finding suitable means of displaying our collection of Golf Club Head Covers en masse is presently exercising Isobel's mind - especially with our next Craft Fair coming up in two weeks' time.

This Orange Animal Print Plush Tiger Head uses as its template the heads already used for our Long Legged Tigger Toys  ( ).   They are made specifically for covering the Heads of Wooden Driver Golf Clubs.  Each one is lined and lightly stuffed to provide extra protection for the woods.  The knitted handle cover is sufficiently long to provide protection for the metal club handles against chafing caused by movement within the Golf Club Bag, while being caddied around the golf course.  This Orange Tiger Head  Plush cover is modelled on a No.1 Wood, but has sufficient room for bigger clubs if required.

The Club Handle cover is Handmade, using Black and Orange Double Knitting yarns, using  a Double Rib striped pattern for the 12" (31cm) length of the cover, and the Tiger Head is lined with White Calico sheeting material,.  The ColdhamCuddlies label is attached inside the head to provide the requisite provenance.

The weight is negligible, so they will easily travel at the Standard Small Packet rate charged by UK Royal Mail.  They will also not add greatly to a larger Toy's travel charge if they are required to accompany them.

These Golf Club Head Covers are a popular branch of the ColdhamCuddlies Family - born of a suggestion made by a Lady Golfer of my acquaintance, who is this year's Lady Captain of her local Golf Club in Nottinghamshire, England, UK.

The No.1 Driver Club has been donated to enable to me produce other Head Covers in future, and the original  owner has been good enough to provide a customer test of this particular cover.  His verdict?

 "Splendid:  my hand (a big fist!) fits in comfortably:  it means a bigger club than this one will have no trouble in fitting in either.  The knitted handle demonstrates sufficient elasticity to be able to cope with getting a regular dousing when the elements are not being helpful when playing on the golf course!"

This is a sideways, frontal view of the Tiger Head Golf Club Cover before his nose had been embroidered and his ears fitted;  and to finish the photograph show here is one of the Tiger Heads modelling the full length Golf Club.

Isobel intends to give a blow-by-blow description of how these Tiger Heads Golf Club covers are created - as is her wont - sometime in the next few days.

Meanwhile, she's off to cut out and sew two replacement Panda Glove Puppets (Etsy Listing #91356474) - one of which now has his Forever Home allocated (in Queensland, Australia).  Earlier this week, we received an order from MrsEB - a fellow Member of one of the Etsy Teams Isobel frequents each day.  Not only will Panda Glove Puppet be travelling to Sunnybank Hills (isn't that a wonderfully evocative place name - especially when I look outside my window and see the rain teeming down here in the UK!!), but so too will one Pink and White Baby Bunny (Etsy Listing #166947912) and Grandma White Rabbit (Etsy Listing #721688846).  I'll leave Isobel to tell you the exact proposed  distribution of the trio in her next post - but meanwhile, I'll end this one by wishing you all a great week-end.

Your Friend - as always.  Cy Bear

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Poppy Appeal Craft Fair - November 2, 2013

Hello there Everyone!

Cy Bear on hand to tell you all about the first of our Craft Fairs for November 2013.  It was held yesterday morning (November 2) here at The Hospital of St. John in aid of the Royal British Legion Women's Section Poppy Day Appeal, and although I'm unable to tell you exactly how much was raised in total, I'm pleased to tell you that the ColdhamCuddlies stall covered their costs and Isobel was able to donate over and above the agreed sum to the Event Organiser.

Setting up the Table, with part of our garden in the background
The occasion was the official introduction in Heytesbury of the whole 2013 ColdhamCuddlies Novelty Slipper Collection, and here is a photograph of their specific display section on the table.

Isobel asks me to tell everyone that the pictures may seem a little over-exposed, but as you can see we have a big window behind the stall, and at the time the stall was being set up, the sun was blazing in! (I'm told that can add to the difficulties of any photographer, let alone one of the "hold up and click" school to which Isobel belongs!  However, we both felt it gives everyone an idea of what the slipper collection in its entirety looks like.)

They aroused a great deal of interest, and were it not for the fact that the potential buyers did not know the exact size of potential recipients of the slippers as gifts, Isobel would have made at least three further sales, to the ones she already has on her books.  All the customers said they'd be back:  we shall wait to see - and in any case, we do have another fair coming up in the Residents' Hall on November 23, and the likelihood is that many of the visitors will be repeat customers at that event, so we may be able to report definite sales at that event!  As the proceeds of that event are scheduled to be given in aid of the St. John's Residents' Social Fund, any donations may be split between the two events, depending on the eventual results!

This shows the ColdhamCuddlies stall fully set up ready for the customers to arrive.  You can get an idea of part of our lovely garden behind the standing-up Cuddlies, prominent among them being Charlie Coyote (Etsy Listing 67039032) and his friend The Country Gentleman Fox (Etsy Listing 59809283), not to mention three of our Cuddlies Bears (they have separate listings, and would take too long for me to give them here!) and the three Tigger Long-Legs (Etsy Listing108763404) - who Isobel tells me are the "very devil to keep sitting down on a shiny window sill"!

One of Isobel's fellow Womens' Section  members offered to take a picture of her on duty at the stall, and if she is looking a little flushed - it's because she had only just managed to get everybody arranged, and the sun was pouring in through the window behind her and she was somewhat hot and bothered as a result! Two of the recently replaced Baby Koalas (Etsy Listing 55190188) found Forever Friends - as First Christmas presents to great-grand children of one St. John's Residents and her sister-in-law. The latter lady also purchased one Black and White Plush Baby Bunny (Etsy Listing # 55187979) for another great grandchild who has just been welcomed to the World.  (So another two Koalas will need to be replaced!)

The ColdhamCuddlies stall was just one of several other stalls, and this one featured Christmas cards and other Christmas novelty gifts - presented by the House Supervisor at St. John's and her friend, and fellow staff member at The Hospital.  They travel around the local area visiting many other Craft fairs over the year.  MrsHJ (the former) often tells Isobel about them, and sometimes is able to arrange for us to be invited to take part in them at the same time.

In the background to this photograph, you can get a glimpse of what is called "The Old Building" (which has been in this spot since 1762).  This houses several apartments on two floors (without elevators!) - so those on the upper floors have to be fit and able to cope with the rigours of every day life!  (I'm so glad I'm merely a Bear made from Beaver Lamb - who gets carried around whenever he is moved from room to room!)  To differentiate from this building, the Resident's Hall is located in "The New Buildings"  (which were erected in 1972!).

Then there was a home baked cake stall - without which no worthwhile Craft Fair (or indeed any local produce stall) is complete was being staffed by another Women's Section member - aided and abetted by her grand daughter, undoubtedly being lined up as a future member of the Heytesbury Womens' Section Royal British Legion, which last year celebrated being in existence for 70 years- thus one of the oldest, if not the eldest, branch in the U.K.

 (The lawn area behind this table is enclosed in a sort of cloister like erection - which form a row of studio bungalows, and another two-storey complex - which were built some few years after The New Buildings.  There is a small Chapel and more apartments housed in these, together with The Administrator's office, but these latter part of The Hospital of St. John cannot be seen in this photograph).

These goodies had all been donated for the major Raffle during the Craft Fair (there was also a Tombola Stall, which featured many similar, but smaller items) and then there was a Raffle for this cake - made by Branch Secretary (MrsMP), who is also Heyetesbury Village Poppy Appeal Organiser.  She's a busy lady! The cake was won by one of the St. Johns' Residents and comprised a sponge cake, filled with clotted cream and home made strawberry jam) and decorated with sugar craft poppies.

Observant readers of this post might notice the lack of curtains to all the windows.  This is because the ones that normally hang at all of them are presently away being re-lined.  The sun had bleached the linings, which had been up for many years, and the Trustees decided it was time that the curtains should be replaced.  However, the outer layers were in such good condition, that it was felt all that really needed attention was the linings.  As always, when one does something like this in a piecemeal fashion, the task takes longer than it was originally envisaged!  (I  suspect the Residents (and no doubt the Trustees) are hoping they will be completed by the time the Christmas Carol Service to be celebrated in our Chapel and following Residents' Tea is held in the Hall on December 13th.)

All the remaining ColdhamCuddlies toys and slippers are now tucked away in their various cupboards in our flat, awaiting their next outing on November 23rd.  Meanwhile, Isobel has begun to make some Tiger Head Golf Club Covers, so she can fulfill an order she has had for some time from MrsHJ (mentioned earlier in this post) who wants  to give it as a Christmas present to a young acquaintance whose surname is Wood (As in Tiger Woods ... doubtless our wonderful Followers will be familiar with the name, if not the actual person.  Afraid it doesn't mean too much to me).

Although Isobel has a stock of Golf Club handle covers ready for use, she has had to knit some different ones for this particular assignment.  Not only did MrsHJ want a stripey cover, but in the intervening period since getting the order, Isobel had used up all the Tiger print plush fabric we had and when she ordered some more - it was a completely different colour.  Isobel is going to make at least two Tiger Golf Club Head Covers so we can list one in the shop, while providing MrsHJ with hers, but she may also have to make another set of Tiger Head slippers, because we're going to have to be able to display them as an alternative to the one already on offer in our shop, which will have to become a OAAK (One of a Kind) Cuddly, which they already are really - because their faces are somewhat different from the original pair - who were sold while Isobel was away in Nottinghamshire recently.  Here is what they now look like!

Etsy Listing #156629069
.So, I'll close this now and enable Isobel to get sewing - and checking out the Shop and her Etsy teams, which she likes to do at least once a day.  Until the next time, do hope you are all keeping well.

Your friend, Cy Bear.