Friday, 28 February 2014

More Cuddlies find Forever Homes

Hello Everyone.

Cy Bear here, after some time waiting for Isobel to get around to her blogging duties.  Afraid she's found out how to make something called Treasuries which means she has less time to do essential things like posting here.  However, I've finally shamed her into doing one today - because its 12 days since she told you about The Buchanan Wolves going to Tacoma, WA and also the Hay Wolves who are in our shop at

We've got some new members in the Coldham Cuddlies family - Piglets.  Isobel recently made five at the same time, three dressed in Green and White fabrics, and the other in Black and White material.

Etsy Listing #180104254
The Piglets dressed in Black and White are made with White Fleece, whereas the Pink Piglets (which match some big Pigs we sent to SnraCF in August 2013 ) are made with the same Pink Felt that the bigger ones were.  Isobel thinks that future Piglets - they weren't as difficult for her to make as she at first feared they might be - will be made with felt, because their features show up better.  It would be interesting to hear from our Followers what they would prefer.

The Piglet Twins - Boy in the middle and the Girl on the right - were sent off to Italy  on February 20th.  They had a very quick uneventful journey are we got a message from SnraCF that they arrived safely just four days after leaving the post Office in Warminster where Isobel had sent them from! Almost quicker than it can sometimes take for a small packet to get from one part of the UK to the next!!

Before the Piglet Twins left us, the usual farewell ceremonies took place and Isobel took this photograph of them sitting on my lap before they got wrapped up in tissue paper and bubblewrap so that they could travel with a few less bumps!

Some days before the Piglets were sent away to their Forever Home, my friend Mr. White Rabbit was wrapped up and sent off to his Forever Home in Amherst, NY, USA.  MrsJD had contacted Isobel and asked us to send him so she could give him to her son, LD.  He was wrapped up in the usual way and left us on February 10, so it's likely he could still be on his way - because while we've had lots and lots of rain - which has been incredibly depressing for a Bear to watch from my window every day - the folks in the USA, especially where MrsJD lives have been getting lots of snow I am told.  Now I don't  really know what snow is - but I am told it is white, cold and can get icy, which then becomes dangerous to walk on.  That would mean, I suppose, that postmen in the USA  find it difficult to deliver the mail on time.  So, we hope White Rabbit will soon get to his Forever Home and that we'll be able to show you photographs of him together with his new Forever Friend.

When Isobel is not on the computer, she's now busy sewing replacements for those Cuddlies who found Forever Homes or, in the case of our Novelty Slippers, were purchased during the Craft Fairs Isobel attended before Christmas.  Two Baby Hedghogs have now been made and put into their nests (if that is where Hedgehogs live (Etsy Listing #95653745) and two pairs of Fox Head Small Child's Slippers have been cut out and are in the throes of being sewn together.

Isobel is trying out what she calls her production line system.  She cuts out more than one Toy or pair of Slippers at a time and when she has got all the pieces together, she then sews each side on all four slippers, then moves on to the soles, and then puts them together one at a time.  Rather than making one slipper at a time.  She believes it's quicker.  I wouldn't know  about that, of course, being just a Bear - but I'll believe her!

Right, that's all for tonight.  I believe Isobel does have another post she is working on and we'll try not let quite so much time pass before we publish it.  Meanwhile, I wish everyone a really good week end.

Your friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The story of Special Cuddlies - Nick and Agatha Buchanan Wolf : Introduction

Copernicus and Agatha Buchanan Wolf
The entire credit for these two Associate Cuddlies - who for reasons that will become obvious shortly - will not be listed in the shop at, begins with an Etsy convo received from J Anne Fullerton, a nom-de-plume for one MrsKN, with whom I liaised as the Wolves were created.  The enquiry was to the effect:  could I create some Wolves, that looked a little like my Lady and Gentlemen Foxes - specifically The Tartan Foxes (whose dresses were made with the Buchanan Tartan  ( and Beau Fox, a One of a Kind version of my Gentleman Foxes, with a Blue Velvet jacket,  and who sported Apricot Jodhpur type trousers ( ).

When the enquiry was received I was away from base - having a splendid holiday with daughter Clare and her husband, Alan in Nottinghamshire - but in principle I could see no reason for not being able to and replied to that effect.  My curiosity having been aroused, I requested more information and was directed to the following link:

Realising the significance of being asked to actually create in Cuddly form the main characters of "The Shepherds Moon Saga" - MrsKN's partially-published trilogy, I decided to take things slowly, especially as I  then was 185 miles away from my patterns, fabric and sewing materials.  MrsKN (whom I will refer to as J.Anne Fullerton (JAF) in future) was more than happy, as she too wanted to be sure of what she might be letting herself in for!  Thus, we agreed to keep in touch and I would revert upon returning to base in Heytesbury, Wiltshire.  That was in October 2013

Upon my return to The Hospital of St. John, I was still deep in Novelty Slipper production, with several Craft Shows scheduled, as well as creating/replacing the existing Cuddlies from the Shop. However, I decided that I should invest in the purchase of a copy of "Birthright", the first part of JAF'S planned trilogy,   I felt I really could not make intelligent suggestions as to how to proceed with JAF's commission unless I had an idea of whom or what  was involved.  

First version of Agatha - her ears were not quite right!
Now the subject of the Books is the history of some important werewolves and although not an afficionado of the genre, when the book arrived I have to say it was a rattling good read!  The main characters are Copernicus Buchanan (Nick to his friends) and Agatha Buchanan, his wife when in their human guises - hence the connection with the Tartan Foxes, dressed in Buchanan tartan.   Difficult to put down, I could become a fan of the genre and am looking forward with interest to see what happens next!  I'd recommend anyone wanting a fast-paced historical tale to while away some hours on a cold, windy, wet afternoon to dip into this book:  they won't be disappointed. 

 Although an avid reader in my time, these days I find that I fall asleep more often than not, and am better spending my time awake sewing toys, with the TV in the background!  However, "Birthright" did keep me awake for longer than many a book I've attempted since maturity dictated this change in my leisure habits.

Once I'd read the book, a selection of fabric swatches were airmailed to JAF to give her an idea of what was in stock, and two were selected.  However, by then I was deep into the Craft Bazaar season, as well as needing to fulfill Christmas 2013 orders (and their replacements), so it was not until the New Year that I was fully able to get down to Buchanan Wolf business.  By then, one of the selected fabrics had been used for another project and I was unable to replace it - but I was confident that a new faux fabric I had sourced from my fabric suppliers in Frome, Somerset - Fine Quality Feather Company - would more than satisfy JAF's requirements.  I didn't propose to send it to her, because she needed to have a surprise when the final product arrived!!

She was kind enough to agree to that modus operandi, so  I then made two Wolf Heads, using the Fox pattern. (The same pattern has been used to create our Coyotes, as well - Etsy Listings #61408931 and  #670390032). Now the Grey Faux Fur fabric selected has a considerably thicker pile than the Plush fabrics I use for the Foxes/Coyotes, and the initial effort looked incredibly like a Teddy Bear, but with pointed ears! That is, until I got clipping around the muzzle with my scissors.  That took some courage to begin with, because it's a rather final thing to do! And it's not something I'd ever done to this extent before, either. However, being careful in my clipping, the resulting face did indeed look like a Wolf - to my relief and excitement.

Photographs of my efforts were sent, and JAF gave me the go ahead. except she did not really like the green plastic eyes that I had given what eventually became Hector Hay Wolf - the subject of our last post earlier this week. JAF'S preference was for blue eyes for her male character, Nick,, and yellow/gold eyes for Agatha, his wife (something I was unable to definitely supply).  She asked if there would be problem if she looked around to see if she could find what she had in mind.

Obviously I had no problem with that - and a few days later, she came back with the link to another Etsy Shop, which specialises in hand-painted glass eyes for toys of all varieties.(   Now I did have blue eyes in stock and put them into the second Gentleman's head.  While waiting for the gold eyes to arrive, I got on with Agatha's body/head(s).  I made  two of her as well, so that JAF could decide which one of each character would eventually go to Tacoma, WA - their intended Forever Home.

When the golden eyes arrived, they were accompanied by some blue eyes - the quality of which were a better match for Nicks's head than the pair I'd already put in.  So, a pair of yellow eyes were fixed into the Agatha head, and the other one was fitted with my usual amber eyes and eventually became Hermione Hay Wolf  (also posted about here, recently).  So, I undid Nick's head (which  hadn't been attached to his body - as I had a feeling something like this might happen!), de-stuffed the head and managed to wrench off the plastic safety backing on the eyes, without damage to either (so they can be re-used somewhere else!).  The new blue eyes were attached, and the whole Nick and Agatha project could then proceed apace. (I was instructed by JAF to keep the other ones - for future requirements!!!!)

Hermione and Hector were completed first.  Then came Nick and Agatha - in exactly the same way all the dressed Cuddlies are created - so there's no point in repeating the production process here. However, instead of sewing Nick's finished jacket all the way around, the front was left open - so his Buchanan Tartan waistcoat could be displayed.  I did sew on a bronze button, and made a matching button hole - which will do up, but with difficulty - so it's to be hoped he will continue to be displayed "au casual", as it were!   The buttons on the waistcoat do actually line up in the finished version!  This picture was taken while Nick was in the production stages. 

Agatha's dress was made up in the Buchanan Tartan that had attracted JAF's  attention originally. As the Tartan Foxes all had bonnets, Agatha  also received one - even though JAF didn't request one.  Ladies of that generation (the Victorian era) never went anywhere outside without a hat on, and even if Agatha was unaccustomed to wearing such an accessory, I felt she would be incomplete without one.

Agatha with her bonnet, and also adjusted ears!
The Buchanan Tartan dress was decorated with two rows of green ric rac binding, sewn in place with yellow/gold French knots (to match her eyes), and to complete the outfit, her bloomers or pantaloons were made in pale green poplin, edged with white cotton trimming.

Once completed, Nick and Agatha were joined in the usual farewell photograph by Cy Bear - while I prepared the packaging that would, hopefully, ensure a comfortable journey to Tacoma, WA.

Their travel arrangements included an upgrade to the International Signed For Air Mail Package rate charged by UK Royal Mail - instead of the usual Standard Airmail Parcel rate most Cuddlies normally get sent to their Forever Homes. 

The latter, depending on where they are destined, can take as long as 4-5 weeks from date of posting.  Nick and Agatha arrived within 4 Days of leaving Warminster Post Office. (Royal Mail state that they try to deliver within 5 Working Days, anywhere in the World).   The cost of the upgrade was covered in this case,  because in ordering the two different Fox versions, rather than working with just one Custom Order (I was unfamiliar with how that worked on Etsy - although am now somewhat more conversant with it!) JAF had paid for two separate Toy's shipping charges.  Although JAF was quite prepared to take her chance with the slower method (and get the refund instead), she left the final decision to me.  

The Wolf Sisters - Hermione Hay and Agatha Buchanan
As the order process had taken from September 2013 until the date of dispatch on February 4, 2014, I really felt that JAF had been patient enough - so decided on the upgrade.  I'm so glad I did, because the following message from Tacoma, WA was waiting for me when I opened up my computer on Tuesday, February 11:

"Nick and Agatha arrived today. They are, in a word, astounding. I could not be more pleased with the quality of your craftsmanship. I'll be leaving great reviews for you. I will try to get good pics this weekend for you. Now I'm excited to see the rest of the family! I'll be in touch soon. Thank you again."

The Sisters, side by side - and one with hat and one, without!
Because they travelled so fast, the Etsy system does not allow for the Review that JAF promised to be written as yet.  So, I look forward to that - as well as hearing what "the family" is going to entail!  However, as the Reviews are not available to our  Followers on this blog, I thought I'd share the message!  Once the photographs of Nick and Agatha in their Forever Home are received, they'll be incorporated in another post,

So, for tonight - Good Bye and God Bless!   Isobel

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Here Comes Hector Hay Wolf - to join the ColdhamCuddlies Family

Greetings Everyone - Cy Bear dropping by to introduce the newest member of the ColdhamCuddlies Family to you.

Etsy Listing # 179170142
Hector Hay Grey Wolf is the Partner of  Hermione Hay Browney Gold Wolf ( Etsy Listing #178799382), who featured in Isobel's post here earlier this week. This photograph was taken of him standing on top of the desk in the Workroom here at The Hospital of St. John, and not the normal place where our photographs are taken.  Still, the colourful background actually shows Hector up better against the cream wall I think!

He has a Brown Tweed Jacket, with a tan satin lining, which covers a waistcoat made in the same Red Hay Tartan worn by Hermione.  Hector's White Felt Cravat, and double-button jacket hides this.  The waistcoat shown in the next picture  is actually the Buchanan Tartan, and made for a Custom Order.

 (Either fabric is readily available on request - as is the finished style of the jacket - and the collar.  The gentlemen Cuddly toys usually have a cravat at their necks, and this collar style tends to be used for the Ladies)

This picture is actually Mr. Buchanan Wolf  - as his jacket was being sewn into place.  He and his wife will be the subjects of our next post - because Hector and Hermione were made first so that Isobel could see how to make the Buchanans for MrsKN of Tacoma, Washington.  Isobel mentioned that we were delaying saying too much about them until we had received confirmation of their arrival, because we didn't want to spoil the surprise for her. 

 However, I'm delighted to say that we've heard from the USA that both Wolves travelled safely and we can expect some photographs of them in their Forever Home "at the week-end".  So I expect Isobel will wait until the pictures arrive before we tell you about Nick and Agatha Buchanan Wolf - as we have called them.  We really are excited at how quickly their journey was accomplished - Isobel  posted them from Warminster  on Friday, February 7 and they arrived in Tacoma WA on Tuesday, February 11. Now they did have an upgrade - from Standard Airmail Parcel rate to International Signed For rate - which does account for the rapid journey.

This is the second time we've used the upgrade route recently, and Isobel is thinking of introducing it as our normal postal delivery offer.  If she does, it will mean an extra £5.30 charge to The Americas, Canada, South Africa and Asia or £5.80 to the rest of the World (Russia,  Australia and New Zealand.  This will be added to the normal postal charge we show in our shop at Customers will be offered the choice, and should they decide to use the Standard Parcel rate, the difference will be refunded immediately the Toy leaves for his or her Forever Home.  But when a parcel travels so quickly to the furthest side of the USA in just 4 days from the date of posting, when the normal journey can take up to 4-5 weeks sometimes, I really don't think there is a problem in the decision!  However, THE CUSTOMER knows best and will have that option.

Now, having digressed somewhat, let us return to Hector.  Measuring 18" (40.55 cms) from tip of his ears to the soles of his boots, Hector's Head, Paws and Tail are made from a Flecked Grey Long Pile Faux Fur fabric sourced from my usual supplier.  Hector's eyes are Green Plastic, backed with a metal safety washer (an innovation, since Isobel discovered them in our haberdashery shop in Warminster recently).    His trousers are made in the jodhpur style favoured by English country riding gentlemen and fit into Brown Leather boots, made from an off cut of hand bag quality leather - which did take some sewing.  (It's a lot heavier quality than the usual glove quality leather we use for the Gentlemen's boots.)

He has a black  plastic nose - another new departure for the ColdhamCuddlies, who have all previously sported embroidered noses in either black or brown double knitting yarn.  The thicker pile of the current faux fur we are currently offering actually makes the plastic nose option a better one - Isobel spends too much  time loosening the pile from the needle and thread!  (Her language is sometimes not as ladylike as I'd like to hear when that happens, too!)

Like all COLDHAMCUDDLIES, Hector is stuffed with Polyester Fibrefil which meets all international safety standards, and he is made in a totally smoke free environment.

He is a Toy for all ages, but would make an ideal Forever Friend for Toddlers 3 years upwards - without any age limit.  Adults are more than welcome to adopt him - as has happened to his cousins, Nick and Agatha Buchanan Wolf.  

Hector's weight of 325 g (circa 12 ozs) enables him to travel as a Standard  Parcel worldwide - subject to the provisios outlined previously, which may shortly become Isobel's Shipping Policy for the Shop (

Isobel is now busy trying out another addition to the Cuddlies Family - Piglets.  They are going to be the smallest Cuddly on offer (being only 5 inches high - 10.25 cms).  They will be dressed, be Boy or Girl, and at present are in pieces waiting to be stuffed.  Isobel has had the pattern since she first began making Toys in the 1950's, but has actually never made them.  So, she's cut out 5 (three Girls - because we have a Custom Order for one) and two Boys).  It will be interesting to see how Isobel's arthritic fingers cope with their size.

I'm getting ready for some "expressions of feeling"!

Good night and good bye for the time being. It's been nice to be able to tell you about Hector.  Cy  Bear

Sunday, 9 February 2014

After all the palaver - allow me to introduce Hermione Hay Wolf

Etsy Listing # 178799382

Hermione Hay Wolf is the first new 2014 addition to the COLDHAMCUDDLIES family of soft, safe Collectable Toys.  She is based on the pattern used to make our popular Foxes and Coyotes, but with the fabric used to create her head, tail and paws, she is both furrier and slightly bigger.

Measuring 17 inches (40.3 cms) from sole of shoes to the tip of her ears, Hermione is dressed in Hay Tartan (confirmed by Strathmore Woolen Company Ltd - from whom a recent purchase to supplement my depleted stock was made).  The dress has been decorated with two rows of Red Ric Rac trimming, fixed by yellow french knots embroidered at regular intervals around the hem.  French knots, in red and yellow yarn, have been used to decorate her White Felt Collar.

She has a Red Felt Bonnet, trimmed with Yellow Bias Binding which is tied under her chin.  This the only piece of clothing that can be removed.    Hermione also has a pair of White Nylon bloomers, edged with a White Cotton Trim.  They are fixed at the ankle, over her Black Felt Shoes.

She is designed to sit - although it may be possible to get her to stand for a short period, if her Bushy Furry Tail is balanced against a firm background.  Her ideal spot would be on the back of an armchair, the arm of the chair,  or on a  bed pillow - depending on where she would be played with most.

Her Head, Tail and Paws are made from a piece of Brown/Gold Plush, which is very soft and tactile to handle. She has no sharp edges, so is a Safe Toy for all Ages (but probably would be best introduced to a Little Person aged 3 years upwards)   She has Amber Plastic eyes, complete with metal safety backing and has a plastic Black Nose (the first time I've used such an add-on).   All previous Cuddlies have had their noses embroidered with Black or Brown DK yarn - as appropriate.

This shot was taken before she's had her bonnet made, and the Ric Rac trimming had also yet to be added.

Hermione has been made in a totally smoke free environment and is stuffed with Polyester Fibre which meets all international safety standards.

Weighing in at circa 285 g (11 ozs) she would qualify for travel by UK Royal Mail Standard Packet rate.  (Air Mail to All Overseas destinations circa  £5.70 GBP) or within the UK £2.70GBP First Class.

Buyers are requested to bear in mind that I no longer drive and am reliant on a rural 'bus service which enables access to a Post Office capable of handling packets of indeterminate size and weight, as well as international post, on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays of any one week.  Thus, if a deadline is involved, please allow sufficient time for me to meet your dateline needs.

Hector Hay Wolf will be listed and a post published about him in the next day or so.  I'm waiting for the Buchanan Wolves, presently en route to their Forever Home in Tacoma, WA to reach their destination, as MrsKN the Buyer has yet to see the finished product.  I don't want any early revelation to spoil her anticipation - which hopefully will meet her expectations.

Meanwhile, I've cut out and begun sewing 5 Piglets - three Girls and two Boys.  The Three Girls will be paraded on a Piglet Catwalk for the benefit of my Customer in Italy and then she too will be sent off to await the arrival in April of her Forever Friend.  The remaining four will then be listed in our shop at

That's it until the  next time.  Hope everyone likes Hermione as much as I enjoyed making her.  It was Hector's boots that were - as ever - the problem, but that was eventually sorted!