Sunday, 29 March 2015

A New patient flies in - from a long way away

Hello again, Everyone!

This week, I'm very excited to tell you that we've got a new Patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic.

 Meet Audrey Bear - from Portland, Oregon,  U.S.A.  

As you can see, Audrey is missing a leg - thanks to an altercation with the family dog.  That's not the first time I've heard that can happen.  When keeping my new Friends in the Clinic company as they wait for their treatment to happen, I am always very thankful that I don't share space with a Dog.  I believe they are very nice "people" - in their own way.  But I like being "king pin" in my own space in the flat with Isobel.  It's a lot less dangerous!

Audrey's Best Friend is one EthanC, and he sent Isobel a very nice hand-written message asking her to look after her for him.  He told us that she's been his "favourite since I was very young".  Hairy Bear No.11 and I are doing what we can to make sure she isn't homesick.  With permission from EthanC and his Mum, CS, we're going to do that for about 3 weeks, which is when Isobel thinks she'll be able to get round to her treatment.  

This picture was taken when she first arrived and had been unpacked from the wrapping in which she had travelled.  She very soon made herself at home with us

It's not going to take long once the therapy begins, because fortunately, we've got some Fleece Fabric in a colour quite similar to Audrey's frilly garland.  Isobel has discussed possible treatment with CS, and we'll be telling you all about it once Audrey is on her way home.  Meanwhile, here's a photo of Audrey sitting on the projected fabric which will be used to make her look almost as good as new. Given that Audrey is about 11 years' old, and obviously very much loved, we're delighted with the match.  

Meanwhile, the Foxes and Wolves I told you about in my last chat have all been listed and we hope they will find Adoptive Homes soon.  Isobel has cut out and sewn two Purple Fleece Rabbits and two Blue Fleece Rabbits (as mentioned last week too), and she is in the process of building them into playable Toys.  Then she's going to get working on the two remaining Puppets we're due to send to JS in Tulsa, OK.   

Until next time, then - do hope everyone has a good week.  Your friend, Cy Bear.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Monday, 23 March 2015

Completed Foxes and Wolves enter the Coldham Cuddlies World

Greetings Everyone!  

Your Friend, Cy Bear at the helm this evening - and delighted to be able to introduce four new COLDHAMCUDDLIES to the Shop -  

Literally, Isobel has only just finished them so they have not yet been listed on - that's a job for tomorrow.  However, because the last Fox was proving somewhat troublesome - the boots and coat were proving difficult to fit apparently - we missed our usual Sunday afternoon blogging session, so I'm being allowed to post something for you all to read tonight.

You saw two of the four in our post here two weeks ago.  Since then one more Fox and another Wolf have been completed, and they all now look like this:

Allow me to introduce you to them, starting with the Fox on the left of the picture.

Isobel has made them from the same template used for all our Foxes and Wolves, and they just differ in size, depending on the fabrics employed.  Instead of the White Felt for the jodhpur trousers, a beige corduroy fabric has been substituted here.  This Mr. Fox has a Buchanan tartan waistcoat, yellow cravat and a red jacket (or Hunting Pink as those who ride to hounds like to call it).  The jacket is fixed by a golden button, held in place with a hand made button loop.  The boots are made with brown glove quality leather, with tops ending in tassels.  His face, ears and paws are made with our usual chestnut plush fabric, with the ear linings made from polyester silky fabric.

He also has a black plastic nose.  We've taken to using plastic noses on some of the Toys, and Isobel can't make her mind up as to which look she prefers.  Two of the Toys being introduced this evening have these as facial features:  the other two have their noses embroidered with black double knitting yarn.  We'd be interested to hear what our Followers, Friends and new Readers prefer.

Next, on the second left, is Mr. Wolf, dressed in a plaid jacket, crushed strawberry pink tweed jodhpur trousers, with black suede leather boots, a mauve felt waistcoat and pink felt cravat.  His nose is embroidered and he has green plastic safety eyes, which we feel look more wolf like than the amber coloured eyes we've used for the Foxes.  His jacket is fastened with a silver button, held in place with a hand made button loop, which does undo to show off the waistcoat.  But that's as far as this, or any of the other three Boy Toys undress.  

This Wolf Toy has head, paws and ears made from a fabric called "Silver Fox" plush fur and his boots are a grey suede leather  with a blue streak through them. His nose is embroidered with the same black double knitting yarn used for Mr. Fox on the left.   (I'll let you into a secret here:  this is actually the "wrong" side of the piece of leather, but when Isobel came to make the boots, she felt that the blue, "right" side was a bit strong for the whole outfit and the grey went better with the outfit as a whole.  You can see the original blue colour since the tassels have been made by cutting the boot turnover to achieve the finished result.)

Then we come to the second Mr. Wolf, splendid in his aquamarine blue felt jacket - whom you have already met in our previous posting.  

His jodhpur trousers use the original white felt that Isobel's vintage pattern called for.   (This version was printed in the early 1970's) and underneath his jacket, Mr. Wolf has a pale blue linen waistcoat - lined in grey-brown satin, as are all the Toys' waistcoats.  He has a dark blue felt cravat and has green plastic safety eyes.  The jacket has a silver button with the usual handmade loop to hold the jack in place while he is on display

Finally, we come to another Mr. Fox and his jacket is a little different.  It's made with the same crushed strawberry pink tweet fabric as one of the Wolves has for trousers , but since the tweed is a very much thicker material, Isobel decided not to line this one.  It would have made the jacket far to bulky if she had done so.  The result was that when sewn together, the jacket was a lot larger than the other three Toys' coats (less seams involved - whatever they are) so instead of the loop fastening, Isobel made two button holes and purchased some lovely black buttons, which have a slight pattern on.  You can't see the pattern, unless you have a magnifying glass, but the buttons can be undone, so that you see Mr. Fox's magnificent waistcoat - which has a red background, with a Liberty print in a blue floral pattern. His trousers are made in a red heavily woven fabric, that has a basket weave effect.   His outfit is completed with a pair of black suede boots, and his nose is one of the embroidered variety.

As I said before, these four new Cuddlies will be listed during the week and thus be officially introduced to the World.  Meanwhile, they're occupying one of the chairs in the living-room here, because Isobel is hoping she will be able to take outdoor shots for the publicity photographs.  Clare's garden, three doors up the road from here, has apparently got some lovely places where Isobel thinks the Foxes and Wolves will show up well.  Now we've just got to wait for suitable weather for the shots to be taken.  At the moment, that looks as though it might happen on Wednesday.

Next on the production schedule are a couple of Fleece Rabbits, with their white chests - both destined for "The Artful Buttoner" - the craft shop where one Purple Rabbit has already been sold, together with one of the small  Rabbits Baby. (It's also where the new buttons came from Isobel has recently purchased more Blue Fleece, but it's a slightly different shade of blue from the pastel ones we currently have in the Shop, and she's interested to see what a Rabbit made from this new fabric will look like.  Pictures will of course appear when they're ready to be sold.

Then, it's back to the Puppet making for the Tulsa Puppeteer, JS.  Fabrics have now been selected, and the plan is to make a prototype of the Cat Puppet, as the pattern that has been chosen is not one Isobel has made before.  As you know, before launching any new Cuddly, she likes to have a dry-run, and the proposed Cat Puppet  is no exception.  

So, that's it for this week.  So nice to be back with you again.  Hope you're all well, and looking forward to the Spring.  Our clocks go forward this week-end, I've heard - which I think means we're supposed to be entering "Summer Time".  I'll believe that when I see some proper sunshine coming through the bed room windows onto my daytime sitting area!

Until then, this is your Friend, Cy Bear signing off.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Latest Weekly Bulletin from Coldham Cuddlies

Good afternoon Everyone:
Cy Bear is taking another week off from posting - or rather, I've decided  to do it today, so that I can get it posted and duly publicised (by posting everywhere I can think of - Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Etsy Team Chat Threads and so on) and then get on with finishing off the third of the Fox/Wolf replacements.
Two of them are now complete - waiting to be listed.  Have yet to decide whether they will have names, or just be listed as Fox or Wolf (as appropriate).  
It never ceases to amaze me how two Toys, made from the same pattern, and utilising similar weight fabrics, can end up looking so different from each other in size.  However, that I suppose is the point, and unique selling point, for Home Made cuddly toys.
The third (out of the four that Cy Bear posted about a couple of weeks ago  is almost there as you can see  -
This is the second wolf, and the pink felt - on which the tail is laid - is destined to be used as the fabric for Wolf 2's scarf, which will cover the white empty space you see in the unfinished Toy
With any luck, he should be complete by end of play today, or certainly tomorrow.  (When selecting fabrics for the Cuddlies, I fear gender trendy colours do not play a part.  I tend to select them on the basis of what goes best, from what I currently have in the fabric supply cupboard).
Meanwhile, as a follow-up to last week's post, when I  told you about our expansion into selling in "The Artfull Buttoner", the newly opened craft shop here in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, I learned on Friday - when I dropped in to see how things were going - that our Purple Fleece Rabbit
 has been successfully adopted, and was last seen departing the premises with his head looking out of a carrier bag borne by his new Best Friend.  (He will be replaced just as soon as Fox No2 is done and dusted, by the end of the week).  But, needless to say, I'm very excited by this unexpectedly fast development.  I've signed a three-month contract, and will be exhibiting the Rabbits I told you about last week, until the week after Easter.  Then, I think it will be a matter of taking a different selection of the other Cuddlies in - probably on a two-weekly basis.  
On the Tulsa Puppet front, some more photographs of how the Puppet Bodies have been transformed into useable Puppets by JS, and I hope, very soon, to be able to show them here in a series of posts illustrating how they are all now looking in their home surroundings.  I do like to keep up with my Toys and am looking forward to sharing the news with you all.
Then there was another unexpected development over the last week.  A lady from Portland, Oregon contacted me to see if I could repair her son's beloved Teddy Bear, who had come off badly in an encounter with the family dog, just before Christmas.  He now only has one leg!  (Alas, the relationship with dogs and Teddy Bears is a necessarily fraught one - especially these days with the tendency for folks to give their canine friends Cuddly Toys to play with.  How is a sensible dog to know the difference between his Teddy Bear and the one his Best Human Friend plays (and/or sleeps with) on a regular basis?)  Even though I pointed out that the distance between Oregon and Nottinghamshire could well render the idea uneconomic, we have come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement, and Audrey, the Forever Friend of this lady's eleven-year old son, is hopefully en route to the UK for treatment.  Description of her individual therapy programme will of course form a future post - as happens when a Patient arrives in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic
Meanwhile, with all the sewing ahead of me, together with  my Etsy duties for the day to accomplish as well,  I'll close now.  Cy Bear (and Hairy Bear11) are still comfortably ensconced in the bedroom, and send their good wishes to one and all.
Until the next post - hope everyone has a good week.  Isobel
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Blog Anniversary - and the Cuddlies set off in a new direction.

Hello there Everyone:  
I'm giving Cy Bear a well-earned rest.  He's been doing his bit supervising the selection of a lot of the Coldham Cuddlies Rabbits Family prior to their leaving their Burrow in the hope of finding their respective Adoptive Homes - using a new medium.  They're off to be part of a real live Shop Display.  
Here are the selection of Baby Bunnies that have been on offer since the Christmas Carnival Craft Bazaar at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire on December 5th last year.  These, and some duplicates, are off tomorrow (together with two Girl Dressed Rabbits and the two Dressed Men Rabbits shown below.  (There are still some Baby Bunnies left in the Burrow, too)
and they are all accompanied by the four Fleece Rabbits shown below:
Making up the contingent is a Snowy March Hare (which can also be made up in the Plush fabric used for the Brown Rabbit shown here..

Just a few weeks ago, a new shop, called The Artful Buttoner, opened in Kirkby-in-Ashfield to supply the crafters of the Town and it's surrounding areas.  It turns out that Claire, the Proprietor, lives just around the corner from both Clare and I and not only is she offering the usual haberdashery items (yarns for embroidery and knitting, plus all the attendant supplies), but she wants to provide shelf-space to local Crafters who might like to exhibit and sell their wares too.  As the name implies, there are buttons galore to pick one's way through, as well as some beautiful buttonwork at which Claire herself excels.  There are also "Knit and Natter" Sessions on offer during the week, and Clare is already a regular attendee.

Naturally, Clare and I weren't slow in calling in (separately) to see what it was like. Clare (accompanied by Alanbeat me to it and was full of praise for the site, the friendly proprietor and her equally friendly assistant, and urged me to follow up on both their visit and my own burgeoning idea to see if I could possibly sell some Cuddlies in the Shop (after all the usual discounts or other business arrangements had been discussed).  

During my visit - where the Cuddlies were welcomed with very kind words - and with Easter rapidly approaching, I arranged to take in a selection of the Rabbits we have in our shop at - and leave her to display them as and where she wanted.  Last week, I called in to warn them of our impending arrival, and this coming Monday (9th March), the Boys and Girls shown above are going to see how they might do in this new environment. 

The arrangement is for them (and others who will be substituted after Easter) to try the arrangement for a three- month period - after which, we shall see what happens next.  The business offer is most acceptable from my point of view - and it means I've got more space to put the new Boy Foxes
Wolves and Rabbits that I'm in the process of replacing, making for the first time, and so on.

I'm not the first local Crafter to take advantage of the space on offer and  I've given the Ladies plenty to choose from - and the way Claire operates is that Crafters leave their handicraft with her, and she and Maggie, her assistant, move the goods around the Shop - so that when Customers come into the Shop, they never see the same thing twice.  One pays a very reasonable some for the privilege and Claire takes an equally reasonable percentage of every sale that results.  (This is the first time I've ventured into this selling arena, so am somewhat apprehensive of the outcome.  But nothing ventured, nothing won!)

Now, the anniversary mentioned in the title of this post is the Fourth Anniversary of the my first post here - which took place on March 11, 2011. (So, not an inappropriate time to be trying out something new in the promotion of the Coldham Cuddlies family)   Since then, we've received 31,665 page views, attracted 367 confirmed Followers - not to mention all the lovely folk who comment, on Google+,, Facebook and Twitter.  When tentatively beginning this experiment in 2011, I never dreamed it would get like this:  thanks to you, I still have the energy and motivation to carry on!  Cy Bear joins me - in his own inimitable way - in saying thank you too.

Right, I've now got to get on with the new Foxes and Wolves mentioned by Cy Bear in his last contribution.  One Fox is complete.  Because it has been sometime since I last made the Dressed Boys, the first one has taken longer than thought it would - but the second one (a Wolf - just so I don't get bored!) is coming along well.  Two more to go, and then I shall have to make some more Boy Rabbits.  

Going through the Burrow today showed there are still got a selection of Girls on offer.  They are more fun to make, I have to say - largely because I've made a rod for my own back with the Boys: by going "off-pattern" and giving the coats their own lining (even though they aren't visible!) and making the boots from leather (rather than felt, as stipulated in the original patterns).  I just feel they aren't properly finished without those additions and above all, COLDHAMCUDDLIES do like to offer value for money!

Until the next post - thanks again for all your support.  We could NOT do this without you.  Isobel
Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Dressed Toy Production Line - Foxes and Wolves as a start

Hello Everyone:
Cy Bear being allowed to chat with you once again.  Don't know how long this will last, but I'll take advantage of it every time it's offered!
Here's a picture of part of the production line mentioned in our title today.
You can see three (out of four that have been cut out and stuffed) bodies for more Cuddlies.  Two of them will be Dressed Boy Foxes and the other two are destined to become Dressed Boy Wolves
 (It has been decided that in future our male toys are going to be referred to as Boys (as opposed to Gentlemen - Isobel is wondering if that is why they are not finding as many Forever Homes as our undressed Cuddlies do.  Likewise, our formerly Lady Dressed Cuddlies will be known as Girls - for precisely the same reason.)
That red speck you can see on the right hand Girl's body comes off the frayed edges of the fabric that has already been cut out for some of the Boys' clothes. (That's going to mean that all seams in the items sewn will have to be over sewn to ensure the integrity of the clothing). Isobel decided to see how she would cope with doing multiples of the Toys, and spent a good three hours yesterday sorting herself out.
In the flat as we now have there's some sense to doing it this way:  because all the fabric is stashed away in two cupboards, down the corridor, near the front door.  So it saves time, energy and Isobel's legs to have all the selected fabrics in the living room (which then looks like another fabric store!).   She's just got another jacket to cut out, and all the leather boots, and then she can get going on the sewing.  These are all destined to replace Cuddlies who have found Forever Homes over recent weeks - either via the Etsy sales system or during the two Craft Sales we attended in November and December.  
 (There are 7 replacements in this batch - leaving another 9 to be made as quickly as possible thereafter - as Isobel does want to introduce some new Cuddlies this year if she can.  We've still got a couple of Tulsa-based Puppets to make yet, as you may recall:  the fabric for those is due to . arrive sometime this week.  All in all, Isobel is going to busy!)
These fabrics could end up as dresses for the Girls, who are likely to end up as two Foxes and One Wolf.  Our previous Wolves were made with faux fur and ended up looking a little out of balance - with heads and paws looking a bit big for their bodies.  Isobel has decided to see what they'll look like and is thinking of making them with this Silver Plush fabric - I think it looks rather nice: wonder what you think of it?
The Fox Plush pieces for the Boys have already been cut out and are piled up ready to be applied to the bodies and clothing piles.
The White plush showing at the top of the left pile is for the end of the the Boys brushes (tails to those of you unfamiliar with Foxes.  Boy Wolves for some reason don't have this differentiation from their Girl Friends).
The following pics show the other leather from which the Boys' boots could be made - the Girls have shoes made with felt, which allow their pantaloons to be fitted  more easily and look better under dresses.  (The decision has not yet been finalised - which is the way Isobel tends to work:  she often starts out with an idea in mind, and can change it as the Toy evolves.)

In case you're wondering, the blue-green leather will actually go very well with the jacket Isobel has already cut out for the fourth body.  All will be revealed in our next post!
Before I leave though - an update on the fate of  the Hairy Bears.  The day after I told you last week that we were waiting to hear which one of them would be wending his way to Glendale, Missouri, MrsTB emailed us to say she would like Hairy Bear No11 to be sent to her (he was the one Isobel did make with MrsTB specifically in mind).  So on Tuesday he was duly wrapped up and mailed to her.    Just to remind you, this is what he looks like.
So now, Hairy Bear No10 and I sit on Isobel's bed each day, while she decides exactly where to put him!
This picture of the two of us was taken before the Hairy Bears had been given their distinguishing ribbons.  They looked like this before No11 departed for the U.S.A.
Right folks:  that's it for this week's post - hopefully, when we meet again, there will be a few finished Foxes/Wolves/Boys and Girls to show you.  Until then - have a good week all of you.
Your Friend - Cy Bear.