Sunday, 17 December 2017

Bertie Blue Whale Joins the COLDHAMCUDDLIES

Good afternoon everyone - back once more, and this week,  "on time"  too!

Cy Bear back again, and delighted to be here and able to introduce you to the latest member of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Family/Shop - Bertie Blue Whale.
Our Custom Order Blue Whale Ornamental Toy (named Bertie Whale for our Shop Listing) is made from a Vintage  (1973) Simplicity Pattern which was purchased more recently either from a fellow Etsy Shop or while surfing on-line elsewhere.    Isobel has been waiting for an excuse to "have a go" ever since.

The Blue Fleece Ornamental Whale Toy's Dimensions are:

Lying on its side, from nose to mid-tail -

Length:  36.00 inches (92.00 cms)
Height:    11.00 inches (28.00 cms) Tip of Fin to Base
Weight:     2.00 pounds (0.97 kilos)  approximately
Girth:       27.00 inches (69 cms) midway along back

As much of a "head-on" view as we can manage in our flat for an Ornament of this size!

The original pattern is actually for a Dolphin - but in October 2017 during a conversation with a fellow Slimming World member while she waited for her weekly "weigh-in", Isobel was asked if she could make MrsPA a Whale  - when she heard Isobel was a Toy Maker.

A close-up of Bertie's Tail

Returning home, the Pattern Library was checked, the Dolphin pattern was found and a photo of the giant Toy e-mailed to MrsPA.

The original picture which began the whole story!

Isobel suggested that by slightly altering the Dolphin head shape (by eliminating the prominent Dolphin"beak") a recognisable Whale could appear. Thus, we were commissioned to produce a Blue Whale for Christmas 2017MrsPA and her husband had recently spent a splendid holiday in South Africa and during their adventure had, had the pleasure of watching a school of whales off the southern coast of that country.  The fact that many years ago, Isobel too had travelled the same area (although minus the Whale sighting!) made the acceptance of the challenge a "no-brainer", and accordingly it was placed in our Order Book.   (ALL ORDERS RECEIVED in our COLDHAMCUDDLIES shop are handled strictly in order of receipt.)  Once the Whale order reached the Top of the List, work on it duly commenced.  Four days' later, the results are contained in this listing.

Bertie's Under-belly in White Fleece

Consequently, we are now able to offer either a Whale or a Dolphin - without too much difficulty! Your choice need not be restricted to it being a Blue Whale/Dolphin. The listing gives you several options that we are suggesting could be used for an Ornamental Feature Toy to match any decorative ideas you may be planning.    Please let us know when ordering via the Etsy Check Out site which option is your preference.  (Or you can also convo us and/or email us at  Isobel will be delighted to see what she can do to meet your needs.

Bertie's tail looks more comfortable when it is draped over something!

Obviously, this special Custom Order is a one-off for MrsPA but she has no objection to Bertie becoming part of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES collection of Ornamental Toys.  Despite his size, Hermy as MrsPA has decided he will be called when presented to her husband for Christmas this year, can be replicated quite easily.  (The Whale sighting mentioned earlier in this post took place off the coastal Town of Hermanus, Republic of South Africa!)

The main component, once the fabric is measured and sewn is the need for a good supply of the usual polyester stuffing with which all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Ornamental Toys are created.  This complies with all international standards for safety and in this case, a 1.1 kilo (2.2 pounds) bag has almost all been used to create this Giant Feature Ornament.  He just fits on a normal pillow - with his tale gracefully draping over the side of it!  We have a reliable source for this important part of a Whale Ornamental Feature Toy - at very competitive prices too!

I'm actually standing behind Bertie in this picture - just shows how high he is!!

Bertie is totally hand-stitched (taking 2 evenings of sewing) and basically consists of  two main seams - with a gusset forming the underside of his body.  His body is  blue fleece, with his under-belly made with a white fleece of similar quality.  He has purpose made felt eyes individually crafted and sewn on either side of the Whale body.  (They are not as "sexy" as those suggested for the Dolphin - for which we do have a pattern!)   Small white flecks are embroidered on each eye to provide a life-like "look" to the Toy's overall look.  Like all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Ornamental Toys, Bertie Whale is made in totally animal free and smoke free environments.

Bertie behind me, as I sit in my usual spot on the Bed!

Hermy was hand-delivered, travelling by public transport to meet his new owner - raising interest among fellow 'bus travellers enroute in the process.  (It was both too early in the day, (c.0830 GMT) and typical of the commuting public that NO ONE actually commented!! MrsPA was delighted to meet Bertie (Hermy to her, of course) and they left for their new future together earlier this week-end.

As with all big packages, Shipping could be quite expensive and would have to be either by Royal Mail Parcel Force and/or a Courier service.    Because of  his specific measurements, each package would need an individual shipping quote, so the one we have put into our Shop Listing is purely for listing purposes only.   There are several locally-based companies who can be approached for a definite quotation (serving all global destinations!) - thus prices quoted for this listing are approximate only.  As a custom order, these will be confirmed at the time the order is processed by the Etsy Check Out system and no work will begin on any order/commission until an exact shipping cost has been provided - and accepted by the Buyer(s).

Bertie Whale is one of the biggest Ornamental Toys we've ever handled in our Shop.   Previous visitors have included a Giant Koala - who was adopted elsewhere in the UK, after Isobel had been "scammed" into enlarging our  Big Koala Toy -
into a truly Giant Koala Ornamental Toy - who became my Friend Colin the Koala (shown below)

We've also handled a Dinosaur called Dino - who needed a bit of "feeding up" after some heavy cuddling from his Forever Friend, as well as a Giant Dragon - whose stuffing had also "relaxed" after some time in the "real world".  This is a normal occurrence when polyester (or other materials) are used to stuff Toys of any size - and is not a fault as such.  That's where our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic's services come in handy!!  Patients are always welcome!  ( 

After a luke-warm bath in soap suds, and a complete re-stuff (using nearly 6 lbs (c.3 kilos) of polyester fibre, Count Rusty now looks like this - a true leader of the Morrell Bear clan
Count Rusty de Ben - Biggest Member of the Morrell Family Bear Collection and a 4 ft 6 inch Ornament!

They all took somewhat longer to cope with while they stayed with us and their stories have appeared in earlier posts in this Blog!

I'm closing now for this week's edition - and am not sure when I'll be back.  Isobel is spending Christmas with daughter, Philippa, and is due to be away for about a week (beginning later this week) and there are plans afoot for her to have a break from toy-making (there are already 4 Orders on the Book for the New Year!).  Thanks to the Slimming World attendance she's undertaken since July, she's reached Christmas 2017 27.5 lbs lighter than she was at the start.  Her target for the period was 28 lbs - so a pesky half-pound has just blocked that achievement!!  However, it does mean that her wardrobe has taken a "hit", and Isobel is debating whether to take some of her stash of accumulated fabrics with her to make some much-needed replenishments.  Trousers that fit are fast becoming a necessity, and she's hoping she can "borrow" a pattern from daughter Clare before she is driven to Buckinghamshire (as well as back again!) for the Christmas period. It's the prospect of the lifts both ways that is causing these thoughts to emerge!!  (Easier to manage when not having to travel by train, and cross London - the normal route on these occasions.)

Both Isobel and I want to wish all our Friends, Followers, and Readers the very Happiest of Christmas Festivities - and Everything you Wish Yourselves for 2018.  (Which is probably when we'll meet again!).

Your Friend,

Cy Bear

Sunday, 10 December 2017

WOW! Where did the Time Go? Definitely a Catch up post to follow!

Hello there Everyone!  Cy Bear here again.

COLDHAMCUDDLIES  Teddy Bears (and Me) with suitable labels to attract passing WINTERFEST Traffic!

WINTERFEST2017 is now a thing of the past.  Although, as feared, the WiFi didn't work - so the new technical pieces we hoped to use in our sales at the event didn't either - folks came in their dozens, and all were prepared to use cash for any purchases made.  Lots of our new business cards were handed out by both Clare and Isobel - so who knows what could happen in 2018?  However, having covered our costs for the outlays for the Event, everything we made was profit - and we made the most we've ever done at one of these gigs - so the efforts were definitely worth it.

Light Brown  Bear (back left in the photograph) found a new Home for Christmas (each label, no matter the colour, had the message "I NEED A NEW HOME FOR CHRISTMAS" - and in Light Brown Bear's case it worked.  

As I told you in our last post, Panda Bear was able to participate in the Christmas Craft Fair, thanks to the agreement of his New Best Friend, MsMP.  While on the Coldham Cuddlies Table, he had a red label all to himself, which looked like this:

The Label reads "I have a Home for Christmas - in Nottingham"!

COLDHAMCUDDLIES Table after set-up on Friday, 25th November.  (Isobel in background)

Clare and Isobel with half the COLDHAMCUDDLIES table exhibits

As arranged by Isobel, first thing on the Monday after WINTERFEST2017 was over, he was wrapped up and sent on his way - after we'd taken our usual Farewell photograph.

Two days later, we got an email from MsMP (she'd been out when Panda arrived after travelling Express Post - so had spent an extra day waiting at the Royal Mail Sorting Office before meeting his New Best Friend).  MsMP picked him up en route to her office next morning, and took this photograph before one of the car journeys involved.

Apparently, the label attached was an extra delight for MsMP - and we were grateful to her for allowing us to include Panda in our exciting exhibit at WINTERFEST2017Panda is now settling in with his two new Friends - "Angel Bear" and "Star Wars Bear"!  May they have many happy years together.  We're just thrilled that Panda has found such a comfortable niche!

It's three weeks ago, when we last were in touch - and we simply don't know where the time went!  I've sat on the bed, while Isobel has sewn madly - in between walking/sleeping up the road, while the bathroom was re-done.  Instead of the forecast 10 Working Days, the job took another 5 Working Days, and only finished (for our flat, anyway) on Thursday of last week.  Although she was getting quite efficient at taking everything needed for an evening sewing session by the end of the period, there were still days when she had to play catch up during the day - so blogging really has had to take a back seat.

In that time, a pair of Kids Small Slippers have been cut out, sewn and delivered to MrsMB (one of our fellow residents here at Old Chapel Close in Kirkby in Ashfield).  She was acting as agent for a friend, who wanted a pair for his Grand Daughter for Christmas.  They looked like this example which is currently to be found in our Shop:

These were ordered way back in September - during/just after this year's MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning, where one of our Buchanan Dressed Lady Foxes were also bought by the same Gentleman - for the same Little Person.

Then, our next Christmas delivery booking was for a pair of Grey Wolf Novelty Slippers, again for a connection of another neighbour of ours.  This time it was for a Lady's Grand Daughter, whose Mother wanted the pair of Slippers for her 13 year-old Daughter.  She's a tall young lady, and is already into UK Size 5 Slippers, and these were completed this Friday - delivered, and paid for at the same time!  Isn't that the way to do business, now?  Here's what they look like in our Shop - ready for anyone else with similar thoughts in mind.

The final Christmas order is under way - to be delivered next Saturday, 16th December, to one of Isobel's fellow members of the Saturday morning Slimming World Club"Hermy" the Whale has been cut out (a new length of fabric was needed) because what Isobel thought was wide enough, didn't actually fit the entire pattern!  He's now been cut out, and most of the "side-effects" - wings, belly, and eyes, have been cut out and sewn.  Isobel plans to start sewing the body etc this evening - and as he is 30 inches from nose to tail, that's going to take some time!!  I'll tell you all about it next week.

Right - this has been a long post:  but so much has happened in the time we've not been in touch, I hope you'll forgive its length.  See you all again next week!

Your Friend:

Cy Bear.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

WINTERFEST2017 has nearly arrived: Last Minute preparations are in hand!

Hello Everyone:

Cy Bear once again taking up the story regarding the COLDHAMCUDDLIES countdown to this VERY IMPORTANT date in our Shop's history.

This Christmas Craft Fair will be the biggest display of our wares since we started out in February 2010 - when we were based in Warminster, Wiltshire, England, UK.  As regular readers of this blog will remember, we moved from there in 2014 and are now based in Nottinghamshire, England, UK - right in the area known worldwide as "Robin  Hood Country! WINTERFEST2017 is actually located in part of the remainder of Sherwood Forest - and is in a lovely setting in the grounds of Thoresby Hall, near Newark, Nottinghamshire - but it could be somewhat hazardous to our newly developed internet connections, because Wi-Fi connection is not always guaranteed, so please EVERYONE, please keep your fingers crossed that we have a good day and that such hazards are not encountered.

Thoresby Hall, within whose grounds,WINTERFEST2017  will be taking place

The Cuddlies stock replenishments are almost completed:  there is just one more Dark Blue Fleece Rabbit to have one more seam sewn and then the last 2 Rabbits (both self-coloured Dark Blue Fleece varieties) can be stuffed, labelled and placed in their specific travelling bag!  In the meantime, this week Isobel has completed the Brown Fleece Rabbits - I told you about them in last week's post:

You will recall that we're offering the self-colour options for the first time - and this is what they look like from different angles:

Then we've also got two more Purple Fleece Rabbits - white-chested, as well as self colour, and like the Brown Bunnies, the self-colour variety is being shown for the first time here:

They are actually quite a lot more PURPLE than perhaps they look in these pictures, but had Isobel got the Dark Blue ones to show you (they're currently based up the road, in Clare's home - where Isobel has been staying overnight since Wednesday this week - and due to continue doing so until Friday - while the bathroom in our flat is completely re-done), you would see that they actually are not as Blue as they appear.  (Something to do with the ink colours involved I'm told - a fact not necessarily of immediate interest to a Beaver Lamb Bear like me!).

Technical matters have also dominated Isobel's mind this week - culminating with a telephone conversation between Clare (in her home, with Isobel in attendance) between the Account Manager at PayPal appointed to look after the COLDHAMCUDDLIES new Business Account which has been opened specifically for WINTERFEST2017 (as well as for the foreseeable future!).  The result of that encounter is that we now have a Chip Card Reader (whatever that is!) linked to Isobel's new Smartphone (???) and all that Isobel and Clare now have to do is to ensure that both bits of equipment are "fully charged" - and we'll be able to accept Card Payments, as well as Cash/Cheque payments next Saturday at the Christmas Festival at "The Court Yard".

Since Isobel accepted the invitation to participate in this Christmas Craft Fair about 6 weeks ago, there have been a lot of outgoings from our Bank Account - inevitably!  However, we've also been successful in receiving several orders (3 of which I've mentioned in previous posts for 2 pairs of Children's Slippers (Christmas presents) and Hermy the Whale - also a Festive gift) and this week - after rather a "fallow" period for sales on Etsy, Isobel has ended up with 3 new orders. 

One is for our Panda Bear  (I told you about his recent facial makeover in a recent post, and look what happened this week, eh?).

He's going to a Forever Home connected to MsMP - who lives just 25 miles or so down the road in Nottingham itself:  and this afternoon, we've created a Custom Order for a MrsSG - living in Rhode Island, NY who wants Isobel to make 2 Three-Way Bed Pillows, one looking like Winston Wombat here

The second one included in this double order is to be made as a Three-way Bed Pillow, but this time resembling our Sleepy Koala, using the same fabric.

These two will head the January Order Book, together with the Ladies Novelty Bear Slipper Isobel is due to make for one of our fellow residents.  That pair is to resemble a Yogi Bear type Furry Bear, with Scarlet Satin Ribbon Trimming!

So, once WINTERFEST 2017 is over, Isobel's work begins once more - this time to fulfill the existing Order Book, and prepare for the New Year one - as well as, what we hope, will be several replacements or brand new models for Ornamental Toys from our existing Shop, who we hope will find new homes next Saturday.  One of our Baby Owls, was actually paid for today, when Isobel was drinking coffee after Mass at St. Barnabas - the Buyers, Mr and MrsDS - from Nottingham, will not be able to be at The Courtyard next week-end, but wanted to ensure that their newly-born great niece has him for Christmas (a Reserved Label will be on show at The Courtyard), as will similar notices for 2 of our Golf Club Head Covers - heading for a destination to be specified in the New Year - in Virginia, USAMsMP has also been kind enough to allow us to display Panda Bear at The Court Yard event, and we will ensure that he is en route to Aspley, Nottingham next Monday, 27th November! cover

This Buyer actually wants Isobel to do two sets of 3 Golf Club Covers, but has yet to make up her mind (as well as get her husband to do the same!) exactly what Animal Head they want for their particular Golf Clubs!   So 2018 looks like starting off with a bang:  let's hope it continues in that vein!

See you all after the Show next week-end - if Isobel has the energy to help me write the results for you, that is!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Progress Report on WINTERFEST 2017 Preparations: and a Bit Aside Too

Hello Everyone!!

Cy Bear signing in once again and just glad he sits at home in a warm flat, on these occasions.  We've got Arctic air blowing over the British Isles today, and Isobel said she was QUITE cold this morning as she wended her way up the hill to get her weekly lift for Mass at St. Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham. 

Today, too, is Remembrance Sunday in the UK (as it is all over the Commonwealth, too), and Isobel proudly displayed her late Father, Major Andrew Miller's medals - as she does every year on this special day.  (She worked out that in another 3 years, she will have been doing this for 70 years - as it was on the first Rembrance Day after she became 10, that her Uncle decided she was old enough to wear them for the very first time).  Although Major Miller, "joined up" in 1916  and first saw service with the Argyll & Sutherland Highland Regiment, during 1917 he was commissioned as an Officer and was actually undergoing Officer Training when the First World War ended.  He decided he couldn't afford to remain as an Officer in the British Army, so went instead to become an Officer in the British Indian Army - and spent the rest of his life serving in India (as it then was - although his Regiment (King George V Baluchistan Rifles - where he spent most of his time until his death in 1941, is now part of the Pakistan Army).  During that time, he also served in Mesopotamia (now Iran and Iraq) - as evidenced by one of his Medals, and also served in at least two major Campaigns on the North West Frontier (the area between what is now Afganistan and Pakistan - again confirmed by a medal - fourth from left - with 2 bars).  

This year, Isobel  remembered to take the Medals' Miniatures that she also has in her possession and so younger daughter Clare was able to wear those in memory of her Grandfather's service - during both World Wars.   (Elder Daughter, as the eldest child of the eldest son, is eligible to wear her Grandfather Morrell's medals - but as she has earned her own medal, after 17th years service with the Princess Royal's Volunteer Corps (FANY), she decided to wear that one this year:  it is also traditional, that if one already has earned one's own decoration, one does not display another's, even if you are entitled so to do.)  They are held by Philippa, so she can do so whenever she feels she wishes to - or it's more appropriate for her so to do, while Clare - and eventually GrandsonE - will do the same on behalf of "Grandad Miller" in future years, once Isobel is no longer able to.  Nevertheless, both girls are proud of the service provided to their Country by BOTH  their Grandfathers.

You will see that one medal is not attached to the bar:  that is the War Medal 1939-1945 which was awarded to every member of the British Army who had served during those years - but Isobel only realised Major Miller's was not where it ought to be in 2010.  Because of his early death, Isobel's Aunt and Uncle (with whom she lived as she grew up) had either not known how to apply for it on her behalf, or it had been one of those things they meant to do, but life got in the way and it somehow slipped everyone's mind!  She applied for it, and it arrived very quickly:  but so far, she has not been able to get it properly attached so that it hangs with all the others.  Today, she and the family - en route back home - found a Shop dealing in "Militaria", on the same road, and not far from the Cathedral, where this could be done:  so guess what?  One of the jobs Isobel will be doing (after WINTERFEST 2017 and probably not until the New Year now) is to take the medals in to the Shop, to see if they can assist.  I'll let you know what happens in due course.

Now, moving on to the present, I'm delighted to tell you that the Fleece Rabbit production line is flourishing.  Isobel actually laid out 5 different colour sets of 2 of these ColdhamCuddlies - and this is the situation currently:

The first Fleece Rabbit replenishments are the Pink ones:  the snapshot was taken just before Isobel went to bed on Tuesday evening and show BOTH versions with White Chests.  She had intended to make at least one each of  the latest batch showing what they could look like, if they were self-coloured!

That mistake has not happened since - because, there are the two new Pale Blue Fleece Rabbits:

And, this is where Isobel has got to with the third pair:

She is planning on completing both these Cuddlies today, and hoping to get the penultimate pair at least cut out before bed tonight, although the latter task may have to wait until tomorrow - what with the need for an evening meal to be prepared and other administrative tasks required of her in connection with her responsibilities as Secretary to the Old Chapel Close Tenant's Association - who have a meeting called for tomorrow morning!!  Life is, as ever, busy, busy, busy!!

See you all next week - when the count-down to WINTERFEST 2017 will then be in DAYS, rather than WEEKS!  How the time can fly!!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

This week's developments on the WINTERFEST2017 front.

Good afternoon Everyone!  

Cy Bear reporting, as is my wont - when permitted to do - so on a cool, autumnal Sunday afternoon.

Dressed Rabbits in the foreground:  Coyote (off-balance), Foxes and Wolves at the rear!
We thought you'd like to see this picture of me surrounded by all our Girl Dressed Toys (Rabbits, Coxes, Coyotes and all) as they were prepared by Isobel for the upcoming Christmas Fair at The Courtyard, Thoresby Hall, Nr Newark, Notts.   These preparations involved Isobel putting price tags on every one of the Toys we have in stock - a process which resulted in her becoming less concerned about our ability to serve potential customers.  While one can always have more, the numbers involved were not as low as Isobel had first thought, so she is more sanguine about how we will cope on November 25th.  The pricing took Isobel 3 days to complete, and based on the number of labels used (not including some that she made mistakes with when writing the information on!) there are over 200 different Toys, of varying sizes, available for display.  Each ticket has the Shop price listed in our Etsy Shop ( tied through the "ColdhamCuddlies" label which every Toy comes with.  (Good exercise for Isobel's fingers, which is why it took her so long, I guess!  While so engaged, she discovered some of the toys hadn't got one actually:  that was remedied p.d.q!)

The Baby Owls I talked about are all completed and in their special carrier bag ready for the event. The next replacement "binge" consists of 8 different Fleece Rabbits - some with the existing white chests, and a few that will be all the same colour - a new departure, just to give people the choice.  The cutting out of the 5 different colour Rabbits - one seen below - took Isobel a couple of hours to do,
during which time she de-camped to the Resident's Lounge.  There are large tables there, making it so much easier for her to layout the individual pieces of the the pattern involved - and it certainly roused the curiosity of residents' visitors who happened to pass by the picture windows beside the table Isobel was using!  Most know of our plans, and are kindly interested in developments!!  The 5 fleece colours involved are pale and dark blue, brown (like the one shown), pink, and purple - all of them can be seen in our COLDHAMCUDDLIES Etsy shop at

A "bonus" of sorts occurred while this preparation exercise was in progress.  While picking out the blue fleece from our fabric stash in one of the cupboards where it is stored, Isobel discovered that she had more of the blue fleece in stock than she had previously realised - and thinks we will have sufficient to meet the requirements for Hermy, the Whale, when she gets around to making him early in December.  So, no need for a visit to our fleece suppliers on-line - for the time being at least!  The need for more stuffing is a definite one though - but we're waiting until we've started our final 1.1 kilo bag (circa 3 lbs), so that the two bags Isobel will be ordering can be fitted into the "stuffing slot" in the flat bedroom!   Every move has to be "strategic" when it comes to the fulfillment of our COLDHAMCUDDLIES duties!

The "missing" business cards I spoke about last week turned up on Tuesday morning, having been re-directed by Isobel to Clare's home up the road - because she was out of the flat at the time the selected Couriers indicated they were due to deliver the package.  I promised I'd show you a photo of the two cards in existence:   the new one, which will be officially used on and after 25th November - the top example shown will be handed out until that date, and kept in the background in case our supplies run out.   

We're very happy with the new look, which was created by a proper card designer from that well known provider (or so I am told!),Vistaprint:  whereas our original ones were done by Isobel, who makes no claims to have any such skills. The originals (also printed by Vistaprint), though, have served us well, to date!

Isobel has been gathering the bits and pieces needed in the background for the Show (e.g. the paper bags, the cash holder aprons that she and Clare will wear on them during the Event, and so on), and putting them in a large carrier bag (obtained from our local Lidl Supermarket, whose hard-wearing bags are large, capacious, and capable of holding several Toy-filled bags at one time).  The bags  have good, strong handles on them, which should make moving the goods from our flat to Clare's car, and then into the exhibition space a whole lot easier.  After the show, the bags can be collapsed to a flat shape, and stored until they are next required - if that happens!

While the pricing exercise was in full spate, Isobel decided to admit two of the existing Cuddlies as Patients to the  Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic -  for some minor facial treatments.  

Our current  Panda used to look like this:

He now looks like this:

He now has a new, larger nose, and a happier grin, we think!

The other Patient was George Ginger Cat, our Copper Brown Plush Sitting Cat.  Originally, it had looked like this:

Now, this is George as he appeared in our Shop listing previously.  He looks a little startled we thought, and it was one of those jobs Isobel had meant to do for a long time, and decided that the pricing venture was the ideal time!

I think he looks a bit more appealing now:  how about you?

To achieve George's new look, Isobel managed to turn his green cat eyes so that the "pupils" were sideways when you look him in the face, and also changed his ears, which had not looked "right" ever since he was first made.  We're hoping this "look" will appeal to someone, so he can end up with a new home this Christmas.  He had originally been made at the same time that a customer wanted to give a Ginger Cat to her Grandmother, whose real cat had died shortly before the order came in.  George's friend was called Harry (so had the Grandmother's long time friend) and, so far as we know, he has made himself well and truly at home, and is doing the job for which he was intended.  George meanwhile has languished somewhat in our stock - so we hope this minor treatment will do the trick for him!

That's it for this week, Folks!  Next week looks like being as busy as the last, and I for one hope that Isobel will be a lot happier with the newly acquired smartphone - that appeared in our lives on Friday this week, after Isobel had, had a tutorial with Clare!  She's getting a bit less "frazzled" operating it, but life is not as calm as usual at the moment.  I'm keeping well out of the way - just in case!!!

See all next week - Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Latest News from the Coldham Cuddlies Production Line

Hello again EverybodyCy Bear here again with all this week's progress to report.

This photo shows Thoresby Hall, near Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, UK - in whose grounds, The Courtyard (and actual venue for the upcoming WINTERFEST2017) is located.  The Christmas Craft Fair/Bazaar is scheduled for 25/26th November, 2017, and Isobel, Clare and all The Cuddlies are expected to be displayed - over just the first day.

In the excitement of the visit to this lovely spot, Isobel forgot to take photos of The Courtyard, which is a separate facility nearby, with it's own separate entrance. (The Riding Hall is one of the Shops located in the Courtyard itself, together with a very nice restaurant, called The Bay Tree - where lunch was consumed by the the "Reconnaisanace Team"!)  Thoresby Hall is now a Hotel and Spa (formerly the headquarters of the National Coal Board of the UK), now owned and operated by a hotel chain - Warner Leisure - which operate separately, but in conjunction with  The Courtyard (if that makes sense!) .  Visitors to both are encouraged to visit the other, I suppose is the gist of it!!!  (She'll remember to take some photos when she and Clare go to set up the stall, the day before the event - Friday, 24th November:  that is, of course, weather permitting!!)

Clare drove Isobel and her GrandsonE  last Tuesday to check out The Riding Hall in which the event is going to be held - and are delighted to tell you that they are more than satisfied with the proposed location of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Stall.  The room itself is rectangular in shape and in one corner (the top of the rectangle as it were) Santa's Grotto will be stationed.  On the opposite side of the room, on the outer wall of the room, and furthest away from the entrance (so Isobel and Clare will avoid draughts!), the WINTERFEST organiser, MsRB told them is where our Stall will be located.  There are going to be 20 stalls in all for the event, and ours is the ONLY Toy Stall!!  At the lower end of the rectangle, and on the same side as our stall will be, a Cake Stall.   So the likelihood is that many folk will go past our stall (and, hopefully, stop to look at all the Cuddlies on display!) more than once during their visit.  We're excited at the prospect especially with the lack of direct competition for our product.  So - roll on November 25th!!

That has inspired Isobel to get going on the sewing production lines!!  The Owls are all but completed.  One more needs to be stuffed, and the final Owl Toy Ornament just has a few more seams to be completed before all the replacements are in place.

The Completed Owl Quartet

The Baby Owl booked last Sunday by MrsEH - a family friend who attends St. BarnabasCathedral each week with Isobel and the Family - was purchased today (it was the second one in from the left of this photo!), and another good friend promptly booked another one of the four shown above, but didn't have the money available to complete the purchase today.  However, all parties to this latest transaction decided it always looks good at a Craft Fair/Bazaar to have notices saying "ITEM SOLD", and this Owl will remain with us (even if it's been paid for prior to November 25th!) just so Isobel and Clare can put such a notice in front of the selected Bird Toy on The Day!!

The components required for a Baby Owl Toy Ornament.

Other developments this week include:

The delayed new Business Cards had mistakenly not been sent, and after an emailed enquiry from Isobel, are now expected to be delivered on Monday, 30th October.  I'll show you the new design next week, together with the wrongly delivered old design we still have in stock.  We're going to hang on to the latter until after the event, in case the new version all get picked out by visitors to WINTERFEST2017 (wouldn't that be terrific?), because we only ordered 1,000 first time around, and with 2,000-4,000 visitors expected over the 2 days, that just could happen!!

The Baby Owl ready for the Head/Back seam to be done - NB:  all seams are over-sewn - to prevent fraying.

The purchase of the smartphone is scheduled to take place on Tuesday next week  - or at least, Isobel and Clare are going to investigate what is available, taking the Chip Card Reader with them, of course.  Then depending on their decision (or whether it might be a good plan to then investigate any bargains for the selected model being available elsewhere, on-line!) the deed will be done and the PayPal staff be contacted (once it has been received) so that the necessary credit checks can take place to verify Isobel, and the newly upgraded account between them. (Isobel has had a personal account with PayPal since the COLDHAMCUDDLIES began operations in 2010:  however, we now have an upgraded, business account in the name of COLDHAMCUDDLIES - which requires these checks).  I don't understand what this means, of course (being just a Beaver Lamb Bear) - but apparently, PayPal like to do them when their equipment is part of the equation and when multiple card transactions between Isobel and the public are involved.

Close up photo showing thread marking for wing placement on each Toy's fronts - wrong side of fabric
Same thread marking, but on the right side of one front

The wings are then sewn on each side of the face, where you can just about make out the orange silk thread marks,  and the entire body/wings etc are turned inside

out and the back of body/head sewn in one seam, with the resulting Owl looking like this:

With facial features showing
Sideways on, with the Base in place and stuffing gap in centre of the base seam.

These pics are the Toy before it is finally turned inside out prior to stuffing.  This can be quite challenging for Isobel, with her stiffening fingers, because the gap the pattern allows is not that big to allow both wings, feet and head to get through, although she's now developed a good modus operandi to achieve the end result, without too much of a struggle.

The final 2 Baby Owls awaiting completion.  Front - final seams required.  Back: Stuffing needed.

Just to change the subject slightly - to one of the projects awaiting Isobel once WINTERFEST 2017 is finished.  I told you about the Whale that had been ordered last week:  well, this Saturday, Isobel took one of the completed Owls, and one of our Blue and White Fleece Rabbits, to show MrsPA, who has asked us to make the Whale as a Christmas present.  

Two reasons for this action:  Isobel wanted to show MrsPA some of the actual Ornamental Toys we make and sell, and also for her to approve the projected Blue Fleece fabric that Hermy the Whale will probably be made with.  MrsPA was happy to approve of both!

Right, that's it for this week folks.  We're looking forward to another action packed week next time around.  But one decision has already been taken.  Once November arrives, Isobel has decided not to do as much Etsy Team-promoting until after WINTERFEST2017 is finished.  It seems a bit counter-productive for her to be sewing like mad to create more stock for the Christmas Craft Show, and still be trying to sell the self-same objects on line.  There will be plenty of time for her to carry on what she's been doing all these months and years, after November 25th, and meanwhile, she needs to have as many Cuddlies on display as she is able to produce in the final 5 weeks before WINTERFEST 2017 arrives!

See you all next week, folks - hopefully.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.