Sunday, 19 March 2017

Planned new projects - and first steps in achieving them

Greetings to Everyone - on this typically Spring Day in the UK!


Cy Bear is being given a break this week, since today's subject is more in my field of operating the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com) then his.


Thanks to some invaluable help from a Facebook Group Friend, SamanthaF, who has kindly provided some patterns, I've embarked on some Easter type toys.  Since that Festival is rapidly approaching - and I've been busy trying to re-organise the Shop itself all week - the time has arrived for me to really get down to the business of actually MAKING the toys, otherwise Easter will have come - and gone - before they become realities.


A dry run of one of the patterns has been completed - meet the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Chicken Toy




Measuring 2.5 inches (6.4 cms) from floor to tip of tail, this little chap is definitely going to be the smallest Cuddly in the Shop.  He/she is also 6.5 inches (10.6 cms) around his middle - from front to back, under the wings.  I'm using some of the fleeces purchased to make our recent addition Puffin Toy's beak, together with Orange and Red Felts for the crop and feet.  My pattern-maker kindly provided me with the template for a beak, but when I did this first, dry-run version, the finished product looked more like a duck's beak. So I decided to embroider the pointed facial area - which currently does look more like a nose than a beak, I have to admit.  I shall experiment further before the finished Chickens are listed and offered in the Shop.


 (Please forgive the rather unprofessional photos - but they've been taken merely to illustrate the creation process in this post  - rather than the final offering!  The patterns, in particular, are somewhat patchy - but I don't want to give away EVERYTHING!  Our friend the Chicken is also somewhat out of focus - but what else can one expect from snapshots, as opposed to posed photographs?):






Currently, there have been three Chickens cut out.  One is destined to be sent to SamanthaF - so that her children can play with it - together with the finished products of the other two patterns she was kind enough to send me at the same time.  


(I caught her at a rather difficult time:  she's in the process of moving house, and we all know how time-consuming that can be, so I was terrifically grateful that she was prepared to sit down and create this pattern, as well as the two others that accompanied the Chicken template.  She also sent me a batch of several colourful cotton/poplin fabrics - saying she'd rather I had them (if I could use them - and I CAN!) than have to chuck them due to the upcoming move.  There was no charge from Samantha - but we did agree, that if I was satisfied with the outcome, I'd send her a sample of all three completed Poultry Toys in return for her generosity.  Now I need her "snail mail" address once she's settled in!)  


The patterns from which I shall be working can be seen here.


The one for the Chicken:



There is one for a Duckling:





Finally, there is one for a Ducky Doll - something I hadn't thought about, but which could well be a "winner"!!





Now as you all know, I'm not normally a Dolly Type!  But this little chap looks like he/she could overcome my aversion to Dolls, as it looks a pretty straight-forward type to have a go at making. (Normally Dolls can come with all sorts of arms, legs and neck attachments that are far too complicated for me to contemplate - given my lack of patience with such details!)  This Ducky Doll is not so "afflicted"!!.


All the patterns were accompanied with suggested instructions as to how to put them together, too.  I've read them with interest, been guided by them, but confess that so far, I've not followed them to the letter!  I've tried, but suppose that I've got my own way of putting toy pieces together after all this time, and they don't necessarily conform to the suggested modus operandi!  However, I'm extremely grateful to SamanthaF for the time she gave me in this exercise.


Here are the fabrics that are involved in this series of Toys:





I'm still working out how to present the toys eventually.  While shopping in Kirkby Town Centre earlier in the week, I did find these baskets and thought they'd be handy "nests".  Having completed the Chicken though, I think you'll agree that the Toy  is likely to be "drowned" if put into either of these, even if I fill up the baskets with shredded paper, which was my original plan.   (I got two others at the same time, in different colours - as they were being sold two at a time in four different shades),    




They are going back tomorrow, and I'll see if  another shape can be found in which to place the Toys when they are completed:  maybe an egg shape, if one is available.   Hopefully, by next week, there will be something more final to show you!

Until then, I'll close this bulletin from windy Nottinghamshire.  Have a great week Everyone!

Isobel

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Dressed Grey Wolf finds a Forever Home in New York State, U.S.A.

Hello again, everyone - where did last week go then?


Cy Bear back, as promised to tell you about the latest COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toy to leave the UK for a new Forever Home.


This time, it was one of our Grey Plush Dressed Wolves who had been purchased by someone we suspect to have been a parent, or other adult relative, of one CT,  whose address was in Mamaroneck, NY, U.S.A.  Isobel was unable to really know whether or not CT was the person actually ordering the Wolf in a Tartan Jacket.    Because the "user name" of the sender of the email was very different to whom the package was being sent on the paperwork.  So, this scenario is our best guess at the true situation!




This is the Wolf Toy in question, after Isobel had done some remedial work on him, before he left for his new abode.  His original boots did not look right when we bought him out of the Den he'd been staying in since he was made.  He was not standing as well as he should have been - given that his tail is what normally enables the Wolves, Foxes and Coyotes in our collection to stand erect (see below).  So, the decision was made to replace the boots entirely.


Grey Plush Wolf Toy, Grey Plush Toy Wolf, Silver Grey Wolf Toy, Dressed Wolf Toy, Cool Toddler Toy, Toy for Kids, Special Toy for Toddlers
Photo taken just after he was made - and we hoped the tassels would settle down!.

Here's a photograph of the Grey Wolf as he was before being listed - and you can see that the boots did not look "right" even then.  Not only did his feet look cramped, but the tassels would not lie down and altogether he looked untidy - and not to the usual high standard we like our Cuddlies to appear.  It's is often when Isobel hasn't seen a Toy for sometime that things like this "look" become really obvious, so the easiest, and best thing in this case was to replace the boots.  


Fortunately, we had some of the original leather still in our stash and it was a matter of a couple of evening's sewing to have the new ones made and fitted in place.  When a Cuddly sells, and there is only one of them in the Etsy Listing, the Etsy Order system is such that it is noted as "Sold Out", and any listings disappear from sight. 


As this  Grey Plush Wolf was only ever a OaaK (One of a Kind) Toy, and we don't have much of the fabrics used to make him in stock, Isobel decided to delete him from our Shop Listings - but subsequent digging through our fabric store indicated that there is enough for just one more version - with enough leather to make another pair of boots too.  So, after this blog, Isobel will be listing him again - to take the total of COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toys in our Shop at present to a 107 total - and Grey Wolf will become a brand new Cuddly to add to our collection of  Coyotes, Foxes and Wolves.  (If he becomes an order, Isobel will be able to make the final version well within the 3-4 week deadline that goes with the order:  that is set to take account of whatever "work in progress" Isobel may be engaged in when an order is received).


He's going to look like this:






You can see from this photograph what the new boots look like - and they are ever so much firmer (and can allow a Wolf to stand upright better too!).  Isobel also decided that her "obsession" with tasselled turnovers for our leather boots is over, and decided to keep the turnover pretty well together, with just the seam showing - as a sort of decoration. There is a still slightly jagged edge to the turnover which is provided by the leather having been cut with a pair of pinking shears (whatever they are - a Bear like me has not got a clue!).   Sewing leather in such small quantities is quite tricky for someone with fingers that are getting stiffer as the time goes by!  So this is how our leather boots will be from now on.




I think Grey Wolf is now standing pretty straight as this photograph of his rear view shows - given that he's standing on the surface of Isobel's duvet and only slightly leaning on the pillow with his nose to keep him steady!



Here's a side view of the new Mr Grey Wolf showing off his new boots.  It was taken while he stood on the heater in our living room, the night just before he was packed for his journey the next morning. (So the lighting is not as good as it might be!)  Before that happened, though - here's the usual Farewell Picture:



Isobel, having discovered how we can keep a track of our parcels once they've left us (she did know the basics, before doing it to tell you about Puffin's trip back home last week) decided to do the same check for our Grey Wolf Toy - and what we discovered a few minutes ago, is shown at the bottom of this post.

Seemingly, our latest Travelling Toy has not been as lucky in following the same flying schedule as did Puffin,  (or travellers to Rhode Island may take a different route than those headed to Mamaroneck) because from the information we've picked up, it would appear that Grey Wolf only reached New York Customs at 0600 hours on Friday, 9th March - and has been stuck there in the system ever since.  Hopefully, as tomorrow is Monday,  his journey will commence once more, and he will be able to get to Mamaroneck on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  


Before I close, here's a final side view of our Grey Wolf Toy, showing off his rather magnificent busy Plush Tail, behind his Left Paw!




As we don't want to spoil the look of the blog, with different typography in the text, I'll end this week's post here.  See you all next week.


Your friend,  Cy Bear.


Grey Wolf's Travel Itinerary - to date:

DateTimeStatusTrack point
09/03/1706:01ARRIVED IN COUNTRYKENNEDY NEW YORKKENNEDY NEW YORK
07/03/17AMON ITS WAY TOKENNEDY NEW YORKUNITED STATES OF AMERICA
07/03/1701:27ARRIVED (MDN) ATHEATHROW WORLDWIDE DC
06/03/1719:57ON ITS WAY TOHEATHROW WORLDWIDE DCNOTTINGHAM MAIL CENTRE
06/03/1719:39ITEM COLLECTEDNOTTINGHAM MAIL CENTRE
06/03/1710:15SENT AT POST OFFICE1-3 Lowmoor Road NG17 7BE




Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Patient/Adventurer is Back Home.

Hello Everyone!


Cy Bear back again and this week able to finalise the Adventures of Puffin, who as the title of this week's bulletin says, got back home early last week.  The news was conveyed in a message from DadR, together with a photo - which I'll show you shortly.  But, since you've not seen  the new-look Puffin,  here are some of the last pictures Isobel took before Puffin was wrapped up and sent off to Rhode Island, NY - as I showed you last week.






This photograph clearly shows the nearly completed Puffin Patient - before the stuffing was put in. you can see the "indentations" where the original Puffin pieces are located on the inside of the body. Both head and body are ready for the stuffing process to commence, and the two pieces to be sewn together.




Here are the completed two Puffin Toys, with PuffinDR (Dry Run) on the right - his wings stick out more than do Puffin's!




Here's a side view of  Puffin on his own.  When compared with PuffinDR, the latter's beak is a bit out of proportion with the rest of him, and Isobel is seriously considering a "delicate" operation to make it a little less visible, and so help him to stand upright better.  Currently he does tend to have a decided stoop, as may be seen from the earlier picture of the two Toy Birds.  (But that is why Isobel does try to do two versions when dealing with Patients that require a total restoration).




To complete the series of photos of the restored Puffin Toy, here's a view of his splendid tail!


Before pasting it here, I apologise in advance for any change in typography for the rest of this post as a result of quoting directly from DadR's email to Isobel.  Between us, Isobel and I haven't yet mastered the technique of transferring the printed word between different internet sites - but we do like to convey the words as written!!


News of Puffin's safe arrival was received, as I said earlier, by way of an email from DadR - in which he said: - 


"I thought you would enjoy the attached picture. Nathan was thrilled to be with Puffin again last night. He's flown around the house, been reintroduced to all of his stuffy friends, and shown off his big muscles. We were told by Nathan that Puffin has grown up a bit, which is unusual for a stuffed animal, but that is what makes him special."


Here's the picture of the Reunited Forever Friends - shown here with the permission of  MomR and DadR;



Actually, it highlights why Isobel was a little concerned as to exactly how NR might greet his restored Forever Friend.  Restoration does leave a permanent impact on any toy, and re-using bits of the original does indeed enlarge the final offering.  NR's ability to notice the enlargement of his friend shows just how astute the Young Man is! 

 (In the past, even though our clients realise their beloved Old Friends will look different from  the way they did before treatment, many do express some surprise at just HOW different a restored Toy can be - even though that is the whole POINT of the exercise!  Usually, most clients are adults, who've entered the restoration process ACTUALLY seeking to have their Old Friend restored to as near as possible it looked when they were first acquainted!)

Finally, it would appear that we may not yet have heard the last of Puffin - because DadR ended his letter to us with these words.

"We are delighted to have had you put in such hard work on this project. Suffice to say, you've helped us bring a family back together.

One of our friends is working on a kid's book telling of Puffin's adventure. I'll be sure to share a draft when it is ready. I suspect you'll have a starring role."

Naturally, we'll keep you posted - as and when!

The two lollipops being held by NR were my present to him - to hopefully make up for his being separated from Puffin, and also to enable him to taste what English lollipop sweets taste like - as a thank you for the one NR sent us.  (That's being kept for Isobel's young grandson to taste, when he's old enough to know how to handle a round object on a stick safely! Thinking about it, I still don't think lollipops are REALLY  Beaver Lamb Bear food!)


Puffin before he was wrapped up - as described last week- in our traditional Farewell Ceremony

Next week, we'll be able to tell you about the latest Coldham Cuddly to find a new home - again in the United States.  He's just been made ready for a journey to Mamaroneck, NY, and is due to fly off tomorrow morning. 


Last picture of the three of us together before Puffin left to go home to the U.S.A.

So, until then, here's hoping you'll all have a great week - whatever you will be doing, and wherever you will be doing it.


Your Friend.


Cy Bear.


PS:  I think Isobel has finally mastered the art of transferring text from one site to another!! Until the next time that is!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Latest News about Puffin - having departed the UK, and homeward bound.

Hello Everyone!  

Cy Bear once again - a little disappointed not to be able to share the news with you that Puffin has finally reached home in Warwick, Rhode Island - but that,  I am given to understand - is one of  "THE THINGS" about doing business internationally.  Once one has posted an item, one is then in the hands of "THE SYSTEM" - or, as in this case, SYSTEMS.  Not only international postal services, but also the route through each country's Customs Services. 

However, as Puffin was dispatched by Royal Mail's Tracked and Signed For Large Packet service last Monday morning, Isobel has just checked where he's at and can report that he "cleared US Customs at 5.22 February 23, 2017."  according to the  USPS (US Postal Service) Tracking page, and was last heard of "inbound out of Customs".  That probably means he didn't get going towards Rhode Island until sometime Friday, 24th February.  With the week-end looming, that should, with luck, mean he will be arriving home on Monday or Tuesday of the upcoming week - depending on when the local Postie gets around to NR's home in Warwick, RI.  (Let's hope there will be someone at home to sign for the package!)


This is me sitting beside the package which Isobel was just going to put into her shopping bag to take to our local post office last Monday.  I'm waving to NR and his Family, as well as saying "Good Bye" to Puffin.

So, while I could show you what Puffin now looks like, as I explained last week, I think it's only right that NR and his Family see him first, so you'll just have to wait to see the final New Look until next week.  However, Isobel did take some photos of the Traveller before he left us, so - because we don't like to NOT post a bulletin every Sunday - here is what happened to Puffin before he left us last Monday morning.

Once all the usual paperwork involved in sending a COLDHAM CUDDLIES Toy or Patient to their destination had been completed, an envelope was prepared - with the destination address on both sides. (That's in the hope that it speeds up any journey - people don't have to turn a package around to find the address, if it's on BOTH sides!)   Any international postal item being sent to the United States and anywhere other than the European Union, has to have a Customs Declaration Form completed.  (You can see it at the bottom of the package in the photograph above.  Basically, it says what's in the package - in this case a "restored soft toy";  then there's the weight of the package, value of the package and finally at the bottom of the form, Isobel's signature.)

Then Puffin was wrapped up in chemical free tissue paper - looking like this:


You may be able to see a Red "Fragile" label under the "Mail Bag" at the top left hand corner of the package. I know, Puffin is a soft toy, and not normally classed as a "breakable" object.  However,  Isobel always puts such a label on any parcel leaving us - because of how she has seen the postal authorities handle the goods that pass through their offices!  They THROW stuff into big post bags, and she doesn't like the idea of any COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toy or Patient being hurt!!!

After the tissue paper, Puffin got wrapped in bubble wrap - just to make sure that he had an extra covering to shield him for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. 



The fully wrapped Puffin was then popped into the envelope, his travel documents (otherwise known as a "Delivery Note/Invoice") were put in as well, and the envelope sealed.  Puffin then travelled by 'bus to the Post Office, and his "ticket" purchased.  Upon her return, Isobel notified MrJR that Puffin was on his way home.  At least, we've now learned he got to America BEFORE something called "Storm Doris" reached the UK on Thursday - because the USPS Tracking information tells us that the parcel arrived in ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)   at 4.14 am on 21st February!

So that's all we can tell you for now.   Hopefully next time we're together (next Sunday), we can show you Puffin as he now looks, together with a photo or two of Puffin (Dry Run) and him before the wrapping process took place.

Until then - have a great week:  hope you're not all blown to bits, as we are getting a lot of high winds, and are being promised a lot of heavy rain, thunder, and even snow, for the first few days of the coming week.

Bye for now - 

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

PuffinR's Treatment - Part 3: He can go home on Monday

Greetings Everyone!

Cy Bear back again, now that Isobel has completed her duties in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Animal Restoration Clinic (https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration?ref=shop_home_active_1).  She can't be attending to patients AND type here simultaneously!

Good News folks - PuffinR is now ready to depart the UK. after a slight delay in departure.  We had hoped to send him homewards on Friday, but Isobel was away from the flat that morning, with a trip into Nottingham, which lasted longer than she'd expected - so everything got put back a bit.  Puffin R was almost completed that evening, but because she was tiring, and didn't want to make a mistake in the final stages, she emailed DadR to tell him that Puffin would be en route first thing Monday instead.  (The initial order actually set a dispatch date of 24th February, so we're still well within the deadline, but we had wanted to get the Bird back to Forever Friend, NR, as fast as possible - but not so fast that things went wrong at the last minute!)  

Photographs have been taken of PuffinR's treatment, and some of them will be shared here - with the final stages shown next week - because, obviously we want PuffinR's Family to see him in his new guise, before showing him off to all of you - our Great Followers.






This is what we've now termed PuffinR-Dry Run version.  He looked quite perky when this photograph was taken at the end of last week, but since then, because Isobel was experimenting with the amount of stuffing that might be required to achieve a "soft" feel, we think he actually hasn't had enough to keep him going for any length of time.  When compared with the final version of PuffinR (who will revert to his more familiar name when he is packed and ready to go - so will be called Puffin when we talk about him next week) it's now obvious he needs to get some more stuffing in him.  This will happen before the PuffinDR gets listed as our newest addition to the Shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com).


Now, I'll hand over to Isobel, who can give you a better commentary on how things have progressed over this last week.


Hi Everyone - good to be able to report on a successful outcome for our latest Patient. 

Proceedings began, obviously,  with cutting out a brand new set of pieces using the template I'd created last week for the Dry Run version of PuffinR.  Here is the Body Front, his two eyes and the new beak - seen from the wrong side.




You can see that his feet have been attached to the front of the body, and the shadowy fabric you can see is actually PuffinR's original front since it was taken to pieces at the beginning of this exercise. Here it is lightly tacked and in such a way that when the stuffing was added at the end of the sewing, the tacking could be removed without disturbing the new piece of fabric.  (To try and ensure that all PuffinR's bits and pieces - feet, wings, tail and neck - hold together longer, I've not only tacked them in, but sewn each seam with blanket stitch ending up with a REALLY firm seam.)





Here are the same pieces, shown on the right side of each pattern piece, but before I'd done the blanket stitch edge to each foot!






I then tacked the original pieces (or as much as I felt would survive the exercise - which meant trimming the old seams really) and tacked each original Puffin piece to its equivalent new pattern piece.  So, the body front (top left) has the base sewn on it, the head is almost together, with eyes attached to the forehead and back of the head.  The bottom two pieces are the back of the lower body.  All have their equivalent "original Puffin" pieces tacked on (wrong side to wrong side) using a contrasting coloured thread - to make removing the tacking easier when required.  (Doing it that way means there is less stuffing required, because the original fabric's pile is doing part of that job).






The body front and head have been turned right side out in this photo, and wait for the original tacking to be removed.  The lower two back pieces are still shown on their wrong sides. and wait for the centre back seam to be sewn together.






Then all PuffinR's peripheral pieces needed to be sewn and fitted to the body in the appropriate places.  Here's the tail and two wings, and the beak, while the head needed sewing together at the front neck, and the body had it's final side sewn together.  


When making PuffinDR, Isobel wondred whether she should stuff the body and head separately and then sew the two pieces together at the neck area.  In the end, it was easier for her to first sew the back of the neck - from wing to wing along the neck seam (finished off with the blanket stitch used for the other peripheral pieces).  There was then a convenient gap in the front through which she could push the stuffing and shape the body and head separately.   Then she was able to close the neck (in the region of the throat) and sew the remaining gap using ladder stitch, which is what she uses most of the time when making all us Cuddlies.  (This smaller seam does not have the blanket stitch finish - it's not possible to achieve it once the entire body is fully stuffed - the ladder stitch is a pretty tight finish in any case).





You can see the wings and tail in situ here, and under the tail I've stitched back a label - which had a series of numbers on it.  Don't suppose that NR will notice this detail, but in fact when he arrived PuffinR had 2 labels under his tail.  One of them probably had the original maker's name on it, but that had disappeared and I didn't see the point of replacing a label with nothing printed on it. 


 (PuffinDR has a label sewn under HIS tail now - which is the ColdhamCuddlies label which goes on all the Cuddlies made for our Shop. He has been listed today -

 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/513131377/puffin-stuffed-toy-stuffed-puffin-toy?ref=shop_home_active_1)

 - leading the list of entries to the February FriendsRUs Team Heart Attack session, which is currently under way as this blog is prepared for publication on Sunday afternoon.   I drafted it on Saturday evening, so that I could participate in the monthly Heart Attack and do the blog post - almost simultaneously!


We have taken some more pictures of the final stages of  PuffinR's treatment process  - as well as photos of Puffin fully completed.  But, as we've shared our posts with NR (and FamilyR) as the therapy progressed, I'll wait until next week (or even until I've received confirmation of Puffin's safe arrival in Warwick, Rhode Island) before posting the final bulletin regarding the latest Patient in our Clinic.


This has been a really fun exercise - and Cy Bear and I will miss this Little Bird when he leaves us. Farewell pics will,  of course,  also be taken - and be shown here in the next bulletin.  Now, it's off to give PuffinDR some more stuffing and shape, take said photographs, and then get down to some much needed administration for the Shop - which had to be set aside (happily, I hasten to add!) when PuffinR arrived 3 weeks ago.


Until next week then, 


Your Friends - Cy Bear and Isobel



Sunday, 12 February 2017

Puffin R - Part 2: Progress Report on His Restoration Therapy.

Good afternoon Everybody:


Cy Bear starting off this week's bulletin - because ever since I chatted with you last week,  it has become obvious that some of the statements made in introducing PuffinR were a little wide of the mark.  Not intentional you understand,  but discovered during the course of Isobel's attention during last week.


First of all, I did say that PuffinR's feet could be re-used:  when they were taken apart, it was found that the stuffing that was still attached was really all that was holding the limbs together.  Isobel decided that he would end up with two new feet, because the fabric initially used for his feet was too damaged to work with new stuffing.  (You can see some of that stuffing in the right foot, still attached to the original body).





Having taken PuffinR apart, Isobel got to work on the template, which has served her well.  She had hoped to be able to get PuffinR completed and on his way to Rhode Island by the end of this week: however "life" intervened with other distractions during the week.   Plus there were some hiccups in Isobel's working with the New Toy,  and it looks as though PuffinR's journey will now begin towards the end of next week,  That is still well before the beginning of March - which contains an important date: NR's, PuffinR's Forever Friend, Birthday.


Progress has been made, however - and I'm now going to hand over to Isobel, who can explain things better - as she's been doing the work!


Hello there Folks!


I'm glad to report that PuffinR is gradually returning to life - but will look different.  However much I try, because of different fabrics involved - the fleece he was originally made with, and the fleeces available here in the UK - do look and feel different.  He's going to still be very cuddly and friendly for NR, but to begin with he will be different, inevitably.


Here's how he's looking:






The new look feet are in place, and PuffinR's Base is almost sewn in - a gap has been left at one of the corners where his Front and Back meet the Base - so that the stuffing can be put in at the appropriate time.  (When it comes to the stuffing, it may still go in at the top (or neck area):  in which case, the gap at the Base will be closed up - obviously!)





The gap doesn't show in the photograph above (showing the Toy inside out), because it's nearer the tail than the front.  That tail is in place as can be seen below:





His two Wings are pinned in place, and will be sewn in properly when the Head is completed.  That's been a bit tricky, because I'd kind of forgotten the order in which I had dis-assembled PuffinR.  However, that difficulty has now been overcome, and the Head should be sewn together and stuffed by the end of play, tonight (Sunday).


Currently, the Beak is ready to be attached to the Head - but I've not yet decided if that will be when the head has been attached to the body, or whether it will be sewn in place before that important seam is created.  Meanwhile, here is a photograph of the Front of the Head with the darts yet to be sewn in. This is also how the finished beak currently looks:




It doesn't look right yet, because the back of the head has yet to be sewn together, but at least you can see what the new beak looks like - unstuffed.


As PuffinR arrived without any eyes, I have selected a couple of options I have in stock  - shown below.   I'm going to show DadR and NR, so they can choose which one is most like the ones they recall PuffinR originally had.  Currently they're shown with the white cheek as a background.  The finished eye will have a black felt background in the middle of the white fleece pieces shown above, and the eye will be in the middle of that addition.  (I can just decipher the shape the felt should be from one of the original cheeks, and propose to trace it and then cut it out in cardboard for a template - to join the rest of the template pieces.)


The eyes are currently not fixed - but one can see the difference between them.






 If DadR and the NR's extended family and friends read this post (we did get a comment from one of them on Cy Bear's bulletin last week), I'm hoping I'll get a comment quickly as to which one they'd like me to fit.  Otherwise, I'll email the pics to DadR  and hopefully get an answer back early in the week, so that PuffinR can be completed.


Those of you who read last week's blog will recall that I had said his original pieces would be a tacked on the inside of each piece before it was stuffed.  While working on PuffinR this week, I decided to actually make a "dry run" - which is what is pictured here.  It gives me an idea as to the best way to go in creating the New Look PuffinR.  (That will then become the new addition to our Toy Shop - www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com).


The second version, still to be cut out, will have those original pieces tacked in place, as Cy Bear described.  It will result, not only in PuffinR being the same size as this model, but he could actually take a little less stuffing.


(Which reminds me:  when I send the photograph of the eyes, I'll need to ascertain if PuffinR in his original state was a "firm" stuffed toy, or a "lightly stuffed toy").  Some of these "mass-produced" toys, as I suspect PuffinR to have been, can be very wobbly indeed, and if NR is to "take" to the new version, I want to make sure that I don't add to the newness of his cherished Forever Friend by making him too firm.  The polyester fibre I use meets all international safety standards, and does eventually "relax",  with time and cuddles, but I really do want to ease the introductory process as much as feasible)


Next week, Cy Bear and I will bring you all up to date - with, hopefully, a Farewell Picture of the two new Friends before PuffinR is sent on his way back HOME to Warwick, Rhode Island, New York, U.S.A.


Good Bye for now - hope everyone has a terrific week, and that Spring will be here soon!  The weather has been particularly nasty this week, although warmer times are said to be on their way.


Isobel.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

PuffinR, our Newest Patent in the Clinic, prepares for his treatment.

Hello Everyone:  



Cy Bear here to tell you about PuffinR, (as he has been registered) normally a resident of Warwick, Rhode Island, New York, U.S.A - but now registered as our latest Patient in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic (https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration?ref=shop_home_active_1)


Puffin R upon arrival after a 6 day journey from the USA

So that we could prepare PuffinR's perch in the Clinic, Isobel asked for  some background information about this unfortunate bird.  He has been the Forever Friend, since his first birthday, of NR, who is now 4 years old, (with an upcoming March birthday).  PuffinR is a Boy Bird, although for a short period - after NR's sister arrived in 2015 - he was a girl.  He's a popular member of the family, and is described by DadR as "always being a silly bird"!  PuffinR is also sad that "the dog was mean to him - but "everyone has learned the lesson that it is necessary to keep stuffies off the floor when dogs are around"!

So that he didn't feel hungry as he set out on this "Puffin adventure of a lifetime", NR suggested that he travel with a lollipop - which you can see in the arrival picture.  Upon arrival, Isobel suggested to DadR that PuffinR must have slept all the way through the journey, since the lollipop had been untouched.  We then reassured PuffinR's Family that he was in safe hands by sending this photo of him and me (and the lollipop!)


Sitting on a chair in our Living Room.

You can see that the lollipop is still untouched.  Between you and me, I don't really think that lollipop's are Bear food, so I suspect that the item will be returning to the USA once PuffinR's treatment is completed.  I think that will go down well with NR - who when told about the intact candy (the American for a sweet - the word used over on this side of the Atlantic Ocean) said to his Dad that "Puffin must be saving it for him"!  


For the information of our Followers, here is the "low-down" on poor PuffinR's current state of health (or not, as the case may be):




He's really not got a functioning beak:  that  will have to be totally rebuilt.
His two feet have been ripped away from his body, but remain intact.  Isobel will try to fix  them to the new body, because they are usable.
His entire front (chest) will have to be replaced, because there are holes around each side, as well as those visible in the photo above.
He no longer has any eyes.  Two more will be needed.
The stuffing you see attached to his feet, is all that is now left - after the Dog's attentions, and PuffinR having had a bath prior to his travel across the Atlantic Ocean.





His right wing (which you can sort of see in this photo) is pretty intact, and will be used to provide the template for both wings when the new PuffinR is created.
His left wing (sticking out at the back of this photo)  must have been used by the dog to both pull the Toy apart, as well as shake it, as it has been stretched completely out of place, as you can see from the picture below.  It's almost the length of the whole existing body.  Both will need replacement.





The first step for Isobel is to take PuffinR apart and find how he's made!  She can then create a cardboard template so that she can cut out the replacement pieces to put PuffinR back together again.


As I said earlier, PuffinR has already had a bath (DadR confirmed that this had taken place, because the thought of a travelling Puffin toy in a package smelling strongly of Dog "was not a palatable one"!).  So, once PuffinR is in pieces, and the replacement pattern created, we plan to tack the original pieces to their matching sections using the new material,  before sewing the body together.  He will then be re-stuffed.  Once the final PuffinR has been created, the tacking will be removed (as the original toy pieces will be held in place by the stuffing).


Previous experience when we've been restoring our Patients is that PuffinR may well end up slightly bigger than he is at the moment.  Isobel was surprised at how small he is actually - we'd got the idea from the original photos that he was a much bigger toy than he is.  He's about the same size as one of our Baby Koalas - see below


Mind you, this Koala is fully stuffed:  I'll measure them when PuffinR is restored

Having said that,  DadR says that "though Puffin was never a large bird, the size of his personality fills the room".


While awaiting PuffinR's arrival, Isobel did some research with the two main on-line fabric suppliers we use and asked for swatches so that matching could take place as quickly as possible.  Some have have arrived, but on inspection, not all are as good a match as we are seeking.  (One does have  to allow for differences in fabric manufacture and dyes used - so an absolute match is not going to be possible.  Also colours pictured on the internet also can be misleading).


Since PuffinR arrived though, we've established that he is made with fleece, so on Saturday morning, Isobel decided to take PuffinR with her on a reconnaisance trip to a haberdashery outlet in Mansfield, the nearest big Town to us here in Kirkby in Ashfield, and has successfully matched all the colours, in the usual fleece fabrics available to us, that we need to achieve PuffinR's "New Look."  On the basis of "getting it when you see it", quarter metre pieces of all the colours have been purchased - to be put into use early next week.  We now wait for Isobel to undertake PuffinR's recovery operation, by creating the new template to put him together.


The exception will be the feet, which could have been replaced with felt, if need be - but as I mentioned earlier, PuffinR's existing feet will actually be usable, and will become the only pieces to be visible of the original Toy. However, we are delighted that none of the original PuffinR will be discarded, but will form the basis of each piece of the restored body.


What Isobel will be using later this week in PuffinR's re-creation

(Quarter metre is the smallest length we could purchase for this exercise, so there's going to be fabric left over.  Afterwards, we hope we'll be able to make some versions of  our own PuffinR's as we think they'll make great additions to our Plush Bird Toy collection. This will be done using the template Isobel hopes to create to restore PuffinR.  Excitingly, the lemon fleece we found is a better colour-match for PuffinR's beak - and, additionally, currently unavailable from our two internet sources.   The leftover material can be used to make some suitable Easter Chicks and Duck Toys, something Isobel had been considering as additional Coldham Cuddlies for 2017).


PuffinR's family will be sent a copy of each post from this blog while he is being treated.  DadR's last comment this week to Isobel indicates that much of their  "extended family is quite entertained by this entire endeavor. I think they'll be excited about the blog as well, so I hope to bring you some new readers.  (We both look forward to welcoming them to our existing Band of Followers!)


Cy Bear, by all means, should share in Puffin's largesse. It's not often a patient arrives with a present."  (Isobel had said that she'd "try to keep my paws off the lollipop while Puffin is being treated"  - I'm feeling a bit offended by that!  As if I would!)


So, I'll end this report from our Toy Restoration Clinic - with the wish that you all have a great week.  In the interim, I shall ponder DadR's remark about "Puffin's largesse".......


Your Friend, Cy Bear

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Latest Cuddlies Updates after a busy Week

Hello there Everyone - Cy Bear back again.


It's been a busy old week for us in the ColdhamCuddlies Shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.etsy.com) and as official Mascot for the enterprise, it's been decided that I'm the one to do this post this week.


It's shorter than usual - Isobel is headed for the Helper's Party being thrown for all those who assist the Clergy at St. Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham, and as one of the regular Readers, she's been included in the mass invitation.  Clare, Alan and GrandsonE are also included, and it's the sort of occasion that goes on as long as it goes on.......until the last man/woman decides it's time to go home and resume "normal" life.  So, this is being drafted on Saturday, and will be posted when Isobel returns to our Flat "on the day".


Early in the week, we checked our Etsy Accounts page to find that payment for the Black Plush Baby Rabbit ordered at the beginning of last week-end by MrAP from Neumacher, Aberdeen, Scotland was en route to the Shop's bank account in the UK.  So having established which one of these four Baby Bunnies was the one destined to make the journey - 




Isobel packed up the selected Toy, wrapped it up and carried out her usual administrative tasks associated with sending a Coldham Cuddly to meet his Forever Friend.  





This time, MrAP chose an all Black Baby Rabbit (the one between the white-chested Baby Rabbit and the one with an orange ribbon around his neck) - which can be difficult to differentiate when we are placed close together for the purposes of a Farewell ceremonial photograph.  (You can just see him appearing over my right shoulder).

We also established that the said Forever Friend is a Baby (many of our Baby Toys do actually find themselves as gifts to adults, you know!), the usual Farewell Ceremony took place before the wrapped  Baby Rabbit disappeared into the polythene postal envelope in which our departing friends make their journeys - globally quite often, but this time as far as Scotland, UK.


Then, excitingly, on Thursday afternoon, we received an enquiry regarding possible restorative therapy for a damaged Puffin Toy, the much-treasured companion for a young boy called NR, living with his family in Rhode Island, New York, USA.  DadR had contacted one of the members of an Etsy Team for which Isobel is a Leader, and as the lady herself could not assist him,  she introduced DadR to Isobel.  Alas, the Puffin had been involved in a "discussion" with a family friend's Dog, and  had come off worst in the encounter.  Puffin and NR  have been very close companions, since NR's first birthday,  and DadR was desperate to see if  our Stuffed Animal Toy Restoration Clinic 
(https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/79124185/stuffed-toy-animal-restoration?ref=shop_home_active_1) could accept Puffin as a Patient.


Some photographs were sent showing the extent of Puffin's injuries, one of which is shown below:


DadR provided three pics, but these are the ones indicating the worst damage.



The excited canine had torn poor Puffin and had a great time extracting the stuffing!  By the look of the injuries, it seems a not insurmountable task, so Isobel  said she'd like to have a go at meeting the challenge of restoring Puffin to his former look.


DadR  gave us the following information when we last heard from him on Friday evening:


"We plan on taking Puffin to the post office in the morning, pack him with some travel treats, and say good-bye while he undertakes the trans-Atlantic journey from Rhode Island to Kirby in Ashfield. It will be a Puffin adventure worth telling for a generation."


We'll be able to give DadR a better idea of what will be involved  when Puffin reaches us, but the main problem is likely to be finding the right matching fabric with which to undertake the necessary repairs. Permission has been granted for us to provide a blow-by-blow account of the treatment here in the blog as it proceeds, so we've got at least a couple of posts for you to look forward to in the not too distant future.  As usual, day to day care of our prospective Patient will be left to me.


See you all again soon:


Your friend,  

Cy Bear.