Sunday, 18 June 2017

Updates - for the Previous Week's developments.

Hello again -this time it's Isobel writing, since I've been undertaking most of the activities this week.

As for the Grey Cat Puppet: it has proved to be somewhat more difficult to create than I had originally anticipated.  The pattern template (copied from a book of Animal Patterns provided as a birthday present to me by daughter Clare - entitled "Soft Animals A to Z", by Carolyn Vosburg Hall and originally published in 2003 - so not as old as many of my other COLDHAMCUDDLIES) for some reason best known to its author does not include those magic LETTERS at specific points in any creation which allows a crafter to match template pieces together when actually making an object!  I had forgotten to add my own when originally making our Black Cat Puppet

Cat Arm Puppet Cat Activity Toy Cat Hand Puppet Black White Cat Toy Made to Measure Toy Toy for All Ages Activity Play Toy Present for Kids.

Alas, when it came to making the Grey Cat Puppets, I've discovered that my memory for making this Toy previously is not quite as good as I'd like to think:  with the result that I've had several sessions of sewing seams around the muzzle together - and taking them apart - before reaching the eventual correct siting of the pieces to reach my intended final solution!!  Last night, I finally got somewhere - and already, the second head is almost done.  Progress forwards should now not be as prolonged as it has been this last week.

When going to bed last evening, the Cat Puppet project was looking like this.

The hand puppet pieces are pinned together with the top coat fabric on the left:   the calico lining is cut out, but requires a brief pressing with my iron before being put together and fitted to the body. The head of the first Cat has facial features, which I'm not entirely satisfied with, but it will do for this post.  There will be two versions, as I think Cy Bear told you last week, so I've got some wriggle room yet - although the dispatch deadline is growing close!

I know the lining is not visible when the puppet is put together, but I don't like presenting ANYTHING in a untidy state - whether it is ultimately visible or not!  I shall be machine-stitching the hand/arm areas on both pieces - which is less time-consuming than doing it all by hand. 

Here's the first Cat Puppet's head, upside down (you can just see the gap - waiting for the finger-tube to be inserted and sewn in:  with some of the polyester stuffing sticking out of the space.)  One of the problems I've also encountered in this project has been the actual fabric itself.  It's beautifully tactile to touch - but  a real "horror" to work with.  It's SO fluffy and SO thick and curly that at times I've had difficulty in picking out my stitching!  As already stated, I've needed to unpick my first (or even second attempts) and that's taken some time - because,  for once, I've been able to get a pretty good match between sewing thread and the actual fabric!  You can see (below) what I mean about the fluffiness and curly-ness, can't you! 

This is how far I've got with the second Cat Puppet - the back of the head is already sewn on, and I just need to sew round the muzzle and do the facial features, before sewing the front face to the head back - to create the finger tube gap for this Puppet too.  (The new scissor investment I made when buying this particular fabric a couple of week' ago is just what I needed:  they have slightly curved ends, and are very sharp - so "shaving" excess furry bits to create the ultimate face should be a lot easier than it has been recently!)

I'm almost at the end of this particular tunnel, and looking forward to being able to complete the project by midweek - or Thursday evening at the latest.  That will give me the chance to have selected Grey Cat Puppet on its way to its Forever Home on Friday - hopefully. 

MsSD is based in Conway, South Carolina - and previous experience of shipping to the US Eastern Seaboard has been that it pays to get a package onto a Saturday aeroplane - because it seems to avoid hold-ups once it reaches US territory.  However, all our Cuddlies travel via the Royal Mail International Airmail Tracked programme, so tabs can be kept on the Toys' journey quite easily. Thus, if there is an unexpected delay in travel arrangements, the intended recipients can be alerted - if they've not tracked the package for themselves, of course!  Have to say, I find it rather interesting to keep up with my Toys in any case.

Here's a close-up of the first Grey Cat Puppet's head - I think the face is not quite right, in that the vertical line is too long from the middle of the nose, and the mouth does not convey the look for the puppet MsSD is particularly attached to.  Now I'm not doing to create an exact replica of that model, so that there are no copyright or other issues involved.  But I think I can make it look a lot more like the original - and intend to do so, if the second one - which still needs facial work on it - doesn't get nearer the mark when it reaches the same stage as the first example.  As Cy Bear said earlier, the one MsSD rejects, will become the next New COLDHAM CUDDLIES Toy in our online shop -

Before updating you about our recent Railway Trip (as the heading here implies) - and resultant decisions made by my fellow residents - here's a final close-up of the two Puppets' heads:

They both have green glass cat-eyes, but the ones on the second puppet are still somewhat "buried" in the surrounding curly plush!  Also think the scissors need to be applied to our first example - just to tidy it up a bit.

Now to the proposed Railway trip:   a decision was taken by my fellow residents that we should indeed book a day-trip to include the Duffield-Wirksworth Ecclesbourne Heritage Railway. Uninterested fellow travellers were happy to consider the garden centre option, although one of two of them did feel the cost of that part might be a sticking point.  After discussion, it was suggested that I now get a price for the 16 seater mini-bus to take the entire party to Wirksworth (end of the journey described in our last postand for the railway enthusiasts to get off the 'bus and travel back to Duffield on the train.  (It won't be a steam engine pulling the party, but one of the two diesel locomotives, as the steam engine doesn't operate during weekday trips).  The 'bus would meet us at that end of the track - having given the remainder of the party a mystery tour around the beautiful Peak District countryside between the two villages.  (I've yet to do this bit of research - but I can't see a problem.  A decision will need to be taken as to whether "The Bridge Inn" visit takes place before or after the 'bus/train experience - and is obviously dependent on train trip timings!)

The decision to include a Rail journey among the Summer outside activities enabled me to go to the transport provider (a local council-supported outfit called "Our Centre" which provides these facilities for local residents of a "certain age" at slightly subsidised prices).  Having created a suggested programme - with a 6-week interval between outings - prices for the 'bus journey were obtained and the Residents given the suggested timetable.  Needless to say, changes were immediately needed (isn't that always the way, when one creates a "list" - for ANYTHING? Changes almost always are required ere long!!).  In this case, our Resident volunteer member of the Ecclesbourne Railway Company pointed out that the day I'd chosen for the October visit would not be practicable:  as the trains did not run during week-days after the end of September!!  I don't think that this is an insurmountable problem - which will be discussed with Our Centre - the transport provider - on Monday, as I am due to visit their premises in person (to pay our dues for our last outing, together with the Old Chapel Close Tenants' Association Treasurer -  two signatures being required for the payment.!!)

So with that, this somewhat lengthy blog comes to an end for this week.  Good to be back with you again:  hopefully, we'll have some photos of Cy Bear and the completed Grey Cat Puppets to show you this time next week.  Until then - here's wishing you all a really good week:  wherever you happen to be when you read this post.  

Thanks for being such loyal Followers!  We're nearly at the 400th post by the way!!

Your Friend, Isobel.  

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Update on the Grey Cat Puppet - and change of scene.

Greetings everyone - Cy Bear here with another post from the World of the Coldham Cuddlies.

The update mentioned in the title:  after a battle (on Isobel's part - because she'd forgotten passwords and user names she uses to get in touch with Mohair Bear Making Supplies) contact was established and the fabric for MsSD's Grey Cat Puppet ordered.  It arrived safely in a couple of days after the order was placed, and it has now been cut out.

This first picture shows all the items assembled ready for Isobel to start the sewing process:  pattern template (in the manilla envelope on the left of the chair) and the instructions for putting the Cat's Head together on the white sheet of paper.  Scissors, measuring tape - to cut the hand puppet bit to match the measurements given us by MsSD.  Both versions of the proposed Cat Puppet will be made to those criteria - and the all important stuffing needed for the Cat's Head.

The second photograph shows the two Puppets cut out and ready to sew - and shows the fabric required to make a COLDHAM CUDDLIES hand/arm puppet.  Calico for the lining of the arm area, the furry fabric for the Cat's Head and body pieces, and the light Grey plush fabric needed for the Cat's muzzle.  Isobel is hoping to get around to sewing it later tonight - or definitely tomorrow. The body of both puppets will be machined - making it a much quicker process than if it was all done by hand.  Then the Cat Heads will be sewn individually - and the facial features created.  (Isobel actually treated herself to some special scissors from Mohair Bear Making Supplies which she will keep for using when shaping future Toys' facial expressions.  They're slightly curved at the ends, and very sharp - and should be easier for her to use in making Bears, Monkeys and other Toys that need these special features).

Sewing operations have been interrupted a little this week because Isobel has had other things to attend to - outside the COLDHAMCUDDLIES' World, one of which is that she's found herself being asked to organise some outside visits for fellow residents and herself to various sites of interest in the surrounding Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire countryside.  The lady that did it previously is now no longer with us, and there was no one else prepared to do it. Also, there were problems with Banks not co-operating, and the need to change their arrangements, as well as coping with the departure of the previous Trip Organiser, resulting in no outings taking place for the whole of 2016. 

Thus, Isobel has been busy getting prices for hiring the motor vehicle to transport between 10-16 residents (and their families/friends), and on Saturday - together with three gentlemen residents, she went on a train ride.  The objective of this exercise being to see whether such an event would be practical - with some residents needing "walkers" to aid their movements, and two of them relying on wheelchairs for access to such trips.

The gentlemen involved had been keen to arrange a trip for themselves to sample (and revive) their long term interest in the Steam Railway era - and their youthful preoccupation with "train-spotting". But one or two other residents, including Isobel, had expressed an interest in going along too.   A short distance away, there is a Heritage  railway - the Ecclesborne Valley Railway - offering a trip through beautiful Derbyshire countryside which begins at the village of Duffield, a circa 35 minute-drive from our home.  So, off the four residents went yesterday - and fortunately, the rain held off, and although it was windy, otherwise conditions were good.  (The UK offers a number of these Heritage Railways, around the country, staffed mostly by volunteers - some are bigger and cover longer distances than others.  Apparently there are at least two others in the nearby vicinity to our home, but this one was selected, because one of the "scouters" is a member of the Ecclesborne Valley Railway, and so was able to guide us in this aspect of the proposed outing.  He also gets "special rates" himself, but they discovered rates for parties can be negotiated as and when required.  Isobel will need to get her bargaining skills honed as a result.)

The other objective of the day out yesterday was to find somewhere to have a "meal out". Everyone living here enjoys the prospect of eating a meal that they've not had to prepare for themselves.  One of the company had suggested The Bridge Inn at Duffield, so that was where the party headed to begin with, having decided to eat first and ride later.  However, the drive had taken less time than envisaged. The hostelry did not appear to be open to outside visitors when they arrived, so having scouted the outside area(s), the party decided to proceed to Duffield Station, and take the first morning trip scheduled to begin some 20 minutes later.

The intrepid travellers - outside The Bridge Inn, Duffield

Part of the outside eating area.
The Bridge Inn has the River Derwent flowing beside the outside eating area.

So, off to Duffield Station they went - and this was the sight that awaited them upon arrival. 

An empty station platform, but obviously with a train expected shortly, as people were walking from cars and gathering at the station office to get their tickets. This cost Isobel £12.00 ($15.30 USD) - and it enabled her to travel for as long as she liked all day Saturday.  

Very shortly after they'd got their tickets, the train arrived, and because it is largely a single-track facility, the engine was uncoupled and shunted backwards towards the day's arriving passengers, so that the points could be changed to enable the machine to travel back along the short piece of second track - to the other end of the train, where the process of point-changing could take place, and the engine be re-coupled to the other end of the 4-carriage train.

Engine being shunted back to enable the points to be changed.
Waiting for the point change to take place
Travelling back to re-join the train at the front end.
On the way to getting on the train prior to departure, Isobel and company were able to have a quick glance at a noticeboard with the history of the railway.

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is celebrating it's 150th year since it opened and they are holding a series of events to commemorate this landmark between April and October this year.  The map on the left of the board shows the stations en route  and the rail journey takes about 20 minutes.  In addition to the steam engines, they also have some diesel locomotives that are used to convey visitors during week-days.  Steam travel, given that the railway is entirely staffed by volunteers, takes place on Saturdays and Sundays - because, for obvious reasons, it takes more time to ready the engines to get sufficient steam to propel the trains using coal as fuel for the trips.

The Derbyshire countrywide was looking very spruce and green, since the trees have only recently acquired this year's leaves - and the party was particularly struck by the view between hedges of this field - absolutely covered with buttercups:  really a sight to be seen.

On the way to Wirksworth, this view caught Isobel slightly unawares, and the nearby hedge butted in before she'd had time to get her camera ready in time to show you the absolute carpet of buttercups on the scene.  However, on the way back, she managed to get it a bit better - it really is a wonderful sight, isn't it?

At the other end of the track, we found this little steam engine complete with it's own truck.

This enables those so inclined to pay a bit more and be transported to the top of a nearby land mark - where the Derbyshire countryside opens out looking towards the Higher Peak District westwards. The trip takes place during the time that the engine does the track-switching operation which delivers it to the rear of the train, for the journey back to Duffield - which also enables the other travellers to buy and enjoy a quick snack offered in a Buffet housed in converted old railway carriages.  Our party decided to leave these bits for another time, and just enjoyed breathing in the fresh Peak District air instead.

 On Saturdays and Sundays, there are three trips a day under steam, and there are a similar number of journeys on week-days - with choices of travel while being hauled by a Heritage Diesel Locomotive - pulling the steam rail cars, or days when the Diesel Locomotive hauls Rail  Cars of a similar vintage to itself.  

From their perspective, Isobel and her friends decided - while enjoying a light lunch back at The Bridge Inn after they'd arrived back in Duffield - that a visit could well be arranged for their walker-aided friends.  The wheel-chair travellers needed to be consulted (and appropriate arrangements laid on) about whether or not they'd be prepared to travel for the duration of the trip in the Guards Van, which does have access via a ramp provided.  (There is a window in the railcar).   The access via the normal doorways was definitely not wheelchair friendly.  If they were, Isobel would need to ensure that the rail car with the Guards Van was on hand on the day any trip were to be booked.

Isobel and Co. also discovered that there could be an alternative to offer those residents who might well enjoy seeing a Heritage Railway in operation, but not necessarily be that enthusiastic about participating in the journey itself.  There is a handy Garden Centre - complete with cafe and other shops, all under cover - which they could repair to, while the rail enthusiasts undertook the journey to Wirksworth and back.

The findings are to be offered to the Residents next week - and arrangements put in hand as a result of decisions taken at that time.  More of that anon - and of course, hopefully, finished photographs of the Cat Puppets too.

See you all next week, Folks.  Hope you all have a good one!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

In Waiting Mode

Hello Everyone:

Cy Bear back again, with some tit bits to share about my new Friend, Hairy Bear12 - whom you saw in pieces last week, while Isobel was in the process of making him for our Etsy Shop, www.

He was finished over last week-end, after all the limbs had been added to the body and head (the state Hairy Bear12 was in when you saw him last week-end).    You can see, he's had his face created too - by Isobel carefully cutting the fabric pile around the eyes, nose and mouth areas.

Having done that, Isobel's thoughts moved towards the creation of the Grey Cat Puppet for MsSD from Conway, South Carolina, USA.  When she left you last week, she had described how she might make up the Puppet - if she was unsuccessful in finding fabric that might better resemble a previous Cat Puppet she'd made for another of our US Customer Friends in 2015 -

The previous Grey Mohair Cat Puppet
Accordingly, on Monday she sent the above picture and a request to our "go-to" mohair bear making supplies Shop - Mohair Bear Making Supplies Limited of Telford, Shopshire, UK.  As we suspected the fabric shown here was not now in stock - we had, after all, been given a roll end when we bought it for the 2015 project (but replacement supplies might have been sourced in the interim).  However, they did come back with a photograph of the "only grey curly" they had in stock - which looks like this:

I gather that it's not actually a mohair fabric, but more of a plush one - and rejoices in the name "medium-pile-faux-fur-fabrics/silver-bear-20mm-ratinee-pile".   The above picture was duly sent off to MsSD, who replied "I love it" - so Isobel duly returned to Mohair Bear Supplies and told them she'd like to buy at least half a metre (that will be more than enough to make at least one version - if not two of these Grey Cat Puppets. ).  Isobel suggested she would do two at the same time, not to only give MsSD a choice of finished product, but also so we could then list the remaining one as another new COLDHAM CUDDLIES Toy.

Spring/Summer is always a busy time for our suppliers - because not only are they the largest mohair bear making fabric supplier in the UK,  but this is often the busiest period for them with lots of Bear Festivals all around the country.  The proprietors of the business (Darren and Lanie Capps) not only operate what sounds like quite a large business unit on a Business Park in Telford, but they also go to the Bear Festivals too, taking lots of samples with them - and this week (just our luck!) would appear to be one of those occasions.

So, while we've "ordered" the fabric, Isobel has had to bide her time in beginning to sew the Grey Cat Puppet.  Telephone contact is not actually encouraged - they admit it takes them time, sometimes, to get to a call!  So, we're going to send a copy of this blog post to them, once we've finished it today - to see if THAT gets a response.  Isobel will also try ringing them when they open on Monday morning - in the hope that one of them will be near the telephone (if only because of the need to check on what has happened in their absence).  Another reason, too, may well be that Isobel is not nearly their best customer - although she'd like to be, because their fabrics are so lovely to handle.  Alas she can't justify it while we retain our existing stash of faux fur and other Cuddlies fabrics!!  (Our storage space alone is the main reason.)

However, during the mid-week visit to spend time with GransonE, Isobel did take a series of outdoor photographs of Hairy Bear12 - and here are a few to tide you over (as well as make this post a little more photogenic and interesting).  They were taken, as most of our outdoor pictures are these days in Daughter Clare's back garden - and "supervised" by both GransonE and Grandog Dotty:

Sitting in the Flower Border - with a Red Poppy for company

Hairy Bear being steered by GrandsonE in his Dinosaur Car

(Interestingly, when I sat in the car a couple of weeks before, GrandsonE was not quite sure about me being there!  Not sure what to make of that I have to say!)

Enjoying the bright sunshine on offer that day

Sitting in the sunshine, and getting a bit blown about too

Showing he can stand on firm ground as well as grass

With a "Windmill" bird scarer in the background

With that string of photographs of Hairy Bear12, I'll end this week's post.  At least, now, Isobel has some choices when she decides to change the look of  Hairy Bear's listing in the Shop in the next few weeks and months.

Either Isobel or I will be back soon with the next bulletin from the World of the COLDHAMCUDDLES.  In the meantime, here's wishing you all a splendid week - wherever you are, and what ever you happen to be doing or planning.

Your Friend, Cy Bear

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Replacement Update - and the Start of a New Challenge

Greetings to Everyone - good to be with you again.

Cy Bear is getting a rest this week - because he's not actually doing the replacements (obviously) and he hasn't realised that we're facing a bit of a challenge which, hopefully, will result in another new COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toy joining our Family of Toys, Slippers and Golf Club Covers soon.

The replacement Hairy Bear is coming along.  However, I'd forgotten just how furry the faux fur fabric is that I use for these Teddy Bears of ours.  It's fine when I've cut out the arms, legs, body, head and ears and sewn them separately, but when it comes to putting them all together, there's another dimension with this particular toy that isn't usual with most of my other efforts!  There's just so MUCH plush involved!

Here's a picture of the limbs and ears ready to be placed on the body:

Do believe that you can see what I'm talking about!  On the left of the picture are the legs, and on the right are the arms.  In between are the ears, which have been lined with the same fabric (brown suedette type material) I've used for the paw pads  - and all of them illustrate the "furriness" involved!!   The limbs have holes at the top of each leg and arm - where the discs will be fitted through which will enable them to be moved when they become a completed COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toy.  (On the right you can just see a disc in one of the arms - but I think I'm going to have to use the biggest disc I have in stock for this project, simply because the pole in the "normal" disc for my Bears, is just too short to cope with all the furry plush around).

After a bit of a struggle (the fingers are not as agile as they once were these days) putting the head on to the body was eventually achieved.  Now, the furry problems become front and centre, because it's difficult to ensure that the arms and legs are fitted in the right place.  Most of the other toys, one can do some "thread-marking" to aid the Toy Maker.   Sewers among you will understand that with all this fur around, even with a different bright colour, finding the exact spot becomes almost academic! Using a long knitting needle, I've aligned them (I think - and profoundly hope!)  and got to that stage at the moment.  It was quite late last evening when I was trying to achieve the first limb attachments, so I decided to break off proceedings and leave it until today.

Here is the current bag of polyester fibre I'm using for the current COLDHAMCUDDLIES replacements.  I get this essential toy filling from a craft supplier firm based in central Manchester, which has been in business for over a hundred years.  Getting two bags of 1.5 kgs (3.3 lbs) at a time, I manage to save myself (and my customers!) quite a lot in terms of cost - when compared with what one can pay when purchasing polyester stuffing from one's local department store or craft supplier, where the best one can do is get a bag with about 400g (about a quarter of a pound) in it!

The need for this replacement project to move forwards was given some urgency late last week when a Custom Request was received for an Arm Puppet which could resemble an old Friend of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES - which, in turn, was a replica puppet request from a Puppeteer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Early in 2015,  I made several Tiger Puppets for MrJS, based in Tulsa at the time, and he also asked me to make a Cat Puppet, which eventually turned out like this:

The fabric that this Cat Puppet is made from was a piece of Mohair material  I was able to obtain from my specialist Mohair supplier which was the nearest match I could find for MrJS at the time. It was out of stock when I first approached Mohair Bear Supplies in Telford, Staffordshire, but they were able to find a roll end, which was big enough for me to make this puppet, and still have a small bit left over.  That accompanied the finished toy when the project was completed, so is no longer part of my existing mohair stash.  If memory serves, this Puppet then had an adventurous journey to Tulsa.  For reasons best known to United States Postal Services, while the package did indeed initially arrive in Tulsa (in the correct journey time), for some reason it got "diverted" to Chicago, returned to Tulsa, and then found it's way out to the nearest Post Office to MrJS's home (which has a Post Box number as an address) - and arrived some 5-6 weeks after posting!  (The normal journey time for a Toy travelling to that same address previously had been between 10-14 days!  Since that episode, ALL COLDHAMCUDDLIES Toys now travel International Tracked and Signed For  - despite the higher cost.  That at least ensures I know exactly where they are at while they are en route).

Now as this particular fabric is no longer available to me - and it was April 2015 when I was making those Puppets for MrJS -  the thought has just occurred that I might get in touch with Mohair Bear Supplies to see if they've got anything in stock NOW that might resemble the Tulsa Cat Puppet, so that I can make a better resemblance to the original Puppet - one Henrietta Pussy Cat of "Mr Roger's Neighbourhood" fame.  (MsSD, my latest customer, is particularly attached to Henrietta and is very keen to get as near a likeness as possible, and I'm determined to do my best in that regard).  For those of you Readers who don't know who Henrietta Pussy Cat is - she, and the Tigers, were part of that wonderful American Children's programme - which was a daily bedtime  favourite of my two daughters when we lived in Canada between 1975 and 1987.  You can find out a lot more about the series, and it's characters by using that well known tool - "Google"!

(Mr.JS was then engaged in a special project in 2015 when he found out about the COLDHAMCUDDLIES, and challenged me to try to make the Puppets for him.  It so happens that thanks to Facebook, contact has recently been re-established between MrJS and myself - purely on a friendly basis now, and we exchange information about our respective recently arrived grandchildren - an illustration  of the good wonders of modern technology!  The project we both worked on is currently "on hold" - as MrJS had serious surgery in 2016, from which he is still recovering. I've told him about this new Cat Puppet challenge, and he too is looking forward to seeing the result of my efforts!  No pressure then!)

If any Readers are interested - and have the time - how our version of the Tulsa Cat Puppet came to be made was described in a series of posts here  between 12.04.15 and 24.05.15. (You can find them by clicking on the relevant Year Link on the right side of this blog - I think!).

Provisionally, (I've yet to contact MsSD about my "brain wave" regarding the fabric match) the new Puppet is being based on our current Black and White Plush Cat - seen here

Cat Arm Puppet Cat Activity Toy Cat Hand Puppet Black White Cat Toy Made to Measure Toy Toy for All Ages Activity Play Toy Present for Kids.
Black and White Plush Cat Puppet -

When creating the Custom Order, which was only finalised yesterday evening, I hadn't thought about contacting Mohair Bear Supplies to see if they might now have more appropriate fabric for meeting MsSD's requirements, so in the absence of that information, and if there isn't a better choice, I'm going to make the main head and body using the same Dark Grey Plush I used for these Rabbit Head Novelty Slippers:

Grey Plush Rabbit Novelty Slippers -

The facial features (shown in the Black Cat Puppet picture here in white plush) are going to be made using the Light Grey Plush Fabric I used to make the Chests of my Hedgehog Toys - looking like this:

Daddy Hedgehog -

The other change that will be made to the new Cat Puppet will be that the eyes will be a Round Green Eye, rather than the Yellow ones used in the Black and White Cat Puppet on which the whole new project will be based. 

So with my work planned for a few weeks hence, either Cy Bear or I will update you on the progress of both the projects described here this week.  I'll sign off for now - wishing you all the best for the upcoming week.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Penguin Cuddlies - Replacements with a New Look - and thus a New Cuddly Model.

Good to be back with you once again, Everyone.

Cy Bear dropping by with some speedy news from the COLDHAMCUDDLIES' World - because today happens to coincide with one of the EtsyFRU Team's HEART ATTACK events, and Isobel has spent a large part of her time this week preparing quite a few of our CUDDLIES to be listed in the special Thread.

Several of our Toys were due to be re-listed - as happens every 3 months if one is part of the World - and as it costs the same to re-list as it does to renew (but the former appears in the on-line Shop as a "brand new" listing), Isobel decided to go the re-listing route this time around.  

Three have already been posted on the HEART ATTACK site - both in our Shop, and on the HEART ATTACK site:

Baby Black Bunny Rabbit Stuffed Black and White Toy Cool Tots Toy Shower Basket Gift Toy for Mobile Toy for Boy Gift for Girl Toddler Gift

Tan Coyote Toy Brown Stuffed Toy Collectible Adult Toy Coyote Toy for Kids Boy or Girl Toy Adult Companion Toy Cuddly Coyote Toy Coyote Gift
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Once we've told you about our Penguins with their New Look, she'll be going back to the Team site, to carry on re-listing (and publicising the fact throughout the Etsy team world(s) - as well as on Facebook, and this time  - as a first - on Pinterest and something called Tumblr as well). As Isobel only operates with a laptop (smartphones are a technological development too far for her at the moment - given that she rarely even uses a mobile, unless absolutely forced to) the Tumblr activity is one she will not be participating in, although she's always open to correction.  It is her understanding at the moment, that Tumblr doesn't work if one doesn't have a smartphone to hand.

When Isobel hasn't been re-listing (drafting) Cuddlies for presentation in the EtsyFRU HEART ATTACK today, she has also been sewing the new version of our Penguin Toys.  Two have been done - and if they look a little reminiscent of our Puffin Toys, you could well be correct!.  It was while she was making the Puffins recently, that Isobel decided to make some more Penguins - having only made the one to date - who looks like this:

Percy Penguin, Stuffed Toy, Black and White Cuddly, Shower Basket Item, Cool Tots Toy, Toddler Gift, Cool Tot Toy, Boy Shower Toy, Girls Toy
Penguin - Original Plush Version.

Whilst he's been much admired, Percy Penguin does look a little woolly compared with the "real thing" - or least Isobel thinks so.  Thus, when she was making the Puffins recently, and because we've got plenty of the black and white fleece fabric in stock (and it's relatively easy to replace if and when needed), she decided to cut out patterns for two more Penguins - and they now look like this.  

As you know, Isobel cannot make a Toy look EXACTLY the same at any time - let alone when different fabrics are in use.  However, she is really happy with the way these guys look, and will be listing them later today (yes, in the HEART ATTACK!).   They didn't take her long to make - both were done in 6 evenings, while listening to the radio, and/or some programmes on the TV (that DIDN'T include mentions of Elections - she's fed up to the back teeth with those already, and there's another 2.5 weeks to go yet!).

Here are Paddy and Petula Penguin - we're not sure yet which one is which - maybe some of you can let us know?

Then here are a couple of different photographs- taken from different angles for both Birds.

Sideways views.

And finally, a shot of both Fleece Penguins from the rear.

Having completed these fleecy toys, Isobel yesterday cut out and started sewing a replacement for our Hairy Bear - one of our most popular models.  This new one will actually be Hairy Bear Number Nine or Ten - Isobel has lost count. But the one showing in our Shop at the moment found a home in the middle of last year, and this is the first opportunity we've had for Isobel to actually sew his replacement.

Hairy Toy Brown Bear Faux Fur Teddy Hairy Teddy Bear Stuffed Cuddly Toy Furry Companion Collectible Toy Cuddly Toy Bear Furry Bear Mom Gift

Once he's been completed, another round of new photographs will be taken and he will be re-listed: probably as a brand new Toy, because our original Hairy Bears Etsy reference number might be making it a bit more difficult for him to be recognised - or maybe folks think he looks too fierce for them?  One can never tell, you know.   Isobel always likes making her toys with "happy faces" - but she did get asked one time (and it was indeed for one of the Hairy Bear versions) if his "look" could be a "sad one".  Naturally, she obliged - but it took quite a bit of doing not to finish up with a Grumpy Bear.

Right I've been waffling on long enough for this week.  Will be back next week, hopefully, with the new look Hairy Bear and other news.

Meanwhile, have a great week everyone!  We've had a lot of rain here in the last few days - but we've been promised lots of sunny weather for next week, so hopefully the photograph session (or sessions) will not be spoiled by unexpected showers!

Bye for now!  Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Carrying on, carrying on: replacements, and some new looks.

Hello Everyone:

Cy Bear greeting you, in the hope that you've all had a great week-end, and are ready for the oncoming week and it's developments.

In the spirit of the replacing regimen Isobel embarked upon last week, there are some new things to show you.

As our Profile picture (sometimes referred to as an avatar, I'm told) had been in existence throughout our Social Media sites, as well as here on the blog and in our Shop ( for almost 2 years, Isobel decided the time had come to think about a replacement.

Accordingly, on Wednesday morning last week - and taking advantage of a really lovely sunny day - Isobel asked daughter Clare to take photographs of herself and me (reflecting the dual nature of our activities related to the COLDHAMCUDDLIES),  and then she took some new photos of me in Clare's garden.


The second one is currently being used for the intended purpose:  we might well move to the first one later on in the year.  (Isobel was not too keen on all of her right arm being shown - so went with the second one, apparently!)

Isobel then "borrowed" some of  GrandsonE's outside toys - and took some up-to-date photographs of me.  Until now, she'd been using pictures that she took when we lived down in Wiltshire, shortly after the COLDHAMCUDDLIES business first became operational. They were taken about 6 years ago.   Although I don't think I've changed that much, the background scenery definitely has.

While GrandsonE was quite resigned to me sitting at the top of his slide, I'm not so sure that he was quite as happy to see me taking a spot in his prized Dinosaur Car:

While this picture was being taken, GrandsonE was standing by with a very dubious expression on his face, so he was very happy to watch Clare position me among the flower boxes on the nearby patio  -

I didn't sit there for long - and the pansies were not hurt during the session!  Finally, Isobel tried me sitting on the patio table.  We don't think this one will feature very much, because I don't stand out too well - probably too much glass and a crowded background maybe.  But, if we don't experiment, we don't find out!

While all this photography was going on, we were all being "supervised" by Isobel's "Grandog" Dotty.  She's been part of the family for about 5 years now, and has become an inseparable "partner in crime" with GrandsonE.

The process of familiarisation with the new Etsy Shop format has carried on all week, and everyone seems to be getting used to the idea.  Lots of comments are being read by Isobel, but she's buckling down to getting herself around - and at the same time, the changes have coincided with a lot of re-listing being needed for many of  the existing Cuddlies.  Isobel has recently discovered how one "re-lists" our Shop contents - as opposed to "renewing" them every quarter. (It costs the same, but the newly acquired skill means that the Buyers can't see how popular (or not, as the case may be) each Toy has been - which apparently can make a difference when potential customers are browsing the scene.  Isobel may have been operating the Shop since 2010, but she's still learning new things almost very day.)  

Before completing this week's bulletin from Nottinghamshire, Isobel was thrilled to get an update about the Easter Duckling (ED) who now lives with our Friend, AndyB in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Apparently ED (equally shorthand for Edmonton Duckling, I think) accompanied his young friend when AndyB spent time at his "daytime home" recently:  he had tremendous fun, and ended up looking like this:

Amazing photo, isn't it?  To think a little chap like our Easter Duckling could carry a "load" like he's shown doing here - and NOT TAKE OFF himself, eh?

Hope you all have a great week - see you all again soon, I hope.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.