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 ( 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!


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
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!