Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Well, that's all for today! I'll try to write again soon. I do hope I finish my site soon because I do miss interacting with all of you!
BUT...right now a piece of chocolate cake that my daughters made today is waiting on the table next to me and I just can't wait to eat it any longer! BYE now!
Heaps of Hugs,
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I wish I could give each one of you a hug for all your wonderful comments, support, and compliments during this year! I really couldn't have wished for a better group of people following me on this adventure or a better year.
This year has led me on a wonderful journey into a circle of bear and art lovers which has enriched my life tenfold. I never planned on this journey or even prepared for it, so I'm very thankful for all the helping hands, love, and care along the way. I look forward to meeting more wonderful people and fully embracing the adventures coming in the new year.
I wish you all a happy Christmas filled with peace, love, and joy. Boy, now I'm getting all teary-eyed because I am just SO grateful to have you all in my life. Thank you! Thank you! And thank you again!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
And for all of you who entered this giveaway, remember you will receive an extra entry in my upcoming bear giveaway! I can't tell you exactly when that will be, because I haven't even started it. But, you see, I have all sorts of surprises up my sleeve. And since you are here and I'm in a bit of a chatty mood, I'm going to let you in on them!
I've already told you that I'm starting work on 2 patterns that will be available from Etsy--one of an elephump and one of a bear. And you know that the current plans for the bear are that it will be 12 inches of a lovely honey tan mohair. I'm thinking he will be a cute little vintage-style bear, but you do know that bears tell us bear makers what they want to become. So, we'll just have to be patient to see who he becomes.
Well, the elephump is a bit more certain. He's going to be from Toffee's pattern (I've had a LOT of requests for his pattern) in a scrumptious vintage pale purple mohair. He's going to be in a giveaway as well, but that giveaway will be only for my mailing list members. You see, I'm just finishing up the final touches on my formal website that I will soon unveil. People who sign up to be on my mailing list will receive email newsletters with the first information and inklings about available Bingle Bears. If you are interested, you can sign up on my soon-to-be-website or on my blog. In fact, you may already have noticed it on the top right of the sidebar. I'm just so excited--I'm almost giddy!
Heaps of Hugs,
P.S. Alfie and Sebastian have been adopted. Alfie should be arriving to his new home in North Carolina today and Sebastian will soon be taking a similar route.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Well, I'm taking a page out of Ginger's (of bearbits) book and anyone who enters this giveaway will have an extra entry when I have my future bear giveaway. He isn't designed yet, but I think he's going to be 12 inches made from a honey tan semi-sparse mohair--he should be a real cutie!
Heaps of Hugs,
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Now that the business is done, let’s get back to my musings about one of my favorite Christmas stories. I must admit that I am unabashedly smitten with all of Beatrix Potter’s stories and drawings. But the little mice sewing tiny, tiny, tiny little stitches to finish the Governor’s coat for the poor, sick tailor in time for the Governor’s Christmas wedding holds a special place in my heart. I’m not sure why I love those little mice so. Perhaps it is their unconditional giving. They work joyfully to help someone who has never asked for help or for anything in return for his favors. The tailor does rescue the little mice from under the teacups in which Simpkin, the tailor’s naughty cat, had trapped them. Maybe they have noticed that the good far-sighted tailor lives so poorly without griping or complaining? Or perhaps the mice appreciate the scraps of silk and satin that the tailor leaves for them. I’m not sure why they choose to joyfully help the tailor. But the mystery of the exquisitely finished Christmas wedding coat where only cut pieces of cloth previously stood continues from that day forth. The tailor chose to help the little mice out of their teacup predicament even though he knew that Simpkin would be cross. And, yes, that naughty cat spitefully hides the last bit of silk twist that the tailor needs to finish the Governor's coat. The poor, sick tailor goes to bed knowing that he won't be able to finish his work. What is he going to do? But those sweet little mice work by candlelight during the nights cheerfully sewing and singing. Ever after, the tailor designs beautiful articles of clothing, cuts out the pieces, and, tired from a day’s work, lays the pieces on his work table only to find them worked into intricate garments. The tailor’s “work” becomes sought after and he no longer has any monetary troubles. Oh, those sweet little mice! Even Simpkin, the tailor’s naughty cat, feels ashamed of his behavior in comparison to those giving little mice and returns the necessary bit of twist when the tailor is well and thinks all is lost because it's Christmas day and he did not finish the Governor's coat.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Can't wait to see you then!
Heaps of Hugs,
Thursday, December 10, 2009
(2) Copy awards to your blog
(3) Place a link to their blog
(4) Name 7 things people don't know about you
(5) Nominate 7 bloggers
(6) Place a link to those bloggers
(7) Leave a comment on their blogs letting them know of their awards
Ah, let's see now...7 things you don't know about me. Okay, here goes...
~ When I was little I caught a catfish when fishing with my Grandpa. I named it Charlie. It seemed like a good name for it, but I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't wake up. Oh, well. Long story short...we wrapped Charlie in a blanket, buried him under a stand of old pine trees at my Grandma and Grandpa's farm, and then had a service for him.
~ I have a strong affinity for the smell of pine trees. Hmmmm...probably something to do with that stand of pine trees that Charlie is buried beneath.
~ I can watch Jane Austen movies over and over and over again without ever tiring of them.
~ Matt and the girls can figure out what kind of day it's been for me based on which Jane Austen film I choose. I'm a bit transparent, I guess.
~ I sleep with a teddy bear next to my bed. Sometimes Edward Bear (think A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh) finds his way into my bed as well--I think he climbs in when he's feeling tired and needs a little something extra.
~ I spent WAY too many years in graduate school. I've decided that it was because I just didn't know when to stop.
~ I purposely tried to FORGET what I had learned in graduate school when we had kids. I wanted to be as present and genuine a parent as possible.
Okay, now for the difficult part--choosing ONLY 7 bloggers to give the awards to. There are so many wonderful bloggers and artists out there in Blogland ... it just boggles my mind. Anyhooo, these are the seven I narrowed it down to and they are in alphabetical order by their first names. There is no way I could play favorites because they are all wonderful artists.
(1) Brenda at "Duffyantiques"
(2) Ginger at "bearbits"
(3) Jenny at "jennylovesbenny"
(4) Robin at "Needle Felted Art by Robin Joy Andreae"
(5) Sharie at "sreetzbears"
(6) Vivianne at "Gotta Share This"
(7) Wendy at "Whendi's Bears"
These are remarkable people doing remarkable work. It gives me the goosebumps thinking about how inspiring they are.
Thanks again, Sandi, for the lovely awards.
Heaps of Hugs,
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Congratulations, Sandi! I look forward to the 2ooth, 300th, 400th....
Heaps of Hugs,
Saturday, December 5, 2009
May I introduce Alfie, Sebastian, and Ling Ling. Sebastian has generously agreed to play the part of Grandpa and Alfie and Ling Ling are acting as the girls when they were little.
One of my fond memories of my late father-in-law is the teddy bear tea parties he held with my two daughters when they were small. The girls would tenderly carry their stuffed friends and troop with Grandpa to the back woods of my parent’s-in-law yard.There the girls, their stuffed buddies, and Grandpa would sit on up-turned logs circling a larger “table” log in the center.
I’ve never been quite sure what they did during their tea parties—I never asked. It seemed a special time between the three of them which needed to be protected from prying questions.
I would love to have you consider joining my blog as a follower and to visit me again next Saturday for the “H’artfelt Christmas Blog Party” and my giveaway. The giveaway is one of my favorite indulgences during the cold winter months--I'll reveal it next Saturday! All of these Christmas blog parties have been so much fun to prepare, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Heaps of Hugs,
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I used to be such a procrastinator and worked very well under pressure. Not so today. My body doesn't deal with stress very well. Nowadays I tend to get things done really early because, hey, you never know what can happen!
I suppose some may think that sounds a bit pessimistic, but really I do things early to be able to enjoy the present. I want to be able to take time to look at a rainbow, a beautiful sunset, or clouds passing over a full moon. I want to take time to really look at my girls and my husband and to be able to fully listen to their joys, sorrow, or concerns. I want to be able to take a nap when I'm tired and to cozy up under a quilt with a good book or movie when I don't feel well.
So I work slowly and I don't get as much done as I would like. I work in snatches of time. Yes, I certainly wish I could make more bears, but I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I even have a small metal sign that hangs on our front door reminding us:
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I'm working on making Squeak's (the brown mouse from the last post) swinging wreath chair for the Teddy Talk ornament swap. It's coming along...honestly. I just have to sew on some ribbons from which to suspend the wreath. I know...I know. It's probably a quick little job. Just sew them on, attach some embellishments, and, voila, it's done. But it's sewing. You know how I feel about sewing anything other than teddy bears. I can't figure out why it's the case...it really seems like it shouldn't matter...it really doesn't make sense. But there you have it. I'm just itching to sew on a bear, but I'm afraid that if I don't make myself finish this little sewing task first it might just not get done in time.
So, I'm going to be brave and step up to the sewing needle and thread and finish this wreath. I'll remind myself that I can play with the bears as soon as I'm done. Honestly! I should add an ice cream cone to the bribe as well. I'm worse than a kid facing having to clean her room.
Heaps of Hugs,
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
They are going to star in a special blog post in a couple of weeks and are warming up for their roles.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Heather at Little Bearries has presented me with a blog award, the 'Over the Top' award...I know I can get a little wordy so I hope it doesn't refer to that! Anyways, I'm thankful to sweet Heather and I love the award!
1. Use only 1 word answers.
2. Pass along to 6 of you favourite bloggers.
3. Tell them you've given them the award.
4. Have Fun !!
1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? Brown
3. Your mother? Caring
4. Your father? Warm
5. Your favorite food? Sushi
6. Your dream last night? Bears
7. Your favorite drink? Chai
8. Your dream/goal? Bears
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Bears
11. Your fear? Evil
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Bears
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren’t? Tall
15. Muffins? Pumpkin
16. Wish list item? Bears
17. Where did you grow up? Michigan
18. Last thing you did? Read
19. What are you wearing? Pajamas
20. Your TV? Hiding
21. Your pets? Sleeping
22. Friends? Wonderful
23. Your life? Great
24. Your mood? Content
25. Missing someone? Uncle
26. Vehicle? Hybrid
27. Something you’re not wearing? Wig
28. Your favorite store? Antique
29. Your favorite color? Rainbow
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Thursday
32. Your best friend? Matt
33. One place that I go to over and over? Couch
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mom
35. Favorite place to eat? Home
I know...I know...I am a bit preoccupied with bears. I just can't help it!
I am presenting my awards to the following wonderful bear artists (in alphabetical order):
2. Beckoning Bears
3. Bramblewood Bears
4. Bumpkin Bears
5. Dances with Teddy Bears
Please click on their links and check them out--these artists do beautiful work!
Heaps of Hugs,
Friday, November 13, 2009
Life went on this way for at least a year. I dabbled in this and that. Of course, I would never voluntarily take on a sewing project because I just didn't like sewing. I KNEW this. It was a fact. I was very good at sewing. I had learned to sew at a young age and had sewn clothing, stuffed animals, quilt pieces, Waldorf dolls, Halloween costumes, and on and on. I just tolerated sewing. It was an ends to a mean. I would do it if I had too, but with no joy. It was simply just another skill to add to my list.
But then fall came and I really wanted a bear. I don't know why. I just knew that I REALLY wanted a teddy bear.
Okay, I finally relented...sewing would have to be my means to an end. I would buy a pattern and teach my girls and another homeschooling girl more sewing skills while they made bears with me. It would be a homeschool project. It would need to be a small bear so that the project didn't overwhelm them and so I could work with them on their hand-sewing skills. You see, I am very practical. I quite disliked sewing, but I still thought it was a useful skill for them all to have. Ah, yes, very practical. Being a small bear, it would also be done without having to spend too much time sewing, such a disagreeable thing to me.
Jennylovesbenny comes to the rescue! What an adorable pattern! How cute! I actually became a bit excited about the whole prospect--particularly about finishing it. The girls were thrilled and we sewed away. I hurried along to finish mine. I told myself it was because I wanted to be able to go through all the steps so that I could better help the girls. Perhaps. I hadn't made cotterpin joints before or sunk glass eyes--I told myself that I needed to make sure I worked out all the bugs. But really...I was having FUN!
And then it was over...it was all done...there were no more bears to make besides assisting the girls. How could this be? There HAD to be more--I really wanted to sew more. I wanted to SEW! Unbelievable!
Well, I would just have to design my own pattern and make my own artist bear. So I did. Bailey was the result.
And then I designed and sewed another bear and yet another. I didn't want to stop! I just LOVED sewing teddy bears. I NEEDED to sew teddy bears. By Christmas I realized I was hooked and our house would be overtaken with bears if I didn't do something quick. Thus Bingle Bears was born and I was selling bears.
I suppose that's how life goes. When you finally stop searching for something, it sneaks up behind you and catches you by surprise. I had found "My Passion" by stopping the search for it. I ADORE making teddy bears. When I don't work on a bear for a day or two, life just doesn't feel right--I get edgy. As long as I'm thinking about, reading about, creating, and, yes, sewing teddy bears, all is right with the world. Do I like sewing teddy bears?--Oh, my gosh, yes, yes, and YES! I LOVE sewing bears. Do I like sewing in general now? Ummm...not so much. I guess some things may never change.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
As time went on, I let go of printing and slowly admitted that it probably wasn't a good idea for my hands. Besides, I didn't miss it. So my search went on. Then I stumbled upon Hitty. "Hitty--Her First Hundred Years" by Rachel Field has always been one of my girls' and my favorite books. It's a story about a 6 1/2 inch wooden doll's travels and adventures in the 1800s. Very charming. But what I didn't know was that there were all sorts of people who MADE her! Oh, that stirred the imagination of Ms. Do-it-herself!
Yes, you guessed it. "My Passion" took a turn from carving wood blocks to carving Hittys--wood-pegged joints and all. Yes, I hear you asking now, "How was carving little dolls easier than carving printing blocks?" It's a valid question. Well..I could tell you how pulling a carving knife towards oneself is easier than trying to precisely push and stop a carving knife through a block..and it would be true. But, PLEASE...WHAT was I thinking?! Carving is still hard on the hands. See what I mean about being a slow learner? By the time I had become rational again, I had already carved, sanded, painted, varnished, and clothed 2 little Hitty dolls and had started a third (now forever banished to a box in the basement).
I must admit that we had fun taking the Hittys on our own travels and adventures. Here's my first Hitty sitting at the base of a huge tree.
And here are my two Hittys sitting on the lawn of Monticello.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I throw myself into printmaking. But do I use the easier-to-carve linoleum? Of course not! I want to see those little curliques that come from carving wood! I loved playing with those pretty wood shavings as a little girl. Making little piles of them--gluing them on paper to make pictures--decorating dolls and stuffed animals with them--well, you get the idea.
I take my drawings, transfer them to wood blocks, and away I go--carving, carving, carving away the "white area." After a while I do figure out that it's tiring work carving the wood and my hands are not entirely pleased. So we head over to the woodworking store (otherwise known as Matt's candy store) and buy some really nice ergonomic carving tools. Beautiful tools. Sharp as razors. The set even comes with bandaids packaged in an easy-to-use plastic fliptop container--nope, I'm not kidding.
Printmaking is fun! Drawing, carving, inking the block, and running the block through a press. Cool stuff. But was it a passion? Not really. I could go days, even weeks, without missing it. But I did enjoy it and I liked the prints I made.
Here's one of our youngest daughter as a preschooler.
And I love flowers. This one is of a cranesbill geranium--I watercolored the petals blue.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Remember way back in my posts when I told you that I was grateful to have found a sewing machine to use because my hands were having difficulty sewing my bears completely by hand? And in the last post, I told you a bit of my saga in trying to find my passion. Well, today and in the next couple of posts, I'm going to show you what a slow learner I've been over the years!
Many years ago, I became enamored with wire-wrapped sterling silver jewelry. And, of course, Ms. Do-It-Yourself decided, well, to make some herself! With a book in my hand, silver wire in the other, and beads scattered about, I went to work. I enjoyed it. A local art gallery sold my work. The only thing I had to worry about was making sure our preschooler didn't collect the little sharp silver bits or our toddler didn't eat them. Well, I guess silver is pretty inert and she seems okay today, so....no harm done?
Let me show you some of my work from back then. Here are 2 bracelets using lovely lampworked beads. Everything was hand worked including the clasps and the large silver beads. The only things not made from wire were the silver bead in the clasp and the very thin spacers.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Here goes....Matt's been working out of town for nearly 2 weeks, my uncle died on Friday, and my fibromyalgia is so out of control and painful that I am one step from being bedridden. I can only do one thing a day, so that means I must choose between either taking a shower, driving a child to a class, OR doing one VERY light errand (as long as I use my cane). I can't consider even doing laundry, grocery shopping, or cooking. The latter may sound great, but anything looks good when you're glued to the couch or the bed. Okay, that's enough...whine, whine, whine.
Deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Okay.
So what do I do to distract myself? Why, I look at and think about teddy bears. I've been thinking about how much can change in a year. This time last year I was working on making my very first teddy bear with a lovely Jennylovesbenny pattern by Jenny Lee. She has so many adorable patterns available and is very generous with her help.
After all of the things I've sewn both with and without patterns for nearly 40 years, it was Jenny Lee's Pepper pattern that changed everything. Or, perhaps more accurately, it brought me back to my beginnings. Back to the little girl who would spontaneously make little friends out of anything available--cloth, wood, clay, etc.
I had been searching for my passion for years. By the end of graduate school, I knew being a psychologist wasn't my passion. It was a job I enjoyed and valued, but I wasn't passionate about it. And by the time the fibromyalgia rolled around, I realized being a psychologist wasn't even an option anymore.
So I searched. I had a gut feeling that my passion was somewhere in the arts and crafts. I've made sterling silver wire-wrapped jewelry, hand-cut woodblock prints, and hand-carved dolls. I enjoyed each of these in turn, but none of them ever beckoned to me when I wasn't working on them. (In another post I'll show you some of these past works and how I've arranged my workspace, but this post is already getting rather long.)
But this time last year as I was stitching up my little Jennylovesbenny bear, I knew something had happened. I was hooked! By Thanksgiving of last year I had already designed my first artist bear, was putting on the final touches, and was working on my second design. My second artist bear was finished by mid-December!
Now, I have my passion. I LOVE making teddy bears. If I don't get to work on some bear, any bear, for a day or two, I get rather grumpy...out of sorts...off balance. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my doctor will be able to help me sort out this latest fibromyalgia flare-up. It's been a LONG time since I was able to do some real bear work and I'm feeling it. It's CALLING to me! Oh, well, I'll just keep my mind occupied with bears in books, magazines, on the web, and in my imagination.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
We went to some fabulous places in Boston and still didn't even scratch the surface of everything we wanted to do. The Museum of Fine Arts is mind-boggling. I probably could have spent a week there, but unfortunatley my legs would only cooperate for a couple of hours. Ah, well, it will have to be one of those places on my list to revisit. We saw some lovely exhibits, but one that stood out was a room of antique instruments. There was everything from beautiful to unique to strange (I wonder how you play THAT?!). But mostly they were all stunningly gorgeous.
Seeing the USS Constitution was, I am told, also a highlight. Unfortunately for me, my legs didn't want to cooperate at all that day. So I watched movies in the houseboat and continued to learn about tides (lots of rocking and rolling). However, I did catch a glipse of the ship the next day when it was turned around for it's birthday and fired it's cannons. All the booming was a pretty good indication that something was going on, so the girls and I ran out to see this sight.
Matt was walking Bingley at the time and took this lovely photo--its masts were down due to restoration. Bingley apparently was not at all impressed with the cannons. When they were on the tour, Matt took the photo below of the crowsnest. It gave a whole new perspective to being a lookout on one of these old ships. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like that job. Between the height and the rocking of the boat, it must have taken some time to get used to.