Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm So Thankful I Found Jennylovesbenny

Okay, I must first whine and then I shall (hopefully) be rational again. Actually after my whine, I'd like to talk about some of the beginnings of my "bearhood." Just wanted to prepare you for the first.

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 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.



  1. That's great Cheryl,

    My First Bear was a Jenny Loves Benny bear too. I've made several of her patterns and am now lucky enough to own 3 of her bears - a true inspiration.

    I feel the urge to create often too - unfortunatly my stressful job often gets in the way.

    Fingers crossed that your doctor will be able to help.

    All the best, Julia.

  2. The Bear world is a wonderful world of it's own, I hope your Doc sorts things out and you get to let that creativity OUT!!!
    Bear Hugs Lindax

  3. hi cheryl
    so sorry to hear you're having a bad time,i have bad discs in my back and know how frustrating it is and how bored you get,i get very grumpy when i'm hobbling around like someone twice my age,i hope youre feeling better soon
    you've only been making bears a couple of months longer than me ,and your bears are so good i would never have guessed
    i cant wait to see your next bear,i just love them all
    bearhugsx sandra

  4. Cheryl, I have had fibromyalgia for 20 years now. I can understand how you feel. It is good that you are forcing yourself to do at least one thing everyday, so many people don't. The longer you have it the more you learn to cope. It will become your normal life, and you go on. Feel free to email me if you every need to talk to someone who knows.

  5. On a lighter note, thank goodness you have found bearmaking. No matter how bad I feel, I can sit in my lounge chair and sew. They are wonderful therapy, and yours really are wonderful.

  6. Thank you so much for all the compliments of my bears and well wishes for my health. I've had fibromyalgia for 9 years now, but a chair collapsed under me this summer (a handicap chair, no less) and I've been going downhill since. Thankfully I see the doctor around noon today.
    Thanks again!
    Heaps of Hugs,

  7. Good Luck at the doctor!!!

    I can't believe you only began making bears a year ago!!! And that you started in the same place I did... with a jennylovesbenny pattern!

    The world seems so small sometimes... but in a cozy sort of way!

  8. I hope you are feeling better soon Cheryl and the doc sorts things out. I know what you mean by getting out of sorts when not making a bear I know I do and it's not



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