Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Haven't Quite Disappeared Yet

Goodness, I feel like I've fallen out of "blogland" lately!  I feel like I have been literally attached to my laptop furiously typing and editing things in Photoshop for my website.  I have my temporary site up and running here.  But I wasn't able to make it quite what I was looking for.  HOWEVER, I am really liking how my new site is coming along.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to finish it in the next week or two.  I'm very excited about it!  That's why I just can't seem to stop working on it.

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

Wishing you a Big Bear Hug for Christmas!

Ho! Ho! Ho! A merry Christmas to all!

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!

Affectionately yours,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Sweetest Little Ornament

Look what I'm going to receive from Heather at Little Bearries!  It's my ornament from the Teddy Talk swap!  How CUTE is this?!  It's Sirius the Dog Star with 3 little detachable puppy pins that my daughters and I can wear!  Heather is so sweet to have remembered my daughters when she made this for me! She is SO creative!

Right now I can only admire the photo though because my cute little ornament is waiting with the rest of my mail until we return from Michigan.  We're here to celebrate the holidays with family and to just enjoy their company.

I wish you all such happiness and peace this holiday season!
Heaps of Hugs,

P.S.  Oh,  I almost forgot---my website is up and running.  You can check it out here.  I still have things that I want to add and change on it, but it's a good first start.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Giveaway Winner is ... (And Look! There Will be More Giveaways, Too!)

WooHoo!  My Christmas Indulgence Giveaway winner is Amanda of Pandy Potter Bears!  As soon as I receive your address, Amanda, the package will go zipping through the mail to you. At least it will go as "zippy" as it can this time of year!

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

Thoughts About a Future Giveaway of a Bingle Bear

Remember, I'm drawing the winner for my Christmas Indulgence Giveaway on Thursday--two more days!  There is still time to leave a post!  No matter where you live, please feel free to enter--this is for everyone in Blogland, not just the U.S. Blogland people!  And for those of you who have already left a post, I have a little idea that has been rolling around in my noggin' (not egg noggin', but my little head!).  I'm starting work this week on two patterns that I will be selling on Etsy, an elephump and a bear.  My current thinking is that my next giveaway will be the bear that I make as I'm working on the pattern--I have to make sure the pattern works! 

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

Another Christmas Blog Party AND a Giveaway!

I’m so glad that Kelly at A Stuffed Life decided to host this “H’artfelt Christmas Blog Party.” It gave me a chance to think about one of my favorite indulgences during this time of the year and to share it with you as my blog giveaway. I love to curl up under a quilt with a cup of hot cocoa and read my favorite children’s Christmas stories. “The Tailor of Gloucester” by Beatrix Potter always has a place in that stack. If you would like to be entered into my Christmas Indulgence Giveaway, please leave a comment (and don't forget to leave contact information if it's not on your profile!). The randomly chosen winner will receive a copy of “The Tailor of Gloucester,” a 16-ounce container of some of the best cocoa mix around, Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate, and a great big mug (you can never have TOO much hot cocoa!). You might even want to consider becoming a follower of my blog—you never know what I might come up with next! Followers of my blog who leave a comment will be entered 3 times and posting about my giveaway on your blog and linking it back here will give you an extra entry. The drawing will take place next Thursday, December 17th. Good luck!
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.
But the tailor goes to his shop and is surprised to find the coat finished and worked with the most beautiful and intricate embroidery. I’m not sure the tailor ever knows to whom he owes his gratitude for these wonderful mysteries. But he is none-the-less grateful. Perhaps that is why I love this story so. There are ever so many mysteries for us to be grateful for. And there are ever so many ways we may be like the little mice.
We may feel that we are “too small” to do anything of importance. But, indeed, just like the tailor’s mice, it has always been the little things that are done “stitch by stitch” that ever really make a difference for us, others, and the world. May we all be grateful for the little stitches that make up the fabric of our lives.
Be sure to go to the “H’artfelt Christmas Blog Party” site so that you can visit all of the other partiers. It’s always fun to read them all! And remember to leave a comment in order to be entered into my Christmas Indulgence Giveaway.
“No more twist.”

Happy Christmas!
Heaps of Hugs,

P.S. I’d like to thank my bear, Alfie, for his part as the tailor and my little needle felted mice, Pip and Squeak, in the roll of, well, the mice. I’d also like to thank my daughters for lending me their American Girl cat who played Simpkin.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Remember! Fun Stuff Tomorrow!

Remember, tomorrow is the the “H’artfelt Christmas Blog Party” and my "Christmas Indulgence" Giveaway--it's just a little something that I'm fond of during the cold winter months.

Can't wait to see you then!
Heaps of Hugs,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Lovely Surprise--Blog Awards!

Sandi at Bearly Sane gave me these wonderful blog awards.  I'm just tickled about them!  Sandi is an amazingly talented bear artist, so I feel quite honored to have received the blog awards from her.  Check out her blog--she always has something fun going on there.  Okay, now on to the formalities:

The rules are as follows:
(1) Thank the person giving the awards
(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

Alfie is on Bear Pile

Alfie is now available for adoption on Bear Pile. This 16-inch sweetie is made of wonderfully soft and silky 3/4-inch kid mohair--yummmm. He's such a cuddly bundle of fluff!

Oh, and my copy of the "Teddy Bear Review" came yesterday afternoon! I turned to page 45 and there was Alfie! It wasn't a dream after all!

Heaps of Hugs,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sandi's "Double Ton Giveaway"

Sandi at Bearly Sane is celebrating her 100th post AND her 100th follower with a giveaway. Click on her blog's name or the picture above and it will zoom you right there. She has a delightful blog and makes beautiful bears--a win-win situation!

Congratulations, Sandi! I look forward to the 2ooth, 300th, 400th....

Heaps of Hugs,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Join the Party!

Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by to visit me and my bears during Bearbits “Christmas Tea for All the Toys” blog party. Tea time is not an everyday event in our house but it is always a special event for us and this time my bears, Sebatian, Alfie, and Ling Ling, are going to join in on the fun. Our youngest daughter particularly loves setting out all the pretty table things and baking scrumptious edibles to enjoy while drinking our tea. I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons it is so special to her is her memories as a very wee one going on backyard “outings” with their grandfather.

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 believe that Grandpa sometimes brought a tape recorder and they listened to the “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” song. I never heard him play the song, but I frequently saw the recorder ready and waiting on the kitchen counter when we arrived for our visits.

My father-in-law was a very serious, reserved man. He had a tender and warm heart, but rarely expressed himself. With his grandchildren, however, it seemed to be a different story, especially when he thought no one was listening. He was never particularly effusive, but you could frequently catch a laughing twinkle in his eyes.

In my imagination, though, he was different in those back woods tea parties. I picture the three of them around the log table imagining a troop of teddy bears dancing around them as they ate cookies, “fed” their stuffed buddies, told stories, got silly, and sang along with the tinny sounds emitting from the tape recorder.

To them, their rustic setting was transformed to the most elegant of events. Of course, that’s what I imagine, so I’m really not sure.

However, I do know that there was always a perceptible difference in the three of them upon their return. There was a spring in their steps that wasn’t there before. The girls were more animated and giggly. And the twinkle in my father’s-in-law eyes shone brighter and deeper. It was such a sweet time. Their joy spread throughout the house and a lovely lightness enveloped us all.
I hope during this Christmas you may experience the mystery of the season and find snatches of joy where you previously did not expect them so that a lovely lightness may envelop you and yours. Don’t forget to go to Bearbits so that you can visit all of the other blogs participating in the “Christmas Tea for All the Toys.”

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.

Happy Christmas!
Heaps of Hugs,
P.S. Sebastian, the large brown bear who played the Grandpa in our story, is available for adoption starting today at Bear Pile. You can click here or on the Bear Pile link on the right side bar. He is a wonderfully sweet big guy—a real heart-warmer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Alfie is in the Teddy Bear Review!

I'm so excited, I just looked at the February 2010 digital edition of the "Teddy Bear Review" and Alfie is on page 45 in an article about "Bare Bears!" You can check it out yourself here. This is the first time one of my bears has been in a magazine. I'm just tickled pink! I can't wait until I can hold my paper copy of TBR in my grubby little hands!
Heaps of Hugs,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Present

Yippee Skippy! My bears are finished, their photos are ready for the blog party on Saturday, my house is decorated, my Christmas shopping is about done (including stocking stuffers), and the girls have made amazing lebkuchen for a homeschool Christmas party today. Wow! Everything just seems to be humming along!

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:
Life is a gift
that's why it is called
the present.
Heaps of Hugs,