Friday, December 31, 2010

Two Successful Little Christmas Bears

Phew!  The two little bears that I gave to my nieces for Christmas were loved and admired.  It's always a bit of a concern that a bear will be loved, but always a relief when it is.

Here's the clown bear that I made for our eldest niece for a joint Christmas and Birthday gift.  She named her Raphaela--a very sweet and appropriate name for a clown, I think.

Here's a photo of her right after she pulled her bear out from the box.

And for our younger niece, I gave her a little bear that I had needlefelted and a wooden house for it that she could decorate with the paints, brushes, and sparkles that I packed as part of the gift.

It turned out to be a success, too.  Here's a sweet photo of her concentrating very hard as she paints the house the day after Christmas.  She did a lovely job.

I feel very blessed to have such a lovely and loving family.  It was so wonderful to visit them all.  The visits always fly by and before we knew it, we were already home from our weeklong trip.  It is nice to be home now though and to have Matt's Mom with us for the next week.  A nice start to the New Year.

I hope your Christmas was wonderfully lovely, too, and that your New Year will be a gift.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Story of the Three Bears

I actually have THREE new teddies to show you!  But, alas, you will see none today.... 

The first one is a sweet little clown bear that I have lovely photos of, BUT it's a Christmas gift for a sweet little someone so I CAN'T show you the photo YET.  Sigh. 

The second is a 15 1/2" beautiful boy bear made of gorgeous brown Tissavel faux fur (softer than soft!) with lovely accents and touches (if I do say so myself!), BUT, unless my hand is unexpectedly and surprisingly forced, I can't show you to him until the Blooming Bear Show on March 12 and 13.  I'm very excited to be one of the 75 artists able to participate in this wonderful online show--over 200 artists applied.

And, as for the third little guy that I JUST finished (actually I still need to make a collar for him--I'll do that later today), I don't have ANY photos of him.  Sigh.  AND it looks like I won't have any photos of him for over a week!  We're leaving to see family for the holidays tomorrow bright and early and there just isn't any time to spare for taking photos, we'll need every spare minute to pack and prepare for our trip.  Sigh.  BUT I'm SO looking forward to seeing family for a week and THEN we're having Matt's Mom at our house for the week after we return!  WONDERFUL!

So my dear, patient readers, thank you for being patient with me once again.
Have a WONDERFUL Holiday,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Dicken's Christmas

It was a beautiful day yesterday, so we went to a little local town on a lake.

Every weekend before Christmas this little town celebrates Christmas with a group of people dressed as characters from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" wandering the streets and shops.  This year we HAD to go because one of our homeschooling friends had the prime role of TINY TIM!  Here he is with "Mrs. Cratchit."

And on the shoulders of "Mr. Cratchit," after saying his famous line, "God bless us every one."

As a bonus, the girls found out that one of their friends from the summer Shakespeare camp that they always attend was acting as a townsperson and helping to lead the caroling.  FUN!  And she has a BEAUTIFUL voice!

It was quite a time.  Here's Father Christmas on the gazebo.
This was the first year we participated in the sing-along with all of the characters and extras--I'm SO glad we did!  They did a FABULOUS job!  I definitely want to make sure we're there next year for it, too!  We try to attend yearly to see the characters wandering the streets, but the caroling was just icing on the cake!

Here's a sly look from the Ghost of Christmas Past.  I wish we could have gotten a photo of "Jacob Marley" too--what a makeup job!  So many of the costumes were simply amazing.

A local "extra" up to a bit of mischief.

And one mustn't forget the "Temperance Ladies!"

All of us listening to a proclamation from the leader of ceremonies.

How couldn't I be in the Christmas spirit now?!
Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling Thankful and Grateful

I'm so thankful for all the Christmas angels who walk the street and lift us up when we most need it.  I suppose they are there all year long, but I'm feeling especially grateful for two of them that helped me through my morning today as I tried to make my aching and complaining body move through tai chi. 

Christmas angels look like everyone else, but spread cheer, love, and support in their wake.  I have a feeling that many of you, my dear readers who support me so well, are also Christmas angels with gossamer wings that are visible only when one looks very carefully.

Thank you SO much for all you do!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Cozy Time of Year

One of our Christmas traditions is visiting a local historic home all decked out for the holidays with a three-person handbell choir playing in the background.  It's one of those events that completely puts you in the Christmas spirit.  To top it off, they also serve us a bit of wassail (spiced apple cider) and homemade peanut brittle.  Lovely.

Unfortunately photos are not allowed, so I can't share the Christmas delights of this old home.  But since Christmas is only two weeks away, perhaps now is a good time to share some photos of our little house all ready for the holidays.  It can't compare to Lorenzo, but it's ours.

I think one of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to sit in the living room with only the glow of the Christmas tree lights.  It's just so cozy.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet Giveaway!

Isn't he SWEET?!  Linda from Bears in the Bush is giving away a sweetie like this on December 10th.

Pop on over to join the fun!

Winter Wonderland!

It's quite the picture of Christmas here.  So far, we have had at least 3 feet of snow and I believe we're suppposed to receive another foot or so by tomorrow.  It's hard to imagine what it will look like then!  Thankfully, it's not bitter cold and windy out--instead it's like a big snowglobe sort of day.

I always think it looks so cute when the snow piles up in our patio chairs.  They look like great big pincushions--or fluffy white mushrooms.

It's so pretty and cozy looking at the snow from inside our warm house.  But it's a bit of a different story trying to drive in the stuff.  I just returned from an errand and got stuck in our DRIVEWAY.  At least I was close to home!  And now I hear our sweet neighbor just outside the window snowblowing our drive so that I'll be able to get the car in the garage.  How lovely!


Monday, December 6, 2010


Matt was commissioned for a dance photo shoot this weekend so our dining room was completely transformed to a studio with black flooring, backdrop, and lots of BIG, BIG studio lights.  What's a family to do without a dining room for a weekend? Well, take portraits, of course!

Tickles and GIGGLES reigned!  While I was upstairs getting ready for my portrait (which I think turned out pretty well considering I don't tend to like any photos of me!), I chanced to overhear Matt laughingly "sigh" above the din of giggling from the girls, "If your mother were here...!" 

In the end though, we finally got some lovely photos of the girls--and Bingley, too.  Me being me, I would have liked the girls to have "coordinated" a bit more, but I bit my tongue and decided that a photo of them in their favorite shirts made some sense.  It is just a photo for us to remember them by, anyways.

Matt also used the opportunity to come up with more dance poses for future shoots (dance photography is his specialty) with our willing little dancer (aka, our cookie-baker elf).  Here's one of our favorites from that.

In the end, we all decided that Livvy (the bear) was the most cooperative participant and Bingley the least!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fussy, Fussy, Fussy

Silly, silly me!  Or more precisely, FUSSY, FUSSY me!   I have THREE bears near completion, but can't seem to finish any of them!  It seems to be a "head" thing, although I'm not sure if it's THEIR heads or MY head that is the problem. 

Last month, I started a little clown bear.  He's all sewn up and even has his limbs jointed, but he has no head whatsoever.  But I really don't need him finished until January, SO ....

I got this great idea for a new arm and leg style and made a pretty little white bear instead.  Now he's completely finished except for sewing up his seams.  I think he'll be quite cute.   BUT ... his head just doesn't WORK for his body.  It's just TOO small!  Other people think it looks nice, but it's just too small for my "look."

So THEN I put him aside, because I got the bright idea to start a bigger bear (15-16") with a whole new look.  Now this bigger bear is all sewn up, too, and, BOY, I think he'll be gorgeous.   AND his head is certainly big enough for his body.  He's made of the most sumptuous brown Tissavel fur.  BUT...he really needs blue eyes to offset that fur.  How can I go halfway?!  He's going to be gorgeous, so he needs eyes that stand out and "pop," too.  I painted some eyes that turned out a wonderful blue, BUT they just don't seem big enough for his HEAD!  Unfortunately those are the biggest eyes I have that I can paint.  SO, now he'll have to wait too!  Fussy, fussy.

ACK!  Okay ... deep breath.  I guess it's time to be patient and take one step at a time.  I ordered the larger eyes this morning (plus a few other goodies too--I mean, hey, I was placing an order so I might as well order a wee bit of mohair too!).  Hopefully, I'll have the new eyes by next weekend and I can finish him then. 

In the meantime, I can joint and stuff his limbs, embroider his nose, and maybe do some trimming.  And if I still don't have the eyes when I finish those tasks, I can work on finishing the clown bear and making a new head for the white bear (I'll keep his old head because it turned out pretty cute and I can use it for a smaller bear).  Ah, the life of a bear-maker.

Take care!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just took the pecan pie out of the oven and I can't wait to spend tomorrow with my family without all of the busy-ness of life.  Just a family day with no appointments, dance classes, or school.  Lovely.

I hope your day is also filled with love, friends, and family. 

Heaps of Hugs,

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Sweet Bear Available for Adoption

Sweet Aidan is available at Diane's Doll Shoppe.

He's a lovely 13 1/2" bear made of a cream-colored alpace mohair with hand-painted eyes, needlefelted eyelids, waxed nose, a wobble-jointed head, and a handmade scarf.

Click HERE if you would like to contact Diane for more information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Cookie-Baker Elf

Yes, our cookie-baker elf (also known as our 12-year-old daughter) has been at it again!  This time she made a gingerbread scene that will be exhibited at a local museum.  The good news about this is that it was not something I could eat (and, of course, we're VERY proud of her as well).  It can be difficult to not to want to devour everything she makes--she's a very good baker!  I know I have LOTS of fun treats to look forward to with the holidays fast approaching.

She was surprised at the amount of time it takes to do all of the little details.  I think she was expecting the tree to be the most time-consuming, but, of course, it was the people with their faces, poppyseed eyes, and clothing that took the bulk of time.

I was proud of her for sticking with it and spending hours upon hours baking and decorating her creation.  She didn't complain, but I sometimes wondered whether she thought she had "bitten off more than she could chew."  Most times, however, she bounced around with excitement with how her scene was progressing.

After she covered the base in frosting she sprinkled coconut all over for "snow"--it turned out to be a lovely effect althought it's quite difficult to see in the photos.

I was impressed at how creative she was in decorating the people.  One teddy bear mother is holding a baby dressed in a bunting, another has a string of red pearls with a polka-dot dress, one bear is holding a wreath she made with the star decorating tip, another has a beard and red belt, and one is already for a snowball fight with a pile of snowballs at the ready. 

She loves to decorate which may be apparent from her choosing a purely red and white theme and her arrangment of candy presents around the tree.  I think she is very proud of  her work--as she should be!

Take care,

Monday, November 15, 2010

So Much FUN

I wanted to share with you three lovely giveaways!

This first one from Jody at  Home and Heart is a lovely necklace she made which ends on November 22nd.

Then on December 1st, Michele from Handcrafted Teddy Bears by Michele will be giving away this vintage sewing basket filled to the brim with goodies including a sweet, handmade bear pincushion.

And lastly, Ina from Bears and Roses is celebrating her birthday by giving away this lovely pink bear that she made on December 28th.

There's aways SO many FUN things happening in Blogland!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Wee Bit of Progress

Progress on the bears has slowed down a bit.  With the weather going up and down, nice and then nasty, my energy has followed.  Even my hands have been acting up and I thought that issue was over and done with.  Ah, one of the lovely "benefits" of living with a chronic illness. 

However, all has not been completely lost this week.  I have still designed a completely new bear and it's cut out, trimmed, fraychecked, and ready to be sewn.  I added all sorts of different shapes, tricks, and curves to this design--I'm very anxious to see what it becomes.  I also have another little clown bear that has been sewn for a couple of weeks now and is waiting patiently to be stuffed and worked on.  So, hopefully, if all goes well I should have at least one new bear to show you next week.

Take care!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bears and Bursting with Ideas

I'm sorry I haven't written in a week--it's been a crazy busy week with doctor's appointments on top of our already busy schedule of homeschooling.  We had FIVE appointments this week and you know how long each of those can take when you add in all of the time waiting to be seen and just driving to and from the appointment!  However, we're done now and we won't need to go back for six months to a year.  Whew!

I did manage to squeeze in a bit of work on the bears.  These two guys are heading out today to be in the Hunt Valley Holiday Bear Show next weekend with Felicia Hymer, the Bear Scout.

Also, all of the time spent waiting in doctor's offices gave me a lot of time to think about bears, design, and direction.  So now that I will finally have some free time this weekend, I'm just itching to start working on some new ideas that I have sketched out.  I'm SO excited to see how my ideas will turn out that I had trouble sleeping last night!  I was like a kid trying to sleep on Christmas night!

Heaps of Hugs,

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I just mailed Trudy off to Diane's Doll Shoppe this morning.  I think she turned out pretty cute!  What do you think?

Now I only have "bits and bobs" of two bears to work on, but I have LOTS of ideas floating around in my head.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bits and Bobs of Bears

Bears, bears, bears.  I seem to have bits of bears everywhere.  One bear, the one closest to being finished, is sitting all slumped over on my workbench.  There's still quite a lot to do on her--stuffing, needlefelting, trimming, and coloring--but she has a sweet face and smile.  Another bear is all pinned up and waiting patiently to be sewn.   And a third bear was cut out yesterday evening and is now sitting in pieces in a ziploc baggie--I had a fun idea and just HAD to cut it out last night.

Hopefully, in the next day or two, I'll have some pictures to show you.  It's so nice to be working again!

Heaps of Hugs,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Lovely Giveaway!

One of my favorite artists, Michelle Palmer, is having a giveaway to celebrate 700 sales and SEVEN people will win!  How can you beat that?!  Here's the LINK to zoom over and check it out yourself.  The drawing takes place on October 25th, so there's only a few more days to sign up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just Puttering Away

Well, I'm pleased at the results of my little webshow on Saturday.  By mid-afternoon, three of the four bears had been adopted.  Only little Percy is still waiting patiently.  I think that I must have been in a little bit of a silly mood when I finished his face.  Although I still like him--he makes me smile--I'm thinking about adding some needlefelting around his eyes.  I guess I just need to think about it for a bit.

Last night, I finished Aidan, a 13 1/2" cream-colored alpaca bear with hand-painted blue eyes, needle-felted eyelids, a wobble-jointed head, and a knitted scarf.  I haven't knitted in ages and wasn't sure if I even remembered all of the nuances of knitting.  But I guess knitting is just like riding a bike because his little scarf turned out quite cute and just right for him.  Here's a quick photo of him.  I have to get some proper photos of him and then he'll be on his way to Diane's Doll Shoppe.

Well, I guess it's time for me to start a new bear.