Saturday, January 30, 2010

Benson's Bears is Having a Give-Away

Hey, everyone!  Check this out!  Linda of Benson Bears is having TWO give-aways at her blog Bears in the Bush to celebrate her first year of blogging and having over 100 followers.  The drawing is on February 13th--it's coming up fast!
Clicking on the link above attached to her blog's name or her give-away button on my right sidebar will zoom you right there!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Please Accept My Apologies

Well ... I'm feeling pretty guilty.  I promised that I would have my elephump pattern finished and available on Etsy by the end of this month.  I even thought (but didn't tell you) that I might be able to have a good start on the new bear pattern that I plan on selling on Etsy too.  Well ... as you've guessed, the patterns aren't going to be finished on time. 

I didin't realize how long it takes to write a pattern (at least for me).  I knew I would need to take notes and that I'd be doing a bit of writing.  I just didn't take into account the time needed to make adjustments to the pattern.  Parts of the poor elephump has been stuffed, unstuffed, stuffed, unstuffed, and stuffed again as I tweak this and that about the pattern.  I want to make sure that it will be a "user friendly" pattern.  So as I've been working on this elephump, my mind thinks of all possible situations others could run into.  Then I've been trying to make sure that even if these potential problematic situations did occur that everyone could still complete their elephump.

Well, all these bumps in the road to a completed pattern has taken more time than I thought.  I also forget just how much time homeschooling the girls actually takes.  Homeschooling is, and has to be, my first job.  And on top of these, my health, although much better than it was in the fall, has required that I rest much more than I want to.  So, as the saying goes, I guess I "bit off more than I could chew."

I know there are many who are feeling antsy to start the elephump pattern--I'm very sorry.  I hate to keep you waiting and I feel bad that I haven't been able to uphold my promise.  Please know that I am working on it as quickly as is possible.  I won't set another date just in case other unforeseen things get in the way again.  But it will be done and I can assure you that the little purple elephump I'm making to test the pattern is turning out simply adorable.

Warmly,
Cheryl

Monday, January 25, 2010

Now I Understand!


"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."
~~Winnie the Pooh

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Walter

I thought today I would show you Walter, my newest 16" vintage-styled bear.  He actually looks a bit grubbier and more "loved" in person.  I've found that it's rather difficult to get a photo of him that doesn't make him look shinier and cleaner.  Even his many bald patches are difficult to see here.  I guess it's just the nature of the beast and a common problem. 



I'm not quite sure whether he is done or not.  But my family has demanded that I rest this weekend.  I guess I pushed it too hard early in the week and didn't take it easy enough later in the week.  So now I have nothing scheduled--no errands or anything--and I have to rest.  So Walter must sit.  It's probably a good thing.  Stepping away from him for a bit should help me decide whether he is done.  I HAD hoped to work more on the Toffee pattern, but I guess that will need to wait as well.  Perhaps if I'm a very good girl I will be allowed to work on Toffee's pattern tomorrow late in the afternoon.  Oh well.  At least I should have a go at it by Monday.

I really can't blame my wonderful family.  Everytime I sigh or even yawm, the poor dears jump and ask "Are you okay?!"  I try not to push myself, I really do.  It's just always a guessing game as to what amount of activity is good in order to challenge myself and what is just too much.  I keep saying (and was just about to say it here), "Perhaps in time I will finally figure out my limits."  It's been over 9 years.  I suppose I just need to accept that it will always be a bit of a challenge!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Razors and Bears and Itching All Over

Goodness gracious! It seems that I have fallen out of the Land of Blog this week.  But I have been busy.  In fact, as we speak, I'm all itchy.  You know that itchy feeling you get after you've been to have your hair cut?  Well, I'm covered in it.  Covered in microscopic shavings of mohair that I can't even find because they are so tiny.  Oh well.  It's been for a good cause--I've been trying to make an authentic-like vintage bear so I have been attacking the poor thing with a razor.  I never knew how hard it is to shave mohair.  Nor did I know how quickly it goes through blades.  I've finished off 3 already this morning.

I can hear your puzzlers puzzling right now.  I know I'm supposed to be working on Toffee's pattern.  And I have been.  I've been cutting and sewing and jointing and writing and writing and writing some more.  I'm doing quite well with the pattern.  In fact, the "elephump" just needs to be stuffed and colored.  But I was getting a bit burnt out.  So when a discussion came up on the Guild of Master Bearcrafters about how one creates authentic vintage-styled bears, I was ALL ears.  Besides needing a mental health break, I decided I needed to work on a new pattern anyways and this was the perfect opportunity.

You see, I'm going to make a "Children's Classics" Challenge bear for the Teddy Bear Artist Invitational (TBAI) convention in August.  I really would like to get it done before the first deadline on March 20th.  So I really did need to work on a new pattern for the bear I'm making before the new mohair gets here tomorrow.  You see, it really does make sense...well, kind of.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

P.S.  I will show you my authentic vintage-styled bear after I've attacked it with a few more things!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Cover for My Dream Machine

Oh, I have to tell you about the wonderful sewing machine cover I bought for my Singer Featherweight, better known as AnnieMae.  I suppose I had better introduce you to AnnieMae first.  Late last summer, my great-aunt's sewing machine and I had a falling out.  Her machine is still a marvel, but it has two speeds--full speed ahead or absolutely off.  It just wasn't working well to sew my bears.  Whenever I needed it to go slowly around a corner it would take off like it was at a race course, bouncing and hopping every which way.  And if I had to sew over a seam, it would act like a mule and stubbornly refuse.  We just weren't happy working together on teddy bears. 

So, right as I'm in the throes of this dilemma, Cathy Forcino posts a note on the Teddy Talk forum about new Featherweights she has for sale.  It was a sign!  Cathy makes beautiful bears and also sells the most amazing Featherweights---http://www.cathylynnforcino.com/.   I felt so ashamed to tell you that I had put my dear great-aunt's machine aside that I never told you about AnnieMae when I fell in love with her in the fall.

This is my love, AnnieMae, that I bought from Cathy.  She is an absolute dream machine.  She only does two things--she goes forward and she goes backward, but, boy, does she do them well!  I can "zoom" if I want or I can "putt-putt" along at the slowest pace imaginable.  And she doesn't even hesitate going over seams.  She's a wonder and a wonder deserves to be well protected with a nice cover, don't you think?

Well, I thought so, too.  So I was thrilled to find Cathi Early.  Cathi makes sewing machine covers specifically for Featherweights.  She might make other covers as well, but you would need to contact her about that.  But look how cute it is!

When Cathi makes a Featherweight sewing machine cover, she also includes a cover/sleeve for the "table" of the machine.  Cool, huh?

Can you tell that I'm absolutely thrilled with my new cover for AnnieMae?  I picked out the trim fabric to match our "art room" and sent it to Cathi who quickly made this little beauty.  If you want to contact Cathi, you can e-mail her.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Cool is That?!!

WOW!  A red letter day!  My eldest daughter was snooping about in my mohair stash this morning looking for something to inspire her and she found a sumptious dense cream-colored mohair on which I had already traced out a new teddy bear pattern .  WooHoo!  It was like Christmas all over!

When I had been making my youngest daughter's Christmas teddy bear, she originally chose this beautiful stuff.  But when she saw the soft silky vintage mohair that I had purchased in November, her heart's desire switched to having a panda. 

I had completely forgotten about already having started a bear for her.  So today, in between working on the "elephump" pattern, I cut the new cutie-patootie out. I just feel so fired up now!

I wish a happy day to you all!
Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Snow....Snow...Snow

Okay, it's just not a good sign when people are cross-country skiing along your sidewalk.  Snow and still more snow forcasted all week.  I've just spent the day buried under a quilt, Bingley at my side, reading one of two teddy bear murder mysteries that my youngest bought for me for Christmas.  "The Mournful Teddy" by John J. Lamb--quite good and very fun.  Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get something done.  But...it's a crap shoot--more snow, cold, cold weather, and another Lamb mystery tempting me from the side table.  Boy, that with a cup of Chai Latte (we're out of cocoa) sounds awfully good.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year--A New Website!


Yes!  I've just launched my offical website and right on time to celebrate New Year's Day! Click on this link to go there:  http://www.binglebears.net/ .  And such an auspicious day, too.  The beginning of a new year...the beginning of a new decade.  How exciting!  Think of all the possibilities a new year can bring.  I know that I didn't even dream last New Year's Day of all that has happened this year.  I'm very pleased with how my website has turned out and I think my whole family is pleased that it is done--I've been a bit of a web-creating maniac.  I'd love to know what you think, too.

I'm relieved and excited that I can now turn my attention to creating bears instead of being glued to a laptop.  My first project will be to create a pattern for an "elephump" as requested by many people.  I think I told you that I plan to giveaway the elephump created by the patterning process to a lucky member of my Mailing List.  And then I'll start on a pattern for a vintage-styled bear (with the bear being a giveaway on my blog). 
And then...and then...well, and then I will probably sift through my lovely stash of mohair and let myself be inspired!

Happy New Year!  I hope this year is filled with health, warmth, love, and joy for all of you!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl