Tuesday, June 29, 2010

OUCH!

I'm hardly getting any work done these past couple of weeks as I am having a lot of trouble with my hands, especially my thumbs.  They get locked in a bent position and then "POP" straight.  I think it's called "trigger thumb."  I kept hoping and hoping that the pain and problem would just go away, but it seems that this one is going to take some time.  Rest and more rest.  WAH!  I want to work on my bears!  I miss them SO much!
Ah, well.  No sense complaining--I have a GREAT life!  And, boy, you'd be amazed at all the great bear stuff I've found on the internet because I can't work.  Artist bears.  Vintage bears.  Vintage bear pendants.  Hand knitted clothing for bears.  And, really, I'm MOSTLY just looking.  (However, I will admit that I have succumbed to a few very select and wonderful items.)  I do hope my thumbs get better soon though--I'm not sure my checkbook can take too much more!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Friday, June 25, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

This is one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes.  I even wrote it on our big kitchen chalkboard!


Enjoy your day!

A Little Sweetheart of a Giveaway!

Kelly from A Stuffed Life is having a giveaway.  Just look at this sweet little bear!
Click HERE to be zoomed to  her blog so that you can see more lovely photos of this little charmer!  Her drawing takes place on July 18th.

Friday, June 18, 2010

And the Winner of Sammy Is...

Deimante`!

Congratulations, Deimante`!  I'm very happy for you!  I have e-mailed you and only await your address so that I can mail him to you.

I so wish I had hundreds of Sammys to give away.  You have all been SOOOO wonderfully supportive and kind.   Your sweet compliments have truly touched my heart.  This has been a beautiful experience for me.  Never in my wildest dreams did I even imagine that so many people would enter my drawing.  AND so many talented people, too!  I really enjoyed getting to know many of you through your blogs and your amazing artwork.  You are all so inspiring!

The only consolation I can offer is that I am nearly finished creating a pattern for Sammy that I will have available on Etsy.   It may take a bit longer than I hope to finish the pattern as my parents are arriving today for a week-long visit and after that we are going camping.  But I will earnestly work on it and let you know when I am finished.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

P.S.  Happy Birthday,  Amanda!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Meet Livvy!

Here's Livvy!--my newest 14-inch bear made of an amazingly soft faux fur that has a beautiful look and feel.  My youngest daughter took these pictures of Livvy today during one of the brief dry spells we had.
 
I'm just SOOOO pleased with how she turned out.  I think I finally have made my bear!

Some of you who have been following me over the year may remember how I have tried at different times to make a bear just for myself and have never succeeded in keeping one. This time, though, I am just smitten with that little, furry face and just can't bring myself to sell her.

But don't worry, I will be using many aspects of Livvy's pattern and construction in some of my future bears. I ignored many of my self-imposed bear construction "rules" when I designed her. Instead of a traditional single or double-jointed neck, I used a snug wobble-joint--I like how it adds some liveliness to her . I made turned-down paws without any paw pads and just love the softness of line and feel that it gave. I also used a new technique which worked quite well for needle felting the eyelids, added some extra needle-sculpting to the face and eyes, and learned a new way to hide knots for embroidery and needle-sculpting. In addition, after trying many people's techniques, I've settled on my favorite way of waxing a nose which really isn't how other people "say" to do it.


I guess that's the beauty of life (and bear-making).  We just all bump along and find our own ways of walking down the path.

Warmly,
Cheryl

P.S.  With less than 2 days left until Sammy's giveaway, I am so thankful to all of you for your support and encouragement.  I have been literally blown away by your incredible response to Sammy--there are currently 504 entries in his giveaway!  Thank you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

I've always loved how other families have favorite recipes.  Different foods for different holidays.  Different recipes for different occasions.  I've always been in awe.  Good ole' family food traditions.  Recipes handed down from generation to generation.  What a comforting thought connecting to Great-Grandmother as you bake Christmas dinner.

Well, I have racked my brain.   My family doesn't have any favorite foods that have been handed down over time to be savored during family occasions.  In fact, my husbands' family doesn't have any favorite recipes used that way by all of the generations either.  Nope. 


HOWEVER, we do have recipes that every generation has made.  They are just ALL cookie recipes.  But, boy, do we have some great cookie recipes.  And the thing about cookies is that all sorts of different occasions require cookies.  Bad day...make cookies.  Celebration...make cookies.  Potluck...make cookies.  Cookies are the perfect answer to many of life's questions.

Perhaps you have a question that needs an answer.  Well, I have the perfect recipe for you...Buckaroons.   Kind of a cross between an oatmeal cookie and a chocolate chip cookie.  Nice and crunchy.  Some people even think they are healthy.  Well...I always hate to break it to them (but I always do); these are cookies and have a lot of sugar.  And shortening really gives them a nice texture.  So I use a "Smart Balance" shortening which is a bit more healthy.  But I guess the oatmeal qualifies as healthy.

Buckaroons
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup nuts
1 pkg choc. Bits (6 oz)

Blend shortening and sugar. Add eggs; beat light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in all the rest. Drop by teaspoon on greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. (makes 4-5 dozen)

Enjoy!

Warmly,
Cheryl

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Best Laid Plans can be Better When They are Laid Aside

Last Friday, I convinced myself that I just needed a "bear break" for a week or two to refresh myself.  I had absolutely no inspiration to start a new bear, work on a bear, think about a bear, or even look at my stash of mohair.  Instead, I planned on making a needle-felted little doll with thread-jointed limbs. 

I saw my doll as a very young girl with dark brown hair, small features, a short blue outfit, and a blue bow in her hair.  And at the end of Friday evening, this little doll's body and head looked very much as I envisioned--although she lacked all of her limbs.  I went to bed planning on starting her limbs the next morning and wondering how close to being finished she would be by the end of the weekend.  BUT. . . plans change.

For unknown reasons, I woke up and guess what?  I had visions of a brand new bear pattern floating in my head.  How exactly does the brain work?  I went straight to work.  Pencil flying--bits of paper and eraser crumbs everywhere. 

Now as I write this, I have a completed pattern (actually two completed patterns), faux fur pieces all cut out with reinforced and trimmed edges, AND a sewn bear head.  Not quite my plan for these past three days, but good progress all the same.  Hmmmmm . . . I wonder if this will be my bear?

Warmly,
Cheryl

Friday, June 4, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

Goodness, it's a beautiful morning here!  Right now I'm listening to the birds singing right outside the window.  How glorious!  I love having the windows open when the weather cooperates.

Okay, back on track now--Favorites on Fridays.  I realized this morning that Father's Day here in the U.S.is fast approaching--just a bit over two weeks.  I don't know if other countries celebrate Father's Day, so I would love to hear from those of you outside the states.  Well, anyways, I don't know about you, but I have a devil of a time finding a little something to give to my Dad and to Matt to show them how much I appreciate and love them.

It's not going to be much of a surprise to Matt this year since he excitedly showed me last weekend what he "found" on the internet.   Some of you might remember that we have a small 1963 Airstream trailer that we like to take camping.  Well, check out this t-shirt!  Perfect!
SURPRISE, Matt!!
Well, not much of a surprise, but it's awfully neat and I know Matt will just love it. 

As for my Dad, generally I buy him books or gift certificates to a local bookstore.  I know he enjoys the books I find, but I just wanted to try to find something different for him.  So, since I was already poking around on the Life is Good website for Matt's t-shirt, I decided to see if there was anything my Dad might like. And voila`...I found a simple polo shirt that was just his style. 

I didn't get around to placing my order until this morning, and, apparently, a lot of other people had already placed their Father's Day orders.  So I couldn't get my Dad my first choice of colors, but luckily I found a light blue polo that would be just as nice.  As for Matt, all I can say is that he was just lucky they still had his size!

So, if any of you have guys in your life that are a bit difficult to buy for, maybe this is just what you were looking for.  The shirts are a bit pricey in my book, but I do love the message.  Life is Good.  Well said!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bears on the Move

Jack, my recent needle-felted bear, is on his way to Singapore.

Rosalie, Maxwell, and Tommy are on their way to Clarion, Iowa for the Teddy Bear Reunion in the Hearthland.

And Johnny Appleseed just left to gather with other Gallery entries for the TBAI show in August.

So many bears, so many travels!  I wish I could travel with them.