Friday, October 28, 2011

The Wonders of PanPastels

Earlier this year, Joanne Livingston of DesertMountainBear was sharing her method of using pastels for hand-shading her bears.  I was spellbound.  I have been looking and looking to no avail for a way to easily hand shade my bears that would be permanent and light fast.  And, lo and behold, Joanne led me right to what I needed.  She is SO generous with her information and insights.  So, taking a page from her book, I decided it was high time to tell you what I found out late this summer.

We have a marvelous art store in our area--quite marvelous.  Even my Mom (who is an abstract artist) likes to take pilgrimages to The Art Store when she visits us.  So, finally, this summer I made my way there to search out appropriate hard pastels that I could sand into a fine dust and apply to my bears.  However, my plans detoured after talking to one of their amazingly knowledgable staff.

She told me that, yes, I could make a dust from hard pastels, but that using the new product, PanPastels, would be easier and extremely effective.

Well, she sold me!  They truly are fabulous.  They are kind of like pastels that have already been ground up into a fine dust.  There are special foam tools (like the one above) made for using with them, but, as time has worn on, I find that I prefer to use a VERY short and stiff brush to apply the pastels around the eyes and foot pad details and a big, fluffy one to apply a dash of colors on the fur (like around the ears).  I just couldn't get the foam applicators to be precise enough in tight corners.  Oh, and I also frequently use my fingers to mix and apply the pastels, as well.  One should never forget the convenience of the finger tips!

I just lightly tap the brush in the pastel and then dab the brush on a piece of paper towel to remove the extra dust so that the pastel isn't applied to dark and thick. Removing the extra pastel works quite nicely for being sure that the color doesn't rub off onto anything else (like clothing) when hugging a bear--it's nice and permanent (kind of like how one uses a stencil brush and removes most of the paint to get an even application when stenciling).

PanPastels come in lots of lovely colors and the pans twist onto each other so you can store them in a neat and tidy stack--very nifty and convenient.  I've since bought a few more colors like ivory, pink, and lilac and am never disappointed in how lovely they look on the bears.  How more perfect could they be?!  They are lightfast, permanent, and have dense beautiful colors.
If you are interested in trying them yourself and you don't have an amazing art store in your area, Dick Blick carries all of the colors.
Heaps of Hugs,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Some Silly Bears

I don't think I've shown you the three bears that traveled to Scotland early in August so that they could attend the Hugglets festival this September with Silly Bears.  I'm glad to say that they have all found loving homes--two during Hugglets and one (Owen) just this past weekend at the shop.

Abigail (14 inches)

Owen (16 inches)

Sheldon (12 inches)

I'm also glad to say that I've slowly, slowly gained a few more spoons (code word for energy) in the past few days.  I'm hoping this trend continues because I've enjoyed being able to work a bit more on my bears.  My latest bear is a snow fairy and I'm quite pleased with how she's coming along.

Thanks for all of your support and kind wishes--it's meant the world to me!
Heaps of Hugs,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Note of Gratitude

I want to thank you for your kind, supportive wishes--it really has meant the world to me.  I'm still low on "spoons" (see my previous post for an explanation), but your comments have helped me to make a very difficult decision.  I have decided to pull out of the Teddies Worldwide online Christmas Treasures show in November in order to try to gain a few more "spoons." 

It's hard for me to say "no" to things in life, especially when it's something I really want to do and had paid for.  However, I have felt lighter since making this decision.  I have only completed one bear and sewn up another in the past six weeks.  Obviously this is not the bear-making rate I needed to be at if I wanted to stay in the show (I also have commitments to fulfill for two shops).  This has been nagging and stressing me every day for the past several weeks--and stress takes up a lot of "spoons."  Now my schedule is 4 bears lighter and I feel more confident that I can live up to my commitments.

As a way to thank all of you, I'm going to have a giveaway.  I have to think about it still and figure out what is feasible for me to do (I don't want to add more stress to my life after having just erased some!), but I should have things in place within the next six weeks or sooner.

With that, I'll leave you with one of my favorite bear photos that you may have seen before (I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I truly don't know who took this sweet photo).

Thanks again!
Heaps of Hugs,