Saturday, November 2, 2013

"How is Ginger Brame Going to Make All Those Bears?"

"After seeing Sebastian in the movies, people are going to be clamoring to get their own 'Sebastians.'  The demand will be out of this world!  Hmmm . . . maybe she can find some way to manufacture them."

Yes!  Those were truly my first thoughts this morning.  It took a couple of minutes to finally clear my head and realize that I had only been dreaming--it was one of those dreams and sleeps that felt like I wasn't sleeping at all and that the whole thing was entirely real and believable.

I can't remember everything from it anymore; many of the details were erased as soon as I became conscious that it was all a dream.  However, I can still picture the "movie" of Ginger and Kelly Dean at the same long, dark workbench carefully creating their amazing bears to the amazement of a crowd of people.  Other people milled by them into the Victorian-era, fairyland shop, a la "The Paradise" show on PBS, to be dazzled by the gorgeous building filled with all things beautiful and sumptuous.  Of course, a display filled with mini Sebastians took center stage!  In the dream, I was quite "aware" that I was watching a fabulous movie.


Perhaps I've been too engrossed in the new Masterpiece Theater series . . . .  it's also clear that I adore Ginger Brame's and Kelly Dean's work!  Curious?  Click HERE to zoom to Ginger Brame's blog, Bearbits, and HERE to see Kelly Dean's work on Facebook.  And if you're a fan of period dramas don't forget to check out "The Paradise" on PBS.

Take good care of yourself!
Hugs,
Cheryl

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Vote! The Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards!

Holy Tamoly!!  I can't believe it's only about one week until voting closes at the Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards and I haven't even told you that one of my bears, Isadora, was short-listed!  Boy, have I been a neglectful blogger! 



Okay, so let me remedy that and tell you what's up.  Sweet Isadora was awarded a 2013 Judges Choice Award in the Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards (EBAA) in the 'Dressed Bears 10.5"-16" ' category.  I can't believe how fortunate I've been!  The judges this year (like last year!) are OUTSTANDING bear artists.  To have been chosen by them absolutely takes the cake! 

Okay, okay, let me get back to my point.  So now it's up to all of you to vote for your favorite bears!  The voting closes on October 31st (ooooooo....scary Halloween!) and the bears who get the most votes win the People's Choice Awards.  The way to do vote is to click HERE or to go to www.bearartistry.com and click on the heading of "People's Choice Voting 2013."

Now, I'm not asking you to vote for Isadora--all I'm asking is that you get over there and vote for your favorite bears.  If Isadora is one of your favorites, well then, great!  And if Isadora is not one of your favorites and another bear catches your eye, well then, please, please, PLEASE vote for that bear!

Okay, now that I've said my bit, I had better head on over to do my own voting!  Yes!  I haven't even voted yet this year.  So that said, let's both zoom over to the EBAA and do some voting for some really cute bears by clicking HERE!

Take good care of yourself!
Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Bears Available at Silly Bears

Goodness!  I seem to have fallen out of the "blogosphere" these past couple of months!  Well, hopefully I'll be able to remedy that in the future.  Another day I'll let you know why I have been absent, but for now I want to share 4 new bears that I've made--the first two are still available at Silly Bears!

Edie--8 inches

Alastair--11 inches

Genevieve--10 1/2 inches

Tuppy--8 inches

Yes, sweet little Edie and dapper Alastair are available for adoption, while Genevieve and Tuppy have found their forever homes.  If you want to check out more photos of these sweeties go to Silly Bears' Artist page at www.sillybears.co.uk and click on Bingle Bears.  Or you can click HERE to zoom right on over there.

Take good care of yourself and I'll try to get back to you soon!
Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Mulberries are Ripe!

One thing I look forward to all year is mulberry season.  It's not really that I'm looking forward to the mulberries themselves, rather I'm looking forward to having mulberry pie.  I know.  You can't get mulberries from the grocery store.  I can't either.  However, we are fortunate enough to have an old weeping mulberry tree.


Now when we first moved in over 6 years ago, we had no idea whether those things hanging from every branch on the tree were even edible. Thankfully to Google we soon identified the little berry beasties.

 
Let me tell you, there's a good reason mulberries aren't found in the supermarket.  They are delicate little things and you can quickly identify anyone who has been hanging around the tree nibbling on the sweet berries.  Just look for the lovely shade of purple on their fingers!  I can't tell you how MANY times I washed my hands and you can still see the tell-tale purple marks on my fingers in the photo above.  Oh, well--it was worth it!


Take good care of yourself!
Hugs,
Cheryl

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Winnie!!

As promised, I'm going to show you some of the photos that my husband, Matt, took of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends while we were at the New York Public Library.
 
The original Edward Bear.  Isn't he just a sweetheart?!
 
And look at little Piglet!  What a surprise!  I never would have imagined that he looked like that!  Piglet was always one of my favorites in the books (if not THE favorite!) and now after seeing this funny little guy I know that I just LOVE little piglet.
 
Tigger
 
 Kanga
 
And, last, but not least, Eeyore.
 
I think I actually squealed out loud when I saw that Eeyore's tail is REALLY held on with a nail!!  I made the photo bigger and put a red circle around it so hopefully you can see the teeny, tiny, little nail there.
 
Can't forget a sweet photo of A. A. Milne with his son, Christopher Robin Milne.
 
And, of course, a photo of me and our youngest daughter next to the stuffed lovelies!  Our PROOF that we were actually there!
 
Take good care of yourself!
Hugs,
Cheryl

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New York Public Library

Well, I haven't gotten much done creativity-wise, but we did send our youngest daughter off to New York City for 6 weeks which felt like quite a feat.  While there we visited the New York Public Library so I could see the original Winnie-the-Pooh.  Wow!  I never really thought of a library as a tourist destination, but holy-tamoly! It is QUITE the building.

 
Everywhere you looked there was something interesting to see!

 
 
 
 


 
And the ceilings!!!  Oh, my goodness, every ceiling was just a work of art in itself!
 
 



 

 
And to top it off, there were some amazing works of art on the walls too!  The one below is just one of 4 huge gorgeous canvases. (I don't know who the girls are, though.)
 
 
Claire especially liked the old phone booth.  Something she really hasn't seen many of in her days!
 

Okay, now--so if the building itself wasn't enough, the library also has several interesting pieces in its collections that really give it museum-worthy status.
 
A copy of the original Gutenberg bible.  Wow!
 
 
The umbrella that P. L. Travers owned and "used" in her books about "Mary Poppins."  I don't know if you can see it well enough in this photo, but there is actually a parrot on top!

 
The original manuscript of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "Secret Garden."  One of my favorites!

 
And then, of course, the New York Library also has the original stuffed animals on which A. A. Milne based his "Winnie-the-Pooh" stories. I suppose that deserves its own post!
 
Take good care of yourself!
Hugs,
Cheryl 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

TBAI is Out, but Creativity May be In!

Alas, I had to make a very, very difficult decision yesterday . . . I decided to cancel my table at the 2013 Teddy Bear Artist Invitational show (TBAI).  It's such a wonderful, wonderful teddy bear show and SO much fun for everyone.  It takes place in Binghamton, New York every year and benefits the Ross Park Zoo.  This year it's scheduled for August 22nd through August 24th.  With great artists, fun activities, yummy food, and raising money for a good cause, it's hard to find a better teddy bear show!
 
 
I've had fun attending TBAI these past few years, but it just isn't going to work out this year.  When I signed up to participate last fall, I knew that our oldest daughter would be starting her junior year at the university.  Her first year away from home!  (She did her first two years of college locally.)  I knew that her classes would be starting around TBAI time, but I felt sure that she would be moving into the dorms the week before TBAI.  Didn't someone named Murphy say something about this?--as in "Murphy's Law."  Yes, she needs to move in between August 22nd and 25th!  Cripes!
 
Well now, if I had no health issues I would just say that I would do them both.  But I do have health issues and doing them both could land me stuck in my bed with a terrible flare-up for weeks, if not months.  So a choice had to be made and, without any doubt, I HAD to be there for our daughter.  It was difficult to pull out of TBAI, both because of missing all of the wonderful people there and because I had missed the deadline and my $300 fee had become non-refundable.  It's funny, I had tried and tried to find the "move in" information for months and when I was finally able to find it, I was 2 weeks too late.  Oh, well.  BUT there is a silver lining to this story!
 
The "up" side to all of this is that I have decided to allow myself time to play around and try new things with bears and other crafts this summer.  I haven't told you, but I have been feeling a bit overdone creativity-wise.  Some may say my muse has taken a long vacation.  Between homeschooling and shop orders, I've started to feel a bit like a factory just trying to pump out bears as fast as I humanly can with the limited time and energy I have.  As you can imagine, my creativity has taken a nose-dive and I've lost a lot of the joy that I used to have in making the bears.  So instead of trying to make a lot of bears, I'm going to try to savor what will probably be my last summer with our oldest daughter and also to explore new techniques and mediums that I've been itching to try for the past couple of years.  I've decided that I will use the "lost $300" as a reminder to keep my focus on my family and my creativity.  Not a bad price to pay when you think of it like that!
 
Hugs,
Cheryl

Bears at Silly Bears

Now that Silly Bears has unveiled my three bears, I think I can safely show them to you.  I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.  In fact, I was quite smitten with the first one and really wanted to keep her.  Alas, I had deadlines to meet and no time to make another bear to replace her--so off she went to Silly Bears with the others.
 
10" Jessica

8" Skippy
 
14" James
 
I just peeked at Silly Bears' website and found out that Skippy and James have found new homes, but sweet little Jessica is still waiting to find her new mom or dad.  If you're as smitten with her as I was, go to www.sillybears.co.uk , click on "Artist Bears" in the upper toolbar, and then scroll down to "Bingle Bears."  She's right in the middle!
 
Happy Summer!
Hugs,
Cheryl

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Prom Princess

I never went to my high school prom and thought our girls would follow in my footsteps in that regard since they are homeschooled.  People always say that's one of the disadvantages to being homeschooled and I used to think that, too.
 
 
That is, until one of Claire's dear friends invited Claire to join her at HER prom!  And get this, it was a homeschooler's prom!  It was quite a lovely prom, at that.  Well, I guess that's another myth about being homeschooled that can get be added to the list (I have quite a "myth list" if anyone is interested!). 
 
So now I have a bunch of photos to show off--a mom HAS to show off prom photos, doesn't she?

 
Claire can never resist an opportunity to pop in a ballet pose!

 
A lovely photo with some of her best ballet buddies.

 
Yeah, I know--a hair photo!  But Claire was so pleased with how her hair turned out--she did her French twist and I added the little curls on the sides--and Matt took such a lovely photo of it in black and white that I just HAD to add it here.

 
Goodness!  Our "little ones" are growing up fast!  How can that be?!
 
Hugs,
Cheryl

Monday, May 20, 2013

Congratulations to the Graduate!

 
Our oldest daughter graduated with the highest honors from the local community college on Saturday.  Pretty good for only being 18!  She received an Associate's degree in Engineering Science and will continue her studies in Mechanical Engineering at one of the big state schools starting this fall where she will complete her Bachelor's degree and perhaps obtain her Master's degree as well.  As you can imagine, we are very proud of her--not just for what she has done, but also for the lovely person she is.
 
Congratulations, Corinne!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help Fund a Mobile Art Studio!

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of Jo and Dylan from the Cart Before the Horse.  I just LOVE their whimsical creations.  Well, they are now in a bit of a bind--it's incredibly difficult saving money when you're living on two artists' salaries.  You see, they have this lovely dream of living in a little RV and doing their art wherever the wind takes them.  They have the RV now and have done a LOT of work cleaning it out, but now they need to finish refurbishing it. 

Many of you know how I love our little Airstream and traveling in it--it's our home away from home.  But what you may not know is that we have totally gutted it because it needed MAJOR repairs.  So I know firsthand that even tiny, little trailers and RVs take really, really BIG money to refurbish. 

 
To thank people for donating to their dream, Jo and Dylan have made some lovely "thank you" gifts--they are in the photo above and are only available to people who fund their RV project.  Aren't they CUTE!!  They are doing this through Kickstart, but the thing is, there is a deadline and it's only 15 days away!  They are over half way there, however, if the full amount of the project isn't pledged through Kickstart by the deadline, they don't get ANY of the money they need.


I'm one of those people who believe that whatever you send out into the world, you also receive.  I have so many blessings in my life and I really want Jo and Dylan to see their dream realized.  So, I can tell you first hand that making a pledge to them through Kickstart is really, really easy.  The difficult part is picking out what "thank you" gift you would like.  Don't tell me that I didn't warn you!!

Click HERE and you'll be zoomed through cyberspace to the Cart Before the Horse Kickstart project.

By the way, Jo and Dylan don't even know that I'm blogging about this.  This post comes completely from me--I just want to help them out.

Hugs,
Cheryl

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Time for Self-Care

"You can't pour water from an empty pitcher."
 
Now I can't tell you how many times I've said this to friends and acquaintances--women who are taking care of everyone and everything without a care for their own needs and well-being.   And I know it's very true.  No one can give and give and give to others without replenishing their own wellspring.  However, I seem to have forgotten to apply this saying to myself lately.   We, as women, have been well trained to be kind, caring, and loving.  And yet, I know that as well as I apply these traits to my interactions with others, I've been horribly neglectful in applying all of these lovely and loving traits to myself. 
 
It's been 6 weeks since I started another fibromyalgia flare-up and, of course, it was triggered because I "gave" too much of myself without paying attention to the signals my body was giving me to slow down and stop working.  I am doing better, but I'm in that awkward stage where I feel better enough to be out of bed and off the couch, but not well enough to get much of any "meaningful" work accomplished.  So deadlines are looming and I have SO many things to do.  However, instead of being compassionate to myself, that "inner critic" has been saying the most rude and nasty things to me--things I would never DREAM of saying or thinking about anybody else.  Perhaps this may sound familiar.
 
But I have a PLAN.  My plan is to start setting aside, maybe even scheduling it on my calendar, an hour a day for self-care during which I'll exercise (mostly tai chi), meditate and/or journal, and perhaps read.  Thinking about it, I should do it first thing after breakfast--otherwise  my self-care hour may fall through the cracks as always--the first victim of my habit of caring for others and putting their priorities ahead of me and my own priorities.
 


 
I'll keep you posted!
 
Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sadie Has a New Home!!

Drumroll, please!  I've emailed our three "Sweet Sadie Giveaway" winners and congratulations go out to:  Danielle, who wins Sweet Sadie, and Stephanie and Jamie, who each win a felt doll pattern of their choice. 

 
Sadie's quite tickled pink!  She's excited because she's going to live in France--although she does admit she's a bit nervous about the long journey to get to her new mom.  I've reassured her that I will do everything humanly possible to make sure that she is safe and comfortable.  Hopefully that will help her with her pre-flight jitters.
 
Take good care of yourselves!
Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Monday, March 18, 2013

Feasting Mice!

What a surprise!!  Claire went to feed Bingley (our little dog), grabbed the food scoop from inside the the dog food bag, and jumped back with a little cry.  "There's a mouse in Bingley's food!  I don't know whether it's dead or not!"  As you can imagine, she was a bit creeped out--she was so startled that I don't think she cared to find out the mouse's living status, but just dropped the scoop right back in the bag.  It was clear that it was my job to take care of the issue!
 
 
I must admit that I was relieved to see the little guy moving around down there at the bottom of the bag.  I took out the scoop, trying very hard not to scare the little critter, but then I was the one to be surprised because there were TWO of them scurrying around in Bingley's bag of food!  I have to admit that they were awfully cute!  It must have been quite a feast for the two of them surrounded by all of that yummy dog food.  In the end, though, I think they were quite relieved to escape.  They both took off like a shot when I gently tipped the bag for them to get out in the fresh air OUTSIDE of our house.
 
 
Too bad they couldn't have devised a plan like these clever little mice of Beatrix Potter's!  I was rather endeared to those sweet little guys.  Perhaps it's time for me to think about making a little mohair mouse!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Patterns AND a Giveaway...Finally!

I'm SOOOO excited!!  I've made my sweet felt dolls into patterns (they're available on Etsy now!) and I'm giving away one of the dolls to CELEBRATE.  New Patterns!  Spring!  Easter!  Wonderful!
 

If you follow my blog you may remember Betsy and Maisie, but now that they have "proper" photos I'll refresh your memory and show them to you again.

Betsy

Maisie
 
But Sadie is the newest 10" felt doll and she's looking forward to going to a new home!  Here's a few photos so that you can get to know her.

 
Sadie is a 10-inch doll made from 100% wool felt and has a sweet embroidered face and embroidered accents in her hair.  Her eyebrows and nose don't show up very well on the computer because of her light hair, but, honest, they are there and look adorable!  Don't forget about those rosy cheeks, too!
 
 
She wears a smashing 100% wool felt dress with embroidered accents, panties, and matching shoes.
 
 
She sits up well (although she's a pretty spunky girl and may need to do a yoga stretch or two before she decides to settle down and do so!) and has thread-jointed arms so that she can wave "hi!"  I know I'm a bit biased, but I think she's pretty cute!  I hope you like her, too!
 
I suppose since you've now seen Sadie, you might like to know a bit about the easy patterns I've made. In addition to the pattern pieces themselves, there are 7 full pages of detailed directions and pictures to help you along the way. Also, in case you need to know how to make one of the many stitches I used to make the dolls (or if you just want a refresher), I've included directions about those, too.  If you're interested in seeing them check out my Etsy shop by clicking HERE.
 
So here's the gist, on April 1st (no, this is not an April Fool's joke!) I'm going to draw 3 names.  The first name will get Sadie and the other two names will get a free felt doll pattern of their choice. 
 
Here's how to enter:
 
---  You will be entered into my "Sweet Sadie Spring Giveaway" if you comment on this post and leave your name and your email address.  This is very important--I have to know how to contact you if you win.  Poor little Sadie will be very upset otherwise and we have to keep the dolls happy.  In other words, if I don't have your email address, you won't be entered in the drawing. 
 
--  All of your information will be private and will not be published or given away to any list or person.  In other words, I will not be publishing any of the comments received for this giveaway so that your information stays private.  Nor will you be added to my mailing list.

--  If you have a blog and post about my giveaway with a link to my blog, you will receive 5 extra entries.  Just be sure to let me know once you have posted it.  Feel free to use my "Sweet Sadie Giveaway" button.

--  If you are a follower of this blog (or become one), you will also receive 5 extra entres.  Again, let me know!

--  I will accept comments until 8 pm Eastern Daylight Time (New York time), March 31st (Easter!!) and will conduct the drawing on Monday, April 1st.  Every person will be assigned a number (or set of numbers as the case may be!) based on the order which I received their comment.  Then I will use a random number generator to pick the three winners.  I'll post the winners' first names on April 1st.


Good luck to all of you!!

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl