Monday, August 31, 2009

Edwina Makes Her Blog Debut

If you read this post, you know that I promised to show you what I’ve created when it was all ready and the photos were taken. I am so glad to be able to tell you it’s now done. My auction piece for the Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland show next year has been finished! Nothing like thinking and planning for months and then sending it out the door at the last minute, eh?

Meet Edwina who stands about 12” tall. She’s not a classic looking witch which I hope the Halloween fairies won’t hold against her.

I am posting this close-up of her clothing so you can see the lace. That lace is from my mom’s sewing stash. She really had a knack for choosing beautiful trims and my sisters and I uncovered quite a few of them when we organized her sewing room. I took a little bit and dyed it to match Edwina’s outfit. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I took it out of the dye bath. It was a perfect match and that hardly ever happens.

The other golden colored lace you see in the close-up also came from my mom’s stash. I dyed it as well. This lace I added to her hat along with the black braid that I used on the underdress.

Sometimes it seems like projects like this go on and on, and when you’re finally finished you look back and wonder what took so much time. The show she is destined for is one I’ve never attended. It happens every five years and is supposed to be a terrific event. Now you know I’m not the only one who sent an auction piece so I’m really curious how all those bears are going to spend the next ten months - probably attending one soiree after another. Maybe I should send Edwina a note and ask her to send me a postcard from Iowa to let me know how she’s getting along.

On second thought, she'll probably be too busy with all the other bears to sit down and write. I guess we'll have to catch up when I see her next year.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rubber Gloves, Chocolates and a Finger in the Peanut Butter

On Saturday, my husband and I put on our ‘casual food sorting clothing’ and drove over to our local food bank. This is something that had been on our calendar for a while but we had no clue what we would be doing once we arrived. A little mystery is exciting, don’t you think? I guess it can end up being good exciting or bad exciting depending on how it turns out, but the first instruction we received from the guy in charge of the operation that day was to ‘have fun’. So I was hopeful it would be a good kind of exciting.

What I found really fascinating was what you learn about people doing something like this. We had a really disparate group of people – some teenagers and some many years retired and everything in between. You might wonder how such a mishmash of people would work together, especially when many of us had never officially met before even though we had seen each other in church services quite frequently. It actually, and surprisingly, worked quite well.

Our job was to inspect boxes of food donated to the food bank from grocery stores and similar type places. One of our instructions was that when we came across a jar of peanut butter to open it up to make certain it was still sealed from the factory. At first it seemed like an odd request, but much to my surprise, I learned that sometimes a person will go to the grocery store, choose a jar of peanut butter, open it up and stick their finger in it to taste it. Then they close it up and put it back on the shelf. Ugh!! And lo and behold, we did come across a jar or two where that had happened but luckily for the people in need of food, it didn’t happen too often.

We also came across some delightful food that I was amazed had been donated – like these chocolates. I told one woman I spoke with that you could have a really fine tea party with some of the stuff we had sorted! Of course, sometimes you would open a box where something goopy had spilled. That’s when the rubber gloves came in handy. (No pun intended, but hey, I’ll take them when I can get them!)

While it took a few minutes to get into the rhythm of sorting the food, it was a pretty straight forward process. Mostly, they wanted to make certain the food was not contaminated in any way and would be safe to disperse among the agencies that would make it available to those in need. It didn’t take us long to sort over 10,000 pounds of food. And that was just a small group of us. Yeah, that’s me there moving at the speed of light – so fast the camera couldn’t even catch me! Ha-ha!

I guess some might say in the scheme of things, we did not make much of a dent in huge problem of hunger in the world, but maybe out there somewhere a family of six – a mom and a dad and four little children under the age of five - will have something to eat that will help them through difficult times. And maybe, just maybe we will have made a difference however small.

And get this - we had loads of fun!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Eeyore – Flatter than a Pancake

When I was growing up, the trip to my grandmother’s house took five hours. We always went the same way and it took us past a huge white building by the side of the highway that looked part barn and part house. I now realize it was unusual but then it was just part of the scenery. What made it unique was that it was a toy store and their claim to fame in my mind was the huge hand painted sign that counted down the days to Christmas. No matter what time of year it was, the count was always accurate. Two days after Christmas it would read “364 days ‘til Christmas”. It wasn’t always open when we were traveling but I always wanted to stop and go in.

One time we did stop and if I am remembering correctly, the kind of toys they had were better quality and less dime store than I was used to seeing. My mom or dad asked me if I saw anything I liked and I was immediately drawn to a soft little donkey unlike anything I had seen before. (I know you might find this hard to believe, but I had affection for soft toys when I was young.) They told me that perhaps I should ask Santa Claus to bring it to me for Christmas. I really wanted that donkey – he was so cute!

My mom and I went to sit in the car but my dad lingered behind. I wanted to go back in and get him but my mom wouldn’t let me. My dad came out later but I didn’t see any package. I don’t know if he hid it really well or if he had it sent by mail, but when Christmas came along, that donkey was one of my gifts. I had never had a donkey so deciding what to name him took some effort. I had this Pooh book and loved sad little Eeyore so I decided to name my donkey after him.

For a while, Eeyore was front and center. I hesitated showing you this photo but I’m throwing caution to the wind because it’s one of the best of Eeyore – even though I’m in my pj’s, and a curler cap (did anyone else wear those?) and have my tongue sticking out. I think my sister must have taken this photo, hence the expression! That’s my dad beside me.

A few weeks back, I pulled Eeyore out of the depths of mystery and discovered he was flatter than a pancake. My mission is to restore his dignity. Upon investigating his inner contents, I found they used that foam rubbery stuff for filling. After all this time, it’s turning into a miserable, grainy, orange dust. So, when I’ve mustered up some courage and a big trash bag, I am going to remove said sad contents and replace it with something I hope will make Eeyore feel a bit better and look a bit better. After which, I hope he will no longer be flat but plump and happy. With any luck, maybe he’ll even be a smidge more cheerful than his namesake.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Fairy Dust Tale

This tale comes from a time when I was young, but not too young. Our aunt was coming for a visit. I can’t remember the circumstances, but it was kind of unusual to have family visit. Because we lived farther than most, we usually did most of the travelling. We cleaned, dusted and vacuumed (or hoovered) our house, generally making it look nice for her stay. After her arrival, my mom and my aunt sat in the kitchen and chatted away like people do when they get together with someone they have missed.

In another room, my mother kept a tube of multi-colored glitter on her shelf that we could use if we asked. I just loved that glitter – so sparkly, so shiny, so pretty. Because she was busy with my aunt, I kind of figured I wouldn’t get asked too many questions about what I was doing. I didn’t have a project, I just had a plan.

My plan involved making the carpets and walkways in the house look as if a fairy had been there. I was just going to sprinkle a little here and there. As I began, I realized how much fun it was and how it floated and shimmered in the air when it was scattered. I promptly forgot my intentions to be careful and began to use the shiny stuff in larger quantities delighting in every magical toss. My fun didn’t last as long as I had hoped because I realized that you can go through a whole tube of glitter in a very short while. Seeing the glitter gone or nearly so, I figured my job was done. How pretty it all looked! As if a fairy had just swept through the hall and the foyer and the den.

That day I also learned something besides how glitter flickers and shines: No matter how much magic there is in fairy dust, it is no match for the vacuum cleaner once it is plugged in and running. Claiming “b-b-b-but it’s fairy dust!” doesn’t seem to make much of an impact on its fate either.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Visiting Blogs and Roadies

Thank you for all of your kind comments about Peeka BOO! I am not the least bit worried about him leaving here for parts unknown when the time comes. I feel that he will be well cared for wherever he goes.

Today I would also like to say thanks to all of you who have posted links to my giveaway. I’ll be visiting each and every one to say hello and visit your blog, too. There was a question or two as to whether my giveaway was open to those outside the USA. My answer is unequivocally Yes! If you are new here, you may not know that my bears love, love, love to travel. They like being home too but they do like the occasional jaunt. I have a feeling they get that from me. Not sure, but it’s a hunch. As you can see from my blog header, they were front and center when I took their photo on that last trip we all went on.

My concern now is that I saw all the teddies from my studio crowded around little Peeka BOO! as if he was a celebrity. Then I overheard them trying to convince him that he needed some roadies. Now what on earth do you think a little Halloween clown bear would do with roadies? I’m wondering if he even knows what roadies are. I’ll have to get the bears straight on the details of his travel plans because while Peeka BOO! is excited about going someplace new, he certainly doesn’t need to take all the occupants of my studio with him. I might get kinda lonely if they all leave at once!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Silver Anniversary Giveaway #3

If you read on this blog that I would announce my next giveaway today, you read correctly! This year I am marking my twenty-fifth year as a bear artist. In honor of the occasion, I am continuing to celebrate by having my third giveaway. I’ve said this before, and even though I’m not a big fan of repeating myself I cannot say it enough, it’s my way of saying Thanks to all those who have supported me along the way.

For the occasion, I have created a little fellow I would like you to meet. His name is “Peeka BOO!”

Peeka BOO is one-of-a-kind, fully jointed, and 6.5” tall from head to toe. He is made from luscious, extremely soft, synthetic Belgian fur.

The colors I chose to use are black, light brown, and butter with matching paw pads. His paws are embroidered with silver floss.

His black glass eyes and hand embroidered nose are typical features in my work.

His Halloween collar is created from 100% cotton and is accented with tulle and silver rick rack. He also wears a wool felt hat and has silver jingle bell accents.

He is filled with polyfill and glass beads for weight.

He wouldn’t go anywhere without his pumpkin so it will be going along with him when he leaves here for his new home. This piece is for adults only.

You can see him playing Peek-a-boo with you at the end of this post. In the meantime, here are the rules of the giveaway:

- Leave a comment on this post and I will enter your name in my Silver Anniversary Third Blog Giveaway. All comments will be private and unpublished. You don’t have to have a blog to enter.

- IMPORTANT! Please leave your name and email address as part of your comment so I can contact you if your name is drawn. This info is for the purpose of the giveaway only and will not be sold, traded or given away.

- Please let me know if you have entered my previous giveaways and I will enter your name an additional time for each of my giveaways you entered before. I will confirm the information through my records.

- If you have a blog and you post a link to this one about my giveaway, I will enter your name in the drawing an additional 5 times. Please let me know once you have posted it on your blog.

- I will take comments until 6pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time – New York City time) on September 24th. On September 25th, a name will be drawn randomly from all those who entered. (We will be using a random number generator to insure fairness.) I will post the winner’s first name or initials only and state/country in a new post on that day.

- Peeka BOO will be mailed via USPS and has plans to arrive in time to celebrate his favorite holiday with his new family.

The best of luck to all of you! I’m looking forward to finding out who Peeka BOO will be with for Halloween!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This Coming Tuesday

It seems like Tuesday will be a good day to announce my next giveaway – Tuesday, the 25th. I’ve spent a lot of time over the weekend putting finishing touches on the little bear. After all this time making teddies, I’ve figured out that when I get attached to one it’s truly finished. And this one, I’m happy to tell you, I’d love to keep. But I won’t. The name of someone kind and caring (it could be you!!) will be randomly chosen from all the entries on the giveaway day.

As in my previous giveaways, there will be an opportunity for you to enter and it will all be anonymous (except to me!). If you come back here tomorrow, the post will have all the details, lots of photos and just a few rules to make it easier to manage on my end of things. I am so excited, I can hardly wait. Here’s a little sneak preview.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Place Called Mayfels

Before this weekend gets going good and something else distracts me, I thought I’d share photos of the other restaurant we visited while in Asheville last weekend. As you know from this post, most likely you will not see any food (yet again).

This place is called Mayfels. There were so many places with unusual names, I didn’t think too long about it, but if you want to know how it got its name, click here and once there, click on ‘about’. It’s a short and cute story.

Rather than show you the food, how about this photo of some of the patrons enjoying their meals? Obviously, if this had been after we received ours, there would be no photos at all!

I am kind of curious about the blackbirds that are part of the décor shown below. When you are in Asheville, such an art laden town, there are a lot of things that might not be readily explained. You just enjoy them and the mystery.

The chandeliers were pretty cool too. After seeing all the ones in NYC and then in Asheville, maybe I’ve missed the boat on lighting. I briefly entertained the idea of hanging one in my studio, but you know those adventurous little bears I have. They’d be literally swinging from the chandelier in no time. In fact, I think they would think I had put it up purely for their gymnastic entertainment. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll just have to take photos of chandeliers when I am out and about.

Our seating was by this window. When we arrived, the only choice available was inside, but soon this outside table was empty. Of course, it didn’t stay that way for long.

If you are looking for a place to relax, seeing something unique and interesting, Asheville definitely fits the bill. This won’t be my last photos of the city of course. There’s far too much to see and I’ve not done it all or seen it all yet.

Oh and yes, the food was delicious. In fact, my husband is still talking about it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Have a seat?

Yesterday as I was returning from visiting my dad (Hey Daddy!), I decided to stop and take a photo or two of a chair I had seen that might be good for someone's summer respite. I didn’t know if you might be in the market for a chair but this one had almost all the qualities of a good porch rocker.

When I stopped to take a closer look, I realized that wasn’t the only chair on display. There was an Adirondack style one too.

Actually, upon reflection, I’m not sure that either of these would be a good fit for a porch. They are probably better as garden chairs . . .

if you have a good size garden.

In any case, even if they had been for sale, I don’t think they would have fit in my car.

Perhaps you know where Hagrid lives? Do you think he needs a new chair for his cottage?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why You Seldom See the Food Here

Over the weekend, we visited two cafes we had never been to before. These photos are from the first one. It wasn’t a fancy place but it was full of atmosphere. It was in an old building and it had two entrances - one on one side of the café and one on the other. Traditionally, you would have a front door and a back door but because of the hilly terrain you could enter on the first floor on one side and go up to the restaurant or you could go in the opposite street level entrance which opened directly into the restaurant.

This was our table by the window

with a view of a nearby mountain.

While waited for our food to arrive, I pulled out my camera. Looking around at the character of the place, the wood floors, the window plants, and the chalkboard menu all seem photo worthy. Even the servers had their own unique personality. Then I heard someone say, “Here comes our order.” When that happens something clicks in my brain and it goes something like this:

“Oh yea! Food! I’m hungry. I’m glad it’s ready. I can’t wait to find out what it’s like. I wonder if it will be as delicious as it looks. Boy, oh boy! It sure smells good. I am ready to dig in and give it a try. I must put my camera away and pull out my fork. You certainly can’t eat with a camera.”

See where I go astray? Food arrives, camera gets turned off. About halfway through the meal, it occurs to me that I have completely demolished the lovely cuisine in front of me with nary a thought to showing you what I had before me. Not only that, it happens almost every time we try a new and interesting looking café or restaurant.

Here’s the café at night which seems to be a popular spot any time of day.

This time of year, you can enjoy the open air atmosphere while still dining inside.

As for showing what I’ve ordered, I’d like to say I’ll do better next time, but it wasn’t 24 hours before it happened again. I don’t think there’s much hope for me. Thankfully, the teddies aren’t consumable or there probably wouldn’t be many photos of them either!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Strings are everywhere . . .

and I’m quite lovin’ it. It seems like it’s been such a long time since my studio was fully functional, I’m embracing all the strings that go along with working on some new things. I just hope I don’t walk out the front door with them trailing behind me – oh yeah, it has happened before. And now that my daughter is too far away to give me a once-over inspection before going out into the world, I have to be extra careful.

The photo above is part of one of the projects I am currently working on. The piece is for the Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland Auction which takes place next June in Clarion, Iowa. I know it seems like a long time away but the deadline for the auction pieces to be there is the end of this month. I’m hoping to take photos before the end of the week so I can put it in the post. Then I’ll put the photos here to share with you what I’ve been up to in my studio.

At the same time, I am also working on my next giveaway. Yep, you heard me right. It’s been so nice to have you visiting with me on this here blog o’ mine. Not only that, I’m also in the middle of celebrating 25 years as a teddy artist. (Where have you heard that before?) It seems like the best way to celebrate is another giveaway. Stay tuned because the details will follow in the next week or so. In the meantime, have a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Unexpected

The above photo was taken upon leaving Asheville where we had just taken our daughter to begin college life. We anticipated arriving early for the move-in process. Our plan was good shoes, a good night’s rest, and a head start before too many others arrived to do the same. The vehicle was packed and primed with various and sundry things for dorm life. We knew that moving in would involve numerous trips to and from the car, numerous trips up and down stairs, and numerous times holding doors open while carrying boxes.

What happened was that upon arrival we were greeted by one friendly guy telling us where we should park and that once there we would meet someone else. So we followed instructions. After we parked our car, two people met us with those bellhop carts you see in hotels. All the while I’m thinking to myself, “Oh good. We get to use those carts. How nice.” But actually, we didn’t use them. The two people who met us at our car unloaded all my daughter’s things, put them on the cart, rolled them down a ramp, took them to the room, unloaded the cart in the room and mostly we just stood by with our mouths open. But that’s not all.

After chatting with these people a few minutes, we found out the move-in volunteers were the professors and teachers. And they were cheerful all the while. It certainly made a good first, and lasting, impression on us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Studio Tour – Part 2

I’ve gotten the photos all ready for the second half of the studio tour. Are you ready to see the rest? If so, come on in. If you will recall, the first half primarily included photos of my workspace. This portion of the tour begins with an area where my husband and I share many evenings, sometimes watching a favorite TV show or a movie.

We moved the table/chest from another room so we can enjoy it more. It’s just the right height for resting a cup of coffee or tea.

Next to this area are more shelves with a few of my favorite quotes. My daughter and I both agree we like this arrangement of supplies, bears and other things better than before. It’s more friendly and cozy and my resources for my work are still easily accessible.

This bear, one of our favorites, is a new resident of this room. Everyone needs a change of scenery now and then.

Since my husband and I both spend time here, I included a few things from his collection – a few old bottles and this old camera. That teddy in the back is one my mom and dad gave me for Christmas one year.

Below the shelves on both sides, I added some small clotheslines. In this section, you can see a couple of small aprons I created from some fabrics and laces my mother had in her sewing room.

This is the other side of the room – another set of shelves, different quotes. I look back now and wonder if I could do all these quotes again. Probably, but I think I’d rather not just now. Whew!

The real sewing machine sits here along with a toy iron. I had always wanted one that really heated up. Now you see those small craft irons in the stores quite frequently. I would have loved one way back then.

These tiles with artwork by Jenna Colby were also in another room. We purchased these at a Seattle flea market last summer. I believe I have finally found their proper place.

Part of the clothesline on this side of the room has a couple of favorite cards and a teddy bear dress my mom made several years ago.

It’s all here – all the techno gadgets of the modern world. We both use ’em but it’s my husband that keeps ‘em workin’.

Finally, the finishing touch was the fairy lights we installed on the ceiling. We had such a good time at the enchanted coffee house, we thought we would try recreate a little of that magical feeling here in the studio. I think it worked. Now if I can just find some fairy dust!

That concludes the tour. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Now it’s time to go for a mocha latte and enjoy a brief rest before returning to the sometimes crazy world of teddy bears.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...