Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Inside the Envelope

Back in late 1991, I decided that I should make a special little pink teddy bear for a special little girl. She was the sort who carried her baby dolls around in the crook of her arm, their legs dangling below. I had a feeling that any bear she owned would also see the world precariously from about two and a half feet high – at least for a while.

And that’s exactly what happened. I did manage to take this somewhat lacking photo of the bear before she was off on her adventures way back then – before they were both off on their adventures.


 Photo from 1991

The other day an envelope arrived in the mail with this inside.

The not-so-little-anymore girl drew this of the first bear I ever made for her. The pink is subtle but it is there. Here’s a close-up of some of the detail.

What a divine surprise!  Now all I have to figure out is where to hang it – upstairs or downstairs.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

No Disclaimer

First of all, I submit this photo of downtown this evening. Streets closed, vendors and music, and lots and lots of motorcycles. And motorcycles are not my thing. Mostly due to the fact that other than being a risk to others, I would most definitely be a risk to myself. Not to mention my bear making abilities. But I thought it might be interesting to see all the hoopla from a safe distance – safe for them and for me.


Then, if you ever wondered where the Chick-fil-a billboard cows hang out when they are finished with their shift, they are here - here, hanging out in a fenced in yard under curfew, not allowed out to go downtown and hang out with the bikers. Let me tell you, they seemed really bummed out about it too. Free the cows! Free the cows!


Lastly, as the sun began to set, my husband and I talked a good long time about whether sharing this sort of excitement was too much for the blog and whether or not I should put a disclaimer at the beginning.


We wondered if there might be a few readers with delicate constitutions. Then we decided to take a chance – throw caution to the wind – have a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” kind of attitude about it. I think this is a close as I will get to being a biker chick.

Vroom. Vroom. Vroom.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

See my problem?

When I entered Dr. B’s office he said, “I smelled blueberry muffins and knew it must be you. “What brings you this way today?”

Now, I had given this a lot of thought the past couple of days and as usual, I could not come up with a legitimate sounding problem. My fallback plan was 3 Polaroid photos I had stuck in my handbag at the last minute. Think. Think, Ginger. Think.

I reached in my bag and pulled out the blurry photos. I tossed them nonchalantly on Dr. B’s desk.


“These are the problem, Dr. B.” I declared.
He picked them up one by one and said, “They look like very fuzzy pictures of some teddy bears.”
“Exactly. See my problem?”
“Camera problems? I’m not really qualified to solve camera problems.”

“No, Dr. B. I have to choose one and I can’t seem to make up my mind.”
“I see. Can you explain how you got to this point?” he asked.
“Well, I start a bear and think to myself, ‘This one will be for my giveaway.’ But then I think, no, I should make one like that. Then I make one like that and then I think, ‘No, it should be more like this’ and then I get another idea and I’m off making yet another bear. It’s a real dilemma.”

Dr. B gets that look on his face like always, puts his paws together like he’s thinking and he looks at the papers in front of him. “I can see things haven’t changed much since I saw you last. I still say you think too much.”
“I need help making up my mind – which one do I choose?”
“I cannot help you choose but I can give you some advice.”
“Oh good. Let me have it doc.”

“You need a deadline. A deadline will encourage you to make a choice. In fact, here’s a calendar. Close your eyes and pick a day.”
“That’s not very scientific, Dr. B.”
“Not everything has to be scientific. Pick a date.”
So I closed my eyes, stuck out my finger, and pointed.
“What day did I pick, Dr. B?” I asked.
“Oh, my dear. You’ll be choosing a bear in no time at all. Your giveaway announcement will be Friday, October 1st. Now that we have settled that you can get yourself back to work and I can have myself a little blueberry muffin snack.”


Frances gave me a sly wink as I walked out the door as if to say I had done good. I suppose October 1st is as good as any for a giveaway announcement. Now to work on my focusing technique . . .

Monday, September 20, 2010

Almost Nearly Normal?

ann_1 My phone rang this morning and on the other end was a voice I had not heard in a long time. It was Frances, Dr. B’s receptionist. Although, calling her a receptionist really doesn’t do justice to all the things she takes care of over there at the office. Nevertheless, I was happy to hear from her if not a bit puzzled.

If you are new here, Dr. B is short for Dr. Theodore H. Bear, PhD. DMV. QVC. XYZ. I asked him once about all the initials at the end of his title. He said all the great thinkers and problem solvers had lots of initials after their names. “Dr. B, but DMV? Department of Motor Vehicles?” He replied, “Of course, how many bears do you know that actually drive?” And that was that. I never bothered to ask him about the QVC or the XYZ.

“How in the world are you, Frances?” I asked.
“Pretty good these days, I have to say,” she replied.

“Is there a reason you are calling me? I mean, I do love hearing from you but I’m the one who usually picks up the phone” I offered.
“Well . . .” she hesitated.
“Out with it, Frances. What’s going on?” I insisted.

“Okay, here goes. Things are a little slow around here and it’s kind of getting Dr. B down a bit.”
“Oh, well I’m sorry to hear that Frances, but why are you calling me? The economy is sort of out of my hands.” I said.
“Of course it is dear, but you know Dr. B just loves you. He takes full credit for your somewhat almost nearly normal existence.”

“Uh . . . okay. So you called to tell me that my semi-saneness is due to Dr. B’s help but I still don’t understand why you called today.”
“You never were very quick were you? Alright, I’ll just spell it out for you.”  She sounded a little exasperated.

“Things are slow. Dr. B’s feeling a little low. It would be a big help to him if you could come in for a visit.”
“Um, Frances? Things around here are pretty okay. No crises. No problems. No troubles.”
“Obviously, I know that dear. I’m just asking you out of the goodness of your heart to have a mental breakdown or something – for Dr. B of course. No physical ailments though. He doesn’t do healings you know.”

“Let me get this straight. You want me to come up with a problem for Dr. B to solve to give him a little emotional boost?”
“We have several openings. You can come in anytime. How about Thursday? Just think how happy it will make him.”
“Frances, Frances.” I said shaking my head. “You know I’d love to help but . . .”
“Great! It’s settled. I’ve got you down for an appointment on Thursday. And do bring in some of those blueberry muffins. Warm, if possible. See you then.” Then all I heard was a dial tone.

You know what this means, don’t you? I have to come up with a dilemma by Thursday for Dr. B to solve and bake muffins. I can see that it’s going to be an interesting week already.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday’s Travels

Our Saturday’s travels included a trip down memory lane.


My sisters have begun selling some of their sewing creations and handmade Christmas ornaments.


Today they displayed their work at the Carousel Festival at a park in my hometown.


We had to go and have a look-see. Not only did I want to see all their work before it went home with people, I wanted to see the park as well.


The festival was celebrating the centerpiece of the park, the 100 year old carousel.  I rode it many times as a child and then I took my own children to ride it. I’ve even taken a bear or two to ride it. Any excuse will do.


When I was little I always wanted to ride a horse that went up and down. The stationary seating never drew me in like the animals that appeared to gallop and run. No matter how long they let us ride, it never seemed long enough for me.


Then if we still had some tickets left, we would go and ride the train. It went in a big loop and through a tunnel.


We always screamed in the tunnel. I now wonder how the train engineers withstood hearing kids screaming all day long. (Don’t tell anyone, but if I had had a chance to ride it today, I’d probably have given a little yell.)


I still prefer the horses that go up and down.

And the rides are still never long enough for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Last weekend we ventured into Bethesda, Maryland. When I hear the name Bethesda, I always think of the Bethesda Naval Hospital, but it is more than that which I have only recently learned. Apparently, it is one of the “most affluent and highly educated locales in the country” according to Wikipedia.

If I had known then what I know now it would explain all the nice – really nice- stores we saw lining the streets there.

And we passed this at an entrance to a park and I’m not exactly sure what you would call it. Art? Statue? Marker?


If you stand inside it and look up, you get this view.


Without a scale reference, you might almost think these are real people.


Then we ended up here. Can you guess where?


Yep, half of us would not be denied the experience of a cupcake. And the other half of us has very little willpower when it comes to chocolate.


Then we decided we really should have some samples to get a good overview of whether or not it was a worthwhile stop.


Our samples made it back to the hotel. After that, it was every man (or woman) for him (or her) self.


These are the kinds of things I was reminiscing about today as I tried to decide whether my next project would be a bear, a box or a bear for a box. Decisions, decisions. It’s never easy whether it’s which cupcake flavor to try or which piece of mohair to cut.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Now that I’ve gotten most of my shows behind me, I thought I’d turn my attention to some long neglected tasks. I divided them into sections. One section included some technology related things. Then I think there was one that had something to do with a vacuum cleaner, but I’m not certain. I’ll have to go check. It could take a while to confirm that so I’ll have to get back to you. Besides, the dog is not fond of the vacuum anyway.


On the technology front, I did a quick worked all day on a brief update to my website. Imagine a brief update taking all day, but I managed to get it done with only one unsolvable (by me) glitch. That’s when it comes in handy to have someone a handsome, generous & patient husband who can sort through html hiccups and figure out how to fix them. Apparently, holding your breath while drinking a tall glass of water does not work. Sneaking up on the computer and yelling “Boo!” really loud has no affect either. You really do need a person who knows what they are doing.

It’s hard to believe it’s already Wednesday in the middle – yes, the middle – of September. Fall will soon be here in all its colorful glory. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ahhh . . . il bel far niente.

Do you speak Italian? If you do, you know what this phrase means. Otherwise, like me, you may have learned it from Eat, Pray, Love (the book or the movie). It means “the beauty of doing nothing”.ah_1

Here in the South, it might go by another name – porch sitting. The weather has been absolutely perfect. There aren’t many days like today. I wish you could have been here. I saved you a place.


I promised myself before I dove back into all the things of life – I would take a few moments and sit on my porch. I did have a little company – little as in short in stature.


Even Lizzie Fern seems to be enjoying life on the porch in her larger pot. Did I say the weather was absolutely perfect? Maybe we’ll have dinner out here tonight. After which, maybe we’ll . . . hm-m-m . . . maybe we’ll . . . do absolutely nothing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chantilly Show Photos

I took a few snapshots at the show and thought I’d post them here. I tried to get photos of some artists that I haven’t shown on here frequently.

csp_1Michelle Lamb – One and Only Bears

There were a lot of great tables full of wonderful work so I just picked a random few that I hope you will enjoy seeing.

csp_2 JoAnne OHanlon  – Bear My Sole

We had a nice quick trip up to the DC area but it seems like we’ve been gone ages instead of overnight. A lot happens in 24 hours.

csp_3 Donna Nielsen – Cookies Critters

In any case, I’ve still got other non-bear pictures on my camera that I will sort through and see if I can find anything that looks worthy.

csp_4 Lena Volkova – Teddy Kingdom

And a big thank you for all of your lovely comments of the past few days.

csp_5Mary Dowd – Mary Dowd Bears

Monday generally isn’t considered a favorite day of the week, but I hope yours turns out to be a good one.

csp_6And lastly, here’s a photo of my display.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tickets to Ride

Among those with tickets for a ride to the Chantilly Fall Frolic Teddy Bear Show & Sale are these two.ttr_1Two who could hide in a pocket or under a cabbage leaf in the garden.

ttr_2Rations include one radish to be divided equally and a carrot slightly bigger than the two of them together.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Thinking Circle

The Thinking Circle started out with all the participants facing the middle of the ring, but their quiet meditative poses were too frequently interrupted by giggles. Apparently, not everyone’s eyes were closed so they had to remake the circle.


The next time they faced outward so as not to be distracted by their companions. It seemed to work pretty well for about two and a half minutes. If your bears are thinking of making a thinking circle, tell them to think again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where’s the clutch on these things?

My savvy travelling bear informed me that the proper way to introduce new friends to the area


would be to take them out for an indulgent taste of chocolate


at a newly re-opened “Chocolaterie” shop in the area.


It didn’t take much persuasion to convince me that this was indeed the right course of action.

wtcott_4 Two Shantock Bears (left) meet the Travelling Ted (right).

Three little bears could hardly consume three pieces of chocolate but they did give it a good try.


I think they over-indulged a bit. They thought they could drive the wooden shoes home.

I hope we made a good impression on our new friends.

It was also a good way to say goodbye to summer.


See ya next year, Summer.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Odd & Bizarre Connections

Ages and ages ago I did a bear show in Tampa, Florida. It was one time when we were able to work it out that my husband’s mom, my mom-in-law, would meet me there. It would be her first totally bear show. It was a fun trip.  This was my table way back then.

Connection 1 – Me, my mom-in-law & a bear show


In the hotel the night before the show, I recognized someone I had seen on TV. It was the musician Dion. Right there - in the lobby - just hanging out. What did I do? I got up my nerve and asked for an autograph. Then I thought I would rush up to my room to get my camera (the days before digital) and try to get a photo as well. Today when I searched I was unable to locate his autograph, but I did find the photo I took. This is Dion and his “Runaround Sue”, the inspiration for the song as I understand it.


Connection 2 – Bear show & Dion

Years and years ago, Dion performed with other famous musicians on a tour called The Winter Dance Party. At that time, it was Dion and the Belmonts. One of their hits was “Runaround Sue” among others. In February of 1959 after the concert, it has been said he passed up a chartered plane ride with a few other musicians to the next location. On that plane were Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson. As you may know, the plane crashed killing all aboard.

obc_3Connection 3 - Dion & Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was from Lubbock, Texas. I’ve been to Lubbock twice. The first time I was there, I did what I do in most of the places we visit. I wanted to see what the city was known for. As it turned out, other than Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly is Lubbock’s most famous son. While there, my children patiently tolerated their mom’s crazy idea that it was most necessary to take a photo of the Buddy Holly statue.


Connection 4 – Buddy Holly & Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings was also supposed to be on the chartered plane that night but he gave up his seat to Richardson.. That left Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson, The Big Bopper on the ill-fated plane.


Connection 5 – Waylon Jennings & The Big Bopper

One of The Big Bopper’s hits was Chantilly Lace. Chantilly Lace is the song my husband breaks into every time I mention that we only have a few more days until the Chantilly, Virginia show. In fact, I’m so conditioned now that even I start singing Chantilly Lace when talking about the upcoming show.


Connection 6 – The Big Bopper & the Chantilly Fall Bear Show & Sale

There you have it from one bear show in Tampa, Florida ages ago to another bear show in just a few short days in Chantilly, Virginia. Strange, huh? Have you ever seen, met, or run into anyone famous at a teddy bear show?  I’d love to hear about it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trying to Get Ahead?

I am often asked how I go about making a teddy bear. Not the specifics mind you. They aren’t asking for a dissertation. They are just curious.

I’ve found there are as many ways to make a bear as there are artists and each has figured out a way that works for them.

For me, especially when it’s a new design, but even on the tried and true ones, I make the head first.


I think my logic goes something like “if the head turns out okay, then I can work on the body, but if I mess up the head at least I haven’t ruined an entire bear”.


The odd thing is that when I get the head completed satisfactorily, I scramble to make his body and put it together. Then I make an arm, just one, so I can see how it would look. Then I make a leg to give me a better idea. If it comes together as planned, then I go back and make another arm and another leg. Oh – I know – it’s a bit weird.

I don’t really know how to figure the percentage of work that the head accounts for but I sort of feel like if I’ve gotten that far, the rest will easily follow.


Therefore, most of the time, when I am making bears I’m not trying to get ahead, I’m trying to get a head. Potato – potahto, tomato – tomahto . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...