Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chin up.

Hey there little bear.


Yes, you. You’re the only little bear I see.


Chin up little bear. I want to take your photo.


There you go. Now you can go play.


#21-22 & #23-26

As a follow-up to the 32-piece teddy that I mentioned in my last post – I have finished him - mostly. I surprised myself doing so but it took until now which is after midnight. I will show him in all his completeness next week since he has yet to have a few details added.

Those I haven’t yet decided on. Should it be a bow or some other something? I’ll make up my mind soon. In the meantime, here’s a peek at pieces 21-22 . . .


and pieces 23-26.


Finally, a note to the readers here:

Thank you for being one.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What’s up. & What’s up?

I saw a sign today - a countdown to Christmas and there were 27 or so days to go. Really? Not only did it have me wondering where the month has gone, it had me wondering how this year has passed so quickly.

I haven’t spent a lot of time contemplating the answer though. Time marches on either way.

The past four days here have been wrapped up in all kinds of celebrations.


We helped my sisters at a craft show where I bought a bar of soap. Too bad this blog doesn’t have Smell-O-Vision. I think it has a great scent.


We celebrated Thanksgiving twice. This was the first one.


By the time, the second one arrived 3 hours later, the camera was a long forgotten entity.

We attended a very special birthday party for a very special birthday girl – with sparkly candles and everything.


We enjoyed a delicious mocha at the coffee shop while reading the newly added chalk board.


Some of the answers to the question were quite entertaining. For example, beards and quidditch!


Currently on my desk, I have 32 pieces to assemble into a six inch teddy bear.


That’s what’s up here. What’s up with you? Or if you prefer, what gives YOU joy? Do tell. I need something to keep me entertained while I sew.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Pirate Turkey – An Original Thanksgiving Story

This is a turkey story. Or – as some of you may come to decide – a turkey of a story. It began when I was making preparations for Thanksgiving. If you aren’t from the USA, do not draw any conclusions about the holiday from this story. It is atypical to say the least.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was making Thanksgiving Day preparations. I had been upstairs but had come downstairs when I caught Sebastian by surprise. He was up to something. By the way, as you know, that is not unusual. I was just trying to figure out this “unusual” activity.

“Hey Sebastian. Whatcha doin’ there?”


As you can see, Sebastian is holding of the end of a rope.

It was a long rope.


Where does your rope go, Sebastian? A box?


You are pulling around an empty box?

Um. Sebastian? What is that stuff on the floor? My clean kitchen floor?


It looks a lot like bird seed.

And what are these feathers doing here?


Sebastian, that is not an empty box, is it?
What are you hiding in that box?


A turkey! You’re hiding a turkey?! In my kitchen? Do you want to enlighten me on this?


Here’s how he explained things:

This turkey was on the run. On the run from Thanksgiving – well, not Thanksgiving exactly. Just on the run from being Thanksgiving dinner. He just barely got away – he lost an eye in the process. That is why I decided to call him The Pirate Turkey.


I love him. Can we keep him please? He can sleep in my bed with me.


Sebastian, do you know what it will be like to sleep with a turkey? Do you even know how to look after a turkey?

I can do it. He won’t be any trouble at all. Just like me!


Sure, Sebastian. Sure. Okay, your Pirate Turkey gets a Thanksgiving reprieve. Now let’s take a photo so we’ll remember the Thanksgiving you rescued a turkey . . .


as if we’ll ever forget.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
From me, Sebastian and The Pirate Turkey

Monday, November 21, 2011

Asking for your thoughts.

I have gotten quite enamored with making a few bears in a smaller size. This one is 4.25 inches tall. You have seen him here before, but I wanted to remind you what he looked like because I am interested in your thoughts.


He is made from this fur fabric. It is very soft and I enjoy working with it. It’s the same fabric that Sebastian is made from although he is a different color.


Recently I finished this bear. On first glance he probably looks quite a bit like the one before.


When I was at the Hunt Valley Christmas Teddy Bear Show, I succumbed and purchased one, just one, small piece of fabric that is similar, yet subtly different.  I created the bear pictured above from it.  The photo below is that fabric.  It has a much shorter pile.


Perhaps if you see the fabric side by side the difference between them is more noticeable.


Here’s a close-up view – the pile is almost non-existent on the new piece seen at the top of the photo.


Now, as for the bears, can you see much of a difference?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Candy Canes & Gingerbread

I thought I would share a bit of a festive preamble to the upcoming Christmas holidays. Two of the following photos I did not take. Nor have I seen them in person. I very much wish that I had. I doubt the chances are very good that I will before the season is over but I think these are very, very cool. And when I come across something that perhaps you will enjoy as well, I try to share. Check these out. These are holiday overlays on Cinderella’s castle at Disney World.

One with candy canes . . .

Photo by Mark Goldhaber

and the other with a gingerbread house theme.

Photo by Mark Goldhaber

And I thought when I took this photo last year that the castle draped with icicles looked amazing. I wonder what they will dream up next?!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prologue, Story, Epilogue

I’m in the mood to tell a story. Many stories have a prologue. Some have pictures.  Mine has both.


As I sit in my studio in a short sleeve t-shirt on this rather warm fall day in the South, I am thinking if this weather holds through the weekend, we might be able to get our decorations put up outside and maybe inside too. In the past, we have had to battle drizzle, freezing cold and blustery winds. Winnie the Pooh we are not.


It might be a little too early for some – decorating for the holidays. Some may already be enjoying the twinkling of Christmas lights. Would you like to know how I decide when to decorate?

I look at the calendar and find the one free day that exists sometime in November or December and decide “Okay! That’s the date!” It just so happens that it arrives this weekend. Where am I going with this, you ask? I was wondering the same thing myself.

So here’s the tale:

The Story

We have lots of Christmas tree ornaments. Many of them were gifts – from extra special people we love and bringing them out each year reminds us of them. Some we purchased as mementos of our travels or special events. And when you’ve been together as long as we have, there are a lot of memories and a lot of ornaments. I made the first one for our first tree when I was about 16 while we were dating. Yes, I know, you thought I was 16. You’re so funny! Here it is:


As time went by, our children also contributed to the decorations.


I also have some of the best sand dollar ornaments that my mom and dad made when they were in the business.


My sister has started making them now.


One year after I had hung the last ornament on the tree, I stood back and looked at it and thought to myself, “Something is missing”. Have you ever had that feeling? You can’t put your finger on it but something is just not right. I decided there must be a box of ornaments I had not added. But how could that be? Then it dawned on me. I smacked my hand to my forehead and said “Silly me! I’ve forgotten the box of teddy bear ornaments! No wonder the tree didn’t look right!”

I don’t intentionally look for more teddy bear ornaments. I love the ones I have and they are enough. But it does happen that sometimes when I am out and about one or two end up in my possession with the thought, “This teddy bear would be a great addition to the tree this year.”


Artist made ornament I found at a teddy bear show back in the Spring.

This year we have four to add. It will be fun to bring them into the mix. And a mix it will be too.


This one came home with us from the beach in August.

There are days when I so admire those of you who do themed trees with that special artistic touch – ribbons that match, ornaments that coordinate and of course, all your lights burn, right?


Duffy the Disney Bear – came all the way from Florida this year.

Our tree is a mix of old and new, memories and mementos, fat and skinny, fuzzy and plain.


This one is unlike any others I have.  More on that at a later time.

When we’ve finished decorating it, we sit down with a ‘whew!” and turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree. We sit and enjoy its twinkling. To me there’s just something really magical and peaceful about a lit Christmas tree in the dark.

And many stories have an epilogue too right? Here’s this one:


I have good intentions. I don’t really have a game plan to decorating. Just a goal. One simple, forthright, easy to understand, goal. This is it: To get finished so we can get to the sittin’ and enjoyin’ part. It’s our winter counterpart to our summer porch sitting. You are welcome to check back to see if we were successful.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Photos from the Hunt Valley Christmas Teddy Bear Show and Sale – Grab a cup of coffee.

So, if you are not interested in seeing snippets of various things from the show, including artists’ tables, this post will be very, very bor-r-r-r-ing to you. On the other hand, if you are interested, then you are in luck.

I must confess that I have often photographed the same artists’ displays from show to show so I made a concerted effort to mix it up with some different ones this time. Of course, I still love the work of many including Darlene Allen, Penny French, Cindy Malchoff and so on, but if you have read here for any length of time, you have seen their work on this blog frequently.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, on to the show . . .

First we had to set up. Something festive, something seasonal, something that went along with the theme – the holidays!

This is my table before the bears came out. It was actually pretty easy to set up but that is because I had a playbook with architectural renditions of what it should look like and where everything should be placed. Okay, not really. I’m just joking but I had given it a dry run at home so that helped on the day.


We then went off to have a bite of breakfast and left Sebastian as our sentinel. He promised he would make sure all the boxes stayed in place. It gave me a great feeling of peace to know he was watching over things. To be honest, I think he saw a pretty little girl bear across the way and he wanted to impress her.


I took this photo of him from behind. I didn’t want him to know we had sneaked a peek to see if he was doing his job.


I’ll get back to my table in a moment. Very nearly right after the show opened, Karen and Elysa came by for a visit. I thought perhaps they were there to say hello to me, but alas, I realized it was Sebastian they wanted to see. Truly, who could blame them? He was offering chocolate kisses to all the pretty girls!


I took two quick snapshots of the show as it opened. One looking to the east of the room


and one looking to the west. I think you can see some of the decorations in these photos.


Later in the afternoon, I had an opportunity to take a tour of the showroom and take a few photos. The first one here is my neighbor, Diana Lee Palomba – Timeless Expressions. She has a very recognizable style and her bears are sweet and demure.


Not far from me you could also find Sandy Czaja’s table – Notchlok Bears. Sandy traveled to the show in Maryland all the way from Arizona.


A bit further down the aisle I discovered an artist at work – Allen Hsu (left) and his assistant of Teddy Bear Barn. He was busy working on a request when I walked by and if you look really closely you can see his current project in his hands.


Now as I said before, I was taking photos near the end of the day and you will see that some of the tables had noticeable bear spots – I mean empty spots. Like for instance, here on Jackie Melerski’s table. Gilmur Rudley Bears.


Let’s keep going. Here’s a peek at Gail Griffiths bears – Bear Bottom Bears.


As Sebastian mentioned, we were encouraged to come festively dressed for the occasion. As I was walking, I came across several very interestingly costumed artists. I think my personal favorite in originality, as well as its rustling sound, was Donna Nielsen’s self styled Christmas package.


Here’s a photo of her table too – also cheerfully adorned!


At the Teddies of Mt. Holly table you could find work of artists from many places such as these Forget Me Not bears


and this cutie from Nadja Bears I would have loved to bring home with me.


Barbara Burke seldom has any bears left to be admired by this time but I was lucky to catch a photo of this little one. She was probably around five inches tall. I was surprised anyone could look into those eyes and be able to leave her sitting there.


This is Marjan Jorittsma’s display. These Tonnibears come from the Netherlands.


Here’s close up of one of the pups. Aw-w-w.


We’re approaching the end of our tour. Here’s Judith Eppolito’s table with an assortment of critters from lions to bunnies to monkeys to camels.


Turning the corner we find my other neighbor’s table: Martha Bumala – Waverly Crossing Bears. She always has an entertaining tale to tell.


Now we are at the end of our tour – at my table. I took this photo right before the show opened so almost all the bears are on display here. I think Sebastian had to coax one or two that there was nothing to be afraid of – that everyone would be friendly.


The day passed rather quickly I thought but that could be because hugs make the day go faster.

Soon it was time to hit the road. We had blue skies almost all the way home.


Now I’ve got to put on my thinking cap and figure out what is next on my teddy bear agenda.

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