Monday, March 30, 2009

Scenes from a Teddy Bear Show

A mini photo tour of Teddies Spring Show this past weekend.

My bears finally free to have some fun.

This is how the left side of the showroom appeared before the doors opened.

Here are some photos of the row I was on. This was my neighbor Mary Dowd's table . . .

and a couple of her charming elephants.

Next to Mary was Cindy Malchoff's table . . .

featuring some of her amazing birds.

Darlene Allen rounded out our row and I had to walk past all these tempting tables just to ogle her whimsical creations. Darlene is such a sweet person - my whole family loves her! Check out her blog.

This gives you an idea of the rest of the room. In the foreground you see Daphne Blau . . .

and here's a close-up of a few bears from her table.

This young lady was on Jacquie Pollitt's table. (Probably not for long though.)

Finally, Debbie from Maryland, the winner of my Silver Anniversary Giveaway & me. It really IS better to give than to receive (and more fun too!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sea Serpents, Anchors and Cherry Blossoms

If you have read my previous few posts, you know that Teddies Spring Show was our objective for the weekend. We loaded the car on Friday in overcast weather. After we had been underway for a bit, it began to rain. And rain. And rain. On Saturday, the day of the show, we had . . . rain. After the show, we drove down to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was still drizzly and a bit too chilly to be outside for too long. Even though the weather was pretty much hopeless, I took some photos that I think capture the atmosphere on the waterfront that night. If it had been a beautiful Spring night, I don’t believe these would have been nearly as interesting.

Sunday dawned with very little change in the weather and we packed our belongings in a fine mist. By the time we reached Washington, DC my husband said it looked like the sun was trying to break through. It wasn’t long after that we enjoyed a complete change of weather to a warm and sunny day that was almost custom-made for the National Cherry Blossom Festival there in DC. Taking a bit of a detour, we drove through downtown Washington, braving the traffic and the crowd. Doing so allowed us to take in the sight of thousands of blooming cherry trees.

My daughter took the following close-up.

I am still aiming to get my photos of the show posted here – soon . . . I hope.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Short of It

The last you heard from me, we were on the road. We arrived and if you will imagine an old silent movie where the people move too fast and there’s no audio, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of the time up to the show from our last coffee stop.

We drive, drive, drive. We arrive at the hotel, check in, and unload boxes, luggage, and selves.
See people we know – hug, hug, hug. Laugh, laugh, laugh.
Get up (much too early for a Saturday, but it is a special day after all).
Open boxes, spread tablecloths, arrange table.
Release bears from the confines of their travelling accommodations.
Hug, hug, hug.
Laugh some more.
Chat some more.
Show opens.
More laughing, chatting, and hugging.
People come and go. Bears come and go.
That’s the long and the short of it. I’m adding one photo below with more to come – maybe Sunday, maybe Monday. Just as soon as I catch up on my sleep.
My husband took this one of half of the showroom. That’s me in the blue slacks.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Driver Needs Coffee

Check out the table where we sat – appropriate eh?

The Things You See

So there we were diligently making our way back to the highway after a quick dinner. Out of nowhere loomed a giant fish. By the way, this is not, I repeat not, one of my tall tales. It really was tall and it really had a tail but it’s not a tall tale. It’s a tall fish tail. Take a look:

Halfway There

Here we are on the road – halfway to Teddies Spring Show. We were fortunate that we were able to load all the bears and their stuff in halfway decent weather. After we got underway, the weather worsened and it’s been a drizzly, overcast and wet ride. Let me correct that. We’re not wet, just the highway. We’re nice and toasty with the heater on, the wipers on and the music on. Rather uneventful so far- I think that’s a good thing!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rules of the Road

The last couple of days I have been gathering, packing, and generally moving around the house and studio a lot more than usual. We are heading out for Teddies Spring Show tomorrow. The funny thing is that I haven’t actually told all the bears about our trip. They tend to get a little overexcited and it’s nearly impossible to think and plan while trying to answer all their questions. So I was just trying to carry on like it was an ordinary day. What I didn’t realize was how observant they can be.

I had retrieved a couple of show things from one spot and was moving it to another when I noticed one little bear was following me. Ignore him, ignore him, I chanted to myself. Soon another joined him and then it wasn’t long before everywhere I went I had a train of teddy bears following me. A mischievous thought crossed my mind that maybe I should stop suddenly in my tracks and watch them all bump into one another, but I figured I’d better not.

Out of the blue, one teddy spoke up and asked, “What are you doing?” “Me?” I innocently replied. “Yes, what are YOU doing? You are usually glued to your desk or the computer. Sometimes we might even see you in the kitchen, but this is different. You have been up, down, and all around – several times” he said.

I knew this might happen but I just hadn’t figured it would be at that moment when I was smack in the middle of going through my list to make sure I have everything for our trip, the show and my sanity. (Okay, I admit that last one is a lost cause.) I decided the time had arrived and I would have to tell them and hope that I can still salvage part of this day.

“Why don’t all of you sit down and I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing.” They all sit down, right there where they had been standing just seconds before. Their little ears perked, eyes staring intently at me, and not one of them was fidgeting. Here goes.

Me: I . . . well, all of us . . . we are going to the teddy bear show - tomorrow.
First little bear: In an airplane?
Me: No.
Second little bear: On a train?
Me: No.
Third little bear: By bus?
Me: No.
Fourth little bear: What other way is there?
Me: We are going by car.
All of them in unison: By car???!!!
Me: Yes, by car and before you start calling window seat and shotgun and asking ‘how much farther?’ and ‘are we there yet?’ I have to tell you the rules of the road.

#1 No signs in the rear window with funny sayings like “We’re being kidnapped!” or “The lady up front is driving us crazy!” or “Just married!” Stuff like that.
#2 No tricks like telling me five minutes after we have left the rest stop that we left someone behind when we really haven’t.
#3 Singing is fine as long as it’s not “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”.
#4 Just for your information, cooties have been eradicated. Cootie shots and fear of getting someone’s cooties are unnecessary.
#5 You have to talk like pirates for the entire trip. (I made that last one up because I need something to amuse me!)

Me: That’s all. You can go now.
The bears all start scrambling for the door and I realize I’ve been terribly misunderstood.
Me, calling after them: I meant you can go about your business. It’s not time to get in the car. You don’t get in the car until tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Giveaway Day!

We’ve compiled the entries.
We’ve organized, sorted and researched.
We’ve formatted cells and saved files.

It’s time to get out the hat

And pour in the names

Now shake it up good!
Reach in there and pull out the winner!

It’s . . . it’s . . . it’s . . .

Debbie from Maryland in the USA

Congratulations Debbie!

Again, I’d like to say thank you to all who participated. Once I have made the decision about my next anniversary giveaway, you will read about it here first. And as a special thanks to all those who entered this time, if you enter my next giveaway as well, I’ll put your name in twice. (I think that’s what I’ve determined so far.) This has been a boatload of fun for me. I hope you enjoyed it too!

It’s off to the post office for me . . . and bunny too!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bunny Says Goodbye

I can hardly believe that it is almost time to draw a name for my Silver Anniversary Giveaway. Thanks to all those who submitted comments. I’ve read and enjoyed each and every one. It’s certainly been fun! So much fun in fact, there may be another giveaway in the coming weeks. It is after all my silver anniversary year. In the meantime, the little bunny for the giveaway whispered something to me the other day. She said before she leaves here on Wednesday she would like to say goodbye to all of you who have stopped in for a visit. I’m going to let her take over this post so she can have her say.

Farewell, Adiόs, Au revoir, Vaarwel, Auf Wiedersehen, до свидания, and Goodbye

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Orange People Home Tour

I went to visit my dad on Saturday and was reminded of a couple of girls with whom I used to play. The one that was near to my age then was pretty with long blond hair but it was her older sister that everyone admired so, even me. I had forgotten where they lived, but I saw their house while I was in town.

Here are some interesting facts about this unusual family. In their backyard they had a pool, but I never was able to swim in it. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw them swim in it either. They had loads of books – some of the greatest books of history, but they weren’t ever opened. They always had a pie in the oven – morning, noon or night. The curtains to their house were never closed; it seemed like their lights were on all the time. When I was younger, it never seemed strange to me. That’s just the way it was and I accepted it. They had yellow floors, a green stove and a purple bed that seemed like it would be really uncomfortable. Then I saw a picture of these two girls and they were orange. I’m not kidding, their skin was really orange! It made me wonder if they had been exposed to some toxic substance but other than their skin, they appeared perfectly normal. Because they no longer lived there, I was able to take few photos of their house. Come and take a tour with me.

A view of their pool from the living room.

A photo of those books I mentioned.

Even now there is a pie in the oven.

The orange people whose curtains are always open.

A shot of the home interior – shades of green, yellow and purple.

The deluxe house with a handle on the roof. Weird, huh?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Unnecessary but Nice

To tell this story, I have to go back a couple of weeks to when I placed an order for some bear fabric. Ordering fabric requires some serious decision making from me. I look at samples, think of what I can do with what I order, make lists, edit, add and subtract until I’ve finally made up my mind. Then the anticipation and waiting begins.

Enough time had passed that I thought my package could arrive at any day. Yesterday I watched as the mail carrier sat in front of my house filling out a form. Obviously, she would be bringing something special to my door. I met her halfway and she not only brought the package I was expecting but another one as well. As I signed the form, we had a brief and lighthearted conversation about how both of us were left-handed. She wished me a nice afternoon and she was on her way. I thought about how nice it had been to chat a moment.

I went inside and immediately opened up the first package. All the fabric was neatly folded and exactly as I had hoped. Then I opened up the second. It was an order I had placed online for some small flowers I hope to use as decoration for bears sooner or later. Upon opening the box, I realized that it was like more of a gift than fulfillment of an order. It was cheerfully and carefully wrapped and had a small Easter egg inside with a bit of chocolate. Now you know that egg wasn’t part of my order, but it made me smile.

Later I went to the bank to have a form notarized. The woman who helped me was congenial and conversational. I’m sure you’ve come across people that you don’t know but because of their personality and demeanor, you think, in a different life, we could possibly be the best of friends. This woman was like that. She seemed genuinely interested in helping me. When she had completed my request, she asked if I would like a copy of my form. Then she offered me an envelope. Then, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” None of those were really necessary, but she offered them anyway.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What’s up with the llama?

we came across this
in the middle of the city

it piqued my curiosity
so I took some photos

sort of an odd thing to come across
in the middle of the city
in the middle of a warehouse district
on the door

of an old building
with no name

anonymous entrances painted blue

old clothespins dangling from a rusty wire

a picket fence with peeling paint
reminiscent of a country cottage
in the middle of the city

seeing my photos
my children ask
what’s up with the llama?

I want to know too
what’s up with the llama
on the door
of an old building
in the middle of the city?

a bit of a search
an inquiry here and there
what could it be?
a spot for creative souls
an artists collective
with a llama on the door
in the middle of the city

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Evolution or Revolution?

Last week I went through a box my mom had labeled ‘Bears’. Perhaps you know that she and I often worked together on clothing for my Scrapbook Bears. I would take her a design or a photo of what I had in mind and some fabric. She would use her amazing abilities to draft a pattern and then sew the clothing, which turned out better than I could have dreamt.

Because we lived an hour away from each other, she kept a box at her house with notes, patterns, and scraps of fabric. Going through it, I found she had kept my very first business card. I looked at it and it made me think about how much things have changed through the years. Back when I first started, you had to pay a small fortune to have anything printed in color. Ink, graphics, and paper choices were limited. I would have been over the moon to have the options available today to the small (micro, in my case) business owner. Now not only do we have the option of color, but we can have our own designs, various fonts, and multiple photos - on both sides of a business card if we so choose.

This was my first business card sometime in the mid to late 80’s. Colored and textured paper was a luxury, but I could only afford black ink.

This next one was before I had an email address or a website – probably sometime in the early 90’s. A nice card but still using only black ink.

I started my website in 1996 so this card has that listed. This is a relatively recent card I printed at home. Technology allowed me to use some color and only print what I needed rather than committing to hundreds of cards that I might need to change.

2009 – Now look at the options: small runs, two-sided printing, multiple photos and beautiful color. I would have loved to have had these choices available to me twenty-five years ago!

This is the front side, or maybe it's the back, of these most recent business cards.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Creative Nourishment

I have found there are two things that rarely coexist happily here – a neat and tidy house and bear artistry. Usually it’s one or the other. Guess which one wins most of the time.

Lately, I have been immersed in my sewing and I have let the tidying slide. I decided today was the day that I would restore some order to my surroundings. I think it was the idea of starting out the week with new projects amid a recently cleaned environment that spurred me to action.

In my pursuit of dust-free surfaces, I came across a book I purchased when we were in Oregon last summer. When we travel, we often stop at bookstores. It’s just something we like to do. Independent bookstores are our favorite and we had already visited Powell’s in Portland before so we knew we wanted to return.

Powell’s is huge and we don’t even try to stick together because everyone fancies something different. I start out with the bestsellers and then wander into fiction. I make a point of going through the crafts, sewing, and how-to sections. As an aside, this is a store that will sell a used copy of a book next to a new one which is a pretty nice option to have. Some of the books are no longer in print and that’s also a bonus.

Anyway, I usually end up in my favorite section – children’s books. I long ago gave up needing an excuse to buy them. I enjoy the stories, the illustrations and the lessons. I often get inspiration from them. Let’s say it is creative nourishment.

The book I purchased last year is one you may have seen or read yourself. It’s called Varmints and is different from other picture books I have. I read through it twice in the store. I was trying very hard to be careful with my cash, so I thought, “I’ll just walk around with it.” It wasn’t that I was making a commitment, but I wanted to have the option. In the end, I decided to buy it for many reasons. First of all, I loved the picture on the front! That is what made me pick it up to begin with. Check it out:

The book also has a really nice feel to it. The size is unusual and it has special touches throughout, like the occasional translucent page. The font they chose for this book fits the book’s character so well. Some of the illustrations are dark while others are light; just right for the story.

That brings me to the story. It begins “Once, the only sounds to be heard were the bees, the whispering wind in the wiry grass . . . and the song of birds in the high blue sky.” How’s that for a beginning that draws you in? It’s a book that is leaves you hopeful about the return of tranquility to a noisy world. As I read somewhere in my wanderings, “a little piece of quiet”.

If you find yourself roaming in a bookstore sometime, you might want to take a moment or two and browse through this book. If nothing else, have a look at the illustrations. This endearing critter might just make you feel a little bit better about the world.

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