Monday, November 30, 2009

A Real Santa

Here’s another one of my teddy bear Christmas cards from years past. This was a special one for our family since this Santa is my husband’s cousin. Not only is he a relative but he is quite a special one at that. For a little claim to fame, Tom Brokaw said that this Santa “can only be described as the real thing!”

Now why would this Santa over any other Santa be on the news? It’s because he began a charity that helped provide wheelchairs and other medical equipment to those in need. You can click here to read about it if you are interested. During the Christmas season, he is known as the Stone Mountain Santa. That’s Stone Mountain, Georgia.


It was probably just about this time of year near Thanksgiving that we went down for a visit. Santa was more than agreeable to have his photo made with one of my bears to grace the front of my Christmas card that year. I did not want to take up too much of his time, but he encouraged me take lots of photos until I was fairly certain one of them would be just right. (That was in the days before digital photography, too!)

This Santa has been letting children sit on his lap and whisper their fondest Christmas wishes in his ear for quite a number of years. In doing so, he has many heartwarming stories to tell. So many that he wrote a book, Red Suit Diaries. That turned out so well that he wrote another, More Pages from the Red Suit Diaries.  The stories are just wonderful if you get an opportunity to read them.

At the time I took this photo, my children were really young and Santa was REAL.  Come back tomorrow and I will tell you a funny story about what happened when Santa came to visit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


I took this photo a few days ago because the colors on this tree were so amazing. It made me pause when I first saw it. Now I think it is a perfect photo to use here on this Thanksgiving so that I can take another moment to be thankful for all of you and to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giveaway Winner!


We have filed, sorted, organized and managed all the entries. Now it is time to announce the winner. The random number generator gave us the number representing Doris of Spain! Congratulations Doris!

Noelle is so busy polishing up her Spanish that I think she has forgotten that she is supposed to be packing her suitcase – even if it’s just a little one! She is so excited to be travelling to a new country. I am positively certain she will love Spain.

Thanks to all of you for your entries and enthusiasm. These giveaways have been such great fun that I am fairly certain I will do another in the New Year but I have to give it some thought. Right now we are trying to get our Christmas tree lights to work and the ornaments hung. And of course, Thanksgiving is tomorrow so there will be lots of fun times to enjoy with family and friends.

Then, of course, there’s the tea party - The Christmas Tea for All the Toys. We have quite a few tea partiers making arrangements for December 5th, me included. I have my plans in place and am waiting for the party to begin. I hope you will join us.

Just now though, I have plans to go to the Post Office!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Noelle Kringle says Farewell

It is nearly time for little Miss Noelle Kringle to gather her travelling papers and her suitcase, and embark on her long awaited trip to her new home. Tomorrow (which will be Wednesday) I will be able to tell you the direction she will be going. We will be contacting the winner as soon as the random number generator has chosen the lucky girl or guy. You can return then to see whose initials and home state/country will be posted. In the meantime, Noelle is very excited about her upcoming trip and she wants to say goodbye to all of you. Thank you to all who entered. It’s been wonderful!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Card from the Collection

Here is another card from way, way back – probably early 90’s. Eventually I will share the text from some of the cards, but this one was one of my earlier ones and I was just getting the hang of making them. I promise they do get a little more interesting.


On another note, my husband is much better. So much that we had a little celebration of sorts. We took a short trip to the downtown original location of Krispy Kreme.


The sign is historical and the doughnuts were just off the line. Now if that won’t cure a cold or flu, at least it was fun giving it a try!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I could be making soap . . .

This week my studio carpet has been the recipient of many gifts from above. It’s inevitable I suppose. Making stuff seems to be one of those things that result in an accumulation of debris that collects at the lowest level due to gravity. Try as I might, the bits and pieces just can’t be contained.

Layer One – Excelsior. Something I break out of storage every now and again, until I have had enough and then it gets put away again.

Layer Two – Feathers. I use them so infrequently that I forget . . . the fluffy and floaty bits that drift so silently like snow to the ground, only it doesn’t melt. It just mingles with the excelsior from previous gravitational exercises.

Layer Three – Glitter. Yes we all know about glitter but sometimes it’s just more convenient to forget that you know. Yes, I know tomorrow people will look at me and see a speck of glitter here and there and think to themselves “She has a speck of glitter.” And they might think that I don’t know, but I do. I know there is glitter on me – here, there, and everywhere. Now it is also on the excelsior and the feathers on my carpet.

So, trying to be a diligently neat and clean creative sort of person, I ponder getting the vacuum and wonder what other occupation I could have chosen that might be easier to clean up.  Soap maker perhaps?

I did not actually vacuum, I just pondered getting it. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It’s a bit early for Christmas cards, eh?

I had been in this business for just a few short years when I came to realize that in addition to the new people I was meeting at shows, I was also seeing some collectors quite frequently. I became friends with quite a few of them. When the Christmas season rolled around, I decided I wanted to send them a card. It seemed like a fun thing to do, but I wanted to make one using a photo of some of the bears I had made. I don’t remember how many I sent that year but it wasn’t a lot. Then a year or two must have passed before I decided I really needed to send out cards again. It was my way of acknowledging how much I appreciated their support and friendship.

I received such a positive response that it became a tradition of sorts. Some years I have had the whole family pitching in to help me get them mailed. Other years, I have done most of it myself, though without my husband’s computer help, it would have taken me ages and ages – all those addresses, you know. Nowadays, it’s much better for my sanity if I start thinking cards early. (I said ‘better’ not a cure. If only . . .)

In a way, the cards are snapshots of progress and trends in my work over time, each with a Christmas theme. Sometimes the inside and the outside went together, but most of the time, the photo of the bears was just that, a photo and the inside text was something altogether different. I won’t post all of the Christmas card photos. I mean it would be like looking at pictures of my vacation. I have already done that you say? Oh. Well, still, I won’t post all of them, just a few of my favorites between now and December 25th.

Here's the photo on the very first Christmas card I sent out.
My work has changed just a bit since then.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Seam, Therefore I Am

This is a glimpse of what you would find on my desk at the moment as well as a few other things.
I really must tidy up a bit so I have a place to sew.

View from a Waiting Room

This was my view for quite a while today waiting for Mr. Computer Guy who caught a virus that punching a few buttons and running some programs would not fix. We had to find someone skilled in a different kind of problem solving. Hopefully, now that a remedy is in place, he will be up and running in a few days. A few days that might bring an improvement in the weather here. After last week’s rain from the hurricane remnants, I was thinking of going in search of a rowboat and some oars! Maybe, just maybe, we might get a little sunshine. I hope you all are well and healthy in your neck of the woods.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Bears’ Mischievous Streak

If you have read here for any length of time, you know that my bears have a bit of a mischievous streak. (Evidence provided here, here and here.) They come by it honestly.

When my husband and I were visiting our daughter over the weekend, we went out for breakfast one day. Previously we had a bit of difficulty checking email by cell phone so I opened up the netbook we had taken with us.

Most of the time, I can navigate smoothly through most of the steps but when I come to something I am not familiar with, I hand it over to Mr. Computer Guy and let him drive.

It was because of just that type of situation that I had handed him the computer so he could navigate through the various computer thingys. He was totally engrossed in his task while using the touchpad to control the cursor.

Unbeknownst to him, I had taken out the wireless mouse that I like to use. I got my daughter’s attention and mouthed to her, “watch this” as I nodded to the mouse in my hand. I waited for just the right time and began to manipulate the cursor with the wireless mouse.

There were only a few seconds where my ever patient husband looked totally confused by the rogue cursor but being savvy like he is, he quickly figured out my plot. In the meantime, our daughter was doubled over in laughter and that was what made it entirely worth it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It’s Not Too Late for Tea

Last year at this time, a blog was something barely on the periphery of my existence. Yeah, yeah – blog. Then during a holiday visit with my son, he told me it was easy - fairly simple to set up and nothing terribly technical about posting.

Since then, I have discovered heretofore unknown things about writing a blog. Merely by typing on a keyboard, I can connect with others who are either:

a) in search of someone they can relate to

b) looking for someone who will make them feel sane


c)killing time until the coffee is brewed and ready for consumption

I feel there might be other options, but it is kind of late and I would most likely misspell something as I have often done in this space.

Nevertheless -

I have learned a lot these last few months. And I am certain there is more yet to discover. I can be a nut in the privacy of my own home, but really, being a nut in public does add a bit of precariousness to a fairly safe (if not sane) existence.

Alas, there is no going back for me.

Nope, no going back. Only forward. Forward – into the future. The future filled with who knows what or who knows when, but it awaits.

Oh - but I do know what and when.

And it does await.

And it is not too late.

The Christmas Tea for All the Toys blog party is coming on December 5th. We would love to have you join in. There are already quite a few creative bloggers, including several delightful bear artists, who will be tea-partying on that date. You can see the list on my sidebar. I can hardly wait. But wait I must - for there are tea party invitations to send, plans to be made, delights to be sorted, and miles to go before I steep.

And miles to go before I steep.
(My sincerest apologies to Robert Frost who really had to be much saner than I.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I-40 Westward

There is a highway labeled I-40 here in the USA that runs from one coast to the other. On our end, it begins at the North Carolina coast and goes all the way to the mountains before it hits Tennessee and takes travelers west. We got on that road over the weekend to visit our daughter in the mountains. We always see something new no matter how many times we make the trip.

And as you probably know, my husband is very accommodating when I say, “Can you turn around at the next street so I can get out and take a photo back there?” I think there are probably places very picturesque almost everywhere, but in my day-to-day, I am usually sewing and not travelling. My camera goes with me almost all the time, but it is especially wonderful to have it when you come across scenes like this:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Bear Fur Brief – Hair of the Mo?

When I am at a teddy bear show, I am often asked about the fabric used to make the bears. Some of you are quite knowledgeable about the material your teddy bears are made from but I am still getting questions. If this little summary is useful – Yea! If not, oh well . . .

What is mohair? Hair of the Mo? What does a Mo look like?

To know Mo, you must go to the near far East, searching high and low for dear ol’ Mo. Moes live quite a long time you know. Their hair is long and it does grow and grow. And to sew Mo, you need go with the flow.

Okay – so that is sooooo not so. Just joshin’.

Mohair is made from the hair/fur of this animal, an angora goat:

Their hair is sheared a couple of times each year. Then it is woven into a cotton backing fabric.

This is a mohair bear:

Then what is alpaca fur? Hair of the Alpaca? What does an Alpaca look like?

Well, that’s just too easy. Yes. Alpaca fur is made from the fur of an Alpaca. It’s super soft.

Here’s what an Alpaca looks like:

And here too. Ain’t he cute?

Here is one of my bunnies made from Alpaca:

What kind of fur is this?

That is the question I get most often these days because I am using it more. Some people will say it is mohair. When I place an order for it, I am ordering viscose or rayon. Sometimes these words are used interchangeably. Sometimes it is just one or the other. Sometimes both as in Viscose Rayon or Rayon Viscose.

What is Viscose/Rayon? Hair of the Vis/Ray? What does a Vis/Ray look like?

Viscose/Rayon is a tree fiber or some say a unique form of wood. The fur fabric is easy to work with and many artists are using it to make vintage/primitive/old-looking teddies. It comes from a tree. This is what a tree looks like:

Now that you know all about Mo - well, maybe not all, but some. Okay, a bit - a tiny bit. Let’s talk about Mojo.

What is Mojo? Is it related in any way to the Mo?

And what about Joe? As in Cuppa Joe? Is it related to Mojo or Mo? Can you get a cup of Mojo?

Hm-m-m. Fascinating turn this discussion has taken. I can just see it now. “Honey, when you go up to the coffee bar and order my mocha, would you mind asking them for a cup of mojo to go?”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Photos from the Hunt Valley Bear Show

I have had several requests to post photos of the show so if you are interested, there are lots to see. If bear shows aren’t your thing, you can pretend they are pictures of your favorite place to visit or you can just skip down to the joke at the end of this post.

These photos were taken on Sunday, November 1st at the Hunt Valley Christmas Teddy Bear Show & Sale. The tables, decorated individually by the artists, were very festive as were some of the artists themselves. It’s really fun when you get this many creative minds together. Many of the artists were in costumes of their own making and some were very original and imaginative. While I was not able to take a picture of every table or every costume, I hope these will give you a taste of the atmosphere of fun and friendship at the show.

Each photo has a short caption, but if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask. I will be happy to answer.

This is looking down a row of tables on one side of the show room.

This is a glimpse of my table. Remember the snowflakes from this post?

This was my view all day long - the wonderful Pat Murphy's table.  There were many, many bears that could even tempt someone with a great deal of will power.

Marilyn Wagner's table who won the costume/table decoration award.

A stunning bear by the much loved Martha Burch.

These bears were created by Michelle Lamb.  Any one will do!

These are not only my friends they are artists too!  Frosty, aka Cindy Malchoff and Darlene Allen.  Check out those socks.  Could she be a rogue member of The Sock Brigade from this post of mine?

Cindy's table . ..

and Darlene's table.

A few of Mary Dowd's bears, a fellow North Carolinian.  See her website.

Jacquie Pollitts table . . .

and Jacquie as a Christmas Tree Topper, complete with a lighted candle.  Such creativity!

A tree full of teddy bears by Janet Wilson.

Just a few of the many bears on Sharon Barron's table.

Mary Kolar's pigs seemed to find new homes very quickly.  It was a very piggy Christmas!

Alex Wilson and Mark McKay, show organizers.  Yes, those are reindeer antlers.
Mark's wife Susan made these little puppies.

And last but not least, a table of Penny French's work - nothing flaky here.

Now if you have lasted this long and haven't laughed at least once, maybe this joke from Reader's Digest will do the trick:

During inspection, the new commander stopped and chatted up a corporal.
"How long have you been in the Marines?" he asked.
"Two years, eight months, and 24 days, sir," the corporal responded.
"Do you plan on reenlisting?"
"No, sir."
"What are you going to do after discharge?"
"Cartwheels and handstands, sir."

Until next time -

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Snapshot from Saturday

Okay while some of you were busy with little ghosties and cute goblins on Saturday evening, my 'toter' and I were on the way to Hunt Valley, Maryland for the Christmas Teddy Bear Show and Sale.  The teddy bears were so very good on the trip.  We stopped along the way - a few times, at a few places - fabric shop, organizer store, Christmas shop, paper shop, fabric shop - and the bears did not whine or complain at all.  It helps to have a car full of snacks.  My husband swears he did not eat them all so it must have been the bears.  That could be why they were smiling every time we came back to the car. I will have to get my photos sorted and share some of the Sunday show.

In the meantime, thank you for all the Halloween wishes you left for me.  So kind of you.  Now, where are those photos.  Those sneaky teddy bears have had way too much fun with the trick part of trick-or-treat.
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