Sunday, June 21, 2015


A few months ago, my friend and fellow artist Elanor of Shantock Bears, asked if I would consider collaborating on a special piece. I would create a box and she would create the mouse that would go inside. It was to be based on the children’s book, The Gruffalo.  I had never read the story before, but Elanor gave me a copy of the book and after reading it, I immediately began forming ideas on which direction I wanted to go.  The following photos show its evolution.

Here’s the cigar box that I started with.  I had to strip it of liner papers inside and the spine decoration on the outside.

After exchanging several emails (Elanor and I have an ocean between us), I was able to determine just the right position of the window I wanted to install on the front.

Saw, saw, saw.  Just part of the plan and finally the window hole is ready.

The outside of the box had to be prepared for the painting and decoration I wanted to apply.

The inside had to be prepared too.  I also painted the edges with the first of many coats of paint.

It may be hard to tell from this photo, but I used a very, very pale gray paint here in preparation for some stenciling,

which I got so involved in and excited by, that I forgot to photograph in process. So we’ll just move onto a snippet of the arrangement I was beginning to work out.  What is that white blob?

Here it is painted. Still can’t figure out what it is?  It’s a rock.

The following photo shows glass tiles that I added  Gruffalo images to as a feature of the box.  Something Elanor doesn’t know is that I bought these when we were in Oregon together two years ago.  I had no idea at the time when or where or how I would use them.

There are quite a few steps that I didn’t photograph.  Most of them involved painting and painting and painting.  Also applying transfers and some c0mputer work.  In the end, the back of the box turned out like this:


And here is the front with the framed window with real glass:


A view of the box from an angle so the spine is visible:


The box opened showing the right side with two trees, a rock, and quotes on the edges:


and the left side with the glass tiles, title and excerpt from the book:


The entire piece without the mouse.  It’s the first time I have shipped a piece not having seen it completed. My part was finished and the mouse was finished but it would only be complete when they were together.


These last two photos, courtesy of Elanor, show it all completed!  The mouse sits contentedly on the rock.  When the box is closed, he peers out the window.


Here’s a close-up view of the right side. Isn’t that mouse adorable?  It was a blast working on this project and great to have a chance to create something unique with and for a friend and her lovely family.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

An Adventure of Titanic Proportions

One evening while in Florida, we had the opportunity to experience “one of the most famous dinner parties aboard the Titanic” at Orlando’s Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition. It was quite an event which all of us, including Sebastian, enjoyed immensely.

This is “Major Archibald Butt” posing on the Grand Staircase.

We each became a passenger aboard the ill-fated ship. I was Mrs. Benjamin Hart, married to Mr. Benjamin Hart (Jay).

Archibald, again, high above on the clock of the Grand Staircase.

On board the ship with us that evening was Major Archibald Willingham Butt (Sebastian). He was quite pleased with his military status and was forever talking about his service to both Presidents Roosevelt and Taft.

The major with his boarding pass.

The dinner party to celebrate the Captain’s pending retirement was hosted by Margaret Tobin Brown, who you might know better by the name of Molly Brown.

Captain Edward John Smith, quite a convincing portrayal. Sebastian not so much.

In addition to Captain Edward John Smith, we enjoyed the company of the Titantic designer, Thomas Andrews, Jr. Also present was J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line and Dorothy Gibson, a silent film star, who sang for us. Now we know the reason she was a silent film star. There was a lovely couple on board, the Strauses who were celebrating their anniversary. Dinner was served expertly by Jack Stewart and Violet Jessup among others.

Mr. Isidor Straus poses with the Major. 
These two had lots to talk about since Mr. Straus was born in Germany.

Dinner was a just one part of the adventure. Each member of the crew and the passengers we met could answer almost any question we had about the Titanic. We toured the museum and had photos made on the “bow”


and with the Captain on the Grand Staircase.


Unfortunately, at the end of the evening, the ship went down. Luckily, I survived but alas, Mr. Hart and Major Butt did not. Thanks to Christian, Jason and each and every crew member and passenger who were very convincing in their respective rolls. We were impressed with the performances and hope that if you are ever in Orlando, you will be able to experience it for yourself. It was enlightening, memorable and loads of fun. As I said, an adventure of Titanic proportions!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Best Day Ever by Sebastian

Hi ho. Sebastian here. I had the best day ever! I might have to write another post to cover every wonderful thing that happened but for now I will tell you the best part of this whole entire day.

We went to the “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration at Hollywood Studios where the story of Arendelle is told by the royal historians, Aria and Erik. There’s also Elsa, the Queen and Anna, her sister and Kristoff, the mountaineer at the Sing-Along.

We were going to sit in the back where we’ve sat many a time before but this time we got to sit right up front. I can’t tell you how exciting this was for me because being a bear of diminutive size, most of the time I am looking at the back of the seat in front of me. This time I could see and hear everything that happened up close and personal. And I could sing along at the top of my lungs!

And that was truly wonderful, but that’s not the best part. The best part happened afterwards when I had the special and unique opportunity to get up close and personal with everyone. We met Elsa, the Queen (I was so nervous and she is so beautiful) and Kristoff (I think we could become great friends since we’re both kind of outdoorsy) and Aria (such a funny and talented lady) and Erik (he kind of got confused about a thing or two – but you know, I think it was on purpose). They all made me laugh.

Did you think I forgot someone? No, not me! I also met Anna! I met her once briefly before when we were on the cruise but this was quite different. I felt . . . I felt . . . I felt as if we were old friends; like we had a special connection. I know that seems kind of strange to say but Anna is just soooo cool. She made me feel like I was the only bear in the room. Well, I mean, I was the only bear in the room but well, I think these photos will do a better job of explaining than I ever could. She was also quite kind to my staff – which seems to be growing by the day. Who knew I would need so many?

Can you see me in this photo?  Just look for Anna with the braids.  She was holding me.  I’m pretty sure she could feel my heart thumping in my chest!

Am I not one lucky bear?!

You have no idea how much this meant to me.  I was truly over the moon!

I didn’t mind posing for more photos.  After all, you do see where I am sitting, right?

We’ll always be friends.  I mean, how can we not?


Love to Anna and Elsa and Kristoff and Aria and Erik.  You really know how to make a bear feel special!

love & hugs,


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sunshine and Kisses

Hi ho everyone! Sebastian here to share with you my latest excitement. I’ve traveled all the way to Florida to one of my most favorite places to hang out – Walt Disney World.

Now you know I love all my friends here but I had a opportunity to spend a few moments with two lovely, lovely princesses. I have to say, it was probably the highlight of my day. Better than cookies by the pool even!

First I met Rapunzel and she was Won. Der. Ful.  We had quite a conversation about my crown and her very, extremely long hair.  But it gets better.

She gave me . . . a KISS!
I thought my heart was going to jump out of my squishy little chest!

Afterwards, I was able to have a nice little conversation with Cinderella.  Can you believe it?!  They both made me feel like royalty.

What a fantastic memory!

Knowing that her carriage was nearby, I suggested we all go and take a look.  Who knew I would get to sit in her glass slipper?!

I had quite a busy day.  I tried and tried to pull the sword out of the stone, but I had just had some ice cream and well, I was little too full to put much effort into it.

I rode Dumbo too. This is me before we got on.  I love that ride!

Can you find me in the photo below?

After all the excitement, we took a well-deserved break by the pool at our hotel.

That was my day to day.  It was all sunshine and kisses.  Wish you were here.

love & hugs,


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