Monday, 31 January 2011

The Panda

Today's post will feature the beautiful Panda.
To me he is the most spectacular of the bears with his striking black and white markings.
We think of them as coming from China, but fossils have been found in Vietnam and Burma, although the earliest were found in Eastern China.
The Giant Panda has been on the Earth for up to three million years and was treasured during the Han Dynasty as a semi-divine animal. An ancient Chinese poet thought that the Panda had special powers to ward of evil spirits.
The rest of the World did not know of the Panda until the turn of the 19th Century.

There is a wonderful story told as a legend about how the Panda got his markings.

'A lovely young shepherdess lived in a beautiful valley with her Mother and Father and her 3 sisters.
She would care for her sheep daily and was know as a kind and gentle person.

In those days Pandas were all white, with no black markings.
Every day a Panda cub would come to play with the sheep and lambs.  He probably thought they were the same as him as they were all white too.

One day as he was playing, a large wild cat pounced from a bush and began to attack him.
The young shepherdess ran to his aid and beat off the cat.  The Panda escaped, but the girl was killed in her valiant effort to save him.

When the rest of the Pandas heard what had happened they decided to go to the funeral and, as was the custom, they covered their arms with black ashes as a mark of respect.
They were so upset at the funeral, they cried so loudly that they covered their ears and their tears flowed so freely that they had to wipe them away with their ash covered paws.  They hugged to comfort each other and wherever they touched the ashes stained their fur.

To this day the Pandas have always carried the markings that the blackened ash gave them.

The girl's sisters were so grief stricken that they fell into her grave and in it's place a huge mountain grew.  It had three peaks, one for each of the sisters.  The mountain's translated name is The 'Four Sisters' and it's ridges protect the Pandas that still live there.' 

 I thought that it was a lovely little story. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Below are three Pandas from the Pud Bears 'Flower Pandas' range.  These are traditional Pandas with a hint of colour.

Here is a red 'Flower Panda' This one is an 8" with red ears, neck and paws.
They come in various colours - purple, green, blue, nearly any colour in fact.

This shows a purple one.  He has been sold and as they are all one of a kinds he cannot be repeated exactly the same.
I still have purple mohair left so a similar Panda could be made if wanted.

This one has beige fur instead of white and is also an 8".
Unfortunately he is sold too.  They are very popular little chaps so if you see one you like in my shop don't leave it too late!

I have searched through the shops in Folksy and found these delightful Panda items:-

This is Hui Ying from Fluffy Bearz - quite a handful of a Panda I would think.

Dotty is also from Fluffy Bearz and is 'nearly' a Panda.
She looks so cute and cuddly don't you think?

Next, these absolutely gorgeous Wedding cake toppers from Amy's Clay Critters.

This is a cheerful looking Retro Panda from Mia Design

That is all from me for today.  Hope you enjoyed the Pandas as much as I enjoyed blogging about them. 

Polly xx

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sock Monkeys

Good Morning all,

Today I am going to show you some sock monkeys and sock animals.
The idea originated from the USA in the time of the Great Depression, when mothers without much money made toys for their children from worn out Rockford Red Heel socks. 
I thought for a start that these so called 'Rockford Red Heels' were an American football team!  On further investigation I found that they were in fact a sock made by the Nelson knitting company and nothing at all to do with football!
In the early 1950's the sock manufacturer found out about the sock monkeys and tried to patent the pattern for making them.  They succeeded in 1955 and included a pattern with all the socks.
Advertising followed, using the sock monkey image. 
As time progressed more sock monkeys and animals were produced by different people giving the wide range of designs that can be found today.
They are very popular in America and festivals are held such as "Sock Monkey Madness Festival" held in Midway Village Center for the first time in 2005.  I do not know if this festival is still running, but there is probably more in different areas as well.
(I found this information in Wilkepedia)

My sock monkeys are not the traditional red heeled variety but mostly colourful striped patterns with contrasting heel colours.

Here are a selection from myself and from Folksy (see link on this page)

Jack (he looks so sad bless him)
from Socklings
Sock Elephant Nell from Socklings

This is Rose, a soft sock monkey from Sew it Seams and a sock monster from Tee Originals

Mortimer the sock dog from One Shy Elephant

Oliver the Giraffe from One Shy Elephant

Sock Horse/Zebra from Pud Bears

Sock monkeys from Pud Bears and Friends

That's all for today, I hope you liked the colourful sock animals.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

I'm feeling my way in the dark....

I really don't know what I'm doing, but here goes anyway.
This is the first post in my new blog.  I'm not even sure what I am going to talk about, so I'll just tell you about my 'boys'.

See the photos on the right of this page?
Well, the top one (no not that grey haired one), he is Sidney, alias Sidders, Sids or 'you horrible dog' depending on what he is doing at the time.  Sids is 6 years old and we have had him from an 8 week old puppy.  He is quite well behaved, walks on the lead nicely and is generally that laid back I sometimes think I should have called him Eeyore.
This is Sidney as a puppy, showing how laid back he could be...

Next one down, hmm, what to say.  This is Harry alias Houdini, pain in the btm, and 'the squeaky one'.  Harry was 10 months old when we got him from a couple that were emigrating to USA and didn't want to take him with them.  He was a complete bargain as he came with toys and bedding and was free.  He also came with a few little problems that didn't emerge straight away.  He is now 4 years old and we still can't get him to walk properly on the lead without pulling and making a hideous noise (like a strangled seagull).  It is so embarassing to walk down the street with him at times.  He likes to think he is top dog too and can be very disobedient when the mood takes him.  Saying that, he is very loving and cuddles very nicely and we love him lots.

You been talkin' bout me?

Finally, the cat that is top dog, Foggy.  He was very ill as a 12 week old kitten and we nearly lost him.  Looking at him now you wouldn't know what a skinny, poorly little thing he was.  He is as big as the dogs and has such a wonderful coat.  He eats like a horse and bosses the other two around, playfighting with Harry and booting him off the sofa when he wants it all to himself.

Well, that is all today about my lot. Look out for more about their antics in the future and there is a short story to come.  It is written for children and is about Sidney's adventures at the seaside.  If you enjoy it and give me encouragement I may write more as I found it an enjoyable project.

A lot of my spare time is taken up with sewing as I make mohair artist bears, sock monkeys and other toys.  Here is a  link to my shop on the Etsy web site