Monday, 28 February 2011

I need a necklace.....

 ....for my new dress.  I am going to a function middle of March and I have a new dress.  I do not have a necklace that will suit it, but I think it needs something.
It has a round scoop neck so no longer than a 16" as it needs to sit fairly close to the neck or it would dangle below the neckline of the dress. 
The colour is black with a flower pattern of purple/pink.
As the back has a fancy fold effect I think it would be nice to have a necklace with a fancy bit at the back to show it off.
That is just my opinion, any other suggestions gratefully received as I am not very good at jewellery. Help!!

Here is my dress -

Love the little rose details on the chain
of this dainty piece

I like this, but I'm concerned the petals
might tip up and not lay flat

This is gorgeous, but would
 it be too fancy?

This is really pretty

I like this, not sure if the colour is right
I like this classical look with the twist of
a dragonfly

As you can see I have shortlisted from the many gorgeous designs that I was shown on Folksy.  Pretty Beautiful Designs seem to be on my wavelength as I like many of their pieces.  The pearls with dragonfly are one of my favourites, but the lovely floral necklace from MillieBeads is also wonderful.  Just not sure yet on my final choice. 

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Gnomes, Dragons and Unicorns

This week I am showcasing Eeksie Peeksie Ceramics.  I found this shop when looking for garden gnomes as I need a couple for my garden shortly.  The gnomes are great, bright colours (which I like) and neatly painted.  There are also dragons, fairies and for those of you without a garden - pomanders.


Bobby, waves to everyone in his garden


Cute dragon for garden or home

Sandy, my favourite

Unicorn Pomanders.....


...........boxed with lavender included
 There are toadstools, fairies, pomanders shaped like various things, salt and pepper pots and so many wonderful things to tempt you.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Foggy - The Early Days

I would like to introduce you properly to Foggy, our beautiful Ragdoll cat.

Thinking of a companion for Sidney, our Cavalier we decided on a cat.  But not just any cat, I wanted a Ragdoll.  I had checked out the breeds and found this beautiful long haired cat that grew to huge proportions.

We looked for breeders and visited one in Norwich.  She had 3 kittens, one that she had isolated as it had been ill.  The alarm bells should have rung then, but I did not know at the time that you should not visit more than one cat breeder in a day due to cross infection.

In the afternoon of that day we visited a breeder in Cambridgeshire and found a litter of beautiful Chocolate seal point Ragdolls.  I chose the one I wanted (very difficult they were virtually identical).  We were to go back in a week when they were old enough to leave home.

It was a foggy morning when we tavelled to collect our kitten, hence his name.  It was Christmas Eve and although they say you shouldn't get a pet for Christmas, we both wanted him and were not planning anything noisy or hectic over the holidays that may scare him.
He was a pretty little kitten, plain mink coloured with a little brown nose, ears and socks.  The colouring of a Ragdoll does not show fully until they are 2-3 years old.

Within a day we knew that something was wrong as his tummy was very upset.  We put it down to nervousness at coming to a new home, but over the Christmas holiday it got worse so we took him to the vet as soon as they were open.

Here started a long trail back and forth to the vets with little Foggy getting bigger and bigger, but thinner and thinner as he was not getting any nourishment.  They were at a loss after trying everything to make him better and he was getting worse.  He wasn't even interested in playing or climbing the curtains.

We talked about it and decided that he was not going to make it and would have to be put to sleep.
With heavy hearts we went back to Catherine, out vet expecting her to agree with us.
"We want to try one more thing" she said.  "If we take him to our hospital a few miles away we can do further tests and hopefully find out the cause of Foggy's problems".
So off he went to the hospital and was there for 9 days.  During this time the head vet, who had many years experience remembered reading about a rare parasite that was not normally seen in the UK and Foggy's symptoms were similar, so he tried the treatment.  By this time Foggy was 12 weeks old and had been ill for a very long 5 weeks. 

Great news!  It worked and Foggy came home cured and able to eat and grow at last.  He had lost a lot of his early growth so we were not expecting the normal huge cat that Ragdolls become.
The bill came to £900 and because he was ill as soon as we got him we had not had the chance to get him insured. (we soon put that right). 

Reading in a book about kittens, I discovered that cross infection was easily caused by prospective owners visiting various breeders in the same day and remembered the poorly little kitten at Norwich.  I felt guilt that it may have inadvertently been us that had caused Foggy's illness.
I contacted his breeders to warn them of the parasite in case any of the other kittens had caught it but they didn't seem to care. 
I am so grateful to the vet that diagnosed the problem, and to Catherine for all her efforts to find a cure. 
Foggy is now so beautiful (and huge at 6 kg) and probably thinks that he is a Cavalier.  He is the top 'dog' and makes sure that he gets the best sleeping arangements.

My sock cat

To finish of this post here are some cat related items from the great Folksy site:-

I like this black cat brooch from

        There are some great cat pictures at

An ACEO from

                Crocheted cats patterns from

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Floral Beauties

This Sunday I am showing you some non-growing flowers!
They are so beautiful and don't need watering or weeding and they make great gifts.
Firstly, flower bouquets made from socks - yes, you did hear me right - socks!

These beautiful gift arrangements are available from

L toR - Girls' socks, Ladies trainer socks, Pantie sock Posy, A single sock buttonhole.  There is even one made from babies socks which would be ideal for a gift for the new baby.

Next up are these pretty ribbon and fancy yarn flowers.  Made and sold as single stems they look beautiful on their own or as an arrangement in a vase.  Such a clever idea and again, a great gift, especially with Mothers Day coming up.
My favourites are the double looking blue selection.

They are available from

I hope these floral arrangements have brightened up your Sunday.  You may have noticed from my blogs that I like bright colours.  These certainly fit the bill.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

From the Beginning...

      Pretty teddy earrings from                                        Bear in a Balloon from  

Mummy plaque from
....there was a piece of gold mohair bought from Oakley Fabrics in Luton, a treasure trove for the bear maker, with huge rolls of wonderful mohair, and everything else needed to make a bear.  The shop is sadly no longer there but they do still trade online.
It was 1996 and I had looked through a magazine that had come from our news suppliers with the ordered magazines (we ran a newsagent in Merseyside in the 1990's).  The magazine was called Teddy Bear Times and I was fascinated by all of the wonderful bears amongst it's colourful pages.  I ordered other bear magazines available at the time - Teddy Bear Scene, Teddy Bear Club International, Teddy Bear and Friends to name a few.  This was the start of a long association with the artist/collectors teddy bear.
We visited relatives in Hertfordshire and I found the Oakley shop, bought my piece of mohair, a pattern and other bits and pieces I needed and proceeded to make my first bear.
I even gave him a growler and, very proud of him, I called him Uno, because he was my first and we had just got back from a holiday in Spain (uno is one in Spanish).  I had a bit of mohair left over, so using the original pattern as a guide made a smaller bear and Dos was born (two in Spanish).

A fair at Horwich
 I made more and more bears, gradually developing my own style, went to a couple of craft fairs, visited a few craft type shops and persuaded them to take some of the bears.  I was on a roll now so I booked my first Teddy Bear Fair at Manchester.  It didn't go too well as I only sold one bear.  Not deterred and loving the buzz I got from someone wanting to actually buy something that I had made, I made more bears and booked more fairs at Tatton Park, Horwich, and Altringham.
These proved to be much more successful.
One of the high spots of my bear making was being invited to Alexander Palace in London for the finals of the EVA bear making awards.  These were sponsored by the magazine Teddy Bear Scene and were held at this huge venue along with a Teddy Bear Fair with stalls as far as the eye could see.  Two of my bears had got through in the 'new bear makers' category (bearmakers who had been making bears for less than a year).  I didn't come in the top three but I was so proud to see my bears in the cabinet with the other bears.  Some of the other bear artists in this final went on to build quite a big reputation in the bear world. Arnie, the white bear is in the top of the left hand cabinet and Freddie is the brown bear (waving) on the second shelf down of the right hand cabinet.  I still have both of these bears.
                           The bears at Ally Pally

I was making bears every spare minute I had now, mohair and cotton was everywhere in the flat, much to my husband's dismay.  I advertised in one of the bear magazines and managed to get a few regular customers by mail order.  For the first year or so I had a standard camera and spent a fortune having films developed and prints copied for my brochures. 
Then I discovered digital cameras and a computer.  Wow! this was great, not only could I pick out the best photos, but edit them and produce a more professional looking brochure.
These I sent out to various specialist teddy bear shops and struggled to keep up with their demands (I was working at the newsagent too).
Check out the wonderful bouquets made from socks
The internet was not as strong as it is now, but I managed to design myself a website using Microsoft Publisher.
Everything was going so well, my business was growing year on year. 
Then we moved, because of family committments and promotion to a larger shop in Norfolk. 
My feet never touched the ground, the new shop had lots of problems, my parents and daughter were  ill, Sammy, my gorgeous Cocker Spaniel died and the bear making stopped.

A knitted bear from
 Now, ten years later I have started making bears again, I find it more difficult as I now have a bit of arthritis in my fingers, but it is still enjoyable to give life to these little characters.  The bear business is very hard now, the boom of the 1990's has gone, the recession is taking it's toll and we fight for every sale.  Many of the shops I supplied are no longer there, but I try to find new ones that will stock my bears.  I know they sell from shop shelves, that has been proved in the past, but shop owners are wary of taking new stock in this current climate, so I keep sending my brochures out to them and hoping. 

I now have my own online shops in Etsy and Folksy and enjoy the whole idea of online selling. and

Here are a few of my bears available at these online shops -

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sidney goes to the Seaside - Part 3

Here is the final part of my little story about Cavalier Sidney's trip to the seaside....
Sidney had  paddled in the sea and now he was exploring the sand.
Beautiful seascape painting from
There were many strange things on the sand. He watched as a crab crawled towards the sea, bending down to sniff at it. “Watch out Sidney it might nip your nose.”
He found some wriggly stuff, that smelled really funny, and picked it up and shook it. The seaweed smacked against his ears as he shook his head and he dropped it back onto the sand.

Seaside notebook from

Then he thought that it might be a good idea to dig in the sand. The boys and girls on the beach were having so much fun with their buckets and spades.

This pretty cushion's colours made me think of the seaside
Sidney put his head down and nudged the sand with his nose. It moved easily so he dug with his paws. Faster and faster he dug, sand flying up behind him and the hole getting bigger. “This is fun” he thought, “I wish I had got a bone to bury in the sand.” He looked up from his digging and saw that they were getting ready to go somewhere else.

“I would like a cup of tea and a cake. Let’s go to the pier” said Dad. They walked back up to the pathway and past the coloured beach huts until they reached the pier.
Sidney glanced down the long, long wooden bridge that went nowhere, only to the sea. He wondered what it was there for and why all the people were walking on it.

                                                                           The pier looked just like a long bridge

They walked along the pier and Sidney could see the water between the wooden boards. He could see all the children playing on the beach from high up on the pier and looked up to see the blue kite flying high in the sky.

Seagulls were cicling  - see this painting
 Dad got his cup of tea and they sat on a bench near the end of the pier so that they could look out over the sea.
Seagulls were circling around the end of the pier keeping their beady eyes on the fishermen, who were sitting 
 in wooden chairs waiting to catch a fish.
Sidney sat and looked over the edge of the end of the pier. The sea lapped against the wooden poles that held the pier up. There was a boat far in the distance that seemed like a toy. It looked so small because it was such a long way away.
He knew now why people walked on the pier. It was a beautiful place to be on a sunny day.

 Paper quilled lighthouse 
                Take a look at their pretty gift boxes too
All too soon it was time to go and they walked back to the car. They went past the beach huts again, past the coloured houses and the lighthouse with it’s red and white stripes. Past the nice smelling restaurant and the shops, until they came to the car park near the big grass field.
“Do you want to play ball before we go home, Sidney?“ asked Dad. “Oh wow! Yes please” barked Sidney, running round and round in circles with excitement. They went onto the big grass field and had a great game of fetch the ball, until they were all out of breath with so much running.
“It’s time to go home now, get in the car Sidney.”
Sidney climbed onto his furry cushion. He was a very happy little dog and so tired. Soon he was fast asleep and snoring loudly. Mum turned and looked at him, smiling.
“Bless him, what a good boy he is.” she said to Dad. “Yes” replied Dad, “the very best.”

                                             THE END