Sunday, 29 May 2011

Old Bear No. 3 - Georgie

I have just finished cleaning and tidying up my 3rd old bear, whom I have called Georgie.  I am not sure if the bear is a male or female so with this name it can be either!
For the purpose of this blog I will refer to the bear as 'he'.

I am not sure of his make, but I believe him to be English circa 1940's 1950's as with my others.  This seems to be the era that draws me to the bears.

He is a lovely gold mohair with a few bald patches, but given his age not too many.  He has rexine paws which are a bit bare, but with no tears or holes.

When I got him he was advertised as a musical bear, but on investigation he has a very dilapitated squeaker that I left in even though it has gone to squeaker heaven a long time ago.
He has shivered in my freezer and had a 'teddy bear special' bath and now his mohair is lovely and fluffy and soft.

I have not touched his face apart from having to put a few stitches in one of his ears.  He has a lopsided quizzical smile and a bit of a wobbly head thing going on, but it all adds to his appeal.

I am not sure what to do about his eyes.  They are both there but one of them has lost the outer coloured bit.  They are old type plastic and if I replaced them it would have to be with same size and colour glass ones.  (the plastic ones available now have safety fastenings not the wire as with Georgie's).
I did wonder about giving him an eye patch or glasses, but think I will just leave him as he is and see what people think.  So far at the craft shop customers have said to leave them as they are as it is part of his character.

Anyway, here are his before and after shots:-

Looking a bit shy

Practicing his Regal wave

Squinting at the camera

Smiling at my craft shop cusomers
Looking a bit grubby

All spruced up and ready for his outing
Isn't he a cute little bear?  He is only about 11 inches tall.  I am beginning to fall for these old characters.  If no-one wants to buy them I will happily keep them for myself. 
Georgie will be available shortly in my Etsy shop (there is a link to the right of this page). 

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Humphrey - Old Pedigree? bear

This is my next vintage bear project - Humphrey.
I believe him to be a Pedigree circa late 1940's early 1950's.
When I got him his arm was hanging by a thread (two or three actually) and he was very matted and grubby. 
I thought he had a growler, but when I unstitched him to see if I could get it to work I found a music box with 'Made in Switzerland' on it.  I was even more impressed when it actually played a lullaby.
There was no key so I raided my husbands garage (he likes to tinker with old clocks) and found a key that fitted.
His arm was no problem, a few stitches, a reconnection and - hey presto - a working joint again.
He then had a little nose job, as his nose had gotten horribly squashed over the years.  I didn't want to introduce any modern filling so I carefully removed some from his body to fill out his nose. 
Then it was the special teddy dry bath and a good vaccuming and brushing to finish off.
He is now ready for sale in my Etsy shop.

Here are his before and after photos:-

His arm was hanging off

He looks more relaxed now

A grubby boy

Cleaned up with his vintage lace bow
He has a bit of a strange tufty effect on his nose
 I am pleased that I was able to restore Humphrey without having to use any new parts.  He is still completely original and is now a handsome bear.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Big Bears , just a few left

The sale of big bears is going well - Bertie found a new home just before the weekend  and will be travelling today.

Here are the remaining reduced bears that are waiting for new homes.

Amber 14" Was £45  Now only £25

Libby 14"  Was £45   Now only £25

Flakey 16"  Was £59  Now only £35

Levi 16"  Was £55  Now only £33
Now sold

Susie  14"  Was  £39 Now only £24
I do not expect these bargain basement bears to stay around for long so if you like one of them please let me know.  They are all listed on Folksy.
I will reserve any bear for a short period if required.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Craft shop update

I have been in the craft centre for 4 Sundays now with varying success.

I have been boosted by having a really good day this Sunday.  A lot of this success I put down to my online friends in Folksy.  I asked for support and they came up with some great ideas and thoughts on what should be done to help get customers into the shop.

I also put into practice the way that big businesses get customers to take notice, by increasing my point of sale, and making a clearance section.
A large laminated, colourful notice on the wall outside, and in the window saying 'Please come inside and see the bears' let people know that they were welcome to browse.
Further signs in the window and a display showing diy packs to make sock monkeys, helped as customers stopped to read them.
Sock monkey diy packs

I moved the reduced large bears onto the big table with clear clearance tickets in front of each one stating was and now prices.  These are a real bargain so I needed to promote them strongly and positioned the table right near the open door so that they could be seen as people walked by.
Three were sold, here are two of the ones I have left.

Levi was £55    Now £33 Now sold

                                          Amber was £45    Now £25

It was a beautiful day apart from a few drops of rain in the afternoon, and there were quite a few visitors walking around.  I did get many more people pop into the shop and was able to (hopefully) make a few new contacts and get the Pud Bears name out there. 
 Another bear that found a new home was Matilda, a 10" schoolgirl bear complete with satchel and
spectacles.  She had been much admired over the weeks so I was not surprised that she was snapped up.  The lady that bought her thought that some of my other bears may benefit from spectacles, so I have chosen one and have taken him to Specsavers.  What do you think?

Matilda (sold)

Danny in his specs

I enjoyed my day's trading this week, the Sun was shining, the birds were singing, and people were chatting.  I hope there are a few more Sundays to come just like that. :)

Please visit the bears (and bunnies) at Alby Craft Centre, on the A140 between Norwich and Cromer.
We will be there on Sundays during the Summer months. 

To repay the kind people on Folksy

I have had a bad couple of weeks at the craft unit and was nearly giving up, but the lovely people on Folksy have boosted my confidence and given me new ideas to help with customer flow.
This blog is featuring those members as a thankyou for helping me with their ideas

Phew! that was a marathon, but thank you to all of you wonderful people. (I hope I haven't missed anyone, shout if I have and I will include you). 
I put some of your ideas in practice and had the best day on Sunday since I started.  

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Billy has a new nose

I kept looking at Billy, the old bear I restored and thinking that his nose didn't look quite right.
This morning I decided to do something about it, so here he is again - Billy Mark II. 

I think he looks better than before, I had the stitching on his nose too high and too thick.  The new nose has given him a much gentler expression.  He looks like a completely different bear, and so cute, I couldn't resist a cuddle with him when I had finished. :)   If he doesn't sell I will quite happily keep him for myself.

Before, nose not positioned right.

After his 'nose job' - a much gentler expression
I have now relisted him on Etsy with his new photos.  I have also reduced his price so he is now under £100 and offered free postage for the UK and a minimal postage for everywhere else.

I am trying to find more old bears to restore so would love to sell Billy to fund these purchases.  It is so satisfying to show these beauties at their best and I would love to have a part of my craft unit dedicated to selling the restored bears (and possibly dogs as I have found a few of these that could be quite cute when restored to health).

Monday, 9 May 2011


Because I will only be making smaller bears from now on I have decided to clear my stock of big bears. 
If you like my larger bears but didn't think you could afford one carry on reading and get yourself a bargain.

They all now have 40% off.

Here are a few examples -

Goldie 16"           Was £59     Now only £35

Libby 12"       Was £42    Now only £25

Babs 16"  Was £59   Now only £35

Bertie  16"    Was £59   Now only £35

The bears above and more are available at these huge discounts in the sale section of my Folksy shop.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

New head design

It's been really quiet today at the craft centre (well my shop has, don't know about the others).

I made the most of my time and designed a new head for a 6" bear.  I wasn't planning on doing this, but I hadn't got my patterns with me.
I think he is quite cute, not a Pud bears usual upturned nose, more a Roman nose I would say.
I am trying to make more brown bears now, I have nearly depleted my coloured mohairs left over from a few years ago.
I have decided to stick with the 5" to 8" sizes in future, mainly because that is what the customers seem to like and because I am not wealthy (altogether for the sympathy - aaah, poor Polly!) and to make large bears costs more in materials.

Just a short blog today as it is time to pack away and go home.  Not a profitable day at all.  :(

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Billy Bear after his clean up

After his obligatory stay in my freezer, Billy was given a facelift - new amber glass eyes, a newly stitched nose and his ears were re-attached firmly.  His back seam was re-done neatly and then he had a 'bran bath'.
I sat him in the bran and started to rub it over him, murmuring "I really don't believe this will work".  But it did (Oh thee of little faith!) and he now is beautifully clean and his fur feels really soft.  The bran was a nightmare to brush and hoover out of his mohair though.

He will be coming to the craft shop with me tomorrow to sit on my work table and hopefully draw in some customers.  I am not sure if the doll shop on the site sells vintage bears so I will be checking it out tomorrow with a view to stocking some myself if not.  I don't want to tread on anyones toes but would love to stock more of these lovely old characters.  I think I may have got the 'old bear' bug now as it was a great feeling to bring Billy back to a clean state.

He is in my Etsy shop now for sale.  As he is my first vintage bear I have had to do some research to try to find his value and have set his price according to my findings. 
After trawling through the internet I have decided that he is not German but is most likely to be a Chiltern Hugmee (English) bear from between 1930-1940.  He has the 'drumstick' legs that are mentioned and is filled with kapok and woodwool.  During that period Chiltern only had cardboard labels so not many of those survived.  I can find no evidence of a label having been stitched to his seams or glued onto his paws.  His paws are rexine which dates him after 1930 so he would not be an earlier bear.

Here he is in before and after photos.  He is a lovely soft gold colour now he is clean and is so huggable.



"Yippee!  I feel great"

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Foggy's new collar

Well, at last Foggypuss has a new collar.  His second - he lost the first one in a few hours.  The postman delivered it, Alan put it on him, by the time I came home from work it had gone! 
So I contacted Mogs Togs to tell her that unfortunately I couldn't show her photos of the naughty boy in his new collar as he had lost it. ( Yesterday we received a second collar exactly the same.  Such brilliant customer service.
I did wonder if I could get the same patterned collar again and was concerned as Rachel kept calling Foggy 'she' in her e-mails.  I told him it would serve him right if she sent him a replacement in a pink flower pattern, and if she did I was going to make him wear it as punishment for losing the first beautiful (boy pattern) collar.

The collar is still in place this morning and I have attempted to get some reasonable photos of it being modelled by an unco-operative kitty.  He doesn't like his photo taken and tends to look away just as you have lined the shot up and pressed the button.  He should take lessons from Sidney who poses beautifully, putting his head on one side when asked and sitting still until I have finished.
I have always resisted putting a collar on Foggy as is flattens his beautiful coat, but he killed a blackbird the other day and Alan wanted him to have a bell to try to warn the birds of his presence.  It didn't help that there had been a Blackbird hopping around the front garden collecting worms as Alan was mowing the lawn.  He decided it was the same one and I think it bothered him to think our cute and cuddly Foggy may have 'murdered' this friendly bird. 
I have only known him to catch 3 birds (plus a frog that I rescued, boy can they scream!) in the 2 years that we have been here.  One day he was meowing at the door as usual and I opened it to see Foggy sitting looking up at me with a Magpie sitting quietly beside him. 
The caption should have been "Can I have a friend round to play?" 
I wish I had got my camera in hand, they looked so funny sitting there side by side.
I closed the door quickly and fetched Alan to 'rescue' the bird.  When he looked out Foggy wandered in alone, no bird in sight. There were no tell tale feathers so I think he must have left intact.
Check out Mog Togs website to see more of these beautifully made cat collars.