Thursday, 29 September 2011

A milestone in my life

I can remember turning 50.  We were on holiday in the Algarve and I got up early to stand on the balcony and watch the sun rise - and I cried to myself.  Don't ask me why, I've never bothered with birthdays before, 40 didn't effect me that way.  It was probably because I'd had a few bad years leading up to it and it was an excuse to let go.

Now I've got the next one looming up and I'm wondering if it will make me feel as sad.
I am 60 tomorrow.  No more wondering what it will be like to be 60  - I will know.  It will probably be just the same as being 50 something  to be honest.  Surely it has got to be better though, as there was so many bad things going on in mine and my familys lives in the last 10 years.

Here are a few photos of me as a child in the 1950's/60's and in the last few years.

This is me in Trafalgar Square with my
Mum and Dad about 1956.

and taken down the allotments a couple of years later

At Butlins about 1961 (my big sister is bottom right)

This is one of my favourite photos of me and Mum

Me and my brother and sister with Dad
This is one of the last pictures we have of him

All glammed up earlier this year for a special night out
 Mum and Dad are now gone, but we are a close family and support each other. I have my lovely Husband, Brother and Sister (+brother in law) and 3 grown up children, 2 stepchildren and 4 Grandchildren so life goes on in it's wondrous way.
Now I will look forward to the next 10 years whatever it may bring. Onwards and upwards as they say :) 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A pink blanket

I have just finished my second pram/pushchair blanket.  This one is pink, with a different pattern, which has bobbles on it and a centre piece of moss stitch. 
The teddy on this one is in a soft fluffy yarn and stands out much better than the darker one on the blue speckled blanket.  I think I do prefer the pattern of the blue one though.

The next one will be a cream colour, I'm not sure what colour bear it will have yet.  I think I will make it as a brick weave pattern similar to the blue one.  I am making them all as one offs and will try not to make any two exactly the same.
They are on sale in my Etsy and Folksy shops:- and

Alan has put some new clocks in his Etsy shop too. 

I particularly like these two:-

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A boot sale find frozen in time

We like to wander around the boot sales, Alan looks for clocks, and I look for bears or dogs.

He usually has more luck than me, it is very, very rare that I find a bear old enough for me to want to buy. 
I hobbled round this Sunday (my back still isn't right) looking for anything interesting to do with bears, when I came upon a mohair doggy nightdress case.  Nothing exciting, it was in a poor condition - ear missing, no eyes and quite forlorn looking.  However, the zip worked, and the lining was intact so I made a deal for that and a Merrythought dog (not mohair but reasonably old and it had it's labels).

I was looking on the stall as the lady found my change, and saw an item that fascinated me.  How on earth did they do that?  was my reaction.  I wanted it, and would have quite happily paid £5 for it, but 50p was all she asked, so I paid her and pleased as Punch put it in the bag with the dogs.

I have since found others on the internet, it's not worth a huge amount, but I love it and have placed it on my cabinet in the hall to catch the light.  Here it is with Peddy, the Pedigree bear. 

Isn't it beautiful?  How on earth they manage to get a Dandelion Seed clock inside perspex intact (I have seen glass ones too) is beyond me.  It is not as big as it looks, the perspex magnifies it.
As this heading says 'Frozen in Time'

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My husband's clocks, plus something completely different from me

My husband has always liked the workings of clocks and watches and it has gradually developed into a hobby.  He has got quite good at cleaning and mending old clocks so I suggested that he put some of his successes onto Etsy to see if he could sell some of them.
He has really taken me to my word and now our back room table looks like this! (it is actually fuller now, I took this a couple of weeks ago)

It is proving to be a success as he has sold 3 clocks so far and is getting interest in his Etsy shop

This is an original striking clock (SOLD)

Here are a few of his clocks, some old, some recycled, and some mixed up (old cases with battery movements).
An unusual Moose antler clock

A tin made into a clock

Vintage Art Deco case with battery movement (SOLD)
Metamec wind up clock (SOLD)
I have been busy knitting whilst he has been tinkering with his clocks in the back room.  This is a new item for me - a pram blanket (with a teddy design of course).
Other colours available to order

or  Overseas customers

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Big Brown mess of a bear is a hidden beauty

Just look at this - isn't he the scruffiest bear you ever did see?
He came to me in this sorry state, his beautiful chestnut fur was all matted and very grubby.
There was no way I could get a brush through it as it was so clogged together. 
I made the descision to give him a shampoo and condition surface wash. Yes, I know the rules - no wet washes - but I figured it was do or die! 
I couldn't put him in my shop as he was, so drastic measures were in order.  Into the bathroom armed with my new bottle of Tresemme shampoo and conditioner,  I carefully surface washed him, trying not too get him too wet.
I went outside armed with various brushes and combs, including a pet 'knot buster' for getting tangles out.  He did lose a bit of fur in the process but it had to be done, and his coat is so thick that it is not noticable that it has been thinned out a bit.
He just then needed a mouth and a few stitches here and there and.............

...........................................Wow!  Is that the same bear?
Big Brown Bear (BBB) is now sitting proudly
in my Etsy shop waiting for a new owner.
He is from the Thuringia/Sonneburg area of Germany, 
and looks very like a 1950's Hermann.
This bear is now sold

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Percy Bears Heritage?

You remember Percy, the cute one armed bear featured in a couple of earlier blogs?
Well I think I may have found a picture of one of his 'relatives'.
This bear is described as a Farnell, has the same shape to his arms and feet and looks very similar in the head.
I googled for Farnell bears and many of them have the same distinctive shape to their backs as Percy has.


Percy's cousin?
So there we are - Percy is a Farnell bear.  No wonder he is so well made and cute!
He is still waiting for a new home on Etsy  or on my web site

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Little and Large?

I placed an "Old bears wanted" ad in the local paper last week.  I wasn't sure if I would get any response but I thought it was worth a try.  There must be poor old bears stuffed in attics and sheds all over the country.
I have had three replies so far which I am happy with - too many bears to rescue would break the bank.
One was an obvious no-go when I saw him, I try to only restore mohair and prefer the 1950's and before.
The other two I have 'rescued' (not that they had been badly treated or anything).
Podge is now SOLD

Here they are - Podge, and Paddy Paws.

I cannot find out who their makers are. 

I wondered if Paddy Paws is a homemade bear, he has real leather paws, is good quality mohair and glass eyes.  He is 11" and stuffed with Kapok throughout.  His body is square and flat and he is not jointed .  I find him quite cute though.  He needs stitches putting in his ears and under one arm, and one of his eyes is very loose.  I'm not sure if he should have a jointed neck as the stitches around it seem to be 'mummy' ones.  I toyed with the idea of re-working his nose as it seems too big for him, but after taking this photo I may leave it as it is.

Big boy Podge is 24" and could do with going to Fat Camp.
I don't think he is mohair, I will know better when I clean him.  The only other bear I can find that looks quite a lot like him is this pink art silk bear from Bourton Bears.  They haven't given him a maker's name either.
I have a nice blue check shirt for him to wear when he is cleaned up.  It will cover that big expanse of tummy a bit.
One of my main concerns about him is how much he will cost to post.  He is woodwool filled and doesn't feel that heavy considering his size, so it may not be too expensive.

So the advert was a success. I may repeat it 2,3 or 4 weekly depending on if I need more bears.  I have quite a good amount of stock atm.  I am considering doing a bear fair with my old bears and dogs in October.  Of course the Pud Bears could come along too.
We have a holiday coming up and I thought of working it around a fair in Hampshire.  I like the New Forest area, so a cottage there would make a good break for us.

Don't forget to keep checking back on my Etsy shop for new bears and dogs
Also my own Weebly website (UK customers only)  The same bears are a few pounds less on here to take into account that there is no commission and currency conversion charges for me to pay.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Percy's progress - part 2

For any of you who have been watching Percy's problem with his missing arm, here he is after his recent operations.

The new arm looks much better than the white one

He feels well enough to go for a little walk
His new arm is slightly lighter in colour than his original, but not that noticable unless you look for it.
I am really pleased with my first attempt at making a new limb for an old bear.
I didn't realise Percy could stand unaided until I started taking his photos for his listing on Etsy.
He needs balancing a bit to achieve it, but with his cardboard lined solid feet he can be posed in a standing position.
I'm still trying to find out who he is, this mysterious one-armed bear.  His feet pads go to a point at the heel as some Bing bears do, so that may be a possibility.  He is very well made, and his final seam is down his tummy as in Steiff bears.
If anyone can throw any light on his maker I would love to find out.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Percy's Progress

Do you remember cute little Percy, the bear with one arm?

This is what I said at the time As for his restoration, I will give him a new arm, but I'm not going to try to match it exactly, it will be a 'false arm'. 

Well I tried that and didn't like the result.  The new arm is not too bad a match in size and shape, although it does need to be a bit chunkier.  The whole 'make it look obvious' didn't work.  Then my brain clicked into gear (it rests a lot these days :).  I could dye the material and make it a closer match to his fur.  A dish, a few teabags and coffee granules and I have nearly got the colour I want.
I'm just waiting for it to dry  then I can set to work making a better matching arm for Percy.
He may have a slight aroma of coffee about him. :)

Busy, busy, busy

Can I eat you?
I have bears and dogs and cats all over the bungalow!  Even a rat (sorry Marmot) sitting on the kitchen table.  I can't stop calling him a rat.  Foggy keeps looking at him a bit sideways, probably wondering if he is edible.

Still handsome at 60+ years old

As well as Squeaky the Marmot, or Groundhog as I believe they are also callled, I've now listed 2 cats (2 more to come), a small rod jointed bear, a Zotty type bear and the most gorgeous big Sonneburg/Thuringia growling bear.  I am very tempted to keep him.  Isn't he a smasher?
          See them at
          If you are in the UK see my website of vintage
          bears, dogs and cats

I have listed him at £190 which I think is a good price for one of these type of bears in his condition.  I have seen them at considerably more.  There are 2 more bears this size, but not as lovely as this one. Here they are before their tidy up.

This one needs a new nose and her
loose legs sorting out 

I don't think this one is mohair and will
take a lot of brushing and cleaning
 The tipped one above is rod jointed (limbs move together) and her legs are really loose.  I have never seen rod jointed bears before so will have to work out how to tighten them.
The brown bear is very matted and grubby.  He's a big boy, the largest of the three, but looks as if he has been out in the wild playing with the Grizzlys!

Pass him a hankie someone
This is my latest purchase.  He needs a bit of help and a good 'bath'.  He has the 'drumstick' legs of a Chiltern, but no labels, so I will have to research him a bit more.  I'm trying to think of a name for him.  Sometimes they come straight away, but not this time.  Looking at this picture I am resisting the temptation to call him Bogey :)  Probably Dewey (short for Dewdrop).

I've also got to make some more small Pud Bears for the next craft fair in a week or two.
I am being kept really busy atm with the bears and I am very tempted to take the plunge and try to do it full time.  I only have 15 months to retirement and with how my back and legs are I don't think I will be able to go back to my day job just yet. Although I can get around still, my walking is not very good and I have resorted to using a stick if going any distance outside.
It depends how long my bosses will put up with me being off sick.