Thursday, 27 October 2011

A mixed week - good, bad and sometimes sad!

I've had an eventful week with a mixture of occasions and emotions.
It started off well, with a  trip down to The New Forest in Hampshire.  We stayed in a small hotel in a beautiful position right on the cliff top overlooking the sea and the Isle of Wight. 

The Teddy bear fair was about half an hour away at a place called Minstead.  We set up our table between two Charlie Bear retailers (both had shops).  At least the old bears stood out well between these very popular mass produced bears.  I always felt that I could not compete with them when I just sold my own made Pud Bears, but this was not an issue with the vintage bears.  It went very well, lots of interest and indecision from the customers, some of them picking up many different bears before making a final choice.

Saggy Bear was very popular, but is still
available at

Bailey, waving goodbye as he has a new home

I ended up selling 6 bears/dogs which I was very pleased with. 

I also sold on Etsy over the weekend so I have been able to buy the new laptop that I have had my eye on - a bright red Dell Inspiron.  It only came yesterday so I am waiting for my brother to come and set it up and put the programmes that I use for photo editing on for me. Hopefully they will work on Windows 7.  My old laptop has been a very good one.  We have had it for about 8 years and I will be sorry to see it go. 

The sad part of this week was the funeral of my Auntie Joyce.  She was a lovely, fun loving lady, a young 88 year old.  We travelled down to Essex yesterday with my Brother and Sister.  It was strange thinking that we would not travel that way again as she was the last close member to that side of our family.  Our cousin Jennifer, her only daughter died suddenly a few years ago. 

On the way down there was a huge bang as a large stone hit the windscreen of our car.  It made a mark about the size of a large Strawberry with 'spiders leg' cracks coming from it.  Alan got showered with small splinters of glass.  As we drove along 3 of the cracks got longer and longer.  We were not happy with the service from the AA insurance as they said they could not put a new windscreen in until Saturday!  That meant we had to drive the 150 miles home with Alan trying to see around the cracks as they were right in his line of vision.  A few phone calls later with Alan  telling them they were useless and they are now coming Friday morning.  Our neighbour said they came yesterday afternoon and were looking for a crack in my car that was stood under the carport.  We told them where we were and even gave them the postcode of the wake venue so they could come there. 
Needless to say, we will be changing our car insurance providers next year!
..........but lost out to Charlie Klonk, who found a new home

Chocolate Chad was picked up a few times............

Doll not for sale
I have a completely different fair to go to next week - a local craft fair with my sister.  The old bears will stay at home and I will take the Pud Bears, knitted bears, blankets  etc.

Blankets and knitted bears available at and

 My sister dresses dolls and generally knits various things.  We enjoy spending the time together, and it is a relaxing day, just sitting and chatting with my sister and the customers. 
I am still finding walking difficult due to the arthritis and have to resort to a stick if I walk any distance, so I like going to the fairs as it is something I can do at my own pace.  It is surprising how many stall holders at the craft fairs have various disabilities.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Minstead Fair on Sunday

I am packed ready to go off to the New Forest to attend the Teddy Bear Fair at Minstead on Sunday.
The old bears are patiently waiting in suitcases for the journey and their first fair.
I have never done a fair with the old timers before so it will be a new experience.
The Pud Bears (my own make) will have a small gathering at the end of the table, but the main part will be the vintage bears, dogs and cats.
Much to my surprise when I counted them up there are 25 bears, 9 dogs and 4 cats - oh and one Groundhog!
There were 4 more, but they were reserved on Etsy last night.
It doesn't matter if someone looks and doesn't like the bears, as it will not feel personal as it does with the Pud Bears.  I have bears from Chad Valley, Merrythought, Steiff, Hermann, Grisly, Berg, Knickerbocker, and Pedigree to name but a few of the well known makers.  Surely they should find something they like in that lot?
Here are a few of my favourites from the old bears hug, all available (if they do not sell at the fair) from my web site (UK only) and

Barney, a Pedigree bear  SOLD

Hughie, a big soft growly bear

Rose a pretty pale pink bear
that I think is Merrythought

Squeaky, a Hermann Marmot

and my all time favourite - Martha, a 1930's Farnell bear
I am quite excited about showing my old bears.  I am hoping that there may be experts there that would be able to give a maker's name to some of the unknown bears that I have.  That is half the fun of restoring - researching the bears to find out their maker and age.
I found Martha's 'brother' in a great little Collins Gem reference book that I found at a boot sale.  Can you see the likeness?                     

Monday, 10 October 2011

Sidney and Harry, the biggest wimps I have known

I knew Sidney was a wimp when he had his first injection at the vets.  He squealed the place down and tried to climb on top of my head.  They were laughing at him in the waiting room when we went out.

A young Sidney acting the fool
 Harry, on the other hand doesn't seem to bother about injections, but will yelp loudly if he even thinks you 'might' tread on his tail/paw/ear.  This causes me to jump in alarm and twist as I think I have trodden on him and then I hurt my back! 
I decided to trim Sidney today as his coat is very thick and it cannot be left to get too long or it matts up like dreadlocks.

His coat is so thick and wooly (note the snow on ears)
 I can't bend over very well so I decided to do it on the furniture.  It is leather so it can be hoovered easily.
He was very good and went to sleep half way through, snoring away quite happily whilst I snipped with the scissors.  I have long since stopped trying to give them a professional looking Spaniel cut.  They are pets, not show dogs and as long as they are clean and comfortable I am happy.
Alan then anounced that they needed their claws trimming.  "Oh dear, this will not be easy" I thought.  We have tried before with varying success.
Sidney first, on Alan's knee so that he could try to hold him still while I used the clippers.
He was quite good, jiffled a bit until we got to about the 4th claw. I must have pulled a bit of fur, because he yelped and jumped, hitting Alan under the chin and pulling a huge hole in his jumper.
I calmed him down (Sidney and Alan) and carried on with no further problems apart from him keep pulling his foot away just as I tried to trim.
Now for Harry, the wiggly worm.  First claw - fine, second - he screamed that loud that it made us both jump, Sidney leapt onto Alan's knee as well to comfort his 'brother'.  Harry was fighting hard to get away from Alan, so we did another few minutes of calming words and stroking and I went to try another claw.
He screamed this time before I had even got within an inch of his claw proving that it is just the thought of it, not the actual trimming. We managed to trim a few more claws and then gave up.

Harry certainly knows how to relax (photo censured) :)

........and so does Sidney (not taken today)
 They are both fast asleep now,exhausted from their ordeal.

I couldn't leave Foggy out - he enjoys a snooze too.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A box of misfits

I was taking stock of my old timers this morning and realised that I was coming to the end of my 'to do' box. This is all I have left.

 Clockwise from top left -
A one eyed English bear (I need to get some vintage eyes of the correct size before I can finish him).
A German/Austrian tipped mohair bear.  He is beautiful, but is rod jointed and needs work to tighten his legs.
A little sleepy Zotty bear.
A Gnome (don't ask, he came in with a bag of bears). Now sold
A Schuco dog.
An eyeless, one eared nightdress case. Now sold
And finally, poor old Gary the bald Pekingese.

Oh my goodness, I have my work cut out to make that little lot beautiful :)
I have a good stock of various animals ready and waiting for the fair.  I swear I can hear little excited voices coming from the spare room wardrobe sometimes.  (or I may just be losing the plot now I am 60!)

The fair is at Minstead in the New Forest on Sunday the 23rd October, so if any of you are around that way, come and see us and say hello.  I will be the mad old dear talking to her stock (see previous paragraph).

I have tidied up a couple of toys this week, a beautiful white cat from Real Soft Toys and a Pedigree bear with the most adorable face.  They are both in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The old bears are going on a trip

I have finally taken the plunge and booked a bear fair to take my vintage bears to.
I didn't have much luck with the fairs I attended last year with my Pud Bears, but I'm hoping that the old timers find their way into collectors hearts.
The artist bear world has moved on so much over the last 10 years that I feel like I've been left behind somewhat. 
I am still making traditional type teddy bears whereas many of the makers of today have designs that I would not know where to start with.  They are wondrous bears, with airbrushing, spectacular feet and eyes that can melt your heart.
I go to fairs with my simply designed little Pud Bears and feel like the poor relation.  I know my bears are well made, and I have customers that love them, so it is not all doom and gloom, but I cannot seem to drum up the interest at a specialist bear fair.  In fact I have had more luck at local craft fairs.
So, after having great success online with my vintage bears I decided to bite the bullet and try again at a bear fair, but this time with the senior citizens of the bear world.
I have a good stock built up now so could easliy fill a table with beautiful old bears, dogs and cats.
The pitch fee was quite a bit higher than a local craft fair, but what do they say - 'you have to speculate to accumulate' :).
Here are a selection of the animals that I will be taking with me

Edddie - Now sold
Big Brown Bear - Now sold

Jock - Now sold

Squeaky - Now sold
Dewey - Now sold

Tiny-  Now sold
Bailey - Now sold
I have 40 animals ready and a few more that need sorting - eyes replacing, paws mending, cleaning etc.
They can be seen on my website