Saturday, 29 September 2012

Diddy Dogs

I wanted to do a bit of knitting, so set about looking for something that I would enjoy doing.
Being predominately a toy maker, I thought I would like to make little dogs or cats.
I came across a vintage pattern that gave me the basics and set about designing the Diddy Dogs.
The first prototype was ok, but not to my liking - the head looked too small for the body, the nose was too flat (non-exsistant really) and I wasn't happy with the nose stitching.
Here is Mark I
Diddy Dog No Nose
I started knitting the next one - blue and yellow stripes, making the head a bit larger.  As I was knitting and kept looking over to this one I realised  all that I had to do was make a little knitted nose for him.  I did so, put a bit of stuffing in, restitched his nose and mouth and 'Hey Presto' his head immediately looked in proportion to his body and I am now happy with him.
Here is Mark II.  He looks better don't you think?

Blue and White Diddy Dog

4" of cuteness
I can't believe how different this small addition has made him look. 
Everything is firmly stitched in place, including his knitted collar and he is stitched together with a strong back stitch.  His eyes are embroidered too, so there are no plastic or sharp bits to come adrift.
I will now get busy knitting various colour combinations in the hope that they will be popular at the Christmas craft fair in a couple of weeks time.  I would like to get at least a dozen made by then.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Tale of Blue Bunny

Who or what is Blue Bunny?
Blue Bunny is a once fluffy, white (he used to be anyway) and royal blue rabbit owned by my daughter.
My beautiful baby with her Blue Bunny
He was given to her by my sister when she was 6 months old and has been with her ever since.
She is now 41 and he still resides in her bed, albeit under the pillow.
A few years ago I was asked to give him new paw pads as his had worn out.  If I remember rightly I used a white handkerchief for the job. They are now quite discoloured (BB must stop smoking).

My daughter needs a heart operation which is booked in for next week, and of course BB has to go in her suitcase for moral support.
BB on the operating tray
He was sent to me last week for much needed repairs. 
He has had lipsuction (his stuffing had gone all lumpy and hard).  His ears needed work as he had no inner on one and very little on the other.
A few stitches in his neck and legs and he was, well not as good as new, but stronger and more able to withstand a hospital stay.
I thought of giving him a ribbon, but I don't think my daughter would have appreciated that, so I decided to make him a scarf.  Then, of course, he needed it monogramming. :)

BB wearing his lovely new scarf with his initials on it

Today I took Blue Bunny on the bus from Norwich back home to Holbeach, Lincolnshire.
Sitting in my handbag on the bus
I'm not sure if he enjoyed the journey, but the other passengers must have wondered what that mad woman was doing taking photos of a toy rabbit in her handbag!
Tomorrow he will be back in his rightful place with my daughter, and I will feel that there is part of me with her when she goes to the hospital.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Christmas Decorations (and an Occasional Bear)

I have been busy making Christmas decorations.  I have never done these before so  they are all new designs and ideas to me.  I found some squares of pretty felt at a boot sale the other day and spent a few days wondering what I was going to do with it. 
I am finding it really easy to work with after sewing mohair all these years.
My bits and pieces and button tub is expanding as I source pretty items to decorate my hangers, key rings,Christmas decorations etc.

So far I have made hangers for the home from pretty cotton material. These are not specifically Christmas items, but are decorations.

Also, mohair teddy heads as bag charms or even Christmas tree hangers.

Then there is the felt, which I have used to make teddy bear heads and stars Christmas tree hangers.

These are the smaller stars that I am working on at the moment.  They will be fastened in 3's to give a long decoration for tree or home.
I have also made a template for a smaller felt bear to make as a keyring.

So, I said there would be bears so here they are:-

This is a cute little 12" Panda with weight issues.  His stuffing has disintegrated into the brown powder that you see in the box.  I have to unpick his seams enough to carefully remove all his stuffing (without staining his white parts).  Then he will need to be re-filled, this time with polyfibre filling.
He is such a pretty little fellow, I think he may be a Chiltern as he is very much in the style of their 'Bruins' and I know Chiltern made some nice looking Pandas.

Another Panda, this time of my own Pud Bears make.
This is Ginger a very unusual Panda Bear. He is 8" tall and is avaiable in my Etsy shop, as are the Christmas decorations.

Friday, 14 September 2012

The competition is Hot, Hot, Hot!

I have been looking at the other bear artists on Bear Pile where I have a page for my bears.
They are really stunning bears many of them, the teddy bear has evolved so much over the last 10 years. 

When I started making bears in 1996 the popular bears were the larger, more traditional type.
There were some miniature makers, but not so many as there are now. 
Gradually new techniques were developed - airbrushing, hand made realistic eyes, hand moulded noses.  New exotic fur fabrics were produced, with some makers steering away from the traditional mohair. 

2001-2010  I had stopped bear production due to family illnesses and work comittments. 
During that time all of these new ideas progressed until we have the gorgeous bears such as those shown below. (they can all be found on the Bear Pile site). 

When I started making my Pud Bears again I stayed faithful to the old designs - my bears were 'just bears' - different types of mohair gave a different look, but I have always resisted moving on to copy the new style and give my bears more of the really cute 'Charlie Bear look'.

To be honest I really wouldn't know where to start, so I will just carry on making my little Pud Bears. They will find homes with collectors who will see the innocence in their faces, and know that they are getting a bear, nothing more, just a teddy bear.

Below - four stunning artist bears from Bear Pile


'I just want to give him a hug'
'Just look at that face'

'This sort of talent is beyond me!'
Below - two of my Pud Bears

Little Robbie looking bewildered
by it all.

Jeff, wondering why he hasn't got pretty feet and big, soleful eyes.
'Never mind Jeff, I like you just as you are' 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Harry the Cavalier and the Art of Sleeping

I snapped this yesterday.
Just look at that face - he looks so contented.
My dogs, being Cavaliers, love to sleep.  They have it off to an art form.
Harry gets himself into strange positions and always looks so cute I have to get the camera out.

He found a really soft 'cushion'..........

.........which turned out to be Foggy

My new red dressing gown

He goes for the comfiest chair in the house
You can never have too many cushions!

Flopped out on Alan's knee

Alan found us both asleep (I've edited the 'Sleeping Beauty' out :)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pedigree Patsy - The Restoration Process

I have tried to take a few photos as I was restoring this next bear.
She came to me in a sorry state.  I think she had been living in an attic for quite a few years and had got very dirty and dusty.  Her nose was gone completely, although there were stitches where it would have been.
What a sorry state to be in - poor girl!
(this is the photo I bought her from)

You can clearly see where the
original nose was
I have seen one or two of these 1950's Pedigree bears now, enough to recognise one, even in her poor condition.  It confirmed to me that she was indeed a Pedigree when I saw the stitches where her original felt nose would have been stitched.

She spent the first 48 hours in a carrier bag in my spare freezer, to kill of any bugs or beetles larvae that may be in her stuffing.  My grandsons are quite amused that Nanny keeps bears and such in her freezer.

The next job was to clean her, I could see that she was originally a pretty cinnamon colour as it was still bright in her ear seams.  She stayed in her dry bath for 24 hours to allow any smells to be drawn away into it.  I do not usually leave the bears in the 'bath' this long, but she was exceptionally grubby.

I then sat on the swing seat outside with a fine tooth comb and my trusty bristle hairbrush (it is quite old and I'm not sure where it came from, but it does the job well).  An hour or so later and the dry oats had been brushed and combed out of her mohair and she looked much cleaner and fluffier.

She had some sort of sound box inside her, and I investigated to see if it could be mended.  It was a huge growler and had just come apart.  A bit of cleaning and sticking back together and it worked again.  Not as good as it would have done, but hey, she gives a little growl when tipped!
Stitching up after a major operation, look away if you are squeamish
The next job was to mend her poorly arm and leg.  A few stitches did the trick on the leg, but the arm took a bit longer to fix.
Her arm was nearly off

This had been roughly stitched with black cotton


An ultrasuede black nose, a bit classier than her original felt one, but she deserved it after her ordeal. Then her mouth stitches back in place and she was ready to face the world in her pretty new dress.
Pedigree Patsy, available at

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pedigree Musical Bear

I loved this bear as soon as I unwrapped him.  He has a gentle face and his mohair is lovely and soft.
He has bells in his ears that jingle with the slightest movement.

I took a look to see if I could mend what I thought was his squeaker, but it turned out to be a musical box.
The evidence of this was staring me in the face really as this worn circle on his back gave it away.

The music box wouldn't work anymore so I have replaced it with a new one.  The worn area was very delicate and threadbare so I found a piece of mohair that was a good match and carefully sewed a patch on.  It has blended in very well, I am very pleased with the result.

Here is Jasper, the Pedigree bear after he has been restored.  He needed major surgery to one of his paws and one of his foot pads.  I do not like to cover original pads and if at all possible will just put a patch on the worn area. 
He is now more beautiful than ever after his makeover and is in my Etsy shop waiting for a new home.  www/

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Beautiful Old Bears, Knitting and Christmas

I have been trying to stock up ready for Christmas. 
Topped the Steiff section up with these 4 pretty cats.  The Whiskas Persian is available on my Weebly site and the other 3 are in my Etsy shop
Steiff Cattie 2736/16

Steiff Siamy (silver button)

Steiff Sissi 2726/17

Steiff Whiskas Persian
I have also been making little hanging items for Christmas (or anytime gifts).
Mohair Teddy Bear Charms
Mohair Teddy Bear Charms

Duck Hangers
Heart Hangers

Flower Hangers
The Christmas tree fairies are back too.  All of these items are available from my Etsy shop.
Tree Fairy Blue and Purple

Tree Fairy Pink and White
Tree Fairy Rose Pink
Tree Fairy Pink

 I am knitting atm, making a childs jumper with a teddy bear on the front.  This is an experiment for my Etsy shop.  I enjoy knitting as well as sewing so it will give me a larger variety of listings if there is a market for them.   I will stay with the teddy bear theme on any knitted garments that I produce so that they fit in with the other items in my shop.
This is the front showing the bear's leg and body

I can't wait to get the jumper fisnished to see what it looks like.

Note,added 8th September - I don't think I will be able to sell this jumper as it is not my own design.
It is from a lovely book by Mo Smith called Teddy Bear Knits so if you want one you will have to buy the book and knit your own, sorry.  Just as well that I have a Grandaughter that this one will fit.