Thursday, October 29, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

I have been making miniatures for the last couple of days, some traditional teddies for a change. I can tell you that embroidering their noses was a real challenge for me, since it is quite some time since I've done one.
Ever since I worked out how to put a realistic leather nose onto a bear's snout, I rarely do embroidered ones and I guess I've lost the knack, being somewhat out of practice. These little fellows are just 2 1/4" tall and fully pin and disc jointed. I've really enjoyed making them, apart from their noses that is (one of which had to be unpicked and resewn it looked so bad!)
It is surprising that I can manage to get my big hands to work these tiny bears and at times I do find them frustrating in the extreme, but I always get a thrill when one is completed. I rather like them without any ribbons or frills, I sometimes feel that miniaturists over accessorise and the poor wee bears become overwhelmed by all the bits that have been added to them. But then, apart from very early on when I dressed my bears in little hand smocked dresses and the like, I have always preferred to leave my bears bare.
I have also completed a bear for Sandi Smith who is my partner in the TBACA Christmas swap. This one was quite a departure for me and it even elicited a very positive response from Chris, who doesn't often comment on my bears. I won't show it to you until I know Sandi has him, as I don't want to spoil her surprise. We will be having a showcase of the Christmas swaps on the TBACA website a little later on, too. I've never made a specifically "Christmas" bear before and until I made a start on him I had so many different ideas I didn't know what I was going to do. In the end I just pottered on with it until a rather charming and very "Christmassy" fellow resulted, I just hope Sandi feels the same about him :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Featured Artist

This month yours truly is the featured artist on the TBACA website. So, if you're a little curious and would like a little insight into what makes this ol' girl's mind tick, pop over to and click on the link in the navigation bar at the top of the page. It's amazing, really, trying to write about yourself. Even with a set of questions as a guide, I found it quite difficult. I think Blogging has made things a little easier, it has helped me to sort my thoughts and to restrain my waffle. I know how I feel about things but I find it hard to write my thoughts, and there is always the nagging feeling........ "who wants to know anyway"!

Here are a couple of photos taken at the workshop in Somerset, I'm deep in coversation with Susan's five month old Spaniel, Harry. He's such a lovely little fellow with the most amazing eyes, which are almost green! He was alot of fun to have around, though he did prove to be a distraction, particularly for those of us who have an overwhelming love of dogs, which I must say were the majority of those in the room! :)
The current issue of Australian Bear Creations magazine has a nice little article on bear artists' pandas, and my panda Yi Min is featured along with some other great pandas. The article is also a bit of a tribute to Pauline Wong (Wee Paws) who lost her battle against cancer a while back. Pauline was a master at creating beautiful little pandas and I'm lucky enough to own one of her gorgeous little masterpieces, a very treasured member of my small collection of little bears. That's it folks, I have to go get sewing as I have a show to go to in three weeks.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

At Work Again, And An Anniversary

At last I have started working on my bears again, the new glasses are stronger than my last ones so this means my eyes have got older :0( But at least I can now see the eyes in my tiny needles for threading!

Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of our marriage.....WOW! I'm amazed that we even remembered, actually. Usually November rolls around and we look at each other and remark that we've missed it again! Last year was something special and Chris surprised me with a weekend away. We went to Bruny Island, right down at the Southern tip of Tasmania. We had a night in a lovely cabin with sweeping views overlooking the Channel and the next day we had a thrilling boat ride heading south and around the bottom of Bruny...... with nothing between us and Antarctica! Our special weekend was completed when we were priviledged with some whale sightings! These two were heading to Antarctica for the Summer. It was such athrill for me to see them, it has been a long held wish of mine.

I'm working on bears for my next show which will be held in Mittagong, NSW on Sunday 15th November. I will also be teaching two workshops while I'm in NSW, one in Newcastle and the other at Teddy's Bits in Castle Hill.

I also have to get on with a special little bear for Sandi, who is my partner in the TBACA Christmas swap. I'm mulling over a few ideas at the moment, but I'll have to get cracking if I'm going to have it ready for the November 1st mailing day! There's going to be a Christmas party on the TBACA website, so everyone can see all the swap bears/critters, so stay tuned. I can't believe that Christmas is just around the corner, the year has flown past in a flash!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spring Gardening

Since I can't get much sewing done until my new glasses are ready, I've been spending time in the garden. I have weeded under some of the apple trees with bees buzzing in the blossom above. I'm so glad that I haven't missed the apple blossom, it's so pretty and has a beautiful delicate scent. I discovered that while I was away the chives had started into growth and are actually quite large, I found, once all the weeds were removed! Spring has definitely sprung but it is off to a rather cool beginning, we've been in southerly airstream and with not much between us and Antarctica the air has been pretty cold. Out of the wind and in a sheltered spot however, you can feel the warmth in the sun (when it shines).

I'm finding it very frustrating without my glasses, I'd love to be getting on with some bearworks! I have brought back some fabulous fabrics and leather from and I'm itching to get into them. All I can do is look at them and drool, while imagining the bears that will emerge. I have been drawing, my old glasses are ok for that, and the optometrist has put a priority on my new ones so hopefully the wait won't be too long.

When the weather warms up some more I'll be getting into some more mud larks, making progress on the house. I'm feeling that we should make a big impression on the project this year it's clearer in our heads what needs doing, so there should be less standing around staring up at walls trying to figure things out. In fact I can't wait to start again, the winter hiatus has left me with a severe itch to get going! Despite it's frustrations, building is another enjoyable aspect of life out here and though it sometimes feels as though we will never finish, it gives me a great sense of achievement. Slowly but surely our home is emerging and sooner or later it will no longer be a building site :) The photo shows the mix of mud and straw which is packed in between the timbers of the house to make the walls. It dries to become very solid and once plastered and rendered is a very eco friendly and insulating wall system. This is a very old building technique and there are samples that have stood the test of time and have been lived in continuously for centuries.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ABC Awards Winner

That's right! Kumo has been voted the winner in the people's choice and has won the editor's choice in the Australian Bear Creations Awards for 2009. I'm so honoured and wish to thank all those who took the trouble to vote, not only for Kumo but for all the bears in the competition. Thanks also to Australian Bear Creations magazine for hosting the awards.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I'm home again after a successful trip to England. Hugglets was a wonderful show for me with some good sales and new contacts. I spent some lovely days with family, especially my daughter and yes, I got to go a brambling in the hedgerows. The berries we picked are bubbling away in demi-johns to become wine. I sat listening to the brews one day and it sounded like they were having a good conversation. Perhaps this is a foretaste of the amiable conversations to come over dinner, fuelled by Doug's palatable but potent brews!

The workshop went well, Lockerbie was cancelled when some ladies withdrew. This was just as well really, as the hotel proved to be impossible to contact and it transpired that it had closed, with no notification! (Visions of me arriving and balefully knocking on the door....let me in.) At least I had a full class in Wincanton and all the girls enjoyed a workshop packed with lots of new techniques and some lovely bears resulted. You can see from this photo, that Susan has an absolutely fabulous space for workshops with light streaming in to make sewing a dream. If you look closely you will see a few headless bodies sitting on the table. For this workshop the ladies needed to have the body assembled and ready for the head if they were to have any chance of getting the bear anywhere near completed, and I'm glad to say they all had their homework done. I must say, though, it did look very strange to see all these bodies on the table awaiting their heads.

The trip ended on a somewhat sour note when my ipod, glasses and sunglasses were stolen from my bag in Melbourne's Tullamarine airport. In fact, an accumulation of little disasters brought me down to earth with a resounding bump! After an extended flight delay into Tasmania, I arrived home late on Sunday and after sharing a bottle of red wine, I slept soundly..... only to be woken by the alarm and the realisation normal life had returned and housework was beckoning. Ho Hum!