Thursday, December 15, 2011

Season's Greetings

Just ten more days until Christmas! WHAT??????

 On Christmas day we will be sharing a lovely meal with family, much of which will home grown, picked fresh from our gardens. Tonight my son and grandson arrive from Melbourne, which is just as well as we have an over-abundance of strawberries. And Tobias LOVES strawberries, so he can help in the eating of them! I love having a food garden, I hate buying inferior vegetables and fruit and paying too much for things that have been sprayed, with who knows what! This year we have added a new poly tunnel to our growing area, and in it we have some very lusty plants which will give us tomatoes, capsicums, aubergines, chillis, cucumbers and hopefully some cantaloupes! My, that sounds like an awful lot of food! (It is a big poly tunnel!) In a few days I will send the boys out to find us a nice Christmas tree to put up, I don't like the artificial ones. I like the piny smell in the house from a fresh tree. (It's ok, we only take them from where they shouldn't be growing, they're weeds really). On Face Book I've been seeing everyone posting photos of their decorations, the whole house decked out in Christmas will be all I can do to get this place clean! Let alone decorated. (Maybe I'll blow the cobwebs off my wreath and hang that today) I really should put some effort in this year, since we have Tobias staying with us and at three and a half he's old enough now feel the excitement of the festive season. (For me that's what Christmas is all about really, the children).
Anyway, in case I don't get a chance between now and Christmas, I want to wish everyone everywhere, peace and joy, not only for Christmas, but for 2012. May the coming year be filled with all things wonderful! However you wish to celebrate......MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!
Aaaaaand look out for a New Year's Benson Bears giveaway, coming soon! Just to say thanks for your support and for visiting, and especially for reading.......  :o)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back To My Roots

While I was overseas in September I had an email inviting me to teach a workshop at Tarraleah Resort in the highlands of Tasmania. Tarraleah is one of Tasmania's old "Hydro" villages, which were built last century to house the workers and their families when Tasmania's hydro-electric schemes were being built.
My father was one of these workers, and in the 1950's and 60's our family lived in Tarraleah village, my first five years were spent there! I haven't been back to Tarraleah since childhood and this invitation came out of the blue, and of course I was intrigued. The development of Tarraleah as a resort  saved the village from becoming a victim of time and derelection. The workers cottages have been restored as accommodation, though my sister tells me that "our" house no longer exists. There is a range of different accomodations to suit all budgets from luxury through to a caravan park. If you would like to learn more about Tarraleah here is the link.
The workshop will be a basic bear for beginners, this entailed me making a sample "teddy" suitable for teaching novice bear makers. It is quite some time since I've made a teddy bear, and it was rather lovely to return to my bear making roots (though embroidering that nose was a challenge!) I'm rather excited about these weekend retreats, there is one next month (17th and 18th) and another in January (21st and 22nd), I really am looking forward to seeing "what they've done with the place"! Take a look at the website and check out the events callendar, there is a range of different weekends on offer over the Summer.
Perhaps some of my Tasmanian readers might be interested in a beary nice weekend retreat?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Decking the Halls

At last I have something to write about! Well actually I have lots to write about but I simply haven't had time to sit down and compose.
This will be a quickie to let you know that in a week I will be participating in a Mini Christmas online show.
The theme of the show is "Deck The Halls" and participating artists have been working hard for some months to bring you pieces in keeping with the theme.
So, if you want to treat yourself to something a little special this Christmas be sure to come along to the show. It runs from the 11th to the 14th of November. I'm sure you will be delighted with what you will find when you visit.
I'm off to NSW tomorrow, on Sunday I have my final "in the fur" show at Mittagong followed by a two day workshop at Teddy's Bits I'm home again on Wednesday ready to do some catching up.......I really do need some home time!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This Was Unexpected

The other morning I had a phone call from my sister Susie wishing me a Happy Birthday, this was somewhat unexpected as she usually forgets (our family was never all that good with this sort of thing). We arranged a meeting in town for coffee and Susie gave me this gorgeous little "Sukeshi" doll. When I saw a group of these on her blog I was taken with "P'tit Fauve" particularly, because his little face reminds me so much of my grandson. Tobias gets just this look on his face on occasion, usually when he's thinking up some mischief! I think it is so special to receive a little something hand~crafted, and this little one is such a treasure. If you want to see more of Susie's work you will find it here. I wish I had a photo of Tobias with "the look" so that you can see what I mean!
Tomorrow I'm heading off to England and Germany. I'm looking forward to seeing my daughter in London and catching up with family in Germany and England. I'm teaching two workshops in Bremen and one in Somerset, and I am also exhibiting my bears at Teddies 2011 on September 11th. I'll be away for three weeks, so things will probably be a bit quiet around here. I'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Name Game

I have seen many photographs of polar bear cubs when they first emerge from their winter snow caves, they look so small and vulnerable in the vastness of the Arctic wilderness. There is one particular photo that I often hold in my mind of a cub trotting along in pursuit of it's mother, you don't see the adult in the picture just this tiny cub in a huge, snowy, vastness. It makes me smile because he's such a cute little guy, but I also feel an incredible sadness at how the future looks for polar bears. That photograph seems to embody the fragility of their existence in the face of diminishing suitable habitat, it is such a tragedy that we may lose this magnificent species (one of my favourites) in the very near future as the ice caps disappear.

In this latest bear I have endeavoured to capture the vulnnerability of a newly emerged polar bear cub. I have used a very dense alpaca for his coat, which I have had to extensively trim to carve out his features (otherwise he would just be a big fuzz ball!) He has a Locline "spine" and he also has it in all his limbs but I have kept him softly filled so that he is a very poseable bear. I  added a bag of stainless steel pellets to his tummy to give him a nice weight. He has needle felted eye surrounds, which have enhanced his juvenile appearance. I really like how this one has turned out, in fact I think it may be my best work to date! Now all I need to do is think of a name...............

You'll have to forgive my odd set up for these photos. I could have taken a trip up Ben Lomond and posed him in the real snow up there, but quite frankly I didn't really want to get that cold for a couple of photos. So you get the old polyfill "snow" instead!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cross Over

In bear making as in a lot of things, there are the "given" ways of doing things. The pattern we first use will determine pretty much how we approach our bears. For years I have been unhappy with the way the fur sat over the toes on my bears. The traditional pattern for a bear's leg is made in two pieces plus a foot pad, and therein lies the problem, that seam over the centre of the toe area. I have been dabbling a little in dolls over the last few years and have found that there are techniques which definitely cross over between dolls and bears, and in dolls is where I found an answer to a couple of bear design problems.
I wanted to get a flatter looking foot for my bears and looked at doll patterns for a solution. So now for a number of years I have been making bears with a two piece leg like a doll's leg with the toe sewn flat (but with no footpad). I then hand appliqued leather pads to the feet, which were stuffed and sculpted to get toes like this. This achieved the flatter foot I was after, but I still had problems with how the fur was sitting over the toe end of the foot because of the seam running down the centre of the foot.
Just recently I have sloved this annoying problem by again looking at doll patterns. I now I have a three piece leg with no seam over the toe, plus a foot pad. I can then use different techniques for the pads, including sculpting the pad after the legs have been stuffed, or using a combination of trapunto and needle sculpting  to get some very nice feet. The bear I have just completed has given me alot of joy, I have managed to get some great articulation in him using Loc-line in both his body and his limbs, and I have spent hours playing with him enjoying the realistic movement in him. I feel I'm getting closer to what I'm after in my bears and that is what is so rewarding about all that I do, the evolution of design, the solution of problems and the joy of achievement!
This bear has the "new" feet, but isn't my latest.You can see how nicely the fur is sitting over the ends of his toes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

RSI And A Bear Named Mon

There were alot of names to write out, then cut into individual slips and then screw up into little balls and now my hand is suffering a little RSI! We need a DRUM ROLL please! The name drawn from the basket is Linda Down (Lombard Bears)! Congratulations Linda, and many thanks to all who entered into the spirit of the game and left name suggestions, I'm going to file some of them away for future reference.
Soon Mon will be on her way to a new home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Best Laid Plans.......

Well now, after a perfect alignment the other day, the stars must have jumbled themselves up again! So much for yesterday's plans! In the morning the car had a flat, Chris changed it and on inspection noticed that two other tyres had worrisome splits in them! (We have a very bumpy drive into our place which can be very hard on our tyres but to get three splits all at once was just plain unlucky, I think some track maintainance has become rather higher on the "to do" list!) So yesterday was spent replacing the tyres and wandering around Launceston while waiting for the task to be done. We looked at vacuum cleaners, as the one we have is barely functional. Don't get me wrong, it still sucks.........but it is held together with gaffer tape and now the head has lost a spring and I can no longer lower the brushes for hard floors, so I guess we need a new one. I could go for one of those little cheapies, but I do like the Dysons! And of course, depending on who you're talking to, things get confusing. I'll just have to struggle on with my geriatric Phillips for a while, but will have to decide something soon.
So........because of yesterday's dramas I didn't get around to photographing my giveaway bear, let alone getting him in here!
I can say our shortest day was cold, wet and windy. Today is looking decidedly better with a frost this morning, and the sun shining through the bay window is managing to warm me a little. I have just popped outside and taken this photo. This is my next giveaway! ( Thankyou Sandi for making such a cute button for this one)
If you want to be in with a chance to win this bear, leave your comment below with a suggested name for him/her. If you want some extra chances repost this photo on your own blog with a link back here and I'll add your name an additional two times to the hat/bowl/basket. I think that will do, I don't want to inundate you with rules! I'll look forward to your name suggestions, the draw will take place in two weeks and the bear will be given the name that comes out of the hat. Good Luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Always Get It In The End (and you might too)

It seems that I can puzzle over things for years, trying various methods of approach that don't work and then all of a sudden all falls into place and the solution to a particular problem presents itself when I wasn't even trying (perhaps the phase of the moon or the alignment of the stars were perfect)! This happened today. Over the years I have tried and tried to sculpt a leather nose for my pandas which has the distinctive shape of a real panda's nose.  Many times I have tossed the resulting misshapen mess into the bin and reverted to my more typically beary nose. Today it's a different story, I wasn't even putting serious thought into it just fiddling about with a piece of green felt, trying out different shapes, "et voila" there it was in my hands, a panda nose! I'm so happy about this, but you are going to have to wait to see it, as this head is barely recognisable as the beginnings of a panda! (Does have a cute nose though)
My real reason for posting today is to let you know I'm having another giveaway. I see that I am inching my way to 300 followers (thanks y'all), good enough reason to celebrate along with midwinter I'd say ;o)
Tomorrow, on the shortest day of the year here for us down under, I will post a photo of the giveaway bear. So stay tuned, there will be some rules!
Meanwhile here's a little shot of Funi from our trip to the Adelaide zoo in January.......just to give you an idea of what I'm on about when it comes to noses and pandas :o)

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Magical Time Of Year

Even though the days are short and cold, there is a magical quality about late Autumn and Early Winter here in Tasmania. On Saturday evening, just after sunset we were treated to a display of southern lights, we don't often see them and when we do it always feels special. Then on Sunday morning this is what we awoke to in the garden! It must have got down very cold in the night and this ice sculpture is the result of a leak in one of our water pipes which had sent a fine water spray out over a patch of long grass and bracken. In each of these structures, if you look closely, you will see a grass stem or other vegetation on which the ice has formed. Now readers in some of the colder areas of Europe and America probably won't think much of this, but for us it was a real treat. I think we have had snow fall here where we live just three times in thirty odd years, and only once did it settle long enough to scrape together enough to make a small snowman, it just doesn't get all that cold, really.

I'm working on pieces to bring away with me to the Gold Coast International Teddy Bear Fair which is being held over the Queen's Birthday long weekend (11th and 12th June) The little guy I'm making now has such a sweet face, I'm not sure I want to take him along! I might want to keep him. This doesn't often happen to me, but occasionally one little face will talk to me and I'll hang on to the bear........ for a while at least.

Last week I received my trophy from the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair people's choice competition, a lovely crystal piece to add to my cabinet :) This was for Fynn, and he won the Modern Bear category.

Lastly, don't forget to cast your vote in the Australasian Creative Design Awards, voting is open for just a few more days. On Wednesday morning all the entries will be available for adoption, I hope to "see" you there!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ginger's Giveaway!

Ginger Brame over at Bear Bits is having a giveaway, in celebration of her 500th blog post! WOW! And just look at this gorgeous little bear she has up for grabs! Isn't he just the cutest little thing ever? His name is May-bee and you have a whole month in which to get your entry in, I've already done mine :o)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Keeping The Home Fires Burning

This is how I've spent some of this mother's day, stacking firewood into the "woodshed". This little structure was one of our first building attempts out here. It was intended as a "temporary" solution to our firewood storage needs and is built with bush poles, scrap timber and old roofing iron. It has stood nigh on thirty years! Not so bad for a temporary building. It is a little swaybacked and it has a definite lean in a south~easterly direction and quite frankly I'm surprised it's still standing! We keep thinking it will do for another winter....and another....and another and still it stands! Being "off the grid" for everything this is a vital part of keeping things going out here, a good wood supply. Our kitchen wood~fired stove also heats our no wood, no fire, no hot water. We like it that way, being totally in control of things, but it can get very wearying at times, and as we get older it's getting harder. I guess the time will come when we will really need to re-think things and find some "simpler" solutions. Meantime, our little shed serves our needs.

The other thing I've been doing today is playing with paperclay. I've been sculpting this doll's head, it started out as a styrofoam egg over which the clay has been added. I have been following a guided tutorial by Sue McFadden (Blueprints in Felt Doll Making), and I have been enjoying it immensely. I have dabbled in dolls from time to time and played in my sister Susie's studio, but I always come unstuck when it comes time to paint! If I fiddle about long enough I can get a reasonable looking sculpt, but me and paint? Ugh! When I saw this tutorial I thought it was much more manageable for me as there is minimal painting involved! I love the tactile look of the wool felt over the paperclay sculpt, it somehow feels closer to bearmaking for me. (Now getting the felt to sit nicely over the sculpt might prove to be too much of a challenge for me, so stay tuned for an update!) I still have quite a way to go with the sculpting but it's getting there. I suppose I should really put it aside and get some bears made, it's only a few short weeks until the Gold Coast International Teddy Bear Fair! You might like to take a look at Sue's work, her dolls have such gentle souls, and are quite whimsicle, you'll find them here

Friday, May 6, 2011

In Case You Haven't Heard....

I have been honoured with two nominations in this year's Australasian Creative Design Awards! Now that the hands on judges have completed their task, we are allowed to brag a little. All the entries in this year's competition can now be viewed here please take a few minutes to have a look and vote for your favourite critter. (If you find the photos a bit small to make a decision, you can wait unti June1 when the show opens and cast your vote then, they will be displayed much bigger then)
This year we had to find inspiration in the works of Beatrix Potter, a theme I had surprising difficulty with! It was hard for me not to just reproduce her characters, as I find them all so endearing! In the end I was pretty pleased with my efforts and these two have been in the hands of the three judges this past week. I'm looking forward to reading the critiques when I get them back. I always find "in the fur" judging very beneficial, it can bring attention to any aspects of your work that can be improved upon which would never be picked up from a photograph, and I certainly take the judges' advice to heart.
Squirrel Nutkin and his friends were the inspiration for "Nuss". I know the red squirrel is now rare in the British Isles but I do get excited when I see the little grey squirrels who seem to inhabit every garden and park, when I visit the UK. (Maybe I'll be lucky and see a red squirrel too, sometime)

As for "Missy" my little mouse. It seems I have inspiration for her all over the house at the moment, as they always invade when the weather starts to get cool. But in truth back when I was making her, the weather was warm and the mice were happy to be outside in the bush, so Appley Dappley's old woman who lived in a little shoe-house was my inspiration. Though I didn't give Missy nearly as fancy a shoe as Beatrix painted for her mouse, (it is a genuine antique button-up boot though).
I hope you enjoy seeing all the pieces in the show, there certainly are some wonderful works and some very interesting interpretations of the theme! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

It Won't Last, I Tell You.

From time to time my pincushion ends up looking like this.....
And when it does, I seem to waste an awful lot of
time trying to locate the right needle for a particular task. Rummaging around in the tangle, trying to get at my applique pins which seem to bury themselves deep in the nest of all takes up valuable bearmaking time.
The last straw came recently, when I was in Victoria at Bear Essence teaching some workshops. My dear friend and owner of the shop (Kim) had a dig at me and my pincushion! Then this morning when the dog swept it to the floor with her over enthusiastic tail wagging, and sent a miscellany of bits and pieces flying, I decided it was time for a pincushion clean-up!
And this is the result..........

                    ...........but It won't last, I tell you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

The weather has certainly turned and we are heading into Winter after a rather disappointing Summer. Though, of course, I can look at it in a positive way and say that we never had that feeling of imminent danger this past Summer. No scanning the skies for puffs of smoke hoping that they weren't in our neck of the woods. The countryside has stayed remarkably green and now, with the Autumn colour in the deciduous trees, it's looking very pretty.
Nanou will be my next workshop at Bear Essence
I have just returned home after spending a few days teaching a couple of workshops at Bear Essence in Victoria. These were mixed classes of Teo the sunbear and a large polar/grizzly bear from a few years back. I must say that the girls all did beautiful work and some lovely bears were birthed. I'll be heading back over at the end of April for two one day classes, making Nanou in beautiful Japanese alpaca fur. Followed by a bear fair in Berwick which has been organised by Melissa Kemp, on 1st of May.
Just some of the girls and their bears
I managed to complete all my entries for the ACDAs before I left for Victoria. When Sandi told us that the challenge was for critters inspired by Beatrix Potter, I thought that it would be a breeze. However, this didn't prove to be the case! It was HARD! I can't go into what I made, but I can say that it was difficult not to end up making Jeremy Fisher, Jemima Puddleduck, Hunca Munca, Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten, Mrs Tiggywinkle etc,etc....... Remember we had to find ispiration from her work, not recreate her characters which are protected by copyright. I leave you with these tantalisng thoughts, you can ponder what inspired me and where it took me. On June 1st all will be revealed! So be sure to note that date in your diary, and head over to the ACDA site where you will be able to view all the entrants in this year's challenge.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Names

Cuddling up to a Moroccan Kitty
I went through all the comments. I wrote all the names onto paper. I cut them all into individual little slips and then I screwed them all up and put them in a basket (not a hat) My daughter picked out the following two names.............. Michele Vaile (soggibottom) and Adriana. Congratulations to you both! I'll pop these little sweeties into the post, just as soon as I've heard from you both with your postal addresses.........and I've made them. Shouldn't take me too long, they're only very small :o)

Friday, February 18, 2011

On A Train

All the way from Arizona

Now a pendant
Last year I travelled by train from London to Suffolk to visit my cousin Jane, and other members of my extended family. After sitting and chatting for a while, I realised that I had lost the dangle from one of my ear-rings. It was a pair of Navajo sterling silver, fetish style bears that I'd had, and worn for many years. I was pretty devastated by the loss, I was really attached to those  ear-rings and missed them terribly. I while back I decided to do a bit of an internet search to see if I could find something to replace them with. Yesterday these came in the mail, all the way from  eScape Market in Arizona. They are just beautiful! Gorgeous stylised, sterling silver bears inlaid with my favourite stone. It's amazing that such a simple thing can make a person feel whole. I'd been wearing those bears for so long and the loss of one of them affected me more deeply than I expected. I'm wearing these new ones now and they're making me feel so right! I've taken the bear remaining from the original set and added a silver jump ring and I've hung it from a silver choker. So now I can still wear it as a pendant. I could spend hours trawling through eScape Market, they have a wonderful range of Navajo and Zuni Indian jewelery, pottery and other crafts. Take a look, you might find something you "need"!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just Four More Days!

You have just four more days to get your entry in for my double giveaway. On the 19th I'll be pulling two names out of the hat and each will receive a miniature bear made by me. If you scroll down a few posts you will find the right spot (it's the one with these two bears on it), just leave your comment and a means of contact.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jo Jo's Coming To Sydney!

Hi there, I've just finished this alpaca panda cub named Jo Jo. She's such a sweet little thing, I rushed out and took some photos because I was so excited about her! Jo Jo is about 12.5" tall and she has a needle felted muzzle, which has fur rooted into it to recreate fuzziness after the sculpting of the needle felt is finished. This takes a long time to do, and involves rooting the hair row by row with a felting needle to get the right effect (this is not something you should do while watching the telly). I have also given her a needle felted nose, which I have hardened and then painted, giving it a lifelike pinkish tone inside. I also waxed and buffed the nose to a lovely soft sheen. Jo Jo has eyes that can be posed open, closed or sleepy. I think she looks really sweet when asleep, but under her eyelids she has  lovely blue English glass, starburst eyes. Her paws and feet have top trapunto leather features which are sculpted and dry brush painted using artists oils. I have also added little leather claws. I managed to get alot of glass pellets into this bear, so she's nice and heavy when cuddled. Jo Jo will be coming with me to Sydney in a few weeks for the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair. I can't believe that I'm looking at dates in March thinking how close they are! Where does the time go?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't Forget!

Tomorrow is the day! At 8pm Eastern Australian Daylight Saving Time, the BMV online show begins. I sure hope you can join us at the TBACA site for all the fun.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Insomnia Can Be A Good Thing

I finished this bear this morning. I've decided to name him Yasi, since I've been working on him this week and Yasi has been in the headlines all week. Not that he's anything like that terrible cyclone, (he's a sweet faced, gentle little bear) I just liked the name and though it might suit a bear :o)

A sweet faced, gentle little bear.
Rather sweet in "half asleep" pose
And fast asleep :o)
He's actually a variant of Nanou's pattern, with a little more fine tuning. I have given him slightly longer arms which I have set a little further forward on his body. Yasi is made from the other piece of Belgian plush that Melissa gave me, this one has a slightly lighter tip on it and is a blended mix of taupe, beige and grey. I have spent alot of time on trimming his face to get his sweet expression. I have also added open/close eyelids. This is a new thing for me, and one I've been pondering on and off for a number of years until the solution struck the other night when I should really have been asleep! Another little technique to tuck under my belt :o) He also has a full set of leather claws and beautiful sculpted and painted paws to complete him. Have a look at the photos and tell me what you think, I rather like him in "half asleep" pose.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another BMV Sneak Peek

Here's another little peek at my BMV offerings. In just a week all will be revealed! I hope you can find the time to pop over to have a look at all the creations the members of TBACA have made for the show. This year the show will run over four days, starting at 8pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time) on Friday the 11th through until Monday 14th at 8pm. This gives you plenty of time to go and take a look, I hope to see you there :o)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Workshop In Sydney

Back in November, at the Mittagong Doll And Bear Fair Melissa Kemp from The Art Of Teddy Bears gave me a couple of pieces of Belgian plush to try out. I have just finished this gorgeous little polar bear (Nanou)and he's the sample for my two, one-day workshops which will be held on Friday and Saturday before the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair. It was quite different working with this plush, it trims beautifully and the bear looks really chubby because it's extremely dense and oh so soft! If you're in Sydney or are planning to be there for the show, perhaps you'd like to join me for a little workshop fun? If you're interested contact Melissa, I'm sure she'd love to hear from you :o)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Peek

As promised here is another little peek at what I will be offering at the BMV online show. It's not too far away now :o)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

BMV Sneak Peek

With the Be My Valentine Show coming up in February, it's time for the sneak peeks! I'll be trotting out a few of these over the next couple of weeks to whet your appetites. I hope you like what you see. Also, a reminder of my giveaway which will be drawn on the 19th of Feb. There are no strings attached to this one, all you need do is leave a comment on the giveaway post to be in the running, (and a means of contact, if you don't have blog or aren't a member of TT or TBACA)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lets Make It A Double!

I promised another giveaway. I've decided to make it a double, in celebration of 100 posts and also my Blog anniverary which is coming up in February. If you want to be in the draw, leave a comment here and you'll be entered. You can enter more than once if you like. Simple huh? I'll make one each of these to give away. I haven't decided how the draw will take place, but it will be in a month on the 19th of February. Good Luck!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Sigh Of Relief

I've had a stressful couple of days. Midnight on Saturday was the deadline for submissions for the "Be My Valentine" show with the TBACA, which was fine. I spent some of Saturday with a few last minute tasks on the bears before a photography session out on the patio. The battery on the camera ran low before I'd finished so while it was recharging I wrote the descriptions, making good use of my time (this is unusual for me) Then back out to finish taking the pictures.
Do you think I could remember how to do the photo editing to get them into the right format for Sandi huh? After fiddling with the computer for a while and getting flustered, I sent a text to my son for instructions and he put me on the right track :o) It was starting to get late by then and time to cook dinner, so I left Chris in charge of the photo editing while I banged about in the kitchen for a bit. After finishing dinner and the bottle of red we'd opened on Friday night, I sent everything off to Sandi along with an email asking for confirmation that all had arrived. I then settled down to a little sewing in front of the telly, keeping one eye on the computer while I waited for Sandi to reply. Nothing! So I sent a couple more emails. Midnight passed and still nothing came from Sandi. By now I was feeling pretty anxious. I stayed up til about 1am and then decided it was pointless getting too worked up about it. I didn't sleep very well and in the morning we discovered our mail server was down! Our ISP is based in Queensland and with the wild time they've been having lately I suppose we should really have expected this. I sent a message to Sandi on Facebook and she replied saying that all had arrived and that obviously I wasn't getting her emails........PHEW! Slowly over the course of yesterday the emails arrived, and yes there was the confirmation from Sandi sent soon after I'd submitted everything! (stuff was going out but nothing was coming in)
I suppose that will teach me to leave everything so late, and I should be more organised! But I'm sorry, I really don't think this old dog can realistically learn that new trick. I've been lurching through my life from one deadline to another for too long now :o)
So here's a photo of our patio, my photography studio. It works surprisingly well, with a white cloth hung to cut the glare of the sun and one of the chairs up on the table draped with a cloth on which to pose the bears. I could have taken a pic of the setup, but we had an unexpected guest for dinner last night so I had to dismantle in order to use the table! It's a lovely spot to sit out in Summer, especially on a long balmy evening with a few candles for light.........ahhh relaxing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Holiday

On New Years Day I visited Adelaide Zoo with Tobias. I was determined to go, and having our grandson with us provided the perfect "excuse"! My motive was to go and see Wang Wang and Funi the pandas. I had never seen real live pandas and this was an opportunity I couldn't miss. It was an extremely hot Adelaide summer's day, but the pandas have a wonderful enclosure where they are protected from the worst of it. Funi (the female) had a big "popsicle" which had pieces of fruit and bamboo leaves frozen into it, and she was making a determined effort to get at the goodies in the ice.

I remember seeing a comedy skit years ago involving a couple of guys dressed as pandas, as the panda exhibit in a zoo, and it was brought to mind when I saw Funi and Wang Wang. I couldn't shake the feeling that there was a zipper there somewhere and I was looking at a couple of guys in panda suits! The animals don't look real to me, maybe animated soft toys (or men in suits). Pandas don't have expressive faces, even though they are just about as cute as you can imagine any animal to be (this has something to do with the huge muscle mass they need in their jaws for all that bamboo chewing they do, making them look somewhat toylike). I'm so pleased I had the chance to see them and got some good shots. Tobias was more interested in climbing on things and pressing the buttons on the interactive displays than the animals, but he had a fun day with Nanny and Poppa and we had a lovely day with our adorable grandson :o)
I'm inspired to make a panda now :o)