Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Treasures

I have been busy getting my bears made for the Teddies Worldwide Christmas Treasures online show and I have just finished getting my sales page all ready for the start of the show at the weekend. There is still time for you to head over to the site and cast your votes in the preview, if you haven't done so already.

This is Buloh, he's my preview bear. I'm not allowed to show you any of my other bears, you'll have to wait until the show opens to see what else I have on offer (if you head over to the site you'll find the start time)
It's a busy time of year, with the garden needing urgent attention and with Christmas looming very large. I have one final trip to Victoria this week for workshops at Bear Essence in Tooradin and then I can be at home for a while and try to make some sort of order in the garden and also finalise a few Christmas commissions.
We have had a very strange start to Spring, in fact some days it still feels like Winter hasn't quite left us. I have had to be very imaginative with our asparagus harvest this year, we've been eating it nearly every day and still I was able to get some into the freezer (hopefully it will be okay, I haven't tried freezing it before) All too soon the harvest will be finished though.
I have also been making good use of my birthday bicycle, taking it out for an hour or two most days with the dog running along with me. It didn't take long for my fitness level to increase, and after changing the saddle for a nicely padded one, my bum isn't sore any more either!
I hope you'll all make some time over the weekend to visit the show, there will be some lovely bears exhibited. I had better go and pack my bags for tomorrow's flight to Melbourne.
Thanks for stopping by, I'll try to have some more interesting news for you soon.
Take care!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jussi, Checking In, Life

The past few months have been very strange in Benson Bearland. I had snow in March, yes I was over on the other side of the world, but still...  And then in April my brother-in-law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep. This was a great shock to our family and affected me more deeply than I realised at the time (after all, Bob had been a part of my life for more years than my own father!) It seemed my bear making spirit had left for a while, it was a struggle to get going and no new ideas were forth coming. A couple of months after Bob's death my aunty also passed away after a brief battle with cancer, rather a lot for our family to bear. It didn't help that Tasmania was experiencing some of the wettest weather I can remember! Here we had water seeping and gushing in places where I have never seen it before, and lack of sunshine and dreary days made my mood quite low.
Still, I was committed to a couple of trips, one to Tooradin in May for some classes and then off to the Teddy Tree in Western Australia for more classes and a show in August. This is what I needed. To get in amongst some beary creative friends, my mojo is back, and I am feeling inspired once more. I have been making some sweet sweet bears.
I designed Jussi for my next workshops in Tooradin ( he is loosely based on the "John West" bear. I happened to be stuck over night in a hotel at Melbourne airport after my delayed flight out of WA missed my connection into Launceston. I had a photo of "John" on my computer and did a few rough sketches on the writing pad provided by the hotel, working out his head details and the jointing. When I got home I set about creating the pattern and then the bear. I am really rather pleased with him, he's only little (about 7.5") but he has bags of charm and is oh so poseable! In addition to the usual joint at the shoulder, this bear has three extra joints in each arm! This makes him a lot of fun to play with, he can do all sorts of stuff! In all Yussi has 13 joints in him, wire armature in his back legs and I added leather claws to complete him. So, this is what the girls in Tooradin will be doing with me in a couple of weeks, if you're in Victoria perhaps you'd like to join in? Give Kim a bell if you're interested.....

With Spring in the air and the first blossoms out, warmer days of gentle breezes and sunshine, my mood has lifted. I have been getting out in the garden and attending to some much needed weeding and digging and for the last two days added an hours bike ride to my day as well (I was a lucky recipient of a wonderful new cycle for my birthday!) I now know how unfit I am! (and I also have a sore backside!) To be rectified with regular rides with the dog running along beside me.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Will Be Back

I'm flat out at the moment, I'll be back.
Head down and tail up, I am
I'll tell you all about it later

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Happened Again!

Oh my! It's happening again.....
The year is disappearing AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT'S GOING!!!
So.... it's high time I brought you up to speed with what has been happening in Bensonbearland.
After Christmas and New Year I got straight back into full bear-making mode, getting ready for Hugglets in London and Teddybear Welt in Wiesbaden.
It was quite a shock to the system to arrive in London in February when I had been enjoying our lovely Tasmanian summer. Of course I caught a cold from the man sitting behind me on the flight between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur, (it seemed he was about to cough his lungs out!) and by the time Hugglets rolled around I was feeling entirely miserable. Even so, with a dose of cold and flu meds I enjoyed the day and managed to snaffle myself a Gregory Gylenship bear! Such a lovely classic fellow who gets to sit on my bed! I also bought a metre of beautiful mohair which is waiting to become......

This is Timothy, by Gregory Gylenship

After visiting with family for a week or so, I then flew to Bremen for three days of workshops. The weather was still very cold and early on Friday evening it had started to snow, by morning the world outside was white! Of course all my German friends thought I was entirely mad for getting so excited about a bit if snow (they were all thoroughly sick and tired of it and yearning for Spring to arrive). However, I decided it was a good opportunity to get some photos of this polar bear and his antarctic friend and took them out into Claudia's garden for some fun in the snow.
Fun in the snow near Bremen

 The workshops all went very well and at the end of the weekend we had some sweet mice, pigs, polar bears and penguins! I must be doing something right, as they keep asking me to come back (next year, when the weather is warmer)
After all the busyness of the workshop days it was lovely to wind down with a few days of sewing, keeping quiet company with Claudia and her cats as we prepared for the show in Wiesbaden on the following weekend.
Now, this show is really something! It is HUGE with so much to look at and tempt one! I found me another bear this one from Fabian Song.
Acus by Fabisn Song
I found lots of other cool stuff too. Some lovely old ribbon, and best of all.... some bunches of fabulous old keys, and I'm talking really old! I also bought another metre of fur, this one a lovely creamy alpaca. I was so excited about this one that as soon as I was over THE WORST CASE OF JET LAG EVER, I made this big fellow. This is the biggest bear I've ever made (he took almost the entire metre of fur). I gave him one of those bunches of keys to wear, I hung them on a piece of the ribbon I'd bought in Wiesbaden.
The biggest bear I've ever made! (Almost born)

He came with me to our little Doll and Bear show here in Launceston at the weekend and created quite a stir! He found a new home so now I really want to make another bear like him, I honestly thought he would be with me for a while.
Creating a stir in Launcesten
I think that's about all I have to write about, there wasn't really much in the way of sightseeing this trip, most of it was spent indoors with brief ventures outside.
Shortly I'm off to South Australia for another doll and bear show in Hahndorf followed by a three day workshop.
Our days are drawing in as we head into late Autumn and Winter, we are still picking plenty from our poly-tunnel and our apples are ripe and beautiful (picked fresh from the tree with the morning's dew on them) I like Autumn, but there is always a little tinge of sadness about it too. Our Autumn days are usually gentle, the skies milky with moisture, so welcome after the harsh, sun-drenched, crispy dry days of Summer (and we can relax again with the fire season at an end....). In this weather bear-making becomes more pleasurable, so that's what I will get on with now, I need to replenish my stock for up-coming shows.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New Year Begins

A somewhat belated Happy New Year to everyone, I hope it brings all you hope for!

This is the bear I made for Tobias for Christmas
After a very busy, crowded, but happy time over the festive season, life has at last returned to relative normality. Chris is back at work, all our visitors are on their way and all my bear-making stuff has returned to it's rightful place (around my chair in the lounge) and I have begun work again. I did work on bears right up to the last moment before Christmas descended......I had some late orders and then one very special bear to complete!

This is the bear Tobias thought was his when he saw it. I thought brown would be a better colour for a four year old boy!
We were blessed with a nice long visit from our grandson, we had him for three weeks! I have to admit though, that by the time we handed him over to his mother I was exhausted and in need of rest. I had forgotten just how full on a four year old is! He's in the middle of the "why"s  too, and that in itself is exhausting. But as always we miss him terribly now that he has gone, he is such a delightful child.

A family Christmas lunch under b the grapevines.
We shared a lovely Christmas day with family and friends. Tobias was in his element with many people around for his entertainment.
After several hours in the kitchen and the wonderful assistance given by my daughter, lunch was served on the patio under the grapevines.  Much eating, drinking and merry-making later, and we moved our festivities to our neighbour's continuing late into the night where Tobias had a ball! On a subsequent berry picking visit a few days later, he asked "Where are all the people?"

A rather poignant photo of our two boys
All too soon we had to say goodbye to Sam. I thought Tobias may become difficult after his daddy had left, but he accepted Sam's absence and enjoyed more fun times with Nanny and Poppy. Some beach adventures and a waterfall walk, along with Lego creations, a big lump of red playdough and the dog, all to keep him busy and happy!
And visiting Oma, recovering very well after spinal surgery shortly before Christmas!

We also visited my mother (Tobias' Oma). It was so good to see her looking so well and pain free after her spinal surgery. After so many months thinking this was all life offered, and then have this miracle just in time to enjoy Christmas! Not so long ago she would not have been able to have Tobias on her lap. Now, hopefully Mum will have many more years to enjoy life again.
Well folk, that's about all. Tasmania has had a very fraught beginning to the year with devastating bushfires around the state. Yesterday there was a worrying outbreak not so very far from here, but happily the wind and tempereature dropped over night and the threat has eased. I will, however, keep an eye on the skies and keep checking the TFS website for updates and of course pray that we get some much needed rain soon (tonight would be good!).