Sunday, 8 November 2015


So, enough of baby cot quilts, and back to my bears!

As much as I love the natural look of a bare bear, I’ve been itching to dress one; even just a little bit, so may I introduce Edgar in his trousers? So named by my sister-in-law, Ruth because I couldn’t decide on a name. I’ve been really rubbish at choosing names for my bears so far. Ruth has just been to visit and she decided he looks like an ‘Edgar’, so that’s his name. Made from Viscose (I think it is anyway – some of the fabric Shazy gave me), and suede for the paw pads, fully jointed, with glass eyes, firm fibre filling and some steel shot in his little fat tummly and paws. He’s been aged around the edges to give a vintage look, including faux ‘mending’ stitches; and dressed in woolly red trousers, with some homespun fabric for a little hankie in his pocket and his scarf trimmed with a couple of rusty bells to add to the vintage look.

Edgar is from a bear pattern called ‘Bears N Hares’ by Sweet MeadowFarm.

I hope you like him!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Baby Cot Quilt

I’ve had a short break from my bears the last few weeks or so because I was asked by a work colleague to make a baby cot quilt. Something traditional was the request; but, still unsure what to do, I asked her to find a design she liked – and hexagons were her choice! These are approximately 4½ inches in width and machine stitched, rather than the smaller ‘paper piecing’ ones, which would have taken 'forever', or at least until the youngster was about 5-years old!!  I hadn’t a clue how to go about machine sewing hexagons, other that knowing accurate points would be crucial!! However, I found an excellent tutorial on YouTube, which worked really well. Even though I say so myself, practically all of the points are spot on! I added a border in a neutral ivory tone and a smaller lemon one to help the hexagons pop. Anyway, this is it

Thankfully, baby cot quilts are small LOL. Mind you, I ended up making two, because when I was half way through making this one, my sister-in-law saw it and asked whether I would make one for her to give as a gift to one of her work friends who was also expecting. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photograph of that one, as there was a bit of a rush to finish it – the said lady having had a C section a week ago and my sister-in-law was due to visit her on Thursday, so I had to get it finished quickly! It’s a shame, because it’s a different design to this one, other than I used a few of the left-over hexagons in the centre; and then I did appliqué birds and flowers around the edges – very sweet!

Anyway, I’m back to my bears now
and hope I shall soon have another one to show!

I nearly forgot; Happy Spooky Halloween everyone!!!!!!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Tilly the Hefalump!! :0)

I've been itching to make a mohair 'bear' elephant and here she is - Tilly

Can you call an elephant Tilly!!?? Anyway, that's her name. She's made from a dusty blue mohair, with cotton fabric for her inner ears and is fully jointed, with steel shot in her little fat tummy to weight her. She's also carrying a basket of roses on her trunk

I love her to bits, although I hope to improve on the design next time.

Any well-dressed hefalump must of course have a ribbon on her tail, and I didn't forget LOL - see?

And look at these - get the false eyelashes - they were tricky I can tell you!

I'm certainly learning as I go along. I think I need to plan ahead better and be a bit more patient instead of being so eager to get another bear finished. That's what happens when full-time working gets in the flippin' way all the time. I've made two bears in the last 2 weeks only because I've been on leave from work; and to be honest I had hoped to make more, but I have been out and about a bit too, including my first ever 'Bear Fair' at Kensington Town Hall in London ........ gosh, so many gorgeous bears, so much inspiration!!

Saturday, 12 September 2015


I finished my latest creation this morning; her name is Penny (see the little penny charm sewn on her chest)!! The problem is I can't decide whether I like the little (tu tu) skirt or not - will you help me choose?

Without skirt

AND, with skirt

Some bear makers dress their bears in complete outfits, but I have to say, the more I make them, the less adornment I think they need - the beauty seems to be in the lovely fabrics; and to a large degree, in the facial expressions. I think Penny is probably my cutest one yet; and just 6 inches from top to toe!

Anyway, let me know what you think please!!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Three Bears!

I thought you might like to see my latest mohair bears! I’ve been busy beevering away, continuing to ‘learn the ropes’ of making mohair bears; and making mistakes along the way! But that’s what it’s about at this stage. There’s a particular order to making the bears; and a few times I’ve realised too late I'd forgotten to do something! They are all made of genuine mohair fabric, fully jointed with steel shot inside their tummys, paws and legs; and with genuine glass eyes. They're all somewhere between 7 - 9 inches tall from top to toe!

Anyway, introducing Luca (I haven’t been very inspired by names, but was watching ‘Tea with Mussolini’ last night and liked the name Luca!)

Luca is from a pattern by Sylvie Touzard, bought from Noble Fabrics. I’m very pleased with him, because he has a really nice face. Luca’s woolly jumper is my own pattern, which involved quite a bit of guess work, but now I have the pattern for future use; and I love the burnt orange colour.

Next we have Finn, a little sailor boy teddy

Do you like his little top and matching hat? They were made from an old vintage tea towel I had picked up ages ago at one of those vintage/craft fairs; and to that I added a small antique style brass anchor charm. Finn is from the same pattern as Luca above, but made from a different colour mohair fabric: I’ve also given him a smiley mouth instead ……………. another cutey eh!! It’s amazing how the same pattern in a different fabric, with a different slant to a mouth or nose, can completely change the look of a bear.

And now thirdly (and my absolute favourite so far) is Lala. I just love the quirkyness of this bear. It’s a straight copy from a free pattern I found on ‘Pinterest’ (a great place for free patterns and inspiration generally).

Now I hope you will be just a little bit impressed, because the pattern is in Russian! It’s by a very talented lady called Irina Kunakh – she makes some really unusual bears. I just love her little fat tummy (Lala’s not Irina’s!!) I loved the bear so much the way Irina made it that I didn’t want to adapt it at all; I wanted the same thing and was fortunate enough to find the exact (I think anyway) mohair fabric at what has become my favourite bear making supplies shop. I luckily already had some lilac polka dot fabric for her necktie, ears and feet pads – Lala’s eyes are purple transparent glass. I’d like to be able to say I followed the pattern because I’m so proficient in Russian!!!, but of course I’m not, I don’t speak a word of it, so there’s no need to be too impressed LOL!! Thankfully bear patterns go together in much the same way, so it wasn’t so difficult. It was just things like the cotter joint sizes and eye sizes I couldn’t understand, but they were easy enough to work out. One of the above mentioned mistakes with Lala is that I should have used a thicker Perle cotton for her mouth and eyebrows – they are there, but they’re not too easy to see because I used a No. 12 thread, whereas I should have used a number 8 ……. next time though!!

This last photo here is Irina’s bear (called Lilo) so that you can see I’ve managed to be fairly true to the original.

I chose the name Lala for my version after one of my aunt’s who was nicknamed Lala (real name Sarah), but apparently she was always singing …… “la, la, la, la” all the time. She died young, so I sadly never knew her; and Lala is similar to Irina’s Lilo. You can see Irina’s blog here if you wish, but do you speak Russian??!!!

EDIT 19.10.15
What a lovely surprise - Lala has been adopted and will soon be on her way to her new home in South Wales!!

As I gradually improve in the making of these lovely, special bears, my own style will definitely lean very much towards the quirky style most of the time, although eventually I want to be able to make and offer a variety of styles and sizes for sale.

I hope you love looking at my bears as much as I am enjoying making them

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, 10 July 2015

A New Direction

I thought it was about time I posted again, if for no other reason other than to put Wendy (The Quiet Room blog) out of her misery!! I told her recently in an email that I was changing direction slightly with my crafts, but didn't expand any further ……………. I hope I haven't excited her expectations too much, but here we go LOL

For several years, I've been following one particular blog; and browsing lots of Pinterest pictures of Mohair Bears. Initially, I decided they looked far too complicated for me to handle, however the more I looked into it, the more I thought perhaps I could do it! Having discovered a Mohair Bear Making Workshop about only an hour away from me, I decided this was the answer - so that's what I did about a month or so ago. And did I have a great day ……… well, yes I did; and here is the product - my very first, fully jointed Mohair Bear (Vintage style!)

I've named him Alfie after my granddad. You wouldn't believe 10 middle-aged ladies all sitting round at the end of the day saying "and what are you calling yours" ……… really funny!!!

Following the Workshop, I made this little Mohair Bear Westie Dog (no name yet!) – bought as a kit from eBay 

And I’ve just finished bear No. 3; similar to Alfie, except this one is two-tone …… and a girl – also no name yet! Don’t look too closely at the nose – that is a skill yet to be perfected! I need more practice 

The reason for the decision to have a go at bear making is that I’m going to have a go eventually at setting up my own small craft business, probably on Etsy. There's a decent market for Mohair Bears - not as toys for children, but for collectors; and if you can establish a good following, they sell well - a lot more than the rag dolls I've made in the past. This is something I'm going to work on over the next 2 - 3 years to become experienced at making them, find my own style and establish a business. The plan is to use it as a Pension supplement. I'm 55 now; and although I can retire at 60 on a full work's pension, I would have to continue part-time because of the mortgage. And the thought of that simply depresses the hell out of me - I feel so tired sometimes; and I hate all the travelling!! So now the plan is to make some extra money by doing what I love doing - sewing!! For about the last 10 years I've yearned to have my own craft business, but never believed it could become a reality (Pie in the sky I thought); but where there's a will, there's a way as they say ……. so watch this space!

Now you all know how kind bloggy friends are don’t you? A few weeks ago I was exchanging a few emails with Shazy, when the bears came into the discussion. It turned out that Shazy had considered bear making a few years ago and had bought various pieces of the Mohair fabric (not cheap I can tell you), cotter joints, ultra suede (for their paws) etc., however, as with many of us, some of our crafty ideas simply never become a reality because of shortness of time! So what has Shazy done? She gifted the whole lot to me on the grounds she would rather see it used that go to waste – how super kind is that – incredibly so in my book. I’ve already said so directly, but again, thank you so much Shazy xx

Anyway, I’ll end it here on a totally unrelated note as I’m still buzzing!! Last night, I went to see The Divine Miss M ….. Bette Midler here in Birmingham. What a show, what a woman - she was amazing I can tell you. The whole arena went crazy when she sang ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ ….. WOW – Incredible!!

Until the next bear!!!

Monday, 22 June 2015

A pink velvet elephant - really?!!

And once again ………. it’s been a while, I know!!! I can’t even say I’ve been prolific, but I have a couple of things to show – in the velvet line, as mentioned in my last post, which was ages and ages ago! So, first of all meet Abigail

Yes, I know, a pink velvet elephant – well what else?? Abigail is from a pattern by Angela from PC Bangles (Etsy). I love baby elephants, don’t you, they’re so cute. Did anyone (in the UK) recently watch ‘Elephant Diaries’ on BBC2? I spent most of my time crying, laughing and cooing – it was lovely! 

Her cardigan is hand knitted by me …. the pattern was made up as I went along as I don’t happen to have a knitting pattern for a 7-inch elephant LOL. It’s not perfect, but I think Abi loves it; and it’s keeping her warm!! If anyone knows of any clothes knitting patterns for small toys, I’d be grateful for a link.

Did I mention how flippin’ difficult velvet is to sew with!!!! It frays constantly. In the end, I put some of that Fray Check around the edges, but I was covered all over with bits from where it was fraying – I think that’s because it’s a pile fabric rather than a woven fabric like cotton – the end result feels lovely though. All hand stitched too. That too is because of the pile – have you ever attempted to machine-sew velvet – it moves and contorts all over the place! So, pinning, tacking AND THEN hand-sewing is the only answer

Anyway, my other velvet finish is this heart scissor keep. 

This is from the Maggie Bonanomi book I bought not long ago – the one with the velvet green peapod pincushion (last post)! Again, all hand-stitched because of the movement of the velvet; and also because it has cardboard between the velvet and the cotton to keep it firm. 

The velvet is some I hand-dyed not so long ago and I was very pleased with this colour in particular – kind of a chocolatey brown and I managed to find some nice vintage style fabric that goes well with it from my stash. I hope you like this too!

So that’s it for now – I might be back a bit sooner, because I do have another couple of things to show (NOT velvet), but I’ll leave them for another day

Bye bye for now

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Peapod Pins

I just had to do a quick post to show the addition to my Peapod Pinkeep (see last post). Today I've been busy playing with Polymer Clay and made these little Peapod decorated pins to add to the Pinkeep ......... Peapod overload, or rather sweet - what do you think LOL. I had fun anyway !!