Thursday, March 31, 2011

So ugly she's cute?

The plan was to try and incorporate my new floating eyelid technique with one of my established designs, for a somewhat more traditionally shaped bear than Pax or the bear army.

After receiving the gorgeous photo of Booth and Toulouse from one of my collectors, I thought maybe that would be the best pattern to try the new eye technique on. After all, the design has a nice big head, plenty of room to play with!

Lets just say things didn't quite go to plan... I was a little worried after I'd set the eyes, sewn the head and put a bit of stuffing in. That was one ugly little bear staring back at me! I think in moments like that it can be very tempting to just chuck the offending thing away. But being the frugal person that I am, I couldn't bring myself to waste perfectly good mohair, (which serves me right for experimenting with my good fur!!) so I persevered, determined to make the bear look semi reasonable. I wrote on my facebook page that I was hoping to get it to the 'so ugly it's cute' stage... and I kind of think I might have succeeded. She's unique though, there's no doubting that!

I've called her Pomona, and for all intensive purposes she is perfect - fully jointed, stuffed with polyfill and beads, neatly closed seams, rounded paw pads, awesome funky tufted batik-dyed mohair, big 3D embroidered nose... and THOSE eyes!

Pomona is now on etsy and bearpile.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Byron at 8 weeks

Mr Byron turned 8 weeks old this morning. He's growing up so fast! An he is such a good little baby. I have to try not to take him for granted as he really does just 'fit in' with our crazy household.

He was a little more unsettled today though. The poor little mite had his immunisations this morning, which meant he had to be woken from a lovely sleep in my arms he'd has for the 45mins they kept us in the waiting room, to being striped down, weighed, measured, jabbed (twice) and fed what I'm assuming was a nasty-tasting concoction of rota virus vaccine (he screamed as much for that as he did for the needles!).

It looks like he's still got a little jaundice as well, which is odd for a baby his age. So that meant we had to go to the blood collection centre, where his heal was pricked and squeezed for a good 15mins in the dark, (apparently the light can affect the result) while they took drop after tiny drop of blood until they had half a ml! By this stage his screaming was really manic. And before they'd even had a chance to bandage his foot, he'd fallen asleep in my arms out of sheer exhaustion.

So tonight was a little tricky as he was so so sad. I've never heard a cry so pitiful. He went to sleep really well though, so I'm hoping that's a good sign for the rest of the night! This is my treat for having to get up to him at night - this gorgeous little face staring back at me while we do super quick midnight nappy changes!

On the positive side though, he now weighs over 7kg, has grown to 60cm and is almost off the charts! He's my little chubby bubby :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bears in their new homes

I was sent this beautiful picture of Booth and Toulouse in their new home. Don't they look cozy together!

If you have any photos of my bears in their new homes I'd love to share them too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


The experimental bear from the post below is finished, and really hasn't turned out too badly. I've called him Pax.

I think I will try this eye technique again as I really do like the neatness of the effect. However, I don't think I actually needed the glue as much as I thought I did when I wrote up my process in the last posting. I had used PVA glue, thinking it would hold the folded eyelids to the plastic eye - but once it dried the glue just flaked away and the eyelids were free floating! Almost disastrous, if the eye didn't fit into the 'socket' so well. It just wouldn't come loose! So, with a bit of needle sculpting and securing with thread instead of glue, I am now happy that the eyes are firm in their positions and not going anywhere. I suppose the benefits of having used the glue in the first place though, was that it will act as a fray-stop for the raw edges within the head, further increasing the sturdiness of this placement.

My next challenge is to find a way to use this technique on a more traditional bear head. Pax is cute, in his own way, but is a little too much like an alien-bear hybrid to continue this pattern without further adjustments! (so if you like him, and want a very special, experimental, definite one of a kind bear - Pax is your man!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

trying something new

After having such a blast making those strange little bears from the post below this one, I decided to try an idea that has been rattling around in my head for a while. I like the strange bears from the bear army, but they just felt a little 'raw' to me, some more than others. But, being experimental, I think that's to be expected. And it does add to the charm/strangeness!

The idea I've been wanting to try is something I saw on a blog many months ago. It was a stunning cotton rabbit with incredibly expressive large eyes that seemed to be coming seamlessly out of the face - like they grew there! I couldn't see any eyelid stitching or anything. The eyes were set into the head and appeared to be popping out from under the fabric, yet sitting on top of the fabric at the same time. (very hard to describe, and even harder to figure out how to achieve!). So, after nutting over the dilemma of how the artist was able to do this, I think I might have worked out a method that works for me.

I've enlarged my 'Byron's Bear' pattern slightly, and cut two pieces of fabric for the front part of the flat face, one in mohair, one in a plain non-stretch fabric. I sewed these together around the edges. I marked where I wanted the eyes to sit, then cut a slit in the mohair only. I folded back the mohair to give a slight opening, made a tiny hole in the backing fabric, inserted the safety eye into the backing fabric and slipped it slightly under the piece of mohair I had folded back. This gives the appearance of eyelids without having to sew them on separately.

I ended up using a bit of glue to hold the folded over section in place, but the backing safety clasp seems to have done the rest (I really hate using glue on bears, but I think for this technique it is unavoidable). This is what the eyes look like. A little 'angry' I will admit, but I think that is all about the slant of the eye lids. If I try this again I'll make the cut angling diagonally downwards to give a softer look. I'm not real sure what's going to happen when I sew the back of the head on, and I'm not real sure how I could transfer this technique to 'normal' bear heads without the eyes facing sideways - but only further experimentation will tell! :P

Monday, March 21, 2011

The 'Bear Army' (my first attempt at making NINE bears at once!)

Here are my nine little creations - all very unique! It is amazing to think that it's possible to get such variety from one pattern, just by using different fur, different ear placement, different fur direction, different eye colour and size, different eye placement, different nose/mouth embroidery, and different shading. I must say, even though it seemed like I was never going to get these guys done, I had a lot of fun making them all at once. That's seriously something I've never done before (the most I've ever done was a limited edition of three, but I got bored with making the same bear three times, so never did it again).

All the bears have been placed on etsy at $79 each. I have no idea how they are going to be received as they are a little strange, but all I can suggest is that if you have a favourite, get in quick as these guys are one of a kind!

'Romy' - the smallest of the group.

'Tula' - the sweetest of the gang.

'Spook'- the scruffiest fur!

'Woogie'- the biggest eyes (and that's saying something!)

'Venus' - the most vibrant fur.

'Poe' - the good-looker of the bunch.

'Kojo' - the most fun!

'Cruiz' - the most sensible bear.

and 'Delia' - the lovely lady bear.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

They're FINISHED!!!

It was a mission and a half - but I did it! The nine bears are finished - all sewn up, shaded and accessorised. It's getting a bit late here now, so I'll get individual photos of them tomorrow, and hopefully get them all up on etsy over the course of the day.

Here's a sneak peek ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kids update

I got to spend a bit more time on my nine little bears last night. They're looking really good, and are almost finished. I'm hoping to get some time to put the finishing touches on them over the weekend. If so, that will mean that I managed to make nine bears in two weeks. Pretty cool if I can pull it off!

But, seeing as the bears are still a few days away, I thought I'd do an update on the kids again.

Byron is now 6 weeks old, and has just starting smiling really frequently! Its the most gorgeous thing - he puts his whole mouth into it! His night sleeping was getting really good there for a few days with only two feeds overnight. But last night we went back to four, and now I am exhausted!

Chelsea is almost 20months old. (Which somehow seems so much older than 19months to me!). She's still a bit naughty with Byron. I got this awesome picture of her giving Byron a cuddle last week, only to have her bite him on the head shortly after it was taken! For the most part she takes out her frustrations on the dog, but he doesn't seem to mind. I think if anything, having Byron come along has helped her relationship with Oliver. She spends a lot more time actually playing with him, and can hold her own when he gets a bit puppy-excited with her!

And lastly, we got couple of new additions to the household (because we didn't have enough already :P) - guinea pigs! This sweet little bundle of fluff is baby Alice. We got her to keep our old old guinea pig company after her sister and cage-mate of 4 years died last week.

A friend of ours was looking after the guinea pigs for us after we had cats attack them at our last house, but they've had to move up north to help out with the building repairs after cyclone Yasi hit the day after Byron was born. So we took the guinea pig back again.

I've had guinea pigs as pets since I was a little girl. And my mum had guinea pigs all through her childhood as well. So I'm quite happy to have them back again. The trick now is keeping them safe from a very, VERY interested Oliver!

Monday, March 14, 2011

'Bear Army' Heads

The heads are almost done! I had them all lined up in front of my computer, but ended up putting them down as it got a bit full on with 9 sets of weird and wonderful eyes staring back at me!

Only a tiny bit of sewing left, then it's on to the assembly!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bear Army update

What do nine little bears look like once they've been cut out and pinned together...?

I'm getting there slowly! :P

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Latest project

This is what I'm currently working on - all these different piece of mohair represent different bears I've got drawn out in the pattern I created for Byron's Bear. I plan to make a small army of them in all these different colours!

So far I've got half of them cut out and pinned - the rest are still just shapes drawn onto fur! But I'll get there. I'm also sorting out the 200+ photos of Byron I've taken over the last month, and sorting through old baby clothes, and plan to cull some of Chelsea's excessive toys that constantly litter the house, and I want to start filling in Byron's baby book... So I have a couple of other projects on the go as well, meaning my army of bears might take a little while longer to complete than planned! :p

Monday, March 7, 2011

Byron at one month old

I'm a little late with my one-month-old post for Byron, and thought that I might include an update of Chels and the dog as well (for those of you who have been asking after them as well!).

Chelsea is doing well. She is definitely not as violent with Byron as she was in the first few weeks. She likes to rub his head and say 'ohhhh', and pat him tummy when he's crying. Which is a darn sight better than dropping brooms on his head, scratching him with one of my stray cotter-pins and trying to pull out his hair...

She has been especially sulky lately though, which is a challenge for Mark and I. We're hoping she will grow out of it soon. VERY soon! Last week I tripped over her cabbage patch doll, and was caught off guard by some very pretty 'makeup'. I don't know when she decided to do this to her baby doll! Probably while I was busy with Byron on one of the many occasions! :P

Byron is doing well. He gained another 500g last week, bringing him up to 5.7kg or 12lb, 9oz! Chelsea weighed this much when she was three months old! He's getting into a pattern with his sleeping now too, which is good for me as I can start to predict when he'll wake for feeds. He's not so obliging with his smiles though. Chelsea was giving out smiles quite readily at this age, but you have to work really hard to get one from Byron! And even then, they're only fleeting. I hope to catch one on camera soon.

And lastly - Mr Oliver... what can I say about him...

He has been quite naughty lately as well. He's just starting barking a lot. At everything and anything. At the worst possible times (ie. 2am in the morning after I've just gotten Byron back to sleep or 8pm in the evening after we've just gotten Chelsea to sleep!). So poor Mr Oliver has had his bed/house relocated to a special spot in the back corner of the yard. Mark has done an awesome job propping his house up off the ground and away from damp, and making him his own covered area to keep the sun and rain off. We're hoping that having him sleep away from our neighbours fence will prevent a lot of his need to bark. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And still MORE bears on sale!

I just realised that I forgot to mark down a few other bears for SALE, including my pregnant bear duo - 'New Life'.

Friday, March 4, 2011

And yet more bears on SALE!

I've just added these two to the SALE section in my esty store as well... four bears found homes this afternoon too which is awesome. But there are still heaps to choose from :)


I've been meaning to have a sale on some of my older bears for a while now, and finally got around to marking them all down this afternoon. Most of them are at least $100 off, or close to 40% reduced. So pop on over to my etsy shop and check out the bargains!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bear buying binge

Every now and then, maybe once or twice a year, I get an overwhelming urge to buy a new bear for my collection. Today it hit me hard!

And I now have four new bears on their way... woops!

I blame etsy, and the ridiculously good deals to be found there. My first little guy was from LisaBears, and even with postage to Australia he didn't break the bank. He's simple, clean and has a really innocent little face.

The next store I stumbled across was SweetCandyDreams. She hadn't had any sales yet, and I couldn't understand why. This little guy is a stunner!!!

The last store I visited was Pud Bears and Friends, complete with sock monkeys, artist bears and critters. I got two little additions to my bear family from here - Butters and Jacob.