Friday, April 30, 2010

A little bit of sparkle

Spent the better part of the last 5-6hrs beading earrings tonight.

With every bear that I sell and post, I like to include a little 'extra' in the parcel. The usual crowd pleasers are handmade genuine Swarovski crystal earrings. (though some of this batch have foil glass beads, and cats-eye beads and semi precious stones...)

With the very last pair of earrings packed up with a bear this afternoon, I figured it was time to sit down and do some more. These are the fruits of my labour, and should keep me going for a few more months (unless bear sales suddenly boom! :P)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bears, cows and escaping

A very condensed version of my day...

* Wake at 5:30am. Say goodbye to Mark (hubby) who has recently decided to start a walking exercise regime in the mornings before work.

* 7:30am wake again (after falling back asleep), Mark is leaving for work. Chelsea is awake. He brings her in to me and i feed her in bed.

* By 8:30am both Chels and I have had breaky, i've showered and dressed, Chels is dressed. Nappy bag packed. Food organised for her lunch and for contribution to playgroup. Leave for playgroup (other side of the city).

* arrive at playgroup at 9:30am. Chelsea was very cooperative and had a 30min sleep on the way!

* between 9:30-1pm deal with a wingey, clingy baby as Chelsea refuses to play with the other kids (despite driving almost an hour to get there! - she doesn't care about petrol cost though!).

*1pm give her lunch. Change her. Set up porta cot. Get her to sleep.

* By 1:30pm Relax with other mum and have our own lunch.

* 2pm Chelsea wakes grumpy. Deal with grumpy, clingy baby for the rest of the afternoon. Take photos of the 'pet' cow at the other mum's house. (She will be dinner in a few months...)

* leave at 3:30pm. Chelsea has another uneventful car sleep (i love these. Where she just slowly drifts off to sleep. No screaming or fussing or wriggling!)

* Home at 4:30pm. Take photos of the new bear Orli. Take photos of Chelsea trying to escape while i take photos of the bear.

* 5:30pm Mark gets home. Chelsea just about 'runs' to him as he walks through the door (she's definitely a daddy's girl!)

* 6pm give Chelsea her dinner. Mark gives her a bath and i cook dinner.

* 7pm-8:30pm Chelsea and Mark and I play around in the lounge room. Chelsea gets her last feed, then gets put to bed. (again, no crying or fussing. Just straight into her cot, thumb in the mouth and off to sleep! I love nights like this. Makes the crappy days worthwhile!)

* 8:30pm onwards = Mummy Daddy time. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This gorgeous little postcard arrived last week from Finland (and it got lost under all the STUFF on my desk!). How sweet is this! And look at how awesome the stamp is!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RED onion skin dying this time

After the success of dying mohair with brown onion skins, i thought it was only natural that i try red onion skins! I hadn't read much at all about this, so wasn't sure if it would work. But as you can see in the pics, it worked pretty well.

This is the fur and onion skins about a min after i put them in the water.

This is after about 10mins of simmering. The colour is a brilliant crimson red at this stage. A little like red wine.

This is after it simmered for about 30-40mins, and a bit of salt was added. Then it was left to sit for another hour.

This is the fur washed, and wrung out. There is no smell again (quite amazing really), and the colour is probably more brown then red though. Reminds me of red clay earth...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

fixing a postage mix-up

In a rather foolish move, i posted the wrong creation to a customer recently. This is my attempt to fix it!

Some of you may remember my first attempts at mohair guinea pigs - Patch and Clover. They both ended up selling on the same day to two different collectors. Patch to France. Clover to the USA. The lady from France paid straight away, so i packed up her guinea pig and posted it off. The lady from the USA asked to pay a little later in the month.

You can probably guess where this is going! When the customer from the USA paid for her guinea pig Clover, i went looking for her to pack up. She was nowhere to be found. But low and behold Patch was sitting there on the shelf smiling at me. My heart sunk as i realised what i'd done! I'd posted Clover to France to the lady who had actually paid for Patch! First time in my 'bear career' that i've ever done anything like this!

So a few very apologetic emails later and the real Patch was on her way to France, and a new Clover was being created. This is the new Clover. Similar enough to have the original charm, but different enough to maintain the OOAK status.

And thankfully the collector from the USA actually likes the new Clover better than the poor little one that's somewhere between Australia and France! :P

New Bear - Amani

This is Amani. She is the result of the beetroot dying experiment in an older post. She has turned out beautifully. She's not perfect, one eye does seem to look in the wrong direction, and the colouring is not completely uniform etc etc - i don't think any of my bears ever are 'perfect'. But as a friend once said, ' We're not perfect, or completely symmetrical, or proportioned, so why expect the bears to be?'

Friday, April 23, 2010

Custom Bear - Rory

I finished a sweet little custom bear today. Her new mummy has named her Rory :)

Onion skin dying a success!

I am so surprised that this worked! I honestly didn't expect much from onion skins. In fact, if it wasn't for the book (see last post) on dying, i wouldn't have ever thought to try this!

This is the WHITE mohair in the water and the onion skins used. This was all it took!

This is the colour starting to seep out after about 2mins of boiling.

This shows the fur after about half an hour of simmering. Just before i turned it off and went to bed, letting it soak over night. I also added a touch of salt at this point. I have no idea if it made any difference. I'll have to try it again one day and see what happens without the salt.

This is the colour that greeted me in the morning.

Then amazingly - this is the colour that stayed after rinsing out the fur. I don't think i lost any depth or brightness at all! Incredible. Its such a gorgeous ginger brown tone too. I am very happy with the results!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

General beary update

So not much has been happening to report. Chelsea's still crawling around (and getting pretty damn quick now too!). Bears are being worked on. Guinea pigs being sold. Facebook is visited numerous times a day 'just to check' :P

Actually, today i received a very cool book in the post about dying with natural plants/items. (Click here if you'd like to check it out too). Something i have developed a bit of an interest in (hence the post with the big pot of beetroot and fur!)

After reading the post i have discovered that it is possible to dye with onion skins! Which is great, cause i have a tonne of them floating around in the bottom of my crisper that i just haven't gotten around to throwing away. So some fur and some onion skins are bubbling away on the stove as i type. I'll have photos tomorrow (going to let it soak over night like i did with the beetroot - just to see if i can give the colour a bit more of a chance to stick!). Apparently i should get a golden brown to dark ginger tone which is kind of cool :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another day at Nonna's house

Chelsea and i had another day at Nonna's house today. Which was great in terms of bear making-ness, as i had a few pairs of sculpted eyelids, noses and claws that i needed to bake in an oven that wasn't broken!

The kids loved the clay and made some very cute little creatures (as you can see). There's a penguin, a parrot, a dancing lady, two fish - mum and baby) and and evil pig in a basket (made my Nonna herself!).

So stay tuned for some more special bears with sculptured eyes (and possibly clay noses too! That will be a first for me if i can get it to work/look right).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dying mohair with beetroot

ok, so this is something i've been wanting to try for ages. But i didn't have any pieces of white mohair big enough to make it worth while. Then i got my new mohair supplies, and figured now is as good a time as any to give it a go.

Every thing i'd read seemed to suggest that the results would be disappointing. And that the colour would wash out (of clothing) after a few times in the washing machine - even if set with an alum. I figured, however, that seeing as the fabric i want to dye won't be washed, i might be able to get better results.

So i cut out my pattern. Chopped up the beetroot. Popped it all into a pot with some boiling water and salt. This is the mohair freshly placed in the pot.

I let it simmer for about an hour, then sit overnight (approx 8hrs).

This is the beautiful rich crimson red that greeted me.

The is the colour left after a quick squeeze of excess liquid. (getting a little less exciting now...)

And this is the colour after I had rinsed it under the tap.

And these are the pieces all rinsed and drying. The colour isn't too bad. Its kind of a cross between apricot and salmon pink. But it's still wet, so we'll see if it changes as it dries...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Guinea Pig - Merlin

With Mark home today, and Chelsea in a good mood, I managed to get the fantasty rainbow guinea pig completed. And he is crazy!!!

I've called him 'Merlin' - seemed appropriate! And he is currently listed on bearpile. Soon to be listed on etsy... if i can do so quickly before Chels comes crawling back from the bathroom where she's 'helping' daddy run a bath!

New Bear - Pepijn

This little sweetie is Pepijn. He's so new i haven't even listed him on bearpile yet! I managed to salvage some red embroidery thread and matching red lace from the destructive clutches of Chelsea to sew his little nose and collar. I think it looks brilliant. Bright, but brilliant. And Chels was quite taken to him as well. She kept pointing at his nose and wanting to scratch it. :P

I had some fun last night after Chelsea and Mark had gone to bed cutting out new ideas for bears and guinea pigs.

I've got two jumbo fantasy guinea pigs in the works. One is a rainbow and silver sparkly one. And the other is made in a gorgeous 'big cat' like fur. Am so curious to see how they work out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Guinea Pig Family - Tabitha and babies

So the latest guinea pig family is complete! Tabitha, Bambi and Biscuit. So so cute! I think these little guys have to be my favourite thing to make at the moment!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Messy afternoon of cooking

Was halfway through making another guinea pig (gorgeous three colour, long haired one), when i remembered that if i didn't cook up another batch of baby food, there would be nothing for Chels to eat tonight.

So this was the reality of my afternoon. Not quite how i wanted to spend it. But productive nonetheless.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My collection

I received my copy of the latest Australian Bear Creations magazine today, and in it they have asked for photos of people's bear collections. So I thought what a good opportunity to actually take some photos of my collection in its entirety!

These are most of my bears. I have others scattered about.