Monday, February 28, 2011

Toy Voyager

In answer to the question I asked in the last posting (should I buy a commercial toy to send as a toy voyager, or make one myself?) - I ended up making one. I figured if I'm going to put all the energy into setting up the account for Byron, and sending this little guy off, and expecting other's to take him around and photograph him in their local areas, the least I could do was make him special to begin with.

He's a strange little guy with a flat head and small cotterpin jointed body. Very light weight but full of character. The design was actually inspired by some bears that used to be on bearpile a few years back. The bear artist was from Singapore, but I can't for the life of me remember her name. Some of you out there in Blog-Land might know her? She used to make little bears with big flat heads and string jointed limbs and would sell them at a very low price. I think I picked my one up for about $35, and she's beautifully made. (she's the one with the big blue eyes in the middle of this picture).

I didn't want to rip off her idea completely, so Byron's Bear is a little different, with a more football shaped head, stockier body and stranger facial expression! But I do acknowledge that there are some distinct similarities, so if anyone know's her name I'll love to publicly credit her here!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surprise delivery for Miss Chelsea and Master Byron

Just under a year ago, shortly after I had started this blog, I posted an update about an awesome surprise package that arrived from a very generous customer for Miss Chelsea.

This week we got another one! (we have actually had quite a few in the months between then and now, but I got a bit slack with photographing everything!).

Monday morning the postie dropped off the package which contained ALL of these little critters! The monkey with the big eyes was for Mark - but has been claimed by Byron (he was fixated on it's eyes when we showed it to him), the Panda was for Chelsea (but I would have liked to steal it!), the grizzly bear was for Byron, and now sits in his cot keeping watch over him, and the two guinea pigs have been claimed by Chelsea, and now get pushed around in her pram!

And then there was this guy! Isn't he lovely. Completely handmade by a fellow estyian Plombagine, with a handmade necklace and pendant by the parcel-sending Julie as well!

I was explaining to Miss Julie that I have been thinking about setting up a Toy Voyager account on Byron's behalf, and possibly using one of these critters to be the traveller. When I was pregnant with Chelsea I set up a postcrossing account (where you send postcards to other member all over the world and get random postcards in return). I asked the members to write name suggestions for me, and now have an album full of hundreds of cards with all manner of interesting names from heaps of different places for Chelsea to look through when she is older. (no one suggested the name Chelsea though :P)

I didn't really get a chance to do this for Byron, so I was thinking the Toy Voyager could be his thing. That way he can look back on all the photos and adventures of his toy, and maybe one day visit those places himself when he's all grown up!

My only dilemma now is whether to just send a commercial toy (less effort required on my behalf!) or make one especially for the task...??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Byron at 3 weeks old

The not-so-little Byron is now three weeks old! Chelsea and I ventured out to the local chemist to get him weighed (our first trip out, just the three of us!). Chelsea was so well behaved too. We had to wait a good 10mins in line to see the midwife, but Chels just sat in her pram and waited. Byron on the other hand was not so obliging, having screamed the whole way there in the car.

The midwife actually weighed and measured him twice, just to make sure she wasn't mistaken - but Byron has actually packed on 700g since birth - now weighing a whooping 5.1kg (11 lb, 4oz). For comparison sake, Chelsea weighed this much when she was two months old! And his head has grown an extra 4cm since birth as well. I had been thinking it was looking a little bigger too. I'm glad he chose to grow his head this much AFTER he came out! :P

(and how cool is this photo comparison - it shows Chels at 23 days old - complete with spotty outbreak, and Byron today at 22 days old, also with spots!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This is the finished bear from my last blog post - Toulouse.

All I ended up doing extra in terms of the face was a bit of scissor sculpting, a mouth and resetting the nose a bit tighter. As much as the non-central facing eyes annoy me, I have to admit I quite like the look they give her. She looks really 'alive'!

The extra bulk of this longer mohair meant the hat was a little harder to fit as well - but we got there in the end. Not bad for my second bear in the three weeks since Byron's arrival if I do say so myself. I haven't priced Toulouse as high as I would normally with the extra work that went into the eyes and nose due to the fact that the eyes are not perfect, so if you like the look of her (squint and all), pop over to bearpile to check out her full listing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Work in progress

I think one of my favourite things to read/look at in other people's blogs is work in progress shots, or before and after images. Or even just process pictures that show how a bear comes together in that artist's style.

So with that in mind I thought I'd take the time to take a before-ish shot of my latest bear. Its not the clearest image, but does show the colouring of this awesome mohair nicely (hand dyed by Allison from e-teddies).

This bear has hand sculpted clay eyelids around handmade Russian coloured glass eyes and a hand sculpted nose. The nose I love. I think it looks really cute. The eyes I'm not so sold on. I have had nothing but trouble with those handmade eyes! :P I think I purchased about 50 pairs, and if I'm honest I have only been happy with maybe half a dozen bears I've used them on. For the most part the centres (being hand-set) just don't line up, meaning the bear will have one eye looking forward, but the other will be ever-so-slightly looking upwards, or sidewards or any other way besides frontwards! It's really frustrating, and I should really stop using them. But they are just such lovely colours that I can't help it. Every few months I seem to forgot the frustration and whip out another pair to use!

So I'm hoping my decision to use them on this green bear has been the right one. Only time will tell I suppose. I'll just have to wait and see how he/she looks when finished.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Byron at two weeks

For lack of anything bear related to post about today, I decided to share some more photos of Byron. (I have a feeling that for the next little while the bears are going to have to compete with the baby for blog 'air time'!)

Byron is now just over two weeks old. I took him to have his hearing checked at the hospital yesterday, as he failed the first test they did (in a rush) before we were discharged. After waiting two hours, the test only took 5mins and he passed with no worries. But I knew he could hear! When Chelsea cries he stops and turns his head towards her. When Mark sneezes, he flinches. And he sleeps much more soundly if I leave the pedestal fan on in the room for background noise...

It was weird being back there again. All the pregnant ladies were sitting in the same waiting room I used to sit in looking very hot and sorry for themselves. A tiny premmie baby arrived in one of those huge humidicrib set ups accompanied by 4 paramedics and a flustered new mum. And a tired looking woman emerged from the birth suite, pushing her brand new baby girl in one of those clear plastic cribs on the way back to the maternity ward. I watched her shuffling along with the catheter collection tube and bag swinging precariously by her legs and thought how bizarre it is that I was walking that exact same hall just 16 days ago! It feels like so much longer, and somehow like it was yesterday all at the same time!

Mark goes back to work on tuesday next week, so I am a little anxious about that. If it was just me and Byron - I'd have no concerns about being able to care for him. Likewise for just me and Chels. But me, Byron AND Chelsea... that's a whole other story! But who knows, maybe she'll surprise me and be really helpful when its just the three of us... fingers crossed!

(oh, and I don't know if you can see that little bruise on Byron's arm in the photo above - just near the inside of his elbow closest to my body? click on the photo to make it bigger if you like. That is actually a self-inflicted injury! Not a Chelsea one, as I'm sure you thought I was going to say. He was looking for something to suck on yesterday when I took the two of them to playgroup, and before I knew it he'd given himself a hickey! Funny little guy.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

First Emma's Bear post birth

Meet Bobbie - my first bear to be completed since having Byron. I think having Mark (my husband home) has really helped in terms of my sanity, and in allowing me a little 'Emma' time when Byron sleeps so that Bobbie Bear could come to reality.

I am still the one who is up half a dozen times at night to feed Master Byron, so am generally pretty tired all day, but Mark also helps with the settling as well - taking Byron to another room in the early hours of the morning after his feeds so I can get some much needed sleep!

So while Byron sleep soundly in his cot this morning, (and Chelsea played in her's - she decided NOT to have her morning sleep - just to keep me guessing!), I finished off little Bobbie's hat appliqué and got some photos. The hat is from the post below, and fits his little head like a glove! If you didn't know better, you'd think the hat was made for the bear, not the other way round.

Bobbie is now available on bearpile.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I had the brilliant idea to make some cute little bears with hats on - just before Byron was born. So, as you can imagine now that Byron is here, the idea will have to take a back seat for a while.

But I can still show off the hats! They are all handmade by Susy at The Enchanted Pumpkin. She makes them to fit Blythe dolls, but they work fantastically on bears about 13-15" too (obviously depending on head size). I've included a photo of two bears in my personal collection modelling the hats. I also got a few tiny ones to use on mini bears.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Byron at one week old

We made it through the first week!

Byron really is a good little thing though. I had a couple of shocking nights, then decided there was no way I was going to survive doing what I was doing, so I re-read a book I was given when I was pregnant with Chelsea. We're in a nice little routine now, and Byron will sleep in his cot between feeds, rather than on us!

Still haven't been up to any bear making yet, but its early days! :P I did get an awesome package of bear/doll hats that I'll post some photos of later on.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

He's Here!!!

Byron Chris Nicholson was born at 6:59am on Tuesday the 1st February after a very fast 4 hour labour! He weighed in at 9lb 12oz (4.42kg) and measured 56cm long! (head circumference of 36cm).

He's a very easy going little guy so far. He has wispy dark hair, and what appears to be quite dark eyes at this stage. He's still really sleepy, so we don't get to see his eyes open much.

Chelsea has been fantastic. She's very interested in him, and has been very accommodating of his presence in the house. She slept through for us last night, which made being up with Byron a lot easier to cope with.

We're home already (we got back yesterday lunch time) as the hospital was needing to make room for the many pregnant ladies being evacuated from the latest north Queensland disaster - a category 5 cyclone!

We're all doing well, and I thought I'd share these pictures.