Sunday, May 29, 2011

Eden and Quinn

These two little cuties have been made especially to feature in an upcoming edition of Australian Bear Creations magazine as a project you can make at home. They have been made with the same pattern (my experimental bear Rosa), with Quinn simply having a two tone effect. I love how the head pattern allows for the two tone look to be completely symmetrical - right down the front and the back!

I hand sculpted their little ball-noses as well. Eden has a lime green nose with a pink heart to match her cotton-print inner ears and paws, while Quinn has a black nose with a dusting of the gold powder I used on Zac and Zaide. The powder works beautifully with the clay I use (Ozzle - the Australian version of polymer clay), and maintained it's shine even after baking.

The challenge with these guys is getting the noses pulled in firmly enough that they don't move around. I don't know how many different threads I tried before I found one that didn't snap at the critical moment! In the end I just ended up using a good quality cotton, but threaded through the eye of the needle 5 times so that I had a 10-count strand. This proved to be strong enough for me to use all my strength on it. 10 strands was probably a bit of overkill, but I'd rather be sure then risk having a fragile nose.

So, because these two are going to be sent into the magazine to be photographed, they won't be available right away... I'll make sure to let you know when I get them back!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Zac and Zaide

At last, the remaining two spotty bears are done! The eyes I needed arrived yesterday, and the kids were so well behaved this morning that I managed to get the last finishing touches completed.

Zac is the big boy with the blue nose and higher-set ears. Zaide has the black nose and the shimmery feet. This gold stuff is something new that I picked up from Bear Essence. I've never worked with a gold 'dust' before, but it has been really fun. And gives such a brighter/more intense sparkle then paints. Apparently you can mix the dust through polymer clay too, so I might try sculpting some sparkly noses next.

Zaide has been listed on bearpile, and Zac will be once I get another chance. He is the same price, and basically the same information as Zaide though. So if you are interested in him just let me know.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Babies

Earlier this the week Mr Byron was playing with this sweet little handmade bunny one of my amazing collectors sent for Chelsea when she was little. The bunny comes all the way from Amsterdam, and I was sitting there admiring how well it had held up so far (even with a couple of trips outside to visit the ever-destructive Oliver).

I decided to look up how old Chelsea was when she was given the toy. (I archive all of my photos by labelling them with the kids age (ie. Chels33days), so was able to see in a flash that she had been 104 days old when I took this photo the morning the toy arrived.

I did a quick calculation and was blown away to realise Byron was exactly 104 days old as well! I decided that I needed to get a photo of him cuddling the bunny too.

It wasn't until later that evening when I was editing my photos for the day when I realised just how similar I'd managed to get the two photos. And just how much a like my little lady and baby boy were at this age! I'm so glad I took the time to check and take the shot. These will be photo's I'll treasure!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


The disastrous wool-pile fur fabric dyeing experiment hasn't turned out so disastrous after all. This little guy is the result, and I am pretty darn happy with him!

I've called him Langleigh - just popped into my head, so no special meanings there - and he is available for adoption on bearpile at the moment.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wool bear in progress

I went to finish the last two spotty bears like Zaire yesterday, and realised I'd run out of 12mm eyes. The others I had in stock (8mm and 18mm were both terribly wrong!), so I made a quick order of some new supplies online and decided to work on a different bear until they arrived. Which, due to the fact that it's Friday today, won't be until after the weekend.

So I cut out the bears I had drawn on the back on my disastrously dyed wool fur. The bigger one has to sit in the 'waiting' pile with the spotty bears, cause he'll need 12mm eyes too, but the little one was fine to be assembled.

He's going to be old-style, and my plan is to cut back the pile in places to make the fur look worn as well as matted. It makes quite a dint in the shape though... I hope I can pull this off!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poppy Bear - my toy voyager

My toy voyager Poppy Bear is on her way to Hawaii!!! This is more than I could have ever imagined. She's going to see more of the world then me at this rate!

You can follow her adventures on her own special blog. The last update this morning show her all packed up and ready to fly out. Lucky Little Teddy Bear!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A bit of fur dyeing that went horribly wrong!

Yesterday I had nothing to do. Well, besides taking care of a 3 month old and a 21 month old... but that's a piece of cake, right!?

All my bear making things were packed up and ready to come with me to the school talk I did this morning (which was awesome by the way! I might have some photos to share in the next few days, maybe!).

So I decided to try and spice up this piece of dull brown wool-pile fur. I've never worked with a wool pile before... I figured it would dye much the same as mohair. Silly assumption number one!

This is the fabric all nice and soggy, waiting for the first lot of colour (the 'suntan' pot). It really was quite a pleasant tan-brown here...

This is how crazy the 'suntan' colour looked once I'd mixed it through. I was expecting an orangy/ginger colour. This looks a little like beetroot soup!

After a few hours of soaking in 'Suntan', I rinsed it out. At the time it didn't seem to have made any difference at all, but looking back at the photos, it had actually given it a richer tone. This would have been the point to stop and cut my losses. I should have realised that wool does not dye the same as mohair at this point also. But no, I was a little slow!

My brilliant idea was to make the next colour 'wine' super concentrated by only mixing enough water to fill the tiny container the dye powder comes in. (The instructions tell you to use a bucket full!). My reasoning was that this super-sludge would certainly dye the fabric.

I decided to paint it on in splotches. I imagined a beautiful piece of fur with gently blending patches of ruby red and ginger gold...

The splotches didn't work. They all bled together, so I decided to just mix it all around and turn the fur pile downwards to try and get it exposed to the most dye mix.

I rinsed it out after a few hours like this. ALL of the colour ran down the drain. I looked at the fur in the dim light of the laundry and was pretty disappointed. It had a subtle pinky tone to the fur, but was in essence still just brown!

The backing took up the splotchy wine/suntan colours though. Which is just kind of odd! Now I have a brown pile on a funky backing...

And, the biggest surprise to me, which really shouldn't have been a surprise at all (if I actually thought about what I was doing) was the fact that I felted the pile while I dyed it! It started off as a lovely, lush and bouncy fur. Now it is flat, and tight and matted! :P It is wool! Of course it's going to felt if you add heat, water and friction... I think I must have left my brain in bed that morning!

So this is it. This is the fabric I now have. A mismatch of slightly tinted wool and a strange backing. It wasn't the most expensive fabric in the world, but still way too expensive to just discard. So I'm going to go ahead with the bears you can see drawn on the back of it. Thankfully they are 'old-style' bear patterns of mine, so the matted fur won't look too out of place.

Who knows, maybe this little misadventure will actually turn out to be the perfect effect once the bears are made? How's that for a bit of optimism on your weekday evening! ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

some exciting news

This is my newest bear Zaire (above you can see a 'before' photo I took yesterday - before I sewed his nose and attached his head to his body!). He is the first of three bears in this pattern and fur that I am making to take along to a school presentation I have been asked to do next week!

Zaire will be the finished example. The next bear I will sew and joint, but leave unstuffed so the kids can see how the joints work. And the last one I will simply sew but leave un-turned and in pieces. This will allow the kids to see part of the bear-making process, and allow me to show them how awesome it is to turn the pieces right side out (one of my favourite bits!). I'm also taking Pluto and Junket, Banjo, Waffle, all the remaining guinea pigs, Pax and my latest colourful trio. And of course all the bear making paraphernalia - fur, eyes, stuffing, pellets, tools etc.

I'm am very much looking forward to this - and only hope I can keep the interest of a room full of prep and year one kids for an hour!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What a strange little Panda!

Check out this little guy! I found him on etsy last week in this stunning store by Verity of The Square Pumpkin (some of you might recognise her work? This is the Verity from 'merbears', the talented maker of bear-mermaids from a few years ago). He's made from recycled shopping bags. How ingenious! I just LOVE his shape. And he's unlike anything else in my collection. Verity has a few more baggy bears in her store if you hurry on over ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

My First Mother's Day with Byron

Happy (late) Mother's Day to all the amazing, selfless, sacrificing, hard working and just generally incredible mum's out there!

Yesterday was my first Mother's Day as a mum of TWO! And it was lovely.

Chelsea spent the weekend at my mum's place because we had a wedding to attend that she wasn't invited to. That meant a weekend with just one kid again. And a baby at that. It was bliss! He LOVED it too. He had us all to himself, slept better than he has in his whole life, and actually smiled so much I managed to capture it on camera - complete with newly sprouting toothie!

(Check out Byron in his wedding gear. How sweet is this little man!)

Sunday we drove to my Mum's place and had lunch with all the family. It was the perfect end to a lovely weekend. Chelsea was so happy to see us. There were cuddles all round before she ran off to keep playing. Having that break from the DEMANDS of an almost 2-yr old was incredible. I didn't realise just how impatient I had become with her. Today was a lot more relaxed. She was still hard work - don't get me wrong. But I didn't feel like I was angry all day. Which can only be a good thing!

I also have some interesting news to share too. But it's getting late, so that will have to wait for tomorrow's post.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bitha on eBay

Little Bithia is having her turn on eBay this week. She is starting at 99c, no reserve. I'm so curious to see how she goes. eBay is such a fickle medium for art...

My Silly Bear

Look who arrived for me today! Her name is Lucy Jane, and she is a fantastic bear by 'The Silly Bear'.

The quality of this little lady is fantastic! I have to admit that bear collecting is addictive... and not 'helped' by getting another bear! Every time a new bear arrives for my collection it just re-kindles the love of this works of art, and makes me want to find the next 'special one'! Ah dear... at least I can make a few of my own in the meantime to help buffer the cost of such an addiction...

...and at least it's a nice addiction, not detrimental to my health, not detrimental to my family(Maybe slightly detrimental to the space in my house though!)

Oh, and here is a sneak peek at my lastest project. This MASSIVE piece of gorgeous animal print faux fur has been sitting in my craft room, begging to be chopped up for months now. So chop it up I did! This will be 3 gorgeous big curvy bears like Jaguar, and one fatty-fat bear like Ikey (but with a bit more hair!).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Tooth for the B-Man

We had a bit of a crappy day here yesterday. Chelsea and Byron have both got colds which means Byron can't feed properly (he guzzles like a mad man then pulls off, spluttering for air!), and Chelsea can't be happy! :P

So after attempting to put her down for her noon nap for the second time at 2pm (first attempt was a disaster), I had a moment to breathe. Then my B-Man woke up...

After another snuffly feed, he was sitting on my lap munching on my finger when I felt something sharp. There was a tiny, white tooth popping up from his bottom gum! I was blown away! It had fully cut through, so must have been there for at least a few days and I had no idea! I was all over Chelsea's first tooth, I knew it was coming before it had even appeared. Mind you, she was 8 months old so I had to wait a lot longer. Byron is only just 3 months!

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come; if he is going to grow up way too fast...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Facebook Fan Page GIVEAWAY

I've had a number of blog give-aways over the last year or so of running this blog... but I've never had a facebook give-away. So I thought it might be fun to try that too!

Head on over to my facebook page to check it out. You could be taking home this sweet little guy.

The winner will be drawn on Mother's Day, 8th May 2011 at 9pm EST.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Heather Blush, Sunny Rose and Pumpkin Spice (and the fall!)

Three new bears for your viewing pleasure!

Meet Heather Blush, Sunny Rose and Pumpkin Spice - named after the amazing pieces of hand-dyed mohair they were made from. (Many thanks to Alison from eTeddies for the fur!)

All three were made with my 'Willa/Attila' pattern, but have been altered differently each time. Heather Blush has the gusset flipped around backwards. Sunny Rose (yellow bear) has her eyes set further back along her nose, and Pumpkin Spice (orange bear) has a much smaller face/nose/mouth.

It is pretty cool just how much variation can be achieved by changing such simple things as eye placement, fur direction, gusset shape and ear placement!

I had a bit of trouble getting these three finished as Byron and I had a little accident on Saturday morning. I was walking through a carpark with him in my arms when I felt myself loose balance. In that split second I thought 'I'll just right myself here, I won't fall down. I can't fall down, I've got Byron in my arms' - then I fell down.

I landed flat on the gravel, one shoe went in one direction, one in the other, and Byron landed about half a metre away. Once I got over the shock of finding myself on the ground, I quickly scooped him up. He'd curled himself into a ball on his back and was in the silent stage of a massive cry. Then he screamed and screamed and sobbed and screamed some more. I held him out to check his injuries and he had blood spotting all down the left side of his face.

I gathered my shoes and my bag and started walking the two streets to our local medical centre. I didn't want to put Byron through the trauma of being strapped into the car seat after being dropped!

The doctor checked him out, but he was fine. Then they realised I was injured too. They cleaned me up as much as they could, wrapped round some bandages and sent Byron and I off to the kids hospital in an ambulance so he could be monitored.

We spent the day there, but Byron was fine. After 6-7hrs of having to hold him constantly, not having anything to eat, and just my water bottle to drink I was well and truly ready to go home.

A friend (who happens to be a nurse) came round that evening and helped me clean myself up a bit, but she said I should probably have had stitches.

This morning things were not looking good for me. Byron on the other hand was healing up beautifully! We decided to make a trip to a different medical centre that promises 'rapid treatment'. We were there for about 3 hours, but most of that time was spent getting x-rays, having my rather deep and infected wounds scrubbed, cleaned, cut and stitched, and ended up with my right arm in a sling!

The sling lasted about 5mins before I took it off so I could carry Byron! It got really painful once the local anaesthetic wore off, but it's feeling quite good now. I still haven't looked to see how many stitches I ended up with, but I do know I had two yucky mangled holes in my elbow, a bruised hip and a gashed up knee!

Moral of the story - don't fall over! :P Kids seem to get away with falling over. Adults, not so much. Not that I planned to fall down! I'm still not sure how it happened to be honest. And I feel so bad that I hurt Byron too. I'm just so relieved that he escaped with only a little bit of damage!

This is him all tucked up in his daddy's arms this morning. The little cuts above his eye are already looking so much better!