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Sunday, August 28

Just had to share this!

I know it is rushing the season, but I just had to share
my latest bears with you ~ The Carolers.

They will be featured in my ad in the December issue of
Teddy Bear Review,
so they had to be done now.

The lamppost was made by Mr. Cobblestone ~ what a guy!

Saturday, August 27

Oh yes I did!

Come on, how could I pass this up when I saw it in the store? 
A mouse sized coffin!
Of course it needs some creature comforts added. 

Perhaps silk lining and a nice pillow ~ and a vampire mouse!

I'm in the Halloween mood now ~ saw the first leaves turned red in our yard yesterday. 

Hooray for Autumn!!

Monday, August 22

Wait a minute ~ what month is this?

One of the more peculiar aspects of the collectibles business is having to think one season ahead.  Here we are in the month of August and as you can see from my posts last week, I'm already working on Halloween items.  Throw in the lead time for publications and this week I'm actually putting the finishing touches on a pair of Christmas bears that will appear in my ad in the December issue of

These two bears have been a learning experience for me ~ with the emphasis being that I've learned it's not all that scary to experiment.  As most of you know, I'm rather new to the larger mohair bears ~ most of my work has been on a much smaller scale and with very different materials.  Although I really like the heads with the trimmed snouts that I've created for The Gentry, I was put off by the stubble this leaves behind, especially for the ladies.  *gasp*

Before I go any further, you have to understand that doing anything to a head at this stage of construction is daunting because of how much time has already been invested in it.  Not only does it require the most exact stitching and meticulous stuffing, especially the nose area, but placement of the features must be done carefully to bring out the charming expression of each bear.  Heck, it can take me 20 minutes just to choose glass eyes that match precisely enough for my standards ~ I have a large box of eyes.

Determined to find a solution and heeding the mantra of 'the interweb knows', I found some bear artists who shared the techniques they use when creating faces.

Trimming I cannot tell you how many hours I spent trimming closer and closer, trying many types of really sharp scissors as this was suggested by more than a few artists.  Eh ~ still couldn't get what I'd call a smooth finish.  But I do now have a rather large collection of scissors.

Plucking More tedious hours were spent actually plucking out each individual strand of mohair (yes, really) which did give a smoother surface, but what's left is the rather coarse weave of the fabric backing showing.  Nope ~ not what my ladies deserve.

Needle felting I was intrigued by the smoothness and shaping you can get using wool roving, but for my taste, the problem is the color differences between the mohair fibers and the wool.  I suppose if you took the time to dye them together you'd be able to get a good match ~ but that kinda time I don't have.

Then I remembered something I read on Joanne Livingston's blog about how she needle felts individual strands of mohair to shade her bears' faces.  (If you aren't familiar with Joanne's work, do yourself a BIG favor and visit her blog and newly upgraded website.  She makes the most fabulous realistic bears!!!  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see her work in a museum someday.  And she is truly one of the most gentle, generous souls I've met online.)

Now, I must say I'm nowhere near ready to attempt the intricacy of Joanne's work, but when I thought about the structure of mohair and wool, it seemed reasonable that both of these hair shafts should behave in a similar manner when subjected to a felting needle.  After unraveling the mohair fibers from the scraps left from cutting out my bear pieces (using Joanne's technique), I carded the resulting pile of fluff with two wire brushes until I had what resembled wool roving ~ in the exact color that I needed!  My small practice patch turned out well enough to spur me on and I plunged in ~ literally plunged my felting needle into the bear's face.  And I'm glad I did.

Here's the result:

So the lessons learned are to not be afraid to ask for help, carefully think through the process you are about to attempt and remember that meticulous, detailed work is usually worth it in the end.

I am so excited to start my next bears!!!

Christmas music anyone?

Saturday, August 20

Going Batty!

It's no secret that I've been waiting impatiently for Autumn ~ well, Winter actually, but I'll settle for Fall.  So when I heard about
Karen Waschinski's

I jumped at the chance to participate.

"The purpose of this event is three-fold:
to have a great time celebrating a wonderfully
spooky holiday sharing Hallowe'en images, ideas and memories,
to share your art, and
The event will go "live" October 1st, 2011
and run for the month!"

Once the tour goes live you will be able to go trick-or-treating in this online neighborhood ~ happily clicking away, enjoying Halloween stories, recipes, decorating ideas and visiting many fine artists. 

Each artist is to create a welcome to their home/studio, greeting the visitors in costume ~ ahem, I'll have to do a bit of digging for that. 
And you will be able to browse their Halloween art offerings ~ perhaps finding the perfect creation for your own collection.  I plan to have a few mouse trick-or-treaters and a witch bear or two available.

Until then, you can follow along on the group's blog or join the mailing list by emailing Karen at woosel[at]total.net

My pictures are due to Karen by September 15th ~YIKES!!!! ~ but I've got a pair of Christmas bears to finish first ~ more about that tomorrow.
Time to get sewing!

Friday, August 19

So much news to share!

It's been busy busy busy for me lately and I'm afraid I've neglected my blog for a while.  Over the next few days I promise to get you all caught up on what I've been doing, but for today I wanted to let you know I am very pleased to have joined an extremely talented group of bear artists. 

If you want to feast you eyes on some fabulous creations,
take a peek at what this group has to offer. 

~ and ~

We are having an online Holiday Show!

So mark your calendars now to do some
holiday shopping right on your computer
(in your jammies if you want to)
November 5th & 6th.
I've got some really cute things for this show.

I also wanted to mention that you can now follow my blog by email
Yep, you can get all my new blog posts,
with all the pictures and links,
delivered right to your inbox. 
No more checking for updates! 
You can find the sign-up on the upper right hand side of this page.

More tomorrow . . . .

Wednesday, August 3

A bit of this, a bit of that . . .

This week I've dabbled in the occupations of stone mason and cobbler ~ as in shoes, not peach.  These endeavors have resulted in three mice and two bears that are now available on my website.

The first set is Jack and Jill for my Cobblestone Tails series. 

Their well started out as a wooden hexagon box ~ but after a few hours with stones and gorilla glue it is now a lovely well for them.  As the gorilla glue cures, it foams and expands and looks exactly like mortar between the stones.  I used epoxy for the water in the bucket. 

The second item was inspired by a fairy slipper exchange that has been going on on a few of the blogs I follow.  I didn't partake in the swap (this time) but can see this easily becoming a seasonal item for me ~ I am especially exited to try one for Winter!  
Here is Autumn Fairy Slipper Mouse.
~ SOLD ~

Lastly ~ YES!  I have finally completed the bear with the baby carriage.  She was quite the challenge and looks completely different from what I had originally in mind. 
I'll save that design for another bear. 


I also received more pictures of the Cobblestone Mice shelves one of my buyers is creating.  Here's the scene for Madam Mousica ~ the gypsy fortune teller. 

Isn't it just grand!!!


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