Thursday, 30 November 2017

Craft working and other dangerous pastimes

As some of you might know, up until April of this year I had a full-time job in IT and only a small association with the craft world - helping at craft/bear fairs, minor help in making bears, that sort of thing. What I did have was the fun experience of living in a house where bear-making took over most rooms. Let me elaborate:

A few years ago, Dawn was editor of Teddy Bear Times magazine and I helped a bit by proof-reading, editing the odd article etc. I also wrote a couple of articles about the perils of living with a bear artist. There is the constant danger of spilt pins - if you walk around the house barefoot, you can often end up with an unintentional - and to be honest, unwelcome - acupuncture session. Or at the very least, have your feet covered in discarded bits of masking tape (I suspect that if I rolled around for a few minutes on the workroom floor I'd end up looking like an Egyptian mummy). It's also sometimes difficult to find clothes to wear that don't have bits of woodwool attached!

I would frequently come downstairs in the morning to find heads displayed in jars or limbs scattered all over the sofa. One memorable night I came downstairs and in the darkness put my foot in an empty plastic box. Unfortunately, said box was on a laminate floor, and I only just managed to avoid a high-speed collision with the opposite wall.

Over the years, I've learned to (mostly) avoid life-threatening situations like this, and steered clear of the arcane mysteries of the crafting world. Until now!

When I left my job in IT in April, it was with the intention of joining Dawn in Hugs Unlimited full-time. So here I am being initiated gradually into those arcane mysteries. I've been doing some work for HU for a while - a few years ago, Dawn broke her elbow and since then I've been tightening the cotter pin joints (or rolling joints as Dawn tells everyone) - but now I'm getting to grips with a Scan N Cut machine, a die-cutting machine and an embroidery machine. I knew that there was a lot more to machine embroidery than just putting a piece of fabric in and getting a picture out, but I can tell you that if you've never used an embroidery machine before, there is a lot to learn and a lot of practice needed. That said, I've been making a nice little selection of made-in-the-hoop zipped bags with embroidered designs on the front and flowery linings, so I think I'm doing OK. And I don't stab myself with a sewing needle all that often these days either - although I did manage to push a needle about half an inch into my little finger the other day. I don't recommend it!

The plan is to come up with a whole range of new and original designs over the winter, so watch this space and we'll show them off as they happen.

Thanks again for reading this - if you enjoyed it and feel so inclined, perhaps you might like to follow our blog. Or add your email address and we'll send out occasional newsletters. We have plans for a few competitions and give aways in the future, so  keep a look out.

Chris xx

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Introducing Fergus

Well, the Crafts In The Pen weekend went even better than we'd hoped it would. As it was our first time there, we were uncertain what to expect, but bears, fairy houses and Christmas decorations all sold really well and we had loads of very positive feedback about our stall from visitors, who loved the cosiness of the Christmas lights and the big rug to stand on instead of the cold concrete. (Thanks to Al's Emporium in Todmorden for donating the rug - it was much appreciated).

Definitely a fair that we'd like to do again next year.

That's our last fair for 2017, so for now we'll be concentrating on Etsy and on our website as well as spending some time developing new ideas for the coming year.

Meanwhile, check out this cute little bear:

This is Fergus, a 10.5" bear in a little duffle coat and hand-knitted scarf. He's the latest addition to our webpage and Etsy shop and is all set to brave the winter weather to head out to a new home - wherever that may be. He is £117.00 plus postage. Please take a look.

Thanks for visiting. Look out for more new items in the run up to Christmas.

Chris xx

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Big Weekend Ahead

The last few weeks have seen us working long and hard to prepare for two major events this weekend.
First, from tomorrow (17th November) to Sunday 19th, Dawn is participating in an international on-line show where she will be exhibiting and selling bears and bear-related gifts.

The show also has a competition for best showpiece bear, which you can vote for on the Teddies Worldwide web pages. Dawn's entry is Holly, a beautiful Christmas fairy bear. Please take a look.

The second event we've been working hard for is the two-day Crafts In The Pen in Skipton.

This is a huge craft fair - the biggest we've ever exhibited at - and we've been working hard to produce an exciting range of craft items and gifts. We've got Dawn's bears of course, plus bags, fairy houses, lots of Christmas decorations, cushions, bat necklaces, hanging lace decorations and more. If you're in the area, please come and say hello. The fair is in a big cattle market and we've got a whole pen to ourselves, so it's almost like having our own shop!

The fair is from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November. The address is Skipton Auction Mart, BD23 1UD. There's lots to see and a lovely cafe. But wear a big coat - it might be a bit cold in there!

Right - I'm off now to finish of some fairy houses and start packing. I hope we'll see some of you in Skipton.

Thanks for reading.
Chris xx

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you all enjoyed Christmas and that you have a brilliant 2018. We're not really ones for New Year'...