Sunday, 4 February 2018

Introducing Oscar Blue Rabbit - Mascot for a Very Important Cause

Hello there, Everyone - Cy Bear back again and fortunately - for this week at any rate - on time!

In last week's post, I alluded to Oscar Blue Rabbit and to his being a very Special Rabbit.  When the enquiry first came in from the MsKA, representing the Buyer,  in November 2017, we found out it was from a Charity based in Oxford, UK.   Isobel didn't realise the true significance of this particular Story until he was finished and almost ready to be dispatched.  So, this post is going to tell you ALL about Oscar Blue Rabbit  - and what it is hoped he will be able to do in future.

First of all - as of yesterday -  this is now Oscar Blue Rabbit's official listing in our shop ( - and  he is the official Mascot for the Charity,  OXFORD AGAINST CUTTING (OAC).  As such, he is currently a one-off - and so does not have the COLDHAMCUDDLIES label sewn anywhere on his torso.  He will not appear officially off line until next Tuesday, 6th February, when he will be launched as he is playing a prominent role in a film, specially created to be circulated to primary school teachers so that he can help OAC in their work - which is educating people about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and how wrong and unnecessary it is.  (MsKA gave Isobel  permission to publish the listing early - so here it is!)

Tuesday, 6th February is a Very Important Day - because it is the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO INTOLERANCE for FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM) and Oxford Against Cutting has created a toolkit for primary school teachers to talk to young children about bodily integrity.  The tool kit includes a lesson plan and film (Who Can You Tell: bNfUmO) and Oscar takes a leading part in this film.   It's official launch is on that date - at one of the local schools in the Oxford Area.   Isobel got an official invitation to the event, but because of other commitments here at home (e.g. with her Dentist) she had to decline. 

For those of our readers unfamiliar with FGM, here is a brief description, provided for our listing by MsKA FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) involves the cutting of the female genitalia for cultural reasons and has no health benefit whatsoever. It can be extremely harmful, with many girls bleeding to death. FGM survivors are often left with life-long physical and emotional trauma. 

For further information about the work and ambitions of Oxford against Cutting (and the February 6th event) please click here -

The left hand photograph below is of The Blue Rabbit - as he is called in the film.  "Oscar" is the name Isobel called him while she was making him, and it was accepted by MsKA from OAC, with whom we have regularly chatted throughout the process of this order.  It is the one on which Oscar Blue Rabbit has been based.

Designer's calculations are on the right of this picture

The original enquiry wanted to know  if  Isobel could make a cuddly Toy, using similar colour fleece to the photographed model.  Buoyed by the recent success we had enjoyed at the WINTERFEST Christmas Bazaar, she felt able to accept the challenge.  (Misgivings set in pretty fast once she'd done so!!)

(Much of this post will be based on the actual listing for Oscar in this Shop - there seems little point in my duplicating stuff when there is no need.  This will explain the difference in some of the  print fonts that follow as well!)

Everyone who knows Isobel,  knows she is hopeless without a pattern, even though the OAC provided us with a photograph,  So she appealed for help from Etsy Team Members with whom she regularly liaises, and also to a former customer/collaborater - Sean Smith, Puppeteer Extraordinaire, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.  A copy of the original photograph was sent to Tulsa (isn't technology great - when it works)?  He set to - and Sean Smith's calculations are shown alongside it - in this second photograph,  

The pattern pieces were then transferred to two sheets of printing paper, posted back to us - with the instruction that they should all be increased by 200%.  The instructions were followed - to the letter - and Oscar is the result, after several attempts on Isobel's part.  Creating a fabric toy model based on a photograph of a plastic/plasticine animation model evidently had it's challenges!  

As you may have observed, Oscar Blue Rabbit in his role as Mascot Toy for the Oxford Against Cutting's latest project doesn't have the whiskers the original designer had in mind.  They look splendid in the supplied  photograph - but not when Isobel had a go - 

Our own supply of Cat's Whiskers were too thin.  When our haberdashery supplier was consulted, the pipe cleaners (see in the above photo) in as near a colour match as we could find, were far too fat.  So, as Isobel is not keen on spiky appendages to Cuddly Toys as a rule, and in particular where Oscar is concerned, after discussion with MsKA, we did not progress any further along this route..  Whiskers, no matter how they are made, can't help but be spiky -  and we all think Oscar's chubby cheeks look great without them.  Do hope Oscar's prospective Forever Friends will agree.  They, of course, are at liberty to decorate THEIR Oscar Blue Rabbit in any way THEY choose, once he arrives home.

The following photos show how Oscar came into being:

The original pattern only allowed for two head pieces, and Isobel did think it might be easier if Oscar had a gusset joining them together (shown here)  The ears were tacked on, but he didn't look right, so two more head pieces were cut out, and we started all over again.  (The additional gusset fabric made the head even heavier than it already is)

This time around, Oscar's eyes were changed slightly, and his cheek pieces laid on his face before being finally attached.  Then Isobel went to work on his body, and that proved an exercise in itself.  The original photograph shows him with rather spindly arms and legs

 - which might well work for a plasticine animation model, but doesn't quite do the same when you make them with fabric, stuffed with polyester (meeting all international safety standards, by the way). The foot pattern template provided by Sean Smith was entirely inadequate to have any hope of Oscar standing on his own. (In messages between them, Sean Smith did admit to being somewhat concerned himself! He also made the template so that the legs were attached more as part of a hip, rather than directly to the body at its bottom - as in the original picture.)   However, with judicious fiddling around, Isobel did manage to get him to stand - by using the template for our Lady Dressed Toys'shoes, and shaping them to make them look like feet.  Each foot now also has a piece of cardboard on the base, which helps Oscar to stand better.  He also now has a head that will stay upright, by shortening it a little, and packing in the stuffing - to hold it in situ when attached to his body.  

By this time, you will see, Oscar has a mouth - in the original photo, you can see that it goes right across the face in one straight line.  Isobel felt that that gave him too severe a look, so shortened it - and when the photograph was sent to MsKA, she came back asking if we could make Oscar have more of a smile.  You can see in the first picture to this post, that this was achieved - but not before de-stuffing the head, before the head was attached to the body.

In all the excitement, and to-ing and froing, between Tulsa, Oxford and Kirkby in Ashfield, Oscar nearly appeared minus that vital appendage that no self-respecting Rabbit should be seen in public without  - his Fluffy White Tail.  Again, Isobel resorted to her Rabbit patterns, created a slightly larger one to match Oscar's own vital statistics, and the result is shown here.

The lighting for this photo is not right, but it does show the vital appendage.  There's something in the light blue fleece fabric that doesn't like being photographed under the electric lights in our flat.  It's not much better when we try to take photographs of our Rabbits in bright daylight either.  Isobel will have to ponder on how to get around this problem - if we are to offer many more Oscars (and other Light Blue Fleece Rabbits - Big or Small) in future. 

A second rabbit was also made - 

with similar colours to Oscar,  but based on our own pattern, used for Fleece Rabbits in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Shop - - in case the original photograph did not result in a completed ToyIsobel made him Oxford Blue coloured paws and feet, and his facial features were sewn on in matching blue Double Knit Yarn. He also got a pair of Oxford Blue Ear linings made in fleece, rather than our usual satin lining fabric.   In the event, it was not required.  He therefore accompanied Oscar Blue Rabbit when he went to meet the Oxford Against Cutting Team for the first time.  He is COLDHAMCUDDLIES' first donation towards the Charity's fund-raising efforts and we hope it won't be the last.  (It would seem that having a black background does help the photographing conundrum referred to earlier!).  

Currently, Oscar is a one-off.  However, Isobel  retains the pattern templates (again with the agreement of Oxford Against Cutting - just in case anyone else would like to have their own Oscar.  She inadvertently omitted to send them with Oscar when he went to meet his Destiny earlier this Year.  Although based on the original pattern, future Oscar Blue Rabbits will not be an EXACT duplicate of the one we are looking at here.  Isobel finds it impossible to create an EXACT COPY of any Toy she makes - that is, after all, the point of "HAND MADE" and the difference between machine produced toys.  The more Oscars who are made, should result in a faster turn around, as well.   (Sean Smith has already indicated he would like one!!!)  

NB:  Every Oscar Blue Rabbit who gets adopted will result in 20% of his purchase price (£5.00:  circa $7.00 USD) being donated to Oxford Against Cutting (registered charity number 1161597) to assist the Charity in their important, demanding, and relatively unpublicised work in stopping this abuse of human rights against girls and young women.   (Any new Oscars will also have a COLDHAMCUDDLIES label attached under his Tail - as do all our Fleece Bunnies).

Here's a direct message from Isobel herself:

PLEASE BE AWARE;  Orders received for any COLDHAMCUDDLIES products are handled in order of receipt, and Oscar's potential adopters will receive EXACTLY the same treatment.  COLDHAMCUDDLIES, as well as being a handmade Toy Shop, is also a "prescribed" occupational therapy for myself - to assist in keeping increasing arthritis in my hands and other limbs at bay.  The current dispatch dates are therefore set to allow me reasonable time to make a new Oscar (or other COLDHAM Cuddly) from scratch, but also to take account of Work in Progress at the time any enquiry is received.  Dispatch dates are NORMALLY well within the set timetable, and any changes are notified via email and/or the Etsy convo system. Please take this situation into account when placing your order.  No one connected with this project wants YOU to be disappointed.

We'll be back in touch again soon - hopefully next week, but one never knows!!

Have a good week Everyone!  

Your Friend

Cy Bear

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A New Year, Introducing a New Cuddly - and New Year Good Wishes, All Round!

Well Hello Everyone!

So very good to be back again with lots to tell you, especially as the Christmas Break was extended way beyond our original plans - briefly mentioned in our last post here (17th December 2017).

In which case, hopefully not too late, both Isobel and I want to wish all our Readers and Followers a Happy New Year - adding that we do hope that 2018 brings you everything you wish for yourselves and your families.  (We'll be changing our pictures soon - because Isobel doesn't look like this now,  with all the weight she's managed to lose) and it's always a good idea to keep changing one's "look" (or so I am told).

Various "events" have made this delay inevitable.  After a lovely break away in Buckinghamshire with elder daughter Philippa, Isobel arrived back and walked into our flat which had turned into a deep-freeze.  A Power Surge (whatever that is - us Bears, wouldn't know - but I do know it was VERY COLD!!!) had knocked out every electrical appliance in the flat - including the central heating.  With no inkling about this, Isobel was met by a strange young man as she was about to open our front door, saying that he was unable to enter our home - because the front door was firmly locked.  This was rapidly changed, and Isobel and the young man walked around our home checking everything that looked "electrical" to see if any damage had occurred 5 nights before, and if any damage was permanent.  

We were really lucky (the Residents were without any television all over Christmas as well as without proper heating (heaters being supplied by the Power Distributing Company) - a real hardship for more mature ladies and gentlemen, who find a TV almost obligatory to keep them company), but after spending the first night back in Kirkby up the road with Clare (Philippa, who had planned on over-nighting, having returned to High Wycombe during that afternoon), Isobel again came in to a freezing cold home, as the heating system had still not functioned overnight.  The electricity power distributor rushed around with three convection heaters (which were GIVEN to her permanently!) so that by the second morning, when the heating system had been correctly re-set, life began to return to normal (exactly a week after the emergency began).  The newly installed shower pump had succumbed to the power-surge, so Isobel had to strip-wash in the kitchen for a week before the new part was supplied, but apart from that we got off lightly - UNLESS you can call Isobel going down with a really nasty cold/flu attack a few days later, blame for which was placed on the 4 or 5 hours spent on the second morning waiting for the convection heaters to be supplied.  

That's why everything started going pear-shaped.   Our Christmas orders (due to be delivered fairly early in the New Year) took longer to be completed than we'd really like - because on top of the cold, the ever-present arthritis in Isobel's hands decided to have a flare-up after several years of being relatively quiescent (which inevitably slowed things down). Then our Self Assessment Tax Return had to be worked on - and was completed as late as yesterday afternoon - and so on. 

Nevertheless, two of the four orders were completed;   one has been successfully posted, and duly received with delight - destination Oxfordshire, UK.  The second one was posted to Rhode Island, New York, USA only a few days later than originally set.  A third awaits a final decision  later this year - this is for 6 Golf Club Head Covers, if it goes ahead.   Isobel has today taken the measurements for a pair of Brown Bear Ladies' Slippers - which she hopes to start making early next week - for one of our fellow Residents here at Old Chapel Close (grandmother to the young lady who received the Grey Wolf Slippers before Christmas 2017) - seen here

The two post-Christmas, completed orders were for a Special Rabbit - whom Isobel decided should be called Oscar, while he was being constructed (a suggestion the Customer accepted!) - who has been made to resemble as closely as feasible a Rabbit that looks like this

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Artwork involved in creating the pattern for Isobel to work with

in a photograph provided by our Customer - who is involved in organising the launch of a special film, in which Oscar takes a prominent place, scheduled for 6th February, 2017.  We'll be telling you ALL about how Oscar Blue Rabbit was made and what may happen to him (and COLDHAMCUDDLIES) in a future blog, but as 6th February has yet to arrive, and Oscar has still to be listed in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Shop ( this is all that I'll say here today.  Meanwhile, suffice to say, the pattern artwork was provided by Puppeteer Extraordinaire, Sean Smith (of Tulsa, OK, USA) with whom we've collaborated in the past.  Oscar did prove to be quite a challenge - converting that photograph into a viable, cuddly Toy using fleece, felt and polyester stuffing was not exactly straight forward!

Almost at the same time, Isobel received another Custom Order from MrsSG  located in Rhode Island, NewYork, U.S.A. who wanted to have a Winston Wombat Hotwater Bottle Cover - see below

as well as another similar item, but made up to look like a Koala.  Isobel suggested we could use the Head used for Sleepy Koala Bear, and sew it onto a pillow cover made with our Koala Bear type fabric:

and MrsSG was happy to go along with that idea.  Beginning a week ago last Friday, the two Hotwater Bottle Covers were cut out and constructed - and the Koala Bear version will be listed early next week.  Meanwhile, this is what Koala Bear Hotwater Bottle Cover looks like:

Both of these were posted last Friday morning, and we hope they will travel speedily and safely in time to reach the family before they set off on a Winter vacation (we suspect timed to coincide with half term holidays for the two daughters of the family).  The difference in size (even though the same amount of fabric has been used for both items) is - as ever - explained by the difference in fabric thickness mostly, as well as Winston Wombat having a bigger head to begin with!!  If they look a bit lop-sided - that's because the pillow (which is also stuffing in the absence of a hotwater bottle) is probably not exactly centred on Isobel's bed pillow!!

That's all for this week Folks.  Look forward to resuming our usual weekly posts for the rest of the year .... but given potential developments, hinted at earlier in this post, I'm not promising anything!

Have a great week, Everyone.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Bertie Blue Whale Joins the COLDHAMCUDDLIES

Good afternoon everyone - back once more, and this week,  "on time"  too!

Cy Bear back again, and delighted to be here and able to introduce you to the latest member of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Family/Shop - Bertie Blue Whale.
Our Custom Order Blue Whale Ornamental Toy (named Bertie Whale for our Shop Listing) is made from a Vintage  (1973) Simplicity Pattern which was purchased more recently either from a fellow Etsy Shop or while surfing on-line elsewhere.    Isobel has been waiting for an excuse to "have a go" ever since.

The Blue Fleece Ornamental Whale Toy's Dimensions are:

Lying on its side, from nose to mid-tail -

Length:  36.00 inches (92.00 cms)
Height:    11.00 inches (28.00 cms) Tip of Fin to Base
Weight:     2.00 pounds (0.97 kilos)  approximately
Girth:       27.00 inches (69 cms) midway along back

As much of a "head-on" view as we can manage in our flat for an Ornament of this size!

The original pattern is actually for a Dolphin - but in October 2017 during a conversation with a fellow Slimming World member while she waited for her weekly "weigh-in", Isobel was asked if she could make MrsPA a Whale  - when she heard Isobel was a Toy Maker.

A close-up of Bertie's Tail

Returning home, the Pattern Library was checked, the Dolphin pattern was found and a photo of the giant Toy e-mailed to MrsPA.

The original picture which began the whole story!

Isobel suggested that by slightly altering the Dolphin head shape (by eliminating the prominent Dolphin"beak") a recognisable Whale could appear. Thus, we were commissioned to produce a Blue Whale for Christmas 2017MrsPA and her husband had recently spent a splendid holiday in South Africa and during their adventure had, had the pleasure of watching a school of whales off the southern coast of that country.  The fact that many years ago, Isobel too had travelled the same area (although minus the Whale sighting!) made the acceptance of the challenge a "no-brainer", and accordingly it was placed in our Order Book.   (ALL ORDERS RECEIVED in our COLDHAMCUDDLIES shop are handled strictly in order of receipt.)  Once the Whale order reached the Top of the List, work on it duly commenced.  Four days' later, the results are contained in this listing.

Bertie's Under-belly in White Fleece

Consequently, we are now able to offer either a Whale or a Dolphin - without too much difficulty! Your choice need not be restricted to it being a Blue Whale/Dolphin. The listing gives you several options that we are suggesting could be used for an Ornamental Feature Toy to match any decorative ideas you may be planning.    Please let us know when ordering via the Etsy Check Out site which option is your preference.  (Or you can also convo us and/or email us at  Isobel will be delighted to see what she can do to meet your needs.

Bertie's tail looks more comfortable when it is draped over something!

Obviously, this special Custom Order is a one-off for MrsPA but she has no objection to Bertie becoming part of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES collection of Ornamental Toys.  Despite his size, Hermy as MrsPA has decided he will be called when presented to her husband for Christmas this year, can be replicated quite easily.  (The Whale sighting mentioned earlier in this post took place off the coastal Town of Hermanus, Republic of South Africa!)

The main component, once the fabric is measured and sewn is the need for a good supply of the usual polyester stuffing with which all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Ornamental Toys are created.  This complies with all international standards for safety and in this case, a 1.1 kilo (2.2 pounds) bag has almost all been used to create this Giant Feature Ornament.  He just fits on a normal pillow - with his tale gracefully draping over the side of it!  We have a reliable source for this important part of a Whale Ornamental Feature Toy - at very competitive prices too!

I'm actually standing behind Bertie in this picture - just shows how high he is!!

Bertie is totally hand-stitched (taking 2 evenings of sewing) and basically consists of  two main seams - with a gusset forming the underside of his body.  His body is  blue fleece, with his under-belly made with a white fleece of similar quality.  He has purpose made felt eyes individually crafted and sewn on either side of the Whale body.  (They are not as "sexy" as those suggested for the Dolphin - for which we do have a pattern!)   Small white flecks are embroidered on each eye to provide a life-like "look" to the Toy's overall look.  Like all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Ornamental Toys, Bertie Whale is made in totally animal free and smoke free environments.

Bertie behind me, as I sit in my usual spot on the Bed!

Hermy was hand-delivered, travelling by public transport to meet his new owner - raising interest among fellow 'bus travellers enroute in the process.  (It was both too early in the day, (c.0830 GMT) and typical of the commuting public that NO ONE actually commented!! MrsPA was delighted to meet Bertie (Hermy to her, of course) and they left for their new future together earlier this week-end.

As with all big packages, Shipping could be quite expensive and would have to be either by Royal Mail Parcel Force and/or a Courier service.    Because of  his specific measurements, each package would need an individual shipping quote, so the one we have put into our Shop Listing is purely for listing purposes only.   There are several locally-based companies who can be approached for a definite quotation (serving all global destinations!) - thus prices quoted for this listing are approximate only.  As a custom order, these will be confirmed at the time the order is processed by the Etsy Check Out system and no work will begin on any order/commission until an exact shipping cost has been provided - and accepted by the Buyer(s).

Bertie Whale is one of the biggest Ornamental Toys we've ever handled in our Shop.   Previous visitors have included a Giant Koala - who was adopted elsewhere in the UK, after Isobel had been "scammed" into enlarging our  Big Koala Toy -
into a truly Giant Koala Ornamental Toy - who became my Friend Colin the Koala (shown below)

We've also handled a Dinosaur called Dino - who needed a bit of "feeding up" after some heavy cuddling from his Forever Friend, as well as a Giant Dragon - whose stuffing had also "relaxed" after some time in the "real world".  This is a normal occurrence when polyester (or other materials) are used to stuff Toys of any size - and is not a fault as such.  That's where our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic's services come in handy!!  Patients are always welcome!  ( 

After a luke-warm bath in soap suds, and a complete re-stuff (using nearly 6 lbs (c.3 kilos) of polyester fibre, Count Rusty now looks like this - a true leader of the Morrell Bear clan
Count Rusty de Ben - Biggest Member of the Morrell Family Bear Collection and a 4 ft 6 inch Ornament!

They all took somewhat longer to cope with while they stayed with us and their stories have appeared in earlier posts in this Blog!

I'm closing now for this week's edition - and am not sure when I'll be back.  Isobel is spending Christmas with daughter, Philippa, and is due to be away for about a week (beginning later this week) and there are plans afoot for her to have a break from toy-making (there are already 4 Orders on the Book for the New Year!).  Thanks to the Slimming World attendance she's undertaken since July, she's reached Christmas 2017 27.5 lbs lighter than she was at the start.  Her target for the period was 28 lbs - so a pesky half-pound has just blocked that achievement!!  However, it does mean that her wardrobe has taken a "hit", and Isobel is debating whether to take some of her stash of accumulated fabrics with her to make some much-needed replenishments.  Trousers that fit are fast becoming a necessity, and she's hoping she can "borrow" a pattern from daughter Clare before she is driven to Buckinghamshire (as well as back again!) for the Christmas period. It's the prospect of the lifts both ways that is causing these thoughts to emerge!!  (Easier to manage when not having to travel by train, and cross London - the normal route on these occasions.)

Both Isobel and I want to wish all our Friends, Followers, and Readers the very Happiest of Christmas Festivities - and Everything you Wish Yourselves for 2018.  (Which is probably when we'll meet again!).

Your Friend,

Cy Bear

Sunday, 10 December 2017

WOW! Where did the Time Go? Definitely a Catch up post to follow!

Hello there Everyone!  Cy Bear here again.

COLDHAMCUDDLIES  Teddy Bears (and Me) with suitable labels to attract passing WINTERFEST Traffic!

WINTERFEST2017 is now a thing of the past.  Although, as feared, the WiFi didn't work - so the new technical pieces we hoped to use in our sales at the event didn't either - folks came in their dozens, and all were prepared to use cash for any purchases made.  Lots of our new business cards were handed out by both Clare and Isobel - so who knows what could happen in 2018?  However, having covered our costs for the outlays for the Event, everything we made was profit - and we made the most we've ever done at one of these gigs - so the efforts were definitely worth it.

Light Brown  Bear (back left in the photograph) found a new Home for Christmas (each label, no matter the colour, had the message "I NEED A NEW HOME FOR CHRISTMAS" - and in Light Brown Bear's case it worked.  

As I told you in our last post, Panda Bear was able to participate in the Christmas Craft Fair, thanks to the agreement of his New Best Friend, MsMP.  While on the Coldham Cuddlies Table, he had a red label all to himself, which looked like this:

The Label reads "I have a Home for Christmas - in Nottingham"!

COLDHAMCUDDLIES Table after set-up on Friday, 25th November.  (Isobel in background)

Clare and Isobel with half the COLDHAMCUDDLIES table exhibits

As arranged by Isobel, first thing on the Monday after WINTERFEST2017 was over, he was wrapped up and sent on his way - after we'd taken our usual Farewell photograph.

Two days later, we got an email from MsMP (she'd been out when Panda arrived after travelling Express Post - so had spent an extra day waiting at the Royal Mail Sorting Office before meeting his New Best Friend).  MsMP picked him up en route to her office next morning, and took this photograph before one of the car journeys involved.

Apparently, the label attached was an extra delight for MsMP - and we were grateful to her for allowing us to include Panda in our exciting exhibit at WINTERFEST2017Panda is now settling in with his two new Friends - "Angel Bear" and "Star Wars Bear"!  May they have many happy years together.  We're just thrilled that Panda has found such a comfortable niche!

It's three weeks ago, when we last were in touch - and we simply don't know where the time went!  I've sat on the bed, while Isobel has sewn madly - in between walking/sleeping up the road, while the bathroom was re-done.  Instead of the forecast 10 Working Days, the job took another 5 Working Days, and only finished (for our flat, anyway) on Thursday of last week.  Although she was getting quite efficient at taking everything needed for an evening sewing session by the end of the period, there were still days when she had to play catch up during the day - so blogging really has had to take a back seat.

In that time, a pair of Kids Small Slippers have been cut out, sewn and delivered to MrsMB (one of our fellow residents here at Old Chapel Close in Kirkby in Ashfield).  She was acting as agent for a friend, who wanted a pair for his Grand Daughter for Christmas.  They looked like this example which is currently to be found in our Shop:

These were ordered way back in September - during/just after this year's MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning, where one of our Buchanan Dressed Lady Foxes were also bought by the same Gentleman - for the same Little Person.

Then, our next Christmas delivery booking was for a pair of Grey Wolf Novelty Slippers, again for a connection of another neighbour of ours.  This time it was for a Lady's Grand Daughter, whose Mother wanted the pair of Slippers for her 13 year-old Daughter.  She's a tall young lady, and is already into UK Size 5 Slippers, and these were completed this Friday - delivered, and paid for at the same time!  Isn't that the way to do business, now?  Here's what they look like in our Shop - ready for anyone else with similar thoughts in mind.

The final Christmas order is under way - to be delivered next Saturday, 16th December, to one of Isobel's fellow members of the Saturday morning Slimming World Club"Hermy" the Whale has been cut out (a new length of fabric was needed) because what Isobel thought was wide enough, didn't actually fit the entire pattern!  He's now been cut out, and most of the "side-effects" - wings, belly, and eyes, have been cut out and sewn.  Isobel plans to start sewing the body etc this evening - and as he is 30 inches from nose to tail, that's going to take some time!!  I'll tell you all about it next week.

Right - this has been a long post:  but so much has happened in the time we've not been in touch, I hope you'll forgive its length.  See you all again next week!

Your Friend:

Cy Bear.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

WINTERFEST2017 has nearly arrived: Last Minute preparations are in hand!

Hello Everyone:

Cy Bear once again taking up the story regarding the COLDHAMCUDDLIES countdown to this VERY IMPORTANT date in our Shop's history.

This Christmas Craft Fair will be the biggest display of our wares since we started out in February 2010 - when we were based in Warminster, Wiltshire, England, UK.  As regular readers of this blog will remember, we moved from there in 2014 and are now based in Nottinghamshire, England, UK - right in the area known worldwide as "Robin  Hood Country! WINTERFEST2017 is actually located in part of the remainder of Sherwood Forest - and is in a lovely setting in the grounds of Thoresby Hall, near Newark, Nottinghamshire - but it could be somewhat hazardous to our newly developed internet connections, because Wi-Fi connection is not always guaranteed, so please EVERYONE, please keep your fingers crossed that we have a good day and that such hazards are not encountered.

Thoresby Hall, within whose grounds,WINTERFEST2017  will be taking place

The Cuddlies stock replenishments are almost completed:  there is just one more Dark Blue Fleece Rabbit to have one more seam sewn and then the last 2 Rabbits (both self-coloured Dark Blue Fleece varieties) can be stuffed, labelled and placed in their specific travelling bag!  In the meantime, this week Isobel has completed the Brown Fleece Rabbits - I told you about them in last week's post:

You will recall that we're offering the self-colour options for the first time - and this is what they look like from different angles:

Then we've also got two more Purple Fleece Rabbits - white-chested, as well as self colour, and like the Brown Bunnies, the self-colour variety is being shown for the first time here:

They are actually quite a lot more PURPLE than perhaps they look in these pictures, but had Isobel got the Dark Blue ones to show you (they're currently based up the road, in Clare's home - where Isobel has been staying overnight since Wednesday this week - and due to continue doing so until Friday - while the bathroom in our flat is completely re-done), you would see that they actually are not as Blue as they appear.  (Something to do with the ink colours involved I'm told - a fact not necessarily of immediate interest to a Beaver Lamb Bear like me!).

Technical matters have also dominated Isobel's mind this week - culminating with a telephone conversation between Clare (in her home, with Isobel in attendance) between the Account Manager at PayPal appointed to look after the COLDHAMCUDDLIES new Business Account which has been opened specifically for WINTERFEST2017 (as well as for the foreseeable future!).  The result of that encounter is that we now have a Chip Card Reader (whatever that is!) linked to Isobel's new Smartphone (???) and all that Isobel and Clare now have to do is to ensure that both bits of equipment are "fully charged" - and we'll be able to accept Card Payments, as well as Cash/Cheque payments next Saturday at the Christmas Festival at "The Court Yard".

Since Isobel accepted the invitation to participate in this Christmas Craft Fair about 6 weeks ago, there have been a lot of outgoings from our Bank Account - inevitably!  However, we've also been successful in receiving several orders (3 of which I've mentioned in previous posts for 2 pairs of Children's Slippers (Christmas presents) and Hermy the Whale - also a Festive gift) and this week - after rather a "fallow" period for sales on Etsy, Isobel has ended up with 3 new orders. 

One is for our Panda Bear  (I told you about his recent facial makeover in a recent post, and look what happened this week, eh?).

He's going to a Forever Home connected to MsMP - who lives just 25 miles or so down the road in Nottingham itself:  and this afternoon, we've created a Custom Order for a MrsSG - living in Rhode Island, NY who wants Isobel to make 2 Three-Way Bed Pillows, one looking like Winston Wombat here

The second one included in this double order is to be made as a Three-way Bed Pillow, but this time resembling our Sleepy Koala, using the same fabric.

These two will head the January Order Book, together with the Ladies Novelty Bear Slipper Isobel is due to make for one of our fellow residents.  That pair is to resemble a Yogi Bear type Furry Bear, with Scarlet Satin Ribbon Trimming!

So, once WINTERFEST 2017 is over, Isobel's work begins once more - this time to fulfill the existing Order Book, and prepare for the New Year one - as well as, what we hope, will be several replacements or brand new models for Ornamental Toys from our existing Shop, who we hope will find new homes next Saturday.  One of our Baby Owls, was actually paid for today, when Isobel was drinking coffee after Mass at St. Barnabas - the Buyers, Mr and MrsDS - from Nottingham, will not be able to be at The Courtyard next week-end, but wanted to ensure that their newly-born great niece has him for Christmas (a Reserved Label will be on show at The Courtyard), as will similar notices for 2 of our Golf Club Head Covers - heading for a destination to be specified in the New Year - in Virginia, USAMsMP has also been kind enough to allow us to display Panda Bear at The Court Yard event, and we will ensure that he is en route to Aspley, Nottingham next Monday, 27th November! cover

This Buyer actually wants Isobel to do two sets of 3 Golf Club Covers, but has yet to make up her mind (as well as get her husband to do the same!) exactly what Animal Head they want for their particular Golf Clubs!   So 2018 looks like starting off with a bang:  let's hope it continues in that vein!

See you all after the Show next week-end - if Isobel has the energy to help me write the results for you, that is!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Progress Report on WINTERFEST 2017 Preparations: and a Bit Aside Too

Hello Everyone!!

Cy Bear signing in once again and just glad he sits at home in a warm flat, on these occasions.  We've got Arctic air blowing over the British Isles today, and Isobel said she was QUITE cold this morning as she wended her way up the hill to get her weekly lift for Mass at St. Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham. 

Today, too, is Remembrance Sunday in the UK (as it is all over the Commonwealth, too), and Isobel proudly displayed her late Father, Major Andrew Miller's medals - as she does every year on this special day.  (She worked out that in another 3 years, she will have been doing this for 70 years - as it was on the first Rembrance Day after she became 10, that her Uncle decided she was old enough to wear them for the very first time).  Although Major Miller, "joined up" in 1916  and first saw service with the Argyll & Sutherland Highland Regiment, during 1917 he was commissioned as an Officer and was actually undergoing Officer Training when the First World War ended.  He decided he couldn't afford to remain as an Officer in the British Army, so went instead to become an Officer in the British Indian Army - and spent the rest of his life serving in India (as it then was - although his Regiment (King George V Baluchistan Rifles - where he spent most of his time until his death in 1941, is now part of the Pakistan Army).  During that time, he also served in Mesopotamia (now Iran and Iraq) - as evidenced by one of his Medals, and also served in at least two major Campaigns on the North West Frontier (the area between what is now Afganistan and Pakistan - again confirmed by a medal - fourth from left - with 2 bars).  

This year, Isobel  remembered to take the Medals' Miniatures that she also has in her possession and so younger daughter Clare was able to wear those in memory of her Grandfather's service - during both World Wars.   (Elder Daughter, as the eldest child of the eldest son, is eligible to wear her Grandfather Morrell's medals - but as she has earned her own medal, after 17th years service with the Princess Royal's Volunteer Corps (FANY), she decided to wear that one this year:  it is also traditional, that if one already has earned one's own decoration, one does not display another's, even if you are entitled so to do.)  They are held by Philippa, so she can do so whenever she feels she wishes to - or it's more appropriate for her so to do, while Clare - and eventually GrandsonE - will do the same on behalf of "Grandad Miller" in future years, once Isobel is no longer able to.  Nevertheless, both girls are proud of the service provided to their Country by BOTH  their Grandfathers.

You will see that one medal is not attached to the bar:  that is the War Medal 1939-1945 which was awarded to every member of the British Army who had served during those years - but Isobel only realised Major Miller's was not where it ought to be in 2010.  Because of his early death, Isobel's Aunt and Uncle (with whom she lived as she grew up) had either not known how to apply for it on her behalf, or it had been one of those things they meant to do, but life got in the way and it somehow slipped everyone's mind!  She applied for it, and it arrived very quickly:  but so far, she has not been able to get it properly attached so that it hangs with all the others.  Today, she and the family - en route back home - found a Shop dealing in "Militaria", on the same road, and not far from the Cathedral, where this could be done:  so guess what?  One of the jobs Isobel will be doing (after WINTERFEST 2017 and probably not until the New Year now) is to take the medals in to the Shop, to see if they can assist.  I'll let you know what happens in due course.

Now, moving on to the present, I'm delighted to tell you that the Fleece Rabbit production line is flourishing.  Isobel actually laid out 5 different colour sets of 2 of these ColdhamCuddlies - and this is the situation currently:

The first Fleece Rabbit replenishments are the Pink ones:  the snapshot was taken just before Isobel went to bed on Tuesday evening and show BOTH versions with White Chests.  She had intended to make at least one each of  the latest batch showing what they could look like, if they were self-coloured!

That mistake has not happened since - because, there are the two new Pale Blue Fleece Rabbits:

And, this is where Isobel has got to with the third pair:

She is planning on completing both these Cuddlies today, and hoping to get the penultimate pair at least cut out before bed tonight, although the latter task may have to wait until tomorrow - what with the need for an evening meal to be prepared and other administrative tasks required of her in connection with her responsibilities as Secretary to the Old Chapel Close Tenant's Association - who have a meeting called for tomorrow morning!!  Life is, as ever, busy, busy, busy!!

See you all next week - when the count-down to WINTERFEST 2017 will then be in DAYS, rather than WEEKS!  How the time can fly!!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.