It's been great to have as many comments on Part 2 as have arrived today - and I'm thrilled to inform everyone that www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com, despite the recent break-down in transmission now has 160 Followers! Thanks so much to everyone.
Also, after all this time, I've discovered that not only can I invite you to follow us: but you can become Friends of ours as well (until now, I had thought that was the same thing!) So, the more recent of you kind folk have just been invited via the Blogger Dashboard to become a Friend, as well as receiving a brief message of welcome to the Happy Band of Coldham Cuddlies! My original Followers don't seem to be able to be contacted in the same way - you've been with us for a long time! - so I'm taking this opportunity to invite all of you who haven't received a specific invitation to take it as read - and become a FRIEND INDEED! Not sure exactly what happens, if you don't - but not to worry: the knowledge that you are supporting us as Followers is sufficient encouragement.
Now, to the next stage of Rusty's therapy:
Using a different angle to the final picture in our the last post, shows Rusty with tissue paper wrapped round his eyes. Over the course of his lifetime, the pupils had become very scratched, with the black bits missing in all sorts of places on each eye. So I called for advice from Helen, our House Supervisor here at the Hospital of St. John. She, and fellow staff member here, Sue, are great Crafters in their own right and have introduced me to suitable craft fairs since ColdhamCuddlies became operational. They decided the best way of improving Rusty's sight was to paint the pupils over - with either enamel paint or nail varnish. After briefly rubbing both eyes with sandpaper (to give some grip), Helen used Black Nail Varnish for the job (hence the use of tissues to separate the eyes from the surrounding plush fur fabric). After two coatings, followed by a couple of coats of plain varnish, Rusty can now "see" without any interruption to his vision!
When he first arrived for treatment earlier this year, I guessed that when it came to stuffing the Giant Bear, it would probably take about 6 kilos (circa 14 lbs) to do the complete job. I'm fortunate that my source for this vital piece of toy-making (Fine Quality Feather Company in Frome, Somerset) are willing to sell me the polyester fibre for the same price per kilo (2.2lbs) that I can obtain 100 grammes (4 ozs) of the same stuff elsewhere! However, there wasn't room in our flat for both Rusty-as-was and the 6 kilos of stuffing at the same time, so the latter was deposited in our storage unit some 10 miles away from Heytesbury. The price of gas being what it is these days, and the fact that the unit is located somewhat out of our usual range of activities meant that it was a day or two before it was convenient for us to go and pick up the packaged stuffing. It looked like this before the bags were unpacked, ready for use.
It was another Sunday morning that the stuffing procedure began. Rusty was laid out on our bed, on his front, and I started to fill the legs first.
At Peter's specific suggestion, both the arms and legs are not stuffed as firmly as the body and head.- Because, when we went to stay with Philippa in December, Peter had a fall in the bedroom where Rusty reigns supreme in a wooden Rocking Chair, surrounded by all the Morrell Bear Family. If it hadn't been for Rusty's soft legs, Peter could have hurt himself a great deal more than he did! So, in case of future need (Heaven forfend), the legs are firm, but soft - rather than rock hard!
The following series of pictures shows how the stuffing was carried out.
By sitting him in the chair he currently occupies in our flat, I was able to get his legs set in a similar position to where they had been before, and it also enabled me to get a better angle on his head when it came to stuffing that part of his anatomy.
I'd kept his ears sewn in place when using the "Quic-unpic" to begin the treatment, so it was just a question of ladder-stitching the front and back head pieces together - and finally attaching his red tongue.
After 25 years, although his original one was useable, it seemed appropriate to give him a fresh one after all the washing and drying he'd gone through. The final touch was to tie his original ribbon round his neck - it too went through the washing, drying and, in its case, ironing process!
I've some more pictures of Rusty taken as he visited his new-found friends around the Hospital of St. John. These will form the basis of my next post in a day or so. So, for now, good bye! Isobel.