Cy Bear greeting you from what is still rather a chilly Nottinghamshire, especially as I'm told today is the Longest Day in the whole year. We've seen the sun in small doses: but mostly, this week it has been cold, windy and cloudy - which makes Isobel and her fellow humans far from happy.
Last week, I told you that we'd received the pattern MrJS from Tulsa, Oklahoma wanted us to use to make his puppet Daniel Tiger - the last one in the series of Puppets on which he and Isobel have been collaborating . So, she first cut out and made the head.
The fabric that Daniel Tiger is made with is a type of mohair and was purchased from our supplier of such materials - Mohair Bear Supplies Limited, who are based in Telford, Shropshire, England, U.K. They are reputed to have the largest supply of mohair and faux fur fabrics - for anyone who likes to use such materials - in the UK. To date, Isobel has had no reason to doubt that claim. The firm is behind a Teddy Bear Making Competition that is run each year, and this time, Isobel has entered my friend Light Brown Bear with a Yellow Ribbon, shown below:
His photograph and details have been entered, and we await confirmation of their having been received (deadline for entry is 30th June, 2015). If that goes ahead, the decision will be announced in September or October - so keep your fingers crossed for my friend. I'll let you know if he's lucky or not, I promise.
However, now back to the story of Daniel Tiger. Using the body pattern MrJS also provided, which is slightly smaller than the one he sent us for the Puppet Bodies we told you about earlier this year, and which were used for the Puppet Royal Family that we also told you about in our posts in May 2015, Isobel cut out Daniel's body, as well as the calico lining which she likes to provide for all her arm puppets. (Our Hand Puppets - being that much smaller, and usually made with felt - don't really need to be lined).
Now, I can hear folks muttering Tigers have stripes and all the other Tiger Puppets, whether for MrJS or the prototypes listed in our Shop (www.Etsy.com/shop/COLDHAMCUDDLIES) have been made with animal print plushs - so why isn't Daniel?
Well, among the many other things he knows, I am told MrJS was taught to paint on fabric by his Grandmother - who also taught him how to sew. So, for Daniel Puppet 2015, he decided he'd like to paint Daniel's stripes on the fabric himself. He actually chose the plain fabric on line, at the same time as he chose the fabric used for Henrietta Puppet (shown below).
Once he's done his artistic work, Isobel has asked him to let us have a photograph of the finished Daniel - and be sure, it will be included in a future post here.
Meanwhile, Isobel then stuffed Daniel's head and created the finger guide - with cardboard rolled into a small tube and covered with calico sheeting fabric - and attached it into the neck opening. Having gathered it, she sewed Daniel's head on so that it looked like this.
Then, having fixed the two body pieces (lining and outer body) together, and added a "Coldham Cuddlies" label in the back of the body (sewn into the lining), she put the head on to the body.
She sent the photos to MrJS, making the point that (a) she'd realised she had put the head on back to front (something that could easily be rectified - and has been!) and also she was not happy with the way his mouth looked.
Yesterday, we heard back from Tulsa, and received the suggestion that perhaps Isobel should move the nose (and surrounds) down a bit, so that the red pointed bit matched the head seams. Overnight, Isobel had actually come to that conclusion too - so last night, scissors, needles and other relevant items were bought into play, and we now have a Daniel Puppet who looks like this:
The original Daniel Puppet, on which this one is based, always had a rather mournful expression, so hopefully this final look will be what he eventually looks like. However, the double knit yarn is easily removed by anyone with expertise in sewing, so MrJS will be able to decide the final look - once the stripes have been painted on. That final decoration will make all the difference.
Isobel has heard back from Tulsa overnight: Daniel, as he looks now, is acceptable. So, he - together with the excess fabric ordered for both Henrietta Pussycat and Daniel, will accompany the latter when he is packaged and posted off tomorrow. In the parcel, too, will be a leftover scrap of the red fabric - which also came from Tulsa and was included in one of the many packages that flew between Nottinghamshire and the US over the last few months. (Apparently, it is itself a left over from a much-loved shirt, which now no longer exists as a wearable garment.)
On that frugal note, I shall end this post. Isobel will now embark on the replacement schedule she started (sometime in February if memory serves) as well as doing some rearranging of the Etsy Shop as well. (During that time, she's been collecting some lovely fabrics for some new Lady Toys - which I'll be introducing you to as they appear.)
I'll be back sitting on Isobel's bed - until allowed back to chat with you all here. See you then.