I am very pleased to be able to tell you that the Yellow Plush Rabbit we spoke about last week as being en route to St. Helens, Lancashire duly arrived, because we got a message back from MrsPB that the Traveller had arrived and was "already becoming a favourite". We've been promised a picture for this blog, hopefully being taken some time this week-end. When it arrives, we'll include it in a future post.
Now back to the production of our Yellow Plush Rabbits - with their new feature: ear linings that match the fabrics of their dresses. The idea is taken from the two sample Rabbit photos provided by MrsPB when she gave us her Order in December, 2015, and it's one that may well become a regular feature in future Coldham Dressed Rabbits - (does make a bit of a change from the usual brown satin linings, don't you think?)
Anyway, having made the pantaloons for both Girls - and added a white lace edging to each pair of legs - Isobel then went on to make the two dresses. This is done by gathering up the fabric and arranging the pleats evenly around the Toys' waists and then sewing the skirt in place. Before she does that though, we attach a "Coldham Cuddlies" embroidered label to the back seam of the skirt. It gives our Toys some provenance, and putting it inside the skirt is a discreet spot to do it.
To give the skirts their individual look(s), Isobel attaches two rows of ric rac trim to each dress, by embroidering them to the fabric with individual French knots. The skirts then look like this.
Then we fit the bodice on to the Rabbits' bodies (to which each Toys' arms have already been sewn in). The combined bodice/arm structure is then fitted over the gathered dress waistlines and attached to the skirt with invisible hem stitching, so that they now appear like this:
Having completed the front of the dress, we must not forget the all important Rabbits' bobtails. These are placed at the back of each frock, just under the waistline and sewn on firmly, They have to withstand a fair bit of pulling, as being fluffy, it's understandable that the Forever Friends of our Rabbits are drawn to playing with them - they are so soft to touch!
Then we cut out and make the aprons, this time made with polyester fabric, which proved to be a little tricky for Isobel's fingers to handle easily. We only got a small supply of the fabric this time around, and she doesn't think she will be using it again, because it's very slippery to handle, and doesn't really like being stitched with anything. Putting on the individual patch pockets (which match each dress) was quite an undertaking. (Next time around, she'll be looking out for organdie - or some similar material, which isn't quite so slippery).
The the final touches include sewing on the Heads - which have already been made with ears attached, and the eyes and facial features added,
and then, last, but by no means least, the apron is made, Isobel created a waistband for both Rabbit Girls using blue satin ribbon and tied it to fit under the Rabbits' tails. Previously, we used to sew the apron in place, but this time around - with a firm, juicy-look carrot in the pocket of each Toy - Isobel decided to allow the Forever Friend (or Mum) to untie it (a sort of undress feature) so that the Toy is more cuddlesome. They thus ended up looking like this, minus the carrot:
and then finally ended up looking like this (as you all saw, if you read our post last week!)
So, what has happened to the remaining Yellow Rabbit you may be wondering. Well she is now displayed on a high shelf at the back of another small shop in Kirkby in Ashfield. A couple of weeks ago, Isobel was approached by a lady called MrsSQ, who works in a bookshop, which specialises in selling books - mainly childrens' religious material, and also music videos and odds and ends. She is anxious to increase the shop's footfall, and while both Isobel and MrsSQ were having their hair done two weeks ago, she learned about us Cuddlies (as ladies apparently do when they're doing such activities) and asked if she could have some to use in her shop windows and on shelves too.
Now, our arrangement with "The Artful Buttoner" is due to come to an end in a couple of months, and although Isobel has been happy to be associated with them - and may well continue to be in future (but only for the smaller Cuddlies - like the Baby Bunnies, and Baby Koalas - and any other small toys that may appear in our online Shop www.Etsy.com/shop/COLDHAMCUDDLIES), we're going to see what happens when some of us Bigger Cuddlies - like the Foxes, Big Koalas and Frogs - and our new Red and Grey Squirrels (as well as the Black ones, when they're made) grace the shelves of "The Ark Bookshop". Over the coming weeks, the bigger Cuddlies still on display in "The Artful Buttoner" will be coming back (Isobel will be bringing them back in the shopping trolley each time she is in Kirkby).
We now have no Baby Bunnies in stock here at home in the flat. Those we did have were taken to "The Artful Buttoner" during the week, as the basket in which they tend to stand was literally down to the last four! So guess what Isobel will be doing in the coming weeks - making lots of Baby Bunnies of one colour variant or another. That's after she's made some Black Squirrels, to join the Red and Grey Squirrels that have just been listed in our Shop earlier this afternoon, together with Yellow Plush Rabbit we've talked about here. (I'll post about them next week, maybe - or very soon, anyway). She's also got to make another Daddy Hedgehog to replace the one sold from "The Artful Buttoner" in December - so there's no excuse for her to be sitting idly in her arm chair each evening - whether watching TV (not often these days, because there's not much to interest her at the moment) or listening to Classic FM on the radio - which she thoroughly enjoys.
Not only does "The Ark" sell books, but there is space in the Shop for three or four tables, where coffee and biscuits can be consumed - and it's very conveniently situated not far from the 'bus stop Isobel uses to get to and from Kirkby on a very regular basis. Although the service is very good (normally), there can be times when there is a bit of a wait before the next vehicle arrives, so it's good to be able to drop in, keep warm and meet more local customers in comfortable surroundings. A group of Hedgehogs, Yellow Plush Rabbit on the Left, and our two Owls, Barny, the Barn Owl and Ollie the Owlet are now sitting on the shelf overlooking the counter at the back of "The Ark," and I'll keep you posted as to how things happen (or not!) as the case may be.
Hopefully, there will be something more to tell you about the Hedgehogs soon - although we did send off the two cheques I mentioned last week, on Friday of this week. We actually managed to send even more than the £10-£15.00 each I mentioned last week - I'll tell you more next time around.
Until then, have a great week Everybody.
Your Friend. Cy Bear.