Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Decisions , Decisions .....

So many decisions to make , so much tennis to watch on tv ..........

Should I start selling some bears on that scary selling venue eBay ??? The last time I did was over 2 years ago and it seems as though it's become an even more dog-eat-dog cyber world than ever before ! Sellers are being squeezed from a lot of directions . I've even got a template ready to go - although I feel it doesn't quite reflect the bears as they are right now , I'm not sure if anything can be done about that . I also realise that the "scary" bit goes hand in hand with a lot of potential promotion of your bears ; a very definite plus and way cheaper than taking out traditional advertising !

Should I book that 2nd Fair stand for November ??? Logistically it would be a bit of a nightmare , but I'd love to do another fair , and I'd have plenty of time to create new bears . It is tricky , however , to have a young son who needs to be at school bright and breezy on a Monday morning - so no leisurely trips back home the day afterward . Hmmmm

Anyway whilst wrestling with all this , in the background it's Wimbledon !! Hurrah !!
I just love the two weeks of flashing tennis balls, beeping line calls, impossibly tanned/honed bodies , cheering crowds , and informative commentating . Oh , and strawberries - preferrably with lashings of cream (makes you feel like you're really there , but doesn't cost a king's ransom! ;0) !) Polite applause now...

Thwok !!

T.T.F.N Ruth x
(Details of both the above bears on my website)

Thursday, 19 June 2008

It's a Big Scary World .....

Especially if you happen to be a lonely little sparrow who's left the nest too early !

I believe that's exactly what has happened to this forlorn little chap (above). I noticed on Tuesday morning that amongst the flitting , fluttering mass of birds was a rather dejected looking little fledgling hunkered down on the ground . All the adult birds were doing a fine and busy job of feeding their newly fledged young ; continously popping back to them to pass over yet another tasty little morsel . At this time of year our three bird feeders can "go down" in seed volume by as much as a third a day - they really are hungry little customers , and many a squabble breaks out between harassed parents all waiting for a perch at the feeding tube to become free ! Sparrows , Green Finches , Blue Tits , and Gold Finches , are all ushering their babies in and out of the undergrowth , on twigs and off them , in to the garden and out again , it can get quite dizzying watching them !
I had seen this little one running up to some of the adult birds and optimistically fluttering his wings in the typical "feed me" manner - he even tried it with a dunnock ! - but he was resolutely ignored . Eventually I decided to check what the situation was with this youngster ; could he even fly ? From the conservatory I could clearly see that he was much fluffier than his counterparts , and still has a "gape" at the corners of his mouth (the exaggerated thick , yellow beak edges which encourage parent birds to be a good aim with the food !!) I walked out slowly on to the lawn , and the poor little thing scuttled to the cover of the Eucalyptus foliage , where he managed a very low "assisted jump" on to the plant , less than a foot off the ground . I went back indoors , puzzling over whether there was anything that could be done to help him ; he's clearly not quite matured enough to have fledged - perhaps he fell from a crowded nest ?

I continued to watch out for "Chirpy" (well , I had to name him didn't I ??) and some hours later a female adult did come and feed him ; diligently for about an hour . Perhaps she lost interest , or maybe he's not even hers , in any case after that he was back under the lilacs in his original station , squatted down .
A good , long look out of the window can reward you with many interesting bird behaviours at this time of year .... difficult not to anthropomorphise them though ! At one time 2 fledgling sparrows were huddled together in front of the window whilst mum collected their grub , and Chirpy waddled in a straight line , fast as he could to huddle on the end of the row ! The twins' mother wasn't fooled however , and although she allowed him to snuggle up he was politely disregarded !
In the evening I put down a jar lid with the tiniest seed in it (mostly millet) and some finely snipped up bacon fat ; leaving it well under the lilac bush . I shall always wonder if he actually got any of it , or whether it was a welcome treat for the teeny woodmice who scamper almost unseen at the edge of my garden fence . I feel sure that he just needs a week or so to mature his little feathers and off he'll go !

Imagine my delight last night when Ashley took these photos of Chirpy , balanced fairly high up (a good sign) in the shrubs next to the feeder stations . Surely no other young bird would just sit there whilst being approached with a huge camera !! He was rewarded with a seed filled flat tray where he can easily get at it .

Here's another pic of him .... aahhhhh !

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Stratford : The TBAE show .

The day of my first show dawned with that expectant , slightly sultry air which promises a hot day . My husband and I had worked out the details of the table and unloading all the stuff (well , a wheeled trolley of 2 crates we walked over the road !) in advance - there's nothing like a bit of military campaigning to soothe a control freak like me (think of the comforting lists that need making !!) There was plenty of time to set out the stall and park my raffle donation bear , and my competition entry for the Exhibitor's Challenge in their respective places , and grab some cups of tea as drinks were made available gratis to all those wearing their official badges all day. Samantha ; the organiser , and her wonderful family team really had thought of everything - I felt most welcome and gradually started to relax .
In the bottom left of the pic above you can see Kim Gallimore (A Bear by Kim) who had the table next to me . I was surprised to hear that not only was it her first show , but it was the first time she had even been to one .... oh yes , and her baby should have put in an appearance on the preceding Tuesday !!! She was an absolute star , gaining 2 medals in the competition , and I could only drool over the bears !

It was such a treat and privilege for me to meet so many ladies I've long highly regarded and considered an inspiration . In particular , it was great to meet Paula (All Bear) in person , and after seeing her bears in the fur my admiration is renewed !
I've also heard other artists state that there is nothing like the feeling of chatting with collectors , and I completely agree ! I met some absolutely lovely people , who I could have happily chatted to all day ! I must also say a huge "Thank You" to those collectors who adopted tiny new friends from me ; I would be thrilled for them to stay in touch !

Here are a few photos of the table :- (Click on them to see a larger version)

and a couple more of the hall :-

A few close-ups of the bears themselves :-

Butterfly Fairies

Oriental bears

"Little kids"

Cashmere bears

I felt the day was very successful , and as soon as we had packed up I was thinking about next year !
I hope to get some of the bears on to my website by the end of the week , and also get back to the sewing as soon as possible ; I have loads of ideas whizzing about in my head which I'm itching to start on !!

Ta Ta For Now ,
Ruth xx

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Stratford .

I'm not sure where to start this post really ; how to compress a whole weekend , including my first ever show in to a few inches of blurb ?!
We arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon on the Saturday , and it was immediately apparent what a picturesque place we had come to . Our hotel , The White Swan , had a really quaint frontage and was extremely cosy and comfortable . I had the most enjoyable day , meeting up with my parents and sister who were also staying over night to come and "visit" me at the Teddy Bear Artist Event the next day . We always laugh a lot when we get together so that kept the nerves at bay !

I love this picture of Brett meeting "William Shakespeare" - well , the not so static statue version anyway !! LOL This was a few doors along from the actual building in which the great Bard was born in. Standing right in the midst of shops and eateries is this wonderful house with its tiny bricks , and a whole ton of history .It's actually quite difficult to appreciate how well it wears its age externally - none of that faux reproduction here folks !!Incredibly the building remained in the family right up to 1847 when it was purchased for the nation .
I went inside with my mother and son . To fully soak up the atmosphere it helps to go round the attached exhibition first , which addresses all aspects of Elizabethan life ; I just love all the details , and my favourite exhibits (which I could have gazed at for hours) were 16th century gentleman's gloves , put there to illustrate the kind of skills Shakespeare's father had in being a "Glover". I was just awed by the long , slim kid fingers , ultra fine embroidered flowers ; (including trefoils) surprisingly fresh and bright coloured , and the exquisite gold lace trim .
Another place to linger is in front of 2 upstairs windows , which have been removed and housed inside the bedroom .The tiddly panes of glass have visitors signatures etched in to them - lots of tiny spidery ones including Charles Dickens , Keates ,Walter Scott , and hundreds of others . This alone is a national treasure !!

The second photo shows actors who wander the grounds and garden behind the house . Touristy maybe , but why shouldn't history have a fun side ? I must admit my husband wasn't as enamoured as I was ...... but then I have studied a fair few of his plays yadda yadda ...
Anyway , we'll be going back for another weekend as soon as possible , so I can get another fix heeheee !

I've run out of time now , so I will have to post up my show pics tomorrow - here's just one of the table ...
T.T.F.N Ruth x

Friday, 6 June 2008

Phew , off we go ....

Everything is packed up - an unbelievable amount of stuff for "showing" 34 tiny little bears !! I've labelled , brushed , sorted , wrapped and boxed all those expectant tiddy faces all ready for the off tomorrow . Just time to pop a couple of preview photos up .

Well , cross your fingers for me friends :0) !

T.T.F.N Ruth x