Friday, 31 October 2008

M'wahahah !

Of course it's Halloween tonight - a "celebration" I usually like to pretend I'm entirely ignorant of. Call me an old Gradgrind , but I'm of the generation who innocently bobbed for apples , and ..... that was it .
Now I know that Halloween has a wonderful all-embracing festival atmosphere in other parts of the world , and parents and children enter in to the spirit of its carnival-like magic equally , but in the UK the Halloween vehicle ( a hearse maybe ?) has the firm hand of card companies and supermarkets driving it . I'm afraid "humbug" syndrome alights my brow every year at this time , in a way it still never does in the (at times) cash-cow , jingle-till-ringing , Christmas period .

Uggghhh ; not another toddler-sized tub of lurid green "flumps" littering Tesco's aisles , or a stack of stinky plastic "costumes" (come on mothers - where's your ingenuity ???) representing enough demonic man-made material to toxically pollute the oceans for a few more millennia !
Yes , I get in the obligatory Swizzels Matlowe sweeties for those kids who knock on the door - how do they get round so many streets with that huge bin bag full of loot .. each ? Well , I don't want my milk crate messing with do I ?
Goodness only knows how distressing it all is for the elderly and infirm . Especially when the teenage Hoodies turn up on the doorstep .

Just for once , I'd like to answer the door with a convincing mask on of the lady above ! I think it would make Halloween more interesting !! M'wahahahaha .... oh , whatever .....

T.T.F.N Ruth x
(A detail I sketched from : "Medusa" by Anthony Frederick Sandys, in the "Pre-Raphaelite Women Book" by Jan Marsh )

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

A Tuesday WooHoo !

Please forgive my squeakiness , but I had the very best of news yesterday ; I have received nominations in the categories : "Single Miniature Bear" , and "Group of Miniature Bears" in the British Bear artist Awards !!!

I was so surprised to hear from Teddy Bear Club International , who co-host the awards , as I had all those little anxious hopes tucked away at the back of my mind for at least another week to go yet . It is just so thrilling to be nominated at all but I'm chuffed beyond belief to receive 2 ! :0) Oh , I sincerely hope I don't sound all Fat-headed ? Honestly , I'm just .... really amazed !

Here are the little nominees :- "Lily" ; who is 2.5" tall sitting , wearing her lace collar with Swarovski crystal and freshwater pearl trim , and the Group piece ; "Golden Celebration" - a 3" Mr and Mrs in 2 shades of Vintage Long Pile upholstery velvet , posed in a golden rose with a teeny 1.6" Cupid looking on .

Of course the inspiration for the Group bears was my parents' Golden Wedding - I set about re-creating a beautiful David Austen English rose which is called Golden Celebration . Each of the bears has a golden accent somewhere ; on the nose , or eyes . The little "Mr." carries a bouquet of gold roses for his little lady . The lace for her frilled collar was a totally lucky find in Norfolk ; antique , hand made and a natural "old gold" pale shade . They were so difficult to photograph though ! Thanks (as always) to my "other-half-with-the-camera" !

I need to make arrangements to get the bears , and myself , to Hove for the Final Judging on the 23rd November , at the Hove Bear Fair . In the meantime , all of the nominees will be appearing in the very next issue of Teddy Bear Club International , which is due out in a couple of weeks .

It's supposed to be bitterly cold this week - but I shall have warm , happy thoughts to beat the chill !

Ta Ta For Now ,
Ruth x

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Antipodean Thoughts

I'm very much thinking about that far off part of the world , where my beary friends will soon be entering their "summer" season , and enjoying lashings of hot sunshine !

A while back I decided to join Sandi Smith in her endeavours with the Teddy Bears and Critters Australasia organisation - a group of very talented artists from across the southern hemisphere who , pulled together by Sandi's dynamic outlook , now have a firm niche in the world of online soft sculpture showcasing . How can that be possible when I'm stuck in Blighty then ? Well , I'm affiliated to the group ; like an admiring "B.F" (Best friend) really ! I certainly consider Sandi to be one of my best international friends - and I probably wouldn't have "met" her if we hadn't both belonged to the late , lamented Bear Artists Online . The loss of BAO left quite a gaping hole for many artists , and so I really wanted to be part of a group again . With TBACA I can hang out with like minded people , swap links and even take part in their international shows - the next one is Be My Valentine on 14th Feb , 2009

Never one to rest on her laurels , Sandi is always expanding the site ( and our horizons !) There is a current challenge for the most Traditional Bear , and Best Christmas Setting for the bear's photograph . The members wondered if anyone would like a calendar to include all 12 of the entries ; with all profits directly benefitting Cambodian Sun Bears* No sooner said ,than Sandi has set up a wonderful extra little shop , with fund raising items in it . Brilliant ! My entry bear , William , can be found on a pack of 20 Christmas cards .

Of course I am starting to put together the bears for the coming show , but I'm also taking a little time out for a delightful swap with TBACA artist Wendy Ching , of Matilda Huggington Beare . Wendy has requested a Hamster as her new friend , and I shall wait excitedly for one of her gorgeous little "puddles" ; which are the most adorable baby duck-billed platypusses ! Hopefully I can share the pictures here when we've both received our parcels . One way and another Christmas will be early this year !

If you would like to visit the site to check out the Christmas Challenge bears just click the pink link above , or here .

T.T.F.N Ruth x

* see my earlier post ; "Stuff it All" which mentioned Bobo's booth .

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

By the Way ......

I found out what a "runcible spoon is " ! Well , enquiring minds like to know .....
It turns out that it was a three pronged fork ; curved , with one side sharpened for cutting , and generally used for eating pickles.
So there we are .... it was an early form of Spork !! LOL .

:0) Ruth x

Thursday, 9 October 2008

In Honour of National Poetry Day

The Owl and The Pussy-Cat . by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat ,
They took some honey , and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note .
The Owl looked up to the stars above ,
And sang to a small guitar ,
"O lovely Pussy ! O Pussy , my love ,
What a beautiful Pussy you are ,
You are ,
You are !
What a beautiful Pussy you are !"

Pussy said to Owl , "You elegant fowl !
How charmingly sweet you sing !
O let us be married ! too long we have tarried
But what shall we do for a ring ? "
They sailed away , for a year and a day ,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows ,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood ,
With a ring at the end of his nose
His nose ,

His nose !
With a ring at the end of his nose .

"Dear Pig , are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring ?" Said the Piggy , "I will ."
So they took it away , and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill .
They dined on mince , and slices of quince ,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon ;
And hand in hand , on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon ,
The moon ,
The moon ,
They danced by the light of the moon .

Have a wonderful , and poetic day everyone !

Ta Ta For Now ,
Ruth x

(All the owls photographed live at the Cambridge Raptor Foundation. )

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Oh How True ...

I watched that tv programme "Dog Borstal" on BBC3 last night - dogs with behavioural problems arrive at a disused USAF base to be set on the straight and narrow by three experts . As usual it turned out to be the silly owners who were erring in their treatment of the dogs ; one lady couldn't cope with her Neaopolitan Mastiff's hyperactivity , but continually fed him teacakes , cooked breakfast and his very own sandwiches !

Anyway , I came across some quotations about dogs so here they are !

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face" - Ben Williams

"The greatest love is a mother's ; then a dog's ; then a sweetheart's ." - Polish proverb

"Dogs are not our whole life , but they make our lives whole." - Roger Caras

"The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog !" - Ambrose Bierce

"Properly trained , a man can be dog's best friend " - Corey Ford

Yes , that just about says it all really !

T.T.F.N Ruth x

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Stuff it All !

Before I start this post who turned the sun off ?? It's suddenly turned f-f-freezing here in the UK and my already summer-sun starved body can't cope with the extra cold ; but there's been a family decree (well there is a "credit crunch" and thriftiness is now officially fashionable ) no heating .... YET !! I bought an extra warm blanket/throw thingy from Dunelm's last weekend and so far all of us have snuggled up under it at various points of the day ...... occasionally every person ( and dog(s) ) who happen to be on the sofa at the same time ! I can tell you why it's so brilliantly warm too - it's called a Teddy Bear Throw - yes, what else can give you that radiating glow in dreary , shivery days but a teddy bear ? It's like a big warm bruin cuddle . If it was made in to a bear he'd be called "Ready Brek" ! I think I'll have to buy at least one more before territorial fights break out ....

So to the title above - or more particularly the subject of stuffing . I'm going to have to start thinking about stuffing in depth soon , because I'm on my last bag !!! Ordinarily it wouldn't be a problem , I'm sure bear-makers take the fact of their last bag of stuffing with ease .... but ... Since I started making miniature bears (6 years) I've used the same hollow fibre filling . I got it from a chain of drapers and haberdashers ; Gordon Thoday in Cambridge , which I used to regularly haunt in my work lunchtimes . This was between 1982 and 1987 , when I was making quite a few "Care Bears" from a McCalls pattern , and inventing my own little creatures as well as stuff like Miss Piggy purses and Gordon the Gopher pals for my nieces ! I even had a pattern for an ambitious large bear , made from a (then) expensive dark brown plush , who was to have individual suede toes ! Ahem , I have to admit he's still in the loft stash - sad , alone ... and NOT even stuffed ... * shame * So I'm afraid the only stuffing I've ever used is totally vintage , and "the end is nigh" ! I have to source something exactly the same - very low loft , silky and compactible , or I'll never be happy with the results . Sadly Thodays ceased to exist at least 18 years ago . Ho Hum .

I suppose eventually the same thing will happen with my stack of coloured felt squares from circa 1979 and onward . Some pieces still have their original super advanced-technology magnetic strip labels , which the staff in Robert Sayle (a John Lewis branch) had to read with a special pen to bring the price up on the till ! Those were the days huh ? A haberdashers round every corner , and "real" pieces of felt that were actually ..... felty .

Above is a sneaky little peak of my "Bobo's Booth" bear , which will be appearing in the
Teddy Bears and Critters Australasia International Valentine's Day show 2009 . All monies from the Bobo bears will be forwarded to the bear charity Free the Bears Fund Inc , who rescue Cambodian Sun Bears .

T.T.F.N Ruth x