Monday, 21 December 2009

Winter Wonderland

Although the ornamental fish in my garden seems to be laughing and enjoying himself I'm not exactly thrilled by the f-f-freezing weather ! I did think my 2 little dogs looked cuter than cute in their warm fleecy coats though ,so I asked Ashley to take photos of them . We have had temperatures down to -6 here in the Midlands ; which is just about as cold as it gets in the UK .

"Mmmmmm , yummy; taste a bit Lilah !" whispered Delphi (Chihuahua)

"Look at me - I'm the Snow-Papillon Princess !"

I should really be posting pics of last weekend's awards in Hove for the British Bear Artist Awards , but they're still in Ashley's camera unfortunately ! For those who don't already know ; Tiffany was placed 2nd in the Single Miniature Bear category . I was extremely pleased to get such a respectable award ( after all, 3 of the 6 nominees sadly go home empty handed ) and I was just as delighted by those gorgeously lovely people who let me know they thought she would win ! :0) It just so happened that some of my equally lovely beary-friends also came 2nd in their categories too. I think the judges found it really hard work deciding between the pieces , which were all wonderful in their own way . I believe the full results will be shown in the Feb/Mar Teddy Bear Times due out in the middle of January.

Ta Ta For Now - wrap up warm !

Ruth xx

(Dog coats by eBay seller - Millie's Petwear )

Friday, 11 December 2009

Off to Hove for the BBAAs !

I've checked over my little nominee bear and packed her carefully, sorted through a few clothes for the weekend , divided my little doggies' meals (idiot proofing for teenage sons left home in charge!) and now I need only wait for the crack of dawn tomorrow to start the journey to Hove ; for the finals of The British Bear Artist Awards on Sunday.

I think I already mentioned that the 3 of us will be spending Saturday in and around Tunbridge Wells - I'm looking forward to visiting the shopping areas as much as semi-ruined castles , if I'm honest . Maybe we might spot something wonderful through the throngs of people ?? I know there are quite a few "one off " shops in the Pantiles area so I'll be making a bee-line there !

I wish I could travel by giant , friendly butterfly .... although perhaps I'd miss loud in-car music LOL ! I certainly seem to be gaining butterflies in my tummy as the day goes on .... but I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone and visiting all the bear stalls , and of course I love exploring new places with my husband and son :0)
I'll be back to report how I got on -

TaTa For Now ,
Ruth XX

Friday, 4 December 2009

Micro doggies waiting....

"How do you do .... what's your name ?"

These 2 tiny dogs - "Gypsy", on the left , and "Bran", right , are waiting to hear from a collector with first refusal on them . Sometimes I prefer to do things this way rather than take a firm order for a specific colour , type and design . It may be that neither little dog will suit ; and that is absolutely fine . I personally only add pieces that I totally adore to my own collection :0)

They may "prefer" to stay home with me a little longer - we'll see ......

If anybody else out there is interested in a little 1.4" tall dog (for life not just for Christmas !) please do let me know ....

T.T.F.N Ruth XX

(Micro dogs £60 GBP each)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Festive Swap

Now that the Teddy Annual 2010 has appeared on the news stands I can reveal my swap piece exchanged in the TBACA Christmas swap with Robyn Roe of Mima's Bears . Before posting off to Queensland this little pair had a photo shoot for their place in the "Teddy at Christmas" feature inside the Annual - in fact the final one used was without the dog's bed ; so here it is above .

Josh (bear) is 3" tall , made from an Old Gold Vintage Long Pile Upholstery Velvet - with a glittered felt scarf , and Holly (dog) is 1.4" tall , made in off white and tan Long Pile. As you can see they're about to hang up their felt stockings , full of anticipation !

I was very honoured (and delighted) to be asked to contribute a piece for Kathy's festive feature , and the magazine is such a marvellous bear-filled treat . In addition to that I had a really lovely time swapping with Robyn . I received an adorable alpaca panda from her ; "Xiao-Xing". She has such a sweet little face and I was absolutely thrilled to welcome her in to my own small Hug :0)

T.T.F.N ,
Ruth XX

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Ready For My Close-Up Now Mr.DeMille ....

Teddy Hugs.

Do you have a moment please

To give this bear just one small squeeze?
'Cos teddy bears need hugs to live…
So don’t you have just one to give?


Ashley has been experimenting with a more intimate portraiture of my bears . Sometimes I do think that elements of their characters can be missed when seeing "the bigger picture" - and it is really important to me that my little creations , although very small ,are still full of communicative expression . I love it when they are mistaken for much bigger bears !
Well ; it's a bit of a grand and wordy way of introducing some close-up photos ! :0)

These were taken in natural light , with a hand held 50mm 1.8 standard Nikon lens with a 21mm extension tube.
So there you go ...

I think this style would make some great cards , or even calendars eventually - they look sort of pensive and arty don't they ?

Top to bottom the girls are : Tara -( adopted) , Martha and Ella .

T.T.F.N Ruth xx

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A Nomination !

I was highly delighted to receive news that I've been nominated in the Single Miniature Bear category of the British Bear Artist awards with this little 3" girl above ; "Party-Time Tiffany".
My son brought the post in , and I was genuinely surprised when I opened the letter from the organiser and out fell this lovely , sunny rosette !

I'm so glad that I decided to enter - it is quite a commitment to get to the final judging event in Hove - but in the end I gave myself one chance by entering just one category only ; and what would be would be :0) Well , I have a hotel booked now , and I'm anticipating having a lovely weekend away with my husband and youngest son. We'll explore Tunbridge Wells on the Saturday (where there are 2 National Trust castles .... with moats !!) and then on to the British Bear Fair on the Sunday .

Woohooo ; I'm feeling really excited now !

T.T.F.N Ruth XX

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Fun Award !

Many thanks to Elanor of Shantock Bears for passing along this fun award /Tag list . I've never tried to answer anything in only one word before ( I can't even use just 5 words when 25 convey exactly what you mean ! LOL ) so I've had to leave my "Anne of Green Gables" head off this morning . Visit Elanor's blog to see how she answered - and drop in on her beautiful bears and mice too .

Rules :-
1. Use only 1 word answers.
2. Pass along to 6 of you favourite bloggers.
3. Tell them you've given them the award.
4. Have Fun !!

1. Where is your cell phone? "Huh?"
2. Your hair? Annoying
3. Your mother? Precious
4. Your father? Admirable
5. Your favorite food? Curries
6. Your dream last night? Comforting
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Togetherness
9. What room are you in? Dining
10. Your hobby ? Bears !
11. Your fear? Unthinkable
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Contented
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren’t? Unrealistic
15. Muffins? Occasionally :0)
16. Wish list item? 'Pool
17. Where did you grow up? Hertfordshire
18. Last thing you did? Dressed
19. What are you wearing? Bleuechh !
20. Your TV? Informative
21. Your pets? Gorgeous
22. Friends? Similar
23. Your life? Busy
24. Your mood? Hopeful
25. Missing someone? Family
26. Vehicle? "Chauffeured" !! :0)
27. Something you’re not wearing? Tiara (;0)
28. Your favorite store? Hobbycraft
29. Your favorite color? PINK
30. When was the last time you laughed? Morning
31. Last time you cried? Today
32. Your best friend? Husband
33. One place that I go to over and over? Hobbycraft !!
34. One person who emails me regularly? Yes
35. Favorite place to eat? Together

As this is a bit of fun I've decided to include a completely random pic as well (why not ? It's Tuesday ???) Ashley took this at Longleat Safari Park this summer.This unfortunate creature is obviously having a Bad-Hair Day like me!!

I'll pass on the Award to :
Gail at Walnut Tree Corner Bears
Sandi , Bearly Sane Teddies ,
Tina of TinyBear ,
Robyn at Mima's Bears ,
Pauline , Valewood Bears and
Sue of FenBeary Folk So please don't forget to visit them soon .

'Till Next Time ,

Huggies , Ruth XX

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A Little Treat

"If only I could read" sighed Tiddy

I treated myself to a little something at the weekend , whilst visiting the bookstore Waterstones . It was an extra specially rare treat because it was completely F.R.E.E ! Those are always the best sort of treats for people who can be a bit cynical about "looking for the catch".
I read a review of the brand new tales of Winnie-the-Pooh in the Telegraph . It's an authorised , sympathetic sequel to the previous adventures of Pooh and all his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood , and I was enchanted , not the least by the introduction of a new female character ; Lottie the otter (which just happens to be one of my favourite creatures)

My son made a beeline for one of those tables mounded up with kids' hardback books and pleaded for Charlie Higson's new novel "The Enemy" . Glancing at it tetchily I noticed a Buy One Get One Free ( or BOGOF as we all know and love it :0) ) sticker on the cover - then joy of joys amongst the others was the new Pooh book too (ooooh seems even I can emulate A.A Milne !!) so with a quick flick through and no further ado .... I rushed off to the cash desk bearing my prize!

I have a special little soft spot for cuddly Winnie-the-Pooh who , having first been published in 1926 , is around the same age as my father . I have a distinct memory of looking through a paperback edition when I was only 3 and wishing I could decipher all that unintelligible code between the pages because I was certain there was a wonderful story in there which was being denied to me !
Later on another of A.A.Milne's works ; "When We Were Very Young", containing over 40 poems, was my favourite introduction to the lilting sound of words in verse - despite the fact it was first published in 1924 and harked back to a long gone era of Nannies and nursery teas . In fact I delighted in the utter charm of it ! As far as I can remember bears featured in several places .... particularly when little children stepped on the "lines" between paving stones so materialising them even in the middle of London!

I mean to enjoy my new book as soon as possible - maybe cosied up in the evening with a little dog on my lap , and perhaps a "little smackerel of something" to keep me going .... Tiddly Pom ....

T.T.F.N , Ruth XX

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Trafalgar Day

This is a maritime flavoured post as today is Trafalgar Day , commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 ; made famous by the heroism of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson who finally removed all fear of this country's invasion (it was thought to be imminent) , though at the cost of his own life . I know it is Trafalgar Day because it is also my father's birthday - "Happy Birthday" if you are reading this ! An amusing family anecdote tells that his own Grandmother insisted he should be named Trafford in honour of the day ! His parents preferred Reginald however - and "stuck to their guns" !

It has been suggested in the past that Trafalgar Day would make an ideal public holiday ; a suggestion ultimately quashed for being "offensive" to other countries (??) I think we are all quite capable of feeling a national pride in our past heroes whilst also putting their actions firmly in to historical context . Nelson was definitely a charismatic figure ; and after all he's been standing on top of that 170ft high Column in Trafalgar Square since 1840.

A few facts :-

*Nelson was only 5ft 4" tall.

*He joined the navy at age 12 , and suffered from sea-sickness , and recurring bouts of dysentery and malaria throughout his service.

* His arm was amputated with no anaesthetic during which he complained of the "cold" knives . He was also blinded in one eye.

*Before the Battle of Trafalgar he sent a famed signal to the fleet : "England expects that every man will do his duty"

*He wore full dress uniform with all his medals , remaining visible in the line of fire throughout , and was easily picked out by a sniper who shot him in the back.

* His renowned last words ; "Kiss me , Hardy" may actually have been "Kismet , Hardy" nobody is certain which he was referring to ; friendship or his fate ?At least he knew the battle was over before he died .

*His body was sent back to England in a barrel full of brandy , which preserved his remains on the long journey home .

Nelson's ship HMS Victory can still be visited in dry dock at Portsmouth . It was built between 1759 and 1765 , and is now the oldest commissioned ship in the world . I've actually been on it myself when I was a small girl , and I remember finding it fascinating and horrifying in equal degrees ; the decks are unbelievably cramped , the surgeonry was little above butchery and you can see the actual spot where Nelson died .

Here's to another 169 years up on the Column Lord Nelson !

Ruth xx

Friday, 9 October 2009

A Song of Autumn

There is a definite chilly tang to the air in the mornings and evenings bringing the turn of the season , and the end of the year even closer. I hope all those excited little baby Goldfinches tuck themselves up warmly at night ! I've probably mentioned before that I dislike all the plastic pumpkin-a-rama tat that shops insist on spilling off their shelves at this time ... but I do like a more gentle celebration of Autumn ; this poem is just wonderful and really deserves to be read aloud.

A Song of Autumn by Adam Lindsay Gordon

‘WHERE shall we go for our garlands glad
At the falling of the year,
When the burnt-up banks are yellow and sad,
When the boughs are yellow and sere?
Where are the old ones that once we had,
And when are the new ones near?
What shall we do for our garlands glad
At the falling of the year?’
‘Child! can I tell where the garlands go?
Can I say where the lost leaves veer
On the brown-burnt banks, when the wild winds blow,
When they drift through the dead-wood drear?
Girl! when the garlands of next year glow,
You may gather again, my dear—
But I go where the last year’s lost leaves go
At the falling of the year.

T.T.F.N ,
Ruth xx

Monday, 28 September 2009

I've been so , sewwww busy !!

I'm currently using every minute of every day to complete a first batch of Limited Edition pieces for Teddy Bears of Witney - I was ridiculously excited when I received the beautiful 2010 catalogue in the post ! I can honestly say , with hand on heart , that I'm proud to be contributing 2 designs to such a gorgeous selection .... I'd love one of all of them ; it's a bruin-feast for the eyes !

Next up I have a swap to complete and a secret magazine project ;0) .... and then a few more L/E pieces (some of them are already sold !)

T.T.F.N Ruth xx

**I have a great P.S to add here ; rush on over to Sandi Smith's "Bearly Sane - Blog of a Bear Nut" to take part in her wonderful Pay It Forward Giveaway - leave a comment on the P.I.F post and your name could be drawn for a delightful prize such as this journal and notebook bound in handmade paper. Entries by Monday 5th October - go on have a go !

(Photo courtesy of Sandi Smith)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Nearly the Best Thing in the V & A ...(Nostalgia Alert !)

Prince Charming (By Adam Ant/marco pirroni)

Don't you ever, don't you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome
Don't you ever, don't you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome

Prince charming
Prince charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Don't you ever, don't you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome

Don't you ever, don't you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards
Don't you ever, don't you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards

Prince charming
Prince charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Don't you ever, don't you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome

Silk or leather or a feather
Respect yourself and all of those around you
Silk or leather or a feather
Respect yourself and all of those around you

Prince charming
Prince charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Don't you ever, don't you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome

Don't you ever, don't you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards
Don't you ever, don't you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards

Prince charming
Prince charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Prince charming
Prince charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of..

I had a wonderful day at Hugglets on sunday ... but I spent the day before going round the Victoria and Albert Museum - and you certainly can't see everything in a day- and I couldn't wait to get up to the Theatrical Gallery because I knew Adam Ant's (aka Stuart Goddard's ) Prince Charming costume was up there ! Ohhhh , how my sister and I used to love that song video , right at the height of New Romantic popularity ! Goodness , how I sighed and drooled over that Boho'/ N.A Indian /Regency Buck look he had going on ! Well , it gave me enormous pleasure to see the outfit right up close ... wasn't that keen on Jimmy Page's suit and Elton John's bicycle costume in the same case though . They just weren't Ant-tastic to me :0)

Look at this amazing glass chandelier in the V & A entrance hall as well - it was spectacular in scale and design .

All in all it was a tiring , but totally enjoyable weekend ; Hugglets is just the most fantastic venue to be around bears (and their people) and I was really pleased with how I did . Although my 3 hamsters were universally admired , and many people commented on them, they have all come home with me ... perhaps they're a bit too naughty ?? :0P

Ta Ta For Now ,
Ruth xx

Friday, 11 September 2009

Quick Pics !

I've just got time to post these Hugglets Preview pics ; 3 hamsters (Ginger Nut , Marzipan , and Fudgie)- pretty vintage-y "Esme" and 3 all-fours micro bears which are 9 tenths of an inch high by 1.1" long .

Must fly back to my preparations now ,I'm so looking forward to the Fair ; I can't wait !

Mini Hugs ,
Ruth xx

Friday, 4 September 2009

Chatsworth Marbles

As time is short I thought I'd share some interesting photos with you over the next couple of posts , whilst keeping my chat (or typing finger) in check !

These are all marble statues from Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, which was the home of Georgiana - who was portrayed by Keira Knightly in the film "Duchess".

Ashley took some great shots in this "sculpture room" which contained some extraordinary pieces ; like the enormous lions (at least 3 times life size) and delicately realised dogs which I had to resist stroking . I find it fascinating that these statues are fashioned from material which is aeons in the making , and I'm sure the sculptor took a very long time to finish each one , and yet quite a few seem to capture a fleeting moment ; a freeze-frame of an instant . Who knew that such transience was held within those slowly evolved blocks of rock ?

I find many of the statues' hands , and faces extremely beautiful - also folds of cloth and feathers ; they are moving and somehow peaceful . Their artists were masters of their medium and their work can still take your breath away .

Until next time ,
T.T.F.N Ruth x

Monday, 24 August 2009

How Goes the Work ??

Progress Report :

Well , it is a bit slow with my Hugglets bears .... but at least I've got most of their little faces on , so that their bodies are not too far behind , having already been stuffed . I have got a lot more to do on the hamsters , and I may have to cross my fingers that I get them finished at all ! Pesky little rodents ...

Of course , not having a holiday would've helped (sewing-wise at least) but then I wouldn't have had the pleasure of criss-crossing the country - Peak District to Somerset - taking in such delights as Chatsworth House , Clifton Suspension Bridge , the S.S.Great Britain , Roman Baths (again this year - whoopee !) on our tour of Bath , with ultra-civilised lunch at The Pump Room , and Longleat safari park and house .... not to mention the fantabulous production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe" which the 3 of us so enjoyed at Buxton Opera House ...... pheeeewwwww !!! There's a lot to be said for compressing summer in to a week - and quite a bit more on the subject of all those hotel breakfasts ;when inclusive stuff yourself like you habitually eat that much in the mornings ! Hmmmm , about half a stone more to be said probably - LOL !

Anyway , time is flying on and after so much gadding about I must get back to my needles .
Just time to say a big , heartfelt "Thank you" to Elanor over at Shantock Bears for passing me the Uber Amazing Blog Award - I am so delighted to receive this from such a lovely lady and her beautiful bears and friends :0)

"Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who :
* inspire you
* make you smile and laugh
* or maybe gives amazing information
* a great read
* has an amazing design
* and any other reasons you can think of that make them Uber Amazing !

The rules of this award are :
* put the logo on your blog or post
*nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing !
*let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
*share the love and link to the post and person who you received the award from ."

Many thanks Elanor , I'll be passing the award on ASAP .

Ta Ta For Now , Ruth xx

Monday, 17 August 2009

The Ship of the Fens

Before I explain the title can I just advise this is a very long post photo wise so you may wish to get a cup of tea :0) Also , don't forget to click the pics for a larger view .

When I was staying at my parents' house Ashley and I decided to visit Ely Cathedral - the family had stayed away since the admission fee was introduced some years ago , but with time on our hands, and a hankering for architecture, the time felt right . I was also intrigued to read in the paper that there is a stained glass museum on site ..... I didn't know at that point that I would be getting really close to some of the windows themselves ; high , high up near the ceiling !! (what after that post about vertigo ??)

Apparently it costs the diocese of Ely 1 million pounds a year to keep this breath-taking place of worship open - so I have no problem at all with them quite rightly asking casual visitors to contribute to its upkeep . In the past I have felt slightly uncomfortable in these devotional "spaces" but I would urge anyone - no matter their creed or background to enter here without worry , and soak in all there is to see whilst the tranquil peace , built up over centuries , soothes and calms you .

Of course you will need to look upward in here - crane your neck right back in fact to see the most awe-inspiring art and embellishment . The central body of the cathedral dates back to the 14 Hundreds , and was added to through the ages . It is easy to see why it is often referred to as "The Ship of The Fens" ; it was believed that the cathedral held its congregation much like a ship - sailing to salvation - whilst the word "nave" comes from a latin navigational word . The Fens are a vast , flat expanse of land (which had to be drained and dyked to farm it ) and Ely was known as the "isle of Ely" , even having its own docks .Imagine seeing the magnificent white and shimmering cathedral from many miles away , rising out of that landscape ! Upon entering this stone edifice those same on-lookers must have been struck dumb by the towering Norman arches (rounded ones are the oldest) , and enormous pillars .

These beautiful biblical characters were painted on to the wooden ceiling in Victorian times .

Somehow , Ashley assured me I would be fine to take the next tour of the Octagon Tower (the upper most decorated vaulting in the photo above) and before I could demur we had tickets ! I think there were 250 steps ; up to 3 different levels of the cathedral's roof . When you are standing apprehensively on the floor below the ceiling appears to be an awfully long way up in the distance !

Pinnacle of the Octagon Tower

This was the view from the first level of the roof . We wound our way up a tight , narrow staircase , after admiring some of the "second floor" windows on the inside of the building (pictures further on) . There was plenty of space either side under the arches which , way in the past , was fully used during services and I was horrified to learn from the guide that monks would continually cross the void during their prayers along planks of oak! These would have been permanently placed - also one of the first things to be smashed up during the Reformation .

I kept well to the back of the railed walk way whilst we were outside on this level . My knees did feel shaky , and my mouth was very dry ! Soon we went inside again and toiled up the ever ascending stone steps to the Angel vaulting , where the guide opened up all the panels . It made me feel peculiar when Ashley was leaning out to photograph the windows above , and the floor below . We all admired the huge , blackened oak beams which have held up the Octagon tower for more than 450 years .

The Angels were painted in the Victorian period , on huge opening panels

The very centre of the vaulting

Second outer level - view across Ely

I didn't feel nearly as affected by the (dizzying) height here , as the tower top is enclosed in a high wall . By now I was getting used to the "ants" on the ground below ! Ashley pointed out how decorative the pinnacles were - considering only a handful of people could ever have been close enough to marvel at their intricacy.

The amazingly tiny , narrow door we came through on to the leaded roof ! Opposite was the West Tower ;a tour for another day maybe ? 300+ steps up that one I believe ...

The very top of the Octagon Tower

Although we descended down those same shoulder grazing , winding steps it didn't feel as claustrophobic going down in to the dimming light for some reason . Whilst I was truly glad I hadn't wimped out on the experience - as I would have missed the spectacular sights - I was relieved to feel the floor again .
We went to the stained glass museum (set along one of the upper aisles on one side) and marvelled at the beautiful colours ; all achieved by adding different chemicals to the glass mix. The oldest on show date back , unbelievably , to 1260 . By the time we had followed the date progression of the exhibits we finished back at these oldest pieces , and we both agreed that not only were the colours equally as vibrant as later panels , but their form looked positively modernistic ; with wide , bold leading and largely geometrically cut shapes - presumably because at the time only simple shapes could be trimmed out of the glass . Unfortunately no photography was allowed in here , or I would show you the 2 windows Ashley and I felt stood out like shining , inspiring beacons of enlightenment ! Needless to say each was an androgenous angel designed by Edward Burne-Jones , of (my) beloved Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood . The colours were simply stunning ; ditto the drape of their clothing - and I would go again just to sigh in front of them ! (I hope that everyone will ignore that horrid PRB travesty on BBC at the moment .... it has absolutely nothing to do with Art !!!)

I hope that you enjoy the photos ; I had such a wonderful time looking through them all . It's time for me to close now though , so ..

T.T.F.N Ruth XX