Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Season's Greetings!

I didn't mean to be gone so long.... I've decided to come out of my hibernation and get proactive. The best way to get through all that long list of "To Do"s is to errrr, actually get on with them"! I still have some presents that need to be bought (and wrapped!) but at least I've got a list - no bad thing at all!

Here are some gorgeous vintage doggy Christmas cards; oh, they're so sweet aren't they?

The dogs in the 2nd look a lot like Papillons, and the Springer pups remind me of the one I had at 14.

Although the snow is now gone around here, it is really starting to feel Christmassy.If getting decorations up is a bit of a chore then it's a pretty enjoyable one! I have a new super-skinny tree in the dining room, and it's so covered in bells it's like the "Singing Ringing tree" ... anyone else remember that?? :0)

Wishing you All a "Merry Little Christmas",
Ruth XX

Thursday, 17 November 2011

And Now.......

For Something Completely Different - as the saying goes!

It's the Sheffield "Great Yorkshire Teddy Bear Event" on Sunday, and I'll be taking along these funny little 2.75" Frivols. They are amusing, silly, little pocket sized characters created from plush fur and felt, with pretty adornments and an unmistakeable joi de vivre ... perfect for frivolous indulgence!!

L to R: "Ting-a-Ling", "Mitzi Mae", "Pickle Pop"

L to R: "Wincey Pie", "Titchy Coo", "Toodle Pip"

Wish I could balance on my tippy-toes like that :0)

Ruth XX

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Show Preview

For a "Beary Merry Christmas" don't forget to pop over to this special mini online show, and (hopefully!) treat yourself to a gorgeous bear from one of the eight participating artists. I can tell you that all my pieces are inspired by a jewel theme .... but you'll have to stop by my page - 11th to 14th November, to see them fully revealed!

Thursday, 13 October 2011


I'm currently putting the finishing touches to pieces which will appear in the new online show "Deck the Halls", from 11th to 14th November. I'm pleased that (I think) I've produced some really pretty bears for this special show - so please mark your diaries to come over and join in the festive fun!

November is shaping up to be an extra busy month for me this year, with the 2nd annual Great Yorkshire Teddy Bear Event, on Sunday 20th November

There is plenty of fabric and needles flying about at the moment - in fact, you'll have to excuse me getting back to it!

T.T.F.N, Ruth XX

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New available dogs and bears

More hours please! That would be great wouldn't it? More hours in every day to get done everything which is essential. Unfortunately the days are already getting colder and darker, and I'm awash with pieces of Limited Edition bears for the new Teddy Bears of Witney catalogue - which is just as beautiful and enticing as ever.It gives me a wonderful thrill of delight just to have some of my bears included in those stylish, and (for me) aspirational pages! Here are two sets available, in editions of 6 each:

"Jade and Gem" - largest panda 2.25"

"Solar and Star" - largest polar 2"

The new 2012 catalogue can be purchased through the online shop pages here

I also have news of a  litter of micro-pups which are exclusively appearing on my page at The Pursuit of Excellence artist collective; here's a sneak peek-

These little ones are available individually now (via convenient PayPal buttons) and I will continue to have exclusive items featured there, as well as pieces for the "Deck the Halls" online show; which starts on 11th to 14th of November, offering work from nine artists.

Before rushing back to my needles; Many Thanks to everybody who adopted a bear, or came for a friendly chat at Hugglets. I had a lovely time next to Melanie Jayne of Bear Treasures, and I was really delighted to pass "Coffee" on to a new owner enabling me to make that vital donation to the Macmillan "World's Biggest Coffee Morning". Many Cheers,

Ruth xx

Monday, 5 September 2011

Hugglets soon!!

It's the end of the "silly season" for me and the bears, after what feels like a very long time! Work will resume as normal for me today with far less of those distractions that Summer brings; the endless milling in and out of the offspring, the jaunts to places of interest near and far, taking a couple of hours "out" because "the sun's shining" - oh, and it's a dreary, windy day here; which whispers "Winter soon..." (let alone Autumn!) on it's all too willing breezes.Um... can you tell I've been away from the keyboard too long! :0)

It will be the Hugglets fair this Sunday (11th September) at Kensington Town Hall, so without further ado here are a few peeks at bearies who will be attending. Above is my fund raising, 2.6" chap; "Coffee". He's made from a gorgeously dense long piled cashmere Upholstery Velvet. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Macmillan cancer charity- I really hope he'll find a special new home on the day.

"Teatime Too" is a very special piece which I have lavished my attention on (truly "love in every stitch"!) inspired by the overwhelming, positive reaction I had to my winning BBA teacup bears. Here are "Fern" (3") and her tiny bear, with "Tetley" the pup* looking over the side of a beautiful Aynsley Fern cup and saucer. I researched the backstamp on the ceramic and it appears they date between 1932 and 1939 - as such they are very collectible in their own right and would retail up to £40. I just thought they were wonderful Autumny colours with a vibrant glimmer of gold; and I kept the bears in a toning palette too.

Hopefully I will manage to wade through all our excursion photos soon. We visited some amazing places in Bristol and Bath ... and you all know by now how much I love to share them!!

TaTa For Now,
Ruth XX

* Tetley is a brand of tea in the UK!

Thursday, 4 August 2011


What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than rummaging through my favourite Antiques and Collectables haunt? I am intending to take a similar cup and saucer piece to my British Bear Artist Award winner; "Tea is For Teddies", to the September Hugglets fair, and to that end I was on the hunt for some really eye-catching sets. I can't really put my finger on what I look for in these ceramics ...it's a certain something; style and colour in shades sympathetic to bears I can create.I'm not totally decided what's in store for my purchases... oh, and I'm pretty sure the pink trio set is staying firmly at home!

Wedgwood, "Celestial" trio (Lee teacup shape)

 Diminutive piece of Hudson Middleton (no name)

 Aynsley Ferns (with a delicate blush interior)

 Delicious Royal Grafton trio. I smile whenever I look at it! :0)

I always choose the products of our local industries - there are still many small potteries in the area around where I live, although sadly I do come across crockery from the disappeared, or vastly diminished factories on these forays*. Ashley is always "ceramics expert"; well he does have a degree in the stuff (and he worked for Wedgwood for over 18 years, plus is still consultant to numerous companies) I love that he can pick up a cup and tell me where the factory is (or was) and if it's Wedgwood he invariably knows the shape name - this is quite separate from the pattern name. Occasionally we come across pieces which he originally modelled from the designers' spec' when he first started out. On this outing it was a large vase with flared panels - it wasn't my "cup of tea" though, ha!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my lovely finds,
T.T.F.N  Ruth xxx

* When I first moved here 22 years ago 1 in 3 people worked in the ceramics industries; whole families were employed on the "pot bank" through many proud succeeding generations. These days it is less than 1 in 10 of the local population. :0(

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Plan is Forming....

This year the UK cancer charity Macmillan is holding their annual "Coffee Morning" on 30th September, when people all round the country will get together and make donations whilst enjoying coffee and a chat. At first I thought about holding a virtual coffee morning on this blog - if I could work out a way to do it! I'd like to do my bit to raise funds as my dear mother was taken from us by this awful illness, and I know very well how important it can be to have dedicated carers who visit homes, and make overnight stays, giving peace of mind to the patient and their family.
Last week I was lucky enough to be offered a table at the Teddies 2011 Hugglets,on 11th Sept', and so I think I will make a bear for my stand (I have just the right coffee shaded fabric in mind) and donate the whole proceeds to Macmillan. Well the seeds of a plan are forming anyway; I'll try my hardest to finalise it and post here again.

For further information on the World's Biggest Coffee Morning click here!

Ruth XX

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Two weekends ago I set off with husband and youngest son to travel to the Teddy Bear Artist Event, in Stratford-upon-Avon, on the Sunday.Before I share the photos of where we visited on the preceding Saturday, here is an interesting panoramic pic of the lovely octagonal hall in the civic buildings. (well done Ashley!)

This year we decided to go to David Austin Roses - a world renowned breeder and nursery of old English roses near to Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. I have always wanted to visit the viewing gardens as I adore roses; especially those with delicious fragrances. The rain stayed off all morning until we had finished looking around, and as an extra bonus we got to see some partial aerial displays whilst various helicopters and aircraft practised for the next day's air show based at RAF Cosford!

The various gardens are laid out in beautiful style, aiming to show off the roses to their full advantage. I spotted "Golden Celebration" which was the one I bought for my parents on their 50th wedding anniversary - it is definitely one of the strongest perfumes. I also particularly liked "A Shropshire Lad" and "Jubilee Celebration" for their strong perfumes .... but then I loved them all! Truthfully, I felt as though the whole place was a sweetie shop stuffed with an ever-more delightful display around each corner! Even a (fairly) uninterested 15 year old was sniffing everything by the end, and talking about the merits of this bloom conformation compared to that!

Ashley took hundreds of photos - so here are just a few to drool over:-

The size of this next one had to be seen to be believed!!

There were so many ravishing blooms in all sizes and shapes. I highly recommend a visit, and not the least for the rather quaint waitress-service tea rooms, where we snarfed big chunks of cake from pretty, rosey china. How I wished I could leave there with a car boot full of plants!

Before leaving, we just had time to say hello to the free roaming peacocks who had kept up a constant "N'yark N'yark" whilst strutting around as resplendent as the roses.

I'll be sighing over the catalogue for quite some time .....

T.T.F.N.   Ruth XX

Monday, 6 June 2011

I'm Very Honoured...

... to have won "Best Miniature Design and Workmanship Excellence" in the ACD Awards!! Wowee, I've been bursting with pride ever since I heard the news. Here is my lovely glass award trophy (the little gold one is sent to each nominee)

I am particularly thrilled to have won this award as the final nominees are scrutinised by three hands-on judges, and having received the critique sheets back I can tell you that it is an extremely rigorous process! At first it felt like opening a school report again (would it be very good or so-so??) but I was delighted (and relieved) to read it through and place Velvetina as an "A" student! I did get some lovely positive comments as well - actually, I'm not sure if I've stopped grinning since :0)

Next year the theme is "Under the big top" and I feel certain that the Awards will go from strength to strength, with lots more entrants, as taking part is truly testing and challenging for each artist.Many Congratulations to all of the particpants, and to Robyn Roe, and Linda Down who also received awards., and especially to the judges and Sandi Smith who has worked so incredibly hard to organize everything. Hugs and Kisses! ((xx))

Finally, I thought I'd post a pic of Miss Velvetina Water Vole from another angle:

TaTa For Now,
Ruth XX

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Please visit the ACD Awards show

The show has opened over at BAO   Please click the link if you'd like to pop over and see all the entries in the Beatrix Potter themed competition.All entries are up for adoption - and there are some really unusual critters and interpretations of B.P characters. You can also vote for "The People's Photographic Choice" (click each pic for details and a closer look) Voting runs until 4th June.

Enjoy! :0)

Ruth xx

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Port Sunlight and The Lady Lever Gallery

As I still have the photos from my week off in April I thought I'd get them in to a post. Above is the Lady Lever Art Gallery, situated within Port Sunlight Garden Village, near Liverpool; 900 houses set in 130 acres of landscaping started in 1888, by William Hesketh Lever, the philanthropist owner of Lever Brothers. The Garden Village was a totally new concept in housing factory workers - in this case the work force of the soap manufacturer which later became the multinational Unilever. Lever (later Lord Leverhulme) was also a devoted patron of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and the Gallery was specially built to house his huge collection of art works so that even the most humble worker could see and appreciate them.

The village is full of focal pointed, wide vistas and neatly arranged avenues of trees. The rows of neat little houses appear like a perfect film set; conjuring a by-gone quintessential "Englishness" from a charming mish mash of architectural styles. It was a dazzling sunny day when we visited and it was impossible not to feel as though we were experiencing a glorious Little England from a chocolate box ... or somewhere in a dream!
This bench was opposite to a magnificent war memorial.It was sad to see so many of the same surnames listed for both wars.

Visit the Port Sunlight website for more details here:

There is a museum all about the community, past and present, which I'll definitely visit next time (also a hotel, self catering accommodation and shops) but I was excited to be visiting the art gallery itself.You see, inside, on permanent display are paintings I've drooled over ever since becoming first acquainted with them through taking an Art History O/A level at age 17**. These are works by The Pre-Raphaelites; luminaries such as John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones to name the principal few. I can't really over-state how much I love their paintings - and luckily my husband (also an ex-art student) shares my enthusiasm.In fact I need to curb it (!) or I'll start typing pages of rapture which could really bore a lot of you! (By the way I hope some UK readers watched the recent Perspectives programme on ITV, where Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber waxed lyrical about them!!) I've since noticed that some photography is permitted inside the gallery with prior agreements - well, we'll have to go again then. Soon!

What to tell you about the exhibition, which is laid out in a series of grand rooms; galleried in the centre, and includes sculptures and furniture? Here you can see the famous little Pears soap boy with his bubble pipe (Millais) exquisite studies of Jane Morris (Rosetti) "The Tree of Forgiveness" (Burne-Jones ; spectacular and unmissable) "The Black Brunswicker" and "Spring - Apple Blossoms" (romance and beauty from Millais again) and the astonishing "The Scapegoat" (Holman Hunt.) I actually felt over-whelmed standing in front of the last, and it doesn't seem sooo very long ago that I drew thumbnail sketches of it to illustrate an essay!

Apart from Pre-Raphaelite paintings there are fine collections of ancient art, some Joshua Reynolds (doesn't float my boat but hey!) lovely Gainsboroughs and lots of beautiful and priceless Wedgwood.

Lord Leverhulme was completely forward thinking and practical about advertising and "branding" his wares too - often he would buy a painting and then re-produce it on posters for sunlight soap, with the addition of the essential product, which really offended some artists, but I think he really believed in art for the masses.Thank Goodness he did :0)

TaTa For Now, Ruth XX    click here for more info' on the Lady Lever Art Gallery

** Yup, I got a grade A - what a swot!

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Australian Creative Design Awards- Nomination!!

The 2011 Awards theme was "Celebrating Beatrix Potter"; a dream for me as I am a life-long fan of Miss P's work, so I was totally over-the-moon to hear that my entry was nominated through to the last ten! I can now reveal her to the world :-
"Miss Velvetina Water Vole"

I decided I would try to create a water vole quite soon after registering for the competition. These gorgeous little creatures are having a really tough time to survive in the UK, although in Beatrix' time it would've been a common sight to see the little rodents busily swimming and scurrying about our many waterways and rivers. She is my invention of a Beatrix Potter character - I imagined her bustling along with a bag full of calling cards; visiting all the little homes of riverbank neighbours, and living life in a social whirl of Edwardian etiquette.I think she'd be most particular about her silk "hair" ribbon and the one tied in a bow on her tail. In my story they would be always coming tiresomely undone as she swam hither and thither! Maybe her sweet little slippers would conspire to float away continuously too ... and her frothy lace collar would get very drippy! What would her Mama say?!

To see all the wonderful entries in the competition together, and place a vote for your favourite in the "People's Photographic Choice", visit here  and click on the rabbit.I'm sure everyone would agree with me that they are a fantastically diverse group of critters! The voting will be open until 4th June.Best of all, every entry will be available for purchase from 1st  to the 5th June - first come first served!

We will find out the winners from the hands on judging on June 5th. In the meantime here's a link to view the 10 nominees. Congratulations to them, and all the participants. Also, many thanks to Sandi for organising this prestigious competition.

With very Happy Hugs,
Ruth xxx

Saturday, 30 April 2011


I've been "on holiday" for the best part of 2 weeks, and I was intending to get some photos on here of where I've visited, but for now I just have to show "Missy Belle"; who I'm absolutely delighted to say has been nominated in the 2011 Golden Teddy Awards.

She is a 3" tall, Vintage Long Pile southern belle complete with lace fan and silk ribbon and crystal choker.The dress is made of a gold spotted organza, with antique lace.

Yesterday was so exciting; what with finding out this news first thing in the morning, and then settling in to watch all the Royal Wedding coverage! A very kind and lovely lady said she thought Missy Belle looked fit to attend the wedding herself - I was so thrilled by such a compliment!
I still have a huge :0) on my face! Thank you so very much Teddy Bear Review!

T.T.F.N  Ruth xxx

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Little Blue "Skye"

This tiny little fellow is looking for a good home. He's 1.4" tall (when standing) made from pale blue vintage Rayon, with onyx bead eyes, a cotter-pinned head, and thread-jointed limbs. The button seat has a 2" wide felt flower attached to it, which is decorated with glass petite seed beads."Skye" is wearing a brown lacy scarf of crinkled lacet thread. £40 GBP.
For a bit of fun I thought I'd try to post a picture of him at actual size:-

Not bad! Sadly I may not be able to make many more teeny, tiny bears like this - I just can't find suppliers of 1mm onyx bead eyes; I ordered some recently from the only supplier carrying them, and whilst they will be extremely useful within the graded sizes I have (actually all professing to be 2mm, but I've graded them in to 6 sizes!!) they are just not tiny enough.I find that getting hold of the really tiny cotter pins is also difficult ... none are ever quite as "right" as though which used to come from Dinky Do miniature supplies, and ditto the hard board / vinyl / metal washers. My stash is ever-dwindling, and desperation is looming over the horizon!!!
 Any ideas or leads would be truly appreciated folks :0)

T.T.F.N  Ruth xx