Sunday, 18 March 2018

COLDHAMCUDDLIES Near Future is RABBITS - Lots of Blue Rabbits in particular!

Hello Everyone - Cy Bear back with you once again, with some updates.

Isobel has been busy continuing the re-tagging and re-titling that is an every day (seemingly) chore when one has an Shop like ours - in case you need reminding, ours is - but there have been two particular developments this week that we feel Our Readers may find interesting.

The first, some further news on the Oscar Blue Rabbit front:  our contact at Oxford Against Cutting (OAC)) - MsKA - sent an email last Friday afternoon, saying she had been able to identify funding for the 6 Blue Rabbits her Charity's Nurse hopes to use in her educational presentations to school children from May 2018 onwards.  We've been asked to make them "fatter" and "more cuddly" than the original prototype Mascot Rabbit Toy we created - and told you about in our post dated February 4th, 2018 ("Introducing Oscar Blue Rabbit......").  Here's a picture  - just to remind you what Oscar looks like:

 Isobel has also been asked to make his neck "thicker" too - but we're not absolutely sure that changing the templates we've got for Oscar will actually convert well into the kind of Toy MsKA is seeking:  something that little - and not so little - girls will want to hug and cuddle. 

To overcome this potential difficulty, we asked our Friend, SS - puppeteer extraoradinaire from Tulsa, Okalahoma for his thoughts (as he designed the original Oscar template for us).  Just to be sure, he suggested two other Rabbit patterns which might fit the bill better.  They've been sent to MsKA for her thoughts - because Isobel is not actually going to begin the OAC commission until the week-beginning 26th March, 2018

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

We think by using the pricked ears from one of the patterns (Pattern 1), and the body, head and limbs from other, rounder pattern (Pattern 22), we'll achieve what MsKA is looking for.  The original request from MsKA was for a toy that closely resembled their design for The Blue Rabbit - star of the film promoting their Charity's work in the field of  Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)  (You'll be told the results of this consultation as and when we know the answer!) 

Isobel is actually making Oscar No2. at the moment - and we're hoping that he will be en route to Tulsa by the end of next week, so that the OAC Order can be started.  Isobel is incorporating the suggested amended "looks" into this latest version, just to see if they WILL work, or if they could be improved by using the new pattern.

Meanwhile, because Oscar No1 used most of the existing fleece in our stock - Isobel has purchased another batch - which, needless to say, looks almost the same colour, (but not exactly the same) - but feels somewhat softer and cuddlier.  OscarNo2 is being made with the new supply, as will the proposed Batch of Six!

Here's a photograph, taken on our dining room table of the fabrics we will be using:

You'll see that we've got two different fabrics in the darker blue colour:  a length in Dark Blue Fleece, and a smaller amount in a matching polyester material.  All future Oscars' noses will all be made with the Blue Fleece, as it was with Oscar No1 and  we used that fabric for his ear linings as well, because we hoped that it would help them to stay pricked up!  We're not sure that is going to be a really long-term solution though (and may well suggest that Oscar be returned to our Toy Animal Restoration Clinic- for a free Make Over as a result). Oscar No2's ears, as well as having Blue Fleece linings are also being stiffened with a layer of inter-facing - which looks as though it will provide a longer-term answer to the floppy tendencies caused by fleece fabric in all cases.  (The loppy ears shown in Pattern 2 shows the "look" that Oscar No1's ears could end up with, if left as they currently are!)

In addition, all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Rabbits, whether dressed or otherwise, or whether made with fleece or plushes, have ears made with polyester or satin-type linings.  We're going to give MsKA the option to choose, once we've got a response about the patterns.  In the end, it's a question of "feel", as well as "look" as to which way the decision will go, we suspect.

Talking about Makeovers, which we wrote about in our last post, we've embarked on a new path - in particular to do with the Toy Animal Restoration Clinic, ( whose services have long been a part of the Shop's activities.  Since moving to Nottinghamshire, we've not had as many Patients visiting as we would like, so Isobel began to research how we could make these services better known to the "Great British Public" - in a way that is different, but much the same, as we attempt to do via the route.  We had our sewing machine repaired earlier this month, and while she "googled" to find out where our local Sewing Machine Repair Shop was located (in the next Town, as it happened - Sutton in Ashfield), she noticed an advert for (the on line version of that long running publication "Yellow Pages").  She telephoned the number on the site, and actually met a Consultant to discuss her options last Friday. (Co-incidentally, he was with us when Isobel received the news about the 6 Further Oscar Models!)

The result of this is that we are trialling - for an initial 3 month period (of an annual offer) for an advertisement site for the Restoration Clinic.  There will also be a link to our Etsy Shop on there, and we can include up to 25 pictures there too, plus that old on-going bugbear "keywords"!!  It's going to be aimed at customers living in "London Central" and "Nottingham" areas for which there will be a monthly fee (which can be covered by our existing funds currently, as well as from the results of the OAC Order).  In addition, we will be getting coverage - for free during the same period - in the Chesterfield, Derbyshire and Mansfield, Nottinghamshire areas (both larger Towns located near to where we live).  If nothing materialises in the first 3 months, the contract can be cancelled.  If business does arrive, we will have the option to continue the advertisement for the specified 1 year period, or upgrade the site to a full website.  Isobel feels that after 8 years trading, COLDHAMCUDDLIES needs to expand it's borders - so please wish us luck (we already do have a suitable domain name that we can use). The site is due to "go live" sometime during this coming week (beginning 19th March, 2018). 

Interestingly, the Consultant was kind enough to suggest that our services can be regarded as somewhat of a "niche" one! Saleman's "talk", may be, but looking at their existing classifications, there didn't seem to be THAT many others offering such a service, and given that many of those have their titles beginning with "T" = Teddy Bears", the fact that ours is going to be labelled COLDHAMCUDDLIES,  and "keywords" will incorporate "Animal" in them,  might (we say just MIGHT!) end up with our services being seen higher "up the page", than many of the others UK-wide, not just in the areas we're paying for!  It's true:  after all, we've had Dinosaurs, (see below Dragons, as well as Puffins and multiple Teddy Bears admittedly, as Patients since we started out in 2011!

Here's hoping!   See you all next week, hopefully!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Our Yellow Bear Friend has a Makeover.

Good Afternoon Everyone:

Cy Bear back once more and, this time, at the usual time for our post to get written and published!  We've been less hectic this week, and concentrating on the Shop and it's latest re-listing cycle.  Isobel has worked on new Titles for the items we've attended to this week - doing one a day, while keeping up with the daily Etsy promotional activities required to draw attention to the Shop and our products.  It's enabled us to carry out some remedial work on one of my Best Friends, Yellow Plush Bear

Regular readers of this blog may recall that last Autumn (2017) Isobel decided to give my Friend, Panda Bear a makeover.  He'd  been skulking in the Shop ( ) for some time, and she wondered if the way he looked might have had something to do with his not attracting a Forever Friend.

Panda Bear became a Patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (  shortly after this thought had occurred, looking like this:

A couple of days later, after having his nose and mouth re-stitched, Panda Bear looked like this:  with a new nose, and a smiling face.

So, we were delighted when only a few weeks later, just before we attended WINTERFEST2017 at Thoresby Courtyard in November, Panda found a new home in Nottingham - just in time for Christmas.  This is the final photograph we have - taken in the car, on his way home, after the Christmas Bazaar, which he had been allowed to stay with us for - and which is how he came to have this red label on (he left us immediately after the Thoresby Show ended).

Whether or not the fact Panda had been given a new look played a part in this happy result may be just coincidence. but our Yellow Plush Bear(YPB) has also been waiting some time for His Forever Home, having found one once, and then his prospective Forever Friend changed her mind, and did not complete the transaction with us - an occupational hazard, alas!.

Isobel has often thought that YPB might be suffering a similar lack of interest on the part of potential Adopters, so this week she decided to do something about it - while giving her arthritic fingers some gentle sewing exercise to get them used to the idea of getting going once more.

When he was first made - for his original Adopter, she had requested that he didn't "look too cheerful", and as you know, Isobel does like to meet everyone's wishes as best she can.  So, YPB's mouth was sewn with a somewhat stern look.  When the make over was completed last week, YPB now looks like this:

His particular treatment consisted of his nose and mouth being cut out and completely re-designed, and I think he definitely looks a more cheerful and happy Bear.  (He's also still got the green spotted satin ribbon he had on for the Thoresby Courtyard Show).  Isobel  wielded her special scisssors, as well - purchased for shaping the faces of Cuddlies made with faux fur and thicker plushes, as YPB is, and cut carefully around both YPB's eyes.  He can now see his surroundings much better, and maybe more to the point, EVERYONE else can see his bright amber coloured eyes better too!

A side-ways view of  YPB's previous  "look

A close-up of how he faces the world now.

Isobel re-listed YPB earlier last week, and we now await developments with interest.  Meanwhile, we're deep into the latest re-listing session (which takes place every 3 months), so we've got plenty to occupy ourselves, as well as attend to developments on the Oscar Blue Rabbit front - to which I alluded last week as well.  That can keep for another post, so I'll close this week's bulletin now.

Have a good week, everyone!

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Normal Service has resumed: sorry for the break in posting!

Well Hello there EveryoneCy Bear and Isobel back again, with some catch-up news and a new COLDHAMCUDDLIES product to tell you about.

Guess you've all just about given up on us, since it's well over a month since we last posted.  There are good reasons:  when Isobel is not sewing, and helping me write about her activities here, she is also the Secretary to the Old Chapel Close (OCC) Tenants' Association (which is where we live, as most of you know).  That duty has impinged on our lives somewhat since the beginning of February, but it has now hopefully been handled to the satisfaction of our Friends here at OCC.  It did however involve letter writing hither and yon, attending meetings called to deal with the subject matter of said letters, and setting up an agreement between our Landlord and us Tenants, which we hope will provide a framework for future collaboration.  Since several of our Friends here are house-bound, that meant Isobel having to visit these ladies and gentlemen, and once there, she couldn't really rush away, because we all like having visitors to speak to, especially if one is dependent on Carers (with little time to stop and talk during their visits as several of them are.  So ...... hopefully you'll see where the time has gone?  Besides, Isobel isn't averse to a good chat herself either!

In addition, as we mentioned in our January 28th  post, Isobel's arthritis really flared up, and the treatment took its time  (really just increasing her already strong pain killer medication - because the arthritic variety she suffers is the osteo kind, and being "lifetime wear and tear", there's precious little the medical fraternity seem to be able to do about it)   took its time.  took.The increased medication has finally begun to kick in, so sewing is once again being considered - it's been a bit painful until now though.   

Before it got too bad however, we were able to cut out, sew and complete that pair of Ladies Slippers that we'd had on our Order Book  since October last year.  So, here are some photos of the latest addition to the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Slipper collection.

The pair completed and ready to be fitted.

The original order came in as the result of our Customer - a fellow resident at OCC - seeing some Slippers during the October MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning and asking if Isobel could make her a pair of Brown Plush Slippers, with a Yogi Bear type head on.  The Customer is not a fit person, and spends a lot of time in bed - so it was important for her measurements to be spot on.  She had feet that differed in size - both lengthwise at the foot, and around her ankles - but as all our Slippers are, "Custom Made" is one of our bench marks (as is "Made to Measure"). 

Keeping the Customer's feet warm and snug

During one of our visits, Isobel realised that it would actually be unsafe for the Yogi Bear Heads to be applied, as MrsPD-S favours long length clothing, and a Bear Head could actually become a tripping hazard.  That fact was accepted, and the production of the footwear commenced. 

As usual, we started off cutting out the insole to fit the measurements taken, and sewing on the leatherette cover - making an extra layer of covering for the final footwear.  Then the outside of the

slipper sides/uppers, together with the poodle fur lining we use for all our Slippers, gets sewn on, and the insole lining is attached.

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Isobel forgot to take a picture of this stage when making the Brown Plush pair, but we're showing you a photo taken when we were making our Snowy Owl Slippers a year ago - - because every pair of Slippers goes through the same procedure.  Once the insole is in, the front of the slipper is sewn together - lining first, and then the outer covering.  Isobel uses ladder stitch to do this, which results in an almost invisible seam for both layers - which makes it more comfortable the wearer.

Then the trimming is added - in this case, a crimson red satin ribbon one and elastic (cut to match the ankles of the wearer, plus a couple of inches - so that any future change in ankle circumference can be accommodated) is threaded through.  And there we are - the finished article.

It took Isobel 6 days to do the two slippers, not much longer than normal fortunately.

Before closing, some news about Oscar the Blue Rabbit and how the February 6th Launch of the film in which the original model, on which he is based, fared.   Apparently it went very well, and Oscar was much admired.  The specialist primary school teachers at which the presentation was aimed were duly impressed with both the film and it's model and several expressed interest in possibly purchasing some in the future.  As all teaching in the UK (and elsewhere too, of course) is planned well in advance, as are the budgets for the programmes involved, we're not expecting a deluge of orders - which is just as well, given Isobel's slower production pace.  

(We're hoping to get started on the Tulsa version of Oscar next week - on top of the painful hands, the weather here has prevented Isobel from accessing the fleece she wants to use for the future Blue Rabbits - as she wasn't entirely happy with the stuff she had in hand when making the first model.  As dyes rarely stay the same, she's planning on getting sufficient fabric for the future models too - because even if the order changes, she has enough alternative uses for Pale Blue Fleece for surplus supplies to be used in future.  With any luck, Oscar 2 will arrive in the USA around about Easter time!)

However, this week we learned that the Specialist Nurse attached to the OAC (Oxford Against Cutting) programme has declared she'd like to have 6 of them - with a May 1st dateline mentioned.  So, MsKA, our OAC liaison person, has now set out to fund-raise to be able to send us the order!  As the Nurse is part of the same organisation, the monies need to come from their supporters and friends.  We're hoping that the order will come in stages, so that we can fit them into Isobel's other production plans, as we do want to have a few new Cuddlies to offer this year, as usual.

More anon.   Hopefully, without too much more of a break in posts! 

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Introducing Oscar Blue Rabbit - Mascot for a Very Important Cause

Hello there, Everyone - Cy Bear back again and fortunately - for this week at any rate - on time!

In last week's post, I alluded to Oscar Blue Rabbit and to his being a very Special Rabbit.  When the enquiry first came in from the MsKA, representing the Buyer,  in November 2017, we found out it was from a Charity based in Oxford, UK.   Isobel didn't realise the true significance of this particular Story until he was finished and almost ready to be dispatched.  So, this post is going to tell you ALL about Oscar Blue Rabbit  - and what it is hoped he will be able to do in future.

First of all - as of yesterday -  this is now Oscar Blue Rabbit's official listing in our shop ( - and  he is the official Mascot for the Charity,  OXFORD AGAINST CUTTING (OAC).  As such, he is currently a one-off - and so does not have the COLDHAMCUDDLIES label sewn anywhere on his torso.  He will not appear officially off line until next Tuesday, 6th February, when he will be launched as he is playing a prominent role in a film, specially created to be circulated to primary school teachers so that he can help OAC in their work - which is educating people about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and how wrong and unnecessary it is.  (MsKA gave Isobel  permission to publish the listing early - so here it is!)

Tuesday, 6th February is a Very Important Day - because it is the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO INTOLERANCE for FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM) and Oxford Against Cutting has created a toolkit for primary school teachers to talk to young children about bodily integrity.  The tool kit includes a lesson plan and film (Who Can You Tell: bNfUmO) and Oscar takes a leading part in this film.   It's official launch is on that date - at one of the local schools in the Oxford Area.   Isobel got an official invitation to the event, but because of other commitments here at home (e.g. with her Dentist) she had to decline. 

For those of our readers unfamiliar with FGM, here is a brief description, provided for our listing by MsKA FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) involves the cutting of the female genitalia for cultural reasons and has no health benefit whatsoever. It can be extremely harmful, with many girls bleeding to death. FGM survivors are often left with life-long physical and emotional trauma. 

For further information about the work and ambitions of Oxford against Cutting (and the February 6th event) please click here -

The left hand photograph below is of The Blue Rabbit - as he is called in the film.  "Oscar" is the name Isobel called him while she was making him, and it was accepted by MsKA from OAC, with whom we have regularly chatted throughout the process of this order.  It is the one on which Oscar Blue Rabbit has been based.

Designer's calculations are on the right of this picture

The original enquiry wanted to know  if  Isobel could make a cuddly Toy, using similar colour fleece to the photographed model.  Buoyed by the recent success we had enjoyed at the WINTERFEST Christmas Bazaar, she felt able to accept the challenge.  (Misgivings set in pretty fast once she'd done so!!)

(Much of this post will be based on the actual listing for Oscar in this Shop - there seems little point in my duplicating stuff when there is no need.  This will explain the difference in some of the  print fonts that follow as well!)

Everyone who knows Isobel,  knows she is hopeless without a pattern, even though the OAC provided us with a photograph,  So she appealed for help from Etsy Team Members with whom she regularly liaises, and also to a former customer/collaborater - Sean Smith, Puppeteer Extraordinaire, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.  A copy of the original photograph was sent to Tulsa (isn't technology great - when it works)?  He set to - and Sean Smith's calculations are shown alongside it - in this second photograph,  

The pattern pieces were then transferred to two sheets of printing paper, posted back to us - with the instruction that they should all be increased by 200%.  The instructions were followed - to the letter - and Oscar is the result, after several attempts on Isobel's part.  Creating a fabric toy model based on a photograph of a plastic/plasticine animation model evidently had it's challenges!  

As you may have observed, Oscar Blue Rabbit in his role as Mascot Toy for the Oxford Against Cutting's latest project doesn't have the whiskers the original designer had in mind.  They look splendid in the supplied  photograph - but not when Isobel had a go - 

Our own supply of Cat's Whiskers were too thin.  When our haberdashery supplier was consulted, the pipe cleaners (see in the above photo) in as near a colour match as we could find, were far too fat.  So, as Isobel is not keen on spiky appendages to Cuddly Toys as a rule, and in particular where Oscar is concerned, after discussion with MsKA, we did not progress any further along this route..  Whiskers, no matter how they are made, can't help but be spiky -  and we all think Oscar's chubby cheeks look great without them.  Do hope Oscar's prospective Forever Friends will agree.  They, of course, are at liberty to decorate THEIR Oscar Blue Rabbit in any way THEY choose, once he arrives home.

The following photos show how Oscar came into being:

The original pattern only allowed for two head pieces, and Isobel did think it might be easier if Oscar had a gusset joining them together (shown here)  The ears were tacked on, but he didn't look right, so two more head pieces were cut out, and we started all over again.  (The additional gusset fabric made the head even heavier than it already is)

This time around, Oscar's eyes were changed slightly, and his cheek pieces laid on his face before being finally attached.  Then Isobel went to work on his body, and that proved an exercise in itself.  The original photograph shows him with rather spindly arms and legs

 - which might well work for a plasticine animation model, but doesn't quite do the same when you make them with fabric, stuffed with polyester (meeting all international safety standards, by the way). The foot pattern template provided by Sean Smith was entirely inadequate to have any hope of Oscar standing on his own. (In messages between them, Sean Smith did admit to being somewhat concerned himself! He also made the template so that the legs were attached more as part of a hip, rather than directly to the body at its bottom - as in the original picture.)   However, with judicious fiddling around, Isobel did manage to get him to stand - by using the template for our Lady Dressed Toys'shoes, and shaping them to make them look like feet.  Each foot now also has a piece of cardboard on the base, which helps Oscar to stand better.  He also now has a head that will stay upright, by shortening it a little, and packing in the stuffing - to hold it in situ when attached to his body.  

By this time, you will see, Oscar has a mouth - in the original photo, you can see that it goes right across the face in one straight line.  Isobel felt that that gave him too severe a look, so shortened it - and when the photograph was sent to MsKA, she came back asking if we could make Oscar have more of a smile.  You can see in the first picture to this post, that this was achieved - but not before de-stuffing the head, before the head was attached to the body.

In all the excitement, and to-ing and froing, between Tulsa, Oxford and Kirkby in Ashfield, Oscar nearly appeared minus that vital appendage that no self-respecting Rabbit should be seen in public without  - his Fluffy White Tail.  Again, Isobel resorted to her Rabbit patterns, created a slightly larger one to match Oscar's own vital statistics, and the result is shown here.

The lighting for this photo is not right, but it does show the vital appendage.  There's something in the light blue fleece fabric that doesn't like being photographed under the electric lights in our flat.  It's not much better when we try to take photographs of our Rabbits in bright daylight either.  Isobel will have to ponder on how to get around this problem - if we are to offer many more Oscars (and other Light Blue Fleece Rabbits - Big or Small) in future. 

A second rabbit was also made - 

with similar colours to Oscar,  but based on our own pattern, used for Fleece Rabbits in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Shop - - in case the original photograph did not result in a completed ToyIsobel made him Oxford Blue coloured paws and feet, and his facial features were sewn on in matching blue Double Knit Yarn. He also got a pair of Oxford Blue Ear linings made in fleece, rather than our usual satin lining fabric.   In the event, it was not required.  He therefore accompanied Oscar Blue Rabbit when he went to meet the Oxford Against Cutting Team for the first time.  He is COLDHAMCUDDLIES' first donation towards the Charity's fund-raising efforts and we hope it won't be the last.  (It would seem that having a black background does help the photographing conundrum referred to earlier!).  

Currently, Oscar is a one-off.  However, Isobel  retains the pattern templates (again with the agreement of Oxford Against Cutting - just in case anyone else would like to have their own Oscar.  She inadvertently omitted to send them with Oscar when he went to meet his Destiny earlier this Year.  Although based on the original pattern, future Oscar Blue Rabbits will not be an EXACT duplicate of the one we are looking at here.  Isobel finds it impossible to create an EXACT COPY of any Toy she makes - that is, after all, the point of "HAND MADE" and the difference between machine produced toys.  The more Oscars who are made, should result in a faster turn around, as well.   (Sean Smith has already indicated he would like one!!!)  

NB:  Every Oscar Blue Rabbit who gets adopted will result in 20% of his purchase price (£5.00:  circa $7.00 USD) being donated to Oxford Against Cutting (registered charity number 1161597) to assist the Charity in their important, demanding, and relatively unpublicised work in stopping this abuse of human rights against girls and young women.   (Any new Oscars will also have a COLDHAMCUDDLIES label attached under his Tail - as do all our Fleece Bunnies).

Here's a direct message from Isobel herself:

PLEASE BE AWARE;  Orders received for any COLDHAMCUDDLIES products are handled in order of receipt, and Oscar's potential adopters will receive EXACTLY the same treatment.  COLDHAMCUDDLIES, as well as being a handmade Toy Shop, is also a "prescribed" occupational therapy for myself - to assist in keeping increasing arthritis in my hands and other limbs at bay.  The current dispatch dates are therefore set to allow me reasonable time to make a new Oscar (or other COLDHAM Cuddly) from scratch, but also to take account of Work in Progress at the time any enquiry is received.  Dispatch dates are NORMALLY well within the set timetable, and any changes are notified via email and/or the Etsy convo system. Please take this situation into account when placing your order.  No one connected with this project wants YOU to be disappointed.

We'll be back in touch again soon - hopefully next week, but one never knows!!

Have a good week Everyone!  

Your Friend

Cy Bear

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A New Year, Introducing a New Cuddly - and New Year Good Wishes, All Round!

Well Hello Everyone!

So very good to be back again with lots to tell you, especially as the Christmas Break was extended way beyond our original plans - briefly mentioned in our last post here (17th December 2017).

In which case, hopefully not too late, both Isobel and I want to wish all our Readers and Followers a Happy New Year - adding that we do hope that 2018 brings you everything you wish for yourselves and your families.  (We'll be changing our pictures soon - because Isobel doesn't look like this now,  with all the weight she's managed to lose) and it's always a good idea to keep changing one's "look" (or so I am told).

Various "events" have made this delay inevitable.  After a lovely break away in Buckinghamshire with elder daughter Philippa, Isobel arrived back and walked into our flat which had turned into a deep-freeze.  A Power Surge (whatever that is - us Bears, wouldn't know - but I do know it was VERY COLD!!!) had knocked out every electrical appliance in the flat - including the central heating.  With no inkling about this, Isobel was met by a strange young man as she was about to open our front door, saying that he was unable to enter our home - because the front door was firmly locked.  This was rapidly changed, and Isobel and the young man walked around our home checking everything that looked "electrical" to see if any damage had occurred 5 nights before, and if any damage was permanent.  

We were really lucky (the Residents were without any television all over Christmas as well as without proper heating (heaters being supplied by the Power Distributing Company) - a real hardship for more mature ladies and gentlemen, who find a TV almost obligatory to keep them company), but after spending the first night back in Kirkby up the road with Clare (Philippa, who had planned on over-nighting, having returned to High Wycombe during that afternoon), Isobel again came in to a freezing cold home, as the heating system had still not functioned overnight.  The electricity power distributor rushed around with three convection heaters (which were GIVEN to her permanently!) so that by the second morning, when the heating system had been correctly re-set, life began to return to normal (exactly a week after the emergency began).  The newly installed shower pump had succumbed to the power-surge, so Isobel had to strip-wash in the kitchen for a week before the new part was supplied, but apart from that we got off lightly - UNLESS you can call Isobel going down with a really nasty cold/flu attack a few days later, blame for which was placed on the 4 or 5 hours spent on the second morning waiting for the convection heaters to be supplied.  

That's why everything started going pear-shaped.   Our Christmas orders (due to be delivered fairly early in the New Year) took longer to be completed than we'd really like - because on top of the cold, the ever-present arthritis in Isobel's hands decided to have a flare-up after several years of being relatively quiescent (which inevitably slowed things down). Then our Self Assessment Tax Return had to be worked on - and was completed as late as yesterday afternoon - and so on. 

Nevertheless, two of the four orders were completed;   one has been successfully posted, and duly received with delight - destination Oxfordshire, UK.  The second one was posted to Rhode Island, New York, USA only a few days later than originally set.  A third awaits a final decision  later this year - this is for 6 Golf Club Head Covers, if it goes ahead.   Isobel has today taken the measurements for a pair of Brown Bear Ladies' Slippers - which she hopes to start making early next week - for one of our fellow Residents here at Old Chapel Close (grandmother to the young lady who received the Grey Wolf Slippers before Christmas 2017) - seen here

The two post-Christmas, completed orders were for a Special Rabbit - whom Isobel decided should be called Oscar, while he was being constructed (a suggestion the Customer accepted!) - who has been made to resemble as closely as feasible a Rabbit that looks like this

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Artwork involved in creating the pattern for Isobel to work with

in a photograph provided by our Customer - who is involved in organising the launch of a special film, in which Oscar takes a prominent place, scheduled for 6th February, 2017.  We'll be telling you ALL about how Oscar Blue Rabbit was made and what may happen to him (and COLDHAMCUDDLIES) in a future blog, but as 6th February has yet to arrive, and Oscar has still to be listed in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Shop ( this is all that I'll say here today.  Meanwhile, suffice to say, the pattern artwork was provided by Puppeteer Extraordinaire, Sean Smith (of Tulsa, OK, USA) with whom we've collaborated in the past.  Oscar did prove to be quite a challenge - converting that photograph into a viable, cuddly Toy using fleece, felt and polyester stuffing was not exactly straight forward!

Almost at the same time, Isobel received another Custom Order from MrsSG  located in Rhode Island, NewYork, U.S.A. who wanted to have a Winston Wombat Hotwater Bottle Cover - see below

as well as another similar item, but made up to look like a Koala.  Isobel suggested we could use the Head used for Sleepy Koala Bear, and sew it onto a pillow cover made with our Koala Bear type fabric:

and MrsSG was happy to go along with that idea.  Beginning a week ago last Friday, the two Hotwater Bottle Covers were cut out and constructed - and the Koala Bear version will be listed early next week.  Meanwhile, this is what Koala Bear Hotwater Bottle Cover looks like:

Both of these were posted last Friday morning, and we hope they will travel speedily and safely in time to reach the family before they set off on a Winter vacation (we suspect timed to coincide with half term holidays for the two daughters of the family).  The difference in size (even though the same amount of fabric has been used for both items) is - as ever - explained by the difference in fabric thickness mostly, as well as Winston Wombat having a bigger head to begin with!!  If they look a bit lop-sided - that's because the pillow (which is also stuffing in the absence of a hotwater bottle) is probably not exactly centred on Isobel's bed pillow!!

That's all for this week Folks.  Look forward to resuming our usual weekly posts for the rest of the year .... but given potential developments, hinted at earlier in this post, I'm not promising anything!

Have a great week, Everyone.

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Bertie Blue Whale Joins the COLDHAMCUDDLIES

Good afternoon everyone - back once more, and this week,  "on time"  too!

Cy Bear back again, and delighted to be here and able to introduce you to the latest member of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES Family/Shop - Bertie Blue Whale.
Our Custom Order Blue Whale Ornamental Toy (named Bertie Whale for our Shop Listing) is made from a Vintage  (1973) Simplicity Pattern which was purchased more recently either from a fellow Etsy Shop or while surfing on-line elsewhere.    Isobel has been waiting for an excuse to "have a go" ever since.

The Blue Fleece Ornamental Whale Toy's Dimensions are:

Lying on its side, from nose to mid-tail -

Length:  36.00 inches (92.00 cms)
Height:    11.00 inches (28.00 cms) Tip of Fin to Base
Weight:     2.00 pounds (0.97 kilos)  approximately
Girth:       27.00 inches (69 cms) midway along back

As much of a "head-on" view as we can manage in our flat for an Ornament of this size!

The original pattern is actually for a Dolphin - but in October 2017 during a conversation with a fellow Slimming World member while she waited for her weekly "weigh-in", Isobel was asked if she could make MrsPA a Whale  - when she heard Isobel was a Toy Maker.

A close-up of Bertie's Tail

Returning home, the Pattern Library was checked, the Dolphin pattern was found and a photo of the giant Toy e-mailed to MrsPA.

The original picture which began the whole story!

Isobel suggested that by slightly altering the Dolphin head shape (by eliminating the prominent Dolphin"beak") a recognisable Whale could appear. Thus, we were commissioned to produce a Blue Whale for Christmas 2017MrsPA and her husband had recently spent a splendid holiday in South Africa and during their adventure had, had the pleasure of watching a school of whales off the southern coast of that country.  The fact that many years ago, Isobel too had travelled the same area (although minus the Whale sighting!) made the acceptance of the challenge a "no-brainer", and accordingly it was placed in our Order Book.   (ALL ORDERS RECEIVED in our COLDHAMCUDDLIES shop are handled strictly in order of receipt.)  Once the Whale order reached the Top of the List, work on it duly commenced.  Four days' later, the results are contained in this listing.

Bertie's Under-belly in White Fleece

Consequently, we are now able to offer either a Whale or a Dolphin - without too much difficulty! Your choice need not be restricted to it being a Blue Whale/Dolphin. The listing gives you several options that we are suggesting could be used for an Ornamental Feature Toy to match any decorative ideas you may be planning.    Please let us know when ordering via the Etsy Check Out site which option is your preference.  (Or you can also convo us and/or email us at  Isobel will be delighted to see what she can do to meet your needs.

Bertie's tail looks more comfortable when it is draped over something!

Obviously, this special Custom Order is a one-off for MrsPA but she has no objection to Bertie becoming part of the COLDHAMCUDDLIES collection of Ornamental Toys.  Despite his size, Hermy as MrsPA has decided he will be called when presented to her husband for Christmas this year, can be replicated quite easily.  (The Whale sighting mentioned earlier in this post took place off the coastal Town of Hermanus, Republic of South Africa!)

The main component, once the fabric is measured and sewn is the need for a good supply of the usual polyester stuffing with which all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Ornamental Toys are created.  This complies with all international standards for safety and in this case, a 1.1 kilo (2.2 pounds) bag has almost all been used to create this Giant Feature Ornament.  He just fits on a normal pillow - with his tale gracefully draping over the side of it!  We have a reliable source for this important part of a Whale Ornamental Feature Toy - at very competitive prices too!

I'm actually standing behind Bertie in this picture - just shows how high he is!!

Bertie is totally hand-stitched (taking 2 evenings of sewing) and basically consists of  two main seams - with a gusset forming the underside of his body.  His body is  blue fleece, with his under-belly made with a white fleece of similar quality.  He has purpose made felt eyes individually crafted and sewn on either side of the Whale body.  (They are not as "sexy" as those suggested for the Dolphin - for which we do have a pattern!)   Small white flecks are embroidered on each eye to provide a life-like "look" to the Toy's overall look.  Like all COLDHAMCUDDLIES Ornamental Toys, Bertie Whale is made in totally animal free and smoke free environments.

Bertie behind me, as I sit in my usual spot on the Bed!

Hermy was hand-delivered, travelling by public transport to meet his new owner - raising interest among fellow 'bus travellers enroute in the process.  (It was both too early in the day, (c.0830 GMT) and typical of the commuting public that NO ONE actually commented!! MrsPA was delighted to meet Bertie (Hermy to her, of course) and they left for their new future together earlier this week-end.

As with all big packages, Shipping could be quite expensive and would have to be either by Royal Mail Parcel Force and/or a Courier service.    Because of  his specific measurements, each package would need an individual shipping quote, so the one we have put into our Shop Listing is purely for listing purposes only.   There are several locally-based companies who can be approached for a definite quotation (serving all global destinations!) - thus prices quoted for this listing are approximate only.  As a custom order, these will be confirmed at the time the order is processed by the Etsy Check Out system and no work will begin on any order/commission until an exact shipping cost has been provided - and accepted by the Buyer(s).

Bertie Whale is one of the biggest Ornamental Toys we've ever handled in our Shop.   Previous visitors have included a Giant Koala - who was adopted elsewhere in the UK, after Isobel had been "scammed" into enlarging our  Big Koala Toy -
into a truly Giant Koala Ornamental Toy - who became my Friend Colin the Koala (shown below)

We've also handled a Dinosaur called Dino - who needed a bit of "feeding up" after some heavy cuddling from his Forever Friend, as well as a Giant Dragon - whose stuffing had also "relaxed" after some time in the "real world".  This is a normal occurrence when polyester (or other materials) are used to stuff Toys of any size - and is not a fault as such.  That's where our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic's services come in handy!!  Patients are always welcome!  ( 

After a luke-warm bath in soap suds, and a complete re-stuff (using nearly 6 lbs (c.3 kilos) of polyester fibre, Count Rusty now looks like this - a true leader of the Morrell Bear clan
Count Rusty de Ben - Biggest Member of the Morrell Family Bear Collection and a 4 ft 6 inch Ornament!

They all took somewhat longer to cope with while they stayed with us and their stories have appeared in earlier posts in this Blog!

I'm closing now for this week's edition - and am not sure when I'll be back.  Isobel is spending Christmas with daughter, Philippa, and is due to be away for about a week (beginning later this week) and there are plans afoot for her to have a break from toy-making (there are already 4 Orders on the Book for the New Year!).  Thanks to the Slimming World attendance she's undertaken since July, she's reached Christmas 2017 27.5 lbs lighter than she was at the start.  Her target for the period was 28 lbs - so a pesky half-pound has just blocked that achievement!!  However, it does mean that her wardrobe has taken a "hit", and Isobel is debating whether to take some of her stash of accumulated fabrics with her to make some much-needed replenishments.  Trousers that fit are fast becoming a necessity, and she's hoping she can "borrow" a pattern from daughter Clare before she is driven to Buckinghamshire (as well as back again!) for the Christmas period. It's the prospect of the lifts both ways that is causing these thoughts to emerge!!  (Easier to manage when not having to travel by train, and cross London - the normal route on these occasions.)

Both Isobel and I want to wish all our Friends, Followers, and Readers the very Happiest of Christmas Festivities - and Everything you Wish Yourselves for 2018.  (Which is probably when we'll meet again!).

Your Friend,

Cy Bear

Sunday, 10 December 2017

WOW! Where did the Time Go? Definitely a Catch up post to follow!

Hello there Everyone!  Cy Bear here again.

COLDHAMCUDDLIES  Teddy Bears (and Me) with suitable labels to attract passing WINTERFEST Traffic!

WINTERFEST2017 is now a thing of the past.  Although, as feared, the WiFi didn't work - so the new technical pieces we hoped to use in our sales at the event didn't either - folks came in their dozens, and all were prepared to use cash for any purchases made.  Lots of our new business cards were handed out by both Clare and Isobel - so who knows what could happen in 2018?  However, having covered our costs for the outlays for the Event, everything we made was profit - and we made the most we've ever done at one of these gigs - so the efforts were definitely worth it.

Light Brown  Bear (back left in the photograph) found a new Home for Christmas (each label, no matter the colour, had the message "I NEED A NEW HOME FOR CHRISTMAS" - and in Light Brown Bear's case it worked.  

As I told you in our last post, Panda Bear was able to participate in the Christmas Craft Fair, thanks to the agreement of his New Best Friend, MsMP.  While on the Coldham Cuddlies Table, he had a red label all to himself, which looked like this:

The Label reads "I have a Home for Christmas - in Nottingham"!

COLDHAMCUDDLIES Table after set-up on Friday, 25th November.  (Isobel in background)

Clare and Isobel with half the COLDHAMCUDDLIES table exhibits

As arranged by Isobel, first thing on the Monday after WINTERFEST2017 was over, he was wrapped up and sent on his way - after we'd taken our usual Farewell photograph.

Two days later, we got an email from MsMP (she'd been out when Panda arrived after travelling Express Post - so had spent an extra day waiting at the Royal Mail Sorting Office before meeting his New Best Friend).  MsMP picked him up en route to her office next morning, and took this photograph before one of the car journeys involved.

Apparently, the label attached was an extra delight for MsMP - and we were grateful to her for allowing us to include Panda in our exciting exhibit at WINTERFEST2017Panda is now settling in with his two new Friends - "Angel Bear" and "Star Wars Bear"!  May they have many happy years together.  We're just thrilled that Panda has found such a comfortable niche!

It's three weeks ago, when we last were in touch - and we simply don't know where the time went!  I've sat on the bed, while Isobel has sewn madly - in between walking/sleeping up the road, while the bathroom was re-done.  Instead of the forecast 10 Working Days, the job took another 5 Working Days, and only finished (for our flat, anyway) on Thursday of last week.  Although she was getting quite efficient at taking everything needed for an evening sewing session by the end of the period, there were still days when she had to play catch up during the day - so blogging really has had to take a back seat.

In that time, a pair of Kids Small Slippers have been cut out, sewn and delivered to MrsMB (one of our fellow residents here at Old Chapel Close in Kirkby in Ashfield).  She was acting as agent for a friend, who wanted a pair for his Grand Daughter for Christmas.  They looked like this example which is currently to be found in our Shop:

These were ordered way back in September - during/just after this year's MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning, where one of our Buchanan Dressed Lady Foxes were also bought by the same Gentleman - for the same Little Person.

Then, our next Christmas delivery booking was for a pair of Grey Wolf Novelty Slippers, again for a connection of another neighbour of ours.  This time it was for a Lady's Grand Daughter, whose Mother wanted the pair of Slippers for her 13 year-old Daughter.  She's a tall young lady, and is already into UK Size 5 Slippers, and these were completed this Friday - delivered, and paid for at the same time!  Isn't that the way to do business, now?  Here's what they look like in our Shop - ready for anyone else with similar thoughts in mind.

The final Christmas order is under way - to be delivered next Saturday, 16th December, to one of Isobel's fellow members of the Saturday morning Slimming World Club"Hermy" the Whale has been cut out (a new length of fabric was needed) because what Isobel thought was wide enough, didn't actually fit the entire pattern!  He's now been cut out, and most of the "side-effects" - wings, belly, and eyes, have been cut out and sewn.  Isobel plans to start sewing the body etc this evening - and as he is 30 inches from nose to tail, that's going to take some time!!  I'll tell you all about it next week.

Right - this has been a long post:  but so much has happened in the time we've not been in touch, I hope you'll forgive its length.  See you all again next week!

Your Friend:

Cy Bear.