Wednesday, 9 January 2013

First Post for 2013 - A Catching Up Report

First of all, a week into the New Year:  let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Next, my apologies for absence from this blog - especially after the run of 4 posts in quick succession over Christmas and the week after the Festivity.  It's not because of idleness, but merely the lack of time.  Let me clarify:

Over Christmas, I managed to sew up six new Big Bears - three being replacements for Bears who have found their Forever Homes during 2012, two new Golden Bears, and a duplicate of Light Brown Bear , who in turn replaces Determined Bear, whom some of you will recall now resides in Anaheim, Ca. USA.  They will be listed in the next few days, but in the mean time,here are photographs of the four who are now ready to be placed in our shop at - just as a taster and also to not let the gap between posts get any bigger. 

Introducing Solemn Golden Bear, Hairy Bear, Smiling Golden Bear and Grinning Light Brown Bear:

This picture was taken of the four new Cuddlies sitting on one of the benches in the garden here at the Hospital of St. John, where my apartment is located.  I had intended to have a proper outdoor session this afternoon, because the sun had appeared for the first time since the middle of last week!  If it hasn't been raining cats and dogs hereabouts since the New Year, it's been dour, clouds overhead - even though it has also been unseasonably mild as well.  However, just as I appeared and arranged the models, the sun went in, and it didn't look as though it would appear again today.  So, the rest of the session had to take place indoors.

Now my newly-found mentor - the subject of Cy Bear's last post in 2012,  Joel Barnett - has mentioned that some of the photographs in our shop could bear with replacement at worst or touching up at best.  I do agree with him, but haven't yet had the time to do anything about it - given the tasks he's set for me to undertake (very willingly I hasten to add) in re-tagging the Cuddlies already on offer (DONE!) and then concentrating on adding more shops to my Etsy Circle.

I realised early on that I wasn't making as good use of this marketing tool as I could do - and Joel has pointed me in the right direction.  Under his guidance, I've added 50 more shops and, amazingly, have heard back from nearly 40 of them - either adding our Shop to their Circles, or even following me on Etsy.  (Have yet to discover exactly how that differs, but guess there has to be some difference - I really am ignorant, you see!)   I've responded to almost all of them - and obviously, this all takes time! Hence the gap in posts:

Whatever:  I've discovered several potential lovely new friends - two of whom live in Alberta, Canada where, as you know Peter and I - together with the girls - lived for 12 years.  Neither actually live in the same City as we did, but so what?  Then there's another lovely lady living in California, who has a sister living in Oxford - just up the road from Philippa, and the same age as Clare, and a shared background (a short time in my case) of living in South Africa!  This new friend loves dogs - especially collies and labradors (I do too!), loves making Bears, although she's presently doing brisk business in making decorative headgear in the shape of crowns - and so it goes on!  Links to these - and others as I get to know them better - will be provided in another post. 

But I digress - to return to the subject of my Christmas Bears - here is another shot of the 4 new chaps this time taken on my chest-of-drawers.  However, the more I look at Hairy Bear, the more I'm not sure his ears are in the right place.  He has a look of permanent astonishment on his face, which must be awfully tiring!  So, tomorrow, before I get going on the Etsy upgrade business, the ears will be re-located  in a better position.  Thus, when he gets listed, he will not be looking like he is in this - and the other pictures.

Some of you may remember that  production of Hairy Bear was suspended ( he was withdrawn from the Shop)  because he took a lot of fabric, which could be better used for the Hedgehogs.  This version will be Hairy Bear VI, or maybe even VII.  However, when I picked up my penultimate supply of stuffing from my usual supplier in Frome, Somerset (Fine Quality Feather Company), there was a big bag of fur fabric awaiting my selection - including a huge re-supply of Hairy's particular fabric.  There is therefore a good chance of several more Hairys, as well as plenty over for the Hedgehogs - of any size (Dad, Mom or Baby - Etsy Listings 956521, #95653310 and #95653745 respectively).  Hairy Bear's original Etsy Listing is now defunct, so he will be appearing as a completely new listing - once his ears have been relocated!

Here are the four of them, standing on my bed - they can stand fairly well unaided - but I've stationed them near pillows to make sure they don't fall over.  Duvets don't make ideal level standing surfaces after all!

Finally, here they are looking out at you all!

As has become the custom, when these guys are listed, they will each receive their own post on the blog, so look out for a flow of posts shortly.  The remaining two Christmas Bears have yet to be completed - but  production had to be stopped for a day or two whilst my supply of plastic joints was replenished.  Bears with their 4 limbs and 1 neck joint make heavy inroads into such supplies.  Fortunately, I have found a great internet-based supplier of such items - - who really do offer a turnaround service.  I only ordered these joints (100 sets of three different sizes) on Sunday afternoon:  they arrived by First Class Post this morning!!  I can get my Cuddlies' eyes from them as well, which it comforting to know.

The other two Bears - replacing Silvery Brown Bear and a duplicate of Light Brown Bear (on the left of the last picture) are forming the basis of a step-by-step production post for the blog.  The Bears are all made in the same way, so it doesn't really matter what colour they are!

So, back to work as they say.  Great to be back posting once more, and I'll try to keep posting regularly, as I learn the marketing and promotional ropes.  Meanwhile, thanks to you all for continuing to view this blog - the count the last time I looked (just before I began this post) was 10,449 views since we began in March 2011.  

Goodnight and God Bless!  Isobel