This post is being prepared somewhat later than usual because Isobel was out at the Parish Barbecue held every year to celebrate the Feast of St. Barnabas, the patron of the Nottingham Catholic Cathedral, which is the family church. The Barbecue is held on the nearest Sunday to that Feast Day, and this year it was slightly marred by heavy rain, but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits.
Then Isobel had to arrange the departure of my temporary friend, AJ, the Orange Dragon. His treatment has been successfully completed - but did take her longer than she expected, because she found him quite difficult to wrestle when doing his arms. However, the "battle" was successfully achieved yesterday evening, and he was wrapped in the plastic bag he came in and placed in the cardboard carton in which he travelled to meet us.
This is what AJ looked like upon arrival. His arms were very floppy and Isobel had been asked to try to make them look more like his legs if possible. More stuffing seemed to be at the root of AJ's unhappy condition, so as we needed a re-supply, more was ordered from our suppliers of this material - F. Aldous Ltd, who are based in Manchester and are the source of everything seemingly needed by crafters, no matter their particular project. To date, we've only purchased polyester fibre for our toys stuffing, and some rug wool last year when Isobel was asked to complete a latch hook rug on behalf of her fellow residents. We'd actually not heard of F. Aldous before, but thanks to the internet, Isobel discovered that they've been in business since 1886. The required polyester fibre duly arrived on Monday, June 6 - as I told you in my chat with you last week, and Isobel got down to dealing with AJ. (That was, after she'd completed existing piglet oriented work - of which more anon!)
First of all, we removed the black sock-like things on his feet, which showed Isobel how she could get the legs firmed up. (She had checked with MsLA, our customer, that she didn't really mind them going). By making a small hole in the existing seam at the end of each leg, she
removed some of the existing stuffing (up to the elbow of each leg). The existing stuffing was found to be kapok filling, and since it looked to be in good condition, Isobel left well alone and added some of our own polyester fibre so that the legs could be firmer and enable AJ to sit more upright.
Under other circumstances, existing kapok used in older toys than AJ looks is taken out all together: but AJ doesn't look to be that old - that is compared with some of the nearly 100 year old Bears who have been treated in our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic
From the angle of this picture, Isobel noticed that the arms did seem to have similar elbow shapes to those in the legs, so she decided to emphasise these when redoing the arms. You can also see that AJ's head is a little "wonky" and it became obvious as she was undoing each arm that the shoulders too needed some strengthening as well. So, not only did the arms come off,
but Isobel wielded her Quic-Unpic tool and made holes in the shoulders on each side of the body and stuffed more polyester fibre in among the existing kapok, making the shoulders and neck a lot firmer. AJ's head did not require any more attention than that - he just needed a firmer platform on which it could sit more upright.
Then came the job of attacking each arm. Once the kapok had been removed from the top of each arm, the existence of the elbow became very much obvious, so extra polyester stuffing was inserted in and around the elbow area and each arm was then attached to the body, once the upper arms had been firmed up with extra polyester as well. Isobel sewed the back of each arm on - first matching the arms' seams to those at the shoulder and under arm area of the body.
The first arm, when finished looked like this -
You can see that the result presently is that the arm looks as though it's sticking in the air going nowhere in particular. However, as time goes on, it is usual for polyester fibre to "settle", so Isobel feels that the arms will lower themselves, and end up resting on the tops of each of AJ's thighs. (This process could be helped by the angle at which AJ is lying inside the cardboard carton too!)
Here is AJ with both arms and neck complete. (I think he looks as though he's welcoming everyone to come and be hugged now!) Isobel had wondered whether his tail and mane might needed extra attention, but now that he can sit more proud, decided to leave well alone, so he can "shake" them if and when it is appropriate. (It was also easier to fit him into his carton that way as well!)
Here am I performing my traditional role as Coldham Cuddlies Mascot of saying "Goodbye" to all the Patients who pass through our Stuffed Toy Animal Restoration Clinic. You can see just how small I look beside him!! He's even bigger than Colin the Giant Koala!
By the way, the cream tip of AJ's mane, with its red ribbon appears behind my left ear - and that's part of his tail, together with it's red ribbon behind us both on the left of the picture!!
I'm expecting that Isobel will be back on the Nursery Mobile production line this week, so watch this space. In the interim, she's dressed two of the extra Pink Piglets she made when constructing the Piglet Mobile earlier this month. (Please see the earlier comment!) They're going to form part of a new Piglet offer - by joining the Pink Piglets dressed in Green garments already in our Shop under a new Listing - leaving the existing White Fleece Piglets dressed in black and white gear under the existing one. Since she's in the Piglet mode, they may get joined by some more White Fleece Piglets, dressed in another colour than the black and white our existing Twins are shown in the Shop. The new Piglets have been dressed in Blue garments - and we'll show them in a future post here.
Until the next time then: meanwhile have a great week everyone!
Your Friend, Cy Bear.