Many Christmases ago--nearly thirty, I think--I received a set of paperback books in a slipcase. I can't recall what those books were or even who they were from...So why am I even bringing them up? I bring them up because my brother Aaron also received a set of paperbacks in a slipcase that same Christmas---and his books I loved! I'm not sure if he ever read them, but I read them all, again and again. I loved bears and these books were about a sweet, polite, and doggone funny little bear named Paddington, who was created by Michael Bond.
A couple of years ago, while browsing on ebay, I saw that set of books and had to buy them to share the stories with my kids (and because I am a nostalgic kind of person).
This picture shows the paperbacks in the slipcase, a Paddington made by Boyds which was a Christmas gift from my husband several years ago, and a tiny little clip-on Paddington who lived in my dollhouse when I was a kid.
Paddington also inspired my creative side when I was young. Here is a picture I made based on the cover illustration on the first Paddington book. I remember when I made this picture I didn't like it at all. It was an art class assignment which involved tearing tissue paper and gluing it to create the picture. We were not allowed to use scissors and I was frustrated with the picture since I was actually pretty good at drawing--especially bears--but I could not get the realistic look I wanted with the torn tissue. My mother, an artist who tends to favor abstract art loved it and has saved it all these years.
I recently checked out some Paddington books on CD from our library to listen to while I sew, and naturally began to envision how I would make my own version of Paddinton. My son Brendan was listening too. He asked where my Paddington books where and when I gave them to him he read straight through the first one. Then he came to me and said, "Mom, can you help me make my own Paddington?" Ha! No one has to twist my arm for that!
I just happened to have a Paddington pattern I had purchased from ebay (for nostalgic reasons too). I didn't know if I would actually use it or not, but I bought it because, during my childhood Paddington obsession, my mom had purchased the exact same pattern for me. (I'm not sure if I ever made him, but I do recall making his duffle coat for a stuffed bunny I had.) I thought it would be a perfect beginner bear for Brendan. The date on the pattern is 1977.
So on Christmas Eve, Brendan began to make his Paddington bear from a remnant of fleece I had purchased for him. We worked a bit on Christmas day too and finished Paddington.
I helped with the pinning and Brendan did all of the cutting and sewing (both hand and machine sewing) except for the gusset and the foot pads which I sewed for him. He placed the safety eyes and nose,stuffed the bear well, and closed the stuffing holes with a ladder stitch.
Brendan is very proud of his bear and I am very proud of him!
I'll have more to post on this topic as I do plan to design my own Paddington and Brendan has plans for a coat, hat and even a suitcase for his bear.