Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Teddy Bears or Diet Coke

The icemaker in our freezer broke this weekend which led me to actually make use of a cute Teddy Bear ice cube tray I purchased on an impulse at some point in the past. As I was plunking the little frozen Teddy Bears into my glass, my son Alex remarked. "Two of your favorite things enjoyed together, Teddy Bears, and Diet Coke!"
This comment led to the following amusing exchange.

Alex: Which would your rather give up,Teddy Bears or Diet Coke?

Me: Diet Coke. (No hesitation.Diet Coke is not really good for you, but Teddy Bears are!)

Alex: Would you rather give up, Teddy Bears or TV?

Me: (again without hesitaion) TV!

Alex: Teddy Bears or the Internet?

Me: (With a little hesitation this time, I do enjoy the internet) I'd give up the Internet.

Alex: Teddy Bears or electricity?

Me: (No response.)

Alex: Mom?

Me: I'm thinking!

And I'm still thinking! And laughing at myself for contemplating a question which should be a "no- brainer". Electricity sure does make life easier, but a life without Teddy Bears is hard for me to imagine! Anyone else out there as crazy as me that you might consider giving up electricity before giving up making, collecting,or hugging Teddy Bears?

Friday, July 18, 2008


Before I post about my latest bear, I wanted to say that Missy seems to be back to her normal bouncy little self, following me around, chasing Cinder, and purring loudly when she's held. Thanks for the prayers and well wishes!

I have finished the bear inspired by the loopy green and purple trim. This is Jax.

Jax's coloring was inspired by the fabric trim, but the clown bear idea came from Paula Carter's Teddy Talk "Send in the Clowns Challenge" last summer. There were many beautiful entries (I made a panda clown that I was quite pleased with) but Paula herself made several fabulous clown bears which had incorporated clothing like this. I thought, "What a wonderful way to use up pieces of mohair which were too small for a large bear, but to long and thick for a smaller bear." (It's also a nice way to use up yards and yards of white mohair you have special ordered with out making all white bears.) I had asked Paula if she would mind if I used the idea, and she said, go for it. So, a year later, here he is--Jax--a clown bear Tami-style. Be sure to visit Paula's blog (You'll find link to the right.) if you'd like to see more wonderful clown bears.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Studio Cat

Since we got Missy in April, she is always right there with me when I am working; curled up in my lap, intently watching me cut out mohair parts, chasing bits of stuffing, stealing the show in bear photographs, or sleeping in her little bed lined in Teddy Fur. In case you couldn't tell by how often she appears in this blog, I love having her near me. Cinder, our big boy is wonderful as well but at 17lbs he's not much of a lap cat!

But danger lurks in a Teddy Studio for a curious kitten! I knew that kittens, like baby humans, put anything in their mouths, so I was sure to be extra careful about putting my things away after working. My studio is an open room that the cats must pass through to the unfinished part of the basement where their litter box is.

Apparently, I was not careful enough! When we took Missy to the vet yesterday because she would not eat and was throwing up, we thought it might be complications from her spaying surgery last week. But the vet took some x-rays and said "linear foreign body". Linear foreign body? I questioned. "Like thread, string, or ribbon" he answered. Oh no!It's my fault my kitty is sick. Where else but my studio would she get into thread, string, or ribbon?

He said that string or similar would not show up on the X-ray, only evidence of it in the form of little air bubbles in the intestine. Missy has special high nutrient food and medicine for nausia and for helping the foreign body pass and thankfully she does seem to be improving (no more vomiting, and she wants to eat and the photo above was taken today), because if she doesn't, it would mean "exploratory surgery". Please say a prayer for Missy so she won't need surgery and check your own studio or home for pet dangers.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Traveling Bear

The first bear I made this year, back in January, was sort of a treat for myself. (I collect Teddies, too!)I was enjoying listening to A Bear Called Paddington on CD with my son, and we decided to make our very own versions of Paddington. Brendan did a great job with his Paddington, his first Teddy Bear, and I was delighted with the way mine turned out, too. It turns out so were some of my collectors--a few have asked for one of their own. Paddington is a licenced character and, as such, getting permission to make him to sell would require me to change my design to fit with the popular image of Paddington. Rather than change my bear, I have changed the name. Meet the Traveling Bear. This is the second bear made with this design, since the first is staying with me.(*smile*)This near-life sized (23")cub is made of dense brown alpaca with airbrush accents. He is five way jointed and his arms contain wire armature for additional posing. Special features include appliqued-trapunto sculpted pawpads and a needle sculpted face. His eyes are glass.

Like Paddington, he is an orphan who loves traveling, geography, and keeps a scrapbook of his adventures.

His little tag reads "Please Take Me With You", and his suitcase is covered with maps.

Also like Paddington, it will be up to his new adoptive family to find him the perfect name, and to take him on many adventure to fill his scrapbook and fill his suitcase with souvenirs.

As much as I was trying NOT to get Missy in the photos, I had to post this one!!!

How cute is that little pose?! It's like she's thinking, "Tami, all you want to do is photograph bears--Look, I can be adorable too!"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mohair to Dye for!!

I spent last night dying some deliciously dense white Schulte mohair, both straight and curly. I had fallen in love with both of these extra dense white mohair qualities and found that Edinburgh Imports was not carrying them any more, unless I wanted to do a special order and get five yards---so of course I did! I have such fun dying mohair, but I make such a mess of my kitchen in the process. No worries though, because it all cleans up.

Here is the result.

The purple and green colors are inspired by this bit of loopy trim I purchased at Hobby Lobby, and the red and blue are for a patriotic bear (I know I'm late for the Fourth of July holiday, but, hey, I can still be patriotic!)I used Rit dyes, Scarlet by itself for the red, Denim Blue and Royal Blue mixed for the blue. The purple and green colors were mixed by adding a little of this and that to Kelly Green and Purple. Color wheel knowledge comes in handy when dying fur. Did you know that if you wish to tone down the brightness or intensity of a color you can just add a little of it's color wheel opposite? Fun stuff!!

Now off to make some bears with those lovely furs!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Actually, it's the day after Independence Day since it is so late. Happy anyway!

I thought I'd share a picture of my July decorating. My good friend, Marie is absolutely the best at creating themed displays with her bears. She has a different theme for each month of the year. I think she would find mine acceptable, though.

I thought it was cute. The only bear in the display that was made by me is on the top shelf on the left. Spencer doesn't seem to fit my current style for two reasons. First, I made him 13 years ago and second, I used a pattern I found in a Teddy magazine, not one of my own designs. He holds a special place in my heart because he was my classroom bear when I was teaching first grade. He has borrowed a sweater from one of Alex's Teddy Bears from Build a Bear Workshop. Joining him on the top shelf are Raggedy Ann and a patriotic Beanie Baby which was a gift from my brother. The next shelf has Cindy Anschutz's Gulliver,a Deb Canham bear in an Uncle Sam hat and a Cottage Collectibles Mary Holstad bear which I bought in Key West.

I finally finished the Little Floppies!!! After some air brush issues were resolved, they were completed! They are an open edition, but I give them new names each time beacuse of the different colors of fur and slight differences in airbrush markings. It seems to take forever when I work on several bears at once like this but I just love to see the Little Floppies in a group like that. I also wanted the collectors who have been waiting for these guys to have a choice.
Here they are!