Thursday, 17 December 2009

British Bear Artist Awards 2009

British Bear Artist Awards 2009 Prize

I was delighted that Summer the bear was successful gained 2nd prize at the British Bear Artist Awards in category 3. We were very lucky because I left her BEHIND AT HOME!!! We traveled from Yorkshire by coach leaving our car at home in the drive as it is an oldish car and also Alan does not like to drive such a long way. I had a small holdall on my knee with the competition bears in. We had traveled around 50 miles and I was thinking I had best not squash them and began to think about where they were placed in the holdall. I could not for the life of me picture where summer was placed in that bag and worriedly unzipped it to look. As I suspected, she was not there and I realised I had left her in the glass cabinet at home. I had a check list too and had marked "Nominated bears" as packed, I think I spent so long packing up the "Daisy Days" one in 3 separate boxes I must have thought I had finished.

Oh I was so upset, we were way past Leeds and usually the coach goes straight to London after Leeds, my lovely hubby offered to get me to Brighton in the hotel and go all the way back home for her. I would not allow this and tearily accepted the fact that I would only have the two nominations. But low and behold, 20 minutes later, the Coach was pulling up at Wakefield coach station, not sure why, but Alan quickly jumped up and pulled me with him, we got off and asked the driver if we could have our big case from underneath as we had to go back home for something vital. The driver was really nice and gave us the case and left us stranded in the bus station.

We then decided to get the public transport bus back home as it was too far for a taxi. I had the idea to ring up my Mum who very kindly went to our house, got the bear from the cabinet and met us at the interchange, it took us over an hour to get there but better than having to go all the way home. We thankfully collected the bear from Mum and went to enquire about the next Coach. They said it would be around an hour and we would have to pay again, so we decided we might as well go by train as it would be faster. So this is what we did and as we we had not planned to travel by train didn't realise what a struggle it is to find space on them for a lot of luggage, the train was megga busy and also we had to battle with the tube station in London with all the luggage, the competion bears, all that we needed for a stand at the show (bears, bags, boxes etc) and our clothes for the weekend.
We finally got to Hove at tea time and colapsed in the Hotel until next morning, the day of the awards.

I am so glad we went back, as this is the bear that picked up the 2nd prize!!!! We are laughing about it all now and we had such a lovely day at the Bear Fair it was all very much worth it in the end!


Monday, 16 November 2009

Great News!!

Great News!!

I had some brilliant news a few days ago, I have 3 nominations in the British Bear Artist Awards 2009!!!! Summer is shortlisted in the medium dressed bear category, the little panda is Candy and is in the single miniature category and Daisy Days is in the miniature group category. I am now in the process of booking accommodation and travel for the awards ceremony on the 13th December at the British Bear Fair in Hove. I was really happy to receive nominations on all three of my entries, Summer and Candy were not planned but as (I thought) they turned out cute I thought they would make good entries. Daisy days was an idea I had in the summer and was planned for the event. The piece was a bit of a challenge as I had my first try at woodworking for the swing (which I won't be repeating in a hurry!) . The chains were part of a piece of old jewelery. The flowers on the grass and the ones which the bears are making daisy chains etc are made by myself from cold porcelean using my sugar craft skills. The ones around the swing are bought as they seemed to mold around the swing better, difficult to see the detail in the picture which makes me realise that I really need to get better at taking pictures as I am not good at all.

It seems a long way for me to get to Hove but I had such a lovely time last year and I didn't seem to see enough of Brighton and Hove, so we are going to make a nice weekend of it and try and see a little more this time, that's if the weather permits as you never can tell at that time of year!


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Blog Award

Thank you to Ruth of Flutter-By Bears for awarding me this little award. The game is to answer all the questions with one word, not easy but will see how it goes.

Rules :-
1. Use only 1 word answers.
2. Pass along to 6 of you favourite bloggers.
3. Tell them you've given them the award.
4. Have Fun !!

1. Where is your cell phone? Bag
2. Your hair? Long
3. Your mother? Kind
4. Your father? Amazing
5. Your favorite food? Puddings
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Juice
8. Your dream/goal? Move
9. What room are you in? Dining
10. Your hobby ? Bears
11. Your fear? Wasps
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Country
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren’t? Lazy
15. Muffins? Gorgeous
16. Wish list item? Boots
17. Where did you grow up? Yorkshire
18. Last thing you did? Breakfast
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? Entertaining
21. Your pets? None
22. Friends? Sweet
23. Your life? Busy
24. Your mood? Happy
25. Missing someone? Daughter
26. Vehicle? Car
27. Something you’re not wearing? Coat
28. Your favorite store? M&S
29. Your favorite color? Black
30. When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Husband
33. One place that I go to over and over? Work
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mum
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

The friends I would like to pass the award on to are: (please pop along to see their blogs)

Country Bears


Sophie Z'Ours Bears

Laurie Lou Bears


Sunday, 25 October 2009

A Nice Surprise

A Nice Surprise

It's quite a while since I was in blog land, been so busy juggling.... bears, afternoon job, jobs on the house, catching up a bit now though and will blog a bit more now hopefully.

Leeds bear fair wasn't brilliant for me in the way of bear sales, only 3 bears found new homes but some managed to find homes after the fair so it wasn't too bad overall and I did enjoy the day meeting and chatting to people, stocking up on supplies for new bears, it's a lovely friendly fair and very interesting as it is half dolls too, so something for everyone.

I did have a very nice surprise last week, I was delighted to notice the bears and I had an article (portrait) in the Teddy Bear News which is a German on line magazine ... click here to see Valewood Bears Portrait
All but one of the bears on there have new homes now but it is nice to see them all again.

Anyway here are a couple of the bears that didn't find homes at Leeds, Laurence is 12 inches and is a lovely shade of creamy curly mohair, sporting a pure wool ribbed waistcoat in chocolate brown and Amber who is 9 inches and made from a lovely rich tan coloured mohair, I thought I would give her a little wool knitted dress in cream lace, which just seemed to suit her well. I have bobbed them onto the website for now whilst they find their new mums or dads.


Monday, 21 September 2009

New Bears!!

New Bears!!

At last some new bears finished!! I have been a bit busy with orders in the last month but have now managed to get these 4 bears onto the website. Lorna the little girl in the brown top has just been adopted. Spice is the one in the cream top and is 9 inches high, then the two pandas are Willow and Yan, they are both 12 inches high, there are more pictures on the website of them.

My first fair of the Autumn is coming up on the 10th October so I am busy making new faces to take there. Also busy knitting some new bear wear that will be for sale there as my stocks are low. I find knitting very theraputic and love to knit for an hour or so just before bedtime, its surprising I can get quite a lot done in that time, poor hubby has to listen to the click click of the needles and it usually puts him to sleep in the chair which is a shame as I can knit and talk and watch television at the same time, wouldn't be surprised if he pretends to be asleep to save his voice! Well, back to the bears for now.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A Busy Time

A Busy Time

I don't know where the time goes, we are almost into the Autumn already, I had my fingerless gloves on at work yesterday, doesn't seem to be any heating on there, it is a huge old building and we only moved there at the beginning of summer as we had outgrown the old place and with it being summer I didn't realise how cold it is is going to be in there Autumn/Winter. Hope they warm it up for us soon.

I have been so busy in the last couple of months, had a lot of bear orders to complete so haven't had a website up-date for a long time but at last I have some to put on by the weekend or early next week, just have to put accessories on them and photograph them.

Also, the website has been down, it has taken me a long time to get to the bottom of it, but it seems my host have had problems with customers who use front page extensions (which I do) as they have moved to new platforms (don't know what they mean) so now it is back BUT because I was out of action twice, Google search engine have got rid of my website and as most people use Google they can't find me so I had to get to the bottom of that too and it seems I now have to apply to Google to be reinstated and put some new tags on my site (getting into deep water now, for me anyway!!) So hope to be back on the search engine soon.

I do have this little bear called Sky to show, he was completed as a summer challenge on a forum, he is miniature at 3.5 inches. I am giving him away in a prize draw to one of my mailing list customers, will be drawing a name on the 1st October.

Take care

Monday, 17 August 2009

A Break in Suffolk!

A Break In Suffolk!

We just got back from a really nice break in Corton which is 3 miles from Lowestoft, 5 miles from Great Yarmouth. We stayed at the Warner's Leisure Hotel where my daughter, Charlotte works as a dancer/singer so we got to see some of the lovely shows that they entertain us with each evening. I was a very proud Mum!!

We arrived a day late though because when we set off in the car, we only travelled a few miles and the car started to make a strange knocking noise! We made a detour to the nearest quick fit who jacked the car up and told us it was a front wheel bearing that had gone and they couldn't fix it. We had to find a garage that could do it quickly so went back home and rang around until we found one that said yes he could do it immediately. Alan took the car and they said it would be an hour. However, when he returned to the garage, they explained to him that they hadn't got the part in and sent somebody out to get one. They couldn't get it until mid-week. So we had to leave the car in the garage and quickly hire a car for the next morning. I did look at trains but there were rail strikes around Norwich and we would have had to break the journey overnight so it would have taken longer.

Anyway we finally arrived a day late and enjoyed the rest of the holiday. The weather was fantastic, we didn't go sight seeing even though we planned to, we didn't realise just how exhausted we were and as the weather was so hot we just crashed out through the day in the gardens where they have nice areas for sitting out at the hotel. I did take my bear making to do whilst sitting but there was a wasp infestation in that area and so I had to keep watching for them with a piece of stiff card in my hand to waft them away so I needed my hands for that! Also there was a ladybird infestation and we were covered in them on our clothes. So no work was done that week. In the evenings we were not so lazy, there was quite a lot of dancing to the live band which we loved, the band was fantastic and played quite a variety of ballroom, latin, sequence, rock and roll, in fact something for everyone, we loved it and inbetween the dancing we watched the shows each night.

We are feeling nice and refreshed now, but will have to go back again soon as I did want to go into Norwich this time to have a look around and a few more little places around we missed. On my return I finished the little bear that I planned to sew on holiday and here she is, Grace is just 3.5 inches high, made from some of the lovely miniature bear fabric I had delivered a few weeks ago. She is listed with Ebay until Sunday, I really enjoyed making her.

Warm wishes


Monday, 13 July 2009

A Break in the Yorkshire Dales

A Break in the Yorkshire Dales!

Last week we had a much needed break from work and after doing a few jobs in the kitchen, which we have been renovating since March, we decided to down tools and have a few days in the Yorkshire Dales. I can highly recommend it for a relaxing holiday and a nice change from the seaside. We went quite high up, there was miles and miles of unspoilt countryside, a lot of the time we were the only ones on the road for miles, quite unusual in this day and age, perhaps it had something to do with us going mid-week.

We stayed at Hawes whch is our favorite place in Wensleydale, famous for the creamery where they make cheese, you can watch it being made and try out the different flavors before you buy. We stayed at Herriot's Hotel which was conveniently right on the High Street and used this as a base to see some lovely villages such as the market town of Leyburn, Pately Bridge, Kirky Lonsdale, Kendal, Ingleton and Settle.

As you can see from the picture with Alan on the walls are limestone everywhere (drystone), waterfalls, fields and hillside, very pretty, there are quite a few soap operas and films made in this area such as Emmerdale, James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small", Robin Hood and Calendar Girls. If you are feeling energetic there are some brilliant walks, caving also can be done as there are plenty in this area. We didn't join in with anything like this as we wanted a complete rest for a few days. We came home feeling so much better, Alan is back to the kitchen with a little bit more enthusiasm and I managed to get this little bunny Molly onto Ebay this week and cut a couple more bears out.



Monday, 6 July 2009

A New Bear!

A New Miniature Bear!

It has been a lovely warm and sunny week, and has been a nice change to sit and sew in the garden, not much wind blowing either which can be annoying when trying to hang on to tiny pieces of miniature bear parts.

I am delighted to have just finished this little Panda, I have been on with him for a while now in between some commissions. His name is Kenji and he is just 3.5 inches high. He is one of my older designs, which I thought would look lovely in this gorgeous smokey gold and cream Sassy miniature fur. I managed to find some silk thread to match for his nose embroidery. Then had a lovely time knitting his little jacket in 1ply wool on tiny needles, I am pleased with how he turned out. I have listed him on Ebay until Sunday 12th July. I am hoping to have a few more miniatures soon as I received a lovely order of miniature bear fabrics last week and this week I have holiday from my afternoon office job so am hoping to fit in a little bit more bear time, although Alan my hubby is also off work and hankering after a few excursions so I will have to take some bear pieces along with me to sew.

Hope it's a good week for everyone



Friday, 19 June 2009

A Passion for Elephants!

A Passion For Elephants

I can't stop making these little vintage style elephants and just thought I would bob them on to say hello. It is a new design for me and I am loving making them. The grey one, Eleena, blue one Ola and gold one is Effie and have all found forever homes. Kiki is the pink one and is on Ebay at the moment to look for her special Mum or Dad.

I have such a soft spot for real elephants too, I watch every nature programme on TV about them, they seem such gentle giants and are so sensitive, and they way they all rally round to look after the babies, it's just amazing to watch them.

Hope you enjoy the picturs of my little ones. I am having a change now though and am creating couple of pandas which are around 12 inches - quite large for me as I seem to make more of the smaller bears.

Have a good weekend


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Haunted Weekend Craft Fair!

A Haunted Weekend Craft Fair!

I did a two day craft show at the weekend, the weather was fabulous for both days, warm , sunny and cloud free. It was quite a large event with stands of every craft I can think of and was the second time I have exhibited there with the bears.

The venue is a big old house which is now a museum called Shibden Hall and has belonged to the Lister family for generations. Craft weekends are held there twice each year and the stands are all set out in the different rooms, downstairs, upstairs and outside in the courtyard, stables and barns etc. This time I was at the very top of the house in one of the bedrooms. Everything was still in place, the big old bed, wardrobe, dressing table and everything people would have used in the 1800s there. My table was set out just in front of the bed.

The house is known to be haunted and although we didn't actually see anything, a few funny things happened during the course of the weekend.

On arriving in the bedroom just before setting out my stand, I stood in a spot to look around and suddenly felt dizzy and as if I was on a ship which was moving - almost sea sick and mentioned it to my Mum and Husband who were a little concerned. I moved away and sat down for a bit, then felt better so set up my stand. During the day another stall holder came to see me, we were having a nice little chat, when she suddenly had to hold on to a banister saying she felt dizzy and sick and felt like she was on a ship. My Mum and I looked at each other in amazement as the lady was stood in the very same spot that I was in earlier when the same thing happened to me and she had said the same thing that I had. Then, a little later, a gentlman with his wife was about to come into the room and stopped in his tracks, said to his wife "sorry I can't go in there, there is a presence in the room" and he would meet her downstairs!! One or two other things similar happend and also I had a little grey bear that I kept having to look for, either he had fallen on the floor, fallen off his stand, I was constantly looking for him and putting him back in his place, sometimes he was in the most peculiar places and I just thought visitors were picking him up and putting him elsewhere.

Later in the day, a lady came into the room, told us she was a medium and that there were two children spirits in the room and they were loving a particular bear and she pointed to the little grey bear and said "have you noticed this one moving at all"? Also she said that the mother who was called Victoria was there, that she loved us being there and the bears but she was pacing around as there was a chair from the corner gone from where she sat (Mum had actually pulled that chair away to sit on) and if we felt any floor movement, draughts or cold spots it was her pacing. She went on her way then ane later a man and his wife came. As the wife was looking at the bears, he was having a look around the bedroom and Mum said there had been a few little happenings today, seems a little bit spooky in here. He said "yes I understand what you are saying, I am a practising medium and there are 2 children coming through here". I looked up and said " is the mother with them" he said "no I cannot feel the mother but definitely 2 children coming through". That was two people saying the same thing (seemed like it was Mediums' day out!! He he he). Aparently, the house always attracts a lot of visitors who are keen on the history of the house as well as looking at the craft stalls. It kept us amused I must say, it was a very interesting weekend.

Hope you enjoy the picturs of the house and grounds. If you are ever in Yorkshire it is well worth a visit.


Sunday, 31 May 2009

Blog Award

Blog Award

Thank you to Ruth of Flutter-by Bears for passing this makes my heart smile award to me, it is very kind. I will make time this week to pass it on to 10 more people who's blogs make my heart smile.

Thank you again Ruth


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Well we have progresses slightly with the kitchen, units are all in, worktops on, new oven and hob in and working, ceiling just needs one more coat of paint (I have promised Alan I will live with the ceiling for a little while and I'm trying not to look at it too much, need some new inset lights in there yet as the ones we have are white and they need to be silver)

We need to tile on the walls yet so it looks a bit bland and dirty, we have no flooring yet, this will be coming in a few weeks. Then the fun part for me will be making curtains/blinds, getting accessories and putting finishing touches on. I did expect to be finished by May but still have another month or so work. The new cooker I think looks nice but the performance is not as good as my last one. It's not as hot and takes forever to cook meat, my muffins are heavy, my Yorkshire puddings look done and rise well but are not done in the middle, either I just have to get used to it yet or there is something wrong like maybe too much heat coming out of the seal (just guessing here) or controls faulty.

Well, back to work, I have a fair at the weekend and have to get a few bears finished yet.


Monday, 11 May 2009

A Kitchen Bargain

A Kitchen Bargain

I can't believe we are still on with our kitchen. I really thought it would be completed by now but although the kitchen is all in we still have no floor (just floorboards and a bit of carpet at the other side, no tiling or decorating. The wooden ceiling is still in the process of being painted, will take pictures of where we are now later but I had to show off this bargain table I just bought. We did already have a table which was a huge oval pine one that seated about 8 or more but as we had an island built in the new kitchen, there was no room for it to come back in so I had to look for another. I wanted something similar but smaller and searched high and low to no avail for a month or more, went everywhere except one shop that I knew would be too expensive for us and avoided it.
After a month of searching I finally thought as I was passing the expensive shop and there was a 20% off sale for that day, I might as well have a look and torture myself. There are 3 floors of the most beautiful wooden furniture (all colours) so very well made but price tags way over what I was able to afford. THEN..... on the second floor there was a sign that said "end of line and seconds section upstairs". Up I scrambled and then.... my heart skipped a beat, there was an oval table, 4 seater that extended to 6 (no chairs) just as beautifully and solidly made as the ones downstairs, exactly what I was looking for. Hubby said "oh it definitely is the wrong colour, it's no good". I said "it won't be when you have finished with it dear". I looked at the price tag and it was half price (because the salesman said of a tiny scratch and also the colour was the deepest mahogany, almost black and dated... did I care!) and a further 30% off that day!! I didn't listen to hubby's whining voice, I just said "I will take it". I can see it in my minds eye painted white, just like all the shabby chic painted white furniture that is in the shops now and so up-to-date. It is after all hubbys fault for painting the wooden ceiling boards white to save the mess and cost of having it re-done or skimmed, as I mentioned before I had no intention of having a shabby chic style kitchen before he did this and all my plans changed, it might be a while before I get this table done as things are going slower than I'd like and I am using the table with a cover on at the moment, will post pictures of the finished table hopefully soon. Now I am looking for new chairs for it and hoping for a similar bargain.

Have a nice week

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Another DIY weekend and a Bear on Ebay

DIY and a Bear

Hello, hope everyone had a good weekend. We have spent yet another weekend with the kitchen facelift. This time hubby painted white over the knotty wood pine ceiling that he put in 10 years ago and wich he was filled with pride in at the time. Now very dated but he was reluctant to take it down. The kitchen is white with black worktops with stainless steel cooker/hob and sink top, I had planned to add some bits of red for warmth and a black tiled floor (dramatic and up-to-date) but now the ceiling is white wooden pannelled it is all reminding me of Laura Ashley and now wondering if to go with that look and add some flowery bits and bats and curtains/blinds. Or do I dig my heels in and demand the ceiling removed, stick to my original plans but it will only cause more expense and upheaval as I suspect the ceiling would need re-doing or at least skimming, but there again, I have never been a fan of pastel/Laura Ashley prints and flowers. Oh decisions!!

On the bear front, I had a little bear on Ebay last week, called Kazu, that didn't find a Mum or Dad, despite a starting bid a lot less than he would have sold on my website for. I will add him to my website later this week and see what happens. I suppose times are hard and also Ebay is slow when the weather is warm which it has been. This week I decided to be brave and list Blossom, a pretty pink bunny for 99p with no reserve to see what happens, this has worked in the past quite well, but with the present economic climate it could be a flop. Blossom has been with me to a few Bear Fairs and hasn't gained a new Mum or Dad and I think now is the time for her to find her forever home. I am a little scared as since listing her last night she has watchers in double figures but not one bid, 99p and NOT ONE BID, heck it is almost free and no takers, oh well it is early days, the auction runs for a week, will be very interesting.

Take care all and have a good week


Friday, 17 April 2009

DIY Madness

DIY Madness

Hello, hope everyone had a nice Easter break. We took the time to do some jobs on the house, I think a lot of people choose Easter and the beginning of spring to sort out house jobs as the DIY shops were absolutely heaving, I have never seen them so busy, and I suppose with the "credit crunch" more people are choosing to improve their homes rather than move. We had a new kitchen installed last month, it is almost finished but we are now in the middle of new floor covering/decorating etc. There were a few mishaps with the company we bought the kitchen from, like they forgot to deliver one of the major work tops with the kitchen and had to re-oder for it and wanted to charge a further £30 for delivery, we thought it outgragous especially as it was their fault it was forgotton about but we didn't get anywhere with the arguement and hubby decided to pick it up himself. After 2 weeks it arrived and they rang us to say it had arrived, as it was 3 metre long hubby took along his saw to cut it to size in the car park so it would fit in the car, they only gave him the wrong one, a glossy one instead of matt and as it was dark in the car park he cut the wrong one in half. He got it home before he realised they had given him the wrong one, rang them up immediately and our one was still at the shop and he had cut sombody elses up and had to take it back and then had to repeat the cutting process with our own one. The other one was a special order for another customer so poor things will have to wait a few weeks for theirs! A few more things like this but I won't go into everything.

Anyway I haven't got much motivation for bear making at the moment as I am not comfy cosy in the house with all the DIY going on but I did manage to get little Saffron done and list her on Ebay last week, her listing runs out on Sunday

Hope everyone has a good weekend!


Monday, 23 March 2009

Show Time!

Show Time!

It's nearly time for my first show of the year, the Leeds Bear Fair is this Saturday 28th March, I am looking forward to it very much, I love this show, it always has a lovely atmosphere, it is quite local for me which is a huge bonus . Whilst I am excited it has been hectic in the last couple of weeks, I cut all the bears out ages ago but have only just put the finishing touches on them (with less than a week to go!!) and photographed them all. Here are a few pictures and there are some more to look at on the website Valewood Bears .

I have designed this cute little bear with needle felted details just recently and they are becoming quite popular. However, I do love my traditional design, which I make in 3 different sizes and it is nice to have something for everyone so I have quite a mixture to take along on Saturday, together with some lovely new bear outfits for the rail. Hope to see a few of you there, it's great to chat to collectors and other artist too. If not I hope you have time to pay them all a visit on the website.