Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One of my smallest bears

At 10", this is one of the smallest bears I make.  What do you prefer.....small (under 10"), medium 11" to 17", or large (18" and above)?  These are my size standards.  Miniature artists will laugh that I consider a 10" bear small.  The largest teddy I make is 29".  I have a brown 29" bear on my table that I am working on right now.  Can't wait to post photos. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Article on aDORRable bears in Teddy & Co.

I am so excited about this article written about aDORRable bears by good friend, Richard Backschas, for Teddy & Co.  Thank you Richard.  He will be sending a translated version to me.....hopefully....and if he does, I will post it here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

We're Getting Ready For The FOURTH OF JULY!

I simply adore anything red, white & blue patriotic.  I love the American flag and all things with those same beautiful colors.  Most of the patriotic items I collect are antique or vintage.  This darling little guy has an old patriotic scarf wrapped around his neck. 

I have made some changes on my blog.  I have added a tab on the top where I will list bears for sale.  I recently sold a bear on Facebook, but I think I will move all sales to my blog.  I don't seem to get many bears made due to sore arms & wrists from stuffing.  Wish I could make more and wish I had more time.

I have also added a gadget on the right hand side for translations.  You can click on the drop down box, pick your language and have my entire blog translated for you. 

Also on the right hand side is a search box so you now have the ability to search my blog for specific items or posts. 

One more button which has been available for some time is for email notifications.  If you sign up, you will be notified by email each time I have a new post.  This will help when I get around to posting a teddy bear for sale.  None of the email addresses are shared with me, so you do not need to worry about me trying to notify you by email or giving your email address to anyone else. 

However, if you do wish to be notified in advance, by ME,  when I have a teddy bear for sale,  you can email me at and I will add you to the list.  I send out an email to everybody on my early notification list. 

It is rainy here today and I just took a batch of Ghirardelli double chocolate brownies out of the oven.  Frosting them with a mixture of melted chocolate chips & butter.  YUMMMMM.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Back to the studio......

Sunday, June 16, 2013 sorry for my mess up.

A sincere apology to anyone who was watching my blog for notification of Arlington's sale.  I totally forgot I said I would post it on my blog and then send a link to Facebook.  I was rushed to get it on after a day of rushing around for Father's Day.  This is the first time I have tried to sell one of my aDORRable bears like this.  I hope to do it again and, hopefully, do it correctly.  I appreciate all of your wonderful comments.....emails and Facebook messages.  Thank you for your support.  Hugs.....

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Arlington will be for sale on Sunday evening....

Meet Arlington. He is just about finished and he will be for sale on Sunday evening. I will be posting a photo of Arlington on my blog and post a link to Facebook. If you are interested after his photo is posted to my blog on Sunday evening, Facebook message me. First come, first served. I accept PayPal, checks or money orders. If Arlington does not sell by Monday evening, I will put him on ebay. If you previously signed up for early email notifications, you will be getting an email from me an hour before I post him on my blog.

Arlington is a 19" center seam teddy bear created with German mohair.  He is softly stuffed with excelsior and he has boot button eyes. His color is actually a bit more rust than what this shows. I will try to get a better photo by Sunday.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.


Monday, April 22, 2013

I have not posted anything lately and there is a reason.  My sister & I have always had a dream of owning an antique shop.  About four years ago, we decided that we could work together and started working toward that goal.  About three years ago, Becky purchased an old bank building in Prairie City, was built in 1889 and was in terrible shape.  She has been working on that building for a long time using contractors for electrical, plumbing and HVAC.  I have helped her with removing plaster to expose brick walls and painting.  We will be laying salvaged flooring from an old church in Iowa and then sanding, staining, and sealing.  There will be much to do after that, but we have decided it will be ready at that point for our grand opening.  Please check out our handout below for information on our grand opening in June.  We are also doing our first show together in Des Moines, IA this coming weekend.  It is called Junk Jubilee.  We will have antique, vintage, primitive and architectural items for sale.  We have been working like crazy to try to get our items ready for the show.  We will set up for the show this Thursday.

I have had to put the making of teddy bears on the back burner until the show is over.  I have stopped working  on a bear which I will be offering for sale.  It will be posted on Facebook when done.  I am anxious to start working on teddy bears again.  I am posting a photo of the start of the bears head.  He or she will be about 19" tall when done. You can check out my Facebook page at aDORRablebears Facebook Page.

The weather is still crazy here in Iowa.  I have been trying to get some vintage pieces sanded and I haven't been able to do much due to the rain.  I don't want to sand in my garage because of the dust, and I can't sand in my driveway due to the I have been working on my front porch in a warm coat.  There is a chance of snow tonight.  I can't believe it's almost the end of April.  We will most likely go right to hot & humid weather.

I hope you are all enjoying the somewhat warmer weather.  More next week.......
Grand Opening Information for Mud Pies & Sassafras Tea

aDORRable bears Work In Progress, April 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kelly Bug

This is Kelly Bug and she was created about 15 years ago.  I love her face and I love the fabric she is made from......which I cannot get anymore.  She is named after my oldest daughter.  I took her photo amongst my flowers and I also enjoy the color in the background.  Took this photo with my Father's vintage Minolta...back in the day when I still used film.  My how times have changed

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gemma ~~ Before & After

Here is Gemma as a work in progress and after eyes have been set, nose & mouth have been sewn and face has been clipped, plucked and distressed.  So much of the personality emerges in the last steps of bear making......

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Here is Gemma....heading to her new home in Missouri.  She is 20" tall, off white German mohair, antique boot button eyes, perle cotton nose, wool felt paw pads and stuffed with poly & excelsior.  Gemma wears a vintage sweater and carries a purse from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

I received the phone call on Thursday, February 7.   Melissa of The Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office called me to let me know they could find no next of kin for Gil.  I was asked if I wanted to sign the papers to handle the cremation process.  “Yes,” was my response.  Once again I was informed that Gil’s body would be sent to the funeral home of my choice.  They would contact me so I could go in and sign all necessary paperwork.  Melissa patiently answered all of my questions.  Dealing with death every day has to callous a person just a bit I imagined, and yet Melissa spoke of Gil with as much respect as if he were a member of her own family.
I was hoping that somehow I could still have a Christian service for Gil.  I have had some friends mention they would like to attend the service, along with me and my daughters.  What had been nagging me, however, is what I would do with the cremation remains.  I chose the Westover Funeral Home, as I had grown up living across the street and down a ways from it.  It was the same funeral home that handled my Father’s funeral.  Within hours Cindy from Westover Funeral Home called me and we made arrangements to meet the next morning. 
My appointment was at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 8.  As I parked my vehicle, I could see the house across the street where I grew up.  I walked in to a full lobby as people were gathering for a funeral service.  A nice gentleman walked me back to a quiet and lovely room where Cindy waited for me.  She recognized me as a member of Plymouth Congregational Church.  If I have ever met anyone who was fully and exceptionally suited for their occupation, it would definitely be Cindy.  She had the appropriate look with her dark blue business suit…and she had more.  She had a soothing and calming voice, kind eyes and empathetic demeanor. She asked me questions about how I knew Gil and her caring seemed to go beyond what her job would dictate.  Cindy, too, was concerned about Pocket’s whereabouts and wanted to know if he had indeed been claimed.  I was informed that I would be able to view Gil’s body that morning if I so chose. “He has been at the ME’s office since January 22, so I do not know what shape the body would be in.”  I knew she was trying to prepare me for what I might see.  I declined, as I was afraid whatever I saw would only make me more sad.  I chose to remember Gil as I had last seen him with Pocket by his side.  The paperwork was next….which really was not very extensive.  They had little more than his name, birthdate, SS#, and most recent address. Next I was told of the process of the cremation and how the cremated remains would be turned over to me.  It was at this point that I asked about some sort of final service for Gil.  I explained that I was not familiar with the laws, rules or regulations which might dictate how cremation remains be handled.  Cindy placed her hand on my arm and told me how she was touched by my desire to have a service for Gil and she would provide for me a room at the funeral home….at no charge…..for a service for him.  I was in awe.  The funeral home was not making any money from me.  The amount they would be paid for the cremation was approximately 1/3 what their normal charge for a cremation would be.  I was not purchasing a large & fancy casket or anything else for that matter, yet she was taking her time with me and was so helpful. 
It was then that Cindy said to me, “Perhaps you could contact Dave and ask him if he would do a service for you at Plymouth Church.”  And then she spoke the words that made me the happiest… “you might be able to have Gil’s remains buried in the Memorial Garden there.”  Of course…..what a perfect idea!  The Dave that Cindy spoke of was David Ruhe, Head Minister at Plymouth Congregational Church where I have been a member for nearly 30 years.  Cindy went on to explain that she knows Dr. Ruhe to be a most kind and compassionate man. He has been senior minister at Plymouth for at least 20 years and he is a wonderful and extremely popular minister.  I had never considered asking him….but instead thought that I might contact one of the other ministers to see if they would consider having a service for Gil.  As in most congregations, everybody wants the senior minister to marry them, or baptize their children or be the one who comes visit them in the hospital.  Senior ministers have so many obligations and can’t possibly do it all.  And the Memorial Garden, I was pretty certain, was for Plymouth members only, but I felt so uplifted when Cindy gave me the idea that it almost seemed possible to me.  I gave her a hug and thanked her for the idea.  Then she suggested that perhaps somehow I could find a way to let others know about the service…….the others who had been called by the ME’s office looking for next of kin.  Once again, another wonderful idea.  She also volunteered to help me write an obituary for the Des Moines Register.   She told me she was aware of the container required for burial in the Memorial Garden and volunteered to have the remains placed in such a container.  Even Cindy felt as though this would happen. My spirits were soaring and I knew that the Holy Spirit was in that room. 
Cindy promised to call me when Gil’s remains were prepared and I would call her to let her know what arrangements I had made.  I hugged her once again and told her how much she had helped me and how I appreciated her compassion.  Feeling buoyed by my meeting, I went home to call Dr. Ruhe.  Unfortunately, he was not in, so I left a voicemail asking him to check his email and set about composing my correspondence to him.

Email sent…..and knowing what a busy time weekends are for ministers, I did not expect to hear from Dr. Ruhe at least until Monday.  The next day –Saturday --shortly after noon, I got a call from David apologizing for taking so long to get back to me.  Then he told me he was touched by my story, he would feel HONORED to perform a service for Gil and that it appeared to him to be most appropriate to have Gil’s final resting place to be within the arms of the Plymouth family.  OK, there were tears in my eyes and the Holy Spirit was at work again.  We discussed some of the details…he said he had some ideas for a service….I told him I would leave that part totally up to him….and we both agreed that Cindy is an incredible human being.  At the end of our conversation I thanked David profusely for helping me fulfill my wish for Gil.  This would be a celebration of Gil’s life. 
I wish I had a photo to share of the Memorial Garden.  The church itself is old and stately, as you can see from the photo.  As you look at the front of the church, just off to the left and around the corner, in the side yard, is the Memorial Garden.  It is beautiful and green with a small seating area for contemplation.  There are beautiful hydrangea bushes close by and the area is canopied by stately oak trees.  Gil will have a final home…a permanent home.  Cremated remains are placed in biodegradable containers for interment.  The intent is to have the container disintegrate such that the remains become a part of the beautiful soil.  Gil’s name will be on the Memorial Plaque.  This is the Memorial Garden Purpose, as listed on the Website of Plymouth Church:

The Plymouth Church Memorial Garden is intended to be a visible sign of the love of God. Its design suggests the cycle of life which begins and ends in God. In a setting which makes it an ongoing part of the life of Plymouth Church, the Memorial Garden serves as a place for the interment of the cremated remains of members of the Plymouth family. Space is provided for individual meditation and quiet contemplation. The area will also serve as a meeting place for small groups and classes and is adjacent to the east lawn, site of larger group picnics, and other gatherings. Affirming that death is a part of life, Plymouth establishes this area as a living reminder that “...whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8b)
I am thankful for Melissa of the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office, Cindy with Westover Funeral Home, and David Ruhe, Head Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ.  I was amazed and in awe of their combined patience, kindness and compassion.  I know I have become jaded in life and cannot even make a request for a service call on an appliance without getting frustrated, and yet this whole process fell together as though the pieces were predetermined.  Of course they were and, indeed, the Holy Spirit was at work. 
Dr. Ruhe & I decided to wait until March for the service, hoping it will be easier to dig in the ground of the Memorial Garden.  I will give an update on the service.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Penn The Patriotic is made from an antique horsehair lap robe, antique boot button eyes with red felt inserts behind them and felt paw pads from antique spats. He is wearing an antique men's collar and antique flag bunting as a sash. He is stuffed with excelsior and polyfil.  There are imperfections on the lap robe and the felt paw pads....which adds to the old traditional look. He will be heading to Collins Gifts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

It's officially February and I am happy to start posting some scanned images of vintage Valentine postcards.  I am always on the lookout for any vintage holiday card which also shows a teddy bear.  Christmas cards are plentiful.  I have not yet found any Halloween, Thanksgiving or Fourth of July postcards with teddy bears.  I have seen very few for Easter and Valentines Day.  I am always excited to find one and particularly to find one I have never seen before.  I was checking out one of our local antique malls one evening this week and happened upon the most wonderful fold out Valentine Card which also contained teddy bears and was made in Germany.  It is in perfect condition.....I was thrilled.  Also found another with a polar bear on it.  You just can't beat the graphics from the early 1900's.  I will post both of those later in the week.

This gorgeous card is just delightful.  The children are beyond precious and it is so very cute that a child is driving a car with his goggles on.  The colors are vibrant and gorgeous and it is made even better by containing both a sweet dolly and apprehensive looking teddy bear.  I hope you enjoy these cards as much as I do. 

I'm not so much a fan of Valelntine's Day because of what it has become.  It has gone from being a sweet holiday to give your 'crush' a special acknowledgement, to a holiday of high expectations and greed.  I would much rather receive a card on a random day that would speak volumes to me.....'hey I was thinking about you today and wanted to let you know. 

The cards I will be sharing are a tribute to the sweetness from the days of old.....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Tribute to and Memorial for Gilbert Colgrove.....

This is not my typical post concerning teddy bears, or decorating or holiday fun or antiques. It is really not a happy or joyful post, but instead somewhat sad. I feel driven to put into words my relationship with Gil so that at least to me, his life has meaning. I know that Gil most likely touched others just like me who felt the urge to help him out in their own way. The story is longer than my usual posts. My hope is that after reading this, you will start to see some of the 'invisible' people we all walk or drive by every day and that you will feel compelled to show them some kindness in any way you can. Here is my story:

On Wednesday, January 23, I received a rather strange and eerie phone call. My cell phone rang and a lady identified herself as working for the Polk County Medical Examiner. She explained that she received my number as somebody who may know a person by the name of Gilbert Colgrove. I thought for a minute and could not place the name, so I told her that it was not anybody I knew or was familiar with. She asked me again, “So you do not know Gilbert Colgrove?” and I said no. Her exact words back to me were “That’s interesting….he had your phone number, but thank you for your help.” At no point did she indicate that she was attempting to find next of kin for a deceased person, but I knew that was the purpose of the phone call. Many thoughts ran through my mind during and after that phone call. My very first reaction, after hearing the words ‘Polk County Medical Examiner’, was that my heart starting pounding and I feared that a family member had died. That pounding heart lasted long after the phone call ended. It was horrible and my heart breaks for anybody who has ever received such a phone call. The second feeling was that I was sad that it was not obvious who the next of kin or loved one was and the ME’s office had to resort to calling random phone numbers they may have found. Lastly, I became aware of all of the people in this world who are not necessarily family, friend, or loved one who have my phone number. People I may have done business with, either with teddy bears, antiques, Craigslist, contractors or delivery persons. Somebody had died….of that I was sure and I did not for one second think it was a hoax or prank of any sort.

The phone call was still weighing on me the next day when I drove to Kansas City with my daughter and grandson. I began to tell my story to Kristin and she indicated she had read my post on Facebook concerning the phone call. She got a very enlightened look on her face and turned to me as if the solution to this puzzle had just been whispered in her ear. Without hesitation she asked about a man I had befriended several years earlier. “Wasn’t his name Gil or something like that?” she asked me. I knew immediately she had it. 

Gil did not pronounce his name with a hard G as you would think a shortened form of Gilbert would be, but instead it sounded more like the sound you make when you say Zsa Zsa. He was a sweet soul who I first encountered standing at the parking lot entrance/exit to the neighborhood grocery store where I shopped. Gil was a small man, a bit bent over, bald and walked with a cane. He had only a few teeth left in his mouth and I assumed he was most likely not as old as his battered exterior would indicate. He stood there with his sign asking for donations or food and he was accompanied by a small white dog I later found out was named Pocket. I gave him some money that day, as I did every time I saw him. One evening as I pulled into the parking lot with my daughter, it was pouring down rain. We got out of the car and headed into the store. Standing underneath the overhang was a very wet Gil and his dog, Pocket. Gil had roughly fashioned a “raincoat” for Pocket out of what looked like an old shower curtain. I asked him how he was doing and he answered that he was waiting for the bus. Had he had a meal recently was my next question, as I wanted to buy him something to eat. He answered that he had not and would appreciate a meatloaf meal, so off we went to the deli and I bought him several meals to go. When we took it back outside to Gil, I asked him if he would like me to take him home. “That would be so nice of you….are you sure you don’t mind?” was his reply. My instincts told me that Gil was a peaceful man and would do us no harm. We helped him into my car and off we went to a small brick one story apartment building on the edge of our downtown area. I asked him his name and he told me Gil -- with the unique pronunciation. He told us he was not originally from Iowa and I cannot recall if he told us where he was from. He had lived with his Mother until she died and he had been a delivery person. He told me his apartment was subsidized, he was on several medications, and that he received a bit of help from some church. I didn’t ask too much about his personal situation. He told me about his dog, Pocket, and it was obvious that this dog was his world. The name Pocket came because when Gil first found this small white dog, he carried the tiny puppy around in his pocket. I helped him carry his food inside a very small & sparsely furnished apartment. Before I left, I gave him my cell phone number and told him to call me if he ever needed anything……he never did. I would give him some money whenever I saw him at the grocery store entrance……which was not often, and occasionally would stop at his apartment with groceries or cash for him and sit and visit for just a bit. Over time, I no longer saw him around and lost touch……until the phone call from the medical examiner’s office.

When Kristin & I arrived in Kansas City, I called back to the Medical Examiner’s office and spoke with the lady who answered the phone. I informed her of the phone call I received the day before and of the memory jog my daughter had given me. The kind lady confirmed that the person was the same as the name I had been given the day before….based on where he lived. He had died of natural causes in his apartment earlier in the week. She said she would have the lady I spoke with the day before call me back. When Sarah called back, I asked about Pocket. She said that Gil had a note taped to his wall, which appeared to have been there for a very long time, giving the name & phone number of a lady he wanted Pocket to go to in case anything should happen to him. The lady rescued dogs and had apparently visited Gil on occasion. Sarah said that Pocket had been taken to the local animal rescue league and the lady had been called. I requested that she please give me a call if she heard that the lady was not going to pick up Pocket, as I would take him. I also asked about Gil…..what would happen to him if no next of kin were to be found. Here is the process. They wait for 30 days and if nobody claims the body, it is cremated and kept in storage. I was told about every ten years these unclaimed ashes were buried in a common grave. The thought made me sick to my stomach. Nobody should have their life end that way. Now I have a strong faith in God and I know that after death, our body is merely an empty vessel, devoid of the soul. However, it felt so disrespectful. I asked her if I could have a Christian service for Gil after cremation. Sarah’s response was that they would keep my name and phone number and if no next of kin claimed the body, I could choose a funeral home to work with for the service and cremation of Gil’s body. The county would pay for his cremation since he had no funds. The ashes would then be turned over to me. I would be responsible for processing all of the paperwork.

So now I sit and wait the 30 days for a call. I want to have a service for Gil and I will invite people I know to the ceremony. Even if it is only me who attends, at least there will be somebody to pay respects to a life which God created for a purpose. Please say a prayer for the soul of Gilbert Colgrove and tell your loved ones today how much they mean to you. I wonder when the last time was that Gil heard the words, “I love you” from anybody. He was 66 when he died. I hope as I write this he is sitting at the feet of Jesus in Heaven. God Bless you, Gil.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm back in the newly cleaned and organized studio after a lovely holiday break.  It's fun to work on the beloved bears again and I want to try some new patterns and some new distressing and some new looks this year.  Maybe even some new critters.  I hope your new year has started off well.  Have any of you made any resolutions for the new year?  I usually do not.

Here is my first work in progress for 2013.  She was sewn before Christmas but patiently waited until now to be born.  You can see her face start to take shape and that is the most fun.  When those eyes get set and the nose goes on, it is such a joy to meet the new personality.  She is a special order and will have the name Gemma.

Enjoy your weekend!