Friday, February 15, 2013

Random Chat

On the home front, this week has been a worthy sequel to last week’s dramas.  My car troubles are not yet a thing of the past, and on Monday my computer went up in a puff of smoke, again!  Fortunately it was the power supply (again!) and it was repaired within a day.  Apart from becoming a bit tedious and draining on my creative energy, at least these incidents give me lots to talk about.  After a while one can even start looking on the funny side. 

I have a bit of a thing for gadgets.  While at the computer shop I came across something to console me for my worries.  See the little 10cm Mini in the picture.  Yep, you are right, the lights are on!  This car is a cleverly designed computer mouse.  You can drive it all over your desk to navigate on your computer, and a quick click on the bonnet will take your cursor to the right spot. If no one is within earshot, you can even softly go brrrrm brrrrm as you drive.  Next time we go to the computer shop I’m getting a flash drive shaped like a panda.  Henning shakes his head and mutters about small minds. I think he is jealous. 

Next week I am starting a sculpture course and I’m busy getting my toolkit ready and mentally preparing for that feeling of dumbest kid in the class.  One of the items on our supplies list to bring to class is ‘a pair of callipers’.  I knew I had one, only problem is that I last used it about 25 years ago when I was studying maths.  Fortunately I’m not only a gadget freak, but also a hoarder.  After a long dusty search I unearthed a metal pencil case with compasses, callipers, and an interesting assortment of sliding rulers, triangles and other shapes.  What those are meant for I have no idea.  No doubt some time in the past I did something amusing with them while the maths teacher wasn’t watching, but now I have forgotten.  I think I will use them to make a wind chime.  But first I’m going to hang on to them in case I need them in class.  If nothing else I might be able to use them to impress my fellow students.  The sculpting class is making me a bit nervous.  I think I’m out of my depth.  In kindergarten I was always the kid who made a fearsome dragon or an elephant with huge flapping ears.  Then the teacher would come past my table and say “How nice, are you making an ashtray for your daddy?”  This was in the bad old days when everyone still smoked, even around kids.  Maybe Ms Gelderblom just had poor eyesight, or maybe smoke got in her eyes...

Have an awesome weekend!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend reading

Well, I made it to the weekend.  No workshops.  Sun is shining and it's a lovely day.  Guess what I'm going to do for relaxation?  Edit a book!

Jennifer Carson's stunning new book, Beyond Bears, is nearly ready for publication.   You can read more about the book on Jennifer's blog, or pre-order your copy already in her Etsy shop
I'm not letting any cats (tigers, elephants...) out of the bag before the publication date, but I can tell you that this book will become a classic in the collection of any serious soft toy maker.

A week in the life of a self employed artist

This has been some kind of week. After twenty one days of workshops and working very long hours every day, I intended to take it easy, potter in my garden, catch up on some reading, poke around in the projects on my sewing table...

On Monday morning a flood of emails with orders and work came in.  Enough to keep me busy for weeks, but of course, everyone wants their pound of flesh by yesterday.  In between writing emails and checking stock, I dropped my car off at the Volvo dealership that has been servicing it for the last five years, and got the worst service that I have ever had in my life.  I still feel like Cinderella whose coach turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight.  But that's a story for another day.

On Tuesday morning I stumbled around bleary eyed after a very late night, only to come face to face with Colani and scream with fright.  He's one of our young Great Danes, aka The Rag Eater, and he had an eye infection that made him look like a bloody eyed werewolf from a horror movie.  So, I dropped the work and off  we went to the vet.
In the afternoon, a delivery of stuffing arrived. I like to use a specific type of stuffing for my bears. Coarse and springy, similar in texture to the batting that quilters use. Once I found a factory that is willing to make it for me, the next challenge was getting them to deliver in our remote area. The previous time they made a delivery the driver got stuck in the driveway with his huge truck and caused many anxious moments. When they delivered this week, we agreed that they would drop the stuffing in the veld at the end of our road, and I would transport it down the driveway to the studio myself.
Sister of Africa, I can load my vehicle like the best of them!
Fortunately stuffing is not heavy, but I had to have a laugh when I looked at the little car with all the bundles tied on. 

Slowly trundling down the driveway to the studio.  Lovely blue sky.
Being a professional teddy bear maker is fun in ways no one can imagine. 

On Wednesday morning, after barely shutting my eyes for a wink, Attila, our merle Great Dane bitch, was looking listless and sick.  All through the day I kept an eye on her, and eventually brought her into the studio so that I could monitor her condition.  By evening she was so weak that she could not lift her head and seemed to be slipping into a coma... I was sure it's heart failure, a typical condition in older large dogs.  I spent all night sniffling and mentally preparing myself for the worst while attending to the photocopier and cutting up fabric.
Attila and I

On Thursday morning soon as the sun was up, we were off to the vet again.  After a very thorough examination and every kind of test imaginable, Attila was diagnosed with depression!  A shot of Valium and a few minutes later she was her old self, which confirmed the diagnosis.  Some dogs are very sensitive to their owners' state of mind.  Attila and I have a strong bond.  Apparently she can't deal with the stress, and had a nervous breakdown.  I feel very sorry for dogs with crazy owners.  Maybe I should sprinkle some of her homeopathic antidepressant on my food too...

On Friday I gratefully dropped off parcels at the post office and courier company, then came home and made a cup of tea.  Weekend in sight.  No classes.  Going to have a good rest.  Barely laid my head on the pillow when I was blasted out of bed by lightning and the sound of frying electronics.  The lovely blue skies from earlier in the week decided to turn into a huge Highveld thunderstorm.  Fortunately circuit breakers and UPS seem to have prevented damage to our sensitive equipment, but the alarm system is still smoldering... I might never sleep again! 

Wishing you a super relaxed weekend.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winners in the Teddy Online Workshop Draw

Here it is girls:
Twelve names were entered in the draw.  Below they are listed in the order in which they were received.

1. Joyce Mayer
2. Claudia (Pienk Hasie)
3. Kay’s Kids
4. Gwyneth
5. Ursula
6. Cathy
7. Carol
8. Ronel
9. Sandy
10. Country Gal
11. Melissa

I used the website to randomize the list.
Here is the list I got in return:
Congratulations to Kay's Kids, Country Gal and Claudia!  I need your email addresses to enrol you for the course.  Please contact me privately at megbear99(at)


Friday, February 1, 2013

Pin cushions and a bear

Here's a little pin cusion bear and two cupcake felt pin cushions that I finished this week.  They are gifts to relatives in Germany.  The bear is a variation on my Sabine pattern, and the cupcake pin cushions are a reduced size version of my Cupcakes! pattern.  I made the sweet and cake pins and the doll pins from polymer clay.  I've enjoyed making something 'just for fun'. 
Wishing you a relaxed and creative weekend!