Saturday, January 31, 2009

Learning As I Go

The process of creating a website has me completely boggled. Although I've listed on Etsy and eBay, created this blog, and have started to participate in forum's like Teddy Talk, "life on the web" is still quite new and a little scary to me. 

Today I had every intention of really getting something done on my new website, however, creating a website isn't like cleaning a room, cooking dinner, changing around the furniture, or even making a teddy.... I know how to do those things. What I don't know how to do is, design a webpage or website. I'm not even sure of the terminology.

I will learn, though. I did some surfing today and checked out some other websites. I made notes of what I liked about them. I read all the material from my web host. I bought a book on HTML for Dummies.... (I like those dummy books). My plan is to keep it very simple to start out with and build from there. And, to have it all laid out on paper before I actually get in there and start pushing buttons.

So, onward and upward and this time I will do it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and words of encouragement. 

XXOO  Vicki

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Web Site

Today I purchased my domain name and will begin working on my very own website.  I am very excited. So, if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I'm bleary-eyed and stuck to my computer terminal trying to figure out HTML..... 

My web address is

Stay tuned and see what I come up with. This will be fun!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Imperfections (Part I)

Going To The Christmas Store 1989

I was going through some of my older teddy bear pictures a few weeks ago. As I looked at picture after picture of all of these bears I have created, I began to realize something important…….to me anyway.


In the past, I have judged myself fiercely as far as my “art” goes and the bears that I have created. You see, I don’t think I’m all that talented in the world of teddy bear artists. I guess that's blunt honesty.. However, the weird thing about all this is that I can’t quit making teddy bears. No matter how good or not good, talented or not talented I am, I can’t quit. I started a shop when I had no skill. Just a lot of heart and faith and energy. And I sold bears. I didn’t get rich, but I sold bears.

Hazel 1989

As I was pondering the pictures of the bears the other night, it was weird. They are all precious, in their own particular way. I mean, they all have personalities, they all have a part of me, they all have a story all of their own. I am beginning to see the reality of my teddy bear heart. The reality of this whole episode.


Oh, I strive to get better. I read teddy bear books and I learn the skills and techniques (see my post on “Facelifts”). Sometimes, however, I am in such a hurry to meet who I am making, that I just rush through the project. Most times I’m pleased ….. sometimes I’m not.


Some of the bears that stole my heart in the early years, I look at and think… how could that be? I mean they’re a little rough around the edges... crooked eyes, an imperfect nose, funny looking ears. I remember when I finished Rafferty...... I started to cry, when I looked at his little face. Something inside of me was just moved to tears.  

Rafferty 1990

One day I went in to get my mail, and inside of my mailbox was a copy of Teddy Bear Review with a note attached from the postmaster that said, “arrived with no address.” I had never seen the magazine before.


I loved the magazine! And the artist teddy bears were simply awesome. But frankly, I had a hard time looking at pictures of the bears created by other artists. My bears just didn’t measure up. I was so afraid I would become discouraged, and not create any more bears, that I didn’t always read the magazine. Although I subscribed to the magazine right away, I would receive my magazine, flip through it and put it away. I knew I would never be as talented as the other bear artists and it freaked me out to compare my bears with the bears in the magazine.

Wilbur 1990

I may or may not ever be as skilled or talented as some of the other teddy bear artists, and that’s not the point. I know I keep trying to improve my skill. The fact of the matter is, I can’t quit, even if I want to. I tried closing my business a number of times our of sheer frustration. However, when I don’t make bears, something huge is missing from my life. And I have no choice, but to start up again and continue on this endless mission of making teddy bears.


I think the point I'm getting to is that teddy bears are like people. We aren’t all movie stars or spiritual masters; we have our bumps and bruises and good points and bad points and the deal is, we are all lovable.

Wilton 1990

So, with this all in mind, Iwill give it a rest for today. Stay tuned for Part II. 

And many thanks !

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Banner!!

It's been a busy month, again. One would think I would have it together by January and not be so busy all the time. However, there is always much to learn, much to do, and life is so full, I wish there were more hours in the day.

I haven't posted for a few days. That doesn't mean things haven't been happening in my teddy bear world. I've been spending most of my time working on my blog site; trying to figure out how to do a new banner. I'm very new to all of this and am learning as I go.

My goal is to get my own website up and running in addition to my blog, my etsy store, my bearpile store, my facebook page and my myspace page.... also I have some stuff going on at bid4bears. Holy cow....

I'm working on a story about "Imperfections" which should be posted sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my new banner!!!! Thanks! Vicki

Saturday, January 10, 2009


This is Dandy BEFORE his facelift!

And this is Dandy AFTER his facelift!

Although I have been making teddy bears for a number of years, I have never taken the time to really learn how to create detail in my teddies. I've always been so excited about seeing who I am creating, that I can hardly wait to get done. The results, unfortunately, are that I end up creating someone with a face, well perhaps a little less than desirable.... Sorry.

Right before Christmas a customer was browsing through my bears and picked out Sunset. He said, "I really like this bear, his fur, etc., but I don't like the face." End of story. Sunset went back on the shelf.

Through my friends at Teddy Talk, I learned of a great book called "101 Bears to Make" by Nancy Tillberg. I ordered the book through, and it is the most amazing book I have ever read to date on the creation of bears.

So, a few days ago, I took three bears off the shelf who had less than desirable facial expressions (sorry bears)... and gave them all facelifts using some of the techniques I'm learning by reading this book.

Here are the before and after pictures.

This is Emily BEFORE her facelift.

This is Emily AFTER her facelift!!

This is Sunset BEFORE his facelift.

This is Sunset AFTER his facelift!!

Let me know what you think.

Thanks!!! Vicki and the "new" bears

Oh, and if you are interested in adopting any one of these revised "cuties" they should be up on bearpile shortly.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Business Plan

Today I wrote a business plan.

I started my business and opened a teddy bear shop in 1988. I didn’t know how to run a business and I didn’t even really know how to make quality bears. I was, however, so excited about teddy bears I could hardly stand it. So I just started making teddy bears, opened a shop, put the bears on the shelves, and they sold, one at a time; and not always as quickly as I would have liked.

One of my shop bears and me sitting in the sun sewing a bear.

I won’t tell you I wasn’t scared to death. I was. Some days I would just cry behind the teddy bear display in my shop.

I learned that you can cry without smearing your makeup. If you stand up and lean forward, the tears simply drop to the floor.

More shop teddies

I did end that little venture a year later. I got a “real” job and worked enough years to finally retire, while at the same time trying to run my teddy bear business out of my home with no viable plan other than to make and sell teddy bears.

I was able to retire from the “real” job a couple of years ago; with every good intention of finally making a go of this teddy bear business.

I have managed to make and sell some teddy bears over the past couple of years since I retired, but most days I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I waste time. I find myself doing everything BUT making teddy bears. Then I get mad at myself for not doing what I love (making teddies) and when I finally do allow myself time in the teddy bear room, I don’t know where to begin, I get overwhelmed and then go clean something…

Today I made a decision: Make A Plan. Write A Plan. Read a book on how Dummies can operate a business. And so I did. I read the book, I wrote the plan, I made a list of to do’s and now I’m so excited I can hardly stand it (again!).

There’s something about belonging to this teddy bear world that just won’t let you go. I have finally surrendered and it is time for me to give it all I’ve got. I don’t want to say to myself someday, “oh well, I did the best I could” unless I really did the best I could.

I’m excited and I’m off to make my teddy bear dreams come true.
Uncle Art and "Art"; shop favorites

Thanks for joining me and stay tuned for more!