Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learn to Listen ....

My best friend Billie gave me this postcard sometime in the mid-80's. I keep it on my bulletin board here in my teddy bear room.

In case you can't read the words on the card, I'll type them here:

Learn to Listen like a Teddy Bear. With ears open and mouth closed.
Learn to forgive like a Teddy Bear. With heart open, not caring who is right.
Learn to love like a Teddy Bear. With arms open, and imperfect eyesight!
-Sarah McClellan-

I just thought I'd pass that on. It's time to move on from my last post and go back to the basics of why I love teddy bears !!

Thanks for sharing this joy with me. Hugs from Vicki and the bears

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Live and Learn

In April of 2007 I opened a store on eBay. It cost me $15 per month to operate, plus listing fees per bear and final value fees on each sale. I thought I’d give it a go, as I was retired and had started to work at my teddy bear business full-time and I wanted to give the Internet a try.

I did very well. Considering. At least I was happy and the sales seemed to counteract the listing fees. I made money and I made lots of eBay friends and had lots of fun.

In March of 2008 I closed my eBay store. Sales were slipping and I was having a hard time keeping my shop up due to family issues. eBay was also changing their fee structure and feedback structure,and there was a lot of eBay grumbling taking place at that time.

A couple of months ago I decided to try the eBay store again, as my family issues have settled down and I’m trying to increase my teddy bear sales. I don’t like to label experiences as “failures” but I decided after two months of money going out steadily and sales being very minimal, it wasn’t worth it to keep the shop. I decided simply to list bears for auction and the occasional Buy-It-Now listing.

I don’t need to make a value judgment on this experience. I could voice my opinion on why sales are down, what seems to be happening on eBay but that isn’t the purpose of this blog entry.

I really just want to let people know what happened, because I was so excited a couple of months ago to start the store again …. And then why the store just seemed to “disappear.”

Sorry, no pictures this time. I don’t know how to photo a sad face with an eBay logo across the front of it…. sigh

On the big and bright side, I will, of course, continue to list new teddies on Bearpile, Etsy, and my website and we'll go from there.

Many teddy hugs to everybody, Vicki and the bears (we’re eating lots of cookies these days)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Girly Teddy Bears !

It started with a white and pink dress I made a few weeks ago, for a sweet little bear named Dotty. Although she refused to wear the dress, it sparked in me the need to create dresses and girly bears to fit into them.
The Culprit Dress

Throughout most of my bear-making career, I have dedicated myself to the creation of teddy bears for the most part, without extra clothing. I just figured a cute bear with a bow or a vest was fine with me. OK, sometimes it would evolve into pair of overalls, but I really didn’t put too much time into the clothing portion of teddy bear making.

And that was OK with me for many years.

And to go along with that theme, most of my bears have been of the male venue. I have created my share of female bears…. but for the most part, when name and tagging time came along, they were boys; boys always domineering the teddy bear portion of my life.

Male Dominated Creations

But now it is time for change. And that means lace, and frills and all things girly, which brings us to my most recent creation, Polka Dot (I seem to have Polka Dots on the brain these days...).

Polka Dot got her start outside in the Sunny Workstation. I did some shopping for some tiny print material last week, with the anticipation of working on a mini “girl” bear. You see, if I work outside in the Sunny Workstation all the stitching must be done by hand.
The Beginnings of Polka Dot

Consequently, I would much rather stitch a very tiny bear by hand than one of its counterparts such as bear of 12 or more inches.

And today I would like to introduce you to Polka Dot. She is 3” tall and completely sewn by hand. Her dress and pantaloons are also hand sewn fully removable (although I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a pair of hemostats to assist in redressing her). I am quite pleased with the results, although I couldn’t “bear” to tell you how many hours I put into this sweet thing.

Polka Dot Explores Her World!

And I am quite convinced she is one of the first in a long line of lacy, frilly, girly type teddies.

Thanks for sharing in the magic! Hugs from Vicki and the Bears

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Sunny Work Station and Pic of Poka Dot Bear for Laura !

Yesterday's Workstation

We've been blessed with more sunny weather, which means my work station moves from the teddy bear room, to the deck attached to the front of our house. The bear I'm working on in this picture was entirely hand stitched and I even made her a dress (I used the sewing machine for the dress, though).

So, please meet little Betsy, 6 inches tall and wearing her fancy little dress.

And, for my friend, Laura out there in Blogger-Land

Can you believe it, I found this little bear over at my Mom's. I remembered making a polka dot bear way in the beginning of my bear-making career, but I really didn't remember what happened to her. When I went over to Mom's the other day, I spotted the bear in my Mom's office looking pleased as punch... so polka-teddy got to come home with me and have her picture to be posted on the blog !

Hugs to all and thanks for checking in. Vicki

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thanks, Mom !

Mom and Me 1952

First of all, thank you for having me. I'm delighted to be in the world and thanks for taking part in my arrival.
Mom and her Dad
Thank you for telling me stories of your childhood, of the gratitude you had for the little things in life. Being raised on a farm in rural North Dakota in the 30's and 40's, you didn't have much. An orange in a paper sack was a God-given gift at Christmas, a Model A to drive to town in, going to school in a horse-drawn school bus in freezing cold weather, your job at the movie theater, a best friend to play with, innocence and dreams.
Mom and Me at Eagle Beach Alaska

Thank you for sticking with me for all these years. God knows we've had our differences... especially during my teenage years when you caught me sneaking out at night and other adventures including climbing the water tower in Washburn, North Dakota. What is most fun about that is sharing with you now all the things I got away with.
Mom and Spocky at Thanksgiving 2008
Thank you for teaching me about the things that are real and good in the world. Thank you for talking to me about God and spirituality and politics and people.
Mom posing in a Hummer at the Car Show 2009
Thank you for returning to Alaska after Dad died, to be closer to your children.

Mom and Me at the Public Market Juneau 2008

Thank you for the new adventures we can share together as adults (as grandmothers). Our drive back to Alaska, finding you a home, hours spent together at the Public Market, a day picking Nagoonberries in bear country (that would not be teddy bear country, mind you), shopping trips and walks, lunches and appointments, or just our daily chats and e-mails.

I hope you have a very special Mother's Day, for a very special Mother.

I love you! Vicki

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pierre and Dotty, Finished On A Rainy Day !

This one is Pierre. Kind of a dapper little fella. I used an altered version of a pattern I created about a year ago. The alterations include longer arms, shorter legs and more of a pot tummy. I like the way it turned out.

Pierre has a bit of smugness to his personality and although smugness isn't really encouraged in the teddy bear house, we do honor all personalities. I have posted him on eBay, so we'll see if his smugness can survive that arena.

And this little sweetheart is Dotty. Originally she was named Crumpet and she was supposed to be wearing a dress. However, she was quite insistent that she be called Dotty and wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the dress. Also during her photo session, I was convinced I would need a special prop, however, much to my surprise, she stood and posed just like a pro. Perhaps since I listened to and honored her requests, she listened to and honored mine. That's what happens when you listen to teddy talk (reminds me of some people I know)!

And this is the dress "Dotty" refused to wear. And after all that work I put into making it. Oh well, I'm sure another little bear will be absolutely delighted to wear this dress... I'm dreaming about her already.

Thanks to all of you for dropping by. Many hugs from Vicki

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Biking for Pat!

Hubby and I on our honeymoon 2003 in Palm Springs!

We rented a Harley and rode all over the place, it was a blast!

Currently we ride a Honda Shadow here in Juneau, on sunny days. Will post a picture next time one of those sunny riding days arrives!

Take care and thanks for checking in! Hugs from Vicki

Monday, May 4, 2009

Born on a Sunny Day !

It finally rained.

We had about seven days of sunshine, and I'll tell you, when it sunshines in Juneau, everybody is out and smiling. It's crazy. We live in a rainforest. And it rains in a rainforest. I won't bore you with statistics, but believe me when I say.... rain is a constant in our area. When the sun shines, it is the most beautiful place in the world to be and we all get just a little bit nutty.

We try to do everything you could possibly do in the sun, and we try to get it all done in a day, because we don't know when our next sunny day will be. So we plant gardens and flower baskets, we thatch and mow the lawn, we pull weeds, we go for a ride, we eat ice cream, we go for a walk, we sit in the sun, we wash the car, we build a cat run on the deck, we ride our bike, and we agree with everyone we meet that it is a most beautiful day, and don't we deserve it, and aren't we ready for it!

It's almost like taking a leave of sanity for a bit. A day of sunshine in Juneau is like a day in heaven, I would think. And when we are blessed with more than one day .... we just go mad.

Today it is raining. That's OK, because there is hope... hope for more sunny days, since it is only May. And we need the rain so the leaves can appear on the trees and bushes and so the flowers can grow and bloom.

Good news though in teddy bear land... even when the sun shines, teddys can be cut out and sewed by hand on the deck, with a quick trip to the sewing machine to finish things off. Two sweet faces arrived last week, and although they aren't quite done, they are grateful to be here.

They will be listed on my website within the next couple of days, after they tell me who they are.

I'll have a Mother's Day story later this week, too. Rain or shine.

Hugs to everybody out there in teddy bear land. Vicki and the bears