Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If Everyone Cared



With Independence Day right around the corner I always get to thinking about how lucky we truly are in this country.  It's not the only time I think about it, but as I hang the flag out for the 4th of July it always brings it home.  In Colorado Springs we have a lot of military bases and the air force academy.  Hardly a night goes by when we don't hear on the news that one of our soldiers has died overseas.  It makes me so sad.  Someone has lost a son, brother and/or husband.

I guess I am a hopeless dreamer because I really do wish for world peace.  If only we could realize there is enough of everything to go around for everyone on this planet, we could abolish wars and hate.   So I am dedicating this song to soldiers everywhere.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's In A Name


If you had been given a different name, would you be the same person?  I have read several times that our names influence our personalities to a degree. 

From what I understand, my Mother wanted to name me Alberta because she is from Canada, and my Father wanted to name me Ruby because it's my birthstone.  My Grandfather stepped in and chose Kelly, a good Irish name.  Thank goodness he did, Alberta sounds like a lady truck driver and Ruby reminds me of a...um...well lets just say, for the sake of keeping my blog rated G...of an elderly soiled dove.  I couldn't imagine going through life being nicknamed "Al!"  (Sorry Mom!)

Another bear artist told a story the other day, apparently a customer had wanted a bear but chose not to buy it because even though she liked the name, the spelling was wrong.  While I felt bad that the other artist lost a sale over something so small, it was kind of funny.  That would certainly never stop me from buying a bear since I have the power to change it. 

However I was looking at a catalog last night and I got to thinking about that a little bit.  Sometimes a creative name will push me that much closer to buying something I already liked.  The item in question last night was a very pretty piece of jewelry with a romantic name that stirred up all sorts of delicious images.  As soon as I read the name I wanted it even more.  I didn't buy it though since my checkbook is ruling me more than my over active imagination this week.

There have also been several instances of shop names on Etsy or places like that, that have kept me from buying things because I felt they were less than tactful, and it seemed a reflection on the person I would be purchasing from.  One name in particular still resonates in my memory.  I wanted to buy some supplies and couldn't do it.  The shop name was in such poor taste, and when I read that her profile expounded on it, I couldn't bring myself to give this person my money.

I found myself wondering how many other people were like me in that respect?  Do names of things have an influence?  To what extent?

I know when I make a bear I think very carefully about what I want to name it.  Sometimes they tell me right off, and other times they are a bit shy and wait a little while til I get to know them better.  I want to convey as much of the bear's personality as I can.  I also like to leave a little for the adopter to learn on their own as well.

In many ancient cultures people believed that knowing a true name of something gave you power over it.  In our modern society, I think that still may still hold true...although not in the way they intended back then.  Think about it, if you know and remember another person's name you have the power to make them happy and feel special, develop a relationship with them, and maybe even become friends.  It's important to human beings to feel as if we are seen, and having someone know our name reaffirms that we are alive and that we matter.  That's a very great power indeed.  I always try to learn people's names and remember them.

In "Romeo And Juliet," Shakespeare penned the phrase "That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet."  But I am not so sure...


Hugs, K. <3

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Magical Weekend



First of all I would like to thank every person who stopped by my blog to have tea and leave kind comments on my Mad Tea Party post.  (If you missed it, it's in the previous post.)  I would also like to welcome all my new followers, it's lovely to have you!

It was kind of a crazy weekend for me, so while I didn't have time to leave as many comments in return as I would have liked, I visited

every

single

blog

on

the

list!!!

 WHEW~

And I must say there are some wonderfully talented people in this world!  It was such fun to see every one's  party posts.

But before I got to do that, I got up Saturday morning and R took me for a day away.  He figured I needed one.  We went to the Renaissance Festival.  We go every year (yes we are dorks) but it's a fun day outside and we get to drink beer and eat steak on a stake.  I am not much of a beer drinker except for when I go there, go to Mexico and on Saint Patrick's Day. 

While I didn't hit it with my usual shopping gusto for reasons you know from previous posts...I still had a great time and managed to add to my magical pot collection.  They are made by a lovely local lady.  Aren't they sweet and you would die if you knew how inexpensively she sells them!  Unfortunately she doesn't have a website.

But now you know what it takes to make teddy bears besides stuffing and mohair!

Just for kicks, I also visited a fortune teller while we were there.  Is that the PC term?  I am not sure.  Anyway...I was surprised by what she had to say.  For one thing she told me things some very accurate things about myself that she couldn't possibly have discerned simply from any facial expressions or anything I might have been wearing.  I am ever the skeptic you know.

She told me quite a few things, one of which was that I would taking a trip over seas in the Fall even though I couldn't see how that might happen right now.  We shall see!

One of the first things she said was that I had been going through some money woes that would right themselves very soon and that things would be where I wanted them by next Spring.  I sincerely hope she is right!

She also said that I should write a book.  *Insert grimace here*  I get it already!  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE tells me I should write a book, but it's just not that easy!  I have been trying darnit!  I get distracted by fuzzy objects too easily.  *giggles*

The only thing I specifically asked her at the end of the session was if she had any insight on why I have had this run of bad luck.  She said something that made perfect sense after consulting her cards.  She said that usually I am very focused and in control - more so than most people - and that I am very connected to God.  But lately when things started going awry I got scattered and lost control , and that I couldn't get it back together and focus for a while.  That just kind of reaffirms what I figured out two posts ago. 

She also told me I am intuitive myself, and I replied with "Well I have allergies and I can't wear a watch, so it makes perfect sense."  She stared at me very long and hard for a full minute...so maybe it didn't make perfect sense to her?  I wasn't going to go into a speech about electrical bursts in the brain, magnetite crystals and dendrite pathways though.

The weekend went off with only one mishap, and it wasn't much really.  A guy bumped into me and I spilled an entire beer down the front of me.  I had only one sip before I wore it.  But in the larger scheme of things that's not so bad. 

All in all between the Ren Faire and the Tea Party it was a pretty magical weekend!

I hope yours was as well!  Hugs, K. <3

PS...I just discovered Liberty Bunny made it into an article in the Storque on June 24th...how fun is that!




Friday, June 25, 2010

Curiouser And Curiouser

I went outside to water the garden, and under my rose bush was a strange fellow carrying a card.

I heard a noise and turned around.  When I turned back he was gone, but the invitation was still in my rose bush!  I looked at it puzzled...cordially uninvited?  Non soiree?  Kindly do not RSVP?  How strange!

I found a hat on my holly bush.  A little mouse told me I would be needing it.  I didn't know mice could talk!

As I put the hat on the mouse ran into the bush and vanished.  I peered in to see where he had gone.  Is that a hole?

I must have leaned over too far and got dizzy, everything began to swim before my eyes!

I must have fainted, but I had the strangest dream.  I dreamt I was at an utterly mad tea party!

At the head of the table sat the strange chap in the hat!

There were bears and clowns...

They had lovely treats and were happy to share!

There was even an elephant in the sugar bowl!

 They told me to stay a while and have some tea!
Is that a flamingo?

Talk about a tempest in a tea pot!

I didn't know koi drank tea...

Or that starfish used knives and forks!  They told me they were celebrating their unbirthdays.  It was very strange, but yet...I had a good time with these odd little creatures.  They assured me they did it everyday and I was welcome to return any time!

When I came to, I was back in my own little garden.  It was all a dream...wasn't it?  Hey there is a mouse on my fence...he looks oddly familiar!


Thank you to A Fanciful Twist for hosting A Mad Tea Party, and thank you for taking time to visit!
Have a frabjous day! Hugs, K. <3

A Mad Tea Party

Just a reminder that I am participating the Mad Tea Party, hosted by A Fanciful Twist.  My post will go live at midnight MST (hopefully) so I will see you there!

Taking Control With A Little Reverse Pyschology

Hopefully this will be my last post about my unlucky streak, because I think I have solved the problem.  While I am sure you are sick of reading about it, I am going to share what I have come up with because one of you might find yourself in a similar situation some day and if you do, maybe you will remember my solution.

A friend of mine told me to turn around counter clockwise 3 times and that reverses bad luck.  While I thought that was a bit silly, it did get me to thinking.  I needed to turn the situation around...but how?  Then suddenly it hit me.  I went and bought a chocolate bar. 

Now I know you're probably thinking what?  A chocolate bar?  You see, I am allergic to chocolate.  When I eat it I break out in hives.  But I figured a night of itching was worth it.

If you're still scratching your head...what I did was choose to cause something bad to happen.  By doing that I took control of it.  Once you have control of the reins, you're the one driving the carriage as opposed to having it run away with you at break neck speed. 

Bad luck isn't a real state of being.  It's all mental.  When a couple bad things in a row happen it sends you into a downward spiral.  So naturally the more upset you get the more you focus on it and the more bad things happen because you begin to expect it.  I knew that all along, but I hadn't figured out how to get out of the spiral and combat it.   In reality some of the things that happened weren't that bad.  But compounded they seemed to be at the time.  So I had to get back into the proverbial driver seat instead of feeling as if the universe was conspiring against me and I was helpless to fight some unseen foe. 

I already have a much improved state of mind.  Now I can't say for sure something bad won't happen tomorrow, but I don't expect it to.  Even if it does, I am the one in control and I can handle it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Four Leaf Clover

Sometimes things reach such a level of absurdity that you just have to laugh...even when it's not funny.  I finally reached that point today with my unlucky streak.

Yesterday I had to go grocery shopping, and I had a kitchen utensil that had worn out.  So I ran to a specific department store to get a new one since I have a card there and I figured I wouldn't have to use any cash.  When I got home and opened the box it literally fell apart in my hand.  So after the periodontist visit I went to return it.

But let me back up a little.  My visit wasn't as bad as it could have been.  I received news that wasn't good, but it wasn't bad either.  He said that part of gum graft had indeed come away but part of it was still there so he wanted me to just let it heal and then we would see what needs to be done.  He is a very nice man, and he assured me three times I do not need to stress over this.  (I guess I look really stressed.)  I had told him about all my problems with the crown.  He said don't worry about anything he would fix it when the time comes.  So that is good, kinda.  It still means I have to go partially through the process again.  But he said he has to do it quite often because people catch the new gum tissue and pull it out all the time, and that it was quite lucky that I made it through the first four with no issues at all.  I left feeling like maybe...just maybe my unlucky streak was finally over!

On the way home, I made my return to the store, I was on my way out when I noticed they had sterling silver charms that were regularly $35.00 on sale for $8.00.  Right in my line of sight was a  four leaf clover.  I have never had a lucky charm before, but I figure at this point I need one!

I hadn't eaten anything and I decided to hit Burger King which was right there in the parking lot.  I ordered a simple sandwich and a soda and headed for home.  I am not a huge fan of fast food but I was too tired to cook since I had to get up early for the periodontist.

I got home and took a sip of the soda.  I don't know what was wrong with it but it tasted AWFUL!  Then I opened the sandwich and it was the wrong thing.  Seriously what are the odds on that???  At that point I just started laughing.  It's as if the whole thing has simply become this giant comedy of errors...even the smallest things just don't work out right now.  It's so ridiculous.

I finished the sandwich anyway, then rushed downstairs to get a chain for my new charm.  I am wearing it right now, and I am sincerely hoping it works because this Irish girl needs some good luck in the worst way!

On that note I am going to take a nap.

R To The Rescue!


No marriage is perfect, but R is a great guy and I have always considered myself very lucky to have someone like him.  He is always there for me if I need him to do something, we discuss things if a problem arises, and we work it out.  He is kind and takes very good care of the critters and I.  He never criticises me, and rarely gets mad at me...even when I deserve it.   I know he loves me very much, and I love him very much too.   Trust me, you would like him if you knew him.

But he isn't the sort of guy who just swoops in, handling everything without my input and flat out rescues me like a knight on a steed. He knows that overall I am pretty resilient and if something comes up I can usually handle it one way or another.  He likes that about me.

This morning however, when he got out of bed I was pretty much sobbing uncontrollably over the broken camera because it had just happened.  He hates it when I cry because he thinks I am usually too upset over nothing, that I will figure it out since I am the problem solver in the family, and everything will be fine.  I don't cry very often, but I seem to have been crying a lot lately.  I guess this was simply the straw that broke the camels back for me.  I have never dropped any of my cameras before...not once which is amazing really considering how much I use it.  I am always very careful with things.

A little while after he left, as usual I sucked it up, thought about my options and announced the fire sale.  It was pretty much all I could do in that moment to try to save myself.  I was about to go look for a temporary job or offer web design services or something to get out of this bind.

When I talked to him this afternoon, I told R about the sale and what I was planning on doing.  It didn't sit well with him which surprised me because as a rule he doesn't care one way or the other what I do with my bear business.  He figures it's my business and I had it before I had him, so what I do is my own affair.  But he was really disappointed that I had to offer up all my hard work for no profit at all, and that I was considering drastic measures.  We couldn't discuss it more right then, he had to go because his own job was demanding his attention.

When he came home this evening he had a Best Buy bag in his hand.  He smiled good naturedly, gave it to me and told me "don't ask."  Inside the bag was a new camera.  Not just a-make-do-until-I can-get-a-better-one type of camera either.  This was a niceeeeeeeeee 35mm 18 mega pixel camera.  Far better than the one that got broken.  This one also has a full coverage extended 2 year warranty in case I drop it too.  Heaven forbid!  I have no idea how he managed to come up with it.  I haven't been this speechless since he gave me diamond earrings two years ago for Christmas.  (He doesn't buy me jewelry.) 

Of course I was instantly worried about the dental bills and said he shouldn't have spent so much.  He said don't worry about it, we will be fine. 

I managed to take some pictures of the miniature bear.  I haven't quite got the macro settings figured out yet.  I am sure once I figure out how to work it, and what all the bells and whistles on this new camera do, I will have something far more impressive to show you.  But at least I can still work and post pics for now.

Today after I got up was actually pretty good even before the camera, the worst thing that occurred was I discovered a nest of garden snakes in the wood pile...but that's not really a big deal other than causing me to scream in fright because I wasn't expecting them.  Even the neighbor situation seems to have resolved itself.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that things are going to look up finally.  Although I have to see the periodontist tomorrow to see about my failed gum graft, so hopefully I won't get bad news there.  If it is going to cost me a bunch of money again, it will simply have to wait until next January when I have a new limit on my dental insurance. 

So that's where I am at right now.  Since I announced the sale, I will still honor it even though R assures me I don't need to.   The only bear exempt from the sale is Bronte' since she is going to be in the ad I have coming out.  Piccalilli should be up on the website shortly, and he will be offered for the sale price as well.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Fire Sale

As you know from reading my previous few posts, my life has been going to hell in a proverbial handbasket lately.  I've never been too sure what that means exactly but it seems appropriate anyway.  Since as of last night, I now need a new camera (see previous post) on top of everything else I have bills stacking up for, I have been sitting here thinking.  So...in a final act of desperation I have decided to have a "fire" sale.  A big one.  Until Friday night at midnight MST you can have 50% off of anything on my website.  I have never offered a sale like that before, and hopefully I won't have to do it again right away.  If you want something, just send me an e-mail and I will send you an adjusted paypal invoice.

I am off to bed right now though, so if you do want something I will respond this afternoon when I get up.

Piccalilli

I finished my miniature clown tonight.  I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  I had to use my old camera because I dropped my good one and broke it while I was taking pictures of him.  If  I can find a camera to use, he will be showing up on my website at some point...hopefully.

(Could someone please tell me how to lift this curse I am under?)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Admit Defeat

Today dawned a beautiful day and I just KNEW it had to finally be a good day.  Everything was going along fine. I was so relieved. 

But then I went to check the mail.  I should have left it in the mail box.  Maybe I should have just stayed in bed.

I got a lovely little letter from my dental insurance telling me that my amount for the year was maxed out and I owe my dentist the rest of the money for the crown because they aren't going to cover their 40%.

I don't want to make unhappy posts, but I am just unhappy right now.  So I apologize and I think I will take a sabbatical from blogging anything other than new pieces until things look up...otherwise I am afraid all of you will stop coming to read my posts, and I wouldn't blame you. =/

I hope things are going better for the rest of you.

Just One Good Day Please!

Isn't it amazing how some days you can be so strong that you could survive any natural disaster or crisis that is thrown at you...and other days a series of small stupid things can make you crumble like a three year old fruit cake.

Unfortunately yesterday was one of the latter type of days.  I was awakened by another weird dream.  I dreamt that there was a tornado, but it wasn't made of wind, it was made of chunks of something black like graphite or coal.  I have no idea what that was about.  Probably something to do with feeling like things are spiraling out of my control.

I let the dogs out and staggered down the stairs squinting out of one eye, with a death grip on my coffee cup.  I was already in a stressed mood from the day before because one of my stitches fell out of my gum graft allowing me to see under it...as I had suspected a month ago the gum graft itself had pulled out.  So I have been enduring the torture of not eating properly and having four stitches for nothing.  It also means that I have to start over...as if I haven't had enough mouth trauma for the past two months. 

I called the periodontist and I have an appointment on Thursday.  They yelled at me for not calling sooner.  The irony is that I DID call sooner.  I called a month ago and they assured me there is no way it could have pulled out.  They were wrong.  I think I can tell if there is gum tissue over my tooth or not.  I can't believe that after two months I have to start all over again.

Between that and being paranoid that my new crown is going to fall out for a third time, I haven't slept well and my stress cup runneth over.

But then the doorbell rang.  My mail carrier was standing there with the package I had mailed last Wednesday to my Step Dad for Fathers Day.  It had some sort of a big ugly orange sticker on it.  The postman handed it to me and announced that you can't mail alcohol through the post office.  I still wasn't fully awake and couldn't process what he was telling me.

I said it's not alcohol, it's a shower head and faucet set.  (It was a really nice Victorian one that he had wanted because he liked the one R put in for me.)  Then it dawned on me what the problem was. 

I had grabbed a box off of the pile in the garage that it would fit in.  It just happened to be a Corona box that I had put stuff in from Costco.  But it seems to me that any postal employee worth their salt who handles boxes all day should have been able to discern just by handling the box that...
A.  It wasn't heavy enough to actually be a case of beer.
B. There was no glass or liquid sound coming from it.
C. No one in their right mind would spend $18.20 to mail a case of beer which costs what, $25-30.

He said if I took it to the post office I could get a refund on my shipping.  He was wrong.  I stood in line for 20 minutes, then had to wait for a supervisor to come and talk to me.  Apparently the supervisor was in no rush because 45 frustrated minutes later they told me there was no way they were refunding my $18.20, and that it was the fault of the FAA since I mailed it priority.  Way to pass the buck, and doesn't the FAA have an x-ray machine for stuff since they obviously can't tell just by lifting the box.

They did tell me that if I covered up all the Corona logos on the box (it was covered with them) that I could mail it again without paying.  So what I learned is apparently you can get away with sending alcohol in a box as long as it doesn't say it ON the box.  But you can't get away with sending anything else in a box that says anything about alcohol on it.  I left feeling as if the postal customers had more right to go postal than the employees and that I should start shipping stuff UPS.

Then I had to go return the present because in the interim my Step Dad informed my Mom that he would have to cut a hole in the wall in order to put the shower set in, and he didn't want to do that.

Somewhere in there I had a giant coughing fit because I have been sick for two weeks.  I think that I have a low level infection from all this gum graft and temporary crown that was cutting into the other side of my gum and it has caused me to develop flu like symptoms.  By the time I got into Lowes, which always makes me have a reaction from all the wood they cut in there, I couldn't even see my eyes were watering and running so bad.

When I got in my car I broke down out of frustration from lack of sleep for days, losing the shipping money for no good reason and the fact that I am finally convinced that my mouth will forever have something wrong.  Poor R, I called him on the phone and he couldn't make out what I was saying between the allergy attack the the sobbing.

When I got home I had an e-mail from the magazine and realized I made a mistake on my ad, so I had to sit down and immediately fix it.

I also realized I signed up to do a blog party in five days and I haven't even started on it.

My purse broke, and the vacuum cleaner caught the fringe trim on the end of my big wool rug and pulled half of it off. (That can wait until later today for me to repair!)

Plus I have one additional point of stress from my new neighbors, but I am not even going into that right now.

I know eventually this too shall pass, and I know that in the whole scheme of things I could have far worse problems.  I know I shouldn't be so stressed or frustrated or upset by these little things.  But I can't help it.  I am tired.  Losing the money for something so stupid and out of my control right now was hard because I have had so many bills with the gum and the crown and everything else going on.  But the main thing is that I have zero contol over any of this stuff at this point and I am not good at feeling helpless.  I have tried to remain positive despite everything going on.  I keep telling myself that this will pass and that each little issue is the last thing and it will get better...but so far it just keeps piling on.  I would give anything for just one good day right now.  One simple day where nothing goes wrong, falls apart or creates stress.  Is that really so much to ask?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Once In A Blue Moon Blog Give Away




Since I am hosting the party on July 17th, I thought a blog give away would be the perfect thing! So you will have a chance to win "Blue Moon" shown above. He is 6 inches tall, hand dyed mohair, glass eyes, sparkly nose and comes in a Smith & Hawken basket. (He is a collectible and absolutely not meant for children!)

I will give him away on July 18th, the day after the party. All you have to do to be eligible is make a post on your blog about him with a link back here. You can also use the button at the left if you like. Make sure you leave a comment on this post and let me know you posted about him with a link back to your blog, and you will automatically have one chance to win him.

If you sign up and join in the fun of the Midsummer Night's Secret Dream Party you will get three additional chances to win him! Easy huh!~

International readers are welcome to enter too!

Good luck to all who enter! K. <3

Advertising

Every community has it's paragons. The bear community is no different. One of the things we have always been able to look to is Teddy Bear & Friends Magazine.

Over the years most of us have looked at the pages eager to see the shiny eyed faces of new bears. It has always been a little thrill to get it in the mail. As soon as I get it I sit right down to peruse the pages.

There are so many places to advertise on the internet that it can be overwhelming to choose just one. Shortly after I created my website I made the rounds of advertising on all sorts of sites. While I did sell a few bears from them, I am not sure that it was worth the time, effort and money invested in those ads.

I found myself going back to the old standard of print ads. While advertising on the internet can seem an inexpensive way to go, once the ad is gone...it's gone. People sometimes tend to save magazines for years. I know I have gone back to look at them as much as a year later and find myself looking up a website listed in an ad.

TB&F has the best of both worlds, they offer ads in the magazine and also have a teddy bear directory on their site. This afternoon I was chatting with Gail Davis, their advertising liaison, on the phone. She told me that they will be offering a free directory ad on their website with every print ad purchase. The online directory used to cost 240.00 for a six month listing. So by offering it as a free ad on with a print ad purchase, that's a pretty substantial savings.

She said they will be announcing it in the July newsletter, but I felt this was such a good deal that I would pass it along to my readers. I certainly took advantage of it. TB&F is far more established and hits a target audience than most of the places I could ever find to advertise on the internet.

If you are interested in doing a print ad, just click the link above and go to the advertise with us tab. You can e-mail or call Gail, she is a very nice person and I am sure not only will you sell some bears, but you might make a new friend too!

Hugs, K <3

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pink Elephants, Blue Whales & Pearly Whites

As you know I had a difficult month, but with some luck the tide is turning.  I woke up early.  I knew I had an appointment to keep and I never sleep well when I have to be somewhere, I am always afraid I am going to over sleep and be late.  Plus I had the strangest dream about an old boyfriend I hadn't thought of in years.  I don't know what that was about.  The subconscious is an odd thing in it's ability to dig stuff out of old files you didn't even remember you had.

Today I went and got my new crown fitted.  Keep your fingers crossed that it stays put!  I can't afford to keep buying crowns, they are expensive little things.  Plus this whole not being able to eat anything solid was really starting to wear on me after so many weeks of it.

When I was done I stopped at one of my favorite shops and found a blue whale ring, while I like whales pretty well...a couple years ago I saw a blue whale ring online and thought it was the cutest thing ever.  I don't know why, it's not the sort of thing I usually buy.  But I have looked at it a few times over the past couple years.  Today they happened to have one in the shop!  All things really do come to those who wait!  It fit perfectly, so naturally it came home with me.  I had been so good too darnit!   I have him on the wrong hand and wrong finger for the pic, but it's surprising how hard it is to photograph your own hand.  Also don't mind the Hello Kitty band aid...I stabbed a scissor point into my finger yesterday.


When I got home there was a package waiting on the porch.  I LOVE packages!!!  They are always filled with wondrous things, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.  Inside was a little pink elephant that had to come and live at my house from Kelly Jo at Tickled Pink Bears.  Isn't she cute as pie!  Interestingly enough she is similar in shape to one of the two new patterns I just designed.  Although mine isn't an elephant.

I was going to work on one of the new designs tonight since I have a fun idea, but I am just too tired.  So I am off to bed early to make up for getting up early.  The new pattern will just have to wait until tomorrow!
Hugs, K <3



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

~*~ Bronte' Elizabeth ~*~

I am so happy I decided to go back to making very distressed bears.  Somehow everything seems right in my artistic world again because of it.  It's fun to make bears that look very well loved and are dressed eclectically as if they had picked up parts of their outfit along the way!  Bronte' Elizabeth is the latest of my creations!   You can visit her on the Bears Page of my website.

Sneak Peek Of The New Bear


I finished the new little bear tonight, but it's too late to photograph her properly...so all you get is a sneak peek until tomorrow!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Secret Project Teaser

As you know from a previous post, I am hosting A Midsummer Night's Secret Dream Party on July 17th.  Just click the link above or at the right if you would like to sign up for it.

I have a secret project that I want to make for it...something very fancy. Last night as I was sitting and working on the little bear I have cut out I was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to start designing the new pattern required for what I want to make. I just can't wait to get started!

Several years ago I bought something a bit unusual for a teddy bear artist to buy, (actually I bought five of them) but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. The problem is, I never did it...I came close a few times to getting started but just didn't do it. When I came up with the idea for the blog party I knew the time had come.

Several days later I went to the Bear Bee in Denver and I picked up the yummy colors of upholstery velvet shown above. The colors of raspberry, thistle, peridot and periwinkle were just exactly right for what I wanted to do. Needless to say I was really excited by finding exactly the right thing and took it as a sign I was on the right track at last.

A few days after that I ordered some very small pieces of mohair. (Also shown above.) I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with those when I ordered them, but the colors were so pretty and I knew when they arrived I would know.

I did know! After the little bear I have in the works I am going to start working on the pattern. I am going to make a bear or two from the mohair first in the style I want to use for my big project. But along with my grand idea I also got another idea. A long time ago I made several four standing animals, including lambs, elephants and pigs. I have decided to mayyyyyyyybeeeeee make one of those animals into a sitting animal. But I am not going to tell you which one! You will just have to wait and see!

I can't wait to get started on the big project, but it's going to take time and won't be something I can finish in the regular time it takes me to make any of my other pieces. So you're just going to have to wait. But what fun to give you a tiny teaser of what I am going to use and leave you wondering what it might be!

Even when you see the first pieces from the new pattern, you still won't be able to guess what the BIG SECRET PROJECT is! Shhhh. *winks*  You will just have to wait until July 17th to see that!

Stay tuned! Hugs, K. <3

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Settling On A Design

So I made the big switch over using the new templates. I decided not to go with three column. But I still have extra width. I rather like it and I think I can post bigger pictures of things now. (The picture of Liberty was just a test to see how that worked.)

The design was a surprise to me, but I like that too. The header is pretty big, but I think with such a big picture I don't need all that fancy stuff on the sides. So it's kind of minimally fancy. That's a thing...really! *winks*  I did discover you have to make the header the maximum size in order to center it.

So there ya have it!  Hugs, K. <3

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blogger Pandemonium

Did you know that the word pandemonium was invented by poet John Milton? It's true, he invented it as the name of the capital of hell in his poem "Paradise Lost."

I always liked that word until I found out where it derived from. Of course the common meaning these days is simply a chaotic situation. I suppose that's apropos, since I imagine hell would be a rather chaotic place.

Yesterday felt like pandemonium, and I didn't need it on top of all the stress I have had over the past month and a half. As a result, last night I didn't feel like working on the bear.

It's amazing what you can find to distract yourself from doing something you don't want to do. I watched some TV and then I discovered that Blogger has added this new design/template system.

Now I have to level with ya, I am not always real keen on change. I am a button pusher, so ultimately my curiosity won out. At first as I was playing with it, it seemed rather chaotic and not very easy to customize. The longer I played with it, the more I realized you can customize it, and you can even make it look like the old minima layout style and use custom backgrounds just like you always could with a little fiddling. I haven't switched this blog over yet though, because I wanted one I don't really use to test it out on so that I knew what I was up against.

I did make some changes anyway. I know that some of you really liked the fact that I had my blog matching my website, but I decided for my blog I wanted some summery bright colors. I kind of threw the header together at the 11th hour and will probably make something better a little later. Or I might change the whole thing again, I don't know yet.

I have to imagine there will be a whole lot of people who don't care for the new system at first, and will feel as if they have descended into Blogger Pandemonium. The thing I do like about it is that you can very easily switch over to a three column blog. That's something I had been considering doing anyway, although I hadn't entirely committed to that idea yet. This way I can try it and see what I think without a bunch of recoding.

What I don't like is that I have yet to figure out how to center the header. It adjusts it to the left, and unless I missed a centering button somewhere I guess the only way you could do it is to make the header as big as it allows. I will test that later too.

I will say this, if you haven't played with it yet, don't be afraid of it. You can still get your old look even if Minima is gone. If you can't figure out how, just drop me a line and I will explain to you what to do.

I am off to bed, hopefully when I get up later I won't have any nasty surprises in my mail box like I did this morning. It really ruins my coffee!

Hugs, K. <3

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sharing Your Pie

When I was a kid, I liked pie. It wasn't something I got that often. One day I had just gotten a piece of pie when a friend came over to play. The first thing I did was offer them half of mine. My Grandmother heard me offer, and said it's ok honey I have more pie, there is plenty for everyone. It was a lesson I learned very early and have always tried to remember.

I know that we live in a world where two things occur more than they should, first I know that people get very competitive, sometimes to the point of nastiness, because our economy is bad and everyone wants to make money. Secondly, I know that the internet affords people the opportunity to say things because of the anonymity, that they normally wouldn't if they were face to face with someone. Now I have never had that problem, on the rare days when my Irish temper gets the better of me, I say what I have to say in person the same as I would online because I have never been the sort of the person who uses something to hide behind. I also think it's best to take the bull by the horns and talk things out directly if you have a problem.

Normally I keep that Irish temper in check, but today it has been unleashed...so this is not going to be a happy post, because I am thoroughly annoyed. The utter pettiness of people can be astounding at times. I try not to make rants on my blog, but today I just have to in order to get it out of my system.

I post my work three other places besides my website. One is a guild, and two I consider online portfolios. One of the two, the pieces can be purchased directly from and is not specific to one type of art...with the other, it is specific to one type of art and they can't purchase directly from the site. They still have to come back to my site to get the piece they want.

It was on the latter that apparently someone had a fit because I posted my starfish. They sent the site owner an e-mail saying it was wrong because I didn't put any hours or effort into it's creation, that I was taking space away from someone who made a real piece of work, and it wasn't a real animal because it didn't have a face. Luckily the owner didn't agree with that, and thought it was quite a nice piece.

I don't know what they think it takes to make one of those...but I can assure you between the hand stitching, the hand applied color (I don't use an airbrush to do that) and the hand beading that there is a lot of effort and hours that go into the creation of those. I started making them 14 years ago because I went to do a show in Hawaii, and I thought it would be fun to make something sea inspired for that show. They were so popular I have been making them occasionally ever since and they are still popular.

I personally think it's rather gutsy to say that someone doesn't put an effort into something they make anyway. I would never say such a thing, because I don't have any idea what people put into their creations. Even the simplest looking things can sometimes take a very great effort with a lot of time invested for the person creating it, and who am I to judge anyway? The only judgement we have a right to pass on another artist's work is whether it appeals to us personally and if we wish to buy it or not. (I also think it's pretty gutsy to pass judgement on Mother Nature and say something isn't an animal because it doesn't have a face! There are many animals that don't have an actual face.)

The fact is that the starfish take me almost as long as my bunnies, mice and squirrels. I don't charge as much the for the simple reason that they take less mohair and they aren't accessorized. Plus I just like to offer something that is a bit less expensive for a collector who wants something a little different or hasn't gotten their feet wet in collecting yet. I have sold several of the starfish to customers who were so impressed with them when they got them, that they came back and bought bigger pieces the next time.

Now you're probably wondering why this has me so annoyed since it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I would agree with that if it weren't for the fact that this isn't the first incident I have had on this site. Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way blaming the owner or the site itself.

A while back I was reported for doing something that was against the rules. The irony is, I didn't do it...and I didn't do it even before it was an actual rule because it always seemed unethical to me. I am still unsure why they thought I did it in the first place. But it bothered me because it cast aspersions on my good name.

Combined with those two things, I also receive the largest amount of scam attempts from this site. There are days when I wonder if it's worth it to keep paying to list things on there. Most artists have enough to deal with by selling online as it is without these sorts of things, especially when they come from their fellow artists.

Ultimately that is the thing that bothers me so much, that one artist can be so petty towards another one. Yes there are thousands, maybe even millions of artists the world over...but it's still a small community, and not one of the easiest ways to earn your living...so I think we need to applaud and support each other rather than try to tear each other down. The best way to have a competitive edge is to make a quality product and let the work speak for itself.

I guess I am wearing my rose colored monocle today. I want to see the world in a rosy hue, but sadly I can also see the truth. There will never be peace on this planet whether it comes from greedy nations or other artists wanting to create war, because they don't understand there really is enough pie to go around for all of us.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

~*~ Purple & Green Starfish ~*~



The second of my three pieces is finished. Since it's summer weather that always gets me to thinking about the beach. Since I don't live anywhere near a beach I have to make my own! You can visit the starfish on the Animals page of my website.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

~*~ Liberty Bunny ~*~




My patriotic little bunny is complete and you can visit her on the Animals Page of my website.

Theories

While I was working on my rabbit tonight I was thinking about quantum physics. So I guess I will throw a little science at ya...it might bore you to tears, or it might make you think...that's up to you!

At some point or another we have all heard someone say you create your own reality. Now if I had to guess this concept probably started back in the 60's when people were experimenting with drugs. I could be wrong.

Oddly enough, drugs aside...if quantum physics proves valid, that may turn out to be more true than we ever imagined. Of course adhering to the principals of quantum physics if enough people believe with enough focus in the theory we will cause it to be a reality thanks to all those kooky little particles and waves. Interesting catch 22 isn't it?

I have long been fascinated with human behavior. I have always attributed it to the fact that we moved so many times, and I have encountered more people in my lifetime than most would in ten lifetimes. I have discovered that people tend to react to any situation in predictable ways. I probably would have made a good profiler.

In recent years I have become more interested in what causes that behavior on a more physical level. I have learned some fascinating things about the brains, bodies and DNA.

I have learned that our brains are full of tiny magnetite crystals and that it has a charge about the same as a ten volt battery. I have also learned that DNA actually emits a very tiny amount of light in all living organisms. I am also extremely fascinated by HOX genes.

The interesting fallout of all this learning has been that things that seem implausible to most of us may not be as implausible as we all think.

In recent years I noticed that I would have small periods where I would tend to have little precognitive episodes. Nothing interesting like winning lotto numbers or stock market figures, but things like reaching up to turn on a light and knowing the light bulb was going to blow when I turned it on, or knowing the phone was going to ring right before it did.

We have all had these little episodes at one time or another. But being the sort of person who over analyzes things to death, I started to paying attention to what else was going on with me when these things occurred. What I noticed was that my allergies were always acting up at the same intervals. Of course I cheerfully mentioned this to my doctor who thought I was cracked.

But when you start to think about it, it makes perfect sense. We are alive because of electrical energy. We experience brain death basically when our battery dies. That is why they give you a charge with the paddles and it can potentially jump start you back to life within a certain time frame if you were more or less healthy to begin with.

When you combine that with the magnetite crystals, adding the extra liquid from stuffy sinus's it would naturally conduct a tad more electricity. They have discovered that people who have abnormal precognitive episodes have "power surges" when it occurs. I say abnormal because technically we all live in a slightly precognitive state of a few seconds all the time. But that is a science lesson for another day.

At any rate, the concept of precognition, or dare I say it..."ESP" suddenly doesn't seem so far fetched now does it?

Now if you have actually read through all this, you're probably wondering where all this rambling is leading. Well...no where. It's just the sorts of things I think about while I work. I find it interesting and sometimes I like to throw it out there in case someome else does too. I have no idea what other artists think about when they work, but sometimes I develop theories about things.

Just the other day I was watching something on the Mayans while I was working that was discussing (again) how Kukulcan was possibly an alien or from Atlantis. I find those notions a tad ridiculous so I started to really give it some thought, and I came up with a theory that I think is bit more plausible. I think there is a chance that he may have been an autistic savant with hydrocephalus. Now I am not doctor, but from what I understand those two conditions can go hand in hand...and it would explain how the Mayan calendar was so very precise, and they could make those amazing astronomical predictions. It would also explain why he was reported to have an enlarged skull that caused Mayan women to bind their babies heads to reshape their skulls in an attempt to emulate him.

I have a zillion more theories, but I don't think I have enough room to type them all out. At any rate, I am nearly done with two new pieces...so with some luck I will have pics of them for you later today. In the mean time, it's bed time for me!

Have a great day all! Hugs, K. <3

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The First Signs Of Life

Now I don't want to bore you with continuous updates of my garden because I know most of you are probably consummate gardeners. But for me...this being my first one I was pretty excited over it.

Especially this morning when I went out to water and discovered I had my first signs of life!


My radishes sprung up overnight!




My pumpkins, which were the last thing I planted are already coming up!



I planted Morning Glorys next to the fence!



I put my birdbath out. It used to be in the front.



R also put up the bench for me. Sadly the corner of it is cracked rather badly, and I bought it several months ago so it's too late to take it back. R assured me he can fix it though. He can fix anything!

It looks like my garden is actually going to grow! I was going to go out and weed, but both times I tried, it started raining on me so I gave up until tomorrow.

I still got a ton done this weekend, I tried on literally every single thing I owned because some of it is too big now, or is just outdated. I switched winter and summer clothes in my closet. (I have a lot of clothes!) I also sorted purses. I sent R off to Goodwill this morning with quite a few things. I need to sort the books next, and I am not looking forward to it. I think I have more books than I have clothes!

The good news is I made it through the whole weekend without any mouth dramas and upright on my feet!

Now I am off to work on an Americana rabbit, and watch a movie! I hope you all had a great weekend! Hugs, K. <3

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Garden And A Treasury

I am feeling very proud of myself today, I got so much done! I went to the post office to send Garbanzo and Mariposa on their way to South Carolina, then I headed over to Lowes.

For a long time I have wanted a garden. Don't ask me why, I have no idea how to garden. My Mother has a green thumb, but I certainly do not. The only things I grow well are roses and rubber trees.

But ever since we have lived in this house, I have wanted a garden...so finally this year R got an area ready for me.



He worked tirelessly for almost seven days clearing out the grass and rocks. There were a million rocks back there. Of course Buster and Jazzy helped him. Then he put up a fence. He still needs to put the piece across the top of the gate arbor and cut off the long post near the fence and add the shelf to it. Also I got a very pretty mosaic garden bench that needs to be assembled, but we will do all that this weekend.

But at long last, Sunday it was ready. I have spent the better part of five days planting things. Today I went to get flag stones for a path and some little lights.




Buster is looking mournful because he can't go in there now. If half of what I planted comes up, Then I will be very happy!



I cheated a little though, I got an Asian Lily. I wanted at least one thing blooming.

After I was done in the garden, I got a nice E-mail from ClockStikes12 to tell me she put Peppermint in her treasury. It's lovely you can go check it out here: Red For The Bull Treasury, and don't forget to check out her cute charms in her shop!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Groundhog Day

I had my day all planned out. But you know what they say about the best laid plans! It all started early with a pounding in my head. I woke up to discover that yet another neighbor was having their roof redone. That is the third one in a month. I knew sleep was futile, so I got up.

I was going to finish my planting in my brand spanking new garden, but it started to sprinkle as soon as I was ready to go out there. I waited out the rain and went off to finish. I came in an hour and a half later FILTHY.

I ran for the shower. I had planned on going to the 7:10 showing of SATC2 and then I was going to come home and get to work on a big project I need to do.

R called and said he was coming home tonight afterall, so there went that plan. I ended up going to the 10:30 showing instead after he went to bed.

Now I know the critics hated this movie, but I personally thought it was fine. Critics and the general population rarely grade on the same curve anyway. Besides it was Sex And The City not War And Peace...so what were they expecting? I don't think SATC was ever true to life anyway.

After that I decided to hit Walmart since they are open 24 hours. I needed paper towels and light bulbs and I figured it would save me time tomorrow.

When I got home I was exhausted and achy. I went to take a bath to discover a huge spider in my tub. I disposed of him and wiped the tub out, then took a nice hot bath. I had just settled in when Rizzo and Gypsy, who HAVE to take a bath with me were very intent on something on the floor. It was another huge spider!

Now I knew it was stupid when I did it, but I did it anyway. I stood up in the tub, leaned across the toilet to get some tissue and dispose of spider #2, but I didn't want to actually step out of the tub. I was half laying across the toilet, feet still in the water and grabbed the spider. But then I lost my balance and fell off the toilet and out of the tub. I banged my shoulder and ribs pretty good, bruises are already forming.

I don't know if you have ever seen the movie Groundhog Day, but it's about a day that keeps repeating. I feel like I am in that movie lately. I haven't fallen down or had any kind of tooth problems in years...and now it seems as if those two things just keep happening over and over. I want it to end already! I am tired of it.

I think it's time to go crawl in the chair with my quilt where it's safe!

Hugs, K. <3

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Scars Left By Lost Toys


At some point we have all seen a child crying over a beloved lost toy they had brought along on a shopping trip or to a restaurant. Usually the parents are frantically trying to figure out where it was left so they can retrieve it. Maybe the parents look so hard for it because they don't want to hear their child crying...or maybe it brings up a memory of a toy lost in their own past.

This afternoon I had an e-mail from a customer who adopted Garbanzo and Mariposa, my little mouse. She told me a story about a little mouse that used to ride around in her pocket when she was a child and one day the mouse was gone. This is the second story of a lost mouse I have heard.

Some years ago I was rooming with another artist friend at a show and she told me a story about a little white Steiff mouse that she always carried around in her pocket. She said it gave her great comfort as a child to know it was there. But one day in a fit of anger, her Mother threw it in the fire. 40 years later a tear still came to her eye when she told me about it. She hadn't just lost a stuffed toy, she had lost a friend and something that made her feel safe and secure.

I spent the next few months scouring e-bay looking for a white Steiff mouse from that time period that was in good condition. I finally found one and sent it to her for Christmas. When the package arrived she called to tell me it had gotten there safely. I told her to go ahead and open it. When she saw what was inside she burst into tears on the phone. I wasn't sure whether I had done the right thing or not. I didn't want to bring up a bad memory. But she said she couldn't believe I had remembered the story she told and that it was the nicest gift she had ever gotten. Also that it was exactly like the mouse she had. I guess I did do the right thing.

Another friend once told me that when she went to college she decided she was a grown up and didn't need her old teddy bear anymore so she gave it to Goodwill along with a box of old clothes. She is over 70 now and she said she still regrets giving him away the most out of all the things she has let go of in her life.

When I was little my security stuffed toy was a little red leather dog. While my dog wasn't lost, he didn't survive to my adulthood. I carried him everywhere and always slept with him under my neck for some reason. I wore a hole through the leather after many years. Being stuffed with sawdust it all fell out when the hole appeared. Being made of leather, there was no way to repair him. I cried so hard at his loss that my Grandmother took me shopping to find a replacement. I ended up coming home with a little velvet Bagheera from the Jungle Book, which had just come out in movie form from Disney. Sadly after a few years Bagheera met the exact same fate as the little red dog.

I still have a small odd patch of rough skin on my neck from sleeping with them under it for so many years that no amount of scrubbing or lotion will soften. Aside from the physical scar, I still think about them from time to time. I have an inexpensive pellet filled stuffed horse that my Mom bought me a few years ago. She didn't really understand why I wanted it since it was cheap toy and not like the things I collect, but she bought it for me anyway. I was going to buy it, but she wanted to get me something that day, so that's what I came home with. It made him even more special that she bought him for me though. I am sure she probably doesn't remember the red dog. He is much bigger than my dog was, but so am I now. He has an elongated body and on rare occasions when I get extremely stressed I still put it under my neck to sleep. I suppose it's because he supports it a little, I have chronic neck problems both from work and that simply being the place where I carry my stress. That may very well be why I slept with those toys under my neck as a child too, I am not sure. Most women either carry their stress in their neck or their back. Aside from that, Chili Pepper (in the pic above) still offers a sort of comfort reminiscent of my little red dog. But I love him every bit as much as all my expensive artist bears and Steiff pieces.

It's kind of funny how these things stick with us. Sure they were just things, but those lost toys seem to travel on with us through our lives even as adults, and we mourn their loss. Sometimes I meet someone who thinks what I do for a living is odd. They don't understand the importance toys hold for so many even through adulthood. That's a large reason why I make the type of bears and animals I do. They have that well loved look. Many times I have been told when someone purchases a piece that it reminds them of something they had as a child, and you can see that they are having a memory of some beloved toy lost to time. Mission accomplished! I like being able to fill the empty niche that is left behind from our lost friends.

To this day I always watch for a little red dog, but sadly I have no idea what company made it so it's a nearly impossible search. I have never tried to make one, I don't know why. Maybe someday his doppelganger will find me anyway.

Hold tightly to your children's toys, even if they feel in a moment that they have outgrown them. A day will come again when they want the comfort they once offered, because inside all of us is lives that child that needs their old friend once in a blue moon.
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