Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Belated Christmas

Hi everyone,  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!  I am sorry I haven't been posting but I have been having serious computer issues.  They should be resolved next weekend when we hook up the new one I got for Christmas.

Hang in there!  Hugs, K. <3

Monday, December 13, 2010

30 Years Ago Today

It's been crazy lately.  R and I have been passing the flu back and forth, and in between I have been making the house ready for Christmas.  I have been decorating, shopping, doing cards and wrapping  for two weeks.  As a result I haven't gotten a single bear done. 

But I am taking today off to work on a very special bear before I start doing some major cleaning this week.  I have company coming soon. 

Today is kind of special though, since it was 30 years ago today I finished that very first bear.  I wanted to show him to you, but he is packed away in an old steamer trunk in the garage and it's nearly impossible to get to him right now with all the tubs of decorations out. 

So instead I thought I would show you Fenway.  Fen was made right around the halfway point in my career.  But he is a very important bear because he represents a turning point for me.  Fen was that bear that was finally what I wanted to make.  That look that I wanted and had taken me so long to get to.  It's not that the bears for the first fifteen were bad, they simply didn't define who I wanted to be as an artist.

You have to remember back then we didn't have as many books, or the information was pretty scarce.  It was all trial by fire back in those days.  Now, artists have the advantage of endless information, photos and tips on how to make things and they can achieve the look they want much sooner.

It's been a wonderful journey, and I wouldn't change the time it took me to get to where I want to be.  I have learned so much, built a good business reputation, traveled the world, been able to help charities and the best part...what I do makes people happy...including me!  You can't ask for more than that!  So today I am taking one shining day off of getting ready for the holidays and working on three 30th anniversary bears.  You will get to see them soon hopefully. 

Then it's back to cleaning!  For those of you who made special requests for pieces...they are coming...I swear!
Hugs, K. <3

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Little Follow Up On Yesterday's Post About Adoption

I always hesitate to make posts like I did yesterday. I am well aware that many people only like to read happy posts. But my blog is called a stuffed life, and while it's about my life making collectible stuffed's also about my life which is stuffed with lots of things. Some of those things aren't pretty, happy or good. Life is like that, it's messy and hard sometimes. I just throw it all out there. Once in a while it's nice to not read something happy and pretty...and just know you're not alone in whatever kind of garbage you have gone through.

I want to thank everyone for your very kind comments. But I also want to express my shock at what I have learned by how many of you told me that either you or someone you knew heard this same over qualified to be parents response to adoption. I honestly thought this was something weird that just happened to us, but apparently it's not. It's a comment that many, many people have heard. I had no idea.

I have gone from sad to outraged that people are being told this so often. How can anyone be over qualified to be a parent? If you are over qualified for the toughest job on the planet...then the system should throw open the doors and welcome us in to choose all the children we want. Dear God, there are children that need loving, safe homes where they will get the attention and care they need. So what is going on? Why are they being allowed to sit in orphanages or being passed around to foster parents when they could have a decent, steady home that so many of us are willing to provide???

Many people told me it's all about the money, and I believe this is true. But I also believe this is completely sick. Who designed this system? And where can I go to give them a piece of my mind?

Between all the places that my blog posts are posted to, I have heard countless stories since yesterday. I am heart broken for all of us, and all the children that didn't get the benefit our homes and sharing our lives. Something has to change. It can't be all about the money, it has to be about these children and what they need.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

130,000 Children

This afternoon as I putting up more decorations I turned on the TV. I knew that I wouldn't be able to focus totally on a program so I started watching "The Talk." Part of their discussion today was on adoption. They said there are 130,000 children in the system that need homes.

13 years ago I was told I would never be able to have children through the conventional method. R and I decided to try in-vitro. I never had the procedure. I took the Clomid, which makes you crazy. Also at the same time I was house hunting. Three months worth...which also makes you crazy. When you do in-vitro you have to get your period by a certain date each month based on your schedule. If you don't they have to move you back to the next month. That's extremely stressful, combined with the Clomid and the house hunting, I didn't get a period nearly the entire time thanks to the stress. I finally couldn't take it anymore and we decided to look into adoption instead.

On the show they said that these children need good homes. Yes they do, but it's not that easy. When R and I went to adopt we couldn't afford a private adoption through a lawyer at that time. We had just bought the house and it was very expensive to adopt that way so we looked into other ways. Not to mention that in Colorado it's all for the birth mother and she has the right to reclaim the child at any point.

We went to Lutheran Family Services. We were told we would never be given a child because we were over qualified. Yes really. We had been married ten years and had a good marriage. R had a decent and steady job, and I was a stay at home artist. We had never had any problems with the law or psychological issues. So we were basically too good to be true and no one would ever believe it. We met with this kind of resistance everywhere we went.

It was also suggested that we be foster parents, but I could not bring a child into this house, get attached to him or her and have to let them go. That to me would be more heart breaking than never having children at all.

As the years have gone by I have come to terms with it. We had our hopes raised many times only to have them dashed. I had to come to terms with it or be heartbroken every few months to a year. But it doesn't mean that I don't feel sad and still wish I had children. I do. In fact it's the greatest heart break of my life. I don't know if I would have been a great parent, but I certainly would have given it my very best. I know R would have been wonderful at it. He is that type of person.

It's very hard to watch shows like I did today and to hear them say that there are so SO many children in the system that need homes, to know we have a home and love to share and can't do it because of something so ridiculous as the suspicious nature of people who think we were over qualified to be parents. That we must be hiding some deep dark evil secret. I try not to let it bother me, I try to believe we simply weren't meant to have children...but every once in a while it's just so hard.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bad Romance

I wanted to share this with you, because these guys are both really good and really funny!  I like them better than the Lady Gaga original!  Not bad for a cappella!  I was part of A Cappella in high school...and it was one of the most terrifying things I ever did, so kudos to them!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Busy Busy

I just wanted to give you a quick update.  I have been crazy busy getting the house ready for Christmas.  Lots of decorating and things to do.

I have also been having a bit of computer problems.  I think I have it solved...maybe.

I am hoping to be able to get some work in tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

~*~ Chilly *~*

December has rolled in with sparkle and shine.  I am feeling better and sleeping so well!  I finally got back to work, and have finished Chilly.  He is a little more distressed than the previous two snowmen.  I really like him, and he is a little more Winter and little less Christmas specific. 

I do love the Christmas holidays.  Everything seems brighter and friendlier. 

If you would like to visit Chilly you can do that on the Animals Page of my well nevermind, he has been adopted! =}

There will be more pieces soon!  I have to decorate the tree first though!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday ~ Free Shipping

It's that time of year again my darlings!  From now until 5am PST I am offering free shipping on all orders through my website in honor of Cyber Monday.  This includes international shipping as well.  If you would like to buy a piece, just send me an e-mail and I will be happy to adjust the invoice for you. 

Happy holiday shopping!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quick Update

Hi all, I just wanted to let you know that I haven't been posting (or working) because this flu finally reached it's full force Thursday.  I cooked what had to be the best dinner I have ever made and then by the time it was ready I could barely eat any.

I have mainly been sleeping for several days.  I will be back to posting (and working) as soon as I can!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  Hugs, K. <3

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lost Bears And Brain Cells

The past couple weeks have been really crazy for me.  What with everything that has been going on, having stomach flu and making bears non stop, my usually rapier sharp brain has become a puddle of mush.  I have made a couple of serious blunders even to the point of complimenting an artist on work that wasn't hers because I had been looking at show bears and blogs with bears and I was in image overload.  I love her bears though!  I just had a moment of confusion that left me feeling like an idiot.  (Color me bright red!)  Unfortunately that was just the last in a series of really stupid things I have done the past few days.

I called R's cell phone three times today meaning to call my Mother.  I have lost my glasses at least 100 times this week.  I took a bath, forgot I took it and took another one 20 minutes later only to wonder why my towel was damp.  I need sleep and food!

A few days after the passing of my step brother, my half brother sent me an e-mail.  I hadn't heard anything out of him in about eight years.  I only met him once when I was 12.  But about ten years ago I found his phone number and called him.  We corresponded for a while and then he stopped responding.  So you can imagine my shock when I got an e-mail last week out of the blue.  For an only child I have a lot of siblings that I don't know.  Apparently I have a 15 month old grand nephew too!  Isn't that exciting! Somewhere in the world I have a half sister too, assuming she is still alive.  But unfortunately I don't know a thing about her, not even her name.

I have also been making bears non stop for weeks.  I haven't been eating or sleeping much because I have been drinking excessive amounts of coffee to keep myself going.  Plus I have been in the proverbial "zone" of bear making.   In fact I still have a snowman in the works that didn't quite get done in time for the show, my weird idea I want to make, and two special orders I haven't even started yet...both of which involve making new patterns.

A few posts back I told you I made a bear just for myself, which is something I never do.  But even more out of character, I decided to keep the bear I made after that one as well. He was grey and I don't have a single grey bear.  Plus I just really liked him.  Fogbow is shown above.  This afternoon I finally got around to giving him something to wear.  I had him all done up, was carrying him upstairs when I decided to go get the mail.  I found a piece of mail laying in my front yard (I have the worst postman ever) that belonged to my neighbors, so I took it over to her.  She looked at me really strangely, but I didn't know why.  I came back in the house, went to get lunch and ended up watching Dr. Phil...also something that I NEVER do.  I don't watch daytime talk shows and Dr. Phil would be at the very bottom of my list if I were going to watch some.  But they were doing something on dumb blondes that aren't really dumb or something to that effect and I got caught up in it.

I suddenly realized two things.  I had my shirt on inside out AND backwards...which probably explains why the neighbor was staring at me so oddly.  I also realized the bear wasn't upstairs.  Now if you read my blog then you know my memory retention is terrifyingly good.  I remember everything I read, see and hear and I know where every thing right down to the tiniest bead, button and safety pin is in my house.  So I was just blown away when I had absolutely no idea where Fogbow was.  I was drawing a complete blank.  Not the first time that has happened this week either.  It's the strangest feeling for me to have no idea.  I tore this house apart looking for him.  After about an hour and a half I noticed him happily waiting in the key tray on my foyer table for my neurons to fire and remember where he was.  *Smacks her forehead*  I have absolutely no recollection of setting him there.  None.  It's just weird.  But he is safe and sound now. 

Tomorrow I am going to go to the post office to mail out all the pieces to their new homes...then since R will be gone for the night, I am going to get a much needed relaxation massage.  After that...I am going to come home and just sleep.  Maybe I will be able to recover some lost brain cells in the process!

~*~ Dovey, Whitaker, Smudge & Smidge ~*~

This week four pieces got great homes, and I have four new ones for you!  First up is Dovey, a delicate little dressed girl.  I rarely do dressed or white bears so she is definitely a one of a kind.  I also have a new large bear; Whitaker.  He is the most lovely shade of forest green, and perfect for Autumn.  Next I have my two elves, Smudge and Smidge.  Smudge is tall and lanky and Smidge is short and chubby!

You can visit them on the Bears Page of my website!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Show Tomorrow!

Ok my darlings, tomorrow is it!  The show begins at 9 am EST, 7 am for those of us in Colorado.  I have some lovely new pieces for you, including the two shown in the previous post.  But you cannot access my show page by going to my website directly.  We are not permitted to put a link directly to it.  You will need to go to Teddies Worldwide in order to click the link to my page. 

See you there!  Hugs, K. <3

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teddies Worldwide Online Holiday Bear Show Sneak Peek

The preview page has been opened and we are finally allowed to give you a little taste of things to come this weekend!  Smudge and Jolly are just two of the pieces that will be available.  If you would like to check out the rest of the preview you can do that by clicking here: Teddies Worldwide Online Holiday Bear Show

The show starts Saturday at 9 AM EST and runs through Sunday until 4 PM.  You can access my page through a link on the main show page.  I will have some more new surprises in store for you!   Hope to see you there!

Hugs, K. <3

Monday, November 15, 2010

Accepting The Gift

Have you ever been given a gift and responded with something like...oh you shouldn't have...or didn't have to do that!  It's kind of a go to response for many people.  We don't always know how to accept a gift.  Sometimes we probably don't think we are worthy of it.  Other times we don't even recognize it as a gift.

It's a shame when that happens.  It means that someone loves us and took time to make that extra special effort on our behalf, so how can we turn that down so easily?

27 years ago I was given a gift.  I didn't know it at the time.  My Mother came home and announced she was getting married again.  I still lived at home but I was nearly an adult and had my own life, so I really didn't know much about this man she was going to marry.  I had met him in passing, and I was delighted she was getting married again.  In fact I had been trying to marry her off for years. 

Over the years as I got to know him, I came to realize that he was the sort of person we all aspire to be.  He is kind, compassionate, faithful and would help anyone out who needs it.  He is just an all around good person.  I will never be as good of person as he is, but I sincerely wish I could be.  I have used him as an example to apply to my own actions on many occasions.

Like my Mother, this was his second marriage.  The first time he was married he adopted three children all when they were babies, so he was the only Father they ever knew.  He looked upon them as gifts.  After he got his divorce they didn't have much to do with him sadly.

This week we received the news that the youngest, my step-brother passed away rather unexpectedly.  While it's had a huge impact, you don't need to offer me any condolences because despite being a member of our immediate family, I only met him once, and it was a couple decades ago.  So I don't feel a great personal sense of loss.  But yet his passing has had a deep effect on me all the same.

I feel an unspeakable sadness and sense of loss for what my Step Father must be going through right now.  He doesn't deserve this pain.  But oddly the greatest sadness I feel is for my step brother.  He was given such an incredible gift in having this very fine man as a Father and he didn't recognize it for what it was, nor did he accept it.  Now that he is gone, he will never know what was truly offered to him.

I can imagine the devastation my Step Father is feeling right now.  I am sure deep in his heart he always hoped a time would come when his son would reach out to him in the way he reached out from the very beginning.  That opportunity has passed now, and it makes me sad beyond what words can express.

So I have shed many tears for the loss of a man I didn't know, and the pain of one I know well.  I thank God that I do recognize him for the gift he is, and I have tried to show it to the best of my ability so that he knows he is loved.  He has made up for so many things that my own Father was not.  I don't blame my Father for his frailties, but he was a damaged person and not the Father I wished he could have been.  I have been very fortunate to have my step Father take that place in my life and my heart several years after my own Father had passed on.  That was undeniably a gift that I didn't expect.

When someone offers you a gift, great or small....whether it's a member or a higher power.  Accept it with grace.  You do deserve it because you are loved.  The one who offers the gift needs to know that you appreciate it too...that's important to them so that they know they are loved in return. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mean People

I have been dealing with a lot of stress this week.  Tonight it finally got the better of me when I tried to open a new bottle of apple juice.  They put the lids on so tight and I couldn't get it off.  R was in bed so I couldn't ask him to do it.  I couldn't find the gripper thing either.  I ended up making a few frustrated, unsavory remarks to the bottle.  Luckily it was just a bottle and wasn't offended.

But if it had happened when I was in public, what might I have said to a stranger who inadvertently did something to cause me more stress?  Let's face it, we have all been there.  We try to be good, kind, polite people...but sometimes life can just pile up on us and stress speaks for us.

I recently read an account of someone who had something very unkind said to them at a show.  They didn't understand why that person was so mean to them.  Naturally people came along and made comments to the effect that some people just live to make other's lives miserable, and some people have no manners, etc.

But can we really judge a person that harshly based on one momentary encounter?  I am not in any way condoning such actions, but I think we need to stop and ask ourselves if there is something larger going on. 

Not that long ago a young man made some very rude remarks to me because I got in his way. The type of remarks I wouldn't repeat in polite company...or even in the company of salty sailors.  It was an accident, I hadn't meant to.  When he started cursing at me, I took one look at him and knew something was going very wrong in his life.  A part of me just wanted to hug him and tell him that it would be ok, but of course he wasn't mentally receptive to that and probably would have slugged me.  What I didn't do however was respond in kind.  He clearly had problems and didn't need me adding to them.  What he said was just words, it didn't mean anything or change my life in any way.  I didn't even let it ruin my afternoon.

I don't really believe that most people are one dimensionally mean all the time.  Sure I suppose there are a few, but even then I think there is something that has happened in their lives to make them mean.  Usually it's some type of fear.

As for people with no manners...well maybe they weren't taught to be respectful.  But again that follows a chain of events back to the person who didn't teach them.

I know it's difficult when someone is mean to us and we don't know why, but remember they are people...and sometimes people just go through rough times.  Being confrontational or saying mean things back doesn't help the situation.  Chances are later after the encounter they felt bad about it.  When you were mean to a stranger due to stress, worry or fear weren't you sorry later?  I know on those rare occasions when I let life get the better of me and I take it out on someone who doesn't deserve it and doesn't understand I was certainly sorry later.

While we usually can't go back and fix what we did in those instances, we can try to be understanding when we are on the receiving end.  And...I will try not to abuse my apple juice anymore.

Have a lovely day!  Hugs, K. <3

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Good Stuff

I know it's been a few days since I made a post, but I have been busy, busy, BUSY!   I had a large household chore that couldn't wait and took two days.  It was painful to have to stop making bears to do it, but sometimes things have to be done.

I have also been working on the webpage for the show.  That has to be done for approval on the 15th, so it can't wait either.  The show is the 20-21st.  I hope you will all stop by, I have some fun new pieces, including two adorable elves, and several others.

The new Teddy Bear & Friends magazine came out and along with my ad, I also had two bears featured in the collecting/most wanted section.  They also sent out an online holiday gift guide, and I had an editorial in it.  How exciting is that!

While I was working the other night, I had a very weird idea for something to make.  I am going to give it a try once I am done with all these new pieces.  So stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One Just For Me...Maybe

One afternoon when R and I had only been married a short time he came home to find me with a finished bear and a couple tears running down my cheeks.  I had been working very hard getting ready for a show.  He asked what was wrong and I told him I had made a bear that I really liked and I wanted to keep it. 

He was puzzled as to why I was crying over this.  What he didn't understand was that I was feeling extremely conflicted about that.  I explained to him that my Mom always told me to sell them.  In fact she convinced me so well that I felt guilt if I wanted to keep one.  He hugged me and told me that I made it and I could do what I wanted to with it, and if I wanted to keep it that was perfectly ok.  I did keep it.

I never really got over feeling that way though.  Usually when I want to keep one I end up feeling too guilty about it and sell it.  As a result I have very, very few of my own bears.  (I have lots from other artists!)

When I made that very first bear all those years ago I made it with the intention of keeping it.  I made the second one as a present for a friend, and I really had nothing in particular in mind when I made the third one other than that I wanted to try to make my own pattern from scratch.  It was the third one that sold and through a series of events that started me in the bear business.  In all the years that have followed I have never sat down to make another bear that was just meant for me.

I have been working very hard lately getting new pieces done...some of which you have seen and others that are being held back for the upcoming online holiday show. I have been alternating so you get to see one and then I hold one, etc.  In there I made the new bear pattern that you saw with Bastian and another one you haven't seen yet.  I really love that pattern. I wish you could hold things through the computer so you know how truly delightful they feel in your hand. 

 Anyway...last night I took some time out from making bears for my collectors, and sat down with the intention of making a bear just for myself.  He is only halfway through the distressing process and he isn't detailed yet...but I snapped a quick pic.  It remains to be seen if I can bring myself to keep him or not.  Either way I like him, he has a really sweet face!

I will show him to you later when he is finished.  In the mean time I am going to go fall into bed!

Have a lovely day, K. <3

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cause And Effect

Many people aren't aware that time is not a constant on this planet.  Mass has a direct relationship on gravity, and something with a large mass slows down time the closer you are to it.  For instance if you were standing next to the Great Pyramid time would be going a smidge slower there than it would be ten miles away.

Of course there is an exception to every rule.  For some reason that physics cannot explain when a group of men stand next to a football, which has very little mass,  2 hours slows down to 3 1/2-4 hours.  It's quite a phenomenon really.

One thing that is a constant however, is that if you spend your life with another human being...a day will come when you look at that face you love so much and wonder to yourself exactly when they lost their mind. 

When we first met R liked football, but he only watched his team play.  He has always been a Raiders fan.  I am not sure why since he has never lived in California and he doesn't even care for the state. 

As the years rolled by he added more and more games to his TV repertoire.  As of last season he started watching talk shows pertaining to the game as well as the games themselves.

Now if you read my blog you know I that I love R and think he is a great guy. He is a logical guy as a rule and not given to superstitions and the like.  But he is a guy...and recently he has fallen into that psychosis that sports enthusiasts can fall into. He has  become one of those guys that cheers and does a little dance when they score as if he made the touchdown himself.   He has also decided I can't wash his Raiders lounge pants and jersey until they lose. 

This season for some inexplicable reason so many other men, think this has a direct effect on whether they win or not.  I guess that training, weather conditions and the location of the stadium they play in doesn't factor in as much as one would think.

Nope it's because he is wearing dirty clothes.  Who knew?

As I was doing laundry today I found myself secretly hoping they lose...and soon!  I wonder how much time slows down around an article of clothing when it builds up layers of dirt?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Design And An Interesting Turn About

First of all I want to tell you that I have been working hard the last few days on new graphics for my website.  They are really cute...cuter than I usually do, but I love it so much!  Maybe I am mellowing with age?  At any rate if you would like to go see all the cute you can do that by clicking here: Blondheart

I had an interesting revelation today.  It's no secret that artist's can be very isolated sometimes in what we do.  While the people in our sphere of existence can encourage us and indulge us, they don't always understand what we do, and exactly how we do it.  We tend to accept that fact.

But what we sometimes forget is that we are not always isolated in our thinking or our actions because other artists think the same way.  It's something that doesn't come up in conversation that often.

We are often inspired by other artists.  Sometimes what they create spurs our own imagination or we discover some little detail we want to incorporate into our own work.  Now don't confuse this with copying another artist.  It's certainly not the same thing.

A little earlier I was looking at an artist's work that has inspired me a few times over the years.  Our bears don't look anything alike other than that they are vintage inspired.  I commented on a certain aspect of the new pieces and how much I liked it.  She replied a bit sheepishly that she picked that thing up from me. 

Now I am rarely speechless.  But I couldn't think of a single thing to say for about a full minute.  I just sat there gaping.  For some reason that thought simply never occurred to me.  Wow.  What an interesting turn about.  An artist who has inspired me is also inspired by me!

It's funny, when we look at our peers we don't always think about how they look at us.  When we make something we tend to focus on what we might have done better on a piece.  Or maybe we are completely satisfied with how it turned out.  Whichever it is, we only look at it from our perspective.  But do we stop to think about how another artist out there might be thinking they like what we did so much they are inspired to incorporate that little detail here and there into their own work?

I guess sometimes we think people make something so wonderful that they arrive at it completely 100% all on their own.  Which of course is rarely the case.  It's nice to know we aren't as isolated as we sometimes think and that we can inspire as well as be inspired!

Friday, November 5, 2010

~*~ Tinsel ~*~

I finally have something new to show you!  I have been working very hard on snowmen lately.  I only managed to get one pic of him though.  I was insanely busy working on a project tonight after I finished him up.  I will have more pics of him tomorrow though.

In the mean time if you would like to visit him, you can do that on the Animals page of my website. 

And now...I am going to go collapse in bed.  Have a great day!

Hugs, K. <3

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Little White Bunny

This afternoon I went out shopping for a few things I needed.  I went to look for one of those things in my favorite antique mall.  I did find what I wanted, but as I was cruising past a tall cabinet that held jewelry, I noticed a bit of aged white fluff on the top shelf.

The tag read "Possible Steiff?"  He isn't of course.  He is just a little Japanese knockoff piece from the late 50's to early 60's.  In an uncharacteristic fit of haggling, I asked if he would call and ask if they would take a lower price.  She was quite agreeable and took 15% off. 

I am not entirely sure I got a bargain, but he had such charm I bought him anyway.  I was going to replace his lost eyes, but when I got him home I realized two very funny things.  One is that whoever tried to mend him glued the buttons on instead of sewing them.  I thought that was odd until I realized the second funny thing...he doesn't have any stuffing in his head, it's just some type of ball form that's very hard.

Maybe it's for the best, his little white shell button eyes add to the personality that I found endearing anyway.  He isn't jointed, but his head permanently looks to one side.  Probably from being carried tightly against the body of the child who loved him.

I gave him a new ribbon since he didn't have one...and I would swear he is smiling a tiny bit more now than when he was in the jewelry case!

I have been working very hard and haven't had time to post much, but I thought since I can't show you all my fun new holiday pieces just yet, I would show you my little treasure I found instead.  You will get to see the three new pieces at the show on the 20th.

Not to worry though, there will be some new stuff you can see soon!  Bastian and Pip flew off to their new homes yesterday.  Pip is going all the way to Glasgow...and I wanted to hand deliver him! Bastian is off to sunny California.  I miss him already!

Monday, November 1, 2010

And The Winner Is...

We have a winner in the Haunted By Holmes Give Away!  The lucky girl chosen by randomizer is Alyssa at Clever Penguin!

Congratulations Alyssa! Please send me an e-mail (link at the right) with your address and I shall send it right off to you!

Thanks for entering everyone!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween And Blog Give Away

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!  I hope you get lots of treats and no tricks!

Also tonight at midnight is the drawing for my Haunted By Holmes Blog Give Away so you still have time to enter!  Good luck!

Hugs, K. <3

Friday, October 29, 2010

Keeping Secrets And Sharing Techniques

My previous post generated a lot of comments through the various places it posted.  The interesting thing to me was that it was divided on how people feel about sharing information on how to do something.

Some artists feel that it's important to share as much as possible and other believe in keeping their practices to themselves.  I think either way is fine, it depends on what is right for you.

When I said I don't normally do tutorials, that's not because I don't want to tell you how to do a thing.  It's simply because I make traditional bears and there really isn't much I can add to that discussion that isn't already out there tenfold.  I don't use any really cool techniques like trapunto or needle felting or any one of a hundred other little things other bear artists do.  I like traditional bears.  I like being able to create something that has a bit of an old world craftsmanship feel to it.  I certainly love many artists work that incorporate some pretty nifty bells and whistles.  But for me, I like to make traditional.  I have been told many times I have an old soul.  I don't know exactly what that means, but maybe that's the reason why.

The fact is, if you ask me how to do something I will most likely tell you.  The one and ONLY secret I keep is what I use to distress the bears.  A girl has to retain a little mystery ya know!

Aside from keeping the mystery, I also firmly believe that no fledgling artist should ever have every thing told them about how to create something.  Part of the journey is learning your own techniques through trial and error.  Sometimes the best techniques are the ones that are discovered by happenstance or necessity.  I also believe it teaches us to be self reliant and think things through, thus creating a better crafted piece.

Over the years I have tried a thing here and there that I saw someone else do, but I haven't ever sought out the information on how to do it.  I like to figure things out on my own.

When it comes to art, I truly do believe that the journey is as important as the destination.

Distressing Process

A friend of mine was looking at Bastian yesterday and she commented on how perfectly the piece of vintage ribbon was that I used suited him.  She said most people wouldn't even look for something like that when they went antiquing

I laughed and told her that it wasn't vintage at all.  She asked how I could make something look so convincing.  (It's even more convincing when you see it in person, because the coloring to make it look faded and stained is subtle for the most part.) 

 People often wonder how I make the bears and their costuming look aged and worn.  I don't normally give tutorials.  I am not going to give you one now either.  My one secret is how I distress them and what I use, because I have spent literally years figuring it all out and how to make things look dirty that are in fact hermetically clean. 

However, I will give some tips for anyone who is interested in making things look old, whether it's a bear or anything else.

First of all lets go over what not to do.  Years and years ago I went to a show and I saw an artist that had some distressed, vintage looking pieces.  They looked quite amazing.  I picked one up and it felt really odd.  Luckily a customer asked them what they used to make their work look dirty.  The artist said she used real dirt. I immediately went and washed my hands.

I beg you, please never use dirt, sand or gravel to make anything look old.  I think I can safely say that most people want a clean product.

I also urge you to never use any food based products other than possibly tea or coffee.  I have heard of a lot of food based products that people use, but they can fade away quickly, and if you're going to go to all the effort to make something look a certain way you want it to stay looking that way for as long as possible.

Also depending on what type of food based thing you use you can attract bugs or even pets to it.  You don't want your piece chewed up. 

Once you have discovered your perfect distressing medium for whatever you make, the next question is how to apply it?  Many people use an airbrush and in the beginning so did I.  I love the look it gives, it's very soft and easy to apply...but it doesn't really look authentic because it's too even.

I have a mental process that I use.  At this point it's almost subconscious for me to do this as I am working, but in the beginning I really thought this through.  I kind of go through a fictional history of how it got to it's present condition.

Since Bastian is my example for the day, I will use him.  When he was finished being assembled, he hadn't been distressed yet.  I put the shiny new ribbon with the heart on him as if it had been a long necklace.  He looked the way he would have when he would have been first purchased if he was really an old bear.  I always age the costuming after I put it on the bear.

The next question is what would his life have been like?  I know that might sound crazy, but it's important to get to the place you want to be.  I think he would have belonged to a little girl who wasn't terribly rough on her toys.  Some of them would have maybe belonged to children who were rough on their toys which is why some are more distressed than others. 

She probably liked to have tea parties which of course he was always invited to, so he was handled a lot.  That's why he is missing a bit of fur here and there.  She probably had her tea parties outside in the summer and naturally he went along, so his feet and paws would darker from her trailing around with him.  He would have been carried in her arm so that's why he is slouchy in the middle now.  Gravity takes it's toll on all of us.  His joints would loosen a bit, the stuffing would break down in some areas.

I am sure she would have slept with him.  Being right handed like most people she would have had him on her right side which is why the ribbon is flattened and a bit more stained on the side that it is and also why that side of his muzzle is a bit darker than the other.  She would have kissed him goodnight every night because that's what children do with their favorite stuffed toy. 

Through use and play the ribbon would have gotten a few holes here and there and faded from the sun.  As for the safety pins...I don't know, that's just something I would have done as a kid.  Don't ask me why.  I probably would have thought they were pretty because of the color and I would have pinned them to fact when you think about it, I actually did do that to him!  *laughs*

I know that might seem like a lot to go through, but if you want something to come anywhere near looking authentic you have to give it a history in order to make it convincing.  That applies to anything you want to make look old.  Just ask yourself how would this have aged?  If you aren't sure how your type of art would age, try to study authentically old pieces and see the commonalities.  Ask yourself how did it get like that?  Once you can tell that story, you're on the right road.  All that's left to do is mix in a little artistic license!

Hugs, K. <3

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

~*~ Bastian ~*~

While it may take me a long time to design a new animal pattern, it does not take me long to design new bears.  I have made a couple thousand bears in my lifetime and I kinda know what I am doin at this point. 

I don't usually save old patterns once I stop making them.  I feel that it's better not to because I have to keep making new ones in order to always move forward.  Not to mention that after three decades if I kept them all, I would have patterns stacked to the rafters.  That's not to say I won't revisit an idea though.

Quite a few years ago I made a very long, lanky bear pattern.  I made about 20-25 bears from that pattern and everyone really loved them.  They were nice and slouchy, very loosely jointed and a bit under stuffed in the limbs and body so they were really huggable.  I had been thinking about making that style bear again for a while.  So night before last I decided to sit down and design the pattern.  I made it not quite as long as the first lanky bear pattern, but I like this one a great deal.  He is just right!

I spent all of yesterday making the bear.  I think he turned out splendidly if I do say so myself!  I have a feeling he won't be here long, and when he goes I will miss him.  If you would like to visit Bastian, you can do that on the Bears page of my website.

PS...I figured out what to do with the hearts I made!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

With Childlike Abandon

Have you ever watched a small child who has just been given some art supplies for the first time?  Maybe they got a water color set or some modeling clay.  Almost every child will immediately start making something.

They don't stop to ask themselves if they have any talent, if they can do it, will it be any good, or should they even try.  All they think is yay I get to make something!  They approach the new project without hesitation or trepidation.

When they are finished they proudly take their newly formed masterpiece and show it off for everyone to see.

When we grow up we tend to lose that carefree attitude about art.  We can over think it.  I did just that this week.  I went and bought the paper clay right away after I told you I was going to try it.

But I let it sit on my table a little too long.  The shiny package beckoning me and taunting me at the same time.  I began to wonder if I could make anything out of it.  Should I even try?  Or should I toss it into the drawer of things I think I want to try and talk myself out of due to fear of failure?

I was about to choose the latter when I thought about my first work of art when I was three years old.  I suddenly had a flash of how that felt.  I decided, what the heck I would try it.

Working with Paper Clay proved to be harder than I thought.  I hadn't sculpted anything in many years and it's not like Sculpy or Fimo at all.  But I made a couple of funny little hearts.

Sure they rather resemble something actually made by a small child. (They look a little better in person, they didn't photograph all that well.)  But after painting them and adding the crackle finish, I decided there was a certain appeal to them.  Maybe I hadn't failed so badly after all. 

I don't know what I am going to do with them.  But I do know two things...I am going to play with the paper clay a bit more and I am sure with a little practice I can improve.  The other thing I know now, is that when I want to try to something, I am not going to talk myself out of it.  Instead I am going to approach it with childlike abandon!

PS...I did make something new that turned out really cute tonight, but you won't get to see if for another month yet.  It's one of the pieces for the online Holiday Bear Show listed at the right.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Killing The Bluebird To Find Happiness

Most artists who have a website and/or blog end up joining social networking sites at some point. While some people find those to work out very well and be a wonderful tool to use in their business, others don't.

If you read my blog then you know I am not a big fan of those sites. I gave up on Twitter (that's the killing the bluebird part) long ago and was happier for it, and Facebook still vexes me because I find it convoluted and very user unfriendly...but I still make feeble attempts with Facebook.

If you belong to this type of site, one of the main goals is to expand your social network. People follow us and we follow others, we receive friend requests, etc. We usually tend to accept these without much thought as to who is offering and why. I've done it, we all have.  Most of the people who send requests are very nice, friendly people who share common interests with us.

This afternoon I was reading a blog post about someone who was encountering a problem on one of these sites. It reminded me of two conversations with artist friends I have had in the past few months, one had an issue on Twitter and the other on Facebook. So this post is dedicated to my two friends, and anyone else who has encountered this problem.

If you are online long enough and put yourself out there you are inevitably going to run into someone who is less than kind. In fact you might run into someone who is downright nasty without cause.

Now when I have run into these people, the first thing I do is give them the benefit of the doubt. Is it possible I misinterpreted their words or intent? It's easy to do when you don't hear voice inflections and see facial expressions. I tend to speak in a straight forward manner and I have been misinterpreted many times in both what I was saying and my intent. The thing I get most often is that people think I am mad, when in fact I am not at all. The internet is kind of a funny thing, people tend to take the worst interpretation of anything as a default mode. Also when someone voices an opinion or doesn't make a pretty, fluffy post people sometimes rail against it. I am not sure why that is.  Life isn't one giant picture postcard.

But other times what is said cannot be misinterpreted. So if I encounter someone who is being less than kind, I still try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I like to believe that most people are basically nice, but everyone has an off day now and again. Believe me, I have off days...I am human.  I ask myself is this really the character of the person, or is something going on in their real life that is making them type these things as an outlet.

However there are always going to be a small handful of people who get very brave thanks to the anonymity of the net and turn into keyboard commandos. It can be easy for some to be cruel to someone when they don't have to look them in the eye.

So what happens when you encounter one of these people? Having hate or anger aimed at us can be very hurtful if it comes out of the blue, or you don't feel as if you have done anything wrong.

You might think someone making bad comments about you as an artist or your work will effect your business. It can seem like a really big deal! The truth is, the internet is a very big place and people have short memory spans. Even if a handful of people do read what is said, they will either be discerning enough to know it's not true, or they won't remember it in a week anyway so relax.  It's not going to ruin your business.  It will probably only ruin your day.

If you come across one of these people who is out to make trouble, if you can't talk to them and reason with them...remove them from your list of friends or followers. Most sites have a way to block people. You don't have to take it though.

The next thing I suggest is really think about these sites.  Do you enjoy tweeting and posting to facebook?  Is it working for you?  If it is, that's great.  Don't let a rotten apple spoil it for you.  But if it's just taking up time, maybe it's time to let go of that particular site.  You're not obligated to join them just because other artists do.  There are other sites out there that are more specialized to what you do that you might find make you happier. 

The next time someone you don't know sends a friend request or follows you, take a second to look at their profile before you accept. My best rule of thumb about people on the internet is this:

If I wouldn't invite them into my house through my front door, why would I invite them in through my computer screen!

Click here to go to the site that created the image above and graciously put it up for free, if you want to use it! They also offer one in favor of Twitter.

***No bluebirds were actually harmed in the making of this post!***

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Follow Up To "Saying No"

When I make a blog post, it not only posts here but it also posts to a couple of other sites like The Hive and a few other places. While I only had a couple comments on here on my post Saying No , I did receive nearly 50 comments in total, and 7 e-mails over this post.  99% of you fully understood what I was saying, but a couple of you thought I was too harsh or even "mean" with my policies.  So I am going to take a moment to put it into context, and also help you understand what goes into the creation and sales process of each piece. 

Also if you asked to be able to repost the original post, you do have my permission to do that.

If I walked into any department store in town and wanted buy say a coat that cost 350.00 and I took that coat to the counter and I asked them to hold it for a week until I could get it, they would tell me the most they could hold it would be until the end of the business day.  This is standard practice.  So by my holding it for a week, I am being more generous.

If I asked them to put the coat on lay away, I can't think of a single store in town that would do that.  Most of them did away with lay away long ago.

If I asked them to change the pockets and collar on the coat, they would probably say no, but they might say yes if they have an in house tailor.  They would also charge me a whole bunch extra to make the alterations.

If I asked them to make me a custom coat, they would flat out tell me they don't do that.

If I asked them if I could have a discount on the coat, they would say no.  Period.  Even if I said I had bills or something unexpected come up but I really want it.  They would explain that they have bills and overhead and things that come up too.

If I said I wanted the coat shipped to my Aunt in Australia and could they please lie about the cost of the coat, they would say no because they could get into a lot of trouble for that.   Chances are they wouldn't even ship it to Australia for me anyway, but if they did they would have set fees to do so.  I will ship to other countries.

Yes I am an artist, yes I make teddy bears and teddy bear artists are nice people...we are also business people.  I don't do anything any different than any other business, but yet people ask me to do things all the time that they wouldn't ask other types of businesses to do.  When I won't, they think I am mean and rigid.  But yet if they went to a department store they wouldn't even consider asking for these special things.

My policies aren't anything that I wouldn't do on the other side of that fence if I was a customer.

I asked for a custom piece three years ago, the only thing I asked was that the bear be a specific color that I knew the artist had used before.  Beyond that I told her she was free to make it any way she wanted.  I would have absolutely hands down bought that bear...even if it wasn't what I pictured, because I would feel it was unethical to do anything else since I ordered it.  The artist said it was no problem they would be happy to do it.  I am still waiting for it, and I am never going to get it.  I think it's better to be honest and say no and tell you why I won't do the thing you might ask for than saying sure and having you be disappointed.

Now I am going to take you through the entire process I go through to make a piece so that you will understand what's involved if you are reading this and you are not an artist.

First I order mohair and glass eyes from an importer.  Mohair is 200.00 a yard and up, plus the shipping cost.  I have to go to the hardware store for jointing supplies.  I have to go to the fabric store for stuffing materials.  I have to shop all over the place for things to costume the bear or animal.

I have to design the patterns.

I have to conceptualize the design of each individual piece since they are one of a kind.

I cut out the bear and sew it together. 

I also cut out the wooden part of my own joints.

I assemble and costume it.

I distress it, this alone takes a day or two for each one.

I have to photograph it in order to put it online for sale.  I usually take about 50 photos of each piece.

I have to sort through the photos of each piece and edit them to the proper size.

I have to design a page for my website for each piece and type up all of the information.

I have to post the piece to my website, etsy, my blog, facebook, bearpile (which I pay for) and the artist's guild.

I have to do print ads, which I have to design myself, which also cost a great deal of money.

When the piece sells, I have to wait for the money to come in and clear.

I have to print a packing slip, package it nicely, get in my car and use gas to go to the post office where I usually have to stand in line using at least 20 minutes, sometimes up to an hour and a half of my time.

This entire process takes a huge amount of time, money and effort on my part to bring you those sweet little faces you love.  I do it all myself, and sometimes I work up to 20 hours a day...fall into bed in an exhausted stiff and sore heap and get up the next day and do it all again.  I don't have shoe maker elves and fairy dust to help me out.  It might be a warm fuzzy business but it's still a business.

So yes, I am an artist, I make teddy bears and I am a nice person who is usually willing to work with you as much as I can especially if we already have a nice business history.  But I am also a business person who doesn't have unrealistic demands, because they are the same as most businesses on the planet, and more lenient in many instances.  But I have to protect myself as such.  I sincerely hope that you can understand and respect what all goes into my business, and that of all artist's businesses.  I love making bears, I love making people happy.  I have been doing this for 30 years.  But you have to see my side of it a little too.

I Won!

I won one of these darling little hats from Queen Of Nostalgia.  Aren't these the cutest witch hats ever!  She has so much talent.  She also has them available in her Etsy Shop.  So you can be the proud owner of one too!  Go see....go now! *grins*

I can't even tell you how thrilled I am to have won one of these.  I was so in love with these when I saw them that I went back to look at them three times! 

She is not only the Queen of Nostalgia, but also the Queen of Kindness!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saying No

When you have a handmade business, you obviously want to sell your work.  As a result, one of the hardest things for artists to do is say no.  I see comments and questions on this all the time.

Most of our customers are perfectly lovely people who buy things and pay right away, never ask for changes and are happy when they get what they purchased.  But occasionally someone will put us on the spot.

It can be very awkward to respond to their request sometimes.  In some circumstances we find it easier to just acquiesce to what they want us to do, even when we really don't want to or don't think we should.

So how do you say no to a customer request?  What happens if you do say no?

I like to make my customers happy.  I will usually try to work with them to help them get a piece they want. 

However, there are certain instances when I just have to say no.  It's never easy, but it is ultimately my business and I have set my policies to what they are for very good reasons.  It's also important for people to understand that like many other artists, this is not a hobby for me, it's how I make my living.  It's how I pay my bills and buy food and other frivolities.

I lost a very large sale of several pieces this weekend because I had to say no.  I knew I would lose the sale, but I couldn't bend my policies out of necessity.  I realize my potential customer didn't really understand why I wouldn't despite my explanations.  It was unfortunate, I didn't want to make them unhappy, but I couldn't accommodate them.

I thought maybe I would go over a few of the things I say no to.  Possibly it will help someone else out there who is reading this and wasn't sure what to do in the same instance.  Please keep in mind these are just my policies, they are neither right nor wrong...they are simply what works for me and I an not suggesting that you should or should not do any of these things...that's entirely up to you.

When it comes to shops I do wholesale, but I always say no to consignment.  The reason I have never done it is because if a shop has your piece on consignment they aren't responsible for it if something happens.  If their shop burns down, floods, etc. or the piece is stolen it isn't covered by their insurance and they are not responsible for restitution.  You are simply out all the money, time and effort you put into your work.

I say no to lay away.  I realize that people like things and they don't always have the money right on the spot to purchase something.  Believe me I have been there.  As much as I would like to do lay away for people, I simply can't.  I have limited space, and if I want to make new pieces, sometimes the pieces I already have need to go out into the world so I have room for more.  I will reserve a piece for up to seven days though.  I have been in the circumstance twice this year that bears were offered to me at a later date that I had wanted and didn't think I could get because they were sold.  They became available and I wasn't prepared for it, so both times I had to ask if they would mind holding the bear until Friday.  But believe me, paying for them was my very first order of business on Friday.  As a rule I never order anything unless I know I have a way to pay for it right there because it's not fair to the artist who is counting on that money.

In this day and age of credit, it's very easy to find a way to pay for something if you really want it.  If it comes right down to not being able to afford it, then I simply don't tell the artist I want to buy it.  I will wait and hope it's still available when I can.

I always say no to reducing the price.  To be honest, this is the one request that just makes me genuinely annoyed.  You don't go to the department store or the grocery store and haggle over the prices, so you don't get to do it with me.  I have a formula I go by to set my prices based on supplies and work involved.

This also applies to shipping.  I will reduce shipping for combined pieces since they are being put into the same box, but I can't negotiate prices with the post office.  Shipping just costs what it costs.

The next request I get sometimes is to say the item is a gift if it's being shipped overseas so the customer can avoid duty fees.  I understand that many customers don't really realize the implications of what they are asking and the position they put us in as business people.

I also say no to obscure shipping methods.  You can have it delivered by USPS, UPS or FedEx if you're in a rush.  Anything else is always most emphatically a no because too many people who want it shipped by some unusual method or courier are running a scam.

I rarely get asked to change something on a piece, but occasionally it does happen.  When I sit down to make a piece I do it in one of two ways.  Either I know what it's going to be before I even begin, or I let it develop and tell it's story about who it is as I create it.  Either way my vision of that piece comes together into a finished product.  I have put a lot of hard work into making it just the way it is.  I don't really like to change things once a piece is done.

I also usually say no to custom pieces unless it's a simple thing like shade of fur, color of bow, ect.  I know that might seem surprising since many, many people do custom work.   I used to try to always do them, and on occasion I will still do one if I know my customer well enough.  But there are two reasons I say no, one is because pattern designs don't come easy for me.  I am a perfectionist and it takes me a while to get to where I want something to be.  So if you ask me to make an animal that I haven't made before it's going to take a while...a long while probably.  Since it takes a lot of time it has to be something I know I want to make again.  I am also hesitant to make custom pieces from existing patterns for two reasons.  One is that the customer is asking me to recreate a piece I have sold.  I normally make one of a kind or one of a few things. It isn't fair to the person who bought the piece in the first place thinking that was the only one like it. 

The second reason is if a customer wants something they envision in their head.  I can't see inside your head.  *grins*  Whatever I make won't look like the image you're picturing in your mind.  Bears and their friends have a way of turning out how they want and I only have so much control over it.  The good news is, if you like my work and are patient you will most likely find a piece in the near future that you love.

I know that seems like a lot of things to say no to.   I don't like saying no, but it has to be done at times.  I try to do it in the most polite way possible.  There are always going to be exceptions to the rules.   The good news is that I get to say yes a lot more often than I have to say no.  I hope maybe you took something useful away from this.  Just remember it's your business, and you have the right to run it how you see fit.  Sometimes that might mean doing something unpleasant like saying no.  You might lose a sale, hopefully the customer will respect your business in the end and you won't.   But a bird in the hand isn't always worth two in the bush in our line of work!

Have a great day, I hope you get to say yes yes yes all day long to happy things!

I would also like to say thank you to everyone who took time to stop by my Halloween party post and leave kind comments!  (If you missed it, it's in the previous post.)

Hugs, K. <3

Friday, October 15, 2010

Magic In The Garden ~ A Fanciful Twist Halloween Blog Party

Welcome to the party!  October is a time of magic as you well know, and I have a tale to tell about a little bit of magic that happened on this very day!

Every year since I have lived in this house I have planted pumpkins.   I was certain that since I had a proper garden for the first time this year they would be better than ever.  But sadly my dears, it was not to be. 

I tended my vines with great care, and they grew hardy and strong.  However, despite my best efforts not a single pumpkin formed this season.

This morning when I went out to pick the last of my beans and carrots I spied a glimmer of orange under one of the leaves!  Could it be?

Yes I was sure it was a tiny little pumpkin!

I moved closer for a better that an eye?

I moved the leaves aside and jumped back.  A tiny pumpkin was there indeed...but he was looking back at me with large full moon shaped eyes, black as midnight!

The poor little guy was all alone, so I plucked him right out of the patch and stuck him in my apron pocket.

I was busy decorating so I set him on the table with the pumpkins waiting to be carved for that oh so special evening.  I thought he would feel right at home, but he seemed a bit nervous...

I tucked him safely inside a wreath, but that didn't seem to make him feel any better.

Finally I took him downstairs and sat him by the haunted house, and I went on about my business.

Tricky Tweeter got curious and came to see what all the fuss was about.  He told Pip he would be his friend.  Pip told him he was afraid of Halloween!

Jacko arrived next and announced he would like to be friends with him too!  They wanted to know why he was afraid of Halloween since it's such a magical time of year with trick or treating, bobbing for apples and great costumes!  Pip explained he was afraid that he would carved into a jack-o-lantern. 

They assured him that would never happen and that he would be around for many, many more Halloween's to come!  They all danced a little jig together and began making plans for the big night!

Pip, his friends and I would like to wish you all a Happy Halloween!  May you find a little magic of your own!

I would like to thank all of you for stopping by, and A Fanciful Twist for hosting the party!  Be sure to stop by and visit all the other lovely blogs participating!

Also be sure to check out my Haunted By Holmes Blog Give Away.

Lastly, if you are interested in Pip, Jacko or Tricky Tweeter they are available for adoption on my website;

PS...I always visit every blog.  It somtimes takes me a bit, but I promise I will get to yours!
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Current copyright laws allow for all work to be automatically protected when it is created. All original artwork, photos, text, logo, descriptions, and derivative works from Blondheart are not to be copied, imitated or distributed in any way. All rights reserved solely by the artist, Kelly Dauterman.

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