After making so many repeats for my limited edition set I really needed a change and drafted a new pattern which turned out a little bigger than my usual bears at just under 5" tall. I now had a little white bear and quite honestly was in total creative doldrums with no idea what to do with a very definite little boy bear. I eventually decided on a long knitted hat in Christmas colours which took some time to knit as I had to use Megan's pattern with plenty of modification to fit a much larger bear and changing colours every couple of rows also presented rather a challenge. I then made a tiny red bear as a companion, a green velvet fur trimmed bag and lots of ribbon, ultrasuede holly leaves and bead berries plus a little vintage wooden sled. Jingle and little Holly are now listed on e-bay. I think this will be my one and only Christmas creation for 2013.
I am pleased with the pattern but it will need some adjustments and a reduction in size before I can try it out again. The next on line show is scheduled for early March and we have been instructed to make a plain, undressed and untrimmed bear for the preview page. Not easy for either of us as we do not make basic bears and our dressed bears are very popular. Perhaps my next prototype will be suitable for the show.
In July we said a sad farewell to our little Merlin cat who had been ill for several months never even thinking that we would loose a second cat in such a short space of time. Mischka has always been my cat, generally sleeping on my bed, sitting close when I am working on my bears and constantly reminding me of his presence. We keep our cats indoors for many reasons only allowing them out in the garden for supervised visits each morning. This little cat would have his breakfast, then sit by the back door waiting for me to go out and feed the birds. Together we would explore the garden and enjoy time outside together. I was therefore quite surprised when he walked down the path then went back indoors and was not interested in eating his food. The next day I rushed him off to the vet as I could not even get him to drink any fluid and I knew that he would become dehydrated very quickly. The vet was concerned as he had a heart murmur and asked me to leave him there so they could do some tests. Just a few hours later she phoned to say that he also had fluid on his lungs and to treat one condition would affect the efficacy of the treatment of the other and there was little they could do for him. Fortunately I managed to get there in time to hold him and say good-bye. So I am feeling a little heartbroken at the moment. Time does heal and fortunately we do have our new little Belladonna kitty but I will miss my brave little cat with the heart of a lion for a long time.
I have also been experiencing lower back problems and after being prescribed strong anti-inflammatories which just made me feel ill and then seeing a physiotherapist who said that my hip was out of alignment and that aforesaid medication would not really help, I have resorted to seeing a chiropractor. Alternative medicine of this sort is regarded with great suspicion in England for some reason. Having consulted alternative practitioners for many years with generally excellent results whilst living in Africa, I decided that this might be my best option. So far after several treatments there does appear to be some improvement. Hard on my pocket but on a lighter note the chiropractor has an uncanny resemblance to Mr Bean, not physically but just his mannerisms and voice.
Winter weather seems to have arrived overnight with a freezing fog. I did manage to get some pictures of the magnificent autumn shaded trees around the village this year.
I am still learning how to use my new camera and took the following picture of an amazing sunset in somewhat of a rush. Unfortunately it does not really reflect the amazing colour of the sky that evening which was quite red, certainly not the usual gentle English sky I have become used to. Rather more like the African sunsets of my childhood.
Rather belatedly we decorated our Christmas tree this afternoon with lots of help from baby Bella who found the whole process most interesting. We put all the fragile decorations at the top of the tree but as this is one wicked little kitten I have a feeling we will find her at the top of the tree quite soon.
A final picture of the fireplace with some of the amazing decorations we have collected over many years. The two South African Ark bears are quite happy to be part of the scene, have just noticed the forgotten white duster on top of the smaller bear! The prayer rug in the fire place is from Afghanistan, a gift from Austin. Apparently not what he intended to buy but in his usual absent minded fashion, he ran out of time to buy gifts for family. I am now the proud owner of a tiny Afghan prayer rug which does come in handy to keep the draft out of the lounge from the fireplace.
I am working on one of my bigger girl bears using an interesting dark green rayon fabric which I found in the fabric stash. Not sure how she will turn out but I had the idea in my mind of a dress in the same blue green shade as the fabric. Got out all the fabric dyes and starting experimenting but as cotton fabric dyes so very differently to rayon or mohair, the result was not quite what I had expected. After some searching through the fabric box I have found something which I think will be just right. I do have interesting blue green finger tips on my right hand 'tho. Hopefully a picture of this little bear in my next blog update.