Friday, 22 October 2021

A Little Boaring...

Last week my son showed me a picture of a cute stuffed toy, a wild boar piglet.  It was being sold by an unknown company somewhere overseas and he didn't want to chance it.  So I said 'I bet I could make one of those'.
So I did.  I adapted a pattern I found in a magazine for an ordinary pink piglet - had to change the head, alter the tail, put the trotters on the right way round(!) and add the stripes.

 I used some remnants of a velvety fur fabric that I bought a couple of years ago, not knowing what I would do with them.  The whole thing is hand sewn because this fabric is a nightmare to sew on the machine - it slips and slides all over the place.

This is a one off for my baby granddaughter - I am not planning on making any more, too time consuming and fiddly and besides, I don't have any more of the fabric to spare!

Thursday, 21 October 2021


After weeks, nay months, of work in the evenings, this crochet blanket/throw is finally complete.  It has turned out beautifully!  I knew when I bought the yarn cakes that I wanted a stitch to show off the fabulous colour mix and luckily a simple zig-zag did just that.

I wasn't sure about putting tassels on the points, but decided to give it a go, using the brighter colours in the same order as the stripes, and it was the right decision.  This is such a lovely blanket, even though I say so myself.  It will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon - I am having difficulty getting decent photos of it due to bad weather and the sheer size of the thing!  If you'd like to nip in and get it before I list it, just give me a shout!
In other news, I have been sewing yet more Otises - these three are already spoken for and I have further orders to complete.  What started off as a silly experiment really snowballed and I have lost count of how many stuffed bears I have made over the past 3 years.  Thankfully I still enjoy doing them!

On the drawing board - I am now booked up until about Christmas.  I am currently painting a couple more Otis trinket boxes that have been commissioned and I have three bear paintings to do.  The first 2 are for the winner of the American Travel Guide magazine's summer competition - the lady couldn't decide which bear she wanted me to paint so has commissioned me to paint a second one so that she can have both!

It is great to be busy once again - the summer was dismal, both weather-wise and mentally and my creativity almost disappeared.  Being 'forced' to paint and make things to a deadline has kicked my backside back into action, haha!

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Bear Cubs & Boxes...

I completed this last week - bear 435 Holly and her cub, using a photograph that Ranger Naomi at Katmai National Park took last year.  This cub is now ten times the size!  This was painted in watercolour on paper. It was snapped up within minutes of me posting it online and is now winging it's way to Spain.
I've also been working on another painted trinket box - this one is a prize in the American magazine Travel Guide summer competition.  The painting on the lid is of Otis, winner of this year's Fat Bear contest.  I assembled it yesterday after lining it.
I think you will agree, I found the perfect fabric to put inside - loads of fish for Otis to snack on!

 This box is already spoken for but I will be making a couple more at some point between now and Christmas.  I can't say when - they are very labour intensive and I have to fit them in around other work.

Monday, 20 September 2021

It Seemed A Good Idea At The Time...

I've been working on this blanket for weeks now - I bought some gorgeous cheap yarn cakes and thought I'd try something different from the usual granny square throws that I've been making.  This is a very simple stitch to do, but as it is in dc (sc for the US) it takes forever!  It also eats yarn, so I have had to buy some more yarn cakes in order for this to be a blanket of a decent size.  It might be finished round about 2022...


 I have painted many trinket boxes with a picture of Otis in his 'office' but have used the same reference photo every time.  This year I decided to update it a little, although the pose is pretty much the same because...well, that's what Otis is best known for!  This year he showed up a month later than usual and incredibly thin - as he is an old bear, most people thought he had gone to the great fishing ground in the sky, but no, he was just waiting for the late salmon run to begin.  Since then he has eaten goodness knows how many fish and put on weight paw over fist and now looks fat and ready for hibernation.  So I used a snap I took on the web cams of him this year, fishing in his favourite spot and looking nice and fat.

I'm very pleased with how this one has turned out - I have spent the weekend putting on lots of layers off varnish and now the box just needs lining with some fishy fabric.  This box is spoken for already - it will be one of the prizes in the Travel Guide summer competition, but I will be painting another one fairly soon.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Bears & Blankets...

Last year while the pandemic was in full swing and we were in strict lockdown, I found it comforting and stress-relieving to crochet giant granny squares for throws.  I think I made four or five and ended up giving them away to friends and family.  Stress levels are fairly high again at the moment for various reasons, so I am crocheting like crazy in the evenings once more.  This is the latest blankie - the camera has not done justice to the colours unfortunately.  It will be for sale in my Etsy shop once I take some decent snaps.
I'm also back to making Otis stuffies - they seem to sell before I have even finished them!
I must sit down one afternoon and cut out some more fabric for them - that is the worst part of making these, the mess and the coughing up of furballs afterwards!
Once the cutting out is over and done with, the rest of the making process is quite fun - I wish I had kept count of how many of these I have made!

One the easel...well, it's the lid to a trinket box, but I am painting Otis as well.  Nearly finished.

Thursday, 12 August 2021


 I lived in Greece for many years - my sister still does.  She married a ship's purser who gave up the sea to start his dream business, a riding stables.  This was over 45 years ago.  They started small, renting a piece of land and buying up ex-racing horses that were destined for the knacker's yard.  Horse riding was an elite pastime in Greece back then, pretty much only for the rich, but people could afford to at least have lessons.

Slowly over the years the business expanded.  They bought more school horses,  took on livery horses, entered show jumping competitions - one of the best showjumpers was one of the ex-race horses, an Arab named Aris.  My niece and nephew grew up riding from as soon as they were able to sit on a horse and ended up champions in show jumping and dressage - they even competed in the 2012 Olympics, and my brother in law was chef d'equipe for the Olympic games that year.  Horses and riders trained at Varimbombi entered international events with much success.

Last week it all came crashing down - fire broke out nearby, burning not only acres and acres of forest, but also the whole riding club.  My sister and her family have lost everything.  There is no insurance against forest fires, they happen too often in Greece.  There will be a small government grant towards re-building, but it will not be enough.

There is a crowd funding website - if you feel you are able to give a little towards the re-building, please do, it will be so very much appreciated.  If you can't, that's OK, thank you for reading this far.