Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Boot Camp Bear

Here he is! 
I am very happy with the way he turned out. He's a very 'proper' looking traditional bear - don't you think? 

I love that mohair, it's just a same it was second hand on eBay so I have no way of reliably getting any more although there may be a small, rather hairy bear left in the remnants (or maybe a Panda!)

The best waxed nose I have done too, although it's not perfect, but that's how you know it's handmade - right?

I'm going to write a note for inside the box as well explaining what he is made of etc.

I am off to visit Baby Alice later so he can go meet her then. Hopefully it is something that she will treasure always. I know I have a soft toy made for me by my Godmother who is still with me (and in a very sorry state I have to say as he has always slept in my bed up til last year, and I'm 28 now) 

Hope you enjoy looking at him - it's nice to made a more 'traditional' bear sometimes.

Love to all, 
Julia xxx

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Poor Bear!

Well my bear now has nicely stuffed and jointed limbs but his poor head is nowhere near his body!

I do like to do my heads first, and then joint and stuff the body. Leaving the poor bear doing his impression of the headless horseman.......

Still. Won't be long now! Part 3 of the classes has opened up. I am considering taking poor bear on a day trip back to my parent's house next week as I know my mum has a massive pile of decorator's chalks in her craft cupboard.....hehehehehe. New shading technique here we come!

Once finished mr. bear will be a gift for my best friend who is expecting her first baby soon. Hope she likes him!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Coming along nicely....

My boot camp bear is getting there!

I was determined to machine sew this time, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it - I love hand sewing so much that I just gave in.

All pieces are sewn and ready to stuff.

My only problem is that I bought some lovely mohair second hand and it smells a bit old - if you know what I mean? I didn't want to treat it with anything. Does anyone know what is safe to use to get the 'old' out of it?

Love to all.... Julia

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Meet Bill and Ted....

As Promised, Here are Bill and Ted. 

Ted is the darker of the two and is sulking on the shelf. Bill in the curious looking one on the floor. 

It's not easy to get them in the same picture at the same time.

This was taken when they first came home and were in Quarrentine - They have now moved upstairs and they have chunked out a bit - Bill is a right chunky lad now.

Ebony is basically a 'wrap around' colour, so they lack the white bellies found in most. Breeders try to breed the darkest that they can, with an all over 'every hair' shiny black being the aim colour wise. Ted is nearly there, he just has some lighter freckles.

The problem with the darker Chins is that the fur is not so good quality. Ted's fur is longish and does not stick up as much as Bill's. For this reason, Bill would be considered the better 'quality' of the two even though he is not nearly as dark as Ted (he looks darker in the fur than he does in photos).

Ebony is believed to be a cumulative gene, that is as the generations go on, the offspring are generally darker. 

This leaves breeders with a big problem.

If you breed two every hair black chinchillas together (or sometimes it is referred to as 'Homo Ebony' i.e. homozygous for the ebony gene). You will get very dark offspring, which is certaintly the more desired colour but the fur quality will usually suffer.

So the way most breeders will do it is to use top notch lighter animals and breed over many generations to try to get a good quality 'Homo' Ebony. It's a wasteful game, with a lot of animals being born that can't be used to breed if they are not darker (and they can't be bred with other colours if you are breeding for white bellies as it will cause a 'muddy' belly) and pet owners not wanting anything other than the darkest ones...

I would love to breed, but it's far too complicated.

I was never a fan of the colour in general, it got a bad name - and I admit, I'm as guilty as the next person of wanting a dark one (hence Ted) but I have to say, I have a big soft spot for Bill.

I hope my ramblings on Ebony Chinchillas haven't bored you too much.... I could talk Chinchillas all day happily. They are such BIG personalities in such tiny bodies. My Fiance often accuses them of winding him up on purpose...

You know what?

I actually believe they probably do......

It's a shame that they need such specialist care really, but I would be the first person to discourage ownership unless you are a 110% committed. 

On the bear front, I won the mohair - Just got to wait for the post. I think I may try mostly machine stitching for once as 100% hand sewing means it takes me ages to make a bear! 

Monday, 2 August 2010

I'm Back!

Back to my blog, and back to school!!

First of all, many apologies. This year has been a rollercoaster and a half!!

I lost my beloved little man in February, I bought my first home, I rehomed two more furries and then my Fiance was forced out of his job.

Things have been more up and down than a Yo Yo!!

First the bad. Things at my Fiance's work went wrong; there was an investigation. He was the only one honest enough to admit he had made a mistake, by taking the advice of someone more senior in a matter of security and it backfired. Basically, everyone sat back and let him take the wrap for it all - Even though others were, IMO more to blame and not doing their jobs.

He was forced to resign to stop a hearing go ahead that would have stayed on his permanent record. No matter what the outcome (although he had a strong defence) it would not have allowed him to safely walk out of his job and into another had it gone ahead.

As it is, He has been offered another - which we hope will not fall through but it leaves us in a bad place finacially. Our mortgage cover will not kick in as he had to resign therefore his unemployment is 'his fault'. Luckily we have a bit put by, but not a lot. We are currently living off cheap beans, noodles and worse of all, cheap meat (urgh!! Won't make that mistake again, I'd rather go veggie than eat the mince we bought again). Hahaha that almost read Mice...I'm not unconvinced that mouse would taste better tbh.

We are without his half of the money until the end of september, and when he does work, it will be further away, for less money. But at least it will be a job.

On the up side.....

I do have two more special little men in my life. A lovely pair of young Ebony Chinchillas, They are around 16 months old each and although they aren't related to each other they have been together since they were weaned and are devoted to each other.

They were bred by a friend of mine, who for personal reasons has had to rehome quite a few of her Chinchillas. I contacted her to see if she had any babies due and she told me about this special pair of boys. We renamed them Bill and Ted.....lol.

Bill is the nosiest Chin I have ever met, ever. He will follow you around and just *has* to know what is going on. He's a friendly little soul. His Mum died when he was a few hours old, so he was hand raised a little and rushed miles away to be fostered by another Chin. To say all that, he's a proper Big bum Chin - just the way they should be.

Ted is a sweet heart. He's a little more shy but will happily be held with no protest (once you have caught him!). He's got a corkscrew tail like a pig and had bald patches on it when he came to live here. They have grown back, I am happy to report. He was the only survivor of a triplet litter and is a little battered on the way.

They like to tease Lucky through the bars who remains a proper Mummy's boy. They both eat like horses though and are very good with people - most are shocked by how friendly and laid back they are - Just goes to show you how important a good breeder is in their upbringing. They were never supposed to live with anyone else, she was so attached. I am honoured. I was even more honoured when she offered me her all time favourite and most special boy - but we felt that it would be unfair to the Chin in question and the mardy Mr. Lucky, who would have to had shared. He's not a 'sharing' kind of guy.... lol.

I will post pictures when I have time.

I haven't had much time for bear making. I made a swop bear that went to australia - but I have yet to hear if he made it or not. I made another couple and started another.

That's all on hold though, I have signed up for Basic Boot Camp at EBearz University.

For anyone interested in bear making, it's a Free course run by a top Bear Artist. Sign up and join the fun!! -

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I win a nice piece of Mohair I'm bidding on, On Ebay! 

I will try to be good and get back into the swing of things - Now I remember why I never managed to successfully keep a diary. 

Love to you all xxx