Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time for Bear Puns.

I'm a latecomer to the teddy bear fan club. I remember a few in the general accumulation of stuffed animal toys in my childhood, but none stood out as a particular friend. I always thought of teddy bears as rather sentimental, cliche objects and as a rough and tumble tomboy, a fuzzy widdle bear was not of interest.

I was at the thrift shop one day, stuck in a narrow aisle behind a rather large woman pushing a cart. As she went along, she knocked a stuffed bear from the shelf and it fell to the floor by her feet. She kicked it aside and continued on her way. It's common manners to pick up something that falls. Kicking it aside? That's just rude. Irritated, I bent to retrieve the bear. And when I picked it up, I thought, Wow, this is a nice bear! 

He was soft, with weighted paws. His eyes shone and an affable smile was almost hidden by his sort of cotton-y golden fur. His expression was not the wide-eyed cheerful idiocy of most modern commercial bears. He had a personality, and I found it irresistable. I noticed the green sweater he was wearing had a few holes and snags. Looks like you've hit hard times, friend. I said. We'll have to get you a new sweater.

And $1.29 later, he was mine. I named him Ivan in the car on the way home.

This is Ivan! You might remember him such previous posts
where he sported an exploring outfit and was a victim in a carjacking. .

Since then, I have added three more of the same style bears to my collection: Henry, Seamus, and Walt. But I wasn't a collector, or a weirdo. I just find this particular bear comforting and friendly! He's a good size and nice and squishy, and I just like him, okay?

Then I picked up a book called Teddy's World , full of photos of European-style bears exploring the history and habits of teddies, and rather began to like the look of these antique mohair bears. And before long, I decided I'd like to have one of those for myself.

And as they are quite expensive and my bear budget seems to be $1.29, I bet you can guess what this is leading to, based on the name of this blog. Yep.

I found a pattern for a 1907 Bear online, printed it out at a workable size, and found an old faux fur wrap in my stash that I felt would look good as a bear. I deconstructed the wrap and began tracing my pattern onto it.

I've decided to keep the satin lining and make a vest or something for the bear to wear. Maybe a dress, but I'm not partial to lady bears. We'll see.

After cutting all my pieces out carefully, I sat down to start sewing it together and that's when I discovered that the pattern did not include a seam allowance which made me say some very crabby things. But handsewing is a marvelous thing and so I'm whipstitching it together and I think it's going to be just fine. Fortunately my faux fur has a sturdy cloth backing.

Body and left leg done. Look at that chubby little leg! I think this is going to turn out very cute. Dave is wondering if he's going to have to stage some sort of intervention for the bear craziness. I told him I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in that Close Encounters movie, and bears are my Devil's Tower. We just need to ride this through until I get it out of my system.  Stay tuned for further pictures of bear assembly and cuteness!

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