Saturday, April 23, 2011

Springtime with Kalinka and Malinka

I have been wanting to share the story of sweet springtime sisters Kalinka and Malinka with you. I was inspired to create them by the lively Russian folk song Kalinka,* which is about a garden in bloom. Sometimes I'm inspired by things and people right here in my home. Our daughters are from Ukraine, and their first language is Russian, so the Ukrainian/Russian culture is a good source of inspiration for me.

Kalinka (Калинка in Russian, pronounced ka-LEEN-ka) means little snowball tree blossom. I created Kalinka from beautiful soft ivory kid mohair. She is lovely to hold! Kalinka's sister is named Malinka (Малинка in Russian, pronounced ma-LEEN-ka), which means little raspberry blossom. Raspberry blossoms made me envision a bear in pink, so I created Malinka from pink wavy distressed mohair. She is a sweetie.

*Here is the song Kalinka sung by Nikolai Baskov. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm Tickled Pink: An Interview

I'm not one who likes to toot my own horn, but I do love to share my bears and my life with you. I'm tickled pink today because Chrissie of I Love Teddies interviewed me and has put the resulting article on her site! Thank you, Chrissie!

This is such a thrill for me; it's the second article about me and the Crew that's been published in the nearly 15 years I've been creating my bears. I am humbled that someone was interested in learning a bit more about me and my little guys.

I hope you'll drop in to visit I Love Teddies and read the interview. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Then and Now

See the photo above? Garth found it today and scanned it into his computer. I just love it! It was taken 11 years ago this month (April 2000). It hardly seems possible that so much time has passed! Let me tell you a little about the picture. (You can click on it to see it larger.)

The blond bear in the foreground is Trudi. Early in 2000, I created a pattern I called Bear 2000. The first bear from that pattern is named Trua, and she looks very similar to Trudi. The bears from that pattern had the look I had been wanting to create since I started New Avenue Crew in 1996! The pile of black fur and the tiny pile of golden fur next to me on the ottoman became Gunnison (pictured down near the bottom of the right-hand sidebar), also a Bear 2000 bear.

Behind me (yes, that really is me!) is Garth's setup for painting. We were newly married, and this was our first apartment. We had the living room set up for painting and bear making--it was our very first studio. I really enjoyed our time creating together! And to my left, out the window, was a balcony, and beyond was the Santa Ana River (we lived in Southern California). We were able to watch so many different varieties of birds visiting the riverbed, such as cormorants and falcons and pelicans. Beautiful!

And above is a picture of me in our home in Colorado. I'm pictured with Sprout; he is such a sweet, cuddly bear. I finished him in early March of this year, and he was adopted during the Blooming Bear Show. He is not a Bear 2000 bear, but I suppose you could call his pattern Bear 2010!