Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Scavenger Hunt: Part II

I've done it again: I updated the New Avenue Crew blog! Can you tell what I've done this time?

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Movie crew on New Avenue, 1989*

In the sage words of my cousin Loren, aka the Groovy Movie Man:

is a cereal.

And indeed it is:

Life cereal box showing "Mikey" from the TV advertisements**

I would like to suggest that, more often than not, this is really the case:

is a serial.

In my 44 years, I have found that life is truly a series that happens in multiple parts and sometimes has reruns of the episodes you'd much rather forget.

Though I love creating my bears, life often interrupts and doesn't allow me to have any time for creativity. I designed my first teddy bear pattern and created New Avenue Crew in August 1996, 16 years ago, but I have had to take many periods of hibernation from bear making, both long and short, because of life's reruns. I recently noticed that the last post here on this blog was posted five months ago!

I don't know whether life will be settling down anytime soon, but with the cooler fall weather, I am feeling the need to pick up the fur and fluff and get busy creating a little someone. And I'd like to share more with you, like the sweet hairless bear I finished back in the spring. I'm thrilled to say that he's been included in a publication...but I'll save that news for another blog post.

Happy autumn to you, dear readers! I hope you can pause to enjoy the colorful leaves, cooler air, pumpkin spice yummies, and a little Crew in your life every so often.

*The movie crew, left to right: Dana, Jennifer, Loren, Sid, Debora (me), Cynthia. And yes, most of us are related: siblings and cousins--and one friend.

**Here's the Life cereal TV commercial I remember. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sharing Saturday

Welcome to the second edition of Sharing Saturday live from the Crew studio! My husband snapped this shot of me working on my most recently completed bear...the bear who has no hair. I will have to tell you about him soon when it's time to find him a new loving home. For now, he is keeping me company here in the studio as I work on a new bear (with hair this time).

Sewing the final seams closed

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time (or as my uncle Lyle would say: "Once a-punce a time"), I had a website for New Avenue Crew. I started it on Geocities, and then I made a full-fledged website at my own domain: Neither site was fancy, but I created them in HTML all by myself.

After a few years, I found that it was hard to afford the monthly fee for my domain and the web hosting, so I had to let them lapse. Unbeknownst to me, the domain was then quickly snatched and a high price set for anyone who dared try to buy it. (I told the story before, and a little more, on the first post on this blog.) I was so sad when I discovered I would not be able to get back, and I still regret it. And then, a couple of years ago, Geocities ceased operation. My sites were gone for good.

But then I did a search for Debora Hoffmann on Google today,* and I found this:

New Avenue Crew's Geocities site

It is my old New Avenue Crew Geocities site, recovered by Reocities!

I had no idea that Reocities was working to recover Geocities sites, but I am thrilled that they are and that I found my site so I can share it with you. It looks like I last worked on the site in 2008. I am unable to make any changes to it now, so it is a marker in New Avenue Crew's history.

I hope you will visit and enjoy looking around. Please let me know what you think. It was fun for me to take a walk down memory lane and see what my bears and I were doing once a-punce a time.

*My search was prompted by my curiosity after reading this blog post by Tami Eveslage, an artist whose work (in many media) I admire.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sharing Saturday: Wildlife

"You're lost? What's your mom's phone number?"

I just had to share this with you today, dear readers. It surely made me smile. I don't know who took the photo. Perhaps it's from a movie with a trained cub. I just love the bear's posture; he's so cute.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun Fur Facts Friday

Welcome to Fun Fur Facts Friday! A good way to celebrate Friday here in the Crew studio is to talk some more about fur. Most of the Crew members have it, so they are quite fond of it!

(Ah. Some of you with a keen eye noticed that I said that most of the Crew members have fur. I created a bear recently who has no fur. I hope to introduce him to you soon.)

Now where was I? Ah, yes. You would like to hear a fur fact. I have been noticing lately all the different kinds of fur fabrics the bears of today are sporting. Recently, I received a piece of synthetic Belgian plush made by a company called Tyber from a fellow bear artist. It is of very high quality and is very dense and so soft. I look forward to making a small bear from it; I know it will be very different than working with my beloved mohair. So I thought I should tell you about teddy bear fur, since the Crew members and I love it so much.

Me with some of my fur fabrics, mohair and alpaca, spread out in my living room

Here are a few of the commonly used fur fabrics of today:
  • Mohair (my favorite!)
  • Alpaca (my other favorite)
  • Synthetic plush
  • Viscose and viscose-mohair blends
  • Silk and silk-mohair blends
  • Wool
  • Rayon
  • Cotton
  • Rayon upholstery velvet
I have used four of the fur fabrics on the list for my bears: mohair, alpaca, synthetic, and wool. Let me show you some pictures. These are older Crew members from 10 or more years ago!

Liam (1999) and Trua (2000)

The bear on the left in the photo above (Liam) was made from wool fur fabric in 1999. I still have a little piece of it left, but not enough for a full bear. It is not as silky feeling as mohair, but it has an antique feel to it. The bear on the right (Trua) was made from mohair in 2000. I don't have a photo of the bear I made from some silky plush back in 2000 or so, but I do have a photo of the first bear I designed and made with knit-back synthetic (it was hard to work with!):

Madeleine (1996)

Madeleine still lives with me here at Crew headquarters. She is pictured above on the mantel in my childhood home on New Avenue. I don't like her fur, but it is a lower quality synthetic. There are some very nice ones available today that look nice much longer than this kind. But Maddie is still special to me.

Longfellow (2001) and Levi (2002)

Longfellow, the big bear above, is made from alpaca. I loved this alpaca fur; it was a dark chocolate brown with silvery blue flecks in it. Because Longfellow was a large bear, I had to use all of the fur to make him. His little red and blue friend is Levi. Levi's fur is sparse matted mohair in rusty red with a blue backing, and I used some denim from a pair of my husband's old Levi's jeans for his muzzle and paw pads. Though I don't have a picture, I also made him a backpack with the coin pocket and the belt loops from the jeans.

So why is mohair so popular to make teddy bears from? The very first teddy bears, starting back in 1902, were made from it. Mohair is durable and has a nice sheen, and it lends itself to cuddly bears. Yes, it can be worn away with years of loving, but then that's a badge of honor, being loved.

An antique bear from our family whose fur has been mostly loved away

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wunderbar! A Feature Article about the Crew!

Last June, I was thrilled to have an article about me and New Avenue Crew appear in the German-language digital magazine Kuscheltier News (translation: Soft Animal News). Andrea, the editor, was so kind to approach me for an interview. The resulting article made me so happy when I saw it, and I hope many people enjoyed reading it.

You don't read German? Fear not! I have translated the article into English with the help of an online translator so you can read it, too! (As always, click on the photos to see them larger.)

Cover featuring Herr Grünhosen

Table of contents with Herr Grünhosen

Beginning of article featuring me with Sebring
and J. Cub in the background on the mantel

Sebring and Cinnamon (upper left)
and Herr Grünhosen (lower right)

[Translation of the article text]

Debora Hoffmann came into the world near the Pacific coast in Southern California, and she grew up in a house with many antiques. As a child, she played with her mother's toys from the 1940 and '50s, including a big teddy bear that had presumably belonged to one of her uncles. Because her mother sewed many clothes and made various other things by hand, Debora grew up with an interest in creating. To connect her memories of her wonderful childhood with her later work as a teddy bear artist, she chose to name her bears for the street where she had grown up: New Avenue.

Debora's bears come in various shapes and sizes, depending on which ideas the artist has in her head at the time. Although most of her bears are in the traditional style (with inspiration from the Steiff and Bing teddy bears of the early 20th century), Debora has also designed and created some whimsical bears, some pandas, a few cats, and even a pig. For fur, her favorite to use is mohair, and she uses Ultrasuede for paw pads because she likes that it is so soft. She also puts alpaca, wool felt, and glass or shoe button eyes on the top of her materials list. New Avenue Crew bears should invite hugs and cuddles whether they are big or small. The bears’ appearance should provide the impression to their potential new owners that they could become their best and closest friends if they are chosen for adoption. In the course of being made, most of Debora’s bears turn out to be boys, but girls are also present every now and then.

As a 13-year-old, Debora had her first experience making teddy bears when she sewed two teddies with movable arms and legs: one from golden-brown felt, and the second from reddish-brown velour. They both originated without a pattern from her own design, and Debora would be glad to still have her first works today, but she did not keep them. Then in the middle of the '90s, she sewed three or four bears from synthetic plush using patterns from a book. At that time, the material's backing was thick and stretched in all directions when stuffed. And also, Debora couldn't achieve the results she wished using these patterns. She was frustrated with her bear making at first, until summer 1996 when she took part in a course taught by Claudia Wagner.

This took place during a teddy bear convention in Southern California. Every participant got a presewn mohair bear that they needed to finish. Debora says, "I finished this small bear and loved him. And during the work, I discovered my preference for mohair. I went home and began to sketch my first pattern. And in August of the same year, New Avenue Crew was born."

Borealis (lower left), Logan and Ben (upper right),
and Mullins and Sprout (lower right)

Ideas for new bears come to Debora at odd times, for example, in the bathtub or as she tries to fall asleep. That's why she has a notepad and pencil always in reach, and over the course of the years, countless sketches and ideas have been gathered. Only finding the time for making these ideas is difficult. Working full time and being a mother leaves too little time for her bears. Today, she lives with her husband and their adoptive daughters in wonderful Colorado. Unfortunately, no teddy bear shows take place nearby, at most, smaller meetings of teddy bear friends. Only at great distances for Debora is it possible to travel to far-away shows or take part as a seller. Maybe her bears will be seen, instead, at another online show, because the artist enjoys using the advantages of the Internet to present her creations and to be in contact with teddy bear fans. With Facebook and in the various blogs, she has already gotten to know many nice people.

The artist especially enjoys working on her bears' faces to work out their personalities bit by bit. Although the embroidering of the noses is not easy, it is one of her favorite parts of the work. But the nicest and best part of bear making is the moment at which somebody falls in love with one of her bears and decides to give him a home.

Though New Avenue Crew bears have come as small as 6 inches (15.24 cm) tall, Debora works mainly in the range of 10 to 14 inches (25.4 to 35.5 cm). With very small bears, her eyes and hands don't seem to cooperate. Debora sews the single parts with the sewing machine, the nose is embroidered by hand, and also the stuffing and the last working steps are done by hand. The artist works on the bears personally, without exception: from the initial idea up to tying the bow around the neck of the finished bear.

Malinka and Mullins (top left)
and me with seven Crew members (bottom) 

It is not simple for Debora to name a favorite bear from all her creations, because so many of them have a special place in her heart. Often it is difficult for her to prepare a bear to be sent in the mail. And some of them mean so much to her that she cannot separate from them at all: "Recently, I could not force myself to sell a bear called Sebring that I had made in 2010 because I love him too much (he is now the studio manager). Sebring is one of three bears that I have kept over the course of the years. Except for him, I have kept the first bear I made from my own pattern in 1996 and then one more of my favorite bears from 1997."

During the next months, Debora would like to create new patterns for her ideas: "For example, a small rabbit is hopping around in my mind, and a plumper, smaller bear is waiting to finally be born. I would also like to play around a little bit with stuffing materials to reach an even more realistic feeling when my bears are held, and I would still like to make a more slouchy, old-style bear, too. I do not know which of these ideas I can realize this year, but I will have joy in trying."

News about New Avenue Crew on the Internet:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Scavenger Hunt: Update

Yes, I did make a few updates to my blog recently. You've been so kind to say that you like my blog, but I'm not sure if you were able to find what I changed. That's OK: I'll tell you what I changed!

First, I shortened the names of the page tabs up at the top of the blog under the header banner so I could add a new page. Which page is new? The new page is called Published. I wanted to share with you the magazines (both printed and digital) and websites where New Avenue Crew has appeared. I am so honored that a few magazines have chosen to include me and the Crew. Because two of the articles about the Crew appear in online format, you can read them by clicking on their names.

The other changes were to the right-hand sidebar. I moved some of the pictures around so you can find the mailing list signup and the following feature faster. I have other ideas, too, but they will have to wait. I am a busy bear maker, though I'm not always busy with bear making!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Scavenger Hunt

OK, not really a scavenger hunt, but I just made a few changes to my blog. Can you tell what I did?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sharing Saturday

Welcome to Sharing Saturday, wherein I share with you, well, anything that strikes my fancy. And I have a lot that strikes my fancy. Don't you?

I can't remember whether I have shared this picture with you before, but if I have, I think you'll forgive me because it is so sweet. Here are Crew member Herr Gruenhosen (Mr. Green Pants) and Strider, the cat:

Herr Gruenhosen and Strider in a sunbeam

At the time, about 10 years ago, we were living in the Seattle area, and like all cats, Strider loved to sleep in the sunbeams that made their way through our windows. He was adopted by a new family, as was Herr Gruenhosen. I would love to have a cat again someday, but for now, I am content to visit with the cats of my family and friends. And I'd like to make another bear similar to Herr Gruenhosen, who has design-incorporated "Lederhosen"; you can see a picture of him finished above on the far left of my blog header.

Thank you for dropping in to visit with the Crew on Sharing Saturday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two More Lovely Ladies

I was a bad blogger for a while, especially last year. Sometimes, life throws curveballs, and you find yourself in the outfield. That's what happened last year and why I didn't write on the blog or make bears for a while. But once again, I have found that I really need to express myself artistically, both in designing and making bears and in writing. My doctor told me on Tuesday that I am right-brained...I think I had better get busy creatively, then!

Anyway, while I wasn't writing last summer, I did travel back to New Avenue to see my parents and my husband's parents (who live in a nearby town). It was so nice to see them again and also to spend time on the beautiful California coast. On our drive back to Colorado, I got to meet up with two lovely ladies in the Phoenix area: Joanne Livingston of Desertmountainbear and Janice Woodard of Booh Bears. Look! I even have a picture!

Joanne Livingston, me, and Janice Woodard

Though it was about 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) there that day, it was refreshing to meet them and talk teddy bears. (And we ate lunch in a nice, cool ice cream parlor.) Joanne had one of her bears in progress with her; I enjoyed seeing how she uses armature to give her bears movement, and the sculpted feet were wonderful.

I hope we can get together again if I'm driving through Phoenix this year. Thanks for the memories and friendship, Joanne and Janice!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teddy Bear Tidbit Tuesday

And one more tidbit I'd like to share for today: teddy bears have allowed me to meet so many lovely people who love bears and create bears. There are two teddy bear creators who live here in the same town as me, and I was able to go to lunch with one of them last week and one this week. I am hoping to have a gathering at my house so we can have tea and talk teddies and even work on them together. Wish you could all come!

Last week, Kelly Dauterman and I met for lunch and had such a grand time talking teddy bears, supplies, shows, and even wounds. She creates her sweet bears under the name Blondheart. Can't wait to get together again!

And this week, I had lunch with Carolyn Robbins. We had a good time getting to know each other and seeing each other's creations. It was fun to see her little bears and friends in person; I especially liked her duck, Jacques. Her bears are called Warm Heart Bears.

There are other bear makers in the Denver area and one or two in the Rocky Mountains. I would love to meet all of them someday.

I don't have pictures for you of our lunch gatherings, but I'll include a photo of my little white guy (who is not finished yet, but don't feel bad for him--he would be getting into mischief were he finished!):

Little white guy, not quite finished

Teddy Bear Tidbit Tuesday

Welcome to Teddy Bear Tidbit Tuesday, where you'll hear a tidbit or two about teddy bears.

We're all familiar with our good friend, Teddy, but just how many pieces of fur fabric go into making him? In a standard teddy bear (if there is such a thing as a standard teddy bear), there can be about 23 pieces. Those 23 pieces are as follows: 4 pieces for 2 ears, 3 head pieces, 4 body pieces, 6 pieces for 2 arms, and 6 pieces for 2 legs. Some bears are made with arms and paws that are only 2 pieces each, with legs and paws that are 2 pieces each (as I do), with 2-piece bodies (as I do on my smaller bears), and with 4 (or more) pieces for the head. Some bears have multiple colors and so have many more pattern pieces.

Two bears' pattern pieces
(Goldenstern and Cinnamon have been completed and adopted.)

Yesterday, I completed a new pattern and started tracing the pieces onto the fabric I'll be using for my next bear. I am always optimistic about how long it will take me to draw up a pattern or sew a bear...much more optimistic than realistic, I'm afraid. So the bear is partially cut out. My other little bear is all sewn and is awaiting his stuffing. There's a third bear partly sewn, and a fourth bear ( a little panda) all cut and ready for fur to be trimmed from his seam allowances so he can be pinned and sewn. There's a lot going on in the Crew studio. I hope soon there will be pictures to share and bears available for adoption!

Pattern pieces, paper towel test body, and pink mohair arm and leg
(which belong to Malinka, who has been completed and adopted)

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Pile of Pandas in Progress

As I was pawing through photos of the Crew members, I came upon this one and realized that I hadn't shared it with you yet. So without further ado, here is the photo you haven't seen before:

Chocoli, Ha Lee #2, and Ha Lee #1

OK, technically, you have seen the panda on the right here on my blog; her name is Ha Lee. She is a Christmas panda I made in 2001. I was so delighted when she was chosen to appear in the Christmas bears feature in the November/December issue of Teddy Bear and Friends that year, my very first bear in one of the major teddy bear magazines!

This is a picture of a pile of pandas in progress, so I should introduce the other two bears, er, heads. In the middle is Ha Lee #2 (Ha Lee was an edition of three bears), and on the left is a small chocolate-and-ivory panda named Chocoli (Chinese for chocolate). When finished, Ha Lee was about 8 inches tall, and Chocoli was about 6 inches tall. Here is Chocoli all complete, pictured with William, who is about 13.5 inches tall.

Chocoli with William the Cub

On my desk, I have a pile of sewn mohair teddy bear pieces and another pile of cut-out teddy bear pieces, but no pandas this time. Maybe I need to add a panda to my list of things to make this year!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Crew Loves Comments

Now you've gone and done it...the Crew members know you've been leaving comments, and they're all excited and want me to write more on the blog. Goodness, there are only three (completed) Crew members here in the studio now, but they can be quite adamant about something when they are excited.

So here I am, sharing about comments to make them happy. But really, my motivation is twofold: (1) I want to thank you for your comments. (2) I am curious to know whether you receive notification when I reply to your comments. OK, my motivation is threefold: (3) Wayne said he missed reading my blog. (Hi, Wayne!)

There is a new feature in Blogger that allows visitors and blog owners to reply to comments on a blog, right there in the commenting section. I used to e-mail everyone (when I got a chance) to thank them for their comments. But now, I can comment right there on the blog. Do you receive a notification e-mail when I reply to your comment? Or is this the first you've heard about it?

Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your comments make my day. (And they make the Crew happy, too.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fun Fur Facts Friday

Welcome to Fun Fur Facts Friday! It's a little late in the day, but I decided it was better late than never.

You may have already gathered from this blog that I love mohair.

Dark copper Schulte mohair

Mohair is the fur-like fabric I make most of my Crew members from. It has a beautiful sheen and a soft, silky texture, and it comes in many different colors and finishes. There are only a few major mohair mills in the world that make fabric for teddy bears: Schulte and Helmbold are both in Germany. There was also a mohair mill in England, called Norton, but I am not sure if it is still producing mohair fabric for teddy bears. Apparently, there is mohair fabric made in South Africa, also. In fact, I just received a small remnant of South African mohair yesterday, and a small remnant of Schulte mohair the day before.

Blue South African mohair

Now, you may be wondering what mohair teddy bear fabric is made from. Angora goats, who thrive in only a few regions (Texas, South Africa, and Turkey) have lovely white curly hair that is sheared and carded much like wool from sheep. The hair is then spun into yarn that is woven on industrial looms into cotton backing fabric. The mohair fabric can be dyed (the hair takes dye well), waved, distressed, curled, and finished.

Angora goats

Mohair has been used to make teddy bears since the early days of teddy, who was created in 1902. There are many bears whose fur ages very well...and many others whose fur has been loved away completely.

Did you have a teddy bear when you were young? One of the bears I played with was a bear from the 1930s who was passed down to me. I remember taking him out to the sandbox to play with my other stuffed animals. Much of his mohair has been loved off and is probably sun damaged; it feels a little stiff. And I always thought that the rip on his muzzle was his mouth; I had never seen his embroidered mouth because it was probably loved right off. He is the large bear on the shelf below.

A collection of vintage and antique toys:
Big bear from the 1930s with plastic Mickey, small white Steiff bear, Steiff Jocko, German doll, and fabric Mickey

I played with all of the toys in the picture above except the white bear and the Steiff truck, which I got when I was in my 20s. The Jocko chimp and the doll were my mom's, and I think the two Mickeys were mine. It's hard to say; I don't remember that far back! But you can see that I've loved teddy bears a long time. And that I grew up with Disneyland nearby.

I hope you've enjoyed this Fun Fur Facts Friday! I'll leave you with a picture of me and some of my mohair. (If you have a good eye, you can probably spy the odd piece or two of alpaca in the stack.)

Me and my mound of mohair (with alpaca, too)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day: Riding Along

The strange and mysterious day is finally here: Leap Day! It comes around only once every four years to keep us all in balance of some sort or another.

I had grand plans to finish the little bear I'm working on right on this day...but life got in the way. Still, I have been trimming fur from his seams and am nearly ready to sew his pieces together. I can't wait to see what he looks like--I designed a new pattern, and he's the first bear I've made from it. His fur is pretty brown-tipped golden mohair. In the photo below, Crew member James the jammie bear is wearing blue "pajamas," and his head and paws are made from the brown-tipped golden mohair that I'm using for this new bear. Love it!

James the jammie bear, 2001

The other day, I received a lovely email and photo from a dear collector friend. Sweet teddy Logan lives with her, and she shared this picture of him riding along in a small pedal car. To let you know how small, Logan is only about 10.5 inches (26.6 cm) tall.

Sweet teddy Logan riding along, 2012

I so enjoy receiving pictures of Crew members in their new homes (or vehicles, as the case may be)! If you have a Crew member living with you, I would love to see a picture or two.

Enjoy your Leap Day, dear readers!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Meet the Crew's Studio Manager: Sebring Austin Slater

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I would like to introduce you to New Avenue Crew's sweet, ultra-cuddly, no-nonsense studio manager: Sebring Austin Slater. I love this guy!

(This introduction is long overdue; I've been keeping Sebring to myself for far too long. You'll see what I mean by "far too long" when I tell you his story.)

It all started with an idea for a big bear, a new pattern design, and some luscious wavy batik mohair. In the picture below, you can see the batik mohair in the bottom right corner. (As always, if you want a closer view, click on the photo.)

Did I forget to tell you when I started work on Sebring? Sorry about that. It was in 2002. Ten years ago. And I didn't finish him completely until late 2010...if I'm remembering right. That's a long time for a bear to wait to be finished! Sebring is definitely a patient fellow.

I had an idea for a bigger bear pattern and set to work on it. I designed the head, ears, and body, and then I laid out the gorgeous batik mohair and traced and cut out the pieces. It was a flurry of activity: I sewed, stuffed, trimmed, embroidered, and otherwise finished Sebring and then came to a halt. No arms. No legs. Just Sebring's head attached to an envelope of a body. I loved him right away, but I was stumped because I found that I had made his body too large. Uh-oh!

During this time, I took a few years' hibernation from bear making. When I started making bears again, I still didn't know quite what to do for poor Sebring. He watched as more bears were completed and adopted. But finally--finally!--in about 2009 or 2010, I decided I had to remove his head from his body (while he was under anesthesia, of course) and make his body smaller. This was no small feat, but once it was done, I felt so much better, and he looked so much better. Of course, there was still the issue of him having no arms and legs because I had never designed them.

So I set to work again and made his arms and legs. I'm certain he was relieved! I attached them to his body with joints (discs, bolts, and locknuts), and then commenced stuffing him. I was delighted to see him sitting up for the first time.

About this time, I was creating bears for an online show and thought I would offer Sebring for adoption during the show. Here he is with sweet Cinnamon.

I even had his photos and description as part of my show site--but before I went to bed the night before the show, I found that I just couldn't sell Sebring! So I removed him from the show site and went to bed, thrilled that he would be staying with me as my studio manager. (Sebring is only the third bear I have kept in my 15 years of creating New Avenue Crew. You can see J. Cub, a bear I made in 1997, on the mantel in the photo below.)

Now, Sebring usually watches over the smaller bears as they're being created and keeps them out of the honey jar. I have used his pattern again; Sprout, the green springtime bear, was the result. Here is a group picture. It is not often that so many Crew members are together at one time, so this is a rare photo.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Sebring!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mohair, Luscious Mohair...

Hello, everyone! Happy 2012! I can hardly believe we have reached the year 2012 already. I remember when I was in second grade and we changed from 1975 to 1976; it was so difficult to get used to writing 1976 on my papers. Am I the only one, or do you have memories like that?

It has been all quiet on the bear-making front here in the studio. The Crew members and I have been taking a long winter's nap (which has been much longer than winter). I am hopeful that I'll be able to jump back into the fur and fluff soon. I think that Sebring is eager to oversee the making of more Crew members. Oh! I need to introduce you to Sebring. Soon. I'll do that soon.

Speaking of fur and fluff, there's a new group on Facebook for art, craft, and bear-making supplies. It's active with a lot of great materials on offer. Go on and take a peek and join up if you like!

Because of the group, I pawed through my stash of fur yesterday to see if there was anything I wanted to sell. Mohair and alpaca are such beautiful fabrics. I really enjoyed stroking the different pieces of fur and dreaming of the bears that might come to life someday. As a result, I had bear ideas cavorting through my head all night! Now, if I could just find the time to make them! Did I find anything to sell? Yes, a couple of beautiful, soft synthetic pieces and a piece of alpaca, as well as some mini fabrics. But the rest? I couldn't bear to part with it! I kept all the mohair pictured below--and then some. Ah, mohair. I do love it. Do you?