Monday, January 9, 2012

What a recycled bear looks like

  By recycled I don't just mean that the coat was old and reused to make a bear, I also mean that this guy ended up in the trash can. Making this real fur bear has definetly been a challange, and a learning experience for me. The fur itself and the leather backing has not really posed a problem, although I did have to take extra time to line it, circle the weak areas with black marker, and open the window up with a fan blowing just so that I don't inhale to many furs; the real issue has been with my careless errors. I'm not really sure why but I have been making a lot of beginner mistakes lately (granted this is only my 9th bear, and my first mink one at that) I have been doing silly things like sewing up the entire body of the bear and not leaving an opening to stuff. Poking to many holes in the leather is not good... so I have had to restart a couple times. It was definetly time to take a break from my little disaster and give my mom a lesson in bear making! It was fun to have some mother daughter bonding time, and in the process of creating her bear with her I gained the inspiration to continue to finish what I had started on my own. It has been so helpful for me to just step back for once and learn the basics, I never made a bear with someone elses pattern, and even though I figured out all the stitches on my own I am finally learning their names. Although this bear will be far from perfect I am going to stick with it and finish it. Enjoy!

Let the transformation begin ;)

I added a thin layer of suede and a bit of leather cording (the ends cut at angles)
to make an eyelid. I then shaded them both to blend them together.

                                                          Baby bear and Momma bear

He has a very happy expression I think.

The body (number 2 ) cut and pinned

Hungry for stuffing

I added a bow although I'm not sure I like it... the fabric of the
bow was made out of the linning of the coat. What do you think?

Monday, January 2, 2012


  It has been a really fun winter break for me. Last week I spent the holidays with my family who lives in Pennsylvania, this is a tradition for us. We take one day, starting at 3 AM and drive all the way up north in our mini van with our German Shepherd and weeks worth of luggage; needless to say people can get kinda grouchy. Yet the trip is all worth it once we hit the PA border and my dad plays Allentown by Billy Joel, (after 18 years you would think that song gets old, but it doesn't. By the way thank you dad for helping me fix my laptop after it got thrown around in the car, I couldn't have done this post without you!) The rest of the week we stay with my grandparents and great grandmother who is now 92 years old. This year my second oldest sister and her husband joined us so we did a little bit more site seeing than normal. My grandmother Nancy was a great tour guide, she showed us the Pennsylvania Pagoda and on the way home we took a detour past a huge waterfall and a damn. Christmas morning I gave away the last of my bears, everyone seemed to like them. It was sad to see my best ones go, and I am a little worried since I only have pictures to compare the new bears I make... I have been using the same pattern I first started with and I tweek it along the way, now that the bears are gone I don't know what I need to alter, I am not very good at analyzing in 2D. Nevertheless I made my first bear without a reference so I am sure I can do it again. And it seems like I'm going to be plenty busy making new bears, for Christmas my family gave me an old antique mink coat. At first I was hesitant to use something that was once living, but since the animal passed away long ago (and I won't be supporting mink farming since this coat was made before that was popular) I see it as a good opportunity to preserve and honor these creatures in a (hopefully) beautiful and lasting way. Here are some pictures of our adventures in PA, along with the new little bear I am working on.  Hope you have a happy new year!
 Hugs - Heidi 
My family and I in front of the Pagoda 

View of the city from the steps of the pagoda 


                                                               The Pagoda all lit up!

                                                       My sister and I at the Christmas village

                                                The cool thing about giving away my bears is
                                                    that there is one everywhere I go now.
                                                   This is one of my first bears I ever made.
                                                It's interesting to see how they are evolving.

                                                          Dante really enjoys Christmas.

                                                 The new black bear cub I am working on.
                                                 I am waiting for more eyes to come in the mail..

                                               Working with real fur is very hard.. if you
                                                make the tiniest mistake it is completely ruined...
                                                not to mention theres a lot of things you can't
                                              do such as needlefelt because it weakens the leather.