Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's a start!

I've begun the process of going through my bearphernalia and cleaning my studio so it won't seem so overwhelming when it comes time to move my studio into a smaller space. Most people move to a larger space or add on to their homes. Been there. Done that. All that extra space just serves to collect more, more, more. It's time to move to a smaller space......with a walk-in closet!!

I keep going to antique shows and my favorite shops and I keep buying stuff.....for the bears, of course! I've accumulated so much that I'm now feeling overwhelmed by it all. I'm thinking this is how my husband, Bill, feels when he walks into his garage. He's a contractor. That should tell you a lot about our garage. It's a four car garage with room for ONE car. In all fairness though we do pull the car in smack dab in the middle of two car it's easier to maneuver around when you're taking bearaphernalia out of the car. Ha!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I survived!

I opened my Spring Gallery yesterday and despite my website going completely wonkers and giving messages that items were out of stock when they weren't, I did survive the near disaster. Thank goodness my webmaster was available or I would have gone around the bend several times over! Those who know me personally will probably tell you I've already gone around the bend several times over! Hee Hee! All in all, I'm delighted with the day's outcome. I'm very blessed to have such wonderful, thoughtful and patient collectors!!

Today was spent making tags, packaging, boxing and sending bears and bunnies on their way to their new homes. It's a labor intensive process because the tags are handmade one at a time and I take my time wrapping things up like gifts. Mohair bears are not inexpensive and I feel if a collector is going to spend their hard earned dollars on my bears, they deserve to feel a little like they've just bought themselves a lovely gift.

For the rest of the day I think I shall organize my thoughts and pick a paint color for the second guestroom. A lovely pale yellow perhaps? Or maybe a pale pink. Decisions, decisions!! One thing for sure, I'm always busy with one project or another, and most often, several at one time!! I like it that way!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nervous Nellie!

I spent the weekend putting finishing details on bears and bunnies, writing short listings, working out pricing, taking pictures, downloading, uploading, and posting the hidden listings. The Spring Gallery is ready to launch. I'll admit it though, I'm nervous.

I'm nervous in the way that one throws a party and no one shows up. I'm nervous too, about how my website will handle it if everyone shows up. There was a glitch in January where someone had pushed the BUY button and the listing reposted itself for sale. Oh Lord, please don't let that happen tomorrow!

What I'm not nervous about is the bears and bunnies themselves. If I had to keep them all I would. I love them all!! I'm especially fond of the Easter goodies this year. I must have lived a past life in the Victorian era. I love making the vintage Easter eggs. They look so lovely all together in an Easter basket!!

I'd better close for now or I'll end up spilling the beans about every little detail! Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Friday, March 23, 2007

During and After

With the airbrushing finished I'm ready to steam set and stitch the eyes into place. This is usually the last step, unless I decide a bear needs claws, before dressing and final touches. I'm coming down to the wire now! All bears and bunnies must be completed Saturday night in order to have their pictures taken on Sunday. It takes lots of pictures to find those perfect for presentation. Oh, I do hope the lighting is right on Sunday!! Cross your fingers!!

I'm posting a couple of pictures of one of the bears during airbrushing. Silly me didn't take a shot of the bear as a before.....just a during and after. Notice the how the airbrushing softens the outline of the nose. Mind you, the after shot is not a completely finished bear. When the eyes are stitched in it can alter the appearance and the gender of a bear. At least, that's how it works with my bears! A boy or a girl? What do you think the final outcome will be? Hmmm.
I'd better get into the studio....the next couple of days will be busy! Besides actually drawing the pattern pieces, this is my favorite part of bear artistry. It's all in the details!!
Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just a few more days!

Just a few more days to go until I open the Spring Gallery on my website!! I'm so excited!! This way of presenting bears and friends, in a collection, is a little different from the way I usually present my bears. As it isn't my usual method of operation, I'm interested to see how my collectors like having so many choices all at once. If it goes well I'd like to have Gallery presentations once a month rather than listing a bear here and there throughout the month. There simply isn't enough consistency in production that way. I'm so easily distracted!! Perhaps a once a month deadline will help keep me focused and I'll learn to manage my time better. Ha! A girl can dream can't she?

As a little tease, I'm sharing a photo of some of the gallery bears and bunnies all lined up for airbrushing. Now you didn't think I was going to share a front view did you? Silly you! One thing I did notice by taking this picture.....the littlest bunny at the end of the line is without a cottontail!! Oopsie!
Don't forget, the Spring Gallery opens March 26th promptly at 12 noon Pacific time!! Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Finally out of the box!

After almost three years sitting in a box in storage, my lovely antique chandelier is finally out of the box and hanging in all her sparkly glory in one of our guestrooms! I bought this petite little jewel on eBay....had it hanging for just a short time in our home in Seattle...before taking it back down and putting it in a box for our move to Portland.

We've lived in our home in Portland now for two years. Besides taking down all the wallpaper and remodeling the powder room, we've basically just been living here and making notes about what we like and what we don't. In marches 2007, a new year, and we're ready to make some changes!!

Long story cut very, very short....a room we used as a workout room with recumbent flooring is now being transformed with beautiful hardwood, wide white floor trim and my sparkly chandelier, into the guest bedroom it was meant to be. I still have to find curtain rods...and drapes....and just the right chair for the corner by the window. It's coming along though. Now onto guest bedroom number two!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Willow Nest

One of my favorite places to spend a Saturday morning is Willow Nest. It's just about a 30 minute or so drive from my house in Portland, Oregon across the Columbia River into Washington State and a scenic drive up the gorge to Mount Pleasant. Willow Nest is run by Linda and Ludmil Marcov. You may be familiar with their names...they're featured in the latest issue of Country Home magazine! They open their home several times a year for seasonal celebrations as well as barn sales and, during summer months, a wonderful outdoor flea market with oodles of vendors coming from far and wide. A Willow Nest celebration is a DON'T MISS thing for me. Last year, on the morning of my daughters wedding, with 100 hundred people coming to our home, I went to Willow Nest to shop at the August Flea Market!! It's THAT serious a shopping trip for me.

I'm not a shoe nut or a clothes horse. I collect what I call bearaphernalia as well as decorative treasures for my home. I like to buy old things, and handmade things, chippy things, and loved things. Bright and shiny is just not my cup of tea.....unless it happens to be a mattress or a sofa....I do draw the line somewhere! There are lots of old things, handmade things, chippy things and loved things at Willow Nest. Seasonal Celebrations bring out local artist talent which, in turn, yeilds lots of delightful treasures. This trip was no exception! I brought home handmade little pink easter baskets rimmed with pink tinsel and filled with foil covered chocolate eggs, a birdnest and egg under a glass dome encircle with vintage ribbon, a vintage glass bell jar with lid (filled to the brim with chocolate robin eggs!), a satin doll dress, a net lace doll dress and yards and yards of lovely ribbon. Perhaps tomorrow I'll take a picture of all my lovely goodies to share. For now though I'll share just a couple of photos of the day. Warmest bear hugs, Aleta