Friday, 22 July 2011

New camera

I have been meaning to buy a new digital camera for AGES! Taking photos of miniatures is very difficult and my current tools are just not up to the job! I have a lovely point-and-click camera (whose only downfall is needing a film) and an old digital camera that takes reasonable snaps but cannot cope with close ups of small furry creations.

For a long time I have been relying on friends and family with SLR cameras to help me take photos of my bears but I can't continue to postpone listings until I can arrange a meeting with a camera... erm, I mean friend!

So, after much deliberation, I have finally ordered and received my new digital camera. I have trawled on-line reviews and have sought advice from camera shops. I have sifted through often conflicting opinions on the hundreds of cameras available. And what have I chosen? A Panasonic LUMIX FS16. To be honest this decision was driven by desperation as much as anything else but so far I am happy with the decision.

It arrived in the post yesterday and after waiting impatiently for the battery to charge I was finally able to start taking photos with my new toy! 


So far I have experimented with the macro settings and the macro zoom with great success. The camera picks up the sparkle on the bear's tiny hairs, the detail in the accessories and the image stabilisation makes the picture beautifully clear.

In short, I love it! Can't believe I waited so long! The photos on this blog will be all the better for it!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Selvedge project

Recently, in a fit of inspiration, I decided to have a stab at a selvedge fabric. After stumbling across the blog of the fabulous Ric Rac and her selvedge frock project while trawling "the great time waster", I knew I had to start collecting for my own project! Visit my website to see more photos and details of this project.

Obviously this meant my mum doing the "collecting" as she uses far more fabric than me (quilting has that effect!) so I had to wait a little while. The collection arrived and to be honest I forgot all about it... oops! Until a couple of weeks ago when I found and sorted it. I found that there was a good number of pieces in shades of white and cream so decided that was the time to give it a go!

I trimmed and arranged the strips, maintaining the mixture of widths for added interest. The loose edges were sewn together (pieces pinned right-side-together and sewn on the machine - quilting style) and then pinned to backing fabric. Using a zigzag stitch the selvedges were sewn down and together to form a continuous piece of fabric.

The overall effect was pleasing and made a piece of fabric roughly 16 x 17in.

Now, what would you do with a piece of fabric that size? There are, of course, dozens of possibilities: all different and all interesting. For me it had to be a bear - that wasn't a difficult decision! What was more of a challenge was deciding on the style, size, shape. Having made that decision I set about tracing patterns, cutting fabric and sewing pieces together.

As this was a small bear it didn't take long to complete the sewing so I was able to move on to stuffing, adding features, jointing and finishing.

The bear now has black glass eyes, an embroidered nose to match his paw pads and a white ribbon with gold snowflake design.

You can really see the variation in fabrics from the side.

And in this photo you can see the light on the bears head picking up the subtle patterns in the fabric.

I am so pleased with the results of the experiment and would definitely repeat the process once "I" have collected more selvedge! Enough for a larger bear would be nice...


 Welcome to the first post of my blog "Silent Companions".

Why Silent Companions? Everyone knows the value of those companions who are always there, always ready to listen, who never judge and who stay with you through good times and bad. Sometimes we are lucky and have just such a friend on hand, sometimes we turn to pets and sometimes the best companion is a teddy bear. I have had several such bears: soft, warm, cuddly and reliable. So my blog and website names pay tribute to these magnificent creations.

Now I make my own teddies in all shapes, sizes and colours. All my creations are showcased on my website but I would like this blog to share more than just the completed bears. I want to share my inspiration, ideas and everything else that influences me and my bears, as well as the stories behind my creations.

 So hopefully I will be able to live up to my goal and post regularly. I also hope that, as you follow my journey, you will be more than a 'silent' companion and add your thoughts and comments!

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