Monday, 16 June 2008

Cottage Craft Clever Chooks!

Here I sit, slumped in exhaustion after a VERY busy, VERY fun weekend of teaching at the bi-annual Gayndah Cottage Craft Riverbank Retreat. As I told you last post, I packed up my bearbies, my beloved Geek Boy, the dogs and other assorted bits and bobs to hit the highway heading west to my old stomping grounds. While I grew up in Mundubbera and that's where Mum and Dad still live, I travelled by bus to Gayndah for two years to complete years 11 ans 12. So, when I was invited to be one of the class tutors for the craft retreat, I jumped at the chance - and I am so glad I did because we had an absolute BALL!! Before going on (and I do GO ON!!) I'll warn you that I took lots of photos (until the camera chucked a fit!!) so this will definitley be a two-cuppa-post!!

Now both mornings started out quite a lot earlier than a night-owl like me would choose, as I had to travel half an hour to Gayndah from Mum and Dad's place, but that was the only drawback for the whole weekend. There were four lovely ladies signed up to make a bear with me - Eleanor (who was a member of the organising committee), Julie-Ann, Lyn and Maria. With the option of making either a girlie bear (Taylah Bear) or a boy bear (the newly printed Morgan the Pirate Bear), we had two of each - Eleanor and Maria chose to make Morgan and Julie-Ann and Lyn decided on Taylah bear. So, amidst much chatting, giggling, muttering at scissors that didn't want to cut through thick towelling and a few 'by the pricking of my thumbs' incidents, we got underway.

Here you can see Eleanor (back), Maria and Julie-Ann slaving over their hot sewing machines to sew up their bear bits.

And at another table, Lyn was also stitching away.

Then we came to the stuffing stage of our bears and the girls were amazed at just how much stuffing was needed to fill one bear! It's one of those "Believe it, or not!" type of questions!! One day I'll remember to measure so I can shock and amaze you all! What was that? You replaced "shock and amaze" with "BORE"?!? How rude! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Uh oh! I think Maria's poor bearbie is like the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz" and singing ... "If I only had a brain"! Tee! Hee! Hee! Poor bear! It's actually a VERY undignified process for a bearbie to be born!!

So, by the end of day one of the retreat, we had four bare bears!!

Here's Julie-Ann with her bare bear and ...

Lyn's bearbie in his 'bearthday' suit! Tee! Hee! Hee! I crack myself up!!! Or is that just lack of sleep making lots of strange things seem funny!! Hmmmm....

Day two saw the girls hit the sewing machines again (and rub their sore hands, cos machines are hard!! Sorry! That whole lack of sleep thing!!) and they got stitching some outfits for some beary fashionable bears.

Here's Eleanor concentrating very hard on some hand-stitching and ...

Julie-Ann trying to work out how to hold the folded hem at the right level, hold the lace in place AND thread her needle! We decided bear makers all need an extra set of hands - but then decided perhaps not, as we'd just try to do more at the same time!! After putting in their second day of frantic stitching, a little reverse stitching (we NEVER unpick, always 'reverse stitch'!!) our little group had expanded to include four brand new, finished bearbies! Here are the proud parents ...

Aren't they a handsome looking bunch - and the bears aren't half bad either! Tee! Hee! Hee! This was the first time any of the ladies had attempted to make a bear like this and in fact, it was the first time that Maria had touched a sewing machine, so they all did brilliantly, I think!!! Aren't they clever chooks!! Of course, I'm a little bit biased as I feel like a proud Mamma Bear admiring her cute and clever cubs!! Well done girls!! And I must not have scared my students too much, because all are now signed up to receive my monthly Tag Along Teddies newsletter (tho Eleanor has been chuckling at my monthly ramblings and updates for a little while now!) and all have bought more of my Tag Along Teddies patterns to take home and get stitching!!

The whole weekend was very well organised and everyone was so friendly! We all played an unofficial game of "musical chairs" at each food break (and we were fed VERY well!!) so I got to meet lots of friendly, talented ladies over the two days. I'm looking forward to heading back again in two years time for the next Riverside Retreat (although the venue has changed from the original one to accommodate increased numbers and it's not quite on the riverside any more - but you could walk there!!) and if I'm not asked back as a tutor, I'll certainly be back to join a class!! Thanks to all who organised the weekend's program and did all the hard work behind the scenes! And that includes my new friend and fellow "Mad Bear Woman", Vera, who had been hard at work in the lead up to the weekend stitching bearbies to be included in some lucky number prize packs that were given away throughout the weekend. And guess what?!?! I actually WON one!! YAY! I NEVER win prizes, so that was nice in itself, but to then open up my goody bag and find a new furry friend was DOUBLY wonderful!! If I tell you my new furry bearie's name is Patrick, can you guess which of the bears below he is?

If you guessed he's the gorgeous green bear, you're right! Not only did I win a bear, I won a GREEN bear. And not only did I win a GREEN bear, I won a GREEN BEAR WITH ATTITUDE! Tee! Hee! Hee! I told Vera he looks a little eccentric, a little "out there" and a little cheeky, so he'll fit right on in around here!! Thanks Vera!! Patrick has already made some new friends amongst my hug. He took one look at the mischievous glint in the eyes of Rohan and Sawyer and sat himself beside them!!

PHEW!! So, you can see why I'm a little weary today, ESPECIALLY, when I add that after the retreat ended at 4pm, I had to drive the half hour back to Mundubbera, re-pack the bags, the dogs, the bears and GB and drive the three hours home because both GB and I had to be grown ups and go to work this morning! However, I'm sure after a few early nights, some hot chocolate and some bear cuddles, I'll be back up to speed and getting into more mischief! So, until next time, take care! I'm off to have some dinner and then - ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! Bear Hugs!



Kerryanne English said...

Welcome home Kris. Sounds like a very successful weekend retreat and you got to catch up with your folks too.

Teaching workshops is always fun but strangely exhausting at the same time. I think it is nervous energy and if you are anything like is all for nothing because the students are excited to be there and they don't really bite!!!

Well done - what's on for this week?

Linda said...

Hi Kris,
Sounds like you had a great but busy weekend. Love all of the bears.
Cheers Linda

Debbie said...

No place like home, no place like home...and u didn't need the ruby slippers to do it! Mind u, it sounds like you could have used them on Sunday. Sounds like a great weekend, maybe I'll have to organise something like that...if u want something done, u usually have to do it yourself and stop wishing someone else would do it for you!


Stina said...

How happy the new bear owners must be..they all look absolutly fantastic!! Sooo cute!!
Hope you got your well deserved sleep!! TAke care

Linda and Laura Lilly Cottage said...

You really are quite crazy, you know that, in a fun and friendly way, not crazy axe weilding crazy. I love your bear report and it sounds as though you had a lovely time and deserve a good sleep!! Hope you managed to stay awake in your grown up job today. Kiss noises Linda Lilly cottage.

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