Archive for the ‘Blog chat’ Category

We’ve Moved!

Crewser Wagon with Boxes and Bear

Today is moving day! New Avenue Crew is moving to its new blog home at http://newavenuecrew.blogspot.com. Follow me!


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New Avenue Crew’s new home was entirely too bare, so I set to work. Whew! Not finished yet…

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Aging doesn’t come naturally to me. I am hesitant. I am far from brave. A dash of color here, a trim there, some sandpaper…

Dear readers, please don’t be alarmed. I am talking about aging the little bear who’s pictured two posts down having a quiet conversation with another bear in progress. When I’m facing a little bear with scissors, some form of stain, and fine-grain sandpaper, it sometimes seems that I should apologize to the little soul before I begin, during the process, and even afterward. And, not being the brave sort, I hesitate to go too far, because, gulp, the fur doesn’t grow back!

Last night before bed, my daughter entered the room where I was working on aging the little bear. She said, “Oh, he’s cute!” and asked to hold him. When she saw him up close, she exclaimed, “He looks old!” I just smiled and told her that’s what I was aiming for. I only hope I can get the “loved” part in there, too.

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Making the Move

Now, it’s nothing to worry about, really. I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite some time now. Complexity is not something I need in my daily life (unless I’m working on a new design or something else I don’t mind wrapping my head around). And I do like design.

What might this be, you say? I have decided to make the move…to Blogger. Yes, the New Avenue Crew blog will be moving to http://newavenuecrew.blogspot.com sometime soon. I have some things to work out, like the aforementioned design and theme, but I am excited about the possibilities. I have found Blogger much easier to work with, and there are design themes available (from third parties) that are relatively easy to implement without cost (WordPress charges a fee for customization, but I don’t even know how to work with CSS!).

And so, dear reader, please be watching this space for my official moving announcement. You can even go visit our new home right now, but remember that the walls are bear, er, bare.

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For the past few weeks, I have had my bears in progress sitting on my bed. Two of them always seem to end up in what looks like a conspiratorial pose, or one in which they are having a long chat or are looking lovingly into each others’ eyes…I always smile when I see them. I thought I would share a snapshot of them with you, even though they are not finished–a sneak peek at my sweet little chums in progress–and tell you what I think they might be discussing.

Quiet Conversations

“Goodness, when do you think she will finally finish us?”

“I don’t know, but it’s been years in my case.”

“Mine, too!”

“Did you know that she is a proofreader during the day, and she’s a wife and mother, and she works on us in between everything else?”

“Oh! What’s a proofreader?”

“She makes sure that the written word sounds good, looks good…that kind of thing.”

“But why has it taken her so many years to make us?”

“She and her husband adopted their two teenage daughters last year. That took a long time.”

“I’m sure it did!”

“But you know, I’m really very glad she has come out of her bear-making hibernation so we can be loved and adopted one day, too!”

“Me, too!”

“By the way, though it has taken a few years for her to make you, she is going to ‘age’ you some more. Your fur is what they call ‘vintage’ upholstery mohair, and she has already given you some worn spots on your ear, forehead, and muzzle. Her mom collected antique dolls for many years, and so she became a fan of antique teddy bears. She has made one other ‘aged’ bear; he looked well loved. And that’s what she wants for you.”

“Oh! It must be a good thing to be loved.”

“I think it must be.”

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Herr Grünhosen

Herr Grünhosen

The fur has been flying here in the New Avenue Crew studio! The four very patient bears I have in the works are finally seeing quite a bit of progress. (I would even venture to say that they’re excited that they all might be finished soon.)

The last two days I’ve been sewing feet, jointing limbs to bodies, trimming and shading a face, stuffing a foot–and removing a head from a body, cutting the body apart, redesigning said body’s pattern…like I said, the fur’s been flying around here.

Why did I part a head from its body? Well, many years ago, in a fit of creative energy, I modified one of my head patterns and drew up a body to go with it. I cut the pieces out of a lovely curly batik mohair and sewed them up, then worked on the bear’s head. I was on a roll! I wanted this to be a bigger bear, but, well, I got a little carried away with the size of the body. This poor bear, patient soul, has been waiting for me to rework his body these many years. So yesterday, said parting of head and body occurred. Today I hope to finish redesigning the body, do some arms and legs to go with it, cut them out and sew them up, and joint this sweet bear. Of course, the other three bears may call to me during this time, and I may get sidetracked and work on one of them…things like this have been known to happen here in the studio.

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Welcome to Fun Fur Fact Friday! Our first installment in the Fun Fur Fact files is about collecting and caring for these precious friends we call teddy bears.

When you are bitten by the bear bug, there is only one remedy: adopt a teddy bear! As you hunt for that perfect new companion, keep the following tips in mind.

Buying Bears

  • Buy what you like.

    Emmett by Debora Hoffmann


  • Avoid buying for investment, unless it’s a confirmed antique and you can have it appraised or a bear by a well-known artist.
  • Look at the quality of construction.
  • The stitches should be neat, tidy, and nearly invisible.
  • All the bear’s joints should turn with the same ease.
  • There should not be lots of fur trapped in the seams.
  • The eyes should be firmly attached and evenly set.
  • The ears should also be evenly attached.
  • The nose stitches should be pulled with the same tension so there are no bumps or loops.
  • Any added color should not rub off on your hands.
  • Be sure the bear doesn’t reek of smoke or moth balls.

Where to Find Them

  • Shows
  • Teddy bear shows are a great way to find that special teddy and connect with like-minded “bear” people.
  • Some collectors like to know the artist behind the bear; some won’t buy the bear if they don’t like the artist!
  • Stores
  • Artist bears
  • Some stores hold artist signing events
  • Artist-designed manufactured bears
  • Manufactured bears
  • Internet
  • Teddy bear artists’ Web sites and blogs
  • Teddy bear forums
  • eBay
  • Etsy 
  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Antique stores
  • You may be able to find old and new bears at antique stores. Beware of new bears that are made to look old and are being sold at a premium price.
  • Garage sales and estate sales 

Care and Feeding

  • Keep teddy bears out of direct sunlight; their fur may fade, particularly if it has red tones.
  • Periodically check your bears for carpet beetle larvae–they will eat your bears…and they especially like red felt! Keep bears off the floor if possible.
  • Fluff and move your bears around every now and then.
  • Periodic dusting is important; perhaps use a vacuum nozzle covered with a pantyhose leg.
  • Surface clean only–never throw a teddy bear into a washing machine or dryer. Use only suds on the fur (not the backing), and dab with clean water to remove. Towel off with a clean cloth.
  • Old bears and manufactured bears (such as Steiff) are more desirable if their tags are intact. Try to keep all original ribbons, clothes, tags, and so on that come with any bear you purchase, old or new.
  • Hugs are great for a bear’s well-being, not to mention a person’s!
  • Be sure to keep a close eye on your teddy bears when they’re around honey or scones with jam.

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