Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Meet Fantastic Mr Fox

Meet Fantastic Mr Fox
 
 
 
When I was a young girl my mother, being the amazingly talented creative soul that she is, made porcelain dolls from scratch, embroidered, made quilts, most of my clothes, everything under the sun and years later had her own shop with her own clothing range, which I look at today with a very critical eye and can't find a single fault. This, not because she is my mother, and yes offcourse we are all a little more bias when it comes to family, no, because I am yet to meet someone as gifted as her. I have stopped counting the number of quilts she has made by hand and each one of them to perfection. When the Great British Sewing Bee was on and they made the shirt, I thought to myself, my mother could do it with her eyes closed, as I have countless shirts that she has made for both my husband and myself and they are all better crafted than the likes of Boden or French Connection, just to name a few. Anyway, I digress. So when this was all going on when I was young, my mother moved in very creative circles, as often is the case, and one day she took me into her friends shop, another very talented and gifted lady who made and sold bears. It is strange how it only feels like yesterday. I remember walking around her shop in awe, completely speechless and dumbstruck for what felt like an eternity, picking up and examining bears. I couldn't believe that someone had made these and I remember leaving the shop that day with a note to myself to make a bear one day and now many years later, I would like you to meet fantastic Mr Fox, my very first bear playing fox.
 
As a child my favourite toy was always my bear. I still remember the day my Dad came home with this rather big brown bear, which if my memory serves me right he bought from a BP Garage (I must ask him!), and Beer (bear in Afrikaans) became the best friend that any girl could want. He bathed with me, he swam with me (we had a pool as the weather was a great deal warmer in SA, and how I miss it on grey days like today!). Beer did everything with me. I loved Beer more than any other toy I had, so it seemed only natural that the very first toy I gave to both my children were bears. Little J got Toffee and Little E got Treacle and they have been their besties ever since. They go everywhere and do everything with them. Yes years down the line they don't look their best, but they bring such comfort and out of all their toys their besties are the only things that really matter to both my lovely children.
 
It was actually quite funny, years before J was born during a visit to SA we visited this friend of Mum's shop and I decided to buy a bear, Toffee. He was perfect in every way and little did I know that I would give it to my first born. Ironically when Mum arrived a couple of months after J was born, she brought with her a bear for J, not something we had discussed in any shape or form, and ironically she had bought the exact same bear (great minds think alike, haha!), it was so funny and clearly meant to be. To be honest it has been a blessing to have a second bear to fall back on to when one needed a wash and a little time out, so when E was born we did the same and bought two of the same bears (which we bought when mum came over just after E was born, yes it became a little tradition). In fact little E has gone through three, and only yesterday and the day before we had complete meltdown because Treacle was lost, but how?, we definitely knew that she hadn't left the house (Treacle has been known to be a little rascal of some sorts at the best of times!). Fortunately Dad found her last night amongst he piles of wood by the back of the shed and this morning there was one very happy girl giving loads of cuddles and kisses to her bestie, Treacle, and telling her just how much she had missed her and never to run away again, it melts my heart!
 
So here are the two besties, maybe not at their bestest, but all the same from left to right, Toffee and Treacle.
 


 
So a few months ago, whilst reading the lovely Paula's blog 'Sugar Sweet Pink', which unfortunately is no longer available, I was so inspired by her first little bear that I decided the time had come. You can have a little look at some of Paula's beautiful creations here. It was serendipitous to say the least.
 
I immediately bought a pattern from Sasha Pokras's Etsy shop and then later bought my supplies from Christie Bears, a UK based shop. It was actually quite funny as the first pattern I bought was going to be a very different bear, but then after showing little J the bears on Pinterest (as he loves bears) he told me that he wanted one for his birthday. I have to add here that this was exactly a week and a half before his birthday. Fortunately the supplies were sent out and I had a week to complete the bear and I was delighted to be able to wrap it up and give it to little J for his birthday. He was so exited about Fantastic Mr Fox, I just hope it is going to survive the journeys here there any everywhere and stand the test of time as he is already being dragged along with Toffee. This makes me think of the lovely book I love you Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark and I just hope that little Toff is not feeling to sad about this new arrival!
 
 
 
So this is where it all started before he finally got welcomed into our home.
 

Basically you cut out all the pattern pieces out of Mohair and then there is a great deal of hand sewing and sewing involved before it is stuffed and the cotter pins and joints are all put in place. All his limbs can rotate and move and it just feel like a lovely vintage bear, or bear playing fox as in this case. I had such fun making this bear and can't wait to start the next.

I think he quite enjoys posing... and is not at all shy, true to form, just like fantastic Mr Fox before he lost his tail.

  


 
 


 
and with that, a very warm goodbye from both me and Mr Fox.
 
Warm Wishes
Hannapat
xoxo

27 comments:

  1. Dear Hannapat - i found this post absolutely thrilling - enjoyed reading every word of it! My Mum used to make beautiful bears too, among other things, so I have a special spot in my heart for all bears.
    I love J and E's bears, they are gorgeous, and I love Mr Fox bear too - you've done such a wonderful job of him. I am aware of how involved a task it is to get the joints right, and all those fiddly pieces together as they should be. WELL DONE HANNAPAT!!!
    Joy x

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    1. Thank you Joy and how lovely to hear that your mum made bears too. I can already see the addiction opportunities here. Thank you for your very kind comments xoxo

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  2. What a lovely post. Just like Joy I really enjoyed reading every word!
    The bears are adorable and Mr Fox is great! Oh the hours of hand sewing that must have gone into making him!
    Beautiful work! xoxox

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    1. Thanks Elisabeth, it was such a pleasure! Xo

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  3. Our Mothers gave us so much,I've been inspired by my mum all my life! He's fantastic, you are passing on the inspiration to you children! :) x

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    1. I have gathered this from your posts and are we very lucky to have this inspiration. Lol xo

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  4. You are a lady of many talents gifted down from your mother. I just loved the story about Toffee and Treacle. I'm so happy Treacle didn't wander too far away. Fantastic Mr. Fox is going to be in good hands with little J. Just looking at your photo he is one happy little boy! Blessing to you Hannapat!

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    1. Oh Donna, if I can but only have 5% of my mothers talents and skill I will be ones very happy lady. Yes, you have no idea how very relived we were when we found treacle!! Thank you so much for your kind words xoxo

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  5. I loved this post, it was so fascinating to read about your talented mother and your childhood.....and no surprise that you are talented and crafty too. The story of the bears is so sweet, and what a wonderful job you have done on making Mr Fox.....he really is fantastic!
    Helen x

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    1. Thanks Helen, I enjoy being crafty not sure it always comes that naturally. So pleased you enjoyed the story and thanks for your kind comments xoxo

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  6. Hannapat he is just adorable - you obviously have the talents of your lovely Mum running through your veins. He is one special little person who is going to be around for a long long time. A special post Hannapat which I really enjoyed, thank you for sharing some of your special journey with us all, it was so lovely
    Lots of love
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Oh if only Dorothy, but one thing is for sure I very much enjoy it and that is all that matters. Thanks for your lovely comments as always xo

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  7. Hey Hannapat,

    What a lovely story. Clearly you share you mother's talents! I love family traditions and how they are handed down through the generations.

    Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks Leanne, yes it certainly is interesting to see how these things move down from generation to generation. It has most certainly been in both sides of my family and there is something special about carrying on the tradition. Long may it continue xo

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  8. What a gorgeous post. Mr Fox looks wonderful, he really does. You have most definitely inherited your mum's crafty talents.
    M x

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    1. Thanks M, definitely inherited the love for it, not so sure about the skill. Lolxo

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  9. You have given me a big smile, what lovely, lovely memories! My two girls have *very* loved and worn snugglies, too, but I wouldn't even entertain the idea of making a bear, you are absolutely amazing!!! Chrissie x

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    1. Pleased to return the favour! Sniffles are so gorgeous, I have been tempted to make some, maybe one day for now I will stick with the fluff from the mohair. Thanks for your lovely comment xo

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  10. oh this is so lovely...nothing beats that sentimental value of childhood treasures xx

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    1. Couldn't agree more lovely Alison xo

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  11. What a very dedicated gift! All those different pieces! He's lovely, Heather x

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  12. You are so clever, what a wonderful gift. Fantastic Mr Fox is definitely one of my favourites too - brilliant :) xx

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    1. Thanks Cheryl, pleased to hear you love the book too, it's a classic!! Xo

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  13. Absolutely adorable and so, so sweet!! Loved reading about your sweet mom and such talent you both have!! I had a teddy bear that I had since the day I was born, named Teddy, and he went everywhere with me, too! My Nana patched him up so many times, he's missing eyes and hair, but Teddy is still with me sitting in my sewing room!! Fantastic Mr. Fox is a treasure!! Happy sweet day to you!! xo Heather

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    1. Awh thank you so much dear Heather. I would love to see your little teddy, so do share one day! Thanks for your lovely comments xoxo

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  14. My darling, somewhere along the way fiction became reality for you, because I am certainly not that talented person you are talking about. I botched along merrily and from a dear daughter's perspective, it was probably ok. Whereas you are really talented! I just LOVE your bear. He has such attitude and that's vitally important for a bear. Otherwise he should rather be a doll, and remember a doll can be a bear, but a bear can never be a doll. No way, far too much attitude. So Josh is a lucky chap - he has a new friend. I still don't know how you did that in a week ! Brenda will be soo impressed. And so pleased that she could instill the desire for making a bear in you.I must say, poor Toffee and Treacle look like they have lived a couple of lives. But I know that they are still very happy little bears because they are so well loved! What is the name of that beautiful red rose. I can actually smell it as I look upon its beauty. Do you think I will get it in SA. We now live in rose country. The roses love the warmer weather and my red rose in the garden still has three lovely flowers and its July! Love you! xxx

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