Quite a time after making my first bear I started designing my own patterns, back then my bears were very different. They had massive ears and massive feet! There was a local bear shop where I had made friends with the owner through our shared love of bears! I took a few bears in to show her and to my delight she suggested selling them! I was over the moon, at that point not occurred to me to sell the bears, it was just a hobby!
So in order to sell my bears I needed a name.
I wanted something different and yet something that was close to my heart, I got Mum on the case and almost in the same breath we said "Shantock"
“Little Shantock” (the not so little yellow house) was a special place to me and my family as I was growing up. My Grandparents built the house brick by brick in the mid 1960’s, with help from my Mum, Aunt and a few friends. It holds many fun filled memories for me, from swinging on my very own green swing, to the blossom falling from the big cherry tree, eating cakes in the summer house, picking fruit from the fruit cages and visiting my Grandfathers honey bee’s at the top of the garden.
That's me with our dog Beren in "Little Shantocks" garden, you can see my green swing in the background and the tree was the home to a imaginary fairy!
Sadly "Little Shantock" had to be sold when my Grandfather was terminally ill, my Grandmother (the most wonderful woman I have ever known) could no longer cope with the acre of garden and such a large house, so it past on to another family who I know love it as much as we did. I often think about days spent there, days spent playing in the sunshine, making mud pies, helping my Grandmother bake cakes for tea, I can still hear my Grandfather's laugh (he had an amazing booming laugh)
I still miss them both everyday, I wish that they had lived to have seen one of my bear, alas they did not, but naming my business after Shantock seems the most fitting way to honour their memory and their love.
10 years ago this month I made my first bear! and what a disaster it was, sadly I do not have any photos of that little bear because in a fit of bear makers despair I through him away :0( but trust me he was terrible, he had holes, lose joints, wonky eyes but despite all that he had me addicted.
Back then I had no idea that I would have made a successful business in the bear world, (it took me a long while to pluck up the courage to sell one) In the previous year there had been a great deal of changes in my life, it wasn't an easy one and as I said goodbye to 2001 and hello to 2002 I sent off for a bear making kit and the rest as you say is history.
I have a few exciting things planned to celebrate this milestone, a new website early this year, some give away's and special editions! And a workshop (fingers crossed that this one works out) I'll keep you posted on these, but for now here's a few of my older bears, gosh I've come a long way!
Its been quite a while since I last blogged, sorry about that. I decided to take a few weeks off work over Christmas which for me means turning the computer off! If I even go to check my emails my holiday is over because my brain starts to think about what needs to be done, how much there is to do and so on. Before I know it I'm cutting out bears and getting in a panic ;0)
It been such a lovely few weeks, I've napped in the day (which I never do) watched bad TV, caught up with dear friends and family and generally re-charged my batteries for the year ahead as its going to be another busy one.
But before I fill you in on the 2012 plans here's a few pictures of my special holiday break
Homemade glitter cranberry sauce
The main event
So many presents under the tree, I was very spoilt
(more on that later)
Our beautiful tree
I made hampers for everyone presents,
it took me three months of hard work but was so worth it.
I made jams, chutneys, home grown dried herbs, soaps, fairy houses,
snowmen and the list goes on
and finally I did do a little work,
the studio needed a good spring clean and a change around.
Its so much better now and I can't wait to start making a mess again!