Monday, January 31, 2011

Time for a PUG break!

Time for a Pug Break:

As most of you know I have a pug and today my husband found these two commercials on Youtube so I thought we should all take a little pug break and have a laugh together... hope you enjoy them.





Now I am off to sew sew sew! I'm almost ready for my Tampa show and will have 17 bears up for adoption! I cannot wait to get to the sunny south! We are about to get hit with a HUGE snow storm on Wednesday. They are calling for such a bad one I stalked up on all the freezer supplies I could get my hands on! Even if the power goes out there is always the BBQ so best to be prepared! Maybe I will have some photos come Wednesday... maybe they'll be wrong and the sun will come out instead!

Have a wonderful day!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

NEW paw pad design and BIG schedule

Sorry it took me a few extra days to get back here to post the NEW paw pad design but my schedule keeps getting more and more filled and BIG plans for 2011 keep on gettin' BIGGER!

So first thing is the new paw pad design... I hope you love them as much as I do. As I mentioned they take a lot more time and many stages to do but I think it is worth it. Look close and you will see that my initials of MS are on the paws. M on one and S on the other... nice and subtle just how I like it. On the front paws which I do not have pictured here there is an O on the pad which is the O in XO like a HUG.


And some more happy news for Seraphim Bears:
It's official that some of my bears will be at the Hugglets with my UK stockist Silly Bears. Woohoo... I am so jealous! I am just simply thrilled to have my babies at this spectacular show, a show I have always dreamed of attending. I know it might seem crazy that I am so excited over this but as a Canadian with a British background it is such an absolute thrill I cannot even put it into words.

Also in the news of Seraphim Bears, it is now official that I will be attending and participating in the TBAI 2011 show and creating a spectacular one of a kind piece to help raise money for endangered species ~ the "Treasures of the World" Gallery Challenge! The plans are already in the mix and the first sketches have been drafted... oh there will be many, many more sketches to come and then pattern drafting and then a practice piece and the list goes on and on. But I can say the idea has been set in my mind and I am already in love with it and only hope I do the images in my mind justice when I translate it into the actual piece.

5 bears are soon to be shipped of to Scotland and I am finishing up ~ final touches on the 15 bears I have created for the Tampa Florida show in February!

There have been many long nights and many more to come but I am enjoying every single minute of it... I'm taking a minute each night to drink it all in and take pleasure in this journey.

Have a wonderful and creative day and I'll try to get back here soon with more of what's new with the bears!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

So Happy for Bethany!

Just a very short note to say that sweet Bethany has now found her forever home! Thank you to whom ever adopted her... that's the hard part for me in sending my bears away to the Silly Bears store... I don't know who got to take her home...

But still, I am soooo happy for Bethany!

I'm working hard here making bears for the up and coming February Tampa bear show, the Bears in Bloom online show in March and my Toronto Bear show in April and don't get me wrong... I am loving every minute of it. With all the creative juices flowing and deadlines pending I have still found time to add a new design change into the mix. I have created a new design for my paw pads and will soon have a photo to show you. I completed the first of the new design today and I have to say that I am really happy with them and I hope you too will like them. They take a lot of time to do and many, many steps but I think it's worth it for the end result!

What a tease right? Sorry... but I wanted to share the news. I'll try not to keep you waiting too long to see the new look!

Have a wonderful and creative day!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WOOHOO! A TOBY for my Bethany!

I am sooooo excited I can "bearly" think... I can barely type!

My friend and colleague Cheryl Hutchison over at Bingle Bears sent me an email to congratulate me on my Industries Choice Award WIN for my bear BETHANY! Cheryl was indeed the one to break the news to me as I have been at work all day with no computer access! I came home and thought I would check my mail once again to see if the announcements had been made as to the winners of the 2011 TOBY awards! And there tucked neatly away amongst a ton of emails was a small email with a title of CONGRATULATIONS from Cheryl!

Even upon seeing this email in my mailbox and prior to opening it I had no idea! I opened it up and slowly began to read the short email that said "I just read the list of winners and I see you won for you bear Bethany! Congratulations!" Yup... that's how I found out and I have to tell you... this will be a moment never forgotten here at Seraphim Bears! Our first TOBY and to have the news broken to me by a friend! Woohoo!

Can I tell you that when I received the email I had to read it twice, three times, no maybe four before I could believe that my Bethany had placed!
Cheryl has also won a TOBY in her category so pop on over to visit her and say congratulations to her bear Livvy!


WOW! This was my first time competing in the TOBY competition and I can barely keep it together here! Now that Bethany has been nominated for this very prestigious award in her category of - Large Artist Bear Dressed, I would like to once again mention that she is available for adoption through Silly Bears.

Thank you thank you ... Oh I miss her so! I hope she will find her forever home soon!






Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Okay Mail Chimp, I know you didn't mean it!

Hi Everyone

So here is just a really quick update post on the Mail Chimp issue.

That is a pet peeve of mine, when someone only tells you the bad and forgets to tell you the good!

I forwarded the mail that several of my collectors got to the tech support at Mail Chimp. After reviewing everything they don't know themselves how that happened. So they have offered to monitor my account for me, if that's alright by me, which it most certainly is as I don't want another mishap.

They will make sure that before I send my campaign they check to make sure that all my links and buttons are in working order and doing the correct thing. I think that is a very nice thing and the right thing for a company to do considering they cannot see how that mail was sent out.

As I mentioned in my reply to a follower of this blog, when I sent that campaign out I first sent a test to me as I always do and it came to me not a problem. I also never received the separate unsubscribe email so ...

Anyway, sometimes we deserve a second chance and I feel that Mail Chimp is trying to do the right thing. I am still a bit leery of sending something out but I am at least happy to have the group there checking things so that if it happens again they will be witness to events.

Okay, got to run! There is just so much going on here that my head is in a spin!

NEW stuff, BIG CHANGES... Ahhhhhhh! Searching Searching.... packing, mailing, cleaning, learning, where does it begin, where does it end... soon I will have some answers and pictures for you! I HOPE soon!

Keep well and have a wonderful and creative day, until next time!




Monday, January 10, 2011

BAD MAIL CHIMP... BAD BOY!

So I sent out a campaign on my Mail Chimp account and suddenly, a short time after the campaign was sent out, I received a notice from them to say my account had been frozen due to a dramatic drop in my subscribers!

WHAT? I cried out.

Then I received an email from one of my collectors that was very sad and upset that I had sent her an email to ask her to un-subscribe!

WHAT? I cried out.
What is happening??????

Then I started getting a number of emails from all different subscribers to say that they had somehow un-subscribed from my newsletters and that they don't know how that happened but please put them back on.

WHAT?

Then I received an email from Mail Chip to say I had to fill out this form to prove that I was not sending illegal content, had not purchased my mail list etc.

WHAT???? WHAT???? WHAT????

I am a teddy bear maker? What illegal content?

Now I am really upset! I am getting a gazillion re-subscription notices from people who accidentally CLICKED THE WRONG LINK from the Mail Chimp notice email that I had a new campaign for them to open!

I have written a very unhappy email to them (actually several) but the last one mostly because they are still making out that it was something I did wrong that caused all these subscribers to leave me.

Funny how they all rejoined immediately then?

DEEP BREATH....

Okay so now I am afraid to use Mail Chimp for my newsletters! What company would put an un-subscribe link as the first link in an email when sending out a new campaign? And then proceeds to blame their client?

I have asked them to send an apology letter to my clients but I sure that's not going to happen so...

I would like you all to know that I am terribly sorry for this mistake on their part and PLEASE don't feel that I don't want you on my list!

If you were bumped and really did not want to be off the list please just resubscribe.

YES, I may switch users but if you don't re-subscribe I won't have your address to add you to the new company I choose to deal with. Maybe they will understand my frustration with receiving an accusatory email from them and a ton of emails from my collectors who were hurt by this email and will apologize.

MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN! I BELIEVE!

Please know that I did not intend to push anyone away... it's such a shame. It takes a lot of trust to join a newsletter and I feel terrible about this.

I'll get this fixed and hopefully there will be no hard feelings!

BAD MAIL CHIMP!!! BAD BOY!


Please meet Kawartha

Hello Everyone:

I would like you all to meet Kawartha who is now available on BearPile:



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who's Paying Attention?

Who's Payin' attention out there. I am past my post date for my weight photos! None of you were brave enough to ask...hehehehehehe

Okay... it was hard through Christmas and we have had some radical news that involves BIG changes for my entire family which in turn involved me and a BIG bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup. The stress has been high but all in all I think this change is going to be a blessing for all of us. NO unfortunately I cannot share the details at this time but I will one day and by then the ball will be rolling again in a new direction.

Sooooo I am NOT going to torture you with yet another photo of me today however I will tell you this:

I have not gained
I have been loosing each week
I am now down 4.4lbs

Now that is not a lot. I see them on the BIGGEST LOOSER and they loose that in a half a day! But it is something in the right direction.

I vowed to be back on track with my workout and Weight Watchers starting tomorrow and I have done even better by starting today! So hang in there kiddies... photos will be on the way one day soon! I'm BACK in the game and doing my best to stick with it.

Did I mention that the lovely Ingrid, who brought her bears to escort my Cozy to her new home brought be a pocket book on Pilate's. It was a thoughtful and wonderful gift and I plan to incorporate that soon also. I really love Pilate's it is very relaxing to me.

Now as for the what's up in Seraphim Studios. A LOT is up! I am planning a whole new branch of items and I will be working hard to do that.I am afraid to say too much right now in case I don't get it together so I will say that once I have the first thing ready THEN I will post about more okay. But I want you all to know that I am working super hard to get some really fun stuff to you all.

I am working to get the bears ready for the Bright Star Production Tampa Florida Bear Show and also for the Bears In Bloom Show this March as well as some cute $50 or under items.

I was contacted recently by an online mag for an Artist Profile and they are out of Germany so I will let you know if that comes together. I am STILL having issues with my emails getting through...Ahhhhh it drives me crazy!

So no photos for today but I will be back very soon with some really wonderful and exciting news I hope. I can tell you that this is a BIG BIG change for me in my life but I feel that there is a reason for all that happens and I am confident that this is going to be a good thing.

Oh ya, and I am also taking a course in CSS and XHTML! Whhhhaaaawhooooo. This is something I have always wanted to learn and now is the time!

I will write again soon! Keep well and laugh often!


Friday, January 7, 2011

SWEET PEA now up for adoption

Just wanted to let you all know that Sweet Pea is now available for adoption on Bear Pile.




HAPPY UKRAINIAN CHRISTMAS


For the Ukrainian people Christmas is the most important family holiday of the whole year. It is celebrated solemnly, as well as merrily, according to ancient customs that have come down through the ages and are still observed today.

Ukrainian Christmas customs are based not only on Christian traditions, but to a great degree on those of the pre-Christian, pagan culture and religion. The Ukrainian society was basically agrarian at that time and had developed an appropriate pagan culture, elements of which have survived to this day.

Cards from Surma - The Ukrainian Shop Christianity was introduced into Ukraine in 988 A.D. The flourishing pagan religion and traditions associated with it were too deeply rooted in the people to allow the Church to eradicate them completely. Therefore, the Church adopted a policy of tolerance toward most of the ancient customs and accepted many as part of the Christian holidays. In this way, the ancient pagan Feasts of Winter Solstice, Feasts of Fertility became part of Christian Christmas customs. This is perhaps why Ukrainian Christmas customs are quite unique and deeply symbolic.

Ukrainian Christmas festivities begin on Christmas Eve ([G]Dec.24; [J]Jan.6.) and end on the Feast of the Epiphany. The Christmas Eve Supper or Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in special foods and begin the holiday with many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. The rituals of the Christmas Eve are dedicated to God, to the welfare of the family, and to the remembrance of the ancestors.

With the appearance of the first star which is believed to be the Star of Bethlehem, the family gathers to begin supper.

Cards from Surma - The Ukrainian Shop The table is covered with two tablecloths, one for the ancestors of the family, the second for the living members. In pagan times ancestors were considered to be benevolent spirits, who, when properly respected, brought good fortune to the living family members. Under the table, as well as under the tablecloths some hay is spread to remember that Christ was born in a manger. The table always has one extra place-setting for the deceased family members, whose souls, according to belief, come on Christmas Eve and partake of the food.

A kolach (Christmas bread) is placed in the center of the table. This bread is braided into a ring, and three such rings are placed one on top of the other, with a candle in the center of the top one. The three rings symbolize the Trinity and the circular form represents Eternity.

A didukh (meaning grandfather) is a sheaf of wheat stalks or made of mixed grain stalks. It is placed under the icons in the house. In Ukraine, this is a very important Christmas tradition, because the stalks of grain symbolize all the ancestors of the family, and it is believed that their spirits reside in it during the holidays.

After the didukh is positioned in the place of honor, the father or head of the household places a bowl of kutia (boiled wheat mixed with poppy seeds and honey) next to it. Kutia is the most important food of the entire Christmas Eve Supper, and is also called God’s Food. A jug of uzvar (stewed fruits, which should contain twelve different fruits) and is called God’s Drink, is also served.

After all the preparations have been completed, the father offers each member of the family a piece of bread dipped in honey, which had been previously blessed in church. He then leads the family in prayer. After the prayer the father extends his best wishes to everyone with the greeting Khrystos Razhdaietsia (Christ is born), and the family sits down to a twelve-course meatless Christmas Eve Supper.

Cards from Surma - The Ukrainian Shop There are twelve courses in the Supper, because according to the Christian tradition each course is dedicated to one of Christ's Apostles. According to the ancient pagan belief, each course stood was for every full moon during the course of the year. The courses are meatless because there is a period of fasting required by the Church until Christmas Day. However, for the pagans the meatless dishes were a form of bloodless sacrifice to the gods.

The first course is always kutia. It is the main dish of the whole supper. Then comes borshch (beet soup) with vushka (boiled dumplings filled with chopped mushrooms and onions). This is followed by a variety of fish - baked, broiled, fried, cold in aspic, fish balls, marinated herring and so on. Then come varenyky (boiled dumplings filled with cabbage, potatoes, buckwheat grains, or prunes. There are also holubtsi (stuffed cabbage), and the supper ends with uzvar.


Happy Ukrainian Christmas!





Thursday, January 6, 2011

12 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

1. I use to be a makeup artist for film in Toronto Ontario Canada. My specialty was period hair and horror SPFX makeup. My Husband and I owned our own business called Dead Sexy Makeup because we did dead and sexy makeup! So I have a few horror movies with my name in the credits! Hahaha I was the head of the hair department for an international film school and have had my hair licence for 26 years but I only do the bears and family now!

I made this!
and this!
2. I love the snow! I find winter a peaceful time to be in. I love big cozy blankets, wool sweaters and there's nothing like knitting a blanket while the snow is drifting down outside the window. 

3. I met my husband when I finally decided to leave the salon and go back to school to follow a dream of doing the movies and learning to do the whole sha-bang with makeup and SPFX. He was sitting in the lounge of the school, he was the first to arrive and I the second. His paper was held up over his face and when it came down I almost died right there on the spot. He looked just like my all time fave David Bowie... except better. He says when he looked up and saw me, he knew that minute we were going to be married! The rest my friends is history!

4. I try to help as much as I can whenever I can with world disasters, world hunger, breast cancer research... I often wish I could be everywhere at once. I wish I could work with Tye Pennigton on Extreme Makeover and be the first bear maker to give a needy family their own one of a kind bears. I use to make dolls for the Deirdre and Friends Foundation who gave dolls to children living with leukemia. I was a volunteer with the Look Good Feel Better corporation helping women with cancer Look Good and Feel Better! I loved that job! My Husband and I did a marathon and he on his stilts to raise money for Breast Cancer.


5. I have a big dairy allergy and I love chocolate.. go figure! I love dark chocolate best of all especially with hot pepper in it! That's my fave! I use to love this chocolate bar that was peanut butter and jam sandwich with a chocolate coating ~ it was discontinued in the 80's. Then there were the cherry glossettes ~discontinued! I love finding a new chocolate bar!

6. I won fist place at Graceland for my Elvis quilt and the quilt hung there for 2 weeks in 2009! It even layed across his grave and now it hangs in my Mums stairwell. I was also an award winning doll artist prior to finding my true love ~ making bears!





7. I enjoy listening to books while I work on my bears. I don't have the patience to actually read many books due to my dyslexia but I love books. My house is filled with them. I love the look of them, the smell of the pages, the feel of the paper... I do read some of course but I just cannot get through all the ones I want to read and make the bears, so I compromise and use audio books, unabridged of course!

8. I am an only child and though I have acted and can sing on stage without a problem I don't like being in a party situation with a ton of people. I am a bit shy and hate talking about me. I love to learn and so enjoy hearing about others; what they do, what they like etc. I love watching people from afar and making up stories in my imagination of who they are and what they do. It's a game I use to play as a child and it is still fun.

9. I have seen great tragedy in my life and it changed me forever but I found a path from that darkness that made me who I am today. I try to always find the good and happy and never go to bed till I can find time to laugh!

10. I love gypsy style & retro ~ 1940's. My fave magazine was called ATOMIC and I only ever got 2 copies. Right when I found the magazine it was discontinued and you could only get the back issues in the USA and I live in Canada! I still search but with no luck!


12. I was accepted into nursing school, declined and became a dental assistant. I worked as a dental assistant for 5 years and was unhappy so I went back to doing hair ~ I still love doing hair. Now I help to run a brewery with my husbands family! I make wine, sherry, port and I work with my family all day long 6 day a week... and yes, we still love each other! LOL I life 40 lb buckets and 20 lb wine kits all day long! My evenings are spent with my bears, my dogs, my cats and the love of my life!

Hope you enjoyed learning more about me! Your turn!