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About Threadbear

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Life Missions

(4 out of 5 complete)

To visit the Teddy Bear Clinic
(Complete)

To donate 500 bears to the Tedddy Bear Clinic
(Complete)

To personally welcome each bear that arrives.
(Complete)

To make it into the local newspaper
(Complete)

To win a Golden Bear Award
(Incomplete)

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Travelog for: Threadbear

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 19th June 2008

By: Threadbear

What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.


The girls (Pinky Bear and Fiona) were all excited when MrsC came back from the Post Office with a parcel from Russia. They were hoping for another ToyVoyager to keep them company... I'm afraid Eloise and I are too absorbed with each other to pay them much attention and Buttons seems to be avoiding them for some reason... ah well...

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Then, after they thought about it for a while, they realised that the box was a bit too large for a ToyVoyager so they called me over... reasoning that the box must contain bears.

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Indeed it was! Many, many thanks Kristl! They were exhausted after their long trip, so I found an empty chair (no mean feat!) for them to have nap on....

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Eloise and I managed to wash all the other toys and they are drying on EVERY single window sill in this house. The weather has been a bit grim lately, but sun has been forecast for tomorrow - here is hoping!

MrsC has kindly asked that if you are sending bears to her, please mark them as 'gifts' as she is getting charged custom duty! Naughty customs officials! :mad:

* Posted Jun 18, 2008, 11:32 pm Last edited Jun 20, 2008, 8:52 pm by Threadbear [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 19th June 2008

By: Threadbear

Children should be seen and not heard...

Well who ever came up with that little gem, surely didn't know children.

It was far too quiet this morning in this house, a sure sign that someone was up to mischief... I decided to investigate because I had a feeling it involved bears...

Oh boy, a new bear arrived late yesterday afternoon. I'll tell you her story in a moment... she is quite a fair size, perfect apparently for dressing up..in roller blading gear! Well, I suppose she would have been safe with all the elbow & knee pads had they managed to get her outside.

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Once she had been rescued and given a large pink bow, she sat down and read to the others...they were enthralled....

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Now do you remember the 'three for one rule' that MrsC has in this house? Her friend, MrsF has been collecting bears on her behalf. In amongst the bears she collected was a Hello Kitty plush toy. Now MrsF has a young daughter (7) who knows that MrsC's daughter is besotted with Hello Kitty. She decided to donate three of her own bears so that Natalie could have the Hello Kitty! Isn't that lovely? MrsF you have really done an amazing job of raising your child. (The other two bears arrived a while ago but this large bear had a wash and took longer to dry.)

* Posted Jun 19, 2008, 1:50 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 20th June 2008

By: Threadbear

Teddy Bears are like keys . . . They're always in the first place you think they'd be, and the last place you look.
- Garfield


Just as well we had a bit of a break this week...look what happened...

Could these two look more tragic if they tried? They have had bears up to their eyeballs and are desperate for the company of another ToyVoyager so they can compare travels. I of course have never travelled, so I don't know what all the excitement is about...

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MrsC went off to the Post Office to post her great big stack of postcards as usual. When she came back she told us there was a bit of a surprise in her car... hmmm...curious...

They could tell straight away these were bears, and were not very enthusiastic...

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Oh, what's this then? MORE boxes? Goodness, what a lot... still they looked dejected... the other bears in the room where delighted, look at the ripple of excitement running through them!

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Good grief!

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Eloise and I were thrilled to bits. Pinky Bear and Fiona were amazed at the amount of parcels but they said it wasn't fair that there were STILL no other TVs.

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So we started opening the parcels and out came five bears..

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And another five bears...

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And yet another five bears...

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Well I guess Isobel and Neil can count to five then!

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Oh the next parcel contained more...they managed to count to 25 this time!

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50 bears from Toyvoyagers Central! WOW! (and thanks for the card!)

Then we packed those bears away... and opened the next parcel...hmm they seemed a little familiar!

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75 bears from Isobel and Neil! You had 75 bears lurking around your house? Oh my goodness, you must have big empty gaps now...

Carlissa also sent bears... and a manatee!

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...and some more bears, a postcard (MrsC loved that!) and the softest sweetest toys.

The Teddy bear Clinic only takes bears, so these soft toys will be going to the Abandoned Baby Clinic - we have a huge problem of unwanted babies in this country. Sometimes they are simply thrown in bins, or left in the veld. We have a place called 'the hole in the wall' where mothers can place their babies and walk away without being seen. A sensor goes off to notify the staff that a baby has been placed there. Often the mothers are no more than children themselves.

The Abandoned Baby Clinic also issues all police vehicles with an emergency baby kit, as the police are often the first to find them. They have cord clamps (the babies usually still have the placenta attached), nappies, vests, baby grows, jerseys, knitted hats and booties as well as a bottle with sterile water and a serving of formula. Once stabilised the babies are placed in children's homes which is where they need the soft toys.

So thanks Carlissa, they will indeed bring joy to someone.

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Next I opened a large box, very carefully I might add, I could see it had lots of confetti in it!

Oooh... and another postcard for MrsC (I guess you all know about her ahem...problem!  ;))

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Steve & Helly sent over HRH Queen Elizabear...

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…followed by her entourage.

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All of a sudden I noticed that 'The Girls', who had slunk off in a huff earlier, had returned.

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The second last box held a very colourful surprise... Cassiopeia, a celebrity in our midst! Welcome, welcome! Look at 'The Girls' smiling now, my how their luck has changed.

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Once all the squealing had died down we heard a grumpy little voice coming from the very last box. The little voice said, in a very British accent: "would you please keep the noise down, I am trying to sleep in here. I am on a very long journey to South Africa and I really don't want to wake up till I get there!"

I opened the box to let him out and tell him he had arrived at last. He blinked and blinked in the bright light. He couldn't really see us, but he said he was really happy to see us, if you know what I mean! Welcome to South Africa Moley!

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My my, such excitement. Ninety one new bears and two new ToyVoyagers all at once.

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Well we can't sit around chatting all day, we have bows to put on. Get cracking!


* Posted Jun 20, 2008, 6:38 pm Last edited Jun 20, 2008, 8:56 pm by Threadbear [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 23rd June 2008

By: Threadbear

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. 
-Newt Gingrich


Somedays I feel like I have a never ending task. I no sooner finish washing and sorting bears, than another load arrives!

I am not complaining at all, just a little tired. Meet our latest arrivals... a good wash, a few stitches here and there, and they'll be as good as new!

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We had almost run out of ribbon when a friend came to our rescue with a bag of mixed colours and sizes! Thanks to lovely Lara we can carry on with tying bows on all the little bears that arrived last week...

I am afraid it has been impossible to count the bears as there is no where else to put them! MrsC says she will try find some boxes to store everybody in. The Bears are tired, it is winter and they should have a little hibernating session. It will do them all the world of good. Hopefully she will find some boxes tommorrow.

We also need boxes for all the other toys that have arrived. It is time for them to move on to their new homes. They are taking up vital space as we are expecting another wave of bears soon. I'll ask MrsC to take a photo of all of them so you can see what I mean! I predict a few HUNDRED happy children somewhere along the line. Most especially those who have always yearned for a dog! WATCH THIS SPACE.

* Posted Jun 23, 2008, 8:10 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 24th June 2008

By: Threadbear

Many hands make light work.

How true that saying is.

Tonight we all decided to knuckle down and get to work putting bows on the last lot of bears. MrsC has found boxes so we can do a count tomorrow and start packing everyone away for hibernation.

Meet the team: myself, the lovely Eloise, Buttons, Cassiopeia, Pinky Bear, Moley and Fiona

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This is our work load, a basket of bears...

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The work was divided amongst all of us...

Fiona removed the tags...and Pinky the plastic barbs.

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That was quite a job, thanks girls!

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Buttons removed all the labels; MrsC seems to have a severe aversion to them.

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Oh dear, one of the foreign bears had a postal related back injury. Luckily Eloise is a trained ortho-bearic surgeon... she operated on him and he says he has never felt better!

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Moley, bless his little heart, has stopped being such a grouch now that he can see, and was the most eager of the toys to work. And work he did. I showed him just once how to tie a bow and away he went: full steam ahead...

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and before long...

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What a fantastic job old boy!

Poor Cassiopeia, not having paws, was unable to cut or tie bows. She really wanted to help. Eloise suggested we turn off the music and Cassiopeia could read to us. She was delighted with this and read us a book of traditional South African tales.

We were so enthralled that we didn't want to stop listening even once we were done... so we all sat and listened to the end.

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Even the little bears, who had been boisetrous all evening sat in silence and listened.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3253/2608074601_a528e341cb.jpg?v=0

If you would like to read the tales, visit the travelog of each of the TV's that helped tonight.



* Posted Jun 24, 2008, 11:07 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 27th June 2008

By: Threadbear

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. 
-Eric Hoffer


For the past two days we have been sorting and counting... and re-counting and re-sorting. Trying to make sense of it all.

We sorted all the bears into colours or types and counted them that way...

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This went on way into the evening...

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We packed them in boxes to hibernate because they were all so sleepy and getting cranky. We counted again, as we packed them away...

But no matter which way we did it, or how many times we counted the number was always the same Three Hundred and One. I was SO sure there were more bears... so, so sure.

Eloise tried to console me. She said maybe it was all the bunnies that had me confused. "Sometimes", she said, "they look sort of  like bears...."

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/2613616225_314a98455c.jpg?v=0

...or maybe all the dogs....

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3267/2613615447_8e0c98efd3.jpg?v=0

But it wasn't the bunnies or the dogs or even the camels...

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It wasn't the farm animals either...

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Don't you think this one would make a fine ToyVoyager?

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3179/2614453892_62fff3277a.jpg?v=0

It certainly wasn't the birds.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3242/2613619879_d1e3918f09.jpg?v=0

Or the bugs...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3252/2613622153_85ceeb5923.jpg?v=0

The North American crowd, the Antipoedean lot or the ones from another galaxy...

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Oops, that mouse needs an eye still... and a wash...

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I certainly never mistook these frogs for bears.

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Or these dinosaurs, for that matter.

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None of these had me confused

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And frankly this lot are even more work than bears...


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3120/2613639823_5b14eac18a.jpg?v=0


301 bears only, that CAN"T be right... it just can't be.

Sigh... I need to go for  a walk outside to clear my head...





* Posted Jun 27, 2008, 5:37 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


The Garden, South Africa - 27th June 2008

By: Threadbear

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. 
-Mrs. C.W. Earle


Well, I left Teddy Bear Central to take a walk in the garden. The air was quite bracing, being mid-winter.

The garden is looking a little sad too, but Spring is just around the corner and soon all manner of things will be growing in places you least expect them like here...

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and here...

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and even here...

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I KNEW there were more bears! they must have escaped to the garden. I'll have to start a search... see if you can help me spot them.

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They are everywhere, in every shrub and bush...

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I'd better look in the front garden too...

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I wonder if I walked past any when I came down the front stairs? Oh, I certainly did!

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I'd  better check round the back in the trees...oh yes there they are...

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Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Bears!!!!

That sounds more like it... let me go back and tell them the good news!

* Posted Jun 27, 2008, 6:06 pm Last edited Jun 27, 2008, 6:09 pm by Threadbear [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


In Love, South Africa - 28th June 2008

By: Threadbear

The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart.
- Josiah G. Holland




In between washing and sewing and sorting, Eloise and I managed to share a few quiet moments... we talked about anything and everything and nothing. We laughed and laughed... we sat in quiet contemplation...

I can't imagine my life before her; I can't imagine my life without her.

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* Posted Jun 30, 2008, 10:29 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


The kitchen shelf, South Africa - 30th June 2008

By: Threadbear

You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
- Winston Churchill


I woke up after a well deserved nap just now and I felt a little rumble in my tummy... this is one of the troubles of being a bear: you always wake up hungry. Everyone else was sound asleep so I wandered into the kitchen to find a little snack or two...

Imagine my surprise when this is what I found above the honey pot!

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Where on earth did he come from? I thought I'd found all of the escapees....

Next, I heard a deep voice muttering that it was very thirsty. I looked over to the shelf where the glasses are kept and spotted another bear!

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I must have had quite a startled look on my face because the next thing I heard giggling! I looked up to find three little faces peering down at me...

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Goodness me! Sitting next to them were two American bears, I could not believe it....

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One of them said 'shhhhhh! You will wake up the baby!" I was just about to ask "which baby?", when I spotted her... all curled up in the soup bowls.

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I asked them where on earth they had all come from and they said they had been sent by JaymeC, all the way from Okinawa in Japan! MrsC had fetched them from the Post Office this afternoon and forgotten to mention it to me. Well thank you so much JaymeC!
Eight new bears!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3050/2625341005_57a67c22ca.jpg?v=0

We all had a smackeral to eat and a little drink, then I led them back to Teddy bear Central to meet the others.

* Posted Jun 30, 2008, 10:50 pm Last edited Jun 30, 2008, 10:57 pm by Threadbear [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


MrsC's desk, South Africa - 7th July 2008

By: Threadbear

He who sings scares away his woes.
-Cervantes


Not much has been happening lately at Teddy Bear Central. We have all been catching up on much needed sleep. I thought I might wake up to fist fulls of Post Office collection slips, but MrsC tells me there was nothing but bills and postcards. She thinks we should maybe go have a look again tomorrow. I sure hope some of the international bears start arriving soon.

Anyway, ever had a tune stuck in your head? It is called an ear worm. Well today I had one stuck firmly in my head and it went a little like this....

One fluffy...

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Two fluffy...

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Three fluffy teddy bears!

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Four furry...

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Five furry...

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Six furry teddy bears!

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Seven cuddly...

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Eight cuddly...

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Nine cuddly teddy bears!

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TEN little TE-DDY BEARS!!!

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And me too, in MrsC's messy creative spot...

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* Posted Jul 7, 2008, 8:38 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Makapanstad, South Africa - 9th July 2008

By: Threadbear

Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. 
Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery. 

-Oliver Wendell Holmes



MrsC, her friend Lara and Lara's Mom, Stephanie, as well as myself and a few Toy Voyagers took a road trip to a little town called Makapanstad, in the North West Province (or Limpopo as it is now called). We went to visit this house.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3232/2656297859_eea7503af9.jpg?v=0

Now before I tell you the story of what goes on in this house and why it was so important for us to visit, I’d like you to read this:

This is our heartfelt story. It has a sad beginning but because of it the lives of others will be changed forever. Martha Letsoalo started the heartfelt project with Julie Masureik after her son Emanuel died in prison wrongly accused and sadly abused at the age of 25. His files to this day have never been found.
After stealing what little money Martha had and promising to get Emanuel out of prison, the corrupt lawyer left her broken hearted and disheartened by the legal system in the country. With no husband to depend on, no job opportunities and three grandchildren to feed - Martha did what came naturally to her – she found a way to survive. The heartfelt project is her story. It’s about who she is. It’s about her children. It’s about the lives of the women and families in her community. It’s about the sadness that happens on a daily basis in a little place called Makapanstad. And the big difference one small heart can make to the happiness of others. Together, Martha and Julie started creating and designing the heartfelt products using traditional handcraft skills, felt and beads. Today they are sold within South Africa and the UK.
There are now ten women employed by the heartfelt project. Each day they come to work full of pride and hope. Creating each heartfelt design out of love and strongly believing that they can make a difference - not only to their own lives but to the lives of the community in which they live.
Each heart sold by the heartfelt project helps to feed and clothe the ladies and their families. It also gives back to the community by donating a small portion to a local charity to help fight TB, HIV/AIDS and look after children and old aged men and woman within Makapanstad. Its aim is to heal the hearts of people who don't have the opportunities we have on a daily basis. And to fill not only the ladies hearts but many others with hope. 
Ke a go leboga


One day, MrsC was playing on the internet, as she does, and somehow, somewhere, she found the link to a website about The Heartfelt Project. Before she had even finished looking at the website, she had e-mailed Julie and asked if she could help by sending bits and pieces that she had lying around her house (trust me on this one – LOTS of crafty stuff around here!)

Juliee e-mailed back almost immediately and said ‘yes please!’ and so a box (full of felt scraps, buttons, beads, floss and other bits and pieces) was despatched to Makapanstad.

Then, one Saturday morning, MrsC and a group of friends were sitting at their monthly scrapbook class and one of the ‘girls’ was leaving and going back to the USA. She had a few items that she could not take with her and left them to be distributed amongst the rest. MrsC picked up a packet of embroidery floss and said ‘this can go to the Heartfelt ladies… Then Lara asked who they were. The story touched her heart and made her do this ….

So, to cut a long story short, today was the day we were delivering the ‘collection’ and getting to meet these absolutely awesome ladies and to see up close their beautiful work.
We were literally welcomed with open arms. And I am talking about US the ToyVoyagers!

The ladies are presently working in a dining room, with no lighting, but still their work is just amazing, such bright colours and tiny little stitches...

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We left them to get on with their work and had a wander round, while we waited for Martha to get back from the Post Ofiice (she was almost in tears because she thought she would miss us)

And then she arrived...oh, it was love at first sight ... for both of us...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3108/2656303385_ed265a3015.jpg?v=0

Don't worry Eloise, you will never be replaced!

Martha and I chatted and chatted and she took me for a walk...

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When we got back I had made up my mind. Once I have reached my target of 500 bears, my next project will be the Heartfelt ladies. So start gathering up needles, buttons, key rings, ribbons, beads, embroidery floss, brooch pins, etc now! I'll let you know when I begin...

Martha let me choose a little something as a thank you, so I picked a little brooch out for my lovely Eloise...

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2313/2679586155_c05b9241bd.jpg?v=0

Please go to the travelogs of either Cassiopeia, Fiona or Moley to see and read about the entire visit, including all the scenery, goats and other interesting sights along the way!



* Posted Jul 18, 2008, 6:04 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Kitchen again, South Africa - 10th July 2008

By: Threadbear

Travelers never think that they are the foreigners. 
-Mason Cooley


Once again, I found myself in the kitchen looking for a little something... and once again, I noticed something a little odd...

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Why do bears always gravitate towards the kitchen? Why are we always so peckish? One of the great mysteries of the world...

And why, oh why, do these American bears always laugh at my accent? Have they never heard themselves?

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These two were miserable because they wanted American food and couldn't find any. I told them the food was exactly the same here, they were just sitting in the wrong cupboard! Silly bears, they are obviously jet lagged still.

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This lot were demanding coffee! That's when I knew for sure they came from New York, and that they had been sent by Michele_one_l! By the way, she NEVER sent the glass bear! That is MrsC's honey container... erm, it's empty because of my midnight munchies. I'll get a re-fill!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3130/2657146266_516535ecbe.jpg?v=0



* Posted Jul 18, 2008, 8:04 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 12th July 2008

By: Threadbear

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
-Mary Engelbreit


Pinky bear went on a short trip to Scotland and came back with some bears, kindly donated by MrsC's aunt, Sheila.

She was very grumpy about the fact that she was stuck in a bag with them...

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She would not even talk to them... Pooh bear and the orange one tried to get her to laugh. The others got really sad though.

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They left her to sulk by herself and I found them ...where else... in the kitchen! They are like homing pigeons.

What on earth?... I am speechless!

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Whispers: they are smiling, because they have found the huge stash of supermarket pasta, behind the fancy pasta machines!!! Heh Heh Heh....

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And Pooh Bear again, talking nineteen to the dozen, plotting how to get Pinky to like them...

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I don't think anything they do will sway her. Maybe I should get Eloise to have a chat with her... she is so good at that kind of thing.




* Posted Jul 18, 2008, 9:46 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 15th July 2008

By: Threadbear

The fairies went from the world, dear,
Because men's hearts grew cold:
And only the eyes of children see
What is hidden from the old...
-Kathleen Foyle


Oh there are fairies alright! And they live in MrsC's garden... for sure. I have heard them... they leave toadstools in their wake.

They sprinkled fairy dust and turned some into bears for me, I think...

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This one however, just got lost and wondered in because it has been so bitterly cold lately!

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MEANWHILE....

Inside, we had MORE bears arrive from Michele_one_l... they flew in...

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...and they brought a spare jersey (UK-jumper/ US- sweater) with them... it should take about 5 minutes to find a bear that this will fit, we have ALL sizes!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3143/2671003483_36613d4b0b.jpg?v=0


* Posted Jul 18, 2008, 10:37 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


MrsC's desk, South Africa - 18th July 2008

By: Threadbear

There are no traffic jams when you go the extra mile.
- Dr. Kenneth McFarland


MrsC was in an EXTREMELY good mood today, who knows why! But with a happy heart and a spring in her step, she went off to the Post Office, ignoring the idiot drivers on the road even... Hmmm...and her good mood was reciprocated with happy mail: tons of postcards and two parcels!

She opened the first one, which she thought was an unexpected TV. But no, it was her matchbox from the random acts challenge... and she BOUNCED around the room! Good grief...

She was so excited that Puny&Bumblebee had sent a little bear for me too! Thank you for thinking of me, how kind you are...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3037/2678791605_894856fac4.jpg?v=0

The next box, beautifully wrapped, but completely SQUASHED, was from Mosuha. Oh, now that brought even more excitement... silly MrsC, was almost dancing around the room, firstly because the contents of the box were not missing as she had feared; and secondly because there was a POSTCARD in the box! Have you ever?

Not just any postcard, she tells me...but one of somewhere she hopes to lose her breath one day, the Himalayas! Pinky Bear is correct, MrsC is very odd sometimes!

The box also contained a very excited TV, Jubilee Bunny, some Indian Tea (MrsC doesn't drink tea - but it smells so heavenly, she is determined to try it!...Trouble is, what if she likes it?), and... a whole host of bears! One had flat fur, poor thing. But after a bit of fluffing up he returned to normal.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3169/2678792231_8b2ebe9076.jpg?v=0

Thank you so much Mona & Uli, for all the bears and little extras!

That was not the end of the excitement. Today was the birthday of South Africa's 'living legend', Nelson Mandela... so we had a little party to celebrate.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3221/2680143122_1d0685ee4a.jpg?v=0

We will do a count of all the bears some time next week. The good news is that MrsC's son's school is collecting bears for me too. So hopefully we will hit the 500 mark soon!

* Posted Jul 18, 2008, 11:22 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


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