Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers

Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers
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Monday, June 11, 2018

Four Custom Polar Bears

For Diane

This is the first teddy of a four Polar Bears Custom Order

(please click the link below to see all 4 teddies)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rest In Peace ... Lillie Mae ... my mother

My beloved mother graduated into Heaven on June 5.

We were blessed to have her on this earth for 95 years.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Custom Order 14 (finally) finished ... 4 Polar Bears

Custom Order for Diane ....
Four beautiful Polar Bears:

This is just a quick photo before I run off to check on my mom in the hospital.
 Their Photo Shoot with more detailed photos will be posted soon ...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Long over-due update ...

Some of you may have been wondering where I have been ... seems like I fell off the end of the earth ... just disappeared ...

Well, my friends who know me will not be surprised to know that as soon as Spring arrives I spend all of my time in my garden. This year is especially time consuming since I am converting my garden by removing the grass and replacing with pebbles and my plants are all succulents in containers. I live in Southern California where there is a perpetual drought. Besides that I love succulents! My plan is to make my garden look like a full sized Fairy Garden (I even plan on adding a few on my hand sculpted dragons).

That is the good reason that I temporarily "disappeared". The other reason is that my mother is now 95 years old and I somehow, being the middle child, became my mother's main caregiver during the day (my younger sister actually cares for her at night since she lives with her).

Unfortunately my mother recently suffered a small stroke so all of my days are spent in the hospital with her since her speech is difficult and I need to advocate for her. After spending up to 8 hours in the hospital each day I come home exhausted and my poor little unfinished teddies continue to patiently wait for their completion ...

These teddies are for my Custom Order for Diane.  Thank you Diane for your wonderful patience. As you can see your teddies are beautiful and they will be even more beautiful when I find the time to paint their lovely faces, then they will be complete ... finally.

My teddies are not only my creative passion but they are also my therapy so I hope to find time soon to spend time creating them once again. Other than that I hope my very patient collectors will continue to be very very very patient with waiting for me. Before my mother became ill I was actually planning on a new creation to offer to my collectors. I realized that while I've made mink cats I've never made a mink lion ... or a mink owl ... or a mink ????? I had more ideas, more ideas than I have time (at the moment). I have no plans on "retiring" from my teddies ... ever ... so patience please, I will be making more when I can.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Work in Progress for Custom Teddy #14

For Diane

From her mother's mink jacket ... at least 2 teddies (pattern #2)

I'm looking forward to making ... polar bears!
This lovely ivory mink will become beautiful polar bears.

The pelts look like they are in great condition.

The wonderful wide pelts will be a pleasure to work with.
This is what I found printed on the leather side of the pelt. Sometimes I find handwritten notes from the furrier when it was a custom-made mink garment, that is always fun to find, but no notes on this pelt although it was nice to see these markings. In 1999 New York's last remaining dressing plant, Meisel-Peskin, has closed its doors after nearly 70 years in business.

I'm going to prepare linings for 4 teddies so I can get an accurate estimate as to how many teddies are actually hiding in this jacket.

Update: Saturday Jan. 20, 2018:
Okay, I finally found the time to update my work on this order after a very eventful week that included my husband's surgery on his arm on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday  I was making sure that everything went smoothly on my 94 year old mother's fence demolition and installation of a new fence, also doing her grocery shopping ... topping the week off with rushing my husband to the ER last night because his arm and hand was too swollen and discolored. He was in the ER from midnight to 6am so I got maybe an hour or two of sleep. They checked my husband for a blood clot and changed his bandaged wrapping from surgery which were definitely too tight. At the moment he seems to be doing well. OMG, it's amazing that I can get any work at all done on my teddies!

The jacket is cut apart. Here is the main body of the jacket.

Here are the sleeves, collar, and the front pocket areas

I laid out the pattern for the two teddies requested. And to answer the inquiry: "is there enough mink for 4 teddies?", I then laid down more teddy patterns on the remaining pelt. The result? Hooray! There is exactly enough pelt remaining for just two more teddies ... for a total of 4.

Update: Jan. 22, 2018

I cut out two teddy bears:

This is one of the mink pieces that I cut out,
my next step is to trim the sewing line around each pattern piece. 

Here is the same piece with the seam allowance trimmed.
While this is a very time consuming step, it always makes sewing easier 
and, more importantly, it gives the finished teddy a smoother appearance.

And now I have to trim each pattern piece. I think that each teddy has about 30 pattern pieces. So it will take a little while to trim 60 pattern pieces ... 

Sewing is the most time consuming step. Finally all finished with sewing both teddies.
Now time to assemble ...

First headless teddy.
So far, so good.

First two teddies ... almost finished ... still need the final detailing (waxing nose and hand painting).

Now working on the next two teddies for this order .....

The bodies are done and waiting for the heads.

Now I'm looking for a face in the mink ball ...

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Custom Teddy #13

(finally finished)
For Janis

To see detail and photos of this teddy

Monday, November 13, 2017

Custom Order #13 (problems with mink)

Custom Order for Janis

one teddy using pattern #1

I notified Janis when she sent me this mink stole that it was definitely not in good condition but since she only wanted one teddy that I would try to salvage what I could to try to make one teddy.

This is my adventure of trying to find a teddy hiding in a mink stole that is already falling apart, as you can see from the first 3 photos: 

These are the markings on the pelt skins.

I cut my patterns first using a dense cotton fabric.

If the pelts were in good condition I would be very happy working with this stole because they are full pelts rather than little strips of mink sewn together.

The pelts are all shredding at the seam lines.

shredding ...

and some pelts are shredding in the middle of the pelts too

I tested this pelt with a needle to see if it would shed ...

you can see the different colors on the pelt cause by heat variations and moisture which weakens the pelts

testing this pelt ...

it shed throughout ...

this is the unuseable shed pile

totally useless and went into the trash ... this is more than half of the stole that was unuseable.

this is the pile that did not shred when I tested it (by pulling) ... yes, it is enough for one teddy

I glue my cotton pattern pieces to the pelt. I usually use only enough glue to hold the pattern on to the pelt but for this problem mink I used a stronger Leather Cement and I applied it to both the pelt and the pattern. While this makes the pelt stiffer I am hoping that it will also prevent the pelt from shredding after sewing and stuffing.

I trim the sewing line of each mink piece

I need to hand sew the entire teddy because the pelts are so fragile. The true test will come when I turn a stuff this leg. If it starts to shred then there is no point in trying to complete this teddy ... so "fingers crossed" that the pelts will not shed.

UPDATE: Dec. 22, 2017

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

Where has the time gone???

Some of you may think that since I have not updated this post for so long that I must have fallen over the edge of the world ... nope, I'm still here ... "everyday life" just gets in the way of me finding time to work on my teddies.

My "everyday life" includes focusing all of my energy and time in helping my daughter, who has Cystic Fibrosis, when she gets sick and has to go on IV antibiotics at home. Recently I had to devote several weeks helping my daughter which meant I had no time to work on my teddies, or truth be told, I had no time for much of anything else. The good news is that my daughter has recovered nicely.

I did some work here and there on this teddy and it is actually almost finished:

Poor little teddy is waiting patiently on my work table for me to finish it.

I am determined to make this little teddy my last teddy of 2017 ... so I will be working on it during the rest of the Holiday Season.

By the way, if you remember I was concerned about this teddy because the pelt was very fragile. Well, it seems like the precautions that I took worked and (as you can see) I was able to sew, turn, stuff, and joint this teddy with none of the pelt having a problem. Since I covered the entire pelt with glue to attach the lining, the pelt is a little stiffer than my usual teddies but this makes it stronger. I did not give this teddy any wire armature (which is standard for my teddies) because the pelts should not be bent.

My next post should be a new one with photos of this finished teddy.