Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers

Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Challenge ... AKA: Custom Order #16

Work in Progress 
Custom Order #16
(this should be an interesting WIP to watch progress)

Custom Order #16 comes from my long time friend-collector, Pat. She may live on the other side of the world from me but she has always taken great joy in continually challenging me with her Custom Order requests. And Custom Order #16 is no exception. While I am currently limiting my Custom Order to teddy bears only. Pat personally handed this mink to me way back in 2012 while she was visiting Laguna Beach. My long time friends know that they can request anything (not that I will agree to make it but they can ask). For example, Pat just asked me for a dog ... with teeth. I've never made anything with teeth and don't plan to, so I agreed to make her a dog with an open mouth.

This is what I have to work with:
I have scraps. Originally she gave me a mink stole and asked me to make her a bunny. Which I did but she didn't like the bunny. So someone else adopted it and I kept the scraps until she decided what else she wanted.
It's unlikely that there is enough usable mink scraps for a larger dog so I will use some of my mink.
I won't be able to match the color exactly but hopefully it will be a close match.


This is my pattern of my larger dog
Standing size: 10 inches
Sitting size: 8 inches

Pat wants her dog with an open mouth, 
this is an example of one of my smaller (6 inch) dogs.
So I will have to make some adjustments to my 10 inch dog pattern.

These are the scraps that I have to work with from Pat:

I cut out my liner pattern pieces:

In my mink supplies I found a mink that is just a little lighter in color.
As you can see ... I have one of Pat's scraps across the front of my mink.

This is the main reason that I want to use some of my mink ... the pelts from Pat's scraps are little strips of mink sewn together while my mink is a solid pelt.

A solid pelt is much easier to sew by hand. I will use my mink for the head and Pat's mink for the rest of the teddy.

I've got the head cut out and ready for sewing.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Custom Order #15

To see the Work In Progress photos for this teddy
please scroll down to the preceding post.

To see more photos and details of this completed teddy

I created this teddy for Theresa from her family heirloom mink jacket ...
but she has not responded to any of my emails
so I just mailed her a note
hopefully she will respond because this little teddy is just adorable.

To everyone on my Custom Teddy Work Schedule:

I have a lot of people on my Custom Teddy Work Schedule and making each teddy is very time consuming so it will take a long time to get to each order (which is why I stopped accepting deliveries of the mink garments until I have time to actually work on your order). Please continue to be patient ... and if you move or change your email please let me know, especially if I already have your mink garment. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Work in Progress ... Custom Order #15

Custom Order for Theresa M.
from her taupe brown mink stole

one teddy ... no preference on pattern style

the mink is a pretty color

I was able to lay out the pattern on the bottom edge of the stole

I typically use the stole's lining for the paw pads ... but
oh no!
the fabric is dry rotted and just fell apart when I started to cut it !!!
So now I'm worried that the same thing will happen the the mink pelt ...

cutting ... carefully cutting ... 
so far so good ...

But I'm still not trusting the mink pelt
so I give it a good strong PULL !
And I'm delighted to say that it is NOT shreading

BUT I could feel, as I was cutting out the pattern pieces, that some areas of the mink pelt are stronger than others ...
So that means that I am going to have to HAND sew 
each and every pattern piece.
This will take longer but this gives the teddy a better chance to holding together once I start stuffing it.

Since I can't use the stole's lining for the paw pads
I decided to use some of my ultrasuede instead.

The pattern pieces are all cut out
next step: trim the sewing line around each and every pattern piece.

Sewing each piece by hand.

Finished sewing.

Turned and stuffed the head and delighted to see that the pelts are strong enough that they did not split ... 
Now to finish the rest of the teddy.

These a a couple of my mink stoles. One is brown and the other is beige.

Theresa had requested a teddy-dog set but did not have another color mink to send me to represent a Mahogany Golden Retriever. While there are dyed red minks there aren't any naturally red minks. I don't have a red mink but this brown looks a little reddish brown to me.  Since I had agreed to the teddy-dog set before I decided to limit my custom orders to teddies only, I thought it would only be fair that I offer to make a dog from one of my minks. So it is up to Theresa if she wants me to make a dog from one of my minks to be a companion to her teddy. She can choose either a beige dog or a brown dog.

I laid her teddy across both of my minks to show how the colors matched up.

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)

Updated photo
All of the Polar Bears have been gifted to their new families
but before they were presented Diane used the 
very decorative lining from the mink jacket
to create wonderful fabric bows for each Polar Bear.

They look wonderful!!!
Diane was so very thoughtful to not only gift her family these
Family Heirloom Bears
but she even took the time to add her own creative touch.
How very special ... I hope these mink bears will be 
treasured for many future generations.

Thank you, Diane, for trusting me with your family's mink jacket
and for waiting so patiently for me to create them for you.

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.