Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Wishes

I would like to wish you all a safe and happy festive season with your loved ones - thanks to all of you who supported me during 2009.

Nikkel Bears is already gearing up for a big 2010 - first in the 'Be My Valentine' online show on the Teddy Bears & Critters Australasia website on February 14 and the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair on March 7 at Sydney Olympic Park. I'll post details of each closer to the dates, but I'm sure the dates will come quickly and be on us before we know it!

I don't have much time off work over the festive season (no rest for the wicked!) but will spent any spare time enjoying my family's company, lazy sunny, summer days at the beach, and of course, finishing off my bears for the shows!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

TBACA Christmas Bear Swap!

Introducing .... Bon Bon.

A little bear with lots of character made especially for Linda Down of Lombard Bears (www.lombardbears.com.au) as part of the Teddy Bears & Critters Australasia Christmas Bear Swap for 2009.

Bon Bon is a well-travelled little bloke - he started life as a beautiful lavender piece of hand-dyed and tipped wavy mohair in my suitcase when we recently holidayed in Thailand, and soon developed into his own unique personality. His eyes were handpainted in shades of blue to complement his fur, and I accessorised him with his own elephant locket which I purchased while in Thailand, and red Christmas bow (in keeping with the spirit of Christmas).

He has now travelled all the way back to Sydney with us, and then over to Western Australia where Linda lives - I'm so glad she loves him, just as I do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As promised - Thailand holiday photos!

What a sensational holiday Russ and I have just had ... 2.5 weeks in Phuket, Thailand just laying back and soaking up the sun - just what the doctor ordered after a difficult year health wise.

... this year I was lucky enough to leave Russ in Phuket with the boys (our local Thai friends) and travel to Khon-Kaen in the north-east of Thailand with my wonderful Thai girlfriend Tum to meet her family. What a rare opportunity to 'hang with the locals' with not another tourist in sight!

Night markets where baby elephants stroll down the centre of the road (with their mahouts) seeking out anyone with a choice morsel for them to munch on ... OK, so I'm a sucker for a cute baby!

A long 3.5 hour drive further north to the township of Nong-Khai on the Mekong River opposite Laos for some market shopping and sightseeing - a great mix of Thai, Chinese and Laotian influences ....

An equally long 4 hour drive south-west to Si-Saket (near Ubon Ratchathani with the Cambodian border not too much further on) - well worth it though for the Loy Krathong full moon festival .... check out the sun coming up (very eerie through the morning mist)

Back to Patong Beach, Phuket to join up again with the boys (yes, they missed us!) and where Russ and I went apartment hunting, and found our ideal 'home away from home' tucked up on a cool, quiet road overlooking the bussling Patong Beach, yet only 1.4kms from the beach. Still under construction and due to be finished in January 2010 ... you can see why we're keen to get back and move in!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mittagong Doll & Bear Show 2009 - Photos!

Well, we're back from our holiday in Phuket, Thailand (last Thursday afternoon, so will update my blog with photos etc. once I've sorted through them) still a bit tired, and not really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow!!!

Enjoyed a wonderful show today in picturesque Mittagong in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, organised by Sandra Wigzell (Editor of Australian Bear Creations magazine). Three of my bears found new mums today which was a big thrill for me (and them of course!)

A busy day meant only time enough for a few snaps however.

Here's my stand:

Lorraine Almond of Almond Bears:

Linda Benson of Benson Bears:

Raewyn Todd of Woodbury Park Bears:

Susan Leigh of Bearleigh Bears:

and what's left of Lyn Parker's stand (Parker Bears) - who almost sold out!

All in all a lovely day catching up with friends, and a beautiful drive home through the bushland in the gorgeous Southern Highlands district and Kangaroo Valley.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to you all!

Ok, I'm getting in a bit early, but as I won't be around for the next few weeks I thought I'd post to my blog early (we're off to Thailand for a bit of R&R and sunshine .... something that's been sorely lacking in our part of the world lately!)

To celebrate, I have a new bear which will be available shortly - introducing Bailey: a mischievous bundle of cheek who is ready to celebrate Halloween. Already decked out ready to 'trick or treat' his way into your heart. I'll be posting him for sale on my website once I get back, so keep an eye out for him if he tickles your fancy.

It's late here now ... I'd better go pack those suitcases!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life Lesson ... Update

Just a quick update on the new Marbles Mark II ... she (not he as was her predecessor)has fitted in quite nicely ... has a lovely temperament and tolerates a lot of handling and carrying around by her new mummy as you can see!

My daughter Kel called me today absolutely distraught. Seems like our granddaughter Mikael's little bunny rabbit Marbles had been bitten by a spider and died just as Kel got him to the vet!

My youngest daughter Nikki had only just bought Marbles a couple of weeks ago for Mikaela's 2nd birthday next Tuesday, so it was a real shock to all of us.

Anyway, think it will all end well. As Mikaela was asking where Marbles was, the little family held a funeral for him this afternoon so Mikaela understood (well, sort of ...) that Marbles got sick and went to heaven.

And, as all happy endings go, Aunty Nikki came to the rescue ... a visit to the pet store, and a new Marbles Mark II was delivered safe and sound to his new home, and into Mikaela's heart.

All is good with the world again .... aaahhhh

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Two days out from my pre-booked climb, and the nice warm spring weather we had been enjoying suddenly gave way to miserable, bleak and cold rainy days - great! Not the sort of weather I'd been hoping for, but I guess you have to live with the cards you've been dealt, so off up to Sydney we drove.

Thanks to our GPS lovingly nicknamed Lucy Loo, parking was found in amongst the skyscrapers in the middle of the Sydney CBD, and it was only a short walk through The Rocks down to the southern pylon of the bridge where we checked in.

A 30 minute brief and change into our climbing overalls, jackets, headsets and trusty safety harness saw us set off out into the inclement weather. It took us about an hour and a half to reach the summit and not even the weather could ruin the breathtaking 360 degree view of Sydney Harbour and surrounds. It was absolutely fantastic, and Pete our guide was amazing, explaining iconic landmarks and how the fireworks are set up on the top of the bridge for New Years Eve.

Here's us at the summit with a view of the Opera House and the city skyline behind:

By the time we had started heading across to the western side of the bridge and hour descent, the heavens opened up again, but it didn't dampen our spirits at all. We madly waved at the passengers on the P&O 'Pacific Dawn' as it moved gracefully underneath us on its way to exotic holiday places and the captain gave three long bursts on the funnels as she passed underneath. Awesome!

The descent went all too quickly and by the time we reached the bottom of the western arch, darkness had fallen and the city lights twinkled through the rain. Pete, of course was still telling us stories about the building of the bridge and stats (like how many stairs we had just climbed - 1339!!!!)

A fantastic experience, and one I would recommend highly to everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mikaela's first stay in hospital

My gorgeous little granddaughter Mikaela has just been diagnosed with pneumonia and has been hospitalised for a few days.

After suffering what seemed to be a slight cold the last couple of days, she just suddenly developed a nasty cough and listlessness. However, the wonderful staff at Shoalhaven Hospital soon took care of the necessary blood tests and x-rays, and a drip was set up to ensure Mikaela was hydrated quickly.

Today she has been sitting up and taking a few bites out of her Vegemite sandwiches and a few sips of juice and water.

Of course no visit to a hospital to visit your grandchild is complete without the obligatory gift bag, and off I went with a few crayons, a book for drawing in, and a new fairy doll. Just the ticket to a speedy recovery, as you can see from these photos!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beyonce Concert - Awesome!

I drove up to Sydney on Friday afternoon with my two daughters to see Beyonce in concert, as a treat for their birthdays next month. We left the boys at home for a girlie's night out, and kicked off our night with an afternoon of retail therapy (always good for the soul, not necessarily the purse!)

What an amazing experience - I have been to a few big-name concerts before, but nothing like this! This woman has the most fantastic voice live, from the gutsy and raw sound of hip-hop right through to the angelic 'Ave Maria'. The show itself was something you just HAVE to experience if you ever get the chance!

Sydney's Acer Arena was packed to capacity, and the light show and big band sound was sensational. Her moving tribute to Michael Jackson and his music, followed by an on-stage appearance by a young chemotherapy patient brought the house to tears.

These pictures really don't do justice to such a fantastic and talented entertainer, but I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spring has Arrived!

Well, the weather's warming up nicely. My beautiful bush orchids have started flowering and I couldn't resist a few pics, as well as my azalea.

We had a few surprise visitors in our backyard this past weekend - a new family of magpies have started visiting, and their youngest seems to have taken a shine to our place ... no fear this one ... he just marches up and feeds out of our hands - we just got to watch that beak!!!!

Also spotted meandering over the grass was this blue-tongued lizard, an Australian native. How great to have our own resident bluey!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Spring Challenge Online Show

Ooooh ... how exciting! Only one more sleep until the Spring Challenge show!

I can't wait for spring - winter is always way too long for my liking (I'm a summer girl at heart). I always know when the warmer weather is just around the corner - my jasmine flowers and the divine scent wafts through my studio window. My miniature bush orchids also start budding and the first couple have just flowered. Will try to get some pictures to post here on the weekend, as they are just gorgeous and ever so tiny.

Anyways, thought I'd post a couple of pictures of my entry in the Spring Challenge - introducing La de Dah ... a gorgeous little girl who's all ready in her fancy attire for the Spring Racing Carnival - a spectacular annual event on the Melbourne and Sydney horse racing calendars, culminating in the 'race that stops a nation' ... The Melbourne Cup.

To see all the entrants in the Spring Challenge show, please visit www.teddybearsandcritters.com and follow the Spring Challenge link

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Bears!

In case you're wondering, these hands haven't been idle. At long last, I have completed a new small hug of bears!

I've had a lot on my plate in the last few months, with a lot of people off sick at work and being hospitalised myself a couple of times, which hasn't left a lot of time to spend being creative!

All are available on my website which, by the way, I have now learned to update MYSELF (woo-hoo ... see there are miracles!). You'll find the link in the right-hand panel of this blog.

They are also available through the Teddy Bears and Critters website (www.teddybearsandcritters.com and click on Available Bears)

This is the demure Lillie Mae:

Here's the very tough (not really!) Bosco B Bear:

Super-cool dude 'Mambo'

... and not forgetting, little Mint Julep:

Hope you like them as much as I do.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb!

OMG! I am so very excited ....

I received a gift voucher from Russ and the girls for my 50th last December to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I've just booked it for the long weekend in October .... a Twilight climb, starting at 3.45pm - duration 3.5 hours! What!!! I better start going back to the gym to get fit!!!

There's around 1050 stairs to climb, but I'm sure the view will be worth it, and I'm sooo looking forward to it! We'll get the best of both worlds - a brilliant Sydney Harbour sunset and of course, the famous harbour lights at night on the climb back down.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Newcastle Doll & Bear Show - More Photos!

Have just returned from trading at the Newcastle Doll & Bear Show last weekend. What a fantastic day! I met so many interesting people - in fact one elderly gentleman was telling me about his sister who had a storage shed they had cleaned out and found 'lots of Steiff bears in boxes' - what a find! I don't think he realised the value of what they discovered!

I also met the indomitable Mary Hickey, who has one of Australia's largest bear collections - a true arctophile!!! And such a marvelous wit and humour - I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation ... my clown bear Bongo even made his way with Mary off to his new home!

Of course, remembering that this was also a doll show, I took this photo of one of the prizewinning entries - this doll artist certainly is an inspiration - just look at what her imagination has created! Superb, and very whimsical!

Didn't get much opportunity to whiz around and take many photos, but here's a few more (my table plus some other competition entries - yes, even bears!)