The Polar Bear and a Toadstool

I’ve made a start on my homemade Christmas presents for the children. I have so many ideas rushing around my head at the moment, that it feels a true accomplishment to finish one of my projects. I am particularily pleased with the way my polar bear turned out.  It brings two ideas together. No, make that three.

Firstly, BL loves polar bears. Every night she goes to sleep cuddling her polar bear toy. It is a very loved bear. She doesn’t have a huge collection of polar bears, but she treasures the ones she has. For Christmas, I want to add to her polar bears, but not a stuffed toy.

Secondly, earlier in the year, I felted my legacy knitting collection. Among the items was one, lonely, white sleeve of a jumper knitted by my Grandma. It was knitted with 100% Falkland Island wool. I remember collecting the wool from the Falkland Island shop in Wells, for her. It felted up really well, with a slight fluffiness.

Thirdly, the children loved the millet bags I made last year, but I wanted covers for them. The bags are heated in the oven and are very hot when they come out. I wrapped the bags in jumpers, so that the children wouldn’t find them too hot. During the colder months,we got into a routine of putting a millet bag in their beds. Warm and welcoming at the end of the day.

I started by drawing out a polar bear and using it as a template. I’m really pleased that I used my own design. Next challenge was to fit my template onto the felted sleeve. So much easier when using new fabric. I had to compromise by cutting the under-side of the bear on the wrong side. I would have positioned the sleeve’s cuff as part of the opening, but it just would not work. I used embroidery silk to blanket stitch the three bits together. Added nose, eye and claws and Bob’s her uncle.  Actually he is her uncle, but that is beside the point.

So the idea is that the millet bag is warmed in the oven and then put in the polar bear cover through the gap at the back. As the opening overlaps, BL should not accidently touch the millet bag.

I’m making the toadstools for yet another project. They are pincushions, weighted with millet again. Lots of blanket stitch which is perfect to pick up in an odd few minutes. I’m not sure whether polar bears and  toadstools are found in the same location in nature, but I think they look good together. Also, wouldn’t it make a good title for a story? The polar bear and the toadstool. Bet its already been written.

Oh and I have to share this photo.

Tomatoes from our unheated greenhouse in November. Yeh! First year I’ve managed to do it.

18 thoughts on “The Polar Bear and a Toadstool

  • Wednesday 10 November, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I love the polar bear millet bag cover. You should sell the whole set on etsy….hint, hint, hint. : )

    • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 7:17 pm

      I think I am too late for this Christmas, although you have got me thinking. Hmm. Maybe.

  • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I love your polar bear and the fact that it is a heat bag cover is perfect. You should be very proud of your own design, it’s fantastic. And then there’s the toadstool, just gorgeous. I love toadstools, they are so cheery.


    • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks Anne. I usually waste time looking for someone else’s design that will work for a project. SO much wasted time. So it was really refreshing to get out a pad of paper and make up my own design. I now have to think of two more designs for the other two, using my stash of felted wool.

  • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Love the polar bear. So would my daughter, who even in her twenties, still refers to herself as the North Polar Bear, from Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas. You’re right about toadstools and polar bears looking good together. And am I jealous of your tomatoes? Yes… 🙂

    • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      Letters from Father Christmas is on my reading list for this Christmas. I’m doubly looking forward to it now I know there are polar bears. Something to look forward to once all my Christmas crafting is complete.

      • Friday 12 November, 2010 at 4:13 am

        Oh, I hope you do get it. It’s the best book ever. We read it every Christmas. And the polar bear looms largely. Thanks for your kind words about my sketches.

        • Friday 12 November, 2010 at 10:46 am

          That sounds like a good recommendation to me. Thank you. I look forward to reading it in front of the fire this winter. Maybe with a hot chocolate. I shall be wishing the autumn away at this rate! And your sketches are beautiful.

  • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Love the Polar Bear. I’ve been considering making a cover for a wheat bag for my daughter, thanks for the inspiration, will think about her favourite animals, although there are a few.

    Beautiful red fresh tomatoes … yum!

    • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      Any animal would work, so long as it had a bulky tummy, head or something similar, to put the heated bag in it. I’m sure she will love whatever you choose. Or maybe you could make one for each day of the week!

  • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    That bear is great!
    We tried putting our “Riceys” (just think millet bags full of rice inside toweling bath mitts …which was an improvement on their dad’s tube socks which we started off with! …love the Bear’s we’ll have to try felt animals..I think they’ll prove really popular THANKS!!!

    • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      The heat bags (rice/millet) definitely need a cover. They are just too hot. I like felted wool as it is thick enough, without completely insulating the bag. Love the idea of them using their Dad’s sock. I hope they each used one from the same pair! Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  • Thursday 11 November, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Love the polar bear, it looks very cuddly. The toadstool is great too, I’ve always wanted to see one of those in the wild.

    • Friday 12 November, 2010 at 10:43 am

      Good time at the moment to see fly agaric in birch and pine woods. You find them around the base of these trees as they have a symbiotic relationship with these trees. We spotted one a couple of weeks ago. I love seeing all the fungi, but have to say these ones are so exciting to spot.

  • Friday 12 November, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Wow, how cozy is it to go to bed with a warm millet bag? The polar bear as a cover is the sweetest thing ever. What a special present! Many sweet (and warm) dreams await BL!

    • Friday 12 November, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Thanks Luciana. I think I’m on safe ground making a polar bear for her. She really does have a soft spot for them. Sweet dreams sound perfect to me.

  • Saturday 13 November, 2010 at 1:46 am

    great idea. I’ve collected hot water bottles for this winter, but I would love to have a more natural heat source for the bed. so cosy.

    • Saturday 13 November, 2010 at 10:35 am

      I once had a hot water bottle burst in bed, so I like the alternative of millet. There are other choices like rice, wheat and flax. Plus it smells lovely and homely. I find them great for headaches, stiff necks and ear aches as well.

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