That is my conservatory at the moment. I have not-so-affectionately name it "Bear Mountain" (FYI, the bears need the garden chair to be comfortable...Or, I forgot to move it to the garage). In preparation for dealing with Bear Mountain, I have hoovered my entire house, cleaned the bedroom window (and nearly fell out, but that's another story), cleaned the downstairs windows, washed the front door (who does that?!), changed the bed, done all the laundry, and rearranged the kitchen. As you can see, by "preparation for" I mean "avoidance of".
Last week I almost very accurately predicted that I would spend Sunday rocking and muttering about teddy bears in a padded room (a room, most probably, padded by hundreds of soft toys). That was as a result of last minute time-table changes, last-minute dog-sitting, last-minute just about everything, actually, which is oddly ironic considering this year I gave myself a couple of extra weeks to plan, in an attempt to avoid any rushing around. Clearly I work better under the pressure of a 3-4 week panic system I've used in the past!!
It wasn't as bad as I feared, in the end. In fact, it went very well. My auction bidders smashed my personal target of £660 (which was enough to tip the total raised in 6 years over £5000) by donating an astonishing £1384, beating the previous highest amount (£1150) by a considerable sum.
You can see the worthy causes who benefit by checking out the links below:
Which just leaves me with my lodgers, who all need un-bagging, sorting, re-bagging, and delivering to their new homes! Which this year include:
Sheffield and Rotherham (and hopefully Barnsley and Doncaster) emergency care facilities
Amy's House Respite Nursery
A variety of church play-groups/nurseries
Shoebox appeals (Operation Christmas Child, etc) for the tiny toys
Scottie's Little Soldiers (hopefully)
Here are a few photographs from previous years:
2006-07: The first year. Also the year a friend and I discovered that, actually, Zambonis are NOT magnetic (leading to me standing in the middle of an office declaring "I can work a magnet!! It's definitely NOT magnetic!!!" after being told I must have been "...doing it wrong." Good times!). Sadly there is a reason more Zambonis are not dressed as teddy bears, that reason being the visibility issues created by giant ears. Hence we have never done it again. (Also, I have a feeling Ice Ice Davy would fall out with me if I made him wear his fluffy ears again).
2006-07: Build-a-Bear, in their sweet generosity, gave us free rein that first year, to build whatever the guys wanted. That was both an enlightening and disturbing experience, as a range of unusually dressed/named animals appeared alongside a glimpse into the minds that dreamed them up! Not that watching a big tough guy painstakingly dress a tiny teddy in a bride outfit (complete with veil, bouquet and garter) before proudly naming her Julia Roberts alters your opinion in anything other than a positive fashion, don't get me wrong. Julia and the monkey, who's name escapes me, stark naked apart from elbow and knee pads, will always stick in my memory from that first year. Them and the little puppy with the happy ears in the pink tutu, which I wanted possibly more than any other toy they've EVER made (and didn't get).
The Build-a-Bear trip is always fun...
2011-12 (Photo Copyright Build-a-Bear Meadowhall)
2011-12 (Photo copyright Dobson Agency 2012, supplied by Publicasity).
The last photograph is the first time in six years I've actually made it onto the Build-a-Bear shot!
The donated bears also have their own (adorable!) donated jerseys, courtesy of Rhino Sports:
On the night, I always have a team of wonderful kids to collect the bears. I don't want to put detailed photographs of other people's kids online, so here are a blurry couple:
06-07 - The team (and I!) present Molly Hurditch of Amy's House with a teddy.
Thank you to everyone who threw toys, bid on bears, donated items, time, or money to the cause.
I couldn't do it without you all!
~ ♥ ~