Sunday, December 28, 2008

Castles and festive joy

I hope you all had a special Christmas day. It was a delight to hear how many enjoyed my short story, many people sharing it with their children and grandchildren, I could not ask for more :) I cooked the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, nice to have a feeling of England when I'm here in Belgium, there is something very comforting about these traditional meals that I have grown up with.

I always love it when my Bumpkin Bears are given as surprise gifts, it is such fun keeping the secret :) This happened this Christmas with the lovely Kim of Victorian Parlor blog her wonderful husband gave her Hamish as a Christmas present - if you scroll down her posts from christmas day you will see some sweet photos of him in his new home with his happy Mum :) It always makes me feel so full of joy to share my love of bears with others.

Boxing Day was really chilly but beautifully bright and sunny, so a walk in our local forest was just the ticket :) In the woodland there is this beautiful castle and a little tea house that used to have an underground tunnel leading from it to the castle for the butler to use to take the tea and cake to the lucky few!! What a life!

I'm a busy bee working on my brand new website design and some sweet new illustrations and mohair bears, so do join the bears and I again soon. Warm Beary Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Day Before Christmas

(scroll down to see the first two chapters of the story)
The Day Before Christmas

As they were nearly through the forest they could see the lights of the village sparkling through the branches when all of a sudden they were startled by a strange screeching noise. Trying to be brave and bear like on the outside, on the inside they were imagining a giant forest monster stomping towards them to eat them for supper! They all just huddled together behind a tree and closed their eyes.

The noise was getting closer and closer when Lewis suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder. He jumped higher than a bear has ever jumped before! Screaming with his eyes so tightly closed he swore he could never open them again! Suddenly through all their noise they heard Papa Bear's voice, Lewis thought he had come to save them. Forcing one eye slightly open he saw Papa Bear and…. NO monster, just the old red wheelbarrow with a fir tree in it. Mama Bear had always complained of the schreeching wheels!

Once the little bear's hearts had stopped pounding and their legs stopped wobbling enough to stand up they were glad to be on their way home. The surprise didn't seem to matter so much anymore although it was a very beautiful tree Papa had chosen just for them to decorate with some of their berries. The rest of the berries will be for Christmas dinner tomorrow!
Back in the warmth of their home they decorated their tree and sat down by the comforting fire. Mama bear told them a story about the night before Christmas and Santa visiting all the good little bears. That night although they were so tired they just had to wait to see Santa out of their bedroom window.

As they all wished upon the brightest star Lewis was sure that he saw a sparkling light fly by. It was way past their bed time and they clambered up into their beds, "it must have been Santa, it just must have been". Lewis said over and over until his eyes closed as he dreamt of this very special day before Christmas.


(Copyright of all text and images - Catherine Young)   The whole story is published at

Thank you to everyone that has come along to read my story. The bears are now all happily waiting for Christmas to arrive :)
I've just got back from the supermarket, got the last turkey on the shelves! I'm cooking christmas lunch tomorrow, here in Belgium. I've been taking lots of photos of the wild birds in my garden, including my friendly robin, I'll share them with you all in a few days time. Have a wonderfully Beary Merry Christmas, Catherine, my cats and the bears xxx

Monday, December 22, 2008

and so the Story continues...

The Day Before Christmas
Chapter 2

These little bears were so worried that they would not get their surprise they all just sat in a heap looking very sorry for themselves. Before too long the bunnies, twitching their ears, came out to see what the matter was. Followed on by the rather shy Mr Badger, a family of very sleepy hedgehogs woken by the bump and lots of twittering birds including wee Master Robin.

Lewis explained why they looked so sad and all their friends took pity on them, especially as it was the day before Christmas. New berries were found even before the bears had had a chance to stand up and shake all the snow off their coats. Their wooly hats became baskets as the birds dropped berry after berry into them as they swooped by.

The winter sun started to hide behind the hill, the bears tummies started to rumble and they realized it was time to go home for tea. They ran as fast as they could when waving goodbye, shouting thank you and holding onto all the hats brimming full of berries! How excited they were to get home and see their surprise.

As they were nearly through the forest they could see the lights of the village sparkling through the branches when all of a sudden... (come back on Christmas Eve to read the last Chapter of my story) Warm Beary Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Are you sitting comfortably?

.. then I'll begin the first part of my short story which I wrote to go with my illustrations . The main character is Lewis Bear who is available for adoption to a special family. I'm going to share this story with you in 3 parts, the next chapters follow on Monday and Christmas Eve. So get comfy and believe in the magic of Christmas...

The Day Before Christmas

Today was no ordinary day as the sun shone through the winter mist. Lewis appeared at the brow of the hill, shivering as the cold wind whistled through his fur and the snow dripped on his shiny black nose! He did not see the three bears moving out from behind the lone tree. The snowballs came flying towards him before he had time to duck! His brothers were known as a rather mischievous bunch of bears and Lewis, all covered in snow, feared today wasn't going to be any different!

The problem was that they had promised Papa Bear they would be on their best behavior as today was the day before something special called Christmas. Being such young bears they had never heard of this Christmas before but it seemed to be an exciting time in the Village. First thing this morning they were promised a surprise if they were good and gathered lots of red berries getting home before dark. After hearing this they had run all the way across the fields, through the woods and up the hill to the biggest berry bush.

Lewis, being the youngest bear, had been last to get to the top of the hill. It had seemed to take forever to get there but once they had enough berries the bears knew of a much quicker way down! Without a second's thought they were rolling down the hill with the wind in their fur and rather a lot of squashed berries as they landed with a tremendous bump! What a sight they were with red stains all over their fur! What was Papa Bear going to say?

...... (find out what happens next on Monday)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas in a window!

I was so enchanted by the christmas windows in Bruges at the weekend, look at that little chocolate shop squeezed in! it's been such fun to share all our Christmas homes, thanks to everyone that has visited this week. Lots more christmas delights to share soon. (click on photos to enlarge and see all the magic, look at those sweet penguins and delicious goodies in the top photo and the amazing toy shop lower down!)

Warm Beary Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Pretty Little Christmas

The bears and I are joining in a wonderful Pretty Little Christmas party held by Heather over at PrettyPetals. There are the most beautiful homes to enjoy. There is also a wonderful Christmas Tour of Homes over at Boomama so join in the fun .

Here are photos of our tree and the Bumpkin Bears watching on. I made the little felt snowman. I hope you have a relaxing time in my home enjoying the cosiness of this time of year. Over the next days I'll be sharing photos of beautiful christmas window fronts in Bruges. Also coming up soon is my first short story about the bears including my illustrations .

Have yourself a Beary Merry Christmas! Catherine x

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas is in the air..

Lewis bear thanks you all for your kind words about him, you made him a very happy bear! Yesterday we took a trip to Bruges here in Belgium, it is a wonderful fairy tale like town full of the oldest buildings and lots of water canals. It was fre-e-e-e-zing cold but a wonderful day. We bought some lovely christmas tree balls, every year I have always bought a new decoration, which makes dressing the Christmas tree always a nice memory trip. There were some beautiful shops, I took so many photos that I'll share all the beautiful festive shop fronts over the next few days with you. You can click on all the photos to see the full size. When we got home in the evening we decorated our tree, photos coming up tomorrow. I have also been very busy writing a short story to go with some of my illustrations which I am going to share bit by bit leading up to Christmas Eve, (it is also going to be published on an online magazine so we are really excited) so keep visiting the bears and I :)

Beary Hugs, Catherine and the Bumpkin Bears x

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lewis - a Christmas Greeting

I am delighted to share Lewis with you, he was a joy to bring to life using his fabulous golden dense mohair, one of the original Steiff types produced by Schulte for this world famous bear making company. He is a bear full of kindness and love and I hand made him a sweet red fleece jacket to keep him warm on snowy days! His name was inspired by Lewis Carroll and a charming Christmas Greeting -

Christmas Greeting
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

Lady, dear, if Fairies may
For a moment lay aside
Cunning tricks and elfish play,
'Tis at happy Christmas-tide.

We have heard the children say -
Gentle children, whom we love -
Long ago on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above,

Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
They remember it again -
Echo still the joyful sound
"Peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Yet the hearts must childlike be
Where such heavenly guests abide;
Unto children, in their glee,
All the year is Christmas-tide!

Thus, forgetting tricks and play
For a moment, Lady dear,
We would wish you, if we may,
Merry Christmas, Glad New Year!

You can see all of Lewis's photos and adoption information on my website

Lewis will come to his new home with a free thank you gift of a pack of 5 Bumpkin BearsChristmas Cards. If you would like Lewis or any other Bumpkin Bears, prints or cards to arrive in time to appear in Santa's stocking there is still time if you are quick. The recommended dates for post to arrive in time for Christmas are -

INTERNATIONAL (USA, Australia, etc) - 10th December
EUROPE - 14th December
(but of course I will be sending out all my Bumpkin Bears at later dates too and it is possible they will be with you in time for Christmas, just not guaranteed by the post)

Lewis will be the last Bear to come to life out of my studio before Christmas. There is now lots of work for a brand new website design and lots of new exciting illustrations! If you would like to adopt Lewis or any of my bears looking for a special home for Christmas then just send me an email. We'll be going and choosing our Christmas Tree soon, my favourite part of Christmas, so pop back to see photos of it all decorated :) Beary Hugs, Catherine and Lewis xx

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Sinterklaas!

What a busy week it's been in the Bumpkin Bears studio, many of my Christmas card packs have been flying out to their new homes whilst other bear's have been wanting my attention! My new mohair bear is coming along well and I hope to have him ready to show you over the next few days. I've also been sketching a lot of ideas of adventures for my bears in the illustrations and I have one on the way to show you soon which I'm rather excited about.

Today Sinterklaas is celebrated in Belgium and many other countries around the globe. It is not a tradition that I am used to back in England but it is big business here, with children getting as many if not more presents now than at Christmas time. The Sint comes over on a Steam boat from Spain and delivers all his presents with his white horse! Click here to see a photoof him from my post about this last year.

In the meantime I'm delighted to say that I have been mentioned on the Belle and Boo blog, I just love Mandy's work so I felt very excited that she talked about my Bumpkin Bears, thanks Mandy :)

Phoebe, one of my 2 cats has been helping read a recipe this evening! A quiet evening watching Stuart Little on the tele for me and the cats tonight! They might like seeing mice on the tv!! My other cat Ollie is always fascinated when there are animals on the tv, but humans are so not interesting! Pop back over the next few days when I'll have some new delights to show you. Have a great weekend, beary hugs, Catherine x

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Cards are here!

I have just listed Christmas cards in my Etsy store. This is a chance for you to buy a pack of 5 Christmas Cards of my original illustrations - The Best Tree for Christmas, Wish Upon a Star and Snow Circus. They have some festive additions specially for these cards. Wish Upon a Star has got a sweet night sky complete with stars to wish on, it looks like they are waiting for Santa! Each image is printed on gorgeous cream quality textured cards and come with berry red envelopes.

* Each pack will have 1 of each of the above 3 images and then 2 others from this group. If you would prefer to have a 5 pack consisting of just one image then let me know which one*. If you've got any questions just drop the bears and I an email :)

It's looking all festive here as I got some of my decorations out to take photos of the cards. I feel a christmasy bear coming on in my imagination so this will be my next project and I have the most gorgeous old gold mohair that will be just perfect for him. So pop back soon :) Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winning day and Christmas cards!

Well, it's been such fun having this giveaway over the last week, thank you so much to all of you that took the time to pop by and join in with this new exciting launch of my Bumpkin Bears illustrations. This morning Hamish (looking for a special family) was the most excited and having the smallest paws we decided he would be the best bear to pull a name out of our special bowl! So without any more delay THE WINNER IS - Bob.T. Bear!! Yes a bear won the giveaway, you must pop by his blog to find out about all the adventures he gets up to! Hamish hopes you'll be a very happy bear Bob :)

I've had so many enquiries if I will be creating my prints into Christmas cards that I have been a very busy bee this weekend adding some extra special festive touches to my prints to transform them into sweet cards. I bought some gorgeous rich cream cards with a lovely texture and some berry red envelopes for them. Here is a sneak peek of some before I take photos of the printed cards tomorrow and then they'll roll straight into my Etsy store. If you'd like to be amongst the first to hear of new additions to the Bumpkin Bears world then just send the bears and I an email (see mailing list link on the left).

I'll be back tomorrow with more details of my cards :) Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Help the bears with a poll!

With December almost knocking at the door the bears had a little chat with me and they thought it would be beary good fun if they could appear on christmas cards so they could get to meet lots of new friends all around the world. So we are having a fun poll (over on left side) to see if you would like these Art Prints as cards? Then the bears and I will get designing and printing if you fancy it :) One day left to join in the giveaway below! I'll announce the winner tomorrow when the bear's have pulled a name :) Happy weekend! Hugs, Catherine and the bears x

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It was a cold frosty morning..

It was a cold frosty morning as the snow iced the roof tops. With the birds playing catch through the hedgerows and ladybirds hiding from Jack Frost! The wind whipped around the bunny's ears sending them into a spin! It was quite a morning for Bailey to arrive. Looking out at this sparkly white world his eyes opened wider than has ever been seen on a teddy bear!
In such a rush to go outside and explore this new world he..... Click here to read the rest of Bailey's story and see all his photos. He is available for adoption, see all his info on my website.

We've had some snow over here as you'll have seen from Bailey's story.

It's been very exciting to read all your kind comments about my new range of Bumpkin Bears Art Prints. Keep joining in the giveaway this week in the party post below. Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let the Party begin with a giveaway!

wow, after a long time of dreaming, planning and work my bears and I are thrilled to announce the launch of our Bumpkin Bears illustrations. These drawings bring alive the adventures of a very special group of Bears living in a village deep in the valley.

You can see the first prints in my Etsy store, including some wonderful festive images. Clickhere to see them. To celebrate this Grand Opening (the bear's are getting excited about this!) I am offering Free worldwide postage on all my prints (mounted and unmounted) from today Sunday 23rd until Sunday Nov 30th.

These illustrations are printed on the most beautiful archival artist paper and can either come with or without a mount. You can see the different sections in my Etsy store. If you have any questions just drop me a line. Here is a glimpse of them -

When I grow up.. I want to be a Train Driver (part of the "When I grow up..." series.

Snow Circus

Wish upon a Star

The Best Tree for Christmas

Just as I started to add my first print to my Etsy store it started to snow, what better sight than a sparkly white landscape to get into the festive spirit!

As a thank you to you all for your support and encouragement over the months the bears and I are giving away a Mounted Print "The Best Tree for Christmas" (see image below). To enter just leave me a beary festive comment and I will randomly pick a winner next Sunday 30th 10am GMT.

I have many many more stories in my imagination that I will be bringing to life with pencil (and of course still through my mohair bears) in the future. I hope you will enjoy following along this journey together with my bears. Over the next few days a new Artist bear will be revealing his face here and at my website.

In the meantime have yourself a beary happy day! Hugs, Catherine and the bears xx

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Get ready for the Launch Party!

Get your party clothes out and get ready for the Blog launch party for a new exciting venture for the Bumpkin Bears. The Grand Opening will be tomorrow if the bear's behave themselves! I don't think they will get much sleep tonight with all the excitement! They are bursting to tell you all about what you will see but we are keeping the secret just a little longer ;) Look forward to lots of goodies, festive offers and a special Blog GIVEAWAY! So do come along and join in the fun :) Catherine and the Bears xx

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Off to Japan they go..

I have been busy creating an order for a company that sell artist bears in the top department stores across Japan, they are the equivalent of Harrods in London, one of the stores is called Mitsukosi. It is a very exciting adventure for my bears and here are the four friends that are on their way to Japan.


Charlie Boy



I will be carrying on bringing to life my new bear this afternoon, his mohair is a beautiful soft tipped fur, he should be a real cutie. Promise I'll share photos the moment he has had a photoshoot! Hugs, Catherine xx

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winning and new adventures

I am over the moon with happiness, jumping up and down with joy that I won a Belle and Boo print in a giveaway that Mandy had on her blog. I have for a long time admired Mandy's beautiful art and she has been a lovely friend to me too. I never dreamt that out of over 100 people my number would get selected by the computer :) YIPEEEEEE. For those that know me I love trees and spent much of my childhood sitting up in them so this print could not be more perfect for me, it is of a sweet girl sat up in a wintery tree. THANK YOU Mandy. Click here to see Mandy's charming beautiful work. Mandy has been a great encouragement to me in my drawing and there is some exciting new adventures for my Bumpkin Bears on the horizon, this time on paper instead of mohair!! Do come back soon to see this new venture. In the meantime you can see my Bears looking for a new family at their website Click here to say hello to them. Thanks for dropping by, Hugs, Catherine xx

Milly looking for a home

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mother Bear Project

I'm glad you all liked Darcy and Elizabeth bears so much, they have happily been adopted by the same new mum so will be staying together. A while back I heard of a charity called Mother Bear Project. They are dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS across Africa, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear. These children have often lost all their family and have nothing of their own, a teddy can bring the gift of friendship and comfort to them at a time when they must feel so very alone. Clickhere to go to their website where you can find out all about knitting bears for these very special children. Here's the bear that I knitted for them, he is my first attempt at knitting a toy.
I enjoyed knitting him with the thought of bringing a little sunshine into a child's life. Just look at this wonderful smile.

I could catch the knitting bug! I have also just started on a new mohair bear in a gorgeous cream and brown tipped mohair so check back soon for his appearance! Hugs, Catherine x

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

May we remember...

..all those brave souls that lost their lives for their country. At this time of year I remember my Great Uncles and Grandfather, Paddy Coote, even more than normal. Although I sadly never got to meet my Grandfather I learnt to know him through the eyes of my Granny. He was a well respected Wing Commander in the RAF, studying alongside and being friends with Douglas Bader, who many of you will know especially those from England. At the end of their training my Grandfather was awarded The Sword of Honour, a great honour to receive as the best cadet throughout the training. It was considered a two horse race between Paddy and Douglas Bader.

Paddy was the kind of man to never show off, despite many sporting and RAF triumphs, including playing Rugby for Ireland and being part of the RAF bobsleigh team at the Olympics in Switzerland. Paddy was a great lover of literature and poetry, something that I have inherited. He dreamt of moving back to Ireland with my Granny, mum and my Aunt, when the war was over to write a book. This day sadly never came as he was shot down in Crete. He would normally not have been in the plane but felt that it was such a difficult mission that he could not ask his men to do something that he was not willing to do himself, so he replaced one man. I have since got to know this lovely gentleman, that wrote a book about the squadron and my Grandfather, he survived WW II because of the bravery of my Grandfather that day.

Every year I like to buy and wear a red poppy sold by the British Legion as a sign of remembrance and pride in my Grandfather. Living in Belgium I have not always been able to find one because they are not easily found here, however this year we were in Antwerp and there was a fabulous Scottish Bag pipe band playing that I love to hear (my Granny was Scottish, so yes I'm Scottish, Irish and British!) and there nearby was the British Legion selling poppies. So I have my poppy here proudly resting. Here is a photo of my Grandfather and Granny looking so happy on their wedding day.

Catherine x

Friday, November 7, 2008

Romance is in the air!

** UPDATE - Darcy and Elizabeth have been adopted together so can stay by each other's side**

Well, romance is in the air in the Bumpkin Bears studio this week! I'd love you to meet two sweet teds called
Darcy and Elizabeth. Inspired by Pride and Prejudice these two had such fun in the bear's fancy dress box
as you'll see from their photos. Neither of them would admit it but they both think each other is really
rather special.

Clickhere to see all their photos and stories. Have fun with these friends. If you would like to adopt either Darcy or Elizabeth just drop me an email.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, Hugs, Catherine, Darcy and Elizabeth xxx