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