Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Chewbacca - 50 years of Dirt - Part 2

Chewies's first wash: there wasn't too much dirt that came off his fur, but the last 3 washes were the worst! Yuck yuck yuck...just like the real Wookie... I think he lost at least a pound of dirt!

This is the 3rd wash and look at the dirt still on my face.  Amazing how much dirt was on this bear, but this is very typical of our patients.  Dragged around in the dirt when they were younger, thrown in the water, and played with, but as the mommy or daddy gets older the teddy doesn't get cleaned or they are stored for a long time till their parents find them again.

Clean At Last!!!  Now put me together, please.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Chewbacca the Look a Like - the Antique Bear

This bear was sitting, over looking us in the living room and the first thing I thought, Chewbacca.  Do you agree with us?  Except this guy needs some major help: dusty, dirty, holes everywhere, stuffing falling out, and really needing some TLC.

Holes in the paw pads and a plastic bag holding back the leg stuffing.  One arm lost all of its stuffing through the holes in his paw pad.

Mohair coming through the paw pads.

Look what I'm was filled with!  Cotton filling, very dusty, not fun to work with.

Mega dust coming out of the body.  Next time I will need my mask.

Now that Chewie is unstuffed, he'll be getting a much needed bath.  Stay tuned to see the progress.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bob the Dog a Wedding Present

Toilet paper roll in neck
Bob the Dog came to us after many previous attempts to revive him.  For a surprise, his grandmother wanted to fixed him for her daughters wedding present.  Bob the Dog had an unusual assortment of stuffing - a toilet paper roll inserted into his neck to hold his head up; one of her daughters tried fix his floppy neck.  There were also 6 to 7 pairs of nylon pantyhose plus old fabric, toilet paper and plastic pellets. 

Look at my neck

We removed all the old stuffing, the toilet paper roll neck and gave him a much needed bath.  The holes were sewn up and new stuffing which brought him back to life.  Now he was ready for the wedding!


Look what was inside me.  Yuck

Ready for the Big Day!
I'm so cute

Friday, 13 February 2015

Popples - Pocket Creature

When we saw pictures of this treasured little creature, we hadn't a clue if we could help her. We looked her up on the intenet and found out that she was a pocket creature.  We fortunately found similar material and were able to bring her back to life.

           Oh what a mess I am!  Can you help?

                  Wow! Do I feel great!

Teddy Bear Care and Cleaning

We found this website about taking care of your most cherished teddy. 

Teddy bear care and cleaning may not be something you have given much thought to. But if you want your bears to always look their best and remain in good condition then it is something that needs a little thought and time.
Whether you have modern bears made from synthetic material of older bears made from natural fibres, both need periodical cleaning and some gentle TLC.

What Can Damage Your Teddy Bear?

Faded teddy bear
There are four enemies to the bear which can damage their fur and cause tears. These are: 
  • Sunlight - Unfortunately leaving your bear near a window or in direct sunlight will over time cause the colour of the fur to fade. This really is a shame and will make your bear look shabby. 
  • Dust - yes good old dust. It will cause your bear to turn a rather grubby shade of gray and if not cleaned will become ingrained to the point that no amount of cleaning will return your bear to their full glory. 
  • Handling - As much as we love out teddy bears and want to hug and hold them, too much handling can cause the material to weaken and tear. Joints may also become loose and in some cases limbs may even fall off, yikes. 
  • Insects - Unfortunately insects do like to make home amongst warm and dark fabrics and teddy bears stuffing is a perfect home. Check for any signs of egg laying, especially in older bears around the ears and paw pads. If there are signs of infestation then treat with the appropriate insecticide before cleaning. This is an important part of teddy bear care.

How To Clean Your Bear

Teddy bear care should include cleaning your teddy bear on a regular basis, say every month or so to prevent dust build up. 
This should be done by gently brushing the bear with a soft brush. Making sure that you get into cracks and joint areas where dust bear up can be worse. The brushing will also keep the bears fur looking at its best too. A gentle vacuum may also be given. 
Modern bears made from synthetic materials are designed to be gently hand washed too. Never submerge the bear in water though, instead lightly sponge the fur. Even though some modern teddy bears can be submerged or even washed in the washing machine, I would never recommend it, they never look the same again. 
Always dry your bear in a drying bag on the line. Pegging your bear up by the ear will weaken the fabric and distort the bear. Besides it's not very nice for the bear. 
Grease build up on older bears especially those made from Mohair can be cleaned with a bran bath. Simply sit your bear in a plastic bag and fill with bran (available from health food shops. Rub into the fur and then brush out using a stiff natural bristled brush. 
Clean any clothes your bear is dressed in with a mild detergent and hand wash if they are vintage items. Dry by laying out flat to prevent stretch.

Protect Your Teddy

Teddy bear in a jumper
There are a few ways you can help keep your bear looking their best apart from cleaning. 
Dressing your bear will protect the covered parts from colour fade. Many old bears can prove this and often vintage teddy bears can be seen with their original bright colour on their main body. 
Keep your bear away from direct sunlight if possible. Even from across a room, direct sunlight can affect the colour of your bear and cause fade. So remember to keep the curtains closed during very sunny days.

Storing A Teddy Bear

If you have valuable bears you wish to keep out of harm's way or perhaps you have run out of space for all your bears, you may want to store your bears safely away. 
There are a few top tips to teddy bear care when storing your bears, these are: 
  • Never store your bear in plastic. It can cause moisture to form and this in turn will cause mold.
  • Wrap your bear in white acid free paper or calico bags to protect from dust.
  • Cardboard boxes will help protect your bear from knocks and bangs, (but make sure the bear is wrapped in acid free tissue paper because the cardboard has acid that will destroy the bear.  If you are living in Vancouver, I found acid free tissue paper sold in Granville Island at Opus Art Supplies - Janet H.)

Much Loved - Photographs by Mark Nixon

This book has wonderful photos of much loved bears with fantastic stories for each bear.  There 65 photos in his book.  There are 24 photos in the link below.  Enjoy all the stories!

Cited:  http://www.marknixon.com/muchloved/1/caption

CBC Radio Interview of Teddy Bear Doctor: "Teddy bear doctor gives new life to old, damaged toys"

Teddy bear doctor gives new life to old, damaged toys

Ruth Hasman of Bearland Designs repairs vintage teddy bears and stuffies

By Gavin Fisher, The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: Dec 29, 2014 10:17 PM 
I was fortunate to have CBC Radio News interview me as well as one of my customers.  The link below  shows some of the bears that Gail brought to me as well as the radio broadcast.


Once I was a Koala Back Pack

This Koala back pack was given to a young boy who immigrated to Canada with his parents.  He took it every where because it reminded him of his home, Hong Kong and Grandmother.   

Now in University he wanted to have his beloved friend cleaned and fixed as a stuffy. 

We removed the zipper and pouch.  Stitched his tummy hole, and fed him full of stuffing.  As an added touch, we repainted his nose.

Now I'm ready to hit the road.

Floppy "Dee an Cee" composition baby doll

This little baby doll came to us with loose joints which the momma wanted us to fix so that she could sit without flopping over.  The Bear Doctor gave this unsual job to me.  Many years ago I use to make porcelain and composition dolls and I was up to the challenge.

The momma was surprised to see under her clothing that she had a bandage wrapped around her body and a button on her left shoulder.  

History of Dee an Cee:

Dee an Cee was a Canadian doll manufacturer from 1938 to 1964. The name was derived from the first letters of the last names of the two founders, Max Diamond and Morris Cone. The company motto was “Quality above all”.

Dee an Cee was the first Canadian doll company to advertise on television. After the firm was sold to Mattel in 1962, manufacturing in Canada was gradually discontinued. The name was no longer used after 1964.

Closer examination the body was cracked and the button was holding the hook for the left arm.  The momma told me that this doll was hers and that someone must have drilled a hole in the arm to reattach the hook and bandaged her up - maybe her own mother.

Markings on back

I removed her old elastic and re-strung her with some new elastic. Now she is ready to go home.  Love history and it was great to work with a Canadian.

All ready to go

Button in the shoulder

Bandaged wrapped body

All dressed to go

Bertie the Bear with surprises inside

Bertie came to us, well loved.  Someone used corduroy patches on his legs and had carefully darned a number of holes on his head, arms and legs. Bertie's joints were also falling apart!  Major operation.


 When we opened him up, we were surprised what we found: magazine pieces from 1947, extra corduroy pieces, a metal plate in one joint, a wheel from a child's toy, a broken growler and small wood pellets.

Items we found in the bear
The toy wheel used a a joint

After taking him all apart except the head, we cleaned him thoroughly.  Originally we were going to leave the corduroy patches on his legs, but on inspection from the inside we discovered that one leg had been darned and the other one just had a small hole which was easily repaired.  After fixing all the holes and making new paw pads, Bertie was put back together and given a new nose.  We left the head with the lopsided ears and eyes, since that made Bertie special.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Poor Brown Bear couldn't see much with only one eye.  His tattered nose, stretch marks, missing stuffing was a sight and no one wanted to be near him because he was a bit dirty.  

After, the Bear Doctor removed all of the dirty stuffing and he got a bubble bath.  Was he happy!  Brown Bear was now ready for some constructive surgery.  First his eyes were replaced, followed by new stuffing.  Feeling much better, he was ready for a new nose and tummy tucks on his stretch marks. 

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?"
"I see my mommy looking at me."

Brown Bear is ready to head home.  He sure had fun playing with all the other bears at the hospital.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Be Able To Undo What You Do!

Many days of the week find us replacing stuffing, eyes or repairing severe paw and claw damage. A note to all teddy lovers who have bears needing repair; it's wise always to "be able to undo what you do."

Truer words were never spoken considering one of our commissions was to fix up an old teddy as a surprise for a client's husband. Later that same year the teddy was back looking for his old (but washed) blue corduroy coveralls. Seems his owner's love for the teddy included him "just as he was" (all the old parts were kept just in case).

Broken Teddy: Quote by E.F. Gigliottie & E.C. Gigliotti

"Even though there's a rip in your teddy bear, his love will not fall out."
(E.F. Gigliotti & E.C. Gigliotti)

Two Tails the Bear

Two Tails came to us in such a disarray.   She was missing an eye, stretch marks all over and dirty.  She really needed some help from the Bear Doctor.

Before - note stretch marks on belly

stretch marks under arm

After her spa treatment, she was fitted with new eyes.  All her stretch marks were carefully corrected. Two Tails went home a happy little bear!  I'm so happy that I can finally see and my fur has been given a new life.  Ready to go home. 

The Last Mimzy 3 Times!!!

I got a call from an anxious mom who had the last Mimzy doll.  The head had come off and her daughter was in tears!  I said I could fix her, but I wondered how she knew it was the last Mimzy.  Maybe it was really valuable.  

I mentioned it to my business partner wondering how the mom knew it was the last one.  She laughed and said it was a movie!  She loaned me the movie so I could watch it while I mended the Last Mimzy.  

We've now had 3 Mimzy in the hospital at various times.  

The first Last Mimzy came in with her head off: This was an easy repair, since the head could be easily rejointed.

However, 2 weeks later, she again came into see the doctor. Now an arm had come off.
The knitted fabric had stretched, so the joints were all coming out. We took her all apart and reinforced the joints. Now she's as good as new!



The second Mimzy came in with an arm off.  As with the first one, we rejointed her.  We checked the other joints and they looked solid.  She was told to return if any other limbs came loose.  She didn't come back so we're sure she's doing fine.

We were contacted about a third Last Mimzy came from Florida with a broken voice box.  We didn't think we could fix it, but suggested where they might get a recordable voice box and record the sound.  We received Mimzy and a new sound box.  When we opened and removed the old sound box, we discovered it was powered by batteries.  We removed and replaced the corroded batteries.  We contacted the owner who asked to have the old one put back in and the new one in the other leg.  Now she has a back-up voice!

Conductor Dog Stuffy

Conductor Dog had split his seams.  Guess that was too much food and too little exercise!  He had to go on a diet first- remove stuffing so he could be restitched!
Split pants

Too much loving

Split Head

I'm reading to go home.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Beheaded Steiff Bear

 Not even a year old or played with, this new Steiff was brought to us with head in hand. 

The Teddy Bear Doctor reattached the Steiff's head.