Balloons, Bunting and Books

A couple of weeks ago myself, Ted and my long suffering husband (Mr E) went on a day  trip to a little place a couple of hours drive away, called Hay on Wye.

It’s a small Welsh village/town – which is, in many respects like many other Welsh villages…

but Hay is a town of books. There are books shops galore. New books, old books, really old books. Picture books, fiction, non fiction…. I think that if you can imagine a book you can probably find it in one of the many amazing bookshops in this quiet little town.

And the week we went was no ordinary week … this time, Hay was not the sleepy, quaint little town I had been to before , or the way you imagine a little Welsh town to look.

Instead, it was bustling with people. There were balloons and banners, the streets lined with stall selling all sorts of items from Welshcakes (yummy), to ice cream (just as yummy), to clothes, to candles.

There were adults of all ages, children and dogs. What an atmosphere!

But why, what wakes a quaint little town and make it a huge attraction?

Why books, of course! We had travelled to Hay for the annual Literary Festival.

Hay Festival Fun
Hay Festival Fun

It was the first time we had ever been (yes, I know, we only live two hours away, no excuse – but it’s true), and it certainly won’t be the last. Ted & I loved every minute. (Mr E did too – but he mainly did the town and river part).

BUT – before I get carried away with the romance of it all – a word of warning.

It’s busy. Very busy. Narrow streets see lots of traffic – pedestrians and motorised traffic. If you don’t like crowds, it’s probably not for you.

At the festival site, there are queues. For everything – you will queue for coffee, queue for ice cream, queue for the loo (although that’s normal anywhere I think!), queue for the shows, for the signings, at the book shop… Be prepared to spend lots of time queueing.

And beware of grumps. I think it’s linked to the queues. I encountered one or two very grumpy people. Small children I can forgive – queues are very boring.

Grown adults of 50+, being rude and grumpy at such an event – no need. I do hope you don’t get one of those in the book shop queue – honestly – the sales assistants are doing their best, give them a break!

But – yes, another but. -If you can get past all that, there are books.

Lots of books.

Storytelling, Activities. You can spot celebrities. You can watch people’s eyes light up as they pick up a book, see their favourite author or simply eat some rather delicious food.

There are smiles, there is laughter, there are people just all getting along. We were there when the UK security alert was at critical. There is nothing makes you smile more than a heavily armed police officer talking to children about the Giant Jumperee. (OK a child and me….)

And, there are many talks and shows you can go to. Ted and I went to one.

We went to see Julia Donaldson – author of (you guessed it) The Giant Jumperee and The Gruffalo – and many others of course. This was inspirational – she talked about her process, how she works with illustrators – we saw a video of Illustrator Helen Oxenbury in her studio – got to see snippets of Axel Scheffler’s sketchbook…

Julia and her family even acted our the Giant Jumperee for us all, and we all sang along to the Jumperee song. I met Julia afterwards – got her autograph – and she even spoke to Ted. (She was lovely)

The day Ted met Julia Donaldson
The day Ted met Julia Donaldson

To see the faces in that audience – see how the children were engaged.

Some say books are dying out due to e-books and online content – well if that day at the Hay Festival is any indication that is very far from the truth. Books and story telling are very much still with us – and the future looks great.

 

Find Your Happy Place
Find Your Happy Place

As you know – my dream is to be an illustrator of children’s books. Well – that day – that one special day, I felt like I was one step closer to that dream.

Hay – we loved you – and we will be back!

 

PS – don’t forget, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Birthdays in December

Hello Everyone, how are you?

Theodore.E.Bear
Theodore.E.Bear

Sorry I missed last week – things have been rather busy here. Lot’s going on – what with a bathroom refit and Jac trying to prepare for Christmas.

It’s been noisy and dusty – and on some days very cold – but Jac says it will all be worth it when it’s finished. I hope she is right – my fur coat is gathering a lot of dust!

Drawing board wise – most work Jac has been doing has been Christmas related – lots of commissions, stocking up the Etsy shop and preparing for Christmas craft fairs (coming soon!).

But it’s not all Christmas – Jac reminded me today that people have birthday’s all year round – so she has been working on some birthday commissions too.

Don't forget those with December birthday!
Don’t forget those with December birthdays!

It’s going to be very busy over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out on Facebook, Twitter and Instgram for updates! There will be gingerbread men (and ladies); donkeys and  many other characters, so do stay tuned. And of course, I’ll be back next week to tell you all about it 🙂

Till next time then,

Love from Theodore.E.Bear xxx

Taking it slow..

Hello again everyone – have you had a good week? It’s been very quiet here this week, as Jac was a bit poorly with a bad cold and couldn’t spend as much time as normal at the drawing board.

Don’t worry though, I looked after her wih plenty of hot honey and lemon drinks. As a bear, I recommend honey – I wasn’t so sure about the lemon, but Jac said it’s good for her, so I had to add a little really.

Although Jac wasn’t able to get on with orders as she woudl have liked, she was very excited when a man in a big van arrived with a giant box. Apparently it was full of new items for the studio shop. It’s all still being sorted out – but I did manage a sneaky peek and spotted bookmarks, mirrors and bags – all new deisgns I hadn’t seen before. Jac says I can’t tell you to much yet, but she will share pictures as soon as they are ready. (And they will all be added to the shop throughout the week).

She did say I could let you all know about the bookmarks – especially since she showed you the designs for those a while ago. There are cupcakes, and teapots and cats… not all on the same bookmark of course. You can see them all in more detail in The Little Welsh Studio shop – why not take a peek!

The lastest bookmark designs at The Little Welsh Studio
The lastest bookmark designs at The Little Welsh Studio

So – I guess it will be a bit busier this week as Jac catches up – so I better go now – but I’ll be back next week.

Love from Theodore.E.Bear (a.k.a Ted)

Alphabet Adventures

Hello again everyone 🙂

What a great week it’s been here in the studio. Jac has been kept busy with commissions and sending out packages from her Etsy shop.

She has also been working on a project to create an alphabet illustration, and has just started sketching ideas for the letter B. I am very excited, as I get to feature in some of those – and she took me to a ball pit for inspiration. That was great fun – it was just like a swimming pool – but instead of water (which gets my fur all soggy) it was full of brightly coloured balls. You can jump in them, hide in them, or just throw them around. I can’t wait to go again!

Ted.E.Bear, the ball pit and balloons
Ted.E.Bear loves to play!

Did you know that Jac publishes her sketches on her Facebook page? And – you can suggest ideas and sometimes she will turn your idea into one of her doodles. That’s what she is doing with the alphabet – she posts an idea most evenings. I think she will be starting on the letter C soon.

Today Jac went out without me (I was looking after the studio for her) – and met with some people who, like her, draw pictures and write stories. She said the meeting was really good – and that she has lots of ideas for new stories with me in them! I can’t wait to hear what she has in store – I’m sure she will let me tell you all about it at some point.

Well – that’s about this for now. Next week, Jac and I will be working on more commissions – which will involve something called Halloween. I am not sure what that is – but I am sure I will find out. Jac says it involves dressing up in costumes – which I always love to do. My favourite is my lion costume – maybe I can wear that this week (it’s nice and warm, it’s getting cold outside now).

Teddy, or lion?
Ted.E.Bear just loves dressing up!

Thanks for taking time to read my stories – I am really enjoying it.

Until next time

Theodore.E.Bear

Less is More

Those who follow Jac on Facebook will know that changes are afoot.

This week, I have spent time creating a more structured business plan, so that the studio can build in the best way (rather than the rather haphazard way that has been followed to date!). I’ll be writing more about that I am sure.

I also plan some personal changes. Like many people after a short break, I have found that I may just have to go on a … DIET (sorry, scary word).

But being me, I have decided not to do an ordinary diet, where you eat less and can’t have this or that. No, I am trying the MORE diet. (I’m not sure if it’s an official type of diet, it may be my own creation).

Technically it’s exactly the same, but the emphasis is on what I CAN have, not what I can’t.

So, I shall be eating more vegetables, more fruit, more good wholeseome food. I shall be drinking more water. I shall be more active. I shall try to get more sleep, and fit it more relaxation time.

So by thinking MORE, the less will seems less difficult – in fact it should just happen. As I eat more whole foods and keep moving, I won’t want all the bad stuff quite so much.

(Of course, if I do want the occasional cake, I may just allow myself one – but then I will do much more exercise!)

I may have an occasional cake
I may have an occasional cake

O and don’t think Ted is getting away with it either – a little bit of an overhaul is due there. I have ideas for that loveable bear – I think he needs to start paying his way… (more of that another day).

So – I’m off for healthy snack.

Until next time then,

With Love from Jac xx

Ted’s Austrian Adventure – Part Two

Well – Jac’s allowed me to publish another page from my journal from when we went to Austria, so I guess you enjoyed the last one?

So – as you might remember from my last entry, it was a bit wet in the Austrian Tyrol and on this particular day we’d all had enough of walking in the rain. Jac and Mr E decided to go swimming (yes – swimming – can you get any wetter!?)

I didn’t really want to go – as I was worried about getting my fur wet again, but Jac promised there would be fur dryers at the pool, so, we packed up our bathing suits and towels and off we went.

The pool was amazing. It was a big pool, with lots of loungers around it so you could relax – and you could swim to the outside. That outside pool was really warm, but you could feel the rain on your head and face – it felt funny 🙂

It also had lots of squirty bits and bubbly bits that went off randomly – it made a few people jump which made me laugh.

After a bit – Jac said she wanted to go to the other pool that we could see – a huge big one – properly outside. Mr E and I stayed in the nice warm pool and giggled as we watched Jac run in the rain in her swim suit – and then as she pulled some funny faces getting into the big pool (apparently that one wasn’t heated :D).

Mr E and I were still laughing after she came back to the warm pool – Jac didn’t see what was so funny!

That was the first time I’d been swimming – and I really liked it. Even better, we got to have coffee and cake afterwards – I hope it’s always like that! (O and there was a fur dryer, so I was warm and fluffy afterwards).

Anyway – that’s all from me for today. Until next time…

 

Ted in bathers

Ta Ta from Ted xx