The Sunday Subject – Teddy Bears

Good morning, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy The Sunday Subject. This week’s subject is Teddy Bears.

My first teddy was actually a rabbit, called Bun.  I still have it, of course, and when I went to photograph it I was a little disgusted at how dirty it is! Might have to pop it in the wash… We believe it was from Mothercare and I think it originally had a ribbon to hang it from a pram or some such.  Bun was always a favourite and fairly well cared for, except the the time I thought it needed a belly ring so used an earring to give my rabbit some bling.

I always assumed that teddy bears had existed since the dawn of time, that cave dwelling children were handed animal skins shaped like little rabbits and bears. So I was surprised to learn that – where as I’m sure some incarnation of soft toys and comforters existed before the official teddys – teddy bears as we know them now have only been “a thing” since around 1902 and we can thank President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt for the adorable name. He gained the nickname when, on a hunting trip, he refused to shoot a bear that had been captured and tied up, claiming it was unsporstmanly. Morris Michtom, inspired by a cartoon by Clifford K. Berryman of Roosevelt sparing a little bear cub, made a bear and sent it to the president. Within 5 years of this first ‘Teddy’s Bear’ being created Michtom started a toy company which later become the largest doll-making company in the US.

Do you have an old or well loved teddy that needs some TLC? Did you know there are teddy hospitals!? Or if you want to try your hand at making your own toys there’s courses across the UK.

I’d love to hear about your first or favourite teddy.  You can tell me it’s story down below or send me pictures on Twitter or Instagram.

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The Sunday Subject – The Notebook

Good morning, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy The Sunday Subject. This week’s subject is The Notebook.

No, not the 2004 film starring Ryan Gosling. The notebook, every stationary lover’s obsession.  I myself have many (many) notebooks scattered around my home, some beautiful, others practical, most totally empty because they’re just too nice to spoil with pencil or ink!  Notebooks bring me a scene of productivity and organisation, two things I often find I lack.

From a cheap and cheerful ring bound pad from Wilko, to the sleek and stylish Moleskine. The uses of a notebook are innumerable. Whether you’re a writer, artist, parent, student or astronaut everyone has a use for a notebook.

Maybe you make your own.  During the 17th and 18th century notebooks were made at home as and when they were needed by folding together pieces of paper.  Children were taught how to make them in school because information management was so important.  It wasn’t until around 1890 that notebooks started to be made and sold.  Scraps of paper were stitched together to make a small pad.  These quickly evolved into the ‘Legal Pad’  that we have today.  As with all things the notebook developed over time and the production processes changed to include, glueing, covering, spiral binding, ring binding and of course in the 20th century we were introduced to the practical, if less pretty, electronic note taking world.

I have to say, that even with the benefits of digital note taking, I don’t think I’ll ever fully switch from paper and ink to pixel and key.  Notebooks are a work of art, there’s so much character in a well used notebook, you just can’t beat it.

If you’re interested in learning how to bind a notebook here’s a list of UK based classes and The Book Studio in Norfolk offers courses during the winter months.

Or maybe you could just fold together a few sheets of paper…

I’d love to see your notebooks, whether home made or shop bought.  You can share them with me on twitter (@BeccyMundy) or send me a DM on Instagram (beccy_mundy).