Thursday, March 6, 2008

Teddy Bear Care - Looking After Your Much Loved Furry Friends!

Teddy bears need their owners to take care of them. Whether they're expensive antiques, artist bears or much-loved childhood friends, teddy bears deserve to be treated well. Daily wear and tear is tough on your bear - treat him carefully or he may need hospitalization and expensive repair.

Protect your bear

Remember always to pick up your teddy bear by his or her body, never by an arm or an ear. If you mishandle your bear you'll break up the stuffing, leaving a saggy arm or a loose ear. Try to keep teddy in an even temperature and don't leave him in strong sunlight as this will make his fur become brittle and fade. If your bear is an expensive antique then consider housing him in a glass-fronted cabinet, or at least give him clothes to wear to protect his fur - this is also great protection for much-loved and slightly threadbare bears.

Repairing your bear

Major repairs will require professional surgery, but it's quite easy to undertake minor work at home. The most common areas of wear on a teddy bear are his pads and paws. You can cover worn pads with a piece of felt, cut slightly larger than the original pad and stitched securely around the outer edge. This will prevent his stuffing from escaping. It will also safely preserve the original pad and protect it from any further wear and tear. Don't forget to check teddy's seams from time to time. It's easy to insert a few stitches, don't wait until the whole seam gives way.

It's not as hard as you might think to make repairs to your bear's face. Replacement eyes can be purchased and stitched on from the outside, although safety eyes are more complicated to fit and do require the removal of the bear's head (not to be attempted unless you are confident about what you are doing). Noses, mouths and claws can be re-stitched in embroidery floss or wool.

Storing your bear

If you need to put your bear away for a while, don't ever put him in a polythene bag as he won't be able to breathe. Seriously - any trapped moisture won't be able to escape and your bear may become mildewed. Much better to wrap him up cosily in a brown paper parcel as this will let him breathe. A strong cardboard box packed with tissue paper is also ideal. Don't ever store an unwrapped bear in an attic as he is likely to be found by clothes moths who may burrow into his fabric to lay their eggs. Garage storage should also be avoided as they are likely to be damp which will adversely affect your furry friend.

Cleaning

New bears only need occasional brushing with a soft brush. But if your bear is more heavily soiled then brush him first to remove any loose dust and debris. Then take another soft brush and dip it into a solution of washing liquid (designed for woolen fabrics) and apply a little of the foam to his surface - taking great care not to over-wet him - using circular movements. When you've treated the whole bear, then gently rinse him off with another soft brush dipped in clean water.

If your teddy does become too wet, then blot the excess water off immediately with a soft towel. Leave him to dry naturally, never ever tumble dry him, or even place him in an airing cupboard or anywhere too warm.

While he's drying, why not pass the time by sending some of our free e-cards to your friends. Many are of the Devon Bears and all are guaranteed spam and virus free. And while you're online, do check out our other products featuring images of our favorite furry teddy friends.

Helen Dickson is the owner of DevonBear Designs. She designs and makes a small range of really practical - and pretty - textile items and stationery all inspired by the wonderful coast and countryside of South Devon, England. Helen is a talented watercolour artist and all DevonBear Designs products feature one of her images. Visit her site at http://www.devonbeardesigns.com

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