October 2019 Cedar Rapids Hunt

My partner in crime, Lucy to my Ethel (whomever is driving is Lucy for the day), Linda Dorr and I love going to the Midwest Antique & Art and The Collectors Eye Shows in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It happens twice a year, spring and fall. On October 20, we set out bright and early and were some of the first ones in the door!

ice cream mold

It seems like there are always more bears in the fall, although the hunting is pretty good in the spring, too. There are also lots of fun things that go well with bears like rocking horses and horses on wheels, other animals, quilts, children’s furniture, and this ice cream mold.

blue-eyed bear
Old Blue Eyes

We were especially drawn to this blue-eyed bear at the first booth we visited. I nearly brought him home with me. He was in good shape and looked especially good with the blue and white quilts hung behind him. (Those were also tempting!) I have blue and white quilts. I think I might have bought one at this show in a previous year.

Anyway, upon doing a little research we believe this might be a (blank) bear.

Pristine Steiff
Fabulous Old Steiff Bear

The most wonderful old Steiff bear we have ever seen was at Scott Tagliapietra’s booth. I think he wanted $4,000 for it. It was pristine as far as we could tell. I actually got to hold it. This is not something you would ordinarily see at a midwest antique show, but Scott brings a lot of wonderful pieces. I once bought a tiny Steiff squirrel from him, but generally, his stuff is beyond my pocketbook. Most of it is displayed in a huge locked glass-front cabinet.

There were a lot of American stick bears and the like scattered throughout the show. It’s fun to spy these treasures perched on a tiny chair or tucked into a primitive cupboard. It really makes the show so cozy and friendly when bears abound!


Snooty Little Bear
Steiffs in wagon
Group of Newer Steiff Bears in Wonderful Wagon
bear under stool
Little Bear Tucked Under a Stool
Bear on Wheels
bear and doll
Does This Bear Have Ears?
sad Steiff bear
Sad Little Steiff Bear
flop ear bear
Sweet Little Flop-Ear Bear

There were many more, but these are the most interesting. There was even a bear made from a feed sack in one booth and a beautiful new Steiff One in a Million cinnamon bear. Something for everyone!

2016: A Prim Christmas in the Family Room



I haven’t done counted cross-stitch embroidery for many years due to a problem with my wrists and not being able to see where the stitches go anymore. My vision has been improving lately, and my hands aren’t as bad as they used to be, either, so I decided to try a small project. I discovered that I can do it as long as I don’t work too long in a session. I made this little pillow tuck using a pattern from a magazine and altering it a bit. It kind of set the tone for the family room display.

Feather Tree

I mixed it up a bit this year. Usually I have a tall skinny white tree in the corner by the fireplace that displays my collection of Steiff Christmas ornaments. Alas, the Steiff ornaments never made it out of their baskets, but maybe next year I will figure out a place for the white tree.

Bruce finally fixed my four foot tfeathertreeall feather tree which had somehow had the trunk broken and had been out of commission for awhile.  I started to paint my picture with that. I love feather trees and have since I used to play with the one in my Grandma and Grandpa Tanner’s attic. Mostly I have reproductions, but they are artist-made, as I like!

I placed the tree in a chippy white galvanized jardiniere that I purchased from Joe Carter at Broad Street Market in Story City, IA several years ago. I had been using it to hide the plastic pot of my amaryllis each year at the office, but it was flaking off all over and I decided it needed to go home!

Around the Tree

I chose a quilt with a primitive palette to cover some small trunks for elevating the feather tree. This coordinated with the big sitting Arnett’s Santa who took up residence on a little off-white metal stool. I love these little stools with the curved backs for supporting teddy bears and cloth dolls. This one was a purchase from The Picker Knows.

Handmade or Vintage Ornaments

I started decorating my feather tree with only spun cotton ornaments. I added two this year – a Westie and a little girl bear from Trish Lewsader of Lucky Duck Art. Still I didn’t have enough. So I added a candy container bear by Terri Larson, some cross-stitch ornaments I had made years ago, papier mache ornament by Janny Miller and some vintage mercury glass balls.

cubbies with sheep

Christmas Cubbies

An old cubby piece that I got years ago from the Rusty Pumpkin and you have seen me use before came out of hiding and I filled some of the spaces with German stick-legged putz sheep. A favorite feather tree design pillow tuck filled one cubby and I used LED candles in others. A small green feather tree, some books, and an LED candle in a silver bowl topped the cubbies. Since I had used red bound copies of Hitty and A Child’s Garden of Verses, I included a little bisque jointed doll. Like Hitty was at times, she is naked.

Adding some dimension are a candy container Santa and a papier mache angelby Janny Miller. I got the candy container Santa and the little bisque doll at the Des Moines Doll, Teddy Bear and Toy Show.

I brought out my mercury glass bead garlands and used those to dress up the cubbies also, allowing them to flow out over the edges. The multicolored ones were used on the big feather tree.20161230_132214

More of the sheep flock and assorted candles inhabited another set of cubbies on the mantel beside a large Santa by Christy Robb that was a new addition this year.

The Stockings Were Hung

stockings on mantelInstead of cloth stockings, I hung a group of wooden stocking stretchers that I collected from an estate sale. The Arnett’s Santa is holding three little dolls: A dollie bear by Joel Hoy, an Izannah repro by Judi Hunziker, and a Robert Raikes Hitty.

Those Little Red Santas!

Finally, on the mantel, I used my chippy white medicine cabinet to display my little 1940’s Japanese Santas. I hung a red berry candle ring wreath on the knob and a red prim bear by Judy Mathis stands guard. The grungy electric candle that I bought on a trip to Winterset, IA has a built-in timer! Best candle innovation ever! I set them to burn 5 hours in the evenings and they have lasted for months without a battery change.

To Market, To Market…I Bought a Pig

Tiny Steiff PigLast Sunday, I went to Midwest Art and Antique Show and Collector’s Eye in Cedar Rapids with friends Linda Dorr and Pam Bostwick.  If you read my blog or follow me on Facebook, you know that this is one of my favorite shows.  Most of the stuff on the Midwest Art and Antique Show side is way more expensive than I can usually afford, but as I was perusing one booth, I spotted this little pig.

The price was reasonable and when I showed it to the exhibitor, she laughed, said she had picked it up somewhere because it caught her eye, and lowered the price.  I happily paid and tucked him into my bag.

There is no ear tag or even a hole where one would have been, but this looks like the classic tiny velvet version of Steiff’s pink Jolanthe pig.  Some this size were attached to pin cushions.  The exhibitor had a lot of textiles, antique doll dresses and the like, so maybe this was in someone’s sewing basket.  It’s possible the felt parts – ears, nose and chin – were replaced because they are much cleaner than the velvet. The bright blue eyes, stance and airbrushing are typical Steiff.  In fact, my daughter has a larger mohair pig in this design that my husband brought from Germany for her when she was just a baby.

He is firmly stuffed and has held his shape well.  He even has a little curly wired tail. He measures about 10.5 centimeters or 4 inches from nose to heel and just about 2 inches from top of head to toe.

I have not attempted to clean this little guy. After all, he is a pig.  If anyone has any ideas about cleaning him, let me know.

PigsideIn the meantime, I will just enjoy this fellow sitting on my computer at my office.


Embracing Imperfection

REDWhiteBasketQuiltinBoothLast month I went to possibly my favorite antique show – Midwest Art and Antique Show and Collector’s Eye in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with friends Linda Dorr and Pam Bostwick.  I bought a salvaged quilt piece that I intended to bind and use with my bears and baskets as I decorate my house.  I collect doll quilts, and even though this is probably a piece cut from a larger tattered quilt, it is the right size.

That very same day, I went to the fabric store and bought red double fold tape to bind it.  Then they sat forgotten while I did other things.  Why didn’t I just go right up to my sewing machine and sew the binding on?  Well, because I always want to do everything correctly and perfectly.  That’s how I was raised. Whoever cut this piece from the quilt did not cut exactly straight.  I would surely have to lay the piece out on a table on a big cutting mat and use a see-through ruler and a rotary cutter to straighten it out so it would be perfect.

Who am I kidding?  My table is always covered with half a dozen projects.  I am not sure where I have stashed my cutting mat or my rotary cutter. Shocking, I know.

A few days ago, I listened to a speaker, Suzanne Hull, who has branded herself the “Get It Done Girl”. She helps people and companies with their social media and things like that and was speaking to my AWC group about making the most of our LinkedIn profiles.  But later, that “Get It Done Girl” seed sprouted. Maybe it’s not what the presentation was intended to inspire, but I realized it’s time to “Get It Done”.

I took PTO on Friday so I would have a long weekend and I started to get it done.  I am tackling project after project to set my house in order.  The closer I get to retirement age, the more urgently I feel the need to get it done.  And I need to let go of that instinct for perfection.  It’s an excuse that has bogged me down for years and prevented me from moving forward.  Not that I want to be sloppy or substandard.  I still want to do things well.  But they don’t have to be so perfect that I set them aside.

QuiltBindingonMachineSo here I go.  The binding is sewn on and I am ready to wrap it around the edges and whip stitch it to the back.  After all, this is a decorative piece.  It will be hung on the wall, draped over a table, used on a doll bed or maybe it will just be peeking out of a basket. It doesn’t have to be perfect to give me joy and it will be DONE!

Then on to the next unfinished project!

Steve Schutt Auction August 11, 2015

As many of you know, our friend and teddy bear artist Steve Schutt has sold his house and moved into an apartment. Anyone who knows Steve can imagine the huge project this downsizing has been! I went to Clarion for a couple of sessions with him helping to sort out his bear-making supplies. To help him get a better return, I’ll be offering some of it for sale at the Kansas City Teddy Bear Jubilee on September 26, 2015 and probably beyond!

Last night my husband and I traveled to Eagle Grove, Iowa for Steve’s household auction. Some of his specialty collectibles have been sent to other more appropriate venues for dispersal, but the auction was still huge. Some of the items were from his parents’ home, but I think most of it was from Steve’s many collections and interests. We arrived at 3:00 so we had time to look it all over and visit a little with Steve who left when the auction started at 4:00.

Jeanette BearI did my best to bid stuff up – I was there to support Steve after all. There were a few things I focused on and the first thing I won was this exquisite bear by Jeanette Warner. His growler needs to be replaced, but he is a stand-out in any crowd. Sixteen inches of perfect teddy bear love and probably an early one of Jeanette’s.

I purchased the little chair next and the flag was in another lot. There was only one other original artist bear in the auction. That was a beautiful blond dressed Kathy Wallace bear. I would have bought her, too, but there was a lady I talked to who really loved her and was on a budget. I think she got her. I hope so. I already have a large one of Kathy’s, so I was not sad.

My other big target item was a cabinet with lots of drawers that Steve had in his workroom. I thought my chances of getting it were slim, but I saved my money and didn’t bid too high on anything before it came up. The drawer pulls were ornate with “S” engraved on them. It was the perfect size to fit in the back of my car, too. It would have been a unique remembrance of Steve for my own workroom, but I reached my limit in the bidding and it went for a very respectable price.

GroupingSo much for my disappointment. Here’s a sampling of what I did get. There were myriad boxes of Christmas items. It was often hard to tell just what was in some of them. About 2/3 of the way through the small items, a box came up which I didn’t remember, but they held up a little Santa and I went for it. Steve had many beautiful Santas in the auction. The large ones went for respectable prices. This one was about six inches tall and looks artist-made, although he is not marked. When I got the box, what to my wondering eyes should appear but six small lanterns! I know Steve was collecting things to make Santas himself and these were part of that plan. Coincidentally, I make Santas. What a nice surprise.

Another purchase was a couple of baskets with a few small rag rugs. All very useful and very nice baskets.

mohair angelMy last purchase was also a BIG surprise. I had spotted a little mohair teddy angel in one of the boxes, so was keeping a sharp eye out. Luckily, I happened to recognize her even though the auction was going really fast at this point – nearing 8:00 p.m. – almost 4 hours into it. Up went my hand and I got it just after they added a box of miscellaneous junk, but oh well. I had the little angel. We looked through the boxes quickly and I saw that there were more teddy bear ornaments and a bigger bear that I plan to donate to Good Bears of the World. Bruce took the boxes to the car while I paid.

The auction was still going on when we left as soon as I lost the bid for the cabinet. We were hungry by this time, so stopped at a Casey’s General Store and got a slice of pizza which we polished off in the car on the trip home. Since I might have had grease on my hands from the pizza, I didn’t examine my purchases on the way home and it was so late – nearly 10:00 – when we got home, that I went straight to bed.

AviatorThis morning, I opened up the car in the parking lot at work to check out my boxes and bring things in to photograph for this report. Yippee! What a surprise awaited me! As I sorted through the teddy angel box, I turned up a tiny aviator bear by Linda Nelson. Steve’s dad worked at the local airport and repaired airplanes, so that must have attracted him to this little guy. Very cute!

rita bearNext I found this darling little red angel bear which looked very familiar. Under it was my friend Rita Loeb’s business card. Another unexpected treasure! How exciting! I looked further. Several unremarkable teddy ornaments, but not too bad. A box of red candles for one of those metal chiming Christmas things. And then, I spotted at the bottom of the box…

Kelli Angel

This tiny angel teddy by my friend Kelli Kilby whom I haven’t seen in forever! Sweet providence! All these tiny treasures hidden in this box that I purchased for $10! Wait – I’m looking at the tickets and $10 was the box with Santa and the lanterns.  This one was only $2.50!  Sorry it went so cheap, Steve, but if you are reading this I know you will be tickled that I found buried treasure!

2015 Easter/Spring Decorating Part I

BunsChicksToday, I share my spring-time decorating with quilts and antiques and teddy bear friends.

On the cabinet by the hearth, I have my big dolly-bunny by Joel Hoy. She is sitting in a wonderfully aged little chair that I got at the Valley Junction Antique Jamboree last year. On her lap is a bunny that I made this year and a ducky by Cindy Hom.

At her feet is a wonderful Lori Ann Corelis bunny wearing a cute cardigan repurposed from a child’s sweater with a Westie motif. This bunny holds a mohair duck with clay beak and feet by someone I used to see in Kansas City. Beside her is an old Dralon Steiff black and white bunny munching on one of a bunch of stuffed cotton carrots that I got recently on my birthday antiquing trip to Kansas City with Linda Dorr.

I love the crib-sized patchwork quilt underneath. Not sure where I got this one, but they are getting harder to find.

PoultryI am drawn to anything with cubbies and here I have used an old desk drawer with dividers turned on its end to display even more of my poultry collection. From the top are 2 Chickies by Martha Burch, a Susan McCay sailor duck, a duck by Martha Burch, a mohair Steiff duck and a Steiff pom pom chick, a duck from Alan Clark and Steve Orique, and a duck by Serieta Harrell. Beside is a vintage Steiff duck. In front are two chicks by Once Upon a Barn in Albia, Iowa (artist Jami Boldy). The GARDEN sign is also by Once Upon a Barn.

SpringQuiltsMy ladder is festooned with spring-colored quilts. The newest acquisition is the one with the purple background that I got awhile back at Found Things in Des Moines. Sadly, Found Things has lost the lease on their building and is now closed. The shop was a local favorite and will be sorely missed.


On my favorite blue metal stool from the Henkes of Rescued Junk in Earlham, Iowa sits one of my favorite bears by Craig Bottiger. By that I mean of he’s my favorite of all the bears Craig has made as well as a favorite from my collection. I am pretty sure Craig used a darling antique Steiff from the Betty Blanche collection as a model. If I had to downsize my bear collection, this guy would be safe! He has an armload of vintage Steiff Chicks.