Going Blue For M.E. And Invisible Illness Awareness

Last week I was honoured to be invited to join The Broken Puppet Theatre Company in two events that were to ‘Go Blue’ in aid of awareness for M.E. and invisible illnesses. On the Tuesday, otherwise known as ‘Bluesday’ we donned our blue outfits (and wigs in some cases) and headed to a tea party at Furrifingers incredible puppet making workshop.

In support of the event I made some puppets for everyone in attendance using the Snoof pattern by Adam Kreutinger of PuppetNerd. It was a thank you to these wonderful people who have invited me into their own tribe despite the fact that I have so many health problems myself. I have Fibromyalgia and anxiety (both wonderful invisible illnesses!) amongst other things and life can sometimes feel very lonely despite being surrounded by my wonderful family who I am eternally grateful for. This group of creative people have welcomed me, like they would with anyone, judgement free and accepting of my limitations. So the army of Snoofs was just a small Bluesday gift to them and they seemed to have a lot of fun playing.

Which one is your favourite? We had some delicious cakes (thank you Clare) that were very blue!! We created some online content which went out across all of our social media platforms and hopefully in a fun way spread a little awareness of M.E. and invisible illness out into the world.

Then I slept and built up my spoons because on Friday I joined The Broken Theatre Company once again but this time at Derriford Hospital where we had a table full of ‘games’ the objective being that we could give people an insight into what it is like to live with an illness like this. The tasks at first seem easy, no problem at all, but add some glasses that obscure your vision or give you the wrong tool for the job and all of a sudden the task that should of taken next to no effort at all is taking up all of your concentration, taking longer and is sometimes just next to impossible.

These ‘games’ were devised by The Broken Puppet Theatre Company and Sharon Tiday who is the founder of Campaign For Disability Awareness. It was a pleasure to meet Sharon, she is so knowledgeable about these illnesses and is a real advocate for getting people the help that they need. It was great to see how the team interacted with the people who were brave enough to give the tasks a go, making everyone feel at ease. I was way out of my comfort zone but they made me feel like a real part of the team and I left the hospital on Friday feeling like we might just have made a difference to the people that we spoke to, that they might be a little kinder, a little more patient or have more empathy for people because they can’t always see just from looking at people what they are struggling with. Perhaps that is lofty aspirations from just one afternoon sat in the hospital but that is exactly why these events are important because the more awareness there is in the world the more acceptance and the more kindness we can spread. Despite trying all these funny glasses on, I found the event eye opening and I hope that I get the chance to join in again in the future.

My disability is invisible, I thank the whole team for raising awareness for people like me, for people with any invisible illness.

Huge thank you to The Broken Puppet Theatre Company, Furrifingers, Sharon Tiday and Kindness_Is_My_Art (Chris) for ‘Going Blue’ and for the photographs shown in this blog post. There are many more across our social media platforms. I have tagged everyones Instagram so please click on the names to find them.

Thank you for reading my blog,

Samantha x


Hedgehog Awareness Week – Hedgehog Puppet

Hedgehog Awareness Week has just come to an end, organised by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society it ran from 30th April to 6th May and aimed to highlight the problems that our ever dwindling hedgehog population faces in Britain.

One of the objectives highlighted this year was litter, ‘Litter is a problem for all wildlife and while this is (hopefully) not an issue in your own garden, it very likely is in the wider environment. Contacting local landowners where litter is an issue can help; remember to point out the danger to wildlife.’ -TBHPS website.

With this objective in mind as a family we have been more proactive in picking up and disposing of litter where we see it. Sadly we don’t have a garden ourselves but there are some wonderful suggestions on the website of things that you can do to make hedgehogs feel more at home and once we do get a garden we will most certainly be implementing as many as possible.

As an artist I was invited to join South West Puppetry Connection at Plymouth Play Scrap Store to come along and create some hedgehog art from the scraps that they have available. This place is like an Aladdin’s cave of craft supplies and I had no idea what I was going to create so I gathered up a big bag of scraps and took them home. It took a few days for the idea to actually form in my brain and I second guessed myself through the whole process but once I was finished I could not wait to take him back to the scrap store to film some fun.

The process pictures show how he was made from foam, fleece and fabric all gathered from Plymouth Play Scrap Store. The gloves are on old bobbly pair which were more than likely headed to the bin but have now found a new lease of life as protection from hedgehog spikes.

It is best seen as a reel on my Instagram account but we used the little hedgehog puppet to create some videos of him hiding in the barrels of fabric and playing with some of the dried flowers, he also said hello to lots of people as they went about their shopping, this little puppet doesn’t talk but he does like to give a good nod to say hello!

Of course the highlight of his day was meeting Scraggy, a fellow Scrap Store puppet created by the incredibly talented Clare from The Broken Puppet Company.

We had such a wonderful day and I hope that even in some tiny way that my art helped to spread awareness for these wonderful and unique little creatures because they do need our help as much as we can give it. Please check out the website for The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and see if there are any small changes that you could make too.

Thank you for reading my blog,

If you have any name suggestions for my baby hedgehog please let me know!

Samantha x

Ewoks – Happy Star Wars Day!

Three and a half years ago in a galaxy very close to home, I had never watched a single moment of any Star Wars film (although I was a big fan of Mel Brook’s Spaceballs!) but I had an eight year old who was desperate to watch the movies and I wasn’t sure if they would be appropriate for him to watch alone so we watched them together. All nine movies spread over three weekends in chronological order. 

This Ewok is hiding in my plants.

Well, I won’t tell you what happens in the movies because you either know or you are yet to be converted but in our home it resulted in some new fans!! 

My baby Ewok! Isn’t he adorable!

The characters really gripped my attention, not the people but the creatures!! There are so many and they are all so unique! I was expecting to have to dredge through all of the movies but instead I really enjoyed them, yes all of them! 

A little Ewok that I made from a craft kit.

The world building is amazing and I fell in love with one world in particular… the forest moon of Endor. If I could live anywhere in the galaxy it would be there. Not just because it is beautiful but because it is inhabited by Ewoks, creatures that are really just a living tribe of teddies!! 

This guy watches over me and makes sure I am getting my work done!

Ewoks can be ruthless and savage when they want to be but they are also kind, loving and welcoming. I adore teddies and seeing them come to life as hero’s and protectors of their tribe and of the main characters is amazing. Ewoks truly stole my heart and I just wish they were in all the movies. 

As it is Disney keeps on making all of these short series, it’s about time they revisited Endor and gave us some more Ewok stories! There are a few old movies that I’ve not been able to get my hands on sadly but there is also a brand new comic which I just picked up today so they know the fans want more Ewoks!! 

My Ewok finds and t-shirt today!

Thank you for reading my blog,

Happy Star Wars Day, 

May The Fourth Be With You! 

Samantha x 

Fan art that I created for May 4th last year.

Puppets at Plymouth Scrap Store

Celina went to play!

Last week I was invited to join a group of pupeteers at Plymouth Scrap Store and we were challenged to create a puppet from a bag of scrap that we each purchased. I had no idea what to expect, I had up to this point not made many puppets and have a lot to learn so it didn’t seem like the best idea to start with ‘scraps’ but my goodness the best way to describe the scrapstore is an Aladin’s cave for crafters, or perhaps The Room Of Requirements from Harry Potter. If you are a crafter, an artist or a treasure hunter then you must find your local scrap store, they are around and they are amazing! This one has been in Plymouth for more than fifteen years and I had never been, I will be going again soon that is a certainty.

My materials.

I had no idea what I was going to make as I went around the store so I picked up items that I thought would be useful in puppet making. I got fabric, foam and thread plus a few extras like the beads and plastic shapes. I tried my best to only use the materials provided to make my puppet and to add as few extras as possible. Since this challenge fell on the same day as Earth Day we decided to add an Earth Day theme to it and after brainstorming for a while I chose to try and create a hazel dormouse. Hazel dormice are indigenous to Britain but numbers are sadly on the decline and they are now on the endangered species list. I hoped that perhaps my little mouse could shed some light on them.

My little dormouse is a finger puppet operated through an opening in the back of his head. He is mainly made from the foam and I used some bear eyes to give him nice shiny mouse eyes. He also has a cup of tea because he is a British dormouse! I had to use some of my own scraps to make him a tail and a tongue. I wanted to use the second fabric that I had as some slippers but the fabric just frayed in my hands and was a nightmare to work with so I gave up and gave him a lovely green scarf instead which he tells me he much prefers anyway!

He has been named Reginald and even though he is barely a week old he has already been on some adventures to the bottom of the garden and to see the sea, he had a lot of fun in a coffee shop and he is excited to visit the scrap store again! You will be seeing a lot more of Reginald on my social media channels so please keep an eye out!

A huge thank you to South West Puppetry Connection for the invitation and to Plymouth Scrap Store for allowing us to come and play!

Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Samantha (and Reginald) x

Haico Shakems Tie Dye Pets – Teddy (This kit is a disaster!)

It is probably no surprise to anyone reading my blog that I love teddies, I am just drawn to them. I love creating them, painting them and collecting them, so when I saw this kit in my local Poundland for £6.00 (let’s not get into what I think about things in Poundland being more than £1 because that is a whole other topic!) I had to give it a go.

In my mind this was a fun activity that I could do with my children but they just looked at me like I was crazy and that was before I even opened the packaging so I did it alone! I guess 11 and 15 years old is too old to play with teddy bears but this kit is an 8+ and I definitely meet that criteria.

I have watched enough Nerdecrafter YouTube videos to know that if they show an illustration on the front rather than the actual finished product that is not a good sign, it is a very cute illustration though and it suckered me in. I also missed the label of ‘reusable’ which I guess explains the horrors to come, and the laughable ‘mess free’, I warn you now, if you get this kit it is most definitely NOT mess free!

The instructions are clear enough, the whole thing seems pretty simple and it does in fact come with everything you need to complete the project that you get in the box … sort of!

So this poor bear was doomed from the very start. His eyes and nose are completely out of place. His fur is lovely and soft though. Strangely the feet and hands were already stuffed but you cannot stuff the arms and legs because they are sealed so you have a very floppy teddy bear with a misaligned face to work with. I mist admit I did laugh at the poor guy but I wasn’t expecting much so I continued with the kit regardless.

It says you get three colours but you are essentially getting two because there is only the slightest difference between the yellow and the orange, I wanted to follow the instructions exactly to the letter though so I mixed all three dyes and used them all starting with the lightest and working my way up!

I tied the poor guy with elastic bands, sprayed him through the holes and shook him around like I was truly angry at his creators for dooming him from the start. I only used around half a bottle of each dye so I guess you can reuse the bear if you really did want to but it gives me no indication of how long the dye stays fresh for and how I need to store it. So I now have three half bottles of dye and no use for them. It may have been better to give smaller bottles or had more than one bear in the box so that you could make full use of them. You could of course use all of the dye on one bear but in that case the kit is not reusable and you wouldn’t have much pattern if you fully soak it each time.

Also trying to tie and untie rubber bands with these things on is beyond a joke! The dye flicks about and is far from ‘mess free’, it is also worth noting that the dye runs out of the rim where the two halves of the ball meet and it goes everywhere, you have been warned! (Just not by the manufacturers!)

He got tied up, doused in yellow, untied and retied before being subjected to orange (looks the same as yellow to me) and then untied and retied for the final time to be drenched in the red dye and shook for all he was worth! The poor guy was frazzled, shook up and soaking wet!

OK so the kit doesn’t contain everything you need because I absolutely needed a cup of tea before I untied him for the final time to see what he would look like in all his tie dye glory. Now I have never really done tie dye before and wasn’t hopeful that I would be a natural but I was hoping to get at least a resemblance of a pattern, my hopes were crushed.

Fresh out the ball and he looked like I had accidentally spilt something toxic all over him, poor little guy, he looked better fresh white from the box! Maybe it could be a good fireball pattern or a mascot for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? He certainly did not look like the cute illustration on the box!! Maybe he will look better once he was finished …

As per the instructions, I left him to dry and he looked like this mess of a bear. His fur felt horrible and not at all like the soft teddy fur I had started with. The instructions said to rinse off the excess dye which I thought was a good idea and would make him softer and stop my hands going red every time I touched him. But I forgot how they said he is reusable …

I only used water and almost all of his dye was excess I guess because he lost the vast majority of the dye that was on him and I was left with a very soggy wet looking bear(ish) creature that just looked very sorry for itself, I was very sorry for it and for myself. At this point my hour or so of ‘tie-dying’ was a complete waste of time. I still left him to dry though, I felt too bad for him to leave him in this state.

I stuffed him, this is the front and the back, the back at least has a little more colour. Doesn’t he look just like that cute colourful illustration from the instructions? What a darling little bear. Unsurprisingly neither of the Webblings wanted to adopt this poor unfortunate soul and the teddy bear artist couldn’t leave him in this state. The finished stuffed bear is with everything that came in the kit, I used my own bits and bobs lying around the place to give him a little makeover but he decided he had had enough of being a bear …

He wanted to be a Tiger!! I was limited because of the print on the face of the bear but that was mostly hidden with black alcohol ink (which is permanent). He was given some plastic safety eyes and an embroidered little nose. He was finished off with a bow because he deserves to feel fantastic.

I didn’t expect much from this kit honestly, the fact that I couldn’t find any information online before I purchased it both piqued my interest and set alarm bells off but I just couldn’t resist. I didn’t end up with anything like the beautiful illustrated bear on the box and even though the dying was messy fun, the child in me weeped when it all washed off and drained away down the plughole. For £6.00 I really don’t think it was worth it and I now have dyes and a plastic ball to dispose of too. I will try and remember this experience before buying things on impulse in the future.

I ended up with a cute-ish tiger but I cannot recommend this kit to anyone who wants to create a tie-dye teddy unless you want to use the teddy base to create your own character with extra pieces like I have done with the Tiger, that could be a good use for it just not the intended one.

Let me know, would you give this a go?

Thank you for reading,

Samantha Webb.

Posy Is Pretty In Pink

Little Posy is my latest fluffy pink bear and was made especially for a special bear collector who wanted a pink bear with roses. I think that Posy ticks both of those boxes.

Posy is created from a very soft fluffy faux fur, fleece and felt. I got the chance to experiment with Posy and she is the first bear that I have created who has decorated paws, I drew a little rose pattern on her paw pads and on her ears too. I think it gives her a little more uniqueness and character, hopefully her forever family will agree.

Once I had created Posy I then made her some roses but she told me that she liked a bit of bling so I added a little sparkle on her nose and on the rose at the top of her head. Posy is much happier now that she has some sparkle.

I loved painting Posy because watercolour loose florals are one of the things that I paint when I want to relax and have a good time. I think that Posy would love to walk through a rose garden. The daffodils are in full bloom right now and hopefully it wont be too long before the roses bloom too.

Pink bears are always some of the most fun to make, sometimes they come out as very gentle characters and sometimes they come out a little sassy, I think that Posy falls somewhere in the middle, she is as delicate as a rose but I get the sense that she could have a few thorns if not handled properly.

I am delighted with how Posy came out, she is a darling and I think she will be very happy in her forever home, I am excited to hear about what she gets up to! If you would like to adopt one of my bears you can see which ones are available now by popping over to my Folksy shop.

Thank you for reading my blog,

Samantha x

I Think I Might Be A … Puppeteer!

In January I had an advert pop up on my Facebook feed for a ten week long puppetry course at The Theatre Royal Plymouth hosted by People’s Company. I was very hesitant because I suffer with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety but I also loved the idea of spending ten weeks learning more about puppets. Fearing that I may have made a giant mistake I pressed submit on the form and less than a week later I was walking into my first ever puppetry class.

Me with my tea towel puppet Tegan.

I felt very unsure what to expect and walking in on the first day was nothing short of terrifying but I managed it, the group of 20ish people was much bigger than I anticipated and the ‘getting to know you’ games and warm ups are like something out of my nightmares, however as we did each exercise, as I completed each task asked of me I started to feel more capable and less anxious. I was learning slowly that nothing bad would happen if I joined in and that equally nothing bad would happen if I chose to sit out and observe. Hannah and Danny who ran the ten week course could not of been more accepting of my physical and mental challenges, never pushing me further out of my comfort zone than I was happy to push myself. The rest of my classmates for the most part seemed equally anxious that first day and there was almost an immediate sense that we weren’t in this alone.

My tiny rod puppet Roxy Cleo.

It didn’t get any easier or less scary as the ten weeks went on, sadly GAD just doesn’t work like that and at least for me exposure therapy is not effective. Despite that fear remaining though I found that as the weeks went on I was enjoying the classes more and more, joining in a little more and pushing that fear to one side, acknowledging how I felt but allowing myself to do the things I wanted to do anyway without the fear paralysing me. I felt like I achieved a little success each and every time that I allowed myself to push the fear to one side. From sticks to tea towels, paper people and sticky tape puppets, it has been quite an adventure.

In the ten week long course we learnt about a lot of different puppetry styles and although I feel like I have just barely scrapped the surface of what there is to learn it was a fantastic starting point. I have created three puppets in the ten weeks, two were started there and finished at home and the third was made entirely at home. I want to try and make more, I think I knew going into the course that actually creating the puppets would be my favourite part.

Tiny Clara made from paper tape and fabric scraps.

I really feel like a new world is opening up for me, I have loved puppets for as long as I can remember and now I get a chance to meet people who are as enthusiastic about them as I am and who are actively encouraging people to get more involved in making and performing with puppets too. I have to give a special mention here to Broken Puppet Theatre Company who I have met through the course and who have nudged me in the right direction throughout!

Me and Clara in rehearsals.

Yesterday on World Puppet Day of all days we held the end of course showcase. I was delighted that my bear Barnacle (pictured below) was asked to open the show and bless him he did an amazing job with a little comedy routine. It was magical seeing everyone’s puppets come to life in their hands, each and every one was different and had a personality of their very own. The talent and skills on display was mesmerising from fishermen to devils, bunnies, dragons and everything in between. Working in a group of puppeteers on a short segment of a story I worked with a tiny puppet that I had created and named Clara (pictured above), she got to ride a bear, meet a crone, make a deal with a giant troll queen and save her prince! It was amazing to work alongside the puppeteers that I had got to know over the ten week course.

I am so sad that the course has ended, I can only hope that I get an email someday from The Theatre Royal bringing us all back together, I feel like Hannah and Danny had so much more to teach us and we all felt like we were becoming a little company of our own. Ten weeks just isn’t long enough!!!

Barnacle Bear opened the show!

Happy belated World Puppet Day to you all, there will definitely be more puppets in Moby and Puddle’s future and I hope that you are looking forward to it as much as I am. I don’t want to stop now and I think I might actually want to be a puppeteer when I grow up!

Thank you for reading my blog,

Samantha Webb.

This is me straight after the showcase, on a high from a great performance but sad about saying goodbye.

Kaida The Baby Dragon

I am very pleased to introduce you to baby dragon Kaida, the name Kaida originated in Japan and feels perfect for this really little dragon who is only 11cm tall with a teeny wingspan of approximately 7cm. She really is just a teeny wee dragon, I created a new pattern for her and the whole thing was diddy.

Pattern pieces for baby dragon.

Her tiny features just made her even more difficult to sew but I think it was worth the effort of turning tiny fabric pieces inside out to create such a cutie. Her wings have a very thin wire inside to give them a bit of stability which Kaida will definitely need whilst flying to her new home.

hand sewn baby dragon

She has pointy ears and excellent hearing, her eyes sparkle and of course like all of my bears she has a tiny silver heart sewn to her fur with an S stamped on it, this shows that she is a collectors piece but also that I will never make the same one again, Kaida really is one of a kind.

Kaida is weighted and is so nice to hold, you may be a little shocked at how much a baby dragon actually weighs when you hold one but be careful if you do, they are ticklish!

Kaida is such a darling little dragon, I am really happy with the way the pattern came out and I hope to make more baby dragons (and maybe some bigger ones) in the future. I can imagine a whole hoard of dragons would be rather cute if not chaotic. I painted Kaida just like my bears and she enjoyed sitting for her portrait but was insitent that I use all of the colours because they are all her favourite!

Kaida is a lucky dragon and has already been adopted by a very lovely family who have experience caring for dragons, she is very excited to meet them. Keep an eye on my social media pages though because now that I know my pattern works well I will be creating more in the future so you may be able to adopt your own baby dragon someday too.

Thank you for reading my blog,

Samantha Webb.


Firecracker is a really wonderful bear, as soon as I saw this fluff I had to make a bear with it and ahhhh it was a dream to sew with! I am in love with Firecracker and how he came out. He has a bow and some little bells so that he can dance and jingle everywhere he goes. The black of his main fluff truly is the best background for his fantastic pops and bangs of colour.

Firecracker has colours from his feet to his ears, he is a big burst of fun! He is made of faux fur and fleece, he has glass eyes and an embroidered nose! Even his eyes sparkle. With his cotter pin joints he can stand or sit, move his arms, legs and neck, he can basically dance!

I have never painted a firework but this was a pretty good little attempt I think. Firecracker really loves fireworks night when the skies are lit up with all of the colours of the rainbow! All of my bears come with a portrait that I have painted, I just love painting bears.

Firecracker is just chilling out and waiting for his forever home, it needs to be with a family who loves colour because he is sure to stand out!

Find him in my Folksy store while he waits but as always he is one of kind and will not be replicated.

Thank you for reading my blog post,

Samantha x


Oleander looks like she is made from candy floss, her faux fur is the longest, fluffiest fur that I have ever sewn with and it was not easy but I am so happy that I persevered because look at that little face!

Oleander has sparkly green eyes, a pastel rainbow over sized bow and gorgeous little toes that have been needle sculpted from fleece. Oleander is named after a beautiful pink and purple flower, I call her Andie for short after Andie from the movie Pretty In Pink which I have always loved. She can sit or stand, move her arms and her neck, she likes to shimmy her fluffy fur!

I had such a lot of fun painting this bear, how on earth does she manage to be so bright and also so pastel all at the same time? She is a mystery to me and I could not love her more!

Oleander is chilling out waiting for a forever home, she doesn’t mind waiting, its almost spring and she will wait in the sunshine! If you would like to adopt her please pop over to my Folksy shop and see if she is still available, she is one of a kind and will not be repeated.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog,

Samantha x