13th August 2020

I bet Jacinda was in The Brownies!

Old Bear is prepared

  48 years ago I joined The Brownies. My Mum was Tawny Owl, a figure of great importance. I wasn't the model Brownie, although I remember I was awarded a cloth badge for knitting, or it may have been sewing a button onto a square of cloth. I was a headstrong little girl, and along being totally disorganized and always ill prepared, mum decided I was an embarrassment. She  instructed me to stay at home with dad on Wednesday evenings. That suited me fine, Dad was a pushover, and always had a secret stash of sweeties. I do remember he let me go into his shed and have a puff of one of his cigarettes...thank goodness mum doesn't read my newsletters!

August 22, 2020 by Fran Stafford

23rd April 2020

Phew, I'm Back In Business!

Self Portrait
slopping around in my slippers and spending quality time with my kids

It's  been a long wait, but finally, our online shop is open, you can now indulge in a little retail therapy. I'm sure  many of you have worked your way through your 'stash' and would like a lovely new project to get you through the next few weeks.

June 06, 2020 by Fran Stafford

8th April 2020

I Need To Get This Off My Chest!

Harry The Courier Boy.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have deemed him an essential worker
I have just asked my daughter, Francesca, (who's in Melbourne) as to the best way of writing this newsletter. Should I be very diplomatic and rather 'vanilla' or stay true to form and be rather opinionated and outspoken?  Her reply was, 'Hmm that's a tricky one...maybe somewhere in the middle.' There does come a time, when, as a parent, you realise your children are actually way more sensible than you,  and with that in mind I will ' play this one down the middle.' 
April 10, 2020 by Fran Stafford

29th March 2020

Working from home ain't all it's cracked up to be...

My co workers aren't knitters!

The shop security guard.
 Our shop and online store are now fully closed down and I've left Old Bear on security duty. You can never be too careful, I wouldn't want desperate knitters  looting the store! 
On a serious note, I want to say a massive 'thank you' to all of you who came into the shop, and those who shopped online, over the last week or so. I guess we all had a gut feeling that we were heading for a lock down, and an emergency ration of knitting wool would definitely be required.
April 10, 2020 by Fran Stafford

23rd March 2020

Keep Calm and Carry on Knitting

  Ladies...Just to let you know tomorrow is our final day in the shop, and the cut off day for mail orders. I will be open from early and close when the last of you leaves. Jacinda has asked us all to be kind to each other and I really do want you to work with me tomorrow as I help you with your urgent last minute knitting requirements. There will only be me working, I'm tired andI am as stressed as all of you...
March 25, 2020 by Fran Stafford

5th March 2020

Priceless doctor's advice...and a rather cheeky sale this weekend

Mother and Daughter..
  My Mum lives in England, she's totally alone now that Dad has ascended to that football pitch/whiskey distillery/veggie garden in the sky. Mum is a little lost, there's no family support, all three children left England many years ago to bring up our families  'Down Under'.
March 25, 2020 by Fran Stafford

10th December 2019

The Wool Shop Is Closing...for a few weeks over Christmas and New Year.

I've lived in New Zealand since 2002, having moved from England, via Sri Lanka, and settling in Devonport. I took over ownership of my wee wool shop the following year, knowing only the rudiments of knitting, and having absolutely no business experience...
December 10, 2019 by Fran Stafford

25th November 2019

Black Friday...the day everyone goes mad
please take this newsletter 'with a pinch of salt'

I'll explain this photo later
  We are counting down the final days and hours until that rather relatively new, and rather curious phenomonen, known as the The Black Friday Sales. Many of us will feel a gradual rise in panic and anxiety, money is tight and Christmas, with all it's self inflicted physical, mental and financial pressure  is just around the corner. You aim to be strong willed and resist all incidious Black Friday marketing, BUT can you honestly afford to NOT purchase a sofa bed for the spare room, a second  vacume cleaner, just in case your current one stops working, and, if you purchase your 'other half' a leaf blower, then of course your entitled to a new lipstick. Hmm!
November 29, 2019 by Fran Stafford

12th November 2019

'Thank you for the (HUGE) donation you made online'

said the e mail I received today from the breast Cancer Foundation NZ.
This really is a brief, almost ramble free, newsletter. I just want to let you know that we managed to raise  $4000 for Breast Cancer Research NZ last Thursday, Friday and  Saturday. Our sale yarn was severely depleted come Saturday and within 15 minutes of opening the store, we were totally cleaned out. I feared I might get lynched by annoyed customers, thankfully, that wasn't the case. Here's a  photograph of Kate, who had traveled down from  Kerikeri early Saturday morning. She managed to grab a few balls to add to her stash; that  bag really is filled to the brim with wool.
November 13, 2019 by Fran Stafford

4th November 2019

"Fran, I Didn't Expect To See You Here"

all proceeds donated to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

One  rainy and miserable Saturday morning earlier this year, my husband and I  drove over the bridge to Mercy Hospital. We had  an appointment with Maria, an oncologist. We got drenched in the dash from the car park to the hospital entrance, hadn't a clue as to where we had to be, and having finally found our way, we tumbled into the  waiting room, which was  empty. (I had requested the  first appointment, I had a wool shop to open at 10.am) The lady, seated behind the reception desk looked up to greet us. The welcoming smile rapidly fell from her face as  she recognized me, (she's one of my  lovely customers) and blurted out "Fran I didn't expect to see you here."...
November 13, 2019 by Fran Stafford