All my life I have hand washed wool and cashmere sweaters and added a dab of hair conditioner to the rinse water and mushed it throught the sweater.
(Believe it or not I still have some wool sweaters from High School that I can wear again.)
This doesn't seem to have harmed my good sweaters, so when I took up bearing, I decided to do this to all the mohair as soon as it comes in the door. Unless it is white which means I am going to color and then condition.
It occurs to me now, with all the experts here, that maybe there is something I should know about this, or that it isn't a good idea? The fur is really soft and because of the conditioner and I think it is easier to turn as well.
Any thoughts, ideas, no no's?
I have never used hair conditioner on mohair, so can't give you much help there. However, I have used something similar. Don't laugh, but another bearmaker told me some time ago that he sometimes used a product called "ShowSheen" on his bears. "ShowSheen" is meant to be used on horses to condition their coats. At the time, I had a piece of mohair that felt very harsh and rough -- so thinking "nothing ventured, nothing gained" I went down to Oakhurst Feed (remember them?) and got some. It says it is a hair polish and detangler, and comes in a big spray bottle. And it really made the mohair feel soft and smooth. The only caution is that don't -- repeat don't -- get any on the floor, or you will end up on your rear! It makes it verrrrry slippery. I learned later that it is also used by dog groomers on show dogs. By the way -- it does have a nice refreshing scent, and I have used it often on my dogs when they were a little too "doggie" if you know what I mean.
Hope this helps,
Dilu and Donna,
I used to show horses and the show sheen was put on after shampooing the horses. It gave them a wonderful shine and actually repeled dust and dirt. This was especially good for the halter horses, but watch out for the performance horses. The hair was so slick the saddle would slip and not stay in place. The style was to braid the horse's foretop and if show sheen had been used on that lock of hair, it was very hard to braid. I think it is a silicone base conditioner. Never thought of using it on the bears, they might be so slippery you couldn't hold onto them ....LOL
I have used the styling foams to help train the mohair to lie a certain way. And, after all, mohair is hair.
I wash my mohair in a bit of Woolite. This softens the moahir beautifully and is a smell that brings back childhood memories. I've gotten some kid mohair that hasn't been quite as fluffy soft as it should be - one gentle wash in woolite with about 5 minutes in the dryer, then air dried the rest of the way and it was soft and fluffy!
I also use a "finishing touch" to my bears when I'm done. I use Clairol's Herbal Essence Spray Gel to sort of "set" the fur where I want it to stay. It also has a nice fragrance. I sent a little "pocket bear" to a soldier in Iraq that I had been e-mailing and he said it smelled SO good when he got it . . . it was a really nice change to what he was used to smelling there!! Just be sure whatever you use on the fur doesn't have alcohol in it.
Do you ever worry about the perfume, allergies, etc? I've always seen people write, "Comes from my smoke-free, odor-free, sanitized, vacuum of a home." in selling their bears. Made me think it's better if they come with a neutral odor.
Made me a little hesitant to stuff one with, say, lavendar -- which I adore -- or to use fabric softener on it. I have a tiny little one from JoAnne Harnden (Hucklebeary Patch) and I have no idea what she put on that tiny girl but she smells like a vanilla baby, all powedery and sweet. Love that bear.
But, again, have been chicken to try that on my own pieces.
oooyy vayy! good subject Shelli!
please encourage artists to not put scents in their bears. like you mentioned....MANY people have allergic reactions to scents. a beautiful bear does NOT need to smell "pretty".
i would give my left arm if the people i work with would quit coming in smelling "pretty". why do you have to smell pretty at work???? :rolleyes::mad:
have a heart - make an unscented bear.
I'm glad you mentioned that... if I ever DO make a scented bear.. I'll be sure to state it in his listing! I make candles too (and will SOON be ready to sell those.. only took 2 years!) so I LOVE scented things so I'm glad you brought that up.
Oddly I also prefer people to be "unscented" LOL! I can't stand it when I go to a restaurant and all I can smell is someone's strong cologne... especially when it is the hostess' ! (the lady who seats ya)
I hear ya.
I love the idea of a smelly bear; I like powedery smells and softener smells and soft, flowery smells. But I'm not a big perfume-wearer myself. I like to smell like... me. I can only HOPE that's a good smell...!
Laura, I think you really hit on a good compromise when you said that if/when you make a perfumed teddy, one should probably just ADVERTISE that fact. Many people would love that! Others might need, for medical reasons, to avoid it like the plague.
I'm sure for that GI in Iraq it was like coming home, or at least moving AWAY from all that smoke and gunpowder. But for my dad, who sneezes when he even looks at perfumes, pets, and kapok, it might take away from his experience.
Knowledge is power, I always say! I guess we should just do what we want to do! in terms of smelly vs. not-smelly cubs, and just be sure to let the person on the other side of the transaction know what they're getting in the process.
Thanks for all the ideas.....and since I dont sell, I think I will add a touch of vanilla potpuree (sp?) I think it will be great.
I have more lavendar plants than I can count-it is so easy to dry-so I think I will consider this too.
Is Carmen the Cockatoo still at Oakhurst Feed?
Did you get the package yet-the mail can be sooooooo slow.
I will pick up some of the spray Finishing Touch. I guess that hair is hair was the thought behind my using hair conditioner. Thanks for the warning too-I think that is pretty important to be aware of. Broken hips-no fun.
And it makes it easier to turn some of those pieces that are tight.
So for black mohair do you use the Woolite for dark colors? At first I was just kidding, but now as I type I am wondering-but since it is a one time thing it probably isn't necessary.
I have some black alpaca I got for Golly hair and I haven't used it because it feels course- soooo thank you for the idea-I will be trying it this afternoon.
On the allergy topic - I sold my most beloved bear to a bear class student of mine a couple of years ago. She took another one of my classes recently and brought the bear for a visit. Of course the first thing I did was give it a great big hug from it's 'real' mamma! The next thing I know my face & neck break out in an itchy rash followed shortly by itchy swollen eyes. I knew she had dogs but didn't know she had cats which I am very allergic to. I learned that the bear sits on the guest bed where the cats sleep! I must have been pretty scarry to look at up there teaching these gals how to make a soft cuddle bear when I looked like something out of a horror flick! :lol:
Interesting thoughts. I'd like to try Show Sheen, but I'll refrain if I plan on riding the bear..hyuk, yuk!!
Regarding scented bears, I like soft, natural scents too, but I just have a feeling that some contest guidelines for judging bears eschew scents of any kind, pleasant or not. In January, I entered the Crystal Awards contest in San Diego's ABC show, formerly Linda Mullins; During the announcements, they mentioned that one bear was going to win a prize, but was disqualified. By the number they cited, I think that was my bear:/.
The "scenting" of my bear came about as a result of a kind favor my truly terrific hubby did for me. He installed a wood heater in my studio, not realizing that it would backfire and belch smoke into my studio and "perfume" my bears. Although I aired them out the best I could, the scent was still faintly discernable. To be truthful,though inapropo, I think the faint aroma of wood smoke befitted and even enhanced my "Beowulf, Dragonslayer" bear. Fortunately, the smell was not enough to curtail my sales. I had a prosperous show, and no complaints have come back, so far. Just to be on the safely unscented side, however, I'm not using the stove, no matter what the chill factor is. I may choose to lightly scent a bear in the future (probably not with wood smoke), but like was said, it would be wise to mention it in any advertising, and not enter it into a contest.
Learning as I go,
Laura...Give Frebreez a try. They make 2 strengths, regular house and auto. Auto is a lot stronger.
I had a bear that smelled like tabacco smoke which is a very difficult odor to remove. I sprayed it once with the regular Frebreez. After it dryed I could still smell the smoke so...I sprayed him again while fluffing the fur up a bit and to fub in the solution , then I set him out side on a towel on the covered patio table so he got plenty of fresh air .
This time he smelled just fine and after several days even the Freebrez softens so then he smelled just clean !
On this same note... I once added a beautiful artist bear to my collection that held a vintage China fabric doll... that was absolutely saturated in cigarette odor. I mean, so strong, that when opened the box, a giant wave of stale, smoky air hit me dead in the face. I was bereft, as this was my most pricey teddy acquisition to date, and I really wanted to keep it... but not smelling like that.
I immediately rid teddy of her China doll -- that wasn't really much of her appeal to me in the first place so it was an easy choice to make -- and then put teddy into a large plastic bag with about ten fabric softener sheets. I left teddy in the bag in my garage for about two weeks -- could have probably left her there much less time, but she was from "Santa" for me this last Christmas, so she needed to keep out of sight anyway! -- and in the end, she smelled just delicious, without a single molecule of smoke odor left. Worked wonderfully.
Ellen -- glad you mentioned that about plant materials (lavendar.) I didn't actually think of that but wow, what a bummer that would be!, to send a bear and have it nabbed or turned back because the potpourri within it is qualified an imported agricultural product!
Laure... huge bummer about the Crystal award.
Winney, I was going to suggest Febreeze, but I have never tried in on something important, like a bear. Good to know it is safe and works, I love the fabric softener idea too-great ideas....and it makes it a little easier for us to think about bears that come from smoking homes.
"Carmen the Cockatoo" ? You know, I'm not really sure. I don't go into Oakhurst Feed very often (just for doggie treats). I do remember seeing a large bird there recently that had on one of those cone thingies on its head (you know, to keep it from bothering a wound or something) and thinking "Oh, poor thing!". But for the life of me, I'm not sure if it was a cockatoo or parrot, that's how observant I am.
I still haven't gotten your package -- I'm hoping today. They really mean it when they call it "snail mail", don't they? This waiting is killing me.