*** (Please note that My Website is continually being updated. Also please check out my Facebook Page – Dogs Designed to Look Like People’s Dogs (Life Like Dogs) and Bears&Buds, Online Bear Magazine. Thank you!!)
Hi – my name is DJ McCloskey. As a doll and teddy bear artist for more than 30 years, one of my teddy bear customers asked if I could design a pair of dogs to look like her parents’ dogs. I told her I never had but would love to give it a try. The two Miniature Schnauzers “Joey” and “Crissy” featured on this site were my first two dogs. I have always loved dogs and fell in love with designing and creating these amazing animals and family companions. Yes, I guess I do like challenges.
Between my One of a Kind (OOAK) bears and limited editions, my reborn baby dolls, and now my commissioned dogs, I have found this profession to be a dream come true for me . . . and it’s only just the beginning!!
I would like to introduce you to two of my teddy bear creations (“Mikey” and “Scout”) who will help me introduce you to more of my background. I hope you enjoy them – and that they behave themselves. I will be back a little bit later.
THE HISTORY OF TINY TOES & BEAR PAWS
Mikey is the one on the left with Scout on the right.
Ok you two – take it away!
Wow Mikey!! Can you believe it? Finally, we get to share our adventure stories with the “WORLD”. Thanks DJ (Mom) for letting us be a part of this fun Website.
Hey, wait a minute Scout!! I’m the head bear, not you – so let me introduce ourselves and this website!
Mikey, that’s rude. But, yeah I guess you are the “head honcho” – so go ahead . . . Grrrrrrrrrr!
Ok, thanks – and quit growling! It doesn’t suit you and it’s bad manners.
Ugh, how’s that? . . .Grouch!
Not any better. Ok, let’s start over. Well – hello everyone! Welcome! My name is Mikey – I guess you already know that – I’m the handsome one on the left! I was designed using soft and hugable chocolate brown cotton string fur imported from Germany. I am about 12″ and I have black glass blown shoe button eyes and am so adorable. My head even bobbles and I am loosely jointed (all over). I am numero uno in a Limited Edition of 75.
Mikey, you are so conceited! I am one of a kind (OOAK). So that makes me better! I am the cutest one Mom ever made! I was created with distressed golden mohair also imported from Germany and I too have black glass blown shoe button eyes. I am about 6″ and my joints are not loose – and I am more adorable than you – hmmphf!
Whoa, did I ever hit a nerve! Ok, ok, we are both the cutest. How’s that? Now can we go on?
Yeah – ok – but remember I am watching you.
Yeah, yeah. I was one of DJ’s very first teddy bears. I was created in 1990 and the first of a Limited Edition (as I mentioned above), in fact there are 74 other Mikeys running around the world . . . of course, I am Numero Uno! After that Limited Edition, DJ decided to only make one of a kind (OOAK) teddy bears. She feels she loses her sense of creativity when she “mass” produces one of her bears over and over again. With each creation, she pushes the envelope to make each design a little more special and collectible. Scout (who you have already met) didn’t come along until 3 years ago. So, if ever you have any questions, please direct them to me, not Scout, or of course DJ.
Hey – wait a minute! Just because I am younger than you doesn’t mean they can’t ask me questions. I know just as much as you do – sorta.
Ok Scout, let’s stop arguing. As I (excuse me “we”) mentioned, DJ has been creating teddy bears for over 30 years. She is from Burbank, California and in 2007 moved to the Denver Metro area in Colorado.
Ok Mikey, thank you boys. You did a great job of introducing my site. I will take it from here.
My interest in dolls (and now teddy bears) began when I was a little girl probably because of my mother – she was a doll collector. She bought me many dolls throughout my childhood . . . all kinds including Chatty Cathy, Poor Pitiful Pearl, Patty Playpal . . . and of course, Barbie and Ken and all of their friends. I remember on my 8th birthday, my mom and dad had placed right next to my bed a 3 foot Patty Playpal doll which was dressed in a cute red and white checkered dress with a white apron, so when I woke up I would see her first thing in the morning. What a fun surprise!! I loved that doll and I still have her in my doll collection. I remember she came with shiny patent leather Mary Jane shoes and so very cute. I wanted her to have play shoes like me so my mom and dad took me to a shoe store (that was when a person came and measured your foot to get the right size of shoe – some of you may remember that). Anyway, the man measured Patty’s “plastic” foot and found a pair of brown and white saddle oxfords that would fit her. Wow, did Patty look great in those shoes with her shorts and sporty blouse that my mom bought for her! She became part of our family and went everywhere I went for the next few years.
On my 10th birthday, my mom and dad had hidden my birthday gift and told me to go find it. I had no idea what size it was or what exactly I was looking for but when I opened the shower door in my bathroom, there sitting on the hamper as proudly as a “King” was Bimbo, my 2 1/2 foot chocolate brown soft snuggly teddy bear. He did not have any joints, just lots of snuggles. So between Patty and Bimbo, I was a happy (and maybe spoiled) little girl.
From my story above, you can see how I obtained such an interest in both dolls and bears. I didn’t start making porcelain dolls until I was in my 30’s. I was invited to a quilting class and the teacher brought in one of her favorite quilts to show us. She showcased it over a doll in a baby buggy. All of us wanted to touch her work of art (the quilt), and see what she was going to be teaching us. When it got to my turn to “touch and feel”, I gently lifted the quilt to find an antique (so I thought) baby doll sleeping underneath the quilt. It was a Bye Lo Baby doll. My mom had one. When she saw I had an interest in it, she shared that she made it herself. She told me about taking porcelain doll lessons from a lady who lived in the next city over. Can you guess what I did?
I know, I know!!!!
Scout, shhh! Remember I’m telling this story now. I still love you though. As Scout was going to tell you, I found out where this porcelain doll lady lived and signed up for the porcelain doll classes. And as they say, the rest is history. You know, I never did take that quilting class ;D.
After making porcelain dolls for about 10 years or so, one of my girlfriends (who was a pretty well known teddy bear artist in California) asked me to make her a porcelain reproduction of Sugar Britches baby doll – a doll mold created by Boots Tyner. She fell in love with the one I had already made for myself.
In exchange for Sugar Britches, my friend suggested that I should try to make teddy bears too. Up to this point, I had never made a teddy bear. I took the challenge and decided to give it a go. She gave me a store bought pattern, some faux fur, joints and eyes. When I finished making the bear and showed it to her, she offered me $100 for it. I was so surprised! Personally, I thought it didn’t turn out that great. I did not sell it to her and he is still in my collection. It was because of her praise for this first bear that I decided to make others – she taught me how to design my own patterns too. I can’t thank her enough. Amazingly, one of my first designed teddy bears was bought by the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson – wow! And. . . that was just the beginning!!
Upon arriving to Denver, I took and completed a series of private classes with Michelle Lamb of One and Only Bears. She is such a wonderful bear designer, and a truly amazing artist!!! Because most of my bears I created in California have been adopted, I needed to create new bears and hugs. Michelle showed and taught me tips and tricks which helped me fine tune my new creations. My production is ongoing and is featured on this site – along with my “life-like” dogs.
DJ, (Mikey and Scout)