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Martha Edwards and her little ones

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By Becca Owsley

From tanks to teddy bears, Martha Edwards always has worked carefully with her hands.

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At 60, she’s lived in Radcliff much of her married life.

Her father was in the military and retired here. She’s had several jobs on post. When she was younger, Edwards would ride to work on a bus and work in the mess hall. During her civil service career she has been a cashier, supply clerk and forklift operator and worked on small transmissions and then went on to heavy mobile, where she worked on tank engines and transmissions.

She’s good at mechanics, her husband, Raymond, said.

One day at school her daughter told her class that her mother was a forklift operator and her dad was a clerk. The teacher thought she got the two mixed up.

When working as a forklift operator, Edwards unloaded ammo and, because she’d developed back problems, her last job on post was a desk job with the weapons pool.

But Edwards always has been a crafty person. She crocheted and made many things for her daughter growing up.

She began making miniature teddy bears about 12 years ago. Her grandson was young at that time and would fly a Batman bear around the room. He is now 18.

Edwards first considered making miniature bears when she found a book about them and fell in love.

“It’s just something I like to do,” she said.

She’s made hundreds.

It’s a craft that’s easy to transport. She keeps all the parts in a small, cosmetic size bag. While waiting for her husband at the doctor’s office, for example, she can work on the bears. It gives her the feeling she has accomplished something while she waits.

She likes most of the bears she creates, but Boo bears are her favorites. She made the first in the Boo series in 2008. She makes them in a variety of themes. Her husband makes up stories for whatever Boo bear she’s creating. The current one ran into a skunk in his story so he has a clothes pin on his nose.

Some of her patterns are original.

She has a set that includes each character in “The Wizard of Oz,” even Toto.

As her skills improve, she tries new things. She now creates bears with open mouths and sculpts their faces.

Because it is a rare craft, Edwards does not know many people to bounce ideas off of so she depends on blogs and websites to gather ideas and find tips from other teddy bear enthusiast.

Each bear takes about nine hours to make. She marks them on material, cuts them out and sews the individual pieces. The ears are the hardest because the pieces are so small, she said. Each piece is sewn inside out and turned. They then are stuffed and put together.

The bears range from one to six inches tall.

Her Superman bear is quite popular but her Christmas reinbears are the ones most people ask for this time of year.

Sometimes Edwards sells them, but she makes them mostly for a hobby and as gifts for people.

Most of her bears are on display at the Barr Library in December.

One day she was at the library with a friend, looking for teddy bear books. She had pieces of the bears in her purse to work on. The library often facilitates classes and was interested in Edwards teaching a class on making miniature teddy bears, until they found out they took nine hours. The typical classes there are one hour.

Instead, someone at the library asked if she would let them display the bears. She didn’t know they put them in such a large display.

“My bears look so small in it,” she said, adding she really liked how they had them displayed.

Even though her back and arthritis sometimes cause her problems, Edwards hopes to continue to create the bears as long as she can. She welcomes any questions about her bears and will give advice on how to make them. Edwards can be contacted at littleonesbyme@insightbb.com.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.

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