Mills Beary Village is a peaceful place full of lots of magic. Hidden in a beautiful part of the English countryside with rolling hills of the deepest green mingled with wildflowers as far as the eyes can see. The perfect place to find adventure.
There is a working Mill called The Bear Mill where magical stuffed animals come to life. But if you want to visit this village and meet all the characters, you cannot find it on any map. Only those I have invited can see it.
I am Duffels the Bear and I would like to invite you to come with me and share our adventures. You are going to meet some very sweet animals called The SnipPets. These peculiar little animals are far from ordinary. The Bear Mill magic has brought these animals to life and the most amazing things happen here. I hope you can join us in our lives at Mills Beary Village.
Nestled in the woods, behind a beautiful meadow full of flowers, grows a wall of prickly bushes. If you were taking an afternoon stroll through the woods, you would not pay much attention to these bushes. I am sure the bright bluebells, sunny yellow buttercups, and purple lavender would catch your eye. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you look really hard at the bushes in the afternoon sun, something remarkable will appear!
You see, within the bushes what may seem like the glow of sunlight is a sparkling glow. And, if you look past this glow , stands an old heavy wooden door which appears out of nowhere. The door is overgrown with fragrant honeysuckle vine and has a large black iron latch.
By now, you will likely be asking yourself “what is a large wooden door doing standing in the middle of the woods?” Look closely, you can see a faded brass sign nailed to the door that says “Welcome to Mills Beary Village.”
The biggest impact on The Bear Mill was when I created the SnipPets. They made a huge difference to life in Mills Beary Village. It all started one day when I had been sweeping the floor in the sewing room. After I had completed the task, I ended up with a huge pile of fabric scraps. Thinking it would be a waste to throw them away I put them in a large box in the corner of the sewing room. This action coincided with another event in the same week.
I had been in the basement of the mill organizing the shelves getting it ready for a coat of paint. I became aware of a glow in the back corner of the room that seemed to be fading in and out. Walking over to the source of the light I saw the wooden trunk. It appeared to be very old and looked as though it had been there for a long time. I pulled open the lid and was blinded for a brief moment from the bright light coming from within the trunk. It disappeared as soon as I opened the lid. When I peered in all I saw were rows of neatly placed bobbins of thread. In all the years I had been coming down to this basement, this was the first time I had ever seen this trunk let alone the bobbins. I reached in and took one out and felt a tingle down my arm. I studied this thread which had a wonderful silvery shimmer and decided I would try to use it next time I was at the sewing machine. Before closing the lid, I took out a second and put them both in my apron pocket.
The rest of the week was busy and I didn’t give much thought to the box in the sewing room or the bobbins of thread in my apron, until Saturday evening. I had just finished my dinner and was about to go for a stroll down the lane by my cottage but decided instead I would take another look at the fabrics I had saved to see if something could be done with them.
I walked over to the mill and pulled out the fabrics from the box and placed on the cutting table. This is a table where all of the fabrics get cut before sewing and making our animals.
The colors were so bright and happy I just started to cut all shapes and sizes. Sitting there with a pile of soon to be arms, legs heads and bodies. I threaded the machine with the bobbin of thread I found in the old trunk. If I did not know any better, I would say the sewing machine let out a sigh as though very contented and purred all the time I was sewing. I really did not have a plan as to what I would make so I just started to put together some new designs. Since there was not enough fabric of any one color to complete a design, I mixed and matched the fabrics. Before I knew it, I had six new unstuffed plushies sitting by the sewing machine waiting to go to the filling machine.
I was very excited to fill these little guys but it was getting late and I decided to wait until the next day to finish the project. I turned off the lights and locked up the sewing room. On the way back to the cottage I glanced back at the sewing room window and saw a light which had not been there before.
I had a restless night’s sleep dreaming about memories of when I was born. I did not understand the dream until later that day. when it came to me as I filled the new designs with stuffing, and each one of them came to life was exactly how I had come into the world. I remember the day very clearly now I also remember who created me. You see the thread I had stitched with yesterday is the same thread that had been used to stitch me many years ago. For some reason the thread had been put in the basement and forgotten over the years. It seemed time for me to find it again, or did I? When I went back to the basement the next time, to take another look at the trunk I was hoping to find a name inscribed on it or other markings. It was no longer there.
I named the new designs I had created The SnipPets family. They were not perfect with their odd eyes and different colored body parts all made from scraps of material. It is my belief that not all things in the world today are created equal so we learn to accept that we do not all look the same and still we all have our place in the world to live love and be loved. The most important thing in life is what is in your heart that counts.
It is here where our story begins.
To buy your very own SnipPets click here
Having remembered my dream of last night I was anxious to go over to the mill and fill each of the SnipPets with stuffing. Henry was sitting on the wall outside the Mill and shouts Hi Duffels where are you going to in such a hurry. Did I tell you about Henry? I will come to that later. Oh I have a project I am working on. You are welcome to come and watch if you are interested. Not to miss out on anything Henry jumped down form the wall and caught up with me. As we entered the sewing room Henry saw the new animals sitting on the table. What’s all this he asked. I explained about all the scraps of fabric that I had been disposing off for all these years and how I wanted to make something with them. These were the result of that action.
I should get them filled with stuffing and I believe the magic will begin. I said to Henry. I put them all in a basket and carried them to the stuffing machine with Henry following because he was totally intrigued. This is a machine that hold fiber stuffing and each of the animals at The Bear Mill will get filled with the same stuffing.
Here goes I said as I picked up the first animal and filled his little body and sealed his back. I shook his to remove all the fluff that was sticking to his fur and he shouted Hey steady on there who are you. I am Duffels and this is Henry, we have just created you here at the Mill. Henry gasped. As calm as you please he sat there for a moment and seemed to be very content. After filling all the SnipPets, there was so much chatter between them that it had become very loud in the Sewing room.
I cleaned the area and watched them walking around the room getting to know one another. After we decided on names for each of them. I went into the kitchen and brewed a pot of tea. We drink lots of tea at the mill it is what we do. I laid out a tray with China cups, milk sugar and biscuits and I called them all into the kitchen.
We sat round the kitchen table as I told them all about Mill Beary Village and how they had come to life just like he had done many years ago. That was my dream I too had been sewn with this very same thread and arrived in the world the very same way. I even remember who created me. For some reason the thread had been put in the basement and forgotten over the years. It seemed it had been time for me to find it again, or did I?
They were in awe and so excited to begin life in their new home. Henry asked where they were going to live. He himself had carved out a very special place at the mill to live and loved the comfort of it. He was constantly adding new cushions and furniture that he made on the sewing machine in the evening when it was not in use.
Well, that is a good question I thought, where indeed? We could convert the Attic into a dorm room I said and there are lots of rooms unused up there. We will need to remove all the dust and cobwebs but can add some furniture and make them cozy. They all shouted at the same time yes.
Henry led the way, as he knew every corner of the Mill. The Attic looked pretty gloomy the dormer windows were dirty and did not shed much light. Most of light bulbs were not working so it a very gloomy place indeed.
The SnipPets looked at one another and I notice some concern pass over their faces until Georgie shouted. We can make this work, as she began to hum a tune. There’s a place where animals come to life The Bear Mill, Bear Mil, love me hug take me home.
Georgie shouted, lets open the dormers and get some fresh air up here! The Attic was really a nice place but Georgie decided after all the cobwebs and dust was gone, they may need to paint. I decided to leave them to it. Henry can help you find whatever you need to make the attic livable. Hue who was very technical and needed to have everything written down before he could challenge a task, Went in search and found a paper and pencil and began to write and plan out all the possibilities to make the area comfortable. They were all working hard and Windle said to Hue, come on Hue put away your paper and pencil we can save the designs for later, but we have work to do right now. Since this was against Hue’s nature he did as he was asked but felt a little nervous and out of sync.
In the background Georgie shouted “Hey come check this out” and she showed them that there was a large bathroom. They got buckets of water and rags that Henry gave them and Dash set about cleaning the windows. Henry got them some new light bulbs and installed them. The whole room began to take shape;
After a few hours the place already started to gleamed . There was a total feeling of accomplishment when I arrived back armed with tea and some sandwiches. Time for a break I said. Bobbins had found a table and chairs that he had polished till you could see your face in it. I set the tray on top of it. Oh, yum said Tayla I am so hungry. Everything is resolved with a cup of tea I said it is the British way. They discussed the days activities and I promised to get them some paint. What color would you like I asked Georgie? Well, she said it would be nice if we could each paint our own rooms the color or our choice.
Did you know that there is another room over there as she said and pointed to the back wall, it was full of furniture? You could barely notice that a door existed it blended into the wood paneling. Did someone live here before she asked me? I don’t know I said, that is very interesting. I believe there is a book down in my office all about the history of the mill. It has names of previous owners and workers maybe I can do some investigating. But let us sort out the attic first. It looks like a huge job to me. It is very much brighter already I said. Yes, we cleaned the windows and Henry got some new light bulbs for us. Also, she said the bathroom has a claw foot bath tub it is beautiful. She had notice it when she found the bathroom. You can see the white and black tile now after she had moved some boxes. It is right in front of the window with an outstanding view of the gardens around the Mill. You know I said I have never had any reason to venture up this far. Seems like it is the perfect place for you to make your home.
During the rest of the day the whole family worked together and set up their bedrooms, and shared the furniture they had found. Once it was in a livable state, they all agreed that they had done enough for one and pledged to paint and fine tune in upcoming days.
It was time for a nap said Bobbins, I think we had better get a wash before we go to bed said Tayla, and they all stopped to look at each other and began to laugh. They were so dirty from the day’s events; they had not had time to consider how much of a mess they looked.
Later tired and worn out the six little SnipPets went to lie down on their beds.
The following day, I wanted to take the SnipPets down into the village so they could become more familiar with their surroundings. So, I walked over to the mill and they were all sitting at the kitchen table. Looks like you have already had your breakfast I said. Yes, said Windle, the cupboards were so full of food we put breakfast together. Henry helped us. Henry was sitting at the end of the table finishing up his breakfast. Did I tell you who about Henry? Well, I will come to that shortly. Would you like to join us for a cup of tea, said Windle? I sat down and he poured me some tea. The rich dark amber colored liquid filled my cup, and I added one cube of sugar and a drop of milk. Perfect, I said. I love a cup of tea.
How was your first night at the mill. They all shouted at once as it seems they are likely to do. We all slept really heavy. Henry brought us some biscuits and cocoa for supper and none of us heard another sound until the morning.
I thought we may go down to the Village Center today. It seems to me if you are going to live here; you need to get familiar with your surroundings. You can work with me at the Mill but there is a lot more to life than the mill and so much to do around Mills Beary Village. However, it’s a little chilly, so I suggest you all wrap up warm for the journey.
The SnipPets all looked at each other and said in unison, with what? Oh Sorry, I said I was not thinking, come with me. The SnipPets followed me up the wide stairway for the second time in two days. This time we went to the second floor not the Attic. It was a little noisy because the stair treads have no carpet and everyone was running at the same time. In the center of the tread, you can see wear from others walking up and down over the years. Duffels caught sight of Hue who was very inquisitive admiring the banister. It is hand carved from old oak, I told him it is very rare indeed.
Right, I said here we are and pointed to the last room on this floor. I opened the door and could hear audible gasps from the SnipPets as they viewed the racks and racks of clothing. This was the left-over clothing that used to be made at the mill and had not shipped out to customers. I just put them in this room to store them. The excitement built as each SnipPets pulled down hangers with various clothe designs and tried them on. They were laughing and giggling as they mixed and matched silly combinations.
I will tell you what, I have some emails to answer. How about I leave you here and you can take whatever you would like to wear? Put yourself together a wardrobe. If you open up the cupboards at the back of the room, you will find socks, shoes, slippers and boots. When you have finished, come over to my office. It is at the front of the mill and we can get ready to go out.
Sitting in my office in the distance I could hear them giggling, I knew This was going to take much longer that I first expected. Perhaps I should get back to work and we can go to the village tomorrow.
Let me tell you about Henry. Early one morning I was heading over to the Mill thinking I have a lot to do today and wanted to get an early start. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Henry laying on his hammock. Good morning, Henry I said what are you planning for the day. Waiting for his answer, I thought back to when Henry first arrived at Mills Beary Village.
He had arrived at the mill simply by mistake. I will never forget the story he told me about living in a little town not far from Mills Beary. One day on his birthday he had gone over to the local feed and farm to find himself a treat. Some days when bags of grain get dropped or burst open, there is grain left on the floor and makes for easy pickings for a wonderful dinner. Since today was his birthday, he thought I will spoil myself and check it out. It was difficult getting there because few people like rats, and it was important for him not to be seen. He cannot remember how many times he had heard someone scream. It’s a rat, and he had to run and hide really quickly to save from being caught, who knows what would happen to him if they did. Well, today he had walked down the main road in the town and kept a low-profile dodging behind all the flowerpots and obstacles on the way. Arriving at the local feed and farm, he saw a large truck loading grain and farm tools. oh, what a birthday treat he thought!
Sitting on the wall, he watched them load the truck and got into the rhythm of how long it took for each sack to get loaded. He waited until they were in between loading and he jumped on the truck and hid behind some sacks.
Luckily, the delivery truck was just as he expected, filled with farm supplies and grain when as luck would have it, Henry noticed, that one of the gardening tools had fallen over and ripped open a sack of grain. Thankfully, the workers had not noticed as they secured the load. They started the engine and headed out to make the delivery. Henry had not expected to go for a ride but thought well they will return this evening and as long as I can keep out of site it will be an adventure. As the truck pulled away from the store, Henry immediately helped himself to a nice snack from the open bag of grain. He was really full now and as the truck made its way across the countryside, the gentle movement of the truck bed made Henry sleepy and he snuggled down for a cozy nap.
When he woke up, Henry he was in Mills Beary Village. Henry did not know why he wasn’t still on the truck and was very nervous. Wondering where he was and what he should do. So, he hid under a bush and waited until nightfall to look around. He carefully made his way to a building next to the stream. Thinking he could enter the building when he heard a noise like a sewing machine. He saw a hole in the stone wall and squeezed through it toward the noise. There, to his amazement, he saw a bear whistling to himself while sitting at a sewing machine. When the sewing machine paused, the bear heard Henry and called out, “Hello!”. If you think it surprised Henry to hear a whistling, talking bear, imagine how shocked he was when he could answer back! Hello, he shouted back.
I am Duffels the Bear. Welcome to The Bear Mill. I don’t believe I have ever seen you before. It was then Henry told me about the trip to the feed and farm and about his nap on the truck and waking up in the village.
That is curious I said, I don’t believe that has ever happened before. I think you must have fallen through the magical doorway when the truck went over a bump. Maybe it bounced you right off the trunk. I did not see any harm in his presence, so I simply invited him to stay. There is a lot to do around here every. day you are welcome to stay. Henry like the look of the place and said he would love to stay.
Now, Henry is the happiest rat you will ever meet. He no longer has to search for food or find warm places to sleep. With my guidance, he has become very resourceful and makes himself fashionable clothes from the mill fabrics and also uses them to create furniture and rugs for his home. He really loves his life here. Henry is a big part of The Bear Mill family, and that is the best part of all.
Laying on his hammock. Henry shouted good morning, Duffels, oh, this and that I thought I might walk over to have a cup of tea with Little Red. I haven’t seen him for a few days. Did you know he was decorating his den? No, I answered I must stop by and check it out for myself. Please give him my regards.
Will do he said as he swung of the hammock and made his way down the lane wearing his Red and black tam o’shanter cap.
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