A valley woman makes teddy bears that leave people feeling warm, fuzzy and luxurious -- that's because they are made of mink.
"It's a very fun hobby."
Add soft and cuddly to the mix, and you'd have June Rector's mink teddy bears. Dozens of them.
"I haven't counted exactly but I think over 150 in the past 15 and it's still happening."
The 87-year-old started by making teddy bears out of quilts until one day she got a rich and furry inspiration.
"I had a friend who knew I made bears from fabrics from my quilts, so one day she said I'd like to have you make me a bear out of my mink that I don't wear anymore," says Rector.
She made one bear... then her friend told her friends. And before you know it a lucrative hobby was born.
"Well they bring their fur to me and pay me to make their bears for them."
And living here in the valley, there's no shortage of unworn mink.
"They have minks they're not wearing in Arizona because it's too warm here."
All of a sudden, Rector had her hands full filling a lovable niche.
"They love them, everyone loves their bears."
Including Rector -- she made a bear for herself.
"That was made from scraps many years ago and I call it my calico mink bear."
It takes her about 15 hours to make one bear, and although she charges a fee, she also donates some bears to charity.
"I just love making these bears and making people happy."
If someone wants a bear but doesn't have a mink, Rector finds a mink, usually torn, but in reasonable shape at a thrift store.
If you're interested in purchasing a bear, contact June at 602-281-2177.