Being a lover of the paper pieced items and tear bears, I was so thrilled when Sizzix came out w/animal dies. They have released quite a few over the past couple of years and they are a nice fast way to achieve the paper pieced / tear bear look. Some may call it cheating, but you are still hand creating something, so I don't think it is cheating, more like a shortcut or streamlining the process. Main material I use is felt, I cut it with a piece of card stock that matches the color I am using (also flattens the felt well too!), use adhesive on the front of the card stock, attach it to the felt. You now have a sturdy felt design to cut, fluff, color - whatever! You can ink the felt in a color of your choice (either the tummy or inside the ears or just the edges), then lightly fluff it with a needle or your poker, this will give it a nice fuzzy fur look.... be careful though if you get going to fast you will tear it! I do still love my from scratch paper pieces and tear bears, but these are great too, and fast - you can crank out a few in one little 30 minute session. Warning!!! Only use Original or Big Dies, the little guys can't handle the felt!