Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Memory Bears

So has Mrs. Claus done any sewing? Some-life has really seemed to get in the way lately. I think part of what's holding me back is a mental block.

There is a project that is connected, I think, to local Hospice groups called Memory Bears. Someone takes an article of clothing or blanket that belonged to a lost loved one and turns it into a bear. Google it-you get tons of hits. Some are instructions, some are stories about the bears, some are people who will make the bears-for free or pay.

I have a sewing friend named Teresa who makes these bears for the Gallatin Valley Hospice as a ministry. A couple of months ago the Bozeman Chronicle ran a story about them which resulted in a bunch of calls requesting a bear, not for free but the callers would be willing to pay for the service since their loved ones hadn't been through the local hospice. Teresa felt it wasn't right that she make some for free and some for pay, so that's where I come in. She asked me if I was willing to do the bears for pay and of course I said yes. It is kind of tough-so far I've made three, two for one family and one for another. The tough part comes from thinking about where the clothing came from and that a living person wore it and now they're gone.

I finally have prevailed and the bears are done. The first I got was two western shirts worn by a woman's dad. She wanted two bears, one for her and one for her mom. Then came the harder one. A grandma brought a blanket that was wrapped around her 18 month old granddaughter when she died. Wow!

Well, here the guys are:

I took one of the pocket flaps from the shirt and sewed it on to the tummies of the Western bears. It even snaps! I cut down the cuffs, sewed them into a little sleeve, and slid them onto the bears' arms. It looks like they're wearing Western shirts.

The baby blanket was from the Linus Project, and Grandma wanted to keep part of it intact. I actually got a pretty good size square. I cut the bear out from one end of the blanket, leaving about a 27" square.

This was hard. Grandma wanted the baby's name embroidered on the feet.

It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but I also embroidered a little double heart on the bear's left chest.

I don't think I'll get a huge amount of these bears, but at least I'm comfortable with the pattern now, and can put my Grandma emotions aside and do a project like this. My doctor mentioned having something done with one of her late mom's garments, but doctors are busy and I think she probably forgot as soon as she left the exam room!

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