Monday, August 30, 2010

Memory Bears

My dad passed away five years ago this month. A volunteer organization in San Diego offered to make a bear for the family out of the clothing of a loved one who passed away. My mom was the first one to send a shirt off and get a bear back. Then my sister wanted one, then another sister. My family is pretty big and each time we got a bear back, my mom would send another couple of shirts for a daughter or grandchild to have a keepsake from my dad's plaid shirts. The picture below shows some of the bears the family got back from that organization. Each time my mom got a bear, she (or the family member who got a bear) would send a donation to keep this wonderful non-profit organization going.

But...they do limit the number of bears they will make a family. I had made some bears years ago and thought I could make the ones for me and my three girls so that family members who don't sew could get a bear from the charity group.
I found my pattern and made the bear bodies when I went to my friend's condo a year or two ago. When I got home, I started to stuff them and argh, what a boring job and I put it aside.......
This weekend, after my stamp party, me and my sis got to talking about our mom's clothes and if we'll do bears again, in her memory, with some of the garments we saved. I told her about the 'bodies' I had in a bag in my sewing room and she said, "Get them out. We'll help you stuff them." My oldest daughter Kelley and her friend Brenda were still over so I practically RAN to my room and got my bag of poly fiberfill and the bears. In no time, we had stuffed three bears and I actually ran out of stuffing. I couldn't believe it because stuffing seems to last forever!! Me and Isabel closed up the bears with ladder stitches and wallah, they were finished!!! Boy, did that feel good!
These bears belong to my girls (from l-r) Ashley, Stephanie and Kelley. Kelley remembered my dad's pearl buttons and made sure to pick a shirt that had them. She wanted those somewhere on her bear so Isabel cut off a cuff from the scraps left from my dad's shirt and I made a little collar to connect it. Came out pretty cute, I think. :o)

I need to buy some satin ribbon to tie a bow around the neck of the other two bears just to dress them up a little bit. I also need to buy more stuffing so I can finish my bear. I hope to finish it this week and not wait another year or two!


Kate said...

What a sweet way to have a reminder of a loved one. Those bears are very smart in their plaid!! We have someone here in Shetland who makes bears from old Fair Isle sweaters. If you Google ""Burra Bears"" you will see all the different colours and patterns. I think you'll like them too.
Much love

Kelley said...

I LOVE mine! The girls are gonna be so jealous!


The Other Barb said...

These are great Liz! I made bears for awhile too. Some were memory bears .I made a rabbit fur bear from my grandmother's coat. So special! Made one from a nurse's cape for someone. Didn't make any from shirts. What a great idea!