Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
The first Bearloom I made for a total stranger was the Barton Bear. Mrs. Barton found me through a mutual friend for whom I had made a Bearloom of family pieces for a baby shower gift. She wanted one for her first grandchild and sent a piece of fabric, patch or other memento from about 20 family members. I loved the challenge of positioning each piece into the bear but, hard as I tried, they just would not all fit. Since the soon to be Grandpa was an avid golfer, I decided to make a golf bag out of the remaining pieces along with a set of clubs made from wood dowels and Fimo clay.
The Bearloom was presented at the baby shower which turned out to be great timing since the baby was born prematurely. The new mother spent her days at the hospital and at night rocked the bear until her child could come home.
Mrs. Barton contacted me again when her twin grandchildren were expected. The result of our collaboration was two Bearlooms that had bags to hold some of the treasures they like to carry. Each of the Bearlooms came with a Story Starter booklet that identified each piece and, for some, a story or quote from the person who sent in the piece.
A Bearloom, Hareloom or Careloom is a great way to pass down stories and make a family connection. Want to share the fabrics of your family with someone special? Simply contact me so we can get started!
I purchased quilt rulers on a whim but had yet to really use them. When I started making blankets for children being detained at the border, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to learn to use the rulers, honing my skills while helping others. Win! Win!
As soon as started, I realized that I should have purchased the self stick disks that keep the rulers from slipping. Rather than head back to the store 45 minutes away, I went to the local hardware store, home of solutions. I purchased double stick tape and shelf liner and was able to make all the rulers slip resistant and still gift most of the shelf liner to the clerk at check out! Woo Hoo!
There was a definite learning curve to using the rulers. I watched an online video and wore nitrate gardening gloves for a better grip. (Can you guess where I got them?) The blankets provided plenty of practice.
The rulers help to create a good variety of patterns in much less time than using a stencil. I am thankful my "playtime" with these new tools could benefit such a worthy cause.
Do you have a friend that you have known for years; through their children’s births, through good and hard times? I have several. The children of one of these families made me an adopted aunt. I have been to birthday and Christmas celebrations, summer picnics and weddings. Through this I got to know their extended family including their Sasha, my friend’s father.
Their Sasha made a career of the Air Force. It was there he met is match, a registered nurse, also in the USAF. Sasha and MomMom were a match made in heaven and tough and nails. It prepared them to raise their five children in the service, where they were stationed all over the world.
Sasha retired from the Air Force June of 1971 as lieutenant colonel. He was a hospital administrator in the Air Force and continued that career in civilian life.
He was kind, funny, bright and honorable. I loved kidding and talking with him. After he passed, my friend asked me to make 10 pillows from his dress uniform, over coat, dog tags and medals for the men in the family. Once I could bring myself to cut, it became a remarkable experience. Each pillow was unique but on each one I placed his monogram and made a pocket to hold a card that listed his honors.
I feel blessed to be able to use my talents to help tell his story and make something so special for the family. I believe he would have been happy and honored with the results.
If you have items tucked away for safe keeping, we could work together to create heirlooms that you live in your home and the homes of people you love. Contact us and we can start a special tribute.
The Blanket Project @ArtDivision.com is a program that welcomes anyone to knit, crochet, tie or quilt blankets for children at the border. When I heard about it I could not wait to participate. I started searching for the perfect quote to embroider on each blanket in an effort to provide a bit of extra comfort to the recipient. I settled on:
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together. . . there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart. . . I’ll always be with you.” (Often attributed to AA Milne author Winnie the Pooh but it appears he only inspired it.)
Next I translated it into Spanish and and embroidered it on a patch for each quilt.
All that was left to do was sew. I only had to buy a few yards of fabric; the rest came from my in-house stash. It was fun to combine fabrics into colorful quilts. I even found some finished quilt tops that my sister in-law, Sue, had given me. Each was divided to make 4 quilts! Sue also contributed by paying for the shipping. We were both happy to ship off 16 blankets!
The other day I received a handwritten thank you note from Dan MCleary, founder of Art Division, saying the blankets would be distributed to children living shelters in Tiyuana, CA on October 12. I struggle that we are living in a time when we would be separating children from their families, so it is nice to have something tangible I can do to help beyond calling my representatives in Washington.
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a wonderful program, with a focus on exercise, wellness and community for cancer survivors. This program was life changing for me, so I created this quilt and donated it to be auctioned to benefit the program. The winner of the bid asked to be anonymous but throughout the year I received the same letter several times (see below) until the other day when the bid winner presented to me in person. It makes my heart happy that the quilt was so meaningful to a fellow survivor and that their purchase supported the program that benefited both of us. The chain reaction continues.
"The quilt, 'Chain Reaction', captured my attention through Jean's artistry, especially her exquisite 'stitches of story'.
I will always 'Remember When' I acquired the quilt through the online auction for Livestrong at the YMCA.
Thank you, Jean, for the contributions to my life as I am 'Covered in Care'!"
Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.