Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
Allyson, a former colleague, contacted me before Christmas. She asked if I could make a Bearloom from her daughter's Blankie. Taylor got Blankie from her grandmother when she was born. For the last 25 years, Blankie has kept her company every night, and now it was at the point it might not survive another washing.
When I got its picture, it looked like lace and suggested that I make a pillow rather than a Bearloom. Allyson agreed, especially since Taylor's dog sees all stuffed toys as his!
I looked for lace pillows on Pinterest and found several ideas that I thought would work with Blankie. Allyson liked this pillow from SunnyApril on Etsy but wanted grey ticking and let the rest of the design to me.
I carefully sewed Blankie to a piece of cotton fabric to form a "lace" focal point and worked through various trim options.
Blankie needed the ISI (Intensive Sewing Intervention) to save her, and I was humbled to be entrusted to do that work. It is wonderful to reimagine/recreate such a meaningful part of someone's life on the brink of disaster and give it new life.
Christmas Day Message
"There wasn’t a dry eye in the house - she LOVES it!" Allyson
Do you have a childhood keepsake in need of a new life? Contact me, and we can see if we can come up with a way to make that happen.
April 2020: I was busily dreaming of my first tomato as I built raised vegetable beds to join my asparagus, blueberries, and strawberries.
March 2020: I told Mom if we were quartered for the pandemic, I would come and stay with her.
March 12, 2020: I asked, "When should I come?" "Tomorrow," she said. I quickly packed a bag and planted my vegetable seeds in the dark before heading out for a "two-week stay."
February 1, 2021: I had sold my house, and now Murry and I live with Mom & Annie.
Maintaining a garden 30 minutes away in the growing season's height during a pandemic is no easy task. Solution: document "The Unattended Garden." My neighbors Harry & Joanne mowed the grass and watered the pot of caladiums (only when they got dramatic). The Holland family came and pulled out my veggies and mulched the beds, and I came over about every 3 weeks for an hour of speed weeding. That was all the attention the garden got. For me, this was a good lesson on why my favorite plants are my favorite; they are beautiful on their own! I hope you enjoy these pictures, and it inspires you to plant some of my favorites in your life.
I know, I know, this was before I left, but Winter Aconite (Eranthis) are just so wonderful! No muss, no fuss, just pure joy when you need them in late January -March. They spread like crazy from bulb and seed to form a blanket of yellow joy and then are gone by the time you are ready to mow. One of my absolute favorites!
Check out Amy Holland Pottery
Mary and I have known each other for years. We taught in the same district, and I taught her two girls. Recently I got to know Mary a lot better when she gave me a bag of her husband Chuck's shirts and ties to make Bearlooms for her grandsons, and a Hareloom for her granddaughter. For me, it is about telling the story, and to do that, I have to listen. Mary told me all about Chuck and shared his obituary. I learned about a remarkable man who lived with passion.
We talked about her grandchildren, two months to five years, and how they lit up his world. The oldest had dubbed him "Pop Chuck." With Mary's help, the first step of making these heirlooms was creating an original poem that spoke to each child and Pop Chuck's love for life and them.
A memento was selected for each child & I thought about a way to incorporate each piece. It had to be
- removable if they wanted to use it
- child safe
- coin - put into a bezel & sewn down
-rock - made into a pendant & sewn
- tie clip - slid over a thick layer of
the tie & cinched in with buttons
- lapel pin - back enclosed on
the heart pocket and removable only with
Pop Chuck loved many things, not the least of which was his grandchildren &
Penn State. WE ARE. . .
Hare and Bearlooms
They all have a familiar feel while being unique. Each has a pocket in the back to keep its Story Starter safe and ready to tell the "tail." (Hee, hee.)
One last touch
Heirlooms for Mary and her girls.
Mary gave me the gift of getting to know this remarkable man who put love in all he did. I hope these Hare/Bearlooms help keep happy memories present, bring comfort and help to tell his story.
If you have a story you would like to tell through an heirloom, contact me; I would love to hear about it.
As a kid, I took it for granted that my siblings and I had a Home Base in our parents. They were a constant who created a safe space even when you messed up. They instilled a sense of discipline, work ethic, compassion, service, and love of family. They extended this not only to their six children but also to our friends. Early in my teaching career, it became evident that not all children had a Home Base. This realization made me more grateful for that gift, and I actively tried to become a Home Base for my students and people I met.
Since my father passed away, I am very aware that Home Base is a two way street for Mom and me. So naturally, I moved in March when there was talk of quarantine. While at Mom's, I had the floors refinished and painted my home's walls fresh for my return. In July, my sister/other-mother said, "Since the house was in such good shape, it's the perfect time to sell and move in permanently with Mom." My first response was, "What are you talking about!" but Mom and I were on board within two days! It took a few weeks to get ready, and once on the market, my home sold in 1 day!
Now you know why my business and blog have been quiet for some time. Remember When Studio is settled and ready to resume creating again from Home Base. It is my wish that you have also found your Home Base.
My father gave me a sewing machine for Christmas my freshman year because my major in college was Home Economics. I remember thinking, "Why would he give me this, I don't even sew!" Who knew it would be one of the greatest gifts I ever got.
So I understand when people wonder why you would teach a kid to sew. Sewing has served me well, into many ways to count.
Of course, it is helpful to know the basics:
Top 5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Sew
#1 - Empowerment
Taking a flat piece of fabric and making it into something you can use is very empowering. Tip: When sewing with kids, help them choose projects they don't have to wear, and where straight and accurate seams are not critical.
This is a quilt that my nieces and nephews made for their Mom. They each drew a picture, and then I helped them translate that to the fabric. It is such a great snapshot in time.
I taught at Donegal Middle School and often made quilt wall hangings. This served two functions.
During the 2020 pandemic quarantine, Mom and I made 1009 facemasks to donate to people and organizations in need. This gave us a great purpose that helped others while filling our days.
I used Jed and Kate's invitation to create a ring bearer pillow to be used in their wedding. The white hearts on the left of the orange hearts represent Jed's family. Kate's family is on the right. The fabric is an old linen napkin from Jed's Grandma.
This was my first Bearloom. The fabrics come from my Mother's lambswool coat, Dad's Christmas blazer, Grandma's blue overcoat, and Grandpa's deerskin. One was made for each of my 5 siblings, and Mom and Dad.
I often think back of unwrapping that first machine and thank Papa for having such foresight. For me, sewing has been a remarkable tool to create endless solutions and close connections with people I love.
When my niece Kate asked if she could hire me to make a t-shirt quilt for Anne, my answer, of course, was, "No, but we could make one together!"
How do you deliver a quilt in the middle of a global pandemic with proper social distancing? Kate in a dino suit, of course!
The finished quilt turned out great. Anne said, "It made my year!"
Teachers/coaches give so much to so many, often never knowing the impact they have made. Many of my high school memories include Anne, and I know that she has given herself the same way to thousands of other students. Anne has been a constant in Kate's life and helped her grow into the remarkable woman she is. It feels terrific to work as a family to give a little back to her. Now she can wrap up in all those memories with the ones she loves most.
Have a person in your life you would like to honor? Contact me so we can get started.
Ect. . .
I wanted to share this story to help people know how remarkable Anne is.
This past year I saw Anne at a service for her husband. At the meal afterward, she came and asked me to sing "your team song that you wrote." At first, I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I remembered that before each swim meet, our whole team would line up and sing a revised version of "The Minute You Walked in the Joint" complete with dance moves! That was 44 years ago and umpteen students, and she remembered it!! Amazing.
I had three enviromentally friendly dishwashing detergents that didn't work so I decided to buy three more to see if I could find one that did! (I am not sponsored or connected to any of these companies. )
Here the results of my research.
The dishes were not getting clean. This is spaghetti sauce with chesse washed with Ecos. Also the three products I had, Ecos, Nature's Promise and 7th generation consistently did not clean cinnamon off my breackfast bowls. (I use a lot of cinnamon.)
Dishwasher - Bosch - set on Pot scrubber
Rinse Agent - white vinegar
dropps is what I will use from here on out and I am willing to pay a bit more because:
3 drops of dish soap (I used Method dish soap and very small drops)
1 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Results- Dishes got clean but a residue was left on metal surfaces.
Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Hospital is looking for facemasks and other donations. They are supplying instructions and materials to make them while supply lasts. Here is the email I recieved.
Thank you for your generous offer to make masks to help protect our community during the COVID-19 outbreak. The willingness of so many to step up and offer support to our patients and staff has been truly overwhelming.
Special mask-making fabric and instructions are now available for pickup (while supplies last) at our Donation & Materials Center at Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 N. Prince Street, Lancaster, every day from 7am-6pm.
How to Pick Up Material and Return Masks
Enter the stadium parking lot off Prince Street and follow directional signs around the rear of the stadium to the staging area off Clay Street. Stay in your car and our team will provide you with a bag of fabric and instructions to prepare small or average-sized masks. When completed, masks should be returned to the Donation & Materials Center in a bag identified by size.
Learn about other items we are accepting at the Donation Center here.
If you have questions, please email: LGHealthCovidDonations@pennmedicine.upenn.edu. Thank you again for your generosity and support.
Chief Strategy Officer
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
555 North Duke Street | Lancaster, PA 17604-3555
During WWII, my grandmothers did what they could to help; rolled bandages and lodged soldiers, made food basket for the needy. So when Mom and I heard there was a need to sew facemasks, we jumped at the chance to help. I am sharing what we learned, hoping it helps others who want to take up the cause.
The Bottom Line
The Fabric Patch's video is very detailed and clear to any person who sews. Mom is has used her machine for repairing clothing, but is not a sewer. I found some ways to simplify the process for Mom and me.
The Support Staff
Whitney felt that adding this quote her mother had given her would make it perfect and adding her signature was a must. Clearly she was right since Joanna, one of Annie's girls wrote, “It is the most special gift I have ever received. I love that the ‘Love “Annie’ is in her handwriting- I recognized it instantly."
Whitney and I collaborated on the Story Starter, which kept in the pocket on the back.
The result was four table runners, one for each of Annie's girls. She will live in their hearts forever and, now they can always have her at their table as well.
There was quite a bit of fabric leftover, so I helped Whitney think through some projects that she could do with it for the grand and great-grandchildren.
Want to bring a loved one to your table or back into your home. Contact me so we can talk about it.
Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.