Monday, December 29, 2008

Holidays almost done....

Christmas is over
The people are getting fat
Time to start exercising
And all of that.....

Time to think about memory bears for family and friends. There was a lot of reminiscing when you all got together during the holidays. Some was about folks no longer with you, ones dear to the heart. Someone probably still has a favorite shirt, dress, jacket, blanket that belonged to them. Why not get some memory bears made for yourself and family? Check out my Bellybutton Bears site, especially the FAQ page and see if I can help.

Some points:
  • I can make a bear out of almost anything.
  • You can combine up to 22 different fabrics in the bear if you choose to.
  • You can have photos on the bear, on the vest, just ask.
  • If you have photos, but no clothing left, we can find an appropriate fabric and still make you a great memory bear.
  • Ornaments - you can order with a bear, or just order ornaments. Big group and can't do bears for all of them? Ornaments are the way to go, and you can have a photo on them too. Just ask me.
  • Gift certificates? yes!
  • Last but not least - stories [books]. There is the original Bellybutton Bear Legend, and now the first in an ongoing series of Bellybutton Bear stories - the Oregon Trail story.

Lots of options, and each bear is a hand crafted heirloom treasure, that fits your family.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It was a busy, busy fall with little time to write pieces for the web, update my website or any of that! Looking forward to a productive new year, here is our Christmas greeting:

We made it through the year
And a wonderful year it was
Making many new bears and friends
Who remain in memory because...

Every story and box in the door
Brought tears & memories within
Each to become an heirloom bear
To cherish & hold memories for kin.

Every memory is handled with love
From beginning to end, each bear
Is a job I do with heart
To help everyone show they care.

Thank you Bear Lovers one & all
For trusting me with your treasure
I wish you safe & happy holidays
& God's Blessings in full measure.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Denise & Bellybutton Bears

Friday, August 29, 2008

More Memory Bear bits......

A customer recently noted, when we spoke on the phone, that she was not aware that each bear gets a paper tag. Yes, they do. It is part of the package, so to speak, at Bellybutton Bears. If I have been sent a photo, I include it on the tag, and/or any words they may wish, to include dates, verses etc.

They also get a ribbon or something around the neck, in a complimentary color, and that is what the tag hangs on. It is made out of cardstock, and can be left on the bear or removed and put away.

Bears arms and legs are normally attached with heavy upholstery thread and buttons. This is an old style joint method used by many early doll makers. I use buttons from the garments you send, if there are any and they are the right kind. If not, I have a few pounds of buttons to select from! Each bear also gets a bellybutton, even if it has something on it that hides the bellybutton. Eyes are made from buttons as well, and you may request the color you prefer.

I can add a photo or embroidery to a vest, chest or footpad. There is an extra charge if I add embroidery or photos to a bear, because it takes a bit extra time and effort. My sister does the embroidery for me.

Part of this may have been covered before - but things I take for granted with the bears are sometimes just totally new to someone else!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Memory Bears for Christmas?

NOW is the time to plan your orders for Christmas gifts. May seem early but it really isn't. It takes time to craft a bear, hours in fact. Plus you want to get yours scheduled before your bear artist is backed up and has to say no.
Don't have clothing but really want a bear? Think about other items with personal connection. Linens; I've made several from blankets that came out very well. Fancy embroidered linens would make great bears as well. If you have nothing, but your person had hobbies or jobs, we may be able to find a fabric that 'speaks to you' of their interests in life. Add a photo of your person and it can still become a memory bear.

Enclosures: Inside of bears I have added photos, trinkets, ash packets. They are added to the stuffing, and sewn in.

Accessories: Bears have had neckties, necklaces, earrings, pins etc added. This is something you can add to your bear yourself, or send to be included in the crafting of the bear.
They might be something very personal for the recipient.

Anytime you have bear questions, just drop me a line - it doesn't commit you to anything and I'm happy to help.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Can you put (blank) in a memory bear? What about....

Several questions have come up this summer, that I had not thought to put on my FAQ page.
Yes, I can add items to the stuffing in the bear; ie, packet of ashes, special beads, photos, music box. I don't put in zippers, just add the item when I stuff and stitch.
Yes, I can 'patchwork' your bear; ie, make it out of several different garments. NO problem and happy to do it.
Yes, I can make bears out of sweaters - if the knit is really loose, I'll stabilize with lining but most just need a little TLC and special stuffing.
Special color for the eyes? Absolutely, just let me know.
Jewelry or trinkets added to the bear? Sure, makes them special, so just send them along.
Need it sewn WITHOUT buttons? I can do that too.
Need a gift certificate for a friend? Yes, no problem!

Have another question not listed? Just ask!! Communication is not my middle name, but close! Truly, I want folks to ask their questions and take the time to choose just exactly what they want their bear made from. After all, these are MEMORY Teddy Bears, and should be special.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grrrrrrrunt, whoof, snort....

or however a bear sounds on a blog!! Complaining about the heat you see. Perhaps I should fill the kiddy pool and make like a polar bear!

Summer always does this to me, especially if I don't get moving fast enough in the morning while it is still cool.

Even tho bears are a priority around here, summer is also the time when we trim bushes and trees, weedeat and/or mow down the weeds and grasses that grow across our small acreage to lesson the fire danger, and fight with the drip system until it works 'just right' [you notice that hint of Goldilocks in there, right??]

Updating the website just a touch, clarifying that folks CAN purchase memory bear ornaments even if they do not purchase a Memory Bear - all these things take time, and soon summer will be gone again. If you have a Memory Bear question, or just want to chat, drop me a line at

YES, we offer Gift Certificates!! Just let me know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thank you Denise Richards!

From one Denise to another, thank you for sharing your memory bears on 'reality' TV. This has created an increased awareness of memory bears, more phone calls, more emails, more folks excited about having a bear made.
No, they were not Bellybutton Bears! Doesn't matter, we appreciate the renewed interest in bears, and the chance to help folks preserve their memories. One nice lady noted that I make bear ornaments as well. No, you do not have to order a complete bear to be able to get ornaments; you can order just ornaments. Any time. Don't wait until Christmas.
Again, thank you Denise Richards ~ your timing was great and we share your delight in memory bears.
God Bless,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Busy in the Bear Den

I know, a while since I've growled out there, or snuffled around. Been too busy for anything!

The bears were keeping all my spare time occupied up until May, then it was the last full month of sschool with a huge field trip. All went very well, and we wrapped up at school last week. I stay a number of days after the kids and then the teachers leave. However, now I'm home for the summer [theoretically] and a good thing because I am so behind at home and have more bears hollering/growling for my attention!
Things like getting my home drip system active again, because summer seems to suddenly be here. Trimming bushes, dead wood out of trees, sorting my wood piles [some is for crafts, some to burn], and so on. Exploring at least one place for a future field trip. Visiting with family. Spending a bit of time with my Mom getting her drip system up and going again, and maybe a kink or two out of her new computer. Going to the coast with sister Linda whenever I can help out because her hubby is still planting like crazy and she can't do it alone. Just stuff to keep us busy!!!
At any rate, I'm here to help with bears whenever I can, just drop me an email. Ask any questions you have.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Teddy Bears Picnic

Taking the bears on a picnic today. Not really, just an outing! There is an expo/craft fair locally today and in a weak moment I thought sure, why not? So the 'spec' bears may find a new den to go to. These are ones I made just for fun. One of my own bears will go along to chaperone and show off just what you can do with a loved one's clothing. This is my Herb bear, made from my Dad's western shirt and jeans [his favorite clothing style].
Dumb Dora will attend as well ~ my headless dress form, clothed in a garment from Oh My Gaudy . An assortment of primitive and rustic frames, note cards, kid kits, books etc from the Homestead Store will be there, signature t's from Oh My Gaudy, and lots of advertising handouts.
Tomorrow it will be back to making bears!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a trip!!

Mama Bear is back....but been busy with bears [of course]. Several very patient customers were waiting my return, with their orders already waiting at my house. Coveralls, shirts, cords, bathrobes - I've made bears out of all those in the past two weeks. Plus one pet bed. Bears out of clothing make really special memories for folks.
I'll put in a photo or two later, but right now, I've bears to wrap!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bears head south

Spring is here and time for a road trip south to see the grands. Hubby is guarding the den at home, bears in process are slumbering while they wait for my return. The workshop will be running at full tilt again by April 1st, so don't despair!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

How DID they get their bellybutton?

I'm talking about Bellybutton Bears and their bellybutton. Yes, every single bear that I make has a bellybutton. Even if they have a shirt or something else on, take a peak. There is a bellybutton! First, it sounded cute. Second, it looked cute. Then I wrote a story about how the first one got it's bellybutton. "The Bellybutton Legend" is an original story that I wrote, print and bind. In the works is a series of Bellybutton Bear stories, following them through history. All stories will be 'family safe'.
Some folks, when ordering a bear, send their own buttons for eyes and bellybuttons. However, if they do not, I have pounds which I go through until I find just the right ones for each individual bear. Sometimes it takes quite a while, because...they have to fit the bear, the personality, the feeling I have gotten from communicating with the customer.
So there you are - you still don't know how they got their bellybutton do you? hmmmm......

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bears from clothing

Sometimes it is not clear to folks, but our bears are almost always made from clothing. They are not boughten bears. I plan the layout, pin, cut, and assemble each bear. The majority of the memory bears are made from clothing sent by the customer. It may have belonged to a relative or friend, young or old. When the recipient looks at the finished bear, they 'see' the special person. The bear gives them something to hold on to, not just a garment packed away in the closet or a box.
Once in a while we locate a theme pattern fabric for a customer, because they do not have 'that special garment'. Then a photo they share, phrase or hobbies added to a memory vest or tag will again carry on the memories they want to keep or share.
Bellybutton Bears has pictures and more information - drop by!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bear's eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy!

Actually that should start with 'Mares' instead of 'Bears' but this IS the bear den, right? How many of you knew that is what that saying was, as opposed to "Mares e doats 'n' dose e doats and little lamsey divey" ?? Your trivia for the day....
How about a little trivia on how Bellybutton Bears started?

'Grandpa' Panda and 'Greatgrandpa' Goldie are old and worn, tattered and torn. They are not going to be reconditioned or restored, because they earned every smudge and stain through many years as the companions and friends of children. Goldie belonged to my father, who was born in 1918. Over 90 years allows you some wear and tear! Panda is a youngin', maybe 60, and I don't remember him ever not being there for me. Teddy (not pictured) is about the same age, but lives with a sister. These bears homesteaded in Alaska, moved to Arizona and back up to Oregon. Additional bears started moving in on us a few years back, and then I made one for the eldest grandson. From that, Bellybutton Bears was born. Other bears live here, squeezed in with tea cups, and fabric, junk and dust that we collect, but there is always room for another. They gather on top of my computer desk at work...and crawl right into your heart. They know all the words to 'Teddy Bears Picnic' [which used to be the theme song for the 'Big John and Sparky' radio show for kids--old Alaskan homesteaders knew those radio shows by heart!].

After the first few bears, I started making bears to hold memories; a special piece of clothing from Grandma, or Dad, or a child or spouse was turned into a lasting memory that could be hugged, held, and loved.

I make birth bears for newborns, with their name and birthdate on a vest, and pet bears for folks who have lost a cat, dog, horse.....
Whether it is for memories of someone special who has passed, or to commemorate an event - you can't go wrong with a bear!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Snow days and grow days....

Talked to my sons in Arizona yesterday and today. Grands had a snow day Friday! Not their usual for mid February, not south of Tucson.

Sonoita had 4", Nogales only an inch or so. Who would have thought?

The bear on the right was made to start a memory, not from a memory. Letty loves green, then the vest has SW motif on the right and a Tlingit Raven on the left - combining things my daughter in law loves with a touch of my son's heritage.

Most of my bears ARE memory bears, made from someone's clothing. However birth bears, retirement bears, anniversary bears, just because you care bears...they are all good!
These little guys were for grandson Johnathon when he was born last year. One on the left to play with, and one on the right to save as it has the special vest with his name and birthdate on it.
He is almost a year old and growing like crazy. I am taking the two great grannies with me to Arizona to visit in March. We'll have a great time with all 4 of my grands, and will visit a nephew in California on the way. He has a new little guy that we have not seen either. Yes, he also received a bellybutton bear!!


I probably won't do any better at keeping this one up than the other, but my bear family deserves some attention as well. Welcome to the blog for Bellybutton Bears, Memory teddy bears made from the clothing of a loved one, to hold special memories for your family and friends.
Snow has stopped, maybe! We can still see it, but our area is melted away. Yesterday we had warm sunshine and it started to feel like spring. However, past experience tells me not to get tooooo excited about that. The week we moved into our current den, 33 years ago near the end of February, it was t-shirt weather and a true blessing for the moving process. We've had many February days like that in the years since. We've also had freezing, snow etc. March has often had it's own surprises, once a snowfall of 17 inches almost overnight. Rarely have we managed a spring break week in March without rain and a spit of snow, rather like a last taunting of winter.

Many of you have asked about the upcoming trip with 'the Moms' ~ and how plans progress! I am collecting several alternate route plans from friends who know the southern Cal area well. We have added a stop at Camp Pendleton because our nephew Brandon is stationed there, and Gma Helen has not seen him in a couple years, or the new greatgrandbaby! Yes, this IS a trip to see grandbabies!

Meanwhile, work is busier than ever as we have several ongoing projects at our school, including better organizing of some grant areas that were not in my office previously. [I did however get to go to a conference that was at the coast, wahoo!!]