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!!]