Grandpa Bears (or Our Thanksgiving Surprise)

When my grandpa passed away, my grandma immediately wanted us to remove his things from their apartment. I totally understood why she wanted us to do that and most of his things were either easy enough to get rid of or someone was going to take to their house (like his computer so we could get all important things off of it). But when we were in his closet, we weren’t 100% what we wanted to do with all of his clothes.

Some of the things we set aside for various family members to keep, but most of it was going to be donated to a charity. While I liked the idea of donating his clothes, I thought it might be nice to keep some of it for us to remember him by. My grandpa had some epic and colorful sweaters and didn’t want to donate those.

Grandpa Sweaters

Then I remembered seeing on a website at some point that people turn baby clothes into bears to have as keepsakes from when their kids were little. I figured if you could do that with baby clothes, we could do that with my grandpa’s clothes too. My mom and dad decided to help with the plan, and only my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Steve knew about it as well.

So I did some searching online and found several people who make memory bears. But the person who made the ones that looked best to me and my mom was Paula of Paula’s Bears. She totally understood that we had multiple sweaters and wanted to create mix and match patchwork bears. So everyone would have the same sweaters on their bear, but all the bears would look a little different. I also had some of my grandpa’s ties and Paula said we could use those for the hands and feet.

Paula was undertaking a big project for us, but fortunately we got her the sweaters and ties in April and we didn’t need the bears back until October. I had asked Paula if she could take pictures of the bears as they were being worked on because I knew we’d all love to see the process of making them.

Sweater PatternBuilding The Sweater

She cut each sweater into a bear and then mixed and matched the pieces. So each bear had a part of every sweater on it. Some had the same sweater in the same spot, but they were all a bit different.

Bear

Bears

Every time I got an update from Paula, I passed it on to my parents and we were all shocked and amazed at how the bears looked. We had no idea how they would look when they were in bear form, but Paula did such a great job making them all look perfect.

The bears were shipped to my parents house (my mom added various fraternity pins, boy scout things, and my grandpa’s dog tags to each bear to make them even more unique) and when they got the bears out of the box and lined up, we joked that we created a bear army.

Bear Army

We made enough bears for one for each single person or one for a couple to share (as an example, I get a bear but my parents will share a bear). I know that I will treasure this bear for forever and I hope that the rest of the family feels the same way about them.

Having Paula make these bears for us is such a nice way to remember someone by that doesn’t feel morbid or weird to keep in your house. I’m not totally sure where my bear will live in my house, but I know I’ll find the perfect spot for him.

If any of you are looking to have a memory or keepsake bear made, I highly recommend using Paula for them. She took so much care in making sure each bear was perfect and those touches really made all the difference. I know that tomorrow is Small Business Saturday and I really encourage you all to participate in that. Small businesses are sometimes just someone working out of their home and they can make the item you are buying even more special.

I know that having Paula¬†was the perfect person to make these bears for my family and I’m so happy that I found her online. I know that for any future projects similar to the bears, I will be going back to her immediately. I’ve been wanting to tell you all about Paula and the bears for months, but I had to keep it a secret so that we could surprise the family. I’m glad that I can finally share her with you now!

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