Our company, Final Embrace, also runs a website called Treasured Memory Bears, where we sell custom-made teddy bears, constructed from clothing of a client’s loved one.

The bears are made from the actual fabrics of the clothing and mean a lot to the folks who receive them.

This year, our family lost a few of the older members:  my grandfather Thurman Totten, my grandfather Ronald Skipper and my aunt’s mother-in-law Josephine “Dodie” Gallenkamp.

 My grandmother, Patricia Skipper (pictured above), who spent so many months caring for my grandfather, decided to put her sewing skills to use and make our bears for the family.

So I taught her how to make a bear.  I gave her eyes and noses from my supply.  I made some suggestions about accessorizing the bears with pockets, ties, etc.

Then, she went to work.  She put a lot of love and detail into each of them.

Here’s just a few of the bears she made, and the reactions they brought from my family:

James Skipper with his U.S. Air Force-themed bear from his dad’s clothes

Blanche Totten, my grandmother, with a bear made from Thurman’s work shirt

My dad, Lynn Totten (he also makes our quilted cot covers)

My niece, Sterling, with her “Grandpa Skipper” bear

My aunt, Sally Gallenkamp, with bears from each of her fathers

She ended up making almost 30 bears this year.  Here’s 18 of them, with their owners: