Sunday, May 25, 2014

Awareness bracelets

Photo courtesy of remeberingourbabies.net
Grandpa's bracelet is a little discolored and the white lettering has disappeared, but I think it has held up surprisingly well for the four years of continuous wear. It's says, "Grandpa of an Angel," and often I see him look at it, then adjust it around his arm so the lettering is on top of his wrist.

I bought the awareness bracelets four years ago from rememberingourbabies.net for my husband and me, our son, the grandparents, and the aunts and uncles. The online store didn't sell bracelets for cousins at the time, but they have them now!

These silicone bracelets were inexpensive ($3 each) but had a tremendous impact when I passed them out during a Heaven Day celebration.

Link to store: http://www.rememberingourbabies.net/store/WsDefault.asp?Cat=AwarenessBracelets-Silicone

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Prayer pillow

Here's another idea for ways to use a loved one's clothing!

The front of this pillow includes the black tank top and pocket from my favorite pair of jeans - both of which I wore that first day in the hospital. All of the other pieces are from Izzy's clothes. I can remember where she wore each piece! For stuffing, I filled the inside with sleepwear.

In the front pocket I keep a little notebook and I made a holder for my favorite pen.

This prayer pillow isn't perfect by any means - mismatched stitches, uneven sides - but it gives me something to hold onto when my arms long to hold her.



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Making memorial gifts from loved one's clothing

 I have three pink bins where I have stored my daughter's clothes for the last six-and-a-half years. One labeled "hanging", one labeled "dresser" and one bin that contained her blankets, bibs, wash cloths and towels.

I hoped a day would come when I would know what to do with those items, but I feared the most I could ever do with the bins was open them, touch a few pieces of fabric, then - overcome by emotion - close and restack the bins in the guest bedroom closet. It'd happened dozens of times and I couldn't imagine that changing.

Bag, pin and bookmark made from clothes worn by Isabelle
But change happened this fall. I found myself alone in the guest bedroom one evening, overcome by grief as I touched pieces of her clothing. My five-year-old son busted through the door and, with his hands on his hips, said, "I was lookin' all over for you!"

His silly grin disappeared when he saw that I was crying and he slid in next to me - so sensitive with such a big heart.

"Mommy?" he said, touching my leg. "Why are you sad?"

I explained that I was looking through Isabelle's clothes and it made my heart hurt that I couldn't see her. He knew his sister well, although he'd never met her. We had photos around the house, her favorite bear that became his favorite stuffed animal, and a book with every picture that was taken of her during her four months of life.

Yet Wyatt was only five and I wasn't about to crush his little spirit with my grief, so I began packing the clothes back into the bin. But just as I was about to snap the lid closed, Wyatt's hand shot into the bin, latched on to a little sundress, then yanked it out of the bin.

I gasped, but Wyatt wore a giant smile as he held the pink and orange sundress up to his little chest. "Do do-do doot do!" he said, waggling his body back and forth.

I felt a smile tugging at the corners of my lips, but I struggled with the feeling that the fabric was sacred. It couldn't be tugged or torn. Misuse meant that I wasn't properly tending to her memory.

Just then Wyatt's hand shot back into the bin and he pulled out a flowery sunhat that he plunked on his head. "How do I look?"
Pin and eyeglasses case

Wyatt dug deeper and pulled out a No. 2-sized diaper. "A diaper, mommy? Really?"

"At least it's not a dirty diaper!" I said and Wyatt bust out in a belly laugh so deep I couldn't help but laugh myself.

This went on for a good hour as we went through all three of those pink bins. I told him stories about where his sister wore the various outfits and he put pants on his head, pushed his hands into baby socks and tied footie pajamas around his waist. Then we carefully packed the clothes away again. Somehow, the pieces of clothing didn't feel so sad anymore. Instead, they were fun pieces that brought back memories that I could share with my son about the beautiful baby we had before he was even born.

From there, the seed of an idea began to germinate. I could make something with her clothes. Many somethings and share them with our family - maybe for Christmas. But it was the first week in December. There didn't appear to be time. I looked online for ideas, and came across quilt-patch blankets and a memorial bear that could be made out of clothing sent to the company.

Pin made from a pocket of Isabelle's jeans and in the pocket I inserted the little quote about driving safely
I came up with my own ideas for items: eyeglasses cases, heart ornaments, bookmarks, flower pins, magnets, little bags... and the ideas are still coming (so don't be surprised if you see more posts!) I'm sharing pictures of my creations in hopes that if or when you are ready, these ideas might provide some inspiration to you. God bless!
I included tags with each of the items featuring a photo of Isabelle in the outfit that was used to make each piece.
"This little pin is special you see, because it was made with clothes worn by me"


Pin and two bookmarks - I included tags with the bookmarks that said, "Never loose your place".



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flowering crabapple

 

I love having special events in my daughter's memory, and three years ago we had a tree-planting ceremony in her memory. We chose a pink, flowering crabapple tree.

The coolest part of the ceremony, I thought, was that I gave a slip of paper and a pen to each person there, and asked them to write a favorite quote, an inspirational thought or a memory of Isabelle. They gladly took the opportunity.

The folded slips of paper were then dropped into the hole where the tree would be planted. I visualized the words giving nourishment to the roots, and today this beautiful crabapple tree continues to grow and blooms brilliant, fragrant pink flowers each spring. 

PLANTING TIPS
Before planting trees in your yard, I recommend these tips:
  • Do a quick, at-home soil test. By doing this 10-minute test, I learned that our soil was extremely low in phosphates and nitrogen. I bought Jobe tree spikes and added one to the ground when we planted the tree.
  • Make it memorable. Take pictures, read the Dragonfly poem or Gone from My Sight, or ask someone to say a prayer as everyone holds hands.
  • Call before you dig! 811 is the universal number to call. If you aren't certain about underground power lines, call 811 or vist www.call811.com for more information. In most states it's a free service to mark utility and power lines.
 
Check out photos from my memorial garden! I'll be posting new summer photos soon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shadow Box


We have a shadow box in our home with some of our favorite items: hand and foot prints in clay, Willow figures, Precious Moments figures with her initials, a sock that says "I Love Daddy," a Bible, sprigs of her "Izzy Hawk" mohawk, an angel ornament, and a little hat that she wore on a day we spent together at a craft fair.

Shadow boxes are inexpensive to purchase at Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics (especially if you have the 40% off coupon!)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Charming: Close to my heart

I am absolutely IN LOVE with my new photo charm. I have an important event coming up next weekend - the Mrs. Minnesota International Pageant - and I wanted to find a way to keep Isabelle close to my heart since she is the inspiration for this venture and at the center of my platform.

A dear friend suggested a photo charm to hang from a necklace and I knew in my heart that this small token would give me the huge emotional boost I needed.
I went on a hunt that night. I found this Brighton charm and I knew it was *perfect*!

I already had the silver necklace - a gift from my mother - and the charm slid right on. It's a solid charm with a small piece of plastic over the photo space, and comes with a super tiny screw driver to undo the screws in the back. On the back, in the center, there's a small heart that sealed the deal for me!

The photo size is approximately 1/2-inch square. I decided on my favorite picture of Isabelle, resized it to 1/2-inch and printed it on my home printer.

*My Favorite* Pebble Photo Charm ($24)

Here are a few others that I considered.
Maybe you'll find one that's perfect for you!
Things Remembered Baby Block Photo Frame ($20)
Memento Heart Photo Necklace ($52)
Memento Circle Photo Frame ($30)
Memento Square Charm ($30)

* Also, doing a search on Etsy.com turns up some incredible one-of-a-kind pieces made by talented artists.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lighting up her memory

There are so many ways to honor your child's memory, and an idea I'm especially excited about - coming up on what would be Isabelle's 6th birthday - are sky lanterns!

My sister-in-law introduced me to these incredible luminaries that are basically a hot-air balloon made out of paper. I can't wait to release them into the night sky in my daughter's memory ... I'll be sure to take pictures!

Here are some sites for sky lanterns:
Amazon (12 pack - $23.99)
Sky Lanters (various sizes, colors)
The Sky Lantern (various sizes, colors)
Wish Lantern (various sizes, colors)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Plaques of remembrance

This Christmas, my father-in-law gave us this plaque in remembrance of our daughter, Isabelle. We have a memorial garden that the plaque will go in once spring arrives.

What's particularly special about this plaque is that my memoir, "Only God Knows Why," was released in September. Some might call that a coincidence, but I am convinced that these reminders of our loved ones are given purely as gifts!

Christian stores like Lifeway and Cokesbury always have a variety of plaques. My father-in-law found the plaque - which measures about 3 feet by 2 feet - at a flower shop.

Here are a couple of other smaller plaques I have inside the house. This spring I'll share photos of the fantastic new items I have in the garden!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Merry Christmas From Heaven

The first Christmas after Isabelle passed away we received an ornament that says, "Merry Christmas From Heaven: I love you all dearly, now don't shed a tear, I'm spending my Christmas with Jesus this year." On the back, her name is engraved.

Here is the beautiful poem by John Wm. Mooney Jr. that came with it:

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM HEAVEN

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights

I still feel your love 
on cold wintry nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares

I'll even remind you

to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud

You stand head and shoulders

above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace

I came here before you

to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time

He forgives you the slip

If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today

I'm still close beside you

In a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year
 
 
 
 
We have since received some wonderful ornaments that remind us of our little angel.
"Every life leaves something wonderful behind"


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Memory book

One of the first things I did after Isabelle passed away was to gather up every single picture that was taken of her during our four months together, then I used an online scrapbooking site to put together a photo book featuring pictures, milestones and favorite quotes.

I struggled with cutting any of the pictures I had of her, which is why I chose to create the memory book online. Even though we had digital copies of each and every photo stored on our computers, on a separate hard drive and burned onto CDs, I couldn't bring myself to cut the ones I could hold in my hands.

Also, some days it was too hard for me to work on the scrapbook, and all I had to do was turn off my monitor and it would be put away until I was ready. I also worried that having paper, scissors, glue and other scrapbooking supplies on the kitchen table would make the project stressful for me.

Now, my 4-year-old son, Wyatt, loves to snuggle up with me on the couch and go through the pages that tell the story of the sister he never met.

FAVORITE SITES
www.walgreens.com - Nothing fancy here, but I'm a fan of the variety of sizes of books that they have available on their site because the templates are easy to use and the end result is a quality piece, but inexpensive.
www.mixbook.com
www.shutterfly.com