Warm & Fuzzy: A DIY Present Remembering Pets Past

The Past...

Back in June, my mom and I were working together to clear out some old boxes when we came upon what looked to be a mangled pile of worn out yarn.  Pulling it from the box, my mom's eyes instantly welled with tears and she hugged it to her.  "Do you know what this is?"  I thought that I did but I waited for her to continue anyway.  "This was Teddy's sweater.  He wore it when he went out in the cold, and carried it around and slept with it the rest of the year.  He loved it so much."

Teddy had been my parents first dog.  A medium size mutt of ill-repute, he was notorious for some of his less-than-angelic behavior - jumping onto the coffee table in the middle of a dinner party and helping himself to the dip; leaving friendly little "deposits" behind their favorite chair; faking a limp to get sympathy & doggie treats (they figured it out when he used the wrong paw).  But, more importantly, Teddy was known for his giant, fuzzy heart and fantastic sense of humor (He used to slink under a blanket at the bottom of their bed and then walk around the house completely covered, like some short, four-legged, blue ghost.  We're pretty sure he did it just to make my parents laugh).  He had, in a sense, been my parents first child. 

My mom wiped her eyes and looked at the sweater again.  She pulled at some of the threads where Teddy had torn it over years of use.  Smiling a watery smile she said, "Well, I guess it's silly to keep it, now."  And with one last hug, she tucked it into the trash bag.

Later that evening, I snuck back to the bag and reclaimed the sweater.  Some things are just too important to be let go.

The partially destroyed Puppy Sweater
The Plan...

It took me a little while to figure out what I was going to do with the well-loved heap o' strings.  Finally it occurred to me: what better time to celebrate the blessings in our lives (including the silly, messy, wonderfully-ridiculous and incredibly furry ones) than Christmas?  And what better way to showcase them than on the memory-laden tree?  Below, the quick and easy steps I took to turn this precious but impractical remembrance into a cherished Christmas keepsake.

The Parts & Procedure... 

1. Teddy's Sweater   2. Ribbons & a framed charm of Teddy   3.  A needle, thread and fabric shears
1.  I decided to use what remained of the sweater to my advantage.  Leaving one of the sleeves in tact (at what would be the wrist when I was done), I cut a mitten shape out of the doubled material.

2. Turning the shape inside out and aligning the two flaps, I hand stitched a quick seam around the perimeter.

3.  I tied a small loop of ribbon and sewed it into one corner of the mitten before turning it back to the front.  To make sure that the seams would stay neat, I gave the fabric a quick press with the iron on a low setting.

4.  I had found a beautiful little double-sided picture locket at the local craft store (in the jewelry making section).  Before attaching it to the mitten, I inserted a picture of the smiling fuzzy beast that was so loved.  On the opposite side of the locket I printed and inserted a sweet (and perfectly apropos) quote from Marley & Me, by John Grogan:
"Dogs are great.  Bad dogs, if you can really call them that, are, perhaps, the greatest of them all."

5.  A few coordinating ribbons were tied to the top of the locket, and then, with a few quick stitches, I attached it to the center of the sweater-turned-ornament.  Voila!  A small but meaningful memento that would inspire the retelling of many a Teddy story over the Christmases to come. 

The Present... 

A few weeks later, I watched as my mom opened a small wrapped box, lined with tissue paper.  Again, her eyes filled with tears and she hugged the package to her, as though it were a long-lost friend.  From treasure to trash to treasure again, Teddy's sweater has now become a permanent part of our Christmas traditions and the perfect Past Present.


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