Column: Memory bears & pillows made locally in Chilton

Published 9:52 am Monday, January 29, 2024

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

Wendy Stiles of Clanton knows what it is like to lose a loved one and miss that person’s hugs.

“In 2015, I had an aunt that passed away, and within the same year I also lost my uncle and Daddy,” said Stiles. “My cousin contacted me and asked me to sew something like a memory pillow. I told her to send me something button down like a shirt, that way when it gets dirty you can unbutton it and throw it in the washer.”

Since then, Stiles has created many memory pillows to remember loved ones by, including some from her late father’s clothes. This month, Stiles opened “Wendy’s Memory Creations” from her home to offer her sewing services to the community, with the option of having a memory teddy bear or pillow made from loved ones clothes.

“These bears are made from the (sentiment) of their loved ones to keep with them always,” said Stiles. “When I have a moment and cry I know I can still hug my Daddy. It’s not the real thing but it’s his shirt or her shirt in a bear that has arms to hug back.”

Bears and pillows may also serve as keepsake items to pass on to the next generation and may be made from items such as baby clothes or blankets.

As for Stiles’ reason on choosing a bear, she said they are known for their consoling nature.

“I like teddy bears because people tend to think of getting a ‘bear hug,’” said Stiles. “They are so comforting and squishy. Everyone needs a hug sometimes.”

The cost of making a bear depends on the size, ranging from $45 for 14 inches, $65 for 18 inches and $85 for 22-inch bears. Turnaround time to make a bear is usually a week. Add-ons for bears such as embroidery, lace and pockets may be added for additional costs. All bears are hand cut, stuffed and hand sewn to close the bear.

Stiles also enjoys quilting and crocheting. She is currently working on a project of making smaller bears for “Operation Christmas Child” shoeboxes.

For more information, contact Wendy’s Memory Creations at 205-245-9220.