Vicki's Memory Bears
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Table runner created from neck ties


Pillow with horse photo and framed in ribbons ($30); Bear from riding pants, trimmed in ribbons ($60)


Retired neck tie wall hanging ($125)


Mom's Red, White and Blue Shirts ($55/each)


Dad's Sweater ($55/each)


Son's Shirt with Heart Pocket ($55)

Memories are sacred. They are meant to be cherished especially when there is a loss. Loss can come in many different forms. As a child grows up, parents go through hints of loss as they put their daughter’s first dance recital dress away in the chest of memories. They lay aside moments of time when they hang up their child’s first Cub Scout uniform that no longer fits or put their child’s first communion dress away for storage.

Vicki Andrews decided to take memories and do something with them. She wanted them to be embraced and experienced by all who came into a home.

She first got the idea when she did not want to part with her daughter’s skirt. Her daughter is an adult now, but when she was 5-years-old she and her daughter embroidered a skirt together. It was precious to her. When Andrews moved, she carted it clear across the country with her. Instead of putting it in the closet, she decided to be creative.

Andrews had sewn most of her life and she developed quite a business on the side. She sewed for prominent business women, proms and weddings. She could sew just about any outfit from any fabric.

Wayne, the man of her dreams who is her biggest cheerleader in life, encouraged her to start another business. They were sharing one day and she decided to turn her daughter’s skirt into a teddy bear. Now, whenever she talks to her daughter on the phone or thinks of her, she grabs her memory bear and holds onto it.

Wayne is her encourager whom she met much later in life. He has helped her a great deal in her personal life and he decided to encourage her in a new business endeavor. Andrews wanted to help others hold onto their memories and make them into a priceless gift that will be cherished forever.

A woman from Arizona contacted her. Her husband had passed away and she had four children and 11 grandchildren and she wanted them to remember him. The woman sent 10 of her husband’s flannel shirts and Andrews sewed 16 precious teddy bears for each of the deceased man’s grandchildren, children and wife to hold, sleep and cuddle with. His clothes no longer had to be kept away. They were now something they could all remember him by every day and hold in bed as they went to sleep.

Alice Foster, and her husband Jim had a garden that was featured in “Better Homes and Garden.” Her husband landscaped the whole yard and they received an eight page spread in the magazine. Shortly after, the article was done, at 53 years old he got a cough and in three weeks was dead from lung cancer.

Alice wrote Andrews. She sent her a copy of the magazine and explained to her that Jim lived in his landscaping shirts and was hoping she could create bears out of them.

Andrews made three bears, one for his wife and two for their children. She also took the logo from his work shirts, “Jim Foster and Company”, and placed them on pockets on each of the bears.

The woman also wanted to sleep with her husband’s pajama tops so she had them made into a bear for her to hold at night.

Andrews considers this to be a privilege. “People trust that I am not going to destroy something that is very precious to them. They want me to transform their memory into something special. They are taking a leap of faith in me.”

Because of this, Andrews has never requested a deposit, but she has always been paid. The Hartville resident has made over a couple hundred bears and is established in 18 states.

Andrews also makes portraits that are intimately drawn in colored pencil and graphite pencil. She has only been creating them for about five years.


Aunt Ruth Portrait
(Black and White Photo from 1940: $100)

Wayne saw her draw hands and encouraged her to try faces. Faces have always intrigued her and she has been able to capture a person’s face with much depth. “When I finish them, I feel like I knew them. It definitely is an intimacy and a thing of love.”

She would like for you to decide if you would like the item laundered or leave the smell as is. An aftershave or the smell of a person will be captured with the bear if not laundered. If there is a spot or a stain that you want remembered with the fabric, make sure she knows you want that to be a part of the bear.

Send a description of how you would like the bear and email to info@vickismemorybears.com or mail to Vicki Andrews P.O. Box 361 Hartville, Ohio 44632.

*Much of the information above appeared in The Suburbanite article (click here) from 11/29/2007

 

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