Washing Harold

Dear Liza,

Our stufftie buddy Harold has had a busy life down in San Diego. He has been an emotional support stufftie for Madi, who is just your age and has needed lots of hugs. He has been to sleep-overs and out on bike rides through the neighborhood.

It was time for a bath. The problem is, Harold’s body is made of a knitted chenille fabric which has gotten very threadbare over the years, and we were afraid the usual washing techniques might be too much for him. So washing machine, or even hand-washing, were out.

He got baking soda. Put in a bag, sprinkled with baking soda and shaken gently, Harold looked, for a while, like a dusty snowman. I took him out on the balcony to shake him off so I didn’t make drifts in the house.

He was much cleaner, but his face, which had gotten lots of post-cheerleading, make-up laden hugs, was still schmutzy.

I rubbed gently with some dish soap, pulling off layers of color, and eventually knew I had to stop.

Here is our boy as he is, happy to be home, much loved, and a bit cleaner. He doesn’t look like he did fifteen years ago, but who does?

None of us can be bathed back in time.


Grandma Judy

Refurbishing Elephante Part 2

Dear Liza,

After I had made Elephante’s new tummy, I had to figure out how to get it back in. Some of the seams didn’t seem to match, and there were weird bulges in unexpected places. It took several hours to get it right.

Meanwhile, there was the old stuffing to deal with. Looking on youtube, I discovered that the best way to wash stuffing is to sew it up inside a pillow case and toss it in the washer! So I did, then put it in the dryer on a low setting.

Once it felt dry, we started going through the clumps of clean fluff and pulling them into smaller, fluffier bits of fluff. This took hours (oh my aching Grandma Back!) and filled FIVE grocery sacks! Since some of the fluff was still damp, we put them near the fireplace to finish drying. Mouse kept guard.

Auntie Bridgett suggested putting a heart on Elephante, because you love him. But instead of on his chest, you wanted the heart on his foot. So that is where it is.

Finally, it was time to put the newly built Elephante and his newly washed insides back together. You did a good job making sure all the parts got stuffed just right. It was fun to see our old friend come back to life!

AND, somewhere in the middle of all this, we made a bow tie for our elephantine friend! Since his new tummy looks like a vest, it only seemed fitting.

At last, he was done. He is smoother, way cleaner, and ready for your next big adventure.


Grandma Judy

Refurbishing Elephante Part 1

Dear Liza,

We sure were busy while you were in Portland! Our biggest job was refurbishing your big stuffed animal, Elephante. This is what he looked like before we started.

There wasn’t anything wrong with him, but his tummy fur was getting thin and we knew he was dirty from four years of being your favorite sleep buddy.

First, I used my seam ripper to open a hole big enough to pull out all of his old stuffing. Then we filled the bathtub with warm soapy water and let him soak for a while. We gave him several good rinses.

To get most of the water out, we rolled him up in a big towel, just like a sushi roll. Then he spent some time in the dryer. He was so fluffy when he came out!

I used the seam ripper again to remove the fur that made his tummy, and used that fabric to make a pattern for his NEW tummy. The nice flat grey we got at Cool Cottons will make a fine replacement.

I will tell you the rest of Elephante’s story tomorrow.


Grandma Judy