In considering the softie-making trend in the craft community, I sometimes find myself thinking wistfully about the cute little end products.  Then, I give myself a mental shake and remind the wistful little part of my brain that my goal is to declutter and make things with useful purpose.

Still, they’re so cute.

I thought I would share the first softie ever made for me.  When I was born, my mother’s brother made Sugar Bear for me.  I think (given the butterfly “tattoo” patch on the buttock that has not been photographed in order to maintain ursine dignity) that Sugar Bear was meant to be a girl, but he was always a “he” to me.

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Uncle Lyle doesn’t, at first glance, seem to be the softie-making type.  He’s an athlete and a coach by trade, a father of sons, and now a grandfather of grandsons.  But he made me Sugar Bear.  A softie.

Compared to the incredibly-designed and perfectly-assembled softies I see floating around craft blogs these days, I suppose Sugar Bear’s dual-toned felt and two-dimensional structure don’t rate as a grand achievement.  However, as a gift made by a man in his twenties for his first niece, I think it’s pretty darn great.

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Look at that shy smile.  I can’t look at it and not smile, myself.

(And, as an aside, take a look at how the color in that brown DMC floss has held up.  33 years, countless moves, many runs through the dryer for dust removal, and thousands of hours of sunlight streaming onto my bed (and now my younger son’s bed), and it’s still a dark, rich brown.)

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