Wednesday, December 8, 2010


After Joshua died, our nurses were extremely caring. They made sure that we got every last detail of Joshua documented so that we could have as many memory keepsakes as possible.

They took his hand prints. Cut locks of his hair for us. Gave us blankets, pictures, foot prints, baskets, boxes, etc.

One of the things that I love the most is this.

They were so careful to hold Joshua just above the plaster to get good foot prints. They were cautious in letting it set long enough to pop out of the tray. They cringed when the heart broke.

I smiled. How fitting. A broken heart.

They apologized over and over about cracking the heart. They offered to make a new one for us. I said no.

I loved it just how it was. Broken heart and all. 

Just like Joshua.

Thank you all so much for your suggestions about what to do with Joshua's clothes and the foot prints. I think we have an idea of what we are going to do with both of them! I truly appreciate all of the great suggestions! I'll share what we are going to do once we have them finished! :o)


Kelli B said...

I will ask my mom. She is going to do this for my kid's. Not sure how long it will take her though. I will mention it to her!

Mommy E said...

I have a HEAVY huge plaster picture from when I was a kid, we broke the darn thing in like 6 peices. My grandmother used heavy duty plastic coated wire to hold it together like a setting holds a jewel. worked great. she got it wired so it held together and when it hung up the wire kinda cradled the picture while holding it together. Hope that Helps!

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

Mommy E- did she do it herself or take it somewhere? I'm not confident enough in myself to do it and i don't know where to even begin looking to get it done.

Our Family said...

What a beautiful keepsake! You will really cherish these things as time goes on. The night Luke died, no one saved any of his hair, no one made molds of his feet, nothing. It is something I still grapple with each day. I even talked about it on my blog a few months ago:
I just wanted to share what a beautiful gift you have in these concrete things that belonged to Joshua. What a handsome little man he you have!

Seams Inspired said...

Jill...I am by no means an expert at mounting plaster. Here's my suggestion for displaying. What about attaching heavy-duty velcro to the back of each piece, and then attaching to a shadowbox frame?

As for the quilt, I have not created one from clothing. Here's a link to someone on Etsy. They're a bit pricey; however, perhaps you can look at the photos and get an idea of what you want. Then you can find someone local to stitch up the quilt for you.

Hope this helps. Happy Wednesday! (((HUGS)))

Larri at Seams Inspired

Diana said...

Hey Jill!

I am not sure about the velcro (adhesive wears away over time) but the shadow box frame is the way to go! I think that Mommy E's wire trick is what you would need to ensure it holds together.

When I worked at The Great Frame Up during highschool, people used to bring things in to get shadowboxed all the time, and the owners generally took care of it. I am sure someone at a framing store would at least be able to give you advice on how to shadowbox it, but I doubt they would be able to help with the wiring part. Perhaps someone at an artsy jewelry store could help with that? (there is a place in Broad Ripple in Indy).

deborahgilbert42 said...

here is a company that does a really nice job on quilts with your items

chicagogirlaroundtheworld said...

There are a few craft stores like Michaels that sell display/shadow boxes that you can put it in. I have a box that I displayed some photos in of my mom for her funeral. It is sort of 3-d. A small box with 3 pieces of glass, so you can layer the looks great, and I still keep it out on display to keep her memory around.

donna said...

I'd take the plaster heart to a craft or frame store for suggestions. You should be able to take any clothing you'd like to someone that makes quilts and tell them what you'd like. After my dad passed my mom took some of his shirts and had a small quilt made for each grandchild. Some of his dress shirts were monogrammed and that made it extra special.

Sending you love and prayers.

Becky said...

I'd buy one of those stepping stone kits you can find at Michaels that already has a tray and then press it in there like a mosaic. Then you can get a custom shadow box for it. How wonderful the feet were preserved. Check your church for a local quilting group. There are lots of people who are familiar with those and could do a top notch job with some personal connection.

Amy Bennett said...

Jill, I sew - or, more accurately, I quilt. Yes, it can get expensive to have someone make a quilt like this, just because it takes a fair amount of labor. But I will totally do it for you for free (all you'd have to pay for is shipping) - you just have to have patience b/c it may take me a couple of months to get it finished. :-) (I might be able to get it done way quicker than that, but don't want to make any promises!) If you're interested, just let me know. All you'd have to do is send me the stuff you want included in the quilt and I could take it from there. It'd be my honor. :-)


Lisa said...

Jill - I have a contact at a group here in northern Ohio that will gladly make you a blanket and/or teddy bear out of Joshua's clothes, TOTALLY FREE!
Contact me:[at]

Jodi Roth said...

You can have it embedded in Lucite. One thing with this method is that you will see the footprints, but won't be able to feel them - so something to think about - also it can be pricey (around $200) but if you tell them Joshua's story maybe they will give you a deal. Here is a website that does this process: - you can probably also find other companies online and maybe even find a company local to you that does this.

Peta said...

If money was not an issue this is what I would do.. I would put the heart in a shadow box as suguested and then take it to a cabinet maker who could make you a custom made coffee table that has a whole cut out in the middle to insert the showdow box. then have a glass top made to go over the whole table. it could be kept in the lounge room or somewhere special to you

elizatara28 said...

Jill..When my cousin passed away at 17 from a long battle with a congenital heart defect ( he was on his way to surgery when he passed) my aunt and uncle took one of his favorite shirts and framed it (like you do with a jersey). They have it up on the wall. Maybe you could do that instead of a quilt.

Stacey VB said...

A daughter of a friend of mine passed away at 1 month from CHD. She took her molds along with blankets, a toy, her first hat etc. and put them in a shadowbox keepsake table. It's a nice little end table that sits in their living room with the glass on top. I think they had it made. They also planted a tree outside their window for her...very sweet.

(you don't know me, but we have some mutual friends and I've been following your blog for awhile and praying for your precious family. I'm a NICU nurse also, so your story has really touched me.)

~Kim~ said...

When my dad passed away (10 yrs ago), my mom couldn't let his things go, as expected. Someone was nice enough to use pieces of his clothes: jeans, shirts, hankerchiefs and the emblems from his hats and made 4 quilts, one for my brother, sister and I and one for my mom. They are beautiful and I'm so very thankful that someone did that for us. It's a wonderful rememberance for us. :) I'm sure whatever you decide to do with Joshua's things, it will be amazing.

Jessica Lyon said...

You know what I like about that broken heart?

The part of the heart that has his feet in it is perfectly intact! The rest of the heart is broken into pieces. In fact there are 5 broken pieces, one to represent each member in your family, including Joshua and then the large broken piece with his feet represents the piece that God took to Heaven... two feet included, whole and healed. So he'll always be a part of your family, he just gets a birds eye view.

Maybe I am looking to much into it, but I noticed this right away when I looked at the heart.

Praying for you all.

Anonymous said...


We have a local tailor who makes memory teddy bears out of clothing. perhaps that would be a great keepsake for hannah & caleb. i love your blog. i love that you share. thank you.

StrongRedheadedCherokeeMama said...

i was thinking the same thing!!! i bet hannah and caleb would LOVE teddy bears made from his clothes!! and a quilt for the wall for mommy and daddy = ) i also agree with the other idea of pressing the feet into one of those "stepping stone" molds that you can get at the craft store... it would be like pressing them into wet cement set in a tray... i do a LOT of crafting and highly suggest that you try this for best results. then i would have it put in a very sturdy, real wood shadow box cabinet and secure it VERY TIGHTLY to the wall. They also make special mosaic adhesives that you may also use that to make sure those pieces aren't slipping!! If i were you i would ask at the craft store, but if there are any of those paint-your-own ceramic studios by you, the employees there may be able to help you more.

StrongRedheadedCherokeeMama said...

also, does your husband do construction? (i seem to remember that "insulation is sexy" shirt but can't remember what his actual job is LOL) but if he has access to cement, you may just want to press it into wet cement in a tray or a cake pan!

amandadahmes said...

Those Tiny prints. That to me is one special item to have. Remembering how little he was how those little feet kicked you and poked you saying LOVE YOU MOMMY.

Thank you for sharing

Praying for you dear <3

Molly Alisa Photography said...

I'm so excited to see what you make. :)

Brian Lowe - Campus Quilt Co said...

Jill, a friend contacted me about your story, and I am very sorry for your loss. If you haven't decided what to do, we would be happy to make a free baby clothes quilt for you in time for Christmas. You can see pictures of what it would look like at Just click on wee quilts.

If you decide you would like one, please give us a call and ask for me.

Brian Lowe
Campus Quilt Co

Anonymous said...

Beautiful...What a wonderful keepsake...My friends got something similar to that from the hospital when there baby passed away a few days before Joshua. They had it displayed at the funeral and it is the most beautiful piece of art I have every seen. I like the idea of a shadowbox for his first things and I think you would love it also. And I also like the ideas of teddy bears made out of some of his clothes and also a quilt. Thinking and praying for you guys. Renee

Designs by Dana
© 2011 Designs by Dana
© No content of this blog may be used or re-printed without written permission