Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gifts with a Theme

One of my friends will be heading into the hospital shortly to receive a kidney transplant. Her donor is her husband. To celebrate this event, a group of her friends are hosting a "Bon Transplant" party tomorrow. My gifts for the occasion will hopefully come in handy... and perhaps cheer them up too.

I figured that, while they are convalescing, they will need to have things close at hand. So I made "bed caddies" that can slip between the mattress and box spring to hold their reading materials, remote controls, or what have you. The basic design came from the Sew4Home website. I made a few modifications, including drafting accordion pockets with my free Wild Things program from Wild Ginger (so the pockets could hold more). And, to keep them cozy, I also embroidered some fleece throws I got at K-Mart.

The kidney embroidery is one I digitized about five years ago; I used to sell original embroidery designs, and this one came from a set I called "Body Parts". Other designs in the set included a gall bladder, mouth, heart, and even an egg and sperm cell.

Scott is the donor, so after the surgery he will only have one kidney left. Here's a closeup of the design.

The organizer is meant to be used in bed, but can also be used draped over the arm of an easy chair. One of the things I wanted to avoid was "sloppy pockets" that drooped and sagged. See how nicely straight the pocket edges are here?

And here's how I did that:

This is a plastic tubing that is sold as "Roman Shade Rib". It's very sturdy, but easy to cut with scissors. I just cut it to length and slipped it into the top hem of each pocket piece before attaching it to the backing.

To keep the organizer from slipping out from under the mattress or off the armchair, I added a big piece of "Grip Rite" fabric. This is the stuff that is used on the soles of childrens' footed sleepers. It's a bit finicky to sew on, though... I don't have a teflon foot for my Bernina (yet). So I put a piece of waxed paper over the Grip Rite and sewed right through it. No problem!

Here's Pam's organizer, with a few items in it to show how the pockets stay nicely straight.

In hindsight, I would have made one longer pocket for the TV remote.

Here's Pam's fleece blanket. Interesting factoid: When you receive a kidney transplant, your original kidneys usually aren't removed. The donor kidney is nestled in the abdominal cavity, protected by the hip bone. So Pam will have three kidneys!

To finish off the gift, I created this little graphic in CorelDraw, then copied it multiple times and printed it out on my large-format HP650 printer to make my own wrapping paper!

Tomorrow they get to unwrap their presents. I hope they like them!


  1. Great gifts Welmoed ... so cute ... and useful too! Your tips for no droopy pockets comes at a perfect time for one of my gifts. Thanks!

  2. Welmoed, what a beautiful, well thought out gift you are giving your friends. Love the wrapping paper idea also. Wish your friends health and happiness to pull through this difficult time. Merry Christmas! Paula Savage

  3. Welmoed, these are really fantastic gifts. They look fantastic. I know my parents were both very touched by your thoughtfulness and these will certainly come in handy as they recover!

    - Eric Martin (Pam and Scott's son)


I would love to hear your thoughts... Please share!