My Patchwork Bear Family

A few years ago, we had the privilege to host a young lovely Japanese girl on an exchange program. Kumiko stayed with us for about 3 1/2 weeks. We enjoyed her tremendously because she had the cutest laugh. During her stay, I was delighted to find out that Kumiko’s mother is quite the expert in quilting and handicraft. And upon Kumiko’s return, Kumiko’s mother sent me a handmade patchwork bear.

I affectionately called my bear Lady Carlyle. With that hat, and the fact that she fits right in with my Royal Albert Lady Carlyle dishes, I just had to call her Lady Carlyle.

I received yet another package yesterday from this dear Japanese family for Christmas… imagine my utter delight and joy when I found Mr. Carlyle, and little “Carlette” in the box!!! Can you see those tiny 3/4″ patchwork squares that made up the outfits of these darling bears? Now my patchwork bear family is complete, representing me, my husband and Miss Baby!

Okay, there’s a very subtle reason why the Miss Baby Bear is placed closer to the Daddy Bear.  Miss Baby is going through a “I love Daddy more” phase at the moment.  Many have asked if I am okay with it.  I am totally fine with it.  I think it’s sweet.  I have always prayed for Miss Baby to have a close relationship with my husband, and so I rejoiced at the answered prayer:

I can still scarcely believe a Japanese lady whom I have never met in my life would spend precious time making such darling gifts for my family just because we kept her daughter for a few weeks.   Needless to say, I am immensely touched.

Kumiko included this note?  Do I like it?  NO!  I love, love, love it!

I have kept in touch with Kumiko all these years upon her return to Japan.  There’s actually a sequel to this story:  We had such a great experiencing having Kumiko live with us that we decided to host another student.  Well, this time, things didn’t turn out so good.  In fact, it was disastrous.  So the sequel  to the first sequel is that we haven’t done any hosting since.   But I am thinking about doing it again when Miss Baby is a bit older.

Now, my nosy mind wants to know if you have had any experience past or present hosting someone international in your home.

Thanks for stopping by.  I want you to know that I might have be slow in getting back with you for the next few weeks.  Please know that I appreciate your comments, and will try hard to respond to your comments and emails.


23 thoughts on “My Patchwork Bear Family

  1. Your bears are absolutely beautiful! And those dishes! As pretty as a picture!!! LOL They also made me a little sad, because my mom use to make those bears, and I don’t believe I have any. She sold them at sales.

    Pray really hard over your next exchange attempt…and then whether it turns out good or bad, you will know your family and the exchange student was covered in prayer, and was God’s choice for you for a reason!

  2. What a stunning gift, Wendy! A very sweet and thoughtful thing to do. How lovely that you still keep in touch with each other.

    I’ve never hosted a student, although I’ve wanted to.

  3. we hosted a darling girl from taiwan about 25 years ago. it was so fantastic. i loved nancy from the minute we met. we had several opportunities to have nancy in our home, especially when she and her family bought a second home in vancouver, b.c. so she and her siblings could go to college there. we went to her wedding reception there — one of the most fun and fascinating experiences of our life as she changed into three different outfits–one a red chinese dress with the most fantastic gold embroidery i’ve ever seen. we’ve sadly lost contact with her but know she has at least two darling little girls and a wonderful husband. we got to meet her dear father, siblings and other family and friends at the reception, but her mother was dying and could only be involved in their taiwan festivities. i think of her all the time and wish i could find my dear taiwanese daughter again.

  4. Oh, how cute, Wendy! And what a very special gift. I know you cherish them.

    I haven’t hosted anyone international unless you consider bloggers. I have had two Canadian bloggers visit, and I have some English friends visiting in the spring. I love meeting people from other countries. :-)



  5. I have never had the experience of hosting an international, but I had to remark on the exquisite bears. They are absolutely wonderful. And I love your dishes!!!!!!! What a beautiful gesture, sending you an entire family of bears. The work that must have gone in them really expresses their love and appreciation.

  6. What a touching gift, they are all gorgeous and don’t they look like happy bears now that they are a family?
    I’ve never hosted, my sister hosted several, two from Japan, one was great and the other was hard work.

  7. You lucky gal, and I just know that Kumiko’s Mom was so thrilled that you took care of her baby that she wanted to show her appreciation. We did host three couples and a priest in 1976 in our home in NY we belonged to Marriage Encounter and there was a convention they stayed with us for three weeks. We had the best time, at the time we only had three children and they have great memories of that time. We still correspond with them. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

  8. When I was growing up, my family hosted two students and I got to go live with a with a family in France for two months. All of the experiences were wonderful for us, my parents, and the students. That was maybe 35 years ago, and we are still close to my Uruguayan brother Jorge. He wrote a lovely tribute to my parents I presented for their 50th anniversary party, and an even more beautiful letter to my mother that we buried with her. My brother and his wife used to host foreign students at their home for Thanksgiving, another brother went the foreign-nanny route when his children was young. Almost all of the experiences were very positive – and no real damage was done in the one or two less-than ideal situations.

  9. This bear family are so cute. I love japanese style patchwork. They use lot of tiny pieces and fine fabrics. And the method they use are clear, but tricky. So enjoy your family (beary and another) :-)

  10. What adorable little bears. She is very talented.
    My family hosted an exchange student from Quebec when I was 17 (many moons ago). It was fun trying to communicate since my french was not great. Enjoyed it alot as other classmates also hosted so we did lots of teen activities together.
    Approx. 4yrs ago friends had a Japanese exchange. They brought her up to the Caribou..which is in Northern part of BC for Thanksgiving. We took her out get into the forest to get wood for the shed. She learned how to use a chainsaw, split wood and load the truck. She seemed to really enjoy herself.

  11. Hi Wendy,
    What a very fun package that must have been too receive. Very sweet indeed.
    I love how you positioned the bears in your story about the history behind them and the present…
    Hmmm hosting. Well we had an Ok experience hosting some Russians dancers during the Goodwill games years ago. Unfortunately we realized after they were long gone that so was our daughter Katie’s Russian Barbie doll.

  12. How darling! And what an incredibly sweet thing to do! I had seen Lady Carlyle but did not know where she came from. They’re all just gorgeous.

    I think all babies go back and forth between preferred parents. As you said, it gives them more opportunity to get to know each one.

    Once we had an German exchange student at our Christian school — for some reason the paperwork did not work out for him to get into the public school. He was not a believer and as far as I know did not become one while there, but I hope the truth he heard continues to speak to him. One family in particular really took them under their wing, and he eventually ended up moving in with them when things didn’t work out with his host family. I never did know the circumstances, but I was glad my friends were there for him.

  13. Gee, I think these are just the cutest things ever ! Is the patchwork of the bear fabric done similar to a crazy quilt ? What exquisite work !

  14. We hosted a Dutch couple a number of years ago, and had a great time, even with the language barrier. We’ve also hosted some college students for a night here and there – sometimes it goes well, other times it feels awkward…..I guess it just depends on the chemistry/personality match….

    Really love those bears!

  15. Those crazy quilt bears are gorgeous. What a perfect family you now have! What a nice student you hosted. I have never host any international students, but knew many that did. Most of the time it was okay. You win some and you loose some I guess! Hugs Nat

  16. We hosted an exchange student from Thailand. We loved her just like she was one of our own. She went to school with our girls and we had a great time. Her parents came over for her graduation from high school. Her dad had been an exchange student in the 60’s and he wanted to catch up with his exchange family while back. I found them all so much fun and we miss her. We had not heard from her in several years and now with facebook we are back in touch. She is grown and working. Finished college and everything.
    We talked about doing it agin but we were afraid that we would not get a good one a second time around. We have had friends that took students on and had alot of trouble. It was an amazing experience. One we will never forget. You get good ones and you get bad ones, you just don’t know who you will get

  17. Very, very cute bears. Love that China pattern and that the Bear matches.

    My daughter and family has hosted foreign students a few times. the first was great. We all had a lot of fun. But the next two were both disasters. It is too bad when that happens. You’re never told what went wrong.

  18. The bears are adorable! I have a soft spot for hand-made bears. The woman probably was so happy to make them for you. Just think how grateful you would be to a family in another country who took care of your precious girl for a few weeks! I am sure she feels there is nothing that could repay that kindness. I know that is how I would feel!
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  19. Oh, the family is growing !!! more food to be cooked, Wendy! Lovely Teddies all of them . i love Lady Carlyle , she’s really fascinating !
    The Teddies from Japan are a REAL gift!! after years , you see friendship can go on smooth and clear as teh first day!
    All my compliments to Kumiko, a good friend!
    Ciao, gloria

  20. i love her bears but does she make them to sell? i would love to have her make some for me if she does this and you are in contact i do themed tea partys for little girls and its hard to hang on to my bears lol

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