We Missed Grandma so We Put Her on a Blanket
Lockdown restriction meant we couldn’t see Grandma but we missed her, so what could we do? We put Grandma on a blanket! Here’s my review of two unique personalised photo blankets that we had printed to bridge the lockdown blues.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder — if lockdown could trademark a proverb, that would be it.
Certainly, for the past year we’ve been absent from pretty much every activity or event going. Music concerts, cinema outings, days out visiting museums and oooh, long afternoons clothes shopping. Yeah, my heart is yearning even more so for the things I’ve long since had.
That said, I can’t say I’ve missed the grimace of grumpy shoppers I don’t know. (Face coverings have their bonuses.) But, I do miss the faces of my family and friends. So I’ll be glad of the day when the word lockdown doesn’t pass my lips, because let’s be honest, we’ve lived it enough to last a lifetime.
I tend to feel guilty about not visiting my Mum enough so to be told we couldn’t visit made it harder. No calling in to see Grandma, no special birthday visit or Mother’s Day celebrated. No giggling over that silly thing that happened; the detail in the laughter lines and wet, tearing up eyes. And no tight, reaffirming hugs to keep you going. Oh it’s been hard.
Photos can never replace real time connections but sometimes it’s all we have.
When Asda Photo reached out to me, we’d just entered our third national lockdown. By this time, January’s winter lockdown felt a harsh, despondent contrast to 2020’s “in it together” spirit. This time, a memento photo book of happier times wouldn’t suffice. But I knew what we needed. Warmth. Reassurance. And comfort.
My son, Reuben, didn’t see much of his Grandma in the last year which makes me so sad. He’d often talk about her and ask to go visit, but whenever I’d ring he’d get uncomfortable and shy. It’s easy to be accustomed to it nowadays, but for some four year olds talking to someone who’s not in the same room as you is a little weird. Reuben just wanted to be close to his Grandma.
So I had this brilliant idea — make photo blankets filled with photos featuring Reuben and his Grandma so cuddles would never be far.
Asda Photo were really good accommodating my wish, allowing me to create two blankets; one to give to Grandma (my Mum) and one for Reuben.
I decided on the Monogram Custom Colour photo blankets: starting from £28, a medium weight 285gsm quality blanket made in the softest dual layered micro fleece. And with its ample customisation and design options meant I could play around until the finished article was perfect.
Wanting the blankets to be a good size for cuddling up in and laying over a bed I went for the largest rectangular size: 57″ by 37″ (£45). With these dimensions allowing for ten images and a short segment of centred text, I went about picking our favourite photos. Then, rather than the suggested monogram, I decided to add names instead.
For my Mum’s blanket I picked a lovely warm rose pink with a co-ordinating light pink reverse, adding ‘Grandma’ text in a cursive font. And I made Reuben’s blanket a nice sky blue with blue reverse, with Reuben’s name placement.
Finding the photos was the most arduous part of the process — I mean, how do you narrow down four years of a child’s life in favourite pictures?! I got there eventually, after way too many hours spent hunting through my files, cropping and resizing, and then trying out another picture.
The photos I’d chosen to print included some of us all together, some of Reuben, and ones where Reuben and his Grandma have enjoyed moments together. Reuben’s blanket was based on the same theme, featuring special moments with Grandma, but I made it more family oriented so there was lots of mummy and daddy too. A bunch of happy memories and much loved faces to hold near in times of comfort.
Perhaps most frustratingly was my discovery too late in the game that — argh! — I’d not saved my edited photos with high resolution. After a few panicked emails I was offered a last minute cancellation and reorder, but I couldn’t bear the thought of my loved ones faces going in the bin, so I chanced it.
I was so excited to see the blankets arrive. Amazingly, the low res photos printed really well — you definitely wouldn’t guess I hadn’t used the best size images. The quality is really good too. The fabric feels thick and quite heavyweight for fleece, so they’re a substantial blanket.
I’d told neither my mum nor Reuben what I’d planned on doing so it was a surprise to both when I revealed the blankets.
Reuben was thrilled when I gave it to him. He was amazed to see pictures of people and places he recognised, and loved seeing lots of his Grandma. Reuben couldn’t wait to have his blanket laid over his bed as an additional cosy layer, which looks fantastic. Equally, the blanket often appears downstairs as his cuddle blanket in front of the tv.
I wasn’t sure how to get my Mum’s blanket to her so I held off until the day she was looking after Reuben when I had to go into hospital. We took the blanket along as a surprise gift and when I handed it to her she was really taken by it — “It’s beautiful!” Aw, love you mum!
Framed photos have their place; they’re comforting to look at on the mantlepiece or wall, but they’re not inviting to touch. Snuggly soft photo blankets however, command to be cuddled. I’m pretty sure these special blankets will be treasured for a long time, whether we’re locked down or not.
Have you ever made anything special with your photos?