Need A Summer Project?

As many of you know, summer is when the kids and I work on handmade Christmas gifts…it’s not as “Martha Stewart” as it sounds but I have found that the tradition of making Christmas gifts in the summer gives us a project to work on together with no stress and no time-constraints!  I’ve already started searching through my craftbooks looking for ideas and getting Olivia’s approval on certain projects.  🙂  As I was elbow deep in my craft cupboard taking inventory of our supplies, I came across a stash of material left over from past projects and I was reminded of a design idea I’ve been mulling over in my head since Rudy was in the hospital so I decided to act on it and make my prototype.  As a result, the “Rudy Roll” was born this week!

The Rudy Roll

As is common practice in the NICU/PICU, nurses would roll up hospital receiving blankets while Rudy was in the hospital to help position him a certain way or prop up his ventilator tubes/IV lines or put behind his neck when changing his trach, etc….  Rudy stared at the blanket rolls hour after hour and so there were times when the nurses would switch out one of these rolls for a small stuffed animal for some variety and fun.  It wasn’t long before I began thinking about an alternative to the blanket roll and because I consumed a truckload of Tootsie Rolls during this time (it was Halloween and we kept a pumpkin full of candy in Rudy’s room – big mistake!) my design, oddly enough,  looked much like a Tootsie roll!  I haven’t had the time or energy to act on my idea but with summer almost upon us, I thought now would be a good time!  My hope is to work on them this summer (hopefully with the kids’ help), go green by using up all my scrap material and have a stash ready to deliver when we go back to UCLA for Rudy’s next heart cath sometime in the fall!

So, if you’re looking for a fun, super-easy project this summer, will you consider joining me in making “Rudy Rolls”?  You can donate them to your local hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit OR mail them to us and we’ll see they get to UCLA!  I’m including the instructions below as well as the description I’ll include with the ones we give out.  It’s great for “Mommy & Me” or “Grandma & Me” projects as well as a Girl Scout or Bible Study Service Project!

Rudy’s therapist arrived as I was finishing up my prototype and she chuckled at the fact that there are alot of things named after Rudy…Rudy’s bracelet, Rudy’s Heart Pendant and now the Rudy Roll.  It does seem a little over the top but, once again, I find it therapeutic to come up with ideas that are potentially meaningful or useful and then to see the idea come into existence is pretty energizing!  So pull out all that scrap material, grab a bowl of Tootsie Rolls and have a fun afternoon creating!!!

“Rudy Roll”


 Materials:  Bright colored, soft material (one yard of material will make 9 newborn/preemie Rudy rolls OR 6 baby/toddler Rudy rolls); Non-allergenic, washable Poly-fil; Satin ribbon.  Supplies: Sewing machine, thread, scissors and ruler.


Step 1: Cut two strips of material 21”x 4”

(for newborns and preemies)

Cut two strips of material 21”x 6”

(for older babies and toddlers)

Step 2:  Put right sides together and sew along both of the 21” sides leaving the ends open.

Step 3:   Turn right side out.

Step 4:  Measure 4” in from one end and sew end shut.

Step 5:  Stuff your roll with Poly-fil through the open end until soft but firm. Leave a 4” excess of material on the other end and sew end shut.

Step 6: Gather your ends where you sewed them shut and tie TIGHT (double knot) with a piece of satin ribbon.

You did it!  Well done!!!


The Rudy Roll!

Designed with ICU babies and toddlers in mind, the Rudy roll is a soft, bright-colored bed companion perfect for…

–          positioning baby,

–          propping up ventilator tubes and IV lines,

–          Physical Therapy exercises,

–          positioning trach babies for trach changes,

–          sword fights with doctors and nurses,

–          or, simply, grabbing hold and snuggling.

The Rudy Roll was inspired by our son whose 7-month hospital stay after birth included thousands of hours staring at hospital receiving blankets rolled up to serve the same purpose.  We hope your child will find the Rudy roll interesting to look at, fun to play with and, most importantly, will feel the love and support that accompanies it!

God bless you and your family, The Geyling Family

Note:  The Rudy roll is filled with non-allergenic, washable Poly-fil.

You can throw it in the wash for easy cleaning.  Satin ribbons on the ends may need to retied after washing.


13 thoughts on “Need A Summer Project?

  1. for those who have spent time in the ICU unit, we know what you mean; great idea. Nick’s Grandma

  2. hahaha. oh man. we are so on the same wavelength. justin and i talked about doing this very idea! in malaysia, these are very common pillows that we call round pillows. i asked my family to send some over for moriah, and now we use them mostly for changing her trach ties, trach, and positioning.
    i know that these will be a hit!
    the nelsons

  3. p.s. these will be great to post about in our new “community” on the sidebar. not only do i think other families will get use out of them, i would love for someone else to start a discussion there besides myself

  4. Love it, I would love to make them for the NICU where my little grandson spent two weeks, in Milwaukee, WI. Can’t wait to make some! You are the best, Trish!!!

  5. My, my, girl. Here you go again! You certainly did not inherit your creativity from your mother, but wouldn’t Grammy be proud?

    Rudy, remember all of those creations she made to dress you up for holidays when you were at UCLA? She just never runs down with ideas. And your Dad is a master builder of toys, kitchens, bathrooms, minibarns, rose gardens, etc. What a pair! Definitely worth loving!

  6. Love the Rudy Roll. I’ll see what Teagan and I can get done this summer. We can always send ours up to UCLA when our friend Kourtney is headed that way. (which is quite often). What a great idea Trish, you are ever so clever. Hugs, kisses and prayers for all from our whole family.

  7. Trish-I love this idea. Always wondering what to do with my scraps besides making doll clothes. I will see what I can do for our local hospitals. Miss you!

  8. Trish, you amaze me sista! Where to you get the energy. Have you been drinking Rolfs rockstars? 🙂 I love you and all of your great ideas!

  9. Trish, you certainly get my vote for being the nicest, most awesome, thoughtful gal around! Kudos to you and the tootsie roll inspiration !!

  10. Once again, go Trish! I would love to make some Rudy rolls! I think I need a new sewing machine though…Great idea!!

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