Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
Diane, like me, is a Saver of Treasures. She finds meaning and stories in anything from a beaded dress to a matchbox car. So I was honored when she brought me a box of her prized possessions and asked me to make two Bearlooms, one for her parents and one for herself. Some of the treasures were her:
Do you have cherished treasures tucked away? Contact me, I would love to talk to you about how they could be worked into an heirloom to live in your home
One of my dearest friendships is with my teaching partner, Mary Lou. We were a formidable team as our talents and temperaments were a wonderful combination that greatly benefited our students. Our relationship goes far beyond the classroom to the point that I was officially inducted into her family!
No surprise, I was pleased to get the announcement that her grandson, Connor, was getting married. I offered to make a tree skirt as my gift to them, and Courtney, the bride-to-be, graciously accepted.
Courtney liked this design by Penny Lane Primitives, a 13 inch candle mat. So I used it as inspiration to create a 39 inch tree skirt.
Best wishes to the happy couple for many happy Christmases to come.
My mother once said, "Part of heaven is when people say good things about you after you are gone." This is the heart of Remember When Studio.
After my father died, I looked for ways to keep his story in my life. One way was to give each family member a "Plant a tree" ornament in his honor. For me, this ornament always has a special place and is kissed going on and off the tree.
Starting a tradition
When my sister-in-law passed, I wanted to keep her close and share her stories. An ornament was my natural way to do that. Over time and experimentation, I came up with this design which created a story starter to an amazing woman's life. I loved this design so much that I designed and created one for my father and both sets of grandparents.
Each ornament is: made from porcelain clay, stamped with:
Passing it on.
When my friend Pam passed, I was able to make one to celebrate her life for her friends and family.
As each is placed on the tree, I hope that questions are asked, and stories told, sending a bit of heaven to those we love for years to come.
I would happily create a unique ornament to celebrate someone you love. Contact me, and we can design one together.
For my first nephew, John, I decided to make and purchase ornaments for his first Christmas. A tradition was born.
Yearly ornament offerings
From then on, ornaments have been my gift to him, his brothers, and his cousins each year.
For a while, I extended that to every child I was close to, including all my homeroom "kids."
Ornaments with meaning
Eventually, I only gave ornaments I made, and limited them to family and close friends. The ornaments became a celebration of significant family events (weddings and births).
Story Starter Ornaments
This past year I created a series of ornaments to honor family members who are no longer with us. They have the loved one's name, a favorite quote, and a charm that helps to tell their story. Attached is a picture of them with a story starter of who they were. I hope that it will lead to sharing many happy memories keeping their life story alive to new generations.
The ornament is one of the last gifts given Christmas morning. I have always known that a unique book or toy would outshine it that day, but each year another ornament arrived. Now that those children are adults, I often hear how I am part of their holiday. When I made an ornament for her wedding favors, my niece Abby wrote:
Ever since I can remember, my Aunt Jean has been creating beautiful, sentimental gifts for Gerdes family birthdays, holidays, and celebrations. Over the years she has made jewelry from my grandfather's cufflinks and teddy bears from his suits; custom clay portraits of beloved family pets, and personalized aprons for the time we spend baking together.
I treasure everything my Aunt Jean creates but I have always especially loved the ornaments she makes for our family every Christmas. Every year without fail, she crafts something special for us all to hang on our trees - an ornament that commemorates a significant moment from the year, imbued layers of symbolism and heartfelt detailing. I treasure these ornaments because collectively they tell a story of our family, a story we can look back on and celebrate each Christmas season.
It doesn't get better than that!
Abby and Maddie are extraordinary women in my life. Abby is my niece, and Maddie might as well be. I held them both as babies and have loved them ever since. Both love nature, have a zest for adventure, are talented writers, and have found their soulmates. So it did not surprise me that the ornaments I made for Abby's wedding inspired Maddie to ask me to make some for hers.
I teamed up with both women to realize their nature-inspired visions. Maddie and I decided to add beads to represent their birth order for the children's ornaments. This way, they can always tell which ornament is theirs.
Maddie and Jon live in Brooklyn, where they have created a little bit of Eden with their rooftop garden. Their garden has an herb section put to good use in many culinary creations they make for themselves and lucky guests. So it made sense that they wanted the favors for their wedding to reflect their love of gardening and cooking. Maddie asked me to use six herbs they grew; basil, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Samples from stoneware and porcelain were a great aide in communication so I could bring Maddie's vision to reality.
The Basil Elements
Finished in Thyme
I delivered them to Maddie in her parents' home two days before the wedding. So I met Jon, and Maddie seemed to enjoy showing me her dress and accessories as well as sharing all the wedding details. Because of covid, they limited the wedding to close family, so it was touching to play a part in such a special day.
Best wishes Maddie and Jon, I am so happy you have found each other.
Ornaments are a great wedding favor, especially when they hold so much meaning and meet the couple's vision. If you would like me to help you realize a unique wedding favor, contact me so we can talk about it.
Because I only do custom work, I often have to learn new techniques to complete an heirloom. It is one of the things I love about what I do. Recently I explored some of the capabilities of my sewing machine.
I had seen patterns and even kits to do applique' with an embroidery machine. Only when Diane, a client, was set on a design that utilized it, did I learn how to do it. This technique is a fabulous tool, especially for the applique' of letters! For this particular design, they bordered everything with a blanket stitch. I opted to skip that and sew the edge of the tools and toolbox with a satin stitch to be more durable. This meant I guided my machine around each tool, the toolbox and the handle while it sewed the stitch. The word Jeep, I could program and the machine did it all by itself!
The Blanket Stitch
Courtney chose this sweet chickadee design for her tree skirt wedding gift. The original design came from a candle mat with five birds, each handsewn with a blanket stitch. Since the skirt has 16 birds, I decided to learn to use my machine's blanket stitch. Although you can't beat the look of hand-stitching, my machine and I did a good job! (The branch and leaf metal I hand embroidered.)
I can't wait to have the next project that helps me learn new techniques and unlocks the secrets that my machine holds. Contact me if you would like to help with that!
Once Upon a Time . . .
there was a young man who met a young woman. Early in their relationship, he realized she was the one, so he made her this Sun. They got married and had a family, and all the while, this Sun graced their lives.
The Sun gave warmth and comfort for many years and still is prominent in their home. Even when cancer took him too soon, she hung another Sun at their lake home to constantly remind her of his love for her.
The Fairy Tale Continues
eLike his father, Jon is kind, funny, a talented craftsman, and found a remarkable partner, Maddie. This perfect pair created a bountiful garden on a rooftop in Brooklyn, where the sun brings them herbs and veggies for their culinary creations. When they decided marry, I offered to make them a stained glass piece as a wedding gift. It was Maddie who decided to surprise her groom with their Sun. This way, they could honor his father and continue to legacy of Tyler Suns.
Maddie liked this design, the rainbow inspiration, and thought I could make it from the glass scraps I had on hand. Not only was she right, but I thought it would be meaningful to her that the finished piece would have glass from my home, a place she always loved to visit for parties and "aunt camp."
I drafted the design so that Jon's Dad's original piece became the foundation of Maddie's and Jon's Sun.
And the Sun shown upon them.
I love Maddie and look forward to getting to know Jon. Maddie, thank you for working with me on a gift for you and Jon that carries such a beautiful story. May this Sun grace your home for the many happy years to come.
It was a privilege and pleasure to create heirloom pillows from Diane's Dad's ties. She told me, "Dad lived his faith and, for Sunday worship, he was old school; dress pants and shirt in a nice jacket and tie, no casual dress for him. Mom often commented about his tie choices because they always clashed with his jackets. You know she was right."
I love hearing these stories, and it helps inform how I create each piece. Once we decided on a design, I got to work.
We decided to use one of his shirts as a background for each pillow.
I created four groupings of ties, one for each pillow and embroidered his initials for the center piece.
The necktie on the back clashed with the ties on the front, a nod to his fashion sense.
I hope these pillows provide comfort and fond memories of this wonderful man.
Do you have a story to tell about someone you love? Contact me and we can discuss how to create a unique heirloom for you and your family.
The baby I once held got married! I am thrilled Maddie & Jon found each other. She has a special place in my heart and deserves all the happiness life can give.
A tree skirt is my go-to wedding gift:
When she asked for it to have a cardinal, I immediately knew why. A few years back, I made pillows with a cardinal for her mother, Meg, to honor her Mother, Maddie's MomMom. MomMom loved cardinals, and it has come to be a symbol to represent her in their family. I love that this gift represents the start of a new family while staying connected to the past generations through three remarkable women.
Best wishes Maddie and Jon!
"Ironing and sewing go together like peas and carrots!" At least that is what Forest Gump would have said if he had ever met Coco Chanel. Hee, hee. I like anything that makes the task easier or gives a better result. Here are my top 3!
1. A Good Iron
I like an iron with weight and one that gets hot and steamy. I have been a Rowena snob for years but Mom and I have been using her Black and Decker with good results. Lately, my Panasonic has been my chosen because it is:
2. Wool Ironing Mat
Who knew a thick piece of wool felt could make such a difference.
3. Best Press
This stuff is great. It is easy to use and made well-worn flannel shirt fabric look crisp and new with little effort. I wrote to the company to find out its ingredients and what makes it "Earth and People Friendly". After 3 emails and 2 phone calls they have yet to respond. Makes me go hum, but I do get great results with it.
The right tools can really help you "pump iron" efficiently with great results. PRESS ON!
Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.