Friday, December 07, 2007

Great Giveaway - Don't miss it!

After coming home from Thanksgiving I had the most awesome piece of good mail ever! It had been sitting in the rain and is a MIRACLE that it didn't get wet, because the package was left on my door step in the rain and the outside was all wet.

It is from a friend of a friends friend and my cousin's sister in laws friend... confusing I know. She has an incredible business that not only is pleasing to the eye, but pleasing to the heart.
She sent me two items to give away on my blog but also this awesome self portrait of ME! I just love it. Good thing she used a photo of me after I had my eyebrows waxed or else it could have been scary!

Here is her website. She creates "custom family keepsakes to remember and honor your family past and present"

One of the Do it yourself Kits you could win.

And another kit you could win. There will be two winners so your chances just doubled.

I will say that I am so thrilled to have been able to touch and feel the paper and see it first hand. They are beautiful! The paper is heavy and the simplicity of her art is just fabulous. I am a huge fan of packaging and this does not disappoint.

If you are still looking for a family gift for Christmas (she is still taking Christmas orders.) she does a custom family tree that is WONDERFUL. She sent me a sample. It is a steal for only $75 - $50, depending on size. I would seriously be jumping on this if you are looking for a great Anniversary gift, wedding gift or family gift or just for your own home. There does not need to be a big occasion to preserve your families history.

I love seeing how companies get their start and taking the idea to the next level, so I had Cynthia Jan type a little bio of herself so you can see what an amazing woman she is, (just read on you will see what I am talking about!)

From Cynthia Jan:
Ever since I was a child I enjoyed being creative. However, it
wasn’t until I was in high school that I really discovered that I had
some talent in art and I thought more seriously about going in to
graphic arts after high school. I was working at a small print shop
after school at the time and met a woman who came in regularly with
projects that she had designed to be printed for her clients. I
created advertisements, logos, brochures and all kinds of graphic art
materials. I loved seeing what she did and I knew that was what I
wanted to do some day. I arranged a time to meet with this graphic
designer at her home so that I could ask her about her career and
where she went to school. It put me on my path to where I am today.

I worked as a freelance graphic designer for many years for clients
in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. However, when I had my
third child (I am now expecting my sixth) I quit working
professionally and have continued my artistic pursuits through other
means such as creating fantastic flyers and posters for church
functions, baby announcements, invitations, scrapbooking and teaching
my children art.

About a year and a half ago my girlfriend asked me to create a family
tree for her to display in her family room. She wanted something
simple and creative that would display her parents, grandparents and
her seven children (two of which were deceased). I put a family tree
together for her to hang in her home. After completing her tree it
inspired me to create several family tree designs that would allow
people to have a beautiful and unique piece of art that would display
their family ties. And that’s how I began my family tree business!

I love being able to honor our families past and present in a
charming modern way. Our families are our greatest treasure and it
is wonderful to display our ties to one another. It is also a great
conversation piece that can lead to discussions on genealogy work
with our friends and neighbors. We can share our beliefs that
families can be together forever!

So to enter to win one of these Family trees, leave a comment with

{what you do in your family to honor
your families past or present}
You have until next Friday!
Thank You Cynthia Jan for being willing to share this with my blog readers!


Liz said...

First of all these are gorgeous!! And second of all, I have been looking for something like this for a long time!! I think this is a fabulous way to showcase our families past and present! I would love to have one!

Now on to the question...
The way I honor my family past and present is by making special scrapbooks as gifts for Grandparents and great-grandparents and my own family. It has been such a special thing to have each family document their lives and then to also write about the wonderful memories that we all have of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and have them all combined in one album. We have also video-taped our Grandparents talking about their lives and sharing special memories and their testimonies. One of our most treasured possessions is the life history that Ben's grandparents wrote and printed up for each child and grandchild. Now that they have both passed on it is so nice to have these special memories with us to read and remember them.

kristi said...

Liz, thank you for taking the time type this up, it gets me a little weepy!
You and Ben are such awesome people.

Elizabeth said...

Those are truly amazing! A couple of Christmas's ago my family all got together and we exchanged homemade gifts that honored our Grandparents. We all sat around shedding tears full of happy memories as each presented their gifts. I treasure those gifts now and they make me feel close to both sets of grandparents again. I have a DVD compiled of everyones photos so I can print a copy too. I can open a cookbook full of my grandmothers recipes and make her white sauce or her yummy coffee cake whenever I want. I love the black in white sketches up on my wall with scenes of my grandparents courtships'. I love being able to share stories with my kids of the holidays we had growing up with them. It is so easy now to show them that picture or find that holiday cookie recipe. I hope we can do it again some year.
I am so glad yo shared about these!

Creole Wisdom said...

What great gifts. I have always admired family trees : )

Anjanette said...

We started a wonderful tradition that our children love. We make a "book of questions" that our kids come up with - everything from "What does your favorite hat look like?" to "What were your granparents' names?" and send one to each grandparent (and great grandparent) to fill in and return. It is SO much fun to read their answers. And, with a collection of these answers questions, our kids will know a lot about their family.

As an aside, our youngest daughter is adopted from India and I am always trying to figure out how to complete a family tree that honors her very special family history.

Rachel said...

Love the Harry Connick Christmas music! One of our favorites!
Those are beautiful family trees and would be perfect family gifts!

I think I will ease drop on others traditions! OUr family traditions mostly involve lots of food and watching family home videos! :)

Kristen said...

What a talented woman!
I have been blessed to have a Mother who loves genealogy, she has done all the work for me:)
She has made fabulous books about our ancestors with pictures and stories that I will cherish forever and give to my children so that they can read and learn more about our family.
I think this is the perfect gift!

climbingrocks said...

oh dude, have you seen Jim from the office now doing GAP ads on their store windows? Oh and how bout Amy Pohler and that dude from arrested development. Its not magic, its an illusion! So awesome!

totally off topic bytheway...

pjmesser said...

Wow my mom & dad work in their local geneology library a couple days a week. They would love this, but then... I would love this! Beautiful art, great idea.

pjmesser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mamma Letty said...

Being child number 6 of 11 (yes there are 11 kids from one mom/dad) I can attest to the fact that it is really difficult to keep track of what all of my siblings are doing and where they are moving etc. WHo is havign a new baby and when...
I suggest you get one sister who keeps her nose in everyones lives to frequently update me on everyone else. This totally makes it much easier for me to catch up. :0)
On a side note I would say that the best thing we have done of late is blogging! Yes, that way I can jump into each of their lives and see what is happening without having the hour or two phone conversation that takes up my entire nap-time window. I also get to see what is happening rather than just hear. And my favorite part about blogging is the comments...not to mention it keeps our lives chronologically in order!

I really love those family trees, in fact when you first put it on your side bar I went to her sight to check it out. I see in our near future having to get one of these for my parents. Currently there are 24 grand's amazing how suddenly it takes an entire cultural hall of a church to hold our family!

Kim said...

Beautiful work...I am working on a cookbook for my family with all the favorite recipes growing up, party favorites, and new ones they want to share!!!

Elisa said...

I have had a family heritage idea running around in my head ever since my daughter was born but I haven't taken the plunge yet. My idea is to make a family values book for my kids. I want to showcase one great and distinguishing quality from each grandparent and great grandparent. For instance, My mom is the hardest worker I have ever met. One of my grandparents was valued education, one had a great sense of humor etc. My kids will never meet or know most of these wonderful people, I want them to know these people who have made me who I am...and because of that, have a part in making them who they will become.
BTW I have seen your work first hand, I am Lisa J's sister-in-law and she brought one to our family reunion. Beautiful work.

Stephenson Family said...

My parents have always been into genealogy. Our rest stops on trips were ALWAYS at a cemetery! I never really 'got' it until I was married and started our own family. I want my children to understand where they came from and that those names on the paper were real people with hopes, dreams, and disappointments just like they have.

My mother-in-law has been really good in recording family histories for several people on my husband's side. I love looking at them and reading from their journals. But, my kids aren't at that stage yet. I love these family trees that can be displayed so that the kids can see those names and ask questions - that's the best way for them to learn about them.

michelle said...

I just bookmarked the family tree site last night! I am going to head on over to her site right now, and look around a little more. I LOVE the good mail that was delivered to you! What an amazing portrait! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the family trees. I lost my father to cancer 16 years ago and it was a month before my wedding. I am always saddened by the thought that my children will never know him and he will never know them. I try to always tell them about him and compare them to him so that they can feel a connection to him-even though they never knew him. At this time of year I try extra hard to tell them stories about when I was a little girl and all the special things that my Daddy did for me so that they can have stories of him and me to one day tell their children.

Sorry to sign on as anonymous but I can't ever get my Google blogger password to take.

Anna said...

I honor my family members (past and present) by reading, once a year, my Grandmother's life history that she wrote and had professionally bound in a book. It is a fantastic way to get to know her better (she is still living) while reading the stories of the people that I have come from.

Michelle A. said...

Wow, it's been so long since I've seen any of my grandparents, they all seemed to pass before I was a teenager. It's easy to remember one of my grandparents, as he lived with us for years, although we didn't name him grandpa - he was Poppy. He used to sit on our couch with his dog Pete. He had played the violin during his life, and as I had taken up the violin, he would try to play for me and listen to me play. Every year at Thanksgiving he would love to sing "For Health and Strength" have us sing in a family round. There hasn't been a Thanksgiving yet, that I haven't made everyone around my table sing this round, even when we have guests! We have so many family traditions, but this one is my favorite because he was always willing to listen and as he was the last of my grandparents to pass away, and being in my teenage years, I remember him the most and will always think of him at Thanksgiving, when I play the violin, and when I hear poems - as he used to like to recite them!

Lisa B. said...

Well after reading everybody's answer (including Adam's who is my husband) I dont have a snow ball's chance.. haha it's worth a try though:)

I have always been the one in my family of 6 kids who had a desire to know the stories and heritage of my ancestors. here's a funny story. I was going through a huge bin of cloth when i was about 14 and came across a really cool quilt soemone had started that was only partially done. I thought it looked kind of "retro"so i was like cool this looks like a fun project,plus i wanted a cool blanket on my bed. I didn't even ask my mom. So i patched it onto some old white and green sheets and called it good... ya ...later found out it was my great great great and i think one more great grandmothers. and somehow my mom ended up with it.. my mom gave it to me and told me to take care of it. So after I learned about the life of woman who hand stitched the quilt i almost killed, I started seeing history as something tangeable that our families can use to see where we have come from and hopefully where we are going.
ps. and i'll tell all my friends about you because what a talent you have.

Kristine said...

I have recovered composition books and have the kids tell me (in their words) about important things in their lives. With 7 kids it can be somewhat overwhelming, but it is a joy to look back and share the memories we have recorded in the journals. I even write about fun days from my 2 year old's perspective. That is how I honor my family now.

I love these. I think they are beautiful!

Shawna B. said...

Oh wow. These are absolutely stunning! What a treasure it would be to own one! I am constantly amazed by all the talented people out there, and those who jump on a great idea and make it their business.

I honor my family's heritage by making sure I tell my children about those who came before them. I think it's so important for our children to know about their roots. We have family history scrapbooks that we read for Family Home Evening. It's fun to share stories of great-great-grandpa who left Germany at age 5 and started working on the railroad at age 14, and of grandparents who fought in WW II, of pioneer ancestors who crossed the plains, and more recently, of us, today, trying our best to live lives that one day will make our own posterity proud.

Each year, my husband and I create a family movie that highlights the events of the year, and we watch them every Sunday. I look forward to sharing these with my grandchildren someday!

I value the importance of keeping family traditions alive, another way to honor family heritage. Traditions link generations together. A few days ago as I was making our traditional Swiss Christmas cookies, I couldn't help but think of all the times in the past that I made them with my mom and grandma, and how my grandma made them with her mother. I hope that someday, my own children will make them, and I hope they will think of their grandmothers, and I hope they will think of me.

A final way I try to honor our family's past and present is to display plenty of photos around the house, not just of my own immediate family, but of grandparents and great-grandparents and other relatives. The pictures are a great springboard for conversations about our heritage, and a nice way to help those people feel close, who have gone on before.

I could go on and on! You can see this is a topic I enjoy. It's been fun to reminisce as I've typed this.

Kara said...

Simply beautiful! I've been telling my husband for a couple of years now that I want a HUGE family tree to hang on our family room wall someday! There's no time like the present!

We have had many ways of honoring our family past and present, but by far my favorite is the tribute letters that we have been writing for almost 10 years now. I am the youngest child in my family and as I got married and moved away we realized that the standard gift exchange for Christmas was really just a money exchange without a lot of feeling behind it. Many of us were poor students, or struggling young families. We decided that it would be worth so much more to write tribute letters to each other instead.

We rotate through the siblings. For example the first year we wrote to the sibling just younger than ourself and then moved down each year after that. We could write whatever we wanted...poems, memories, thank you's, and mostly a combination of all. There is no gift I look forward to more than my tribute letter. Again, as the youngest, my siblings approval was always so important to me and each year I get a special insight into their special love for me. I have also written a letter to my siblings in-laws thanking them for being so good to my brother/sister. We will bind all our letters and present it to our parents on their 50th anniversary in a few years. Of course there will be tribute letters to them too, but as a parent myself I suspect they will cherish the letters we wrote to each other more than anything.

Thanks for letting me share this and remember the wonderful ways I can honor my family!!

Missy said...

Wow - those family trees are really fabulous. I just love them.

I don't have a really large, extended family. I only ever had one grandparent, but she lived to be healthy and lived on her own, even, to the age of 91! She just passed a little over a year ago. I also had a great Aunt who was a pretty fabulous lady. Most of my family and ancestors are from South Georgia and as they have passed on, I have learned some pretty neat things about them. My great Aunt, Edith, was a pretty neat lady. During World War II, she was a volunteer with the military as a coast watcher. She went on to own a Merle Norman cosmetics store in her little town in Georgia, and did a thriving business through the 1960s and 70s. She finally sold her franchise and retired when she was in her late 60s. My great grandmother, Olive (everyone called her Oggie) who passed away before I was born, was a postmistress in her little South Georgia town.
My grandmother's brother, Taylor, was a pretty interesting person too. He was 93 when he passed just before my grandmother did. He was a college professor, worked for pharmaceutical companies, and traveled the world. And he saved and cataloged in his home, ever book he ever read. His home had shelves from floor to ceiling in every room.
I think that all families have family members with fascinating histories like that, and if we don't catalog it, then our children will not appreciate how cool their grandparents and great grandparents are! I have one cousin of mine who feels the same way that I do, and is trying to share these stories and histories with her kids too!

Cynthia Jan said...

I love all of these wonderful ideas and comments on honoring family past and present! It is going to be a hard to narrow it down to just two. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts! I will post my selections on Friday.

Lauralee said...

oh I would so love to win this... I don't even want to read the other comments.. I know this won't compare.. but I will try!
First.. I just have to say- that is some amazing talent.. and what a beautiful idea.. I just LOVE it..

To honor my family past and present.. I just try hard to be a good person..I KNOW that my granparents who have gone on watch over me and my family.. and I really don't want to dissappoint them with my choices.. I want to do the opposite.. I want them to know how grateful I am for the lives they lived.. my grandpa's both were not members of our church.. so going to the temple is a big deal.. all their work has been done.. I was there for some of it.. like when my grandma who is still alive was finally sealed to my grandpa.. one of the most amazing times of my life.
I try to teach my children the gospel, to work hard.. to love and to serve.. I am sure not much different than anyone else..

my cousin who is an artist.. made a dvd of my grandma who is 88 with her sibllings who are all living.. in their 80's it is a 2 disc set, and it is so fun to watch my grandma tell the stories of her childhood, and hear her sisters and brother's versions as well.. it is truly a treasure I hope to always have.. he actually travelled to Sweeden and filmed parts of it, that is where my ancestors are from, and then filmed in Idaho where they settled.. it is just a priceless gift he has given us.. We also have a HUGE book of family history my great aunt put together and gave to us when we got married, tons of stories.. which I love to read and tell my kids the stories..

I could go on.. I am afraid this is getting long.. I love what you are doing.. love your site.. and your work is beautiful!

Knapp family said...

I love these. They look so neat. I need to be better at my genealogy. My dad is a genealogy buff and spends most of his days doing it.
Thanks for sharing.