Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

Footprints Nursery Photography

I’d love to introduce you to our sister business, Footprints Nursery Photography.  When you want to create a memory, ask a professional photographer for help.

Few events are as precious, or fleeting, in our lives than that of welcoming a new member to our family. As your precious new child develops and grows in the womb and then is born into our world, he or she is changing rapidly each and every day.  Why not celebrate these treasured moments in your family by capturing these images forever in the form of photographs and videos?

As parents ourselves, we understand just how excited and proud you are of this new life that you’ve been entrusted with. We even remember that bit of nerves that you are probably feeling as you hold your children in your arms for the first few times. We know from experience, just how surprised you will be when you first discover how quickly your child changes as the days, weeks and months pile up. Trust us when we tell you how very important it is to capture these candid moments while you can.

As the years go by, our memories may falter, but a durable, high quality photograph can help you to preserve and retain your first treasured moments with your child so that you will have a record that will last a lifetime.

That’s why we offer a full range of professional boutique photographic services to ensure that we can help you to capture and preserve this special time. We are happy to schedule your child’s first filming date while you are still in the hospital, or from the comfort of your own home.  We have a full range of mobile backdrops and professional props, and can also use some of your baby’s first toys if you prefer, to make your baby’s photos even more special and meaningful to you and your family.

We offer a full range of packages at very reasonable prices to help you safeguard your child’s first moments as well as offer a secure means of sharing pictures of your child across social media so that other close family members and friends can see just how lovely your child already is. Why not contact us today to discover more about how we can help you to secure the memories of your child’s entry into the world?

The Old-Fashioned Way of Remembering – Memorial Portraiture

Many centuries ago, the Celts believed that their late relatives and friends have gone to a better place and marked their funerals with rich feasts and a lot of laughter. The Romans buried important members of society under roads and paths, because they believed that many people passing over their remains is a sign of honour and respect.

In the medieval fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, the members of House Stark receive their own stone statue in the catacombs of the castle after they are gone, while the Tully House follows an ancient ceremony of setting the remains of the deceased on fire with the help of flaming arrows in the middle of the river.

The scholars of Jordan College in Philip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’ have another interesting ritual – the skulls of the deceased are preserved in special underground vaults and their ‘demons’ are represented by golden coins.

Indeed, the ways of remembering practiced in the real and the imaginary worlds vary dramatically and change over time. And while some ideas of remembering may appear shocking to us, it is useful to be acquainted with the different options of maintaining the connection, letting go and preserving memories. One really interesting way of remembering, which is not too popular now but was often used in America and Europe in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, was the memorial portraiture, also known as post-mortem photography.

In 1839, the invention of the daguerreotype made it possible for many people to have their pictures taken quickly and at an affordable price (in contrast to the costly and slow painted portraits). And while many people took advantage of the invention of photography and made sure to have photos of memorable events, a new application of the technology was quickly invented and adopted – Memorial Portraits. The families of deceased people often hired photographers to take the photo of a family member who had just passed away and the resulting pictures were their only visual memory of this person.

The interest of post-mortem photography soon motivated the photographers to discover different methods of representation. Indeed, some pictures showed the deceased person in their coffin, but there were many situations when the man behind the camera tried everything to make the model look as alive as possible. If you browse through this gallery of memorial portraits, you will see that some people look absolutely alive and you wouldn’t have guessed the nature of the photo if you didn’t know what you are going to see. Other photographs tried to arrange the photo in a way that would convince us the model is sleeping – especially when it came to babies or small children. They would usually hold a favourite object of theirs – a doll or a teddy bear, or even a pet! – to make the photo more realistic.

At one point, post-mortem photography became so popular that deceased pupils and students were included in collective photos of the class or the school. They were kept standing with the help of special tools that supported them, and later the photograph retouched the pictures to make them look alive. In this 9GAG post you can see some of the different techniques used by the photographers when shooting a memorial portrait.

Later in the 20th century, post-mortem photography started to lose its popularity. Indeed, when browsing the old photos, you can see how hard it was for family members to pose with their deceased relatives, but it also seems that they found the whole process natural, maybe even necessary for them to remember a child, a spouse, a sibling who ceased to be. If offered such service by a funeral agency today, we would probably react in a different way and will consider this a strange, shocking and unnatural process. Still, back in its day, post-mortem photography was one of the old-fashioned ways of remembering – it helped people get over their pain and preserve a fond memory of someone they had lost – and that is all that matters.

3D Memories

Retaining memories, especially the good ones, is one of the most wonderful aspects of being human.

Memories, however, fade over time and require a physical or visual reminder to help evoke the feelings, the fun, and the good of the memory.

We know this from our own experiences. There has also been quite a bit of research into the use of photographs and pictures to help those with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease to recall incidents and stimulate the mind, memories and bran function. Pictures and images do help us to remember, which also explains why they are so precious to us.

Unfortunately, the visual aids are something that are lacking for those with visual impairments. Their memories fade, just like those of the rest of us, yet they have no access to these precious reminders. They lose the memories of those special moments of life; of special occasions, special people, and significant moments.

Just as the language of Braille was created to enable blind people to read and gather information, a company in Singapore, calling themselves Pirate3D, is experimenting with 3D printer technology to provide those  unable to see with a ‘touchable memory’.

Essentially, they are reproducing visual images such as photographs, into three dimensional shapes via 3D printing. This provides those who are blind a physical, tangible and touchable ‘image’ which gives them the stimulation required to remember those special moments.

You can read more about the project here, and see the profound impact the three dimensional ‘images’ have on those who cannot see.

It highlights not only the beauty of our memories on our being, but also why keepsakes and reminders are so important to us, and to the memories of the important times in our lives.

We Do Not Remember Days

“We do not remember days. We remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.”

- Cesare Pavese, Italian poet and novelist.

Often, when we look back across the years, it is easier to recall singular moments than it is to remember an entire series of events. Even the most special occasions do not usually become memories we can play back scene by scene. We might remember isolated incidents, but those special days are more likely to be stored in our hearts and minds in the forms of feelings. When we sit back and recall a wedding, for instance, it is often the echo of the emotions we experienced that comes back to us.

Sometimes life can be so busy, the days and weeks blur into months and even years, and when we do have a chance to look back, all we can remember is the hustle and haste of taking care of business. If we aren’t careful, we find ourselves doing some occasional task, like Christmas shopping, and suddenly feel like it is only yesterday since we last did so, even though an entire year has passed.

That’s why it is important to try to notice each moment. Take time to truly take in the ever-changing people, the near-constant flux of emotions and the ongoing series of events that take place in your each and every day. Paying attention to your surroundings and the people near to you will deepen your appreciation and understanding of them. People who manage to pay sincere attention and develop mindfulness practices not only report a greater sense of well-being, but usually have a better developed ability to recall past events accurately.

This is your life! Stop and watch what is going on around you. Don’t miss the moments that would have become memories.

A Pendant Next To Your Heart

Etched In Memories specialises in jewellery with customised messages, so you can wear or give someone a one-of-a-kind piece that speaks directly from your heart. The pendants themselves are made of fine quality metals, and, once engraved, will hold the precious words next to the wearer’s heart for years to come. One of the premier joys of being a co-creator in custom jewellery is the luxury of choice. As well as choosing the metal that will suit the wearer best, there are a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses of pendant to choose from, each of which are suitable for carrying different types of messages.

Stainless steel pendants are the most economical of the range, and are a strong, bright option for casual gifts. Sterling silver is somewhat similar in appearance to stainless steel, but unlike stainless steel contains a high percentage of silver, a precious metal. Etched In Memories also carries a selection of pendants in gold. These range from the gold plated, through to 9ct white and yellow gold options. Gold plated jewellery is quite affordable, being a thin layer of gold covering a strong base metal. 9ct yellow and white gold are both very precious and beautiful options which people treasure for years and have heirloom potential.

The range of pendant shapes available ensures there is something to suit men and women of all ages, and great options for all occasions. The classic heart shaped pendants are well suited to displaying wedding anniversaries, for instance, or children’s names. Attractively rounded circles and ovals are sometimes preferred by women. Square pendants can appear quite modern, and along with rectangles and ID tag shapes can carry very personal and sentimental messages and still be suitable for men to wear.

This is only a simple guide, however. When choosing the pendant you would like, remember the human heart has few rules. Have a look through the Etched In Memories selection, and see what speaks to you.

Remembering Practices

Losing a loved one is an inevitable aspect of everyone’s life, but the way we deal with this loss is strictly personal. There are many practices and techniques to stop grieving and start leading a normal life again, and it is up to you to find what will help you in the particular situation. Usually, your habits, beliefs and understanding of the world around us will affect the way you deal with loss and grief and you need to have in mind that nobody can claim with 100% what happens after someone leaves us. What you need to do is decide what your relationship with this person is.

While many specialists and bereavement professionals insist that the best way to get back to your normal life is to forget and let go, there are other equally powerful practices of dealing with grief. The core of the so-called Remembering Practices, developed by Lorraine Hedtke, is that there will be no grief to deal with if you realise that there is nothing you should grieve about. And here is how and why.

The fact that someone has stopped existing physically does not mean that they are no longer with us and no longer existing at all. Numerous sources related to religion, fiction, fantasy, philosophy, etc refer to ways in which a deceased person remains in the world. We don’t even need to explore the aspects of the supernatural to realise that our loved ones are still with us – the fact that we remember them and talk about them, have photos with them and know that they have existed, etches them forever in our memory.

If we acknowledge the fact that a person has lived and has marked the world with their existence, why should we say farewell and let go, if we can maintain a connection and relationship? Why should we stop grieving if we can talk, discuss, tell stories, remember the person and what they did when they were with us?

In this sense, losing someone is similar to reading a book. You are together and you have a great time, but at some point the book ends and many readers confess that they feel awful when they turn the last page. But that doesn’t mean you should throw the book away and try to forget about it. On the contrary, you will remember the book, you will discuss it with other people, you will speak about it, quote it, tell stories, maybe read it again and again. And you will have a sort of a never ending relationship, because every book changes the way we see the world.

While the relationship between people is far more complex than that between a reader and a book, the same principles apply. You cannot forget a person that has been in your life – trying to do so will only result in painful moments when you remember them. Instead, acknowledge that the person is no longer with you, but cherish the memory of them, the moments you have had together. Put your photos in a beautiful frame, get a personalised pendant with a picture of them, talk about them and talk TO them, think of the ways they changed you and influenced you.

There is nothing wrong in trying to maintain this relationship if that helps you live with your loss. If you find that the conventional process of saying farewell and letting go does not work for you, try the remembering practices and hopefully you will feel better and see the loss for what it is – a new beginning.

Words Of Memory

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a few well chosen words can still speak volumes. When ordering a pendant, pictures truly personalise, but also consider how text could enhance the piece. Etched in Memories can engrave words for you, as well as render your quality images onto our pendants.

Perhaps you’d like to craft a special message for a special person in your life. Maybe a line of poetry will suit the occasion. An inspirational quote that will mean a lot to the recipient might be just the thing to create a well-thought-out present. The difference between a very pretty gift and a truly outstanding one might be including the names of beloved family members, or dates of significance, such as anniversaries. There are many possibilities to ponder, and finding just the right words will bring the pendant even closer to the heart of the wearer.

There are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you let your creative mind wander. There is a flat fee of $5 for text, which covers unlimited words, but different sizes and shapes make the pendants suitable for different lengths of messages. Generally, the more words, the smaller (and harder to read) the text will be. We have found that up to 10 words fit well on most pendant shapes. If you are thinking of a longer message, the ID Tag might be the best fit.

Please feel free to consult with us about including text on your pendant order. We can make individual recommendations that will assist you in designing the quality piece your loved one deserves, while including a message that is one of a kind.

Rituals And Memory

Perhaps you have heard about the 5 year photo project – it is all about 5 friends who go back to the same place every 5 years and take the same photo again. They have been performing this unique ritual of theirs since 1982 and, according to them, it has kept their high school friendship alive.

Indeed, as we go back through the years, we realise that many of our memories are result of a sui generis ritual or tradition we have with our friends, relatives, parents. Of course, there are many spontaneous moments that turn into great memories, but knowing that next month or next year or even in 5 years you will be with the people you love performing something you all enjoy will certainly keep them fresh in your memory.

Therefore, it is proven that rituals have the useful ability to build memories. It is even more important that they work in two ways. Firstly, they help you remember that your friends are somewhere out there even if you can’t talk to them every day and meet them regularly. Secondly, they create real memories that you can take with your wherever you have – memories that will warm your heart when you feel lonely and under the weather.

Of course, when it comes to rituals, it may be something requiring a lot of preparation (like the 5 year photo project), or it may be something really simple, like sharing a cup of tea on Sunday afternoons. Talking on Skype from time to time, going to the cinema at Christmas, having a drink after a job well done (see “Boston Legal”) – it doesn’t really matter. The important part is spending great time with your loved ones and remembering it – because “nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

So, if you are afraid that your memory may betray you and important people may begin to fade away, just make sure to create a ritual with them. No matter if it is formal or personal, religious and spiritual or simple and everyday, it will create a special bond between you and your friends and will make sure your relationship survives regardless of the circumstances. Even if the people in question are no longer among us, we can still keep them in our hearts with the help of rituals and maintain a connection as long as it makes us feel good.

If you don’t want to entrust everything to your memory, you can take additional measures to remember. During a favourite ritual of yours, take a nice picture with your loved once and ask us to engrave it on a pendant. With a picture on one side and the date of the ritual on another, you are sure to keep it fresh with you wherever you go. So if you want to make sure your friends, parents or significant others are safely preserved in your heart, contact Etched in Memories now and we will help you choose the best item for the occasion.

Paper Memories

Most folks have some memory of visiting their grandparents or other older relatives, and what it was like to look through their collection of old paper photographs. Do you remember the look of happiness on their face and the gleam in their eyes, as they recalled their old friends, their loved ones, and the times that they shared together in the distant past? If you were really lucky, your older relative also shared a bit of their own story with you as they reminisced.

You may not have realised it at the time, but you were being a gift, a special treasure. Your elderly loved one was sharing a bit of their true self with you by showing you their old paper photographs and telling you their stories about the people within them.

As we grow older, it can be difficult to remember what our lives were like when we were young. All of us get busy with living our lives: working a job, paying the bills, raising a family. Time passes, and we are no longer 16, 36 or even 50. Our photographs can serve as important touchstones to our past and help us to remember better times and beloved friends and family. These mementos can help us to recall the past so that we are then able to share the past with the people in our future.

With technology, it’s getting easier to grab those great impromptu snapshots that are filled with emotion and character. Now, there are cellphones and laptops with cameras, and we can even shoot video of those important moments in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Despite these advances, it’s still important to make physical copies of these pictures. Files can become corrupted, misplaced or lost. Accidents and unexpected events such as fire can also happen, so it’s nice to have something tangible that preserves our memories. This becomes even more important as we grow older and develop the tendency to forget.

Paper photographs and digital video collections can both be great ways to preserve what is important to us. Paper Memories is a video short found on Vimeo that shows just how important photographs can be to helping the elderly remember the love and life that they experienced in the past. In the film, the elderly gentleman is able to remember the love of his life and share their love story, by looking through his old photographs.

Here at Etched in Memories, we can help you preserve your favorite digital and paper photographs in a more permanent way – a way that will stand the test of time. Using a special process, we can etch your special photographs onto a metal pendant so that your life story will last forever. We offer this service in a wide range of metals and price ranges, so that there is an affordable option for every budget.

Think how comforting it will be to be able to always have the special people and events from your life close at hand? Now, instead of just sharing your favorite memories with your family and friends as you look over old photographs, you have a memento that you can actually pass down to them and not worry that it will be accidentally lost or destroyed. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you preserve the special people and moments in your life so that you and your loved ones can treasure them forever.

Eyes Which Don’t See Each Other, Forget Each Other

“Eyes which don’t see each other, forget each other”, said the Bulgarians long ago, long before technological development and photos. And they were quite right for their time. Going away to work sometimes for the summer or for a year or two, young men going to war leaving newly formed families behind with the promise to return as soon as possible – all trying to keep their loved ones in their hearts.

However, it is one thing to promise and another to remember. It is wonderful if you have the right intentions and the ability to keep someone in your heart even if they are far away from you. Most people, however, need certain reminders. In olden times, this help came in the form of tokens, favours and precious little personal belongings that everyone carried away from home – something to keep to their heart and look at when they thought they were alone in the world. Later, with the development of photography, walls in lodgings, barracks, camps and trenches were decorated with small black-and-white photos, shortening great distances and helping people reach out and remember.

One token from popular culture has made a long-lasting impact to my idea of remembering. In the book “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, Ali and his son Amir flee Afghanistan for America with the intention to avoid the war. Before crossing the border, Ali “fished the snuffbox from his pocket. He emptied the box and picked up a handful of dirt from the middle of the unpaved road. He kissed the dirt. Poured it into the box. Stowed the box in his breast pocket, next to his heart.” Whether Ali would have forgotten the Afghan land without taking a bit of it with himself, I doubt. However, having it there, for luck, for proof that it all existed once and he was happy there – that would probably be helpful in times of trouble and when he was missing home.

Maybe those who say “out of sight, out of mind” are right. Maybe it is hard to keep your promise and remember after a couple of years and a few thousand kilometres? Or maybe it is easy to remember, but hard to keep the old feelings? Luckily, we don’t have to search too hard for the answers. We all have the means to keep in contact, even if we are as far away as we could be. We keep contact with our friends and relatives studying and working abroad, with those who have undertaken a challenging adventure – climbing Kilimanjaro or running with the African lions; we even receive sound and picture from the moon and those living in the International Space Station. Today, the world is small and if we want to remember, everything is in our favour.

So if you are afraid that “eyes which don’t see each other, forget each other”, don’t take the risk. A favourite picture of your loved ones would help you keep everyone in sight and won’t be a burden. And make sure you leave something behind – the eyes that need to remember are two sets, after all. Just choose the form of the memories you want to leave behind or take with you and contact us – at Etched in Memories so we can ensure you never forget!