Tag Archives: remembrance

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsake Ornaments and Memory Blanket

Remembrance Keepsakes for the family behind WhirlAway Travel

Losing someone we love is difficult in so many ways. The hurt and healing come in waves and the journey to peace is different for everyone. Our mission is to help you with one step along the path, the challenging task of going through your loved one’s clothing. By transforming some of the most precious pieces into remembrance keepsakes, you have the opportunity to enjoy your memories in a new way with a beautiful tribute in your home.

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After Patty lost her husband, she came into our studio to create remembrance keepsakes for her family. Starting with a bin full of neatly folded button downs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and baseball hats, we talked about the members of her family and which pieces of clothing would be most special to them. Through the creation of blankets and ornaments, everyone now has a meaningful gift to honor a man that brought so much joy to their lives.

One of the recipients of a memory blanket made from her Dad’s colorful button downs and t-shirts, is Jamie Jones.  Through our time creating her family’s keepsakes and as fellow business owners, Jamie and I have become friends. I would like to introduce you to Jamie, the owner of WhirlAway Travel in West Chester, PA, so she can share a little about her Dad, her path to owning her business, and how she may be able to help you plan your dream vacation.

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsake Memory Blanket 2

Jamie, we are so sorry about the loss of your Dad. Can you tell us a little about him?

“Thank you.  My dad was amazing.  He had a quiet calm about him that was so comforting and reassuring.  My dad was a man’s man.  He believed in getting up early and doing something productive.  I can recall only 2 times when he was too sick to get out of bed!  He was a business owner, and when his first business was sold he started another.  He was always involved in something, whether it be renovating a house, maintaining one of his rental properties, taking care of his horses, taking his dog on long walks, or spending time with friends and family.  He was also my biggest support when I joined the family business.”

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I learned from your Mom that WhirlAway Travel is a family business. How long have you been serving the community? What prompted your parents to get into the travel business?

“My mom bought WhirlAway Travel 31 years ago.  We have maintained a store front location in West Chester the whole time.  Prior to her purchasing the agency my Mom worked for another agency.  Entrepreneurship runs in our family.  My Dad owned a commercial laundry, which was also a family business. All of my Mom’s brothers and sister own their own businesses as well.  I guess we don’t work well for others!”

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsake Memory Blanket

What was your favorite vacation as a child and as an adult?

“My favorite vacation as a child was to the Cayman Islands.  We used to go every Christmas and my parents would go twice a year.  The Cayman Islands was our version of the Jersey Shore.  As an adult my favorite trip was to Southern Africa.  It was not really a vacation but it was the most incredible place I have ever been.  I traveled with a few other travel professionals to learn about the destination and experience some of our preferred hotels and resorts.  I made some lifelong friends, tasted some of the best food and wine I have ever had, and had the opportunity to see wildlife where they belong, in the wild. “

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What are some of the benefits of having you plan a vacation verse trying to do it yourself? 

“I would say the biggest benefit of having WhirlAway plan your vacation is that we do this every single day, whereas most people plan a vacation once or twice a year.  We are able to cut through the clutter of online information overload and help you find a vacation that is going to fit your needs, not someone else’s.  We see destinations and hotels first hand and have partners all over the world for destinations we have not been to.  We also can get our clients perks – complimentary breakfast, resort and spa credits, upgrades, etc, that you cannot get on your own.  We work on our client’s behalf from the time they hire us until they return so they always have an advocate.  We also provide an interactive mobile itinerary so that everything is at their fingertips while they are traveling.  When someone asks what we do, I tell them that the only thing we are limited by is the imagination and their budget!”

What are some hot vacation destinations for your clients?

“Hot destinations – Iceland, Africa, the Caribbean, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, South Pacific, and of course Italy are all in high demand.  We are also seeing many more requests for exotic and off the beaten path destinations as well as an increase in domestic travel.”

Thank you for spending time with us today,

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WhirlAway Travel believes that opening our minds and hearts to appreciate the diversity that makes us all unique is essential for the future of our world. If you would like Jamie and her team to help you plan your next trip, please visit their website or give them a call 610-431-3642.

If you would like help transforming your special clothing into lasting keepsakes, Once Upon a Time Creation is here for you.

Remembrance Keepsake Memory Blanket by Once Upon a Time Creation

Once Upon a Time Creation Bedspread Remembrance Keepsake Pillows

Remembrance Keepsake Pillows

If you are not familiar with a Remembrance Keepsake, it is a tangible piece of something that holds special meaning to you in honor of a loved one that you have lost. It could be anything that helps you feel like a part of that person is still with you and reminds you of all the wonderful memories that you shared together.

We all have special memories from visiting Grandma. Each of our senses contribute to the memories of the time spent together…the scent of her perfume, the taste of her famous pie, the sound of her bracelets jingling, the sight of her garden, and the feel of her well loved chenille bedspread. When Grandma is no longer with us, it feels good to have something of hers as a remembrance keepsake of the love you shared.

There is something about those memories that makes us feel happy and content. Maybe it’s that Grandma always made you feel special. Maybe it’s because she was so genuinely proud of you. Maybe it’s because she always gave the best advice. Maybe she always listened without pretense or judgement.

When we lose Grandma, it leaves a hole in our heart. I truly believe that we all move on to a better place, but that doesn’t mean you miss them any less.

Over the years, we have created keepsakes with so many things that were near and dear to your hearts because of Grandma…an apron, a piece from her curtains, her favorite robe, the dress she wore to your wedding, her pajamas, and her bedspread.

We hope that having a remembrance keepsake gives you a tangible memory of your time together and facilitates the sharing of family stories. The next generation can look at a family tree and learn when and where she was born, but you will have to tell them about her. How she lived her life. Why she inspired you. What made her so special.

Hopefully talking about the generations that came before us will help us remember what we loved, what we want to change, and how we can live our best life.

Once Upon a Time Creation Custom Keepsakes

 

Army Uniform Remembrance Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Honoring A Special Uncle with Army Uniform Keepsakes

Sometimes a memory is too painful to talk about. The heartache and grief are just too much to bear, so we do what we can to get through the day, the weeks, and the years. This family lost their son in Vietnam and the physical memories of him were tucked away until the next generation found them and wanted to share his story.

Army Uniforms in the trunk before the keepsake creation by Once Upon a Time Creation

 

They wanted to honor his life by sharing memories of him, both in word and deed. Through the creation of keepsakes from his uniforms and sharing them with siblings, nieces, and nephews, this family found a way to share a piece of their own history.

Army Uniform Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Sometimes a physical memento is the catalyst to converstaion. Our senses of touch, sight, and smell all help us to spark memories, remember moments, and ask questions. A memento, whether a picture, artifact, or keepsake, can also help explain events and stories to the next generation.

Army Uniform Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Sharing a family history is different than reading a book about the bigger picture. It’s about understanding who people are and how they got there. It’s about seeing physical and personality traits trend through generations. It’s about appreciating that who and where you are today was directly affected by the decisions and circumstances of those that came before you.

Army Uniform Remembrance Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Army Uniform Keepsakes

Sharing your own family history makes stories of the past real for the next generation. Reading about how many soldiers were lost in Vietnam in a book is vastly different than hearing your grandma talk about the day the letter arrived or feeling your uncle’s fear as he talks about the days he spent overseas. Our image of the world is shaped in many ways. Personal accounts of our own family are valuable pieces to the puzzle that we pass to the next generation.

Army Uniform  Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

What are your thoughts? How do you share your family history? I would love to hear from you.

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If you have saved clothing from a lost loved one and would like to create custom keepsakes to share with your family, please visit our website Once Upon a Time Creation 

Custom Keepsake Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

The Beauty of Ornaments

There are no rules when it comes to tree trimming in our house. We do not have the decorator-variety tree where all the ornaments are coordinated and the latest garland trend is draped perfectly over the evergreen branches.

Heart Apron Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

Remembrance Ornaments created from a beloved apron.

Our tree is adorned with little feathered handprints, laminated snowflakes proudly framing a preschool picture, quilted treasures from my aunt, wooden creations from my grandfather, different Nativity scenes, the varied collection we have amassed from places we have been, the few glass balls we have left from our first tree (when we ran to CVS for decorations realizing we had none), JoePa figurines, and so much more.

Heart Remembrance Jean Ornament by Once Upon a TIme Creation

In loving memory of a hard working dad created from his paint-covered overalls.

The collection I am most proud of will not be hung on our tree forever. Every year we give each child an ornament that represents an activity, a favorite occasion, or something they love from that year. When we pull out all their ornaments, we see all the things they have done, learned about, and obsessed over.

Irish Heart Ornaments by Once Upon a Time Creation

These are not fancy ornaments. Some have been purchased at the mall kiosk, some have been ordered online, some have been locally purchased, and some have been handcrafted. Everything is represented, from karate to video games to movies as well as princesses, dance, and instruments.  Seeing them together creates a little “this is your life” snapshot that will go with each of my kids when they have their own tree someday.

Penn State Ornaments by Once Upon a Time Creation

Outgrown pjs turned into fun ornaments.

And then there is the collection that is not hung on the tree, but will go with them also. This group is displayed in our studio all year. These are the ornaments designed from clothes that they wore when they were little. For some of you, you may be experiencing this now and for some, you may remember, that there always seemed to be a favorite piece of clothing from each year. It may have been the camo pants with the big pockets for collecting rocks or the Spongebob pjs, or maybe the Cinderella dress or the comfy romper. Now that they are both teenagers, each ornament brings me back to when they were little, and how parenting then was easier and harder at the same time.

Angel Wedding Dress Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

A beautiful wedding dress becomes angel remembrance ornaments.

Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a big deal in my family. My grandmother hosted her annual tree trimming party to bring family and friends together to eat, drink, and adorn her enormous tree. She believed in the miracle of family and Christmas so this was her time to shine. After she passed away, we created angel ornaments for everyone in the family out of her red and white pjs. My hope is that when that ornament is hung on each tree we can all feel her smiling down on us.

Angel Remembrance Keepsake Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

To me, ornaments are not just decoration. They are a family history to be enjoyed, displayed, and shared every year in that magical Christmas time we all love.

Vintage Linen Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

Heirloom vintage linens can now be enjoyed on the tree.

Do you have an ornament or Christmas tree tradition? I would love to hear about it.

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If you would like us to help you create ornaments from special clothing you have saved, please visit our website (https://www.onceuponatimecreation.com) or contact me (610-202-7850 or jen@onceuponatimecreation.com).

Heart Shirt Remembrance Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

Remembrance ornaments for the family from favorite shirts.

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsakes Handkerchief Pillows 3

Remembrance keepsakes in honor of Grace and Grace

Do you have pieces of clothing or some other fabric you saved from your grandmother? Maybe it is her wedding gown, favorite dress, iconic apron, something she crocheted or quilted, handkerchiefs, or even a tablecloth?  Remembrance keepsakes created from these precious things helps connect generations in a special way. When there is something physical in front of you, it can reach into your memory to recreate a feeling or moment that may otherwise be lost.

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Just the word “grandmother” brings a warm feeling to our hearts. She is the one you could talk to without judgement, learn stories of a time so different from ours, and make you feel like the most important person in the world.

Are there little things that remind you of your grandmother? Mine always had a box of Chiclets (those little square pieces of gum), her charm bracelet jangled when she moved, and she made these “magic” desserts with pudding and jello in layers and we could never figure out how she did it.

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsakes Heart Ornaments 2

When we lost my grandmother, we created angel ornaments from her pjs and gave them to the family for Christmas. You can read more about that here. Since then, we have been helping others remember their grandmothers by transforming textiles they saved into remembrance keepsakes to share with their family.

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsakes Pillows 1

Sometimes we even have the rare opportunity to help a family honor two grandmothers. When both grandmothers are named Grace, you know that is something special.

Christy brought us a shirt, pair of pants, and charms, that belonged to her mother, and her grandmother’s handkerchiefs and wedding rings, and asked us to create remembrance keepsakes for her to share with her family. The goal was to have a gift for everyone, siblings and grandchildren.

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsakes Handkerchief Pillows 2

We began with the handkerchiefs and designed pillows for Christy’s siblings and cousins in remembrance of their grandmother. Christy and I went through the beautiful handkerchiefs together to coordinate the colors and styles so that each pillow would have a different one on either side.

One Upon a Time Creation Remembrance Keepsakes Angel Ornaments 3

Then we decided to create ornaments for Christy’s mother’s grandchildren, many of whom did not have the opportunity to meet “Grandma Grace”. Hearts for the boys and angels for the girls. Each child was given a charm from the bracelet which was attached to their ornament. Our hope is that each time the ornament is hung on the tree, stories are told and memories are shared.

Once Upon a Time Creation Remembrance keepsakes Heart and Angel Ornaments 1

Sharing stories of generations before us remains an important part of our family history. If we don’t talk about them, they get lost. Sharing the trials and triumphs of past generations with the next generation helps them gain perspective, give them deep roots, and the courage to sprout wings.

What are the little things you remember about your grandmother?

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Remembrance Gifts created from Dad’s favorite clothing

When you picture your parents, do you see them wearing their favorite clothes? The styles may vary, but the clothes represent who they are.  Whether you picture a tailored suit coat or race t-shirts, the clothes tell their story. By creating Remembrance Gifts from favorite clothing, you can keep a tangible memory with you that honors their spirit and style.

Remembrance Gifts from Dad's Favorite Clothingby Once Upon a Time Creation 1

When Barbara lost her Dad, she saved his favorite clothes because they held so many special memories for her and her family. When she talked about her Dad, you could feel how much she misses him. Growing up with all brothers, I am sure Barbara held a special place in her Dad’s heart. As the family grew, her Dad enjoyed everything that came along with a big, loving family. Continue reading

Remembrance Keepsake Blanket by Once Upon a Time Creation

Remembrance Keepsake Memory Blanket for a Special Niece

A remembrance keepsake memory blanket created from clothing of a lost a loved one is a gift that we hope offers a bit of comfort to help ease the pain of grief.

 

In her desire to help her family, Nancy contacted us about designing a memory blanket for her niece in memory of her sister-in-law. She wasn’t sure what to do because all she had were scarves and one shirt, but wanted to create something special for her niece.

After chatting for a bit, we decided to create a memory blanket from her treasured clothing. We talked about the Bohemian nature of the fabrics and colors and also her sister-in-law’s style.

Remembrance Keepsake Memory Blanket designed from scarves by Once Upon a Time Creation

It is so important to talk about the person whose clothing it was and the person who will receive the gift.  We feel that both personalities should be reflected in the keepsake to truly honor both people.

As this was our first experience creating a blanket from scarves, Nancy and I went through a few design ideas, which were then tweaked in the studio before production began. We really wanted it to be obvious that the original clothing was scarves so keeping long, linear lines was important.  There was also fringe on one of the scarves that we wanted to incorporate.  In the end, we decided to switch the direction of a few of the scarves to add more dimension but still keep the feel of the scarves.

Remembrance Keepsake Memory Blanket designed from scarves by Once Upon a Time Creation

As always, the blanket is backed with a soft, cozy flannel. Our hope is that your remembrance keepsake memory blanket feels like a hug and helps bring a bit of comfort.

What kinds of sentimental clothing have you saved?

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For more remembrance keepsake ideas, here is a link to our Remembrance Gifts webpage: Remembrance Keepsakes and Gifts. To contact me directly, please call 610-202-7850 or (jen at onceuponatimecreation dot com). I am always here to help and am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Puppy and Kitty by Once Upon a Time Creation

Sharing a Piece of Family History

Remember those lovely lambswool pillows we shared with you a bit ago?  Hildegard was so pleased with the pillows, she decided she wanted to share some of Great Grandma’s memories with the youngest members of the family.  Using the leftover lambswool from the coat (for the ears and tail) and a sweater of Hildegard’s from Germany, we created these lovable Puppy and Kitty Stuffies.

Kitty by Once Upon a Time Creation

Since these Stuffies combine clothing from the recipients’ Grandma and Great Grandma, these cute little guys represent a piece of family history.

What I love about these Creations is the story behind them.  When gifts like these are given, the stories are passed along with them.

Puppy by Once Upon a Time Creation

That just gave me an idea!!!  Maybe we should include note cards as part of our gift packaging, with the intention that the giver will write down the little bit of history that goes with the gift.  What do you think???

Pillows by Once Upon a Time Creation

Our name, Once Upon a Time Creation, originated because EVERYTHING we create has a back story.   How does every good story begin?  Once Upon a Time….

Maybe it’s time to encourage and facilitate the sharing of your story in written form.  I would love to know what you think.  Should we start including note cards as part of our gift packaging?

 

 

Introducing…Mr. Monkey!

Mr. Monkey Remembrance Stuffie by Once Upon a TIme CreationWe would like to welcome Mr. Monkey to the Once Upon a Time family.

Designed with leftover fabric from a Memory Blanket, this little guy is so cute and cuddly.  He is an adorable way to share memories with the youngest members of the family.

He joins Stella in the studio keeping us company:)

Remembrance Rag Doll by Once Upon a Time Creation

 

Sneak Peek

Custom Doll by Once Upon a Time Creation

We have been working diligently to bring you a new line of specialty gifts.  This is your sneak peek!

To kick things off, we’ve taken the classic rag doll to a whole new level.   Isn’t she lovely?  So much personality!  I think she needs a name.  What do you think?  Any suggestions?  We would love to hear from you.

All the gifts and keepsakes we design are created just for you from the clothes you save.  This cutie is no exception.  She was created from fabric remnants of this colorful Memory Blanket.  To learn about this Blanket’s story, click here.Memory Blanket by Once Upon a Time Creation

This beauty is just the beginning.  Stay tuned for more to come!