Friday, October 2, 2009

Personalized Gifts: Perfect for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Personalized Gifts: Perfect for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a time for all of us to reflect on the many thousands of children in this country who are taken much too soon every year. It’s also a time to honor the families who are left behind to forever love a child they never knew, or knew much too briefly. If a tragedy such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or SIDS has at any time altered the life of a family you know personally, let the month of October remind you to reach out to them. If you fear words will fail you, one simple way of saying you care is through a gift of something handmade and personalized.

What type of personalized gift is appropriate? A tangible reminder of her child may comfort a mother in the wake of a miscarriage or a newborn loss. A sterling silver necklace, perhaps in the shape of a tear drop or a heart, hand-stamped with her child’s name or a saying such as “Forever in My Heart” is likely to become a cherished piece of jewelry. To add even more significance to such a necklace, have it embellished with a swarovski crystal to commemorate the child’s birth month or have the child’s birth date hand-stamped on it. If you know a mother who might prefer to wear a more discreet reminder of her child, choose to have forget-me-not flowers embossed on a sterling silver circle. Or choose to have a sterling silver bracelet made just for her with rose quartz (the stone of love and emotional healing), blue lace agate (a stone of hope, cleansing and harmony) and a butterfly charm (long a symbol of the soul). The wearer will see her child in the bracelet; others will simply see a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Another touching gift for a bereaved mother is a handmade keepsake box that can be personalized on the inside with any text you choose, such as a baby’s name, birth date, or a special message of hope. A keepsake box painted pink or blue and decorated with a heart and small flowers will be much more than a beautiful addition to a bureau for a grieving mother.
If you would rather give a gift that can be treasured by the entire grieving family, consider giving a hand-drawn portrait of the lost child. From a photograph you provide, an experienced artist can sketch a beautiful portrait in charcoal and pastel pencil. Personalized pottery is another appropriate gift option for a family. A hand-painted ceramic plate can be designed to your specifications. Choose to decorate it with a hand-drawn butterfly, angel, or tiny footprint and wrap around it a special hand-written message such as “Some people dream of angels. I held one in my arms” or “All our hopes and dreams now carried on butterfly wings.” Add the child’s name or birth date for a truly unique plate that will be cherished forever.

Whether you choose a gift of jewelry, art, pottery, or something else, it is certain to be a unique expression of your love and sympathy if it is handmade and personalized. This October and always, visit for a complete selection of unique, handmade, personalized gifts for anyone mourning the loss of a child.

Diane Cullen Page specializes in personalized gifts for all occasions and is the founder of CCC Gifts - CCC Gifts offers not only the best personalized gifts for all occasions, but also unique gifts such as Gotcha Day, memorial and loss gifts, etc. Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Personalize It: Giving the Perfect Gift for Every Occasion

Personalize It: Giving the Perfect Gift for Every Occasion

The holiday season is looming, the economy is still tanking, and your list of family and friends who need gifts just keeps growing. What’s the secret to finding unique gifts for everyone on your list without spending a bundle? Easy, give personalized gifts! It is possible to find a beautiful, handmade gift that can be personalized to your specifications for $50 or less (sometimes far less). If you haven’t considered how the addition of a name, a monogram, a personal message, or a photo can enhance a gift (and save your budget), here are the facts:

Personalization Turns the Ordinary Gift Into the Extraordinary
You might think it’s hard to feel excited about giving a travel mug as a gift. Too boring, you say? Think again. Select the perfect fabric to wrap around that mug (under the plastic exterior), add a name or monogram with the thread color of your choice, and you’ve turned an ordinary product into a one-of-a-kind gift made just for the recipient. A gift that might have said I picked this right off the shelf in a hurry now says I had this made just for you! And there is more good news: you’ve spent less than $25.

There are many products out there like the travel mug: too ordinary on their own, but really fabulous when personalized. Toddler cups and sippy cups, for example, make great gifts when embellished with a child’s name. Notepads turn into something special when you choose their pattern and add a name or clever phrase to the top of each page. Pacifier clips, those handy gadgets that keep children and pacifiers attached, become fashion accessories when you choose the right fabric and add a monogram. A shaving kit or wallet becomes a treasure when you have a photo of the grandkids added to them. A silver money clip means far more to dad when it’s engraved with a message of love from the kids. A sterling silver necklace becomes a treasure to mom when it is hand-stamped with the names of her kids. A wine glass engraved with a special holiday message to a friend is much more meaningful than a plain wine glass. And for the golfer in the family, a personalized golf accessory makes the perfect unique gift for the golfer who has everything. Whether you’re shopping for a family member or your child’s teacher, personalization turns a run-of-the-mill gift into something extra special, without costing a fortune.

Personalization Turns a Holiday Gift Into a Keepsake
Buy your friend a Christmas ornament from a department store and it’s likely to be just another ornament in her mix of ornaments by next year. Give her a hand-painted ornament that features the names of her children plus the year and she’s likely to treasure it forever. When it comes to holiday-themed gifts, personalization is the key to making them keepsakes. Whether it’s a hand-painted ornament to mark a baby’s first Christmas or a ceramic plate designed for Santa’s cookies, the personalized gifts are the ones with sentimental value that lasts a lifetime.
Personalized Gifts Make Kids Smile “Mine!” comes out of most mouths by age two, so take advantage of every kid’s desire to claim ownership of almost everything and personalize their gifts with their names. Kids love to see their names on their stuff, and that makes it easy to give great gifts that don’t cost much. An ordinary place mat might not excite a child, but one that features his name and a print of a hand-painted, kid-friendly picture (a fire truck, perhaps, for the vehicle-obsessed boy) will surely be appreciated (and will cost you around $20). A handmade, hand-painted door plaque (you pick the design) is a great way to help any child decorate her room and claim her space. Give a kid a hand-painted ceramic plate that features his name and a cool design you chose just for him and he will instantly feel special (and grown-up too). And when it comes to buying holiday-themed gifts for kids, don’t forget their second favorite holiday, Halloween! Order a special t-shirt decorated with a haunted house and personalized with your son’s name and he might think wearing it to school is almost as exciting as wearing his costume. Or spend less than $25 to personalize a silver bucket with a spooky fabric design and ensure your daughter has the coolest bucket around for trick-or-treating.

No matter who you are shopping for this holiday season, give a personalized gift and say you care without spending a fortune. For a complete selection of unique, handmade personalized gifts for the holidays or almost any occasion, from births to weddings to memorials, visit today.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saving Money Tips for Your Home Based Business

Diana Ennen
Virtual Word Publishing
Author: Virtual Assistant the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA

1. Any tips/advice for saving a services (e.g. Internet)? Are "unlimited" capabilities for things like long distance a good idea? How about "bundled" services (such as cable TV, Internet and long distance on one bill)?

Having unlimited capabilities is very beneficial for entrepreneurs. For example, with unlimited phone services, you can talk freely and don't have to worry about being on the phone too long with potential clients and even your regular clients. Plus when you have unlimited services you find you have more ways to use your services, such as offering coaching. Unlimited Internet is almost always a necessity. Not only do you need the Internet for connecting with clients, but you also do research, marketing, networking, etc. You want to be able to have access to this freely.

You can often save money by getting services bundled. For example check to see if you can get a lower rate on combining services such as long distance phone service, Internet service, etc. It's important though to check your bill monthly and make sure that you are getting what you signed up for and nothing additional. Also, if you are unsure if you have a package added, call and find out before you utilize the service to make sure you are covered. For example, if you aren't sure if your calls to Canada are covered, call and find out. Don't just assume they are and make a call. You don’t want one large unexpected phone bill to negate the savings you receive.

One point that Kelly Poelker, my co-author of VA the Series points out is when bundling have a back-up plan in place as one down side to bundled services is if one service goes down, typically they all do. Use caution in selecting a provider and get the most reliable one.

#2 – Any tips/advice for saving on regularly purchased office supplies, such as toner and paper? Are generic versions usually acceptable quality? Where can home business owners find wholesalers or suppliers at wholesale prices?

Always buy in bulk whenever you can and shop until you find the best prices. Also shopping at wholesale or non-office supply stores can save you money. Today, I purchase most of my office supplies, including toners, at Walmart. I also find places such as Costco or Sams Club can save a bundle. However, I will still look to the sale ads at places such as Office Depot to see their sales. Once in a while their sale price will be cheaper. Also, Office Depot and many places offer Rewards cards. By using your rewards card, at the end of the quarter you can get a gift card back that you can use for purchases. The amount is dependent on how much you spend. Shop online as well. Often you will then get email notices of sales.

Generic versions do work for some products, but I’ve found for toners, etc for quality I want to go with name brand. What you can do is try out one to see if it works for you. It’s worth the experiment if it works and you save monthly from then on. And it’s not a large investment if it doesn’t. But always keep in mind, professional image for entrepreneurs is the most important factor in determining price.

3. Any tips/advice for determine which services are necessary and which can be cut?

Focus on your particular business and what needs relate directly to that keeping in mind that your business is unique. Even though some businesses might need some services, you might not.
Now consider what services you used in the past year and how often you used that service.

4. Any tips/advice for comparison shopping and/or negotiating?

There are times of the year that certain items routinely go on sale. Take note of these times and plan accordingly. Also, be aggressive and ask sales personnel when they routinely have discounts. For example, when new computer models come out, you can get cheaper prices on the older models.

Buy bulk and go for volume discounts with vendors you purchase from routinely. Also check into a commercial accounts for contract pricing. Share the costs with your colleagues and save even more.

Any other tips/advice

Write out a budget for your business and prioritize what your needs are. This is invaluable. Many add this to their business plan when starting a business, but a separate budget can be a real asset. It helps to see things in black and white.

Also, stick with products that you trust and look for the best prices on them. For example, I normally purchase Hewlett Packard computers. I keep an eye on their products and always look for the best prices before I need to make a purchase.

Gift of Savings Blog


Here's my new blog. In today's incredible economy, we need to save money everywhere we can. That's the goal of this blog. To provide articles and tips on saving money. As well as gift certificates and savings. With the holidays coming, we need this!

Hope you enjoy!

Diana Ennen,