November 13, 2012

What’s in a name?




When it comes to gifts for close friends and family, I really like to get something they wouldn’t get for themselves. Wedding gifts, for me it’s about getting the newlyweds something that they’ll have decades later. And while CycleGuy and I don’t usually buy each other gifts (seriously, sending me a link to cycling shoes on Amazon and me buying them isn’t really ‘gift-giving’), every once in awhile we’ll come across something that rally speaks to us.

While I was in Italy, one of my priorities was to find objects that looked like letters so I could create a name collage for a friend of ours who got married just prior to BabyGirl and I visiting Italy. It was not easy, but I did it! Then I came home and had them custom framed. Then the photo sat in my house for months because it was so large that packing and shipping it would have cost as much as the custom framing. But when we did finally give the name collage gift, our friends were thrilled. Not only was it their name, but all the photos were taken by me just for them. And had I thought about doing it for myself, I’d have looked for things resembling the letters of my name.

But I’m here to tell you that finding these hidden letters is a lot of work! While it didn’t distract me from my trip, there were times I was so caught up in the moment I wasn’t paying attention to whether or not something had hidden letters. So about a month ago when I learned about Alphabet Photography it made perfect sense!

Alphabet Photography

About 5  years ago, the founder of Alphabet Photography spent 2 years traveling the globe specifically looking for these hidden letter. With thousands of letters in all shapes and colors, it’s easy to find whimsy, nostalgia or memories when you create your own custom word art.

Alphabet Photo Laughter

The above photos are just examples of what’s possible from Alphabet Photography and with over 1,000 images you’re sure to find the images that capture the feeling your chosen word brings to you. After creating the word art for our friend, I really wanted on for myself. Everyone who saw theirs in my house was just in awe of how cool it was. And, while I think I was such a genius to come up with the idea I’d like to think, now, that it really was a genius idea even though there has been a company around for 5 years making it easy to create such meaningful custom gifts.

I ordered my last name, Hawkins, although I had about 20 other choices that were tried out in the word art generator. The site was so easy to use, and searching for images that were meaningful made me so happy to be creating this one-of-a-kind artwork. The images chosen to spell my name included monuments and subtle images that helped tell a story of travel and love and memories. And while I didn’t take the photos, the story of why the specific letter images were chosen really make an impression.

Since each of these are custom framed and matted they do take a few weeks. With all the mom, family, and work activities I wasn’t tracking the delivery of my art. UPS delivered this huge box that really did make it more like a gift than just another online order. The art was wrapped in brown craft paper and tied with rafia. It was basic but definitely more than is expected these days. And on the top was a vibrant orange envelope with my name handwritten on it. And while I thought it was a nice touch because I was part of a blogger outreach project, I found out that they do this for everyone! Every customer is appreciated that they take the time to add that extra level of personal service.

Alphabet artwork

Then I unwrapped my art and just stared at it. It was more beautiful than I had imagined. And showing it to CycleGuy and having him recognize how the image of each letter has meaning was exactly what I’d hoped for. His last name connects us legally, but the locations represented by each of the letters represents our 25 years together.

With the holidays coming up, I say just buy one! They’re a bit of an investment, but having made one on my own I’ll tell you it’s significantly less than if you tried to do this on your own. And whether you get one for your home, your parents, a friend, or even as a business gift your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. You can never go wrong with custom word art!

The artwork I received was framed in a 3″ solid wood chocolate brown frame with gold leaf accents. Each image is double matted with museum-quality mats with a v-groove. And just like all works of art, it is hand-signed by the artisan who crafted it. These are not mass produced, and the care given to each custom piece is seen not only in the creation of the word artpiece but also in how it is packaged.

Alphabet Photography

I don’t have many photos of CycleGuy and me displayed. It’s just odd to walk through the house and see myself staring back at me. But this. It’s no so much just our name, but the stories and places it represents. It’s not just a collection of photos. It’s more of a conversation piece. If a picture is worth 1,000 words then I just put 7,000 up on my wall.

The perfect customized gift that includes photographs from all over the world, this is the original Alphabet Photography. Celebrity owners include: Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate, Tyra Banks, Ryan Seacrest, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, John Schneider, Nelly Furtado, and many more! And, well, now me!

To see how they’re made, check out this video. It’s pretty cool!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Alphabet Photography. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

“Love” and “Laughter” images created at Alphabet Photography and screen captured by me. All other images were taken by me.


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