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December 14, 2011

Bellflower Books in time for the Holidays!

Trying to finish a Bellflower Book in time for Christmas? 

Use the code SHIPNOW by Friday, December 16th at Noon Eastern Time for us to upgrade you to expedited shipping. 

This cannot be used with any other offer, including discounted gift certificates.

We hope you are having a wonderful December full of meaningful moments:)

October 18, 2011

A Meaningful Gift for a Growing Girl



I spent the other day cleaning out my kids' playroom. The amount of abused and neglected toys made me sad. What a waste. We spend so much money on plastic toys that are rarely played with, when in reality, our children are happiest with an old sheet over the kitchen table playing "fort".

I was so impressed when my friend Molly decided to make a Bellflower Book to celebrate her daughter's 10th birthday. Instead of picking something up at the area "super store", she created a book full of childhood memories and letters from friends and loved ones. The finished product made me cry. It was beautiful. The best thing about this gift is that her daughter Maddie will now enter her preteen years with a book full of love and encouragement to remind her how special she is and boost her self confidence during what can sometimes be a difficult time in a young woman's life.

Just like Molly told me, "How many toys does a kid really need? I want to do something meaningful that she can treasure forever". I look forward to other parents discovering how Bellflower Books can enrich the lives of their children.

October 13, 2011

Helpful Hints for your Bellflower Book - Enlarging Photos


How to Enlarge the Photos in Your Bellflower Book

If you, or one of your contributors, has added a photo to your Bellflower Book that appears small on the page preview, we highly recommend that you take a few minutes to enlarge the photo.  Your final book will look much better if your photos are the proper size.  See the before and after example below.

Note that you do not need the "original" digital photo file in order to re-size the picture.  We will show you how to do it using the file that is already uploaded to the Bellflower Book page.

The Page Preview BEFORE the photo was enlarged


Page Preview with enlarged photo
Step 1:  After you have signed into your Bellflower account, go to the "Pages" tab and the  "Edit" screen.  Right click on the photo and save the photo to your computer as a “Bitmap” file.  


Step 2:  After you have saved your photo, open it in the wonderful photo enhancing (free) website www.picasa.com. 

·         If you do not currently use Picasa, start by downloading the free software and click "run" when asked if you want to "run" or "save" the software.  It only takes about 30 seconds, depending on the speed of your internet connection.
·         To open your photo in Picasa, find the photo you want to enlarge in your Windows Explorer and then right click on the file.  Choose the "Open with" option and then click on "Picasa."

When the photo appears in Picasa, click on the green picnic button labeled "Picnik" (see black arrow below), which will allow you to edit the picture.  Then click "yes" to confirm.


Step 3:  Your photo will automatically open in Picnik, as shown below.  Click on the “resize” button located on the left hand at the bottom of the row of choices (see black arrow below).



Step 4:  Next, you will need to enter new dimensions for your photo (see white arrow below).  The dimensions you enter will depend on whether the orientation of your photo is  horizontal (long) or vertical (tall).  The "keep proportions" box is checked by default.  Do not un-check that box.

·         For Horizontal pictures - enter 4000 in the first input box.  The second dimension will automatically calculate based on your photo's original proportions.
·         For Vertical pictures - enter 2800 in the first input box.  The second dimension will automatically calculate based on your photo's original proportions.

Click the “apply” button, which is underneath the boxes where you entered the dimensions. 

Next, click the yellow button at the top right that says “Save to Picasa” (see black arrow below) .  On the pop-up screen that follows, click the "replace" button to replace the original (small) photo and apply the resize.


Step 5:  You will then be automatically taken back to Picasa's main window.  From here,  simply save this file by clicking on the "File" menu and then choosing "Save As".


Step 6:  Go back to www.BellflowerBooks.com and from the "Pages" tab, click the "Edit" button.  The last thing you need to do is to switch out the "small" photo file for the enlarged photo file that you just created in Picasa. 

Click on the "Browse" button underneath the photo (see black arrow below).  Find the folder where you saved the enlarged photo and select the appropriate file. 


Step 7:  Lastly, go back to the "Pages" tab and click on the "Preview" button to see how your enlarged photo will look on the printed page. 

The finished product!




September 26, 2011

Etsy Favorites: Chloe & Maddie ~ A boutique for girlie girls...

I always enjoy stumbling upon a beautiful and unique product, so I couldn't help but LOVE the Etsy shop Chloe and Maddie.  I loved this product even more when I found out it was created by a fellow stay-at-home mom!


Since a Bellflower Book is commonly used as a meaningful gift for weddings and bridal showers, I am always on the lookout for wedding related products that have a unique and different flair. 

I know it sounds funny, but one of the few things I would have changed about my own wedding were the shoes I wore.  The were comfortable, but extremely ugly.  A pair of these pretty shoe clips would have been the perfect way to jazz up my practical heels and turn them into something special.  I could have even transferred them over to my flats later in the evening.    Even though Chloe and Maddie has a wide variety of neutral color designs made especially for weddings, I loved this colorful pair of clips.  It would have been fun to have something bright and colorful to wear under my all white dress.





These show clips would also make a fantastic bridesmaids gift.  What an excellent way to enhance a simple bridesmaid's dress!

The headbands would be great for a flower girl.


I also love her fancy hair clips.  A good friend of mine just got married and used a flower clip for her hair.  She was beautiful.



Chloe and Maddie offers a large variety of designs, products and colors so make sure to check out their Etsy store for more and make sure to forward this post on to wedding planners and future brides:)

September 12, 2011

Bellflower Books ~ an excellent way to offer your support to the people who really need it!

I am sure you have heard about our campiagn with the blog Just Be Enough where we are working to donate Bellflower Books to women battling breast cancer.  For every 20 people who link up with Just Be Enough on Mondays, we will donate a $75 gift certificate for a Bellflower Book to the organization Crickett's Answer, a non-proft that offers help and support to women diagnosed with breast cancer.



There are so many ways that a Bellflower Book can be used to provide love and support to people battling illness or loss. 

We love that our product can be used to help people cope during difficult times.  Here are some ideas of how to use a Bellflower Book to help that special person in your life who could use some extra support.

A personal memory book makes the ideal inspirational gift to provide support during difficult times.

It’s so hard to know what to do when someone you love is diagnosed with an illness. From personal experience, we have found that letters of love and support give the most comfort. This is a wonderful way to show your love, which is probably what they need the most!
Bellflower Books is grateful to offer just the right sympathy gift for a loved one struggling with breast cancer or any other illness.
Invite friends and relatives to help build a truly special and touching gift for a cancer patient or survivor. Your favorite photos and inspirational notes are sure to lift spirits!

Honor a great and generous loved one with a custom Mission Book.

Do you know someone who is preparing to do something wonderful or leaving for retreat? Create a custom photo book full of favorite images and supportive letters tell them how amazing you think they are!

Show love and support to a friend or relative serving our country overseas.

There’s no better way to honor a soldier or sailor who is making such a huge sacrifice. Gather favorite memories and photos and build a custom support book that they’ll treasure and keep close until they are safely home again.

Bring your church community together to create a custom Prayer Book full of special thoughts for someone in need.

Compliment the supportive words with peaceful photographs from nature. This is a wonderful way to support someone who is going through a particularly hard time.

Honor a passed love one with a beautiful custom Legacy Book.

When someone close to you passes away it can be therapeutic to create a book full of memories and photographs that document their entire life.
Include letters and memories from people who were around during different parts of their life. This is a wonderful way for people to share stories and memories of a much loved and amazing person.
A customized photo book commemorating a wonderful life is a keepsake that generations of family members will treasure forever.

****Please link up with Just Be Enough today and join the campaign!!!

August 31, 2011

Guest Post Series ~ Post by insightful blogger "Slappy in the Face"

When any other man in the world would have left me; my husband, Derek, stayed right by my side, always believing in me and never doubting me.  I will be forever grateful and will never forget what he has done for me.  You can read “My Story” at http://slappyintheface.com 

This is my message to him:

When my world came crashing down around me
               you stayed.
When everyone else abandoned me
                you stayed.
When my body gave out and my mind left me
                you stayed.
When I took you for granted and pushed you away
                you stayed.
When I forgot how to love and only knew how to hate
                you stayed.
When I didn’t deserve you
                you stayed.
When I needed you the most
                you stayed.
I am so glad that
                you stayed
You are my everything and I will never forget that
                you stayed. 

Comment from Bellflower Books:  Wow!  Your husband sounds incredible.  I am also really impressed with you.  It takes a lot of strength and courage to write a post like this.  I think that this is also something that many men and women who have fought for their marriage can relate to. Thank you so much for sharing this our our blog!

To learn more about this "Slappy in the Face" please make sure to visit her blog!

August 29, 2011

Proud Sponsors of Be Enough Me 4 Cancer

We are so excited to be sponsoring a link-up with the blog Just. Be. Enough.


Just. Be. Enough was recently created by Elena Sonnino.  Elena was inspired to write this blog after reading a post about accepting ourselves even with our imperfections.

Elena Sonnino explains that her blog Just.Be.Enough. hopes to share the stories, the voices, the truths of many. Its mission is to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents, and children that that the time has come to celebrate ourselves. We must carry the weight of confidence and empowerment on our shoulders instead of allowing the burden of our flaws and imperfections to push us down.

What is not to love about all of that?

When Elena approached Bellflower Books about working together, I did a little research and found out that Elena is a cancer survivor.  My business partner (who is also my best friend) lost her mother to cancer a little over two years ago.  I honor of Heather's mother, one of the missions of our company is to use our product as a support tool for people who are battling illness or as a way to pay tribute to a special life lost.

Crickett's Answer for Cancer

So, a little over a week ago Bellflower Books and Just.Be.Enough launched our campaign to work together and provide up to 10 $75 Bellflower Books gift certificates, to families identified by Crickett’s Answer, for the creation of a 20-page memory book. Crickett’s Answer is a non-profit that helps support the self esteem and morale of women by providing pampering resources to women facing breast cancer.  It is our hope that loved ones receiving these gift cards will then be inspired to create a book full of love and support to give to the special woman in their life battling cancer.  A Bellflower Book is the perfect way to remind someone how loved and appreciated they are while going through a difficult time in their life.


For ONE month, starting on August 22nd. For every 20 people that link up with a story of how they lived the Be Enough Me “feeling” that week, Bellflower will donate ONE $75 gift certificate to a family identified by Crickett’s Answer for the creation of a 20-page memory book. We will keep a running total of links over the four Mondays and hope to reach our goal of 120 links, which would provide TEN Bellflower memory books.

This campaign has been dedicated by Elena Sonnino to her good friend Susan Niebur (aka @Whymommy).

Susan was recognized at the Type A Parent conference for her bloganthropy work.  She is a mom, an astrophysicist, a writer and a friend and has been  fighting metastatic breast cancer in her spine, hip, and ribs for four years.

All of this should give you the encouragement you need to reach out, link up and help us provide much needed love and support to as many women possible!

August 24, 2011

Guest Post Series ~ Post by, Shannon Szemenyei of Sweet Stellas

My Dad
Meaningful Person Guest Post by, Shannon Szemenyei of

I’m not really sure where to begin with this guest post. When I saw the tweet from Bellflower Books that they were looking for guest bloggers to write about influential people in their lives, I immediately thought of the most influential one in mine; my Dad.
Writing about my Dad is difficult. You see, he passed away very suddenly in 2005 from a massive heart attack. My boyfriend at the time (who later in life became my husband and the father of our gorgeous son) and I were at a Halloween costume dance with my best friend and her boyfriend at the time when I got the news from two police officers. (a story for another day…)
So…when I think of his influence, it hits my heart and soul in a very very meaningful way. I think of the times when I was a child and I would absolutely give up on sports. He would encourage me to try again, but knew that at the heart of it…I just wasn’t into it. I was content to sit and draw, or write poetry and stories. When he saw how happy it made me to engage in the more artsy things, he tried his best to foster that love in me.
I recall many Thursday nights when my mom was off at choir practice for church, and Dad would go to the basement, strap on his ear phones and drum. He was the type of musician who could play by ear, not by sheet music, and it was such an incredible experience for him to give me the nod to join him. He had this special attachment that would split the earphone jack into two so we could both listen. What a sight to see we were; both hooked up to headphones, him drumming and me singing! He taught me to love music…to feel it, and to let it guide me wherever I go.
Then came my high school years and the challenges with math and science. I wanted so badly to be a biological oceanographer (ie: marine biologist) and our dream was to get a boat and study orcas and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of British Columbia. Dad was going to be my undersea photographer. I think he really just wanted to swim with the whales. When I hit a road block in grade 11 with math and really really struggled, he encouraged me to try again. I did…and it didn’t go well. My brain just doesn’t work that way; it’s wired too creatively for trigonometry!  Recognizing that, my Dad sought to again, foster that love of the arts in me.
He certainly was a proud Poppa when I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a double degree in Fine Art and History in June 2005. He even yelled “Way to go, Beans!” when they announced my name. In an arena of some 10,000 parents and loved ones, there was my Dad, yelling at the top of his lungs. It is a moment of pride that I will never ever forget.
He passed away a few short months after my graduation, but that moment will forever be etched in my mind. He was my biggest fan, and the works of art that were his absolute favourite under the sun, were created by me. How amazing is that?! Those are works that I absolutely will never part with because he is a part of them.
Five years later, when I look back on the last moments that I had with my Dad, I recall sharing ice cream sundaes, going for movie dates to see Shrek, and him being there on every step of my journey to become who he always imagined that I would be. He believed in me, heart and soul, and I truly believe that he guides my hand with every brushstroke that I make and every piece of paper that I cut.
To learn more about Shannon and her beautiful work, please visit her blog: www.sweetstellas.blogspot.com
and her website: www.sweetstellas.com
Comment from Bellflower Books:   This post is very close to my heart.  I too have an absolutely amazing and supportive father who I am incredibly close to.  I am very fortunate that a couple of years ago my husband and I moved our family back to our hometown so that we could be closer to our parents. I see my dad everyday and everyday I am appreciative of the time we spend together.  I admire Shannon so much for writing this post.  It made me cry just to read it, so I can only imagine how difficult it was to write.  It is a nice way to remind those of us with excellent fathers how very lucky we are! 

August 17, 2011

Guest Post Series ~ Featuring Brandon Duncan

Unfading Memories
Contributed By,
Brandon Duncan of the Blog Brandon the Duncan ~ Fatherhood in 4L- Living, Learning, Laughing and Loving it!

This is not Bellflower’s typical guest post, nor I the typical Bellflower guest.  Even though you know this, I encourage you to look beyond the fact that it is written by a man. Ignore the fact that I am not someone that scrapbooks and keeps memory boxes. Disregard the fact that frill and frou-frou exists nowhere in my life aside my daughter’s bedroom and wife’s craft room. I need you to squint just a little and take a glimpse in between the lines. For there you will find a message that is too often overlooked until it is much too late. We all have a few special moments in our lives that are permanently captured in our hearts and minds. Moments that you can recall as if they happened only minutes ago. They could be our wedding day. They could be witnessing that wobbly first step. They could be as simple as a birthday---no matter the year. In my case, a shocking and unexpected belly laugh from my newborn induced the happiest tears that have ever run down my face.

There are others, of course, but not many. Because no matter how exquisite the sunset, no matter how calm and refreshing the breeze that fall day, your mind will eventually just store it away. The finer lines become less detailed. The colors, not as crisp. The warmth of the fingers intertwined, now more a memory than an emotion. Your memories begin to fade. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I believe it. Yet a picture by itself is nothing more than a captured moment in time. It is able to pull fond, wonderful memories to the surface, that much is true, but think of all the pictures you have come across in your life. There are details in many that you cannot recall. Books display photos of old that leave you curious about the story happening at that moment. What were they doing? Why were they there? They look happy…were they?


As a writer, I understand the power of words. When crafted properly, they can answer those questions and more. They can transport you to that time and into that story. They are capable of creating the world around that frozen moment. The pictures are the bookmark, the words the narration. No, I am not the typical Bellflower guest, but I am an unofficial evangelist for the magic they are helping create---the gift of memories unfading.

To learn more about Brandon Duncan, please visit his blog at http://www.brandontheduncan.com/.  It is a wonderful way to get a male's perspective on raising a family:)

Comment from Bellflower Books: Wow Brandon!  Thanks for doing such an amazing job summing up the importance of our product (we just asked him to guest post for us, we didn't expect anything like this!) One of the things that makes our product different from a typical photo book is the emphasis based on text and the mission of our company to have more people take the time to tell loved ones how special and appreciated they are.  You are right, a picture may be worth a thousand descriptive words, but only a written out memory can accurately preserve feeling.  Thanks Brandon for all of your support!

August 15, 2011

Collaborative Vacation Memory Books


My mom recently turned 60. We celebrated her birthday where we always do, Rehoboth Beach, DE. The Corrigans have been visiting Rehoboth for over 30 years, so it was the perfect place to celebrate such an important birthday!

Since I am in the business of supplying people with meaningful gifts, I could not let my mom's birthday pass without the creation of a Bellflower Book! I decided to put together a collaborative book of vacation memories from Rehoboth over the years. I contacted all of the friends and family who visited us there and received a great response. In addition to the pages the contributors created, my sister and I created many wonderful pages full of our own favorite memories, photographs and traditions.

The Bellflower Book I created ended up being a gift not just for my mom, but for the whole family. I can't wait for my children to read it so they can relate to the traditions we are now doing with them. One of my friends liked the idea behind this book so much she immediately started one for her own mom honoring their family traditions in Harbor Springs, MI.

Now that I am a parent myself I see how much work goes into family vacations. Until around five years ago I think I thought the cottage magically cleaned itself and that my mom actually enjoyed grocery shopping and making dinner. I now know how much work goes into making a family vacation special. I am so happy I could create a book for my mom honoring everything she has done over the last thirty years to make our family vacations happen!

August 10, 2011

Guest Post Series ~ Featuring Kelly Pugliano of Mom Got Blog

Who Brings Meaning To My Life? My Family. by: Kelly Pugliano, author of Mom Got Blog


When I was asked to write a post for Bellflower, I thought the topic of ‘Write about someone that is meaningful to you in your life and why” would be a breeze. I have so many people I could name off the top of my head that have a special place in my life I could pick just one and write.

Easy Peasy.

Well, I found it is not that easy.

Many walks/runs (I like to think while I run) later, three people kept coming into my thoughts. How could I separate them to write about just one? I couldn’t. Then I realized the three, plus me, do make one; one whole family unit.

And my family? They mean everything to me.

My HusbandI never took great stock in the phrase “Love at First Sight”, until I met my husband. It was instant. I felt as though I had found my best friend and had been with this person forever. My guard, that protected me from anyone wanting to get close, was completely obliterated and his past, present and our future filled my heart beyond measure. He makes me laugh. He makes me happy. And after 20 years together, 18 as husband and wife, he still makes my heart skip a beat when he enters a room. He brought love into my life.

My DaughterFrom the moment she arrived, I felt complete. She has brought the meaning of being a “parent first, friend later” to my life. Determined, stubborn and so incredibly beautiful, she tests my patience at every moment. I can’t imagine my day without talking to her at least once. She made me a mom and for that I will be forever grateful.

My SonWhen this joyous being came into my life, I was given the gift of a type of peace I did not know I could experience. He has always been happy, kind and giving of a sense of humor that makes me laugh, always. My son gave meaning to the word “advocate” for I felt I was always sticking up for his curious, rambunctious ways. It was exhausting, but I never wanted him to feel his uniqueness was stifled in any way. 

My family brings meaning to my life every day. I have been blessed with love, patience and joy. I am lucky, and that fact does not sneak by me unnoticed. I say thank you for every single moment we share together.

Who brings meaning to your life?

Comment from Bellflower Books: I loved how this post made me step back and appreciate my husband and children.  I also have a unique, rambunctious son who I need to be an advocate for.  I love how you embrace that.   I also love how you said he brought peace into your life.  By far, raising my family has brought more meaning into my life than anything else ever has or ever will.  Thanks Kelly for this beautiful post!

August 8, 2011

My Bellflower Book ~ A Special Gift for my Wedding


My cousin and my oldest friend worked together to create a Bellflower Book as a special gift for my wedding.  It was given to me at my bridesmaid luncheon the day before my wedding. I was so excited! I had been involved with writing a Bellflower Book for a friend, but was so happy to be the one receiving it! I skimmed through it at my bridesmaid luncheon, but found it to be truly amazing to read while I was getting hair and make up done. It was so great, on such an important day in my life, to hear all the wonderful memories from my friends and family and how much they loved my husband and I together.

Everyone who contributed to my book wrote such heartfelt and amazing letters.... but I have to say that the page from my husband was my favorite. He wrote the last page in the book.  After reading letter upon
letter, laughing at times, crying at times, hearing how wonderful everyone thought my soon to be husband and I are together,  I was very emotional. His letter was so heartfelt and the perfect ending to such an incredible book. And if I had any butterflies about getting married, which of course I didn't haha, reading his letter made me want to run down the aisle because I am so lucky to have him!



Bellflower books are truly priceless and make an incredibly meaningful wedding gift. To have a book where all of the people you care about the most, can express how they feel about you is so amazing. I read through it again before writing this post and I laughed and cried just like it was the first time I was reading it.  THAT is why everyone should be luckily enough to receive a Bellfllower book!

Nicole H.
Chicago, IL

August 3, 2011

Guest Post Series: Jackie Cross of the blog "With Just a Bit of Magic"

Someone Special

Not that long ago I was asked by Belllower Books to write a guest post about
someone special in my life and I’ve been thinking about who I should write
about. There are so many people in my life who have been special for some
reason at some point in my life and I don’t think that I could write about
them all in one post.

Something finally came to me. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before…
I guess the time wasn’t right and that was why I hadn’t written this post
yet.

When I was younger my parents divorced and my siblings and I lived with our
mom. Because of this arrangement we didn’t see our dad that often or our
grandparents. For a long time I didn’t think or even realize that I was
missing out on something great by spending time with my grandparents.

It wasn’t until I was older and in middle school that things changed and I
moved to my dad’s house. At this point I saw less of my moms family and a
lot more of my dads. This was a great opportunity for me to get to know my
grandma better and spend some time with her.

I would spend weekends at her house doing nothing at all but being with her
and other weekends where we’d be out and about all weekend. These are times
that I look back on fondly and wish that she were still here with us.

It was with my grandma that I was introduced to Days of Our Lives, Another
World, and Murder She Wrote. We’d sit together and watch her favorite shows.
Shows that I admit that I became addicted too! I started watching the
daytime soaps pretty regularly.

We’d spend evenings out to dinner at a local restaurant and then go to a
movie in the adjacent theatre. I remember going to see Disney’s Jungle Book
with her when I was in high school and simply enjoying the evening.

By spending time with her I learned that I like Grape Nuts, red grapefruit
eaten with a grapefruit spoon, and that quiet time is good for everyone once
in a while.

Now I have children and I hope that they see how special their grandparents
are, what a treasure they are and take the opportunities that they have to
spend time with them. Learn from them and listen to what they have to say.

My grandmother was taken from me in 1992 due to heart issues. I think of her
often and the times that we spent together and the things I learned.

I would love to share a photo with you but I don’t have a digital copy of
one. But know that she was a strong, independent woman with red hair that
had a love of life!

This guest post is by Jackie Cross of the lovely blog "With Just a Bit of Magic".

*Note from Bellflower Books: We went from living in Chicago where our kids would only see their grandparents every six weeks or so, to moving back to our home town, with both sets of grandparents less than two miles away.  My children now see at least one grandparent every single day!!!  We can definitely see our kids benefitting from this extra daily love.  There is something truly special about the grandparent/grandchild relationship:)

August 1, 2011

Etsy Favorites: The Canvas Door ~ Art By Michelle Brunner

Not only is Michelle Brunner a very talented artist, she is also my cousin:) 



I love Michelle's work because it is bright and cheerful.  To create her designs she makes collages out of unique papers that she personally hand paints.




I have a beautiful piece of her work hanging in my kitchen, but I also think her work is perfect for children's rooms and nurseries.  I have also seen her do some very unique custom work!



I love that Michelle keeps her prices affordable, making it possible for everyone to own a piece of original artwork.



In addition to being a successful artist, Michelle is also a high school art teacher and mother to a darling baby girl.  She is doing an amazing job with all of this.  I am so proud of everything she has accomplished!




Make sure to check out her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Canvas-Door-Art-by-Michelle-Brunner/104392626286401

and

Blog: http://release.canvasdoor.com/

I absolutely loved her post a few weeks ago about creative ideas to do at the lake!

July 27, 2011

Guest Post Series: Leighann of the blog "Multi Tasking Mumma"

I am full of laughter, sarcasm, and well intended humour. I am determined,
driven, never backing down, and I always rock the boat. I am of high morals,
integrity, and expectations.  I am fortunate to be supported and endlessly
encouraged.

He is full bellied chuckles, poking fun, and big grins. He is teaching from
love, a full heart, standing up for himself, and always making waves. He
instilled high morals, integrity, and expectations by example. He supported
and encouraged.

I am from a structured home, rules, and an early curfew. I am from a weekly
allowance, natural and logical consequences, and turning this car around. I
am from apologies, warm, comforting hugs, and meaningful I love you’s.
I am from racing home before the street lights come on, begging to have a
sleep over, and no sugary cereals. I am from peanut butter and jam
sandwiches, wash your face and hands, and standing in the corner. I am from
slamming doors.

His is from an honest days work, a sense of accomplishment, and building a
foundation. He is from two hard working parents, a long career in a job he
loved and was good at, and a strong relationship with his siblings.
He is from worrying about his children, staying up till they get home, and
being a taxi. He is from early mornings, breakfasts made, and trips to the
babysitter. He is from forgiveness, follow through, and consistency.


I strive to be a great mother. I want to build an uplifting home around
respect, structure, and honesty. I hope to raise my child with a strong
sense of self, the ability to stand up for herself, and the knowledge that
she can do anything she puts her mind to.

Just like he raised me.

This meaningful post was written by Leighann of the blog "Multi Tasking Mumma".


Note from Bellflower Books:  I have a dad just like this and I am grateful for him everyday:) This post reminded me again of how lucky I am!

July 25, 2011

Etsy Favorite: My Beloved Adoria ~ Origami Floral Bouquets

Wow!!!  I am so glad that one of our Twitter followers referred me to Jessica Morehead's Etsy site My Beloved Adoria. Since a lot of people create Bellflower Books as meaningful wedding gifts, I am always looking for other unique wedding items. I absolutely love flowers and original ideas, so I am beyond impressed with these origami floral bouquets. 

If I were getting married all over again, I would pick these over a traditional bouquet in a heartbeat.  I picture them going beautifully with an extremely creative and eclectic wedding.  How wonderful that instead of spending money on flowers that will quickly wilt and die, you can give yourself and your bridesmaids a lasting keepsake instead!

Jessica puts major thought, love and effort into each bouquet and truly loves to make people happy with her work. 


Her flowers are a work of art.  When you look closely at these photographs it is hard not to be amazed by the details of the various paper patterns, colors and textures.

Make sure to check out her blog to view additional designs... http://aadoria.blogspot.com/

July 20, 2011

Guest Post Series: Angela of Tiaras and Trucks

Her Love Lessons


She has the kind of beauty that draws children to stop and smile at her, perhaps sensing that she will always, always take a moment to smile back and say hello to any little ones that cross her path.

With her ability to see the joy in simple things, she should have been a camp director.

With her unlimited patience, she should have been a kindergarten teacher.

With her inner strength and refusal to give up on a child, she should have been a pediatric nurse.

But she’s not.

She’s a mom, a grandma, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend.

With phone calls, e-mails, greeting cards, she keeps in touch, remembering birthdays and anniversaries and acknowledging them year in and out.

When too much time has gone by, she’s the one who gathers our family together reunions and talking and loving and laughter.

She’s my mom.

As a child, I didn’t truly realize her gifts.

I knew she would let me spend hours in the library browsing shelves and choosing books that some moms may have insisted were too difficult for someone my age.

I knew, when I was sick, her hand on my forehead would always seem cooler and more soothing than any other hand in the world.

I knew, when I was a teenager and pushing any of her buttons I could find, she would never raise her voice or lose her temper or let me self-destruct.

That could be annoying.

Now that I am a mother, I appreciate her patience, her calm presence, her unwavering support.

I recognize her endless generosity and selflessness with Abbey and Dylan, and I know she acted the same way with my brother and me, though we may not have known those words or how to thank her at the time.

Even now, unless asked, she is still patient enough with me to let me figure things out on my own, and I’m finally learning to appreciate the millions of times she must have bitten her tongue as I was growing up.

But like any respectable grandma, she’s only given me a few pieces of unsolicited parenting advice: it is always, always ok to comfort a crying child, a little ice cream never hurt anyone, and just love them.

Thanks to her, the unconditional love part has never, ever been in doubt.  I am lucky enough that it’s the only kind of maternal love I’ve ever known.

This post was written by Angela of the blog Tiaras and Trucks

*Note from Bellflower Books:  This post made me cry.  Your mother is the type of mom we all can only hope to be.  I am so glad you wrote this about her.  I hope she reads it:)

If you have someone wonderful in your life that you would like to honor in a guest post, please contact me at kerry(at)bellflowerbooks(dot)com.  This is what Bellflower Books are all about.  Showing people they are loved and appreciated.  These guest posts make my day!

July 19, 2011

A traditional anniversary gift with a twist!


The traditional gift for your first anniversary is something to do with paper.  I can't think of a better way to incorporate paper than by creating a Bellflower Book!

I still remember my first anniversary.  Even though I have now been married almost 9 years, my first anniversary was the most meaningful and memorable.  I also remember struggling with what to get my husband to show him how happy I was with him and our life together.  I ended up getting him a really cliche book about love and some random candles.  It did not make much of an impact.  I wish that Bellflower Books would have been around back then.  Not only would I have had the option to create a truly amazing and priceless gift to give on my 1 year anniversary, I would love to have a copy of that book to reflect on now!  So much changes in 9 years!!!  It would have been wonderful to have a record of the blissful time in our life when we were young newlyweds with little responsibility:)

I was inspired to write this post because of our sponsorship of Project Marriage with blogs Life Without Pink and Mommy Friend.  I love the idea behind Project Marriage and I think a Bellflower Book is a wonderful way to let your husband know he is loved and appreciated on any occasion or anniversary.  I know that in my own marriage, it is when either one of us starts to feel neglected or unappreciated, that things start falling apart.  Creating a Bellflower Book is a great way to show your significant other how much he means to you.  Plus, it is an excellent record of your life together!

July 16, 2011

Etsy Favorite: Articulations Events ~ Eloquence Through Paper and Print

I first met Beth, of Articulations Events, abut 6 years ago when our new baby boys were just about 3 months old.  We met in a play group put together by a mutual friend.  It was wonderful to find out that we had more in common than just baby talk and diapers.  She was, and still is, one of my favorite people to talk to about books, art and current events. 

Beth started this company with her sister-in-law right before her son was born.  She knew she would want to be home with him, but she also needed an intellectual and creative outlet.  As her friend, it has been fun watching her company start small and continue to grow.

They now use only letterpress and offer beautiful stationary and invitations for special occasions such as weddings and birth announcements.  Articulations has also created a line of stationary to use as gifts and gift tags.


Their wedding invitations are my favorite.  They are extremely elegant and unique. 

To see their complete collection check out their website: www.articulationsevents.com

Also make sure to check out their facebook page and Etsy site!

July 13, 2011

Guest Post Series ~ Angela Jones of Joneses Keeper

*“No One Like Her”*


There is no one on the planet like my grandma.

Growing up, Granny lived about 500 miles from me in a small city in
Tennessee, but my parents always made sure that we visited her at least
five times a year.  She would always greet me with a hug and a smile, smelling
like a cross between peppermint and Bounce fabric softener, and ask me
how school was going and how I was doing in my extracurricular activities.
One of my favorite parts about our visits would be when she would make me
breakfast.  Everyone else selected cereal or fruit—something easy to fix,
but Granny would prepare a special breakfast consisting of toast with
grape jam, bacon and scrambled eggs (my parents certainly did not fix me bacon
on the regular growing up).  Plus, she would put orange juice in a limited
edition Smuckers Tom and Jerry (cartoon characters for those who know
about Dora these days) jar saved just for me.  Needless to say, I felt so
special.

She continued making me feel special as I got older.  When I graduated
from graduate school, she gave her physician my graduation invitation and
insisted he put it on the patients’ wall next to her picture.

When I got married, Granny gave me the following invaluable advice:  “Own
your marriage, cherish your marriage, and beyond love, remember to like
and respect each other.”

The last time I was at her home, we slept in the same bed (apparently,
 she was also running a bed and breakfast for my cousins who surprised her
 with their presence that weekend) and talked about everything.  Her life (a
 full one), my grandfather (the love of her life who tamed her), her regrets
 (don’t believe in them) and her children (apparently my mother was a
 spitfire—so that’s where I got it from).

I write all this with a heavy heart because right now, Granny is very sick. And I’m sad because admittedly, I haven’t seen her in over a year and we’vespoken much less than we used to.  She told me she understood being a new mom and all, but to me there’s no excuse.

Her illness makes me realize that life, and all the idiosyncrasies with
it, can be fleeting.  And what’s more, it makes me want to continue to record
her history—my history.

To any of you who have cherished memories of elders and family members, I
urge you to take the time to catalogue their life.  Take pictures, record
videos, document birthdays, weddings, baptisms, family reunions.
Scrapbook old photographs and documents;  Prepare a genealogy tree or memory books
with your children so that they learn about the fabric of their
family—the significance behind those who came before them.  Record all the little
things so you can remember them long after their over.  Because at the end of the day, it really is all about the little things.

 *What ways do you cherish your loved ones?  How do you honor your history
with your elders in your family?  Do you take the time to hold those meaningful to you close to your heart?*

This lovely post was written by Angela Jones of the blog Joneses Keeper.


Learn more about Angela by reading her very interesting bio.

*Note from Bellflower Books:  This post reminds me so much of my own grandmother!  A year ago my large extended family worked together to create a Bellflower Book for her full of favorite memories and letters of love and appreciation.  My Grandma looks through the book daily.  It is something we will be able to share with our children and treasure forever!  I agree so much with Angela, it is extremely important to record and memorialize the amazing people in our lives who have given us our history!

July 5, 2011

Guest Post Series: Tell us about someone special in your life

Bellflower Books are all about telling the important people in our lives why they are loved and appreciated.  We decided to do a series of "guest posts" on our blog profiling the important people in the lives of our readers.  Please contact us if you would like to contribute a post.  We are hoping to do with our blog what we have done with our product and encourage people to write the meaningful words they may not always say:)

July 4, 2011

No One Like Her ~ Guest Post by, Alison of "Mama Wants This"

There is no one like her, really.

She is of generous spirit.

She is warm and kind.

She is gentle, yet strong.

She is loving and tender.

She is my mother-in-law.

I know, I am extremely lucky.

I have heard too many stories of nightmarish in-laws.

Of interfering, bossy, unsupportive in-laws.

When I met her for the first time for lunch, she took the hand I extended to
her, clasped it close and said she was thrilled to meet me. She asked all
about me, my family, genuine interest in every word, every smile, every nod
of the head.

When my husband and I got married, she embraced me and told me that we are
now family. She turned to her other two sons and said, "She is your sister
now."

When I told her about my pregnancy, she teared up and told me she was so
happy for me, for my husband. For the next 8 months, she made sure she
cooked me food that nurtured my pregnancy, my health. She knitted blankets,
hats, mittens, shoes, all gorgeous in their miniature form.

When my son, her first grandchild was born, she hugged me, said
congratulations and told me I would make a good mother. She took care of me,
like I was her own. She cooked nutritious meals for me, made me cups of
tea.

She showed me how to bathe a newborn, how to get a onesie over his delicate
head, how to swaddle him.

She looked after the baby so I could sleep, take a hot shower that lasted
more than 2 minutes, pumped milk.

Because of her, I now have a few hours of time to myself every day. She and
my father-in-law look after my toddler every afternoon. She thanks me for
that. She sees it not as a chore, or a favor, nor out of necessity. She
LOVES having him there.

She helped me potty train him. She makes him lunch some days, dinner every
day. She makes sure he gets snacks. She takes him out for walks. She makes
him clothes. She's sewing him a quilt.

She does all this out of love. Love for my son, love for her son, my
husband, love for me.

She has no idea how much she means to me. How different my life would be if
I did not have her in it. How different my son's life would be.

I hope that some day, she will know.

This post was written by Alison of the blog Mama Wants This!  To learn more about Alison check out her very interesting bio.

July 1, 2011

Bellflower Books is a Proud Sponsor of "Project Marriage"

A good marriage requires a lot of hard work, so when we were asked to collaborate with two amazing bloggers Mommy Friend and Life Without Pink to help sponsor their Project Marriage Challenge, we couldn't resist!

This month's challenge is to plan an actual "Date Night" with your husband, during which, talk of children is strictly prohibited.  This is something that my husband and I are actually good at.  It is so wonderful to leave our home and focus on just each other for the night.  This may sound silly, but before nights like these I try to read up a bit on current events and other interesting topics so that we can easily engage in adult conversation that does not revolve around children:)



Something else I have noticed that makes my own marriage work is trying my best to make sure my husband feels loved and appreciated.  I am hoping that through our Project Marriage Bellflower Books giveaway, we inspire someone to create a beautiful Bellflower Book full of love, photos and memories.  This could actually be the perfect gift to give your husband for an anniversary, birthday, holiday or "just because".

Make sure to check out both collaborating blogs and participate in this great challenge.  I have learned that my marriage is always a worthwhile place to focus attention.  Being a part of Project Marriage is a fun way to do this!
 
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