My Christmas shopping is not done. Not nearly. The problem is that I am trying to avoid impulse buys and, obviously, that entails planning.
Normally I am a master list-maker and know by the end of November what I am going shopping for. This year, however, I am so tied down with school and kindergarten pick ups and drop offs, nap times, homework and play dates that I have not had time to browse the shops, online or off, and be inspired.
I could just bite the bullet and sit down at the laptop at ten at night to click my way through a large online store and pick out presents for my family and friends. But the idea horrifies me.
I have never been a big online shopper, preferring to shop locally. Of course I do, from time to time, buy from large online distributors. Who doesn’t? But the older I get, the more I feel that I should support local businesses and new enterprises.
When I was asked recently to take a look at the personalised crests by Painted Clans, I got quite a nice surprise. Here was an online shop where I could order a personlised, handcrafted gift with the added benefit that it is made in Ireland by an Irish artist, Brendan Mc Carey.
Brendan has modernised the traditional crests, simplifying the imagery, removing text and focusing on the core images. From single painted crests to whole family trees, the range is wide and each item is unique, being hand-painted to order.
|Perfectly packaged for shipping|
Our older two sons are mad about knights and have been for years. We’ve had knight birthday parties, we have countless Playmobil and Lego knights and castles, and we have a vast selection of shields and swords.
With that in mind, I’m sure you can well imagine the excitment that the arrival of our own family crests caused. I am very pleased with our framed double crest, showing the crest of my maiden name and the crest of The Bavarian’s family name as well as the date of our wedding.
The boys are thrilled that our names have such strong emblems – the lion, the eagle, the crown – and I love the clean lines and vibrant colours. That the whole things ties in well with our dark red and white livingroom is an added bonus.
I imagine these crests would make a wonderful wedding or anniversary gift. Indeed for anyone interested in family history and genealology, a Painted Clans crest would be a welcome present.
Brendan also paints county crests of the counties of Ireland, something that would make a sentimental leaving gift for anyone emigrating or returning to their home country after a stay in Ireland. I know so many people here in Germany who feel a strong connection to Ireland, having studied or worked there for a period before returning home.
While on the whole our framed crests are beautiful, on closer inspection there is one little snag – my family name, Matthews, has been written as Matthew.
One other thing I would like to stress here in this review is that the crests are hand-painted. The reason I am emphasising this is that the texture of the brush strokes is quite visible and in places streaks of the base colour are visible. I like the textured look. However, on the wing of the black eagle of our crest there is a streak of white which looks like a scratch.
Despite the above, I still feel this is going to become a treasured family hierloom, a feature on the wall that my children will remember, just as I remember the picture in my grandmother’s hall and which now lives in my own hallway.
[Disclaimer: I was sent a framed double crest by Painted Clans in return for an honest review of the product. All photos and opinions here are my own and I was not paid to write this review.]
Please note that should you wish to place an order, last orders for international shipping will be taken on the 10th Dec and for Irish orders on 15th Dec. 2015.