03.30.2013 We’ve Moved!

Kent and I spent Jan and Feb 2013 moving from Oregon to Placerville, CA. We were able to secure a property with large metal shop building, which nearly triples the amount of space we have to build shadow boxes and plaques (and we’re filling every sq. ft. of it with our stuff).

Oak frame; 22x14 (J1015)

Firefighter retirement gift

Although we started building shadow boxes again in March, we’re still unpacking and settling in, figuring out how best to lay out the shop and where to store the shipping supplies that take up far too much space!   Having more space should enable us to handle more orders at once and to get orders out to our customers a little faster.

Moving back to California after 10 years away has been exciting for us. We’re still in a pretty rural area and we love seeing turkeys, woodpeckers, deer and jack rabbits as we “commute” down the hill from our house to the woodshop.

Another exciting development is that we will finally be able to launch our updated website. Look for that announcement in the next week or so. In the meantime, Happy Springtime to all!



Holiday season

It’s been over a month since our last post, but we’ve been busy with orders. Due to year end retirements and Christmas gifts, the elves have been busy in the workshop! (Actually, there are only two elves.)

Because the items we’re building are gifts, we cannot post photos until after the first of the year. However, stay tuned because we will post photos when we can. Of course, you can see some of our work in older posts here or on our website.

Fishing the Clearwater, Prime Time Business Fair, Christmas…

Christmas is coming! Believe it or not.  If you are planning on a shadow box as a Christmas gift, order it NOW! I have been giving several free price quotes a day and our production schedule is getting full.

It takes a certain amount of time because although we can build a shadow box pretty fast, transit time for the customer’s items to us and the completed shadow box back to the customer can take up to a week each way. Only business days are counted, so weekends and holidays like Thanksgiving can rally cut into the time needed to get your shadow box to you.

Last night was the Prime Time Business Fair, put on by the Chamber of Commerce in our county. About 70 businesses had tables set up with information about their businesses. I set up a table with sample shadow boxes and a TV screen running a slide show with pictures of our past work. I spoke to a lot of people and I’m hopeful that some work might come out of it.

(For those of you who know Kent – He’s been in northern Idaho all week with my brother. They’ve been fishing on the Clearwater River. He’s on his way home now with a lot of big fish like the one below.)

Flag display boxes

We make custom display and shadow boxes for flags, too. We can make them for smaller 3′ x 2′ flags that have been ceremoniously flown on flagpoles up to 5′ or 6′ x 9′ casket/burial flags.

On the left is a shadow box we did for a local business. The flag had been flown in front of the business on the grand opening day. We also mounted pictures and an engraved plate for the customer.

To the right, is an oak flag box which holds just the flag. On the front there is space for an engraved plate. The one shown is 3″ x 1″, which will hold up to 3 lines of text.

Flags can be of huge ceremonial or emotional value to our customers, as well as being a national symbol for our country. We believe they should be treated with respect and well care for…

With a flag box from ShadowBoxUSA.com, you can do both!


“Only” 61 pieces!

This week I gave an estimate to a guy who is retiring from a fire dept in Texas. He has been in the fire service for 36 years! He has 8 badges and numerous patches, pins and helmet shields – 61 pieces in all! The box will be very large, but I think it will be impressive in that it represents a very long career.

He called me the other day with a lot of questions and ended the conversation by saying he would send me all the items with an order form. Stand by for pictures of this one, although it will probably be 3-4 weeks before its finished.

This week we also received an order from the Campbell Police Dept in Calif. It will be a retirement gift with several badges, pins, etc. Instead of mounting an engraved plate on the inside of the box, we’ll be having the glass engraved. I expect this one to be very classy looking. One interesting thing is that instead of using velveteen on the backing, he requested that we use fabric from one of his dark blue uniform shirts. He also wanted a portion of the yellow striping from his pants in the shadow box. In addition, to being creative, I think this will look great. I’ll post a picture of this one, too.

Petaluma FD, Santa Barbara City FD

This week we shipped some shadow boxes to a couple fire departments in California. We want to thank George Martinez of Santa Barbara City FD. Representing the union, he orders retirement gifts from us. We put together a shadow box that includes a badge, an engraved plate and a helmet shield. The leather helmet chields are made by a retired SBCFD firefighter who now lives in Florida. The shields are sent to us and we order an engraved plate with the wording they want.  We then mount everything and send the completed box to them.

We also put together a rush order for recent recruits of the Petaluma Fire Dept. Their training academy is only 3 weeks, so their gift to the dept thanking their training cadre had to be done quickly. It’s pretty simple, but conveys the sentiment perfectly. The engraved plate thanks the dept and the training officers and lists the class members names.

Remember, if you are looking for a unique gift for Christmas or for a firefighter or police officer retirement, contact us and we’ll help you design something personal and unique.

A slice of history… in a shadow box.

We recently completed three shadow boxes for the Josephine County Historical Society (JCHS). These were used as prizes in a contest they held over the summer. Here are pictures of two of those boxes.

The first picture shows the oak frame shadow box that was used for some Josephine County/Grants Pass historical items from local businesses. The second photo is the shadow box that holds a patch collection from local law enforcement agencies. Each item was mounted on a custom-cut piece of acrylic which lifts the items off the back of the box and provides some dimension.

Shadow boxes make great gifts and can also be used as awards or prizes.

Sheriff’s deputies retirement

These shadow boxes were retirement gifts  for deputy sheriffs. One deputy had spent time working in two neighboring counties and so he had two career badges. Although shadow boxes can contain lots of items, sometimes they are just very simple and straightforward. These also show the two different kinds of engraved plates available. One is a plain gold color (or silver) with black text and the other is a fancier one. It is black with gold text and a gold border. We adhere them to an acrylic base which lifts them off the back of the box giving more dimension and visual interest. The box on the left is walnut, the other has a light oak frame.

Jobs for this week

This was a very varied week. Here are some of the projects we worked on this week;

  • We’ve been working on  couple of shadow boxes for the Josephine County Historical Society. They are small shadow boxes with historical items from Josephine County and Grants Pass. That’s been kind of fun because it’s different than the majority of our work which is for cops and firefighters. The boxes will be used as prizes in a contest the society is putting on.
  • We also shipped a shadow box retirement gift to a police department in New York. It came out great and I wish I could be there when the recipient is presented with it.
  • Another box we shipped out this week was full of baby items. A California man had seen our classified ad in PORAC magazine and wanted baby items previously used by his now-adult son put into a shadow box. We mounted a few toys and cute outfit and even a tiny preemie diaper. We also put a picture in and an engraved plate with the son’s name and birth date. It will make a nice Christmas gift for the man’s son. When the customer received it, he took the time to call and thank us for exceeding his expectations! Now I’m hoping he buys another one – for his wife who is a retired police officer…
  • We also did a rush job for our local sheriff’s office. A deputy was retiring unexpectedly and they placed the order on Tuesday and I delivered the shadow box on Friday morning. I love when people plan ahead and give us more time, but usually we can handle these rush jobs and I’m glad we could help them out.
  • We also completed a shadow box with an openable door which houses wedding toasting glasses.We mounted the wedding invitation and some roses from the bride’s bouquet which had been dried. The glasses fit on either side of the invitation. The box was made from walnut and it turned out beautifully. Next, we’ll be making a matching wood box to store the wedding cake utensils.

I also heard from our customer Lonnie, who had ordered a wooden base for a black steel fish cutout that he used as a trophy for a bass tournament. He loved the base we made and the recipient was thrilled to win it.

September 11th

Today, 9/11 memorials are happening as I write this. At ShadowBoxUSA, we wish we could make a memorial shadow box for every firefighter and police officer who lost their life that day.  Unfortunately, we’re too small a company to make that happen, but even nine years later we have the same feeling everyone has – wanting to do something, anything, to help reduce the suffering and sorrow that remains from this horrible event.

We send good thoughts to the friends, co-workers and families of the brave heroes lost that day. Our hope is that remembrance of 9/11 and the feelings we all experienced that day will remind us to work together against terrorism, intolerance and hate in our world.

How to keep your pet’s memory alive.

ShadowBoxUSA.com can make you a custom shadow box in your pet’s memory. Recently, we made a shadow box in memory of Belle, a darling little Chihuahua who passed away. (See photo below)

Belle’s owner is happy to have Belle’s memory as part of her life. Instead of Belle’s collar, tags, etc., buried away in a box somewhere, she can now enjoy the shadow box every day. She sent us all the items to be included – a picture of Belle, a paw print in clay that she had, Belle’s favorite small toy and her collar with tags attached.

We designed a layout and built a custom sized shadow box with a solid hardwood frame (choose from oak, cherry or walnut). Then we securely mounted each item. Some of the items were mounted on custom acrylic mounts to lift them off the back of the box and provide dimension and visual interest. The interior backing was covered with velveteen and the front was glass.

You can add an engraved plate also. Text might include the pet’s name and birth and death dates.

The loss of a pet can be sorrowful. But the memories of the happiness and companionship they bring to our lives can be joyful. We’ll gladly give you a free shadow box estimate.

The recipient of the shadow box below wrote; “I want to thank you so much for the beautiful shadow box ! It was a wonderful surprise u did a gorgeous job. I have it hanging on my china hutch. You did my puppy proud! Again thank you … Sincerely, Linda M.”