Thursday, November 15, 2018

Messages in Metal Etched with Love

Periodically, I get emails from manufacturers who want me to write a post sponsoring their products.  I don’t follow up on most of them, particularly if the email looks like a mass mailing to bloggers (“Hello , I love your blog….etc…..”) or if the product is not something that interests me nor, probably, my readers. 

But not long ago, I got an adorable email from a woman named Hallie that started this way: 

“Bonjour Marie-Therese,

That is officially the first time I've used four years of French in high school...  :)

My name is Hallie Schumaker and I work for a company, Messages in Metal.”  

She then proceeded to tell me a little bit about her Company and what they do, and I was interested enough to respond. 


Messages in Metal is a recently-launched, family-owned business located in the beautiful State of Montana.  Everything the Schumakers produce is designed and made by hand in their workshops.  When’s the last time you bought something that wasn’t stamped out by a machine and mass produced? 

As Hallie puts it, “The process has been a labor of love and we have put two years of work into the designs, the proper training on a state-of-the-art engraver, packaging materials, etc.” 

While fast food and mass-produced American jeans are ubiquitous in France these days, the French still revere the artisanal arts from the talented tatter who adds the finishing flourish to an haute couture piece to the craftsman (or craftswoman) who trains for a minimum of five years before being allowed to create his (or her) first Birkin or Kelly Bag for Hermès, and my French heart always skips a beat at the sight of a hand-made objet d’art. 

Hallie offered to send me any product of my choice for my review.  How could I possibly refuse an offer like that?  So, I agreed and checked out their website. 

The Schumaker Family
Along the way, through delightful emails back and forth and Hallie’s Blog posts, I learned a lot about this close-knit family -- how they relate to one another and their commitment to excellence in everything they do, especially the products they produce. 

Hallie and her Daughter

And so, I made my selection.  I chose a dragon fly necklace in gold, which would contain a tiny amethyst, my birthstone, and my name etched in the tail.  Now, you may be thinking, that would have to be a looooooong tail to contain my entire, hyphenated first name.  What to do? 

Suddenly, I had an idea.  My golden dragonfly would be etched with my childhood nickname, which no one had used since Mme Mère passed away five years ago. 

I gave it to myself when I was about two or three years old, because I was unable to pronounce my whole first name (It’s a mouthful for a child!).  So, when people would ask me “Comment t-appelles-tu, ma petite?”  I started responding, “Je m’apelle Ti-Ti.”  My parents never knew where I got it, but it stuck.  My brother Paul never called me anything else; in fact, he shortened it to Ti.  The last person to call me Ti-Ti was Mme Mère.  My brother died at a very young age and my father is long gone.  So, I thought it would be most fitting to have my childhood nickname on my necklace as a beautiful souvenir of a happy time.  I’m sure they would approve. 

Hallie was touched.  “Oh your story gave me goosebumps and I agree with you - what a beautiful way to pay tribute to people so close to your heart and the memories you share.” 

Speaking of names and nicknames, Hallie had her own charming story to tell.  I’ll let her tell it:

I asked my mom why the name Hallie and she told me that they had friends that took in foster children. And one of the little girls that they fostered, her name was Hallie and that my mom loved the name from day one. Wish they would’ve fostered a little girl name Natalie, Grace or Emma but Hallie stuck with her and with me.

Fifi the French Dog
I took four years of French. And I believe our French teacher’s name was Mrs. Johnson but I may be wrong. Regardless, in French class our freshmen year we had to choose a French name and that name was what we would go by, answer to, etc. whenever we were in class. By the time it was my time to choose all the good French girl names that I wanted had been selected. I was left with names like Heloise, Olga, etc. to choose from. Nice enough names sure but zero cool factor. I decided to go outside the box. When I was asked what my French name for the year would be I promptly answered with much fanfare, “Je m’appelle FiFi!” And FiFi it was for the next four years.”

Fifi, je vous présente Ti-Ti! 

About a week later my beautiful Golden Dragonfly arrived. 

And I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It’s a beautiful, delicate piece on a 20” gold chain with a 3” extension, as needed, making it the perfect length for any neckline. 

What else can I say?  The holidays are coming.  Do yourself a favor and stop by Messages in Metal.  Isn’t there someone in your life who would love something special with a message from you etched with love?                                               


  1. I so enjoyed your story my friend. And the shop and their story. But most of all, your story.

    1. Dear Katie Isabella,

      We all have great stories to tell. I always enjoy yours, too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don't forget to give thanks for all good things.

      Hugs, M-T

  2. Lovely and meaningful. I did take a look at their website and signed up for emails from them. With the upcoming birth of a new grandchild, I think this would be a perfect gift for the Mom and/or Dad!

    1. What a great idea, Cynthia, and congratulations on the upcoming birth of your new grandchild. So much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving season.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

  3. Oh Ti-Ti...I told you earlier in an email that you did such a beautiful job! And the fact that you read the stories means so much to me. My love for not only my family but for what we do is so strong and what we give to families and individuals - it's more than just a product. It's about their family. Their memories such as yours. The names, the messages, the people in their life that resonate. I call it my home base. My children's soft place to land. Thank you once again for reading my email and for reaching out and for taking a chance on us.

    1. Dear Hallie,

      I'm delighted you were happy w/my review. It came from the heart just as you put your heart into all your products. I wish you and Messages in Metal, as well as the whole Schumaker family, every success and happiness.

      Cheers, M-T

  4. Lovely sentiments and story to tell, M-T. ❤️ Pretty keepsakes, I think, just in time for the holidays.✨ What a great find and a great selection of jewelry,😍🎁

    1. I do love my gold dragonfly and have already gotten compliments when I wear it. Definitely stop by Messages in Metal for holiday gift ideas. Everyone loves something personal, especially in this age of mass production and anonymity. It's hard to feel special these days, and this is a great way to do it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Debra.

      Cheers, M-T

  5. So beautiful. And meaningful. And special. Their work is fantastic.

    1. I do agree, which is why I was delighted to give them a very enthusiastic review. Hope you will consider purchasing one of their beautiful pieces. You won't be disappointed.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

  6. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    What a lovely story about your name and the use of it with your closest family; so meaningful!
    It is a lovely idea for lots of gift giving ideas.
    Sending you hugs,


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