Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Veterans Memorial

If there is a group of folks who deserve a memorial, it is the Veterans who have proudly (and bravely) served our country.

Memorial Day weekend of 2009, we erected a beautiful Veterans Memorial in Farmington, AR.  It was here that a small committee of folks belonging to the Farmington Veteran's Council, brought some ideas together to honor past, present and future Veterans of our United States Armed Forces.  When they came to us they had a general idea of the memorial design and looked to our expertise to help make it happen. 

We recommended a Georgia Gray granite for the memorial and further recommended using laser etched black granite tiles for the Great Seal and the seal of each branch of the military.  By laser etching each seal, we were able to obtain a level of detail that is crisp and accurate.  We then inlayed the black tiles into the gray granite.

Now, I will tell you, there is a fine art to inlaying any kind of tiles into granite.  Why?  Because the inlaying needs to be precise and accurate so that there are no holes or gaps between the base stone and the inlayed stone.  Tiny holes, cracks and gaps could potentially set the base stone up for future problems and are certainly something to avoid.  Here at Emerson Monument Co, our craftsmen are second to none and did an absolutely amazing job with this memorial.

"A tribute to all veterans, past, present and future."

Although some of the memorial was donated by local organizations, the group also needed to do some fundraising to make this memorial possible.  They achieved the necessary funds by selling engraved bricks that were inlayed into a concrete block wall.  Engraved bricks are a lot of fun and very popular because it gives each individual his or her own little tribute within the encompassing memorial.
One of the walls hosting engraved bricks.

I truly enjoyed attending the dedication and memorial service hosted when the memorial was erected.  There was a great turn out of Veterans and their families, as well as some members of other interested organizations.  Several Veterans spoke and told heroic stories which deeply touched my life forever; yes, I am grateful to have attended. 

Many of the Veterans who were at the dedication service.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

While the weather isn't great for setting monuments, it sure is perfect for admiring them!

With poinsettas and snow, our sign is definately ready for Christmas.   

I love how the snow mounds in the engraved letters. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Custom Tribute, Post 3

I never knew what a Tesla Coil was until I met Cassie.  In fact, when she mentioned she wanted one on her father's memorial, I had to look it up to see what one was; and they are actually pretty cool!

Cassie went on to tell me that her father built Tesla Coils in his free time and loved Science.  Therefore, she felt confident that incorporating one into his memorial would be very appropriate.  She went on to show me some photos of what she had in mind (see above) and, after further discussion, decided that the coil would be most recognizable if it was laser etched as opposed to sandblasted.


Because we are able to pick up so much more detail with the laser than we are with standard sand blasting. 

However, as we visited with Cassie we learned that her father was terminally ill and had a short time to live.  This information was very important for us to know because it meant that we would need to sandblast her father's first name and his date of birth. 


Because her father's memorial would likely be placed in the cemetery before he passed, it was important that we accommodate her need for future lettering (i.e. engraving his date of death on the stone).  You see, all final date cuts are done at the cemetery with a portable sandblaster.  There is not a portable laser capable of doing final date cuts and, thus, not a way to match the style of a laser etched birth date.

Working with both sandblasted and laser etched designs on the same memorial is really very common.  Working with two mediums adds a variety of textures to the memorial and looks really good.

Keeping that in mind, we explained why we needed to both sandblast and laser etch the stone and provided Cassie with the following proof.  The blank space below his last name is the area in which we would sandblast his name and birth date.

Once Cassie approved the drawing, we had the stone etched for her father. 

After laser etching the stone we added the sandblasted inscription.  You will notice that the family decided to arrange his birth date a little less traditionally with the month spelled out and the "rd" after the 3.  It is important to note that there is no "right or wrong" way to inscribe one's dates of life.  We have inscribed dates in several different languages, numerically and even symbolically.  

At Emerson Monument Company we take pride in our ability to create beautiful custom memorials that may be found no where else.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Custom Tribute, Post 2

I will be honest, little Joel Smith captured my heart from the moment I saw his sweet pictures.  His smile was so big and bright and hid the fact that he was actually fighting a very difficult battle- the battle against cancer.  Aside from his smile I also noticed something else about Joel, something that everyone who knew him also knew- Batman was his hero.

Working on a child's headstone is always extremely difficult for obvious reasons.  Of course part of me always wants to cry for (and sometimes with) the family, for all of the pain and heartache they have been through.  And then the other part of me wants to give the family my absolute best efforts in honor of their child.  So, when I begin working on a child's stone, I always listen to the parent's ideas and try to come up with a design that is both beautiful and appropriate given the child's interests and hobbies.  While many parents do know exactly what they want for their child, others have no clue what they would like and simply want us to take an idea and expand upon it. 

In Joel's case we visited with the family and then got the opportunity to "meet" Joel through a news broadcast about the Make a Wish Foundation and how they made Joel Batman for a Day.  Check out the link below to learn about Joel and what an amazing super hero he truly was.

Joel as Batman by the Make a Wish Foundation

Of course, after watching the videos we knew that the memorial needed to incorporate Joel as Batman and, with the help of his family, came up with this proof....

One of the wonderful things about technology is that we can make changes to monuments until the family is 100% satisfied with the way the memorial looks, and this case was no exception.  The family wanted to move some text to the back thus resulting in the second proof:

Many families choose to put information on the back of their memorials and there is really no right or wrong inscription to use.  Of course I prefer to recommend that you go with an inscription (or epitaph) that is natural and truly "fits" your loved one's personality.  In this case "Our Little Super Hero" is completely appropriate.

Joel's memorial is absolutely beautiful and is such a special tribute to an amazing little boy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Keeping Your Vases from Freezing

Granite vases are fantastic for keeping flowers at your loved one's grave.  However, they do tend to be a little bit of a maintenance issue if they are not tended to in the fall and winter.  Why?  Because water may accumulate in the vases if their drain holes are clogged.  Then, when freezing temperatures hit, the water will freeze, expand and bust the vase.  With that being said, a common question folks ask around this time of year is how to keep their vases from freezing and busting.

At Emerson Monument Co. we always recommend that you go out to the cemetery with a coat hanger or other narrow object and thoroughly clean out your flower pots as winter draws near.  Doing this will ensure that debri is not clogging the vase's drain hole.  Once the vase has been cleared, there are several different ways to ensure your granite vases remain in tact through the winter.  Common approaches include:

  • Consider placing a coffee filter or florist foam inside the vase.  This will prevent the drain hole from being directly blocked.
  • Consider placing a plastic zip bag on top of the vase and securing it tightly with a rubber band.  This will prevent water from getting in. 
  • Consider purchasing a metal vase insert to protect the vase (cost is approximately $20 and may be ordered at Emerson).
Many are often surprised to learn that there is not a good way to fix a broken vase.  We have experimented with Gorilla Glue, Super Glue, Epoxy, Vase Tape and other forms of adhesive and have not found one that will hold a vase together for a speakable period of time.  Therefore, the only solid way to correct a broken vase is to completely replace it.

Have a question about preventing the vase from clogging or replacing a busted vase?  Email us and we'll be glad to help!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Preserving a Slice of History

Emerson Monument Company is pleased to announce they have accepted an invitation to participate in the 2nd Annual Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Cemetery Information Fair.  The fair will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock from noon to 4pm.

This is the second year that Emerson has participated in the program and, in doing so and with the assistance of other organizations, helps to teach fair participants proper cemetery preservation techniques. 

We hope to see all of our Little Rock area readers and customers there!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Custom Tribute, Post 1

What a blessing it is to work with families and create stunning memorials that truly capture who they are and what they were "all about"!  And while it is SO difficult to truly capture a life story on one single piece of stone, the Reeves family has done a great job of honoring the husband, father and son that they love and miss.

Franklin & Anita Reeves memorial.
Racing was a family affair at the Reeves' home.  It was a sport that Franklin was passionate about and his wife, Anita, was supportive of.  In fact, even the kids got involved, eventually earning them the title of "Reeves Racing pit crew"!  As I sat and listened to Anita passionately describe her husband...and the father that he was...and the abilities he had...I couldn't help but to suggest a memorial that featured the car- a piece of their lives that the family enjoyed together.

After much discussion and planning, it was decided that we would use an actual racing photo that, I believe, was taken by Franklin & Anita's daughter.  If you look closely below at the space just behind the back window, you will notice the words "Pit Crew" followed by the Reeves' family's names.  

Original photo provided by the family.
When we received the photo we immediately had it cropped and enlarged to fit a double stone.  This part was tricky because we had to ensure that the car would enlarge without losing the level of detail that we desired.  But it all worked out!  Calculations were then made to determine the exact size of the stone and the positioning of every cut to ensure the stone would be an exact fit to the image.  Once that was done, we sent a series of proofs to the family for them to review and change until they had it just the way they wanted it. 

Final proof.

Once we had a final approval from the family it was time to begin etching. Of course the first photo I posted is a photo of the semi-complete stone. It was laser etched and, at this point, is awaiting lettering on both the front and the back.

What a beautiful tribute!

Placed in the Cemetery!
At Emerson Monument Company there is nothing we love more than to help families design and create lasting tributes in honor of their loved ones.   

Monday, September 12, 2011

In the News...

The spotlight was on Emerson Monument Company in the September issue of the MB News!

Emerson Monument Company recently teamed up with Love Ashes to create an afordable alternative to pricey cemetery cremation memorials.

While many families choose to simply bury their loved one's cremains and erect a headstone, just as they would if their loved one was buried traditionally, some families choose to go a different route. These families may choose to place a small quantity of their loved one's cremains in the cemetery and then keep a majority of them at home where they may be safeguarded for years to come. Now, thanks to Emerson Monument Company and Love Ashes, families can do that in a whole new way!

Beautiful Adornments are vibrant dichroic glass tiles that contain a small portion of a loved one's ashes. They utilize an industrial strength 3M tape to adhere them to the back of granite memorials and look absolutely amazing in the sunlight.

This stunning memorial was made by Emerson Monument Co. and utilizes one of our Beautiful Adornments in honor of a son who had passed away. Here the Beautiful Adornment gave a family the flexibility to to include the son's memorial with that of the parents.

We are proud to have teamed up with Love Ashes to offer new and unique products to the customers we serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Decorating Ideas

One of my favorite things to do is to stroll through local cemeteries on or around their decoration days. These days are designed to bring families together to help beautify the cemetery and give them an opportunity to honor their loved one with flowers, trinkets and more. Of course in doing this I have gained several decoration ideas that I would like to share.

Of course the most popular way to decorate a loved one's grave is by simply utilizing the granite vases that are commonly attached to the base of the memorial. You can purchase pre-arranged silk floral bundles that are perfect for cemetery use at stores like Hobby Lobby or you may have some made at a local florist shop. To keep your flowers from blowing away, try using florist foam in the vases (the trick is to cram as MUCH as you possibly can into the vase).

Another popular way to decorate is to use a saddle on top of the monument.

I have found that the prettiest saddles come directly from a florist and they are typically reasonably priced. When purchasing a saddle it is important to know the size of the monument (you don't want a small saddle on a large stone or vise versa). If you are working with a florist you can also have him or her incorporate trinkets (can you see the ornaments in our Christmas saddle?) and other unique items into the design.

Some other decoration ideas include:

-Shepherd's Hooks. These are iron hooks that allow baskets of flowers to hang from them. Check with your cemetery to see if these are allowed.

-Blankets. These are flat mesh coverings that are covered with flowers. Check with your cemetery to see if these are allowed.
-Sprays. You have probably seen the little metal stands with floral attangements on them. Those are called sprays. Check with your cemetery to see if these are allowed.

I hope you find these decorating ideas helpful. Add your favorite decorating idea in the comments section below if you have an idea to share.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Planning Ahead

I often think the most difficult purchasing processes one may go through is that of pre-planning his or her funeral, burial and memorial arrangements. It's even true for those of us who work in the industry; I spend each day creating monuments but, when it comes to my own memorial, I am at a loss!

But as much as we would like to avoid it, there comes a time when we realize it would be nice to get the planning out of the way so that we don't burden a loved one with the task.

If you are at that point in your life you probably have several questions regarding pre-planning for a headstone and I am here to help.

The first thing people ask me when they begin pre-planning for their headstone is: "Do I get the headstone now or just pay for it to be placed later?"
The answer is that you have it placed now. Most monument companies do not have the insurances, bonds, trusts or anything else in place to safeguard or track your funds for years to come. Therefore, it is the industry norm to make the stone and immediately place it in the cemetery. Of course your name and birth date will have been engraved and there will be a blank space for your death date inscription.

The second thing people ask is what needs to be done to the stone after they pass. The answer to that varies depending upon the familiy's situation. In most cases you don't need to do anything more than to contract us to engrave the date of death on the stone. However, in the case of a Veteran you will need to order your VA stone and contact us to place it for you.

The third thing people are typically surprised about is that all future engraving, including the inscription of the date of death, IS NOT included in the price of the headstone. The reason for this is that we do not have the ability to track or safeguard your funds for years to come. Therefore, we only accept payment when the services are needed.

The last question most folks ask is how to get started. If you are interested in pre-planning for your headstone, we recommend that you start by gaining an idea of what you are interested in. This may be done by simply walking through cemeteries or browsing through photos online. In doing this you will discover elements that you do and do not like about memorials and will gain a sense of what you think is appropriate for yourself.

If you are considering pre-planning for your memorial or have questions about creating a headstone, please contact Emerson Monument Company and visit with us about the process. Our staff is kind, friendly and informative and will "hold your hand" through the entire process.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Hawaiian Cemetery

As a person living on the US mainland, it never truly occured to me that Hawaiians would have different burial traditions than the rest of us. Sure, I knew that the traditions would vary depending upon cultural and regious preferences, but I never really thought about the way they might memorialize their loved ones...until I had the opportunity to go to the small Hawaiian island of Kaua'i.

While in Kaua'i I stopped by a large cemetery on the North side of Kapaa. It is built up on a hill with all individuals being buried facing the East (towards the ocean). I did climb to the top of the hill and took a moment to enjoy the serene beauty of the ocean side cemetery before visiting with a sweet lady who had come to visit her grandmother.

As I spoke to the lady, a Hawaiian native, she told me that the majority of Hawaiians prefer to be cremated. The family and friends then gather to sprinkle the ashes in the Pacific Ocean. She said there are companies that will take them out by boat and hold a nice ceremony for them to do this.

As I looked around I noticed the large marble crucifxion in the far Southwest corner of the cemetery. When I asked her about it she indicated the cemetery was a Catholic cemetery. Northwest Arkansas many Catholic cemeteries bury individuals to where they are facing a statue of Mary or so forth. However, that was not the case in this cemetery. When I asked her why she shrugged her shoulders, pointed towards the ocean and laughed, "I guess they liked that view better!"

I wanted to post some photos of the cemetery and some of the memorials that I visited. You will notice each plot has a wall around it in order to keep the plot from washing down the side of the hill.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More Than Just Monuments

Did you know that Emerson Monument Company is more than just monuments?? Most people don't realize that they have seen our work in everyday places...not just the cemeteries.

At Emerson Monument Co. we provide custom engraved signs, sidewalks, windows, floors, tiles and more! Check it all out below!

Are you familiar with the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County? This is a great organization that strives to provide single parents with the resources needed to make gaining a higher education possible. We are proud to have incorporated their logo into this custom engraved stone.

Most NWA Residents are familiar with the Har-ber Meadows Master-Planned Community. This is a cute residential area that is close to shopping and home to both people and wildlife alike. We recently provided a custom-engraved and handpainted native stone sign for them.

Check out those Springdale Bulldogs!! The new campus is beautiful and we are proud of the custom engraved mascots that have been incorporated into the Emma Street entrance. The bulldog seen below was engraved into a custom-cut circular piece of Georgia Gray Granite and then layed into the brick wall. What a fun project to have been involved in!

Check out this custom engraved glass for Tyson Foods! Great job, guys!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Do I Clean THAT??

Okay, so we all know the feeling. It's the heart-sinking moment when you stand, looking at a loved one's memorial, realizing that you are going to have to clean an unidentified mess from his or her stone. Maybe it is bird poo or perhaps it is berry stains or moss; whatever the substance may be, we have some solutions. BUT, before cleaning a memorial, there are some important factors to consider.

1. It is important to always check the color of the granite with which you will be working. Black granite tends to scratch a little easier than gray granite. SO, if you are working with black, you will want to avoid rubbing, stiff bristles or anything else that could cause scratching.

2. Check the engraving on the stone. If the engraving appears to have been done by a laser, please avoid rubbing or scrubbing over the laser etched portion. This will ensure any potential scratching will not impact the etching.

3. Always check the material the stone is made of. If it is marble please do not take the advice found on our blog!

4. If the stone you are cleaning appears to be damaged, please refrain from cleaning it and contact your monument dealer immediately.

Now that you know what you are dealing with you will initially need to gather a few materials:
-A large jug of water
-A spray bottle
-A soft bristle tooth brush

We recommend mixing one part water to one part bleach in your spray bottle and beginning with a small portion of the soiled area. Simply spray some solution and lightly scrub for a few moments. It is important to note that, after scrubbing, you need to rinse the area REALLY well with your water. Why? Because the bleach could lighten your memorial if you don't.

If the bleach and water solution does not work (and occasionally it will not), you might consider purchasing a Dupont Alkaline Cleanser that can be found at nearly any counter top store in your area. Please note that you need to read the instructions for this cleanser very carefully prior to using it.

If the alkaline cleanser does not work or if you are physically unable to clean your loved one's memorial, please contact Emerson Monument Company and we will be glad to cleanse your stone for you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Preserving a Slice of History

This past weekend my husband and father-in-law took me to a remote civil war memorial near New Edinburgh, AR. Now, I will admit, I am not as educated in the Civil War as those who grew up in the Deep South or near a battle field. However, after visiting the Marks Mill State Park, I am very interested in learning more and returning to the site when we have more time to really study the memorials.

The Marks Mill State Park features numerous memorials (most of which are engraved into granite) to commemorate the battle that took place and preserve history for generations to come. It is truly a neat little place to visit and I wanted to share what they have done. It is worth noting that Emerson Monument Company did not make or erect any of the memorials at the Marks Mill State Park. However, we are certainly capable of creating monuments such as these to memorialize any family or historical site.

Marble upright Veteran's memorials. These may have been issued by the Veteran's Administration or made to duplicate those that are typically issued by the VA.

Georgia Gray polished 2 (meaning only the front and the back are polished and the top and sides are rough) oval top monument with Vermarco lettering. A red lithichrome paid was also used on the text "The battle had begun!" This memorial was placed upon a tall brick base.

This exhibit boasts several engraved memorials. While some of the memorials are Georgia Gray slants, others are engraved Georgia Gray tiles that have been layed into a rock or brick structure.
This appears to be a Dakota Mahogony oval top stone with vermarco lettering.

This memorial appears to be Academy Black with vermarco lettering and other decorative engravings. It stands on top of a white brick base.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Marking Graves

Yesterday Emerson Monument Company had the pleasure of placing new granite markers at the Spade Mountain Cemetery in Adair County, Oklahoma.
Years ago - no, decades ago- families would bury their loved ones in Spade Mountain Cemetery and then mark their graves with homemade headstones. These stones typically consisted of sand or lime stone that had been engraved by hand. And while these stones are invaluable slices of history, they are becoming difficult to read.

Determined not to lose the memory of each individual buried in the cemetery, the Spade Mountain Cemetery Board chose to have each individual's grave marked with a fresh new stone while still keeping the old stone in tact. What a great way to preserve history!

If you are a board member, geneology enthusiast or interested family member who desires to preserve or mark historical graves, please contact us for information on our "Mark Every Grave" program.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Now You Can Shop Online!

Each day we connect with folks all over the US via our website. Some prefer to initiate the purchase process by requesting a proof based on their preferred design information while others prefer to call us initiate the purchase process via phone. But one thing we have not offered in the past is the ability to purchase monuments and monument accessories on our website. But we are getting there!

During the month of March Emerson Monument Company is introducing an online store in which new and existing customers may order small cemetery markers and headstone accessories. We anticipate adding products on a daily basis throughout the month and will combine the products with our well-known level of customer care.

If you are interested in purchasing a monument or would like to purchase accessories for your existing monument, please check out our website, drop by our store or give us a call- at Emerson Monument Company we are always here to help!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Memorial Day

You may have driven past our office and noticed the sign out front: "Now Accepting Memorial Day Orders". So what is so special about Memorial Day anyway?

Many cemeteries have designated an annual Decoration Day in which families may gather and visit and decorate their loved one's graves together. Some cemeteries also incorporate a celebration service into their Decoration Day festivities and others solicit volunteer clean-up efforts on that day. Whatever the case surrouding your cemetery may be, it is a special time of year indeed.

Naturally, families like to have their loved one's headstones in place before Decoration Day so that they may honor him or her with flowers and other tokens of love. Because the standard delivery time for a monument is between 4-6 weeks, weather permitting, it is a good idea to begin your Memorial Day shopping at least two months prior to the holiday.

It is also important to note that there will always be time to decorate your loved one's grave. SO, if you do not feel ready to make a memorial purchase, don't push youself. It is better to take your time and get what you really want rather than rush into something you may not be as happy with in the future.

If you have questions about purchasing a memorial or would like to view our standard selection, drop by our office in Springdale or check us out online.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Purchasing a Monument Ahead of Time

Today many families and individuals choose to pre-arrange their end of life care. And, while such arrangements commonly include a fuenral service, they may also include honorary services such as creating and placing a monument.

Because monuments are accepted as universal symbols of rememberance and honor, they play an important role in the way we memorialize our loved ones. And, if you are particular about what a memorial in your honor will look like, it may be a good idea to arrange for it ahead of time.

When designing a monument for yourself it is important to begin with a solid piece of inspiration. Perhaps you have seen a stone you like in the cemetery or in the showroom. Or, perhaps you enjoy a certain color, religion, or hobby. If so, you need to communicate your ideas to our staff to ensure that the memorial is designed as a lasting tribute to you.

If you or a loved one are interested in designing a memorial on a pre-need basis, please contact the staff at Emerson Monument Company today, where it is our pledge to provide the highest quality service at the most reasonable price.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When to Order a Headstone

After losing a loved one you may hear several theories concerning the "right time" to buy a stone. Some folks say to wait 6 months while others say to wait until the burial ground settles. However, at Emerson Monument Company we take a different approach.

Each individual and family is different than the next, meaning they grieve in different ways and for different lengths of time. With that being said, it is important that those who are considering the purchase of a memorial wait until they feel comfortable going through the memorialization process.

If you feel comfortable going through the process immediately following your loss, then you are welcome to drop in and begin getting some ideas. However, if you are not yet comfortable with discussing your ideas or feel that you just "aren't there yet", it is in your best interest to wait until you do feel more comfortable. For some people this takes a matter of months while, for others, it may take years.

Also, if you don't feel comfortable designing a memorial just yet but can't stand looking at your loved one's grave without a stone, you might consider purchasing a small 1 foot by 6 inch marker and having "In Loving Memory of (insert your loved one's name)" engraved on it. This is an inexpensive purchase ($65) and will act as a temporary memorial until you are ready to come in and begin designing a headstone.