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Calliope Designs: Part of Our Community for 40 Years

hands held high for community team spirit

Over the years Calliope Designs has had the opportunity to give back to our community in Santa Rosa, California and throughout Sonoma County. When a business becomes involved with the giving of time, products, or money it enlivens the spirit of the employees of the business as well and gives them the feeling of generosity and contribution.

Doing Our Part for the Community

For many holidays our employees conducted a food drive to create some lovely holiday dinners for our local women’s shelters. Most of our employees were women and most of them had families. They filled the baskets with pumpkin for pies, loaves of bread for turkey stuffing, cranberry sauce and applesauce, canned yams, and canned peas and other products too.  We always added a turkey at the end! This gift from each one of them became a beautiful tradition.  Calliope Designs accompanied the baskets of ingredients for a special meal with dozens of our handcrafted dough ornaments and sent special instructions and pens with each basket so the ornaments could be personalized for the children in the shelters.  Our employees were proud of their work and proud that their beautiful creations that were donated at Christmas time to someone less fortunate.

As a company, we became known as a destination tour for girl scout and boy scout troops, classrooms, art schools, and nursery schools throughout Sonoma County as well.  We often had two or three tours a week, especially during the Autumn and pre Thanksgiving. Groups would come to our business building and be carefully led through the “factory” where the dough was mixed in many colors. The children were each given a piece of dough to carry around and squeeze and roll!  They loved the tactile soft feel of the salt and flour dough.  Then they were taken to the tables were our talented employees formed the ornaments.  The kids were fascinated with the process and quietly watched as Santas, Snowmen, Penguins, and Teddy Bears were hand pieced into adorable ornaments.  After they were made the children loved seeing trays of ornaments placed in the huge pizza ovens we had which held over 2000 ornaments – a day’s production.

We toured the shipping department where ornaments were carefully packed for shipment to gift shops and department stores.  The children really loved our pellet dispenser which hung from the ceiling…. because we called it Big Bird!  They enjoyed seeing the boxes piled up at the back door, waiting for UPS to come and pick them up and send them on their way.

And the end of the tour there was always a box of bags of different colored “bread” dough for the teacher or troop leader to take back to class.  We imagined a wonderful art session the next day where everyone got to make a creation of their choice.

Continued Support & Giving

As the years went on the word went out to the teachers of Sonoma County that our company was happy to donate our leftover colored clay to schools for art projects.  We always made fresh dough every single day.  It kept the colors vibrant and kept yeast from developing in the flour causing distortions in baking the ornaments.  We had so many teachers calling to pick up leftover “dough” that we had to make a schedule.  It was really fun to make this contribution, and we still get calls from teachers asking for dough – unfortunately, we now make the ornaments from polymer clay!  But we pass out the recipe when anyone asks.

Support Your Community with Calliope Designs

Every Calliope Design ornament is handmade and personalized to be as unique as every member of your community. Celebrate diversity with a personalized ornament from Calliope Designs. View all our amazing and diverse designs on our online shop today!

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Catchy Quotes About Our Pets

cat and dog in santa hats

Personalized Pet Christmas Ornaments at Calliope Designs

We love our pets and expect very little in return for their food, their home, their entertainment.  Of course, our dogs and cats entertain us too.  Our dogs take us out for walks so we can get our exercise.  They sleep on our bed so we can stay warm.  They lick the tears off our faces when we are sad.  And wag their tails in greeting making us feel welcomed upon coming home.  Our kitty cats are equally adorable in their habits but do tend to keep us on our toes in the expectations department, as we accept they will only do what they want to do about 99.9% of each day.

The holidays are even more fun when you have a pet, and we’ve made quite a selection of adorable pet personalized Christmas ornaments for our own pets, and for gifts for friends.

Here are some funny and thoughtful quotes from some famous people, and some anonymous contributors.  Quotes are interesting ways to start fun discussions at the dinner table with your family, especially children.

A house is not a home without a pet. – Anonymous

No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.  Abraham Lincoln

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  Roger Caras

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. – Ben Williams

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. – Mark Twain

The Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him. – Rudyard Kipling

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘My God, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that! – Dave Barry

Dogs have owners; cats have staff. – Anonymous

Cat Law of Selective Hearing “A cat can hear a mouse yawning a mile away while filtering out the sound of a pleading human just six feet away. – Anonymous

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this. – Anonymous

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. – Ambrose Bierce

“The purity of a person’s heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals” ~ Anonymous

“A dog has lots of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue.” ~ Anonymous

“If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead

“…he will be our friend for always and always and always.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” ― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

Grow your Holiday Traditions with Custom Gifts from Calliope Designs

Celebrate any occasion with a personalized ornament from Calliope Designs. View all our amazing and diverse designs on our online shop today!

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A Christmas Engagement? Some creative approaches!

Santa's Personalized Engagement christmas ornaments

It’s that time of year when everyone gets close to those they love. They remember what they are thankful for and think about what they want to hold on for the future. Christmas engagements are very common and in fact, most engagements actually happen around the holidays!

Some guys are clueless when it comes to proposing on Christmas, or thinking of Christmas engagement ideas. Here are a few ideas to either give you the picture perfect holiday engagement or to spark your creativity to say “Merry Christmas” in the most surprising way!

Christmas Engagement Ideas- with Ornaments Too!

Make the Ring the Ornament

A cute way to propose at Christmas is to hang the ring on the Christmas tree – like an ornament! Have the ring be the ONLY ornament on the tree when she walks in…or, hang the ring box with ribbon on the tree and point out the “interesting” new ornament. She won’t know what to think!

Visit Santa Claus

No, seriously. Go to the mall and visit Santa Claus. This could be the making of the perfect Christmas engagement! Tell her you know what she wants for Christmas…then BOOM. Drop down on one knee in front of everyone. She will have to say that Santa knew what she wanted! (Cheesy, but true!)

The Magic of Mistletoe

Everyone knows that the Christmas tradition is to kiss under the mistletoe…so why not take it a step further? Give her a quick smooch then pop the question right there – propose under the Christmas mistletoe! It is a romantic, personal, and intimate way to share the moment together.

The Bottom of the Stocking

This Christmas engagement proposal idea is pretty easy to figure out. Hide the ring box at the very bottom of her Christmas stocking. When she goes through all the candy and little things along the way, the best present yet will be waiting at the bottom – an engagement ring!

The Stroke of Midnight

Another interesting Christmas proposal idea is to ask the question when the clock strikes midnight – that moment between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You can bring in the holiday the very second it begins with your surprise Christmas engagement.

With the Family Gathered ‘Round

This Christmas engagement idea is one that you can only do if you are comfortable and on good terms with the family! If you both are super close to your families, try popping the question of marriage when the family is together to celebrate the holiday. Then everyone can celebrate together when she says, “Yes!”.

Christmas Abroad

Many people travel for the Christmas holiday. Try taking a trip to an exotic location, somewhere you both love. Whether it be the heart of Europe or the coast of Costa Rica, a creative way to propose at Christmas is to ask her when you are somewhere completely new – an adventure you are both on together! The best part will be coming back home to share the happy news.

A Romantic Evening Out

Maybe a romantic date for the two of you is a way you might be more comfortable with when proposing at Christmas. Try planning a lovey dovey romantic date night out. A carriage ride downtown, looking at the Christmas lights in the snow, dinner at a fancy restaurant under candlelight, or a home cooked meal at home with Christmas music playing in the background offer the perfect Christmas engagement setting.

Personalize It! (The Ornament, that is) has special ornaments that can be personalized with your two names, and Will You Marry Me? on the ornament.   Try putting those 4 words on a Christmas ornament!  Leave it on the tree and lead her to it. You won’t even have to talk! The ornament will speak for itself.  Or have the ornament specially gift wrapped, and put it under the tree.

Christmas Photo Album

A creative way to propose, and a perfect gift in itself, is a customized photo album with photos of the two of you. Websites like Shutterfly can create amazing Christmas photo albums that you can give to her as a gift. Make the last picture in the album a photo of the ring. Then ask away.

Ask In Bed

This is probably the most intimate way to ask that heart-stopping question. On Christmas morning, stay in bed. Keep things personal and private with each other. Asking her to marry you in bed on Christmas morning might not seem like the most creative way to propose at Christmas, but it will be a moment just the two of you can share in an environment and space the two of you only share.

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December Weddings: Wonderful Wedding Favors

Wedding: Male Blonde, Female Blonde Personalized christmas Ornament

We love everything about the holidays here at Calliope Designs and one of our favorite holiday events are holiday weddings!

The Perfect Gift for a Holiday Wedding Couple

What better time of year to take advantage of then one brightened by tiny Christmas lights, gold and silver decorations and beautiful, deep reds and greens. We became interested in weddings at this time of year because so many brides and mothers of brides came to us to solve their Christmas wedding favor dilemma. Our personalized wedding ornaments became the perfect centerpiece accent, wedding favor and commemorative wedding gift for many holiday brides and we’ve since developed even more perfect Christmas wedding items!

Here are some great tips from Calliope Designs on planning your Christmas wedding and some great holiday gift ideas as well!

Holiday Wedding Scheduling and Planning:
If you decide to be a holiday bride and you know where you want to have your Christmas dream wedding, make sure you book well in advance. Remember that hotels, inns, restaurants and other festive locations will be booked for holiday parties as well, so make sure you secure your Christmas wedding location as soon as possible. If you decide to have a holiday destination wedding, the same planning tips apply – and it will be especially important to give your family and guests the information about your venue, whether you choose a cruise, a ski resort or a cozy Vermont Inn.

Once you book your wedding site make sure you send out your Save the Date cards. Choose a holiday theme and send them out six to eight months in advance since people make Christmas plans very early. By sending out your save the date cards, you’ll make it possible for more people to come and celebrate with you! If you’re having a destination wedding, this is even more important and you may want to include a hotel and other information about the wedding destination to help facilitate the planning of your guests. The same early planning goes for your Christmas wedding invitations – don’t go by the usual four to six weeks prior, send them out a bit further in advance so people can plan.

Christmas Destination Weddings:
Many brides and grooms love to plan a holiday wedding at a specific location that makes the theme so much more festive. When you host a destination wedding you’ll need to plan additional parties, activities and events and Christmas is a wonderful time of year to offer themes and ideas for your events. Imagine your guests enjoying a festive sleigh ride, Christmas caroling, snowshoeing, sledding or skiing, snowball fights, and snowman making. Plan a festive cocktail reception in a fire lit, decorated room with mulled cider, eggnog and wassail!

Don’t forget, when you have a destination wedding it’s always nice to provide your guests with a thematic gift bag on arrival. Include directions and any special instructions related to the wedding and venue, a list of activities and events, restaurant recommendations and maybe even a small token to thank them for their travel, like a personalized holiday ornament related to the destination. Calliope has several festive regional ornaments that could be perfect!

Decorating for Your Holiday Wedding:
When it comes time to decorate for your December weddings, use Christmas colors and decorations that are on hand everywhere, and look online to find the right theme for you. Here are some typical thematic decorating ideas:

Holiday Themes:

    • Angels
    • Snowflakes
    • Snow Globes
    • Colored Glass Balls
    • Clear Glass Balls
    • Simple Traditional Christmas Colors


Color Schemes:

  • Silver and White
  • Silver and Light Blue
  • Burgundy
  • Forest Green and Gold
  • Gold and Cream


  • Sprigs of Holly
  • Poinsettias
  • Spruce
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ivy
  • Deep Red Roses
  • White Roses
  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe Accents
  • Pine Boughs and Garlands


  • Flowers with deep red velvet or burgundy bows
  • Large pillar candles with garlands and flowers
  • Christmas ornament accents, like personalized Christmas Ornaments by Calliope
  • Designs nestled in greenery to add a festive look
  • Candles and Snow globes surrounded by garlands and holly

You can use a traditional wedding cake design, decorated with the same flowers you’ve used in bouquets and centerpieces. Don’t forget to look at our special personalized wedding ornaments and wedding cake toppers to add some creative flair to your cake. You can also choose a cake that has the look of a Christmas gift or a traditional Buche de Noel. Use marzipan to create sugar plums and candy holly berries like the traditional Christmas cakes.

Wedding Gown and Attendant Dresses:
When you are choosing your wedding gown, think about winter white and deep cream because either will work beautifully with the deep reds, greens, blues and purples usually associated with the holidays. Add velvet accents like a long red hooded cape or a deep green velvet sash to your dress, depending on which color scheme and flower colors you choose. If you decide on silver and white, work with a snow and ice theme choosing delicate, sparkly beading. For your attendants, look at dresses of deep red, deep green, deep purple, light or royal blue or metallic colors depending on your choice of color scheme and don’t be afraid to choose a group of colors and have your attendants in different colors. This can often ensure that you choose a color that works with their individual skin tone and it also helps them to feel like individuals.

Wedding Favors:
Choose something really special for your Christmas wedding favors, like a personalized Christmas ornament from Calliope Designs. We have a variety of styles featuring brides and grooms, Santa Claus’ and Angels and they can be personalized with the names of the bride and the groom and the date of the wedding.

Thank You Gifts:
Using personalized wedding ornaments as wedding-related thank you gifts are an especially thoughtful gesture. Choose a theme and personalize ornaments for the wedding party as small mementos for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Be sure and give both sets of parents a special ornament to remember this special day when two families come together. Make sure you also choose a special First Christmas together ornament as well to commemorate your new family in the same theme as your wedding. You can also use holiday ornaments to thank the service providers for your weddings like the caterer, the hostess or wedding planner at the venue, your bridal gown designer and your florist.