Cementing Memories…

…In a Treasured Keepsake

On a special Saturday in July, three groups of roughly 30 people each, mostly women, along with their moms, daughters, grandchildren, and friends sat around tables in Isabel Bloom’s large finishing room, chatting with each other while arranging their collected treasures spread before them.  They came together at the Isabel Bloom tour center for a special craft class to create a one-of-a-kind stepping stone for their garden or home.  Most brought with them a bag of treasures; seashells personally collected from a trip to the beach, stones from a vacation getaway, or other meaningful keepsakes. Colorful tiles and river rock were also on hand for those that just wanted to make a pretty stone or needed to fill the spaces between their cherished mementos.

Once finished, these stepping stones would become gifts for someone special, reminders of a loved one, or of a special event or place in their lives.  One woman was creating a wedding gift for her granddaughter, using fishing lures and other treasures from her late husband. (Fishing and shelling were activities that the granddaughter cherished with her grandpa.)

Next door in the mixing room, Bloom caster Dave was busy mixing a barrel of green tinted cement which would be poured into the 30 cake pans that had been prepped with a release agent.  The cake pans were distributed, with the help of Bloom artisans and a few of their children (who love helping at these events). Next the stones, shells, tiles and other items would carefully be arranged on top of the wet cement, then gently pushed down into the wet mixture to help secure them in place.

After chatting with several of the women, and even getting to assist with a couple of “layouts”, I came to the conclusion that this class should have been titled: “Making Memory Stones”, or “Cementing Your Memories in Stone”. For one thing, I doubt that many of these beautiful stones would ever be used to actually step on! Each stone had special meaning to the maker; for some the memory was being created then and there, and the stone would be a reminder of a fun activity shared with a friend or family member.

By the end of the day, there were nearly 100 of these special “memory stones” sitting on shelves to cure overnight.  In the days to come our artisans will carefully pop them out of the pans and apply our traditional white finish to each stone, being careful to wipe clean the treasures that were set in place.

This “memory stone” class was such a huge hit, we had to open up another date, which also filled up quickly! We will definitely be hosting this class again in the future. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, let us know! We offer this and many other fun “make and take” classes throughout the year.  Watch your emails and our Facebook page for upcoming events. If you can’t make it to our stepping stone classes, click here for instructions on how to do it yourself.

Here are some photos of our customers picking up their finished products.


by Donna Y

Donna (Liston) Young graduated from St. Ambrose University in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in Fine Art and Art Education. She started working for Isabel Bloom shortly after graduation, holding many different positions within the company. She was mentored by Isabel before her passing in 2001, and has become the sole designer, and now co-owner of Isabel Bloom.



  • Paula Peterson

    August 26, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Please add me to the list! Would love to do a make and take!

    • Donna Young

      August 28, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Paula, we will get you added. Thanks for your comment!

  • Marsha Rater,amm

    September 30, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Our 4-H club would love to take this class. Do you offer private classes?

    • donna young

      November 21, 2018 at 10:13 am

      M arsha, We would love to discuss offering a class for your 4-H club. Would you mind contacting us in 2019? Please email Vicky at [email protected]

  • Stephanie Amick

    November 20, 2018 at 7:00 am

    please add me to your list to make a memory stone, thank you

    • donna young

      November 21, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Hi Stephanie! We are taking a break from Stepping stones until early spring at the soonest. We post an event on facebook, and we will send emails. Are you on our email list? If not, let us know, and we can add you. We will also check this blog and contact those who are interested. Take care! See you in the spring if not before!

  • Janice E Stineman

    December 9, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I heard you are coming out with something to commemorate the twin bridges. Is this true and if so when.

    • donna young

      December 14, 2018 at 9:12 am

      Hi Janice! We are not currently working on anything to commemorate the Twin Bridges. I do believe that there is an ornament or small painting available at Bereskin Gallery in Betetendorf though!

  • Mary Hebert

    December 13, 2018 at 1:04 am

    I would love to be added to the email list to learn of the different tours , classes and other fun things!

Comments are closed.

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