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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cool Crisp Classic


This linen pillow is simple but elegant. The flanged edge and the interlocking monogram adds the only detail and enriches the linen texture of the fabric. I see it on a white wicker chair on a covered porch in the summer. Cool, Crisp and Classic.

Hello World Anti Drool Apparatus Chosen for an Etsy Treasury


Our Hello World bib was chosen today for an Etsy Treasury. It is a fun gift for the baby of a geek.

Etsy Treasury

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

His Name is Not Matthew


His name is not Matthew and it is not an embroidering mistake. This is Eric Charles, but he is happy to help out his Gammy (me) by showcasing a blanket for a photo for the site.

So, thank you Eric. When you are older, we will explain to you that we were not confused about your name or when you were born.

Fringe Technique


One of the fun techniques I use is called "fringe" - thread is used to create a 3D effect. Here it is used for hair - very fun, playful hair. Fringe can find itself in other designs too. Here is a link to our fringe design page. Fringe Designs

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Apron Colors

Happy to announce that the apron supplier agreed with my suggestion. They added the colors I suggested and some others that I hadn't even suggested.

Add Hot Pink, Light Blue, Turquoise, Silver Gray, Charcoal Gray to the nice long list of color choices.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is Applique and How Do We Do It


We have some darling appliqué designs, and I’d like to take a moment to explain how they are created.

These designs are created by applying fabric to the surface of the item to be embroidered and then additional embroidery is applied to add detail.

The creative side of applique comes from choosing fabrics to use that mimic the feel of the image being shown. Take, for instance, the Applique Castle. Notice how the surface of the castle actually looks like the stone of a castle. Another good example is the Applique Fish, where the fabric appropriately renders the look of scales on the fish. The key, of course, is the artistic suggestion of the look or texture of the real thing rather than an exact depiction of it.




As you can see, a lot can be done with the choice of fabric to create a look. Another example is the wonderful elephant. Just look at the wrinkles on his skin!

The applique designs for children are shown on the website for the classic applique category, for the girly-girl applique, and those rough and tumble boy applique designs.

Of course, we have many more applique designs that we can possibly show. Another entry here will describe some of the ways we can incorporate your wedding fabrics into applique designs to be applied to various items for a fabulously coordinated set of gifts and keepsakes for you and your wedding party.

Why I Belong to Digital Women


When I first formed my company in 1999, I felt very comfortable with the sewing aspect of what I was about to launch. But I had a lot to learn about the business end and certainly a lot more to learn about the tech aspects.

Very early in the process, I contacted Sherri from Cuddlebug about blankets to embroider and she encouraged me to join Digital Women for resources and links to talented women. It was through Digital Women that I acquired my merchant account and skilled Digital Women have helped me through a variety of computer crises over the years.

For the first few years, I was a “free” member but it became apparent to me that the benefit I had received from Digital Women was well worth the one time fee to be a paying member.

Belonging to Digital Women was one of my first business decisions and one of my best.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mind The Gap: A weekend with family.

Mind The Gap: A weekend with family.: "It was just around that time of year... school was starting to be the same mundane routine every week. Joan's dad is a pilot and she gets to..."

My youngest is offered complete independence and she misses and yearns for her family. I love it.

Bright Yellow in Anticipation of the Celebration of Spring


Really ready for spring, new birth, new growth, and plenty of color.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Naming Choices as a Fashion Trend

An interesting article stating that baby naming practices are subject to fashion trends and delving deeper and conjecturing as to why they are subject to fashion trends and why more so for girls than for boys. Our family baby naming crisis forges on with time drawing near.

Mothers Day


Today I start off embroidering several sets of king size sheets for a bed and breakfast in California. They have figured out that having the name of the bed and breakfast establishment embroidered onto the sheets is just one more way to establish their name recognition and brand.

Next on the agenda is one of those cute aprons embroidered with children’s faces and names for a customer who has planned ahead for Mother's Day and a lucky grandmom. I love working on this as I await word on the arrival of my own grandbaby - due any day now. Anticipating a grandbaby's arrival has to be just about the best.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Project ALS

In September of 1978, I had my second child, Kate. At a time that would normally have been such a blessed time, we also finally got the diagnosis for the strange symptoms my mother had been experiencing for several months. After a barrage of tests at Stanford Hospital, they finally came up with a diagnosis of a disease that I had never heard of – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig Disease for the famous baseball player who succumbed to it).

My mother was only 48. The prognosis was dire and we were shocked and devastated. Mom fought the disease valiantly, but it got the best of her in December of 1980. To this day, there is no clear cause and no real treatment.

Fast forward about eight years and our existence in Colorado. We have some wonderful neighbors who moved to this area of Boulder in 1988 - just about the same time we did. Fortunately enough, Jay happens to be an EMT and a horse lover. One one Colorado blizzard night our daughters’ horse Fancy was blinded by the snow, panicked and broke a huge plate glass window, cutting herself badly in the process. I have never seen so much blood and in the white snow, it looked pretty gruesome. We managed to get Fancy into Jay’s care and he was able to save her.

The girls grew up and moved to other areas of the country. Arrangements were made to have Fancy leased by a local girl whose family was supposed to take proper care for her. Alas, they did not and Fancy became severely malnourished. Again, Jay came to the rescue - performing a horse rescue. Fancy moved to Connecticut and lived out her life in comfort in beautiful Wilton.

What does all this have to do with embroidery you ask….

Recently Jay and his wife Judy moved to California. They wanted a lot of new personalized towels for their new home. I was happy they wanted me to do the embroidery, but I did not feel comfortable charging them for my work after all they had done for us. Sooo, I suggested that they make a donation to Project ALS in my mother’s honor. Jay and Judy thought that was a terrific idea and that is what they did.

In case you have been touched by ALS or know someone who has, Project ALS is located in New York City. Their website is www.projectals.org, with email at info@projectals.org. Project ALS is funding every aspect of a gene therapy pilot investigation in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and the Salk Institute. If successful, gene therapy will make a difference for those living with ALS and many other neurological diseases including Alzeimer’s, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

If at this year end, you are looking for a meaningful charity and have even a little disposable income left, this is one to carefully consider.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Martini Apron


One of our popular apron designs is this exquisite martini apron - perfectly suited for the homemaker who knows how to mix a good drink. The embroidery thread is used in shading to provide wonderful detail. A perfect addition to a well stocked bar

This embroidery design is incredibly detailed and the glass actually feels curved - a really pretty design.





Wedding Bouquet Wrap




These linen bouquet wraps are the finishing touch to a pretty bouquet. Some brides have them embroidered with thread of their wedding color, but I like the subtle style of the white on white. Brides may toss the bouquet, but they want to keep the wrap to keep. It can be used again on a bottle of champagne on the first anniversary. These have also been embroidered to use on a bottle of champagne to celebrate a baby's birth, baptism or bris.



Personalized Ribbon Stroller Toy


These are my tagalong stroller toys. Of all my embroidery projects, this is one I have made up in advance for immediate shipment. This is nice for a last minute shower gift, but it also helps me during my time crunch times to have some things pre-made. But the best part is that babies love them. These tactile experience stroller toys feature brightly colored ribbon tags and the embroidery of a single initial. They attach to the stroller with the included C clip. If you don’t know baby’s name yet, you can get it in gender neutral colors and use baby’s family name for the initial.

They are an Initial Impressions exclusive, so your gift will be unique and very special.

Here they are on the website: Tagalong Stoller Toy




How to Apply Our Wedding Gown Labels


Our grosgrain wedding gown labels come with a “pinked” (zig-zagged) edge to prevent fraying. Most people tuck in these edges and apply it to the gown as shown.

Once pinned in location, you can press the edge with your finger or a warm (not hot) iron before doing a whip stitch to sew it into place. In doing the stitching, take a little bite of the lining fabric of the dress (being careful not to catch the front dress fabric in the stitch) and then catch a bite of the label itself. Do this along the edge of the label on both sides. It does not take a lot of stitches to hold the label firmly in place.




A Rose by Any other Name - A Study of Names

Names are a big subject around here as one potentially male grandbaby is still unnamed. So I have been searching and playing a lot with names. In my browsing I found some fun name demographics.

As I personalize the world with embroidery, I see names come in and out of fashion. I see new spellings of traditional names and I wonder how the child will manage correcting a lifetime of teachers and others about the correct spelling of the name. Why do we do this to our children?

Here is an interesting glimpse of some first name demographics, a demographic study compiling results into an infographic that shows some pretty interesting comparisons and fun facts about first names.







More Creative Wedding Ideas





This is one of my latest wedding creations. It is a small ring bearer pillow that is designed either for very little hands or maybe even for an older ring bearer who might not want to carry a huge pillow.

This pillow has a double ruffly row of cotton lace that I make (see the side view)and ribbons to hold the ring in place until it is needed.

It is personalized of course and is shown personalized in blue. In this case it serves also as the "something blue"





Friday, March 11, 2011

A New Approach to the Bouquet Toss


I don’t know if it is a common thread among middle children, but my daughter, Kate, is not terribly competitive. She would rather everyone win. So when her April, 2006 wedding was being planned, the notion of the bouquet toss struck a raw nerve with her. Then she came upon a better idea - at least for her. She had me make a second bouquet from flowers that were similar to her florist made bouquet. But this bouquet was different. It was composed of multiple mini-bouquets, each wrapped with a satin ribbon with an attribute of a good marriage embroidered down the length of the ribbon. We had embroidered ribbons with the words “patience”, “understanding”, “communication”, “laughter”, “forgiveness” and more. Kate stood at the top of the stairs and held the mini-bouquets together as if they were all one bouquet, but as she tossed them, they scattered and all the young ladies assembled to get the bouquet did get a bouquet. It was a lovely gesture.



Thursday, March 10, 2011

St Paddy's Day


Corned beef, cabbage, green beer, this apron and more green beer...





The Sewing Room


I do my embroidery in the room with the embroidery machines.

In this room, I do whatever sewing needs to be done. My machine is a Pfaff 7550. It was state of the art about 15 years ago, but it is a great solid machine and I would not trade it in for anything.

In addition to regular sewing, I use this room for staging the embroider orders. I have 5 large bins. I use one for each weekday and put the item in the bin for the day I think I will get it done. There is some moving around of items from bin to bin, but it is nice to have the items staged and ready to go.

I also use this room for wrapping, packaging and weighing for shipment.

The L shaped table set is so useful for all the staging and shipping. They are heavy sturdy tables made by Contemporary Comfort - a Colorado company from the 1980 decade.



A Glimpse of The Embroidery Process - My World

This is a screenshot of my embroidery program processing the rosebud design that was the subject of a blog post a few days ago.

On the main screen area, I have a good view of what it is I am embroidering. To the right of this I have the choice of several views. One view shows me what are called the color stops (photo top right). The embroidery machine stops automatically, when it is time to change the color of thread I am using.

Another view shows me each and every stitch the machine will be making (photo bottom left). It is here that I can edit the design if necessary. For instance, if you liked this rosebud design, but didn't care for the bow, it is here that I would edit out the bow. Some designs are more effectively edited than others - it just depends.

The last photo shows some of the icons I use when I want to manipulate the design. I might want to make it larger or smaller. Sometimes I turn the design on its side and then put the fabric in the embroidery machine on its side too in order to best use the space I have available.

On another post, I will show some shots of the embroidery machine itself in action (in a sense!).












March Madness



Creations from our history in the spirit of March Madness.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Embroidery Machines


The embroidery machines are fairly compact - they weigh 65 pounds. They can be used in any environment that has a power source. People take them to horse, dog and cat shows and athletic events. I have yet to do that, but I could! They connect to the computer via a hub. The software that runs the embroidery designs can handle up to 72 of these machines running different projects simulaneously. If I had 144 hands, that might make sense.



Initial Impressions Workroom


This is the Initial Impressions embroidery room where I spend most of my time. I have three identical commercial embroidery machines and I choose the colors to use for the embroidery from my wall of thread.



Esty and Business - Why it is a Good Addition

I discovered Etsy (www.etsy.com) in early 2008. It is a consortium of sellers of handmade and vintage items and a great way to supplement the success of a regular website.

Unlike Ebay, with Etsy you are permitted to link to your regular website. So when I first signed up for Etsy, I didn’t necessarily expect to receive any sales there. I would have been content if some people found me there and migrated over to my regular site from Etsy to check out the lettering styles or color options. But I know from customer communications that both happened. I have had Etsy sales and people have wandered over to my regular site to see what my lettering styles look like or what items of mine are available there that are not available on the Etsy site.

Now for the benefits — There are no sign up fees, there is a low 20 cent per listing fee to list the items (regardless of value). As you probably know, the cost to list on Ebay depends on the starting bidding price or the buy it now price. And with Etsy, the completion fees are low too. Best of all, everything on the site is handmade, so it is a great forum for my embroidered and personalized items because people who are searching there are searching for my kind of work.

My experience with Etsy has been very positive and I recommend it to anyone with a handmade product who wants to further their sales. Do let me know if you have any questions.

Quilt Labels


Today I am brainstorming more styles of quilt labels while my machines are purring along on today’s embroidery orders.

I want to offer labels for quilts that customers make or buy that memorialize the circumstances of their arrival - whether they are a gift from or to a special person, a celebration of a special occasion or whatever the reason. Sometimes it is difficult to remember these details accurately years after the fact and a label makes sure all is preserved for posterity.

In my mind’s eye, these labels will be very custom and can even incorporate fabric from the quilt itself. I love the idea of working closely with you to make the quilt label almost as special as the quilt. So stay tuned as these details are worked out. As always, I welcome any input you want to suggest.


Texas Towel


This three horse towel just feels Texas to me. It is an example of how we can make embroidered towels for that hard to please mid-age child, teen wanna be.



Monday, March 7, 2011

Good Design


When you take a hand woven baby blanket and add a simple but beautiful design in colors that work, you have a winning combination. This customer did not even need personalization, which is rare, but just wanted the rosebud - and as large as possible. It was pretty stunning.



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Custom Embroidered Cocktail Napkins




These are our linen hemstitched cocktail napkins. They are from an earlier, classic time and nobody can argue that they are a necessity. But what an unusual and impressive wedding gift. They are embroidered with the couple's new monogram.








Saturday, March 5, 2011

Aprons for the Family - Bridging the Ages


The challenge was coming up with a plan for aprons for the mom and also the children with personalization that was both elegant enough for the mom and fun for the girls too. We came up with a classic yet modern monogram for all, but added the names of the girls and wrapped them around the monogram for a composite look.



Friday, March 4, 2011

Honorary Flower Girl


Your wedding is just about through the planning process. Among other things, you have your gifts for your bridesmaids. But one of the bridesmaids or the sister of the groom recently had a baby girl and it would be so special to have something small but interesting as a gift. She could be your honorary flower girl and we have the perfect gift! Super cute and destined to entertain little miss flower girl during the ceremony. Our examples here are done in both white satin and ivory satin.





Breast Cancer Tree Ornament


I came up with this project for the past holiday season. It is a created lace over pink glass in which a ribbon is worked into the lace. After it is created, I add the personalization in honor of a breast cancer warrior.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Baby Contest

As many of you know, my daughter Charlotte and her husband, Andy, are expecting a baby this month. I have a "guess the baby stats" contest up on my facebook page. The prize is an Initial Impressions gift certificate. Here is the link to the contest where you place your guess. New Baby Contest



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Heartwarming Project


It is always a good working day when a creative challenge is joined with a project that really matters. This was one of those projects. A young wife wanted me to to modify the tooth fairy pillowcases I make to make it work as a love note pillowcase for her soldier husband who is due to deploy to Afghanistan. The small pocket on the pillowcase is just the right size for the love note she plans to stash in it. The idea is that it will always be right there with him at night and he can read it whenever he needs her to be close. We added the Navy insignia and the heart as symbols of his love for his Navy and for his wife too.



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Wedding Gown Labels


I created these wedding gown labels to satisfy a bride who wanted something "very Tiffany". The labels use Tiffany colored satin in conjunction with either ivory or white satin in a layered look.


The labels are sewn into the inside bodice (top) of the wedding gown, usually near the manufacturer label.


The bridal photographer usually likes to get photos as the bride prepares for the wedding and I have heard that they love to get a photo of the inside of the dress.


This label can be the "something blue" for the bride.



New Location for an OId Blog

This is the new home for the blog formerly shown at www.initial-impressions.net/blog. I am hoping the archived posts will be imported here (with a little luck!)
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