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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flickr Photo Sharing Location - Well Over 1000 Photos

For a treasure load of photos of completed projects over the years, please visit Initial Impressions Photos on Flickr

When Was The Last Time You Received Something Personalized?

When a friend or loved one buys a personalized item for you, it shows that you have a special place in their heart. They easily could have gone to the local mall and bought a standard item like a t-shirt, mug, or gift certificate. After all, it's the thought that counts, right?

These days, so many people take the easy way out and gravitate toward mass-produced, well advertised items that are neutral and safe. Granted, sometimes that's necessary - but consider this: How many dads ever said they wanted a tie on Father's Day? Probably not a single one. Now consider that Father's Day is likely the biggest time of year for tie sales in the history of retail shopping. Getting dad a tie says "I remembered there was a holiday today." Getting dad a personalized gift says "I took the time to get something distinctive and interesting that I think you will actually enjoy."

Would fashion-conscious individuals travel to London, Paris and Milan just to shop at Wal-mart? Surely not. Given the choice, would they play it safe and buy items that would allow them to simply blend in with the crowd, or would they want to assert their individuality and show the world how they express themselves through their style choices? People view style choices as an extension of their personality. Whether it's a throw pillow for a couch, an antique picture frame, or a fancy pair of shoes, this is how we represent ourselves. When we give gifts, it's an opportunity to share that part of ourselves with others. Imagine how boring life would be if we didn't have that option!

Consider what it would be like to drive down a residential street in mid-December, and seeing the same string of blue icicle lights on every house. No one would drive out of his or her way to see those lights because there is nothing special to see. However, if even one of those houses had something distinctive, say a string of multi-colored lights around all of the trees in the yard and reindeer on the roof, people might be compelled to take a detour from their normal route home from work to take a look. Why? Because it's a personal touch. The people who live in that house took the time to do something out of the ordinary for others to enjoy. This is what your friends and loved ones have done when they've bought personalized items for you.

Regardless of what holidays you celebrate or how old you'll be at your next birthday, I encourage you to look forward to your next personalized gift. Rejoice in the fact that the gift-giver chose to order something special because he or she was thinking of you instead of thinking about the discount on a gift basket available to customers who use their CVS cards.

And remember, when it's time to reciprocate, think of the good feeling you'll have knowing that you chose to go the extra mile... even if it does involve going down a street full of houses with blue icicle lights!

This article was written by Jennifer Larkin, an expert
in the Mental Health category at www.yoexpert.com

Today's Projects

Up for production today are seven of these terry velour ladies shower wraps to be used as bridesmaid gifts at an upcoming wedding. What can be fun about these is the process of wedding day preparation where the photographer catches all the ladies in their matching shower wraps and then in their bridemaid dresses. Glasses of champagne and some elegant snacks will make the pre-wedding festivities, well, festive!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Baby Gift Appreciation

This new baby gift - a blanket with all the details - was appreciated by the mom!

Baby Eric's Easter Basket

My daughter asked me to embroider the green seersucker fabric she was using as the liner for baby Eric's Easter basket. We added a chocolate bunny too.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a very traditional wedding flower. It is often used as the groom's boutenaire and often finds its way into the bouquet too. It is known for an exquisite fragrance.

Lily of the Valley is a shade-loving perennial that grows by spreading rhizomes (roots) under the ground. The flower makes its first appearance in spring and creates six little stamens. By September, the flower is producing sweet berries in place of the petals that are about 5-7mm in diameter. The plant grows to about 8 inches in height. The flowers are normally white, although occasionally you can find some with a pink hue to them. The Lily of the Valley originated in Europe but today are distributed widely throughout North America and Asia. This plant enjoys cooler weather and will grow best in areas of shade, especially in warmer climates.



The bell-shaped flowers give off a large scent that attracts not only people, but also bees who like to collect the pollen that the flower produces. Even though this flower is quite beautiful, all parts of this flower are quite toxic. The Lily of the Valley also has some medicinal qualities to it. For many years, the leaves and petals have been used in medicine because they contain cardiac glycosides, which is used in the treatment of heart failure.

Here we have it as a sweet monogram on a bride's hankie.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Groom Label as Seen in Real Simple Weddings

It has been a couple of years since the grosgrain groom labels appeared in Real Simple Weddings magazine and even today I received an inquiry about them. They are simple grosgrain ribbon with an unusual and modern way of creating a monogram from the bride and groom initials. The come in black, navy, and charcoal gray. Similar labels are available for the bride's gown or to tuck into the bouquet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fabulous Frocks of Charleston, SC

I know of a bridal shop in Charleston, SC Fabulous Frocks where consignment of couture gowns is a way to get a heavenly designer couture gown in pristine condition at a fraction of the price. My wedding gown labels complete each one of these gorgeous gowns. You can follow her blog here to see trends, wedding stories and more.

Fabulous Frocks Blog

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Successful Entrepreneur

I love this article about the secrets of entrepreneurial succcess. I especially relate to the comment about the childhood book - The Little Engine that Could. I too believe that the message in this book is the essence of the secret to success in business and in life outlook. I wonder how many times I have read that book over the years?

Entrepreneurs Who Make a Go of It

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Qflea - a Small Business Resource


Qflea is a consortium of small businesses listed in a virtual flea market- like format consisting of neighborhoods. Each business can be found in the neighborhood that most suits it. Members make an effort to buy from one another when possible and, even better, share creative ideas and good business sense. A great sense of community results and is an antedote to the occasional sense of isolation of an online business.Qflea Online Community

Dinnner Napkins Shrink Without Washing


Did you realize that over the years the size of a dinner napkin has been reduced to a fraction of its former self? This came as no surprise to me. The standard used to be 22x22". William Hamilton of The Wall Street Journal in his recent article, explains (click here to read).

I found it interesting that one of the reasons the napkin has gone down in size, according to the article, is that the use of the fork became more widespread in the 20th Century! Also, in the day when women wore wide, flowing dresses, they needed a larger napkin to cover them.

Today's Project

This order just came in via etsy.com. It is one of the orders I need to get done today before I take off for Boston to see baby Eric.

These are his and her aprons for wedding gifts. I have heard of them actually used at the wedding though. One bride and groom came up with the creative idea of using the wedding cake as the centerpiece of the receiving line at their wedding. They liked the intimate idea of serving their own wedding cake individually to each guest. The aprons came in handy to protect their wedding attire, but also looked festive and fun. What bride would not love just a little more sparkle at the end of her wedding day?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oregon High School Implements Embroidery Business Program

A High School in Oregon added a program for its students with special needs to teach live skills though learning to run a business. They are starting slowly to make sure quality is built in and the students are learning in a hands-on environment how much they really can do. The full article is here.
Oregon High School Embroidery Business

Comfort Gifts

We are in uncertain times, there is no denying it. Now more than ever it makes sense to indulge in comfort gifts. We have all heard of comfort foods - the foods that make us happy on a particularly cold night or during times of stress. A comfort gift is much the same - it brings a smile that only a personalized gift that says “I am thinking of you, individually, personally” can bring. Some may be big, some may be small, but all will convey the message “I was really thinking about you when I chose this for you.” That is a comfort gift.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Flannel Blankets

Editor's Note - From an earlier blog by Peg's daughter who just had her first baby this month.


The Initial Impressions two-sided flannel blanket is my favorite baby gift to celebrate the arrival of my friends’ babies for both intrinsic and sentimental reasons. Intrinsically, they’re just well-made custom baby blankets out of 100% cotton high-quality flannel which is then personalized for the new baby. Nothing could be simpler. Sentimentally it’s more complex.

When I was younger my mother would let me play in her hope chest. She had tucked away all her pretty things there, including many of the things she was holding onto as mementos of us children. In there she has a worn-out yellow and pink flannel baby blanket or receiving blanket, which she explained to me was hand-made for my arrival by my godmother Paula. Mom showed me the stitches in the hem which demonstrated that this blanket really was sewn with love by someone who was thinking about me as she made it. Mom gets a little teary-eyed when she thinks about things like this, so I know that it’s really special.

My mother hand-makes each of these two-sided baby blankets out of natural 100% cotton flannel. In so doing she’s created both an object that will last (my blanket’s over 31 years old now!) but also something even more timeless. I would wager that ever since brushed cotton flannel was invented, women have been using it to keep their babies warm and snuggly. I recognize that tiny pink rosebud print because I had a nightgown made of that, and most of my girlfriends did too. I appreciate high-tech fabrics as much as the next athlete, but for a new baby I want to go back to basics.

There’s something outside of time when life perpetuates and my friends have babies. I appreciate the timelessness of a hand-made old-fashioned gift. For a practical yet sentimental memento that will last, I always turn to my mother’s two-sided flannel blankets and heartily recommend them to anyone.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Obama Baby

This project was from 2008 when a customer requested I make this for a friend...



This is for a Washington-based Obama campaign worker who had a busy night when it became apparent that his son would be born that night.

It will be a framed nursery picture.

"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today"

Now, there may be some debate whether this was prophesy or wishful thinking.

Customer Questions - Lettering


Often I get customers seeking advice on which lettering style to choose. While this is really just a function of preference and the age and style of the gift recipient, there sometimes are some technical considerations.

For flat fabrics that have no "nap" (for nap, think of the surface of a carpet), any of the lettering styles will be effective and look great. For fabrics that do have nap, lettering styles with thin widths on the trailing edges will sink into the fabric and not appear plump on top of the fabric.

Another technical consideration is lettering size. Very tiny lettering is difficult to do and have it crisp and easy to read. This is because there is only so many times a needle can penetrate the fabric within a small space. So if the embroidery lettering is not designed to be small, the small spaces (the hole inside an "a" for instance) will not look crisp. So, for small lettering instances I have recommended the use of Microblock because this lettering style has been specifically created for smaller size lettering.
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