Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cajun Corner -Vol 1, No. 9

We are creating some patches for our neighborhood group. Possums Rule! There is actually a Possum Festival in Wausau, FL. We had hoped to be in the Possum Parade but some of our group has to work and we decided that the remainder of us will still go to Wausau on July 31st to check out the festival and the parade on August 1st. Maybe we can be in the parade next year.

The SOB patches are still a hit on the beach. That’s a good thing because we plan on making 200 for the Art & Wine Festival the first weekend in October.

In fact, the patches have given me an abundance of ideas. I had to do an exercise recently of blurbs for Cajun Stitchery. The usual, “We embroider on ready made items,” “We have great personal service”, and so forth. I was listing some of the myriad of things that can be embroidered upon and that brought me to patches. What can you do with patches? Of course, if you love to ride a motorcycle, there are lots of patches for your attire – lots in black leather, too. Certainly, we can do all of that. Since Pensacola still celebrates Mardi Gras – thank goodness – Mardi Gras patches are a big thing. My krewe – The Mystic Krewe of Nereids – has a krewe patch for the back of our tuxedo jackets that’s 9” diameter. Girls Scout, Boy Scout patches, we could do but I’m not sure if the Scout’s would object to someone honing in on their coffers. I probably would not do it – but we are capable of doing that. Then there are the usual groups, like the SOB’s, who want a group patch. Of course, people with a message to say, Vietnam Veterans, the military are all big on patches. We can do patches for the military up to a point, at this time.

When it comes to the official military patches, I still feel we need to learn a bit more. It may be because I don’t feel confident that I know what the regulations are. I have been told that as long as we meet the requirements that anyone can embroider them and sell them. Cajun Stitchery fully intends to do this but I will not sell anything less than professional looking, especially to our armed forces who I hold in the highest of esteem and who have filled my heart with gratitude. However, Cajun Stitchery can produce really cool patriotic patches.

In all of this intense thinking, I realized that anything that can be embroidered can be made into a patch. Just put the design into a geometric shape, circle, oval, square, etc. In today’s economy people are trying to save money, or at least not spend as much. How would a patch help the economy? Ahhh, if you want something embroidered by Cajun Stitchery or any embroiderer, you want to purchase embroidery on a garment or a ready made item. That’s cool. I certainly don’t have a problem with that. If you ask an embroiderer to embroider on an item that you furnish, ooooh, certainly, that can be done, but there is definitely a risk involved to the embroiderer. If something happens while embroidering your item – and stuff does happen – and your item is messed up or ruined, there is no way for the embroiderer to replace the item for you, and certainly no way for the embroiderer to make money or gain a good reputation. I usually have customers sign a hold harmless agreement when I accept that sort of work. Most embroiderers have a hold harmless type agreement for these things. I actually got mine from another embroiderer. But, what if you got a patch instead? The patch on an item that you already have will take the risk out of the project and will probably cost you a little less.

If you have a business and find that your marketing budget has been curtailed and you can no longer purchase polo shirts with the firm logo embroidered – then get a patch with the firm logo. In fact, hand out patches to your employees to put on their clothes, bags, visors, hats, whatever they like. Put patches on things that cannot be embroidered upon. I am not the first or only person to think of this common sense method of marketing. You can even put tacky glue on the patch to take the patch off of one item and put it on another. It’s the cost of a patch vs. the cost of the logo and the item, polo shirt or whatever. Don’t get me wrong, though, Cajun Stitchery can get you whatever garment you would like and we will be happy to embroider whatever you like upon it.

While making the 3” round patches, we kept putting our coffee cups on them. There’s a wake up call! Patches make great coasters. My friends know that I love to make wine glass coasters. Wine glass coasters are the kind of coasters that have an opening in the top to slip the bottom of the stem into. I guess you would say that wine glass coasters are a step above regular coasters. And regular coasters are virtually patches. What about a set of coasters with your firm logo on them? Even for your home – coasters with your monogram on them. Now that’s elegant!

Speaking of patches and elegant, what about patches for weddings? Wow! That would be a really nice keepsake. Have a “wedding patch” for each member of the wedding party. Also, a nice gift for the newly weds would be a set of coasters with their monogram. And since the patch/coaster can also be sewn directly onto fabric – include a set of personalized towels.

What about birthday parties? Patches with “Guess who turned 40?” or whatever the age would be wonderful. We can embroider whatever you like on the patch.

The simple patch is so versatile. Keep it in mind when figuring out you marketing budget, as well as gifts and party favors.


For awhile the cloth/recycled tote bags at the stores were all the rage. I really don’t see them much anymore. In fact, I was at Wal-Mart a few days ago and did not see any for sale. They apparently still have them but they are no longer at the check out counter. At least, not at the Wal-Mart store near me.

We have several of those bags from various stores. The bad part is that I keep forgetting to take them with me in the store. I used to just keep one in my purse at all times, and I need to remember to do that again. We used to keep a bunch of them in the back of George’s car, so they would be handy when we went shopping. I guess we used them, brought the groceries inside, and forgot to put the bags back in the car. The plastic is such a waste. It’s a hard habit to break but we simply must. It’s my understanding that in Europe, the people have always used their own shopping bags. We are a spoiled society.

I saw a really good idea at Office Depot a few months ago. Tote bags in their own little 2” or 3” container to put into your purse. They were just like the old, plastic rain bonnets that used to be so popular, the ones that would fold up into its own pouch and you kept in your purse for rainy days. Of course, you would still have to remember to put the tote bag in your purse after you use it.

That’s not to say that I don’t use the tote bags. I use them all of the time. I have clothes in them; fabric in them; paper in them. I use them as beach bags and, on occasion, as suit cases. There are so many events to attend around here, year round, and I’m always hauling something in those bags. Hummm. I paid for the bags. The bags have the store name on the bag. I’m a walking advertisement for the store – even though I paid for it. Now that’s marketing. I will say one thing. The Wal-Mart bags do not have their name printed on the bag. They have a little bitty tab on the side that says Wal-Mart. Give credit where it’s due.

Tote bags have also become popular handouts at seminars, conventions and the like – of course, with the logo usually screen printed on them. I don’t mind that at all. I think more companies should hand out tote bags – of course, I’d prefer they were embroidered.

My neighbor gave me a really nice attaché-type bag that she received from a seminar or convention that she attended. It’s not padded, but it really has nice compartments and looks nice. I just cannot leave well enough alone. I kept looking at that bag and thinking about how I would embroider on the bag. I decided to take a piece of cloth and do a satin stitch edge, like a patch, only this would be appliqué. Then embroider the design in the middle. It was not hard to embroider, at all. Hooping was challenging because I wanted the design big enough to cover all of the screen printing. It didn’t work out exactly as I expected, but it did work and looks terrific.

Then I went to the Wal-Mart bag. I have embroidered on Wal-Mart bags before. In fact, I embroidered a great scene with polar bears on a Wal-Mart bag that we call “My Office.” That was embroidered on the solid black side of the bag. Today, I embroidered on the screen printed side of a Wal-Mart bag. I did not obliterate all of the printing but it turned out so pretty. I call it an artistic endeavor. You know where the Wal-Mart bags says, “Plastic or Recycle? Neither.” The “Pa” shows and the “?” shows. The design over it is a silhouette of an Indian on a horse. The Indian is hanging his head. It just makes such a wonderful statement.

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