The BlueCotton Blog

01 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

The Ultimate Winter Olympics Party Guide

Ultimate Winter Olympics Party Guide

Original Photo by Flickr user familymwr

The holidays are over, but that’s no reason to stop the party train. Right on time, The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are here to keep your party planning in full swing. We’ve collected a list of Olympic themed decorations, party snacks, games and more to get you through the last few long days of winter. NBC will be airing the opening ceremony on Friday, February 7th.

Decorations

Olympic Wall Rings

Get your guests into the Olympics spirit by decorating your entertaining space. You can get started with this easy DIY Olympic Rings made of styrofoam rings and crepe paper. How easy is that?

International Flags

The world’s best athletes gather this year in Sochi. Grab this International Flag banner  or a flag table runner to bring some of the international flavor to your party.

Olympic Cupcake Wrappers

Everybody loves cupcakes., and they make an instant and delicious centerpiece. You could frost your cupcakes in the Olympic colors, or dress up simple cupcakes with these Olympic ring cupcake wrappers, available for free download!

Games

Party Games

What’s a party without party games?  If you like a serving of trivia with your main sports viewing dish, try on this Winter Olympics trivia for size.

If you have a Nintendo Wii U, no doubt you’re already familiar with our buddy Mario. Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog have teamed up to offer 16 Olympic Events in their aptly named Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. You could take a break from the telecast and try speed skating or curling your way to Wii victory.

Winter Olympics Bingo cards are also a great choice. Tailor the words you include on the cards for opening ceremony, or any of the live events.

Continuing reading for prize and snack ideas…

03 December 2013 ~ 1 Comment

How To Buy Gifts for the Whole Family in 30 Minutes or Less

I admire the brave souls who dive into the fray of Black Friday shopping. I salute your dedication to finding a great gift for a great price. I’m here today for the rest of you, who like to stay home and shop. Last year, I secured gifts for everyone on my list at one place, with one transaction! Not only was the process easy, these gifts are personal, thoughtful and just may be the best I’ve ever given.

Instead of trying to dream up the perfect gift for many different individuals with varied tastes, I decided to order a dozen custom t-shirts for my dad’s side of the family.

coin-shirtMy grandfather was a coal miner, and my father and his nine brothers and sisters grew up in a coal mining camp in Coalgood, Kentucky. I found a picture online of the tokens that the coal mining company minted to pay wages to their employees. I selected the $20 token with “Mary Helen Coal Corporation” stamped on it. I uploaded the photo and placed in squarely on the t-shirt. I chose a charcoal grey t-shirt to compliment the coppery-bronze patina of the token. Once the design was perfected, I selected each family member’s size and made the purchase.

The custom t-shirts were a huge hit. The token printed on the t-shirts was a piece of my family’s collective history, and had meaning for each of them. We sat together after opening gifts and talked about their childhood.

My dad remembered using these coins to ride the bus into town and to buy a movie ticket at the Margie Grand Theater. My aunt remembered buying her first pair of new shoes at the Mary Helen Coal commissary with these tokens. Almost-forgotten stories of childhood were shared by my uncles. Some of these were heard for the first time by grandchildren. These were not only the easiest gifts I selected and purchase, they are easily the most “talked-about” presents I ever gave.

Here at BlueCotton, we’re dedicated to making things easy. The easier it is for you, the more we like it. Would you believe you can take care of everyone on your list in one fell swoop, and give them a unique gift they will remember? You can, and I’ll show you in 5 easy steps how it’s done.

1. Think about your extended family. I know it’s all-at-once painful and hilarious – like hitting your funny bone, but do it anyway. Do you have a nifty story in your ancestry that would translate well to a t-shirt design? Mike Coffey (our CEO) has a family-owned gas station in his history. My maternal great-grandfather once owned a motel. Any kind of business works well on a t-shirt, and makes for great storytelling when you’re with the family. Better yet, invent one! Does your family like coffee? You could create a Coffee House with your last name – or a Hunting Lodge, or a Ski Resort, or a Drag Strip. The possibilities here are endless – whatever fictional business or activity would appeal to your family works perfectly.

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2. Go to BlueCotton.com and start your design! You can use our clip art archives, or upload photos of your own. Do you have a picture of great-great-great-great Grandpa Chester? Upload that old photo of him with his Model-T and share it with everyone on a t-shirt. Family trees also make for great designs. Maybe you can finally figure out how you’re related to that cousin twice removed. Enlist assistance from other family members to fill in the blanks.

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3. Once your design is ready for prime time, you can begin adding your sizes. Refer to your list, and add sizes next to their name. Tally up the sizes and enter them in to the Design Studio.

4. Checkout! During checkout, you may add additional shirts in another color, or another style. If you’d like a different color of shirt for Aunt Clara who strongly dislikes the green shirt you’ve chosen, you can add your design to a different color or different style while still enjoying the bulk pricing. See? I told you we like to make things easy.

5. Your order arrives! All your presents arrive together, and you never once had to stand in a line. You simply open the box, unfold them and wrap them. You could even take the easy way out by dropping them in those fancy printed bags, stuffing tissue paper in the top (or not), and slapping a tag on each one.

6. Be the hero and give a thoughtful family-themed custom t-shirt that they’ll remember!

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28 November 2013 ~ 0 Comments

In Honor of Black Friday: 9 Fantastic Shopping Fails and Pranks

BLACK FRIDAY

Black Friday, the most insane shopping day of the year, is just around the corner. While bargain-hunters are waiting in lines and stampeding through the aisles, some crazy, shocking, and hilarious things inevitably happen in the wake of the madness. Whether it be completely intentional pranks on unsuspecting employees and shoppers, or hilarious accidents caught on video, they’re all entertaining.

In honor of the mother of all shopping events, here are ten of our favorite videos showcasing some great shopping failures and pranks.

1. Looking for an Eye Removal Kit? Sure, we’ve got that! …somewhere.

2. Don’t let the lack of a third dimension stop you from shopping.

3. You might want to close the door before pulling away.

4. Want that last bargain, but someone already grabbed it? Just hire a toddler to burgle it for you!

5. You might want to consider adding some counterweight before attempting a shopping cart wheelie.

6. That chain is there for a reason, my friend.

7. Before you go Black Friday shopping, make you that you actually want to BUY something.

8. How come you never see insane lines outside the 99 cent store?

9. I’m so glad Target is stocking Gluten-Os again!

If you decide to brave the crowds in search of some amazing deals, please, be safe, be kind, and have fun! Do you have any funny or interesting Black Friday stories, images, or videos? If so, share them in the comments below!

05 November 2013 ~ 0 Comments

How to Use Your Call of Duty: Ghosts Strategy to Sell T-shirts

5 Ways Call of Duty: Ghosts Strategy Helps Your T-shirt Line

The wait is over! The much-anticipated tenth installment of the franchise, Call of Duty: Ghosts, debuts today! If you’re a fan of Call of Duty, you know that strategy is everything, especially in the Xbox Live multiplayer environment. The t-shirt market is no different. Check out five ways to implement Call of Duty strategy in your real life to improve your t-shirt line.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - Screenshot 01

1. You can start out on your own, but finding a small team of reliable comrades is critical to success. You can dive right in as a lone mercenary, but you’ll need some help to reach your brand’s potential. You may have a great idea for a t-shirt line, but lack the resources to take it to the next level. Recruit a diverse pool of soldiers. One of your soldiers may have a keen eye for design, while another calls in backup on promotional end of things. You only need one effective sniper. Too many snipers in the kitchen spoils the pot (or something.) Basically, everyone on your team should bring a complimentary skill set to the table. Every pair of boots you have on the ground should be evaluated and deployed based on his/her particular strengths.

Check out T-shirt Magazine’s “Essential Brand Startup Guide” for more in depth battle-plans.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - Screenshot 2

2. Know the lay of the land. Nothing gets you killed quicker than not knowing where you are or where you are going. Determine where “the road less traveled” really lies, so you can roam undetected into enemy territory. Establish your brand HQ and hold your ground in social media. Find the overlooked markets and ignored population segments – there could be a ambush opportunity there. Learn where the hotspots (and hot designs) are, and set up camp. Anticipate where your competition will be in terms of designs, colors and styles next season so as to maneuver and outflank them.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - Screenshot 03

3. Resist the urge to charge out into the open with guns a-blazing and no real strategy. I know you can hear the relentless rat-a-tat-tat of e-commerce just “over there” and you’re anxious to get in on the action. Cool your jets and investigate the situation. Do little reconnaissance first. Look around…where’s the fire coming from? Where are the “friendlies”? Research the kinds of shirts your market is buying…and from where. Toss a powerful t-shirt grenade around that corner first and then stride confidently into the room.

Artist, t-shirt designer and entrepreneur Steve Knerem wrote a fantastic three-part article on Starting Your Own Shirt Line. Part III is goes into some depth on gathering intel.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - Screenshot 04

3. Start with a multi-range, multi-purpose weapon. Shoot for broad appeal within your target market. While there’s definitely a place for a specialty weapon (like a sniper-rifle or a tank-top), a more general weapon like a basic black t-shirt may serve you best in most situations. Again, research and strategy within the target market are key.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - Screenshot 05

4. As you advance, choose your weapons strategically. Once you’ve established a foothold, it is best to start upgrading. Expand your arsenal to include long-range and short-range options. Add a tank top for summer or long sleeve shirt for fall. Offer a pullover hoodie during the holiday season.

Call of Duty: Ghosts - Screenshot 06

5. Know when to leave. We’ve all seen the greedy player that sets up shop surrounding himself by 3 claymores and successfully picks off 4-5 players from the same locale. If he doesn’t move out quickly and find a new spot to call home, things aren’t going to end well for him. Once you’ve bagged 3 or 4 killer shirts from the same design origin, you may want to slightly shift your creative direction to maintain your audience’s interest within your genre. Keep moving, keep evolving, stay alert and stay alive.

You’ve unlocked a perk! When in doubt, throw your t-shirt line to the dogs. Call of Duty’s favorite K-9, Riley, has some sweet battle gear. Once you have your market dialed in, consider adding a line of apparel for your customer’s four-legged friends.

- Leann loves a good FPS, and looks forward to the new mutliplayer gametypes in COD: Ghosts, including Cranked and Grind and forming a bot team in the new Squad feature. You can find her at Xbox Live Gamertag: XOliviaDunhamX.

28 October 2013 ~ 0 Comments

10 Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. It’s down to the final few days before Halloween, but you still have no idea what to wear as your costume. Never fear, because we’ve got you covered! Here are ten great costume ideas you can easily throw together at the last minute–without breaking the bank.

1. Trash Bag Witch

Trash Bag Witch

This “no-sew” witch costume comes from none other than the domestic queen herself–Martha Stewart. All you need a bunch of black draw-string trash bags, some masking tape, and a pair of scissors. Nine simple steps later and you’re sporting your own home-made, inexpensive witch costume!

2. Kermit the Frog

Kermit the Frog Costume

Not every halloween costume needs to be an over-the-top, head-to-toe affair. This simple and clever Kermit the Frog costume is the perfect example. A little felt goes a long way when transforming yourself into the world’s most recognizable Muppet! Check out the post at Radmegan for full instructions on how she made this costume.

3. Bunch of Grapes

Grape Costumes

A couple of dozen green or purple balloons and a coordinating shirt make for a very quick and convincing bunch of grapes! Check out Glamour’s post for this and several more cheap and easy costume ideas.

4. Cactus

Cactus Costume

Flickr user, Daniel Bloomfield, came up with this fantastic DIY cactus costume. All you need is a green sweatsuit, some white pipe-cleaners bent into three points, and a hot-glue gun. Raise your forearms at a 90 degree angle and there you have it!

5. Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry Costume

If you’ve got an old, laundry basket on-hand that you no longer use, this is a perfect zero-cost option this Halloween! Cut the bottom out of the basket so that you can wear it around your waist, then fill it and cover yourself with clothes! Don’t worry, you don’t have to use actually dirty clothes to pull-off this costume! This idea comes courtesy of Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth, TX. Check out their Halloween page for more easy costume ideas.

6. Bat

Bat Costume

Umbrellas are cheap! Well, at the least the crummy ones at the dollar store. Luckily, that’s all you’ll need to make this cool bat costume’s wings and ears! Evil Mad Scientist has the full write-up on how to construct this costume.

7. LEGO Block

LEGO Block Costume

It doesn’t get much simpler than this LEGO block costume from So Crafty. All you need is a cardboard box (with holes for your head and limbs), some paint, and a dozen (or less) plastic cups.

8. Banksy Street Painting

Banksy's "Flower Thrower" Costume

Now this idea is one of the more clever ones that I’ve seen. Flickr user, George Schnakenberg, transformed himself into the “Flower Thrower” painting by famous street artist, Banksy. This one is a little more elaborate, but the materials you need readily accessible.

9. Character from “The Sims”

Character from The Sims

If you’re familiar with video games, you’re probably aware of The Sims––a game in which you control and manage the normal, everyday lives of characters simply known as “Sims.” In the game, the character you’re currently controlling has a green, 12-sided gem floated overhead. Friend of reddit user, kokvlad, created her own such gem out of paper the suspended it over her head. Clever!

10. Roller Coaster Car

Roller Coaster Costume

This one is definitely one of my favorites! Treehugger shares a great costume that gives the illusion of a couple sitting in a roller coaster car, but still have the freedom to walk around! A painted cardboard box, a metal rod, and some extra pants and shoes go a long way in selling the effect.

There you have it! Ten last-minute Halloween costumes well within the budget of almost everyone. There’s thousands more ideas to be found on the Internet, but these are some of our favorites. Do you have any great just-in-time costume ideas that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

18 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Funny Slogans for Family Reunion T-shirts

Funny Slogans for Family Reunion T-Shirts

Whether you see your extended family regularly or not-so-regularly – family reunions are your best opportunity to meet the second cousins you never knew you had. Whether you’re having a casual barbeque at a local park or a multi-day reunion – the budget for food, decorations and activities can be supplemented by selling custom t-shirts to family members who plan on attending the event. Other mementos like custom family reunion tote bags, hats or drinkware can also help cover the expenses associated with organizing a family reunion.

With everything else on your plate, we knew you may not have time to think of a clever one-liner to describe your family, so we’ve collected eleven of the funniest slogans for family reunion t-shirts below to help get you started!

1. “Trying to relate to the people I’m related to.”
2. “Families are like fudge… mostly sweet, with lots of nuts!”
3. “Remember, as far as anyone knows we are a normal family.”
4. “I survived the (name) family reunion.”
5. “Reunion survivor”
6. “Nuts make the family tree worth shaking”
7. “We put the FUN in dysfunctional!”
8. “Why be normal when you could be a (name)?”
9. “I went to the (name) family reunion and all I got was this (adjective) t-shirt!
10. “We are the people your mom warned you about.”
11. “It’s a (name) thing, you just wouldn’t understand.”

And there you have it! A handful of perfect one-liners for your upcoming event! What line would you use to describe your family? Let us know!