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…

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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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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.

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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!

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29 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

5 Things Every Bachelorette Party Should Have

Congratulations! If you’re here, chances are you have a very special day to plan! Are you a Maid of Honor or bridesmaid looking for advice on how to throw your bestie a bachelorette party to remember? We’re here to help. Rest assured, you are way ahead of the game.

Check out our recommendations for five things every bachelorette party should have!

1. A Fabulous and Fun Theme

A theme for a bachelorette party can be as simple or as elaborate as the bride would like. From a theme as straightforward as her favorite colors, like this “Pink and Black” party page, to a more creative and immersive experience based on her favorite era like our “Mad Men” party idea – a theme will give the party a structure upon which to build your attire and activities. While themes do serve as a great starting point for planning a bachelorette party, always make sure ensure the bachelorette’s personality and style shine through by involving her in the early stages party-planning process.

2. Fantastic Food

Fantastic Food

Whether you plan to host the party at home, or head out on the town, food is necessary to any successful bachelorette party. Referencing the theme will often give you guidance when choosing foods or if your bachelorette is a foodie, you may even choose to build your theme around the food itself! Many larger cities offer tasting tours, where your party can restaurant hop all over town, enjoying progresssive courses at each restaurant. Meet for drinks at the first venue and proceed through appetizers, a main course, and finish with dessert, each specially prepared at a different restaurant.

Google the city of your choice for tastings and tours, and you’re sure to find a culinary adventure fit for any foodie bachelorette. One happy party hostess commented, “I was looking for an alternative to the bar scene for a bachelorette party that I was hosting. I came across the Milwaukee Food Tours website on a whim, and it ended up being the best thing that we did that night. We learned about this awesome city that we live in and went to restaurants that we had never been to before. We left with a full stomach and a want for more… we for sure will be booking another tour!”

3. Faithful Friends

Faithful Friends

Bachelorette parties are a great time for the bride’s old friends and new friends to bond before the wedding! It’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to experience something together and interact in a relaxed, comfortable environment -whether it be a new, highly recommended restaurant, a culinary adventure all over the city, or a wine and cheese tour. Jasmine Moir at Self.com writes “Make everyone feel welcome and connected by having the bride introduce each friend to the others and share a funny story or sweet memory from their friendship.”

4. Fanciful Favors

Bachelorette Party Shirts

The back of the custom party shirts featured names and numbers. The numbers combined reflect the bride's wedding date! Too cute!

Favors are not only a tangible token of the time spent with the bachelorette’s friends, it’s also an appropriate way to thank each guest for contributing her time and money to the occasion. The gift need not be costly. Homemade coasters are an inexpensive and attractive gift. If you’ve chosen a mani/pedi or other pampering theme, you may wish to make DIY sugar scrubs for the guests. Custom bachelorette party t-shirts can be created online and worn during the party, or wrapped in a cute theme-appropriate bow or box and taken home as a memento. Custom wine glasses, pint glases or tumblers are also fun and inexpensive favors that can be created to match any theme.

5. Festive Photos

Bachelorette Party Photo

You could hire the bachelorette’s wedding photographer to spend a couple of hours committing the party to digital memories, or you can enlist the entire party to contribute to the photo bonanza. You can even add props to your photo shoot – referring back to your theme to choose suitable props to enhance your photographs.  These easy DIY chalkboard comment bubbles  go with nearly any theme, make photos more fun and serve double duty as a party favor!

Whether the bachelorette is ready to kick back or throw down, these five essentials will help you plan a customized bachelorette party. If we expanded this list to 10 things – what five things would you add? Let us know in the comments!

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13 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

How to Recycle Old T-Shirts into a Dress

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

What could be more comfortable than a casual summer dress made out of recycled t-shirts? We can’t think of anything better! Breezy and becoming, this simple t-shirt dress is as easy to make as it is easy to wear.

Time to Complete: 1 hour

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

What You’ll Need:

  • One v-neck t-shirt for the top of your dress in your usual size.
  • One t-shirt for the bottom, 1-2 sizes larger than your usual size. The larger size shirt will supply additional fabric needed for the length of the skirt, especially if you’d like to be below the knee.
  • 2” elastic that compliments your shirt colors. The elastic will be visible.
  • A rotary blade for cutting fabric.
  • A straight-edged ruler.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Pins.
  • A sewing machine (not pictured).

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

1. Choose a v-neck in your favorite color for the top of the dress. The fit of the shoulders to waist is the most important part, as you will eventually be cutting off the bottom portion of the t-shirt. Put the t-shirt on and mark it with chalk at your natural waist.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

2. Using the rotary blade and straight-edged ruler, carefully cut below the chalk mark indicating your natural waistline.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

3. Discard the lower half of the shirt, or better yet, use it to create another fabulous DIY project, such as these upcycled t-shirt bangles!

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

4. Next, prepare and cut elastic waistband. Elastic should be 1” – 1.5” shorter than the width of your top. You may add 1/2” for the seam.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

5. Sew the ends of the elastic waistband together to form a circle. A zig-zag stitch is recommended for stretch fabrics.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

6. Quarter the waistband into four equal parts and pin at the quarter marks. This is easily accomplished by pinning the ends first which gives you two equal havles. Then line up these two pins in the middle to find the other two quarter locations.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

7. Divide the shirt top into four equal parts by first pinning the side seams. This will divide the shirt into two halves. Fold these two pins together in the center. Then pin the sides again. The shirt will now be pinned in quarters.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

8. Now, it’s time to start creating the skirt! Measure from your natural waist to the desired length.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

9. Now that you have your desired skirt length, it’s time to get to work on turning the second t-shirt into a skirt. Be sure to add 1/4″ to the desired skirt length to accomodate for the waist band seam!

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

10. Cut the skirt portion of your dress from the bottom of the t-shirt and discard the top, or retain the material for other projects.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

11. Place your elastic loop inside the skirt with right sides together, pinning the waistband to the skirt with the quarter marks matching up.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

12. Attach skirt to waistband with a zig-zag stitch and a 1/4” seam, backstitching the beginning of your sew.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

13. As you sew the zig zag stitch for the waistband and skirt, stretch the elastic slightly so that it performs and gathers when worn. Remove the quarter mark pins as you reach them and backstitch the end of the waistband when you reach it.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

14. Flip the elastic band up and out of the top of the skirt. The result should look similar to what you see in the image above.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

15. The final step is to attach the t-shirt top onto the elastic banded-skirt. Quarter the waistband again by pinning the waistband into four equal parts as you did earlier. Place your top inside the skirt and pin together again at marked quarters with the right sides together.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

16. Sew the top and elastic band together with a zig-zag stitch in the same way you sewed the skirt and elastic together.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

17. If the elastic band and top do not match up, simply stretch the shorter of the two, so they are flat as you sew them together.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

18. Your new dress in complete! We decided to use a skirt and top of the same color, but feel free to mix it up with various colors, shirt styles, and elastic types! What other ways have you found to refashion plain t-shirts into stylish summer dresses? Let us know!

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