What's in a name (tag)?

A while ago I nudged y'all a little about forming local "Community Circles" so you could get together once in a while to have lunch, chat, make projects and generally help each other out. Believe me, it was NOT my doing, but the "How many live in Central Florida?" thread has grown to 209 posts, 13 pages! Again, not my doing (I'm telling you this because I don't want you to think that I've planned and organized this thing, which I haven't. I'm simply a machine embroiderer in Central Florida who has been posting on the thread.) but a luncheon has been planned for next month and we're expecting more than 20, including a couple of hubbies.

In discussing this coming, much anticipated event, in addition to deciding where to have lunch and with whom to carpool, the main topic of conversation has been about name tags. A unique thing about ME-ers is that we want to embroider everything we can get our hands on. You'll find that at most, if not all, embroidery retreats, seminars and get-togethers many of the participants will wear very original embroidered name tags.

11 years ago a group of 43 Brother, Baby Lock and Deco embroiderers (All these machines use the same file format and similar software.) met up in Paducah, Kentucky, for what I believe is the first machine embroidery retreat ever. (I'm 3rd from the left on the bottom row. Monica, with whom we had lunch in Toronto is 4th from the left in the top row. June Mellinger from Brother is in there somewhere and the lone man is one of the Brother programmers from Japan.) You'll see my old, faded name tag at the top left. The machine in the center is a button with the shank cut off and glued on. The little pair of scissors hanging from a ribbon is something I picked up at some sewing store somewhere I have no idea when.  As you can see, I have by now accumulated a gazillion, give or take, name tags by now. When I need one I usually just pluck one off the rack and put it on. For our upcoming luncheon, however, I'll be making a brand spanking new one. 

Now, when you've attended several retreats and seminars you find yourself sticking your room key and a couple of $$ in back of your name tag so you don't have to carry a purse. Some embroiderers have come up with really spiffy name tags with pockets sewn in, with or without zippers, to carry other stuff you might want to have with you. My favorite was given to my by Sue Lord during a Yankee Swap at a retreat somewhere. When you lift her collar you find the pocket. I put my name tag in her hands with double sided tape. She's SO cute!

Okay, before I go on I'll explain what a Yankee Swap is for those of you who don't know. Some of you might do the same at parties and holidays, but call it by another name. Everyone brings a gift and everyone picks a number out of a hat. All the gifts, unwrapped, are placed on a table and the first person chooses the one she wants. The next person has the choice of picking something else or taking the gift from the person in front of her (who then has to pick something else, but now she's "safe"). This goes on until all the gifts are distributed. At embroidery retreats all of the gifts are hand-made embroidered items. All of them are really nice and some are spectacular. I've won, in addition to the name tag from Sue, an embroidered clock for my sewing room and a quillow.

My second favorite name tag was the one given out at a retreat in Houston. The gals who organized the retreat made the name tags for everyone! It has one pocket in the front and 2 in the back. I think that just looking at the front and back of the tag you can see how it's made. 

What should be ON your name tag? Well, your name, of course, and also your screen name, because many of the people you'll be meeting know you by that name. I think that where you're from should also be there so you can quickly identify people who live near you. Anything else you put on your name tag is gravy. I'm not going to show you my name tag for our Orlando luncheon, first because I haven't made it yet (still have 5 weeks to work on it) and second because I don't want to give it away. But I can show you my first draft of just the embroidery. 

Daddy's Girls
Some of your comments on my Fathers' Day post really squeezed my heart. Yes, my father was quite a "dandy.' On the evening that my daughter was born, my father's first granddaughter after 3 grandsons, he must have been already in bed when my mother called him from the hospital with the news. He got up, got dressed in full regalia, shirt, tie, jacket, hat, walking stick  and walked into the hospital and onto the maternity floor. He rapped on the glass of the nursery and told the nurse that he had come to call on a young lady. Now this was back in the days when they knocked you out when you had a baby and woke you when it was over to tell you whether you had a girl or a boy. I was still asleep when my father was there, but the nurses couldn't stop talking about that "gentleman who came visiting last night."

Clearing up some Catalog XPress misconceptions
Another thing that's being hotly discussed in the Central Florida thread is organizing designs. I posted something of a rant there a couple of days ago because everyone was telling how they organize their designs but no one was mentioning my baby, Catalog XPress, the first embroidery software program I ever designed and which is, as Mary Poppins would say, "practically perfect."  I'm going to copy part of that "rant" here:

My embroidery designs are sorted on my had drive into several folders, Original Designs, Purchased (commercial) Designs, Downloaded Designs and, of course, all the Free Designs from my web site. Within the Commercial designs folder are folders for each of the companies from which I've purchased designs, Dakota, Amazing Designs, Embroidery Library, Brother, OESD, etc. So you can see that I'm fairly well organized. BUT when I want to find something I look for it in Catalog XPress, the program I designed for us. You see, for example, I have designs of cats in several Amazing Designs sets, several OESD sets and at least 2 Brother sets. But all of the cats are in Catalog XPress in the Cats folder. When I want to stitch a cat, instead of having to look through all of those folders, I look in only 1 place. If I have a design with a cat and a dog it will be in both the Cats and Dogs category. If the cat and dog are wearing hats the design will be in the Cats section, the Dogs section and in the hats section. If the hats are red, white and blue the design will also be in the Patriotic section. And, to carry this even further, if the cat and dog wearing red, white and blue hats are riding in a car the design will also be in the transportation category, in the Cars sub-category. You could, of course, do this on your computer by putting copies of the design in folders with those names, but then you'd have multiple copies of the design. With Catalog XPress I have only the one original design.

You say that all your designs are on flash drives or CDs and Catalog XPress doesn't know where they are? Yes, Catalog XPress has the memory of an elephant. Or at least the memory of a much younger woman than I am. When you click on a design that says "Not Found" look at the address bar at the top of the screen and Catalog XPress will tell you exactly where to find the design. You complain that all you can see are wimpy little cartoon pictures of the designs (on the other hand, in Windows Explorer you don't have any pictures at all). Again, not so. Right click on the design in the preview window and choose 3D view. Now the design appears in all its stitch-filled glory. Picture not big enough? Grab the edges and pull it bigger. Sorting is the main function of Catalog XPress, but not the only one. The programmers who helped me develop Catalog XPress thought of lots of things that didn't even occur to me or that I didn't think were even possible.

 Well, I think I've talked long enough now. Y'all turn off your computers and sew something! TTFN



Comments (11) -

I wish I could be a fly and watch all the fun that is sure to be a part of the Florida gathering.  I will be there in spirit for sure!

I so agree with the Catalog XPress software.  It is so much better than my attempt to organize my software.  I have everything at my finger tips.  You can see my photos of what I had and the Catalog XPress software in my most recent Blog.  The Avid Embroiderer June 20, 2008    NO COMPARISON!

I love that tag in your blog, it looks just like you. LOL


jalcumbrack 6/21/2008 11:07:53 AM

Hi Ann,

          Well here we are one month before our luncheon and I am getting more and more excited ! I am so happy to meet with all the Central Florida Group and find some people in my own area to get with,have coffee and sew.

          I am also working feverishly on my name tag as well,I have had a couple of flops,but think I finally have come up with a winner. Like you I am not going to give it away,I want it to be a surprise !

          Also I am working on a couple of things to bring for examples of some charity projects we can all sink our teeth into. I am sure that a lot of the group will also have some fabulous ideas as well.

         Pat,wish you could come too,but I guess you will have to start your own California chapter ! It is not that hard to get them excited in one of the forums. I was so impressed how the Central Florida one took off and seemed to grow a leg of it's own.It really excited me to see how much enthusiasm there is here to get together ,even in lieu of the high gas prices.

           So , until next month, I am working like mad on my projects in hopes to get them completed before the get together.(It also helps me to stay focused and keep my excitement level down to a some what normal level ).

            Great blog Ann,and I too sing the praises of Catalog Xpress. I Love it ! All my designs are organized,and I can get them on my card lickity split,and am back sewing in no time. Instead of spending hours going through all the designs one by one, I know have much more time to sew. I understand it is not in everyone's budget,but if it were me I would save up and get it.Make it a priority. I wish I had done it sooner. I also love the fact that it works with Alphabet Xpress as well. What more could you ask for? Simple,easy to use, and quick! Love them both!!!

            I simply love all of your name tags ! How fun are they?So creative!! I don't have a blog, but most anyone can find me in the Central Florida forum ! Till next month...........Happy Stitching everyone!!!

let it out!!  I will be in the near future I hope be able to buy the Catalog Xpress.   My designs are organized just like you described, desk top,CD, flash keys.  It is hard to find something and time consuming when you have to look everywhere you have a design just to find one you want.

I love you website, your tips.  I need to know where to get BadgeMaster.

Do you have a pattern for the name tag?


travelbug1237 6/21/2008 12:32:18 PM

HH Ann,

 I bought them both in Orlando....am looking forward to downloading them and getting them going!!!!

  I can't even imagine ALL the hours of work it took to do something like that!!!

THANKS for the clear explanation!!! I for one will benefit greatly.

...When I 'get to downloading it' I will be referring back to this blog


LUCKY YOU....going to lunch in Central Florida!!!

My table mates Linda & Marge are going!!!! Wish I could be there!!!

( Now if I worked for the airlines...flying to Orlando from the West Coast for lunch and returning would be no big deal....I am STILL lobbying for

an OREGON AnntheGran get together sometime!!!! OK...SmileSmile There are at least 3 of us in Oregon....plus the other West Coasters and well...you are just a popular lady Ann...& we welcome you to this neck of the woods too!!! Smile

Thanks again Ann for all you do for ALL of us!!!!

We love you !!!

Cathy in Oregon...wishing her feet and bags were headed for Central Florida's luncheon!!!...but there not...I'm out the door to the beach which is a great 2nd best. Smile

Hello all,

Mspacman, I found Badgemaster at Allstitch.net.  Just got it in the mail yesterday.  Have not use it yet.

Ann, I just love your collection of Name tags.  After seeing yours this morning, I immediately went to the sewing room and designed and stitched out one.  I thought it was going to be really cute.......NOT!!!  It is now in the trash with my other pre-stiched out designs.

Will try again this evening.  Glad we have 5 weeks before the luncheon.  Maybe by then I will have one that looks remotely nice.

Sandra in Titusville

hip2bearsquarecom 6/22/2008 2:01:39 AM

Love your website and your designs they have been a real inspiration to my family

Wow, I am amazed at how the Central Florida topic took off.  When I originally posted it, I was just curious as to how many were in this area.  I, too, am looking forward to the luncheon.  I've lived here for a little over 2 years and have not made many friends, so this is my chance to meet you all and it's especially thrilling that we all have ME in common.  

I'm not sure about my name tag, though.  I do have the PE Design7, got it when I bought my machine in March.  But, I haven't learned how to use it yet.  I will try to play with it and see what I can come up with, but don't expect much.

Thanks Ann for the inspiration.  I didn't see patches on your web site so ..Those looking for patches/badges can find something on EmbroideryLibrary.com as well. There are even instructions working with blanks and WWS as well.  

I'm headed to the drawing board now.  This is going to be fun.  Know I know what direction to go in because of all your wonderful blogs.


I love the name tags and want to make one myself.  I have a similar sewing machine.  where can I find the design.    Carol from Minnesota

Carol, which design are you looking for? For my name tag I chose a design from one of my Brother design cards and put the tag together with my PE-Design software.

Ann thank you for responding.  I'm looking for sewing machine designs, like the machine on your name tag.  If the sewing machine is on a Brother card, can you tell me which number?  I'm just teaching myself to digitize, so I don't know if I'd be done with doing my machine before the Nov conference in Minneapolis (that I want a personal tag for.    thanks again  carol

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