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Online website offering monogrammed baby gifts including hooded towels, bibs, burp, and baby blankets.

Behind The Monogram

Behind The Monogram is a collection of blog posts about monograms, embroidery, smocking, and anything else that seems interesting at the moment. Follow along and learn interesting facts and also have a little fun.

Modern Monograms

Dawn Rhodes

Monograms have been around since the Greek, Roman, and Victorian ages.   Today monograms are very popular, especially in the southern United States. Monogram rules have changed since the Victorian age. In the Victorian era, all household linens used the initials for the lady of the house. The tradition order of the initials were first name initial, last name initial, maiden last name initial. The last name initial was larger and placed in the center between the first name initial and maiden name initial. Men’s initials placed on shirt cuffs, handkerchiefs, ascots, etc. were smaller, all the same size, and placed in the following order: first name, middle name, last name (surname). Here is an example of a ladies monogram.

behind-the-monogram-master-circle-monogram

A man’s shirt cuff monogram would look like this. Notice all the initials are the same height.

behind-the-monogram-small-block-image

In today’s modern age, the rules have changed and are blurred with different opinions. You see two letter monograms and 4-letter monograms as well as the traditional 3-letter monograms. Two letter monograms are fairly easy to compose but four-letter monograms are a little trickier. My grandson has a hyphenated middle name. When doing his Easter basket this year, I wanted to put his monogram on a patch and attach it to the basket liner. I wanted to use all four of his name initials. Using one of my embroidery software programs I entered the initials in a stacked monogram style.

behind-the-monogram-4-letter-monogram

I could have also stacked it like this:

behind-the-monogram-double-middle-name

Many women today hyphenate their last names when they get married. In that case, this would be an example of a monogram for a hyphenated surname (last) name.

behind-the-monogram-surname-hyphenated

Here is an example of double surname that is not hyphenated.

behind-the-monogram-double-surname

As you can see, there are many options available today. The person doing your embroidery will work with you to get the right look for you.

 

Children’s monograms can be varied as well including the modern rules for hyphenated name. For safety reasons, some parents prefer a monogram on backpacks and clothing instead of a name so it is a good idea to check with the parent before giving a gift with a name on it. Infant boy monograms are usually in the first name initial, surname initial and larger in the center, middle initial order. As boys get older, the first name initial, middle name initial, surname initial all the same height order is used.

 

These are just guidelines. As an embroiderer, I can give advice if my customer asks but the customer makes the final decision.

 

behind-the-monogram-signature

Lunch and Shopping in Tville

The Polka Dot Store

When I saw the Facebook post for the Cyclone Shrimp Wrap, it was all I needed to schedule a lunch date with my favorite 3 year old and his mother. Our local Jonah's Restaurant here is Thomasville, Georgia has a fabulous menu! An afternoon of eating and shopping sounded perfect for a hot Friday afternoon. Take a look at my delicious lunch.

Now, doesn't that just make your mouth water! It was as good as it looks. Also, their hush puppies are the absolute best I have ever tasted.

Since there was a line outside the restaurant, I couldn't get a picture of the front of the place without someone being in the picture. Here is the best I could do.

If you visit Thomasville, you must try Jonah's Fish and Grits. It is located at 109 East Jackson Street, Thomasville, Georgia. This is a link to their 

website

 .

And, here is a link to their Facebook 

page

 .

After lunch we were ready for some shopping. I had heard about a new shop called The Pale Moon. Off we went to go check it out. Oh my goodness, they had some cute things. Tons of tops, pants, purses, and jewelry. It is an adorable shop. Here are so pictures of the inside:

Before we went home, we stopped at a place called Hawaii Snow and had a nice refreshing snow cone. I think we deserved it after all that hard shopping!

Any hoo, after that delightful experience, it was time to go home to do some work.

For great baby gifts, remember to visit 

The Polka Dot Store

 .

Summer Monograms

The Polka Dot Store

School is out in south Georgia and it is beach time. We are headed to Jamaica this week for a short vacation. Along with getting orders processed and shipped, I've been doing some monogramming for myself. This is highly usual for me!

Since my first name initial is a "d", it is hard for me to find fonts where I am satisfied with the capital d. For the monograms in the picture, I selected the Victor font.

The straw hat is from last year but I included it in the picture anyway. I love the colors this season. The tropical blues and greens are such happy colors. They remind me of beach breezes and cool sand. The font used on the hat is one of the Arabesque fonts in my collection.

If you look closely on the white terry zip bag, you will see I stitched buttonholes and added ribbon. Pretty cute, right?

Now back to customer orders. I had lots of fun monogramming beach towels for a customer to give for graduation presents. Here is a pic.

Selby is stitched in black thread using the Sweet Script font. I just love it! The rest of the names are stitched using the Diary font. Pretty cute, don't you think?

Enjoy summer!

Shop for all your baby gifts at 

The Polka Dot Store

Grassroots Coffee Thomasville, Georgia

The Polka Dot Store

One morning when I was in downtown Thomasville, I was hungry and    wanted a cup of coffee. GRASSROOTS COFFEE was the first place that  came to mind! This coffee shop is not only a cool place but it has great  coffee. They feature local art on the wall and the decor is comfortable yet  very chic. You can sit at a table or lounge on comfortable furniture. It is  the best place in town to have a cup of coffee or beverage of choice and  use the wi-fi to catch up on my latest blog post or see what your friends  are doing on Facebook. Some college students even work on their  assignments!

The employees always seem happy so it must be a great place to work.

Grassroots Coffee is a busy place in the middle of downtown Thomasville on Broad Street. It offers the expected coffees and teas plus delicious food. After looking over the menu, I ordered a regular coffee and an egg biscuit. Since it was a lovely morning, I took my biscuit and coffee to a table outside.

Doesn't that look scumptious!

Here is the link to their website  

http://www.grassrootscoffee.com/

 . 

If you visit Thomasville, make sure to grab a cup of coffee and something to eat at Grassroots Coffee. It is well worth the trip!

Easter In Thomasville

The Polka Dot Store

How was your Easter weekend? We had a great one! The weather was beautiful, church service was good, and all my children were at home. Smiles all around! My grandson wore a very special outfit first worn by my son when he was about the same age. Here is a picture my husband took before church.

Don't you must love that sweet face! Can you believe that outfit is over 25 years old? The shirt is made from white linen and the pants are a blue cotton fabric.

A friends granddaughter wore one of my girls pink dresses from when they were little. It looked just as good this Easter as it did over 20 years ago. The reason we call it heirloom sewing is simple. If the outfits are taken care of, they will last for generations!

How about some pictures of my Easter decorations? Here goes............

Finally, I asked my husband to take a picture of my children and me. I decided to show you a fun one!

Thanks for joining me at Behind The Monogram!

My New Favorite Cookie Recipe

The Polka Dot Store

Normally, all my posts are sewing related or show products from  

The Polka Dot Store

. Today I have something different for you....my new favorite cookie recipe.

Don't they look good! Well they taste as good as they look. It started with a recipe by Paula Deen and I tweaked it to fit my taste bubs. Here is the recipe:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

  •  1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  •  1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  •  3 large eggs
  •  1 tablespoon vanilla
  •  3 1/2 cups flour
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons baking sugar
  •  1/2 salt
  •  3 cups oatmeal
  •  12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  •  1/2 cup white raisins (optional)
  •  1/2 cup toffee cups (approximately) (optional)
  •  1 cup chopped pecans (approximately) (optional)

Place ice cream scoop size mounds on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes.

*Note: you can mix and match the ingredients marked "optional" or leave them off. Personally, I like to use all of them if I happen to have them in my pantry! Yummy deliciousness! This makes a LARGE amount of cookies.

Here is another picture of the cookies:

Enjoy!

Heirloom Sewing - My First Love

The Polka Dot Store

Welcome to Behind The  Monogram! I know many of you are snowbound, but earlier today in south Georgia the temperature was 87 degrees. Yes, shorts weather! Now it is raining and getting cold. Two exciting things are happening to Thomasville, Georgia this week. We have what is called "First Friday Night" here in Thomasville. It is just as it sounds, there is a celebration, street dance (Swinging Medallions this week), and shopping at our participating downtown shops on the first Friday night of each month. Thomasville is really lovely at night. Here is a picture I took a few weeks ago outside Sweet Grass Dairy while downtown at a meeting with friends:

This is the store front at Sweet Grass Dairy.

The second really exciting thing happening is that HGTV is in town shooting an episode of "Restore America". One of the old homes on Monroe street is getting a makeover. Since I drive within a block of it every day, I shot a picture from the car to show you. These guys are hard at work and it is lunch time!

The HGTV crew has been seen at different locations doing interviews, eating lunch, and taking on location shots. Pretty cool!

O.K., enough rambling and onto the blog topic. Since the first of the year, I have been trying to make time for one of my passions, Smocking and Heirloom Sewing. If you have read the "about me" section of the blog, you know I have been doing smocking and heirloom sewing for over 30 years. I've taught it and done custom sewing using the techniques. Life and has been crazy the past few years (can we say 5 - 10 years) and I haven't been able to find time for it. I am so excited to be enjoying it again! Here are a few of my latest projects hoping to make an appearance soon on the website:

Smocked Imperial Batiste Baby Dress with Scalloped Hem

Smocked Roses Daygown with Tatting

Smocked Heirloom Daygown made with Imperial Batiste and French Lace

There are more projects planned and I look forward to sharing them with you later! Until next time, remember to shop 

at The Polka Dot Store

 for the finest quality baby gifts and accessories.

Shopping Online

The Polka Dot Store

Hi, everyone! It is a beautiful day here in south Georgia. The temperature is a little cool but the sun is out in all its glory. I took a picture of my view as I sit here writing this post.

I think a lot about my customers experience on my website. Ease in navigation (founding your way around), page load time, and checkout experience are all very important. Here is another discussion I have in my head; How can my customers easily put together outfits with items selected from different pages? O.k., so I haven't figured out how to have multiple or coordinating items grouped together. I do my own layout and coding so it takes me a little while to out how to do something new and different. :)

Here are some pictures of outfits I put together and took pictures of for you.

This red gown, polka dot cap, and velvet bow socks would make a great Valentine Outfit. You could add a monogram, name, applique or saying on the gown.

                                          Boy "Take Me Home" outfit.

Blue dot onesie with pale blue cap, pants, and socks.

Dinosaur Set and Socks

Dinosaur knit top, pant, and socks by Mud Pie.

   Cute "Take Me Hone" Outfit.                        Pink Lamb Outfit by 3 Marthas

Little Pink Lamb appliqued Onesie, burp cloth,

and panty. The panty has the same appliqued

lamb on the back seat as the onesie and burp.

Pink gown, paci clip, cap, and booties.

Adventure on the wild side

Pink polka dot onesie, pink knit

pant, elephant paci clip, adorable

socks.

              Only the outfits by 3 Marthas and Mud Pie are from the same manufacturers. The rest of the pictures show a combination of items from different manufacturers and how easy it is to coordinate them together.

I hope this post helps get you thinking about how to pair up different items to make an adorable baby gift. As always, if I can help in any way, please let me know. You can find all these items 

here

 .

January 2015

The Polka Dot Store

Hi, ya'll! Nope I have not disappeared. I am still here. Just haven't posted in a while. It is on my list to post more this year. "What have I been up to?", you ask. Bookkeeping, bookkeeping, and more bookkeeping. I have to admit, I put off doing my books until the last minute. Even with all the b.....keeping, there has been time for some fun "stuff". One of my favorite things about having The Polka Dot Store.com is getting to build the designs and run the monogram machine. I am still mesmerized by the monogram machine, a.k.a. "Big Bertha".

Blankets have been the top sellers this past week. As you may know,

Little Giraffe

blankets are top of the line luxurious blankets for your special baby. Toddlers and grown up alike cherish these soft touchable products. The first picture is the Blue Moroccan Chenille Blanket stitched in medium blue thread with Arial font.

This is the gorgeous Pink Moroccan Chenille Blanket stitched in Sea Green Thread using the Jester font.

Creme Faux Fur Blanket by

Pickles Journey

(Scene Weaver) looks great monogrammed in Steel Gray thread and the Jester font. This blanket is temporarily out of stock but will be available soon.

There are so many different weights for blankets. One of the most useful is a single layer flannel blanket. This one by

Swaddle Designs

can be used for swaddling, sun cover, stroller cover, tummy time, or a light weight summer blanket. Moms also use it as a nursing cover. The monogram is Elegant stitched in light pink thread.

All three of the blankets featured above can be found 

here

 .

One of our all time best sellers has been the Waggles Lovie by

Bearington Baby

shown here monogrammed in the Blackboard font in Pecan color thread. Yep, he is adorable! 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing of the recently personalized items available at The Polka Dot Store.com. See you again soon! I promise it won't be as long between posts. wink, wink.

Great Gifts For Babies

The Polka Dot Store

This week I am getting ready to participate in The Merry Marketplace event put on by the Junior Service League of Valdosta, Georgia. Can you say "Wow, that must be a lot of work!"? Yep, it is but these shows are so much fun and I get to meet great people. Anyway, while I was deciding what to take, I got to thinking about displaying my merchandise. One thing I find hard to do with an online store is show how different items can come together and make a great gift. That got me to thinking...................Blog Post!

I didn't take pictures of all the items together because,

1. It was too dark when I thought of the idea. And

2. I like how the individual pictures can bring together a "whole" picture.

For example, look at this series of pictures: O.K., so you want a cute outfit for Christmas morning. First, take a red gown..........

Then add some adorable socks.........

Next add a big flower headband

or

maybe a polka dot cap.

 You could finish the outfit with a smocked Christmas bib............

or how about pearls!

Just think, it all started with a simple little red knit gown.

We can do the same kind of thing for a little boy whose daddy loves to hunt.

First take this cute convertible romper...........

add a matching cap (the two really do match in real life)

add a cute little bib to clean up drools

 and you are set!

It can be a daunting task trying to put together outfits when shopping online but that is where great customer service come into play. Shoot me an email, letting me know what you are thinking about, a price range, and I will gladly put together some suggestions for you!

Welcome To My Town - Thomasville, Georgia

The Polka Dot Store

Happy Veteran's Day! If you have read my "about" section, you know The Polka Dot Store.com is run out of my home. Running The Polka Dot Store out of my home gives me flexible hours and more time to be creative. I love my life and where I live. Today, I would like to start a series of posts sharing with you the unique things about the town I live in. Welcome to Thomasville, Georgia!

So, where is Thomasville, GA?

(image found at http://www.city-data.com/city/Thomasville-Georgia.html)

As you can see from the map, Thomasville is located in southwest Georgia about 10 miles from the Florida state line. The closest cities to us are Tallahassee, Florida, Valdosta, Georgia, and Albany, Georgia.

One of the many things Thomasville is known for is  its annual Rose Festival and Flower Show that has been held in the Spring (April) for the past 93 years. Here is a

link to the 2015 Rose Festival

. The streets downtown are blocked off and there is a parade, dance, arts & crafts, flower show, etc.

(image found at http://ww4.hdnux.com/photos/03/14/35/837459/3/628x471.jpg)

This is just a little introduction to "my town". Now for a look at one of the things I have been working on this week for my Etsy Store,

Monogram Elegance

 :

A set of six (6) organic cotton washcloths with a cute pink owl applique. I would love to have your comments on the following question, "Should I also list this set on 

The Polka Dot Store website

 ?".

Hug a veteran today and tell them how much you appreciate their service!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

The Polka Dot Store

As most of you probably realize, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each year The Polka Dot Store gives 10% of our September sales to a charity that benefits children of this devastating disease. This year we will donate to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. If you read my post from last year

2013

, you know one of my children is a leukemia survivor. Because of generous donors our whole family was flown to New York City. This meant people donated their sky miles for us. We were picked up by limousine and taken to our hotel in Times Square. Tickets were donated for Broadway plays, sightseeing, and places to eat. My son's wish was to go see a taping of The Emeril Legassee show for The Food Network. It was a blast! The smile on my son's face was priceless. Our ride to and from the show was another limousine ride. We felt like royalty. You can't imagine what this did for my son and our family's morale. These children and their families go through so much. It is so humbling and wonderful the sacrifices generous donors give so these sick children can experience a few moments of JOY! The staff at The Make-A-Wish Foundation worked very hard behind the scenes to make all this possible and we are so grateful.

Here are some pictures from the trip that hang on my son's wall in his home:

The lighting was bad when the pictures were taken but I wanted to share them with you anyway. Daniel was given a chef's jacket to wear at the show taping and Emeril signed it for him plus signed a cookbook.

I proudly display my gold ribbons during September and hope you do, too!

Appliqued Shirts

The Polka Dot Store

Wow, I didn't realize it has been so long since I posted. Well, no time like the present! It is the middle of August here in south Georgia and it was 91 degrees outside today! Let's just say it was hot and muggy. My grandson had a birthday party this past Saturday and my daughter wanted me to applique shirts to give for the present. She found a great deal on shirts and told me it was a construction theme birthday. After looking through my MANY designs, I realized I didn't have any construction designs. So off to my favorite online designers I went.

Planet Applique

has great designs and I found two there that I liked. The third design is a Bible verse design from

Applique Corner

. They have great designs for the Christian Faith. Here is a finished picture of all three shirts. Please excuse the quality of the picture, it was taken in terrible lighting.

Even though, I stayed up to 1:00am stitching the appliques, I think it was worth it. They turned out great!

On a lighter note, what do you do when you find a flaw in a towel and it is too late to send it back to the manufacturer? Why, monogram it for my grandson, of course! Isn't this frog character hooded towel adorable with his name on it?

My grandson loves the character hood and the little triangle pockets for this hands. Really, the towel in way cuter than in the picture. You can find other adorable hooded towels at

The Polka Dot Store

Heirloom Easter Sewing

The Polka Dot Store

Welcome, it has been awhile since I've posted. Spring has been crazy busy! We celebrated Easter with family in Auburn, Alabama. Church, great food, and good company made for a perfect day. My grandson who is two loved finding hidden Easter eggs.

Several months before Easter, I planned and started working on two special outfits. The first outfit was for my grandson and I decided to make a cute sailor outfit. With fabric I had on hand and a pattern by Children's Corner called Michael I began my adventure. Since Max is only 2 1/2 years old, the colors pale blue and white seemed like  good choices. White royal twill was used for the shirt and blue satin ribbon was used to trim the collar. I started out trying to use bias tape and wasn't happy with the look so I switched to ribbon. The Michael pattern is a very easy to sew pattern and I have made countless outfits with it. The shorts have front pleats and an elastic back and were made out of blue pique. Mother of Pearl buttons were used to close the back of the shirt and a blue pique tie accented the front of the shirt. My daughter completed the outfit with knee high white socks and navy/white saddle oxford shoes. Adorable!

The second adventure was an adventure in heirloom sewing. If you have read previous posts, you know this type of sewing is one of my passions. Last summer a friend of mine became a grandmother to a beautiful little girl and we started planning her 2014 Easter outfit. Can I just say "Fun"! The little girl's mother decided on pink fabric and ecru lace. I used Child's Wedding Ring Dress by Chery Williams as a guide to make the dress.

Pink Swiss Bearissima Batiste by Bear Threads, LTD was the perfect choice for the fabric. Several different widths and styles of Bow Lace were used on the dress. I'm not sure where the lace was purchased. Here is a picture of the materials I selected for the dress.

The scallops on the collar and dress were attached accented with machine hemstitching and lace attached to it. I have an old hemstitch machine made in 1946 that is used to stitch the hemstitching. This is the only stitch this machine makes! Two needles and two bobbins are used to make the perfect stitch. Here is a picture of my machine.

Any hoo, here is the finished product and a picture of the precious little girl wearing the dress.

Entredeux beading, ribbon, and lace edge finished the sleeve edge. The outfit was completed with a double-faced satin pink hair bow.

Best of all,  a picture of the dress being worn by a precious little girl on Easter.

I had so much fun making these two outfits, I am sure I will be sewing on something new again soon.

Heirloom Sewing Inspiration

The Polka Dot Store

For some reason this time of year I get the "itch" to do some heirloom sewing. As you know if you've read my profile, I have been doing Heirloom Sewing by hand and machine for over 25 years. Yes, that makes me old but only in the way I look. LOL. Any way, I have a board on my personal Pinterest page called "Heirloom Sewing". As you can guess, I post beautiful pictures of garments that I love! I'm also noticing a trend. People are using ecru lace on their garments more and more instead of white lace. Both are beautiful but trends come and go. Below are some examples of pins from my board.

beautiful first communion dress Option #3
Tea dress

Note: These are not my pictures.

I think I'll make a daygown out of blue fabric and ecru lace. Next, I have to design how I want the daygown. I'll keep you posted on the fun! 

Childhood Cancer Awareness

The Polka Dot Store

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and 

The Polka Dot Store

will donate 10% of our sales to

American Cancer Society

. As many of you may already know, my oldest child was diagnosed with T-cell ALL (leukemia) when he was 16 years old. I am happy to say he is a healthy happy 30 year old man now. He has a great job and owns is own home. So, as you can probably guess, Childhood Cancer Awareness is very "near and dear" to my heart. When my son was diagnosed and going through treatment, you didn't hear much about childhood cancer and I am so thankful people are finally aware of this very traumatic time for a child and his/her family. The survival rates have increased which is wonderful but the treatment itself is very hard on a child. Seeing what these precious children endure will really touch your heart but, their attitudes and bravery will amaze you. There are many organizations that help the patient and their families during treatment. I thought you might like to know about a few that were/are very special to me and my family.

The

American Cancer Society

paid for all our stays at the

Ronald McDonald House

on Houston Mill Road in Atlanta. We were always met with a compassionate smile when we arrived and they did everything possible to make our stay as comfortable as possible. Since my son was treated at Egleston Childrens Hospital, now know as

Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston

, this location was very close and convenient. I can't say enough about the loving care my son received from the staff of doctors, nurses, and support staff at Egleston. They were the best. Last year during this time The Polka Dot Store donated to

Cure

. Cure funds extensive research for childhood cancer. At the time of my son's illness, they also provided supper one night a week to the families and patients of children being treatment on the cancer floor in the hospital. The volunteers were warm and welcoming to families who were going through such a stressful and unsure time.

Another great cause is the

Make-A-Wish

Foundation. They granted my son's wish to travel to New York City to meet a celebrity chef and see a taping of his show. They sent the whole family and we were treated like royalty. It was an experience and memory we will never forget.

I am so proud that the town I live in acknowledges Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Each year they hold a gold ribbon fundraiser for childhood cancer research by selling gold bows that are attached to the benches and trees on our downtown streets.

This picture was found in a great article that can be found

here

. I went downtown myself and took several photos. They are below.

So, visit

The Polka Dot Store

knowing a portion of your purchase goes to a very worthy cause.

The Polka Dot Store -

Where Blessings Happen Every Day!