Finally Springtime in the Midwest

signal flags,springtime,nautical,maritime

I am late posting this month since we have been so busy with making flags. Springtime tends to be a busy time for us with lots of weddings, graduations and parties. People use our signal flag as decorations to spell out names, congratulations and for weddings or receptions. I thought I would just share a few of the pics that we have done in the past!

When I visited Texas about 10 years ago sure loved seeing the bluebonnets in the Spring.

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We are getting closer to summer and the beach. The signal flags below spell SEASIDE.

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I know that this is a short post but will try to get caught up next month. Visit us at IB Designs, USA

March Madness and in the Kitchen Pressure is Building

signal flags,spelling,nautical We are barely into March but orders are on the slow side. We tend to pick up in April as the wedding season nears and people order banners for their wedding. One thing that we have found lately is that getting some things that we need for the business is getting challenging. We use Steam-A-Seam on some of our flags. It washes well and lasts for a long time. The company that use to make the paper for them has closed so they are looking for a new supplier. It’s the trickle down effect. Also we use split rings in our vertical banners as seen in this picture We use 16mm rings and those are also getting harder to find. They are trying to carry more of the smaller rings. When we find them we stock up!

signal flag,banner,vertical, nautical,home decor

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IL seems to be coming slowly into Spring this year. We are getting some 40 degree days and so some of the snow is starting to melt. The big thing this month is lots of telephone calls from politicians asking us to vote for them on the 18th of this month in the primary. They promise the world but not holding my breath.

signal flags,spelling,nauticalOur main project lately is going through our tackle boxes and looking at updating with new fishing gear. We need to get some fishing line and we are looking at some lures for the coming season. Normally weather permitting we go out in April sometime and through October. I find it so relaxing and really miss it when Winter is here. In this section in the future will post pics of some of our catches.  Here is one we are looking at from Power Team Lures- Swinging Hammer

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In the Kitchen this month I wanted to highlight a new way of cooking for us. Neither one of us have had a lot of experience with Pressure Cooking before this. We experimented with a old pressure cooker and found some of the food to be delicious and extra moist. The other benefit is that it takes a 1/4 of the time to cook. As a example if you have a meat that would normally take an hour it can be done in 15 minutes. One thing you want to make sure of is that you get a Pressure Cooker and not a Pressure Canner. They are really different. We bought a Fagor Rapid Express- 8 qt as shown in the picture below.

fagor, pressure cooker,cooking

It gets really high reviews with good reason. We really love it. Here is a link to Bed, Bath and Beyond where we got ours. We used the 20% coupon we got in the mail for extra savings.

Miss Vickie has a recipe site for Pressure Cookers-

Lastly the Fagor site has this recipe that we have tried and so delicious- Baby Back Ribs

Since we don’t like hot or spicy back ribs, This recipe makes its own sweet and sour sauce. On the page, it says “Beef” spareribs. In the cookbook it refers to “Lean spareribs.”. Since I’ve never heard of sweet and sour Beef ribs we automatically used pork. Recipe Link

That’s all for this month and visit us at IB Designs, USA

February – It’s Freezing Outside but Warm in the Kitchen!

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Not a whole lot new this February as it tends to be a slow time for us. We are getting some orders but generally slow. One thing that is relatively new is a few months ago we opened a merchant account and now except both Visa and MasterCard. When we first started back in 2005 we used PayPal and then Google Checkout for quite awhile. We are pleased how well this is working.

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Life in IL has sure been cold this year. We haven’t even hit 32 F for the last few weeks. The majority of our temps have been below zero during the night and highs in the teens during the day. We have also got quite a bit of snow as seen in the picture below. This was actually about a month ago and the piles are higher now.


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One project that worked out well is our Proofing Box that Craig made. With the cold temps that we have had and trying to make bread it’s been a challenge. This solves a lot of problems. Based on this article we created our own version. We searched and found a bin that was big enough that it would hold both the bucket that I use and also half sheets for when we rise bread. We bought at Menard’s a Programmable Thermostat the Win 100 made by Lux. We are seeing that we really don’t need all the different days since we are using it for bread. It is accurate and lets you know what the temp is inside the box. Also has a plug in as you can see in the pic. We are using a 40 watt bulb. We bought at Ace Hardware the housing for the light bulb socket. Below is a montage of what it looks like. It sure is helping!

bread, proofing box,diy

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In the kitchen we have found a really great recipe for Yeast Doughnuts from Alton Brown.  They are delicious. Since it’s just the 2 of us after the first rise we cut out the doughnuts and then freeze all but a couple of them which we fry. What we have found that works well is if you know you want doughnuts the next day take a couple out of the freezer and put them in the fridge. A few hours before you want to fry them put them on a plate on the counter to bring to room temperture. They really puff up when you put them in the oil. Sorry no pics since we ate them :)

That’s all for this month and visit us at IB Designs, USA

IB Designs, USA Newsletter ~ January

I have been blogging for the last 6 1/2 years here on WordPress. I normally talk about signal flags and lots of nautical things on a weekly basis. Since this is a new year I have decided to change the format a little bit.

This is the 1st ever newsletter. Each month I will talk about what is new with IB Designs,USA and also what has been going on in general each month. Hoping to make it more personalized.

What’s New

After a busy Christmas season January was a little bit slower but steady. That was good though since it gave us time to re-group since we handcraft each flag. We sew each flag as we get orders. With it just being the 2 of us working it sure can get crazy at times. Also this month the estimated shipping time is back to approximately 2 weeks. When we get flooded with orders we have to push out the shipping time.

Projects I did this Month

Since I bought a Bosch Compact Mixer exactly a year ago I have been baking a lot of bread and really enjoy doing this. It is so relaxing and the taste is so much better then you would get out of the store. Not to mention that the heavenly smell while it’s baking. Each month I am going to share one of the recipes that I have used. Below is a picture of a couple of baguettes that I made. You can find the recipe and video here

 baguettes,bread,bosch mixer

Life in IL

This month has been one of the coldest in history. Lots of snow, ice and below 0 temps this month. Looking forward to Spring and fishing.

Since this newsletter is a work in progress would love to hear back on anything that should be included that you would like to hear about!

Ideas for Planning a Nautical Wedding ~ 2014

If you are planning on having a nautical wedding there are so many great ideas out there. You can personalize your wedding in so many ways. Two of my favorite boards on Pinterest are Nautical Weddings where I have pinned lots of pictures. That board grew so much that I ended up creating a second board to share more of my favorite pictures and ideas. Nautical Weddings Part 2. Both have a little bit of everything such as wedding favors, cakes, gowns, reception ideas, tuxes or suits, yachts and sailboats….etc. The first 2 pictures below are from Nautical Weddings. Below each picture is the link to the original site.

tie the knot,wedding,nautical,receptionTie the knot

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Wedding Bouquet

The next 2 pictures are from the Nautical Wedding Part 2 Board.

 tie the knot,wedding,nautical,reception,wedding flowersSeashell Menu

 tie the knot,wedding,nautical,reception,wedding flowersBeach Decor Table theme

Lastly is a picture of part of a banner that we made. Signal flags can spell out anything that you want. They could be hung at the reception or for a outdoor ceremony. Some people choose the first name of the bride and groom. Others elect to spell out the last name. They add a nautical touch to any wedding or reception. Below gives you idea of the size of our flags. They are 8 in x 8 in plus a 1 inch casing for our horizontal banners.

From left to right you have a partial O, C, I, E and a partial T

signal flags,banners, tie the knot,wedding,nautical,reception,wedding flowers

 IB Designs, USA

Popular Baby Names ~ 2014 ~ Signal Flags

Usually every January I do a post on the most popular baby names for the year. This year I noticed that a lot of old fashioned names are popular. I put together a picture of some of the names to show how they look spelled out in our signal flags. They are shown with our Horizontal which is the rope. Also as a Valance with a curtain rod and lastly Vertical with our ladder that we make. They add a personal touch to any nursery with your child’s name. Hope you enjoy it.

popular names,baby,nautical,signal flags,banners

If you click on the monkey knot on the sidebar it will take you directly to our translator where you can type in your name to see what it looks like.

All flags are made out of a high quality cotton and made by us.

IB Designs, USA

Happy New Year- Nautical Style- 2014

new year eve,new years day,nautical,ship,holidayHappy New Years to all my friends and followers. This time of year is a good time to reflect back over the past year. We had a great year especially November and December. We have been in business now since 2005. The past 8 years have flown by. We love making our product and it’s great to be able to do something that you truly enjoy. We expect to be in business for a long time. I had fun putting together the picture above!

I thought I would also show you below something that I just learned.  Unlike civil clock bells, the strikes of the bell do not accord to the number of the hour. Instead, there are eight bells, one for each half-hour of a four-hour watch.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve sixteen bells would be struck – eight bells for the old year and eight bells for the new.

Below is a picture from Wikipedia showing the bell.

(The photo below is released and public domain)

new year eve,new years day,nautical,ship,holiday,bell ringing,navy, military

If you wish to know more you can click on this link to read more about bell ringing.

My wish to all my friends and followers that 2014 will be a great year for you.

IB Designs, USA