Merry Christmas & Happy New Year ~ 2015

We wanted to take a minute to wish all our friends and followers a Merry Christmas and a wish for a healthy and successful new year. This sure has been a busy and exciting year for us. We celebrated our 10th Anniversary in February, even though it was among a lot of boxes. Seriously: a LOT of boxes! At the beginning of the year, we were packing away towards our April move. Then the move itself was huge, being out-of-state after 25 years in one place.

We wanted to learn a whole new area, and most importantly, to finding all the fishing spots. We love to BBQ, but it was a lot more difficult in Batavia, in the apartment. This year was all about the grilling! We made up for lost time, going all out on the hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and Ribs! Oh, and chicken, of course. Oh wait — and the Korean bulgogi, Chinese char siu, and of course, Mexican fajitas.

We needed new drapes, and couldn’t find them. The windows are weird, being around a half a mile wide, and they’re not patio doors. So we needed something around 72 inches. We could find 63 or 84 inches, but at last, J.C. Penney’s came through for us, with 72-inch long drapes.

And let’s not forget the lawnmower we needed, going from an apartment to a half-acre lawn, and the snow blower for the Wisconsin winters. (“Yer gonna want one of them 6 horse blowers, ya know, not one of them little ones. Ya know.”) Then there was registering the vehicles, getting unpacked, buying some other furniture, getting rid of stuff we didn’t need; the list goes on and on.

Because of all this, we decided to start a new tradition: a memory tree at Christmas time. We’d hoped to find some little ornaments that would remind us of things we did, but couldn’t find them. I guess they don’t celebrate Christmas in China, so they don’t make as many unusual ornaments. Solution? We would make our own. As we go along, each ornament will remind us of what we did in a particular year.

Below is our Christmas tree, and a couple of the ornaments. Next post, I’ll show how we did it; it’s pretty easy, and a lot of fun. Not to mention, a lot less expensive than commercial ornaments. Click to enlarge any picture.

christmas tree,holiday,new year,ornamnets

Next is a picture I took at the Outlet Mall in Oshkosh with their holiday decorations

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Here is one of our memory ornaments showing our 10th anniversary.

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We found this little house ornament that we love!

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Lastly we visited the Oshkosh Celebrations of Lights. It was wonderful!

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Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Kathy and Craig

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USS Cooperstown and Signal Flags

We make signal flags. Reading this blog, you’d know it because it’s all about signal flags. But our signal flags are indoor decorations for people who want a nautical theme or room decor. The question is from where did we get the flag patterns and colors? Well, the US Navy.

Our flags are small 8-inch squares, but the full-size flags can be from size 0 up to size 14, which is a 4-by-6-foot letter flags, or a 2.6-by-9-foot number pennant. Can you imagine putting a 9-foot flag in the living room? When an ocean-going ship is dressed in flags (i.e., flying the full set of all the flags used for messaging), it’s an amazing picture!

Here’s a picture of one of the Navy’s newest Freedom-class war ships. It’s a “littoral” combat ship, meaning that it’s designed for close to shore action. The intention is for a ship that can take out defense systems on beaches and shores where we want to land military troops and supplies.

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photo credit-fox11 online

This ship is the USS Cooperstown, with the call sign “LCS-23.” That would looks like this in signal flags:

Call sign USS Cooperstown
Call sign USS Cooperstown

The Cooperstown is the first ship with this particular name, signifying the baseball Hall of Fame and the 64 veterans who are members. Those men served in conflicts ranging from the Civil War to the Korean War, as you can read about in the Fox News story. Navy Ship    

 

In this picture, the ship is about to be launched and is dressed in signal flags the way we might wear our Sunday best for a celebration or formal occasion. The entire set of signal flags comprises all 26 alphabet letters and 10 numbers (0-9). In addition there are “repeater” flags. Because a set contains only 1 of each letter or number, certain flags instruct the reader to “repeat the first instance” of a previous flag. The repeaters indicate repetitions of a second or third occurrence, and can be quite confusing. That’s why we don’t make them. We offer multiple copies of letters, depending on what a customer would like to spell.

The Freedom-class ships are considered fast on the water, capable of reaching speeds of 40 knots. That’s about 46 miles-per-hour, which is two times faster than necessary to pull a water skier! And this ship is 388 feet long! Picture that: You’re out on a lake and ship the size of a football stadium comes flying by, pulling thirty or forty water skiers! Now that would be something to see!

IB Designs, USA

Signal Flag Alphabet and Local Business

The longer we live here in Oshkosh the more we discover and love. One of our worries was how we would find everything we need to make the flags and send them out. We use a lot of fabric, specialty thread, fusing materials, PVC tubing, and tools. We’re always buying rotary cutter blades, scissors, rope, envelopes and tape. Then there’s all the paperwork, some from our own management and order-tracking, then the printed materials we send out with each order.

Some of the towns we looked at are pretty remote, and it would have been difficult to easily take care of business. We often shop at Hobby Lobby, but there aren’t very many of them in Wisconsin, particularly in some of the other towns we visited. Here in Oshksoh, by gosh, there’s a Hobby Lobby! How nice is that!

We opened the Web site a month ago and found a UPS store, along with a nice post office. But recently, we needed to get some more of our printing done. A good example is the dictionary we include when we ship each order. We always include the signal flag alphabet on a sheet of paper that shows each of the flags and its corresponding letter or number.

Here is a picture of our dictionary.

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Property of IB Designs, USA

When it comes to printing, we were working with Alpha Graphics, a very good company in Illinois, but we were worried about who we’d find in Wisconsin. I am happy to report that we found Park ‘n Print, and they’re great! Another idea we’ve been working on is some sort of high-quality printed flag that customers could cut out and attach to a wooden dowel or fold over a piece of string. We could offer flags we can’t make in fabric, and the price would be lower than the heirloom flags we make now. Printing would be a big issue, so finding a good printer has been a priority.

At some point, hopefully soon, we’re going to offer a Bravo-Zulu print that will be suitable for framing. We’re still in the design phase, but we realized that we couldn’t keep up with the orders for the fabric version of the flags. One or two are okay, but people wanted ten or twenty to give out as “Nice Job” recognition awards. A printed, frameable art print would be a great way to satisfy those needs without wearing us out.

IB Designs, USA

Moving- Still on Track

With a little less then 2 weeks to go things are getting a bit nuts. Especially since it’s a long distance move. Approximately 195 miles from where we currently live. I have been taking some pics of all the boxes we have packed. After we get up and running on the computer I will be doing a few posts with the various pictures from beginning to end.

Special thanks to Amy ( LadyPinkRose )and ( jpcox ) Everett for suggesting that I take pics since this is such a huge move for us. They both have wonderful blogs and I subscribe to both.

One thought we had is since IB Designs, USA is going to have it’s own room where we will make the flags is to hang a signal flag valance on one of the windows. The picture below is one that I put together spelling ” Oshkosh, WI ” in signal flags. Our valance signal flags have a wide casing and a standard curtain rod (3/4 in or less) slip easily through it. We are still on schedule to reopen our website to orders the end of May or early June. Thanks for your patience!

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The next post will be from Wisconsin 🙂

Nautical Signal Flag Ideas for the Home

Since we have been in business since 2006 we have accumulated a lot of pictures. The other day I was going through them. Some I had forgotten about since it has been close to 10 yrs. I thought I would feature a few of them in this blog post.

Although there is lots of snow on the ground now we took this picture at a park and then put the gazebo in with the signal flags. This horizontal banner below spells FLAGS.
nautical,signal flags,gazebo,spring

The next picture spells SEASIDE in Signal flags.
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The next picture is a picture we put together with our horizontal, vertical and also our valance banners. The names are near the banner.
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The next picture is a collage that we put together of our flags.
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Lastly due to our out of state move the last day we will be accepting new orders is 02/23/15. Stay tuned to our blog for up to date info on when we will be accepting new orders. Tentatively we hope to open early June!

IB Designs, USA

Red Lobster ~ Signal Flags & Moving Update

Happy January! The holidays sure went by fast. I am always looking for creative ways that people use signal flags. Red Lobster has created a nautical feel at many of their restaurants. The picture below shows nautical decor including signal flags and seaside-inspired artwork that line the walls of the dining areas. The signal flags in this picture from left to right spell, “FRESH.”

red lobster,nautical decor,signal flags,seaTo see more of Red Lobster’s pictures in the Bar Harbor location you can click this link

We are still packing away and have more of a time table now. Our website will remain open tentatively till the end of February. Our plan is to move to WI by May 1st or the end of April. We will be making trips up to WI to look for a rental house and also last minute packing. By closing the website to orders then we can concentrate on the move. If you were thinking of ordering it would be best in the next 6 weeks. We hope to open our website by June if everything goes well. I plan on keeping this blog updated as we go along!

 

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  IB Designs, USA

Halloween Yard Decorations and Holiday Ordering

With Halloween being in just a few weeks I thought I would show some Halloween yard decorations. I had fun with this post and love the skeleton at the ships wheel below. This was on Pinterest and shows the Pirate yard!

halloween,yard decorations,nautical,pirate

This Halloween video has some fun music and nice yard decorations.

Lastly with Christmas being a little over 2 months away thought I would add that if you wish to order and have it arrive before Christmas please order before December 1st, 2014. This is a tentative date because if we get really busy we would have to change that date. If you have any questions you can always find out on our website Order Page the current time-frame to ensure delivery before Christmas. Personalized signal flags make great gifts!