Been awhile since I posted as life seems to get in the way at times. Although it’s a bit early wanted to wish all my friends and followers a wonderful Thanksgiving. Wishing you a peaceful day as we start the holiday season!
t’s been a while in the making, but we’re excited to introduce the newest member to our family:
BRAVO-ZULU (BZ) Presentation-Quality Color Print
We previously offered a fabric flag vertical banner with the letter B (Bravo) and Z (Zulu). These two flags are a sort of “well done” acknowledgement in the maritime services. Then we realized how much time it took to make the flags, while at the same time some of our customers wanted to order quantities. We did a lot of ponderatin’, thinkinating, contemplatin’, cogitatin’, bamboozlizin’ and meditating.
Then we came up with a photo-realistic, 3D image of the two flags and saw we could do some really cool things with it! Our next problem was how to get it from our imagination into the real world, onto the Web site and available for purchase. At last, we figured it all out.
The new Bravo Zulu is:
An 8×10″ quality color print on 32-lb laser paper,
Ready to frame in whatever frame or matting you’d like (frames are not included),
Carries a much lower price than our fabric ladder flags.
Additionally, each BZ print comes with its own custom-designed gift card and envelope, featuring a crest we designed with a gold banner proclaiming “BRAVO ZULU.” The card opens to a simple message stating, “BRAVO ZULU, Well Done!”
Craig designed this and the quality is excellent. This is just the beginning, and we intend to introduce other high-quality 3D paper signal flags in various sizes and banners in the future. We’re thinking of 1-click-to-buy banners that spell out various events like: “Happy Birthday,” “Just Married,” “Congratulations,” “Welcome Home,” and so forth.
The paper-letter signal flags will be DYI, where you order the flags and cut them out to string together. I’ll have more about them as we get closer to finishing them. The BZ award is an example of what we also can offer as “portrait” flags, all suitable for framing. The individual letters we’re thinking would be wall size, about 8×10 and then smaller versions. For example, we hope to produce “stick flags,” about 4×5″ that you cut out and fold to wrap around a typical skewer. The result could be part of a floral arrangement or hung on string instead as a decoration.
Several years ago, we saw a post from Martha Stewart that went on about putting small signal flags on toothpicks for cakes. Oddly enough, she had no connection to where anyone could buy some of these! So we decided we should be the ones making them! Those could even go on Christmas trees as a sort of garland. Fun, right? But of course!
We’re also able to do things with paper that we simply can’t do with fabric. We’re thinking of “repeater” flags, and things like pirate flags for birthday parties with a nautical theme. Another problem has been number pennants, which we do make in fabric but they’re cumbersome. With numbers in “stick flag” size, we could offer things like “Happy New Year 20-##” at a much more affordable price.
It’s an exciting time, but Holy Cow!…there’s a lot involved! At the moment, we’re redesigning the Web site, so keep an eye out for Breaking News!
Check out our BZ page to see the images and to order.
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.
Next is a picture I took at the Outlet Mall in Oshkosh with their holiday decorations
Lastly we visited the Oshkosh Celebrations of Lights. It was wonderful!
Kathy and Craig
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away. This year has sure gone by fast. I remember last year and how many boxes were around the place as we were packing. We are looking forward to our First Thanksgiving and Christmas here in WI.
We have a lot to be thankful for this year. The move went well, overall our health is good and we have food on the table.
From our house to yours wishing all my friends and followers a wonderful Thanksgiving as we enter the holiday season.
It’s now been 6 months since we moved and the house is starting to take shape. It’s starting to feel more like home. Time really flies by fast! When we moved last April, the two-car garage got overrun with boxes. It was at the point, in the beginning, that we had to create a path just to get from one side to the other. We have a nice long driveway, so we left the cars parked outside. Since then, we’ve been working away most of the summer, (between fishing and grilling and mowing a lawn for the first time). Now, with Fall having arrived, we wanted to be able to put the cars in the garage for the winter months ahead.
Below is a picture collage I put together showing the before and after. The bottom two show the after. The before pictures really don’t show all the boxes we had in there, and we had some furniture the first few days that the mover guys put there. We didn’t know what we were going to do with it back then. But now, at least, we can finally park both cars in the garage, which is great!
We’ve learned a lot over the summer months, about just how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. After living so long in apartments, we are seeing what a difference living in a house can be. Especially mowing a lawn for the first time in years (yes I already mentioned that, but it’s a huge deal for us!). Still, we really are happy that we moved to Wisconsin, and we love the rental we found, even with the kitchen being a bit small for us. And we just got a snow-blower (a really huge one!) so we should be good to go for the winter.
I was hoping to include here some Autumn pictures, since we live in a area with lots of trees. But although a few trees have started to change colors, it’s been a warm fall so they haven’t changed all that much. If we get some really good colors on the trees, I’ll take some pictures for maybe the next post. I was going to include a picture of the snow blower, but it’s so big I couldn’t fit it in the camera!
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.
This ship is the USS Cooperstown, with the call sign “LCS-23.” That would looks like this in signal flags:
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!
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.
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.