Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monogramming Memories

When I sat down to write this blog about monogramming, I started thinking back to my childhood and it reminded me of Mema, my other grandmother.  If you read my last blog post about G-mama (my dad’s mom), you will agree I have been quite nostalgic lately! 

Mema is my mom’s mom and was the definition of a fine, southern lady.  When I think of her farmhouse in South Carolina where I spent many summers running through the peach orchard while Mema sat in the rocking chair on the porch, I remember the smell of warm apple pie, the sound of teacups clinking and the sight of everything monogrammed.  From tea towels and bed linens to fine china and silver, her house had curly letters embroidered or engraved on every surface. 

Why are monograms so nostalgic?  I asked my Aunt Gwen, my mom’s sister, who carries on the tradition of monogramming everything with a flat surface and this was her answer: “Monograms remind me of a more genteel time when ladies wore dresses and make up and sipped tea.”  She went on to tell me how Mema used to have all of her monograms sent to New York to be designed.  She said, “We had our sweaters, purses, linens and all we could think of done. It used to be somewhat of a status symbol.” 

Monogramming has changed since then.  There are programs that quickly align the letters, machines that sew lightening fast and millions of designs to choose from.  Monograms are not as much of a status symbol as they used to be but they still turn a special gift into an amazing keepsake.  That is why everything we make at Princess Linens can be personalized. 

My boys are little but already I look back at the pictures of our special occasions and my heart melts when I see their sweet smiles and their precious outfits which have all, of course, been monogrammed.  Time passes too quickly and monograms are our way to slow down a little and remember a more “genteel time.”  Just like Aunt Gwen said. 

From our family to yours-

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Platinum 1934, Inc.

Most of you don’t know this but we have a corporate name under which our brand names Princess Linens and Doodlebugz Crayola operate.  Our corporate name is Platinum 1934, Inc.  It doesn’t mean much to our customers but has more to do with how our company is structured.  I was asked the other day about the origin of the corporate name and as I was telling the story felt very nostalgic.

The name Platinum 1934, Inc. is a tribute to my late grandmother, G-mama.  I know it is a strange name, one I have never heard anyone else use in referencing their grandmother, but that is what we called her.  G-mama was an amazing woman and I loved her very much.   When I was 7 years old she taught me to work with my hands.  She first taught me to crochet and I was immediately hooked on the wonderful world of needle arts.  She would show me my errors and how to correct them. Later she taught me how to knit and again how to undo and redo stitches without having to take out rows and rows of hard work.  She had the patience of a saint.  When we weren’t weaving needles in and out of fiber, we would draw and color together.    

When G-mama turned 90 (she lived to be 99) she gave me her platinum engagement ring that she had worn since 1934.  It is a beautiful, delicate ring with a modest diamond and two small sapphires on either side.  Years later, I was trying to decide on a name for my company.  I wanted to honor the woman who meant so much to me and without whom I would surely not have developed a love for all things creative.  Platinum 1934, Inc was born. 

I still think of G-mama often, especially when I am designing new products.  When I developed the Doodlebugz collection, she was my inspiration.  In the age of video games and often limitless TV, I wanted to make products that would inspire kids to be creative whether at home or on-the-go.   I envisioned children chalking on a placemat while mom was in the kitchen making dinner instead of parked in front of a television. 

I still love knitting in my spare time (of which I have very little these days with a 2 year old and a 6 month old).  But each time I sit down to knit or when I begin designing a new product, I think of G-mama. I am so grateful for the countless hours she spent with me, showing me all the wonderful things these hands can do.  I hope to one day do the same for my kids and maybe even my grandkids many years from now.

From our family to yours –



Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I’m usually a very private person but today I wanted to share with you a little something about my life. In addition to owning Princess Linens, I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful young boys. Sam is a bouncing six month old baby and Michael is my busy two year old, who happens to have Down Syndrome.

What is Down Syndrome? Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs in approximately 1 in every 691 live births.  People with Down syndrome are both physically and mentally delayed and can have medical issues ranging from mild to severe.

Although there are many challenges and fears with raising my son, the blessings are tremendous. Yes, raising a child with special needs is a unique challenge, and there's still fear about Michael’s future because of health and social challenges; and certainly some days are much more difficult than if I had a "typical" child.  Many everyday activities like doctor's appointments, social gatherings, travel accommodations and even mealtimes are that much more difficult.  But at the end of the day I wouldn't trade the relative difficulties for any convenience or absence of fear. He has filled our hearts with so much joy and love.

You’ll be seeing more of Michael in the future since I am using my handsome boys as models for the Princess Linens clothing line.  In the meantime, I wanted to share this moving poem written by Emily Perl Kingsly, a mother of a special needs child that sums up our experience:

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

From our family to yours – Kathryn