Memorial Day

Memorial Day – Simple Ways to Thank a Veteran

memorial_dayMemorial Day is just a few days away – this year it will be Monday, May 26. We would like to acknowledge and thank all of the brave men and women who have served our nation so valiantly and courageously through the years.

There are so many ways to help. We hope you’ll consider showing your appreciation to all of those who have served and are serving our country, no matter how you do it.

 

Five Simple Ways to Thank a Veteran

1. Say Thank You

Just the simple act of saying “Thank you for your service” goes a long way with veterans. Throw in a handshake too, you’re bound to see a smile on their face, which will make it all worth it.

2. Volunteer

Do something for the veterans in your community. Seriously, what’s an hour of your time for the sacrifices they’ve made? Check out uso.org for ways that you can help. At the least, drop off an anonymous letter at your local VA thanking a veteran; it will get to the right person.

3. Donate

Make a small donation today to any of the fantastic organizations out there that help veterans each and every day. There many great charities to contribute to like the Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled American Veterans.

4. Pay for Lunch

Just walk up and say “I appreciate what you are doing, this one’s on me.” Offer to pay for a veteran’s meal today. This means more than you may think.

5. Never Forget

One of the biggest things you can do is to make the most out of the opportunity you’ve been given. Our freedoms have been paved with the sacrifices of our soldiers and they did so for all of us to enjoy this great country; let’s not forget that or take it for granted.

A veteran is someone who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. Regardless of personal political views, that is an honor and there are too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.

Planning a Successful Family Reunion

Planning a Successful Family Reunion – 12 Step Guide

Planning a Successful Family Reunion

Planning a successful family reunion may seem like an easy task, but a typical family reunion will assemble hundreds of family members from the eldest to the youngest for a meal, some fun and discussion. The older attendees are generally grandparents, parents, siblings or first cousins while the youngest could be second, third or even fourth cousins. It’s also not uncommon for regular family reunions to be sponsored by family organizations or family associations centered around common family member celebration or ancestor.

For some, receiving an invitation to a family reunion is exciting. For others, the same invite can trigger a headache. But what if you’re in charge of planning your family reunion? Do you know what to do?

12 steps in Planning a Successful Family Reunion

1. Which family name? It may seem obvious, but the first step for any family reunion is to decide which family. Which side of the family are you inviting? Do you want to include only close relatives or all descendants of Great Grandma Smith or other common ancestor? Are you inviting only direct line relatives (parents, grandparents, grandkids) or do you plan to include cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins or even 4th cousins? Keep in mind, when planning a successful family reunion, every branch on the family tree adds many more family members that could potentially attend. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

2. Pick the date. It’s not a successful reunion if no one can attend. You may want to plan your family reunion to coincide with an elder family member’s birthday or a national holiday. Pick two or three dates and  poll family members to avoid time and date conflicts. Most importantly, remember that you won’t be able to please everyone. Choose your final date based on what works for most of the family members.

3. Select a location. Try to select a family reunion location that is most accessible and affordable to most of the family members. If relatives are living one area, then select a reunion location that’s nearby. If everyone’s located all over the country, then try to pick a central location to help cut down on travel expenses.

4. Develop a budget. This will help you decide the type of the food, decorations, accommodations and activities for your family reunion. You can choose to pay for all this out of your own pocket with the hope that family members will contribute; but unless you have a money tree in your backyard, you should collect a pre-registration fee to help with t-shirts, decorations, catering, activities and location costs.

5. What about a theme? Creating a theme for a family reunion is a fun way to attract family members and make them more likely to attend. It also makes things more exciting!  When it comes to planning a successful family reunion, be imaginative with the t-shirts, food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion. Family history themes are very popular, as well as celebrating family member’s birthday or anniversary, or your family’s heritage.

6. Determine the menu. Feeding a large group of people with different tastes is one of the trickiest parts of planning a reunion. Make it easier by choosing a menu that relates to your theme, or maybe a menu that celebrates your family’s heritage. If you are a tight budget, organize a group of family members to prepare the food. If you have a large group and your budget allows, find a caterer or restaurant to do at least some of the work for you. Fabulous food makes for a family reunion that everyone will remember.

7. Plan some fun activities.  Planned activities at your family reunion will help provide a comfortable atmosphere so people who do not know each other well will have fun and get together. Create activities that will be fun for all ages and help promote family knowledge and heritage. You may also want to prizes or special gift awards for the oldest family member or the longest distance traveled to attend the reunion.

8. Set the stage. You’ve got a bunch of people, now what do you plan to do with them? It’s time now to make arrangements for tents (if an outside reunion), chairs, parking decorations, programs, signs, t-shirts, goodie bags and other reunion-day requirements.

9. A picture says a thousand words. While many family members will no doubt bring their own cameras, it helps to also make plans to record the family reunion. Whether you designate a certain family member as the official reunion picture taker, or hire a professional photographer to take photos or videos, you should prepare a list of the people and events that you want recorded. For spontaneous “moments,” purchase some disposable cameras and hand them out to relatives. Don’t forget to collect them at the end of the day!

10. Print up a program Create and have a program printed that outlines the lineup of scheduled reunion events to provide to family members as they arrive for the reunion. You may also want to send this out via email or your reunion Web site in advance of the reunion as well. This will help serve as a reminder to people of activities which may require they bring something with them, such as a photo wall or family tree chart.

11. Decorate for the big day. The big day is almost here and now it’s time to make sure it goes smoothly. Create catchy, easy-to-ready signs to point arriving guests to registration, parking, and important locations such as bathrooms. Purchase or make a guest book to collect signatures, addresses, and other important information, as well as serve as a permanent record of the reunion. Purchase custom made name badges with lanyards to facilitate mixing and mingling between unacquainted family members. Family tree wall charts are always a big hit as reunion attendees always want to know where they fit in to the family. Framed photos or printed posters of common ancestors or past family reunions are also popular. And, if you want to know what everyone thought of all your reunion planning, print up some evaluation forms for people to fill out as they leave.

12. Keep the fun going. Designate a volunteer or volunteers to create and send out a post-reunion newsletter with stories, photos and news items from the reunion. If you collected family information, send along an updated genealogy chart as well. This is a great way to get people excited about the next reunion, as well as include less fortunate family members who were not able to attend.

Wedding Event Ideas

Wedding Event Ideas – Is someone getting married?

wedding_Item_Ideas_Spotlight_Apparel_Jacksonville_Florida

Looking for wedding event  ideas for both the engagement party and the big day? Well, we have some ideas in mind.

Engagement Party

Love is in the air and you will want to give the guests invited to the engagement affair some mementoes, noting the date to look forward to. A decorative ornament can be hung from Christmas trees for years to come. Likewise, a personalized clock makes a nice accessory for desk or home.

Reception

The wedding day brings joy and excitement, so start off with fun bride-and-groom hand puppets, which guests can take home to their children. For the cocktail hour, provide cocktail glasses or a wine bottle corkscrew opener, so your guests can try a few different flavored cocktails. Be sure they’re imprinted with the couple’s names and the date for a personal touch that will remind guests of the special day.

Linen napkins with a monogram in metallic gold ink  adds a touch of class. Also personalized coaster from Spotlight Apparel makes a unique wedding favor to be given out at the end of the night. It’s a good idea to have drawstring totes so guests may carry home their party favors in a convenient reusable bag.

Overnight Guests

If you’re expecting out-of-towners who will be overnight guests at the hotel that is also the wedding venue, you’ll want gifts for them as well. Your guests will feel special when they find customized gifts in their rooms.  A personalized wine stopper or bottle opener is a great reminder of the big day that can also be used again and again. Negotiate with the hotel to pay for a portion of a luxury spa gift tote bag that can be imprinted with the couple’s names, wedding date and the hotel information.

Spotlight Apparel offers custom embroidery and screen printing  for a variety of products. These include screen printed t-shirts, hats, sweaters, jackets, bags, pants, blankets, towels, and just about every apparel product that you can think of. Be sure to contact Spotlight Apparel, Inc. for all your screen printing, embroidery and promotional products.

Screen Printing History

Screen Printing History – How old is this printing technique?

screen_printing_historySilk screen printing may be the oldest and most practical printing technique dating back to ancient times. There are hypotheses that silk screen printing’s origins started in China at least the 12 century B.C. when silk began to be produced there. Silk printing may have originated not far from the Mediterranean Sea between Mesopotamia and Phoenicia according to available historical facts.

There are a number of archeological finds and historical studies that indicate that the Phoenicians found a way to reproduce patterns on fabrics using techniques uncommon to those used today.

 

Human Hair Stencils Advance Screen Printing

However, they can be credited with pioneering a system of image duplication by using stamps to reproduce simple patterns. The method was later improved in Japan to a printmaking technique that created sharp-edged images using a stencil and a porous fabric, known as screen printing, or serigraphy. The Japanese used simple stencils which were glued onto a screen made of human hair that was stretched over a wooden frame.

Screen Printing Improved During The Middle Ages

This printing technique was then further improved throughout the Middle Ages and became widespread in Europe. The screen printing process that we know of today emerged in the early 1900s when a man from Manchester, England, Samuel Simon, received a patent for using a silk screen fabric as a printing screen. Another first in screen printing history. Simon patented this process of printing through a silk screen, which guaranteed a higher tensile strength and better size stability. Simon’s process also used rubber blades, or squeegees, to push the ink through the screen which is still used today. The invention was coined the term silk screen printing.

War Brings Screen Printing To America

It was not until the First World War that screen printing took off in America. The process was used for printing flags and banners. The use of photographic stencils at this time made the process more versatile and encouraged wide-spread use. The actual use of silk for screens was discontinued in the mid-1940s during the Second World War because of its use in the war effort. Since then a polyester material has been used for the screen mesh and other improvements have been made in the presses, inks, and chemicals used. Otherwise the same basic screen printing process patented by Simon is still used today.

The Latest Screen Printing Technology

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Spotlight Apparel continues the contribute to screen printing history by using state of the art automated equipment. This has kept us on the cutting edge of silk screen printing technology. Our current capabilities include high density printing of up to 8 colors. We emphasizes strict quality standards during all stages of screen print production. From design work from our in-house art department to screen prep, to job set-up, all the way through to final product inspection, control processes are in place to maintain high levels of quality in all areas.

 

Spotlight Apparel offers custom screen printing for a variety of products. These include screen printed t-shirts, hats, sweaters, jackets, bags, pants, blankets, towels, and just about every apparel product that you can think of. Be sure to contact Spotlight Apparel, Inc. for all your screen printing, embroidery and promotional products.

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day With Eco Friendly Products

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day With Earth Friendly Products From Spotlight Apparel

Seems like everyone is going green these days and you certainly are no exception. To celebrate your eco-mindedness and let the community know about it, you can host an eco-awareness event.

We just celebrated Earth Day on April 22, but any day is a good day to honor and respect our planet. Of course, you’ll need plenty of giveaways that are “eco-friendly,” so the products not only have eco-friendly material, but also promote activities which keep our Earth green.

These giveaways will also attract attendance and raise awareness.

Pre-Awareness Mailing

First, find a unique item to send to 500 community members beforehand, alerting them to the place, date and time of the event. Biodegradable highlighters, or an eco-friendly memo pad, for example, clearly say “green,” and you can invite the community to grow along with your company and services. You can also send out a press kit made of 100% recyclable material to let the press know you’re planting the seeds of change with your new sustainability practices.

Carry-Alls

At the event, provide something attendees can carry goodies in, such as a wide array of organic and recyclable totes and duffels.

In The Bag

Such goodies can include “green” items like notepads, a perpetual calendar frame, or eco core golf balls. A solar powered pedometer or Eco Non-Woven Tote, made from 80% recycled post consumer plastic bottles is a unique, premium quality, reusable green product! Don’t just think about the materials items are made from, however. Keep in mind that products that keep batteries or other items out of landfills and protect Mother Earth in other ways might qualify too.

Wear Your Pride

Spotlight Apparel offers custom screen printing for a variety of products. These include screen printed t-shirts, hats, sweaters, jackets, bags, pants, blankets, towels, and just about every apparel product that you can think of. We can print from a 1 to 8 color design with a minimum order of only 12 pieces for a single color print. All of our digitizing & embroidery work is done by our In-House Art Department allowing us to create the perfect design for you.

Raffle

At the event, be sure to hold a raffle where winners will receive higher-end items. The proceeds can go to local Jacksonville environmental nonprofits, like St. John’s Riverkeeper. Helping a local a environmental nonprofit will create goodwill and send a positive message from you. Raffle participants, too, will feel good about doing their part for a good cause.

So remember to celebrate Earth Day every day!

For more great ideas be sure to contact Spotlight Apparel, Inc. for all your screen printing, embroidery and promotional products.

School Fundraiser Ideas

School Fundraiser Ideas – Some Great Ideas for Fundraising!

School Uniforms Spotlight Apparel Jacksonville FL

Wear it with Pride

Kids and parents alike love showing their school pride with logoed clothing and accessories, such as flip-flops, T-shirts, and lanyards. Sweatshirts with custom embroidery or screen printing  are great items to be worn to big games on chilly nights.

Give Away Greats

Then, of course, there will be giveaway programs, where your school will show appreciation to team fans and speakers at educational sessions. Or your school may want to simply get your name out to the general public, especially in the case of colleges looking to recruit future students. A football sports jug could be the perfect gift for athletic sponsors. Tote bags are ideal for school books, gym clothes and more.

Gift Ideas

Other gift suggestions might include custom Stainless Steel Mug and Coaster Gift Set with your school’s logo and colors. A logoed school briefcase or backpack is the perfect school gift for students and teachers alike!

In Appreciation

A nice picnic or BBQ item is a nice choice to show support for frazzled teachers. No matter the type of promotion – fundraising, recognition, school spirit and more, there are lots of great ideas to help you earn an A.

Inside the School

Food containers to hold snacks or lunch, highlighters or pens, and a notebook might be available for purchase in the cafeteria, as well as logoed lollipops to give to students.

So remember to contact Spotlight Apparel for help with your custom school fundraiser ideas. (904) 398-7900

Team Apparel Ideas

By: Spotlight Apparel, Inc. Jacksonville Florida (904) 398-7900

Team Apparel Ideas -  From Spotlight Apparel Jacksonville Florida

Team Apparel Ideas: How to Create Excitement

Anyone involved in adult or youth athletics – parents, players and supporters – will all need branded team clothing and apparel. With these team apparel ideas, you can create excitement, keep everyone happy and encourage more families to participate in recreational sports with sport-themed branded apparel such as uniforms, caps, t-shirts and jackets with custom embroidery or screen printing.

Sports teams attract a lot of attention from larger local companies like AmeriGas or Harbinger Sign. From jerseys to balls, trophies to snacks, the sponsors’ names will need to appear on everything. Who wouldn't love having a great local sponsor on their team?

But don’t just stop with baseball. There’s a sport going on somewhere all year round; from basketball to soccer, wrestling to gymnastics and don't forget bowling. When planning your sports team athletic uniforms, apparel and promotions, think about items that can be used from start of the season to finish.

Recruiting Players

When signing up players to your club or league, use items like footballs, soccer balls, volley balls, etc., or other sporting equipment that can be used during games as well. Also think of sports themed incentives, such as ball-shaped products and embroidered sports towels.

During the Season

During the season, players and fans will appreciate spirit flags, decals, radios to get them pumped and team pride apparel, such as performance pullovers.

The Awards Banquet

Of course, there’s the awards banquet at the end of the season. Give players something they will wear or display with pride.

For the Fans

Fans, too, will love any item that will keep them comfortable during a big game, such as a portable chair so they have a front-row seat or an embroidered hat to keep the sun out of their eyes so they can have the best view of their favorite all-star.

So remember to contact Spotlight Apparel for help with your custom team apparel ideas. (904) 398-7900

Preparing for Your Next Golf Tournament

By: Spotlight Apparel, Inc. Jacksonville Florida (904) 398-7900

Golf Tournament Promotional Items From Spotlight Apparel Jacksonvlle FL

Preparing for Your Next Golf Tournament

Get ready for upcoming golf tournaments by following these STEPS:

 Pre-Tournament

You’ll want to send out invitations to your tournament three months before the event itself. The invitations should clearly state the date, time and place. Once you have an estimated number of guests you can decide on appropriate pre-tournament promotions to build excitement. A golf umbrella or a divot repair tool is a great way to get people excited about playing in the tournament. Customized golf tees and balls from Spotlight Apparel are a great way to put a personal touch on your event.

 Tournament Gift Bags

Registration at the event is the ideal spot for distributing gift bags. Choose a quality tote to hold items your guests can use during the tournament, such as a sports bottle, golf towel, balls, tees and divot repair tools. Tote bags offer practicality and can be used for light travel, day trips or as a gym bag. It is also a good idea to include a product your guests will use long term, such as a golf-themed pen.

 Raffle for Charity

Here’s a chance for you to show your goodwill in more ways than one, by holding a raffle for charity at the event. Decide on an amount per ticket and supply a unique prize such as a golf bag that players would appreciate winning.

 Awards

When it comes to awards at the end of the day it’s easy to make anyone feel special! You should decide on how many awards to distribute and what to give prizes for. Celebrate any achievement from longest putt, longest drive, closest to the pin, low foursome, low golfer, etc.

 After the Event

Post tournament gifts are a great way to thank your guests. Picture frames make for a nice decorative piece and will give your clients great memories of your event.

Contact Spotlight Apparel to prepare for your next corporate or charity golf tournament. (904) 398-7900