When the PlayGroup Mamas hosted a bridal shower for my daughter, I assumed my regular assignment–party favors. For this special shower, embroidered cross stitch monograms were embroidered on these little Aida gift bags. The guest party favors were filled with Hershey’s kisses, always appropriate, I think, for engagement and wedding celebrations.
No one loves a bargain more than I do. So when I saw the bags on clearance, priced at $ .25 each, I bought three dozen, the entire lot. I had no plan for their use, but I knew that for $9 I had the raw materials for something wonderful. Little more than a year later, Rebecca was engaged and my PlayGroup Mama friends scheduled a bridal shower for 3 months later.
This group, PlayGroup Mamas, first gathered one Friday morning in 1976. We met weekly until the children were all in school. We’ve always been called PlayGroup Mamas. From the time our children could talk, they referred to each of the mothers as “a playgroup mama,” each of whom, they believed, had eyes in the back of her head. In our small town hometown, this belief was verified by multiple, instant, detailed reports of any conduct violation by a PGK (PlayGroup Kid) to the appropriate mother. Appropriate wrath ensued, followed by appropriate measures.
Since the last child went to school (she is now 125), the eight of us have met every two weeks for dinner. At these dinners we catch up with one another’s news and often plan bridal and baby showers for each of the 23 PlayGroup Kids, as the need arises. Sometimes we wish that we had come up with a catchy name like the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. A new friend of one of the Mamas asked if we attended plays together. But frankly, we are just too busy living our very busy, full and rich lives to spend time on the trivial pursuit of a more up-to-date name. “PlayGroup Mamas” stuck and suits us.
For the showers, I have always provided party favors. So I insisted that I would do so for my Rebecca’s shower as well. The three month advance notice for the shower gave me ample time to open the seam, do the embroidery, stitch them back together and add nicer ribbon.
The machine embroidery cross stitch monogram alphabet is from Ellen Mauer-Stroh, of EMS Designs. The designs are free downloads for members of her discussion forum at http://www.cross-stitch-board.com The bow design below each letter is from her Baby set, designed by Ellen and digitized by Sheri Olsen. They stitched out beautifully on my Brother ULT 2003D embroidery combo machine.
Having the bags ready-made with acceptable lace trim was a time saver, but it would have taken not much longer to start from scratch.
The guests seemed genuinely happy to receive the personalized bags and have since told me that they are in constant use. Most are used to keep a lipstick and handkerchief bagged up in their purses while others have told me that they load them with lavender or other potpourri and keep the bags in their lingerie drawers. Whatever. The bags were well received.
NOTE: You might have wondered why the bags needed name tags. For most guests, the last initial was used, but there were several guests from the same family. For multiple family members, the first name initial was used and the embroidery colors for each bag were different, thus the need for name tags. I didn’t want sisters having identical favor bags.