5 Ways to Promote Your Business during the Holiday Season

By Nicole Tinkham

Promotional products are a great way to endorse your company. With the holidays fast approaching, such products are the perfect gifts to give away with YOUR company name on it! Aside from the typical promo products you see so often (mugs, pens, clothing, etc.), there are many special products perfect for the holiday season. After speaking with Dianne, our advertising specialist, we created a list of the hottest promotional products for the holidays!

1. Food

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Food gifts are perfect for the holidays. In fact, we have a list of reasons why you should contact Dianne about our holiday food gift program this year!

  • Food gifts are the #1 holiday business gift.
  • Convenience – Dianne can handle all of the details!
  • High quality food gifts enhance your image.
  • Our gifts promote your company and your brand.
  • Can be shared in the office.
  • Various types and sizes fit any budget.
  • We can ship directly to each recipient!
  • All gifts arrive in perfect condition – guaranteed.
  • Free imprinting of your logo.
  • No set-up charge.
  • Creative packaging and customized gifts.
  • Personalized gift card service available.
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed!

2. Wine

Picture your logo on an elegant wine carrier, opener set, or wine stopper. Wine accessories make wonderful business gifts. Here are some of our favorites!

Bamboo Wine Cradle

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Belgio 4-Piece Wine Ensemble

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Corkcicle

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Wine Carrier

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Clear Vina tall wine glass

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3. Function

Calendars are a great gift choice as they are highly functional. EVERYONE has use for a calendar! Here are some other functional items that everyone can use.

bobble® jug

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Lexi iPad® Stand

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Brookstone® Nap™ Throw Blanket

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Igloo Tundra Cooler

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4. Cards

You may already have plans to send out holiday cards to your customers, but there are a few specialty cards to consider. Traditional greeting cards have your company logo printed on the inside, but calendar cards are also a great choice especially with the New Year right around the corner. CD greeting cards contain a CD featuring holiday music customized to fit your company’s demographic. You can also choose to have a downloadable version. Instead of a CD, these contain a code in which music can be downloaded. If you choose one of these specialty cards (see below), your company will stand out among the stack of ordinary cards.

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Some other types of cards to consider:

See more here!

5. Calendars

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We mentioned calendars in the card section above but they don’t necessarily have to be in card form. Calendars make perfect holiday gifts because they’re practical (especially with a new year only a few months away). Think about how many times a day you glance at a calendar. This is how many times your customer will see your logo on a daily basis! When it comes to calendars, you have many options to choose from. Here are a few to consider:

  • Magnetic
  • Calendar/memo pad
  • Desk calendar
  • Hard cover
  • Calendar/organizer
  • Calendar mouse pad
  • Sports schedule
  • Planner
  • Clock calendars

When choosing promotional products for the holidays, keep these 5 categories in mind: Food, wine, function, cards and calendars. Look for other great holiday items here! For more information on promotional products just stop in or give us a call (941-747-2995). Dianne in the advertising specialty department is more than happy to help your company find the perfect holiday gifts!

How to Use Embossing Powder

By Nicole Tinkham

How to use embossing powder(1)

Rubber stamping is BIG right now especially with the holiday season right around the corner. Whether you’re an experienced stamper or new to the exciting craft, embossing powder is definitely something to look into. This simple powder can go a long way and really make your project stand out. While a heat gun is needed, there’s no reason to be hesitant in trying out this technique. In this post, we’ll explain what embossing powder is and how to use it, just in time to start working on those holiday cards!

What is it?

Embossing powder is a special powder that when heated, melts to form an embossed (or raised) surface. In the beginning, there were only a few colors available but today you can find endless options. For example, distressed powder doesn’t turn shiny when heated like other embossing powders but rather stays coarse giving it a distressed look and feel. Clear embossing powder is also available and can be used with pigmented ink. There are numerous colors available such as gold, pastels, and deep hues as well as different surfaces including glossy and matte.

The tools

To achieve the embossed look, you will need embossing powder and a heat gun along with a few other supplies.

Heat gun: When using embossing powder, you MUST have a craft heat gun! They are designed for crafts, blowing extremely hot air (but not too hot) with a low air current as to not blow the powder right off the page. Hair dryers and paint strippers are not an adequate substitution!  You will find craft heat guns in a variety of different sizes with options including speed and cooling settings. BE CAREFUL: Heat guns are hot and can be dangerous!

Embossing powder: There are many different types of embossing powder available (see above).

Ink: Ink is used to hold the powder in place while applying heat. Clear embossing ink is available but pigmented ink can be used as well.

Stamps: You can use any stamp to get the ink onto the paper. With so many unique stamps at Keeton’s, you’re bound to find a few you love!

Surface (card): Feel free to get creative with the material in which you emboss on. Try embossing on different types of surfaces (textured, plain, glossy, etc.). It’s always a good idea to try it out on a small piece of scrap paper first to see how it will turn out.

Cleaning products: As with any stamping project, it’s important to keep your rubber stamps clean so they last a long time. See our blog post on How to Clean Your Rubber Stamps for more info!

The basic technique

  1. Have all of your supplies on hand. It’s much easier to work with everything within reach! Once you have everything ready, the first thing you need to do is load up your stamp with ink (either clear or pigmented).
  2. Press the stamp on the surface that you are working with.
  3. Place your stamped paper on a larger sheet or tray. This makes cleaning up unused powder much easier. Sprinkle plenty of embossing powder over the entire stamped design.
  4. Tap off extra powder and use a brush to get any stray particles of embossing powder.
  5. You don’t have to waste the excess embossing powder! Simply put it back in the container for next time!
  6. Hold the heat gun up to your design close enough to melt the embossing powder but far enough away to not burn the paper. As the powder melts, it will start to change. When this happens, move the heat gun over another area. You want to hold the heat gun steady, working one section at a time.
  7. Once you’ve hit every area with the heat gun, your embossed piece is complete! You can now incorporate it into a card, tag, or whatever you are using it for.

Other techniques to try

Above we mentioned the basic technique when working with embossing powder however there are many other techniques you can experiment with. You may even discover a new technique when experimenting, in which case we encourage you to share it with us!

Freeform – You don’t necessarily have to apply ink with a stamp. You can achieve a freeform design by dabbing your ink pad right on the paper.

Edging – For a subtle effect, emboss the edges of the paper by wiping the edge along the ink pad. Dip it in the embossing powder and heat with the heat gun.

Glossy finish – For a glossy finish, take the already embossed piece and dab the surface with clear embossing ink. Cover the surface with clear embossing powder and use your heat gun. Repeat until you reach the desired amount of gloss.

Make an impression – Instead of embossing the stamped image, you can do the opposite by embossing the entire piece of paper and make an imprint of the stamp. To do this, create 3-4 layers of embossing over the paper. While still warm, press your pre-inked stamp into the embossment and leave until the piece has cooled. Once set, remove your stamp to reveal the impression!

Distressed – Create a distressed look by using distressing powders. Simply apply clear embossing ink to the areas that will be embossed and sprinkle the distressing powder over those areas. Heat the areas with a craft heat gun as normal. You can now use your finger to rub off the course particles but DO NOT put these particles back in the container. Design tip: when you’re preparing your piece before embossing, consider using distressing inks to add to your distressed look. You can dab the ink pad along the edges of your piece for a nice effect.

As you can see, there are many techniques that can be achieved with embossing powder. Sometimes all it takes is a little experimentation so have fun with it and try something new! If you want to see how the process is done in person, stop in and talk to Joey, our stamping expert. She’s very knowledgeable and has a ton of tips and tricks up her sleeve!

5 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Office Furniture

By Nicole Tinkham

Furniture-blog

Choosing furniture for the office is no easy task. Yes, you can find a “great deal” on a desk or chair on any given day, but what do you do when that “great deal” ends up costing you more money? Think about it. You spend most of your time in the office, so you should invest in furniture that suites your needs, is comfortable, and will last for years to come. How exactly do you figure out what your office needs? Start by asking yourself the following questions and you will be well on your way to choosing the perfect office furniture.

1. What are your needs?

The first and most important thing to think about is what your office needs. Look at your current office situation. Are there areas being unused? Is it currently lacking something (storage, desk space, etc.)? Keep this in mind when thinking about what you need in your updated office. Make a list of all the equipment your office must have including items like a computer, printer, fax, phone, etc. Also think about how you will use the space. Will you need a large desk or workspace for planning? Will you need a lot of storage space? Do you need an area to meet with clients? It’s important to write everything down so you have a clear understanding of what you need in your office. It’s also a good idea to have this list handy when stopping by the furniture showroom or browsing the catalog.

2. How can you use the space?

Before jumping in and purchasing just anything, you must consider the space it’s going in. If you’re working with a small office, you want to be able to get the most out of the space. There are compact furniture options that may be ideal for these situations. Also think about windows – you always want to make the most out of natural lighting. Wall outlet placing is also an important factor to think about. You want to make sure all your devices that need to be plugged in are aligned to your outlets. When it comes to home offices, you must choose your space wisely. Make sure you are blocked off from any distractions. Having your office by a flat screen TV may not be the best idea!

3. What type of storage is needed?

This is a big one. What would an office be without adequate storage? It’s important to keep the office well organized (just see our office organizing blog) and it’s impossible to do without the proper storage space. Consider all of your storage options including filing cabinets, drawers, cabinets, and shelves. Shelves are especially helpful in small spaces because they allow you to go vertical with your storage, saving valuable floor space. The number one rule in organizing is to have a place for everything. While desk accessories (drawer organizers, pencil cups, file trays, etc.) can provide this, it all starts with the furniture. Think about what you will be storing and how much space it will take up.

4. What’s your style?

So far we’ve talked about the importance of function in office furniture, but we can’t forget about style! Just because a certain furniture set accommodates your needs doesn’t necessarily mean it fits your office style. You spend the majority of your time in the office so choose a style you LOVE. Think about whether you would like to go with something more traditional or contemporary. Wood furniture will give you a more traditional feel while steel and glass are more modern. You can also mix the two styles but make sure everything is consistent. If you do mix styles, it should be a well-balanced combination of the two.

5. How does it feel?

When it comes to comfort, your office desk probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The office desk is however just as important as an office chair when it comes to comfort. You may be thinking “how can a desk be comfortable”? Your desk needs to work with you, meaning it should provide easy access to everything you need. Think about your electronic devices (printer, phone, computer, camera, iPod, etc.). With many electronic devices, you may need a desk with wire management to hide and organize cords. Storage is also important. You want to make sure you have plenty of storage space that’s easy to organize and find what you’re looking for. As mentioned, a comfortable office chair is also very important. Luckily, we have a few blog posts that can be helpful when purchasing chairs for the office. Check out The 4 Types of Chairs You Should Know About and The Chair Mat Buying Guide.

Choosing office furniture is a process, so don’t rush into making a decision. Your office furniture should be functional, comfortable to work in, stylish, and provide the storage you need. Since this is no easy task, we do our best to provide resources to help you along the way. You can design your own office using the Visual Planner on the Keeton’s website , read our blog posts on office chairs and chair mats (more furniture posts to come), or talk to Carole, our furniture expert. Just give us a call (941-747-2995) or stop in!

5 Creative Things You Can Do With a Sharpie

By Nicole Tinkham

Just like the endless options Sharpie permanent markers give us (just see our Sharpie blog post), there are many creative things you can do with them. We’re sure you’re no stranger to these popular markers but you may not realize how you can use them to transform your home or your wardrobe! Take a look at some of our favorite Sharpie creations from Sharpie’s Pinterest boards!

1. Design your home

Use Sharpie markers to add an interesting design to a plain dresser.
Source: Better After

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And don’t forget to dress up those plain knobs! Get this unique look by coloring your porcelain knobs with Sharpie markers, let them sit overnight, and bake in the oven.
Source: Teal & Lime

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Create customized decorative pillows – You can create a message like the one below or draw a killer design!
Source: Our Dream Lives

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If you’re uninterested in ordinary wallpaper, we suggest creating your own design! Metallic Sharpies were used in the photo below.
Source: Design Stiles

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Add a touch of design in unexpected places, like the frame of a mirror!
Source: Time Out Chicago

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Another design opportunity that is often missed – ceiling fan blades!
Source: Better After

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2. Make a fashion statement

Wear your artwork!
Sharpie Fish design by phageoflife16

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Customize any boring flip flops!
See how it’s done here: Teen Vogue

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If flip flops aren’t your thing, customize ANY shoe!

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Believe it or not, this colorful piece of costume jewelry was made possible with Sharpies (and nail polish)!
Source: Los Dos Aiko’s

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Personalize the one accessory you probably never leave home without – your cell phone!

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Customize plain bangles for a unique look!
Source: Cool Mom Picks

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3. Celebrate the holidays

Design your own wrapping paper for ANY occasion!
Source: Alisa Burke

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And don’t forget the tags!

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Don’t just celebrate with plain balloons. Create your own themed decorations (like this Harry potter themed birthday party)!

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Pumpkins don’t always have to be carved!
Source: Seasons of Joy

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Whether it’s cute cards or these mini mailboxes, Sharpies can make Valentine’s Day extra special.

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Custom ornaments make great gifts!

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4. Improve your fine dining

Make every plate in your set unique.

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Love these bold metallic Sharpie polka dots!
Source: Sterling Style Love

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Match your small bowls and dishes to your custom plates and mugs!
Source: By Stephanie Lynn

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Doodles don’t have to stay on paper!

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Colorful coasters!
See tutorial here.

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You can even decorate your salt and pepper shakers!

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5. Get artsy!

Who would of thought to doodle on a car?
Source: Senses Lost

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Another unusual place to doodle!

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Creative lettering with the Sharpie pen!

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Sharpie sketches on canvas.
Source: A Creative Day

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Beautiful pointillism.

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A drawing done with Sharpie neon markers.
Source: Sharpie Tumblr

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As you can see, there are numerous ways to use the popular Sharpie marker. How do you use yours? Comment in the box below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

How to Find the Correct Refill for Your Pen

By Nicole Tinkham

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After reading our blog post on How to Choose the Right Pen, you’ve probably found the perfect pen that never leaves your sight. A problem that you’ll eventually encounter (if you haven’t already) is running out of ink and having to purchase a refill. Sometimes this task can be as easy as opening the Keeton’s catalog and finding a refill for the type of pen you have. Other times, you may not know the exact type for the pen or are unable to find it in the catalog. This blog will take you through the steps of finding a refill for your favorite pen so it can be used for a long, long time.

  1. Find out what type of pen it is. The first thing you need to figure out is what type of pen you have. Look at both the outside of the pen and the empty cartridge on the inside to determine the type. Let’s use the Papermate InkJoy 700 RT as an example. You can see in the picture below that the type of pen is printed on the barrel. However, the cartridge on the inside does not have any information on it at all. Sometimes you’ll find the type of pen on the barrel, sometimes it’s on the ink cartridge, and other times there’s no information at all.

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  1. Find it in the catalog. If you were able to figure out the type of pen you have, you can now search for it in the Keeton’s catalog. The pen refills start after the pens and go on for a few pages. The type of pen will be listed, usually with a few different options when it comes to color and point type. Sometimes there will be a few different pens that the refill can be used for. For example, you may see: Refills for G2 Gel, Dr. Grip Gel Roller, ExecuGel G6 Gel Pen, Dr. Grip Ltd., and Q7 Gel Pens. As long as your pen is on the list, the refill will fit your pen. Be careful though, there are many pens with similar names out there!

If you do not already have a Keeton’s catalog, we can get you one! Just give us a call (941-747-2995) or stop in!

  1. Search for it on Keeton’s website. If you were unable to find the correct refill in the catalog or are unsure if it’s the correct one, see if it’s listed on the Keeton’s website. There are many ways you can search for it on the website. In the quick search, you can enter in the type of pen (Papermate InkJoy 700 RT).  When you’re looking at the item, you can click “supplies and accessories” which sometimes brings up the refills available for that pen. Please note that refills are not always found using this method. You can also search for “Papermate InkJoy 700 refill”, which should bring up your refill options.
  2. Ask us! We know that finding the correct refill can be challenging. If you need further help, feel free to ask us! Remember, having the model of the pen helps us find the correct refill. If you’re unsure which type of pen you have, bring it in and we can find one that fits.
  3. Compare. If you are unable to stop in Keeton’s and are still unsure of which pen you have, compare the refill currently in the pen to others. Usually, you can pick out a refill that fits by comparing the size and details of other ones.

Don’t stress yourself out when looking for a pen refill. If you’re ever in doubt, we’re always here to help! Please post any questions in the comment box below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

What do you want to hear about next? Your question could be answered in our next blog post!

How does a Wireless Mouse Work?

By Nicole Tinkham

Wireless-mouse-BLOG

As technology progresses, you’ll notice more and more devices going wireless. When it comes to accessories for your computer, wireless mice and keyboards are definitely things to consider. They’re easy to move from computer to computer, can be used from a distance, and provide an organized, wire-free desktop.  Since these devices don’t plug into the computer using a cable, you’re probably wondering how they work. In this post, we’ll discuss how a wireless mouse works and mention a few that we recommend!

What are radio frequencies?

Wireless mice are able to function through radio frequencies.  They have both RF (radio frequency) transmitters and RF receivers. The RF transmitter is often located inside the mouse itself. The movements and clicks of the mouse are transmitted through radio signals to the receiver. The RF receiver connects to the computer’s mouse input, which receives these signals and decodes them to be sent to the computer.

Bluetooth

You may find some wireless mice (as well as other wireless devices such as printers and keyboards) that use Bluetooth. Bluetooth uses adaptive frequency hopping which chooses frequencies with little to no interference. Bluetooth technology provides a decent range of about 33 feet.

The types of wireless mice

Your choices when it comes to purchasing a mouse are not limited to only wired or wireless. Once you decide to go with a wireless mouse, you have three different options to choose from.

  • Mechanical: These use a rubber ball to calculate the movements of the mouse. However, you won’t see these too often. They tend to get dirty easily and they process information slower.
  • Optical: This is the type of wireless mouse you will most often come across. Instead of the ball used in mechanical mice, this one uses an optical light to calculate movements. We highly recommend going with an optical mouse as they are able to process information quickly and are reliable.
  • Laser: Instead of an optical light, these mice use a laser light, being able to calculate movements more precisely. These are ideal for gamers because of their high performance.

Why you need a wireless mouse

There are many advantages when it comes to wireless mice. Wireless mice tend to be small, light, and portable making them ideal for presentations and traveling. They also make it possible to work from a distance if needed. The only thing you have to worry about is keeping it charged and ready to go. Most are rechargeable and the batteries surprisingly last quite awhile. Not only are they reliable and accurate, but wireless mice also help keep your desk organized and clutter-free!

Look for these wireless mice!

Here’s a few wireless mice we thought were worth mentioning (all available at Keeton’s).

What about wireless keyboards?

Wireless keyboards do not connect to the computer through a cord. Instead, they work the same way as wireless mice, through radio frequencies. These radio frequencies send a signal to the computer telling it which keys were pressed, just like how movements of a mouse are sent to the computer. Since wireless keyboards don’t receive power through the computer, they require batteries or another source of power. Deciding whether or not you want to go wireless is a step in the right direction when choosing a keyboard. For more keyboard options, check out our Tips for Choosing a Keyboard blog post!

Now that you understand how they function, you’re probably anxious to get your own wireless mouse and keyboard! As mentioned, there are many options to consider and we are excited to help you choose the perfect one! Just stop in, give us a call (941-747-2995), or post your questions in the comment box below. Make sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages as well for fun facts, interesting articles, inspiration, organizing tips, and more!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

YOU can help us make a donation to the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for Sarasota/Manatee FL. For the month of October, every like we get on our Facebook page equals $1 donated. Share with your friends and check out makingstrideswalk.org/sarasotamanatee to make a separate donation or follow our team, Keeton’s Hometown Heroes progress.

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