Little Blue Sister Gifts Aug11


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Little Blue Sister Gifts

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Rating: 4.9/5 (14 votes cast)

I first found out about these adorable personalized gifts when my friend ordered one and then couldn’t stop talking about it.  She had a precious photo of her two children walking home holding hands after her son’s first day of kindergarten.  She loved the photo and wanted to enjoy the memory more than just when she opened her scrapbook. Finally, she found the perfect way to remember that moment from eight years ago.

She found a local company called Little Blue Sister Gifts who specializes in making amazing accessories using your personal photos.  She just emailed her photo to the company, and in a couple of weeks had an amazing treasure.

Little Blue Sister Gifts is based just on the outskirts of Pittsburgh in Ambridge. Owner Melanie Chiaverini makes  everything by hand and her work is very high quality. She says the process is called sublimation where the ink embeds the photo into the fabric.  She offers handbags, make-up bags, totes, compact mirrors, garden flags and t-shirts. Little Blue Sister Gifts also creates ready-to-wear bags that are stylish, but it’s the personal photos that make such a statement.

Prices range from $10 – $50 and I’m already thinking of how to turn my photos into gifts.  How about a tote for my mother with her granddaughter’s first birthday? How about a “glory days” memory for my college roommate?  A happy retirement gift for a co-worker?  Or using a special vacation memory to make my everyday a little brighter?

The most popular is the Emmie cosmetic bag (shown in this post.)  But they also offer shoulder purses and totes which are all lined beautifully and the zipper and straps are sturdy.  Little Blue Sister Gifts can also be found in six area specialty shops around the region. But again, it’s that unique touch of a special memory that caught my eye.

Find them here on the web:


Here is my conversation with Melanie  Chiaverini about her work:

How did you start making these with photos included?

My nephew Ty, who started the company, was creating biking shirts using the process of sublimation.  Just as a whim one day he printed his new born son’s photo on some fabric and took it home to his wife.  Well, Nancy being the creative person she is made this fabric into a diaper bag.  Everywhere she went women were asking her  where she got that bag.  So she and Ty decided to make them and sell them. Voila, a business is born.   I took over the company about 3 years ago.

Do you make everything by hand?  

I do.  All of the Little Blue Sister Bags are made by hand. I have other personalized products in the line such as compact mirrors, business card holders that I personalize but do not make.

How much -on average – do the items cost?

The most popular bag is the “Emmie” bag which is a cosmetic bag and includes a different photo on either side.  The cost is $30.00.  The personalized compact mirrors are $9.99 including shipping.  The range is from $10.00 to $50.00.

How much do you enjoy what you do?

I love, love, love what I do.  Just imagine I get to create smiles every day!  I love looking at the photos while I am sewing.  Some sweet little baby, or a well loved pet.  The very first order I received a woman e-mailed me a photo of two little boys sitting on a bench both drinking thru straws out of the same cup.  They were not even looking at the camera.  So adorable. I asked the woman about the photo and she told me this bag was a birthday gift for a friend and the photo was of her sons who were now 19 & 20.  It was that mother’s favorite photo.  Isn’t that precious?  I love getting e-mails about how happy someone was who gave the gift as well as the person who received it.

What is the most common type of photo people send you?

I get such a range of photos….babies, pets, vacation spots, people surfing, you name it.  I always tell people not to sweat the photo.  They want to find one that is perfect.  But the one they should select is the one that has the most meaning.  That is what is going to make the person smile or sometimes even cry with joy.

What type of photo works best?

The best type of photo would be a landscape photo.  And one that hasn’t been cropped.  I need room for the seal allowance.  I can crop or adjust photos here. I had a customer send me a photo of their family at a restaurant.  There was a lot of food on the table and it was so distracting to the photo.  I cleaned off the table.  Yeah Photoshop!  She was thrilled.

How long does it take to receive after the order is placed?

I would say about two to three weeks.  But if someone is in a hurry…I will rush the order thru for them.  No extra charge.

Anything else we should know? 

When you give a Little Blue Sister bag you know your gift is the one that is going to stand out in her mind and she will be able to carry those special memories with her always.  What could be better than that?  I can’t stress enough the joy these bags bring.  Woman can’t wait to give them to their friends.  They carry such meaning.  And it is so easy to order.  All you have to do is e-mail me the photo and you are done!  The bags come packaged for gift giving too!

(** Interesting footnote:  Little Blue Sister Gifts was named after owner/designer Melanie Chiaverini’s fond childhood memory of going to her cottage in Pymatuning with her sister and a group of friends who called themselves the “Blue Sisters”.  Melanie was the “little” sister.  The company logo was adapted from her late father’s signature stick figures he would draw alongside his greeting card messages.   The bags are named for Melanie’s niece and the granddaughters of her best friends.)


Little Blue Sister Gifts, 4.9 out of 5 based on 14 ratings