I blame my monogramming addiction on Mignon McGraw.
Mignon was, if memory serves, a grade below me in elementary and middle school. Not only was Mignon blessed with a cute and distinctive name, but she further was blessed with double initials ("MM" - you can't GET any cuter than that) and a mother with a penchant for monogramming (who probably would have pronounced "penchant" all French-like, given the fact that she named her child "Mignon"?).
This was the Eighties, people, and the preppy look ruled, so crewneck sweaters were the uniform of the day, and Mignon's sweaters always had a monogram front and center.
I wanted those sweaters. And those initials.
My parents had gifted me with "Kathryn Elizabeth Durham" - a perfectly fine name for a proper British lass, but a bit stuffy when you're seven, or twelve. I never was a Kathy - that nickname belonged to my mother's younger sister - and one of my best school friends was a Katie. Kate never stuck, either, which proved to be a good thing years later, when I pledged a sorority, and later roomed, with a Kate Durham. (Yeah, what are the odds?) So Kathryn I remained. How I longed to be a Jennifer or have one of the other popular names - the kind that were so popular that you went your entire school career as "Jennifer J." or "Jennifer S." So pathetic was my desire to have a "cute" name that I insisted on signing my papers in elementary school, "Kathryn D." - notwithstanding the fact that I was the ONLY Kathryn in the building.
My initials weren't the greatest, either. "KED." Cute for a shoe, but not ideal otherwise (but certainly preferable to the initials of my classmate, Amy Suzanne, whose last name started with S).
So the initial/monogram thing remained dormant until I had children - male children, to be specific. Boy clothes often leave much to be desired in the distinctiveness department, so I started monogramming their shortalls and shirts in the interest of upping the cute factor. But then I started embroidering other items. Some of my efforts were useful - it's harder for a young and scatterbrained boy to become separated from his beach towel or backpack if it has his initials on it, right? And I maintain that the "His" and "Hers" pillowcases make it a lot easier to keep up with which bed pillows belong to whom. But other projects were entirely, purposefully whimsical. Example: The "His Side" and "Her Side" throw pillows that go on our bed, out in front of the labeled pillowcases. Why, exactly, do we need these? Answer: We don't, but they are freakin' cute, and they help me satisfy my need to label things.
Also helping me satisfy that need: my co-worker Elizabeth, who recently became a 31 Gifts representative. Thanks to Elizabeth, I am now the proud owner of a cleaning product caddy that says "Mrs. Clean":
And a tote for "Homeless Laundry" (hey, if it's a given that a basket of laundry will remain somewhere in my room, in perma-limbo between being folded and being put up, then, darn it, that basket should be pretty to look at, and make me laugh ironically at my plight):
I also have a similarly sized tote that serves as the kids' "Toy Jail":
And a smaller tote for random junk, labeled "Neat Clutter" (yeah, I like oxymorons), to coordinate with the "Snail Mail" envelope that corrals the paper clutter that collects on the dining room table:
My husband does not understand my embroidery obsession. At. All. But he has learned to tolerate it, because the clutter really is somehow cuter, from my perspective, when it is in its little tote. And, because it is cuter, I tolerate it more, and whine about it less. Thus improving HIS quality of life.
I'm thinking about labeling him as well: "Long-suffering but consistently indulgent spouse."