How to: Parchment Craft Cards

April 25th, 2009 by Solange

With spring come weddings and this year, I am going to…..no, I am not going to get married, I am going to try a new craft for my greeting cards. The other day, I saw this ever so romantic looking card, it looked like paper-lace on translucent embossed paper. When I enquired to how this ever so lovely effect has been achieved, I was told that it was “parchment craft”.

With a bit of research I found that traditionally parchment craft designs were all white on translucent paper and mostly used for religious celebrations such as communions. Nowadays, white monochrome has been joined by multicolored parchment papers, inks have followed suit, and parchment craft is use for all occasions.

Despite the fact that parchment craft has been used for centuries to enhance greeting card designs it remain a “niche” craft as it was re-introduced in Europe only recently.
Historians trace this ancient craft to the Catholic communities in Europe during the 14th century. For centuries to follow, South American people were introduced to this craft by missionaries. In the 19th century, the French, eternal romantic, used the technique to embosse cherubs and garlands of flowers for their “billets doux”.

Then, it disappeared from Europe without ever reaching the US, what follows is a fascinating modern success story:
In 1986, a Columbian woman, Martha Ospina, introduced it back to Holland.  Since then, she has written a number of books on the subject and open her company the Pergamano craft which sells materials, trainings etc…. Pergamano is compound word: Pergamum and Mano. Pergamano became so popular that people refer to parchment craft as Pergamano craft.
By the way, Pergamum is the name of a Turkish town where parchment  was  developed. Today Pergamano craft has spread throughout the 5 continents.

Materials:
• Patience, this is a real game of precision and patience but the outcome is just gorgeous.
• Parchment paper which is a very strong paper
• Base mat
• Embossing tool
• Pricking tool
• Mapping tool
• Scissors or craft knife
• Design
• Ink
• Card with aperture

Method:
1. Tracing and embossing are the basic techniques.
2. Choose your design and place parchment paper over it, secure with tape
3. Using the mapping pen and white ink, trace around the design onto the parchment
4. When dry turn over, lay on base mate and with the embossing tool rub over the design,
5. Turn over again, this time with the needle tool prick holes in the part of the design that look like small dots.
6. Trim the parchment design and tape behind the aperture.

The result is a beautiful, intricate pattern.

Going Green With Ecards Part 2

April 15th, 2009 by Solange

Earth day is almost upon us this April and it is my job to convince you to start using ecards and making your own eco friendly papercards. Before I get to that, I hope you all have celebrated Easter Sunday and have filed your taxes. Tax season can be stressful - almost like cramming for a college final. So for the rest of this month, I suggest we all just enjoy the more precious and simple things in life.

One simple thing you can do is send e-cards: they are fast and convenient. No need to go traipsing the shops looking for the right card with the perfect message. From the comfort of your home, you choose via an on-line catalogue. It is simply amazing how one simple ecard can rebuild lost friendships, rekindle shared memories and simply just make someone happy & smile.

Ecards are very versatile since it can be personalized with sound, animation, a message, photo or a video. You specify the recipient’s e-mail and with a few clicks your greetings are send and received. This process allows to send cards in bulk. The e-card concept is seemingly superior to the traditional paper card, but there is something about being able to hold, touch and frame a physical paper card that adds to the etiquette and security over ecards. If it is widely acceptable to send holiday e-greetings to people you know are often on line, it is common sense not to send your best wishes to a person you know to be technophobic. Really no point to do so, a message not open is a good as a message not received.

That brings me to the security aspect, “is it safe?”, there is malice out there and you can’t be blamed for being careful, so make sure that when cards are send the recipient will recognize where it comes from. Moreover some people are mostly on line at work and companies take a dim view at their employees using the computer for their own needs. 

There is no denying that the environmental nature of e-cards is an argument which can’t be beaten by the traditional paper card, however there are situations when sending an e-card, would be a real faux-pas: condolences are not really best acknowledge electronically.

Reliability and cost are 2 other aspects worth considering. Each Christmas, I send cards to all my colleagues and work-partners, sadly that year, I left it far too late, even in a country where the mail is reliable, sometimes too late is, well…. too late. I was extremely glad to find a catalogue which I liked then. The other thing I realised was that the impact on my purse, so much so that a few people who had been omitted in the previous year had the surprise to hear from me, which had an expected consequence: I got to meet up with these friends again.

So for Earth day this month, I really hope you consider trying out ecards. You will be surprised at how simple yet effective it is. If you are still not convinced, stay tuned for my next posts where I share tips and tricks to create your own earth friendly cards!

Going Green With ECards

April 1st, 2009 by Solange

The US market is the largest for greeting cards: there were about 9 billion greeting card units sold in 2007. The amazing phenomenon is that despite the rise of the electronic greeting cards the traditional card market is still going strong. So how green is the greeting card market?

The answer is not very; first there is the sheer bulk of the industry, by 2009 worldwide sales of Christmas/New Year Cards are projected to exceed 7.68 billion units. Then if  you look carefully many of the large companies are not yet using 100% recycled paper for their product. Last but not least there is the environmental impact of the transport, some companies are now thinking to relocate their production line to Europe or the US from China under the consumer’s pressure of the and the raising price of production. Moverover a card is not just a card it is also the package, cellophane is definitely not green at all. Research is being done by smaller companies which will use packages made from soya.

Because the environment counts and without going over board there are a few things we can do, to be greener when using the snail post:

Step 1: Before buying choose recycle and tree-free greeting card; but be aware, the labelling can be confusing. “Recycled” may  mean that a mix of trees and recycled paper has been used. The minimum you want is “recycled paper” that ensure that cards are made from waste which otherwise would have ended up in the landfill these cards  will still have a small percentage of paper rolls.
A better choice is to pick cards that are tree- free, they are made from mix of seed species that will grow in all regions of the US when planted. When a business pays that level of attention to the paper it will also have looked into the ink using vegetable-based ink.

Step 2 : make sure that we re-use our greeting cards, after a big holiday or a big family celebration, I take time to separate my cards into 2 categories. The first will go direct to the recycling bin, the second I will reuse by cutting and pasting the whole card of part of them so that old becomes new.

However the greenest way to send your sentiment is definitely e cards.