A Handy Greeting Card Guide

May 18th, 2009 by Solange

If you have been inspired by our articles and would like to start making you own greeting cards, you will soon find that you are joining an increasingly popular hobby.

Creating your own cards makes financial sense, the up-front investment is minimal. Your cards will be even more special to their recipients because they are not mass-produced  and this way you will be able to express your sentiment in a personal manner.

People will comment on your cards and it will encourage you to make more or to send your personalized greetings using free e-cards.

Although there are hundreds of card-making techniques, none is better than the other. Some are more appropriate when it comes to special occasions, for example we looked at quilling (filigree) and parchment (lace effect) which produce delicate timeless beauty, perfect for Weddings but will not be out of place for a Thank You cards either.

All you need are ideas and basic essentials.

There is no ideas factory, you’ll have to create you own! Get yourself a box and start collecting: cards you like, little items which crop up in the most unexpected of places. The other day, on my way back home, my eye got caught by a sweet pink object on the pavement, it was the tiniest garland of flowers probably from a child hair-pin, it made a fabulous embellishment. Then you need to record what you like, your ideas: keep a scrap book fill it colors, torn out samples from magazines and of course a record of your own cards.

Basic essentials:
You don’t need a lot of expensive tools. To start, arm yourself with this handy guide and you’ll be busy creating great cards in no time:

Card and paper: stock up on plain cards to begin with, treat yourself to a few different textured and decorative papers to really brighten your designs. Save wrapping paper, old cards etc…
I find envelops to be the most expensive buys, so I am always on the look-out for bargains.

Scalpel and scissors:
Use a scalpel for detailed cutting. Buy two pairs of scissors a small pair and a large pair and keep them exclusively for your card-making.

Paper trimmer also called paper guillotine: it cuts card and paper to the size you want, you might prefer a self-healing cutting mat and a metal ruler.

Glue and sticky tapes are essential but start with one and you will soon build up your collection. Same goes for embellishments, there is a huge variety of charms, beads, paper effects, buttons letters, peel-off and much more. A whole wide world to explore so get started straight away.

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!

A Life With Greeting Cards

September 29th, 2008 by Solange

Solange

My name is Solange, I started making cards at the age of 4. Though I had to wait a little longer, 3 decades to be precise, to become a freelance greeting-cards designer. In the mid-nineties, I started my own company : “dito”, it was a thrill to see my cards on sale in the shops. I love fresh ideas, fashion trends and I can’t wait to include them in my greeting cards. More over, I love when people ask me: “Where did you find such a great card?” I can answer: “I made it”.

Despite the fact that there is a card for every occasion, I could never find that “very special one”. I used to spend “hours” browsing in the shops, so really it all started out of need.

When I decided that I would be a card designer, I was studying to become a computer artist, except that in these days and I am not referring to the middle ages, computer graphics was in its infancy. While everybody else in the course was busying themselves with 3D graphics and special effects, I would design that special card, no pastels nor teddy bears for me, more a combination of autumn colours and fractals to express my creativity. The market place took an interest and they sold as novelties.

With time, though I still love using e-cards, my creations are my own blend of traditional methods such as origami or decoupage and computer generated images. Often, the 3D effect is achieved by fixing embellishments with layers of foam pads rather than computer generated. I am known for doing things the wrong way round, so from a commercial proposition it is now a hobby; if I trust a top consumer craft magazine, I am in good company because greeting card making is the number one craft hobby.

Let’s face it, everybody experiences a warm feeling of anticipation when, in the post or the email box, there is something which does not look like junk or a bill. It is so nice to know that somebody thinks you are truly special and took the time to send you a card; it is even nicer to know that it has been done just with you in mind.

If we judge it by the booming greeting card market, I am not the only one to think so. The Greeting Card Association reports than more than 7 billions greeting cards are bought each year in the US, that is 30 individual cards a year per household; In the UK, on average 55 cards will be bought per person per year.

It does not matter how good you think you are, my advice is to give it a go: personalize an e-card or make one yourself and I guarantee that you will not be spend “hours” ever again looking for the perfect greeting card.

Handmade Card

One of Solange's Handmade Cards