Congratulations Mood Board

07242013 mood board congrats american greetings2 Congratulations Mood Board

Life has so many great moments to celebrate like the arrival of a new baby, your first home, a graduation, or a promotion at work. The list really is endless and the fun is in recognizing and sharing in those achievements. Let someone know you’re proud of them by texting a “woohoo,” sending a card with a heartfelt note, a gift, or perhaps the moment is so special it requires a party! It makes everyone feel good to share in the good times. Tell us about your favorite “woohoo” moment.

In the mood board, You Did It, Big! ecard from American Greetings

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Hoppy Birthday Mood Board

 

07102013 mood board birthday american greetings Hoppy Birthday Mood Board

Don’t you just love summer birthdays? They’re the best excuses ever for celebrating and having fun! And if you’re one of those people who just naturally see the lighter side of things—always up for a smile or a good laugh—you’ll be happy to know we have a whole selection of some pretty hilarious funny ecards and birthday ecards that are perfect for that super-fun friend who’s about to step into the birthday spotlight.    

In the mood board: Hoppy Birthday Talking ecard from American Greetings

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A Cheer for DAD!

06162013 a cheer for dad american greetings A Cheer for DAD!

It’s Father’s Day — a day to cheer all the great dads you know who make a real difference in their kids’ lives. Send them a shout-out with this fun new video ecard that you can easily personalize. Just complete the lyrics by filling in the blanks with their name, a personal characteristic, their favorite activity and favorite food. You will definitely make them smile.  Hooray for dads everywhere!

Click here to send A Cheer for Dad Video Ecard from American Greetings.

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Happy Flag Day

 06142013 america furever talking card american greetings Happy Flag Day

Today is Flag Day – a day to commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States which occurred in 1777. Although recognized in various states earlier, it was officially established as a national holiday in 1949. And if you happen to be in Quincy, Massachusetts on this day, you will witness one of the longest-running parades celebrating this patriotic event.

Be sure to display your flag and get your friends into the red, white & blue spirit by sharing this fun America Furever Talking Card from American Greetings!

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Father’s Day Mood Board

06122013 mood board fathers day american greetings1 Fathers Day Mood Board

Last week we featured a sweet and sentimental Father’s Day greeting card in our mood board that spoke to how amazing and special fathers can be. This week, we wanted to take a lighter approach and focus on the silly side of dads everywhere. Let’s face it, dads are funny (whether they mean to be or not) and they have a special way of making us laugh. Think about your funniest memory of Dad and there’s no doubt it brings a smile across your face. This Father’s Day, celebrate all the embarrassing moments, DADisms, bad jokes and overall funny moments that you’ve shared over the years! We’d love to hear your funniest stories – share them in our comments section below.

In the mood board: Dad Strong Fun Song ecard from American Greetings

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Meet the Artist

laura guardalabene american greetings meet the artist2 Meet the Artist

Bright, new talent is always fun to discover here at American Greetings which is why we want you to meet Laura Guardalabene.  Laura is a multi-talented graphic artist who is known for her creative typography as well as her fresh, relevant perspective while working on this blog. Here’s what she has to say…

When did you first realize you are an artist?

Hm… Maybe when I was 5 or 6? Whenever I was bored my mom would hand me some markers and paper and I could sit and draw for hours. I think it was around that age that I started to identify myself as “artistic”. It wasn’t until high school when I began to play around with Photoshop and took a vocational D.E.C.A. Marketing Design course that I discovered what graphic design was and the true potential of my artistic abilities. From that point on I knew Graphic Design was what I wanted to do.

What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?

I’m a Graphic Designer on the Content Marketing team. I graduated from Kent State University with my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design in December of 2011. I’ve interned at a couple different advertising agencies and worked as a designer at a screen printing company and for a creative boutique on campus all through college. I started working professionally as a designer 6 years ago and before that I constantly drew for fun.

Could you tell us some more about your work?

Here at American Greetings my day to day tasks include designing email communications that go out to our AmericanGreetings.com subscribers, designing for this blog and concepting/creating sharable and engaging posts for American Greetings’ facebook page! I’m always freelancing on the side too. My most recent big freelance project was for my alma mater, Cuyahoga Falls High School where I branded a prom trade show event called “One Stop Prom Shop” that was organized by the D.E.C.A. Marketing students there (the very program that got me interested in design in the first place!).

laura guardalabene american greetings work Meet the ArtistWhat is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?

That’s a tough question… Can I say everything? My inspiration varies based on what project I’m working on. Generally speaking I’m heavily inspired by nature (butterflies, flowers and insects have some of the best color pallets!), fashion, science, movies & TV shows, old run-down Americana landscapes (I love a good vintage diner sign), interior design, architecture and music.

What’s your favorite piece ever created and why?

My favorite piece of art created while at American Greetings would have to be an inspirational quote I illustrated for this blog! The quote is “Enjoy what you have while pursuing what you want.” By Jim Rohn. I’m kind of obsessed with hand-done typography and really enjoy any chance I get to create it.  It’s difficult to pick a favorite piece I’ve created outside of American Greetings, but I do really like this sugar skull I illustrated for fun somewhat recently!

laura guardalabene american greetings fav work Meet the Artist

What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you?

Saul Bass and Lester Beall are some of my favorite pioneer designers and for typography inspiration, I tend to look at type “super stars” like Jessica Hische, Eric Marinovich & Jeff Rogers. I’m a Pinterest & blog surfing addict and could fill this entire post with names of favorite designers but those are some of the heavy influencers for me.

What inspires you to create your designs and how do you stay motivated?

Making a difference and leaving my “mark” has always been a driving force in my design career.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself being happy doing something I love. Generic, I know, but it’s hard for me to get any more specific than that! I know I will be designing in some way, but beyond that I’m not sure. I’ve always had a very strong interest in advertising and fashion so who knows? Maybe those will play a larger role in my life by then.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Always do what you love, but don’t forget to figure out a career game plan.

What do you do for fun?

I’m pretty much up for anything outdoors on a nice sunny day… swimming, running, playing tennis, hiking etc. I like to paint, sew and make jewelry whenever I have free time too. I’m also bit of a self-confessed nail polish addict and find myself creating crazy-complex pieces of art on my nails during all hours of the night. Oh! And I’ll add “foodie” to this list too, I love cooking and experimenting with unique flavor combinations. There’s not enough time in the day to do everything I want to!

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Fab Father’s Day Gift Ideas

 

06102013 topfathersdaygiftideas american greetings v2 Fab Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Sunday, June 16 is just around the corner, so plan now for great ways to make your dad a star on his special day! Here are some gift ideas that are sure to make him smile…

•Gear Up and Get Outdoors! Make the most of warmer temperatures and surprise dad with a hike or a few fun hours of fishing with the family! Bring a picnic basket filled with dad’s favorite snacks!

•Sports, of Course! Sweet summer days can’t be beat when they feature a trip to the ballpark and an afternoon of popcorn, peanuts and the all-American hotdog! Present dad with baseball tickets wrapped up with a home-team cap and some slick sunglasses to get him into the spirit of the season. Or if it’s golf he loves, treat him to a round with a friend at his favorite course.

•Photo Op! Show dad how much you care with a fun family snapshot! Personalize the frame with words describing all his great qualities. Or, make a card from a retro photo!

•A Day Off! Show your love with some sweat equity! Surprise dad by cutting the lawn or moving some mulch. Or, wash his car and clean and organize the garage.

•Techno Smart. From remote holders to the latest TV, there are enough great gadgets and gizmos to make dad’s head spin! Simplify his workweek with a cutting-edge alarm clock or an organizational “APP” for his mobile phone.

•Get Grilling. Steaks for dinner, bacon for breakfast. Make a meal to remember! Serve it up on festive napkins and plates—or design some placemats with drawings and fun facts about dad!

•Musical Memories. Create some CDs of dad’s favorite songs for road trips or just relaxing around the house. Tie them up with ribbons and deliver with a special note.

Plug in with Power Tools! Always a winner, add a spark to his workbench with a gift card to the local hardware or appliance store.

No matter how you wish your dad a happy Father’s Day, take time to say how much you care! American Greetings salutes dads everywhere!

Don’t forget that you can make a personalized Father’s Day card on our sister site, Cardstore.com!

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Our Dads, Our Heroes

06062013 moodboard fathersday american greetings1 Our Dads, Our Heroes

With Father’s Day around the corner, we thought we’d take a second and celebrate the everyday heroes in our lives – our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, and all the great men we know. It takes a special man to be a father or a father figure, and on Father’s Day, it’s all about them! Whether you send a Father’s Day card, take him out to a ballgame, or just have a good conversation, let him know just how much he means to you and how thankful you are to have him in your life…trust us, he’ll be thrilled to hear it.

 In the mood board: The Real Heroes Father’s Day greeting card from American Greetings

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What to Write in a Father’s Day Card

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Whether you’ll be celebrating one wonderful dad or several special guys on Father’s Day, finding a great card or ecard is usually pretty easy to do. Figuring out what to say in a Father’s Day card, however, can sometimes leave you staring at a blank page. Here are some idea-starters:

Tickle His Funny Bone

— If sentimental isn’t your style—or his—then even Father’s Day isn’t the time to get sappy. Keep your note simple with some of these humorous spins:

  • Thanks for all your great advice, Dad!  Can you please repeat it now that I’m paying attention?
  • Fatherhood isn’t for the faint of heart…or the scared of bugs. Thanks for being my big brave Dad!
  • You’ll always be someone I look up to Dad—even when I’m taller than you.

 

Speak from the Heart  —

If you do want to say something sincere, Father’s Day is the perfect time to show the appreciation that Dad so deserves to hear:

  • Even when I’m not saying it, I’m always thinking it…I’m glad you’re my dad.
  • Thanks, Dad, for helping me believe in heroes.
  • I can only hope to be the kind of parent you’ve always been:  The Best.

 

Compliment Your Spouse –

 

Father’s Day isn’t just about parenthood, it’s also about partnership, marriage…and maybe a little bit of romance, too.

  • There’s no one I’d rather share the crazy, wild, wonderful ride of parenthood with than you.
  • I’m so thankful for the husband you are—and proud of the dad you’ve become.
  • Thank you for giving me the family I always dreamed of.

 

Share a Famous Quote –

 

Combining a famous quote with a personal note is a wonderful way to show a little extra effort while giving you a starting point for your own idea. Here are some examples:

  • “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”  ~Jim Valvano  That’s exactly how I feel about you, Dad.  Thanks!
  •  Someone once said, “Children close their ears to advice but open their eyes to example.”  Thanks for setting a great example, Dad!
  •  “Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.” ~Author Unknown  Thanks for always being there.

 

Make it Personal –

 

 Whether you come up with something sweet, witty or wise, only you know what makes the dad in your life so special to you—and that’s what he really wants to hear. If you want to make your own personalized Father’s Day card at home, check out our selection of printable Father’s Day cards!

Did this article help inspire you with what to write in a Father’s Day card? Feel free to comment with your ideas or tweet us @amgreetings!

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Happy Memorial Day!

 

05272013 memorial day american greetings 3 Happy Memorial Day!

While each of us celebrates this three-day weekend in our own favorite way—whether it’s with a backyard barbeque, a family camping trip, or taking time to plant your flowers—we all know there’s a much greater purpose for Memorial Day than simply kicking off the summer season. Today is the day for us as a nation to pause and remember the men and women of the military who lost their lives serving our country.

Originally introduced in 1868 as “Decoration Day”, its purpose was to honor fallen Civil War soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers.  Renamed Memorial Day after World War I, it was then expanded to pay respect to all Americans who died in military service.  It’s believed the last Monday in May was chosen because that’s when flowers are in bloom all over the country.  President Nixon finally made Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971.

Today, there are countless Memorial Day events nationwide that range from lively parades to traditional ceremonies, like laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. But even if you’re celebrating in your own backyard, you can still pay respect to our nation’s heroes in simple yet meaningful ways:

  •  Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm: “As we contemplate the comforts and blessings of our lives and the well-being of our nation, I ask you to pause just for a moment to remember those who gave their lives to protect the values that give meaning to our lives.” – President Bill Clinton, May 31, 1999
  •  Decorate a Veteran’s Grave: During Memorial Day Weekend, several thousand bouquets are placed at the Nations War Memorials in Washington, D.C.   You can sponsor a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation.
  •  Show Your Sympathy:  Memorial Day can be a difficult time for those who have lost someone in the military.  Whether you reach out by phone, email or an  ecard, your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

It’s important to remember that the brave men and women we’re commemorating today died not only for our freedom as a nation, but for each one of us personally to live a safe and fulfilling life. To those of you currently serving in the military, we honor you with the utmost respect and gratitude and wish you a happy and peaceful Memorial Day.

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Meet the Musician – Mike Murray

 

mike murray american greetings Meet the Musician   Mike Murray

Just as music can enhance a movie, a party or a spin class, it can also do the same for a greeting card. Meet Mike Murray, one of American Greetings’ very talented audio producers, and read what he has to say about his love for music and how it has become his vocation:

When did you first realize your interest in music?

My earliest interest in music was memorable because it moved right past ‘enjoying’ into a state of total obsession, which is really what defines a person who chooses a career in this field, right? I was just 4 years old, adorned in over-sized headphones, listening to The Gambler by Kenny Rogers on my parent’s hi-fi over and over again.  In the unlikely form of a ballad about gambling, the music bug had bit! I remember, even at that age, being completely mesmerized by the textures, tones, layers, and overall depth of the track – and of course, the lovely and infectious melodies. That same feeling has lasted throughout my life, and in many respects, grown considerably.

What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as a musician?

My position here at American Greetings is Senior Audio Producer, which basically means I help take care of any needs relating to sound or music. After I received my first guitar–(thanks Mom and Dad!),  I took lessons in classical guitar and eventually went on to graduate from the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN.  During that time I became very interested in the process of not only writing music, but recording and producing it as well.  This was quite possibly the most valuable part of my education, as it enabled me to bring ideas to life in the studio.

05202013 mike murray american greetings a chirpy birthday Meet the Musician   Mike Murray

Could you tell us more about the process of integrating music into a card and its importance?

One of my favorite mediums for music is the role it plays in Motion Pictures and Television. It can truly make or break a movie or show and some of my favorite compositions are ones featured in film. I like to think of our ecards as mini-movies, and I constantly strive to write or produce music that enhances the card and compliments it!

05202013 mike murray american greetings delicious wishes Meet the Musician   Mike Murray

What is it that inspires you when creating a piece of music for a greeting card?

Musical inspiration seems to come from everywhere like going to see the Cleveland Orchestra perform or seeing the latest blockbuster movie and hearing a great score. But it can also be as simple as waiting in line at the grocery store and hearing a song over the loud speakers that you like, and boom, an idea pops into your head that was inspired by what you just heard.

What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why?

There was a piece we did for a Valentine’s Card called ‘My One and Only’ which was a real standout for me musically. We don’t often get to write original pop songs, but this afforded us that chance, and with the help of the editorial staff we were able to craft a song you could easily hear on the radio. The format allowed us to produce one version that was ‘ecard length’, and another, full-length version, which our customers could download upon receiving the card. We worked with a lot of great musicians during the production, and it has always stood out as a highlight for me.

05202013 mike murray american greetings my one and only love song2 Meet the Musician   Mike Murray

 What famous musicians have influenced you?

Wow, that’s a tough one. Umm…all of them? I guess it depends on the genre, but deep down my first true love is pop music, classic rock and soul to be specific, so I will always be influenced by the greats: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and the list could go on and on! I am also a huge classical fan; enjoying Chopin, Debussy, and Gershwin, to name a few.

What inspires you to create your music and how do you stay motivated?

As I said earlier, music is a huge part of my daily life, so whether it’s listening to a friend’s band play, turning on the radio, or watching a show, it’s always there to remind me of the great music being created every hour of every day. I want in on the creativity! The more I hear, the more I want to make my own mark, and create something I can be truly proud of.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I never ever want to stop growing as an artist. So, regardless of what I’m actually doing or where I’m living, although on a beach would be nice, I just hope I’m continuing to learn and enhance my musical toolkit.

What advice would you give to a musician just starting out?

I was at a music conference last year, and one of the speakers on a panel said: “a successful musician creates something new everyday”. I thought that was great advice and would definitely pass on that sentiment. In other words, don’t get complacent, always strive to create, and practice, practice, practice!!

What do you do for fun?

I play in a cover band on the weekends mostly for fun, although we do record some originals, which keeps the project fresh. I also play hockey a couple nights a week and I enjoy reading, cooking, running, and going to the movies as often as possible!

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Scatter Joy with Kathy Davis…

05152013 kathy davis moodboard american greetings2 Scatter Joy with Kathy Davis...

Keeping your friends close in heart is super important and this new greeting card assortment from Kathy Davis enables you to do that easily and sincerely. The set includes nine beautifully illustrated cards with heartfelt expressions that say “happy birthday”, “thank you” and “just thinking of you” making it easy to scatter joy on special days and every day. In addition, Kathy Davis and American Greetings have partnered with the National Guild for Community Arts Education – an organization dedicated to providing arts education to millions of students in the United States. Royalties received from this new line of cards will be donated directly to the National Guild thereby ensuring that more people have the opportunity to experience the joy of making art throughout their lives.

In the mood board:  Kathy Davis Birthday & Everyday Card Set from American Greetings

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What to Say in a Mother’s Day Card

05092013 what to say mothers day american greetings What to Say in a Mothers Day Card

With all the greeting cards available for Mother’s Day, it’s usually not hard to find one for your mom, no matter how unique your relationship is. But writing a personal note might not be as easy. That’s where the creative team at American Greetings comes in.  Before we write cards, we research relationships.  And we’ve narrowed down the complicated, tender, strong, funny, forever love between a mother and child to give you some expert advice on just what to say to make your mom feel extra special…

Mom to Mom

Once you become a mother yourself, you have a better understanding of what your mom did for you—and now you’re also celebrating her as a grandmother!  Here are some ways to express your thoughts:

For helping you become the mother you are: The highest compliment anyone can give me, Mom, is to say that I’m like you.

For the ways you’ve followed in her footsteps: I see you in things I do, I hear you in things I say—and these are some of the things I’m most proud of.

For all the stages of you’ve been through: From “Mommy” to “Grandma” you’ve always found a way to be amazing at who you are.

Mom as a Friend

Do you consider your mom a friend and confidant?–here are some great ways to express your feelings:

For the Mom you respect as a woman and/or professional: Somewhere along the way, I realized the extraordinary mom raising me was also an extraordinary woman.

For the mom you love to spend time with: You always knew just how to lift my spirits, Mom.  Some things never change.

For the ways your relationship has changed…and stayed the same: My doctor, my hairdresser, my counselor, my friend…I can’t thank you enough for everything, Mom, because “everything” just keeps getting better!

Still Need Your Mom?

If your mom is still the person you count on most, be specific about what you appreciate:

For her words of wisdom: Even if you didn’t think I was listening, I live by your words every day.

For being the one you always turn to: In my heart I have every hug you ever gave me—and sometimes they still get me through.

For the example she sets: Beautiful, loving, understanding, forgiving…that’s you, Mom.  And it’s who I strive to be.

 For All the Moms Reading This: We wish you a well-deserved, wonderful Mother’s Day!

 

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Mother’s Day-Make a Day of It!

05082013 mood board mothers day1 Mothers Day Make a Day of It!

Mother’s Day is traditionally all about appreciating mom, giving her those carefully selected cards and presents, treating her to a nice breakfast or brunch, and then? Well, often after that, the festivities tend to slow down.  This year, why not recognize her all day long, with activities you both can enjoy. Think about treating her to a day of shopping much like she did for you when you were a kid. Or, if your mom is the sporty type, join her on a bike ride or trail run and include a fun place to stop for beverages or lunch. And how about the gift of relaxation, especially if you’re a mom yourself?  Yes, we all know being a parent is rewarding, but it doesn’t always come easy – let her know you understand and enjoy an afternoon spa session together. If your  mom loves to be in the kitchen, there’s nothing wrong with embracing her culinary interests and working together on a fun dinner – just make sure she doesn’t have to do the dishes!

As a suggestion, let your mom know to keep her day open and present your special plans for Mother’s Day in a customizable, print at home card. It’s easy and she is sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness.

In the mood board: “Celebrating You” and “Big Hug for Mom” printable cards from American Greetings

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Top Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

 

05022013 topmothersdaygiftideas american greetings 2 Top Mothers Day Gift Ideas

With about two billion mothers on the planet, which makes Mother’s Day the second most popular gifting day, there’s no shortage of great gift ideas for special moms.  And fortunately you still have time to shop!  But where do you begin?  Before you get so overwhelmed with choices that you simply send flowers for the twelfth year in a row, we’ve compiled a list of tried-and-true classics—and gave them an updated twist.

Picture This: Every mom loves photos, but it’s surprising how many places you can put a smiling face.  From charm bracelets to cell phone covers to flower vases. And , don’t forget about personalizing your card with a favorite photo too!

Special Delivery: If she’s expecting flowers, send ice cream!  Do the delivery thing differently this Mother’s Day…or, better yet, all year long.

Gadget Gifts: Whether she needs a car key locator, a tiny speaker for her favorite tunes, or simply wants longer cell phone battery life, the electronic ideas are endless.

Tote-ally Cool: Instead of another purse, lighten mom’s load with a stylish bag that can handle all of her stuff.

Monogram Mania: Keep it classic or go high-tech by giving her earrings with her initials or even engraving her iPad.

Theme Gift Basket: Candles? Cookies? Coffee?  Assemble a collection of what she loves most or order a beautiful basket online.

Sweet Touches: Candy can make a creative gift that’s inexpensive, too. Tell mom you love her “to pieces” with a decorated jar of Reese’s pieces. Or put candy bars on posterboard for a creative message.

Personalize It: Fun to make…thoughtful to give. Write your favorite moments on tiny slips of paper and put them in a keepsake box or jar for a gift she’ll open again and again.

Whatever the gift, don’t forget to tell Mom what she means to you – that is the gift that will mean the most to her!

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May Day Mood Board

05012013 mood board may day2 May Day Mood Board

Happy May everyone! Did you know that this first day of May has had a long and notable history as one of the world’s principle holidays?  Although, not highly recognized in the United States or Canada, May 1 has been a day of celebration that dates back thousands of years to pre-Christian times. With its Celtic roots, it is linked to the pagan celebration called Beltane which means “day of fire” and was intended to mark the coming of summer and fertility. As the holiday evolved, common rituals of the festival included the cutting down of trees to make the maypole, creating garlands for the children, folk dancing and the crowning of the May Queen. Today, it is a major bank holiday in many countries and is commonly observed as “Labor Day” or “International Workers Day”.  So, whether or not you have the day off, we can all celebrate what makes May so special – flowers blooming, warmer weather, the last days of school and don’t forget, Mother’s Day!

In the mood board: Flowers & Sunshine – Taylor Swift Postcard from American Greetings

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How to Make Moms Feel Special…

04172013 mothers day moodboard american greetings1 How to Make Moms Feel Special...

With Mother’s Day just a few weeks away, you may have started thinking about what you can do to make her feel special. In an effort to give you the best gift ideas, it’s impossible to narrow down all the great suggestions from the many mothers surveyed.  But what came up over and over again as an all-time favorite “gift” was simply a card with a personal touch.

Flowers, jewelry and chocolate also topped the list of traditional gifts.  Creative ways to display favorite photos tend to become the best keepsakes of the bunch.  And a gift card to a restaurant or spa or, better yet, taking her yourself is most often appreciated by hard-working moms who definitely deserve a break.

But, more than anything, most moms simply want to feel appreciated…which is why saying “I love you” with a card that’s just her style will always make her smile.  It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to say and do to give your mom a beautiful day.

In the mood board: Artistic Flower for Mom paper card from American Greetings

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Meet Mary Engelbreit

 

04082013 mary engelbreit headshot american greetings Meet Mary Engelbreit

Our featured artist this month is Mary Engelbreit! Mary is both an artist and a writer whose cards are adored all over the world. She takes care to combine a perfect blend of sweet sayings and whimsically fun illustrations to create cards for every occasion. Keep reading to find out a little more about Mary…

When did you first realize you were so creative?

I have felt the need to draw and make things for as long as I can remember! Luckily, my parents were very supportive of this, and filled the house with art supplies and gave me plenty of time and freedom to do it.

 What is your background as a creative talent?

My only background is making art every day. I wasn’t crazy about school and when high scho

ol ended, I just wanted to get to work. My first job was at an art supply store, where I met lots of working artists and realized a career in art was possible. Plus, I learned how to use a variety of materials. That’s also where I had my first art show, and realized people really liked my work! Then I got a job at a very small ad agency. That’s where I learned the business side of art. All in all, it was a perfect education for what I do now!

What is your current position/relationship with American Greetings?

I create greeting cards for American Greetings. As both an artist and a writer, what would you say comes first when creating a greeting card?  Since I use lots of quotes in my work, I would say the words come first— they inspire the drawing.

What is it that inspires you when creating a greeting card?

I want to put something on a greeting card that really speaks to the buyer and the recipient. I don’t want to draw a flower on the front and say “Happy Birthday to my mother”. To me, that doesn’t convey a story. I like to try to draw a situation that both people will recognize and, hopefully, say what they really want to say to each other.

 Do you have a favorite card that you’ve created, and why?

I tend to like the cards I’m currently working on, just because I have fun working on them! One of my recent favorites is “Hello You,” because it’s a good one to send to a friend anytime. Plus, I really like her dress!

04082013 mary engelbreit american greetings Meet Mary Engelbreit

 What famous artists/writers have influenced you?

I loved all the old books my mother read to me when I was little, and a lot of those were hers or her mother’s books from when they were young. So I grew up very familiar with the work of Arthur Rackham, Beatrix Potter and the like. I also loved Garth Williams and Joan Walsh Anglund.  Now I’m in love with so many wonderful illustrators, lilies William Joyce and Lizbeth Zwerger. The list is endless!

 In general, what inspires you, and how do you stay motivated?

Everyday life inspires me, thank goodness! The things everybody goes through on a daily basis are remarkably similar, and those are the things I try to illustrate. And I love to draw, so it’s no problem for me to stay motivated!

 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I assume, if I’m lucky, I’ll still be illustrating books, cards and calendars!

 What advice would you give to an artist or writer just starting out?

I tell artists just starting out that they better really love it! Licensing is much different now than when I started out, and with all the new technology things are just very different. There are certainly many jobs to be had in the art field—–jobs I don’t even understand!!——- so you just need to hang in there and never give up!

 What do you do for fun?

For fun, I paint old furniture, boxes, frames— you name it, I will paint it!  I’m also a rabid reader. Mysteries and fiction are my favorites.

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Happy April Fools’ Day!

04012013 april fools american greetings Happy April Fools Day!

Isn’t it great to have a holiday that simply reminds us to laugh? How April Fools’ Day originated is a battle of wits in itself, and no one quite knows for sure.  The most popular theory traces back to the 1500’s, with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, when the New Year changed from being observed on April 1 to January 1.  Apparently it was a popular joke to trick people into thinking April 1 was still the New Year, and those who believed it were dubbed “April Fools.”

Regardless of how it started, April Fools’ Day has evolved worldwide with countless customs and rules.  For example, superstition says that all pranks must be performed by noon or the prankster will have bad luck.  And those who don’t respond to pranks with good humor will get bad luck themselves.

But pranks aren’t just a personal thing.  It was a Canadian radio station that introduced the two-dollar coin, causing banks to be flooded by phone calls.  Of course, Burger King served up the left-handed Whopper.  And Taco Bell announced the purchase and renaming of the Liberty Bell in a full-page New York Times ad. Perhaps the most widespread joke was in 1957 when a BBC news report announced the early Spring would cause an early “Spaghetti Harvest” in Switzerland. Complete with video of a woman harvesting noodles from trees, over 250 callers jammed the BBC switchboard with requests for their own Spaghetti Tree.

And some pranks never get old.  For the past 20 years, a teacher in Boston has been coming in early to write the April 1 assignment upside-down on the blackboard.  When her curious students arrive, she tells them she did it by standing on the ceiling. You can relay that story when you send the ecard above to make someone smile today.  Or start a traditional prank of your own.  Just make sure you do it by noon!

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The Beauty of Easter…

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With its colorful beauty, lively energy and renewing spirit, “Eastertime” feels more like a whole season than a holiday.  And everyone has their favorite parts about it. For little ones, it’s all about the bunny and the basket and finding the most eggs.  For girls, no matter what age, there’s also the excitement of a pretty new outfit!   And, most importantly for many of us, it’s a time to look to the heavens in a prayer of gratitude for the sacrifice and love that Easter represents…and to count our own blessings as well.

With so much to celebrate at Easter and in the spirit of renewal, remember to send your favorite peeps a card to let them know you’re thinking about them.

In the mood board: Happy Easter! ecard from American Greetings and Easter paper card by Mary Engelbreit

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Celebrating The Seder Meal at Passover…

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The highlight of the Passover celebration is the tradition of seder which is a fifteen-step, family-oriented, ritual-packed feast! Observed on the first two nights of Passover, it is based on the Haggadah which is a book of instructions, prayers, blessings and stories and provides the order for the ritual meal. Haggadah means “the telling” in Hebrew and refers to one of the most important steps of the seder which is the recitation of  the Exodus story. It is interesting because the text in the traditional Haggadah is almost the same as was first written in the eleventh century. However, now there are hundreds of versions used, each with a different spin. The most symbolic of the foods served at the seder meal is definitely the matzah which is eaten three times to fulfill the requirements of Jewish law. Matzah is an unleavened, flat, crispy bread and signifies the urgency in which the Jews fled Egypt — they didn’t even have time to let their dough rise!

Other customs of the seder meal include drinking four cups of wine, serving a variety of delicious kosher foods and reclining during the meal in celebration of freedom. It is truly a festive event. Shalom, Everyone!

In the mood board: Happy Passover Fun Song ecard from American Greetings

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First Day of Spring Mood Board

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The first day of spring has arrived! That time of year when we can finally exhale the remnants of winter frost and inhale the fresh buds of spring. This season is full of beautiful transformations. The grass becomes greener, the temperatures warmer and our outlook brighter. It is great seeing folks out and about, whether they are working in their yards, washing the car or just taking a long walk. Or how about the smell of fresh, cut grass, listening to the chirping of birds and enjoying longer days . There are so many wonderful things to celebrate about spring. What are some of your favorite memories of this season?

In the mood board: Somebunny Special Talking Card from American Greetings

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In Honor O’ St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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What are you doing in honor of St. Patrick’s Day?

If you’re like 94 million others, you’re probably at least wearing green.  But do you know why?   St. Patrick would probably be wondering that himself, since his robes were actually blue. Theories about how green became the color of the day range from representing shamrocks, which St. Patrick used in his teachings, to symbolizing the fairies and immortals of Irish legend to encouraging crop growth.  Today, many of us wear it to avoid getting pinched, which you can blame on leprechauns.  Tradition says wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns, who pinch anyone they see.  And how leprechauns became linked to St. Patrick is yet another mystery!  But the day just wouldn’t be complete without those jig-dancin’ little guys…or the unified spirit of 94 million people shamrockin’ the cool color of springtime — simply for the sake of celebration.

In the mood board: In Honor O’ You ecard from American Greetings

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Top 5 Irish Sayings

Top o’ the mornin’ to you! It’s almost St. Paddy’s Day—a time when everybody’s Irish! The Emerald Isle is filled with wisdom, and the blessings and sayings reflect a country that is warm and welcoming. Even though there have been many times in Ireland’s history when there were no rainbows in sight, the people stayed practical, positive and faithful, and their words reflect that. In fact, there’s a wee bit o’ wisdom for everything—it really is an Irish tradition! Aye, it’s hard to pick just five, but a little Leprechaun told us these are his favorite Irish sayings!

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 These wise words have been handed down through history, and of course were meant to be shared. But why not spread some old-fashioned Irish cheer the modern way and post your favorite blessings and sayings on Facebook or Pinterest. And for some added blarney, why not send this Toadally Irish Talking Card and let the adorable toad say it for you–it’ll make your friends crack up or should we say, croak up!

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Birthday Mood Board

 

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Birthdays are days to be celebrated! And for those friends you can’t be with in person, there are plenty of ways to make them feel special on their big day. Try sending a surprise delivery like a cake pop bouquet, a basket of  decadent goodies or a mini spa package, complete with must-have lotions, festive nail polish, a fragrant candle and of course, the newest Nicholas Sparks book. Or how about writing a little poem or jingle about shared memories and  sending a singing telegram to perform it?  The most important thing is to make sure they hear from you on their special day with a text, a post or a personalized ecard. And be sure you let them know that you would like nothing more than to be sharing their birthday with them, in person!

In the mood board: Wish You Were Near ecard from American Greetings

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Birthdays are Worth Smiling About

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“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”  - Phyllis Diller

On a recent episode of The Middle, America’s favorite geekette, Sue, set out to prove that smiling was contagious.  Unfortunately, despite her sparkling enthusiasm, she didn’t quite get the response she wanted.  But, ever the optimist, Sue still believes that smiling is contagious.  And she’s right!

In a Swedish “smile study,” volunteers looked at pictures of different facial expressions while trying to control their own reactions.  But when asked to meet a smile with a frown, they simply couldn’t stifle their grins.  Apparently, seeing a smile triggers an unconscious reaction in the brain and then your face can’t help but join the party!

Want to make someone feel special, especially on their birthday?  Always start with a smile.  And if you can’t do it in person, send one in a card.

In the mood board: Birthday Smiles printable card from American Greetings

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Birthday Wishes for a Beautiful Day!

02202013 bday moodboard1 Birthday Wishes for a Beautiful Day!

Everything’s Comin’ Up Daisies…You may have read the recent post about the history of Groundhog Day, but did you hear this year’s prediction?  America’s favorite weather-rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, didn’t see his shadow…which means an early Spring!

Okay, so most of us aren’t pulling out the picnic baskets just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t send a little sunshine someone’s way.  In fact, brightening a person’s day is easier than you think.  Studies show that simply looking at images of nature can elevate moods, reduce stress and improve concentration.  Add flowers to the scene and you can trigger an overall feeling of happiness.

Know someone who could use a little Spring in their step on their birthday—or any day?  Send a virtual dose of vitamin D (as in Daisy) and you’ll both be smiling!

In the mood board: Beautiful Day Wish ecard from American Greetings

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Happy Valentine’s Day

holiday moodboard 02142013 Happy Valentines Day

For Valentine’s Day, whether you surprise your sweetie with something romantic or send a heartfelt hello to a friend—people appreciate your effort to make them feel special. And it’s a lot easier to send a Valentine now than it was in 270 A.D.  The ruler of the Roman Empire thought single men made better soldiers, so he didn’t want them to marry.  Bishop Valentine performed secret wedding ceremonies anyway…until he was executed on February 14.  A true romantic, Valentine wrote a love note to his jailor’s daughter, signed “From Your Valentine.”  We no longer have to go to such extremes to show our love, but it’s still sweet (and sometimes adorable) to make the effort.  What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?

In the mood board: Just Fur You ecard from American Greetings

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Meet the Artist – Kathy Davis

kathy davis Meet the Artist   Kathy Davis

We are excited to introduce you to bestselling artist, designer and writer, Kathy Davis. Kathy has partnered with American Greetings for the last five years to produce her own brand of beautifully-crafted greeting cards. Here she shares a little bit of how her mission to “Scatter Joy” pervades all aspects of her art and life…

When did you first realize you were so creative?

Even in my earliest memories I am making things…all sorts of things…from paper dolls to perfume… from Christmas decorations to illustrated stories and even a neighborhood newspaper!

What is your background as a creative talent?

I always loved art, but decided to major in Elementary education in college, with a minor in art.  After teaching sixth grade for six years, I returned to graduate school, where I earned a Master’s degree in Art Education. That led me to teach high school art, which I really enjoyed. I left teaching to start a family…and then in 1990, I started my freelance design business from a drawing board in the corner of my bedroom. Today, I am proud to say that my business has grown to a team of 23 employees (we are no longer working from my bedroom!).  We design a variety of licensed products, including, of course, greeting cards!

What is your current position/relationship with American Greetings? 

I formerly designed cards for Recycled Paper Greetings before joining American Greetings as an independent content partner in 2008. I feel so fortunate to have found such a supportive partnership in American Greetings.

As both an artist and a writer, what would you say comes first when creating a greeting card?

Sometimes I begin by immersing myself in the sentiment or message I want to deliver…and other times my painting inspires my direction. This “dance” helps to keep my work fresh.

What is it that inspires you when creating a greeting card?

The relationship between sender and recipient is always the foundation of my cards. Visually, I like to keep my artwork simple and symbolic, which helps to allow for a broad audience. I love the clean look of a white background with some expressively painted artwork, combined with a hand-lettered message.

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Do you have a favorite card that you’ve created, and why?

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One card that stands out in my mind is this romantic card design with a simple brushwork heart, informal calligraphy and hand-lettered copy that is fun while still being heartfelt.

What famous artists/writers have influenced you?

I love Matisse, Monet and a lot of the expressionist painters. Writers like Emerson influence my work (I borrowed my Brand Promise “Scatter Joy” from him!)…as do the quotes from Helen Keller, Anne Frank and Mother Teresa – three very different, yet inspiring women.

In general, what inspires you, and how do you stay motivated?

I love the beauty of nature, the warmth of the sun and flowers in bloom. Travel, museums and the life stories of people and their relationships all inspire my work. I need solitude to create fresh content, so it is a balancing act between interacting with my business and creative teams and getting the quiet time to do my best work.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Wow. Well, I hope to continue creating content that feels rewarding to me while helping to nurture other talent and giving back. One of my dreams is to create a Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, where I can help mentor others – and through our efforts in the arts, help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

What advice would you give to an artist or writer just starting out?

 Believe in yourself and stay true to what makes you unique.

What do you do for fun?

I love the beach, watching movies, going for walks and exploring new places. Oh, and I have a couple of guilty pleasures…shopping (of course) and watching mind-numbing TV, like Real Housewives. (Don’t tell anybody!)

Thanks for the chance to “meet” all of you!

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Top Picks for Romantic Movies

holiday moodboard 020620131 Top Picks for Romantic Movies

Who doesn’t love a great love story, right?  And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to highlight some of the all-time favorite romance movies to get you in the mood. Think about having a movie marathon day – a perfect excuse to hangout in your coziest pjs with some decadent munchies and a little Kleenex in hand! Or, make it a date with your honey– prepare a fun dinner at home and choose a movie you both will love. Here are some of our top picks–although we must say, this wasn’t an easy task:

Classic Romance: Perfect for the hopeless romantic—these films capture the essence of everlasting love.

     Romeo & Juliet, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pride and Prejudice and Dirty Dancing 

Flirty and Fun: A lighthearted way to celebrate love in any stage.

     Sleepless in Seattle, Notting Hill, Serendipity, Love Actually, Pretty in Pink and Sweet Home Alabama

 Good for a Cry: Do we need to say anything more? Sometimes it’s just necessary!

     The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Atonement, Ghost, Titanic and we couldn’t forget, Forrest Gump

 Tying the Knot: These fab movies are filled with twists, turns, and best of all, –weddings!

     The Wedding Planner, 27 Dresses, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Confetti, The Wedding Singer, Bridesmaids, Our Family Wedding

 A Little Quirky: If your movie-going tastes (or, your sense of humor) is a little off-the-beaten path, try one of these fun flicks.

♥     Harold and Maude, Punch-Drunk Love, Annie Hall, Away We Go, If Lucy Fell, Moonstruck

There are so many great love stories out there. What are your favorites? Or, do you have one of your own to share?

In the mood board: A Love Story ecard from American Greetings

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Vintage Valentines

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it just may have you thinking about love. We’ve been coming up with different ways to say “I love you,” since what seems like the beginning of time – which got us thinking about all the ways we’ve seen love expressed in greeting cards throughout history. So we did a little digging and found some amazing cards dating all the way back to the 40s. We also came across cards from the 50s and 60s. From elaborate cut-out designs to retro and adorable characters – styles and language may have changed, but one thing always remains…the love!

This blog post features one design from the 40’s, but we thought it would be fun to display more of what we found on our Pinterest page where you can see all the designs on a special board titled, Vintage Valentine’s Day.”  Didn’t know we had a Pinterest page? Well, now you do and it’s the perfect place to visit to see our newest cards, birthday party theme ideas, special projects and all our blog moodboards!

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Groundhog Day

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Did you know that Groundhog Day, which is celebrated mainly in the United States, is closely linked with Candlemas Day originated by the early Christians in Europe? According to folklore, it was the Germans, Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers, who eventually brought this tradition to North America. Interestingly, the groundhog closely resembled the English hedgehog, which was considered to be a wise and sensible animal. The settlers decided that if the sun was out on February 2, this wise animal would see its shadow and have the good sense to jump back in its hole for another six weeks of winter.

Well, six weeks or not, we must all persevere — happy wintering, everyone!

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Football Rules

 

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There’s no arguing that football rules this weekend — the championship game will take place on Sunday determining which conference team, American or National, will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. First played in 1967, this game has become so popular that many consider it a national holiday. Here is some fun trivia:

  • It is the second-largest food consumption day after Thanksgiving.
  • Of the ten most-watched television shows of all time, nine of them are the “Big Game”.
  • The average cost to run a 30-second commercial during the game is just under $3 million.
  • An estimated 1 billion chicken wings are consumed on Sunday and no, there isn’t a shortage!
  • Antacid sales typically spike by 20% on Monday following the game–go figure.

So, whether you’re a diehard 49ers or Ravens fan, intrigued by the first-time test of brotherly love as the Harbaugh coaches battle for number 1 status, or you just like to watch the commercials–enjoy the show! And, remember, you can always resume your “Get Fit’ resolution post-game.

In the mood board: Fowl Play Talking Card from American Greetings

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Lean on Me

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Life can definitely throw us some curveballs and there is a lot of comfort in knowing that friends and family care. Perhaps someone you know is going through an illness, financial hardship, a divorce or struggling with a child, you’ll want to let them know you’re there for them. It can be as simple as sending a card, picking up the phone to talk or making time to visit. It’s certainly easy to be a good friend in the good times, but when things get tough, the key is being supportive and that means listening, offering encouragement, not necessarily advice and above all, being available.

In the mood board: I’m Here for You ecard from American Greetings

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New Beginnings

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En-cour-age: to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence.

Interestingly, the word itself comes from a combination of the prefix “en” which means “to put into” and the Latin word “cor” which means heart.  The act of encouragement is a powerful motivator in helping others “to take heart” especially when life gets tough. Think about what encourages you – is it kind words, praise, a card with a personal note, an unexpected visit or gift? Whatever it is, don’t be shy about doing those same things for others to show that you care. It was Maya Angelou who said: “I have found out among its other benefits, giving encouragement liberates the soul”

In the mood board: You Can Do It ecard from American Greetings

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