Birthdays are Worth Smiling About (Wednesday, 2.27.13)

February 27, 2013

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

Celebrating Purim (Sunday, 2.24.13)

February 24, 2013

Celebrating Purim!

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Today is Purim! This festive Jewish holiday commemorates the bravery of a young girl, Esther, who saved her people from being massacred in Persia in the fourth century BCE. Her story, which is the basis of the Biblical Book of Esther, tells of how she won the heart and hand of King Ahasuerus with her great beauty. She kept her heritage a secret, but when her guardian, Mordecai, discovered the evil vizier Haman was going to have all Jews killed, she risked her life by revealing her identity to the king. Miraculously, the tables were turned on Haman, as the king adored Esther; her people were saved while Haman was put to death.

This wonderful holiday is celebrated with the community, and at the synagogue, the Scroll of Esther—the Megillah—is read. But don’t think this is a somber event! Every time Haman’s name is mentioned, the congregation hollers and shouts, and shakes graggers, or noisemakers, to drown out the evildoer’s name, which adds to the fun. Temples and community centers often host plays and carnivals, and the children dress up in costumes ranging from superheroes to Queen Esther herself.

Of course, a holiday wouldn’t be complete without delicious food, and Purim is no exception! One of the most important treats is hamantashen, a filled, three-cornered pastry named after evil Haman. Kreplach, a filled pasta, is also traditionally served at the seudah, or the celebratory meal. It’s definitely a day for partying!

Friendship and charity are important themes of Purim, and so people give gifts of food to friends and donations to those who are in need. After all, the joy of the day, and the miracle of good over evil is something that’s meant to be shared.

Inspirational Quote (Friday, 2.22.13)

February 22, 2013

Be the Change…

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Happy February Birthday (Wednesday, 2.20.13)

February 20, 2013

Birthday Wishes for a Beautiful Day!

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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

Presidents Day Quote (Monday 2.18.13)

February 18, 2013

Celebrate Presidents Day!

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Love Quote(Friday 2.15.13)

February 15, 2013

Grow Old with Me…

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Happy Valentine’s Day (2.14.13)

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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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

Meet the Artist (Wednesday, 2.13.13)

February 13, 2013

Meet the Artist…

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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!

Celebrate Mardi Gras (Tuesday, 2.12.13)

February 12, 2013

Celebrate Mardi Gras!

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Valentine Gifts for Him(Monday 2.11.13)

February 11, 2013

Valentine Gift Ideas for Him…

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Valentine’s Day is almost here, but are you still wondering what to get the men in your life? Well, whether it’s your true love, your best bud, or that guy you’ve had your eye on, we’ve got some great ideas:

Heartfelt:  Of course he knows you love him, but reminding him is important, too.

  • Romantic Hidden Messages: Stay close to his heart by putting a little love note in his collar or tie. Or, you can fill your bedroom (his car or office will work, too) with red balloons, but first write little messages about what you love about him, or favorite memories and put them inside each of the balloons.
  • Coupon Books: Get even more intimate with a coupon book filled with love — you can buy one or make it on your own. Just use your imagination.

Flirty: Some gifts are perfect, whether you’ve been together a long time or are in that “what if?” stage.

  • Custom Bouquets: And, no it’s not about the flowers.  There are liquor and cigar bouquets, and even roses made out of rolled bacon–yep,what guy doesn’t love bacon!  This idea also works for male friends and relatives, too– try turning their favorite tools—from brushes to screwdrivers—into a manly arrangement.
  • Homemade Fortune Cookies: It’s a tasty way to customize your wishes–make them innocent, inspiring, or downright risqué.

Fun, Fun, Fun: These ideas can be tailor-made for all the great guys in your life and are sure to create lots of happiness, laughter and love!

  •  Lottery Cards:  Whether the receiver is your dad or your husband, he’ll have fun reading the personalized prizes beneath the silver scratch-offs.
  • Singing TelegramThink outside the box and surprise him with a personalized song or poem performed by any number of star attractions such as cupid, the goddess of love or perhaps, a pink gorilla.

Finally, don’t forget to include a card. After all, Valentine’s Day is all about love—all types—so let those great guys know just how you feel about them!

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