Wednesday, March 1st

Julia Bryant – January Design Challenge Winner

BallettElephant with Music Notes and Tutu for Dance Teacher Birthday by Greeting Card Universe artist Julia Bryant

Please list the URLs of your 3 favorite cards in your storefront and why they are your favorites.

Being ex-military, I wanted a card that would be encouraging to someone about to begin the most exciting and scary part of their life.

 

I just love this card. I love the retro look and colors.

My first card to win something and I love the message.

What were your inspirations for both of your winning cards? Please walk us through the process of how these cards went from ideas to greeting cards.

I wanted the dance teacher birthday card to be whimsical. I imagined a little girl or boy wanting to give a special birthday card to their dance teacher. Elephants are my favorite animal and ballet is my favorite dance, so I think the natural progression would be a dancing elephant that was simple and cute.

For the Dream Big Little One card, I had the same idea of keeping it whimsical and cute. I imagined being young again and getting a card that I would be able to relate to. I wanted it to be positive and reinforce her creativity and imagination. Show her that her dreams are very possible and she can do or be anything she imagined.

What sparked your interest in art? Did you start as a young child?

I did study art in middle school and high school, but I actually didn’t participate in art for the longest time. Right out of high school, I joined the military and then after I ended up in an IT career, which is furthest from an artistic life. I started doing greeting cards using public domain and shared images from around the internet. But after reading an entry by Corrie on GGU Community Blog about Adobe Illustrator, I took the initiative and learned the product and started refocusing on what I learned in school so many years ago.

Do you have formal training or are you self-taught?

I don’t know if middle school and high school art classes are considered formal training, but it definitely gave me the basics I needed to create designs.

Is your work done by hand and then scanned or do you work entirely on the computer?

I create all my designs using Adobe products, Illustrator and Photoshop.

Have you ever/do you currently have a job other than as an artist?

I work in IT and have been doing that for over 20 years.

What GCU artist(s) do you admire?

Sue Nollmeyer/ SueShine Studios. Sue is so motivational and a cheerleader for me since I first started in GCU. She never fails to send a note or leave positive feedback in my store or Facebook for any of my achievements. She also is one of the most talented artists I’ve seen and her designs are inspirational. I appreciate all that she’s done for me.

Looking at your storefront, your font choices are wonderfully fitting for each design.  Can you share how you choose a font?

Choosing a font is one of the most difficult processes in designing a card. You can have a lovely card and if you choose the wrong font, you can really setback the design. Usually, I will open the image in Photoshop and get an idea of the type of font will fit the design. I open my font viewer program that previews fonts by category and then choose several that fit. I will then try each one in the design until I find one that gives the ‘wow’ factor. Placing the font should also provide balance and be pleasing to the eye.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a very technical person and engineer. But, I think being literal sometimes helps with the creative process.

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Monday, July 4th

Fourth of July

 

Fireworks, roasted marshmallows, family get-togethers … no holiday is more all-American than the Fourth of July.

 

A commemoration of our adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Independence Day is celebrated in big towns and small towns all across America with parades, barbeques,  red, white, and blue decorations, political speeches, and a patriotic feeling shared by all.

 

The Declaration of Independence is the document that spells out the thirteen American colonies’ freedom from British rule. Voted on by Congress on July 2 and ratified on July 4, this important document contains, in its second sentence, what is widely regarded as the most meaningful statement on human rights:

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

The Fourth of July allows Americans the opportunity to be grateful for our freedom and recognize the richness of our history — all in the company of good friends and family.

While most of us are content with the traditional Fourth of July menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad, there are those who enjoy participating in hot dog eating contests. The most famous hot dog eating contest is sponsored by Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog on Coney Island, New York. Held since 1916, the contest pits 20 contestants against each other in a race to see how many hot dogs they can each eat in 12 minutes. The record holder is Joey Chestnut with 69 hot dogs in 2013.

 

Kid-Safe Activities for Fourth of July

 

  • Neighborhood or family bike parade — Kids can decorate their bikes with red, white, and blue streamers, pinwheels, construction paper, or balloons and then have a short parade up and down the block.
  • Declaration of Independence in kids-friendly words http://quatr.us/northamerica/after1500/government/declaration.htm Help children understand the significance of this important document.
  • Water balloon dodge ball — Using red, white, and blue balloons (of course!) filled with water, divide the children into two equal groups.  The children throw balloons at each other and each child who gets hit is out of the game. A nice game to play to cool down!
  • Instead of the egg in the Easter Egg game, substitute an ice cube. First child to reach the finish line with the ice cube on the spoon is the winner.
  • The tried and true watermelon seed spitting contest! Permission to spit — What child doesn’t think this game is the coolest?

 

The Fourth of July allows Americans the opportunity to be grateful for our freedom and recognize the richness of our history — all in the company of good friends and family.

General Fourth of July cards

Fourth of July Across the Miles

First Fourth of July

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Saturday, June 18th

Father’s Day

 

Father’s Day, celebrated this year June 19, is a day to celebrate the man who tells dad jokes, sings along to the radio when your friends are in the car with you, gives threatening looks to your dates — and dries your tears when the boy you like doesn’t give you a second look, surprises you by picking you up after school to bring you for ice cream “just because”, and is the man with whom you compare all other men.

Father’s Day was first celebrate in 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd, after hearing the sermon for Mother’s Day the year before, wanted a day to recognize the importance of fathers. Ms Dodd was aware of how important fathers are in the lives of their children because her father single handedly raised 6 children.

 

What do you get the man who means so much to you? Most dads would want you to know that they don’t need another tie. But wouldn’t they love a gift from the heart? How about a day with you and dad participating in his favorite hobby, like fishing or gardening? Or a lunch with just you and dad? Make arrangements to pay the waitress beforehand so that dad doesn’t grab the check. And any dad would like a card with your heartfelt thoughts on what he means to you and how much you appreciate how much he’s done for you. Greeting Card Universe allows you to write your own verse on the inside of the card as well as no charge to add a special photo of you and your dad to the inside.

Remember all the father‘s in your life, not just your own dad. Greeting Card Universe has you covered for all relationships.

For Godfather

For Both my Dads/Fathers

For Birth Father

For Estranged Dad/Father

General Father’s Day

Greeting Card Universe Father’s Day Pinterest board

Friday, June 17th

Betsy Bush — GCU May Challenge Winner

GCU May 2016 Challenge Winning Card by Betsy Bush

GCU May 2016 Challenge Winning Card by Betsy Bush

 

Visit Betsy Bush’s store Dragonfire Graphics

Please add the URLs of your 3 favorite cards in your storefront.

Please list any of your professional social media sites:
I have a few social media sites but must confess I don’t pay attention to them the way I should.

What was your inspiration for your winning card?  Please walk us through the process of how this card went from an idea to a greeting card.

I browsed all of the available June International/National days and 2 jumped out at me, National Nature Photography Day and National Cancer Survivors Day. I wrote them both down and had them in front of me for a couple of weeks before I began designing. I did a Nature Photography Day design because I had tons of photographs I had taken over the years to use. That one was ultimately declined for a few photography issues and I am so glad as I initially wanted to address the Cancer Survivors Day because I feel that the people that have been through such a battle deserve to be recognized. I didn’t tackle that one first as I was in the process of planning my daughter’s wedding shower, it was getting very close and I just didn’t feel as if I could do the subject justice at the time. I dove in anyway.

I wanted to create a card that was suitable for men or women to receive, so I chose a pale grey as the background. I went through my graphic design resources to find imagery to convey what I thought would be inspirational and also modern. I love the trendy watercolor look and when I came across the feathers I knew they were going to be the main focus of the design.

When it came time for the words I was brought back to the time spent with a very close friend who sadly lost his battle with cancer. His strength during his illness, his sense of humor and kindness that never faded stuck with me. He was my inspiration.

You’ve won many GCU’s Design Challenges, what advice would you give to other artists who are hesitant to enter?

I would love to see every artist on GCU enter the challenges! It is such a wonderful way to learn new things due to the research you may have to do to address the subject of the challenge. I love seeing the other designers take on the subject of the month. And not to mention, of the 14 design challenges I have entered, I have had sales of 11 of those designs! Designs that would have never seen the light of day had the GCU Design Challenge not spurred me to create them!

What sparked your interest in art? Did you start as a young child?

This is an easy question to answer! When I was a little girl my mom went to a weekly craft night with friends and always took me along! I loved it so much. I know this is what made me want to create art. My favorite time of day in school was art class. I still remember the first drawing I ever did that wowed my family. I was 7 and did a drawing of Donald Duck from a Walt Disney magazine.

Do you have formal training or are you self-taught?

I never had formal training. I started to take a cartooning class in junior high school, but the teacher was not even remotely interested in the subject

matter, I don’t even remember him teaching anything that related to drawing! After 3 classes I gave it up. As for the digital art I discovered 6 years ago, I am entirely self-taught. I can’t say how many YouTube videos I have watched over the years trying to learn Gimp, Photoshop, and other programs.

Is your work done by hand and then scanned or do you work entirely on the computer?

I work entirely on the computer. In the beginning of this adventure I used all of my own digital art, photographs, and some doodles scanned.

Now, I love to scour the design sites for the wonderful offerings I can purchase or even get for free to create with. I always loved jigsaw puzzles and to me finding a way to use these resources to create something new is like putting a puzzle together!

Have you ever/do you currently have a job other than as an artist?

I have two other jobs besides my greeting card and design work. I have been a waitress since I graduated high school 37 years ago and I am also a lunch lady at our local intermediate school. I have been doing that for the past 18 years. My dream is to retire from waitressing and focus more on designing. Maybe one day!

What GCU artist(s) do you admire?

Of course I love Corrie Kuiper‘s fun take on the world with her fabulous illustrations. Doreen Erhardt‘s elegant and classy designs are always a favorite. Other artists I admire are Micklyn Le Feuvre for her amazing mandalas, Sharon Fernleaf for her adorable animals, and Sue Nollmeyer for her spectacular sentiments.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t feel very surprising, but a few facts about me are, I have been married for 35 years, have 2 wonderful daughters (29 and 27), have lived in 5 states (NJ, NY, PA, CA, CO), have horribly frizzy hair, went to school with Jason Alexander (George Constanza on Seinfeld), (disclaimer: we were not closely acquainted), fell out of a moving pickup truck (at only 5 miles an hour fortunately) when I was 20, (never lean on your car door!), and when I was a chambermaid in Aspen, CO in 1986, I cleaned the rooms of Hunter S. Thompson and the whole entourage of the Prince of Saudi Arabia.

 

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Sunday, April 17th

World Hemophilia Day – April 17

People with hemophilia have a lower level of a clotting factor and they can bleed longer than normal, sometimes causing life threatening complications. World Hemophilia Day is intended to draw attention to hemophilia, which impacts approximately 1 in 10,000 people, and other bleeding disorders, such as Von Willebrand disease, rare clotting factor deficiencies, and inherited platelet disorders.

There are two types of hemophilia, each caused by a low level of a clotting factor. The more common is Hemophilia A and is caused by to low levels of clotting factor VIII (8). Hemophilia B is rare and is caused by too low levels of clotting factor IX (9).

Prolonged bleeding is the main symptom of both types of hemophilia. Bleeding, which is often internal but can be external, can range from mild to severe.

Severe cases of hemophilia can lead to an early death if left untreated. Fortunately, successful treatments are available, and when managed, people with hemophilia can live healthy lives. Treatments for hemophilia involve regular injections of the missing clotting factor.

Established in 1989, World Hemophilia Day is intended to draw awareness to this condition and increase the availability of treatment worldwide. April 17 was chosen in recognition of the birthday of WHD founder Frank Schnabel.

Light it Up Red

On April 17, major landmarks around the world will light up in red. These landmarks include

The Helmsley Building in New York City; Zakim Bridge, Prudential Tower and South Station in Boston; The Wrigley Building in Chicago; Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles City Hall; Pacific Science Center in Seattle; and The Monarch in Austin, Texas. Individual households can participate by replacing their front porch light with a red light bulb.

Greeting Card Universe World Hemophilia Day

Greeting Card Universe Hemophilia Awareness Pinterest Board

Sunday, April 10th

National Siblings Day April 10

Greeting Card Universe National Siblings Day

Siblings — you’ve gotta love’em, right? At least, that’s what your mom says. From late-night ghost stories to tattling to your mom when you got home late from a date, chances are you’ve had plenty of reasons over the years to have a love/hate relationship with your siblings. Who else has lived the same history, knows the same family stories, shares the same inside jokes… and can push our buttons every.single.time?

Seventy-nine percent of people in the US have siblings. Started in 1997 and observed on April 10 every year, National Siblings Day is a celebration of our brothers and sisters.

While it doesn’t describe everyone, many people are impacted by their birth order. Oldest children tend to be reliable, cautious, and structured; middle children are often people-pleasers, peacemakers, and somewhat rebellious; and youngest children can be fun-loving, outgoing, and self-centered. But no matter their characteristics, siblings are our first friends, our first debate opponents, our longest-lasting relationships, and our most complex. Because they know us so well, it’s easy to feel comfortable in the relationship. But that also means that they know the soft spots of our emotions — and there are times when they give those spots a bit of a nudge.

Despite all of this, though, siblings are there for us when we need them, they provide us with a sense of continuity, and we love them. We should let them know that we recognize their importance in our lives.

Did you know about these famous siblings?

Randy and Dennis Quaid, actors

Alec, Billy, Stephen, and Daniel Baldwin, actors

Chad and Rob Lowe, actors

Jake Paltrow (Director) and Gwyneth Paltrow (actor)

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, writers

Wilbur and Orville Wright, inventors

George and Ira Gershwin, composers

Venus and Serena Williams, tennis players

Steph and Seth Curry, basketball players

Dear Abby (Pauline Phillips) and Ask Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer), columnists

Prince William and Prince Harry, British royalty

Julia and Eric Roberts, actors

Greeting Card Universe National Siblings Day cards

Greeting Card Universe’s Siblings Day Pinterest Board

Sunday, February 28th

Ron Magnes, Best of 2015 Winner

 

Ron Magnes' winning card in Best of 2015 contest

Ron Magnes’ winning card in Best of 2015 contest

Greeting Card Universe artists were invited to submit their best 2015 work. Ron Magnes is the winner. Congrats to Ron from all of us at Greeting Card Universe!
Please list any of your professional social media sites:

 

Which are your 3 favorite cards?

Birthday Humor, Duck with Large Bill Pun card

Christmas, Cool Reindeer Giving Peace Sign with Shades card

 

Pop Art, Colorful Love Hearts, Valentine's Day card

 

Your winning card is very funny. What was your inspiration? Please walk us through the process of how this card went from an idea to a greeting card.

“The Ultimate Man Tool” is just a spoof on those type of ads and infomercials that claim, “this is the ultimate tool” or “this tool can do everything”. It was a bit more involved than my usual cards. After completing the knife illustration, which took awhile to get just right, I had to write funny little blurbs for each tool, I must have tweaked the wording on this for days. When I create a new card I always set it aside for a few days, sometimes weeks and then when I revisit it, it’s like having a fresh pair of eyes on it, and if at that point it still seems funny or heartfelt if I’m doing something sentimental then I know I have a winner. When I finished everything I then uploaded and submitted the new card to my GCU shop. It was rejected for looking too much like the Swiss Army knife. The reviewer suggested to maybe change the image a bit and resubmit. I shelved the idea. Months later I revisited the image, I was determined to make this idea work, I had put so much time into it. So, as per the reviewers suggestion I redrew the image, changing the casing shape and color. With this newly revised image, I submitted a new card. This time it was accepted with a comment attached suggesting that I do a series for different recipients and occasions, which I did.

What sparked your interest in art? Did you start as a young child?

My Mother did. As a young child I would often sit and watch as she painted, I found it so fascinating. She had noticed my interest in art, so one day she gifted me, “Animation by Preston Blair, Learn How To Draw Animated Cartoons” . I would sit and draw cartoons from that book for hours, there was a time I didn’t go anywhere without that book. From then on my passion for art just grew.

Do you have formal training or are you self-taught?

I’m a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I also have 20+ years experience working in a graphic arts studio where I honed my typography skills and learned how to create professional looking graphics.

 

Is your work done by hand and then scanned or do you work entirely on the computer?
All of my cards are done completely digital, from concept through finish.
Have you ever/do you currently have a job other than as an artist?

 

I worked for a graphics arts studio in the Pittsburgh area for over 20 years. I’ve been on my own for the past 12 years as an independent illustrator. So, I guess, no.

Are you as humorous in real life, such as parties or family get-togethers, or does your humor only come out in your cards?

I’m a bit reserved in large social gatherings, but I’m always observing. I do joke around when I’m with small familiar groups and family. I do prefer visual humor, you don’t have to be spontaneous, you can take your time to work it out just right.

 

What GCU artist(s) do you admire?
I find some of the NobleWorks artists to be very humorous.

 

What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I was seriously considering culinary school at one point, but later decided art school was probably a better fit.
Sunday, February 14th

The Joy of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, that day of love and care, is celebrated February 14. According to the Greeting Card Association, Americans send out 145 million Valentine’s Day cards each year. This doesn’t include the classroom Valentines exchanged in schools.

Originally celebrated as a liturgical celebration of one of the Christian saints named Valentinus, by the 18th-Century, Valentine’s Day had evolved into a day for expressions of love. The oldest paper Valentine’s Day card is from the 1400s and is in the British Museum. Commercially printed Valentine’s Day cards became available in the 1800s. Second only to Christmas cards in the US, Valentine’s Day cards have grown in popularity ever since.

Along with general Valentine’s Day cards and cards for family members, Greeting Card Universe has many options.

Anti-Valentine’s Day Cards For those disinclined to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Greeting Card Universe has an assortment of cards. Don’t be bitter on Vinegar Day! Make it a special day for pampering. There are some ideas to get you started in Getting Through Valentine’s Day Being Single.

Birthday on Valentine’s Day Surely someone born on Valentine’s Day is a love child!

Gay/Lesbian Valentine’s Day cards Greeting Card Universe currently has 532 cards that speak to the gay or lesbian relationships.

Valentine’s Day Photo Cards  Photo cards at Greeting Card Universe are very popular. Take advantage of Valentine’s Day to show family and friends your love.

Wedding on Valentine’s Day  On average, 2.2 million people get married on Valentine’s Day. What a special day to start your life together! And there’s little chance that your anniversary will be forgotten!

Secret Pal/Admirer on Valentine’s Day  A secret admirer can be anyone: a classmate, a colleague, a neighbor … or someone closer to home: Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer Essay

 

 

Thursday, December 31st

Happy New Year’s Day!

Greeting Card Universe Happy New Year!

Likely the most celebrated holiday in the world, New Year’s Day (January 1), New Year’s Day is typically celebrated with parades, American college football games, European football games, and family time.

Food plays an important part in New Year’s Day, with some food taking on a special meaning.

Black-eyed peas are a symbol of money — coins, specifically.

Greens are also said to be a symbol of money, because of their green color.

Pomegranates and grapes stand for prosperity, and figs for fertility.

Pigs, being rotund, are considered lucky.

Noodles are a symbol of long life, and grains symbolize wealth.

Cakes, shaped like a ring, symbolize coming full circle.

General New Year’s Day Greeting Cards

A new year brings a fresh start, a new beginning, and never more so than when a life milestone coincides with the new year.

Baby’s First New Year’s Day – A baby’s first New Year Eve is probably as low-key as the celebration gets! And Mom and Dad are likely playing it cool, too, with a small family dinner and an early bedtime — baby, after all, has no understanding of the need to sleep in. But New Year’s Day can be special for baby and parents, providing a chance to catch up with family and friends you didn’t see during Christmas.

First New Year’s Day as a Couple – A new year is a chance to start new traditions. Have friends over for a nice brunch, or have a quiet day at home.

First New Year’s Day in New Home – Congratulate a loved one on their new home as they start a new year.

Birthday on New Year’s Day

Wedding on New Year’s Day  – A special day on a special day!

Join us at Greeting Card Universe’s First New Year Pinterest Board

And our New Year Greetings Pinterest Board

Here’s to a wonderful 2016 for you and your loved ones, recognizing that no matter what firsts were celebrated in 2015 we should all look forward to the promise of a new year starting with January 1, 2016.

Wednesday, December 9th

‘Tis Always the Season for Greeting Cards

I’d like to share a personal response to this recent article, “It’s Time to Stop Sending Greeting Cards”. The title alone to me is like the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

Yes, it is that time again. We are in the thick of the holiday season frenzy and in addition to gift shopping, it’s Christmas card time. Each year more people are asking themselves if they will even send a holiday card.

There are many reasons why this is a growing trend. All reasons certainly having merit. Instead of discounting the reasons not to send Christmas or Season’s Greeting cards or any greeting card for that matter, I will share why you should send them.

Electronic communications and social media have made keeping in touch so easy it takes much of the thought and effort out of keeping in touch. It’s virtually effortless! That’s great for business and everyday matters. Woo hoo, we’re so productive, I love it! However we are bombarded on the daily with emails, text messages, posts, DMs, PMs, pokes and nudges and are becoming desensitized to personal communications. The “personal” is gone.


Happy Birthday, Social Media Thumbs Up, Humorous card

It’s a trend, an evolution of communications which will all look very different from how we’ve communicated before. Everyone will find a combination of communication media, personal and business, that “works” for them.

Take a cue from major retailers, many of whom are re-incorporating the mailing of traditional printed catalogs in an effort to be seen and heard above the electronic “noise”. (Remember that massive Restoration Hardware catalog? No way to ignore that!)

And talking about trends, what could be trendier than Taylor Swift? Taylor values the importance of giving birthday cards so much that she keeps some in her purse, just in case. Go Taylor!

So the bar has been raised. The saying “it’s the thought that counts” doesn’t really hold true anymore. Now more important than just the “thought” is the action – it’s the thought AND the action that count. Anyone can think about it, but to act on the thought – exert some real effort and DO something, something personal – that’s what really counts. Sometimes the more effort someone puts into something the more appreciated it is. Like it or not that’s the way it is. Maybe there’s a mathematical equation for this. Appreciation Factor = (Thought x Effort) + Personal Touch. Yes, there is, I just made it up!

1. Remember the event or occasion – there’s the thought

2. Buy or make a personal card – there’s the action and the more personal the better

3. And wait for it … mail it – perhaps the toughest part, takes a lot of effort especially if you are not organized (get that address, not their email address, not their user id, their MAILING address, you can do it!)

Birthday, Christmas or any little occasion – the effort and the paper are not lost, not wasted, even if the card does go in the recycling bin or trash (gasp!) after being enjoyed. It’s a pretty wonderful feeling to receive something in your mailbox, especially a special greeting card – it’s a timeless delight!

Elizabeth Perkins of Omaha agrees! A dedicated card lover, she puts thought, effort and a personal touch into her daily routine to let others know that she is thinking of them.

Card sales on our site www.GreetingCardUniverse.com are strongly on the upswing. Ordering online removes much of the effort by helping you a) search for the perfect card b) personalize it and c) conveniently mail it. People are finding the pleasure in making it personal – really personal. So much so that a unique and personalized card can serve as a gift in itself, and maybe even make it to the mantle for a spell.

Popular cards this week:
Thinking of You on your First Christmas Alone

Get Well Bone Marrow Transplant

Happy New Year’s Eve Birthday

Merry Christmas School Bus Driver

Happy 1st Birthday Great Nephew

Happy Holidays Daughter & Wife

 

Lil hippo says it so well:
38th Birthday - Humorous, Whimsical Card with Hippo card

I don’t think it will ever be time to stop the tradition of sending paper greeting cards, certainly not for me. As one of life’s little pleasures, it’s just too special and so worth the extra effort. Do the math ;)

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