Saturday, July 19, 2014

Christmas in July!

It's Christmas in July here at Paper Owl Artists.  We've been busy making Christmas cards for special orders and put up in our Etsy shop.  Christmas trees, snowmen, and snowflakes are the themes for today.  Eight cards - $15, mix and match or make them all the same.  Your choice too of sentiment.  Post a comment or message us if interested or  visit our etsy shop.

                                                                   A sparkly shabby Xmas tree

                                                            Embossed snownman cheer
Diamond snowflakes

And request your sentiment from the following:

Remember, it's never too early to think Christmas!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Baby! Hope He's an Artist!

We have a new baby in the family, Thomas Robert, born at 5:31 pm July 14th.  Weighing in at 8 lbs, 15 oz and 19-3/4" long, he can be a football pkayer or even a basketball player.  I'm secretly hoping he'll have an artistic side within him so he and gramma can do arts and craft projects together and yes, make greeting cards (for mom and dad of course!). Welcome to the world Thomas Robert.  We love you very much!

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Grandson - New Baby Card!

A new grand baby is on the way today - a grandson, to be exact.  In honor of his arrival (the little guy's name is yet to be decided), Jeff has made this special welcome card.

I love the card - the old fashioned bathtub, the textured towel, and of course the yellow "rubber" duckie.  And even the bubbles look real !

      Textured card stock for the towel
        White vellum for the bubbles

The inside of the card is white card stock edged in blue ink however, I asked Jeff this morning to add another yellow duckie on the inside lower right corner of the card to carry through the card theme.  Maybe I'll suggest he add a few bubbles as well??  

And while I'm in an asking mood, maybe Jeff will make a few additional cards in both blue and pink for our Etsy shop.  Jeff???

Visit our shop at 

Soon on our blog - Sample Holiday cards for custom orders.  Individual cards and sets to be available. 

Visit us today!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Swap Card

Today I'm making a couple of friendly greeting cards for a card swap I'm participating in through  It's a fun web site that hosts numerous swaps on everything imagineable.  I like to participate in the postcard, penpaling, bookmark, magnet, and Cardmaking swaps.  The card below is for the "Easy Peasy" card swap.  

                      Inside of card
               (excuse the shadows)

The card was simple to make for sure - a few Sizzix flowers and leaf diecuts, a couple of stamped sayings and some colorful card stock.  Truly easy peasy.   I think I'll make a few more just to have on hand!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fiddling With a Card Idea

Last night I was fiddling with a card idea. I'd seen a video showing the watercolor technique and I LOVE watercolor and watercoloring.  The demonstrator made the technique look really simple so I thought this should be easy peasy for me to do.  WRONG!!  To start with I should have used watercolor paper but I was too lazy to get some so I used regular card stock instead.  Here was the result of a small sample:

Crummy colors, runny ink.  Miserable looking.

Second try - still on card stock (yes, I was lazy and stubborn) - a little better color choice but not very attractive.  I like the first sample better, if I had to choose - 

Next try, better but still crummy and the stamp is too low.

Final try for the night was this one -

Drippy and messy but the colors were okay.  Later this week I'll try again, this time on watercolor paper and more patience.  Maybe I'll even watch the demo video again. 

Check out our nicer cards at

Monday, July 7, 2014

The History of Greeting Cards - Part 2

Here we go with our continuation of the history of greeting cards --

         Greeting cards = Big business

In 2009, it was estimated that the U.S. Greeting card industry generated $7 billion in retail sales, with Hallmark as the industry leader.  (Fun fact - Hallmark started as a postcard company started by the Hall brothers.  Their slogan "when you care enough to send the very best" was penned on a cocktail napkin in 1944.  The napkin is on display today in their corporate headquarters).  Today, the greeting card business is projected to reach global sales of $30.4 billion by 2015.  (Certainly there's room for handmade greeting cards, don't you think?)

                    Paper Owl Artists

              Enough with the history!!

So, with the bare bones history lesson over, let's get back to the original question ... What is a greeting card?

Is it a single sheet of car stock with a greeting on it?  Does it have to fold in half, or fold at all for that matter?  How about size and shape?  Does it have to confirm to a standard or can it be whatever the artist envisions it to be?

                    Set of four cards
                 Pencil drawings from
        1943 edition of Nature magazine

The answer, without sounding too Zen, is that a card is what the creator wants it to be.  The only limit to cards these days is in the imagination and creativity of the designer.  

Here at Paper Owl Artists, we have made simple fold-over cards, multilayered cards, square cards, rectangular cards, even round cards!  We have pop-up cards, cards using antique magazine art, vintage cigar bands, even paint swatch swatch strips!  :-). And we have cards for every occasion.  Most of our cards are blank on the inside to encourage our customers to express their own thoughts and feelings.  There are times we add an inside sentiment or decoration, more to carry the theme of the card to the inside than to take away from the actual writing in the card by the sender.

We are strong supporters of "real mail"  and the written word and hope that our customers and supporters feel the same.  The written word is NOT dead, not even close.  It is doubtful it ever will make it to the endangered species list either, as long as there are people like us ... Card designers, card makers, and card senders ... To keep it alive.

So after all of this I guess the answer to our question is this ...

A greeting card is a way of expressing oneself in feelings, wishes, and hopes to another person in any way that you, the sender, sees as doing the job best.  Shape, size, color or style are secondary to the message.  

So next time you need a card for an occasion or just to say hello, think not only of the mass produced retail card industry.  Think also of the independent card maker who has a love not only for the handmade card, but also for the design, feel and shape if a card as well as the history behind the industry.

                     Happy Birthday

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The History of Greeting Cards - Part 1

What is a greeting card?  A "clinical" definition might be - "A greeting card is an illustrated, folded card featuring an expression of friendship or other sentiment.  Although greeting cards are usually given on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, or other holidays, they are also sent to convey thanks or express other feelings."  (Wikipedia)

A perfectly valid description, but a bit generic.  Let's give it some substance with a bit of history.

The sending of greeting cards dates back to the ancient Chinese who sent New Years greetings and to the Egyptians who sent greetings on papyrus scrolls.  In the early 15th century, handmade paper cards were being exchanged in Eurooe. With Valentine's Day leading the way followed closely by Christmas.

The 1840's-1850's saw greeting cards become an affordable means of personal communication.  This was due in part to advances in paper making and printing technology.  The post office, with the introduction of the postage stamp in 1847 made mailing cards easier still.

The 1860's saw companies start up which were devoted to the mass production if greeting cards.  The 1930's saw advancements in color printing technology, while the 1940's and 1950's saw a growth in humorous greeting cards, also called studio cards.

In the 1970's, smaller greeting card companies, such as Recycled Paper Greetings (RPGS), fought for their identity against the "Hallmark look".  RPG created whimsical cards which, as the name implied, were printed on reveled paper and featured the artist's name on the card back.  And the 1970's to 90's also saw a change in how cards got to consumers.  At the retail level, sales to chain variety stores and drug and grocery stores increased while sales to card shops decreased.  This shift from card shops to departments of other retail stores resulted in large part from changes in consumer habits, as people wanted to purchase cards at the same store where they made other purchases.

The 1980's saw "alternative" greeting cards, cards not necessarily designed for a specific event.  

Tomorrow - Greeting cards = Big business!

                   Coffee & Friends

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

15 Reasons to Send Greeting Cards

Wouldn't you agree that nearly everyone, if NOT everyone, enjoys receiving greeting cards?  Birthday cards, anniversary, Christmas, Easter, Chanukah, sympathy, Thinking of you, the list of occasions goes on and on.  And while greetings cards are, today, easy to send via email, many people still prefer and value receiving an "old fashioned" paper greeting card, sent through the U.S. Postal Service or received as part of a holiday or special occasion gift.  

Whether handmade or store bought, and even e-sent, here are 15 reasons (in no particular order) people enjoy receiving greeting cards.

1.  Greeting cards are more personal than e-greetings.

2.  Greeting cards can be framed.

3.  Greeting cards make nice refrigerator art.

4.  The recipient can "connect" with the sender on a more intimate level through the sender's handwriting.

5.  Greeting cards let the recipient know what you are thinking and/or feeling.

6.  Greeting cards often come spontaneously making their arrival more special.

7.  Greeting cards can acknowledge a special event.

8.  You can include cold, hard cash in a greeting card.

9.  A greeting card can act as a reminder of an upcoming event.

10.  A greeting card can act as an apology.

11.  A greeting card can share a joke.

12.  A greeting card can send a word of encouragement.

13.  A greeting card can tell someone you miss them, are thinking about them, or waiting to hear from them.

14.  A greeting card can include magaIne and news articles, cartoons and recipes.

15.  A greeting card sent or received can cause a smile and a memory.

So next time you're thinking of someone, think about sending them a greeting card.  They'll appreciate receiving it, remember you for it, and you'll feel good about sending it.  And while we're on the subject of sending greeting cards, visit out Paper Owl Artists Etsy shop for an assortment of handmade cards for every occasion.  Custom orders accepted as well. .  Open 24/7 for your browsing and shopping pleasure :-)