Halloween Cards


I know card giving is not a Halloween tradition (hey kids, you don’t want candy that will rot your teeth, why don’t you take one of my homemade cards instead) but I recently joined the Edmonton Calligraphic Society and at the meeting they gave the attendees a big pile of paper. I love paper but I already have a substantial stash myself so I needed to use some of it before the next meeting or it will get unmanageable.


There was quite a bit of graph paper to practice our letters with but there were also strips of orange card stock, heavy yellow paper, and some pages from an old British children’s book. I know the president of the society is a volunteer at the Edmonton ReUse Centre so I suspect some of the paper may have come from there. From what I can tell from the two book pages, the story revolves around the unlikely plot that a leopard is on the loose in their town, a situation I am sure many children could relate to. The children are named Susan and Terry and they live with their Auntie May, Major (a basset hound) and a terrier named Snip. Here is an excerpt:  

“I’ve just had some disturbing news from Constable Simkins,” she informed her niece and nephew. “It appears a leopard escaped from Red Walls early this morning and is still at large.”

This terrifying scenario made me think of Halloween, as did the strips of orange, so I got to work.

First, I made trimmed the book pages and singed the edges, both to make them spookier looking and because I love burning things. Next I practiced my dip pen writing skills and wrote Happy Halloween on the orange strips and roughened up the edges before gluing it to the front of the card on top of the book pages. The writing on the inside of the cards is also on orange strips of paper.


I didn’t have any envelopes the correct size for the finished cards so I made some out of paper from an old used Grumbacher sketch book. I had forgotten just how good this paper is. I am going to have to go back to my Canson paper sample book and compare.


It was fun to practice my calligraphy on a project instead of just working on my letterforms on graph paper. I am looking forward to seeing if we get interesting papers at every meeting of the Calligraphy Society.

If these cards were people, they would be more kooky than spooky. They would dress up to pass out treats to the kids but the treats would be homemade. Unfortunately most would just be thrown out, but the few children who dared eat them would get lovely homemade fudge.  




Elisabet Puts Thread to Paper


I recently came across the word sewist, combining the words “sew” and “artist”, to describe someone creatively sews and thought it was the perfect description of how my sister creates her unique greeting cards (and better than calling her a sewer). In honour of her birthday tomorrow, I am going to share a little bit about her card making.

She started down this path many years ago when she began sewing  attractive and sturdy re-usable shopping bags that she would sell at craft fairs and markets in Quebec where she was living at the time. She soon found she needed to diversify her stock and, keeping with her business’ eco-friendly theme, began making cards that incorporate cast-off bits and pieces like scraps of fabric, maps, old calendars, buttons, and used greeting cards. For that special Elisabet touch, she uses a sewing machine to add a line of stitching. She even makes her own envelopes using brown kraft paper lined with recycled paper. While this never became a big money maker for her, the cards are a great creative outlet and became very popular with her regular customers back in Quebec. They would drop by her house and ask to see “the box”, an antique train case she got at a garage sale that she keeps her cards in.


Her creative process begins when she sees a scrap with fresh eyes. Sometimes something catches her eye and an idea comes, other times she seeks inspiration by tidying up her sewing and craft supplies. Once she has a few ideas, she usually tries to make 5 to 10 at a time. This makes the process more efficient, as does making all the cards the same size. For cards that use fabric, she first spray glues the fabric to stiff paper before cutting to size and then gluing it to the card. The last step is to do the stitching with an old, slow sewing machine with a blunt needle.


Making the envelopes comes next and is enjoyable in its own way but, as this part of the process is repetitive, she recommends listening to the radio while assembling them. As a finishing touch, she uses pinking shears on the flap to give the envelope a paper bag look.

Her customers appreciate the uniqueness of her cards and I know I love receiving them!

If these cards were a person, they would be a loving and creative individual that makes the best of what they have by adding a touch of pizazz to whatever they do, much like my sister herself.

Birthday Cards

this year

It was recently my birthday and, following with tradition, I received a few birthday cards. Two of them were handmade and all of them were from women which confirmed a Carlton Cards statistic that claimed that 70 percent of all card purchases are made by women. I tried to find out when the custom of giving birthday cards began but all I could find was the history of greeting cards in general. Even the Hallmark Cards site only made special note of Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day when discussing the history of their company. Maybe because birthday card purchases happen all year round, card companies take that market for granted even though it is estimated to be 60 percent of all greeting card sales.

I couldn’t even find out when celebrating birthdays began but I, for one, am glad we take a moment to give thanks for another successful trip around the sun. I have a sentimental streak so have kept a stash of old birthday cards. The ones from my parents mean the most to me now. 


I also get a real kick out of seeing how graphic design has changed over the years.

contemp1 9years

While designs change, the personalities of the givers stay the same. The same friend who gave me the kittens card when I was nine, sent me a text birthday greeting with a photo of her cat this year. 


I love penguins so have received a lot of penguin cards over the years. I mustn’t be the only one who loves penguins as Hallmark even had a “Penguins” line for awhile. 

Penguins Penguins reverse

So here’s to birthdays and to those who keep the birthday card tradition alive!