Elisabet Puts Thread to Paper

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

parents 

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

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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. 

Kittens

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!