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!


Handmade Paper Valentines


Many years ago, I took a course through the Edmonton Weavers’ Guild on paper-making. The link between weaving and paper-making may not be obvious but they are both made of fibre and involve creativity. I still have a large supply of paper that was made that day because as it is very porous, it is difficult to write on so really only has craft potential. I have mainly used it in card making.

I am glad I had the opportunity to try out making paper in a studio because unless you have a blender you don’t mind wrecking, sinks you don’t mind clogging, and lots of space, it is not a great activity to do at home. As well, the brightly coloured pages were made from pulp that was dyed with Procion dye which should always be used with caution.

As there is no point in keeping a stash of paper unless you are planning on using it, I decided to make some valentines. The designs of these ones were inspired by a delightful little book called I Love Stationery by Charlotte Rivers, featuring beautifully made stationery from all over the world. One great thing about handmade paper is that it is sturdy enough to hold up to sewing so I incorporated stitching in three of them. I hesitated in posting this blog before Valentine’s Day because some of my dear readers will be the lucky recipients of them but they won’t know which one is meant for them until February 14 so there will still be some surprise.


If these Valentines were people, they would be chubby cupids showering their love on the beloved recipients.

Coming up next week:  Travel Journals