Holiday Prep Tips(11.30.12)

November 30, 2012

Get a Holiday Head-Start…

Christmas preparation

There is no shortage of exciting things going on as the holiday season gets into full swing.  From shopping and baking to planning for fun get-togethers, you have one exciting, yet full, calendar.  But with a little pre-planning, you can get ahead this holiday season.

 Try these tips to help you on your way:

  • Shopping lists:  Get a start on your shopping list by jotting down notes as you hear friends and family mention things that might make for a great gift.  Find that one thing they’ve been looking for forever or give them something you know they need just by being a little more observant.
  • Get a jump on your holiday card list:  Purchase your holiday cards early in order to get the best selection and to avoid holiday shipping delays.
  • Make a list and check it twice:  With your holiday cards in-hand, all you need to do is give your address book a quick update before signing, addressing, and popping them in the mail (or bundle them and wait until December 10th, if you want to send a little closer to the holidays.)
  • Smile for the camera:  The holiday season is the perfect time to take a family photo, and there’s no better way to share warm wishes than with those beautiful smiles.  Be sure to check out the wide selection of photo cardsonline.
  • Bake and freeze:  Lots of holiday cookie recipes can be made in advance and frozen so that you always have a tray of treats to take to a get-together.  Consider starting a cookie exchange with a group of friends to get the most variety out of your bulk-baking.
  • Master calendar:  Now’s a great time to create your master calendar for the holiday season.  Don’t forget to include all holiday parties (marking which ones you’ll need gifts for), gift shopping lists, and a plan for set up, cleaning, and cooking for all your get-togethers.

Holiday Promotion (Wednesday, 11.28.12)

November 28, 2012

More Merry for Less…

Season's Greetings!

The shopping season is officially here and what better way to get a jump start on your list than by buying your holiday cards now.  You’ll want to check out this special offer — 70% off all personalized holiday cards, plus we’ll mail them for FREEThere are hundreds of great designs that range from classic to contemporary – you’re sure to find the perfect card to personalize with a message or photo.  This great promotion runs now through December 2, so don’t miss out on sending more merry for less!                       Use coupon code:  XMAS70

In the mood board:  Knit Snowy Owls Card from American Greetings.

Cyber Monday Quote (Monday, 11.26.12)

November 26, 2012

Happy Cyber Shopping!

Black Friday Quote

Shopping the Sales (Friday, 11.23.12)

November 23, 2012

Ready…Set…SHOP!

Now that Turkey Day is done, it’s time to focus on another reason to be thankful:  sales!  Today is Black Friday, the day of deals. The term was allegedly used in the early 1960s by the Philadelphia police to describe the day’s traffic chaos.  In the 1980s, the meaning changed to a day for retailers to get their sales “in the black,” or profitable.

Remember, this is a battle for bargains, so to ensure success (and survival!), make a plan.  Start with a list and know where you’re going.  Don’t leave home without your rewards cards, coupons, and bonus offers.  Big box stores offer great deals, but so do smaller retailers.  Smart shoppers aren’t afraid to divide and conquer.  Enlist the help of family and friends, and make a fun day of it.  Stay nourished and hydrated, too—the day can be loonggg!  Finally, try not to shop till you drop, or at least, wait until you get home to conk out.

If you’re not an adrenaline junkie and hate the crowds, you also have Cyber Monday. This day was given its name in 2005 by shop.org, and offers the awesome ability to shop in your PJs!  Plan ahead and sign up for your fave store’s newsletter and “Like” them on Facebook to get great coupon codes.  To maximize the deals and minimize the cost, be sure to factor in shipping—free is best!  Verify you’ll have your items in time for the holidays, and double check the return policy.  On Cyber Monday, the options are as wide as the web itself –you can easily order anything online, even personalized holiday cards.  Now that’s a great way to save time this season!

 Happy Savings Days to you!

Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday, 11.21.12)

November 21, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude…

It’s Thanksgiving eve and most likely you’re in the middle of preparations for tomorrow’s big meal.  As hectic as this day can be, try to take some time out to focus on what you’re grateful for this year.  Whether it’s family, friends, a job or simply having a long weekend, an attitude of gratitude can have some real benefits.  Research has proven that being thankful for even the simple things in life makes you healthier and happier.  And your positivity can have a ripple effect, making those around you feel great too.  It will definitely put some extra happy in your Thanksgiving!

In the mood board:  Life’s Gifts ecard, from American Greetings and Thanksgiving paper card by Kathy Davis.

Give Thanks Quote (Monday 11.19.12)

November 19, 2012

Give Thanks…

Thanksgiving Quote

Preparing for Thanksgiving (Friday 11.16.12)

November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Preparation Tips…

happy thanksgiving

Holidays are filled with food and fun, but when you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, it can be overwhelming.  We’d like to share some ideas for Thanksgiving to make the occasion less stressful, and give you more time to enjoy the day.  And we also included some helpful hints for your guests:

Create a countdown calendar to stay organized.   Make a list of what you need to do each day. Include things such as shopping, cleaning and decorating—as well as taking a little time for yourself.

Work on your grocery list early.  There’s no way to avoid crowds at the grocery store this week, but if you make a detailed list first that focuses on your recipes, shopping will be a snap!  Also consider purchasing a few gourmet-prepared foods to make cooking easier.

Plan out your cleaning time.  Family members can be a big help here, or if a close guest asks how they can help, why not suggest a pre-holiday “cleaning and coffee” get-together?

Simplify your decorating.   Make nature’s bounty the perfect accent by creating your own version of a cornucopia in a basket filled with luscious fruit, dried flowers and colorful leaves. Or spray leaves and pinecones with glitter shellac and arrange them around deep red and orange candles. Check out sites like pinterest for amazing inspiration, too.

Make a detailed schedule for food preparation.  Counting backwards for your Thanksgiving feast will let you know just how much time each item needs for preparation and cooking, and you’ll be able to devote the time in between to socializing with your guests.

Remember guest etiquette.   If you’re the guest this year, definitely find out what you can bring, but also remember not to crowd in the kitchen, and always help with cleanup.  Be sure to send a thoughtful thank you note afterwards, too.

Give thanks!  Finally, no matter what your beliefs, it’s nice to say a few words of gratitude before the meal.  After all, this day is about being thankful for life’s gifts.

Fowl Play (Wednesday, 11.14.12)

November 14, 2012

Let’s Talk Turkey…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Day is almost here, so it’s time to start training for those important Thanksgiving traditions.  First, get those arms in shape for all the passing you’re going to be doing:  left, right, left, right—you’ve got to keep that turkey platter moving around the table!  And while you could work off some calories and make room for dessert by passing the ol’ pigskin around in the backyard, it’s more likely you’re going to join millions of armchair quarterbacks and watch other folks make the passes.  That’s right—it’s football time, one of the greatest Thanksgiving traditions of all!  Your job’s not done, though.  After all, you’ll still need to pass the remote, drinks, snacks, leftovers…so get training!

In the mood board:  Fowl Play Talking Card from American Greetings

Meet the Artist (11.12.12)

November 12, 2012

Meet the Artist…

Meet the artist Drew

American Greetings introduces Drew King — Drew’s considerable talent as an artist has been recognized here as well as in galleries and museums throughout the country.  Here’s what he has to say…

When did you first realize you are an artist?

I’m still trying to convince myself that I am an artist.

What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?

My position at American Greetings is Senior Creative Developer and I’ve been here for 11 years already.  I studied painting and drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia . I also did graduate study in film animation at the California Institute of the Arts. My student film won a Student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Over the years I have developed a body of work which includes paper cut-outs, cut paper sculpture, print making, and oil painting. My subject matter has been largely figurative.  Recently I have focused on larger scale, abstract oil paintings.  You can find some examples of my work at www.artbydrewking.com.

What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?

Staying focused on what works with a particular concept inspires me.  I may start out by throwing anything that looks cool out there, but the end result needs to be tight.  Everything needs to work together.  I’m always reminding myself…”keep it simple”.

What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why?

My favorite card that I created is called The Spirit of Christmas.  It has a lot of depth to it and has a cut paper look. I created all the imagery in the computer while being aware that I wanted a hand-crafted feel to the results.

Christmas Art

What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you?

Saul Steinberg has always been at the top of my list of most inspiring artists.  His work has a universal appeal.  The graphic nature and the ideas behind his work are witty and humorous.  On an extreme opposite approach to art is my favorite painter Anselm Kieffer.  His work is emotive, drawing on works of expressionism.  There is something a little haunting about his work.

What inspires you to create your designs and how do you stay motivated?

I am inspired by new ideas I see happening in art.  I’m always looking at animation on the internet.  Some of the new capabilities being developed for “After Effects” and how artists utilize them is always evolving.  I try to do something that’s at least a little different than what I have seen before.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Tired.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

I think the important thing about developing as an artist is to find something good in what you do. Even if it’s just a small element about your work, there’s always something to build on.

 What do you do for fun?

I love to travel and to see new places.   Even if it’s just a small town not too far away. I like to go biking especially now when the leaves are turning.

Land of the Free Quote (Friday, 11.9.12)

November 9, 2012

Remember Our Veterans!

 

This Sunday is Veterans Day–a special time to say thank you to all of our veterans who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces.   We appreciate your sacrifices and remain inspired by your dedication in keeping this great nation safe.

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