Friday, September 22, 2017

Customizing Christmas cards with Paperless Post (a review)

Recently I was given the opportunity to try out Paperless Post, a company that offers the capability to create one's own unique online and paper stationery.  There are many attractive designs for cards, invitations, and much more that can be completely customized to reflect one's own personal style (or, in the case of birthday cards, the personality of the recipient).  According to their About page, since 2009 Paperless Post users have sent out over 85 million cards for all occasions.

I was interested to try this out because I often send e-cards for holidays and birthdays.  It's been getting more difficult to find e-cards that I like everything about.  So the opportunity to customize my own digital cards with photos, personal messages, and more, seemed like a very good one.

Although I have only begun with seeing what Paperless Post has to offer, I'm impressed with it so far.

There is an entire category for holiday cards: Paperless Post holiday cards, featuring designs for a number of different holidays.  There also are many, many Christmas cards to choose from, and you can see them here: Paperless Post Christmas cards.

I decided to customize a photo card, so I chose an attractive design and got started.  The cards are completely customizable -- one can change the wording, change typefaces, text colors and sizes and much more.  These aren't at all like e-cards I've sent in the past where the design, greeting, etc. are put together in advance by someone else and I've just added a simple personal message.

It's very, very easy to upload your own photo.  I chose a mountain scene from our trip to Nevada this summer.

First there's the card front -- as mentioned above, there are many great designs to choose from.  The message on the front can be changed if you wish, the font made larger or a different color, etc.  Next, you can choose an optional backdrop to complement your card.  This isn't necessary, but it's fun and there are many backdrops to select from.  I used a sort of white stucco with greenery for my backdrop.

For many of the photo cards, there is a back side where you can also add photos and a greeting.  You can use their greeting or write your own, choosing the font, the font color, size, spacing, etc.  The envelope back is the next step; you can choose your color of envelope to coordinate with your card and then add an optional envelope liner which is lots of fun.  Again, loads of choices for these.  For the envelope front, you again choose a font, etc. for the address.  You can choose a postmark and a stamp for your envelope.

The whole process was quite easy and fun.  It actually reminded me of the photo calendars and books I've made online, with the many options for personalization.  There is the option to send a card right away or to schedule it for a later date and time, a feature that I absolutely love.  I have three Christmas cards already scheduled to be sent to friends in December.

All in all, I've greatly enjoyed customizing Christmas photo cards with Paperless Post, and will be looking forward to personalizing and sending more of their cards to family and friends.  I would definitely recommend this site to my readers who might be interested in something like this.

This post was written in partnership with Paperless Post and Anagram Interactive, but obviously all opinions are my own and reflect only my experiences.   I've also begun customizing and scheduling a few birthday cards and have posted about that on my regular blog.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A few posts from the August archives

Graphic from The Old Design Shop
Here are just a very few posts from the August archives here at my Christmas kitchen.  I suppose that, at least for the past few years when I've been doing Christmas in July, I have a good excuse for August being rather a lean month as far as postings are concerned. 

How I adapted the “Christmas in a Can” idea might give others some inspiration for gifts to help with a family's Christmas celebrating.
A dollar store find inspired me to make this Quote Journal for a friend.  If you can find a pretty, small blank book or journal, you might like to do the same.   Give her God’s Word in your handwriting is a post I found by Karen Ehman that presents a similar and very good idea for friends.

Candied Walnuts are a wonderful kitchen gift in their own right, but also great topping a salad of spring mix, dried cranberries or blueberries, and feta or blue cheese with a fruity vinaigrette.
Photo from Taste of Home

Have fun with these ideas!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thrift store finds with a Christmasy look

When we visit our daughter and her family in Elko, Nevada, I always enjoy visiting the local thrift stores.  I didn't get to all of them this time, but I did visit several. 

In one of those, I found two plates that will likely find their way into my Christmas decorating. (The photos were taken with my tablet so they came out rather faded-looking.)
The above plate is part of the Old Curiosity Shop line by Royal China.  It is called a handled cake plate.  I have a few other items from this line, so I thought this plate, in perfect condition, would make a great addition to my little collection.  I paid $3 for it.  As you see, these plates are selling on eBay for anything from $4 to $16.
The second plate, which is also shown at the top of the post, is a vintage pine cone Melmac plate made by Boontonware.  The Etsy listing has a set of 7 plates (with scratches and discolorations like mine) for $30.  Mine is a bit more faded; someone had tried to clean it, I suspect with a magic eraser.  I erased a bit more when I got it home.  Since I only paid $1 for this, I'm not too worried about it.  I think the colors of this plate will make it a fun addition to my fall decorating as well.

Hope you've enjoyed seeing these thrifty finds!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Christmasy find in Idaho!

Photo by Parlor Antiques
We just got back from a wonderful vacation to parts of Utah, Idaho, and Nevada.  I wouldn't have thought such a summer trip would generate any content to share on my Christmas blog, but yes indeed!  In a shop called Parlor Antiques in Buhl, Idaho, I made such a fun Christmasy find that I just had to share it with you all.

This shop has loads of beautiful vintage and antique items spread throughout several rooms and the basement (which I didn't get to visit due to time constraints).  The items I looked at were very reasonably priced.

I spotted a bowl full of vintage paper milk bottle caps and began looking through them just for fun.   I had never realized that these caps were made in special holiday designs.  (I'm well within the age range that remembers when milk was delivered to homes in glass bottles, but I didn't know or remember any special holiday bottle caps.  Our local dairies probably used them, but I didn't drink milk as a child and thus would never have been the one opening the bottle.) 

Back to the antique shop.  In a short time I found three pretty Christmas-themed designs.  The caps were priced at 25¢ so I bought four, in the three different designs.  What fun!

The one with the little red cottage is my top favorite.  Which one do you like the best?

I actually own a Christmas-themed glass milk bottle from the 1990s and I like to bring it out at Christmas time.  I had made my own paper cap to use when storing it, but now I'll be able to use a pretty vintage one. 

What a fun find!  I wish now that I had purchased more of the caps, as I can think of several ways they might be used in crafting and decorating.  Hope you've enjoyed this look at an unusual vintage Christmas item!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A patriotic Christmas card!

Just perfect for the month of July is this patriotic vintage card I recently found from 1973.  So I thought I'd share it before the month ends.  When I found this card (sent to my parents by some good neighbors), my first thought was that it had come to them as part of a fundraising effort by some veterans' group or other.  But as I looked at the back of the card, I thought not, seeing that it had a  Famous Artists Studio trademark.

A little research revealed that Famous Artist Studio did do mailings of Christmas cards for nonprofits, and some for the VFW, so that's likely where our neighbors acquired this card.

 My personal feeling is that the flag sort of overwhelms the pretty scene, but I thought I would scan the card and save it that way, for it is definitely an interesting vintage card.  It reminds me, too, that not all people have freedom to worship as they choose.  We are very blessed in America!

Thanks to all of you who've visited my Christmas kitchen for Christmas in July.  It's been fun!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Poem: Sometime During Christmas

It's Sunday, so I'm featuring one last poem from the 2010 Christmas Ideals magazine.  I have always enjoyed seeing the Christmas Ideals, ever since my grandmother used to have them in the 1950s.  I could pore over them by the hour back then, and probably still could today if I had an hour to spare.  Today's poem is Sometime During Christmas, by Ree Reaney.

Sometime During Christmas

Sometime during Christmas
As the days go rushing by,
Take time to see the Christmas lights
Mist-haloed 'gainst the sky.

Sometime during Christmas
Breathe deep the Christmas smell;
The bayberry and the piney scents;
What welcome they foretell!

Sometime during Christmas
When carolers are singing,
Retell the age-old story
For which the bells are ringing.

Sometime during Christmas 
Midst the gaiety and noise,
Take time to hear the quietness
Of simple Christmas joys.

Sometime during Christmas
Remember friends are near,
And feel the warmth of knowing
That your friendship's very dear!
~ Ree Reaney

I thought this was such a beautiful poem.  Sometime during Christmas, let us take time to do each and every one of these things!

(The illustration at top is the cover from one of my vintage Christmas carol books.)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A sweet little card

I always enjoy finding sweet little Christmas cards in this stash or that,  Here's one I recently found and scanned.  This scene is surely from a different vantage point, isn't it?  Looks as if the artist was up on the roof of an adjoining building, or up on a hill above the town. 

There's the church steeple, complete with pealing bells, in the foreground, and townsfolk circling the lighted tree.  Maybe the tree has just been lighted for the first time this Christmas season, for everyone seems awed and delighted.  I think the person in the center of the group, back toward the tree, looks as if he may be leading the others in a Christmas carol.    Someone has even brought their sled along. 

Snow is falling and the entire scene looks as if it could be right at home inside a snow globe.  Sigh.  I simply love the innocence of vintage cards, don't you?