November 19, 2008

A Tip for Sending Holiday Greetings

Before I started Skeese Greets I either bought really cool holiday cards to send to family and friends, or made some of my own. Either way I would end up with extras that would hang around until the next year. I still liked the cards from the year before and still wanted to use the cards, but I asked myself, "Who got this one last year?"

You see, I would buy several boxes of different styles of cards. I'd have one set of 10 with a snowflake and one set of 10 with a dog wearing a Santa's hat. But I couldn't remember if my Aunt Patty got the one with the dog the year before and I wouldn't want her to get the same one again.

My solution - only buy one style of card per year. Yes, this might feel kind of boring and it might not agree with your shopping habits, but trust me - it makes the holiday season easier. Unless you're some kind of super star organizer, you're not going to remember which card you sent to each person. This way, the only thing you'll have to remember is what card you sent everyone the year before. (save one, mark the year and place it somewhere you'll remember next Nov/Dec.)

Have any tips of your own? I'd love to hear them!

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Quote of the day:
“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” Charles F. Kettering (1876 - 1958)
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November 18, 2008

SOY - It's What's For...

dinner and candles and clothing and...Skeese Greets!

My grandfather was a farmer almost his whole life. Each summer I'd go to that South Dakota farm and help with the chores, ride the tractor and pick the eggs. Besides the livestock, my grandfather also grew corn, alfalfa, sorghum, beans, and one year - SOY beans.

I remember when he grew the soybeans about 25 years ago. He only did it once but reaped the benefits of that stellar crop. He really seemed ahead of his time because now soy has become the go-to product in the green movement. Not only do we eat it in the form of tofu and edamame, but things like candles, fabric, and inks are also made from the beans.

From the Farm to the Cards:

For the last couple of years Skeese Greets bicycle cards have been printed with Soy Based Ink. But why does this matter?

As opposed to traditional petroleum-based ink, soy-based ink is more environmentally friendly, healthy, and a safe approach to printing that takes only a small amount of energy to make. In fact, cultivation of the soybeans uses only 0.5 percent of the total energy necessary to produce the ink. Much of that crop requires no irrigation, limited fixed nutrients, and leaves fewer agricultural residues than other crops. The main environmental advantage is that they release less than 1/5th of the mass of volatile organic chemicals compared to petroleum inks and this helps to reduce air pollution by minimizing toxic emissions.

And although you would never toss a Skeese Greets card into the recycle bin (because you'll keep it forever), paper printed with soy ink is much easier to recycle than the kind made with petroleum.

I'm proud to be using soy based ink on the cards. Not only does it create a brighter color, which is important on these colorful designs, but it's easier on the environment and it puts money into the hands of family farmers, as it did my grandfather many years ago.

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Quote of the Day: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs (1955 - )


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November 17, 2008

Etsy: Holiday 2008 - Our Favorite Cards

The Skeese Greets bicycle holiday card titled, "JOY" received enough votes for 6th place in the Etsy Holiday Cards 2008 Contest. Sixty cards were nominated out of over 150,000 cards on Etsy. As they say, "It was an honor just to be nominated." Thanks to everyone who voted; I really appreciate the support!




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Quote of the Day: “Be careful that victories do not carry the seed of future defeats.” Ralph W. Sockman


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November 12, 2008

Holiday Card of the Year Nomination

Out of over 150,000+ greeting cards on Etsy.com, 60 were nominated for Holiday Card of the Year. To my surprise, a new Skeese Greets card was chosen to be part of the select few. I received this email from one of the Esty.com administrators:

Your card was one of 60 cards chosen by Etsy admin to be voted upon for our blog's Best Holiday Cards 2008!

Please spread the word and encourage folks to vote. Details here:
http://www.etsy.com/storque/article/2899/

So now I'm spreading the word and asking, like a politician, for your vote!




It's the JOY bicycle chain holiday card and it looks like this:
Yes, you have to register, but it only takes a minute and then you'll be able to easily shop on Esty.com in the future.

Voting ends on Friday, Nov 14 by 12:30 Eastern. So hurry and get out the vote!

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Quote of the Day:
“Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.” William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

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November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day Thanks

November 11 is Veteran's Day in the United States. Called Armistice Day until 1952, the name was then changed and the holiday was re-geared toward all military veterans, not just veterans of World War I. In France, Belgium and New Zealand today is called Armistice Day. And the Commonwealth of Nations including Australia and Canada know it as Remembrance Day.

So here's to the Veterans - Thank you!



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Quote of the Day: “When one is grateful for something too good for common thanks, writing is less unsatisfactory than speech-one does not, at least, hear how inadequate the words are.” George Eliot (1819 - 1880)


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November 7, 2008

LUNA Fest Donation

LUNAbar, the makers of nutritional bars for women, is hosting LUNA Fest in Austin, TX this weekend. In case you're not familiar, LUNA Fest is a national traveling festival of short films by, for and about women. But don't worry guys, you can still attend!

Here's the info:

Sunday, November 09, 2008 @ 5pm
Regal Arbor Cinema

Presented by: Austin Team LUNA Chix

Invite a Friend

There will be fun give-aways, including some boxed sets of 10 from Skeese Greets! In addition, this card will be in all the goodie bags for attendees:

Inside reads:
What a beautiful sight
to see new gear
'neath the tree tonight!
Happy Holidays!


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Quote of the Day: “Take hope from the heart of man, and you make him a beast of prey.” Quida


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November 6, 2008

Featured Bike Art: Becky Tesch

Most bike jewelry involving chain links are very similar in design, like one link hanging down in dangle fashion to form earrings. Now meet Becky Tesch. Her bike jewelry is far from ordinary. She incorporates wire, links and other bike chain pieces to form some really cool earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Upon first glance you might not even realize that these very stylish pieces are made from used bike parts.

I've been admiring the chandelier earrings below for quite some time. They'd be great for a night out on the town.



If you're looking for something a little more casual, these copper swirl earrings fit the bill - simple, classy & cool.



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Quote of the Day: “The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future.” Stephen Ambrose (1936 - 2002)


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November 5, 2008

November Observances

Thanksgiving isn't the only holiday in November. Put on your Party Hat for Mickey Mouse's B-Day, but then remember to recycle it because it's America Recycles Month. On Tuesday, Nov 11th we have Veteran's Day which means schools and post offices will be closed. Unfortunately school will not be closed for Children's Day on the 20th. Sorry kids.

Here's a list of what else will be observed and celebrated this month:

Nov. 1: All Saint's Day (Dia de los Muertos)

Nov. 2: All Soul's Day
Nov. 3: Sandwich Day
Nov. 4: Election Day
Nov. 11: Veterans Day
Nov. 11: Armistice Day
Nov. 15: America Recycles Day
Nov. 17: World Peace Day
Nov. 18: Mickey Mouse's Birthday
Nov. 20: Children's Day
Nov. 20: Great American SmokeOut
Nov. 22: National Stop the Violence Day
Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Day

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Diabetic Eye Disease Month
American Indian Heritage Month
Addiction Awareness Month
Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Child Safety & Prevention Month
Diabetes Awareness Month
Epilepsy Awareness Month
Great American Smokeout Month
Home Care Month
Hospice Month
Drum Month
Peanut Butter Lover's Month
Real Jewelry Month
Stamp Collecting Month
World Communication Month
National Novel Writing Month
America Recycles Month
Vegan Month
National Novel Writing Month
Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month

What will you celebrate and/or observe? I think I'll roll three up into one by eating some vegan peanut butter off the spoon in observance of Gluten-Free, Vegan, Peanut Butter Lover's Month.

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Quote of the Day:
“Hope is a waking dream.” Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

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November 4, 2008

From Ballot Design to Card Design

For some reason, though we don't get the day off work and the banks & post offices aren't closed, Presidential Election Day feels like a holiday. Like the build-up for Christmas there's excitement in the air, yet everyone is ready for it to be over. There are those, however, who have to endure a few more weeks of the madness, and I used to be one of those people.

Before I started designing greeting cards, I worked in elections - first with Voter Registration and then in ballot design. Yes, election ballot design. Bet you didn't know a job like that existed.

Ballot design is actually kind of complicated. In Texas there are 254 counties and within each county there are about a million precincts. OK, that's an exaggeration, but there are a lot. Nevertheless, each of those precincts has different election items and therefore needs its own ballot in English and 90% also need Spanish and Harris County needs Vietnamese. Each county orders its ballots for all of its precincts; the ballots get designed, then proofed and then finally printed or loaded onto a voting machine. Barring no typos or mistakes (talk about a crisis when that happens) we wait... until Run-Offs and it starts all over again.

It was kind of exciting during elections to be working in that field, but all-in-all I hated that job. Today I'm glad to be designing stuff that's much more fun.


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Quote of the Day: “It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)


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