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We have a pretty exciting promotion going on at Cardstore right now. Order as many cards as you want, enter the code JULYFREESHIP at check-out, and we’ll cover the costs of shipping for you! Get your card before 11:59 pm PST on August 2nd, 2011 to make use of this great deal. Happy shopping!

Take 2 Tuesday: Birthday Bunting

When it comes time to decorate for birthday parties, there’s nothing I love more than pops of color. However, when it’s done in a subtle way a rainbow of color can look even more magical. That’s why I adore this Birthday Invitation from Paper Stories featuring a rainbow banner along with a picture of real bunting that would be too cute to celebrate the birthday boy or girl.

First Birthday Banner Birthday Invitation from

Banner photo from Flickr photographer sparklecandace

Birthday Card Inspiration: Mark Twain to Walt Whitman

I have so many friends and family members with summer birthdays, and I can’t help but feel like I’m writing the same thing on every card. What is there to write on a birthday card besides Happy Birthday? How do you make a birthday card personal without sounding overly sentimental or trite? Tired of writing the same thing and in desperate need a few fresh ideas, I went looking for some inspiration and came across this gorgeous letter from Mark Twain to Walt Whitman for his 70th birthday on Letters of Note.

I love how Twain chronicles all the major events that have passed during Walt Whitman’s lifetime; a similar approach could be take with any milestone birthday to create a birthday card that really spans the richness of their life. When he transitions to his wishes for Whitman’s future, the birthday letter is at its most elegant. This combination of past, present, and future is an excellent technique to ensure that you will have plenty to say and create a birthday card that they’ll always remember!

The letter reads:

Hartford, May 24/89

To Walt Whitman:

You have lived just the seventy years which are greatest in the world’s history & richest in benefit & advancement to its peoples. These seventy years have done much more to widen the interval between man & the other animals than was accomplished by any five centuries which preceded them.

What great births you have witnessed! The steam press, the steamship, the steel ship, the railroad, the perfected cotton-gin, the telegraph, the phonograph, the photograph, photo-gravure, the electrotype, the gaslight, the electric light, the sewing machine, & the amazing, infinitely varied & innumerable products of coal tar, those latest & strangest marvels of a marvelous age. And you have seen even greater births than these; for you have seen the application of anesthesia to surgery-practice, whereby the ancient dominion of pain, which began with the first created life, came to an end in this earth forever; you have seen the slave set free, you have seen the monarchy banished from France, & reduced in England to a machine which makes an imposing show of diligence & attention to business, but isn’t connected with the works. Yes, you have indeed seen much — but tarry yet a while, for the greatest is yet to come. Wait thirty years, & then look out over the earth! You shall see marvels upon marvels added to these whose nativity you have witnessed; & conspicuous above them you shall see their formidable Result — Man at almost his full stature at last! — & still growing, visibly growing while you look. In that day, who that hath a throne, or a gilded privilege not attainable by his neighbor, let him procure his slippers & get ready to dance, for there is going to be music. Abide, & see these things! Thirty of us who honor & love you, offer the opportunity. We have among us 600 years, good & sound, left in the bank of life. Take 30 of them — the richest birth-day gift ever offered to poet in this world — & sit down & wait. Wait till you see that great figure appear, & catch the far glint of the sun upon his banner; then you may depart satisfied, as knowing you have seen him for whom the earth was made, & that he will proclaim that human wheat is worth more than human tares, & proceed to organize human values on that basis.

Mark Twain

Found via Letters of Note. See images of all four pages of the letter here. Check out some Birthday Cards while you’re at it!

Celebrate International Friendship Day

Did you know that July 30 is the International Day of Friendship? While the first Sunday of every month was traditionally designated as Friendship Day in countries around the world, on April 21 of this year, the UN offically made July 30 the holiday to show your friends how much you care. Send a friendship card to celebrate the the relationships you cherish. Friendship Cards from Right To Left:

Bees Knees Friendship Card by O+D

Life Beach Friendship Card by Ann Scott Designs

Absolutely Fabulous Friendship Card by O+D

Inspiration Board: Friendship Tea

I love the nostalgic vibe of this friendship card. Its soft colors hint at the gentler luxuries of life–a good book, floral perfume, and a cup of tea shared with a friend. Send this everyday card to add a vintage touch to your correspondance. Known Forever Friendship Card

Penguin Classic’s Emma

Le Creuset Teakettle

Anthropologie Dress and Mugs

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume

Take 2 Tuesday: Sunshine

Sunshine is in abundance during the summer, and I just can’t seem to get enough of it. Whether it’s in the colors I wear of the way I feel, everything just seems to be sunnier! To continue with my absolute obsession with yellow during this bright season, I’ve been loving the idea of pairing this Thinking of You Card with a sunflower for a great gift to give to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. It seems like nothing else could possibly make someone smile like the combination of a sweet card and some gorgeous flowers.

Thinking of You Card from

Sunflower photo from Flickr

The Art of Letter Writing: Sympathy Cards

Even in writing, offering your condolences for a friend’s of family member’s loss is a difficult and daunting task. However, don’t let your fear of saying something wrong stop you from sending a sympathy card; a well-intentioned letter is always appreciated, regardless of its level of eloquence. Here’s some tips to get you started:

  • Begin with a name: Always mention the deceased by name, though it may be painful. It ensures that the sympathy card comes off as personal rather than sterile.
  • Offer sympathy to the letter recipient:Address the letter recipient specifically. Let them know that they are in your heart.
  • Share a memory: If you can, speak of your experiences or favorite memories of the deceased. Be specific. Letters last a long time, and creating a written record of a memory of their loved one is sure to be appreciated. It not only shows that their loved one continues to live on in your memory, but also ensures that the experience lasts in their memory as well. If you were not familiar with the deceased, try to remember what you have heard from the letter recipient about them: “You always told me how John could make you laugh in any circumstance,” or, “I know how much you looked up to Cecilia; I remember when you told me once. . .” This creates the same personal effect that a memory might.
  • Offer specific ways in which you would like to help: Almost every family dealing with loss speaks kindly of the food left by thoughtful friends and family members. Try to think of things that make good leftovers, like lasagna or enchiladas. If you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, offer to run basic errands–driving a child to an activity or school or buying groceries. Any little bit helps, but offering your aid without specifying how you can help can be too overwhelming in such a difficult time.
  • End with a sincere condolence, again, and a warm send-off. Try to make your letter meaningful, but not too long. The most powerful letters often are those that knew what to leave out.

Writing a sympathy card is not an easy task, but in following a few basic guidelines, you can create a letter that is not only appropriate but also meaningful.

Why Don’t You… July 16 & 17

… make sophisticated friendship bracelets? As a girl, I always felt there was something so special about sharing a friendship bracelet I had made with a close friend. Using this DIY tutorial from Dear Lizzy, friendship bracelets are all grown up in the most stylish way possible. Wrapped in velvet, this is a bracelet that is so easy to make and incredibly pretty too.

… make refreshing summer slushies? If the weather in your area is anything like it is here, you’re hot and constantly craving cool summer treats. When I came across these Lemon Lime Slush Cups on Momtastic, that are cleverly held inside the lemons, I knew it would be my go-to treat for the weekend. Cleaning out the lemon rinds is easy enough for the kids to help with too, so it can be a fun activity everyone can get involved in.

Cardstyle Find #102: Family Circus

With summer vacation in full swing, many family reunions are being held across the country. I’ve never been much of a fan of the cliche family reunion shirts I’ve seen, but when I came across these options from Kin, I was sold. They’re understated and give a great sense of family history; I think they’d be the perfect addition to a reunion this summer.

Take 2 Tuesday: Aviation

Sometimes a friend needs some words of encouragement, no matter how far away they may be. In times like those, I’ve found sending a thoughtful card is one of the best ways to brighten their spirits. This sweet Friendship Card from designer Zelda Wisdom is a great one to keep around for reminding a friend to take risks, no matter how impossible something may seem.

Aviator Goggles Dog from 

Red Plane from Flickr photographer chumlee 10