Monday, October 29, 2012

We've got your back... and it's free!

With our Holiday card designs being updated daily, we wanted to take a minute to talk about the flip side. We have come out with some fresh new back options especially for the holiday season and as always, there is no extra charge for a message, photo, or both, on the back of your Love and Life design!



Three Boxes

Two Boxes


What is your plan for the back of your holiday card? Do you like to fill every inch of space or do you prefer to keep it simple when it comes to the back side?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Holiday sneak peak!

The holiday season is upon us... well, almost! It is still October, but some of you very organized people (you know who you are) have already started thinking about holiday cards and have even put in a holiday order. You would think as a card designer, my cards would be done well ahead of time, but alas, I have no idea what my family holiday card will look like. The card design is so much fun for me, but getting just the right photo is another story! So instead of stressing about how I'll ever get my kiddos to photographed, I'd rather have fun designing the perfect card for you and your family.

Below is a sneak peak of some of our 2012 holiday designs. We're really excited to offer more designs this year!

Simple and stylish "Crafty Collage"

Say it all with "Joy and Love"

Show off your little elves with "Santa's Little Helpers"

Three perfect photos? "May your days be Merry & Bright"

Classic Christmas "One Ornament"

Simple and elegant "Ball of Joy"

All of these new designs, and more, will be on the web site and ready to go by the first week in November, but of course if you're ahead of the game, we can get started right away and as always, if you don't see exactly what you're looking for on our web site, we will be happy to create a custom design to show off your beautiful family.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's the great pumpkin, charlie brown... coming soon to a home near you!

Halloween is just around the corner and we have been busy, busy deciding on costumes over here! 

Our oldest has been set on Ladybug Girl for quite some time and it is really a fairly easy costume to put together. 

One red leotard:

One red tutu: 

One pair of ladybug boots (that will double as her winter boots this year):

Put together some wings and antennae (work in progress)...and voila - we should have Ladybug Girl, looking something like the cover below, ready to go!

Our younger daughter is excited to be a "Honey Bee" which is convenient since we have this costume (thanks, Grandma KuKu!) all set to go from a few years back.

But I have to say, the costume I found on Pinterest for this Sock Monkey Baby Costume on Grosgrain Fabulous Blog might be the cutest I've ever seen. I'll have to pin this for our newest member for next Halloween!

What are you planning for your little ones (or yourselves) for Halloween this year? Do you do it up big or do you like to turn off your lights and go out to dinner? I have to admit, I'm more of a Halloween homebody, but I just love putting some hot apple cider on the stove, playing It's a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on repeat, and staying in to hand out the treats so I can check out all the creative Halloween costumes!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Is Facebook going to finish US?

I was sent a really interesting article about the demise of the greeting card industry due to the digital age and social network sites. As someone who has just started a business in said industry, should I be worried? Probably!  

But we don't look at things that way at Love and Life. I like to think I am a traditionalist rather than a dinosaur. I try to embrace technology, clearly we write a blog, I use Facebook, I have an iPad, and I would be lost without my iPhone. Still, I love to hold a book, buy a CD, and most importantly send a card. Even when it's too late for me to send a card, I'd rather send an email then just put a Facebook post saying "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations".  Don't get me wrong, it's better than nothing, but it still feels a little impersonal. 

I have included the article for anyone interested in reading it, but we want to hear from you! How do you send your special correspondence? Still write thank you notes? Maybe Facebook is the way forward? Or, are you like us? Do you still love opening the mail to see someone's Love and Life moments? After all, you can't hang Facebook on your refrigerator.  

Social media among threats to greeting card makers
Published - Oct 07 2012 12:01PM EST
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Say it's your birthday or you've just had a baby, maybe got engaged or bought your first house. If you're like many Americans, your friends are texting their congratulations, sending you an e-card or clicking "Like" on your Facebook wall.
But how many will send a paper greeting card?
"I'm really, really bad at it," said Melissa Uhl. The 25-year-old nanny from Kansas City, Mo., hears from friends largely through Facebook. "Maybe," she said, "an e-card from my mom."
Once a staple of birthdays and holidays, paper greeting cards are fewer and farther between — now seen as something special, instead of something that's required. The cultural shift is a worrisome challenge for the nation's top card maker, Hallmark Cards Inc., which last week announced it will close a Kansas plant that made one-third of its greeting cards. In consolidating its Kansas operations, Kansas City-based Hallmark plans to shed 300 jobs.
Pete Burney, Hallmark's senior vice president who overseas production, says "competition in our industry is indeed formidable" and that "consumers do have more ways to connect digitally and online and through social media."
Over the past decade, the number of greeting cards sold in the U.S. has dropped from 6 billion to 5 billion annually, by Hallmark's estimates. The Greeting Card Association, an industry trade group based in White Plains, N.Y., puts the overall-sold figure at 7 billion.
Brian Sword, 34, of Kansas City, said he's "definitely" buying and receiving fewer printed cards than he did a decade ago, though he still prefers to send them to — and receive them from — a small group of close friends and family.
"I do think there are a lot of benefits and it does say more when it comes in a paper card format than when it comes even as an online greeting card," Sword said. "There's just something about receiving that card in the mail and opening it up and having it be a physical card."
Even the paper cards people buy have changed. Many people now use online photo sites to upload images and write their own greetings. High-end paper stores are attracting customers who design their own cards, sometimes using graphics software once available only to professionals.
"What Hallmark started with met the needs of the consumers in that early 20th century period to mass produce these personal greeting cards with art and poems and the only way you could communicate was by mail essentially," said Pam Danziger, who analyzes the industry as president of Stevens, Pa.-based Unity Marketing. "It's no surprise that in the 21st century with so many other communication vehicles available that the old idea of a greeting card being sent by mail just doesn't work anymore."
According to a U.S. Postal Service study, correspondence such as greeting cards fell 24 percent between 2002 and 2010. Invitations alone dropped nearly 25 percent just between 2008 and 2010. The survey attributed the decline to "changing demographics and new technologies," adding that younger households "both send and receive fewer pieces of correspondence mail because they tend to be early adaptors of new and faster communication media."
While Hallmark says it's committed to the paper greeting card, it has made changes over the years. It has an iPhone app, for example, that lets people buy and mail cards from their phones. It also partnered with online card service Shutterfly to share designs that consumers can use to build specialized cards online.
Its chief rival, Cleveland, Ohio-based American Greetings, actually went from trimming costs and jobs amid the recession to announcing in August that it's adding 125 workers to an Osceola, Ark., plant. It's part of an expansion that will allow customers to design their own cards — online, of course.
Judith Martin, author of the syndicated Miss Manners column, says she thinks the move away from mass-produced sentiment isn't all bad.
"The most formal situations still require something written," she said. "The least formal are easily taken care of with texting or email, which is terrific. The idea that it has to be all one or all the other and that one method is totally out of date and the other one takes over until the next thing comes along just impoverishes the ways that we can use these different things."
Amanda Holmboe, a 25-year-old power plant quality control worker from Portland, Ore., has mixed feelings about the rise of digital communications. She said her friends email, text or post something on Facebook when something big happens in her life.
"More people know about my life and what's going on. I hear from more people, so in some ways I'm connected to more people, but it's a less personal connection," she said.
But Holmboe isn't giving up on cards.
"I love sending cards," she said, adding that she mails some from the cities where she travels for work. "I think they're fun, and I like being able to write a personal note to somebody because I like getting mail, so I guess I just think everyone likes getting mail."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Renovating an outdoor toy cabinet

With baby number 3 on the way, I’m feeling like I really need to get my small house organized! I’ve started a little “wish list” of small projects to complete around the house, most of which are based around organization of one kind or another. One place that seems to be a catch all for everything is our mudroom. I have some big plans to get this space organized, but in the meantime, I the girl’s outdoor toys were really starting to pile up back there. I decided it was time to get those balls, bubbles, and whatever else I could justify being stored out of the house… OUT!

First we did up a very rough design draft.

 We already had these lovely cabinets built onto the side of our garage so we had been storing some of the bigger outside play toys out there, along with various tools.

And as you can see from this side view, there were a few serious safety issues so I wasn’t too keen on having my 2 and 4 year old rummaging around a closet with nails poking out of the walls in every direction!

Our neighbor gave us some old pine boards from equipment packing boxes. The wood definitely could be stained or painted, but we really like the character some of the pieces have and chose to show those off front and center. The pine also smells fantastic when cut, so the whole closet now smells amazing!

And voila… the finished product. My husband trimmed out all of the sides so no more sharp nails. Then he added shelves and a cage to hold all of the bats and balls. And best of all, the project was FREE!

The girls love that they can open up their outside toy cabinet and grab whatever they want. I love that the mess is out of my house and contained in a somewhat orderly fashion!

How do you store your kids outdoor toys? What do you think of our mini outdoor toy cabinet makeover?

Stay tuned… our mudroom makeover is in progress so hopefully I’ll have an update on that in a few weeks!

Have a great week everyone!