Archive for July, 2014

Must Know Tips for a Stress Free Christmas… Yes, in July.

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Every year, we live under the false pretence that ‘this year’ we’ll be organised for Christmas and swan around smugly while everyone else runs around like headless chickens. But in my case at least, before I know it it’s Christmas Eve and I’m in the biggest last minute shopper showdown of the year… over a chocolate Santa. So, it may be five months early but I’ve come up with a fool proof way to cut costs, budget, and be ready to enjoy the season stress free.

Christmas Wrapping Paper

Be prepared, or prepare to get creative, courtesy of http://imgur.com/5UGUz

#1 Make a list

Santa knows whats what. Make a list, you don’t have to split it into naughty and nice though, let’s not go overboard. Making a list helps you to distinguish who you want to get gifts for and what to get them. Otherwise we end up wasting money on things people don’t want or buying them more than one gift (heaven forbid). Doing a list like this early also means if someone says they like something in the coming months, you can get it on the list pronto. Voila, always listen to Santa.

#2 The genius monthly purchase plan

I really shouldn’t be sharing this with you or my smug swanning around will be completely negated by the fact that the rest of you are but, I have three words for you, monthly gift buying. If you buy two gifts per month starting from now to Christmas, your bank account won’t suffer in December and you’ll have 12 gifts in the bag!

#3 Online Shopping

There’s always someone who wants something that everyone else wants (me). If you wait until pretty much any time in December it won’t arrive till 2015 and you know it. If you see something at any time, order it – it’s worth it.

#4 Pre-schedule Christmas ecards

No, I’m not kidding. At Katie’s Cards, you could actually order all your Christmas e-cards now completely erase this tedious aspect of the holidays from your mind. You’ll save money, time, postage (yawn) and probably win some kind of Christmas award for sending the best card. Best of all, if you forget someone on your list, which we all do – don’t feel bad, you can pop on the site and send one in minutes, so they’ll never know.

Merry Christmas.

Recycling Facts That Could Save the World

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Debates surrounding our environment and how we can care for it are rifer than ever before. While there are many supporters of the environmentally friendly, green living movement, there is also an understandable consensus that the acts of a single individual will not be enough to make an impact in the grand scheme of things. It really isn’t easy being green, or is it? If we each reduce our footprint on the planet by recycling and reusing resources, the effects could be much more effective than we think. So, we’ve scoured the web for some of the most mind blowing facts that prove how big of an effect a small ‘individual’ change can have.

  1. Recycling 1 can of aluminium provides enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours.
  2. Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrel of oil, and 4000 kilowatt hours of electricity.
  3. Food waste disposed of in landfills creates large quantities of methane gas, which contribute towards greenhouse gasses and global warming. By capturing the bio gas from just 1 tonne of food waste, 1 tonne of carbon dioxide emissions are prevented from entering the atmosphere. To put this in perspective; 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste is produced every year.
  4. An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States. Enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

paper

Ultimately, recycling is necessary. It not only has huge impacts on the environment, it creates awareness and forces us to acknowledge limitations of what we use and how much we waste. If you’re thinking of ways you can help have an impact, well, we have just the answer…

ENTER, THE ECARD.

See the thing is, sending an ecard enables you to show a loved one you care, while also translating an important ecological message, which in turn equates to the promotion of the health of our planet. So for the next holiday or celebration, send a Birthday ecard, Christmas ecards, Halloween ecards and others at Katie’s Cards and make a big change.

Floral Ecard Inspiration from Hampton Court

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

It’s the final day of the Hampton Court Flower Show this Sunday (13th July).

The Hampton Court Flower Show is a great event where people come from miles around to look at the incredible displays and get top tips from the heroes of the horticultural world.

And all this  happens, every year, just down the road from our little office in Teddington.

Floral Marquee at the Hampton Court Flower Show

Floral Marquee at Hampton Court Flower Show.
Image Courtesy of David Hawgood

But apart from the traffic disruption and the definite increase in bewildered-looking passengers on the public transport system – it was only today that we realised the true impact of this annual tradition on our collection of e cards.

The floral can be found throughout the majority of the categories on Katie’s Cards. Perhaps with the exception of the Christmas ecards – where the snowflakes and fir trees replace the need for flowers and lush, bucolic vistas.

It’s usually about this time of year that we tend to add a few more summery ecards. In the past, this included the ‘Flowers’ and ‘Terrace’ Birthday ecards, along with our ‘Gardener’ anniversary e greeting.

Holiday terrace floral themed ecard

Terrace Birthday Ecard

Gardening Ecard for Anniversaries

Gardener’s Anniversary Ecard

Yes, it’s quite clear that we’re partial to a posy – and as it’s that time of year again, remember to keep your ear to the flower beds for more new ecards featuring all things floral courtesy of Katie’s Cards.

Why Do We Celebrate Birthdays?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Sounds like a silly question doesn’t it?

After all, why wouldn’t we want to mark the very important day that we were born?

Not to mention that it’s basically a free 24 hour pass to do what you like; have a party, catch up with friends and family, open some presents and eat cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But this isn’t quite about why, but how we came to celebrate birthdays in the way we do.

So hold onto your party hats, because we’re going to have to go quite a way back to work this one out…

Lighting the candles on a Happy Birthday cake

Let’s Get This Birthday Party Started

Ancient Egyptians can be traced as one of the earliest civilizations to at least take notice of a birthday as recorded in the Bible. It was, however, a Pharaoh’s birthday and Egyptologists have suggested that this mention referred to a coronation anniversary rather than an actual birth-date. Once crowned, Egyptian royals were considered to have transcended mortality and entered the realm of the Gods.

Birthday Cake? Sounds a Bit Greek

As a tribute to the Lunar Goddess, Artemis, the Greeks made cakes in the shape of the moon. They used candles on the cakes to recreate the glowing effect of the moon – a symbol of the Goddess’ luminescent beauty.

What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?

Well, they certainly seem to have been the first civilization to celebrate birthday on behalf of the common man. And when we say ‘man’, we mean it. Women at that time were not considered worthy of such a fuss. It took until around the 12th century for females to be able to celebrate on their birthday.

Romans lucky enough to reach their 50th would be rewarded with a cake made of wheat flour, olive oil, honey and cheese. And although they weren’t quite sending e cards yet, Romans did enjoy a good old fashioned shindig.

Christmas Birthdays – So Annoying

Original sin along with the associations to the worship of pagan deities prevented the Christian religion from adopting the idea of birthdays for quite some time. It wasn’t until the 4th Century and the introduction of Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ that they were no longer considered unholy and hedonistic.

Yet Christmas celebrations as we know them now didn’t really take off until the Victorian era. The first Christmas card was only introduced in 1843. Christmas e-cards on the other hand, are unsurprisingly a much more recent invention with the first ‘electronic postcard’ being sent in 1994.

Ein Kinderfeste Ist Gut, Ja?

It was in 18th Century Europe where the Germans seem to be the likeliest of instigators of the contemporary children’s birthday party. Kinderfeste involved a birthday cake with candles for each year – along with an extra one for the hope of another full year lived. Pretty morbid, we grant you. But infant mortality rates were high back then. It’s also thought that the tradition of making a wish when you blow out your candles was born out of the same superstition.

Happy Birthday was a Cover

Here’s a bit of a birthday bombshell for you. You know that song that everybody sings on your birthday, that you can’t show on TV without paying loads of royalties? It’s not even an original. Back in 1893, Patty and Mildred J. Hill wrote and composed a simple song called ‘Good Morning To All’ intended to be used in schools. It became prevalent all across America, sparking off variations left, right and centre, until Robert Coleman added some of his own lyrics then published it in his songbook in 1924. The rest, as they say, is history.

You could say it’s been a bit of a slow burn getting there, but just look at us now… We’ve got cake, we’ve got candles, a personalised song, party, presents and of course the humble birthday card.

As birthday traditions continue you to develop we also have the internet, that most marvelous of modern inventions, to thank for the introduction of Birthday ecards.

 

And that’s why it’s fascinating to think where birthday celebrations came from and where they might go in the future.

Birthday Ecard Happy Birthday Billboard Animation

The Animated Billboard Birthday Ecard from Katie’s Cards