It’s nothing new really. During WW1 and WW2 sending cards and letters increased from the weekly norm as people tried to keep in touch and boost morale. It’s happening again. Not a world war as such but during this pandemic the British people are turning to post to help lift spirits. Find out how people are connecting with cards during lockdown.
Sending greeting cards – the British way
Recently the ITV reported on the surge in mail that postal workers are experiencing. From 100th birthday cards, correspondence with loved ones and mail sent to those in care homes, the great UK greeting card is out to boost morale again. In ‘normal’ times the UK people send more greeting cards on average than anyone else in the world. With the average person in the UK sending 33 cards a year I think the figures for 2020 will be much, much higher. But we’ll have to wait for the Greeting Card Association annual report in a year or so before we find out exactly how many.
What does Connecting with Cards mean?
This week is UK Mental Health Awareness Week. Sending and receiving cards has been scientifically proven to help with mental health. I’m not sure we need science to tell us that. We all know the joy of a handwritten letter or card arriving on the doormat. Sending a card is an act of kindness. ‘Kindness’ is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. But a handwritten card isn’t just an act of kindness it’s more than that too. It means taking a little time to think about someone else. Writing a card means you’ve thought about someone who quite possible feels very alone. And a beautiful greeting card isn’t easily forgotten. Instead it’s given pride of place to be seen and smiled at again and again and again.
Choosing which starter pack really depends how you want to run your business. Will you be mainly selling your stock, then maybe starter pack 3. If you’re mainly going to do online then perhaps starter pack 1. If you’re thinking of a bit of both then perhaps pack 2. If you’re not sure, get in touch and we can brainstorm what’s right for you and your start up budget.
Each pack starts you off with extra profit to get you going.
Even the smallest pack contains plenty brochures to hand out.
Every pack includes a personalised website that is activated as soon as you join, even before your pack arrives!
Every pack includes a year’s public liability insurance if you’re thinking of selling at craft fairs etc.
From over 40% profit on Pack 1 to over 50% profit on Pack 3 plus a £20 bonus on Pack 3 each pack has been designed to kick start your card business.
You’ve watched Blue Planet, you love turtles and you want to do your bit to be eco friendly. But you are a bit confused by mixed messages about whether you should be using gift wrap, brown paper, newspaper or even wrapping presents at all. Whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday or for any occasion you can gift wrap in style without costing the earth. I’ve put this little post together to help you answer the question; Is gift wrapping paper recyclable?
A really quick test is the Scrunch Test but it’s not quite as simple as that.
So which gift wrapping is recyclable?
Supermarket ‘cheap as chips’ wrapping paper
Probably not recyclable. Even if it doesn’t contain any glitter, foil or added extras, the thin wrapping paper that is often found at the checkout is unlikely to be accepted by paper mills for recycling as it contains few good quality fibres for recycling.
Gift wrap with foil or glitter effects
The paper might be recyclable but the glitter and foil effects make it difficult and too expensive (if it is even possible) to recycle. At least the paper will biodegrade if put in general household waste but the foil and glitter additives might not.
Recycled wrapping paper
Yes, most probably recyclable, providing no glitter, foil etc is added. You can get recycled wrapping paper. However, there is a debate as to whether it is better to produce recycled paper or use virgin pulp from FSC certified sources as the recycling process itself is expensive and energy consuming. Another alternative could be using paper from easily replenishable sources such as bamboo that grows quickly.
This shouldn’t be recycled but should go in the compostable bin along with brown cardboard but that’s ok. Good environmental option! Not so good if you want a pretty design as you’ll have to do one yourself and make sure any design you apply is also compostable! Check out my Pinterest board for some ideas. Use vegetable based inks to stamp the paper and add natural embellishments like twigs, flowers and berries that can also be composted.
Yes, this wrapping paper is recyclable. One thing you might like to check is what inks are used in the print. Some companies use eco friendly vegetable based inks that do not harm the environment. Also check if the paper used is from FSC sources.
All of the gift wrap in my Flamingo shop is 100% recyclable, uses vegetable based inks and is from FSC sources.
We can confirm that all Flamingo Paperie gift wrap is recyclable. It is printed on Amber Graphic Material which is ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free). This is a technique which uses chlorine dioxide for the bleaching of wood pulp and does not use elemental chlorine gas during the bleaching process, so preventing the formation of dioxins, dioxin-like compounds and carcinogens. We also use vegetable inks with water rather than the alcohol damping process. Individual local authorities have their own rules on what they will and will not recycle, but we can confirm that our paper is fully recyclable. (statement from Flamingo HQ)
If you are a designer looking to print your own gift wrap then there are UK print companies that have a very high standard of eco friendly printing like Ashley House.
General tips on making gift wrapping paper recyclable
Before recycling or composting your gift wrap make sure you remove all sellotape, tags, ribbons, bows etc. Gift tags might be recyclable/compostable but the ribbon that they are attached often isn’t so make sure you remove it first. If in doubt, ask the company, they will know. Many gift wrap companies have an environmental policy like Flamingo Paperie. In fact all their gift tags, including the jute string, are 100% recyclable. Use washi tape or patterned kraft tape for a recyclable tape option.
Over the past few days I’ve seen different, and sometimes very strong, opinions about what to do, or not do, about post. Should you post letters during the Coronavirus pandemic? I think there are reasons to keep posting as well as responsible precautions we can take. These are just my thoughts from a little research and my experience as a card seller for the last 8 years.
Should you post letters during the Coronavirus pandemic?
My short answer is ‘yes’ but with precautions!
During these very strange times of isolation and social distancing a huge portion of our society have been told to stay home. Our over 70s have been advised not to leave the house if at all possible and those with underlying physical health problems have gone in to complete self-isolation for at least 12 weeks.
For some people it’s really tough looking after their mental health at any time. Add to that the pressure of social isolation and it’s even harder. Many of our over 70s live alone. They might be used to regular visits from friends, family, grandchildren and now that has had to stop. A card or letter through the post can really help.
Research carried out in 2013 showed that only 1 in 4 people received a ‘get well’ card during their mental health illness, yet over 80% said it would have had a positive impact.
We need to protect the mental health of our friends, family and neighbours who are in isolation. They may not have a long standing mental health issue but prolonged anxiety and isolation can take its strain. Receiving a card gives a lasting positive impact. The card looks pretty and physically brightens up the room for as long as it’s displayed. The words can be read and re-read. The boost to mental health is a repetitive experience.
Cards shouldn’t replace phonecalls, texts and online video chats but they can significantly boost the positive impact of communication.
What about protecting posties? Isn’t a phonecall enough?
Here I need to repeat the last sentence of the previous paragraph ‘Cards shouldn’t replace phonecalls, texts and online video chats but they can significantly boost the positive impact of communication.’
If you follow the Royal Mail on any of their social media accounts you will have seen that they know only too well the importance of keeping people in touch. In their recent Facebook posts they share updates on new safety measures and repeatedly state things like, “We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected.”
They have never asked you to stop posting cards and letters.
How can I be sure I’m not spreading the virus?
There are simple steps you can take to make sure you aren’t adding to the crisis. Firstly, if you’re not meant to be leaving the house then don’t! Clearly you won’t be posting letters. But perhaps you have someone dropping off shopping at a safe distance who could collect letters from you to be posted?
If you are licking envelopes and stamps you could consider using a damp sponge instead. No one is really sure how long the virus can survive on paper/stamps etc so until we know more, this could be a sensible precaution. Or have fun with a wax sealing kit.
When posting your mail, observe social distancing. If possible have your mail already stamped so you don’t need to go in to the Post Office. You can buy stamps direct from the Post Office and from online stamp sellers. I personally recommend Philatelink for discounted picture stamps and I sell stamps here. Or stock up next time you go out for the essentials. A plain card and standard letter should take a standard stamp. If in doubt you can check the weight/thickness/postage requirements with the Royal Mail price finder.
Avoid sending parcels if you can so you don’t have to go in to a Post Office branch. If you do need to send a parcel then observe social distancing.
Wash your hands!
Before preparing the mail to post – wash your hands.
After posting your mail – wash your hands.
After opening any mail received – wash your hands.
(Have you got that message?! Wash your hands!)
Is it worth it?
If I haven’t got that message across yet then a quick google will give you more evidence that sending cards will boost someone’s mental health.
Our NHS are working hard just now to look after the health of the nation. We can all do our bit to help that and make sure our loved ones stay in good mental health. As the Greeting Card Association says “Send a Card, Deliver a Smile”.
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Pigeon letters need no licking and can be sealed with a self adhesive postage stamp. With lots of pretty patterns to choose from, Pigeon letters look great and will bring a smile to the face of anyone stuck in self-isolation. Write your letter on the inside, fold your Pigeon, seal with a self-adhesive stamp and send your Pigeon flying through the post. No germs included!
Here you’ll find lots of tissue paper with pretty patterns and designs.
If you find the supermarkets and corner shops are bereft of loo roll then do not despair. You could have flamingos or tropical birds. Stars or stripes. Zig zags or polka dots.
Whatever your personal hygiene preference our tissue paper will brighten up any bathroom.
The only difficulty we can see is that you might find it too beautiful to use!
3 – Bored in self-isolation? Get creative!
Don’t go stir crazy. Instead get your creative juices flowing and encourage your mindfulness.
Hang in there, it’s only a few days. How about making this gorgeous sloth to hang out with you in your solitude? Each of our papercraft kits will take several hours to complete so your time in limbo will seem like no time at all and you’ll have something to show for it at the end. If a sloth isn’t your thing, check out the flowers or some of the other animals available in our Paper Craft Kits.
Great for all ages, big enough to cover your table and with space for everyone to find their own bit. Work together to create a masterpiece. Brighten up your mealtimes (even if it is the 5th time you’ve had pasta this week because that’s all you have left in the cupboard).
All of our paper craft kits and colouring in will provide you with hours, if not days of creative mindfulness and relaxation.
So don’t let the Coronavirus get you down. Find something to create and fill the time. Send a germ free letter or card to brighten up someone’s day. And definitely don’t get caught short!
Love sloths, pugs, flamingos or unicorns? Always wanted one of your very own? Well now you can with these fabulous new paper craft kits from Flamingo Paperie.
I made a couple of these kits, and they are fun, a lot bigger than you realise, really sturdy and I don’t think you need to be a paper craft expert!
Each kits contains everything you need to complete it, even a pair of scissors.
The models are big! For example the sloth is over 30cm long, so not far off life-size.*
The paper craft kits are presented in a 100% recyclable/biodegradable gift box. I think they’re great for a treat for some crafting me-time, a perfect gift for a friend and good news for the environment too.
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What’s inside the paper craft kits?
If you’re worried you aren’t experienced enough to complete a kit, then you needn’t be. There’s a picture for guidance on the front of each kit. On the bottom you’ll find some basic tips and instructions, with more instructions inside. All the tools you need are in the box, including glue, in an easy to apply tube with nozzle, scissors, scoring tool if required, cocktail sticks to help spread the glue into difficult to reach corners and sheets of card printed with the templates ready to cut, fold, score and stick.
There are 5 different animals to choose from, sloth, flamingo, unicorn, pug and t-rex. They have varying levels of ‘difficulty’ though it’s not so much a difficulty, rather a time required to complete each one. The quickest is the unicorn with an estimated 3 hour construction time, the longest is the t-rex with an estimated 18 hour construction time.
Both sets of flowers look really stunning when complete and you don’t have to be an expert paper crafter to make them look good. The estimated construction time for each kit reflects the time required to complete it. It’s not a reflection of how experienced a crafter you need to be. Each peonie flower takes about 2.5 hours while each rose is estimated to take about 4 hours. There is enough in each kit for 6 flowers. These are fun projects to do alone but I recommend completing the flowers with friends. Have a crafting afternoon.
The leaves and feathers kits is a set of templates for various leaves and feathers to be drawn round and cut out. The kit contains 10 sheets of different coloured card and 10 metres of twine so you can use them to embellish your gift wrapping. Alternatively they would make a beautiful forever wreath or table decoration.
The guidance on the box suggests that the kits are suitable for over 12 years old but that under 12 could complete with supervision. I made the peonies with my 11 year old daughter and she had no problem completing it (in fact her flower looked better than mine but don’t tell her I said that!). I would say age 8 upwards with help. You don’t have to make the kits in one go so you can stagger the completion to suit the attention span of the child. Equally if you’re completing this on your own, you don’t need to set aside 18 hours in one sitting to complete the t-rex, you can do it in stages as fits your time.
I made the flamingo on my own but over a few days, doing a little bit here and there. It isn’t difficult. I did take care to line up the tabs carefully and to hold them in place while the glue set but I was really impressed with how quickly it stuck.
A few tips from my experience
The animals are made of thick card which keeps shape really well. The models are really sturdy once built.
The flowers are made of tissue paper. Mine travel about as I have them on display at fairs and I’ve inadvertently squashed them a few times, you wouldn’t know! I readjust them very easily, and quite often!
The glue takes a while to dry on the tissue paper on the flowers. The tissue goes a bit soggy if you stick too many petals together at once. Our other hint would be hold the peonies upside down to stick the petals on. This gave a better shape and was easier to stick the petals.
My biggest tip would be to do the flowers as a group. This was fun. Plenty tea and cake and chat while we cut and stuck.
If you have any questions about the kits then just drop me an email.
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*Three toed sloths are approximately 58cm long, at full stretch, according to LiveScience, our model is over 30cm and he’s not stretched out!
We all know someone who’s having a tough time. Think of the friend, family member, neighbour or work colleague who is having a rough patch. Perhaps they’ve recently lost a loved one. Maybe their children have left home recently and they’re feeling a bit alone. Or perhaps they are just going through a rough patch where life just isn’t as good as it could be. Maybe you actually don’t know how things are because it’s been too long since you last heard from them. Thinking of You week 2019 is a chance to change that. It’s an opportunity to make someone smile in a very simple way; by sending a card.
Thinking of You Week 2019
This year, Thinking of You Week runs from the 22nd to the 28th September. It’s an intiative that the Greeting Card Association (GCA) started 5 years ago and has grown in popularity and impact with each year. You can be a part of it and it’s really simple!
All you are asked to do is send a card.
In fact, as the GCA puts it, “Send a Card, Deliver a Smile.”
We all know, and science has proved, that receiving a hand written card is really good for mental health. The small effort of taking the time to write a note in a card and pop it in the letterbox means so much to us. To know that someone was thinking about us and wanted us to know we were important enough to them for them to take time out to write a card means so much.
Thinking of You Week Challenge
If you only send one card, that’s great! Do it!
However, if you want to take up my Thinking of You Week Challenge, you could try and send 7 cards to 7 different people. To help, I’ve put together a special offer until the end of September. Choose any 7 every day greeting cards from my Flamingo Paperie catalogue for just £10 (plus postage). If you can’t choose, or want to same time, I’ve picked my top 7 for the occasion.
Email me your selection at firstname.lastname@example.org or get my Thinking of You Week 7 card pack here.
If you’re looking to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing then here are a couple of ideas. Great gifts and activities to celebrate the event. If you’re looking for a family or class room activity then the giant poster is for you. If you are looking for a space related craft to complete then the cross-stitch is perfect. Or perhaps you just want to send someone a card and let them know how much they mean to you.
This cosmic space colouring in tablecloth can be used as a poster too. With a black background and lots of space oddities to discover this is great as a fun activity. If you’re studying the moon landing in class then this could be a fun educational tool.
Great for classrooms or family dinners!
It might be quicker to fly to the moon than complete this cut thru cross stitch from Bothy Threads but you’ll feel like you’ve made some giant leaps when you’re done! Illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.
Perfect moon landing commemorative craft idea!
This Moon Bunny card is adorable. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to decorate a child’s bedroom then you could frame it. This card would look beautiful on the wall in any child’s bedroom or nursery. Illustrated by Kate Garrett and produced by Flamingo Paperie.
So why not celebrate the moon landing with some of these cards and activities. If you’re an astronaut they could keep you busy while you’re in space too, though I’m not sure how you send the cards from the space station – do they have a post box?
Trust me on this, you really don’t want to make the mistake of doing any of these. There is a special corner in the afterlife where you will be sent if you commit any of these 5 deadly sins of gift wrapping. A corner where they wrap you in cheap, easy to tear wrapping paper and then bind you in rolls and rolls of sticky tape…. It’s called Hell-otape and is easily avoided if you can steer clear of these mistakes. In this post I’ll show you how to avoid the pitfalls without having to be a gift wrapping expert, without spending a fortune on wrapping accessories or spending hours mastering origami style wrapping techniques.
Deadly Sin #1 – Just shove it in a gift bag
I know, I know, you’re a busy person and you just don’t have time to put the extra frills, ribbons and bows on a present. So stick in a gift bag and it’ll look okay. Right? Wrong!
Simply shoving your gift in a gift bag will make it look like you didn’t have time, didn’t plan ahead and left it to the last minute. Which you did, right? But you don’t want them to think that do you?
So what’s the answer when you have left it to the last minute and you don’t feel like a gift wrapping guru and you really just want to shove it in a bag?
Well the answer is simple really and yes, actually, you’re still going to shove it in a gift bag…BUT…you’re going to shove some tissue in the bag first!
Now that wasn’t difficult was it?!
One sheet, or even half a sheet of tissue, placed in the bag so it’s sticking out of the top, gift inside tissue and there you go. Now it looks like you tried and actually it didn’t take that long did it? My tip is to fold the tissue in half, lightly scrunch the bottom, middle bit and place that carefully at the bottom of the bag. Then you can find the opening in the tissue and spread it out before putting the gift in the centre of the gap in the tissue.
Deadly Sin #2 – Sticky tape
You might have a really fancy tape dispenser that’s fun to use but please…don’t use one sided sticky tape. At least not on the outside of your gift! You are allowed to use double sided tape and if that’s too fiddly for you then you can buy repositionable double sided tape ready to roll. We could buy shares in these double sided tape rollers as my daughter uses it for making cards. It’s not the cheapest way to stick things together but it is really easy to use and will save you a lot of time.
Other options if you don’t like the double sided tape is use gift wrapping seals. A bit like conventional sticky tape but in neat circles of stickiness. A word of caution though, if your paper is too thick or textured then these might not stick well.
Later I’ll show you a video of how to wrap your present with double sided tape.
Deadly Sin #3 – Rough edges
There is no reason why the edge of your paper shouldn’t be straight if you have to cut it. Here are some simple tips:
Use a decent pair of scissors (and don’t let the children use them for cutting up cardboard boxes – sorry, just personal experience!)
Fold the paper where you need to cut it, then cut along the line.
If that’s really hard then use wrapping paper with a cutting grid on the back. E.g. ALL of Flamingo Paperie gift wrap comes with a cutting grid on the reverse.
Fold the cut edge over so that the ‘edge’ is a straight fold instead of the cut line. This is especially relevant if the edge of the paper is already rough or squint.
Deadly Sin #4 – Having the edge of the paper in the middle of the gift
This is a really simple tip that makes your present wrapping look so much more professional. When you wrap the paper around the gift, make sure the paper edge that sits on the top of the paper as you wrap it round is at the corner edge of your gift, not right in the middle of the gift.
I probably haven’t explained that very well so in the video link at the end I’ve given you a clip that shows you how to do this (as well as how to use double sided tape to hold it all together).
Deadly Sin #5 – Cheap thin wrapping paper – it’s a rip off!
You know the stuff. As soon as you wrap it round a corner, it’s got a big rip in it. By the time you give the gift the paper is so creased and the pattern has worn away at every crease that it looks like you’ve used the paper before. What’s worse is that most really cheap wrapping paper is so thin it’s not even recyclable. Why bother? It’s not good for the environment and looks rubbish!
Always use a decent thickness of wrapping paper. You can get affordable gift wrap that is good quality, ethically sourced from sustainable forests and can be recycled.
If you do like to use ribbons and bows then there are eco-friendly options there too, paper rope, jute twine and recycled or recyclable gift tags too.
Video tutorial – how to avoid the deadly sins of gift wrapping
All the tips I’ve described can be used for any shaped gift. Shiho Masuda is known as the Paper Guru and has lots of useful video tutorials to help you take your gift wrapping to the next level. The video below shows you how to wrap just about any shape. You’ll see how she uses double sided tape (See Deadly Sin #2), folds the paper at the cut end (See Deadly Sin #3) and gets the edges of the paper to line up with the edge of the gift (See Deadly Sin #4).
Follow these simple tips and the gift wrapping gods will smile favourably upon your creations, you will make your recipients smile and you will look like a gift wrapping genius!
I do Facebook, as they say. It’s a necessary evil of running a small business. For me it helps me maintain a connection between my local friends and my business and has resulted in sales from friends who otherwise might not see what I sell. However, more and more I see posts on Facebook saying things like ‘5 ways to support your friends business without buying anything’ or pleas to ‘support friends small businesses like you support celebrities you don’t actually know’. I’m left wondering why do I need to ask?
Why do we need to ask to support friends small businesses?
I just find it bizarre that ‘we’ feel we need to ‘ask’ friends to support our small businesses.
What is a friend? If I consider myself a friend with someone then surely I want to support them? Why on earth do they need to ask me? I think our society is coming to something very bereft if supporting our friends isn’t just a given.
Perhaps the very same Facebook (or other social media platforms) are responsible? Have they disconnected us so far from ‘community’ that we don’t care or identify with each other any more. Or is that just an excuse for justifying a self-centred existence that just thinks about ourselves, our convenience. Do we resent so much when our friends seemingly give up on the traditional ‘proper job’ to try and make it on their own that we don’t want to support them. Perhaps we want them to fail so that we can feel better about not taking the same leap of faith and giving up all to start our own businesses?
Perhaps it’s none of my business?
My business, if you don’t happen to be a friend who has found this blog post by clicking a link on my Facebook page, is cards and gift wrap. I’m not selling anything wacky. I’m not selling anything unusual, expensive or so exclusive that you’d never want to use it. I sell birthday cards. Everyone has a birthday I’m pretty sure everyone knows someone who has a birthday. So it stands to reason that everyone I know will at some point need to buy a birthday card. I sell gift wrap too. Most people at some point need to wrap a present, or put it in a gift bag (I do those too!).
Yet, I know lots of ‘friends’ who never buy a thing from me.
I do need to add here that I have LOTS of friends who do buy from me and without them I’d have given up my small business years ago. I’m not ungrateful and this isn’t a post to beg the friends who don’t support me to buy.
I’d like to beg, if I thought it would do any good. I’d really like to tell you how hard my family is finding things. I gave up my ‘career’ to look after my children full time and my husband has just gone part time in his ‘proper job’ to try and make it as a writer. Oh we’re struggling but it’s our choice to be where we are. We didn’t think it would be easy. We have asked for help with little things but only sometimes do people listen. A good example is when a friend reads one of my husband’s books, we ask them to leave a review on Amazon. Just to click the stars, not even to write anything but only a small minority of people have. That small act can make a huge difference to a writer. If everyone left a review it would help enormously.
All the posts on Facebook are true. Liking, commenting, sharing friend’s posts does help a small business. But for flip’s sake it’s not half as helpful as actually buying the stuff!
But your choices are none of my business.
Is it too much to ask?
I’m not going to ask you to buy anything from my shop. I suspect I’ve already lost a few ‘fans’ just by writing this post. Perhaps I am just too disconnected from my friends. I’m probably too busy myself to really understand what they need, why should it be any different them to me.
Instead I’m going to look up a few friends I know who have small businesses and give them some support over the next few days.