With the last of the leftover turkey and stuffing comes the stuffing of our mailboxes. One of the more cherished traditions this time of year is the giving and receiving of Christmas cards. While opening envelopes, licking stamps and filling your coffee table with pictures and well wishes from loved ones, have you ever wondered where this tradition began?
According to the Smithsonian Institute, the first Christmas card was mailed in England by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. Best known for founding the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Cole was a socialite with an overwhelming amount of letters that warranted a reply. As he was fretting over how to reach out to everyone without becoming a full time pen pal, he had an idea.
With the help of artist J.C. Horsley, Cole sent his correspondences a stiff piece of 5x3 cardboard. On the front of the cardboard was Horsley’s illustration, a family at table celebrating the holiday flanked by images of people helping the poor. On the back of the card was the message “ A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.”
And with that, the Christmas card was born.
The Christmas Card traveled to America 30 some years later from Cole and Horsley’s creation. Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant, made postcards with a flower and the text “Merry Christmas” in his print shop outside of Boston in 1875. Throughout the years, Americans developed all sorts of formats for their well wishes, from lithographs to postcards. There has been one that’s seemed to stick. The Hallmark Company is credited for creating the format of a cardwe use today, the 4x6 card folded once in an envelope, in 1915 in Kansas City, MO.
Despite our increased preference for all things digital and the decline of all things print, we still value Christmas Cards as a holiday tradition, maybe more so than ever. According to the Greeting Card Association, the UK public spent more on greeting cards in 2015 than ever before – taking the market value up to a value of £1.7 billion.
It’s not a surprise that people still love them.
In a busy world, giving and receiving Christmas cards is a rare opportunity to slow down for a minute and connect with those most important to you, no matter where they live. It’s some sort of magic that just by opening an envelope, we can watch families we love grow, travel, and experience the best of life. Not often enough do we send mail with good news and love. As long as we cherish the holidays, we will cherish Christmas cards.
Also, if you haven’t sent yours out, let this be a reminder!
"The Moonbeam Children's Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians - and to children themselves."
Two parts reality, one part whimsyTwo parts reality, one part whimsy
Ideas take on a life of their own
Detaching themselves from the source
As they begin to take shape
Anticipation pushes my muse to the edge
Where I discover forms, shadows, and meaning
I don't question the process
The textured layers of
Decisions and Revisions
The paradox of light and shadow
The brush marks of dreams
My love affair with greeting cards began as a child. I experienced the joy of receiving mail on birthdays, Christmas, and assorted milestones from my grandmother in France. The envelope, exotic by virtue of the foreign stamp, stirred anticipation. In the beginning, my mother read them to me, my imagination taking hold of the chain of words that linked me to my grandmother’s part of the world, her stories taking on color, shape, and texture.
Afterward, I’d store these timeless treasures in a hat box for future readings.
In time I was reading on my own, admiring the artwork that graced each card my grandmother selected just for me, a profound gesture that carried an endearing quality in its simplicity. Frequently, the letter started on the card, then continued onto a sheet of paper folded neatly inside. I took note and responded in kind.
The perfect card took on a significant meaning in our home. Sometimes making the card myself was the perfect idea, providing a welcome outlet for creativity: an original drawing, a photograph adhered to the front, a collage - - oh the possibilities! Other times, buying the perfect card was the thing to do. I would linger before the displays, hoping for that one card to catch my eye, providing the perfect backdrop to encapsulate my world - - the card the link in this loving ritual between grandmother and granddaughter.
Little time capsules of childish whimsy, pressed flowers, a smudge of chocolate, ink splashed by a tear when my mother died… the perfect card extended across the ocean that separated us, a bridge between two worlds and two hearts.
Sharing good wishes at Dandelion Press
One magical day, into the remotely quiet and peacefully serene world of one precocious little girl, comes a special delivery letter from her globe trotting Grandpa. The moment she opens that letter, she opens her heart and ponderings to the spectacular adventures, exotic worlds and unbounding thrills to come with every one of his wonderfully rich, wildly colorful and daringly adventurous tales.
Within no time, she is his kindred spirit of imagination and exploration, taking herself on flights of fancy sailing the white-capped waves of the salty seas, soaring into billowy clouds as a daring pilot and riding into gusty winds with teams of wild horses.
As his faraway world unfolds, it beckons this little girl to voyage far beyond her wildest dreams ...
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The energy and spirit that keeps us growing is continually inspired by the passion, delight and expectant wonder which is you. The possibilities are endless and we have treasured sharing this journey with you. As the year comes to a close, please accept our heartfelt thanks for the impact you have had on our lives. We wish you all a happy holiday and joy as the new year awakens cherished memories,unfolding stories and tall tales to delight in every step along the way.
Tall Tales and more ... coming in 2016
Like an unfolding story, choosing and sending a card is an experience to be savored and delighted in every step of the way. Our beautiful compelling works of art embody limitless possibilities for creative expression and celebrate both the giver and receiver. Let your imagination take flight and treat yourself or someone you love to the luxury of a beautiful hand picked selection of twenty Dandelion cards, tied with silken ribbon for $56.00. Shop
A simple sketch holds within it all of the the qualities, inner promptings and passion that makes the final painting come to life. If I ever lose my way in a painting, I go back to the original sketch, to once again feel the essence of that which seized me in the beginning.
A great big round of applause to all of you for the spectacular patience you have had as this project has moved along. Since it began, we have built a website, opened an Etsy store, planned an upcoming series of exquisite limited edition prints and have also added beautiful journals, studio prints and seven new cards to the shop. In addition to all of that, we have created inspiring new products that will accompany the book release. A Delivering Dreams correspondence set to inspire connection through hand written letters and four giclee prints depicting magical adventures from the story will be offered. We are in the process of sourcing a printer and although we are rushing to be ready for Christmas, we can’t say for certain until the next update....so please stay tuned for a bit longer. Thank you all. It is our hope that "Delivering Dreams" will inspire children to follow their true nature and live joyful lives that are in alignment with all that they love and dream of.
TEN TIMES THE FUN!!
Now you can save money and get more of what you love. A quantity discount for 10 or more cards of the same design is now available for any card in the shop. It is a great time for buying Christmas cards or stocking up on your favorite Dandelion image.
Each wondrous painting by Lori Preusch starts out the same way. With a dream, a vision and a planned escape into that all captivating world of the inner child. But before Lori can open the door to that world, she takes something special from this one. A simple, sable brush. It was never designed for the acrylic paints she uses…let alone the rough canvas that it dances on stroke after stroke. Yet, with it she blends precision with dexterity, which allows her to create the subtle soft tones in a polar bear’s protective embrace or the gleam and light that shines from the rainbow of colors surrounding a child. By carefully layering hue upon hue, Lori begins to build each story as it unfolds before her, letting the paintings become what they want to be. And, by the end of the day, this once soft, silky brush is all frazzled and worn from passionate use. Yet, lying in an old wooden box in the corner of Lori’s studio in another #000 sable brush…just waiting for the day it is chosen to luminate the canvas and bring to life one more treasured memory of a world where anything is possible…and everything is magical.
Hundreds of years ago, every greeting card was a piece of fine art. Some were made with hand-carved wood cut-outs, their inked designs pressed deeply into thick paper; others were intricately cut pages, their edges feather light and as fragile as a dandelion wisp. Mass printing and advances in technology have changed the way the common greeting card looks, but there are still those cards that are pieces of fine art. Dandelion Press presents their newest three:
It has been said that the joy is in the journey. In my case the journey has been 161 paintings long…..65,031 square inches of joy to be exact. The journey continues….
Painting number 161 "SONGBIRD" 270 square inches
"May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through."
Where do ideas come from? Everywhere is the answer!
The artistic impression this fine couple have made, after decades of nesting on the pond's edge at Dandelion Press, is evident in "Midsummer" below.
"Midsummer" by Lori Preusch
Awaken your muse, grow your soul and cultivate delight into every day of your life with a Dandelion Journal. Now is the time of new beginnings and possibilities, so pick a handful of inspiration from our list below and spring into your creative side.
Mother's Day Special! You will receive free shipping on any order that includes a journal through Mother's Day! Simply use the code "create" at checkout.
50 ways to use your journal • Make a list of 1,000 things that you are grateful for • Co-author your journal with a child • Make a list of your artistic goals • Begin writing haikus • Keep a reading log • Illustrate a scene from your most perfect day • Invite "guest journalers" to fill some of the pages • Create a new holiday and describe it in vivid detail • Change the floor plan of your house and rearrange the furniture on paper • Keep a record of your malaprops • Design an original piece of jewelry • Sketch portraits in secret at a coffee shop • Make a list of the amazing beauty that surrounds you whereever you are • Be the main character in your own fairy tale • Collect favorite quotes by your favorite people • Make a note of random acts of kindness • Record your dreams • Write a review for each of your favorite movies • Create your own "Mother Goose" nursery rhyme • Collect autographs • Record the sounds you hear in nature • Write a page each day about someone you admire • Write down just your happy thoughts • Make a list of your favorite future pet names • Write the lyrics to a song describing your most romantic moment • Interview a flower from your garden and write a story from her perspective • Pass your journal around at a party or event to keep as a memento • Draw a cartoon • Use your journal for pressing dandelions • Write a thank you note to the universe • Create a garden journal • Record all of the shapes you see in the clouds • Capture your life story day by day • Write letters that you would never mail • Make a list of your favorite adjectives A-Z • Write a short story on every page • Create a keepsake by passing your journal to other family members • Give names to your plants and write a record of their conversations • Describe in detail the dream vacation that you are going to take • Make a list of the types of birds that visit your yard • Begin a collection of heirloom recipes from your extended family • Write about the grand adventure you are planning to take • Use your journal as a guest book • Make a mini inspiration board of things you want to manifest in your life • Keep a record of your favorite tidbits, odds and ends • Create a list of your favorite wines • Write a poem for your best friend • Fill your journal with doodles and oodles of color • Make a list of everyone that inspires you • Write a story about your favorite Dandelion card and send it to us….if you wish!
“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
First look for the fluffiest dandelion you can find. The seeds should be about to fall off but it is best when none have already done so. If you are lucky enough to happen upon a patch of them you will easily tell which of the stems is crying for your breath. Pick that one and don’t make the magic wait any longer.
Pick the dandelion carefully. You don’t want to send any seeds on their way prematurely. If the wind is blowing you may need to block the breeze with your body as you prepare your seeds for flight.
Once you have your stem, it is time to think about your wish. Important rule, never tell anyone for what you are wishing. If you are making a wish primarily for yourself it is always a good idea to tack one on for a friend. It always helps a wish to travel with a friend.
Continue thinking about your wish as you take a deep breath. Hold the fluffy head of your dandelion near your mouth and turn carefully in the direction of the breeze. This insures a good flight for your wish and keeps all the seeds from landing on your clothing or in your hair.For the magic to be at it’s best you must blow all the seeds off with one breath. If you do not accomplish this, some superstitions raise questions about the stability of your love life, however I usually just find another and try again.
Take a few minutes and watch as your wish floats out of sight. Don’t rush this part. Part of the magic is knowing that your intentions are being sent far and wide. Watching until the last seed is out of sight helps the wish come true.
Written by Kathy Sprinkle Photo by Aleksey Filippov
“Little by little, one travels far”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Would you like some warm spring pie?
Then, take a cup of clear blue sky.
Stir in buzzes from a bee,
Add the laughter of a tree.
A dash of sunlight should suffice,
To give the dew a hint of spice.
Mix with berries, plump and sweet.
Top with fluffy clouds, and eat!”
-Paul F. Kortepeter