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Printing Greeting Cards and Orders

Printing greeting cards and orders - my Canon and Munbyn

In my last blog post I wrote about my two favourite card design tools, and this week I’m going behind the scenes again to tell you about the two little workhorses I use for printing greeting cards and getting them to my lovely customers.

Printing greeting cards at home

When I first started selling greeting cards I got them printed at a local print shop. I’d get a whole lot printed out but then find that some didn’t sell and others ran out before I was ready to order more. And for custom orders I started feeling bad that I kept sending one card at a time to be printed out. Not to mention it was also quite expensive to do it this way… So, after I’d made a bit of money with my cards during Christmas 2018, I decided to invest in a printer so I could print most of my cards myself.

It took quite a lot of research, as not many home printers will take the thick 350gsm card stock that I like to use. I wasn’t ready for a giant commercial printer yet and I really didn’t want to start creating flimsy cards… Also, I didn’t want the quality of printing to suffer – the print quality needed to be as good as the paper quality!

My Canon Pixma

I eventually settled on my Canon Pixma and it’s served me really well. It handles my lovely thick card stock with no problems, prints beautifully and is still nice and compact. I still use my local printer for larger orders but it’s made life so much easier to be able to print individual card designs based on how popular they are, with no guesswork up front. And my custom orders now have a much shorter turnaround time.

Are you surprised to hear I print my own greeting cards? You might assume that the cards will look a bit ‘homemade’ but that’s really not the case. My cards are thicker than most that you’d buy in a shop so if anything they look more premium. A lot of the reviews I get on Etsy mention the high quality of my cards. This makes me very happy!

Here’s a video of my terrific Canon printing out an A6 size card… It’s pretty great for such a small printer 😍

It’s now two and a half years old so I’m considering investing in a new (faster) model. I’d keep this one as a back up – I live in constant fear that one day it’ll stop working 😱

Processing orders for my card business

The other piece of office equipment I’ve recently invested in for my card business is a thermal label printer. I’ve been umming and ahhing about getting one for ages. Everyone who has one says it’s life changing when you get regular orders.

My Munbyn Thermal Label Printer

I finally gave in when the one I had my eye on went on special and was in a gorgeous teal colour. I LOVE teal! And now I LOVE my Munbyn thermal printer too 😁

It’s just so incredibly quick! And I don’t have to keep changing the settings on my printer or swapping card stock for labels. I just choose the Munbyn and it spits the labels out instantly. It also doesn’t use any ink (hence ‘thermal’) which is a big cost saving, and the labels are waterproof. I did sometimes worry before that if my orders got rained on after I’d posted them, the ink on the address would smear and they’d go missing. (Yes, I do worry about silly stuff…)

Do you want to see my little Munbyn in action? Here you go…

Pretty speedy, huh?!

So now you’ve met my two greeting card business assistants – aren’t they terrific? πŸ˜ƒ

Let me know whether you like these behind the scenes posts or not – are they interesting or yawn inducing? You can message me on Instagram or Facebook, or contact me here.

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Card Design Tools – My Two Favourites

Favourite card design tools - Drawing with iPad and Apple Pencil

Would you like to know what my two favourite card design tools are? My process and the tools I use have both evolved quite a bit since I started, as I discovered new ways to become more efficient while designing cards. I now have a couple of firm favourites – these are the two tools that I’d really hate to be without!

How I started

When I first started designing cards I drew my illustrations on paper, scanned it in and then cleaned it up and used it in a card design on GIMP. GIMP is open source software that is similar to Photoshop, but free. It stands for GNU Image Manipulation Programme and is in no way as kinky as it sounds… I definitely didn’t have the money in the early stages to invest in Photoshop, and GIMP did everything I needed.

This process was fine in the beginning, but it did make designing new cards feel like quite an undertaking. Apart from the drawing, tidying the scan up took ages, and if I needed to change the drawing in some way I usually had to start again, as trying to edit it on screen using a mouse often took longer than just redoing it.

After a while I started doing a lot of custom cartoon portraits and it was especially difficult to make changes to these. I needed a better system!

My absolute favourite card design tool

Last year I finally decided to invest in an iPad (with Apple Pencil) and it is now without a doubt my favourite card design tool.

iPad and Apple Pencil

It took me ages before I went ahead (because these things are expensive!) I asked loads of other people who had iPads whether it was worth it (they all said yes). I also did a lot of research about the different types of iPads and which would be the best one for me to get.

Eventually I just went for it and got the iPad Air and it was honestly one of the best business decisions I ever made (the other one involves my printer – more about that next time…). To be rather clichΓ©d, the only regret I’ve had since is that I didn’t do it sooner.

I bought the Procreate app and Apple Pencil to go with my iPad and together they’ve completely revolutionised my drawing process! I can just pick up the iPad and start doodling any time and then AirDrop the design straight to my Mac. Any edits or changes are easily done in the Procreate app and I can copy designs and use layers to create different versions. Can you tell I LOVE this tool?!

My other favourite design tool

My other favourite card design tool is still GIMP. Once I’ve done the illustrations, I use it to create the actual card designs and I’ve got no plans to change this. While Photoshop may be more powerful, there’s nothing I need that GIMP doesn’t provide. So I’d really begrudge spending Β£10 to Β£20 a month on a tool that I use in exactly the same way as a free one!

card design template in GIMP
Using one of my greeting card templates in GIMP

I’ve set up card design templates with the correct sizing for my cards and my logo inserted on the back of the card. I just drop the illustration into the template, add some text and then play around with the layout. Now that I’m not actually trying to edit the illustrations in GIMP it’s a much quicker process to lay out the card designs. If I need to adjust an illustration I just go back to my iPad, quickly make the changes and AirDrop it back to be inserted into my GIMP template.

So there you have it – my two favourite card design tools – my iPad Air (together with Apple Pencil and Procreate) and GIMP. Both make the digital side of designing cards a breeze. Now if only I could find a tool that could come up with all the ideas for me now too πŸ€”

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Mojito Drawing & Card Design

Mojito Recipe Card

It’s been a while since I showed my illustration process here on my blog, so I decided to share a mojito drawing I did back in April. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as an ice cold mojito, so it seems especially appropriate to show this now while we’re in the middle of a mini heat wave here in the UK 😁

I initially created the illustration as one of two designs for a competition. It was run by Ohh Deer in conjunction with Sainsbury’s and the brief was to create Valentine’s card designs. I might share the other design with you at another time. Spoiler alert… it’s also a cocktail recipe design!

My mojito drawing process

The mojito drawing was hand drawn on my iPad with an Apple Pencil using Procreate (an amazing drawing app). I’ve exported a time lapse of the drawing process so you can see the drawing process. There was quite a bit of faffing around, especially at the end when I realised the limes were all wrong πŸ˜†. I thought it turned out pretty well in the end though!

I then created a square card template in GIMP (open source software similar to Photoshop, but free!) This was the format required for the competition and is quite different from my usual A6 card designs. I wanted to include the recipe to make the card more useful and fun. I tried a few different layouts before settling on the one I liked.

Here’s how the final card design looked with both illustration and text…

Mojito drawing with recipe

And here is the design as a square greeting card…

Mojito Recipe Card on teal background

I hope you found this peek behind the scenes interesting. Would you like to see more of these types of blog posts? Let me know by sending me a message on Instagram or Facebook πŸ™‚

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Personalised Gift Ideas for Dads

With Father’s Day coming up on 20th June 2021, I thought you might appreciate some personalised gift ideas for Dads. Show him your appreciation for all the years he drove you around, paid your way and sorted out your problems for you by giving him a present that is made specially for him!

I’ve tried to include a wide range of prices to suit all budgets, whether you really want to splurge or things are a bit tight right now. Some of the ideas contain affiliate links – this means if you click and buy I’ll get a small commission. But it won’t cost you anything πŸ˜‡

Original gift ideas for Dads

personalised gift ideas for dads - trifold leather wallet
Personalised leather trim-fold wallet

Treat your Dad to this personalised trim-fold leather wallet. It comes in a variety of colours, is made from buffalo leather and has RFID to stop his cards from being activated whilst in the wallet. You can also add a photo of you and your Dad in the photo sleeve if you like πŸ˜ƒ

personalised mug with hip flask
Personalised Mug With Hip Flask

Or if your Dad likes a little tipple in his coffee, how about this coffee mug with a hip flask attached? It can be personalised with his initials on the strap.

Perhaps your Dad would appreciate a set of personalised BBQ tools.

personalised bbq tool set
Personalised BBQ tool set

Ideas for Dads who like to DIY

These DIY themed personalised gift ideas for Dads might be handy if he loves his tools 😁

personalised hammer
Personalised hammer
personalised spirit level
Spirit Level with photo and personalisation
Personalised gift ideas for Dads - tool set
Personalised Small Photo Tool Kit

Gift ideas for Dads with a sweet tooth

Does your Dad have a sweet tooth? If so, there are so many options to have sweet treats personalised too. Here are just a few examples with a variety of price points…

personalised gift ideas for dads - smash cake
Personalised Father’s Day Smash Cake
personalised chocolate hamper
Cadbury Chocolate Hamper with personalisation
personalised toblerone
Personalised Toblerone Gift Idea for Dad

I hope these have given you some good ideas to spoil your Dad with! Don’t forget to order a Father’s Day card too – click the image below to shop with free UK delivery.

Neat whisky fathers day card

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Just Because Cards

Daisies card - hello you

‘Just because’ cards have always been around but they’ve become even more popular over the last year or so. I think that the Coronavirus and lockdowns have made us realise that it’s important to tell people how much they mean to us regularly, not only on special occasions. And because we couldn’t always do it in person, ‘just because’ cards have become a terrific way to do just that.

I know I love to get an unexpected card or letter in the post. I’m sure everyone else feels the same. It’s always nice to know that someone has been thinking about you. Knowing that they made the effort to pick a card, write in it and post it off to you can really make you feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Lots of people are struggling at the moment. Whether that’s because of losing or worrying about loved ones, feeling isolated or just general anxiety about everything that’s happening. Sending a card can help them feel less alone and remind them that we’re all in this together… Even if we can’t actually BE together.

Some Just Because cards you can send to your favourite people

I’ve picked out a few cards from my collections that are great to send to someone just because. Most of us have several people we’d like to cheer up, encourage or just say hi to. So I’m offering bundle deals to make it more affordable to buy multiple cards at once.

Take advantage of my bundle deals by choosing to buy 3 or 5 cards at once. Just add the cards you’d like to the ‘Choose cards’ box. Just use the titles of the cards in my shop so I know which ones you’re after.

You can mix and match from any ready to ship cards and delivery in the UK is free too.

3 or 5 card bundle deals

Here’s some inspiration for you to choose from!

Just because cards - Teapot and cups - I miss my best-tea
Miss my best-tea card
Just because card - I miss your mug
Miss your mug card
Just because card - I can't espresso how much you mean to me
I can’t espresso how much you mean to me card
Daisies hello you card
Daisies hello you card
Ant cheesy encouragement card - Stay strong
Cheesy ant encouragement card
Octopus miss you card - sending extra hugs
Octopus miss you card
Just because cards - You're the berry best
You’re the berry best card
Just because cards - I bean missing you so much
I bean missing you card

If you’re not from the UK you can use my Etsy shop to buy these same cards. And get the same 3 card or 5 card bundle deals!