Thursday, 29 July 2010

Thoughts on cards


[Public health warning: this post is long and rambling...that's what happens when one wakes too early]

Cards are funny things and I think that the way people buy and send them is interesting...in the same way that the eating of a Cream Egg or the method of gobbling pizza can be fascinating.  To some I think cards are purely functional things where something suitable will be chosen that is entirely secondary to the gift that it might accompany. To others, they are things to be hoarded so that one might always be in possession of just the right card to send, not just for birthdays, but for grey days, celebrations, commiserations or to continue a long-running joke (I have lost count of the number of cards bearing watermelons that my sister has sent me...a joke that started with Baby carrying the watermelon in Dirty Dancing when we were teenagers, and has been continued as she herself gets into increasingly tricky situations transporting them home from the supermarket. She eats them in bulk, so often there will be several in a bag. They have been known to roll down the aisles of London buses and land at the feet of the passengers about to get onto the bus).


For me, I have a small stash of them, bought when I see lovely ones. If I go card-shopping with a specific person in mind it will inevitably lead to procrastination and indecision...I will agonise over whether it is just right for them. I am learning that a card stash is a very good thing. I do not send them in quite the quantities that I receive them in though...primarily because I am disorganised (obsessively ordered in some areas...a chaotic mess in others...some uniformity would be nice).


After making several notice boards as custom orders, I recently (well, not actually very recently...I think it may have been back in March...the pictures of the emptier notice board were taken then...but I photographed it more recently and it is now overflowing...I can see a need for a whole room full of these notice boards) made this one for us that now hangs in the utility room. It seems a shame to receive so many lovely, carefully chosen cards and to not have anywhere to display them.


Just as fascinating as how one buys them, is how one stores them. It infuriates Mr Teacakes that I hoard things on such an extreme basis (even though he is a fantastic card buyer himself). After each family member's birthday, the cards are put in a plastic bag with the year written on and added to the card mountain in the loft. My own mother saved my birthday cards for me too...and I remember how much, as a child, I loved occasionally taking the cards out and looking through them...there was something very special about the ones that bore the age number. I love that some of the cards come with stories attached. In one of Dinosaur-boy's bags he has the most amazing homemade three-dimensional card, where a frog's mouth croaks open and closed with the opening of the card. I will be able to tell him that his friend arrived half-an-hour late to his party because he'd spent so long perfecting the card...I love that they took the time to do this for him.


I still have the sweet card that my father pushed underneath my bedroom door when I was a miserable 16 year old (for the card stash is not the sole preserve of the female species...my father has always kept a well-stocked stash of his own, completely separate to my mother's), and the hundreds of cards that my mother sent to me while I was at university, and even some of the notes my friends passed to me in the classroom. Emails might now have lessened the number of cards sent, but one of my best friends, who had her first child four days before I had mine, put the emails we exchanged during pregnancy in her son's box of baby treasures. I don't know whether he has read through them yet or whether they will be saved for when he is older (I am hoping the latter, as I do remember there being much discussion about the sanitary towels that the hospital had told all new mothers to come equipped with: we had worried that they were so incredibly thick that we may end up levitating above the hospital beds).


I especially love this card that my sister sent to me for my birthday this year. I noticed it this morning (when I woke at 3.30am and came downstairs to potter). It reminded me of the cake-making disaster of the last post. It reads "It's really not so much about the cake itself..." said the birthday monster, "...more about the pink icing and sprinkles on the top". "I see" said the limpet.


Comments on my blog? All saved, just like the cards...there's a sub-folder in my email account entitled 'Flossie Teacakes Comments'. Mr Teacakes believes that it is exactly this type of filing system that may be responsible for the fact that my computer's hard drive is about to explode.

What kind of card sender are you and how do you keep the ones that you receive?

Florence x

10 comments:

  1. I am an email hoarder too - there's no good reason, it just feels wrong to delete them.

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  2. I usually get rid of the generic cards that don't say much, but if the message touches me, or it's handmade, I have a box that I save all of those things in.
    Unfortunately, I only get cards for birthdays and Christmas--how lucky are YOU to have such a lovely collection?

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  3. I buy lots of cards (- often triumphantly coming home with the perfect birthday card for someone so far in advance of their birthday that I then can't find it when needed). Sometimes I can't bear to give them away so I have a little stash of those as well as one's waiting to be sent. I still have at least two friends who aren't on email so written communication is essential there. I keep quite a lot of email, too, but soemtimes things just seem to disappear into the ether! Still have a lot of birthday cards etc. - including a plain postcard sent to husband, when he was running a student drama society, by Samuel Beckett! Today's my birthday so this was a very apt posting, Florence. x

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  4. I rarely delete emails or throw away cards; but I wish I had a stash of pretty cards stored away just in case. I usually have notecards but they're not very exciting, and I really should just buy lovely ones whenever I see them.

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  5. I am way to organised too keep email's or cards. I get really frustrated with the 'mess' lol. Saying that I do tend to keep special cards or notes that the boys have given me over the years. But that's about it.

    As for sending cards. I am dreadful. 1 I never see cards that I like to send. They are so boring it's awful to say. I am going to try to make some really nice cards that are pretty.

    I think that the art of letter writing and card sending has been replaced with digi cards. I remember when I was young I always had a stationary set, which I would spend hours writing to friends. Or even sending a note saying hello. It would be nice to have that back again..

    LOL ok I am done xx

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  6. I have a box with file cards in, and I keep cards in relevant sections, birthdays, wedding, blank, congratulations etc. I'm a total stationery addict. I love paper, notebooks, pens... I display cards I get in the post in a noticeboard similar to the one you have in your utility room, but mine is in my kitchen. I buy cards as I see them for people and file them in my card box. Sometimes I forget I have bought different ones and end up buying more for the same people. It's not a perfect system but it gives me lots of pleasure! And I keep cards I've got for birthdays, as well as letters people have sent me, in special boxes. I take them out every now and then and have a read. It's lovely to remember the person I was and the person who took the time to write to me, at the time I got the letter. Em x

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  7. I hoard cards, emails, and notes too! Also, when I receive cards I leave them out on a shelf in the living room for (literally at times) months.

    I usually make most of the cards that I send out, but I do have a few both bought and handmade stashed "just in case".

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  8. This post made me smile because I find card-sending a very British (or Anglo-Saxon... I believe Americans do it too) thing! In my 1st month here I was surprised to see shops that only stock cards... I admit I was puzzled! But then a British lady explained me that cards are sent for every possible occasion.

    I'm not a card sender, maybe because I'm Portuguese! I do write letters and send Xmas cards to my friends, but that's all. I mean, I do include hand-written notes with presents but never on a card specifically designed for that purpose (maybe I'll use a postcard or a nice bit of paper).

    Fascinating, this card business!

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  9. I save them. I did do a bit of a clear out before moving over here - saving only the special ones or the ones that had notes written in them. And I am attempting to not save EVERY card that I get these days. So I save almost every card.

    As for buying, I'm the person stood for ages in front of the card rack, searching for the perfect card. I have a big problem with the soppy messages written in American greeting cards, though. People back home would worry if I sent them some long flowery poem...

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  10. Oh I love cards! It was hell when I worked in a gift shop complete with all the best cards! I save cards & buy cards in advance.
    At the start of the year I go through the stash & write all the cards I know I must send through the year. That way I know they are done & they usually make it on time. Else I am doomed!
    Got time for a cool card story?

    When I worked at the gift shop, they had all these age cards going out for $1. I had an uncle that was going to be 37. So, I bought a bunch of them. My brother came in shop to visit & I told him what I was up to. He bought the last of the cards. Between the 2 of us we distributed them near & far, sending them to family around the country with instructions to send them when etc... Go to visit uncle & give him his card. He already had a couple on his mantel, which rather oddly (to him) were all the same. He opened my card. The look of confusion on his face said it all when he got one the same as all these others that were received from others in the mail. He did say there was something going on but he still wasn't sure as the fact that so many came from everywhere else really confused the issue. It took him a little while before he realised it was set up. It was just the best fun! Do it yourself sometime! It will be worth the trouble just to see the look on the face! lol

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x