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Did you know?

Who came up with Christmas cards?WS319_ceramics

Which country leads the way in greetings card design?

How much money goes to charity from Christmas cards?

What’s the average cost of a greetings card?

Answers to the above and more in my latest video – Did you know?

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Staying within the lines – or not?

“Coloring is an activity that we tend to associate with children. As we grow older, we put aside our crayons and colored pencils in favor of more respectable writing utensils like pens and highlighters. However, it turns out coloring can be beneficial for adults — namely for its de-stressing power.”

via Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress..

Of course – anyone who loves Phoenix Trading knows this already and if you’ve had one of our colouring in tablecloths you’ll know that you probably spent more time colouring in than your children did…at least that’s what happens in my house! I think we adults sometimes need an ‘excuse’ to colour in, it’s not something we see as an adult activity, there are always more ‘important’ things to do – but with one of our tablecloths, or maybe a frieze then we have the perfect excuse. And of course, any such creative activity we can do with our children has to be a positive thing for us and them surely.

Here are a few of my favourite products:WS173-Hearts-Butterflies

1 – Colour in hats – we have two sets: the first contains a mermaid, a butterfly and a fairy, the second a chief, space cadet and king. Both illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

2 – Colour in map of the British Isles – educational and destressful this comes in a presentation tube too so makes a great gift, and is also illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

3 – Colour in friezes – I love the animal train, though we also have farm, princess carriage, under the sea and a nativity one at Christmas. I think these are particularly great as they come in six pieces and can be coloured individually and put together later to make a large frieze if you wish, but they look great on their own too. All beautifully illustrated by Claire Winteringham, Alison Hullyer or June Armstrong.

I do get parents tell me they will get frustrated if their children colour outside the lines (maybe I just have too many ocd friends?)…my response – buy two, one for you, one for them!

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The Art of Handwriting – Is it Lost?

Cards lost art of handwriting

Have we lost the art of handwriting? I hope not. With social media being a part of our lives that it never was when I was young I see changes in what we teach our children. Quite rightly they learn how to touch type on a qwerty keyboard from an early age. But they still have their handwriting book too. How important is handwriting in a technical age? Does it matter anymore?

Despite the common perception that ‘no one sends cards anymore’ the opposite is true. According to a recent survey 95% of British households still send cards. So surely it’s important that what’s written in them is readable? Or is it?

I did a little research on the lost art of handwriting.Phoenix Trading

This article on The Art of Handwriting about letters by artists is worth a look just to see the handwriting. I’m not an artist so my handwriting leaves a lot to be desired but I just adore neat, artistic handrwriting.

Here is a very inspiring TED talk on the lost art of handwriting – you might be inspired to pick up pen and paper after listening to these shared memories.

Now, going back to my earlier complaint about poor handwriting, there might be an answer in this. A hi-tech pen that could improve my handwriting!

…and if you’re still not sure you need to bother brushing up on your handwriting then this 8 year old has a very good reason why it’s important – how else will he fill in his contract to be a major league player?!

So, is the art of handwriting important or not?

Does it matter if my scrawl looks pretty or is it enough just to be readable? It’s a well known fact that sending handwritten cards and notes has a positive impact on someone’s mental health. So perhaps I shouldn’t get too hung up on how good or bad my handwriting looks but worry more about if I am writing enough. After all the only way to improve my handwriting is to practise, practise, practise. I no longer have a handwriting jotter like my children at school so perhaps my best practice is to send more cards and letters.