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MEET THE ARTIST: Alison Osborn

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison Osborn

Alison, when did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?

Well I’m not sure about artist, but I would say that as a child I loved to draw. Because I was a shy child, it was the one way I could express myself.

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornThe Beatitudes Matthew 5:8 and “Ace of Spades.”
 
 

What is your position at bluemountain.com and what is your background as an artist?

I’m an Assistant Art Director. Most of my time is divided between concept/art direction and designing ecards. Though I do manage freelance and in-house projects, I also get to create and collaborate with other studio artists.

Could you tell us some more about your work?

I have a B.A. in graphic design/illustration from Kent State University. I’ve always dabbled in illustration but in college I fell in love with design and typography. What I have really been enjoying the past few years is photo manipulation. It’s editing multiple photos to make them look like a single illustration and I love working in Photoshop using brushes and patterns. I’m now starting to work in Painter which is also quite fun. I do love to work with collage/typography and water colors in my free time, though my boys take up most of that at the moment. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornHere are two examples of photo manipulation “Sending Wishes Across the Miles” and “Moonlight and Magic.”
 
 

What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?

My inspiration for images and concepts comes from many sources–the card copy, design, illustration and blog sites. Plus, the artists around me are a constant source of inspiration.   In the 15 years I’ve worked here, I’ve have never stopped being amazed.

What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why?

I would have to say any ecard where I’ve collaborated with another artist. We get some of our best work that way. A few of my favorites are “Bewitched Halloween,” “A Touch of Christmas Magic” and “A Mother’s Heart.”

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison Osborn“Bewitched Halloween” and “A Mother’s Heart,” collaborated with Pam Trautman and Dave Sommers.

 

Who has influenced you as an artist?

I think some of the best examples of imagination and illustrations are in children’s books.  Nancy Tillman, Chris Van Allsburg and Maggie Taylor are some of my favorites.

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornInfluenced by Maggie Taylor’s art on both “Magical Card Game” and “Lucky in Love.”

 

How do you stay motivated?

My colleagues get me through challenging times. We have an amazing and supportive group of writers, artists and musicians.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully here, but if not, I can definitely see myself teaching. I took a refresher college course a few years back and when the teacher learned of my degree she asked me to help co-teach with her that semester. I really enjoyed it and realized I was good at it, too.
I believe great teachers inspire others.

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornExamples of mood and lighting, “His Joy in the New Year” and “My One and Only One Song.” 

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring young artist?

Don’t give up. The art industry can be difficult to get into. But if you’re doing something you’re passionate about and have talent, you’ll do fine. Also surround yourself with talented people. They’ll inspire you and teach you more than you could imagine. And love what you do, the minute you stop, it’s time to move on.

What do you do for fun?

I spend time with my family. I’m a mom of two boys who keep me on my toes. We go on walks, play in the park, and have movie nights. It’s great to come home after a long day and hear their voices. We have a ritual at dinner time where we go around the table and tell our favorite part of our day. Though I love what I do, my favorite part of the day is just sitting there, being with them.

Thanks, Alison!

We hope you enjoyed meeting Alison, seeing her beautiful work and the wonderful ecards she’s been a part of developing. We also hope that by learning a little more about the artists here at bluemountain.com, you’ll get to know the kind of special people and talents that are required to create our unique and very special brand of cards.

MEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornMEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornMEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornMEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornMEET THE ARTIST: Alison OsbornMEET THE ARTIST: Alison Osborn

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FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!

FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!
New From BlueMountain.com

This is just one of the many new birthday ecards featured at bluemountain.com, with many more on their way this year! There are special collections that work for your entire birthday list…

  • For Everyone
  • For Her
  • For Him
  • For Kids

There’s also a selection of Seasonal Birthday ecards, Funny ones and Talking ecards as well! Of course we still have all your favorites as well as the popular classics everyone loves. But you’ll want to check back often to see what’s new!

FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!FEATURED BIRTHDAY eCARD!

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“WHAT TO WRITE…” Offering Words of Encouragement

WHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of Encouragement

Offering Words of Encouragement, Cheer, Support and Sympathy

There are those moments in life when we could all use a little encouragement, a kind word, a gentle wish, a hearfelt prayer. They’re the little things that inspire us to believe in ourselves or help us through a difficult time.

While words can’t actually change the circumstances that surround us, they can help us deal with our emotions and even feel more hopeful or confident, especially when the words are coming from someone who truly cares about us. In this sense, their support and encouragement tend to validate our feelings.

At the same time, the rewards are just as great when we are on the giving end…it feels just  as good to offer a helping hand, or a shoulder to lean on as it does to be on the receiving end of a caring gesture.

With that in mind, we’d like to offer some suggestions for letting others know how you feel and that you care. And although this series is meant to help you know “What to Write…” it may just as easily help you know “what to say…”

I’ll always be here for you.
You’re someone I care about…

You truly are a beautiful person…I hope you know that.
Don’t give up now…I know you can do this.
You’re special and you deserve the best.
I care about you more than words can say.
Believe in yourself. I know I believe in you.
I believe in you and your dreams.
I thought about you today…I care about you always.
You are in every thought and prayer that fills my heart today.
I can’t guarantee you an easy journey, but I promise
       I’ll be there with you every step of the way.
I’m here if you need me…that’s what friends are for.
If you need a kind word or warm wish, I have many to give.
Good times. Bad times. Anytime…
Just me…thinking of you…especially now.
Wishing you faith to light your way until all is well again.

For Sympathy Situations:

I’m here to listen, to hold your hand or to just be by your side…whatever you need. 
Grieving takes time and tears…and friends. I’m here for you.
Sincerest sympathy…from a friend who shares your sorrow.

Lighter/Whimsical directions:

Would a hug help?  or  Looks like someone could use a hug…
Wish I could wish your troubles away.
If you need me, just whistle…I’ll be there before you can unpucker!
Life takes some crazy turns…maybe I can help steer you through it all.
When the going gets tough, you can always come over and hide out with me!
Friendship therapy…no appointment necessary!
Chicken Soup? Hug? Teddy Bear? Chocolate? Just name it!
Sometimes life just sucks. Stay strong.

Please visit bluemountain.com to see the above Encouragement ecard and a large selection of other Encouragement, Get Well and Sympathy cards to which you can add your own personal messages.

 

WHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of EncouragementWHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of EncouragementWHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of EncouragementWHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of EncouragementWHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of EncouragementWHAT TO WRITE... Offering Words of Encouragement

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HAPPY PURIM! February 23-24

HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24

Origins of Purim

Purim is a festive celebration of the triumph of good over evil! It’s the story of the young and beautiful Queen Esther who had not shared her Jewish heritage with her husband, the King, before this story unfolded.

Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai and she had been chosen to marry the King. When Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, one of the King’s chief officials, Haman was furious. Discovering that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman sought to take revenge on him and all the Jews who lived in the kingdom. The word Purim comes from “Pur” (lot/fate) and so the Pur was cast and Haman planned to kill all the Jews.

Mordecai appealed to Esther to speak to the King on the people’s behalf. She and her people prayed and fasted for three full days as she considered the best way to approach the King.  Even though she was his wife, she could not see him unless he called her into his presence. The penalty for stepping over that boundary was death.

Esther’s courage ultimately saved her people and so Purim is a time of great celebration. You can read more of the story in the book of Esther in the Old Testament.

Purim Traditions                                                   HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24

During Purim, a special dessert, Hamantashen, or Haman’s Ears, is made (recipe links below) and baskets of food are shared with friends and neighbors. Since the Jewish people were always on the move, it was traditional to give foods that could be consumed fairly quickly. Today, gift baskets and other gifts are also given to charitable organizations.

Sometimes little plays are acted out as one person portrays the villain, Haman, and others portray Esther or her uncle Mordecai. Songs are sung and sometimes even disguises are worn. The disguises serve as a reminder that Queen Esther had not revealed her true identity to the King until she was called upon to save her people.

Purim is a joyful celebration of feasting and drinking and a reminder that even when “lots” have been cast, a hero may yet come along to change the outcome.

http://jwa.org/blog/oznei-haman
http://reuvera.hubpages.com/hub/Jewish-Holiday-Purim-and-why-it-is-special–also-the-recipe-of-Purim-cookies–hamentashes–Hamans-ears
http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1365/jewish/Recipes.htm
 

To send your best wishes for Purim or to share the above Purim ecard, please click here.

HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24   HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24   HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24   HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24   HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24   HAPPY PURIM! February 23 24

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IT’S LOVE YOUR PET DAY!

ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY!

Looking for the perfect pet ecards? You can see a large selection at bluemountain.com, where you’ll find everything fun from birthday to holiday, and when the occasion calls for something more serious, we have just the right card to say what’s in your heart.

ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY! ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY! ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY! ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY! ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY! ITS LOVE YOUR PET DAY!

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PRESIDENTS’ DAY

PRESIDENTS DAY

Celebrate Presidents’ Day!

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

~The United States Presidential Oath of Office

On Presidents’ Day, America honors all who’ve presided over “The Highest Office in the Land.” Formerly known as Washington’s Birthday, this federal holiday took a few turns toward recognizing all Commanders-in-Chief as it’s celebrated every third Monday in February.

Beginning with the observance of George Washington’s birthday on February 22 in 1879, the holiday was limited to the District of Columbia, but broadened to include the rest of the country by 1885. Nearly a century later, Congress sought to realign the dates of several federal holidays to select Mondays with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in the late 1960s. It received mixed reception, as some felt it weakened each holiday’s meaning, while others offered their full-fledged support, particularly from the private sector and labor unions.

Senator Robert McClory of Illinois proposed renaming the holiday Presidents’ Day, but
it faced considerable opposition from Washington’s home state. Even after becoming
an official holiday, Washington’s Birthday continued to be referred to by many as Presidents’ Day.

With the holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February instead of the 22nd of the month, some believed it was an attempt to recognize both Washington and Lincoln as it landed between their birthdays. Still, many members of Congress objected to a name encompassing all presidents but the world of retail saw things differently.

With the holiday now creating a 3-day weekend, stores now saw opportunity for winter sales, and advertisers jumped on the bandwagon with “Presidents’ Day Sale” notices. Nevertheless, Congress still recognizes it as Washington’s Birthday, and lists it as such.

PRESIDENTIAL TRIVIA QUIZ!

1) On June 6, 1892, this 23rd President, was the first to attend a baseball game
(Cincinnati Reds vs.Washington Senators)

2) The first President born after the signing of the Declaration of Independence was ________________.

3) Who was the only President to ever appear on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

4) The only President to remain a bachelor was _________________.

5) Which five Presidents were never elected, but assumed the office of President?

 

ANSWERS:

1) Benjamin Harrison;  2) Martin Van Buren;  3) Richard Nixon;  4) James Buchanan

5) Chester Arthur, Millard Fillmore, Gerald Ford, Warren Harding, William Taft

PRESIDENTS DAY PRESIDENTS DAY PRESIDENTS DAY PRESIDENTS DAY PRESIDENTS DAY PRESIDENTS DAY

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ASH WEDNESDAY

ASH WEDNESDAY Following the big celebration of Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday services
gather believers together to: offer penitence, take the opportunity to reflect on personal transgressions and seek forgiveness. These services are held in numerous Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

The ashes come from the palm branches that were burned and stored from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service. These palm ashes are then made into a simple paste by adding a little water or olive oil. People who attend these services are then marked with a cross on the forehead to commemorate the beginning of Lent.

ASH WEDNESDAY

photo credit: www.calvarydc. org

The ashes serve as a visible reminder of the victory of Jesus over death, but also as an admission of sorrow over those things believers seek forgiveness for or consider wrong. Generally, the Cross of Christ stays on the forehead until it wears away and serves as a witness to the person’s faith.

As Christians prepare for Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter, they are reminded to pause and consider those things that bring them joy, those habits and ideas that no longer serve them well, and the things that remind them that they are always a forgiven child of God. In this way, they’ll be fully prepared for the glorious rising of the Son at Easter.

Blessings to all!

ASH WEDNESDAY ASH WEDNESDAY ASH WEDNESDAY ASH WEDNESDAY ASH WEDNESDAY ASH WEDNESDAY

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CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!

CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!

It’s Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday,” a  celebration that marks the end of Carnival and precedes the beginning of Lent. For some interesting trivia and to learn more about the history of this fun event, click on the following link:

http://www.bluemountain.com/blog/2012/02/a-little-mardi-gras-history/

If you already know all the ins and outs of this annual festivity, and want to test your knowledge, you can take the quizzes at mardigrasunmasked.com/mardi-gras-trivia-challenge/ We have to warn you though, the questions are pretty tough!

If you’d like to send or post the above Mardi Gras postcard from bluemountain.com, please click here.

 

CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!   CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!   CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!   CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!   CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!   CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS!

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HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! It’s the Year of the Snake…

The date for Chinese New Year is moveable, but it’s always between January 21 and February 20 and is represented by one of twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, with the year 2013 being represented by the Snake.

People born in the Year of the Snake are considered clever and complex individuals, who often rely on their own instincts for answers, as they are usually intelligent, intuitive and insightful. However, this can sometimes cause them to be considered egotistical or even mysterious at times.

Despite their somewhat serious demeanor, they are usually happily active in their friends’ lives, enjoying most social situations. It is said to be a good omen to have a Snake living in your house as it means your family will never starve. People born under this sign are appreciative of the finer things in life and are usually seen as stylish, refined and having excellent taste.

Depending on the year, a Snake can be a number of colors or patterns, each with their own meanings. The 2013 Snake is a Water Snake and its color is black, making those born in this year lucky in financial matters.

Other Snake years:

1929
1941
1953
1965
1977
1989
2001
2013
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!