Graduation is a milestone in life. It is an ending and a beginning…a stepping-stone from past hours of study and moments of discovery, to a life filled with bigger challenges, responsibility, adventures and fun.

It’s a time for saying “farewell” to the familiar…teachers, classes, and favorite hangouts, and “hello” to the new…friends, adventures, lifestyles and more.

Graduation is a proud and wonderful time of life–a happy and unforgettable event filled with moments of reflection and hopes and dreams for the future.

“What you learn from the world will be much;

what you give to the world will be your thanks in return.”

~Author Unknown

Congratulate a special grad you know with the perfect card from Whether you’re looking for traditional, funny, or even talking ecards, we have just what you’re looking for!

And if you’re the grad…congratulations and best wishes to you for the happiest of futures and for all your dreams come true!





This Memorial Day, as we honor our fallen men and women in uniform who have served since America’s birth, let us take a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices they have made in the name of freedom for all.

The following poem pays tribute to those who have given their lives so that others may pursue America’s great promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.



Fallen For Freedom

With every fallen hero,
And every sacrifice,
Each man and woman serving
Knows freedom has its price.

As stars and stripes fly higher
Over lands, both far and near,
New generations take the pledge
To protect what we hold dear.

And should that mean they offer up
Their lives for liberty
Their sacrifice is not in vain—
For freedom isn’t free

And so today we honor those
Who have been laid to rest—
Remembering that these brave souls
Gave better than their best.

~Brian MacDougall






Invitations, RSVPs Save-the-Date Cards and Wedding Websites

Getting ready to tie the knot can be pretty stressful at times, so anything you can do to eliminate some of the pressure is a welcome relief. Fortunately, wedding invitations have strict etiquette guidelines that can help you navigate through the process. That’s especially true if, while searching for the perfect wedding invitations to share the event of your life, it suddenly dawns on you that you have to figure out how to invite your mom’s two ex-husbands, one of whom is your dad married to someone new, and her current boyfriend. You have to decide if your half-sister whom you haven’t really seen for years, but who is still family should be invited.

Once the “who and how” part of your wedding planning is settled, there’s the question of “when-to-send.” So here are a few tips to help you get past those sticky situations and some general etiquette tips on the invitations, save-a-date cards, and wedding websites! Before you read on, why not grab a cup of hot tea, let out a deep breath and simply relax.

Tip #1: Remember that it is your wedding. That means you get to call the shots and others should have the grace to play by your rules.

mlQxku4Tip #2: What kind of day do you really want to have? Are you looking for a big extravaganza or a more intimate setting? If it’s the first choice, you can probably invite nearly everyone on your list and give them an open “plus one” option. If it’s the second choice, then you want to be very clear that your intent is for adults only, or close family and friends only. That means you truly keep the invitation list to those you personally have a relationship with.

Tip #3: If your parents are divorced, ask them to work out any differences that might need to be addressed before the wedding. After all, they both love you and they both want to be there.  They can work out any sense of awkwardness. If there’s more than one ex-spouse for one of your parents, invite only the ones you have a relationship with. This is not about your parents; this event is all about you.

Tip #4: Thought it’s typical to send invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding, you should send “destination wedding” invitations at least three months in advance of the date. RSVP cards should have return dates that are two to three weeks before your event to allow enough time to notify your caterer of your final number of guests and to plan your seating chart.

Tip #5: Prior to sending out the actual wedding invitations, you might consider sending “save-the-date” cards to everyone about 6 to 8 months ahead of your all-important date. This gives all your guests (especially those who live some distance away), plenty of time to clear their schedules, think about travel plans, hotel stays, etc.) Your “save-the-date” card is also a great way to include the address of your wedding website (see below). You can view sample “save-the-date” cards at
wedding 5.22Tip #6: Set up a temporary website with
all the details of your wedding, including directions to the church from the airport
or other main routes, area hotels for those who might need to book one, the dinner menu in case anyone has special dietary needs, the dress code, and the gift registries. (By the way, this is the only place where gift registries should be mentioned. They should not be included in your invitation or “save-the-date” card. ) Make your website as detailed as you want and include a photo
of you and your fiancé. You can view sample wedding websites and set one up, too, at

Tip #7: If someone special to you cannot attend the wedding, be sure to send them an extra note expressing your regret. Tell them you’ll post wedding photos on the website that they can see later.

Tip #8: You’ll probably have your Thank You notes printed at the same time as your Wedding Invitations. Remember to mention each gift specifically when you send your thank you notes after the wedding and should be sent out within two months of your big day.

For more help with wedding invitation etiquette, take a look at these sites:

Wishing you the most memorable day of your life!




MD contest winner

We’re happy to say there was a great response to our Mother’s Day Postcard Design Contest and we’d like to take this opportunity to extend a big thank you to the many talented students who participated in the contest by submitting their unique designs celebrating moms everywhere.

The winning postcard above scored the highest in our judging criteria, and the creative director for appreciated and complimented the “heart symbolism and the colors/feelings emanating from it.”

Congratulations to Rory Duncan from Butte College…our Grand Prize winner! Enjoy your Wacom tablet, Rory!




Postcard_BMASince May 20, 1950, the third Saturday in May has been celebrated as Armed Forces Day in the United States, which falls at the end of Armed Forces Week. These have been some of the day’s celebratory themes:

Prepared to Meet the Challenge.
Teamed for Defense.
Dedication and Devotion.
Freedom Through Unity.
Appreciation of a Nation.
Power for Peace.
Special Opportunity for Thanks.

To read this list and think of the 1.8 million people currently on active duty, along with over a million in reserve, it’s hard to imagine a day more worthy of celebration. In President Obama’s 2012 proclamation, he calls upon all Americans “to display the flag of the United States at their homes on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to “learn more about military service” by attending and participating in the local observances of the day.
I also encourage Americans to volunteer at organizations that provide support to our troops.”

A Few Interesting Facts About the Armed Forces

  • 2013ArmedForcesDayThumbThe Department of Defense is the largest employer in the U.S. (more than Exxon, Mobil, Ford, General Motors and GE combined).
  • Less than 28% of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are qualified for military service; that’s only about one in four.
  • More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, including 69 generals and admirals.
  • The Navy’s bell-bottom pants were introduced in 1817 so men could roll them above the knee when washing decks, remove them quickly when abandoning ship or washed overboard, and use them as a life preserver by knotting the legs and swinging them overhead to fill the legs with air.
  • The Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) was adopted in 1883.
  • On an average day, the Coast Guard, among many other things, saves 10 lives, conducts 109 search and rescue missions, and seizes $9.6 million worth of illegal drugs.
  • The U.S. Air Force was part of the Army, called the Army Air Corps, until 1946.
  • The Air Force’s F-117 fighter uses aerodynamics discovered during research into how bumblebees fly.

Official Songs for Each Military Branch

Army:  “The Army Goes Rolling Along” (formerly “The Caisson Song”)
 Navy:  “Anchors Aweigh”
 Air Force:  “The U.S. Air Force” (“Wild Blue Yonder”)
 Marine Corps:  “The Marines’ Hymn”
 Coast Guard:  “Semper Paratus”

Test your military knowledge and learn more with this quick quiz:

And visit for a wonderful collection of patriotic cards, perfect for someone in the service or simply to share your American spirit.





Meet Dave Padrutt,
the multi-talented Senior Audio Producer for Blue Mountain.

Hi Dave…When did you first realize you had artistic abilities or know that you wanted to be a musician and an artist?

I was a little artist from as early as I can remember. I won my first award for a painting when I was in kindergarten, and I think from then on I just considered the arts as being ‘my thing.’ I was very diligent about progressing in the visual arts throughout my school years. In junior high I starting being recognized for achievements in creative writing, and shortly thereafter I taught myself how to play the guitar and started my own band.

What is your current position at and can you tell us a little about your background as a musician?

I am a Senior Audio Producer for Blue Mountain. I was first introduced to the greeting card industry after college, working as a graphic designer. I was freelancing on the side; composing music for film and producing my own recordings just for fun. Eventually, the music I was producing on the side got to be a big enough deal that people started to take notice. I was able to switch careers from visual artist to musician. I am largely self-taught as a musician and audio engineer/producer. I have learned a great deal along the way having been fortunate enough to work with some remarkably talented individuals in every aspect of music production and performance.


 Could you tell us a little more about your work?

As an audio producer, I am responsible for crafting the recordings that accompany the
art and verse for Blue Mountain eCards. At times, this involves the genesis of pure songwriting. At other times, this may involve my having to learn how to play an instrument that I really don’t know how to play, just to record a part. At other times,
I may have to conduct a string quartet or sing like a cartoon kangaroo with an authentic Australian accent or lead a jazz trio…it all depends on the specific needs of a particular greeting card. My job requirements and even the method by which we work can be random and require a great deal of improvisation at times; and I wouldn’t have
it any other way. I love that I do something that continuously keeps me on my toes.

Which is your favorite ecard you’ve created and what makes it special to you?

I think my favorite is ‘La Birthday’ song. The inspiration behind that card came from my tendency to break into an exaggerated, comedic, French caricature voice at any given moment for no apparent reason. (I’ve been doing it since French class in the 6th grade.) Arbitrarily, I have retained a lot of the French vocabulary lessons about food, which is why that is a major theme in the card. I was able to offer some lyrics and even some art direction during the production, on top of producing and performing the song. It was just one of many fantastic experiences I have had collaborating with the writers and animators that I am so lucky to work with–and the end result is an absolutely delightful little greeting. Another is the Reggae Birthday Song that we had a great time recording!

DavePaintings2_newWho is the artist or musician that has influenced you most? How do you use that influence in your work?

There are so many great artists and influences out there. This is a difficult question to answer! One of my favorite recording artists has always been Bob Dylan. I’ve always been inspired by his ability to make something brilliant out of very modest building materials. He can conjure up clever, colorful stories with a fairly simple use of vocabulary. He’s written beautiful, effective, poignant songs using very unassuming melodies and arrangements. He’s got that unforgiving, even controversial storyteller’s singing voice that he uses so well to sell it all. Something I should ask myself about every project I work on is: am I really selling this? Is this really going to affect someone? What Would Bob Do?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’ll still be wondering what I’m going to do when I grow up.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist who’s interested in the same career field you’re in?

I have made it to where I am today with a lot of hard work and diligence; but I’ve also made it a point to not take myself too seriously. I think that I have a pretty healthy sense of humor about myself and have tried to keep ‘having fun’ as an important priority in my life. This is important stuff to keep in mind for the professional greeting card musician!

On a final note, Dave, what are some things you like to do when you’re away from work?

I have two incredible sons who keep me more motivated and inspired than anything else in the world. Among other things, we are railroading enthusiasts together. We spend a
lot of time hanging out by train tracks, watching the cars roll by.

I’m also a runner. I love to run and to race, and I commit a great deal of time and energy to it. I believe that the benefits of running, both physical and psychological, are innumerable.

As you can tell from my work that is shown above, I paint and draw quite a bit, too. Sometimes I refurbish old furniture in a fresh and funky way, but that’s usually just
in the summer when it’s warm enough to garbage-pick for canvases!

Finally, I write and record a lot of my own music. I play with a band and we perform live
a handful of times every year – just enough so that I can’t wait for the next show!

Thanks so much, Dave!

We hope you know that your considerable talents are appreciated and enjoyed by
so many!





bbq, corn, picnic

May is National Barbeque Month, so it’s time to tie on that apron and fire up that grill! Whether it’s hot dogs and hamburgers, a juicy steak, or mouth-watering shish kabobs skewering all of your favorites, here are some tasty recipes and creative ways to add some finger-licking fun to any cookout!

Location, Location, Location!

Potluck / Block Party

Turn your barbeque into a savory smorgasbord! Pick a bright, sunny afternoon, invite friends and neighbors to bring whatever whets their appetite, and swap recipes as you sink your teeth into plenty of great eating. Not to mention, when the party comes to a close, cleanup will be a snap as everyone takes their serving dishes home. Save Mom some kitchen sink time and serve everything on paper plates.

Beach Barbeque / Park It!

grilling, beachAnother fun option—barbequing on the beach. Not only is it a relaxing way to enjoy your feast while you take in the cool lake or ocean breezes, but putting out the fire is easy: just add sand!

Don’t forget, many parks come equipped with built-in grills, too—just add charcoal or other kindling. Plus, picnic tables make it easy to spread out all of the goodies. Just be sure to bring plenty of supplies like barbeque sauce brushes, serving forks and tongs.

Great Grilling Recipes

Tantalize your taste buds with some of these lip-smackers that are sure to fire up any cookout:

Shish kabobs: Whether it’s steak, chicken, seafood, or going green on the grill with veggies from the garden, kabobs are always a fun way to make the most of your barbeque! These recipes from the Food Network give you the basic ingredients for different kabobs and are great inspiration for creating your own!05152013_BBQGrilling_3

Savory Sides: From grilled corn and baked beans to onion rings and mashed potatoes, nothing beats a tasty side grilled to perfection and these recipes from the National Barbecue Association will make your mouth water just reading about them! Mac-n-cheese is another quick recipe that’s easy to make and serves as the perfect complement to any cookout cuisine.

Save the Smoke: Just because the fire’s gone out doesn’t mean the fun has to end. While the grill is still warm, why not roast some marshmallows to make smores for this tasty dessert recipe from Mr. Food. Looking for a fun and healthy alternative? Another great dessert recipe, from the National Barbecue Association, Grilled chocolate bananas are sure-fire way to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Raiding the Pantry: There are all sorts of fun ways to indulge your grilling appetites, even during the off-season. Miss those seasoned burgers and want to taste the flavor? Stock-pile some of your favorite barbecue sauces or even some cup-a-soups you can mix  into the hamburger patties before cooking on an indoor griller. It’s a great way to add extra flavor to a cookout classic.

Stocking up for Next Season:

For some, it’s Barbecue Season year ’round, but for many, the season ends with the first flurries of snow. But it’s never too early or late to fill up the freezer for next season. Keep an eye out for when your favorites—steaks, chicken, seafood, and other extras—go on sale. Your taste buds will definitely thank you for it!






The bicycle is a simple solution
to some of the world’s most complicated problems.
~Author Unknown

May 13th marks the beginning of National Bike Week. It’s the time to get outdoors, get some exercise, and trade in gas for something greener! Besides the fun and fellowship of other cyclists, here are a few of the many benefits to getting your bike in gear.

Get Healthy

Bicycling helps reduce the chances of obesity and diabetes, as well as high blood pressure, and improves overall cardio-vascular fitness. It doesn’t take much to help maintain good health, either—only 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise. Not to mention, it can help reduce health care costs in the long term as well.

No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.
~Author Unknown

With most children driven to school by bus or car and a lack of exercise in their daily regimen, bicycling is a great way for kids to get fit everyday. Just make sure they have locks and cables to keep their bikes safe.

Go Green

 Auto emissions are the largest contributor to U.S. air pollution, with shorter rides as the main culprit. Help save Mother Earth and go green by biking that route instead. The money you save on gas can really add up nicely for any rainy days ahead.

 Bike Buddies

Nothing beats peddling with a pal! Cycling with a friend has several advantages: You motivate each other, take breaks together, and keep track of your mileage together. Simply put, biking is more fun with a buddy!

 Re-Cycling Moms: Tikes and Bikes

With parents doing housework and childcare duties in a more eco-friendly manner, many are adapting biking set-ups to cover their daily routines with their kids. Child seats for bicycles are a great way to do just that. Don’t forget bike helmets for everyone on board! Visit your local bike shop to find the most comfortable, safe seat and helmet for you and your little ones. You’ll be taking care of your family as well as the environment.

 Bike-to-Work Day

Bike-to-Work Day is Friday, May 17. As motivated employees embark on their bike routes to work, here are a few things they should keep in mind:

  • Biking to work improves company morale
  • It saves on gas—the Earth and your wallet will thank you!
  • It helps foster teamwork
  • Employees who bike to work are healthier physically and mentally, more alert, and more productive, and use fewer sick days.
  • Bikes are easier to store and can maneuver around traffic. Just stay safe for yourself and those around you!

Be sure to check out the following guide for other awesome biking ideas, too!


 Re-Cycling Moms: Tikes and Bikes:

Bike-to-Work Day: