Tom Page, American Greetings, Blue MountainThis month, we’re more than happy to introduce you to Tom Page, a very creative designer in his own right and an art director who’s an inspiration to his staff of talented designers and animators here at

Hi Tom, when did you first realize you had design abilities or know that you wanted to be an artist?

I think I have been drawing pictures for as long as I can remember and it has really been the only thing that I have really ever wanted to do. My mom and dad are very artistic so at a young age they were very supportive.

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

I am an Art Director with Blue Mountain and have been in the greeting card business for almost 19 years. I started out as an illustrator and over the years worked my way to Art Director.

Could you tell us a little more about your work?

As an Art Director I’m lucky to work with a very talented staff of designers and animators developing concepts and stories that can be turned into digital greetings which people can share with each other for any occasion. So, it’s really not “my” work but more of a collaborative effort with the team. We are all working toward a common goal and push each other to create amazing that we believe our customers will love.



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

Wow, this is a tough decision because I have worked on A LOT of cards, a few of which are featured here. I have another favorite I worked on that was a Claymation piece we did for Christmas about 5 years ago. We wanted to create a piece that reminded us of all the Rankin–Bass television shows that we were fans of as kids. This was such a group effort. It was also something that we had never done before, at least a clay piece of this scale. I enjoyed every part of it from planning to the finished piece. Everyone that worked on it did an amazing job. I really grew as a storyteller and leader from that experience.

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

It’s so hard to pin-point just one person but if I had to pick one I love the emotion you feel from an Otto Dix piece, especially the series from the First World War. I try to put some of that emotion in my personal work. At my current job, I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many talented people. I have really pulled so much from many of them.


What types of things do you do to keep yourself motivated?

The way people communicate is rapidly changing which of course is so important to our business. Following that and how it effects what I do is very motivating and exciting at the same time.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d like to teach someday. I have learned so much here I would like to think I can help some students out there be better professionals.

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

This is one of the reasons why I’d like to teach. Be willing to take on any task then over deliver on it. Build as many positive relationships as you can. Don’t be late with your work, that kills careers. Learn how to take and give feedback. As a creative person feedback is a part of everyday life, if you don’t take it well then this isn’t the career for you. Also learn how to communicate well and speak in front of people. Communicating your vision is important and being able to do it well will give you more opportunities to move up in an organization.

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

I do art when I can but when you’re doing that in some capacity all day it can be challenging to continue at home. So I enjoy playing golf, watching movies, hitting the gym and most of all just being Dad. I’m lucky to have a very supportive family. I have been married to my wife Tina for 20 years this June and have two great kids Dylan and Claudia.

Thanks, Tom, for sharing your background, interests and creative passion with us!



“WHAT TO WRITE…” Apologies & Forgiveness


Today Is Forgiveness Day

We’ve all been there. Life is good. Our relationships with our family, our friends, our co-workers, seem to be going along fine. And then, out of the blue, it happens. Something comes up. We have a “not-our-best” moment. And now we’ve got…well…a situation.

Let’s face it…in spite of our best intentions, sometimes we human beings hurt each other. Whether it’s through misunderstanding, an oversight, being insensitive, or a moment of frustration or anger, we don’t always see eye to eye. We say things. We do things. We hurt each other. And often, we carry that hurt around far too long.

Why Forgive?

06262013_2If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that nothing good comes from holding on to our hurt or withholding forgiveness. Aside from being the right and mature thing to do, it’s a proven fact that it’s just better for us—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—to mend fences. Because we all need each other more than we need to “win” or take a chance on losing the very people we love the most.

To say those 3 little words, whether they’re “I’m really sorry” or “I forgive you,”and mean them, is to open the door to a fresh start. And it’s a gift—to ourselves, and to everyone around us.

The First Steps…

Even when we or someone else is sorry, it’s not always easy to know the best way to make things better. But here are some suggestions that may help:

  • Be yourself—let the thoughts and words come from your heart.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t replay all the details of the situation
    or try to defend your side of things.
  • Express how much you care about the person and how you value
    your relationship with them.
  • Accept responsibility. If this person is really important to you,
    put your own ego aside. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong.
  • Say you’re sorry, or accept an apology without being specific about what was said that was hurtful or how you were affected.
  • Express a sincere desire to forgive or be forgiven and to heal the relationship.
  • Tell each other what you’ve learned from this experience—about yourself, about them, about what’s most important in life.
  • Understand that it may take a while before either is ready to forgive.
  • But don’t be discouraged. You’ve done what you can. Now give it time.

Let Us Help You Find the Words…

Here at, you 06262013_3and your relationships are important to us. We love helping people say the things that are deepest in their hearts—especially when finding the right words can be difficult. So here are some perfect ways to say “I’m sorry” that we hope will help you reconnect with someone special today.

Adding Your Personal Touch…

I know saying sorry can’t change what’s happened, but…
Sorry isn’t just a word…sometimes it’s a hope for a new beginning.
How can I make things better?
Didn’t mean to let you down.
I miss the good times with you…
I never meant to hurt you, but I know I did.
I realize I’ve hurt you and I’m so sorry.
So I really messed up, didn’t I?
Wanting things to be right between us again.
I value your friendship so very much.
I want to say I’m sorry, I’m just not sure how.
I’m not proud of the way I’ve acted.
I’m really sorry and I hope that you’ll forgive me.
So sorry for __________ (be specific).
I’m struggling to find the right words, but I want you to know…
If I could take it all back, I would.
Our (friendship, relationship) is more important to me than anything.
Sometimes I lose sight of what’s most important…
You’re one of the most important people in my life
You’re really special to me, probably more than you know right now.

On a Lighter Note:

Me and my big mouth…
I don’t know what I was thinking…big shocker, huh?
Sorry. I pretty much suck.
You’re kind, smart and wonderful…not to mention forgiving?
Sorry…I’ll definitely keep trying harder.
We all make mistakes…guess I just make more than my share of them.
So exactly how mad are you right now?
I had a very good reason for doing what I did…I was being stupid and inconsiderate!





Roses In Bloom

06242013_mainrose“There is simply the rose;
it is perfect
in every moment
of its existence.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps no one ever promised you a rose garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. Or you may already be a rose-growing enthusiast. Either way, June is rose month—a time to enjoy and celebrate these natural beauties in your yard.

Roses are the romantic darlings of any garden and exude their love on all who pass by. There may be a few fussy varieties, but whether you do some container gardening or create magical borders, you can make suremnymLic

roses will bloom for you. One place to look for amazing rose planting ideas is on The site is loaded with pictures that give guidance for placing roses anywhere you might like and tips for creating borders and quiet spaces for two in the midst of your fragrant blooms.

2dQMWyVVarieties of roses are nearly
endless, along with colors and potential opportunities to design a garden that suits your taste perfectly.  Whether you let them climb the walls, protect the walkways, or flourish around backyard fountains, you can let your heart out to play.

Here are a few tips for your rose garden:

  • Keep your flower beds clean throughout the growing season.
  • Prune your roses to stimulate new growth and produce beautiful blooms on good stems.
  • If your roses are dormant, apply a dormant spray such as lime sulphur to kill any fungus.
  • Do not apply once roses have sprouted leaves. 06242013_rose_red
  • Add nutritional enhancements to the soil as needed.
  • Top off your soil amendments with a two-inch layer of mulch.
  • Apply a good fertilizer. Alfalfa tea as well as manure teas will do wonders for your roses.
  • Encourage new cane growth by adding from 1/2c  to 1c of Epsom salts to the base of each plant and water it well.
  • o0TeA32Roses need at least one inch of water per week to produce quality blooms. Be sure to water roses at the base of the plant.
  • Only use pesticides that also kill beneficial insects as a last resort.
  • Take time to smell the roses!06242013_rose_yellow

It’s June, the month when eternal optimists see beautiful roses all aroundand never even glimpse the thorns.  As Richard Sheridan said, “Won’t you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you.”

 Happy Gardening!




It’s The First Day of Summer!


Longest Day of the Year

Break out the lemonade because summer is here!  The summer solstice marks the moment when the sun is directly overhead at its most northern point. When it reaches “high-noon,” it creates more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere than at any other time of the year.  The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and just a few days shy of the year’s half-way point on July 1.

Summer Memories

As you breathe in the fragrant summer air and lavish the sunshine, it may be a good time to think back on what summer meant to you as a kid. A walk down memory lane may just spark some moments you can create again. Did you love going on picnics in the park or canoeing down a river and enjoying the beautiful landscape? Did you love hiking wooded trails and camping? Maybe you simply loved your mom’s potato salad and music from bands like The Beach Boys. Think back and drink it all in.

Escape Your To-Do List

Then look at today and think of ways to start enjoying this summer. Set aside some time just for you to escape your to-do list and create some summer fun. Now is the time to catch some fireflies, grill some burgers or head out on your bike. Go to an amusement park and ride the roller coaster, or take your sweetheart to the drive-in. Summertime is playtime and you have every right to play. Think sandcastles, hammocks gently swaying in the breeze, and starry, starry nights. You might even want to wish on a star or two.

Plan a One-Tank-Trip

Give yourself a mini-vacation, even if it’s just a day trip. Catch the farmer’s markets that contain an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Visit the local arboretum or the butterfly farm. Use your imagination and dream a little dream because the best parts of life are filled with summer dreams.

Celebrate the solstice, catch a few sunbeams, and give yourself permission to slip away and enjoy it all. Swap barbecue recipes with your neighbor and carve a smile in the watermelon. It’s time for you to simply relax and enjoy yourself! Don’t forget to send some cheerful “thinking of you” notes to your friends as well. Maybe you can get them to go along for the ride when you go out to play!

For more information on the summer solstice, please click on the following links:





A Little History…

Although President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed many African Americans, slavery itself wasn’t abolished altogether. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas, declared the end of the Civil War, and read aloud General Orders, No. 3, that all slaves were freed, creating a ripple effect across the country in what has become known as Juneteenth.

Celebrated the following year, in 1866, Juneteenth became a day similar in festivities
to the Fourth of July, with prayer services, inspirational speakers, a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, and merrymaking which included food and drink, dancing, storytelling, and other exciting events.

 Celebration Ideas:

Here are a few ideas to jump start your Juneteenth celebration, both in educational and entertaining ways:

Host a day-at-work seminar: Invite guest speakers knowledgeable of Juneteenth
and its timeline to talk to your company’s employees in order to familiarize them with
the observance and its meaning. Create a theme and post your company’s involvement
on its web site.

Community involvement: Organize events at your local schools and libraries. Create interactive displays that can educate participants on the origin of Juneteenth and its evolution, and ask local businesses to sponsor these events.

Plan a picnic: Land in parts of Texas purchased by ex-slaves, known as “emancipation grounds,” was later turned into Emancipation Parks in such areas as Houston, East Austin, and now Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia, Texas. Host your own outdoor gathering with food and festivities to celebrate the day.

Contact Congress: Although it was made an official holiday in the state of Texas on January 1, 1980, Juneteenth has yet to receive national recognition. Several U.S. Senators, public officials, and other outspoken individuals have been working to ensure that Juneteenth becomes an officially recognized national holiday, similar to Patriot Day or Flag Day. Show your appreciation for these men and women by contacting them and supporting their efforts.



WHAT IS A DAD? Mood Board


Dads Rule!

They’ve mastered the fine art of outdoor cuisine…they can operate a computer, a TV, and balance a drink at the same time using just two hands and three remotes…they’re big fans of power tools and they know 243 different uses for duct tape! But truly, they rule because whether you’re having a great day or the chips are down, dads are right there beside you…loving you with all their hearts.

Guess you could say that dads are their children’s first heroes…they’re men with super-strength who are gentle enough to shed a tear when they think no one is looking. They’re the ones who look out for you from the time you’re little till long after you’re all grown up…and in return, they’re the ones you look up to all the days of your life.

Happy Father’s Day!





Have fun with this Father’s Day Word Search!
Answers are below.
Fa Day word search



Fa Day word search answer



Summer Is Almost Here!

messagepart-2Even though the official start of summer is still a few days away, don’t be surprised if you’re already craving a cool, refreshing glass of iced tea–after all, it’s National Iced Tea Day! If any beverage should have its own holiday, iced tea is not only one of the tastiest choices but it’s one of the healthiest as well.

So, How Did Iced Tea Come To Be? 

In 1904, English tea plantation owner Richard Blechynden set up a booth to sell hot tea at the St. Louis World Fair. However, it was an extremely hot day and fair visitors wanted something cold. So Blechnyden simply poured the tea over ice and it was an immediate hit!

Health Benefits

Since ancient times, tea has had a wide range of medicinal uses, and modern research gives merit to its benefits. Tea is commonly used to alleviate cold symptoms and, usually with honey, provide instant relief for a sore throat. For stressful situations, certain teas can be very relaxing and even help you drift off to sleep. Tea is also believed to help avoid heart disease. And green tea may even reduce the risk of breast cancer. This is because one glass of tea can contain as many antioxidants as fruits and veggies such as strawberries and spinach!

While even some bottled iced teas can be surprisingly super-powered, brewing your own is the best way to get the maximum health benefits.

Home Brewed

So let’s say you want the best of both worlds—a healthy tea and a great tasting drink. A tea brewed hot and then chilled would logically be your best choice, since hot water releases more of the tea’s antioxidants. But overnight fridge tea has proven to be comparably healthy, so can’t go wrong with either technique.

Talk about Variety!

While basic black or herbal teas are still popular, often sweetened with sugar, lemon or mint, tea connoisseurs are constantly coming up new and creative concoctions. Even if you’re not a fan of the classic brew, flavors such as peach or raspberry, mango pineapple or Blackberry Mojito Iced Green Tea, make it possible for everyone to enjoy National Iced Tea Day in their own special way.  And with the countless recipes and products now available, you can easily enjoy new Iced Tea flavors all summer long!

Tea for Beginners to Tea Connoisseurs

The following website has a great selection of teas, brewing pots, tins, and gift ideas and is filled with information for the novice at tea to the connoisseur. Also includes some great information on iced tea as well!