With the holidays barely past and Valentine's Day right around the corner, I am constantly on the lookout for adorable greeting cards. I love to stumble upon and save extra special ones for just the right occasion, and I'm known to stockpile some random extras to have on hand in case there is unexpected news or I forget to remember a special day.
For me, Papyrus has always been the spot for adorable + simple greeting cards. If I wanted to send something that was sweet, straightforward and just plain pretty, that was the place to go. But as their prices went up (the most intricate ones now cost as much as $18.95!) I started to look elsewhere. I found options that aren't just more affordable, but even more unique that are sold by talented designers both online and right on my block. Here are my picks for $5 and under . . .
Rob Ryan is a UK-based artists and paper cutting mastermind. His creations, which I first encountered at catbird, are breathtaking. I can't imagine someone who wouldn't want to receive this hand-held modern day love story... and at less than $4, who wouldn't want to give it also?
FlyTrap makes cheeky cards that have me counting down the days until friends' birthdays and other holidays. Their Etsy page breaks down their work into categories like "Sexy Naughty Valentines" to "Funny Birthday Cards" to simple "Hello/Friendship Cards." At a reasonable $4.50 each, here are the wonderfully sarcastic ones I plan to have on hand for whatever 2012 may bring:
For the young couple tying the knot:
a "congratulations" card that gives a little preview
of what married life may bring...love this!
Inside: "...people don't."
For the good friend with a good sense
of humor, a snarky Happy Birthday
that is the perfect wine pairing.
This one is aptly called "Dadisms" -
the perfect card for Dad (or the father
figure in your life) on any occasion.
Love this as a great make-up card after a fight,
Valentine's Day or an anniversary, or
(the best kind) a "just because I love you" card.
Another refreshingly original paper goods company is The Great Lakes, based right here in Brooklyn and also sold at catbird. Their cards are one part cutesy and two parts quirky, with hand drawn and hand printed designs that are somehow odd and endearing at the same time:
And here are some new designs straight from The Great Lakes blog. I love the pop culture references + the handmade feel that looks at first like maybe I made it myself. (Right...)
And finally, for those wonderful "just because" moments, these blank greetings by Hero Design Studio are the perfect combination of casual and cool. I love the natural feel + bohemian theme, and adore that this 12-pack of blank Navajo-inspired cards arrive in a little burlap sack. If it was Nicole Richie's birthday, I would send her one of these. (If we were friends.)
Whatever the occasion and whoever the recipient, handmade designs definitely bring more style + heart than your average Hallmark. Swap one of these for the usual next holiday (or next Tuesday!) and give something as unique and just plain cool as the person receiving it.