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By procreations, Oct 28 2015 02:59PM

In the UK, the greeting card industry is worth some £1.6billion. This means that many cards are made and sold by many hundreds of card companies, and competition is stiff. Which leads me to why I set up procreations designs - to offer something different from the hundreds of 'me too', same old, same old cards. If you want something that isn't hackneyed, at a reasonable price, then you will like procreations designs as they are unique and like no other.


How did it start?

Designing started as a hobby. Encouragement from a friend led to my first commercial order. Since that first order, I have come a long way from the crude designs I first made (I still have samples to remind me), learning that if you supply retailers, your stock needs to be - and look - professional. I have that down to a fine art form now, with many long-standing retail customers.


Why buy from me?

I have a style that is my own and commercial enough to sell to independent shops. So, what is unique about my cards? They really are different. They are my own designs. I don't copy anyone and though hand made/produced they are contemporary in design and finished to the highest standards. I use a range of techniques - stamping, illustration, printing, painting - and materials, with subtle details that surprise.


Ethical and 100% British

I run my business ethically, from buying from British suppliers and right down to working in partnership with the retailers I supply. My suppliers are all UK-based, British companies and I buy card and envelopes (sustainably sourced), cello bags and other materials from them. For my customers, no contracts to sign, flexibility on my part and no pushy selling. Please get in touch for trade prices, Ts and Cs.




By procreations, May 6 2015 03:39PM

The defining feature of this election year has been how ALL the parties have been behaving as if ... they were making a last-ditch attempt to save a failing relationship. You know the thing.


Help. My wife (or husband/partner; substitute what applies to you please) is leaving me. I better start doing what I should have been doing all along. (Or she wouldn't be leaving you, would she?) So, the belated flowers arrive, the belated meal cooking, looking after 'our' children, etc, etc. But, alas, it is way too late. Because the long-suffering wife (husband/partner) has long known what's wrong and tried to tell you but you just didn't listen. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? And now you are doing everything so she (he/they) won't leave. Dumbass.


That's what the politicians appear to be doing. Introducing initiative after initiaive in order to get our votes. Anything to stay in, anything to get in. But, it's too late folks. Because while you clamour to get into number 10, you haven't convinced us why we should vote for you. More like children in a playground, they attempt to rival their rival's offers. With anything. For goodness sake, tax-free sanitary towels, UKIP?


As for that phrase they are all fond of using, 'our' country. Oh please. It doesn't make you sound sincere, just cheesy. You should be working hard for the country - it's what you are being paid to do (and I wonder if this job too shouldn't go the way of all others, you know apply for the job, fulfil the essential criteria, now that would be an interesting list to draw up; candidate must be honest...).


The whole thing has been a farce. No wonder we, the public, have lost interest. There's no actual attempt to engage (in much the same way as in a failing relationship), just lame tries at getting the relationship back on track with no thought given to why it's failed in the first place - fixing the cause and not the symptoms.


Ah, but who am I? I am not the one who has received an expensive, private education. I am a mere voter. And with that one vote, I shall be telling them what I think. Because I can.



By procreations, Apr 29 2015 12:30PM

I have never watched Downton Abbey. There. I've said it. I know it's hugely popular but when something is hugely popular, I generally run in the opposite direction. Not for me, to follow the sheep, you'll all know that by now.


Anywho, now that the fuss has died down somewhat, it's nearing its sixth and final series, I think I will watch it. Oh sorry, didn't you know? You'll have to find another show to watch, that's all.


On the other hand, the idea of a period drama with them upstairs and the serfs down below still doesn't appeal (I am assuming this, never having watched it, so bear with).


When I saw this article - http://www.standard.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-news/downton-abbey-star-allen-leech-says-good-manners-and-eye-contact-are-history-10206340.html - in which actor, Allan Leech, who is in Downton Abbey, bemoans the lack of manners today, I felt differently about the show. Suddenly, I'm desperate to watch it because the show depicts manners galore and he is right about today, and I like that he thinks manners without the serfs would be a good thing.


Because, as you know I like to say my thank yous and send a card whenever the occasion demands it. I've been training mini me to do the same since forever. If someone has taken the time to cook for you and invite you to dinner or bought you a present then, for goodness sake, send them a thank you card. It doesn't cost that much - for the cost of a card and a postage stamp, are you really going just to send a text?


Yes, I'm all for bringing back manners. Saying our thank yous, smiling at people on the street in your neighbourhood - all of these things can only be better for our communities, which are increasingly becoming divided and living in fear in case stepping out of the door means bumping into Mr or Mrs Grouchy. (There's one shop in my neighbourhood I avoid because Mrs Grumpy on the till never says please and thank you, and she simply, erm, scares, me.)


So, if you do one thing this week, send that thank you card, however late - just saying it as you are leaving doesn't cut the mustard. Let's up our expectations and not lower them any more.


And, on that note, thank you all for coming. It was lovely to see you. As the hostess, I don't need to send you a thank you card...




By procreations, Apr 14 2015 01:03PM

According to a news item yesterday, nearly 50% of jobs are going to be lost to technology some time in the future. And so the battle between man and machine continues... alas, it's not just jobs that technology is affecting, it's affecting how we live and spend our spare time - there's no getting away from technology. Not that you need me to tell you this.


Last week, on a short break,, we took with us an array of chargers, I think, six in total. Wires and gizmos galore. Lucky for us, the weather was glorious and we got out every day. But, had it been raining, well, what a different story I'd be telling and it wouldn't be one that I would look back on with fond memories, let me tell you that.


Despite taking some board games and playing cards as well as books to read, I'd wager that ominous box thing (TV) would have been switched on, then the iPad would have had to come out because, the child would inevitably scream what we modern parents dread the most, the cry, 'I'm bored!'.


Be bored, I'd like to say (and I do) and use that time to, well, think up something to stop you from being bored. But peer pressure won't let me do that. I'm being swept along by the mantra, if you don't let him play on x gadget, he will be the WEIRD one in his class.


Resonates with the WEIRD one who didn't have a telly in the days when everyone had a telly. Though, in those days, we ALL sat and watched TV together. There wasn't any of him watching one programme on the telly, her watching something else on the computer and the children being on their iPads or whatever. Yes, it's making me groan too.


My point being that, while technology is a great thing and democratising, if we are not careful, while we are all stuck with our heads in our various gizmos, life is passing by and we need to take control.


Take control and get pleasure from the things that really matter.


Write a card to someone you haven't had time to see (because you are watching yet another box set of series 99 of someone who was murdered and it was only him what popped up at the end of the series out of nowhere that was the murderer; so many murders and so little time).


Send a card just for the sake of it. Trust me, you'll feel good about it.


Connecting with people is what we are here for. It's unnatural to spend all your time with your head stuck in a device.








By procreations, Mar 4 2015 02:21PM

This latest range of cards tells a wee story.


I'm 'Superwoman'. I work, play and rest (sometimes). Always on the go. I love you, I tell my man, he doesn't know about the bit in brackets (terms and conditions apply). Like, I'll love you more when you make a commitment to me.


It's commitment o'clock, I demand one day. He hasn't got a clue, bless him, so we think we are committed to each other (whatever that means). Out pops the champers, 'It's champagne o'clock'.


Then it's 'Gin o'clock', after work, and 'Wine o'clock', after work, with the girlfriends. Talk talk talk. Turns to men, relationships, marriage, divorces, divorce mentors (I know and I say, what the ?)... and so a seed of doubt has been sown in my mind.


Me and the man are having afternoon cake in a posh hotel (courtesey of those cheap deals we all love so much) and I'm looking at him, thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life with you, you, who can't cook, won't cook? Am I ready for commitment?


That evening, home alone, I eat my way through much chocolate (It's choc o'clock) while pondering what to tell him. I can't go through with it, you see, I like 'Me o'clock' too much at this present moment in my life. Superwoman that I am, I will tell him tomorrow. Or I could just send a card. Now, where can I buy a 'It's goodbye o'clock' card?

By procreations, Nov 26 2014 01:54PM

I'll bet those amongst you with young children are in a panic about which Christmas presents to buy. What to buy the children? Here's my list of things I'd buy again and again:


An artist's pack (paints, etc)

A pack of playing cards

Art books

Boggle

Books

Labyrinth

Lego bricks (not predesigned stuff)

Monopoly

Pens

Scrabble (a favourite)


Old fashioned it may all sound but, trust me, I'm a designer and I've got my finger on the pulse. Ha ha. Let me know what you'll be buying your children - I might just steal your ideas.


Meanwhile, counting down to Christmas day and getting cards ready to post. I think I'll send my friends, family and others (influential types?) my little penguin with his Christmas sweater this year. He is adorable.


By procreations, Oct 31 2014 11:13AM

As we all struggle with the demands that technology places on us, especially social media, we often react to things and don't necessarily manage our time well. Does this leave you feeling bad or good? Dissatisfied?


All social media platforms are available to us 24/7. Hence, you are permanently connected to family and friends, and work.


Permanent connection to family and friends might be a great thing, you'd think but actually, fewer and fewer people meet up face-to-face. In my huge, extended family, we seem only to meet at wedding and funerals. And yet, we are all independently complaining about how little we see of each other. We only know what someone is up to, we don't really know about it from them, it's what we see glossed over on Facebook. The beautiful pictures and the high life. Never mind a hearty laugh together and a little teasing, and scads of children running around.


As for work, no-one, it seems switches off totally. We've all got access to our work emails and can't resist taking a peek and answering a few, even on our days off. And for what? To go out shopping and buy the things we don't really need.


My reason for mentioning all this? Well, do you really feel good being on call 24/7?


And what else are you missing as a result? This week I heard about a new species of frog - discovered in New York. That is some miracle as no-one stops to enjoy nature much these days, as the lead scientist commented. We are all on our computers than really experiencing life. (This link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/29792309 tells you about the frog.)


This week I send some cards and wrote a long letter to a friend, and it felt really good - and I hope that when the cards and letter are received, they'll make my friend smile.


So, if social media has taken over your life and you're not really connected to your friends and family, do something to make you - and someone else - feel good. Today. Send a card.



By procreations, Oct 17 2014 09:38AM

I sense a change in the air. Lately, many folks are beginning to realise that, while technology - the world wide web, etc - offers much, it's also true that it is taking us away from really living life. Having real friends, going out properly, playing sports... Of course, you can do all this from the comfort of your living room, but who wants that when you can be out and about enjoying the seasons, whatever they bring, and meeting up with friends, doing things together - and that doesn't mean checking your phone for texts every five seconds when you are with your friends. It means talking. Actually talking, face-to-face.


Which brings me to another tradition that seems to have gotten lost in the woolly, distracted thinking of new-age technology. Sending cards. Sending Christmas cards. I have come up with a few new designs this year - hope you like them.


Even if you are attached your (perfect) technological avatar, do one thing this year. Send a card to your friends and family. You'll feel good that you've made an effort and I'll eat my hat if you don't get positive responses to having sent an actual, real Christmas card.


If you don't like my designs (weep, weep), buy some other cards but buy them and send them in the good old-fashioned way. By snail mail. By post.


Write them out (yes, I know that will also seem alien if all you've done for the past ten years is tap, tap, tap on your fabulous phone) and pop your envelopes (with stamps) in that red pillar box. Please.

By procreations, Mar 25 2014 02:36PM

Radio 4 today talking about supermarket shopping. Here's a blog I posted back in 2011. Finger on pulse, me...


By procreations October 19, 2011 9:10:00 PM UTC


Loyalty cards have got me thinking. You are at the checkout, frantically trying to pack your shopping away and then you hear the phrase, 'Have you got a loyalty card?'. While people in the queue start shifting impatiently, you fumble about in your wallet to find the wretched thing. Your wallet's bulging, by the way, not with cash, but with all the other loyalty cards that have been foisted on you with the promise that you'll finally be able to have a really posh holiday in some swanky hotel for your loyalty. Finally, you find the right one and hand it over. It occurs to you to ask how much you've accumulated on it. Only to discover that it's a trifling amount, despite all the times you've shopped at that particular shoppe. So much for loyalty.


Not so long ago, loyalty was something you ascribed to your lifelong friends and family or even monarch, in the days when monarchs were influential. Remember the phrase, 'loyal to the end'? When was the last time you heard that?


The thing about the old-fashioned kind of loyalty was that you didn't expect anything in return. It was just something you did because of friendship or kinship. Nor, I don't think, did the person you bestowed your loyalty upon. And it must have made you glow all over - to feel loyal and to have such devotion, such loyalty, no matter what. Imagine that in these fickle times.


Now the word loyalty has been commandeered for 'retailship'. Go on, be loyal, we'll reward you with points, double points, multiple points, mega points, bonus points, points for shopping on a Sunday (a topic I shall return to at a later date), points for taking your sugar daddy along. Ha ha. Good grief, can't get away from the sodding things. It's yet another gimmick dreamed up to get us to spend more.


Whereas the rewards of true loyalty are spiritual, strengthening your ties with people you love and care for, what does loyalty to a brand, to a buying experience get you? It gets you a cheap (or expensive, depending on how much you spend) thrill. A thrill that will last maybe the day, if you are lucky. And you were only loyal because you thought you'd be rewarded, in effect, get a backhander.


Once again, falling for the marketman's idea of (shopping) heaven. Seek (yourself) and you will be truly rewarded. Find something you really like, and go back to that same thing again and again, because of its worth to you. Because you're worth it, to coin a well-known phrase. Not because someone else has said so. Because you yourself have felt the excitement and experienced the quality of something truly wonderful.


When you find that thing and you become a loyal follower or supporter, you know you are doing it because it works for you and your values. Then you will be rewarded for your loyalty by the pleasure you get from your find. Like the little independent coffee place where you get to know the staff and the staff get to know you. Or your local independent bookshop whose owner can help you make sense of the huge choice of books, help you hone your literary tastes. If such places offer a loyalty card, I'd take one willingly because it would be my find, my choice. In the process, I'd be building a meaningful relationship as a patron of something I truly appreciated.


And moi? I plan on being loyal to the end - to the causes I care about. As for the loyalty cards that I never sought out myself, it's time I cut them in half. Swanky hotel can take a hike.


By procreations, Jan 5 2014 09:25PM

Bear with, bear with, if you are feeling a little tender after the Christmas festivities, but I really must share some observations with you:


1. We now have a couple of American stamps for Wonder Boy to collect, in other words, we received two cards from America. Woo hoo!

2. The rest were from the UK. Well done, anyone who made the effort to buy a card, write in it and mail it - the old-fashioned way.

3. Wonder Boy must have received the most cards, from school friends. State schools are keeping some traditions alive, never mind the 3Rs.

4.The card that made me hoot with laughter was the one in which baby Jesus had a dummy in his mouth! Deliberate or a 'meestake'...either way, it made me smile.

5. Three of the cards were handmade.

6. One card was made by an adult, two by children - all the more special.

7. The best design was on a card for a charity.

8. Erm, charities don't always get the money you pay for the card, it's often a shockingly small amount.

9. No round robins!

10. Lived by the motto, friends are for life, not just Christmas so all my friends got a card. Love you all (terms and conditions apply, ho ho ho). Sorry if I missed you off...


Till next Christmas. Brimming with ideas...


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