Each month on the blog, we’re featuring a Card Gnome artist to share a little history, a little background, and a lot of inspiration!

First up, we’re pleased to introduce Kelly Richardson, the photographer and artist behind LuvKelly. Kelly volunteers for non-profit, no-kill rescue groups to help save abandoned, surrendered and homeless animals. Welcome, Kelly!

LuvKelly

 

Kelly, tell us a little bit about yourself. What got you interested in photography and card-making?

My interest in photography has deep roots that go back in time. My grandfather was a family portrait photographer, back in the 50s and 60s when there was just black and white film. My grandmother worked side by side with him. She painted in the skin tones and finishing touches on the photos with beautiful colors in oil paints. I have a painted portrait of myself as a child that my grandparents created—I wish I could remember that day to be able to see him photograph me and my grandmother painting the photo. I admire their work greatly. Though my grandfather went on to pursue a career as an engineer, he always kept a camera nearby and encouraged me to do the same. He taught me a lot about old-school photography and how to capture light. I am proud to carry on the legacy.

As for card-making, my interest has been a natural progression. This is how it came about...

It was summertime, which is a great opportunity to volunteer time in our community. Being huge animal lovers, my kids and I chose to help animals in need. The children were too young to volunteer at the larger rescue organizations, so we considered the idea of fostering rescue animals in our home, specifically kittens—an animal my daughter has adored since she was a baby. One phone call was all it took to get us hooked. When we heard, "a litter of two kittens, four-weeks-old,  in the county shelter, with 24 hours to be picked up or they would be euthanized, are we interested?" There was no going back. I didn't realize that most baby kittens taken to county shelters don't get a chance at life; it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was like an awakening—I suddenly had a cause with a mission to educate communities about responsible pet ownership and raise awareness to save abandoned, surrendered and “death row” cats and kittens and all other animals in need of rescue.

Card-making has helped me promote my cause all over the world, and I created LuvKelly Greetings. The kitten images used for the greeting cards are actual rescued foster kittens that were saved from death row and given a chance at life. Most of the kittens my family and I fostered ourselves. 

LuvKelly is symbolic for the hearts of the rescue animals that are saved, loved, cared for, vetted and re-homed by rescue groups and volunteers who care. LuvKelly rescue pet images bring sentiments of peace, care and love.

 

Do you have an online portfolio or blog where we can view your work?

Yes! Please take a look at my website. I have a weekly blog with posts of my newest images, photography and Photoshop tutorials, and other fun trivia and facts about animals. There is a page dedicated to LuvKelly Kittens with details on how people in the community can help sponsor and support their local rescue organizations. There is a place to subscribe if you would like to be notified of latest blog posts and images with bi-monthly emails.

 

Do you have a favorite photographer or artist? If yes, what draws you to that person's work?

My favorite photographer is Anne Geddes. I was especially drawn to her photography when I had my first child in 1999. I decorated my baby nursery with her framed prints. I admire her style of photography showing babies and infants dressed up like teddy bears, flowers, in flower pots, on lily pads and more. Her images are very creative, so beautiful and pleasing to the eye.

 

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work?

This year I am promoting and blogging about “2015 LuvKelly Kittens Recycle – a monthly Photo Shoot Tutorial Series.” Each month I am hosting a photo shoot with rescue kittens and recycled materials that can be found around the house. We are going green in an effort to raise community awareness for the environment and cats/kittens in need of rescue.

These monthly photo shoots are inspired by the time of year, and recycled items that we find around the house to use.

For example, in January our recycled theme was Burlap and Boxes, February was For the Love of Lace, March was (Easter) Baskets and Bird Nests, April was Don't Put those Winter Clothes Away Yet (snow hats), May was Pocket full of Love (Jeans), June was June Weddings and July was Summertime at the Seashore. We are having a lot of fun with it.

Otherwise, I gather a lot of inspiration for my photo shoots by going shopping. I look at art on greeting cards that are in the marketplace. I also go to home décor stores and look for interesting props that can be used in my images with the rescues.

 

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating your cards?

The hardest step in creating my cards is writing text for the image. Sometimes I like to leave them blank and allow the photo to express the sentiment. 

Thank you for sharing your story and inspiration, Kelly! For more of Kelly’s work, please visit her artist store on CardGnome.com.

In this big ol’ modern world, we like to find a reason to celebrate just about anything and everything, and a smile-worthy celebration trend that’s on the rise is Friend-a-Versaries.

In romantic relationships, it’s normal to celebrate the regular (and not-so-regular) milestones. We give cards, buy flowers, go out to fancy-schmancy candlelit dinners—even with partners we've only known for a year or two.

But what about your friendships? These platonic, long-standing relationships may be the longest relationships you’ll ever have, sometimes long after a romance (or even a marriage) fizzles. And often, we just let the years of friendship pass us by.

You most likely remember how you met your bud, when you first hung out, and how you became closer—so why not celebrate the milestones of your friendship? It’s a great way to show your gratitude for the nearest and dearest people in your life. Here, we’ve collected a few ideas on how to celebrate your Friend-a-Versary:

Cook a Signature Friendship Dish Together: You may have shared your first meal over Korean BBQ, or you both have a love for the delightful Giada DeLaurentiis. Whatever culinary bond you have, celebrate it by making a meal together that honors your shared foodie interests.

A Friend-a-Versary Getaway: With the Friend-a-Versary trend growing, there’s been an increase in vacation get-a-ways, from friendship cruises to the Cayman Islands to quick trips to Las Vegas. Want to keep things closer to home? Take a day trip to your favorite hiking spot, or plan a fun picnic in the park.

Long-Distance Friends? Send them a Card! Not all longtime friends live within the same zip code, let alone the same time zone. Send your pal a nod to your friendly affection for each other with a Card Gnome card! We have dozens of friendship-themed cards to choose from, all of which you can personalize with your own message.

From jet-setting getaways to boozy toasts, sentimental cards and beyond, celebrating your friendships is a great way to acknowledge some of the most important—and long-standing!— relationships in your life.

The word “spring” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

It’s the season where everything turns green again and the season where we get to leave our coats at home and jump on our bikes to go visit friends.

I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of creative inspiration from springtime-- it’s such a time of renewal.  While nature is busy renewing life, I like to spend the season by renewing my relationships with the people I like most.

I’ve got plenty of people to say hi to. I’ve got aunts and uncles I haven’t had a chance to talk to since the holidays. My cousin just had a baby, and a friend of mine opened a new business out of state.

Sure, I always send an email, but it’s much more fun to send a brightly-colored card-- perhaps something to match the colors of spring?

Call me sappy, but a card from my favorite people adds a breath of fresh air to my mailbox, and it’s a reminder to my friends and family that even when life gets hectic, I still have a minute to send them a friendly hello.

Join me in taking a second to reconnect with your family and friends by dropping them some snail mail!  You can even sign up for Card Gnome’s card plans, which gives you the power to send a bunch of cards throughout the year while saving a few bucks along the way. It also cuts out the hassle of breaking out your credit card every time you send a new card-- just pay once and have fun picking out the cards that fit best for your friends and family.us

Oh, the ubiquitous happy birthday card. You probably send a bunch of them every year -- or at least more than you’d send for something like Administrative Professionals day.

I sometimes have to pause when thinking of the most creative way to write birthday greetings. After all, it can get boring to write the same “Have a great birthday” message over and over.
Here are some tricks I’ve used  for making each birthday message a just-for-them memory.

  1. Find out who shares a birthday with your loved one. Is it Dr. Seuss? Madonna? Genghis Khan? Inside the card, include a few fun facts about that person. Maybe your loved one shares a few traits with their celebrity birthday buddy!
  2. Got writer’s block? Great poets, comedians and musicians might have already done the work for you. Jot down a funny birthday quote from someone like Jerry Seinfeld, who once said:

“You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, “see if you can blow this out.”

  1. Get a little vintage. If you’ve known the birthday boy or girl for many years, think back to a long-ago birthday and share  some memories from that past celebration. As a kid, did your pal tend to get sunburned at a water park? Or maybe spend the day at the batting cages? Extra points if you can scrounge up an old photo, too.
  2. What has your friend or family member done for you on your birthday? Be sure to tell them how much you appreciated the surprise flowers, the free lunch or the cheery birthday card from last year. Include a  message like, “You’ve always made me feel special on my birthday. I hope you feel just as special on yours.”

Oh, the ubiquitous happy birthday card. You probably send a bunch of them every year -- or at least more than you’d send for something like Administrative Professionals day.

I sometimes have to pause when thinking of the most creative way to write birthday greetings. After all, it can get boring to write the same “Have a great birthday” message over and over.
Here are some tricks I’ve used  for making each birthday message a just-for-them memory.

  1. Find out who shares a birthday with your loved one. Is it Dr. Seuss? Madonna? Genghis Khan? Inside the card, include a few fun facts about that person. Maybe your loved one shares a few traits with their celebrity birthday buddy!
  2. Got writer’s block? Great poets, comedians and musicians might have already done the work for you. Jot down a funny birthday quote from someone like Jerry Seinfeld, who once said:

“You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, “see if you can blow this out.”

  1. Get a little vintage. If you’ve known the birthday boy or girl for many years, think back to a long-ago birthday and share  some memories from that past celebration. As a kid, did your pal tend to get sunburned at a water park? Or maybe spend the day at the batting cages? Extra points if you can scrounge up an old photo, too.
  2. What has your friend or family member done for you on your birthday? Be sure to tell them how much you appreciated the surprise flowers, the free lunch or the cheery birthday card from last year. Include a  message like, “You’ve always made me feel special on my birthday. I hope you feel just as special on yours.”

Archive

View more...