Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Brand spankers from Uncooked

Spanking new designs from our lovely friends at Uncooked Cards in New York.

i'm willing to pretend we're not getting older and fatter if you are.

  happy however old you're telling people you are today.

i'm really glad your parents had sexual intercourse and made you with their private sections.

let's celebrate everything about you today. well, except for maybe those feet.

wishing you so many birthday wishes you'll wish i never wished you any wishes in the first place.

all i want at the end of every day is you. and maybe a few other things.

there's nobody i'd rather be with than you. or who knows, maybe there is and i just haven't met them yet.

Available now: Uncooked Cards

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Femen is on French stamp

"Femen is on French stamp. Now all homophobes, extremists, fascists will have to lick my ass when they want to send a letter."


"THE new face of France - or at least the official postage stamp for the President Francois Hollande era - is modelled after a Ukrainian woman who takes her top off to defend feminist causes.

Not everyone thinks that's appropriate, and some are calling for a boycott.
Mr Hollande on Sunday unveiled the new stamp, meant to represent Marianne, a symbol of France since the revolution and French youth. Afterward, artist Olivier Ciappa said the image was modeled largely after Inna Shevchenko, an activist with the group Femen who received political asylum in France.
Mr Hollande's office would not comment on whether the president, a Socialist who has pushed for more women's rights, knew about the Femen inspiration.
An official in Mr Hollande's presidential palace said the image was chosen by a panel of young people from a selection of sketches. The official was not authorised to be publicly named according to presidential policy.
Ciappa described his choice as an homage to the idea of Marianne, who is meant to symbolise liberty and reason and is sometimes depicted topless.
"Marianne, the symbol of France, was a revolutionary woman. When you look at the Delacroix paintings a few centuries ago, she was bare-breasted," he told The Associated Press. "She was fighting for equality, and she was fighting for friendship, which are the values of France. And all of them they are the values of Femen. In a way, Marianne was the first Femen."
Ms Shevchenko herself expressed pride in being "the new icon of the modern interpretation of Marianne."
"I am definitely proud that France is still following the tradition of representing, of showing its national symbol as a woman that is fighting," she told the AP, adding that she was particularly honoured that the woman on the stamp has a garland of flowers in her hair, as Femen activists often wear.
The small, conservative Christian Democrat Party is calling for a boycott of the stamp. On their website and on Twitter, the party said the postal service should withdraw the stamp, saying it "insults the dignity of women, the sovereignty of France."
Femen activists frequently stage protests in France, often with slogans scrawled across their bare breasts.
The group causes controversy, not only by demonstrating topless but also because it is increasingly seen as seeking attention more than fighting for freedoms. Its protests are usually quite small and organised carefully to attract police and journalists.
Femen's demonstrations, which began in Ukraine five years ago focusing on women's rights, have spread across several countries now and its message has become increasingly diffuse.
Its targets have included Russian President Vladimir Putin, the pope, the Islamist government in Tunisia, capitalist bosses at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, gay marriage critics in France, and abusive husbands in Turkey.
In Ukraine, some have grown disillusioned with the group, particularly after its activists shocked many by cutting down a massive Orthodox cross in Kiev last year to protest the conviction of members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot."
Source: The Australian News 
Video:   FranceTV

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Museums & Galleries in administration

More bad news for the UK greeting card industry... We sourced our Classic Cards from Museums and Galleries.

By Eleanor Ward.

"An upmarket greetings cards company has entered administration following around 30 years of successful business.

Based in Frome, Museums & Galleries Marketing designed, published and distributed cards, as well as giftware and stationary for various major museums, galleries and high street outlets.

Nigel Morrison of Grant Thornton has been appointed to handle the administration, which was brought about partly by the big hit the firm took following last year's failure of one of its main customers, high street retailer Clintons Cards. A drop in orders from charities has also squeezed profit margins.

Mr Morrison commented: "The company implemented a turnaround plan which involved a series of cost reduction measures but which was also dependent on a recovery in sales. Further funding was provided by the company’s shareholders.

"Unfortunately the market did not operate in the company’s favour and sales did not recover as expected, which was partly due to reductions in order levels from certain charities which were dealing with the effect of reductions in their own income. Sales then declined significantly in May 2013, leading to unsustainable cash flow pressures"

Administrators are reportedly in discussions with a number of parties regarding the sale of the business out of administration.

The firm was founded in 1981 by Caroline Humby Teck in a basement in London. At first the business offered mail order and product development facilities to the cultural sector, with a focus on galleries and museums which were yet to realise the commercial potential in their collections.

Branches were later opened in Paris and New York and Museums & Galleries Marketing counted the Louvre, the Uffizi, London's National Gallery and the National Gallery of Art in Washington among its customers."

Source: Business Report

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Delivering mail in Kabul, where streets have no name

by Mushtaq Mojaddidi.

 In Kabul, many streets have no name and houses often have no number, meaning that postmen already braving the constant threat of suicide bombings must play detective to deliver mail.
Mohammad Rahim makes his rounds on the tattered, hilly streets of the Afghan capital riding an old bicycle. After 10 years on the job he is undaunted by even the vaguest addresses on letters.
"Here we have a letter for a man who lives near Doctor Hashmat's house," Rahim, 46, says. "I don't know the address, so let's see, how can we find the right place?"
His only clues are the addressee Mohammad Naeem, the doctor's name and instructions on the back of the envelope saying "Kart-e-Sakhi hilltop, behind the agricultural ministry".
Wearing a black fur hat, blue jeans and a violet T-shirt, he cuts a familiar figure and is often recognised by Kabul residents. He sets off from the neighbourhood post office to start asking people for help.
"Brother, can you tell me -- where is Doctor Hashmat's house?" Rahim shouts at a shopkeeper.
"Go up the hill, and turn right," comes the reply, so Rahim sets off up the rocky road.
Further on, another man tells him: "Turn right and it is the third house on the left."
After waiting outside the gate, a woman in her 40s comes out: Mohammad Naeem's wife, who takes the letter for her husband.
"We have received letters from the US, Canada, Germany and Pakistan, and the postman always brings them safely and on time," she says.

Rahim delivers dozens of letters every day across west and southwest Kabul, a city reduced almost to ruins in the brutal 1992-96 civil war.
The Kabul population has boomed to five million as people have flooded in seeking employment and an escape from the fight against the Taliban, but much of the recent expansion is illegal, with many houses and shacks built on contested land or without planning permission.
But the days of confusion over addresses could soon be over, as last month the communications ministry signed an agreement with the city authorities to create a comprehensive new address system.
All streets and houses will be coded, numbered and mapped in a two-year project that the government hopes to expand to other cities.
The scheme -- which will use global positioning system (GPS) surveying -- should help Rahim, and fellow postmen such as Khan Agha, 42, who works in a post office in the central Shar-e-Naw district.
For now Agha, who first started delivering mail 22 years ago, says the chaotic street mapping makes it "the most difficult job in the world".
"We don't care about traffic, summer or winter, smog or rain but there are many vague addresses, though a telephone number on the back of the envelope can help," he says.
"We ring them up and they say 'I'm standing here' so we go and hand over the letter.
"I do my best to treat people well. We see on television that postmen are admired in foreign society, because we connect the sender and receiver."
 The job is even more challenging for Agha, who lost his right eye when he was serving as a soldier more than 20 years ago, another victim of the fighting that has battered Afghanistan for decades.
"One day in the fighting, I was shot with a bullet in the back of my head and the bullet came out of my right eye socket."
Admitting that the injury continues to trouble him, Agha scrabbles through a huge pile of mail on the post office floor, looking for what needed to be delivered to his area.
"We are going to take a letter to a Mrs Barbara in Sherpoor sent in from Germany," he says.
As so often, the letter has only the district name without any house or street number.
After a search lasting nearly two hours and asking 12 different people, including the local baker, he finally finds the small lane where the intended recipient works in a health centre.
Such hard work is not well-rewarded in Afghanistan, which has 900 postmen nationwide with 100 in Kabul.
Agha earns just 5,000 Afghanis ($90) a month. Barely enough, he says, to feed his family of eight.
But he is hopeful that soon most streets and houses in Kabul will have a proper name and number.
"This is a good move by ministry to create a new postal system," he says. "With the completion of this project, we could do our job more easily."

Source: The Straits Times

Monday, 15 July 2013

Harrogate - Home & Gift - 2013

We've really enjoyed bringing Euro greeting card love to Cool Cards of late what with our German Inkognito cards and French Nouvelle Images cards but we've been looking for some home grown love at the Home and Gift show in Harrogate and we struck gold...

In at number 1.  
The Feel Better / Get Well Humanist Greeting Card Award goes to: Amy Thorpe of Ryland Design Studios for the most appropriate and sensitive sample card. Why appropriate? Because of my arm being in a sling as a result of a broken collarbone. 
Amy's beautiful cards are made in the UK from recycled board and use recycled envelopes.


Thank you Amy :) x

In at number 2.
We hoped to find something new and fresh and standout cool and we did just that when we spotted My World who won our Geek Chic Award with their For Science! range.


The above card is called "Oxytocin".

My World also stood out from the crowd for their Good Sport range which ticked a lot of boxes for that most difficult creature to buy cards for... Man.

In at number 3.
Next, we went looking to beef up Cool Cards and remind ourselves why our strapline is: "The Art of Greeting Cards". The clear winner of the Art Card Award went to Col Cards. We can honestly say that Col Cards produce the most beautifully finished fine art cards we have ever seen. Bar none. 
There's no way the images can ever do justice to the detail, embossing and foil finish of these cards which are printed and finished in their premises in Malvern.

In at number 4.
The hands down winner of Cool and Quirky Award went to the ever wonderful Simon Drew. We've had cards from Simon before but we were delighted to see so many brilliantly punny new designs. We did want to meet and say hello to Simon at the show, but he was busy... listening to the cricket on the radio. Bless.

In at number 5.
The Funny Card Award went to Redback cards for both their Cyanide & Happiness range and their Wulffmorgenthaler range. Again, we've stocked these laugh-out-loud cards in the past and look forward to adding some of their great new designs to Cool Cards.

So. Thank you Harrogate. A successful haul of fantastic new cards which will soon be available from Cool Cards..! Check us out on Facebook to be sure of being the first to know when we have them online..!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Inkognito Cards

We're very happy with our latest additions from Germany. Inkognito cards, which feature a beautiful, deep glossy finish and so true to our strapline: The Art of Greeting Cards. Amelie fans will most likely recognise some of the work by Michael Sowa...



Inkognito Cards - Cool Cards