Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Magnet Carta: My irresistible attraction to photo magnets

I’ve heard, third- or fourth-hand, so it should be reliable, that a typical magnet will stay on a person’s refrigerator about seven years. About the same as indentured servitude. Of course, there’s no rule that the magnets have to vacate their post after those seven years are up; some of them hang on for much longer. The other day, I found a football calendar from 1997 posted on my fridge. It was right next to the cut-out, magnetically framed snapshot of a guy a dated nine years ago. Yikes. Time to do some fridge cleaning, and I’m not just talking about the inside. (Please, let’s not talk about the inside.)

For the thousandth time I make a mental note to cull through the old magnets, as I simultaneously forget all about them, opening the refrigerator door in pursuit of better things, like snacks.

One day, I think, maybe the magnets will just take over the fridge – like eminent domain. I mean, with the magnetude on there right now, there’s not a lot of real estate left. But the cool thing is, apart from the football schedules and insurance agents’ calendars, most of my magnets are things I’d really like to keep. Inside some of those (slightly cheesy) die-cut magnetic frames, I’ve got photos of my mom, my son’s Cub Scout troop, and our first pet. I’ve got souvenir magnets from places we’ve traveled – Detroit, Alaska, Liverpool – and the Easter photo frame my son made out of popsicle sticks in the second grade.

Rather than cluttered, I like to think of myself. . . as a Magnet Magnate. We run the gamut of magnets at my house, so I think I deserve the title. Plus, working for, it’s now part of my business – creating magnetic photo cards.

It’s fair to say, my magnets have gotten much better since I signed on with Crinkled. While all are decorative, my magnets have also turned toward the pragmatic, or – what I like to call – the pragmagnet. Baby shower invitations and wedding save-the-dates are much easier to keep up with when they’re slapped on front of a door you open 12-15 times a day. They’re also very classy this way, always with a pretty photo or cool graphic that makes me want to look at them. Just how long I’ll keep them up past the date remains to be seen. Ask me in another decade.

Old magnets never die. They just come to stay. But with all the great magnetic photo cards I’ve got up on my fridge these days, I think it’s just magnetficent.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Driving creativity to paper – and to the mailboxes of those you love

We created CrinkledNose with the desire to drive creative thinking to paper. These days, as electronic communication has become the norm, there’s a lot less printed material than there used to be. But come Christmas time, the greeting card still reigns. While I no longer take the daily paper, I do still enjoy receiving a holiday card from a friend.

Most of the time, though, my mailbox just contains reminders of all the things I can buy at discounted prices, or bills I’ve incurred and must return promptly with my payment.

Keeping up on Facebook is fun, and it’s an easy way to connect with the kids, family and old friends, and opens a clean channel for community. Still, it requires nominal investment to comment, or “Likes” for this or that, and often tugs us to remember birthdays of friends we otherwise might not know. Makes me wonder, what does it really mean if we send automatic “Happy Birthday” wishes, without actually acknowledging the person directly? Or send out birthday party invitations en masse, with no more thought than which friends' boxes to click on for the invite? I mean, it's "community" that's easy to manage, but is it held together by caring, or convenience?

I pine for the card in the mail, because it takes time and investment from someone you hold dear. When you receive a card from someone, you know they were thinking of you, and made a point to let you know it – an investment beyond whim or passing electronic blip. I like that… actually, I love that. takes advantage of the ease of technology, while providing a thoughtful, simple means of sending greetings that are indeed extra special. Our custom photo cards aren’t just special because they’re printed on paper and come in the mail – they’re special because, with your photo and message you create, they capture your own personal touch.

By design, these personalized art forms should find their way to the mailboxes of family friends or relatives after a small bit of effort. They’re definitely worth the time to send, and magnetic photo cards make great keepsakes for folks you don’t get to see often. This is why I’m proud of what we have thoughtfully made for you consideration. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Designing Woman: All Grown Up in a Purple Cubicle

Sitting here toward the end of my third week at, I’m settling into a new phase of life. I’ve graduated from college, gotten a new job in my field (hooray!) and am hereby dubbed “grown up.” I can't help but sit and wonder, “How did this happen?”

Wasn’t it only yesterday, when (instead of paying attention) I was doodling in high school chemistry and worrying about the new bell schedule? If only my poor teacher could see me now, actually putting those doodling skills to good use, designing photo cards and invitations. I hope it would fulfill her somehow.

The one thing I’ll miss most about school days is summer vacation, and the joy of sleeping in, every day of the week. Now and forevermore my alarm clock will be set for 6:00 a.m., Monday through Friday – no sleep mode allowed! And instead of hitting the beach and enjoying the sun, sand, and ocean breeze, I’ll spend my August sitting in a purple cubicle, making photo Christmas cards. The first day of school is now a mere traffic annoyance, and my bedtime is (nearly) as early as a senior citizen’s.

However, I must say this new routine does have its charms. Being paid for your work, for example, is one nice perk. The lack of “homework” (so far) has also been a nice change. The photo birthday card I started working on yesterday will be there, patiently waiting for me to finish (and for someone to buy!) tomorrow. Another plus is that, unlike my college design projects, the photo announcements and photo birthday invitations I design today will be out there in the real world in real time, and might even find their way to people’s refrigerators or photo albums the very same week. What a thought! Someone will see – and purchase – my work?! Wow.

This new territory called “adulthood” is a balancing act that takes place around “clocking in” and “clocking out.” Clocking in means responsibility, channeled creativity, and photo cards. Clocking out means rest, relationships, and youthful spontaneity (at least for now). I’ve got my balance; let’s do this!

And when I miss the ocean, I’ll design a beach-themed party invitation instead of breaking out the sunblock.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Great Lakes Road Trip: Lovin’ Every Minute of It!

For nine years in a row now, my son and I have been taking grand vacations. Maybe not grand by everyone’s standards, but pretty large by ours. It’s vacation, and I love every minute of it. And anyway there’s no shame in staying at a Bestway Motor Inn.

We just have two rules when we travel: we have to go somewhere we’ve never been before, and do something we’ve never done before. For our destination this year we chose that beloved tourist metropolis sought out by vacationers around the world: Detroit.

Yes, Motor City is gritty, but it’s got great benefits. It’s the automobile capital of the world, and most of my favorite vintage cars were built there. It sits right between Canada and the Jiffy Mix Factory, and is home to a magical place called Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. This year it also provided us with the thing we’d never done before – taking a spin in a Model T.

Best of all, Detroit’s got Motown. Upstairs we saw Michael Jackson’s glove and the Marvin Gaye Memorial Tribute, before descending a few short steps into Studio A, the basement room where Motown’s biggest hits were recorded. Our group took parts singing “My Girl” in quite imperfect harmony. It was beautiful.

Blasting from the stereo of our rented 2011 Impala, “Detroit Rock City” became our theme song for this city with a rocky past and equally uncertain future. But our time there was up. Like a billion cars before us, we rolled out of Detroit, leaving its ragged urban backdrop for the clean, unassuming terrain of Ontario.

You can say this for Canada: it’s big. Like America, it’s got some Great Lakes. It’s got something else too, a relic of a journey that began in the U.S. and ended in Dresden, Ontario: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which I didn’t realize belonged in Canada until we made this trip. We got there just as they were closing, but that was okay; the same thing happened a few years ago when we went to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house, which made it apropos. (I’m a copywriter, so I have to use words like 'apropos.') We still got to walk around the place, though, and I could see how the story of this slave refuge would inspire telling. I dig some real material for writing about – it always seems better than stuff I make up.

The pinnacle of our trip was our stop in London, Ontario, for a rock-n-roll festival on what would be their hottest day in history. Ah, but it was worth it. My son and I stood for hours in the baking heat to watch Loverboy, soaking in the spray of the water hoses and the sweat of Mike Reno.

Coming home from our adventures, I’m a renewed woman. I’ve brought home renewed faith in parenting, the power of communicating with a teenage son, and some new, real-material inspiration for writing about. I’m genuinely looking forward to the coming months.
School starts next week; soon fall will be in the air, and the holidays right around the corner.

I’m particularly excited about the magnetic Christmas photo cards I’ll be sending out this year. That’s right! Check it out I think with this card will really flick the switch into overdrive.