By Sandra Dempsey Post
Hallmark Cards are known for their advertising slogan, “When you care enough to send the very best,” which was introduced in 1944. Ed Goodman, a Hallmark sales and marketing executive jotted down his thoughts, explaining what Hallmark stood for—”caring, quality, the best.” It’s a slogan that lives on and has served the company very well. After talking with talented women who enjoy making their own greeting cards, it’s obvious these women not only care enough to send the very best, they also care enough to make their very best. The handcrafted cards are sent to family and friends, and sometimes donated to charitable causes and fundraisers, with fond wishes enclosed. It’s a labor of love for the artist, you might say, and a warm and endearing gift sent to the recipient. In our fast-paced world, it’s delightful to receive something “homemade” by someone who invests time, talents, and resources into the project.
Bartonville resident, Shirley Dornberger, 67, talks enthusiastically about making cards, something she started doing in 2017. Health issues made it necessary for her to retire from a much-enjoyed job and she was looking for other interests. With 35 years’ experience in cake baking and decorating including cakes with multi tiers, accompanying fountains, and other lovely decorations, she has a flair for the creative. “I want to make cards,” she says with conviction. “It’s rewarding to see what you can make.” She has catalogs that feature many ideas and options for the novice and the accomplished artist. An upstairs room in her home is devoted to card supplies and all the various items that are part of the card making and decorating process.
“I love letters and notes,” Shirley says enthusiastically. “I’ve always been a ‘paper person.’ I want to make people as happy as I am when I get a piece of mail. I spend time every day in this room and I like designing creations. And people’s gratitude for a card I’ve made and sent to them makes me feel very happy. The work is so much fun and I really enjoy it.” Not only does she like making cards, Shirley also enjoys scrapbooking and making crafts and finding just the right items that will give her handmade creations that personal appeal. Sometimes it’s the right sticker, a friend’s favorite color, a seasonal design, or other details that she enjoys sharing with others. In addition to the cards she makes to give away, Shirley also sells her cards. People can come to her home to see her inventory, and they are available at District Salon & Gallery at 117 W. Jackson in Morton, where her younger daughter Bethany works. Shirley and her husband Ray recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary and they have two daughters, Bethany and Carrie and two granddaughters.
Pam Look, 73, has been making cards for 10 years. She also does scrapbooking and explains the group meets in Morton twice a month. “It’s also a social thing,” she says adding that the meetings are casual and friendly. As with many groups and organizations, meetings were suspended because of COVID, and are now starting back. Pam has a friend who has been making cards for 20 years or more. Camaraderie is part of the enjoyment when the group gathers. Sometimes, groups of women may be working on projects for fundraisers or for Bazaars. Pam says, “It was friendship and awareness that helped me get started on the card making. I feel sending ‘happy mail’ helps me become a better person and gives me new appreciation for other people.” And those people have expressed to her their pleasure and gratitude for the cards she sends. “Just like receiving a gift in the mail,” says a good friend who appreciates Pam’s efforts and talents.
Some people just beginning to make cards may need or want to take classes as they get started. “Most people eventually have a lot of supplies,” says Pam. “My stuff continues to grow, lots of folders, and I had a number of things bequeathed to me. Sometimes I get intimidated at classes, and I also think maybe I’ve accumulated more stuff than I should have.” She mentions Garage Sales as a good place to purchase card accessories, saying that from experience, as sometimes sellers of the items may have simply bought more than was needed and are downsizing merchandise that is in excellent condition. Pam does not sell her cards but says Tremont Gallery on Pearl Street in Tremont has supplies for card making.
Pam and her husband Steve have a daughter, Elizabeth, and son, David, and they have three grandchildren. Their oldest grandchild, BriOnna, enjoys making cards with her Grandmother. Sharing suggestions and talents and ideas is part of the charm of sharing common interests without experiencing any rivalry. Whether it’s a grandchild, friend, new neighbor, or a parent making cards to give to others, it’s rewarding in itself, and even more so knowing how special the one receiving the card may feel.
Both women are willing to answer questions about card making and Shirley Dornberger can be reached at 309-697-1675, and Pam Look at 309-657-2426. They also both explain there are costs involved in making cards, particularly when first getting started.
The Internet has many resources and additional information. Examples of cards, designs, and products are available online and include Stampin’ Up!, Pinterest, Etsy, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and others.
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