Picture perfect: Red Wing native wins card contest
Diane Johnson's background in art design and interest in sweepstakes proved a winning combination.
A neat old photograph helped, too.
Johnson recently won a Hallmark contest with a light-hearted birthday card she created using a priceless childhood snapshot of husband Fred in a vintage cowboy costume.
The Red Wing native's card can be purchased online and, if her luck continues, it might appear on store racks.
Johnson said she likes sweepstakes and saw that Hallmark had a contest for greeting cards with the theme: "Remember when."
"I took it to mean old pictures," she said, so she went through four family photo albums and found what turned out to be the perfect picture.
The photograph was taken in Red Wing, where their families grew up.
"Look at the boots -- cute," Diane said while looking at the picture of a grinning young Fred in the homemade getup. "The costume was put together because they never had much money."
The Johnsons make Cottage Grove their home, but return to Red Wing frequently. Fred's mother, Mary Johnson, and Diane's mother, Edna Martenson, each still live in Red Wing.
In addition, he is a history buff. His projects have included books for the Goodhue County Historical Society.
The front of the card includes the black-and-white photo of Fred, about 5 years old, wearing a cowboy hat and carrying a toy six-shooter. Below the photo it reads: "For your birthday, I'm gonna demonstrate my lightning-fast draw."
Inside the card it asks: "Wanna see it again?"
Johnson, 66, gets a chuckle out of that.
"Anybody my age would say that's an old joke," she said, "but it seemed to fit."
She submitted the photo and phrase, and Hallmark designed the card layout.
Hallmark has a reputation for cards that make people cry, but Johnson's card would only produce tears of laughter.
"I don't do mushy," she said.
Johnson's card can be purchased online and consumers can change the caption on the card when ordering from the website. A second contest is under way to select cards to be sold in Hallmark stores. Those winners will be named in April.
Hallmark notified Johnson that her card was a winning entry in the online contest and sent her a $250 prize, but she had to buy the card to see how it turned out.
Conveniently enough, she bought one in time for her husband's birthday Dec. 23.
"It was only $3.50 -- which was good for a Hallmark card," she said.