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Why My Dog Has His Own Custom Stationery

There is an etiquette column in the March issue of Good Housekeeping that provides tips for “Saying Thanks”. Good manners never go out of style so I thought I would share some useful information as a reminder of what an appropriate level of “thank you” should look like. In my own life, I don’t practice a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes time to expressing gratitude. We may have busy schedules and it may be easy to take advantage of technology to send a quick text, but depending on the gesture this might not be enough. The list below was taken directly from Good Housekeeping and provides rules for what level of gratitude is most appropriate given a particular situation.

  • Send a text or email: appropriate for when a person’s thoughtfulness doesn’t require them to go out of their way. For example, a colleague shares notes from a meeting you couldn’t attend or a friend refers you to their doctor who turns out to be great.
  • Call or say it in person: appropriate when a small effort was extended. For example, a neighbor collects your mail while you’re away for a weekend or a fellow parent drives your kids home one day.
  • Send a handwritten note: appropriate for when time, energy, expertise, or effort was given. For example, someone gives you a gift for a special occasion, an acquaintance lets you pick their brain over coffee or a colleague covers for you at work. Personally, I love sending and receiving snail mail and I take great pride in purchasing stationery and composing a handwritten note.

We added a new Italian Greyhound puppy to our family several months ago (@orvietotheiggy) who, not surprisingly, has turned out to be quite the spoiled pooch. He has been lavished with gifts from friends and family since we got him and I found a fun way to show our appreciation for their thoughtfulness: I ordered personalized stationery for our dog! After all, good puppy manners are very important! Personalized stationery would also be a fun, unexpected gift for a new pet owner.

Here is our puppy checking out his new order of stationery.

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The pets in our family always give each other gifts for special occasions. Here is a thank you note being composed for Bradford, his Greyhound cousin.

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Our dog has perfected his paw print “signature”, with a little help from a rubber stamp and my favorite ink pad (StazOn ink).

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I might consider buying custom postage stamps in the future that feature a picture of my dog. However, in the meantime, Scooby-Doo will have to do.

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Here you can see notes done and ready to be mailed. You can bet that our pup will be accompanying me to the post office to drop off his mail.

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Resources: I love supporting small businesses and was looking for something specialized so I first turned to Etsy to purchase both the stationery and rubber stamp.

  • Correspondence cards: I purchased my correspondence cards through this vendor who has stationery for specific dog breeds.
  • Rubber stamp: You can probably find a paw print rubber stamp at most craft stores. However, I wanted a very small stamp that I was able to find here.  
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Take Note: Bernard Maisner for Paperless Post

I am a traditionalist at heart and love to send and receive snail mail. I always make sure to have stationery on hand because you never know when you’ll need to send a note to someone special. My go-to stationer is Smythson (preferring their blank notecards) and I even posted about some of my purchases here. But I have to admit to secretly coveting the notecards designed by artist and master calligrapher Bernard Maisner. I remember first seeing his beautiful butterfly notecards at Gumps in San Francisco many, many years ago. I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as frugal but I couldn’t justify spending $145 for a set of 8 notecards that would sit in a drawer just waiting to be used. However, I will say that they are a wonderful splurge for a very special occasion. While expensive, the price tag is justifiable. Each notecard is beautifully hand painted with vibrant watercolors so no two are ever alike. Notecards also come packaged in a fabric covered box that makes me swoon because I am also a sucker for great packaging.

Here’s a look at some Bernard Maisner stationery. Keep reading…I can tell you how you can get Bernard Maisner for considerably less…

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Barnard Maisner, Artist and Calligrapher in his studio.

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In our digital age, there are options to physical paper stationery and Paperless Post provides a fabulous alternative by offering digital stationery that mimics the look of traditional paper goods. The online platform provides some of the most attractive digital designs and I was happy to learn that they offer many designs by Bernard Maisner, including the butterfly notecard I have loved for so long. If you love Bernard Maisner designs as much as I do, this is a much more affordable option. Here’s a look at a few of the Bernard Maisner digital designs available through Paperless Post. bernard maisner paperless post butterflies_reviving charm 1

bernard maisner_reviving charm_paperless post peacock notecardbernard maisner birthday card calligraphy_paperless post_reviving charmI really like that Paperless Post designs are so customizable. Many designs even allow you to upload your own picture.  

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It’s never too early to think about the holidays. In fact, I was just telling someone yesterday that after Labor Day it always feels like a fast forward to the holiday season.thanksgiving paperless post_reviving charmbernard maisner card calligraphy_paperless post_reviving charmbernard maisner_reviving charm_paperless post christmas card 2

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While Paperless Post is nothing new, it’s something I’ve haven’t tried until just recently. If you are on the fence about using digital stationery like I was, don’t be. Paperless Post provides a great alternative to physical paper by offering so many stylish designs, including those by Oscar de la Renta, John Derian and Jonathan Adler, just to name a few. Here’s what I like about Paperless Post:

  • The website and the app are so simple to use and very user-friendly. 
  • I absolutely love the fact that you can schedule cards to be delivered in the future. 
  • You can save your drafts to work on later.
  • A countless number of designs with style to suit almost everyone.
  • You are informed when cards are delivered and can see once they’ve been read.
  • Customization is simple and very intuitive.
  • You can even upload your own designs.

I now consider myself a fan of Paperless Post but one thing I don’t quite get is how they came up with their pricing system. “Coins” are the currency you use to pay for your digital products and you buy coins in bundles. For example, a series of 10 coins cost $5.00, 25 coins cost $10, 100 coins cost $20, and so on. I sent a card recently that cost me 7 coins. I absolutely hate math so I didn’t bother to actually figure out what the real cost to me was in dollars and cents. I don’t get the concept of coins and I prefer a traditional check-out than to have to buy coin packages. For me, this is the only downside I found and it’s not one that would ever deter me from using their products again in the future. I’ll just simply consider it a quirk. After all, don’t we all have a quirk or two of our own? I know I sure do…

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CHRISTMAS CARDS MADE PERSONAL

Image via Southern Living Magazine

Each year I enjoy sending out Christmas cards to friends and family. It’s my way of keeping snail mail alive. I enjoy selecting our cards and every year I spend a lot of time picking out “just the right one”. I always make sure to pair my cards up with matching stamps. This year I even purchased corresponding mailing labels with a green watercolor design. You can see them hiding in the picture below. The pen is by Italian pen manufacturer, Delta. I bought it as a souvenir during one of my early trips to Milan, Italy.

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This year I decided to do something different. I am foregoing the traditional Christmas card and replacing it with a simple correspondence card allowing me to put the focus on a personal message for each recipient. I included a holiday quote on some. For others, I composed a heartfelt message. I also enjoy hand lettering each card. I do get a lot of compliments on my penmanship so I guess all those years of old-school drafting classes paid off!

May you be inspired by giving, changed by love, filled with peace, and touched by miracles. — Mary Davis

hand lettered Christmas_Reviving CharmThe correspondence cards I am using this year are from Smythson. I purchased several boxes of Smythson stationery products earlier this year and purchased these cards in several colors. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you about their sale a few months back!) Smythson no longer offers the green but red is another perfect choice for the season. If you choose to mix things up a bit and decide to send out your own correspondence cards you can purchase them from Smythson here. 

How about you….do you still send out Christmas cards? I’m also curious about how you display the cards you receive from others. Do tell…

Shopping on Saturday: Sale at Smythson

Call me old fashioned but the art of letter writing and days of journaling are far from over…at least in my book. And when it comes to luxury paper goods, Smythson is one of the leading purveyors of fine stationery products. Known for their quality craftsmanship, the company originated in 1887 by Frank Smythson with their flagship store on New Bond Street in London. Smythson enthusiasts include royal households, Hollywood icons, and other prominent historical figures.

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The address book of legendary actress Katharine Hepburn.

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Sigmund Freud’s Smythson notebook.

In 1994, Princess Diana commissioned Smythson to create personalized stationery that was inspired by royal stationery from the 1920’s.

The tradition of the handcrafted process continues to this day. Their legendary notebooks are hand assembled and include gilt edging and a grosgrain ribbon page marker.smythson notebook via Reviving Charm

A pop of color is added to envelopes with Smythson’s signature tissue paper.  smythson tissue lining via Reviving Charm 1

Smythson’s signature Nile Blue boxes are often used in decorating. Can you spot them neatly stacked on this bookshelf?smythson nile blue Reviving Charm

What I love about Smythson is that a sense of humor is injected into their products. Their notebooks come embossed in gold with clever titles and quit-witted charm.smythson notebook quotes Reviving Charm

If you want to treat yourself to a little luxury, why not update your stationery wardrobe or purchase some of their leather goods? Smythson is currently having a great Summer sale. At 50% off sale on a wide range of products, it’s a great time to stock up or try something new. Here’s a sampling of just a few things I picked up…

It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas. I couldn’t resist buying a few packs of these snowflake gift cards to attach to gifts. They are a steal at $10 for a pack of ten. smythson Christmas Reviving Charm

I bought this new travel journal hoping to use it for my annual fall trip this year. Naturally, I purchased it in black but it also comes in five other colors. smythson travel journal Reviving Charm 1

I always have blank correspondence cards on hand so I can compose a personal note to friends and family. “Just Because” is always a perfect occasion. In an age of technology, I hope the recipient feels extra special receiving something via snail mail. I picked up these correspondence cards in several fun, bright colors. Not all colors are on sale so be sure to check carefully.

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My name means “butterfly” and although I usually always shy away from butterfly themed items, I couldn’t resist these pretty correspondence cards.smythson stationery butterflies

 

If you pick up a few items from the sale, be sure to let me know. I’d love to hear about what you bought. Happy shopping!

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UNVEILING OF THE OSCAR DE LA RENTA POSTAGE STAMPS

Snail mail just got a bit more elegant thank’s to the new Forever postage stamps unveiled by the Unites States Postal Service at a “First Day of Issue” ceremony a couple of days ago at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The new stamps commemorate legendary fashion designer Oscar De La Renta who passed away in 2014. It was most appropriate to schedule the unveiling during New York’s Fashion Week.

“Our family and our company are profoundly honored that the U.S. Postal Service has chosen to memorialize Oscar de la Renta’s life and work with this series of beautiful stamps,” said Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta. “Oscar was proud to be an American and this would have made him tremendously happy. To commemorate his personal version of the ‘American Dream’ with these stamps is a great honor for which we thank the U.S. Postal Service.”

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Shown below from left to right: The event was attended by Oscar de la Renta CEO Alexander Bolen, Michael Bloomberg, Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Postal Service Vice President Janice Walker and journalist Anderson Cooper.
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The inspiration for the stamps was taken from some of Oscar’s most famous dresses, including these below. The fuchsia silk faille dress and with metallic embroidery is from Fall 2013. The emerald green taffeta and black Battenberg lace gown is from Spring 2012. I was fortunate to see many of his gowns at an exhibit last year in San Francisco. I talked about it in this post. oscar-de-la-renta-stamp-inspiration-for-stamps

The stamp collection features a total of 11 stamps that include a portrait of the designer along with 10 Oscar de la Renta dress and gown details. Exquisite, aren’t they?

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oscar-de-la-renta-stamps-via-reviving-charm-3If you prefer envelopes, USPS offers these envelopes with a digitally printed stamp and postmark sold in a set of 11. oscar-de-la-renta-stamp-envelopes

As far as I am concerned, handwritten letters and notes will never go out of fashion (pun intended). And with the stormy weather here today in Southern California, I think this just might be a great day to stay indoors and write some letters.

line-art-original-1I just placed my order for the new stamps and you can order your own through USPS. For a limited time, you can also get free stamps with any purchase of $250 or more at Oscar De La Renta. Use promo code: STAMP

Images via USPS, Oscar De La Renta, NBC News, Vogue, American Philatelic Society, McClatchyDC

SHOPPING SMALL HELPS BIG

I have been a longtime supporter of small business. It goes back long before Small Business Saturday ever became an annual event. And definitely before it ever became a “thing”. I actually prefer to shop the “mom and pops” as a great resource to find things that are unique and interesting. Whether it’s a brick and mortar location or a shop with an on-line presence only, I think it is important to support and celebrate those with an entrepreneurial spirit, don’t you? small-business-saturday-via-revivingcharm_com

Although the goal of Small Business Saturday is actually to bring attention to the independent shops in your neighborhood, don’t forget about shopping small on the internet. The crafters, makers, and curators on Etsy actually come to mind. Etsy has grown to such a large marketplace that it’s easy for a shop to get lost in the shuffle. I make shopping Etsy simple for you by highlighting a few shops that I have supported in the past or plan to support in the future.

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I am a sucker for prints and engravings. The owner of Paper Words is a graphic designer who offers a variety of new prints illustrating a wide range of subjects including natural history, architecture, garden design, and decorative arts. Prints are offered on archival watercolor paper and are so reasonably priced that you can easily create a grouping without breaking the bank.

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I love my personalized notepads from The Swoon Paper Co. These come in a few different colors and choice of font. I ordered mine in pink like the one shown here.

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I will be ordering this luggage tag in yellow leather for myself. Available from RSVPhandcrafted.

These tartan plaid placecards are available through Nancy Nikko Design. Wouldn’t they be perfect for Christmas? Nancy’s illustrations are beautiful and quite unique. I am a repeat customer so I can attest to the fact that Nancy’s product, packaging and customer service are top notch.

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I am a repeat customer of Boland Design Paper Co. I have ordered two different styles of their return address labels (including these shown above). They have over 50 colors to choose from and they allow you to select up to four colors per order. I love the flexibility of mixing and matching colors.

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This piece from High Street Market might not look like much but don’t underestimate it. Vintage toast racks make great desk accessories to hold mail and stationery. I even have one on my own desk.

I have purchased a couple of things from High Street Market, including the vintage bowl I wrote about here. I am also a reader of High Street Market’s blog (although the site hasn’t been updated since July).natalieasis-etsy-via-revivingcharm

If you love marbled products, be sure to check out the products offered by NatalieAsIs. This shop offers the most beautiful hand marbles silk ribbon (I own many rolls!), paper products (I love their journals), and other marbled products. Natalie’s products are gorgeous. flourish-via-revivingcharm_com

One last thing…don’t limit your small business shopping to today only. Shopping small business is great 365 days of the year! In fact if your in San Francisco tomorrow, check out the Etsy Holiday Emporium featuring some 200 vendors. 

This concludes my public service announcement! Happy shopping. Happy weekend.