Post Script: Calligrapher Ashantai Yungai

When it comes to projects of the epistolary variety, calligrapher Ashantai Yungai, founder of Distinctive Inscriptions, isn’t one to back down from a challenge. So, when a bride asked him to pen 1,000 envelopes for her Hawaiian wedding, he not only agreed, he blogged about the two-week-long endeavor. With a good nib, a little Joni Mitchell and a bag of flour, he proved victorious. Perhaps it’s Yungai’s science background (he’s a chemist by trade), but it seems as though he has found the formula for the perfect flourish.

distinctive inscriptions calligraphy founder ashantai yungai

Ashantai Yungai, born to flourish.

Of course, we would never ask him to share his ‘secret sauce,’ be he does share with us missives pertaining to pens, sisters and the future of the handwritten word.

When did your interest in calligraphy begin?
June 2008. I am a chemist by trade. A friend saw my handwriting in my lab notebook and asked, “Did you write that? Wow man, that’s pretty cool! You should do calligraphy. People do wedding invitations and envelopes using calligraphy.” I thought little of it at the time. I bought a calligraphy pen on a whim one day while shopping for art supplies for my son. I began writing with it. From there I was off to the races. 

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Crane & Co. and America: Our Made-in-the-U.S.A. History

Give Us Liberty

crane & co. liberty paper mill

Liberty Paper Mill.

More than 200 years ago, Stephen Crane decided to make a statement. And it wasn’t with his fashion forward breeches or well-groomed mutton chops. It was, rather, with the name of a paper mill he opened in 1770. He called it the Liberty Paper Mill and, for purveyors of our American heritage, was named so just two years after the British occupied Boston. – and just five miles away. A tres bold move, if we do say so ourselves.

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Post Script: Jackie Brown, Monogram Artist

Like chocolate and peanut butter or Fred and Ginger, stationery and monograms just work perfectly together. Making sure that they do is our resident monogram artist, Jackie Brown.

Whether you’re into swirly or straight, diminutive or daring, she can turn initials into works of art. A monogram, after all, is the ultimate expression of individuality. So it made sense, then, that we get personal about, well, getting personal.

When did your interest in the monogram begin?
My interest in monograms began shortly after being hired by Crane. I was hoping to develop an art-based career. I found such an opportunity in making monograms. Monograms allowed me to become creative, thereby making them my art.

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In Celebration Of: The Pen

Antony and Cleopatra. Romeo and Juliet. Scarlett and Rhett.

We love a good love story.

But our favorite is that of Pen and Paper.

Thus, we were delighted to pick the brain of Rick Propas — a specialist for Swann Auction Galleries, where he directs the newly created Department of Fine and Vintage Writing Instruments — whose first pen was given to him more than 50 years ago.

Rick Propas, lefty.

“In the Jewish tradition, it’s customary to give a boy a fountain pen at his bar mitzvah,” Propas explained. “I didn’t get one, and when I complained to my dad, he pulled out his own pen and gave it to me.”

Propas has been collecting vintage pens ever since.

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Happy First Day of Summer!

Dear Summer,

We’re so glad to see you! When the palm trees and popsicles heard you were coming, they jumped for joy, as you know how much they love when you visit every year. We hope you stay for awhile, and don’t forget to bring a swimsuit!

Love & Letters,

Crane & Co.

summer stationery note cards

1. Hand-engraved Palm Tree Note. 2. Hand-engraved Starfish Note. 3. Cabana Stripe Fold Over Cards. 4. Raspberry-bordered Correspondence Cards. 5. Hand-engraved Bicycle Notes.

Life’s richer with friends, so let’s stay in touch! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest


How to Make the Crane & Co.cktail

Because we like to think the perfect evening letter is always accompanied by the perfect libation — and because everyone should be privy to a signature cocktail — we present to you the Crane & Co.cktail, courtesy of our favorite purveyor of all things fancy, Mrs. Lilien. Enjoy!

mrs. lilien crane & co. cocktail

Recipe:

2 oz Gin

Juice + zest of 1 lime

3 oz fresh grapefruit juice

2tbs agavae nectar

champagne float

In a shaker half filled with ice add the gin, lime zest + juice, grapefruit juice + agavae nectar. SHAKE. Pour into prepared highball and top with a champagne float.

For more delectable recipes, pick up a copy of Mrs. Lilien’s new book, “Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook.” Cheers!

 

Post Script: Mrs. Lilien

We’re adoring fans of Mrs. Lilien and her fancy finds. So we were delighted to hear she was coming out with a book. We were even more delighted when we found out it was a book titled “Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook,” a collection of 50 classic recipes that have been updated with a modern twist and fashionable accoutrement.

Because one good hostess quality (serving stellar sips) deserves another (sending stellar stationery), we thought it made perfect sense to ask our new favorite dinner party guest about our favorite fancy subject: correspondence.

When did your interest in all things fancy begin?
August 10th, 1979. There hasn’t been a day in my life that I haven’t been possessed by my love of all things fancy!

Why do you enjoy writing about letters and/or correspondence?
Because it’s ladylike + because it’s FANCY!

What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
Probably signing my rather gargantuan and rather flamboyant signature.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt — without question. In my fantasy she begins each letter with “OMG…”

To whom do you most often write?
Love letters to Mr. Lilien.

Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
A wildly amusing ditty from my friend Mr. Adler regarding my gifted urn (aka: my final resting place).

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Fine, thick paper and subtle yet extravagant detailing, such as embossing, letter press, color edging. These pieces always get opened first!

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
I’m always a fan of the silver screen actresses of yesteryear. Nothing screams class quite like a little bit of Audrey Hepburn on the upper right hand corner.

What makes your correspondence distinct?
Inside of every Mrs. Lilien correspondence that I send, I always sprinkle just a few gold sequins into the envelope for an added touch of glam!

The one etiquette rule you never break?
Be a lady in all things — while this is vague, it covers vast no-no’s that I find abhorrent.

The quote you live by?
“Go big or go home!”

P.S. If you’re in NYC Thursday night, please stop by what is sure to be a fabulous cocktail party at Jonathan Adler’s SoHo boutique to celebrate Mrs. Lilien’s new book.  Kindly RSVP here.