Post Script: Pen & Envelope’s Andreia Mateus

Andreia Mateus found solace in writing letters when, at the age of 10, her family moved from her native Portugal to Switzerland. Fast forward a decade, when Mateus decided to launch her Pens & Envelopes Tumblr, on which she posts delectable correspondence-themed images in hopes of inspiring others to take pen to paper. Here, the devoted Pen Pal talks to us about her letter writing lists, what she looks forward to getting in the mail each week and why a memorable letter isn’t always the most eloquently written one.

When did your interest in letter writing begin?
It began when I was about 10 years old. My family had decided to move to Switzerland, and being it a country with a whole different language, I was having a hard time making new friends, and I was missing the ones from Portugal quite a lot. So I asked my mother for paper and envelopes and started writing to my friends. That was around 1999, and ever since then I haven’t stopped exchanging letters.

Why did you start Pens & Envelopes?
I started it mostly to see if there were any other people from the Tumblr community that shared the same interest. With instant messages and social networking, people have forgotten about the old ways of communication. I was hoping that posting images of letters would remind people how it feels like to receive a letter that was written by someone just for you.

Why do you enjoy stationery & correspondence?
Correspondence mostly because it is how I manage to relax from the everyday stress. It helps me to keep my head clear. As for stationery, well, some girls like to spend their money on brand new clothes and shoes; I like to spend my money on pretty stationery! A letter is so much more fun if you use colorful and visually appealing stationery.

What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
That would be creating a list of the things I want to mention in the letter. It helps me to keep my writing organized, and it is also fun to think back of the important and significant happenings that I wish to share with my pen pals.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
There are a lot of people I could think of, but I’m going to choose Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese writer. His works are studied in our high schools, and I got really fascinated by his books. He is also mostly known for his complex personality, and I always wondered what he was really like. I probably would send him a casual letter, asking him if life turned out as he had planned, and if he was happy with his achievements.

To whom do you most often write?
To one of my closest friends, who had to move to another city. We exchange letters every week, which I’m quite thankful for. If I’m having a bad mail week, I know for sure that there is going to be at least one letter.

Describe the most memorable letter you have ever received.
A letter from my grandmother and my now deceased grandfather. They both didn’t know how to write (not very well), yet they had made an effort to scribble down a few lines. It was simple letter, but it meant so much to me. I still have it.

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
The decoration of the envelope and the penmanship. It is usually the first thing I notice, and it always gives so much out about the person who sent it.

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
My favorite series so far is the Europe 2009 Astronomy series.

What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
Hopefully there will be more people opting for traditional correspondence. There is just so much beauty in picking up a paper and a pen and writing a letter. Even with online communication, I don’t think any other form of correspondence will be able to substitute the sentiment a personal letter gives you.

Have a question for Andreia? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

A Halloween Whodunnit: Crane & Co. Style

crane halloween stationery products

Engraved Peacock Feather Notes; Large Hartland Candlestick; Stoneware Dachshund Bookends; Spring Green Hand Bordered Ecruwhite Cards; Pewter Letter Opener; Medium Shelburne Bowl

Ask the Crane Concierge: Your Etiquette Questions Answered

Our Crane Concierge fields quite a few queries about everything from personalized stationery suggestions to wedding invitation etiquette. It is her job, after all — one she quite likes.

Below are some of our favorites, some that we get often and some might just want to tuck away for future use. (After all, you never know when you might need a formal font suggestion.)

From Meghan:

“I would like to order some personalized stationery for three of our executives. I would love to have a system where they could use the same envelope for a note or a thank you card… (they don’t want to think about which envelope to use with which item).”

Dear Meghan,

Thank you for your query and for considering Crane & Co. for your personalized stationery. I would suggest choosing Monarch size letterhead for their sheets, which would use the same envelope as a monarch flat card.

Love & Letters,
The Crane Concierge

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From the Archives: Presidential Stationery

This post is the first in a new series we’re calling “From the Archives.” We’ve been the choice of stationery for presidents and princes, dignitaries and duchesses, starlets and CEOs. We like to think this is the case because not only have we been making fine papers since 1801, but also because of our commitment to classic craftsmanship and attention to detail. As we like to say, when it’s Crane, it’s right.

Many people don’t know that we have often printed the stationery, invitations and announcements for the White House. So we thought we would highlight a selection of our favorites here. Take a look, and feel fee to envision yourself receiving one of these in the post box. We know we did.

  • A Presidential dinner invitation

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Post Script: Etiquette Expert Diane Gottsman

With a degree in sociology under her belt, Diane Gottsman knew teaching etiquette was a logical career path. She started out teaching abused and neglected children the art as a way to empower them, then moved on to helping the professional sector. As if to emphasize her love for the cause, she now boasts her own line of stationery (welcome to the club!). Here, the purveyor of all things proper talks stamp love, Amelia Earhart and the etiquette rule she’ll never break.

etiquette expert diane gottsman

How long have you been teaching etiquette and how did you end up doing so?
I’ve been teaching etiquette for 15 years, starting with children in the beginning and later evolving into the corporate and university arena. I was shocked at the number of successful professionals that I interacted with daily that were truly gifted in business but lacked social skills.
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Well Seasoned: Our Favorite Fall Stationery

There’s no doubt we’ve enjoyed our fair share of sunshine and frozen treats this summer. However, we can honestly say that we’re ready to welcome crisp weather and leather boots back into our lives. The first day of fall is tomorrow, and with a new season comes new stationery.

Take a look at what we’ll be writing on when we trade ice cream for apple cider…

personalized halloween invitation“In celebration of my favorite fall holiday with a little show of elegance” — Jeri, Online Product Manager
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The Making Of: Our 2012 Holiday Photo Cards

When we decided to design our first digital holiday photo card collection last season, the idea was to offer options that kept to our high craftsmanship standards. Even though digitally printed, we wanted our Enthusiasts to feel confident that they were still sending Crane & Co. A pleasing-to-the-touch card stock and classic design accomplished that task quite nicely, we thought.

plaid red and green photo card inspiration

This year, we’re holding true to those standards while upping our design game, offering five new collections, each inspired by our classic aesthetic yet possessing its own distinct palette.

“As we sat down to design the 2013 Digital Holiday Collection,” recalls VP of Creative and Product Development Rachel V. Ivey, “we wanted to capture the many ways to express your personality, knowing that the photograph should really steal the show.”

silver holiday photo cards

With that said, our hope is that we’ve created designs that delight as well as compliment every picture worth gracing a photo card.

  • Tartan Tidings

red plaid holiday photo card

Red, green, gold and cranberry, along with a touch of the deep blues and greens of a Black Watch pattern, make this collection a classic holiday.

  • Vintage Cheer

Classic holiday imagery is combined with pinks and bright greens inspired by old time confectionary icons to give an added pop of color to traditional reds and greens.

  • Silver Linings

The primary color is silver with accents of red and green throughout. The silver is reminiscent of the glistening snow and makes a great accent for that great winter photograph.

  • Yule Jewel

Inspired by rich jewel tones, Yule Jewel pulls together a collection of these vibrant gems — emeralds, rubies, sapphires and garnets — to create dazzling holiday designs.

  • New Year’s

new year's eve holiday photo cardWe intended to capture the design elements in silver and gold to mimic the sparkle of a New Year’s Eve celebration. The designs in this grouping echo this glimmering color palette.

But wait, there’s more! Our entire digital photo card collection is available online and through your local retailer.

Need more holiday photo card suggestions or etiquette tips? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

The Making Of: Our Holiday Coastal Collection

engraved coastal adirondack chairs holiday greeting cardA White Christmas is a magical thing. Sleds, snowmen, bunny slopes. However, our friends who enjoy ocean breezes and tennis in December have a quite a magical thing going, too.

To celebrate twinkling lights strung around palm trees and Christmas dinner on the dock, we offer our Coastal holiday card series. This year, four new hand-engraved designs were added to create a more well-rounded collection.

New hues, new imagery, new inspiration: Here’s a peek inside The Making Of our new Coastal designs.

  • Colors

coastal holiday card color inspiration“The colors chosen reflect our traditional red and gold, which you will see throughout the designs,” said VP of Creative & Product Development Rachel V. Ivey, “but we’ve added brighter greens as well as a pop color, pink and a metallic blue to add visual interest to the designs.”

We punched up the green on our Adirondack Chairs to liven up the greenery…

engraved adirondack chairs holiday greeting card

On the Coastal Doorway, we pulled in a bluish green hue that is more representative of coastal greenery…

engraved coastal doorway holiday greeting card

The Flamingos are a pop of pink that is very close to our Hibiscus stock

engraved coastal flamingos holiday greeting card

For the Glass Buoy, we used an amazing metallic blue that is a custom mix that gives this design some extra glitz…

engraved coastal buoy holiday greeting card

  • Imagery & Inspiration

engraved coastal holiday cards imagery inspirationShells, greenery and, of course, the beach were all images used to inspire the artist, who ultimately created a collection of designs that will appeal to our customers in the coastal regions of the country — as well as anyone who simply years for a season with sand in her toes.

Need help selecting your holiday cards? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

Post Script: The Gracious Girl

Mindy Lockard, aka The Gracious Girl, can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in etiquette. The former finishing school graduate began spreading the gracious gospel professionally nine years ago, pontificating on everything from dinner party manners to interview poise. Here, she speaks to us about her college pen pal, e-mail formality and why she’s always touchy-feely with her paper.

mindy lockard the gracious girl
How did you end up teaching etiquette?
It was just after I had my first daughter, Elle. A friend — who knew I had gone to finishing school as a child — asked if I would teach her daughter. At first I declined, but then after I thought about the life lessons I wanted to give my own child — confidence and kindness — I knew that spreading the word about manners was exactly where I wanted to focus my attention.
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Less Work, More Play: Labor Day Stationery Favorites

As a 211-year-old American company, one of our favorite holidays of the year is certainly Labor Day. Created to celebrate all of the hard work our labor force has done for this country, Labor Day is rightfully a time to kick back, relax and, well, not labor at all.

So in honor of backyard barbeques, the coldest of beverages and a game of horseshoes or two, here are our favorite stationery picks that remind us of less work and more play.

Get in a morning match or two with friends before temperatures begin to soar. Winner gets the first mimosa…

gold engraved tennis racquet notesOr perhaps a sunrise ride, when all is still quiet and the air is crisp and dewy, is the perfect start to a day off…

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