All Hallow’s Eve Inspiration: Orange & Black Hues to Get Us in the Spirit

halloween stationery1. Hand Engraved Black Cat Note: Invite someone to curl up with the news of your world by sending it on our hand engraved note with a tuxedoed cat. The matching white envelope features a white liner with black polka dots.

2. Engraved Black Cat Note on Ecru: What does our little feline friend have on her mind? What all cats do – resting in style. Perfect for a newsy note, a thank you or RSVP. Matching envelopes included.

3. Hand Engraved Monogram on Pearl White Correspondence Card: A penthouse view offers quite the inspiration for one’s correspondence, be it to client or confidant. Equally inspiring is this crisp, pearl white card, engraved with a handsome monogram in black ink — a combination most dapper and decisive.

4. Engraved Monogram on Pearl White Sheet: A monogram Jay Gatsby would adore, initials are handsomely arranged with an Art Deco-inspired touch. Black ink on a pearl white letter sheet allows for stark sophistication. Please note that additional blank white sheets for extra pages are a smart addition to any stationery wardrobe.

5. Orange Leather Refillable Notebook: These full grain goat skin leather notebooks include a spiral insert with 144 lined perforated pages on gold-gilded paper. Handy for everyday note taking, business or journal writing.

6. Black Leather Refillable Notebook: This French Milled Full Grain Calf Skin leather notebook includes a spiral insert with 144 lined, perforated pages on gold-gilded premium paper. Handy for everyday note taking, business or journal writing.

7. Pearl White Note with Lion Motif: King of the Jungle stands watch over this pearl white note. Illustrated in our cheerful Clementine ink, he can’t help but inspire roaring good missives to loved ones near and far.

8. Letterpress Pearl White Calling Card with Dotted Rule: Design with sophisticated sensibilities, personalization in our Clementine hue accompanied by well-placed pertinent information in charcoal makes for business cards that would surely make Eames ecstatic.

We’re on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Won’t you follow us?

The Evolution of a Holiday Card

The evolution of our engraved starfish holiday card…

From sketches…

holiday-2013-starfish-and-pine-drawing
To a no-ink press run…

holiday-2013-starfish-and-pineTo the finished product…

View our entire Personalized Holiday Card collection here.

How Our Engraved Stationery Comes to Life

We recently took a spin around the factory floor and came across one of our talented press artisans engraving custom cards for Cartier. Thoughtfully, he laid out all of the elements and layers that an engraved card boasting four ink colors goes through to obtain perfection. Which, we must say, this card certainly possesses.

First, the engraving plate is made.
cartier bird engraving platesThe card is then run through the engraving press one time for each ink color.

cartier bird printing stagesEt voila, an exquisitely engraved bird for the most special correspondence.

cartier bird final

We’re on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Won’t you follow us?

Autumn Adoration: Our Favorite Fall Stationery

Pea coats. Apple cobbler. Crunchy leaves under our feet. Fall has arrived, and with it comes warm hues to add to your stationery wardrobe. Here are our favorites…

Deep Golds: Hand Engraved Initial Note

deep gold engraved initial note

Warm Browns: Letterpress Monogram on Tiverton

warm brown letterpress monogram

Earthy Greens: Monogram on Hand Bordered Pearl White Note

earthy green monogram
Rich Reds: Hand Engraved Ecruwhite Monogram Note

rich red engraved monogram

Brilliant Oranges: Pearl White Note With Large Motif

brilliant orange lion motif
We’re on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Won’t you join us?

Stationery with a Story: Introducing Our Signet Collection

Our iconic Signet Collection is inspired by classic symbolism. While the words you provide will certainly inspire, one should never shy away from stationery with a story.

Pineapple: A symbol of hospitality, the pineapple was once considered quite the commodity. Had you been a member of the New England elite or a sailor home from duty, the exotic fruit was often displayed proudly at home. We like to think it still is — in the form of a thoughtful note to the gracious hostess or new neighbor.

Image

Wheat: A symbol of bounty and prosperity, a bushel of wheat is often referred to as ‘giving grain.’ While it is said that the giving of such grain was the impetus for the wedding cake, a message coupled with such a motif is certainly appropriate for any occasion. Frosting excluded, of course.

Image

Palm Branches: A symbol of victory, palm branches were often given to winners of prestigious games and military battles in Rome. Thus, such an image is the perfect accompaniment to a note of congratulations for a diploma or promotion well deserved.

Image

Gingko: A symbol of strength and longevity, the gingko tree has rightly earned such notoriety by its ability to often live for 1,000 years. Thus, a note to a friend in need of an encouraging word is surely the perfect pairing for this spirited motif.

Image

We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Won’t you stop by?

Post Script: Blacker & Kooby’s Vanessa Kooby

vanessa koobyOne might say Vanessa Kooby was destined to own a stationery shop. Her father, Fred Kooby, along with his business partner Joe Blacker, opened Blacker & Kooby on Madison Avenue 50 years ago. However, it’s dedication, not destiny that has made Vanessa and her family’s shop Upper East Side staples. Here, the Wharton Business School graduate talks to us about letters to camp, Zazzle and what she would ask her 19th century French painter pen pal.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
I have always loved stationery and written communiques. I was a doodler as a child and always had pen pals. When I was a teenager, I collected stationery and stickers.

What’s the story behind your store’s name?
In 1963, my father, Fred Kooby, met Joe Blacker through a business broker. They decided to join forces and literally set up shop on Madison Avenue. It was a fruitful and happy partnership, and I still work with my father and have very fond memories of “Uncle” Joe.

What inspired you to open a stationery boutique?
I guess you can say I was born into it, but it is so much more than that. I have always been a visual learner and I am artistically inclined. After completing my MBA at Wharton, I did financial services marketing for Chase Manhattan Bank, but my heart was always in retail, the family business. People fascinate me, and I like establishing relationships and creating. The stationery business let me combine my visual skills and artistic sensibilities with my management training — and work with a nice clientele every day.

Why do you enjoy sending correspondence?
A well-written thank you note makes me swoon. I can still remember customers and friends who have sent me the nicest thank you notes ever. When I receive a sincere note with a nice sentiment, my opinion of the sender is magically elevated!

Additionally, receiving mail is so much fun. One summer when my daughter was at sleep away camp, I wrote random letters to her bunk mates, and it became a game. The whole bunk would wait to see who Stephanie’s mom wrote to next. My daughter will never forget that, and it was so amusing for all of us.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
That is so easy! I would write to Picasso, Matisse and Bonnard, and ask them what their inspirations were for their most famous or lovely paintings. Painting is a passion of mine, and I never tire of New York City and its abundant art exhibitions and permanent collections. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to ask Pierre Bonnard what his relationship was like with all the people in his kitchen and garden paintings? It would explain their expressions and Bonnard’s treatment of them as subjects.

To whom do you most often write?
I write to my kids. My grandfather wrote me the most magnificent letters when I was growing up. He told me, “be independent and to rely on yourself.” I try to impart some life lessons on them when I get a moment, and maybe one day it will all make sense.

Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
Well, Letitia Baldrige did wish me good luck with all my brides, but my grandfather’s letters had the most impact.

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
For me it is the paper and the handwriting. If the paper feels like quality, and there is neat cursive or block print by a human being, I will take note and appreciate it.

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
I am a total Zazzle.com fanatic. When I do a stunning invitation, I cannot wait to coordinate stamps for my clients. I scan, I tweak, I create, until I am happy… and they are pleased.

What is your favorite product created by Crane & Co.?
I still love Crane Kid Finish Ecru 32 lb stock. No other paper feels so luxurious and present.

What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
I think we all must accept the fact that correspondence will be a combination of electronic and hard copy. Once we accept that, it actually increases the value of a written letter. As email has become so important, and texting is almost a religion, a written letter or a printed invitation really stands out. Wedding invitations and Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitations set the mood for a celebration and leave no doubt in a guest’s mind that they were not just an afterthought.

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

How to Write the Perfect Lunchbox Note

kids stationeryTucked between the turkey sandwich and the apple chips, we like to think that every child finds something sweet. (Besides the mini bag of Peanut M&Ms, of course.)

The lunchbox note has been a staple of cafeteria correspondence since PB met J. It has served as a pick-me-up, a reminder, a pep talk and a hug replacement. It makes a great day even better, and makes a bad day just a little more tolerable. It is, like any note, a small gesture to let someone know you’re thinking about him or her.

But writing a lunchbox note isn’t as easy as scribbling a few x’s and o’s. Like all handwritten sentiments, there is an art to perfectly crafted communication. Here are our tips on how to make sure yours isn’t tossed out with the empty juice box.

  • Keep it short and sweet. Lunchtime is about re-fueling, but it’s also about socializing with friends. Between conversations about homework and weekend adventures, your child has about 30 seconds for reading. Keep it to 1-3 sentences (this isn’t the time to reminisce or tell a story) and keep it light and loving (this also isn’t the time to remind him he needs to clean his room tonight).
  • Don’t use the good stuff. Now isn’t the time to utilize your engraved monogram stationery with lined envelopes. Not that a note to your child isn’t special, but there is a good chance that it will come home decorated in apple juice and peanut butter (if it comes home at all). Instead, invest in a box of notecards reserved only for your note to your child. This way, he’ll know it’s from you to him (and feel special because of it), and you won’t be upset about your monogram getting trampled in the hallway between classes.
  • The delight is in the details. “I love you” and “Have a great day” are certainly lovely sentiments, but chances are you tell them to your child on a daily basis. Every note should touch on specifics. Mention a funny line from a movie you both love, tell her how much you love her new red sneakers or suggest you both get frozen yogurt after school. Whatever it is, make sure it gets a smile.
  • Everything in moderation. Like an extra cookie, a lunchbox note is meant to be a surprise treat. They should be sporadic, inspiring smiles, not groans. Sure, including one on Valentine’s Day or on the day of a big test is lovely. But it’s those not-particularly-interesting-in-any-way-days that make an unexpected note quite a delight.

Need more correspondence advice? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

Post Script: Needle in a Haystack’s Yash Parmar

NeedleinaHaystack-006

Everything is bigger in Texas. And that includes the stationery business. Catering to Dallas’s finest, Needle in a Haystack has been a purveyor of exquisitely printed paper for more than two decades. Here, co-owner Yash Parmar — who runs the boutique with his wife, Bhavna and daughter, Krishna (pictured above right and left, respectively) — talks to us about the power of pen pals, to whom he writes most and how he may not have been where he is today without sewing.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
Writing handwritten letters to my pen pals in various countries.

What’s the story behind your store’s name?
Needle in a Haystack started off as a needlepoint store in 1971 – hence the name.  In the 70’s and 80’s there was strong interest in needlepoint. The previous owners of Needle in a Haystack were avid needlepointers.  They gradually introduced gifts and stationery in the 80’s. We bought the store in 1989, when it was about 80% needlepoint and 20% “other.”  

What inspired you to open a stationery boutique?
Emphasis on stationery was dictated by the market and our interest in paper. Our customers demanded greater variety of stationery. This matched our interest.

Why do you enjoy sending letters and/or correspondence?
It is great to put your thoughts on paper. I had pen pals as a teenager and loved writing and receiving letters.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Mahatma Gandhi. I have so many questions that I could ask. There is so much that one can learn from his life and experience.

Gandhi

To whom do you most often write?
Customers!

Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
As a student in England, my grandfather wrote to me regularly from India. I loved receiving his letters with all his grandfatherly advice.

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Handwritten letter on personal stationery.

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
Scenic American Landscapes series of stamps.  Some of these, such as Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park are just beautiful!

Glacier-park-slideshow

What is your favorite product created by Crane & Co.?
The Black Label album (that has long been retired) had some fabulous engraved stationery with wonderful motifs and liners.

palmetto engraved black label red cards

What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
I think the classic correspondence in a decade or two will remain classic: handwritten note on engraved stationery.

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

Photos: Crane & Co.’s American Flags

We’re quite proud of the fact that we’re an American company making products in America. It’s what we were founded on and what we hope to continue to do for centuries to come.

It isn’t uncommon, then, to see lovely and plentiful displays of patriotism as one wanders through our factories. Below are just a handful of such displays we think you might enjoy perusing, especially as we go into Memorial Day Weekend. Go ahead, hum “You’re a Grand Old Flag” while you do…

1) Red, White & Blue With a View

crane and co. factory american flag Continue reading

Post Script: Avalon Stationery’s Sue Littleton

sue littletonMeet Avalon Stationery and Gifts co-owner Sue Littleton, who opened her Houston shop with her daughter more than 25 years ago. Here, one of our favorite and longtime Crane & Co. retailers talks about owning a small business, her customers and the power of a particular postcard.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
When my daughter, Charlene, was small, her playtime adventures always centered around selling things. After graduating from Baylor University, a family friend asked Charlene what career path she would like to take. We had been fantasizing about having a store together and even called on several locations. Twenty-six years ago, we could not ever have imagined that we would get to work together and love the small business challenges, but our devotion has rewarded us beyond any goal we could have ever set for ourselves.

Continue reading