Post Script: ThxThxThx’s Leah Dieterich

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Leah Dieterich is gracious every day. It isn’t that she is regularly showered with gifts or good deeds, but rather the thxthxthx.com founder is just thankful for the little things: Tote Bags (“for being gender-neutral purses”) and a New Longboard (“for allowing my afterwork exercise to be considered play”), to name just a couple.

Her notes of gratitude can be followed on Twitter and read in her new book. Here, Dieterich talks with us about long distance letters, being a lefty and why a signature is her favorite part of the writing process.

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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.

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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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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Post Script: Donovan Beeson

Donovan Beeson loves a good ka-thunk: that sound one hears as the mail drops into the postbox. As the co-founder of the Letter Writers Alliance — an organization dedicated to, among other things, providing letter writing tools as well as pen pals — she hears that sound quite often. Here, Beeson talks to us about “goodie boxes,” her motley crew of pen pals and her position on supermarket stamps.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
I’ve always loved sending and receiving mail. I can remember my maternal grandmother sending what she called “goodie boxes” to our house at every holiday. They were simple collections of candy and small toys, but everything was magical because it was wrapped up special and came in a box. Now, I’m the one who sends the boxes of goodies and I like it just as much being the sender as being the receiver.

How did the LWA come to be?
My business partner Kathy started her stationery business 16 Sparrows in 2003. I came on to help with production when she started graduate school, and together we evolved the business into something less like a business and more like a lifestyle. In 2007, we started the Letter Writers Alliance because the most common statement we would receive was that people loved our stationery but “no one writes letters anymore.” We decided to create a network so that all of those letter lovers would be able to write to each other and no mailbox would ever go hungry again.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people — I have met so many different, interesting and thoroughly engaging human beings through letters. In my return pile right now is an active duty soldier, a 12-year-old equestrian, a retired engineer, a teacher returning to work soon and so many more. I get to see slices of life that I would know nothing about, direct from their sources. I love it.
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Post Script: Stationery Trends Founder Sarah Schwartz

Next year, Stationery Trends magazine will celebrate its fifth anniversary, a statement to the perseverance of the people who cherish the art of handwritten correspondence. For the magazine’s founding editor, Sarah Schwartz, stationery and letters were a natural extension of a feisty, book-fueled imagination. Here, the former summer camp letter writer extraordinaire talks about pen pals, lunch box notes and why we should think of Abraham Lincoln the next time we’re angry with someone.

stationery trends founder sarah schwartz

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
To me, writing letters and corresponding is a natural extension to the world of reading. From the time I learned to read at age four, I have loved entering and creating imaginary or past worlds. A great letter is just that, really — a little glimpse into another very personal world.

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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.

Post Script: Calligrapher Angela Welch

Quite often we get asked about one particular wedding invitation design we offer. More specifically, we get asked about the ‘font’ on that invitation.

silver bevel calligraphy personalized wedding invitationThe font in question, we tell them, is actually calligraphy done by one Angela Welch.

calligraphy artist angela welch pen and pauperThe bubbly Alabamian (is there any other kind?) has been providing her fanciful flourishes for us for years, and so we thought it was about time we highlighted the woman behind the nib.

When did your interest in calligraphy begin?
Before the age of six for sure. In first grade I never knew my place in the reader when my teacher called on me to begin reading — I was too busy trying to write a “fancy” alphabet of my own.

My first calligraphy job was in the sixth grade and a teacher asked me to letter, in Old English, the heading of a flyer to be printed. I loved the challenge of making a beautiful mark with lots of different mediums. My fascination with flourishing as a whole arm movement began in the third grade.

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Post Script: Oh So Beautiful Paper’s Nole Garey

Whether stationery is your business or your pleasure (or, hopefully, both), Nole Garey’s blog, Oh So Beautiful Paper, is essential reading. Every day the Washington D.C. resident satisfies our appetite for stunning invitations, charming greeting cards, wonderfully unique personalized stationery and anything else fit to be inked. Here, the GW grad talks postage preferences, growing up with creative parents and why it’s important to write to the person you see every day.

Briefly describe your work and its connection with the post.
I am the editor and publisher of Oh So Beautiful Paper. I review submissions of work from independent artists and designers, choose my favorites, then create a post around the submitted work. I always include an introduction with my own thoughts about the work, but I also try to include something from the designer about the origin of the project, including the purpose of the project, inspiration sources, and printing specifications.

When did your interest in paper begin?
I’ve always been interested in design; my father worked as an advertising copywriter and my mother is an accomplished non-professional artist. As a kid, I was exposed to art and design and encouraged to explore creative outlets. Although I studied political science and international economics in college, I took a printmaking course that gave me some basic instruction in screen printing, letterpress, and etching. But it wasn’t until I became engaged to my husband and started to explore the world of wedding invitations that I truly fell in love with paper and the stationery industry.

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Post Script: Liz Richmond, owner of The Paper Bag

Fifteen years ago, Liz Richmond did what most stationery lovers only dream of doing: She bought a stationery boutique. Situated across from an amusement park in Allentown, PA, The Paper Bag has been in business since 1982 (30 years if you’re counting). Richmond joined its staff two years later and has been there ever since. Here, she talks with us about celebratory stamps, Old Money and why she thinks classic correspondence isn’t going anywhere.
Paper Bag owner Liz Richmond

 

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