Sew Sweet

The past couple weeks we've been rather inundated with new products in our little shop, ranging from books to perfumes, jewelry to gift wrap. It's difficult to choose a favorite, but our newest arrival is so charming we simply had to share!

Enjoy these sweetly stitched sentiments, serene images and sage advice. We love the rich, rough textures of the embroidered linen and distressed wooden frames. Cue summer cabin getaway fantasies....


Quote of the Week


The Evolution of the Business Card

The business card is a stationery item so omnipresent that most people are unaware of its fascinating roots in European culture, or of its ongoing transformation. Today the exchange of one's card can be a purely professional act or a romantic overture, depending on the context. But in the 1600s, such distinctions were quite clear.

In 17th century England, trade cards became a popular form of advertising. Without reliable street numbering systems or any widespread advertising forums, the trade card -- a small card bearing the business' name and a map -- was an essential means to spreading the word to potential clients.

Calling Cards
Meanwhile, in the courts of Louis XIV, visiting cards were in vogue. Eventually the practice of exchanging these cards became extremely nuanced, dictated by the strict social guidelines of the Victorian Era in both Europe and America. The turning of one corner, the placement just so in the calling card tray, or the number of cards left behind all had varying significance to the lady of the house, and was an essential ritual to establishing oneself in society. It was at this time that the calling card case was invented -- an accessory that to this day delights the fashionable stationery lover.

Frank Lloyd Wright card case
In the twentieth century, the business card was ostensibly intended for professional exchange. But as we all know (whether from experience or, for those of us who came of business card age in the 21st century, from Hollywood), the line between business and calling card is blurry. How many leading ladies have you watched bite her lower lip while running a finger over the engraving of Mr. Right's business card, sighing at a silent phone?

Today the business card continues to transform, along with a workforce that is far more varied and transient. A modern calling card is often more about the individual than the business, especially as employment fluctuates often. It is increasingly common for one's card to include a personal website, and to incorporate more modern and eye-catching design elements -- a means of setting you apart from the rest, and making a lasting impression on your acquaintance.

Crane calling card

Even in today's virtual media saturated space, the business card is an indispensable marketing component for any serious business professional. In Japan it would be unheard of to make a business introduction without the presentation of a business card. And here in the U.S., it  continues to be a integral part of the branding package and a stationery essential. The business card reigns and is gaining, not losing relevance (professional or otherwise).

An up-trending popular variation is the "mommy card". Whether you're a full-time mom or balance work and motherhood, the mommy card is intended as a more personal means of exchanging contact information. Typically a personal email address, cell phone number and home phone number are included, in order to make communication quick and direct. Often these cards bear a photo of your child or fun whimsical designs, thus differentiating it from (typically more reserved) business cards. Intended to be distributed among friends, family, teachers, parents of classmates and playmates, babysitters -- these versatile cards are quickly becoming an essential for the 21st century mom.
Savvy mommy cards
Check out our range of quick and affordable business, calling, and "mommy" cards on our website here! Or stop by our shop to take a look at the beautiful paper options available for a more unique custom design -- we can incorporate your business' logo or custom art to achieve a look that is distinctly yours.

Designer's Fine Press letterpress business card


Quote of the Week


New from Tokyo Milk

Check out the newest collection from Tokyo Milk. Mini sets - each contain 3 vials of fragrance to mix, match, layer and inhale!

Everything you want; nothing you'd expect. Two parts irresistible fragrance, one part modern alchemy--wholly alluring.

Your license to be daring, three intriguing fragrances tempt and transform into a tantalizing essence all your own. Explore the fragrant twists, turns as you mix and match. Dare to follow and there is no telling where you might find yourself.

Contains 2 vials each of 3 companion fragrances, perfectly tucking into purse or pocket to sneak a tempting spritz on-the-go.

For example: Here's a tasty delight- "Sugar Bomb", based on the ever popular fragrance "Let Them Eat Cake"... One vial of each of the following:
#113 Vanilla Orchid and Honeyed Cocoa
#114 Tonka Bean and Sweet Amber
#115 Sugared Crème and Fennel

A recipe for infinite layered possibilities!


14 February 2012

Happy 200th B-day Columbus
Happy Valentine's Day 


Artwork by Wendy Small


To Greet or Not to Greet: How to Write a Valentine


More than any other time of year, it is as Valentine's Day nears that we most often hear this question: 

"What does it say on the inside of the card?"

Most often, the answer is "Nothing!" 

Victoria Smith

It seems that many have come to expect (and rely on) an interior greeting in their cards, a message meant to suit a myriad of occasions and relationships.

But -- and I'd love to hear some feedback on this -- isn't the whole point of Valentine's Day (or a birthday, or any other card-worthy occasion) to celebrate your affection for someone you feel lucky to have found? Someone unlike anyone else you've ever met?

A Favorite Design

Though the pure white maw of a blank card may intimidate some, our aim is to provide inspiration -- a beautiful backdrop for the thoughtful expression of unique sentiment toward the one you love.

However, if you're the type to panic when you pick up a pen without a prompt, here are a few quick tips:
  • Have a photo of the recipient at hand. Looking at their smiling face is sure to inspire!
  • Think of songs, movies, books that you both enjoy -- there's plenty of material to mine. 
  • The internet is an eternal spring of inspirational quotes. Beware: it's easy to get lost and mired down in the sheer volume of profundity. I'd steer clear of this method unless there's a passage you have in mind. 
  •  I (almost...) always write out my message on a piece of scrap paper before writing in the card. My apologies to anyone reading who has received a card I wrote without practicing first.... Believe me, the last thing your valentine wants is a card full of spelling errors, mistakes, and awkward, rambling endearments.
Anzu Ltd.
I asked Joan to share some insights on what she looks for when buying cards for the store. She said that she looks for unique art or text on the front of a card, to be used as a jumping-off point. Her advice for a well-written card? "Let the front of the card be the inspiration for your own, handwritten message. The inside of the card is a blank palette to paint your way to communication." Wise words, no?

La Kaligrafica

There is a lot of pressure this time of year to get everything right. To buy the perfect gift, to make the perfect gesture, to buy the perfect card, to say all the right things. I can understand the perception that a ready-made message is a safe bet. But I would argue that it's the card and the thoughtful, handwritten note inside that is the most important gesture. It's your opportunity to take a moment and make this holiday uniquely meaningful to you and your beloved. It's your chance to say "I Love You" like you mean it!

Mr. Boddington's Studio


Quote of the Week


Everyday Magic

A few weeks ago a customer came into the shop looking for sophisticated stationery. This twenty-something gentleman had recently acquired a Parisian pen pal (the stuff dreams are made of!) and was overwhelmed by the task of responding to the beautiful letter he had received par avion.

Without a clue at first as to what he was looking for (but certain that he’d know it when he found it) he wandered the store, occasionally asking for guidance or opinions, or consulting with two friends in tow. Eventually he decided (to our delight and approval) to go with a set of light blue bordered G. Lalo note cards – made in France, natch.

G. Lalo - France

Our young suitor served as an excellent reminder of why stationery goods are so appealing to such a wide variety of people. In an age when computers are so omnipresent we carry them in our pockets -- and even stationery shops have blogs -- stationery is becoming not obsolete, but more precious, more inspiring, and more fun!

The Regional Assembly of Text - Canada

For some, the idea of a “pen pal” is a quaint one, loaded with memories of summer camp or travels abroad. Perhaps a geographic separation from a significant other was eased by the exchange of letters. It’s likely you’ve held on to a few of these missives, the creased pages and scrawled endearments more precious each time you discover them. The feel of the paper transports you to the moment you tore open the envelope and luxuriated in the simple pleasure of holding in your hands a card or letter sheet a loved one so recently selected just for you.

Arpa - Spain

Letter writing is a truly affordable and accessible luxury. Though our customer was initially unaware of the nuances of fine stationery, his instincts and taste brought him to one of the most beautiful offerings we have. The tactile pleasure of holding a beautiful piece of paper requires no training to experience – you simply know it’s the good stuff. The act of sitting quietly, and thoughtfully hand writing has always been an enjoyable pastime, made all the more gratifying for its modern rarity. Once the letter’s signed, folding the sheet and sealing the envelope creates a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. And while writing the recipient’s name and address, your mind can wander, imagining their delight when they see your penmanship.

Albertine Press - Boston, USA

The ritual of exchanging letters dates back thousands of years, but even in these modern times it has a feeling of luxury. Perhaps this can be attributed to the pervasive and wide-ranging means of immediate communication, and the forgotten pleasures of anticipation and intention. Or perhaps it’s the feeling of being tied to a not-so-distant past, when the written word carried more weight.

I have a hunch that it’s the appeal of that everyday magic, that aura of love and history.