Monthly Archives: September 2014

End to Summer

As Back-to-School sales are finally behind us and we find ourselves digging up the last veggies from the garden and pulling out sweaters hidden in the closet, there’s one item which needs a bit of attention before the Fall Equinox arrives next Tuesday…the end of Summer Thank You note. Pardon? You’ve never heard of such a thing? Oh, it’s real alright. And awaiting your attention.

Cut back to Labor Day weekend, I found myself thinking of all the people who influence our lives in the Summer months…the family friend who provided a connection to a unique internship, the neighbor who hired your son to mow her lawn, the CSA farmer who delivered your weekly box of goodness, the grandparent or nanny who took great care of your children with loving care. These individuals need to be reminded of one’s gratitude for their actions.

About this time I happened to run into my friend Donna Erickson and she was curious how I go about inspiring my kids to express thanks to their grandparents for the all the sleepovers, park dates, ice cream making, and other adventures which unfold over the Summer months.

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We soon started sharing ideas which lead to her lovely article in Sunday’s Pioneer Press (see entire article on her FB page) with tips for both Pre-School and grade school children on what and how to write, using images, stamps, photographs…the options are endless. Make it simple with a Thank You stamp pad for the younger kids or find pictures in a magazine which represent Summer memories.

Many-Thanks-Stamp-Set_01_massiveIn the end, whatever you write or create will be appreciated, especially when the recipient may not be expecting such a note in the mailbox. Be it adults or children, keeping the Thank You note alive has value. It’s the time, the action and the thought which go into, as Donna mentioned, two small and simple words; thank you.

    Wedding Cheers!

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    I love late Summer weddings. After just returning from a knock-out family wedding in Durango, Colorado this past weekend, (i.e. tailgating pre-wedding service, the most unforgettable flower girls and pooch ring bearer, fireworks, roasted s’mores for dessert!), I’ve had weddings on my mind and all the surrounding details, from beginning to end. So grab a pen and paper, you bride and groom to-be, and get ready to take some most likely needed notes!

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    We all know the weeks and months leading up to the Big Day are often filled with many ‘things-to-do’ lists, including mailing off the save-the-date, wedding invitations and RSVPs…

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    Alice & Max Save the Date

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    Tyler and Eddie Wedding Invitation by Workhorse Printmakers

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    Botanical Vintage Roses Wedding Invitation and RSVP from Citrus Press

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    The international master of calligraphy and fine stationery, Bernard Maisner (the Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings, Darcy Miller, used Maisner for her wedding invitations).

    …The rush of the event keeps the bride and groom rolling full steam, but often the arrival of the dreaded Thank You note can kill the fire. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Keep it simple with the following suggestions, with help from our friend Peggy Post, great granddaughter to the Queen Bee of etiquette.

    1. Every gift or act of kindness deserves a handwritten card, no exceptions. This list should include people who give money, your attendants, friends and family who entertain for you or house your guests, vendors who go out of their way to make your wedding memorable, and even Uncle Tom who will supervise the parking at your reception. These individuals matter.

    2. Respond in a timely fashion. Ms. Post feels ideally you write the note on the day you receive the gift. Possibly set a goal to write three or four notes a day. Do remember, the accepted standard is to write and send a card within three months of receiving a gift. But don’t make yourself crazy with the thought of writing each day especially leading up to the wedding!

    3. Share the responsibility. We live in a modern society so why not work as a team to write these notes together. Open a bottle of good wine, light candles, play music, laugh about moments from the wedding. And be sure to include a signature from both individuals.

    4. No shortcuts. Signing a store bought card or writing the same message to everyone does not cut it. The notes people remember are the one which express your heartfelt feelings. Be thoughtful and considerate. Tip: look at the gift when you are writing the letter for inspiration.

    5. Be sure to pick up some kind of return address stamp to move the addressing along.

    6. And a little additional suggestion from Mrs. Brown here, keep your Thank You list and notes in one location, maybe even a basket or bag with pockets for pens, stamps and cards. This way you can write on the fly. Stop at a coffee shop with your spouse before work, sit at picnic table at a favorite park or plant yourselves at a location meaningful to you both.

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    Wedding Paper Divas

    Bottom line, especially in this day and age, a handwritten Thank You remains the gold standard of courtesy. Express your words and emotion on paper. There is simply no other way. Now briefly on to the cards themselves…

    When were married, we simply ordered plain Thank You notecards (with a touch of the wedgewood blue from our wedding theme, wowza were we into details) through the old Dayton’s (cue to weep!). But nowadays there are many options.

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    Polaroid Photo Wedding Thank You postcard from Marty McColgan.

    Although Peggy Post believes one should not include a wedding photo or photo card, if this will delay sending notes, I tend to disagree. I feel people enjoy a reminder of the day through an image. I’m especially fond of the greeting cards from Prinstagram. With the ease of using your Instagram account and the high quality card stock and envelopes, it’s a done deal.

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    My friends Beth and James are considering the above photo to use for their Thank You notes thru Prinstagram. It captures a blip of a moment which most guests didn’t catch yet holds the energy of the evening and the sweetness of the couple. Be authentic. Be you.

      Signed, Stamped, Delivered

      If memory serves me right, after closing on our first home together 13 years ago I drove straight from the realtor’s office to a local stationery shop to place an order for an address stamp. Oh yes, I was that excited to own a personalized address stamp. Custom stamps make an impression. They provide a little hint of your personality, lend a hand with Holiday cards, and also shows You Mean Business as a letter writer.

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      Over time, though, I fell for the old school stamp with the traditional quality-cut red rubber, oil-rubbed maple hardwood body, and tumble painted red handle, allowing the sender to select their own ink color depending on the letter. Fawsnberg’s custom stamps checks off all these boxes. This sister team, based in upper state New York, design their stamps with a classic yet fresh approach using the local amish to mill their wood.  And fortunately for all of us, several custom stamps were recently added to the Brown Ink Paper Goods shop!

      Stampbox

      What a thoughtful gift for a friend’s new home office, Thank You’s or Save the Dates for the bride and groom, house warming gift, or simply for sending holiday and everyday cards. It’s also the perfect time to gift a college student heading off to school or a recent graduate settling into their new home. Custom stamps also arrive in a gorgeous gift box.

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      Put a bit of love into your letter with a custom stamp. It honors both you and the correspondence.