Tag Archives: Jenni David

Just Send It

Last summer, while away on a family vacation, I received a difficult phone call from my dear friend, Ron. He had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. My first reaction, aside from “OH SHIT, you can’t leave this world!”, was how soon can I mail a card to him back home. Unfortunately, I had some practice writing  get well cards over the past few years to friends and family. But as I saw through my mother’s partner, David, who received letters while battling melanoma, handwritten letters make a difference. They really do.

Since our small beach town in Oregon only carried a small selection of encouragement cards and were not totally my style, I decided to roll with the situation and buy the most sappy, Deep Thoughts by Jack Handeyesque cards I could find. It became our theme to send Ron extremely  syrupy, footprints-in-the-sand kind of greeting cards (he’s still talking to me so something must have worked!).

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Thankfully, more greeting card designers are creating cards which simply state how we feel, the Queen Bee these days being Emily McDowell. Her booth at the National Stationery Show is always packed with buyers and it’s easy to see why. Emily’s empathy cards speak the truth in a humorous yet thoughtful way!

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After her experience (and triumph!) with cancer as well as connecting with people who have lost loved ones, Emily understands first-hand what it’s like to be on the other side.  The emotional impact of the experience was her inspiration to create cards she would have liked to receive while she was ill.

Indeed, it’s a fine balance, how direct are you with those you feel empathy towards? This quote from Dr.Brene Brown sums it up well, “Empathy is a choice and it’s a venerable choice because in order to connect with you I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. Rarely, if ever, does an empathic response begin with at least...we are trying to put the silver lining around it.” And what are these words to use if not found in the perfect card?

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TOO SEXY from Patterson Paper

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Throat Punch Cancer from Black Lab Studio

Years ago an article in the NY Times made it a bit more clear as far as the Do’s and Don’ts of communication to those ill. Words which are direct and have feeling appear the most powerful. “I’m sorry you have to go through this.” “I hate to see you suffer.” “You meant a lot to me.” These statement plus keeping it light with a little juicy gossip, (a Hollywood star scandal, the school Principal’s dating life, etc.), can be the key in getting through the next round of chemo.

This is what I believe to be true. Show up, be real, be encouraging. Look for online support if the what’s and how’s don’t come naturally to you (my good friend recently kicked off Cancer Doula blog after losing her best friend to breast cancer and was unable to find support which spoke to her!). Do not hold back mailing a card if you don’t have the perfect words or perfect card. Your loved one will be overjoyed knowing you are with them in mind and spirit – And they are not alone.

Open for Business

After much anticipation, sweat, tears, excitement, learning curves, and a good knock of pneumonia over the past week, we are thrilled to announce that the Brown Ink Paper Goods online boutique is now open for business!!! It’s true.

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Before I let you go and begin your pre-holiday shopping (ha!), thanks needs to be given.

From the beginning, we met many people supporting the idea of an online store, but no one more than our friend Jenni David. Her suggestions of a Creative Juicing Session (what%&!$?) and a UX Experience (User Experience), although foreign to me, were beyond helpful. Louisa Podlich, the fabulous photographer and also founder of the unique A MANO, created the beautiful product images. Kate Arends, from the well-loved Wit & Delight, was the incredible force behind the rebranding of Brown Ink. Eric Price from The Walker Art Center was our brilliant creative graphic designer. We turned to the talented duo, Scott Anderson and Jeremy Ward, at Room 34 to develop both the new look of the site last spring and most recently the store. When in need of last minute help, our friend and web designer, Heather Musil, from Little Bird Design was there in a moment’s notice. And applause to dear Sarah Hrudka for being an ever present force and guidance through many vital decisions. These people were also vital in our understanding of how to run an online business. Thank you, friends, for your time and talent. And also cheers to our sweet community of folks who tested the site before it went public and gave invaluable feedback!

I also need to personally thank my dear husband, Nick, for believing in my dream to sell paper goods. He’s one amazing guy.

Now off you go to explore the Brown Ink Paper Goods store.  We’d love to hear any comments and thoughts you’d like to share. And if you are all smiles, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our blog.

if it’s there, use it

These days, in the midst of our highly digital world, you might assume most well-to-do establishments place their resources on state-of-the-art technology. While this may be the case at times, many still stay true to the old-fashioned paper.

Our numero uno brown ink fan, Jenni David, continuously supplies me with paper goodies she brings home after her trips around the globe. This last round it was a cool postcard from BookMarc, the Mark Jacobs bookstore and a notebook from The Mill where she was editing a spot.

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I’ve also received a handful of stationery from fab hotels, from New York City to Santiago.

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JenniINTL Whenever on the road (which is rare these days) I search for boutiques which sell their own line of paper products. The one below came back from our weekend in Palm Springs last Fall, visiting the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Not only is the notepad a handsome “field note” style, and moleskin made, but it always reminds me of my carefree state-of-mind when I glance at the cover.

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Locally, institutions such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art, are smart with giveaways. Last year we helped host an event and came home with a sturdy, spiral notebook. Aside from the quality, it’s a Thank You gift I will actually use. Double bonus.

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Now that Nick is not currently traveling for work there is a bit of a lull when it comes to hotel stationery. Thankfully I have stored up! Ha. But it’s something I hope hotels, art institutes, cool boutiques and not-so-trendy boutiques keep up with – free stationery or inexpensive paper goods in their stores. Every time I travel I seem to have a reason to write a letter using the hotel stationery. And my need for notebooks only grows over time. I’m also pretty certain if the Chicago hotel where the boys camped out this past week had not supplied stationery, Emmett might not have written this note while on vacation, away from his sister.

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(Not even prompted! I’m just saying.)

A Year to Remember

2012 has gone by in a blink for our family as well as for brown ink. Although it felt brief, it was a memorable one. We thought we’d mention a few highlights which will stay with us throughout the coming year.

Food seems like a good place to start. As soon as we mention handwritten recipes on our blog, we receive loads of homemade treats.

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Instagram made out-of-town Birthday Wishes that much easier!! (even written ones)

 

We cheered for the noticeable trends in favor of writing. Obviously when Gwyneth starts featuring journals (this one designed with help from iomoi) on her blog, handwriting has got to be up there on the “It  List”, right?

Even clothing designers began partnering with stationery lines such as the relationship between Club Monaco and Terrapin Stationery. Way to jump on the stationery train you trendy folks you.

Many images will stick in our minds as meaningful this year. One came from our friend Alecia, whose niece was battling cancer.

Phoebe sent this hand made card out to friends, thankful for the support. Truly an inspiration.

Speaking of Alecia, brown ink had the gift of featuring guest bloggers this past year including Alecia, Jenni and Lisa. Their outlooks on handwriting, stationery and to-do lists were brilliant. Thanks again ladies!

We also appreciated friends sharing their brown ink moments during the year. Our friend Jill came back from a visit to her parents home in Washington with these images…

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The mailbox is perched up on a little hill, perfect for curious minds to check on mail delivery. How magical!

IMG_0910From sticky summer handwritten popsicle stand signs to…

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letterpress wedding invitations,

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and the first time Baby Beatrice’s name was seen on paper,

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And much to look forward to in 2013. Here’s hoping the written word will continue to stay present in your daily lives. Now on to my first entry in the 5 Year Journal.

One last image to take away with you from this year, and it comes from outside the world of writing. Aside from the oft-played Portland Proposal in our home office, this video from Olafur Arnalds Haegt reminds us to continue to find the light in the darkest of times. There is so much more to discover in the coming year.