Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Because You Care: The Art of Writing Letters in 5 Simple Steps

feather quill pen

As the world we live in becomes more dependent on technology, writing snail mail letters to correspond is becoming a forgotten art form. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service's annual survey shows that the average home only received a personal letter once every seven weeks or so in 2010, a dramatic decrease from once every two weeks back in 1987.

So to bring back the beautiful art of letter writing, here are some quick and simple tips on how to write the perfect letter. Whether you're writing to say thank you, happy birthday, or just because, here's how to write a meaningful personal letter the recipient will truly cherish.

Why is it so important to write THIS letter?

Instead of sending a quick text message or voice mail, a handwritten letter shows that you took the time and effort to reach out. So, ask yourself, why is it so important to send this message on stationary? The medium matters as much as the message, and getting a handwritten letter is a great way to make someone feel recognized and loved.

Before you start writing, take a moment to reflect on exactly what you want the other person to feel when they read your message.

Pick the right time

It is always appropriate to write a handwritten letter, whether it is for an invitation, a congratulations, or a thank you card. However, timing matters when it comes to correspondence. Factor in at least five days for delivery, otherwise your message might come too late.

Have the right accessories

Just because you have a laptop and keyboard at hand doesn't mean you should sit down on your computer to write! Instead, go the old fashioned route and invest in book embossers, feather quill pens, scroll paper, and sealing wax sticks. Having all these accessories will make letter writing that much more enjoyable, while giving an authentic look to your letters.

Quality over quantity

Remember, it is not what you say but how you say it. The best writers understand that great writing is all about concision. Your message doesn't have to be long and fill up the page, it simply has to be meaningful and come from the heart. There should not be any flowery phrases or flourishes to take up space; keeping it short and sweet will have much more of an impact.

Don't procrastinate when it comes to writing

We all have messages and letters we've been meaning to write for ages, yet never seem to actually finish. Simply put it on your calendar or make a special note and reminder to set aside a time to do it. All you'll need is your feather quill pen, a half an hour, and you will be set for success.

With these tips in mind, you have all you need to master the lost art of letter writing.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Four Reasons To Teach Yourself Handlettering

If you've scrolled through your Instagram feed lately, you've likely seen some photos and videos of beautiful hand lettering and calligraphy. Not only are these videos impressive, but many people find them soothing. There's something about the sound of feather quill pens scraping against parchment scroll paper that appeals to people.

While these videos are surely impressive, there's nothing that keeps you from trying handlettering yourself. Many of these people are self-taught. With just a bit of practice, you may find yourself with a new skill or hobby -- one you could even put to use this holiday season.

Here are four reasons to teach yourself handlettering:

Personal Development
As humans, we are hardwired to enjoy learning and problem solving. Handwriting and calligraphy are mentally stimulating for some people. Even if you don't think of yourself as the creative type, calligraphy is a perfect way to nurture your creative skills using templates and guides.

Craft Handmade Gifts for Your Friends and Family
Homemade gifts always mean a lot to the recipient. Imagine the look on your loved one's face when they receive a card or poster that you've created using your new skill. It's likely that they'll be inclined to keep the gift for a long time, and even put it on display. You can even use your own handwriting as a template to have a three-letter monogram embroidered on an article of clothing, luggage, or towel.

Decorate for Formal Events
From invitations and place cards, to thank you notes and holiday letters, handwritten pieces are much more personal and can look amazing if done well. If you're planning a holiday party this season, or even a wedding, banquet, or other event in the future, you can use your newfound calligraphy skills to create personalized, intricate designs to wow the guests.

For Relaxation
Yes, even though the handlettering phenomenon has proven to be relaxing for viewers, it can also be soothing for the artist. If you find drawing or coloring a soothing activity, you may want to try your hand at calligraphy. Try writing inspirational messages to yourself. Display them around your work space or work on them until you've perfected the craft. All you need to do so is some ink and quills and a piece of thick paper.

For the holidays, it may be worth putting scroll invitation paper and a feather quill pen on your wish list. To make your loved one's job easier, send them to Nostalgic Impressions.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Brief History of the Wax Seal

Wax seals are much more than decorative accents for wedding or birthday invitations -- at least they were in the middle ages. Before that awful-tasting glue used on modern envelopes, candle-like sealing wax sticks were melted to the flap of an envelope and pressed with a custom wax seal to both reinforce the seal and identify who the sender was.

Even before the introduction of the wax seal and the use of parchment paper, customized stamps were used all over the world in ancient civilizations. In Mesopotamia, impressionable stamps were used on clay tablets as a type of signature to authenticate the script.

Once scroll paper, feather quill pens, and ink became more widely used, document and letter writing became more popular. It was then that custom wax seals became the preferred method of envelope sealing and authentication.

At first, seals were strictly used by monarchs, bishops, and royal courts, but they eventually spread to the common people. During this time, the majority of people could neither read nor write, so these symbols became much more useful in distinguishing who the sender was than a signature or title would be.

Individuals would have their own unique seals made from metal or stone and crafted into stamps or even rings.

The seals intended to keep the contents of an envelope safe from prying eyes; if the seal was broken, the recipient would know someone was reading their mail. But the wax seal itself was significant. Custom wax seals often bore the initials or monogram of the sender. Sometimes, the seal depicted the sender's family crest or another recognizable image. The seal was applied as a form of validity.

A butcher, for example, might have a cow on his seal, while a baker's seal may bear a bread design. Individuals would often have a monogram seal. Hundreds of years B.C., monograms were used as simple signatures to authenticate a document. Each initial of the individual's name of business would overlap. Traditionally, the initials of a person's first and middle names were located to either side of a larger letter -- the initial of the person's surname.

Sometimes the seal would be applied directly to the parchment, but in most cases it would be attached with ribbon or twine and hang as a pendant from the bottom of the document.

Today, these seals provide a rustic touch to an otherwise average invitation or letter.

Order your own custom seal through Nostalgic Impressions to make each of your letters a little more special and distinguished.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

4 Simple Gifts for Harry Potter Fans

With the holiday season looming before us, 'tis the season for gift shopping. While the Harry Potter series has ended, the craze still continues among hardcore Harry Potter fans. With a new film that takes place in the American wizarding world 70 years before Harry's time, as well as a play that hit British theatres this past summer, the world J.K. Rowling created is very much alive and well.

Need Gift Ideas for Harry Potter Fans?
It's likely that you're struggling to find a gift for the person who has everything Harry Potter-related already. If they have every book, the film adaptations, and perhaps even a wand, you may feel out of gift ideas. Not to worry, though. There are much simpler gifts to give that will make your favorite Harry Potter fan feel like a student at Hogwarts.

A  Wax Seal Stamp with Sealing Wax.
Licking envelopes closed is for Muggles. Gift a set of sealing wax sticks and a  wax seal stamp so the recipient can write to their friends as they patiently await their Hogwarts acceptance letter.
You can even customize a stamp with chosen symbol as well as a name or Initials..

A feather quill pen
Surprisingly, a 2012 study found that only one in three survey respondents were required to produce writing by hand within the past year and a half. In Hogwarts, however, there were no computers or typewriters -- those Muggle creations don't work around magic. Allow them to practice their handwriting skills with a quill pen and ink.

Scroll paper
Scroll paper, or parchment, is the proper material to write on using a quill, and it's the only way to send a letter by owl. This type of paper does not bleed through as easily and has a more coarse feel than that of notebook or printer paper.

A feather pen set
Go all out and gift your favorite Potterhead a box set that includes everything above and more! Even though Harry Potter took place in the 1990s, the wizarding world enjoyed a more vintage lifestyle.

Even for people who are not fans of the series, a feather pen set is a great gift for an aspiring calligrapher. Armed with a quill, ink, parchment, and seals, the recipient is ready to write the most beautiful handwritten letters.

While it's no invisibility cloak, a feather pen set from Nostalgic Impressions is sure to please any true Potter fan.

Friday, December 30, 2016

5 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Vintage Enthusiasts

vintage office accessories
Some gifts just never go out of style. For vintage lovers, even more unconventional pieces can make amazing gifts this holiday season. If you have an old-school soul on your shopping list this year and are at a total loss, consider some of these fun and unique vintage gift ideas:
  1. Record Player
    Vinyl is back in a big way. Many music lovers are returning to the sounds of yesteryear and purchasing record players and portable turntables. Some people swear that vinyl sounds better than today's digital music, so why not give the gift of music this holiday season? A record player can help any room feel a bit more refined and give off a retro vibe. Who knows, you may spark the recipient to start a vinyl collection as well.
  2. Vintage Office Accessories
    There's no better way to throw it back to the 1960s "Mad Men" era than vintage office accessories like specialty pens, custom logo embossers, and personal library stamps. While we don't receive them regularly, letters are still in circulation. In fact, 141 billion letters were mailed in 2014 alone. With these vintage desk accessories, maybe you'll find yourself getting a handwritten thank you note this year.
  3. A Pair of Mary Janes
    Whether heeled or flat, Mary Janes are very retro, but still super stylish and classic. Paired with a skater skirt or a dress, these shoes are sure to make a statement and reel in a few compliments.
  4. A Polaroid Camera
    While most of us are using our phones to capture photos these days, and there are filters that make these photos look like a Polaroid, there's something special about being able to hold a tangible photo instantly. If you can get your hands on an old Polaroid camera and film, you're sure to make any retro-enthusiast's day. You'll have a blast taking photos and making memories throughout your holiday celebration. Plus, you can find modern versions of these classic Polaroid cameras, one of the hottest Christmas gifts of 2016.
  5. Jewelry and Accessories
    Specialty boutiques carry vintage-inspired accessories like collar clips, berets, pendants, and more. Talk to a shop that exclusively carries these types of items and don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation. You never know what you might find if you just ask!
At Nostalgic Impressions, we carry a wide variety of vintage office accessories ranging from feather quill pens to custom embossers. Why not help someone give their office a retro flair this holiday season? Check out our online store today!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas Party With These 6 Tips

`Tis the season for family, fun, and holiday cheer to fill the air. If you're planning to host a Christmas celebration this year, then you certainly want to keep the mood merry and bright. To plan the most welcoming Christmas party ever, follow these six tips.
  1. Plan a seasonal spread. The holidays give many people the excuse to indulge before their New Year's resolutions begin. Don't be afraid to cook a special meal with all the trimmings. Turkey or duck are usually good choices for large groups of people. Snacks are also very important, especially if alcohol is served. A cheese plate with a number of favorites like extra sharp cheddar and brie is a great idea and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. If you're up to the challenge, prepare some seasonal cocktails or pair wine with your dinner selections.
  2. Decorate, decorate, then decorate some more. This is your chance to turn your home or apartment into a winter wonderland. Don't skimp out on lights, tablecloths, and a well-lit tree. Break out your best dinnerware to display your festive spread and make your guests feel especially welcomed.
  3. Plan activities. While it's almost sure that your guests will enjoy food, drink, and conversation, it wouldn't hurt to plan some party games or activities. A secret Santa or other gift exchange is seasonal and appropriate as long as you have a spending limit.
  4. Play a game of holiday-themed pictionary or charades. Don't forget to have your camera on hand. You'll be sure to want to save these moments as memories for years to come.
  5. Keep the Scrooges off the guest list. There is no need for them at your party. Don't feel bad about excluding friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors if you know that they will sour the mood. You want the party to be exclaiming with cheer. There is no room for "bah humbugs."
  6. Write vintage invitations. Use scroll invitation paper instead of sending everyone a Facebook message. Scroll invitation paper is much more personal. If you handwrite the invitation using a feather quill pen, your invitation will seem even more authentic.
Better yet, seal the envelope shut with sealing wax sticks and a custom wax seal. Light the stick and hold it at a 45 degree angle to allow the wax to drip before sealing. At Nostalgic Impressions, we have a number of festive seals and vintage writing materials to make your holiday invitations stand out from the rest.