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

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.