Thursday, February 25, 2010

First Freebie Friday a Day Early

I am planning on giving away Crane stationery every week, with new offerings every Friday, but tomorrow is shaping up like I may not get my head above water, so let's start today. Plus, I just got through photographing these items for a major lifestyle magazine, so I'm ready to roll.

This week, I have two (2) boxes of the new classic kate postcards, designed by Kate Spade and printed on Crane's 100% cotton paper. Each box contains three (3) each of four (4) designs:



Here are the rules, such as they are. Leave a comment below and you will be entered into a drawing that will be held next Thursday, with the winner to be announced in next Friday's giveaway. And, for you Twitterers out there, follow @craneinsider and retweet the contest announcement to enter.

Good luck!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Butterflies Flutter By on Key West

Every now and again, visitors to Key West need a break from the torrid island place. The best place to do so, while still awake, is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. It is perfectly situated at the southern end of Duval Street to provide respite from all that street has to offer.

I'm pretty sure this will score way down on the Sympathy Scale, but it has been quite chilly during our visit - 50s and 60s - so the Conservancy also offered an opportunity to warm up a bit. Here are a few of the residents of the Conservancy:







Friday, February 12, 2010

The Southernmost Sunset

Sunsets are a big deal down here in The Southernmost. It's not like the sun doesn't set in a few other places, but here it's warm - relatively - and the sun sets over the ocean, which imparts certain unique elements of color and drama.

Last night we wound our way down to Mallory Square, which appears to be Sunset Central in Key West. It was quite a sight to see - and not just the setting sun.


There are street performers of all descriptions, but tossing around lighted sticks seem to be the gig of choice.


The One-Man Band draws an appreciative audience as well.

This is the approved salute by sunset-seekers.


It brings to mind lemmings to the sea, so these convenient barriers are greatly appreciated by many.


Some are ready to sacrifice life and limb for the perfect shot.


And some figure out how to watch in grand style aboard The Southernmost Yacht.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking the Southernmost Vacation

Wendy and I are taking a mid-winter break from the snow and cold and woodstove and - well you get the picture. We've found our way down to Key West to spend time with our great friends Jeff Johnson and Hy Conrad. Jeff runs an ad agency in New York and Hy is a mystery writer, fresh off a seven-year run with Monk.

We were a bit concerned about getting down there, what with the recent weather and all, especially while waiting for our plane to get the heck out of Detroit:

But we managed to get out while the getting was good, arriving in Fort Lauderdale only a few hours late. We pulled up to our destination right about 8 p.m. after starting out at 4 a.m., but this is the sight that greeted us:


After a beautiful dinner and a good night's rest, we set out to get our first taste of Key West. It's different here, in many ways. Lots of fun on our first day:

A much larger-than-life pair of dancers outside the Key West  Museum of Art and History.

 A must-have photo at the end of Route 1.

The Margaret Truman Launderette. Not because she did her laundry here, but because it's at the corner of Margaret and Truman.

Did I mention the pace is a little slower here?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Vintage Film Shows Crane Rag Papermaking in 1926

Quite a while ago, I came across a reel of really old film in a mill basement at Crane. Being the curious type, I wanted desperately to find out what might be shown. And I figured that whatever was on the film was worth preserving. I took it to the photo shop where I had done business (film) for many years and they were kind enough to transfer the film to VHS - oh yeah - cutting edge - that's me.

Little did I know that the advance of technology would be so fast-paced. Last week, I came across the VHS in a box in the archives and figured I needed to get current again. I was able to dust off our old VCR and, after many false starts, bit the bullet and got a machine to convert the tape to 1s and 0s.

So, to make a short story long, I hope you enjoy this film. It's about 10 minutes long. It's a little rough, but heck, it's old. It really is a fascinating look at how rag paper was made in the day at Crane's Bay State Mill. Much has changed in the intervening years, but those of us who know the company well will recognize some machinery that's still being used. In a while, I'll post the rest of the film, which shows paper being made into stationery.

Enjoy, fellow paper-lovers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Brings Us Birthdays to Celebrate in Style

Ever since I was a little kid; well before I really knew anything about Presidents Washington and Lincoln, I gave them high marks for having their birthdays when school was out in February, so we could celebrate them appropriately.

Birthdays should be important to everyone, especially when one considers the alternative. So, to help your February babies celebrate in style, here are some greetings from Crane. You can see a bunch more here.