Friday, April 30, 2010

Your Thoughts Sought on NY Times Article

So as not to influence your thinking on a New York Times Magazine piece, to be published Sunday, here it is without comment. I would love to have your impressions.

America's Game - For the Young and Me!

I love baseball.

Here are my two favorite baseball fans.

Young William Porter Hopkins wants a glove for his birthday. Think he might get one?

And then there's Sophia Louise. melt, melt...

Saying So Long to April with Greetings for May

As noted last week, I got so entranced by the new $100 bill that I completely forgot my Freebie Friday obligations. I'll try to make it up to you as we say goodbye to National Letter Writing Month. Let's greet the month of May with greeting cards. For your consideration, I have a set of 18 greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, and just plain expressions of the heart. All are engraved or letterpressed on Crane's 100% cotton paper.

Here's a sampling:

Leave a comment below and I'll put you in next Friday's drawing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Graduation's a Great Time to Build Your Baby's Brand

This post is for all the Moms out there. Graduation is approaching quickly and you're going to be sending your babies out into the world of college or the world of work. Either way, your babies are going to be very small fish swimming around in a very big pond.

What's a Mom to do? Your babies need to create their own personal brand. They're well on their way, with all your years of nurturing, but there's even more you can do right at this juncture in their lives:

Give them stationery!

What? Yes, you heard correctly, even in this age of e-mail and cell phones and texting. (Here's a thought to ponder. All texting requires is a tool and two opposable thumbs. My, haven't we come a long way in our development?!)

It wasn't that long ago that those who first had a computer, who used e-mail, who bought a cell phone, a PDA or any other piece of technology were the ones who stood out from the crowd. They were admired and respected. They were out in front of the pack. They were the big fish in a small pond.

But the pendulum is swinging. Not backwards, but ahead toward a more civil, respectful and courteous society. Ask yourself this: who will stand out from the crowd; be admired and respected; be remembered most favorably:

The person who sends you a garbled tweet thanking you for that delicious dinner, or the person who sent you a hand-written thank-you note?

The applicant who follows up the job interview with an e-mail, or the applicant who follows up with a hand-written note acknowledging the generosity of time and consideration for the future.

The friend who catches up with you with a "wassup?" text or the friend who writes a note just because "I was thinking about you today."

The young networker who hands you his number on a wet cocktail napkin or the young networker who hands  you her card?

These are the people who will be remembered for their courtesy, respect and civility.

That can be your baby!

Here's a great start to building an esteemed personal brand. Send your little fish into the big pond with personal cards. They say "I have arrived. Here I am!"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grazie, merci, obrigado, danke, gracias

Be grateful in many languages.

No Freebie Friday? Mea Culpa Monday....

I got so wrapped up on the unveiling of the new $100 bill last week that Freebie Friday got right by me. Heck, I even got up close and personal with my new Friend Ben!

So I apologize for the delay in announcing the winner of two boxes of kate spade stationery. Mr. Random drew No. 5, which is commenter Bleubug! Please send me your mailing address at peter dot hopkins at comcast dot net.

I promise to get back on track this coming Friday, so stay tuned.

Hand Papermaking Magazine Auction Under Way

Once again this year, I am very happy to host the Annual Auction to benefit Hand Papermaking Magazine. For those of you not familiar with the publication, it is not to be missed. Anyone with a love of paper should be a subscriber. And for those in the stationery retail business, you might think about offering the magazine to your paper-loving customers.

This year's auction is fabulous, thanks to the generosity of so many friends of Hand Papermaking Magazine. Here are just a few of the items under the gavel until 5 p.m. on May 1:

I encourage you to bid early and bid often!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crankin' Out Franklins

You can view the just-released B-roll from the Bureau of Engraving & Printing right here as they crank out Franklins.

And you can listen to Doug Crane talk about the new $100 and the role the company played in its development here.

Treasury Unveils Design for New $100

The Treasury Department earlier today unveiled the design for the new $100 bill, which will enter circulation on Feb. 10, 2011. The bill, of course, is being printed on paper made by Crane & Co. Here's where you can find out all about the new design and the security features to combat counterfeting.

I issued the following statement from Crane after the official unveiling:

“As the supplier of the paper used to produce the redesigned $100 bill, Crane & Co. worked diligently to provide the Bureau of Engraving & Printing with paper that contains an updated suite of security elements. These features were designed to address the Government’s twin objectives of elevating the security of the world's most recognized banknote, while at the same time enhancing its ease of use – both of which serve to support and extend the public’s confidence in the banknote.” said Douglas Crane, vice president.

“Crane’s Motion micro-optic security technology, in combination with all the other features of the new bill, will present major challenges for potential counterfeiters,” said Crane. Motion technology creates simulated images on the security thread that not only appear to move as the bill is tilted, but also switch from one image to another – from the text “$100” to the Liberty Bell.

“Because Motion is so visually engaging, it will serve to greatly increase public awareness of all the security features of the $100 and will make consumer verification of the authenticity of the bill much easier at the point of transaction,” said Crane.

In addition to Motion, the paper made by Crane contains several other, more traditional anti-counterfeit devices including red and blue scattered fibers, a portrait watermark of Benjamin Franklin, an embedded security thread which can be read using transmitted light and which glows red under UV light, and a series of darker numeral "100" watermarks to the left of the portrait.

“Perhaps most importantly of all, these new security techniques have been added to the paper that retains the important and distinctive feel of United States Currency - an attribute that is often linked to the initial detection of counterfeits,” said Crane. 

The paper for the new $100 bill is being made at Crane’s headquarters in Dalton. Motion and other security devices embedded in the paper itself are manufactured at Crane subsidiaries . 

About Crane & Co., Inc.

Founded in 1801, the company's roots extend to the birth of the nation. It was at Crane's Liberty Mill that paper was made for Paul Revere to engrave colonial currency in 1776. Crane has made the distinctive paper for United States currency since 1879. Crane & Co. has also been the country's leading maker of fine 100 percent cotton stationery for social and business correspondence. Crane’s stationery is sold nationwide through a network of more than 2,000 independent retailers. The company employs 825 people in Berkshire County, and continues to be owned and managed by members of the sixth and seventh generations of the Crane family.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crane Introduces Three STUDIO Artists

Some will recall that back in July of last year, Crane put out a call for artists for its new STUDIO Collection. The program was created to give wings to artists, illustrators and designers to create fresh and sophisticated art for Crane stationery. Submissions were accepted in a wide range of design aesthetics, and the response was phenomenal.

It's time to announce Crane's three first STUDIO designers:

Julia Farill of Atlanta

Christine Ferrante of New York
Peggy Wong of Los Angeles

“We are so pleased to have these incredibly talented designers creating stationery for Crane,” said Gayle Driggers, STUDIO manager at Crane. “We can’t wait to introduce them to our customers.”
And Gayle will be able to do so at the National Stationery Show next month.

Following are brief introductions of the artists and a first look at their creations for STUDIO.

Peggy Wong
Peggy is originally from Hong Kong. After completing her studies in graphic design at the Rochester Institute of Technology, her professional experience focused on design, branding, packaging and art direction. For three years, she served as deputy art director for Martha Stewart. In 2004 Peggy launched studio/pw, an award-winning boutique design studio. Last year she set in motion bluepoolroad, her own stationery line which she describes as a blend of clean and modern typography with classic but unexpected colorways.
For STUDIO, Peggy is creating a letterpress collection – a group of witty thank-you notes, a note set that’s perfect for that “thinking of you” moment, and a multi-color diecut coaster set.
Julia Farill
Julia studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art and earned a degree in landscape architecture from Virginia Tech. Julia started Red Bird Ink, an art and design studio in Atlanta, after she had designed wedding invitations for friends and was asked to do more. At the studio, Julia creates original and limited-edition art using a variety of methods including painting, photography, pen and ink and printmaking. She then applies that artwork to the designs for letterpress stationery, including wedding invitations, boxed stationery sets, greetings and cards.
Julia’s STUDIO collection is modern, fun and graphic – bright red blossom notes with matching red envelopes, as well as a set of contemporary spectacle frames, foil stamped on correspondence cards and printed on sticky pads.

Christine Ferrante

Christine grew up on Long Island before moving to Manhattan. She studied graphic and packaging design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and worked for many years at a New York design studio as a full-time senior designer before she began freelancing. For the past seven years she has turned her creative focus to her own art. She describes her work as simple and intensely personal, often inspired by her travels, which she expresses through various mediums including watercolor, pencil, the computer and collage.

For STUDIO, Christine’s elegant line work is elevated in hand-engraved notes. Her watercolor washes have whimsical thermography accents that are also echoed in her Floral Pad designs.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New $100 Design to be Unveiled Wednesday

Here's a link to the official countdown  and information about the unveiling Wednesday morning. This will be fun to follow on social media. Stay tuned. It's been years in the making.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Freebie Friday Feature: kate spade Boxed Stationery

The weather report is calling for snow this weekend here in Vermont which will call into question the Sunday round of golf and tilling the community and school gardens. Given that dreary outlook, I needed something bright and cheery to ponder in order to elevate the gloomy mood.

First off, Mr. Random reports that the number 3 was generated to select the winner of this past week's pet journal prizes. And number 3 is Little Lamb Design. Please send your shipping information to peter (dot) hopkins (at) comcast (dot) net.

Now my mood is beginning to elevate, so let's get this week's Freebie Friday kicked off with some bright and cheery and springy and summery notes from Crane's kate spade stationery collection.

So, you know the drill by now. Leave a comment below to enter Mr. Random's drawing next Friday. Or follow @craneinsider on Twitter and retweet the Freebie Friday tweet to enter.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shedding Light on Letterpress vs. Letterless

I'm not really trying to start anything, but the light here in Vermont this afternoon is indescribable. I happened to come across a greeting card letterpressed on Crane's Lettra paper lying in that light and rushed to grab the camera. I also happened to come across some marketing copy from an e-card company, saying something to the effect that their product is as tasteful as its "almost obsolete" paper counterpart, with the beauty of traditional paper.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Freebie Friday Goes to the Dogs - and Cats

Well, this is a new one for me. A dog won this past week's Freebie Friday giveaway of all the frog-based stationery. The winner is Moose, who wrote: "Frogs forever! Tail Wags to All!" OK Moose, get your master to send me his shipping address to me at peter (dot) hopkins (at) comcast (dot) net.

So, it's Freebie Friday once again and to honor the occasion of having a dog winning last time, I'm giving away two pet-themed journals - one for dog-lovers and one for (sorry Moose!) cat-lovers.

I opened the journals up a while ago and the feel of the paper inside is spectacular. Upon further inspection, I learned why. The journals are filled with beautiful, white, toothy 24-pound Bond - Crane's Bond.

So, all you animal-lovers who would love to own these journals filled with Bond - Crane's Bond - leave a comment below. And good luck

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Official: Global Warming is Upon Us!

Global warming is much more than "An Inconvenient Truth." It is now a reality - objectively confirmed earlier this week - not by Al Gore nor a bunch of European scientists. And it can not be denied by those who chose to ignore The Truth.

The Truth was proclaimed right here in Vermont at 2:46 Monday afternoon by the world's most respected ice observer - Homer Fitts. That's when the ice went out on Joe's Pond earlier than ever before in recorded history.

For those who don't understand the importance of this event, check out this news report from WCAX just days before the big event.

And remember, you heard it here first.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hand Bordering Demo at National Stationery Show

There are some things I encounter in my job that I never get tired of: rotary boilers, paper machines, sheeters, bales of cotton and flax. But then there are the artisans - borderers, gilders, engravers - with skills honed from one generation to the next, from father to son and from mother to daughter. The personal pride,  attention to detail, and respect for traditional New England craftsmanship are the signatures placed upon every piece of stationery they touch.

Those of you attending the National Stationery Show in New York City in May will have the opportunity to see Crane craftsmanship first-hand.

Two Crane borderers - Deb Larkin and Sally Rice - will make a rare public appearance to demonstrate their craft in the Crane booth. Stop by Sunday and Monday, May 16 and 17, from 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., and on Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m.

I wish I could sell tickets. I'd be able to retire.......

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Spring Salute to Stationery Frogs

We are having the most wonderful stretch of spring weather here in Vermont, and last night, as I was driving home with the window down after a glorious victory in the finals of the dart league (it's all good today!) I could hear the peepers for the first time. Yay Spring! The tiller gets fired up later today.

So, in honor of the arrival of Peepers, I'll put together a collection of stationery frogs for you:

The Brushstroke Animals Leaping Frog

The Paper Collage Frog Printable Cards

And then there's my favorite frog from the Crane Insider Archive: The Cocktail Frog. These imprintable cards measure about 9 inches by 4 inches, so they're perfect for a dinner wine list, menu card, invitation or just as a shopping list for your trip to the liquor store.

If you would like to own this fabulous frog collection, just leave a comment below.

And, the winner of last Freebie Friday's collection of Louie Award finalist stationery is: Brooklynchuck. Chuck, please send me your mailing address at peter dot hopkins at comcast dot net.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Letter Writing and The Ethic of Reciprocity

The straw that broke the camel's back just happened to coincide with the beginning of National Card and Letter Writing Month.

How many times have I seen this lead sentence in a newspaper, magazine or blog:  "I can't remember the last time I got a handwritten letter?"  How many times do these journalists use the above lament to decry The Lost Art of Letter Writing or to pronounce the Demise of the Handwritten Note as if they were Medical Examiners for the written word.

I had to read that sentence once again today.

And every time I read that sentence, I shake my head because they've got it backwards, and if they got it right, there would be no story to follow.

Here's the proper lead sentence:

"I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter!"

I can't imagine why an empty mailbox surprises them. I remember vividly when I was a little kid, I would love to go to the box by the road and bring in the mail. After all, there might be a new Sears catalog in there!

I asked my Mom one day, "How come I never get any mail?"

Mom's answer was simple and to the point: "Because you never write."

So I did. I started scratching out notes in my horrible handwriting that Mom still shakes her head at. Now, I would go to the mailbox twice a day. The first to put the letter in the box and raise the flag, and later I would go to get today's mail.

And lo and behold, the letters started to arrive!

Even as a little kid, I learned pretty quickly about cause and effect and what I would come to know as "The Ethic of Reciprocity." If I write letters, I will receive letters.

Here's another version of The Ethic of Reciprocity:  "Treat others as you would like to be treated."

Has a familiar "golden" ring to it, yes?

So, if you find yourself beginning to say "I can't remember the last time I...." think about it a second. Then sit down with some paper, a pen and a stamp and see what happens.