Archive for the ‘Greeting Cards’ Category

Service of When Little Things for Some are Big to Me

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

I’ve written a few times about how little things mean a lot. This post is an updated version.

I was so happy when a few sprigs I cut from an overgrown geranium took root. Over the years, I’ve found this plant to be persnickety and not easy for me to propagate. I’m always tickled when one of the shoots takes hold.

Friends know how much I love to receive cards—e- or paper–and I am grateful for each one. This year I recently received a Freshcut orchid and a rooster who plays polka on an accordion in addition to a fabulous selection of others.

My heart sank when a clock I’m fond of refused to work in spite of countless batteries I’d install. I brought it to Jennings on First Avenue in my old neighborhood and after a new motor, it’s good as new. So happy to see it back in its place above my kitchen door.

Friends who have a weekend home in Connecticut have brought me fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from a local farm every Sunday for weeks. What a treat!

When I learned that a series I’m attached to—The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix—will have a third season, I was elated, even though I probably won’t see anything until 2025 due to the writer and actor’s strike.

My bathtub drain was clogged. It took the handyman/porter a few minutes to remedy what I feared would make a major mess. It didn’t. Whooo hooo!

What things that may be little to some are big–and meaningful–to you?

Freshcut orchids

Service of Little Things Mean A Lot III

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Farmer’s market summer flowers

The nicest thing about this post is how quickly I whipped together this preliminary list. So many little things bring smiles. The first two columns of this title took place early in the pandemic and covered how friends helped others.

A gift from a friend

Here’s today’s list in no special order as all are equally meaningful:


How are you? Image by ijmaki from Pixabay 

Red velvet cake. Image by MartinL21 from Pixabay
  • I ordered a slice of velvet cake with meringue icing at Amy’s Bread, didn’t finish it at lunch and enjoyed a few bites of the leftover the next two days. The cake was the best of a memorable taste sensation, one I’ve not enjoyed in 10 dogs ages. Sweet!
  • I had a food delivery the other day, something I’d only done once before in three years because I pick up takeout. The doorman, in announcing the delivery on the intercom, asked if it was legit. He said “You don’t often order food deliveries.” You’re thinking: “Big deal.” It is: There are 510 apartments here! I thanked him later telling him I felt his attention to my habits made me feel as though I lived in a building on Fifth Avenue. His smile made me as happy as his oversight.
  • I walk on a cloud if a bus driver sees me running and waits.
  • When out of town friends let me know they’re coming to town its a treat to see them.
  • “How are you?” texts or emails from former Baruch mentees and great nieces are heart-warming.
  • When Friday evening comes and I watch “A Place to Call Home,” an Australian soap, on WLIW at 8 PM, it’s fun. Same with Grantchester on PBS on Sunday at 9 PM.
  • A text from friends from a hospital recovery room to let me know they are OK or an email that a medical checkup went well causes joy.
  • Something that makes me laugh so hard I cry reminds me of times my mother, my husband and I could hardly breath. It still happens with a few friends, when reading a great line in a book, seeing a ridiculous comment on Facebook or when my funny bone reacts to a segment in a movie or TV series.
  • I love receiving a stunning greeting card out of the blue. I enjoy the images for weeks. I display them on a chest in my living room. Photo below.
  • “Whooo hooo” I holler, even after these many years, when I get an editorial placement for a client.
  • When yet another person pays a compliment to me for my Kusama tote bag–last year’s birthday gift from a friend– it’s a hoot. I’ve written previously about this conversation starter. It happened again just last week.
  • A friend from school reached out after decades and decades–a nice surprise.
  • Summer flowers from the farmer’s market are fabulous. Photo top center.
  • A friend found an out-of-print book, unavailable in my public e-book library, with exorbitant price tags on the secondhand market. She gave it to me when we had lunch at Amy’s Bread where I devoured that divine velvet cake. Photo top right.

What little things have made you happy lately?

Surprise card featuring a favorite flower

Service of Ordering Online During a Pandemic

Monday, May 18th, 2020

Chances are you may have ordered something online during the pandemic even if it’s not something you normally do.

Small Business

I wanted a special card to send a college grad and liked one I saw on a Greymount Paper & Press sponsored Facebook ad [photo above]. The well-designed website was promising.

I prefer feeling the paper and ensuring that the printing is crisp, but these days that isn’t in the, uh, cards. I took advantage of a promotion and bought four. They arrived promptly from the artist/owner of the press, Carlene Gleman, along with a professional invoice with a cheery handwritten note on it and two bonus surprise cards.

I dashed off an email to thank Carlene and tell her how much I liked the cards. She responded: “It’s always lovely to meet a fellow quality-aholic. Thank you for your kind words! Customers like you are one of the reasons I get out of bed each morning with a smile. That, and my sweet little family who are currently trapped in the house with me for Week #4,900! Ha. From one upstate New Yorker to a downstate New Yorker, stay safe and be well :-)”

I forwarded this note to a friend who also loves–and sends–the best cards and she said she ordered some from Greymount too. I gave Carlene a heads up, said that my friend had recently been furloughed and she wrote “Thanks for letting me know about ___, I am going to sneak a few extra goodies into her package as a cheer-up.”

Big Business

In contrast, a friend’s experience ordering flowers from 1-800-Flowers on May 4th for delivery Mother’s Day weekend was inexcusable. Not once did the company update her. She had to waste her time tracking them down in countless follow-ups.

The arrangement was meant for her best friend and her friend’s mother, who is deathly ill. Hers was a hard deadline, possibly more imminent than Mother’s Day, which she made clear each time she called customer service as each subsequent promised delivery day came and went. The upshot: In spite of her diligent surveillance the flowers never arrived, the company returned her money and she ordered a bouquet from a local florist. During her last conversation a 1-800-Flowers customer service supervisor told her the delay was because of Covid-19. If a company has no mechanism to update customers and if they cannot fulfill an order they should not accept one.

These examples of a generous small business that nurtures customers and an overwhelmed big business is statistically insignificant. But I wonder if such differences in customer service might augur the future of success of the retail landscape during the pandemic–what do you think?

Service of a Marketing Idea with Legs

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Flamboyant expressions of love associated with Valentine’s Day today were initially ignited by Hallmark which early in the 20th Century was the first to mass-produce Valentine’s cards. Up until then lovers made cards by hand according to Sam Becker in usatoday.com. Other symbols of affection in the day were generally low-key.

Sellers of candy, flowers, perfume and jewelry jumped on the bandwagon and amplified the holiday which ratcheted the expectations of some in relationships. No doubt the pressure to show amour in the appropriate way–$100+ rose bouquets and even engagement rings–when feelings of affection by one of the parties are tepid at best, is the cause of the breakups that happen the week before February 14, more than at any other time of year. [The runners up: the weeks before Christmas according to bustle.com.]

I’ve loved Valentine’s day for as long as I can remember. When I was very young my parents would hide their initials on cards–they were my secret admirers. It was fun to find the RKR and GBR hidden in the illustrations. In the early grades–I went to an all-girls school–we deposited cards in a big box and they’d be distributed by a few of the kids. I still exchange cards with some friends. As fewer people send cards today Hallmark is keeping up its brand’s flame through romantic films on the Hallmark Channel.

Don’t you love the giant red hearts that decorate store and restaurant windows and cheer February’s gloomy gray days? I’m also very fond of the iconic heart shape.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Does a favorite one stand out? What’s the most outrageous example of devotion on February 14 that you’ve ever heard of?

Service of Christmas Card Trends

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

I love receiving greeting cards. Whether for Christmas, Halloween or our birthdays, I display them and enjoy looking at them. This December, as always, we were thrilled to receive some wonderful cards, many with updates and lovely messages.

I noticed a few trends that in some ways reflect society today:

Flat cards

There were more flat cards than previously and while they were nice and waste less paper, they can be harder to display. We also received fewer e-cards than in the past.

Peace and joy was a prominent theme and there were only two religious cards. One stunner–of trees–was handmade and another was of a Christmas scene captured by a talented photographer.  Many are decorative, colorful and cheery.

We received only one what I call “my son is enjoying Harvard; my daughter has a job at Goldman Sachs and we just returned from a whirlwind trip around the world” letters i.e. the typed messages that boast many successes. I suspect that is because most people use Facebook and Instagram throughout the year for that purpose.

Have you noticed a change or trend in this year’s holiday wishes?

Service of Remembering

Monday, August 14th, 2017

I wonder if other people do what I do to remember people who have died.

If I hear a date in the news, it gets me thinking of the past. An example: I read articles and Facebook postings about the full solar eclipse expected in the Continental US on August 21. Each report reminds readers that the last one was in 1979. I immediately think: “What close family members, now dead, were alive 38 years ago and where were they? Did they see it?” It is somehow comforting. [This morning I heard it was 99 years ago. That reference would not have triggered the same reaction!]

I have a pair of my father’s well worn leather gloves on a living room shelf [photo above]. As I pass by I often put my hand on the top glove. It’s reassuring. I noticed that every time my nephew sees his grandfather’s gloves he slips one on.

I sent a thank you card to a friend who told me she put it in a favorite cookbook. I was honored. I mentioned that in a few of my latest moves I’ve had to close my eyes and toss so many things but I’ve kept some greeting cards in the handwriting of loved ones and on occasion, a card will fall out of a book I’ve not read in a long time. It makes me sad in a way but I am happy to have a memento with precious handwriting on it. She said that her cookbooks have many such cards.

In my wallet I carry mass cards of deceased friends and relatives—and I wonder why my handbag is so darned heavy! I come across the cards [photo left] more often than if I’d tuck them away. Years ago I’d put them in a missal that went to church weekly.

There are favorite coffee mugs that people have given me that literally warm me and all over my home gifts are lovely reminders.

How do you remember loved ones? Will anything take the place of printed pieces that are easy to save and don’t take up much room?

 

 

Service of It’s in the Cards

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Ceiling of new subway station near Javits Center--No. 7 extension

Ceiling of new subway station near Javits Center–No. 7 extension

As I left the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center last week I stopped to speak with a guard to ask him whether he was worried about the thousands of wonderfully designed and illustrated cards for sale at a time in which people are writing less and mailing fewer and fewer greetings. I’d counted well over 300 companies in the program’s greeting card category. Some booths exhibited hundreds of options and others about 30. You do the math. 

“I send cards to my grandmother and mother,” he said. “Don’t worry. Lots of people mail cards.” 

I’m still concerned especially for what seemed to be the majority of small booths that sell pricey, letterpress printed missives. I’ve noticed, in NYC at least, fewer shops which offer these cards at costs in the $6-$10/range and increasing numbers of greeting cards at lower price points in drug and grocery stores.

As I’ve written in previous posts, I adore paper—the scent and texture—and I also like to send greeting cards and display those people send to me. [Easter cards still decorate a shelf in my apartment.]

 A few of the things I enjoyed at the stationery show:  

  • The Swedish dishcloths from Three Blue Birds. I first saw this company’s wares last year at a craft show in New Paltz and gave away many as gifts. I spoke with the designer who said it was his first commercial show and he was pleased with the reception to his cloths that are printed in Connecticut.
  • The quilling on cards sold by Massachusetts-based Quilling Card is done in Viet Nam. A quick look at Wikipedia tells us that the art of rolling, gluing and shaping strips of paper at varying widths has been around since the Renaissance at least.
  • I saw the hip, glittery cards, made in NYC by Verrier [photo right], at the show and also for sale at a kiosk in Grand Central Station.
  • Running water made me look at Rite in the Rain out of Tacoma, Wash. A special coating achieves a moisture shield on the paper so you can, as its name implies, write in the rain!  

Should I worry about the stationery business or do you think that there will always be wonderful cards and stationery products and enough people to send them?  Do you have favorite places to buy cards? Do you no longer send them? 

Cursive in Grand Central Station, NYC

Cursive in Grand Central Station, NYC

Service of Birthday Cards

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

I haven’t been to a card shop in a while because I buy a lot of greeting cards at Trader Joe. I like the illustrations of the artists they select, the sentiments as well—many make me smile–and the paper quality is excellent. Further, you can’t beat the price: $.99.

In addition, thanks to a wonderful present from my friend Erica Martell, I have a subscription to jacquielawson.com. These e-cards are fabulous.

On a recent visit to a traditional card shop with a large selection I had to pull out and read too many before finding one I could buy. I was flabbergasted by the number that celebrated how great it is to drink too much on your birthday. Is drunkenness funny? [They were in the “funny card” section.] I mentioned this to colleague David Reich and he observed that eating too much is also touted on cards. Another bunch were written for adult first graders: They peddled scatological noises.

Maybe the cold weather has frozen my sense of humor. I love receiving and giving witty cards. I’ve found some amusing ones at stratospheric prices–$6-$8/each–without a birthday greeting that I have adapted for the purpose. I also use note cards bought at museums, but they aren’t funny, just pretty. The New Yorker cartoon cards, [photo left and below], when you can find them, are super. They are blank inside so like museum note cards, not strictly for birthdays.

None of the birthday cards at the large store evoked even half a ha. Have you noticed this about the current crop of popularly priced choices? Does nobody mail them anymore? I like to display the ones people send me or my husband. They make me happy long after the occasion is over. And you?

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