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Merry Merry

BY jane, ON Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

There are grand trees.

Small trees.

Trees up high.

There’s The Tree.

But no tree is as fine as the tree in your own home with family and friends gathered near!

Merry Christmas from The Delicate Pen!


BY jane, ON Friday, December 23, 2011

You know we love paper here at The Delicate Studio,  so imagine my delight when spying Bergdorf’s window devoted to a theme of paper! The holiday windows at Bergdorf’s are never to be missed and this year was no exception.  The windows paid homage to different mediums such as shells, wood, brass and yes our favorite paper!

This window was entitled “Teacher’s Pets.  Snappy dressed teacher, don’t you think? Her pets were all ingeniously crafted from paper- a large zebra, ostrich, peacock, skunk, spiders, all made of paper!

My favorite, a porcupine. Love all the lettering lying about too!

A honey comb and seahorses.

A hare’s ears and a rooster’s feathers….also made of paper!

Giving Back

BY jane, ON Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Delicate Pen helps supports an organization called Kageno, which means A Place of Hope. The mission of Kageno, founded and directed by my good friend, Dr. Frank Andolino, is this:

“Kageno’s mission is to transform impoverished communities into places of opportunity and hope – through the development of self-sustaining community directed programs in education, health, ventures, and environment. We believe it is essential to sustainable development to work with the community rather than giving simple aid or handouts.”

A few weeks ago,  Kageno produced their annual fundraising Harambee. The Delicate Pen donated menus, place cards and table numbers for the event.

I assisted with the Needs Tree.  I signed up as soon as I knew there were paper tags involved! Our tree raised over $1600, with special thanks to Sally Bruns and Romy Chenet, for assisting me.  Our needs included school supplies, fruit trees and medical supplies and staff.

Here are Kate Spade and her daughter Bea perusing the auction items which included trips, art, spa packages, two items from The Delicate Pen and a chic bag from my friend, Amanda Pearl, (Incidentally, Amanda is having a sale right now!)

The Young People’s Chorus provided the entertainment and the evening was a success.

Photos:  Will Ragozzino © 2011

Gift Idea

BY jane, ON Saturday, December 17, 2011

I recently had the great pleasure of  being the on site calligrapher for several events for Tequila Don Julio, under the parent company of Diageo.  Since I work solo much of the time, it is wild fun to be injected into a corporate setting every now and then. At several Holiday Happy Hours, I was on site for the purpose of hand lettering gift tags for an extremely elegant bottle of 1942 which has been aged for 2.5 years. The packaging of this deluxe gift item is exquisite, so I was honored to have my hand lettered gift tag considered a necessary addition to an already debonair presentation.

The shape of the tag mirrors the design of the sleek bottle of 1942. A beautiful hand lettered gift tag will always add something special and personal to any gift.

Me and the lovely Zey Halici, from MKTG, who organized the events.

The circular lobby wall of Diageo Corporate Headquarters in Norwalk, CT, where one of the events was held, reads,

“Celebrating life, every day, everywhere responsibly.”

Operation Santa Claus

BY jane, ON Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I always love an excuse to visit our main post office, the James A. Farley branch in NYC. This is the only branch in the city that will hand cancel letters and invitations, so I frequent it often.  Just running up the stairs to get inside, makes me feel like Rocky.

Photo: Via Wikipedia

The first thing I usually do, once inside, is look UP!

Then, I take a quick look at all the postal artifacts like this bike from the 1940’s.

Then, I admire the dozens of green banker’s lights at the marble writing tables.

But, what does this have to do with Santa, you ask?  Well, on my way to hand cancel my letters,  I saw THIS!

Operation Santa Claus?!?!  What is that? Then I see THIS!

Santa’s Letters? How is it that me, a supporter of Snail Mail (aka Chiocciola Posta), does not know about Operation Santa Claus?

S0, I had a long conversation with the Head Elf at Operation Santa Claus and this is the story! You can imagine how many thousands of letters the post office gets addressed to Santa. (500,000 in NYC.) Mail without complete a address normally gets returned to sender with the message “Undeliverable as addressed”.  But if those letters are addressed to Santa, they are not returned, for obvious reasons. So in that case, the letters would normally become……I almost can’t say it…….”Dead Mail.” You can imagine what happens in the Dead Mail bin. (Shudder.) Well, starting in the 1920’s, postal workers began answering the letters and sending presents to the children, so that they would receive a gift!  Since then it has turned into a huge operation.

This is how it works. You  show ID and fill out papers, so volunteers can verify that you are a good elf. Then you receive 10 letters from children to review. You can either select one or more from that pile, or ask over and over for 10 more until you find a letter that speaks to your heart. That letter has a code number. You register your number with a postal volunteer. Then you purchase something for that child and return to the post office to present what you will be shipping.Your gift gets boxed up and then you and your package go to the sales clerk where you pay for the shipping. The return address says Operation Santa plus the code number from the letter. The “to” area remains blank and is filled in by the post office for privacy reasons. Postal workers volunteer before or after regular shifts to pull off this operation. Here is a link that explains everything quite well.

I asked the Head Elf, “How do you know the neediest children are receiving the gifts?” His reply was that although volunteers try to determine children of need, Santa does not discriminate. Letters are screened for duplicates and fakes, which they can easily spot, but all children are treated alike. He said even the wealthiest children write to Santa. He also cautioned against assuming someone wasn’t deserving if they asked for a boat or Rolex, explaining that a child asking for expensive items might actually be someone in a homeless shelter in need of socks or a coat. There are post offices in 75 cities participating in Operation Santa Claus. From Cincinnati, Chicago, and D.C., to Austin, Naples and Savannah. You can find a list of post offices here. If your post office isn’t participating, you can also donate to the cause. Reading the actual letters is the best part of the entire experience, however. Some cities simply do not have necessary staff to successfully manage the operation. New York City has the largest program.  Check the list and see if your city participates.  Operation Santa Claus….here we come! We need to ship this week though in order for packages to arrive in time!

Chiocciola Posta Holiday Cards

BY jane, ON Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In case you are new to Chiocciola Posta you will have to catch up in the old posts listed in the Categories over there.  In a nutshell, I coined the phrase as a fun way to say Snail Mail, but in Italian, because it just rolls off the tongue so nicely.  I listed 10 reasons to send Chiocciola Posta Holiday Cards on our Facebook page.  I discovered my first Holiday Card in my mail slot yesterday and it made me smile.  I always appreciate any greeting, no matter the method of sending, but when I see a person’s handwriting on the envelope, it just gives my heart a little glow.  No one has captured the joy of sending Snail Mail on film better than Jamie Beck of From Me to You.  Here are some of her images:

Can you eek out an afternoon, with cocoa nearby, to pen just one personal line in each greeting? “It was lovely to see you last week!”  or “I hope you are making those fabulous toffee bars this year!” or “Enjoy your first Christmas together!”

Come on! Putting on the stamps is fun! Plus, we have to do our part to keep the postal system afloat!

Just paint your nails red and off to the post office you go!

There’s plenty more images to see over at Jamie’s blog including the best one of slipping the cards in the post office box. I can just hear that celebratory CLANG! as the lid snaps shut! It is as satisfying as a piece of extra dark chocolate at four in the afternoon.

Photos: Copyrighted by Jamie Beck.

And the Winners Are!

BY jane, ON

If you think you saw the winners listed here one day, and then the next they were gone along with another posting,  you are correct! We had a little glitch on the website and the only way to resolve it was to restore to a back up from a few days ago.  So here we go again!

Little did we know that the evening we decided to choose winners, it was Winter’s Eve in the Lincoln Center area just near our studio.  How serendipitous to make our drawing seem even more festive.  We closed up shop and partook of the festivities.  There were strolling bands, food tastings from all the nearby fine restaurants,  stilt walkers,  ice carvers, and music events at every school, even in bank lobbies.  The local PBS station opened the studio for tours,  the museums had free admission and opera music filled Lincoln Square.  Then at 9 pm sharp (We waited until then so the west coast would have a full day to enter) we dipped three separate times into a glass jar, where we had penned each entry.  Drum roll….the winner of the thank you notes is Don M!  The winner of the crystal box is Kumi! The winner of the custom quote….well there were two stuck together, so there are two winners, Shirley Chan and Amy O.W!  Email us over at the website to claim your prize and give us your shipping address.  Prizes must be claimed by December 31, 2011.