Monday, January 25, 2010

Hmmmm....Calling Cards?

This history of calling cards is buried deep in the social rules and etiquette of the upper class.  To "Call" on one's friends, or come for a social visit.  The card itself spoke volumes of your social identity.  The texture, engraving, fonts, color - all were an important indication of your status amond the social elite.  A lady, or more likely at the time - a gentleman, always had his/her card on their persons to streamline the introductory process.  They would present their calling card to the greeting servants to give to the masters of the home. If the person wasn't home, the servant would leave the card to indicate whom had come to call.

OK - so, us modern folk ain't so sophisticated....or better yet, the majority of us can't afford servants.  (oh-to only have a butler.....)  So the calling card takes on a different meaning and usage in 2010.  Especially since we have SO much information to give.  Most of us have business cards, but on the business card you only have your business information.  Your calling card would have all of your pertinenant personal info.  Your personal webpage or blog, personal cell phone, email, mailing address and maybe even your very on qoute to live by.  The nice thing about calling cards are that they are so personal.  As in the early 19th and 20th century, the card itself was a material indication of one's status, these days the card can represent your personality.  You can have a cute card, plain no nonsense card, funny card, pictures, no pictures, etc.  The other nice thing about calling cards are that when you're giving someone your email address, there is no room for error.  (was that an underscore 12354 at .net or .com?)  Total confussion and error elimination.

What about calling cards as a gift?  What a wonderful gift to a new graduate.  They can simply give out their 'card' when they are meeting new people.  How many times have we given out email addresses or phone numbers in college (on campus, of course....not at the bars)  OR, I'm sure the new bride would love a card with her new information on it, since Lord knows she'll be changing most of that info (ok,ok-fairness, not all brides change their names and info)  I'm know from experience the new mom will need a quick give out to give for playdates and babysitters.  Especially since she won't have the hands available to stop and write down her info.

With all that said.....yes you can get calling cards at Mally's Cottage.  We can help you choose a design that fits your personality and print them for you.  OR, there is, actually, a really cool line that we carry if you just don't want to commit to a large quantity of a card because you're not sure what style you like, or what mood you'll be in.  You can order a stamp that has all your information on it (and the ink comes in many different colors, and the stamp in many different styles)  Simply stamp your stamp on the many different styles of pre-printed calling cards, all designed to fit the stamp.  If you have the stamp, it dosen't stop at calling cards, you can stamp the stock fold-over note cards, thank you cards, list pads, note pads, wine bottle toppers, etc.  If you get a stamp for someone as a gift, you always have another gift to give by replenishing their pre-printed products.  So, next time you have a graduation, wedding or baby gift to give, think outside the box and let your receipient know you really thought ahead and thought about something they could really use, rather than just another trinket.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yay - It's Friday! Let's talk about Thank You Notes!!!

Ok, ok - I am constantly getting harrassed by my girlfriends for my obession with prompt thank you cards written on personalized, or at least high-quality, stationary.  Not just from myself, but I require this from my children as well.

Maybe I'm from the old school, but it seems to me in this time of immediate gratification and communication there is something vintage and special about sitting down and writing a note to someone.  And what better time to do that than after someone else has taken time, thought, and money to do something nice for you or to give you somthing nice.  (Even if you know, cousin Sally regifted....at least she thought of you)

It really isn't rocket science to write a nice note.  Actually, if you follow a simple formula, it can make getting through LOTS of thank you notes easy and you'll be done in no time.

1) Greeting - Greet with pleasantries.  I actually believe it is nice to greet the giver by an informal greeting if it is a close friend or relative.  Do they have a nickname?  Use it...  Especially those friends that would be perfectly content if you sent them an email thank you....BUT, if this is a gift from Great Aunt Hilda on your husband's side of the family, or your boss' wife - PLEASE be more formal.
2) Start with a very simple "thank you so much for the (adjective) (gift).  It is very important to name the gift that has been given.  It makes the giver know that you know that they know that you know what they gave. :)
3) Make a reference about how you will use the gift..... (I am so excited to wear my new polk-a-dot sweater to my friend's birthday dinner...)  Try to be sincere, even if it's not exactly what you'll wear to your friend's birthday dinner.  Don't lie, of course, just try to be vague if you're not so excited about the gift you received.
4) Make reference to the occasion in which you received the gift, and reference to the future (It was so nice to see you at the reunion, I can't wait until the next time we meet)
5) Thank your giver again....(Again, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generosity)
6) Conclude - this is entirely up to the familiarity you have with you giver...(much love, best, sincerely, in appreciation........blah blah blah)

See....now do that a couple hundred times after your wedding and you'll feel like such a resonsible and well mannered adult.  Your Mom will be proud....

Of course, it always makes it more fun to write your notes on stationary or card stock that fits your personality.  That's why it's a good idea to go ahead and get personalized stationary for yourself, your household and for your children.  When my boys were born, I got them stationary as a birthday gift and I was able to use that stationary for all sorts of occasions: baby gifts, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc.  Now my twelve year old is tortured by writing thank you notes, but I know he'll grow up to be a true gentleman because of the torture.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy Thursday, January 21, 2010 - APRONS

Today is a day for taking the LONGEST time to do the simplist task.  And, naturally, it all revolves arounds technology.  Tyring to link this blog with other bloggers, facebook and all that good stuff. I think I've figured most of it out though.  We'll see....if not, be sure to tell your friends to follow this blog and don't make fun of me for not knowing what I'm doing. :)

The word of the day: APRONS!!!  Mally's Cottage will be unveiling (that sounds so sophisticated) the exclusive Mally's Kitchen line of hostess aprons.  They will be a truly unique item because I made the design, a local seamstress will be sewing them, and the fabrics are unbelievable!  I have a source that I'm buying fabrics from that are absolutely incredible!   You will never see another apron like these in the world. And, of course, you can have it personalized to make it extra special.

It's actually kind of funny that I'm designing aprons, because everyone knows I not only don't cook but CAN'T cook. (Ask my husband.....it's embarassing)  But, I do like to look cute and pretend....And I can make a MEAN cocktail, which does require apron use!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here we go.......

Hello out there in internet space.  This is my first official blog post.  A huge accomplishment for me.  I've never really blogged before, but this certainly seems like a great forum to start.  So, bare with me as I learn how to do this. 

Here we go...the intro...dum dum dum -

The purpose of this blog will be to give you creative ideas on gift giving, etiquette on gift giving, monogramming, invitations, etc., and what ever else happens to come up.  We are always researching new products and updating our existing products, so this forum will also be used to keep you up to date on what is available to you as a consumer. 

BUT - First and foremost - my name is Mary-Allyson Henson.  I own Mally's Cottage in Cashiers, NC - a small mountain community.  I purchased this business in August of 2009 on a spur of the moment decision and I'm past the freak out stage and onto the next stage of focusing and streamlining my merchandise and services.  Hadley's Cottage, the previous owner's name for the shop, became an immediate success in Cashiers.  Gay carried the cutest merchandise and she did in-house monogramming to personalize.  Considering that Cashiers, and nearby Highlands, have no other businesses that does that, the shop became the favorite place to go for all gift needs and to treat oneself to a fun item, of course. I was addicted to the shop long before I bought it.  (ask my husband, neices and nephews - all their gifts came from Hadley's Cottage) 

After months (or years one might say) of soul searching and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, the opportunity to buy this shop and make it my own livliehood was a God-send.  I have a degree in Industrial Chemistry, and have done NOTHING with it.  For 12 years I've worked as an independant contractor doing small business bookkeeping and payroll.  I was SICK of it (although I do still do that to make ends meet while I'm building up the business, of course)  SOooooo, long story short - here I am and I am excited to be bring all sorts of new inventory and services to Mally's Cottage.

In later post I will give more detail, but just so we all know, in addition to gifts "for everyone on your list" (don't you love that cliche?) I also still do the monogramming and embroidery (my merchadise or bring your own in), I do screenpressing - small or large orders, uniforms, promotional products, awards, etc,  I have beautiful engraved sterling silver jewelry, engraved stone and shell jewelry, soaps and candles.  Vinyl cutouts for your car, cell phone, computer, what ever....  INVITATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS for weddings, showers, parties, luncheons, etc. 
I try to use local artists and seamstresses whenever I can.  I believe that we have enormous talent in our community and I'm proud to showcase their work in Mally's Cottage.  It certainly makes for unique and special gifts.

To keep this post short and simple, that's all I'm going to say today.  I will try not to post long and cumbersome