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We’re going entirely printable — closeout sale starts now

August 6, 2015 | Leave a comment

services-header2

I’ve been both excited and sad as I prepared to make this announcement. But here it is:

I have decided to transition RLPCo from physical cards and art prints to entirely instant download, printable products.

The last day to buy a physical item will be Labor Day, Sept. 7. After that, everything will switch to a digital format that you can print at home or take to a professional print shop.

Why? I’m transitioning away from cards and into graphic design. I’ve done a lot of design professionally and on the side over the years, and over the last few months it became clear that I no longer wanted to constrain myself to just cards and paper products.

As of this week, I’m launching Stephanie Hinderer Design. The change will allow me to expand outside 4.25×5.5 inches with branding services, web design, print design, photo editing/retouching, and lots of other things. I’m looking forward to new challenges and spreading my wings a bit. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever add a new card design — it just won’t be as frequently.

So I’m clearing out the current stock with a sale starting right now. The discounts will get bigger as the transition date gets closer, but the inventory will be getting smaller too. If there’s something you want, and you don’t want to print it yourself, grab it now before I run out and it’s gone for good. Toward the end I’ll also be selling some of my tools and supplies, so if you’re a crafter/card maker or know someone who is, keep your eyes peeled.

Shop now with the code CLOSEOUT10 for 10% off everything in your cart. The discounts will get deeper every few days, but remember, once I run out of inventory, that design will no longer be available in a physical product. We’ve already run out of “In your arms is my favorite place to be” cards. Don’t miss out on your favorite.

I’m so thankful for all of your support, whether you’ve been here from the beginning or just found RLPCo recently. The happy feedback I get from customers nearly every day has made this a difficult decision, but in the end, I know it’s the right thing for me. If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment or email stephanie@redletterpaperco.com and I’ll get back to you soon.

Thanks again,

Owner, Red Letter Paper Company

How to write a thank-you note for a crappy gift

December 31, 2014 | Leave a comment

how to write a thank you note for a crappy gift

Well, Christmas is over (although I’ll keep my tree up as long as I can thankyouverymuch) and chances are you got at least one gift you plan to stick in your closet and never look at again. Maybe it was the 14th orange and green scarf knit by Aunt Mildred. (How does she not know that scarves make you feel as if you’re slowly being strangled?) Or the fruit cake from that sweet little lady at church. (How, exactly, did this abomination get to be a holiday tradition? Choking seems to be a theme here on this year’s bad gifts because that fruit cake is dry, dry, dry.)

The key to writing a gracious thank-you note for a gift you genuinely hate is to remember the thoughtfulness behind the gift. While the present itself may not hit the mark — really? a stapler? for Christmas? — the kindness involved in wrapping, mailing, and giving a gift is what it’s all about.

When you’re writing a thank-you note for a crappy gift, make sure the gift-giver feels appreciated and loved, without ever knowing that their gift is going to be 1) hidden 2) donated or 3) re-gifted. (Of course, re-gifting requires that you know someone who could actually use an orange and green scarf – a University of Miami fan, maybe?)

Here are a few phrases you can use:

• Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness in sending me (insert gift here).
• What a wonderful holiday surprise to open your gift!
• (for a handmade item) I’m honored that you took the time to knit that scarf/bake a fruit cake.
• It was nice to arrive home and find your gift on my doorstep. Thank you for being so kind during the holidays and always.

Focusing on the kind inspiration behind the gift, and not the gift itself, allows you to be genuinely grateful and appreciative as you pen your thank-you card.

It would also be a nice gesture if you included a photo (perhaps the best use for a selfie?) draped in the new scarf.

So we know you hate it, but in the interest of the holiday spirit, just be nice — and grateful.

Need more ideas? Check out our post on how to write a thank-you note — and if you got cash or gift cards for Christmas, here’s how to write a thank-you note for money.

A 1950s love story in letters: Part III

December 26, 2014 | Leave a comment

This is the third in a three-part series of a real-life 1950s love story in letters.

In Part I, home economics student Anne met cowboy Milo on a ranch thousands of miles from home.

In Part II, she responded to his proposal and the two kept up with their correspondence leading up to plans to visit at Christmas.

And Part III? What happened after Christmas?

Marriage certificate

Wedding picture

Laying in grass

They got married and lived happily ever after. They became the grandparents to my friend Melody, who so graciously allowed me to share Anne and Milo’s story with you.

Anne and Milo passed away before Melody was born, so imagine how important these letters are to her. To her family, and their history.

Their letters are real and tangible. Anne and Milo had to make time for each other. Their letters are in their own handwriting, on pieces of paper they touched. And those will be around for a long time as Melody’s family so lovingly preserves them.

Isn’t it amazing how doing something as simple as putting a pen to paper can bring two people together? Take the time for it. And it doesn’t have to be the love of your life. It can just be a friend, or a simple thank-you note. I can guarantee you neither of you will ever regret it.

A 1950s love story in letters: Part II

December 24, 2014 | Leave a comment

This is the second in a three-part series of a real-life 1950s love story in letters. See how Anne and Milo met here.

So, did Anne agree to marry her cowboy?

 

September 1951

Anne responds yes to proposal letter

Dearest,

I’ve been trying for the last half hour to get to sleep but haven’t been able to. Thoughts of you and plans for next summer just keep running through my mind.

Guess I kind of jumped the gun in my last letter. You never did ask me to marry you before the letter. My last letter was practically a proposal and it’s not even leap year. Anyway the answer is yes. I’ve never met anyone as desirable for a husband before and don’t expect to in the coming year. …

 

 

 

 

 

She said yes!

 

Anne and Milo continued their correspondence that fall, making plans for Milo to visit her on the East Coast at Christmas. They talk about their day-to-day activities, their plans for visiting, and their plans for the future. Here are excerpts from some of their letters leading up to Christmas. (Click any thumbnail to see it larger.)

 

November 2, 1951

Nov 2

(From Anne)
Dearest,

It was wonderful to come home from class this noon and find a nice long letter from you waiting.

I’m sure now that everything will work out all right for us. How could I help but be happy with a fellow like you. …

I can’t imagine life without you and to think that I almost backed out of going to Montana but something inside kept telling me to go. Maybe God was planning for us to meet. … I love you so much Milo.

It’s perfectly alright with me if you plan to come the day vacation starts. It sounds like a wonderful idea. The longer you’re here the better. …

All my love,
Anne

 

November 12, 1951

Nov 12

(From Milo)
Hi sweetheart,

Sure wish you were here so I could tell you how much I love you. …

[In response to her question about settling down …] Anne with you and for you I can not only settle down but I can like it. In fact that’s exact what I want to do. That is a promise too. …

It doesn’t surprise me your folks don’t like the idea of your marrying me after all there are several reasons they could have, my age and occupation, location, and I suppose several other things. …

Darling you won’t let that stop us though will you? We’ll get such things worked out, maybe not just like we would like to but some way we will. …

Good nite sweetheart
I love you,
Milo

 

November 15, 1951

Nov 15

(From Anne)
… I’ve made my decision. I want to marry you and spend the rest of my life in Montana. …

 

November 16, 1951

Nov 16

(From Milo)
… Ever since you left no matter where I am it seems to me that I should be some place else … Sure hope next winter we are married and together. To me now that seems the most important thing in the world. …

 

November 18, 1951

Nov 18

(From Anne)
… My heart jumped a few beats this morning when your letter came. …

 

November 26, 1951

Nov 26

(From Anne)
… What would you like for Christmas or have I already asked you? …

Nearly three months has gone by now since we’ve seen each other. It seems like three years instead. The wonderful memories of the summer are still vivid in my mind as the the day I left …

All my love,
Anne
xxx

 

Check back on Friday to see what happened in Milo and Anne’s story after Christmas.

Speaking of which, merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

 

 

A 1950s love story in letters: Part I

December 22, 2014 | Leave a comment

This is the first in a three-part series of a real-life 1950s love story in letters. Click any image to see it larger.

In the summer of 1951, Anne, a home economics student in college, was looking for experience — and adventure. So she traveled from Vermont to the Lazy K Bar dude ranch in Big Timber, Montana, to put her skills to use for the summer. She knew the dude ranch would have cowboys. She didn’t know it would have Milo. After a few months together, it was time for Anne to head back East. And their letter exchange began.

 

September 1951

 

First letter from Anne envelope

First letter from Anne letter

Dearest Milo,

Arrived in New York safe and sound, but not very happy, last night about 9:00 p.m. It’s hard leaving a place you love so much but doubly hard to leave a person you love so much. Getting on that plane was the hardest work i did all summer. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so frank, but I’ve never been a girl who plays hard to get and tries to keep a guy guessing — Montana means more to me after 2 1/2 months than Conn could mean in a lifetime, and you mean more to me than any other fellow ever has. Please don’t forget me during the long winter or the few plans we made for the future. You asked if I could give up everything back east — it would be hard at first perhaps but the gain is so much greater than the loss. I know we could be very happy together. …

 

First letter from Milo and proposal envelope

First letter from Milo and proposal letter

Dearest Anne,

Sure wish I knew that you got there safe and alrite. Never did I have such a feeling as when that plane took off. I hope I never have to stand and watch you fly away again. Ok darling I do love you and I just got to know. Will you marrie me? … Already I miss you so and haven’t had time to get even food yet. I saw Mrs. V.C. in town yesterday. She said what did you do with Anne. I told her and she said I thought maybe you would bring her back as a bride. I told her I was still going to. … I sure wished you hadn’t have gone. I think this is going to be the longest winter I ever put in.

Remember I love you,
Milo

 

What did Anne say to Milo’s proposal? Check back on Christmas Eve to find out …

How to select the perfect gift

November 28, 2014 | Leave a comment

how to select the perfect gift

 

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s the time of year devoted to Christmas, when millions of people will be searching for the perfect gifts for their family and friends. How can you make sure your gift won’t be tossed in the back of the closet (or worse, regifted) as soon as you leave?

Here are a few tips that will help you be an awesome gift giver:

Pay attention – all year. Almost inevitably, your friends and family will mention a favorite wine, or kind of chocolate, or the fact that they can’t get enough of that mandarin orange-scented lotion they have to order off the internet. If you have a memory like Swiss cheese, stick a small notebook in your car or purse, or start a list on your phone, that will let you take notes to make shopping easy.

Don’t wait until the last minute. When you’re under pressure, buying a gift within a short window puts you straight into “that’s a great gift because it’s still on the shelf and in my price range” mode. Avoid that place. In fact, if you can shop all year, it’s easier on the budget and your nerves. Just make sure you have a good hiding spot!

Make a phone call to someone even closer to your friend or loved one than you are. A spouse might have an idea of something to buy, or a sister might be able to offer an idea like, “She was just complaining the other day that she never gets to go to the movies.” And a movie ticket gift box, complete with candy and popcorn, is born.

Check out the handmade sites online, like Etsy. Not only are gifts from these sites supporting artists and small businesses, they’re amazing because they offer ingenious ideas you probably never thought about. If your friend loves something even as wacky as sweet potatoes, you can search and find sweet potato pie candles or sweet potato chips. Input your loved one’s favorite things — marshmallows, Paris, funky necklaces — and you’ll have a terrific list of unique gift ideas.

Something handmade by you shows you put a lot of effort into the gift. You don’t have to be crafty, either. You can write a heartfelt letter tucked into a perfect card that will be guaranteed to touch your loved one’s heart. Even a batch of favorite fudge or a pan of brownies can be a perfect gift.

christmas-window-scene-card

• And speaking of cards, always include a card with your gift. Take these special moments that we carve out of the holidays and let your love show in a way that can be kept, treasured, read and re-read. I have cards stashed in a box that remind me of people and times in my life that I love to revisit.

Think in terms of experiences, rather than gifts. How about a day at the paintball range for a group of friends? Find a nearby tea shop that will be a treat for a friend dreaming of visiting England. Maybe a favorite musician is having a concert soon. Time is a precious commodity, and scheduling a day to spend together, shopping, eating and laughing can be a great gift.

And our No. 1 tip for being a great gift-giver?

Remember the gift is for THEM. What will they love? Don’t just assume that because you like it, they will too. Really take the time to use the tips above to make it special for them.

Happy gift hunting. See you in the crowds.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Special news for Black Friday,
Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday

1. Newsletter subscribers are getting a special discount code in their inboxes, and if you want one too, all you have to do is sign up!

2. Also, as a shopping weekend special, we’re helping you skip the post office line by offering stamps with your Christmas card orders. Easy peasy.

3. Select Christmas cards on are on sale! No coupon code needed. These designs are being discontinued, and when they’re gone they’re gone for good, so get yours now!

 

12 Songs of Christmas

November 25, 2014 | Leave a comment

12 songs of christmas

Christmas is very much at the heart of Red Letter Paper Co. In fact, making Christmas cards that reflected both our faith and our nontraditional design aesthetic was how it began. So we made up a list of songs that we love to play around the office this time of year. Like our beginnings, it’s a bit of a mash-up of the modern and the traditional. If we included every Christmas song we loved, the season would be over before we got to the end, but here are some of our favorites.

 

Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Christmastime Is Here”

This song is pure bliss. It always fills us up with so much happiness. Both the instrumental and vocal versions are beautiful, but the children’s choir just seems to make it more magical, more innocent.

 

Rosie Thomas – “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year”

Actually, it is a little bit Christmastime all year around here. Let’s just say that when you run a card company and make Christmas cards throughout the year, the Christmas tunes play long before the tree goes up.

 

Over the Rhine – “All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue”

Here’s a little gift of Christmas melancholy to you from our most cherished Christmas record: “Snow Angels” by Over the Rhine. In fact, one of our cards is inspired by one of the tracks on it. Can you guess which one?

 

MxPx – “Christmas Day”

This song is a little manic, but so is the season. The idea is that it’s the little things that are important and even the smallest gestures can mean a lot.

 

Josh Groban – “O Holy Night”

This is one of the greatest Christmas carols sung by one of the greatest classical voices.

 

Love Spirals Downward – “Welcome Christmas”

It’s not often you hear the words Christmas, children’s special, and “goth” in the same breath, but this is an even more ethereal, more lilting rendition than the original from the animated Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”

 

Amy Grant – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

To be honest, Amy Grant’s entire “Home for Christmas” album is a favorite, so it was hard to choose just one song. Since we’ve moved around a lot, this tune helps us feel a little closer when we can’t be home with our loved ones for Christmas.

 

Innocence Mission – “See, Amid the Winter Snow”

For us, this was not a well-known Christmastime hymn until one of our favorite bands released this rendition. Like the song, this band is beautiful and totally overlooked. If you like this, we highly suggest their record “Birds of My Neighborhood,” it’s the perfect music to settle into a winter of joyful reflection once the Christmas candy has worn off.

 

Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Say what you will about Mariah Carey, but this song is just FUN. And so is the Jimmy Fallon classroom instruments version.

 

The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”

The lights are up around the city and we can feel the sense of anticipation building, and we want that feeling to last forever. While it shares a title, this is not the song Nat King Cole made famous — that comes next.

 

Mel Torme/Michael Kessler – “The Christmas Song – Open Fire Mix”

The warm and cozy classic — shaken, not stirred — with a little cocktail lounge chill-out for relaxing. We would prefer this with Nat King Cole’s vocals, but we love this remix.

 

John Denver and The Muppets – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

This is the perfect song to end on. Plus you can’t go wrong with The Muppets.

 

What are your favorite Christmas songs/performances? Leave a link so we can listen too!

8 great hostess gifts

November 12, 2014 | 1 Comment

8 great hostess gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And I’m not just talking about those December holidays. November brings Thanksgiving and family and Black Friday shopping (if you’re into that — and perhaps you should be *cough*) and snow and hot chocolate and togetherness and more chocolate…

But the best thing about this time of year is spending it with family and friends. Holiday parties abound and, as you pack and plan, one thing you’ll want to consider is a hostess gift. If you’ve ever been a host or hostess, you know exactly how much work goes into having guests — cleaning, cooking, decorating, perhaps even silly party games. Showing your appreciation for their efforts is a must.

So here are seven great hostess gifts from small, indie businesses that will guarantee you’re invited back next year:

 

you are here stationery set

1. Give a unique set of cards to your host or hostess to help them stay in touch with family and friends. And when you get a set of cards from us, they already come tied with a bow for gift-giving.

 

2. Personalized gifts are always best. If you know your hostess well, these map necklaces by Brass & Chain could be the perfect way to recall the place where you grew up together or went to school together.

 

tomato envy apron

3. I LOVE THIS APRON. I mean just look at the color. And it’s hand-sewn and HAND-DYED. I bet your hostess would love it. They probably got their other one all gross making dinner for you anyway. Get this one or a pretty butter yellow version from Tomato Envy.

 

I love you more than Pyrex

4. An art print also makes a great gift, like this “I love you more than Pyrex” one that would go perfectly in the kitchen. Customize it with a frame of your choosing and voila, personal, thoughtful gift.

 

gourmet dog treats

5. Don’t forget the pets! All pet lovers consider their furry friends as family members, so when you remember them, you’ll really impress your host or hostess. Look how adorable these gourmet peanut butter paws are from Two Tails Dog Bakery.

 

chocolate mint loose leaf tea by artful tea

6. Since it’s getting colder, you can’t go wrong by giving your host or hostess a luxury loose-leaf tea blend, like this chocolate mint blend from Artful Tea. Perfect for after dinner. Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll share.

 

organic soap by mirasol farm

7. Soaps, lotions and other personal items are traditional hostess gifts, but you can give them an extra twist by ordering organic items in unique scents. Soaps and lotions are excellent gifts for those times when you don’t know your hostess very well. This cute soap sampler set from Mirasol Farm will even let them try out a few different ones and pick their favorites.

8. If in doubt, or you really have no idea what your host or hostess would like, bring food or drink. A nice bottle of wine, your favorite loaf of bread from a local bakery, or even a restaurant gift card for a night out after their guests leave. If you have time to make your best homemade specialty, that’s even better. If it’s a special recipe and you’re willing to share, include a card with the recipe and an oath of secrecy, making it clear this recipe only goes to really special people.

Above all, have fun, be thankful, and cherish the time you spend together. Cheers!

2014 Christmas cards

November 5, 2014 | Leave a comment

I know, I know. You think it’s WAY too early to be talking about Christmas. But it’s not. There are only 7 weeks till it’s here, and when you buy Christmas cards from small indie businesses like this one, you need time for them to ship to you, time for you to write out your cards, and time for them to reach their recipients, ideally BEFORE Christmas Eve. And, you know, maybe figure in a bit of procrastination. (C’mon, admit it.)

So — we’ve added some new Christmas card designs this year and we wanted to share them with you now so you have plenty of time before you need to drop them in the mail.

Here are our new designs for 2014. Which one’s your favorite?

 

dot wreath christmas-window-scene-card christmas-squares-card nativity-blocks-christmas-card merry-christmas-snow-globe seasons-greeting-snow-globecar-freshener-sequin-christmas-tree peppermint-trees-christmas-card

If you want to see ALL of our Christmas cards, check ‘em out here and here.

Welcome to our new website!

October 14, 2014 | Leave a comment

bonjour-hello-card

 

Phew! We’ve been working like crazy for the last few months on this awesome new website, and we’re excited to FINALLY share it with you. We hope you love it, too!

Take a few minutes to look around. There’s a lot to see, including new cards and a new logo! The new 2014 Christmas card designs are also debuting today. AND, there are two new printable cards in our free Double Printable Card Kit, which you get in your inbox just for signing up for our newsletter.

To celebrate our grand reopening, we’re giving you 25% off all orders TODAY ONLY with the code GRAND.

Plus, all orders on this site through Friday will be entered to win A YEAR OF CARDS and a $10 Starbucks gift card. One winner will get to choose one card for each month, plus two extra for those surprise occasions, and they’re on the house. Along with some coffee.

Thank you for making this new chapter in our business possible. We heart you!

Free Printable Card: Fall, Pumpkins & Pinterest

October 1, 2014 | Leave a comment

The weather has cooled off in Seattle and I’m pulling out the sweaters and dusting off my boots. Not to mention drinking chai tea lattes like nobody’s business.

Now that it’s fall, if you’ve been on Pinterest at all in the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen pumpkin everything. Pumpkin decorations. Pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin parties. Pumpkin carving. Et cetera.

Which is why I created this free printable card for you. All I ask in return is that you — what else — pin it on Pinterest. We know your guy probably won’t get it, but this card would be perfect for your friend, your mom, your sister, or any other Pinterest addicts.

 

Free printable card - I love you more than Pinterest loves pumpkins - by Red Letter Paper Co. Click to download printable PDF with instructions

And while you’re there, you should follow me on Pinterest. I pin pretty things.

So, who are you gonna send your printable card to? Tell me in the comments! Enjoy!

Five quick tips for an error-free card

June 25, 2014 | Leave a comment

You guys know I’m a stickler for grammar and editing, so today Shayla of Curiouser Editing is stopping by with a few tips to self-edit your writing and your writing process.

- – – – – – -

If you’re looking for a quick way to ruin a beautiful, handmade card, look no further than poor grammar, forgotten apostrophes, and awkwardly slanted words.

It’s easy to get in a rush when letter-writing, only to scribble out the improper use of they’re and hope it doesn’t ruin the look of the card. (It does.)

While there’s no backspace button for letter-writing, there are two things that might help: patience and preparation.

Instead of a card full of errors and scribbles, try these five tips for writing a memorable, clean letter every time:

5 quick tips for an error-free card

1. Sit down at a desk instead of using your car’s steering wheel. The pen won’t press down correctly, and you’re usually at a weird slant, thereby creating a head-tilting, awkward read. And let’s not forget that embarrassing hole you poked through the card when you pressed down too hard.

2. Think through your message and jot it down on a separate sheet of paper instead of using the pristine card as your guinea pig.

3. Edit your test letter. Did you place a comma after “Dear Jane”? Did you capitalize proper names and places? Don’t forget that ‘s after James. (“James’s cat is doing just fine, just fine.”) What about your spelling? Donut furgit to cheek ur spealing.

4. Use your good pen — not a pencil, crayon, or stolen bank pen that runs out of ink in the middle of your writing. Two almost-the-same-but-not-quite ink colors in the body of your letter aren’t pretty, plus a “Sorry, my pen ran out!” note is unpleasant, takes up space, and is avoidable.

5. Once you’re sure your words are near perfect, slowly, thoughtfully write them down. For real this time!

Now you’re ready to write a clean, grammatically correct, and visually appealing note in your Red Letter Paper Company card!

- – – – – – -

Shayla is a writer and editor for Curiouser Editing. Her services cover web content, books, blogs, short stories, lyrics, résumés, menus, and anything with words. Keep up with her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Need more grammar tips? Check out this post on stationery vs. stationary and how to remember which is which.