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Nashville, Tennessee 37211

Crowing Hens Bindery is a one-woman bindery and letterpress print shop, selling handmade blank books, letterpress printed stationery, limited edition fine art prints, unique book jewelry & letterpress printed decorative papers. As the owner of a Nashville-based private business, I do my best to honor the heritage of fine craft and art that saturates my community and region. All of my products are designed and made by hand in Nashville, Tennessee from high quality materials available using traditional bookbinding techniques. I aspire to create beautiful, useful work that becomes a part of your everyday life.

re·con·nect—re·set—re·fresh: Making & keeping New Year's resolutions for 2016

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Bookbinding, printmaking, and toolmaking are elements of my business and my profession but they're not necessarily in step with today's fast paced digital culture. 

This blog, "Meet Mary" will be an opportunity for me to demystify my work and allow me to describe my products and their manufacture in greater detail. Whether I'm working on a production run for a new run of springbacks, developing a new line of decorative papers, or experimenting with new techniques or materials for boutique tools, my goal is for you to be able to see my work in progress and get to know me as a person, craftsman, and small business owner.

re·con·nect—re·set—re·fresh: Making & keeping New Year's resolutions for 2016

Mary Sullivan

VintageStamps1

Part 1: re·con·nect

The New Year is the time for new beginnings, reinvigoration, and of course resolutions. For many, this holiday is an opportunity to look back at the previous year & make personal goals to improve their health and increase happiness and fulfillment in the coming year. Some people announce their resolutions to family, friends, and coworkers while others choose to keep theirs private. Whether big or small, the important thing to remember is that resolutions are an optimistic opportunity for personal growth. By keeping resolutions broad in scope your goals can seem more attainable and can even be allowed to evolve over the course of the year. By involving others in your resolutions or adopting tools to hold yourself accountable, keeping resolutions cannot only be achievable but fun as well.

 

Vintage stamps are an elegant way to make your snail mail correspondence even more personal and memorable. By combining vintage stamps into a postage mosaic on an envelope I can create personalized pieces of historic art imbued with secret meanings tailored to each pen pal.

Vintage stamps are an elegant way to make your snail mail correspondence even more personal and memorable. By combining vintage stamps into a postage mosaic on an envelope I can create personalized pieces of historic art imbued with secret meanings tailored to each pen pal.

Several years in a row I made a resolution to write more letters; to friends, loved ones and colleagues. To make the process even more fun for me, I took up stamp collecting and started using vintage postage on my snail mail. After saving up my silver change for a year, I’d seek out local annual stamp shows and purchase postage in a wide range of values. Using vintage stamps in this way is not only beautiful, but it's also an economic option since vintage postage is still usable, (so long as it hasn’t been used before), and many vendors sell stamps below face value.

 

Now that I have a complete line of letterpress stationery, my letters can be even more special. Not only do I get to select my stamps, but I also get to choose from a range of stationery designs based on my mood, my message, or my pen pal. Making a resolution to write letters is a wonderful way to strengthen and maintain ties with friends and loved ones. It’s also a great way to initiate others into your resolution for the New Year and develop new interests, such as stamp collecting, calligraphy, typographic design, and regular snail mail correspondence.

Even though the stamps I use are not rare or especially valuable, I typically reserve one of each so that I have a record of what I've used. 

Even though the stamps I use are not rare or especially valuable, I typically reserve one of each so that I have a record of what I've used. 

To find vintage stamp sellers and stamp shows near you, visit the American Philatelic Society website. Local philatelic societies, like the Nashville Philatelic Society, typically meet monthly or quarterly and cost very little to join, and most stamp shows are open to the public. You can even find vintage postcards too! Refer to the US Postal Service for current postage rates.

Letter writing is a wonderful way to reconnect in an intimate, tangible way with the people we love. This kind of resolution not only benefits everyone involved, but it can easily become a treasured life-long habit. If one of your resolutions is to start writing more letters, consider this my gift to you! Enter HENPALS2016 at crowinghensbindery.com for 15% off of all stationery in stock. Also, use #CrowingHenPals16 on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to show off how you and your pen pals use your Crowing Hens stationery and stamps all year long. Your images could be featured right here on my blog in a future post, so get collecting, and get writing! Happy New Year everyone!

 

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