Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Handwritten Note

First Semester, Sophomore year of college, University of VT.
I guess the check was late this month? Love the P.S note!
Love this article in WSJ sent to me by a good friend called The Lost Art of the Handwritten Note. I have many handwritten letters from my grandparents and parents that I treasure. Growing up writing letters for me was a major form of communication. (remember when you could get a pen pal from another country?)

My parents were divorced so my grandmother would give my sister and I stationery and have it pre-addressed and stamped- so all we had to do was write the letter. Most of mine to my dad just simply said "Love, Krissy" but I am sure that was enough. I often wrote to my grandparents and I still have many of the letters they sent to me.  Some favorite letters include a detailed one from my grandfather, Dr. William L. Bendel on how to play duplicate bridge, one from my grandmother, Mary Lombardo Mattera that included a great deal of family history about her parents and siblings.

I treasure so many of these letters, some literally dating back to the early 70s, not just because it was great to receive the mail at the time (like during the many, many years I went to camp) but I love not only the the time the person who sent it took out of their busy schedule just for me but there is something really special about seeing the handwriting of someone you love. The article notes
" Handwriting can be untidy and malformed and difficult to read, but there is always going to be someone who recognizes even the worst of handwritings and treasures it because of who it comes from." Isn't that so true?

Now I am the first to admit, that in college the handwritten notes that came from my Dad at the beginning of the month included a check, but there was always as quick handwritten note of encouragement. It wasnt written on fancy stationery, sometimes it was on his work letterhead but usually it was written on a prescription notepad. Nothing too detailed,  just a few sentences that included words of encouragement at a time when I probably needed them most.

So as you think about sending a few thank you notes this holiday season, to friends, family and neighbors, think about the art of the handwritten note before you begin to type that email!

Friday, December 28, 2012

I Resolve To...

With the new year quickly approaching my head is filled with so many goals and resolutions for 2013. I like to put a positive spin on my resolution and do something instead of not do something. The item on the top of my list this year  is going to be simple and yet really important. I resolve to smile more. What's on the top of your New Year's resolution list?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays From Our House To Yours!
Thanks to everyone who supported Hampton Paper in 2012.
We look forward to working with you all in 2013.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Did I Buy Enough Syndrome?

Wrapping gifts and emailing with a friend. We are both suffering from "Did I buy enough syndrome?" I am going have to be brave and hit Target and Toys R Us one more time.


Friday, December 21, 2012

28,000 Things

On the top of my bucket list is to write a book. My only issue outside of time to write would be my ever so evident lack of writing skills.... but since I am not one to let small details hold me back, I will add "find an editor" to my list. I think 2013 might just be the year I get something down on paper. Maybe something HPD related might work for my debut.

 I actually started writing a funny book in college ( a million years ago) which I recently found in a big closet clean out. It was title  28,000 Things that Could Ruin Your Day. I guess a funny twist on 14,000 Things to be Happy About which my roommate kept on her bedside table. The book was a lot of fun to write as so many ideas popped in my head all day long. The list including things that would concern a 20 something college student:
  • When is says he'll call and doesn't
  • Reading the same line over and over
  • Beer lines
  • Bounced Checks
  • Snow in your shoe
  • Icy Sidewalks
  • When you sneeze after you put on your mascara
  • When you realize you forgot to wash something after you have started your laundry
  • Not being able to get a song out of your head
  • Dorm bathrooms on Sunday night

If I were to write a similar book today, I am sure it would be titled, 28,000 Things I do and Don't Get Paid for but Should

  • Going to Target
  • Doing Laundry
  • Picking up dirty white socks ( I only have 2 kids, how could there be so many around my house?)
  • Paying Bills
  • Filling Out Forms
  • Looking for a missing toy, library book, paperwork, pen, scissors
  • Unloading groceries
  • Waiting in doctor's offices
Aren't you going to be thinking about items to add to this list all day long!!!

Happy Friday.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Season's Greetings - Dr. and Mrs. William Bendel

Since I am obsessed with sending out a Christmas card each year, I am so happy to have a copy of this old Christmas card from my great- grandparents. You may recognize the house as one of our images, The House on Loop Road was painted in honor of it. I am not sure the year this was sent out, but for certain sometime prior to 1971. Can you see my great-grandparents standing in front?  I guess my obsession with paper and cards is part of my heritage!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Memories: The Big Gift

Me and my Barbie Dream House - Christmas circa 1975.
Today we are now officially less than a week away from Christmas!  For the last 18 days my son Jackson starts every morning with "How many more days until Christmas" and " Can I please open one gift today". These questions cause my mind to flood with my own childhood memories and the excitement and anticipation I felt waiting for Christmas to arrive. I am not surprised by my children's impatience and eagerness as I was notorious back in the day for begging to open gifts early, shaking everything and yes truth be told on one Christmas peeling back the wrapping paper and peaking in the boxes. I searched our house from top to bottom looking for gifts. I was pleasantly surprised one year to find many board games (included my most wanted Payday & Life) under the bed in the spare bedroom and Gerbils in a cage in my mom's closet. However, even with these premature discoveries, Christmas couldn't arrive fast enough.

Our family has an over the top style to all celebrations including Christmas. My fondest memories include the beautifully decorated house always with two trees, formal and informal, a set yearly menu which included some of my favorites, fondue for Christmas Eve and Artichoke Casserole and homemade Sour cream Coffee Cake for brunch. In addition to an abundance of items from Santa, there were loads and loads of gifts under the trees.

Since my parents were divorced, our Christmas break always included a trip to NYC to see my dad and of course another celebration.

Each year, my sister, Meri, and I would ask for what we considered "a big gift". Yep, you know the one thing that you want more than anything. Cabbage Patch Doll, Merlin, Atari, Simon, Gerbils, Snoopy Watch, Baby Alive, Easy Bake Oven, Barbie Dream House (do they still sell this? If they do hopefully the string for the elevator doesn't get stuck anymore!). As we got older  the most wanted list included Walkmans, Skis, Guess Jeans, CB Jackets, Gucci Shoes, Coach Purses, LV purses, perfume and anything from Benetton!

Our visit to NYC to see my dad included another "big" gift which was tickets to the most popular play on Broadway - Annie, Peter Pan, Barnum to name a few.

I hope as you wrap up your Christmas shopping (no pun intended) you have a moment to remember some of your happiest holiday memories and that you have the joy of either receiving or giving a "big gift" this year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Some Days...

As a working mother of two I am often faced with "mommy guilt". Some days I feel more equipped to deal with it than other days and for some reason the holidays seem to be a time where I struggle the most. Like anyone with a "Type A" very goal oriented personality in an average day I cram 48 hours worth of stuff into 24 running 150 miles an hour amidst trying to keep within the constraints of what I  jokingly call my world,  "perfectville". My "to do" items are carefully documented on daily check lists.

When you add decorating a house for the holidays, gifts for the kids, family, neighbors, friends, getting supplies for school parties for the kids, cookie exchanges etc to an already jammed packed schedule you know something is going to give at some point. For me it was last Friday when trying to juggle it all I was saddened by I guess what I would consider realization that I cant do it all, all the time. I had a 10:00 conference call and a 12:00 appointment and the 10:00 call overlapped with the gingerbread decorating at my son's school.  As luck would have it, it was also a day my husband was traveling for work so getting the kids ready for school and me for work fell on my shoulders.

I got ready before my call so I could leave as soon as it was over and arrived at the school at 10:45 to my darling kindergartner who had just finished his gingerbread house. He hugged me and looked up at me with those beautiful brown eyes and the longest eyelashes ever and said  "You missed the whole thing". I choked back tears. Of course I left the school broken hearted and frustrated that sometimes try as we might, we just fall short.

So, I must remind myself  and hopefully you too (because I think that society doesn't - they are too quick to judge us) that I can only do the best I can each day. My contribution to my family not only includes my time, but a roof over our head, food on the table, financial security and the opportunity for many things that would otherwise be out of their reach.

If you are shaking your head up and down as you are reading this, then I hope this blog can remind you as well during the busy holiday season to just do the best you can and that as a working mom, our contributions count in many different ways. I know that while I missed out on this one, there will be another opportunity not to far down the road and I am forever hopeful that one of the things my children take away from me as a parent is how to model themselves to be independent and successful.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another New Celebrity Fan: Kym Whitley

I am very excited to announce that actress Kym Whitley is now a fan of Hampton Paper Designs. Seen here with a few of our holiday products.  We love many of her movies including We Bought A Zoo and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Welcome New Celebrity Fan Laila Ali!

We are happy to welcome Laila Ali as a new celebrity fan of Hampton Paper. Laila is holding our holiday gift stickers available here & here our Dear Santa cards, available here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Welcome to the Club- Holly Robinson Peete

We are happy to welcome Holly Robinson Peete as a new celebrity fan of Hampton Paper. Holly' is holding our holiday gift stickers available here & here our Dear Santa cards, available here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Signed, Sealed but Not Delivered

I am pretty proud of the fact that on December 3 this year, I have my cards printed, my photos attached, my envelopes stamped and my return address labels printed. Sounds great on the surface but I am in fact missing one important piece, addresses. My son dropped and broke my iPad earlier this year. My ipad that had my address book in it and now those contacts are  somewhere in an icloud. Oh how "i" wish I could find it.
I hope you are having better luck getting your cards out the door this year!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grandma Bessie

I am getting ready to ship these  HPD Bridge score pads to a woman who is buying them for her grandmother. I have never met Bessie but based on this order, I would like to!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hello People!

We were thrilled to see the shout out actress Jennie Garth gave to Hampton Paper Designs in the current issue of People StyleWatch. When being asked, "How do you beat stress during the Holidays?" Jennie responded "I have gift labels pre-printed by Hampton Paper Designs. It definitely makes the wrapping process easier."

 We are so delighted! Thank you Jennie!

Jennie used the Santa image for the "To: From: Santa Stickers"  for her kids, Luca, Lola and Fiona.
Also shown are a few other great options.
 Click HERE to see this Image and order. Just include text selection at check out "To: Your Child's Name and From: Santa. Font shown is Rockford
 Click HERE to see this Image and order. Just include text selection at check out "To: Your Child's Name and From: Santa. Font shown is Rockford

Click HERE to see this Image and order.  Just include text selection at check out "To: Your Child's Name and From: Santa. Font shown is Rockford

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Paying it Forward.

I received an email from an HPD fan in Texas who contacted me to find out how I created the backdrop for the candy table we had for my son Jackson's Firetruck Party. While I would love to take credit, it was actually my friend Kristy from Sweet Nothings who came up with the idea and got this fabulous brick wallpaper. I emailed the woman back and told her that it was wallpaper and I was happy to send it to her. After she found out she would have to buy and entire roll, she took me up on my offer. And so one quick trip to the post office and it was on its way.

I was so happy to help someone else create a fabulous party for their son - love the idea of paying it forward (and recycling!). And I would never pass up an opportunity to post a photo of our favorite fireman Curtis!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Teacher Gifts

If you have kids in school, chances are you are in need of a few teacher gifts. My top recommendation is our 4 by 4 note pads in acrylic.  Make it more personal by asking you children help you select the image for their teacher, librarian, gym teacher, counselor, art teacher, music teacher and anyone else at the school that you want to say "Happy Holidays!" to.

We just received this new Red Apple image which has been a very requested item for just this reason!

Other great options include:

These photos are from last year - before I had my photography lesson so please excuse the photo quality.

  We used Personalized Round Dot Stickers for the gift Tags.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Sale. Save 25% on Everything on our Web Site.

One holiday down, and one to go!

Whether you have gift giving or holiday preparation on your mind, Hampton Paper Designs is here to help. Save 25% on everything on our web site, one day only, Friday, November 23, 2012. Enter promo code* "HOLIDAY". You can choose any image out of our portfolio of over 350 for any stationery product in our collection. Proofs are always complimentary upon request. If you need help with the wording on a card or a suggestion on a gift idea, please let us know.

May We Suggest....

Gift Ideas:

2013 Desk Calendars

Holiday Preparation:

Holiday images can be seen here. New images can be seen here. Looking for inspiration and ideas See our e-catalog here.
Please let us know how we can help you get ready.

* Discount cannot be applied to previous orders and is applicable on orders made directly on our web site only.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Aunt Jan on the left, my mom on the right, me front left, Mimi and my sister Meri on the right.
As yet another Thanksgiving Day approaches I have somehow managed to take a quick trip down memory lane. While you can't ask for a better holiday than Halloween (knocking on doors for free candy? I love who ever thought of that one) it's really Thanksgiving that holds some of my fondest memories.

Every year my Great-Grandmother Mimi (Marie Bendel) sent my mom and her sister (Aunt Jan) plane tickets for all of us to fly to Monroe, Louisiana to visit for the holiday.

This is back in the 70s and 80s and at that time when you boarded a plane, you were welcomed. If I recall correctly, we mostly flew Delta. Let me tell you as a young girl, there was nothing more special than being served a Coke on an airplane. (I put it on the flimsy tray and promptly spilled it every year). I always traveled in my favorite dress.

When we arrived to the house, (this was the smaller house that Mimi moved to when they sold The House on Loop Road) we were welcomed with open arms. I really cant ever remember my great-grandmother say "no" or mentioning something was "off limits" in her house for my sister, Meri and me.  Meri and I stayed in her bedroom which was special for us. Meri on the 2nd twin bed, me on a cot (oh the joys of being the youngest). Mimi had a chaise lounge in her room that was always filled from top to bottom with toys. At night Mimi said The Lord's Prayer and we joined her.  If someone got hurt, Mimi said to put the tears in a cup. I cant remember why (something about not wasting the tears) but I do remember on occasion a small Dixie cup with a few tears on her dresser.

Mimi, me (on left) and my sister Meri. Mimi had the dolls and these purses (love at first sight on both) on the chaise lounge in her room this year with a bunch of other toys.  The purses had a pocket in the front that had a little doll in it. This is circa 1976. I was in Kindergarten and I remember that outfit as my mom made me wear it on picture day. I hated it because I thought it made me look like a boy. Can you see Mimi is wearing an Izod dress? Meri and I thought that was sooooo cool.
We spent the holiday together as a family. Mom mom and Aunt Jan always brought projects to work on....needlepoint, sewing, cross stitch,knitting, crochet, macrame & latch hook (when it was popular). I remember one year my mom hand sewed these beautiful ornaments that were the "good" ones used for the Christmas tree in the living room.

The house was filled with love and warmth and the smell of delicious food. The housekeeper was an amazing cook and to this day I recall the taste of the unbelievable homemade rolls she made. I would give my last dollar for the recipe. The menu was the same every year- what I remember most is the  Waldorf salad, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy & "greens" (these were actually collard greens served in a small bowl and my sister and I promptly passed ours down to my mom and my Aunt. (If you havent' had the pleasure, they are very bitter and an acquired taste)

The house was filled with beautiful things - many of which I am lucky enough to have in my house today, including one of my most prized possessions, my dinning room table.  There was always Doublemint Gum (the big long value pack) in the desk drawer and boxes of Russell Stover Candy.  A bowl of large fresh Pecans was on the coffee table. Mimi kept Doublemint Gum in the car too and would have my sister and I chew a piece so we would stay quiet while she crossed the busy intersection to the toy store. Mimi kept these hard round candies that came in a tin in the drawer of the living room coffee table along with her playing cards. My mom has the table and keeps a small tin of candy in there too - touching to carry on that tradition.

Every year Mimi treated us to a shopping spree. Another dream for a young girl. We started at the toy store and were able to get "anything we wanted".

Next up there was this beautiful children's boutique call Kelso's Children's Shop on Desiar Street. Mimi had an account there and again we were offered the opportunity to get what whatever we wanted. (my mom being wise did set a limit for us). First up for me was a new pair of Mary Jane's. I love the shiny patent leather and the strap across the front. I got them every year.

When we arrived back at Mimi's house, I would wear them in the bathroom and dance making horrific black marks on the floor. No one ever said a word. The bathrooms had a gas heaters in them so you could warm up the bathroom when you took a bath. Heaven. Mimi always had a big box of Cologne that made the water so soft. Her bathroom drawer was filled with make up and soap that smelled like roses.

My Great- Grandfather, William L. Bendel was a doctor. He was well loved and respected and very active in the community. Even after he passed away, the community maintained the same level of respect and gratitude toward Mimi. She was always addressed as  "Mrs. Bendel" in a heavy southern drawl. Everyone in the town knew her and to say she was treated like royalty would be a gross understatement.

In the early 80s, Mimi took us to a local Wendy's. Upon arrival, she sat down at one of the tables. We kinda chucked and kindly explained to Mimi that this type of restaurant is "fast food". You order at the register and carry your food to the table. "No" said Mimi. "Just have a seat and someone will come by to take our order". We were a bit embarrassed. But sure enough with in 30 seconds someone came by "Good evening Mrs. Bendel....". It just shows the gratitude the community had for Mimi and my great-grandfather even after so many years.

On Thanksgiving day, Mimi, my sister and I would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving  Parade on the sofa, under a blanket with hot chocolate on Mimi's big Zenith TV. I remember the TV mostly because it had a remote control. At that time, no one had a remote control - you actually had to get up to change a channel. It was breaking technology.

Mimi also loved flowers. She had a "vase room" as we called it. As I mentioned in a blog here we would go out to her back yard and cut fresh Magnolia's and then go to the "vase room" to select the perfect vase. It was part of our tradition and we loved it.

The house was busy and warm. It smelled of delicious food. In the morning fresh bacon was made (yes, I loved bacon back then). It would sit on the stove in the kitchen and I remember everyone grab a piece right off the skillet.  Mimi's friends always dropped by to say "hello". Many were the ladies she played cards with every week. Some were long time friends and patients of my great-grandfather's who would just come by to say "hello", "Happy Thanksgiving" and to see how Mimi was doing.

If you have read this far, then I am thankful for you and your continued support of my blog and small business that continues to grow.

I hope you have the opportunity to create lasting memories this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Give and Give Thanks

To some of us, including myself, Hurricane Sandy seems like a lifetime ago. Once one of my good friends (JB) finally got power back, I had my handy man repair the leak in my roof and my dinning room ceiling, I  had heard the updates from my dad and his friends that had houses on the coast line I can admit I moved on. Until late last week.

I have a client that lives in New Jersey. Like many of my clients I haven't ever met her but we have become friends via email.   We have been corresponding as I was helping her with a new order and when I hadnt hear back recently, I thought I would send a note to follow up.  Now this client does have small children and I know there is never enough hours in the day to get everything done so I know sometimes when I don't hear back right away she is busy being a mom.

Well, was I ever shocked when I did hear back mid week that she had just gotten power back  two days prior. I was in disbelief. Two weeks, no power, no school. (yikes) Again, per my note above I had sort of moved on because I had the luxury to do so. What I realized it that so many people including my client haven't had the opportunity and that the opportunity to do so may be many days down the road. So, while you look to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends remember to give thanks and think about what you may be able to give to those in need. I know I will.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mardi Gras

Our clients who have contacted us over the past few years looking for images for their Mardi Gras celebration will not be disappointed this year! WOW is all I could think when I received these in the mail. Stunning.  Click here to see them on products on our web site.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Image Inspiration: Espadrille Ballet Flat

For the young fashionista, we added this new Espadrille ballet flat. Doesn't it look just like the adorable pair from Crew Cuts?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thomas' Room - Revealed and Finished (almost!)

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may know that we moved into a new house about two years ago and have been busy working on making it our home, room by room.

The bedroom for my 9 year old son, Thomas, was on the top of my list. You may remember a few blogs from last year where I shared some of the ideas I had found. As I noted, finding bedding and accessories for a boys room that isn't tacky is a challenge in itself. If you are a mommy of a boy, you know my struggle.

I shared a few posts with status updates and after almost a year, we are almost done.

Like so many projects, you have a vision in mind and hope and pray that after all the decision and money you end up with something you love.

Thomas room exceeded my expectations. Everything fit together perfectly, even the bedding which many people advised me against. (I know its a big formal for a nine year old boy, but is so elegant and classic and so my style I couldn't resist. In the end I had to go with my gut and I am so happy I did.)
If you are in the process of decorating for a boys room, I hope you find a bit of inspiration from this post.
These bunny prints from the 1940s provided the inspiration for the color combination. Thomas' favorite color is orange.

 Matouk Custom Bedding (Newport Pattern) with custom stripes in Orange. They have a lot of color and monogram options to choose from.  Totally custom and I love that I wont see it anywhere else!
The wallpaper is Ralph Lauren Colden Oxford-Blue . It's actually oxford fabric. We added crown molding for an nice finishing touch.
We recovered  Thomas reading chair with a Ralph Lauren Navy Blue indoor/outdoor fabric. Indoor/Outdoor fabric has come a long way. If you are looking a fabric for a boy or girls room, it's a great option as it cleans easily and wont fade. Matouk blanket on chair. Valence fabric is Ralph Lauren Rowthorne Crest Admiral.
Thomas has a huge closet so I felt it needed a little something to incorporate it into the room. I wanted to be able to open the doors and see a little surprise. Something that show no detail was left to chance.  I opted for this Ralph Lauren Pritchett Blue Stripe. Shelving is from The Container Store.
This Ralph Lauren Strand Stripe Tiger Lily fabric is what I had originally found for the bedroom but with only 5 yard left anywhere, I used it for the shower curtain. Its a great contrast to the nautical wallpaper, Ralph Lauren Rowthorne Crest Admiral.