Friday, March 12, 2010

New Notes

Yesterday, I called Maria Thomas in a panic. "I am running out of my beautiful notecards," I exclaimed to her. There is no way I will be without them, as I have used them since early Victoria days. Maria began her calligraphy company Pendragon just minutes before the magazine began. (Again, my theory that elegance was in the air.) So, why am I surprised that Maria is doing new and exciting things? And while I leave in her perfectly graceful hands the style of the notecards (just as I did for many of the invitations to events hosted by the magazine) I was intrigued to hear of her new flourishes and even a new exciting and fulfilling adventure. How we grow is such a satisfying subject...

Of course the reason my notecards, each with an original flower, are flying off my desk is that I am including a personal word with each copy of My First Best Friend that I send out to friends. Over the years, the cards have made any gift ever more special. Maria's cards are so dignified, I have used them to pen an expression of sympathy. When you visit Pendragon, you'll understand why in nearly 25 years, I've been a devoted fan and client.

Perhaps the time I appreciated Maria's contribution most is when the magazine feted Lady Bird Johnson as "Star in Our Crown." (When asked, as I often am, what events were the most rewarding and memorable in my magazine career, without hesitation I respond, "Meeting Lady Bird Johnson.") Before the luncheon event in Austin, Texas (near the Johnson ranch) Claire Whitcomb and I, along with Toshi Otsuki, visited with her. "Do things that make your heart sing," the gracious First Lady told us as we walked along the river bank, admired the wildflowers she fought so valiantly to save for all of us to enjoy. I plan to share much more about this memorable time for me here shortly. But I wanted to recall Maria's work--first the invitation to the luncheon when Mrs. Johnson accepted our award and the then the booklet presented to each member of her family and the other guests who attended. It is just a superlative example of how we relied on Maria to make Victoria events unique.

Now to Maria Thomas's exciting new venture which she shares with her husband, Rick Roberts:It's called Zentangle, and Maria is so passionate about it I could hear the phone lines sizzling. Her skill is going beyond making people happy and appreciative to making them creative themselves. Zentangle is an involving experience and to do it justice, you should read more about it at their site. Maria and Rick are putting the power of line art into the hands of many through their kits and workshops. Maria sees this graphic experience as a new art, and I can't wait to try it. (I have a feeling that Zentangle kits may make their way into a few Christmas stockings.) How often do you get to share something new and exciting, especially from an old friend you've counted on to be a part of many, many moments of your life through the notecards she creates for you?

Bravo Maria--my line to many, many words and feelings.


  1. Elegance was, indeed, in the air.

    I love this post and visited Pendragon. While I love the notecards and the posters, the plates are so lovely and I will have to find a way to have them, or that beautiful cake stand, one day.

    It was so fitting that Victoria "feted" Lady Bird Johnson. She brought back our prairie landscapes and wildflowers and with it a sense of pride in that which is unique to us as a people and I remember thinking, "yes, it is time she is recognized for her far reaching contribution". I look forward to hearing more about your time with her.

    I keep meaning to mention how much I treasure The Quiet Center, which sits on a little easel on my bookshelf, next to a picture of my sister, our cousin, and myself. The woman in the cover illustration reminds me of our cousin and the little vignette always brings a comment from visitors entering our little library here.

    Once the pictures serve as introductions, I usually pick up the book and talk about it and hand it over to a curious reader and feel as if I am introducing new friends to each other each time I do.

    I just wrote a bit about Tovah Martin's remembrances of Rachel Carson in the book. I so enjoy Ms. Martin's style of writing and, of course, the Tasha Tudor books and her collaboration with Marjolein Bastin and on and on and on with talent of so many and the passion of Rachel Carson that started a movement.

    Thank you, Nancy, for all the joys you have brought to so many and the special years of elegance that still linger today.

  2. These are beautiful photographs of beautiful things. It's happy to hear about the joy you feel in being thoughtful. I mean, it's stirring and encouraging. Oh goodness - "do what makes your heart sing". These are thoughts that I always love to review.

    Love, Katy Noelle

  3. Nancy, I loved following your link to Maria's site, as well as Pendragon. I do a little calligraphy, but her work is in a class entirely by itself. Her flowing lines meld so gracefully with her lovely artwork that you just know it is what she was meant to do. I can certainly understand why you have chosen her to do your personal cards. As for Lady Bird Johnson, I remember well that feature on her. And each spring as I drive the highways in our city, I see the results of her efforts in the beautiful wildflowers all over the medians and roadsides. My personal favorites are the pink evening primrose and the crimson clover.