Flying home yesterday I watched LA LA Land. The movie that almost but not quite won the Oscar for best picture. That is, until it was discovered the wrong envelope had been handed to the presenter Warren Beatty. The error was identified, mayhem ensued, Moonlight was named as best picture and everyone reacted as graciously as they possibly could under the circumstances.
There are many theories as to why Beatty was handed the wrong envelope – the most popular being that Brian Cullinan, one of accountants officially charged with ensuring integrity and security of the names of the winners, was too busy tweeting pictures of Best Actress recipient Emma Stone to concentrate on what he supposed be there for. There are also many theories as to why both the clearly numerate but hapless Brian and his fellow bean counting colleague Martha Ruiz were both unceremoniously uninvited to Oscar ceremonies for the term of their natural lives when it was allegedly he who mucked it all up. Word on the street is that she didn’t step in soon enough to throw herself in front of the microphone and correct the oversight. Shame on her!!!!!!!
What’s not in doubt is that the blunder put the humble envelope centre stage. The term envelopegate was coined and now even has it’s own entry in Urban Dictionary. Envelopes, it appears, are having a major moment despite having been around for simply ever.
According to the must read A History of Envelopes by Maynard H Benjamin “The first use of envelopes was the clay wrapper used by the Babylonians in 2000 B.C. to protect documents such as bookkeeping accounts, deeds, mortgages, and, quite possibly, letters as well. Clay, in its ‘plastics’ state, was folded over the original message, crimped together, then baked. It was a foolproof system as the outside wrapper had to be completely destroyed in order to gain access to the tablet hidden within”.
Paper envelopes were developed in China, and paper envelopes followed shortly thereafter. The first postal envelopes were nothing more than folded sheets of paper and evolved from there. Says the font all knowledge Wikipedia, prior to 1845, envelopes for domestic and commercial use were hand-made. In 1845, Edwin Hill and Warren De La Rue were granted a British patent for the first envelope-making machine
Truly, you could read about the history of the envelope all day because it’s development mirrors the history of communication, transport and industry. FASCINATING! And this sits well with me because I have always really liked envelopes, to buy, to send, to have and to hold.
This despite never really sure being how to pronounce the word correctly – en (rhyming with ten) vel – ope or on – vel – ope. Maybe you can help me with that one. I also really enjoy gift wrapping with envelopes of all sizes. Envelopes are easy to make, are a fantastic use of paper remnants and are a super option for slim line items such as gift cards, money, certificates, small stationery items and teensie weensie books, cards and reflections. Envelopes are also fabulous for fabric items such as scarves, napery and lingerie. I always put a piece of cardboard beneath these floppier items to ensure the envelope holds it forms and can better hold a ribbon, which in my world is a very important consideration.
Today’s feature wrap is a wedding envelope with a little contribution for the bride and groom and their future happiness inside. I used an A4 piece of cream rag cotton paper – because it’s a little thicker than most wrapping paper but no so thick it won’t fold beautifully – with a gold glitter pattern. I wrapped it up with an OTT bow – why not? It’s a wedding and the wire edge of this luscious wide ribbon means the loops of the bow will sit up and dazzle. Now all I have to do is take it to the wedding and pray that my husband doesn’t start tweeting and inadvertently hand the envelope to the wrong couple.