Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year Wishes

Letters & Journals would like to send you wishes for a Happy New Year! If you would like this on a postcard, just contact me with your name and address. You can do this via email, twitter or the old fashioned way- a letter or postcard request sent to:

Happy New Year, c/o Letters & Journals, PO Box 120052, St. Paul, MN 55112

Not sure what you want to see in the next 12 months? Here are some blog posts that may help. Get out a notebook and a favorite pen and enjoy this time.

The Edge of the Year or More of This, Please by Amy Oscar
17 Ways to be Happier in 2012 by Marelisa
Choose a Word to Guide Your Year or How to Choose a Word of the Year
Magic Reflections on My One Little Word by Elise Joy
Create a 2012 Memory Jar from Crafty Tuesday (this is more for reflecting than planning)

May all your wishes come true for a fabulous and life enhancing new year in 2012. Here's to health and friends, peace and joy in your life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Letters & Journals Update 2012

As 2012 approaches I wanted to give you an update on the status of Letters & Journals, the print edition. I am still working on bringing this to life in a print format. Some people have recommended to do it as a zine or a digital edition, and although both options have merit, I see something different for the magazine (100 pages, perfect bound, matte cover, etc) so will continue to follow my dream even though it means 'not now.'
I'm taking a break from doing the monthly giveaway and the e-newsletter as I concentrate on my new business. When time allows, I will return to them.

My new job is the publisher of a Natural Awakenings magazine. This is a free monthly publication that is all about healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet. There are 85 of these in the country and starting in March, I will be publishing the Twin Cities (Mpls/St. Paul) edition. Here's a link to the Milwaukee digital edition to give you an idea of the magazine and its content.
Milwaukee January 2012 Edition
My website launched last month and currently I'm in the process of finding 300 locations to carry the free magazine as well as people to advertise in it. Exciting times, but super busy.

I had come across Natural Awakenings last spring when I was looking into print options for Letters & Journals. I was working at an office job (5 yrs) for a wonderful small company in St. Paul, but my job was unexciting and there were no opportunities to grow. I had planned to be working at L&J full time within 1-2 yrs, but time kept going by with nothing happening to get me closer to that goal.
When I came across the Natural Awakenings franchise I started looking into it and I liked what I saw. The free monthly magazine, the support structure, the training, the templates, the best practices of other publishers, the freedom to pick and choose my own topics and covers, etc.

In August I went to training in Naples, FL and then I quit my full time job to devote all of my time to making Natural Awakenings Twin Cities a success. Unlike the 9-5 hours at my office job, I am now working 60-80 hours a week which isn't a problem except that it leaves so little time for L&J fun stuff.
Dolphin mailbox in Naples, FL
But I still want to keep the site going and the plans for the magazine progressing. I just won't be able to put as much time and effort into it as I did previously.

Some people have offered to submit stories to the newsletter so I may do an occasional newsletter as I can get new material and put one together. And I have a few items to give away that donors such as Haley and Richard had donated previously so I will have giveaways here and there.

In the meantime, I am still planning to pursue the print edition of L&J and am keeping my options open and am continuing to add to my growing list of names for those interested in such a product.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Edward Gorey #26

Here is the final entry in the Edward Gorey postcard collection from the 2011 postcard calendar book. I've enjoyed sharing these cards and sending them to unsuspecting recipients.

"A future unremembered poet of the seventeenth century accepts a Christmas cookie from the Great Veiled Bear."
 I like the winter theme of this card. And who doesn't love the image of a polar bear wearing ice skates?
"Floating Worlds: Never-Before-Seen Letters and Envelopes" is a wonderful collection of some of Gorey's letters, envelopes and postcards.

This has been fun and I will probably do it again someday. I'm just not sure when.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Postcard Giveaway from Chewy Tulip

Chewy Tulip donated a set of 5 Evergreen postcards to the recent giveaway, but somebody (me) neglected to add them to the monthly giveaway. So this package of cards will have its own giveaway. I will even include five $.29 stamps. Woo-Hoo!
Contest is open to all and will end at midnight on 12/23/11. Just send an email to Jackie (at) LettersandJournals (dot) com with the word EVERGREEN in the subject line.

12/26 Update: The winner is Jane from Champaign, IL who has already been notified of her good fortune. Congratulations, Jane! And thanks to Chewy Tulip for donating the prize!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Edward Gorey #24

The 24th Edward Gorey postcard is a scene from The Doubtful Guest. There's a short rhyme on the card that says:
"It came seventeen years ago- and to this day it has shown no intention of going away."
The 'it' in question looks like a lonely malformed seal wearing tennis shoes or ice skates.
And there we have it - the second to the last Gorey postcard from the 2011 postcard calendar.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Letter Links Dec. 7

It's a busy time of year for many, but there's always time to check out some posts on a few of my favorite blogs.
Writing Letters is not just for fun, it's good for you by 365 Letters
Sketchbooks, Gluebooks and Art Journals by A Penchant for Paper
Beginning to look a lot like you-know-what by Cappuccino and Art Journal
Tis the Season to Simplify by Inkophile
Etsy Letterpress Love by Missive Maven

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Stationery Giveaway

The winner for this month is Julie B. from Florida. Congratulations, Julie!
Here is the final monthly giveaway of 2011! I've decided to take a break from the monthly giveaways for 2012. It's just too much work now that I'm putting in extra time at my new job and trying to be successful and do a good job with that. I may do an occasional giveaway, but it won't be a regular affair.

Haley's Handmades is now known as Poodle & Cat. Love that new name! This month Haley has sent in 6 cards, a bookmark and magnet and a button.
Sakura of America donated this 6-pen set of brush pens in six different colors. Get your groove on with these fun colors!
This recycled book has new pages for your journal writing. Donated by Journals + Paper, this spiral bound book is a blank slate for your inspired and wondrous thoughts.
The Bonnie Marcus collection donated this notepad for all of your list-making tendencies. Shopping lists, guest lists, to-do lists. The world is waiting for your list masterpiece!
Crane and Company sent in this small blank book called 'Short Stories' because we all have a story to tell. Write your short story in this lined journal.
Next we have a set of Tree Greetings cards from Eraser Carver. If you like trees, you will love this set of three tree cards.
Tilia Press has been a long time donor and this month we are featuring a set of bee-themed Thank You cards from them. Lovely.
In My Book has three greeting cards/bookmarks in this month's basket. They come with a red envelope too so you can send and share.
The Verge De France stationery and envelopes were sent in by Karen at Exaclair. Who wouldn't want to write a letter using this combination? I know I would!
Finally, we have the Ecojot claendar for 2012. This beautifully illustrated calendar will set the tone for a harmonious and wonderful New Year!
The contest is open to everyone everywhere. Just leave a comment here. The December winner will be selected on January 1. The winner will be contacted by email and have 3 days to respond.  I number each comment on this the website, the blog and the few I receive via email. I then use the Random Number Generator to select the winning number each month. Good Luck!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pencil Box Photo

I took pictures of the four prize packages for the Mailbox contest that was held last month, however, only one of the pictures turned out. I guess I should have checked the photographs before I mailed the packages.
This felt-lined pencil box was filled with pens and pencils and was won by Pamela in San Francisco. The prizes going to Kelly, Phyllis and Barbara will just have to be a surprise.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Stationery Winner

We have a winner for the November Stationery Giveaway and her name is... (drum roll) ... Emma P from Pennsylvania!
This pen set from Sakura of America is just one of the dozen prizes in the giveaway. Stay tuned for the December Stationery Giveaway to be posted soon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Edward Gorey #23

The Edward Gorey postcard collection draws closer to the end with postcard #23 in the 2011 postcard book. Somewhere I must have missed a week as I only have two more after this one.
R is for Raccoon Coat
I'm in the process of mailing postcards to the people who kindly entered the mailbox contests in the Sept/Oct newsletter so I expect that one or two recipients will get one of the Gorey postcards. Others will receive postal museum cards, Minnesota cards, L&J cards or Antarctica postcards.
I've enjoyed having a theme and I'm considering what kind of regular blog updates I can do in 2012. Thoughts?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mailbox Contest Winners

Announcing the mailbox contest winners from the Sept/Oct newsletter. There were four prizes given away and each recipient selected the prize package they wanted to win when they mailed their entry. There were about 5 entries for each prize selection so I sorted the mail into A, B, C and D piles and selected one winner from each. Also, as I mentioned in the newsletter, if entries contained a photo or drawing of a post office box, then that person received an extra entry for the added effort.

Package A (ephemera) was won by Phyllis from CA. Here is the envelope Phyllis used and below is a photo of Phyllis's mailbox which happens to be

a mailbox slot in her garage door. She explains in her letter her experience of getting wet mail when it rains as well as having to get out of her car in the driveway to retrieve the mail each day so as not to run over it, which she has done.
Prize Package B (Pencil box with pens/pencils) was won by Pamela in CA with this decorated postcard. Pamela excels in mail art as many of you might recognize from her website, Cappuccino and Art Journal.



Here is the front of Pamela's card. Love all of that mailbox goodness!

Prize package C (Surprise goodies include journal, note cards, stamps, stationery, etc) goes to Kelly in IL. Love her telegram postcard!



Finally, Package D (set of cat rubberstamps) goes to Barbara, aka, CatBookMom. Creatively, Barbara used rubberstamps in the postcard she sent in. Aren't the snail and cats adorable? Nicely done!
I'll post photos of the prizes later this week when I prepare them to be mailed.

In the meantime, here is a sampling of some of the other mail themed entries that were submitted. Oh what fun my mailbox had in Oct and Nov!



Friday, November 25, 2011

Letter Links Nov 25

For those of you enjoying a lazy day after Thanksgiving- sitting at your computer- might I suggest the following links?
Hosting Your Own Letter Writing Social by Letter Writer's Alliance
Writing Letters...it's not just fun...it's good for you by 365 Letters
12 Days of Letter Writing by The World Needs More Love Letters
Need a Gift Idea for the Holidays? by Julie at Whatever

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I'd like to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. It's easy at this time of year to be reminded that it's all about GRATITUDE.
I have this gratitude book that I started on 6/2/10, but have not written in since 8/10/11 and it's only about 1/5 completed. Not that I have to write things down to be able to give thanks, but it helps to find things everyday in our everyday lives to appreciate. It's time for me to get back into the habit.
Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.  ~Kak Sri

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!  ~Henry Ward Beecher 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Writing Personal Notes & Letters

I have been reading Writing Personal Notes & Letters by Jennifer Williams and the editors of Victoria magazine on and off for a few months now. Although much of what I've read so far is often in other books on letter writing, it's still enjoyable to be drawn into the world of the letter writer. Indeed, it is.
The smooth white pages of the book are filled with lovely illustrations of postcards, stamps and writing images, much like Alexandra's Stoddard's classic, Gift of a Letter

From Chapter 2: 
Any good writing- writing that communicates something real and true, including letters to friends- derives its power from our experiences of life, whether it's a plain old "day-to-day life" or one fraught with extraordinary events. It doesn't matter. If you tap directly into your own life and allow it to speak for itself, your letters will never fail to be vivid and true.
What I've found with books on letter writing is that I like to read a little bit at a time, otherwise it becomes like eating too much pie at one sitting- uncomfortably filling.

Here are the chapter headings if you're curious.

Chapter 1: The Pleasures of Staying in Touch: A Meditation on Letter Writing
Chapter 2: Pictures of the Heart: Letters to Friends
Chapter 3:Transports of the Heart: Love Letters,  Valentines, and Billets-Doux
Chapter 4: Please Join Us: Invitations and Announcements
Chapter 5:  The Words to Say It: Thank You Notes and Letters of Congratulation
Chapter 6: The Comfort of Connection: Condolence and Sympathy Letters
Chapter 7:  Staying in Touch with the World: Letters of Admiration, Letters of Complaint, Letters to Magazines, Alumnae Newsletters and More

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mail Contest #1

The Sept/Oct newsletter had a mailbox contest where the entrants were asked to send in a piece of mail with a number selected that was between 1-100. The winner wins this handcrafted pencil box filled with a collection of pens from Nvizio. And the winner is..... (drum roll)


Jennifer from CA! This package will be on its way to you this week! Below is Jennifer's winning entry.


The winning number was #18 and Jennifer guessed #13. There was also a person who guessed #23 and since both of these numbers are 5 away from 18. I put both names in a hat and drew Jennifer's name.

 The pencil box was handcrafted by Harvey Christiansen. Here's a close-up of the inside which is covered in brown felt.