Monday, August 31, 2009

Box of 10 Thank You Cards = 11 Happy People

What if, out of the blue, someone sent you a thank you card for an event long past? Or maybe they sent you a thank you for a recent kindness. Possibly they sent one to thank you for sharing a memory of a recently deceased loved one.

Who could you think to send a thank you card today? If not a thank you card, then how about sending a thinking of you card? Can you think of 10 people?

If I were to challenge myself to think of 10 different people to send cards to, here would be my list:

1. A favorite teacher (it's been over 30 years)

2. A local company recently featured in the newspaper for their green efforts

3. A local animal shelter

4. A girl scout who is doing a project to help animal shelters

5. A national politician

6. A friend who is going through a difficult time

7. A friend who has always been there for me

8. My husband

9. An elderly family friend

10. An author

Who would be on your list?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home: it's impossible to think at first how this will all be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living.

I don't recall how I found that quote by Barbara Kingslover, in her book High Tide in Tuscon, but it moved me enough to

1. Buy and read the book
2. Send the quote to friends
3. Write to the author
4. Create this blog post about it
5. Add it to my book of quotes

Isn't it funny how some books, people, songs or quotes speak to your soul? They touch you at a level reserved for wonder and awe.

In my journal I keep a list of quotes and favorite passages. Here are some of my favorites:
If we had no impulse towards caution, our curiosities would probably kill us. ~ Gregg Levoy in Callings
Stored within your cells, each one constructed of recycled atoms as old as the earth, is the timeless truth women have always known; all life is sacred, seamless, endless, connected. ~Victoria Moran Living a Charmed Life
You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. And you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. ~ Woodrow Wilson
Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

What are some of yours?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pen and Ink Swap

I happened to comment on the Asda fountain pen that Sam reviewed in his blog at Future: Nostalgic that I wish we had that particular pen in the US. Lo and behold, we had worked out a trade and look at all of the goodies I got from the UK!

It's hard to pick a favorite. The Asda fountain pen (far left in the blue package) is a lightweight pen that comes with ink cartridges and has an excellent fine tip writing point, which I love. You can read Sam's review of this pen at his blog.

The Inoxcrom pen in the package on the right was a heftier fountain pen with a nicely weighted feel, but I found that the pen wrote a little hesitatingly. I like rich smooth flow of ink. Maybe I will experiment with different inks, like Sam did with his Parker 61 (which is on my wish list) to see if that will help.

The Pilot B2P is a new gel roller where the pen body is made from plastic bottles. It has a fine point (0.7) and a thick, easy flow of ink, which I prefer. It's a smooth writing retractable pen which is great for portability.

Probably my favorite is the Pentel Fine Style ballpoint pen. Although the flow is not thick or generous, it's a smooth writing fine point that's light weight and consistent. It has a slim design and a comfortable barrel.

As an added bonus, Sam included an Oxford notebook. This is a quality notebook with a hard cover and the smooth-lined pages. Naturally, I tested each of the pens on the paper and am very happy with the results. I should have added a picture, but it's pretty scribbly as I wasn't planning to take a photo when I was trying out the different pens. Next time I will know better!

Thanks, Sam, for adding to my collection/addiction!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Letters & Journals Magazine Update

Here is the first look at the design for Letters & Journals, a quarterly print magazine celebrating the art and history of letter writing and journal keeping. We are still working out the details of the tagline that currently says Mail Art, Journals, Blogs, Handwritten Letters, Postcards, Notebooks and Diaries. We are deciding on which words to use and in what order. Fun stuff, I'm telling you!

Letters & Journals will be dedicated to all areas of letters and journals such as:

Fan Mail Today
Famous People Journal Excerpts
Keeping an Art, Travel, Life, Success etc. Journal
Letters to your future self, your child, your past self
Make your own stationery
Best stationery stores by City
Stationery Product Reviews
Blogs that write about pen, ink, paper, postcards, journals, doodles
Scrapbook Journaling

I've gotten some great suggestions to possible feature stories and regular departments on the survey that I've been conducting at Survey Monkey. If you haven't taken either of the very brief surveys, I welcome your feedback and contribution.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Exotic Postmarks

I love the name of this department, Exotic Postmarks! What does that bring to mind for you?

Besides stamps, as shown in this sample article, I think of postcards, penpals, old letters found at an estate sale, vacations, Agatha Christie.

Or, how about a Vintage Paper Fair held three times a year in different CA locations? I recently read about this at the blog, where Annie at Curbside Treasure (don't you love that name?) wrote about it in her May 24, 2009 post. The pictures in her post are samples of exotic postmarks.

How many other Vintage Paper Fairs are going on around the world? How about a story highlighting them, their dates and places with some bloggers/writers/visitors offering feedback on what can be found there? I am dizzy with possibilities!

Exotic Postmarks, will be a regular department featured in Letters & Journals. I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions for this department.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Department Pages for Letters & Journals

Here is the first look at a sample of one of the department pages of the magazine Letters & Journals. I was so excited to see this when Kathy at DaisyMaeDesign sent it to me this week.

There will be 3-4 departments for articles on journals and 3-4 departments for articles on letter writing. This picture is a sample from one of the journal departments. In a later post I will show a sample of a Feature article.

I love the font she chose for the 'Journal Themes' heading as well as the placement for the title and the byline. I also like how she left a lot of white space so that the page is not crowded and tight.

One of my favorites things is how the background at the top of the page changes with the article background of the article. It's intoxicating thinking of all the stories that will be featured here.

I also am quite pleased with the red page number and the black magazine logo at the bottom of the page. They contrast each other nicely.

My next blog will be a sampling of the Letter department layout followed by a preview of the magazine's flag (or logo) for the cover.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Who Do You Write To?

The first question people ask when I tell them I'm starting a magazine on letter writing and journaling, is " Does anyone write letters any more?" And when I assure them we do, their follow question is "Who do you write to?"

The most common answers are friends, relatives and pen pals. Even with email and Facebook, people still do write letters. Results from the ongoing online survey I'm conducting on letter writing show

50% write 1-3 letters per month

And of those 243 respondents, here is who they write to:

74% write to friends
58% write to relatives
47% write to pen pals
22% write to someone in a category not listed

They could choose more than 1 category.

Some people want to write letters or just send/receive mail, but have no one to write to. That's where sites like,, Just Letter Rip, the Missive Maven, We Love Snail Mail and 365 Letters come in. You can find like-minded people here looking to talk about letter writing, read about it, comment on it and share in the passion of letter writing even without someone to write to. And if you are looking for people to write to, you can find those online as well.

There are also two popular pen pal newsletters that you can check out. They both have a printed newsletter and offer articles and information online as well.

Inky Trails
Lex Letters

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper

Nifty at Notebook Stories has created a nice collection of various blogs and articles all about pens, pencils, and notebooks which is called the Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Notebook. Here is the description of the carnival
The Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper is a traveling monthly collection of the best blog posts about notebooks, pens, pencils, paper products and anything else deemed relevant by the editors. The Carnival appears the first Tuesday of every month, starting August 4th, 2009. It will feature product reviews, photos of users’ collections, sketchbook art and doodles, and more!
There are a TON of links in the article and on the site itself. So if you are interested in pens, pencils or paper be sure to visit Notebook Stories.

Letters & Journals was featured as Notebook Addict of the Week on July 14, 2009. I shouldn't admit it, but I'll tell you -that the picture of my stack of journals/notebooks featured in the Addict of the Week was not even all of my collection. What can I say? Some people collect stuffed animals, coffee mugs, porcelain dolls, and whatnot. I collect notebooks and journals. And this awesome carnival of pen, pencil and paper shows that I am not alone.