Sunday, September 27, 2009

Writing Areas

Do you enjoy seeing or hearing about the writing areas of other people? I know I do! Desks like the one in this picture can be calming, inspiring and charming.

Letters & Journals will have a department devoted to this topic. The magazine will feature pictures of writing areas as maintained in famous people's houses or museums, as well as those of readers who choose to send in photos of their writing areas.

The Guardian ran a series of articles listing descriptions and photos of places where writers create. They include such writers as Roald Dahl, Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling and many others.

I wish I could remember where I found this picture- possibilities include a scan from a magazine or note card. Possibly it was from some miscellaneous surfing on the Internet. Possibly it is an image from the writing room of Vita Sackville-West.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Help with the Tagline

I'm looking for help in deciding the wording and order of the tagline you see in the Letters & Journals image to the right. Currently it reads:

Mail Art
Handwritten Letters

Although there may may be an occasional feature on Mail Art, I don't think there will be a regular dept, so I'm thinking I will shorten that to Mail.

I also wonder if I should change Handwritten Letters to either Letters or else Correspondence?

And what do you think of the words Pen & Ink?

I am leaning towards the following. What do you think or suggest?

Pen & Ink

Thanks for your help! Please forward this on to any you think may have an opinion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My pen pal, Jane, sent me this photo which is a picture from her farmhouse in rural France. Doesn't it look like a postcard? I thought so too.

Jane and I found each other through one of the pen pal magazines that are published and we've been corresponding for about two years now.

In addition to some close friends who I write to, I have a few other pals- all from the US and, once in awhile, I will hear from one in Norway. As much as I love letter writing I've had to cut back while I focus more on starting the magazine, Letters & Journals. But I still enjoy writing 1-2 letters a week. Sometimes more.

If you want to send (receive) mail, but don't want a pen pal, here are two websites that are all about getting mail!
We Love Snail Mail
Send Something

But if pen pals are what you're after, check out any of these Pen Pal magazines/newsletters:

Inky Trail News
The Letter Exchange
International Pen Friends

There is also one called Pen Pal Connection published by Dawn Thomas. Her email address is

There are also many pen pal groups in places like MSN, Yahoo, Google, etc, so you can check those out too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sealing Wax for Your Letters

There are few things that can set one letter apart from all other letters such as a wax seal on the envelope. I picked up a couple of these seals when we were in London a few years ago.

Harrods has the most incredible stationery department! I must have spent 2 hours there going from room to room and deciding what to buy. It was glorious!

As much as I love having these I don't use them as often as I should. I recently came across an instructional video at Paper Source where they show you how to use a glue gun for the sealing wax. This is much more efficient and not nearly as smoky as burning the wax by the wick. So I will try to incorporate more of these seals into my letter writing now that I know this better technique.

I took some pictures of the wax seal on an envelope I recently did, but the detail in the picture just showed a red glob so I will revisit that post when I get a new camera with a better zoom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Letters & Journals Magazine Update

Kathy Forss at DaisyMaeDesign has been busy with more of the magazine's layout. She also recently won the design contest for the MMPA (Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association) Excellence awards. Way to go, Kathy!

In this picture, you can see a sample page of the Table of Contents for Letters & Journals. Next will be a sample copy of the cover. Isn't this exciting?

I love this design- the fonts, the white space, the small images that go with each feature. I also love how the L&J logo goes at the bottom of the page near each page number.

The feature stories and departments are still being defined so the titles you see here are not necessarily what will be here for the premiere issue (although some of them will be).What would you like to see included as a feature story or recurring department? Anybody?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Make Your Own Envelopes

I love to make and use homemade envelopes. I've found an easy way to make them is with envelope templates that I got from Paper Source, but you can also use an old envelope that's unglued and opened up. Just trace the outline of the envelope on the paper you want to make into an envelope.

In the pictures in this post, you can see that I started with a large picture from a calendar and used the clear template to outline the envelope.

If you've never done this before, you can watch a video demonstration of the process at the Paper Source website.

It's handy to have white labels to put on the envelope so that the address is legible through the photo.

Paper Source also has videos for other fun projects - sealing wax, embosser, making envelope liners and more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper for September

The second round of the Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper has been posted over at The Pen Addict. Lots of links to blogs and posts regarding this wonderful paper world of ours! Have Fun!

For those of you who like typewriters, you may want to check out Strikethru who showcases some pretty neat typewriter ephemera in her blog for 9/7/09. I love those images!

The School Supplies Sleuth is a blog I just came upon this week. There are some awesome reviews of products as well as a really cute and welcoming website and avatar (she reminds me of Miss Bianca from the Disney movie, The Rescuers).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Letters & Journals Magazine Update

I bought this Moleskin planner for 2010 and am excited for the changes, adventures, thrills of this magazine venture as the journey continues. With 2009 coming to its closing quarter next month, I am making preparations for the next steps of the magazine for the end of this year and into 2010.

Over at the survey blog I removed the survey links I had been using to send people to Survey Monkey for the letter writing and journal writing surveys. I will leave the surveys up on Survey Monkey until the end of Sept. 2009 for the links that are still floating around the web and also in old posts.

Thanks to you and many others I collected almost 300 survey responses! And a big THANKS to all of you who passed the survey links along. I never would have gotten so many if you hadn't.

By the end of 2009 I expect to get a sample copy of the magazine printed and will start approaching potential advertisers. In early 2010 work will begin on the website.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Good Mail Day

I love this book! Good Mail Day arrived last week after I had read about it on the Missive Maven's blog and decided to order it. The book is nicely written with vibrant colorful pages- all having to do with mail!

The authors, Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler, have two websites:
Good Mail Day

Inside the book you'll find pages of lovely pictures, directions, illustrations, guidelines, suggested ideas and envelope and postcard templates for designing your own mail art. They also include a list of resources which include books, websites and zines.

They stress that you do not need to be an artist to take up this hobby (which is good news for me!).

Some of the chapter headings include:

Correspondence Charm School
From Ordinary to Extraordinary
Judging the Post by its Cover

I plan to create one of these two postcards where they recommend:
1. Fill a postcard with things you hear eavesdropping
2. Buy candy you've never tried before and use the wrappers to make a piece of mail art

I'll update this blog with a description and picture of what I create.