Friday, December 31, 2010

Letter Writing Super Hero

Letters are powerful things.  Possibly this is because we don’t hold high expectations for them and so anything they offer is pure bonus.  When you find a handwritten letter in your mailbox, you don’t care about spelling or punctuation or the type of pen or paper used. You are just glad to hold it in your hand, to examine it and know it came directly from the person you care about. What a grand gesture, a noble task, a simple thing to make one's heart go pitter-patter.
Katy, the Non-Consumer Advocate has offered a challenge to any who are willing to send a letter a week in her 52 Weeks, 52 Letters Challenge. I heard about Katy's challenge through the aptly named 'My Stationery Addiction Now Has a Support Group'. So I'm signing up and doing my part to promote letter writing wherever I go. I'm like a letter writing Super Hero, at least in my own mind. Won't you be a Super Hero too? Even if you don't take Katy's challenge, you can still write a letter. Whose heart will you make go pitter-patter?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Planners for the New Year

A New Year means a new day planner. Or, in my case, four new day planners.
My main planner is the annual Inner Reflections which showcases a beautiful scene for every week of the year as well as an inspirational quote. There is a picture on one page and a weekly schedule on the opposite page. I keep this out at work and fill in to-dos, quotes, ideas, books, reminders, etc. throughout my day. I like to use different colored inks to help break up the monotony of all black or all blue writings.
My second weekly planner is an Edward Gorey Postcard Calendar. There are 26 postcards in this spiral bound planner. I was thinking this would be a useful place to track incoming/outgoing mail with my pen pals, mail artists and postcrossing friends. And throughout the year I will mail Edward Gorey postcards to someone somewhere. Who knows, maybe you.
 By now, you are probably recognizing a theme: I like weekly planners. Here is a Moleskin Weekly Notebook (black) that I recently purchased. In 2010 I had the red version and ended up using that for my personal growth notes- Goals, quotes, action plans, etc. But because I only have that half completed, I will continue using the 2010 red version until it's full. In the meantime, the black 2011 waits patiently to have its purpose declared.
I could use it as a diary, but I already have the 5 year Levenger diary that I started on 1/1/10 and first wrote about Dec. 24, 2009. Looking forward to reading the previous year's entry every time I add a new daily update.

For something to carry in my purse, I chose the Posh Monthly Planner by Andrews McMeel Publishing. This is 6.5" tall and about 4.25" across and is used for more long term planning; appointments, birthdays, weddings, vacations, etc. This monthly calendar, like our family wall calendar, is more of a proactive scheduler rather than a reflective diary type journal.

Monday, December 20, 2010

List Making

I am a habitual list maker, which gives some of my many notebooks purpose. In recent days I've come across other lists that have inspired me or given me a spark of joy to read and to contemplate. The list below is my reading list for January 2010.

1. Twenty Ways to Get Through Bad Days

2. 25 Holiday Ideas in 25 Days

3. List it Tuesday

4. Keeping a Writer's Journal: 21 Ideas to Keep You Writing

5. Journaling Benefits - A List of Choices

6. 10 Traditions that should make a comeback in 2011

7. Lists from the Happiness Project toolbox 

Do you have a favorite list to share?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sending Christmas Cards

Christmas cards! I love sending them and I love getting them! I have a ritual of preparing my space and creating the ambiance I like for getting in the flow of performing this annual tradition.

First, I set the mood with a holiday scented candle (Cranberry Chutney by Yankee Candle) and some holiday music (music from 'Rudolph').
Next, I select my pens, ink, paper, stamps and set them up in my writing area. In this case, I spread out my wares on the kitchen table. To help get me in the mood, I also included a photo of my husband as Santa Claus when he was guest of honor at a local holiday event last year (2009).

I've got my Christmas card list and I start at the top and work my way down. We send out about 100 cards and I like to have an assortment of different cards as I like having a small variety to send. One year, I made my own cards which was fun and creative, but that is definitely something that needs to be completed before the beginning of the holiday season.

While I don't include a letter in each one, I do include a personal note in all of the cards.

To help make the writing process more fun, this year I ordered two bottles of Christmas scented ink from Art Brown: The International Pen Shop. Both inks are from DeAtramentis. The green ink is pine scented and comes in the bottle on the right with the beautiful blue Christmas label. The coffee scented brown ink, in the gorgeous monochrome brown label on the left, has a slightly stronger scent.
I used the Lamy Studio (near the bottles) for the green ink and the Levenger True Writer for the coffee scented brown ink, which had the smoother flow.
Now they are all done and ready to mail! I have included these photos and a few more at flickr if you care to check them out.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukkah! Peace & Goodwill to All.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes and Letters by Marilyn Monroe

Reading this book (reviewed at the NYT) got me to thinking of some of the fragments that fill up my life. 

Half-finished journals
Notebooks filled with books to buy, blogs to check out, movies to see
Old letters 
Collage Journals
Used Calendars and Day Planners (I save them all)
To-do lists, Goals, Plans written out
My Idea Journal
Postcards (new and used)
Old library cards
Typewritten memos
Old Letterhead paper found at garage sales

What fragments fill up your life?

Monday, December 6, 2010

December Stationery Giveaway

Lots of goodies in store for one lucky winner for the December Stationery Giveaway at Letters & Journals. This month we have a stationery set and note cards from Craftgasm. Check out these awesome upcycled stationery from vintage maps!

Also, new this month is a selection of card/bookmarks from In My Book. These can be sent as cards and then kept as bookmarks. Each card has a wonderful illustration such as the one featured below.
Regreet has a handy greeting card organizer that lets you keep your cards sorted by month and also has a place to write in people's birthdays and anniversaries. If you're interested and being green and helping your budget at the same time, be sure to check out Regreet products.

Crane is known for the high quality of their note cards and this month they have donated a set of 20 hand bordered note cards. Wouldn't you love to sit by a cozy fire with a fine ballpoint pen or a bottle of ink and fountain pen and write some wonderfully thoughtful and touching notes?

Ecojot has whimsical and colorful illustrations on a variety of their notebooks. This month they have donated a softcover 2 pack of lined journals in pink.
Haley's Handmades has donated a selection of Poodle cards like the one shown below. These fun note cards are humorous and unique.
Flying Wish Paper could be the jump start you need to make your wishes come true. This Purple Snow design is just in time for the December holidays.

The Sakura Gelly Roll pens come in a 3-pack of white pens. These are great for crafts or for writing on dark or colored paper. I love the effect of white pens writing on black paper. It's like your conjuring the words out of thin air and watching them magically appear. Very cool.

Pennant magazine has offered a copy of one of their collectible magazines for Pen Collector's of America. You can also view a sample issue of one of their magazines online if you'd like to check it out.

There are just two ways you can win this luxurious stationery giveaway: 
1. You are signed up for the free Letters & Journals monthly e-newsletter
2. You are put on the mailing list for information regarding the premiere edition when that information is available (No subscriptions yet- just a heads up on the status of the print edition) Send info here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Stationery Giveaway Winner

Elizabeth G (who signed up on 11/27/10) is the winner! She wins 2 sets of cards (Haley's Handmades and Archelaus),a Crane journal, an Ecojot notebook, a perpetual calendar (Rock Scissor Paper), Flying Wish Paper and a pen.
Prizes in the December Stationery Giveaway will be announced by Dec 7. Stay tuned. 

There are two ways you can win the monthly stationery giveaway: 
1. You are signed up for the free Letters & Journals monthly e-newsletter
2. You are put on the mailing list for information regarding the premiere edition when that information is available (No subscriptions yet- just a heads up on the status of the print edition) Send info here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Voyeuristic Tendencies

Do you pick up notes you find on the ground (sometimes)? Or open envelopes found in old books(always)? How about reading a grocery list left behind in the cart( usually)? Reading used notebooks in a garage sale(yes) or inscriptions inside used books (guilty)?

These voyeuristic tendencies must satisfy some kind of primal need since I think that most people are curious to see what others are thinking, feeling, doing. This explains the premise of Found Magazine.

The magazine can be a bit overwhelming to read in one sitting, so I keep a copy at my desk and read a few pages here and there. First published in 2001, this unique magazine has an interesting slant on collecting subject matter.

"We collect found stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles-- anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life.
Another site is called Forgotten Bookmarks. Michael works in a used book store and blogs about "the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books."

Abe Books website has an article called 'Things Found in Books' and it lists things such as old baseball cards, a pinky ring, photos,etc. Very interesting reading.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Silent Type II

'Silent Type II' was published in October 2010 by Strikethru and I was lucky enough to get a copy of this in the mail. If you're not familiar with Strikethru, it is a blog about 'typewriters, typecasting, ephemera, Moleskin blogging, junk cameras, notebooks, stamps, writing, paper crafts, and other curiosities.' Visit and enjoy!
 It made my day to sit in a comfy chair with a cup of cinnamon flavored coffee at my side and leisurely peruse this gem of a zine.
 The high quality of the paper (smooth and glossy) added to the colorful pages and enhanced the captivating images used throughout the publication.
 Both editions of Silent Type are available for free in PDF format at the Strikethru blog. Just look in the left navigation bar for their covers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The November Stationery Giveaway

The November Stationery Giveaway at Letters & Journals offers a prize basket with 7 different items- cards, journals, pen, birthday calendar, flying wish paper and a notebook.

First up, we have a new contributor who features cute poodles on much of her designs.  On these cards from Haley's Handmades there are poodles in all kinds of poses and settings. There is an assortment of 5 cards in the November giveaway.
Next we have a second new donor, Rock Scissor Paper who I found by winning something on their blog in September. If you have 20 seconds, you should check out the cute video that announced the winner. They contributed a birthday calendar that can be reused year after year.
Archelaus Cards has sent in a set of four different greeting cards such as the one shown below. Their cards offer a unique selection of quotes and wonderful drawings.
Ecojot continues to support the monthly giveaway and has sent in one of their hard bound spiral notebooks to be offered in this month's drawing. If you visit the Ecojot blog you will see that sometimes they publish pages of journal pages that people have sent in such as this colorful entry.
Flying Wish Paper donated another large wishing kit. These have been popular as people write to tell me they have never heard of it but are happy and excited to try it. I hope you will be too.
Next we have another hardbound ribbon journal from Crane. This blue journal is the perfect place to write your goals and dreams and ideas for your life. If you're on Facebook, you may want to check out the new BlueBook app that Crane has developed. The BlueBook app makes etiquette fun by allowing you to reward good behavior and correct behavior that needs correcting.
Finally, Letters & Journals is offering a Write Dudes pen that was purchased at Target for $1.94. This pen was featured in a recent blog along with some other stationery purchases made that day.

There are just two ways you can win this luxurious stationery giveaway: 
1. You are signed up for the free Letters & Journals monthly e-newsletter
2. You are put on the mailing list for information regarding the premiere edition when that information is available (No subscriptions yet- just a heads up on the status of the print edition) Send info here.

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Recent Stationery Purchase

Recent stationery purchases at Target include a fine point pen from Write Dudes, a staple bound notebook and a 3-ring binder designed by John Derian, whom I had not heard of before, but apparently has a Field Notes or Cabinet of Curiosities type of motif. Very cool.

The notebook cover has a picture of a string holding together various notebooks and evokes a late 19th or early 20th century feel to it.
The notebook has smooth lined pages and is staple bound. I haven't written on the paper yet so cannot describe how the pen and paper work together. I'm deciding what purpose to give the notebook. I have a book journal where I list all the books I read or listen to. I have a 5-year daily journal from Levenger where each page has a snippet of the day's happenings so that as each year passes, I can see what was going on the previous year. I have a journal of goals and inspiring quotes. I have an idea journal which I have spoken about in the past. I will have to put this (for now) with my other journals and notebooks waiting for a home/purpose.
The pen is a surprisingly smooth writer with a nice fine point, which I prefer. Below is writing sample of the  pen. (The green ledger paper was a garage sale find for a quarter.)
 Fun new items are not always found at exotic stationery stores or warehouse-like office supply stores. Sometimes they are found at the local big box store. And heaven knows a person can never have too many pens or notebooks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letters & Journals Magazine Update

The launch of the print version of Letters & Journals is scheduled for 2011. It's been a long time in research and planning and the challenge in 2010 has been to build a following of potential subscribers.

To date we have a list of 2,300 names of possible subscribers/buyers. Our goal is to get 5,000 names. Once we have a list of 5,000 names then we will begin approaching advertisers and following up with the ones who have already expressed interest (thank you!).

If you know some people or groups who would be interested, please encourage them to sign up for the website, the e-newsletter or just let me know to add them to my Magazine Updates Only list. None of the lists are being sold or shared and there is no obligation.

Thanks to the many loyal followers who offer their encouragement and share in the excitement of all the things that Letters & Journals represents; pens, paper, ink, pencils, notebooks, diaries, journals, note cards, stationery, mail art, pen pals, postcards, mail, stamps, letters, ephemera, etc.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My New Writing Desk

In my garage sale and flea market travels, I sometimes come across an item that fits just right in my stationery filled world. Such a one is this writing desk that I bought for $15. I wasted no time filling those cubbyholes with recently received letters, set out my ink bottles and a glass pen I had been experimenting with (not successfully).

The drawers I filled with stationery, stamps and other ephemera. Oh the joy of it all! I experimented with adding some blank books and journals in the corner as you can see below. I liked how they looked and decided to keep them there.

The unfortunate part is that I have no room in my office, so the new desk sits in the living room. That will work for now. Maybe at some point I will make changes to my office/craft room and incorporate the writing desk at the expense of something else. And, of course, it will need a special chair. Maybe on my next outing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October Stationery Giveaway

The Letters & Journals October Stationery Giveaway has some new and awesome stationery goodness to offer. There are two journals (Crane and Elum), a 3-pack of Ecojot notebooks, 1 Regreet greeting kit, Bella Ink stationery set, J. Herbin Violette Pensee (Exaclair), 3 Sakura Gelly Roll pens (metallic), and Flying Wish Paper (large). Thanks to the generous sponsors for their wonderful donations!

Such confections of stationery bliss can be yours in one of two ways:

1. You are signed up for the free Letters & Journals monthly e-newsletter
2. You are put on the mailing list for information regarding the premiere edition when that information is available (No subscriptions yet- just a heads up on the status of the print edition) Send info here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stationery Store Database

Letters & Journals is building a database of stationery stores in the US and Canada. Do you have a favorite stationery or office supply store? Do you have a friend who has their own letter press card store? Maybe you are a stationery store owner? We are planning to have the most comprehensive list of stationery/office supplies stores and need your help to send in your store information (address or website URL).

Anthology (Madison, WI)

The September LetterNews first mentioned this request to help create the database and there was an immediate response from subscribers listing their favorite stores. These are still in the process of being added. (Thanks to all of you who sent them in so quickly!)

Please leave a comment or send an email to add your favorite store. Later we plan to add reviews and photos to the stores to help others plan their shopping, planning, dreaming excursions. I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait!

Friday, October 1, 2010

September Stationery Giveaway Winner

The Missive Maven is the winner of the September Stationery Giveaway! Congratulations, Ilona! Hope you enjoy (or can share) all of the goodies headed your way!

September's generous sponsors were:
Flying Wish Paper
Crane Notecards
Regreet Card Organizer
Regreet Starter Kit
2 Gelly Roll Pens (Sakura)
Quo Vadis Blue Journal
Pennant Magazine

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Found This Snail Mail Card

I love sending cards, especially colorful cute cards with motifs related to books or mail or writing. Imagine my delight when I came across this autumn colored snail mail card at the annual Sheyenne Valley Arts and Craft Fall Festival at Fort Ransom, ND last weekend. I loved it so much, I bought 4!

Award winning artist Jessica Magnus, from Richardton, ND, had a booth at the fair and also has her artwork for sale at her website If you visit, you may also see this image where 'Owls Discuss the Universe'. I love it! I will definitely be buying more from this talented artist.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is regreet?

For a fun way to re-use some of those funny, one-of-a-kind birthday cards (or any kind of greeting card), regreet offers an innovative change from the ordinary. Who hasn't thought of doing this? In 2009 Christy Eichers took this seed of an idea and went on to start her own company.

I met Christy this year at the National Stationery Show and have been following her (and her smiling green frog) on Twitter and Facbook and watching regreet grow.

For the uninitiated, here is how it works
The basic regreet kit comes with signature labels (to cover the previous signature), note paper, envelopes and journey labels. The journey label allows you to identify your newly minted regreet card with a unique regreet ID number that you can enter online and then track where the card goes once it leaves your care. Or, in some cases, you can see where it was before it found its way to you.

When I approached Christy for the monthly stationery giveaway, she immediately responded and sent in two items that can be won in this month's giveaway- the basic regreet greeting kit (pictured above) and a greeting card organizer as seen below.

This sturdy and earth friendly organizer comes with 2 single sets for regreeting your first cards and pockets for each month plus an pocket for supplies.For more information (including a short video) of how regreet works, just visit their website.

If you would like the opportunity to win these items in this month's stationery giveaway, just be sure you are signed up for LetterNews, the monthly e-newsletter.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Visit to the National Postal Museum (Part 3)

Before visiting the National Postal Museum (NPM) I had been reading about it through different blogs- the NPM blog, the PostMuse blog, and James at Everyday Correspondence and his wonderful three part coverage of the museum (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) earlier this year. There were a few others as well, but I neglected to bookmark them, so if you wrote a blog post on the NPM, please comment and let me know.  It is great to see that others are as fascinated as I am with postal history.
In trying to learn more and better prepare for our visit, I began following the NPM on facebook and twitter. I also follow the news posted on the British Postal Museum and Archive.

After writing my first two blogs (Part 1 and Part 2), Abraham at La Vie Graphite mentioned a post he had written earlier this year about the history of letter forms at the Musée de la Poste (the postal history museum) in Paris. This one was fascinating to me because the museum concentrated more on handwritten letters.

In my research and travels I am finding that it's not just people who like stamps or people who like mail who are fascinated with Post Offices and the history of mail service, but there are many kinds of people- all with varying degrees of interest and preferred topics.

For example, my husband (who was such a good sport to accompany me on my 2 hour tour) has zero to minimal interest in anything postal, but was drawn to the Armed Services display (In hindsight, it could have been that this display came with a set of chairs). Or the friendly NPM store clerk who shared with me that she had not been particularly interested in anything postal and hadn't realized the NPM existed until she started working there a few years ago. Now she buys newly minted sheets of stamps and saves them in a stamp album. And that's how it begins.