Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Letters & Journals Website

The Letters & Journals website is scheduled to launch this May. I hope to have a preview of it in a few weeks. The plan is to use the website to build interest in the print magazine by offering new and interesting articles, links to pertinent stories on the web, lists of stationery stores by name and by state, store reviews, product reviews, information on workshops and retreats.

I think the most difficult part has been curbing my enthusiasm for all the things I want the website to be and do. In order to launch on time, we may most likely have to delay some of the features I want the site to have. But we'll continue to add new features and functionality even after we launch, so it will just be a matter of time.

I'm still looking for story submissions, article ideas, workshop information and other suggestions. Feel free to email me or leave a comment.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flat Grace Sends Herself in a Letter

Flat Grace arrived in our mail in early February 2010. In a letter written by our 7 year old niece, Grace, and another one typed by her second grade teacher, our instructions were clear - take pictures of Flat Grace participating in the community and then mail the pictures and a letter back to the school.
We took Flat Grace to the library, the park, city hall, the community center and the movie theater. While outdoor at the movie theater, a woman pulled her vehicle over to ask if we were partaking in a Flat Stanley adventure. We had never heard of Flat Stanley but the more pictures we took and places we visited, the more we ran into people who had.

This project is based on the 1964 children's book, Flat Stanley, where Stanley becomes flattened by a falling bulletin board. He has many adventures in his flattened state, including mailing himself to a friend in California.
Apparently, the Flat Stanley project is a popular one for grade school children. There is a website devoted to the Flat Stanley Project and there have been subsequent books chronicling the further adventures of Stanley According to a 2005 CNN article, Flat Stanley even got recognition on the red carpet when he appeared with Clint Eastwood at that year's Oscars.

Best of all for me, besides the adventure of spending a day with Flat Grace all over the city, is the letter from our niece telling us about her flattened self.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blogs about Pens

Pen lovers may have their favorites, but one thing is certain- They cannot have just ONE! Here are some recent pen blogs. Every time I check there seem to be more of them, which is not a bad thing. There's no way to highlight them all, but here are some recent posts I came across- most of them talking about pens in general, rather than a specific review.

My Pen List by Kelly Kilmer (Mixed Media Artist)
Ink Links from the Pen Addict
Favorite Fountain Pens by Inkophile
Pens & Pencils (He calls himself an old geezer)
8th Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper (Pocket Blonde)
Fine Point Face-Off (Note Booker, Esq)
Parker 75 (Julie at Whatever)
Pencil Case Review (Pen Archives)
Paper & Pen (The Orchard)
How Does the Pen Addiction Start? (Goldspot Pens)

I think that when new people happen across this hobby, or, at long last, find others like them online, they realize how much they enjoy reading posts about pens and then they start commenting and, soon, they have set up their own blog. Think of all the poor souls out there who think they are alone in their pen addiction. Fear not! fine friends. We are here for you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"As Time Goes By"

I have recently begun watching this British sitcom starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. As Time Goes By is about these two characters who met and fell in love in the 1950s. They're separated after he is sent to fight in Korea and the letter he wrote to her never arrived. They meet again 38 years later, she is a widow and he is divorced.

So the plot of the sitcom, which ran from 1992 to 2005, is based on the letter that never arrived and the lives that were potentially changed because of it.

I was introduced to this series by pen pal, Christi, who mentioned it in one of her letters. Finding a new television series is always fun, but finding one that was on the air for 13 years is like hitting the jackpot! I go online and order the seasons as they are available at my local library. I've also recently discovered Monk, so between these two shows, I should be good to go for awhile.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Love Letter Squad

I found the Love Letter Squad while searching twitter to find any recent tweets on #letter and came across this fantastic site. These two ladies in San Francisco have a weekly radio show where listeners can call in and get help writing a love letter. As they explain on their website, the love letters can be to anyone- parent, sibling, spouse, friend, etc.

Janet Gallin and Tresa Eyres reach out by offering workshops, a blog and contact through their website in addition to their weekly radio show which you can listen to by visiting their website. I also watched a five minute television appearance they recently had for Valentine's Day on a local news channel which was linked from their website. They gave some great advice and it made me want to learn more about them and hear more of their listener's stories.

These two ladies met in 2005 and started their radio show in 2006. I will definitely be visiting their website and blog to keep up with these interesting ladies and how they are improving the world one love letter at a time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Writing Area (all cleaned up)

One of the features of Letters & Journals website will be a photo gallery of people's writing areas. I would expect there to be at least three categories:

1. Famous Desks & Writing Areas

2. Reader's submissions of their photos

3. Illustrations/photos of dream writing areas, desks, rooms to encourage the writing muse

Can you think of others?

I first wrote about this last Sept. in my post called 'Writing Areas' that has one my favorite desk photos and got some favorable responses to this exciting concept.

Have you noticed there are entire magazines devoted to people's work areas now? The two I'm thinking of are specifically related to crafting hobbies, but I think the essence is the same- a desk, a work station, a room with a view.

Where Women Create

Studios- by Cloth Paper Scissors

The photo in this post was taken after clearing off all of my files, folders, notebook, day planner, etc. on my desk. Maybe next time I will take the picture with the clutter still on the desk? I have posted additional photos on flickr, but most of them are the pretty much the same with different lighting and close ups. This room was originally a bedroom when we moved in 15 years ago, but as our children have grown and moved on, we turned this into an office/craft room.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Old Address Books Tell a Story

Old address books like old calendars can tell a story. Not everyone writes in theirs or saves the old ones, but those who do have a piece of their history preserved. The one in this photo was started in 1990 by my parents who lived in a small rural town in North Dakota. Now, 20 years old, this address book contains all of my addresses since then (5) as well as a name change when I got married in 1991. I'm glad to say that neither has since changed since 1994 when we moved into our current home.

Years ago I read an article in Mary Englebreit's Home Companion magazine (no longer in print) where Darci Smith wrote about old address books and how her mother kept the same two address books from her marriage in 1965 to the article's publication in 2003. Ms. Smith wrote of her mother's worn and tattered address books held together by a rubber band, "Their many scrawls and cross-outs form a map of the human heart."

In addition to having a snapshot in history of people and places, I also have both of my parent's handwriting in one place. Hopefully my children and their children will value this too.

What stories does your address book tell?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fun Stamps!

Who doesn't love an envelope decorated with fun stamps? I try to keep an assortment of stamps so that I can dress up the envelopes and postcards as the mood or occasion allows.

I have an envelope of used stamps (see photo) that I will use in my scrapbooking and card making. I used to take all of the stamps off my letters and send to a pen friend who collects them and sends the extras on to charities. But recently I've decided to leave the stamps on and have them be part of the letter's story. I still get enough stamps to send on to Dulcie for her collection and I have plenty of used stamps for my other crafting needs.

I'm curious. What do you do with your old stamps?