Friday, April 30, 2010

Fun Mail Sites

Here are some fun sites and blogs I've visited recently on Mail and Letter Writing. Enjoy!

This blogger has set up a stand for her Letter Writing Service. What a concept. Cute Photos!

Carolee and Jennie at Good Mail Day and Red Letter Day. I love their book and their blogs! If you like decorated envelopes and interesting mail, be sure to check them out.

The Art of the Letter writes about finding a book of collected letters of Isak Dinesen her local library.

The fun envelope in this post is from Postmuse. Isn't she talented? There is a matching card that came with the envelope, which I believe was from a calendar. She has a postcard project that is pretty cool and if you're willing to help out, you can visit her site for more information on that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Making Plans to Attend the National Stationery Show

The 64th National Stationery Show takes place in New York May 16-19, 2010. The annual trade show will have over 9,000 exhibitors and 12,000 industry related visitors- including me! Letters & Journals is looking for story ideas, new products to feature as well as finding potential advertisers for the magazine.

There will be vendors from various industries such as pen, ink, stationery, cards, gift wrap, home office products, calendars, etc. The Letters & Journals blog will update daily from the show just like last year. Here are the entries from the 2009 National Stationery Show.
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Name the Newsletter and Get a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Letters & Journals will have a weekly newsletter and I'd like it to have its own name. I will pay the person who submits the chosen name a $50 Amazon gift card OR a $50 Jet Pens gift card.  You decide. Here are a few ideas that are close, but not quite right.
Notebook News
Pen & Ink Newsletter
Weekly Inkling (already taken)
Since it's for both letters and journals, it's too limiting to have something like Letter Writers' Weekly or The Journal Keeper.

As a last resort, I will go with Letters & Journals Weekly or Letters & Journals Newsletter. But I would prefer to have a newsletter with its own brand.

You can email me Jackie or leave a comment. You can help by spreading the word too. Thanks!
(Image was obtained here.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Faerie Magazine

I was fortunate recently to meet Kim, the founder and owner of Faerie Magazine, via email. She has been extremely generous with her time helping to address some of my questions and concerns as I continue to enter realms of editing and publishing.  I have been using this magazine as a guide because it has such a niche audience, just as Letters & Journals will have. I was pleased to see a blog post by Kim that showed a photo and spoke of a letter she recently received that came in a beautiful faerie-like envelope. Enchanting.

Studying the success of those who have gone before you is a useful way to learn from others, the mistakes they learned the hard way and the things they would do differently now, knowing what they know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Purple Journal

While at the Paper Patisserie stationery store earlier this month I bought this lovely handmade journal. It was made Kristen's Creations and I plan to interview Kristen for more information on her handmade journals.

The inside pages have the slightly speckled paper with the softest finish. It's one of those notebooks you want to save for just the right thoughts or occasion and you don't want to make a mistake when you finally do venture inside to write or draw your first entry. These usually, for me, tend to go unused, which is a shame and something I am working on.

In Letters & Journals we plan to have occasional features on artists and stationery store owners. I imagine these people have followed their bliss and are living their dream- not that they don't have challenges and ups and downs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

National Card and Letter Writing Month (April)

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month! Let the fun begin! Well, actually, I've already begun when I picked up this new stationery last Saturday at a local stationery store called Paper Patisserie. The store is located in a lovely St. Paul neighborhood that also houses Garrison Keillor's Common Good Books and Nina's Coffee Cafe.

April is the perfect time to recognize this time honored tradition because sending a card or letter is like planting a seed - sending forth something in the world from your hands to the hands and heart of another. I'm not sure if anyone who doesn't normally write letters gets inspired by hearing about National Card and Letter Writing Month. Possibly some do.

I also recently got these colorful note cards with matching envelopes from Levenger. Aren't they lovely? Their colors are vibrant definitely spring-like.

 Here are some blogs I've visited that tell what they're doing this month in honor of NCALWM:
Missive Maven
Red Letter Day Zine
Letter Lover
Apron Thrift Girl
Naked Thanks
LLH Designs

How about you? What are you doing?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Love this New Ink (J. Herbin Orange Indien)

Imagine my delight when I found the package containing this J. Herbin Orange Indien ink from Karen at Exaclair!  I only have a few bottles of ink (2 Levenger and 1 Private Reserve) so I don't have a lot to compare it to, but I must say that I was impressed. I have been wanting an orange ink for a few months, but never took the time to place an order. I don't know that I would have ordered J. Herbin as I was kind of looking at getting a Noodler brand this time. This was the perfect color- a burnt orange. Not too bright and not too brown.
I decided to use my black Levenger True Writer (fine) with this ink and was pleased at the regular flow and the consistency of color. Usually when I write with fountain pens and ink, the color changes from light to dark as I adjust to the flow of ink in the pen. Maybe I'm just getting better but the consistency was very good. There was no bleed-through on the notebook paper I used (sorry, this new journal was a gift and there is no brand name on it. All it says is 'World of Journals' on the inside back cover. But I can tell you it is a smooth lined ivory colored paper not exceptionally thick or thin).

I recently read the review on another of J. Herbin's inks over at Inkophile's blog. This is the new 1670 ink and I just love the package and the bottle. Inkophile gave it a very good review and I am sold!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My New Notebook

Lucky Me! Last week I received this ecosystem notebook in a contest from Racket magazine on twitter.

We got to choose our own color if we won. This orange is called clementine, although kiwi (lime green) was a close second. I had to say what I would use it for and at the time I thought tracking my new hobby of watching Japanese anime movies would be a good choice, but the book is too big for those few movies. So I'm still deciding.

My next post will be about the J. Herbin Orange Indien ink I received from Karen at Exaclair, Inc. Orange on orange. I love it!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Letters & Journals Magazine

Letters & Journals magazine will be a quarterly print magazine containing features and departments related to the art and appreciation of letter writing and journal keeping. The magazine will be perfect bound (meaning it has a spine) and have slightly heavier stock paper than the normal monthly magazines. All of the ads in the magazine will be for stores and products related to the niche industry of the pen and paper enthusiast- our core audience.

In order to find the advertisers related to our niche, we need to build a database of names and addresses of potential subscribers. To do this we will be launching in May 2010 offering unique and interesting content as well as links to other articles that we find in our internet travels. We will also send out a weekly e-newsletter with engaging and relevant content.

 To give you a taste of some of the morsels that will be featured in the magazine, here are some sample article ideas:

A Stationery Lover's Guide to Paris (NYC, San Fran, London, Paris, you get the picture)
How do you start a Stationery Business? A Look at some people who did
Exotic Postmarks: Postcards from Around the World
Highlights of people's journals (famous and otherwise)
Pen Pal Corner- Who are these people? How do you find one of your own?
Samples of different journals you can keep (nature, travel, art, goals, daily, baby, etc)
Fan Mail- Do Movie Stars/Musicians/Athletes/etc Still Get it? Let's Take a Look
Dead Letter Office- Old, found letters and postcards
The Writing Area- Photos of readers and famous desks and writing areas
Fun with day planners and notebooks- Finding or Creating one of your own
Mindmaps, doodles, to-do lists, other lists

For ideas suggested by other readers, you can read the comments at this post. This is just some of what will be featured on the website and in the magazine.