Monday, August 30, 2010

Highlights of LetterNews

There are two feature stories in this month's edition of LetterNews, the e-newsletter for Letters & Journals. If you don't get the newsletter that was sent out Monday, August 30, you can read the articles on the website.

The first article, by Debra Illingworth Greene, is 'Lost and Found: A Journal Story' which tells the story of one lost journal and how it made the journey back to its owner.

The second feature is by Kathleen Cleberg who reviews 'The Spirit of Letters', a book about great artists who painted people reading or writing letters such as this famous painting by Vermeer. If you're interested in purchasing this hardcover book, I found some copies for sale at,  a website that sells new and used books.

(Photo: Girl in Blue Reading a Letter, Jan Vermeer from 'The Spirit of Letters' published by Hallmark in 1961.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Circle Journal Notebook

My niece, Mary, and I began this circle journal notebook in Nov. 2003. The book began with me posting current photos of us on the opening page and then I wrote her a note on the following page that began:
Dear Mary,
I hope you had a nice Halloween.
  Mary, age 8, wrote back a week later:
Dear Jackie,
I had a great Halloween.
Those were not the entire entries, but you get the idea.

We concluded the book in Dec. 2008. What a keepsake we have created in those 5 years that we mailed the circle journal back and forth between our homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Photographs, memories, handwriting, stickers, pets, siblings, birthday parties, movies, holidays and much more.

Recently someone emailed me asking about circle journal notebooks as she wanted to know where to get one. I happened to have the box that contained my second circle journal now in progress with Mary's sister (age 8). But when I checked the website and a general Google search, I found out that the company is no longer in business. Too bad. For $20 the kit came with a book, mailing envelopes, stickers, ideas and a website link to post photos.

But any book will do; a spiral bound notebook, a hard cover journal, a mini scrapbook. To see a very creative and inspiring example of a traveling journal, you can read this awesome blog post (with photos) at Everyday Correspondence. It's not really a circle journal in that this one does not circle back to any of the contributors, but instead, it keeps getting sent to the next person on the long list of recipients until it returns to the owner. Maybe it is a circle journal since it will make the trip out into the world and then return to its creator.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Letters & Journals Blog Moving

Big changes are happening with the Letters & Journals blog! After 16 months on the blogger platform, I've decided to move it to the L&J website so that the blog and website can be the same. I was hesitant at first since I'm so comfortable with the layout and functions on the Google blogger, but as I spend more time on the website, it makes sense to combine them into one place. I will post in both places for a few weeks to give people some notice and, for those who visit regularly (Thank you!) some time to change their links or bookmarks.

The website is taking some time to adjust to as is the monthly e-newsletter, LetterNews.  Deciding where things live (topics and stories), how to get them to display as I expect them to, adding photos, changing fonts, etc. I'm trying a new format for the August newsletter and will see how it works with the full stories in the newsletter. That will be ready this weekend or early next week.

(Image is courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Planning a Visit to the National Postal Museum

We are planning a trip to DC in September and we have it on our itinerary to visit the National Postal Museum. I've been reading some interesting blog posts about it and am very excited to spend a good half day there- meeting other interested folks, seeing the history of the postal service, getting story ideas, taking pictures. 

James at Everyday Correspondence has a great 3-part blog post on the National Postal Museum.
Pushing the Envelope is the blog of the National Postal Museum.
The Traveling Wheelchair's post on the museum.
All My Hues has a July 2010 post with pictures

Have any of you been there? Do you have recommendations of what to see and do there?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Newest Family Member

Meet Ben, our new family member. He's a one year old Lhasa Apso mix. We got him from the local humane society. I love to take him for walks and watch him chase butterflies and  grasshoppers. Very cute.

So even though this post is not about letters or journals or the magazine, I just wanted to share a little bit of cuteness, fun and joy that Ben has brought into our lives.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August Stationery Giveaway

There are some great stationery items in the monthly giveaway at Letters & Journals for those signed up for the monthly e-newsletter LetterNews. Since June we have signed up 300 stationery lovers!

Ciak leather journal from Journaling Crane thank you notes, J. Herbin glass pen and a bottle of Lierre Sauvage (green) ink, Sakura Micron pen set, Rhodia dot pad and a Spring 2010 Pennant magazine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Typewritten Note

Some of you asked to see what the cursive font looks like on my new typewriter. I typed up a small sample, but the ribbon is not very fresh so the words are faint. I have joined a typewriter group on yahoo to learn a little bit more about this hobby and to decide if I want to invest in buying a new ribbon (probably) and learn how to install it properly (hopefully). We shall see.

Thanks for your lovely comments. It's so nice to share with others who appreciate the fascination with they typed and written word.

You can click on the image to make it larger if you are having a hard time reading the words.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Typewriter $4

This lovely typewriter was a $4 find at a garage sale. I haven't had a typewriter for years, but lately I had been intrigued by them from following Strikethru's blog and purchasing her zine 'Silent Type: A Retrotech Journal.'  I also recently received the typewritten 'Thank You' note from Lily that I blogged about.

The best part of this Voss typewriter (besides the fact that it works and only cost $4) is that it types with a cursive font! What a delightful and unexpected surprise.

 Olivander on Flickr

Growing up we had a behemoth black typewriter. As a young child I loved to spend afternoons  sitting at the desk and typing away.I think I just copied things out of a book. Sometimes I tried to create stories, but I was too slow at getting out the words.
In college I used an electric typewriter. What I remember about that was the endless hours trying to format and NOT make a mistake. Now with computers and formatting and font selection, it is truly a whole new world. But sometimes it's fun to use stuff from the old.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July Stationery Winner

This set of note cards from Hotshoe Cards is one of the seven items in this month's stationery giveaway that was won by Valerie F. An email has been sent to Valerie notifying her of her good fortune. Valerie has one week from today to contact me with her mailing information. If she doesn't respond, a second winner will be drawn and announced.

The monthly drawing is open to all the subscribers of LetterNews, the free monthly newsletter for Letters & Journals. Odds of winning on 8/1/2010 were 1 in 277.

The August stationery giveaway is underway! Prizes and donors to be announced throughout the month.