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.