Monday, September 17, 2018

Letters & Journals Blog Has Moved

The Letters & Journals blog has moved to Wordpress. You can find it here.

If you're kind enough to include a link to L&J from your blog or website, please let me know so that I can send you a thank you card!

The new website is still in its beta stage and is being updated and tested as we continue to enrich and expand it. Your feedback is welcome.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Antarctic Postmarks

Exotic postmarks have an allure and charm about them, especially the more well-known and scarce postmarks, such as mail postmarked from the Titanic or the Hindenburg.

When I heard about an opportunity to possibly receive mail postmarked from Antarctica, I prepared four envelopes and sent them off to the first two addresses listed on this government website. I wanted to see if I received anything before sending to all three locations.
There's no guarantee that you'll receive your stamped envelopes back, but I thought it was worth a try and was glad to see two of them show up in my mailbox with their deliciously clear postmarks-  especially on the envelope above with the postage stamps of Arctic explorers.
These both came from the McMurdo station as you can see from the postmarks above.

I've previously posted about postmarks here and here.

Do you collect postmarks? Do you have a favorite or a place you wish you could have one from?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Porcelain Mailbox

This lovely mailbox was created by Kelvin Chen who is known for his collection of enameled porcelains. I found this in a gift shop in San Francisco when I was there this past March for my first ever PlannerCon which I wrote about here.
Don't you love the morning glory vines painted all over? Plus the butterfly, a bee and a tiny bird, a flower and a mailbox flag on top.
The mailbox measures approx 5" tall, 1 1/2" wide, and 2 1/8" deep. It is number 2406 and was made in 1999.
Here are some views from different angles. 
Here's a close-up.
Now the door is open. What's inside?
Sadly, nothing today.
Back view.
I happen to have a teapot with a trio of cats also made by Kelvin Chen.
What's in your porcelain mailbox?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Scooby Doo Mail Giveaway

I have postcards and envelopes of the Scooby Doo First Day of Issue stamps and I thought it would be fun to have a contest and mail some of them out.
The postmarks come in color and also black and white.
There will be 10 winners. Will you be one of them?
Contest Rules:

1. Share this blog post on any social media and email me a link to your post using this hashtag in the post:

2. Mail an entry to:
Letters & Journals
PO Box 120052
St Paul, MN 55112
This can be a postcard or short note (or letter if you'd like!). Just be sure to mention Scooby Doo.

Entry deadline is August 31, 2018. Winners will be selected September 10, 2018.
Limited to United States entries.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cherry Blossom Tree Calendar Giveaway Winner Announced

The winner of the Cherry Blossom Tree Calendar is Natalia G from New Mexico! Congratulations, Natalia! And thanks to all who entered.

Thanks also to Kate Murray at Quick Brown Fox Letter Press for donating and sending the calendar to Natalia!
For any of you who would like to purchase this lovely 2019 calendar, you can do so at the Quick Brown Fox website.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Shape of Ideas Sketchbook

I am on a mission to improve my drawing skill set, or, as I like to call it, my doodling. I've never been confident of my drawing ability and don't have an eye for the horizon line and other drawing concepts. However, I do realize that the key is practice and that's where The Shape of Ideas Sketchbook comes in.
This 144-page book was sent to me by the publisher for a preview before its release this September. The book was created by Grant Snider who published The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity in 2017.
The smooth white pages of the sketchbook are mostly blank, except for a few pages interspersed with colorful illustrations; it lies flat for ease and comfort while drawing; it includes a pen holder and comes with an elastic binder to keep the book closed flat.
Grant Snider is an orthodontist by day and an artist by night. You can follow him on Twitter (@grantdraws) where he regularly posts thought-provoking illustrations such as this:
Do you doodle in your letters and on your envelopes? It's like sharing a piece of your self when you are willing to share your art. I do occasionally and would like to do it even more.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Highlights from the Scooby Doo Stamp Release Ceremony

Highlights from the Scooby Doo Stamp Release ceremony last Saturday at the Mall of America include getting a free envelope with a canceled Scooby stamp ready to mail (or save), a Scooby Doo pin, and an agenda for the stamp release ceremony.
Ceremony Agenda
Stamped envelope with ScoobyDoo cancellation and commemorative pin
Stamps from the USPS were available for purchase along with pre-cancelled envelopes in color or in black-and-white Scooby cancellations.

Since this was my first time at a First Day of Issue ceremony, I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't realize that I could have brought my own postcards or envelopes to have them hand-cancelled after putting one of my brand new Scooby Doo stamps on them. So I stopped at a store that sold some Minnesota postcards and purchased a dozen of them that I could send out to friends, relatives and pen pals.
The friendly postal worker in line in front of me had a wonderful t-shirt that she allowed me to photograph. Don't you love it?!
These lovely ladies were hand-cancelling the envelopes and postcards that people bought.
Here are four of the postcards I purchased and then put on a Scooby stamp and had them canceled by the two ladies shown above.
Here's the stage where the official ceremony took place. There were quite a few photographers on hand although I'm not sure who they were all with.
 And here I am with Scooby himself. Smile!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cherry Blossom Tree Calendar Giveaway

Kate Murray at the Quick Brown Fox Letter Press  has offered to send this Cherry Blossom Tree Calendar to one lucky winner! I met Kate at the National Stationery Show this May and was delighted when she agreed to help me out with a giveaway!

Quick Brown Fox Letter Press is where you find quirky letter press printing and design.
The Cherry Blossom Tree calendar measures 5x7 and is Kate's bestselling calendar.
You can visit the Quick Brown Fox Letter Press website to learn more about the calendar and to see each of the month's designs as well as other stationery themed product that Kate offers.

How to enter? Choose one of these two options:

1. Share this blog post on any social media and email me a link to your post using one of these hashtags:

2. Mail an entry to:
Letters & Journals
PO Box 120052
St Paul, MN 55112

Entry deadline is August 1, 2018. Winner will be selected August 10, 2018.
Limited to United States due to mailing costs.
One entry per person.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Scooby Doo Postage Stamp Release is July 14 in Minneapolis

Exciting times are here in Minneapolis as we look forward to the stamp release event for the new Scooby Doo postage stamp this Saturday, July 14 at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.
I heard about this event at the Postal Times website. There is a doo-good campaign going on in conjunction with the stamp release. Scooby-Doo has teamed up with generationOn, the youth family division of Points of Light, to inspire, equip and mobilize kids and families to create meaningful change in their communities! It’s all about DOO-in the right thing. Find out more information at the Mall of America on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or visit the website here.

You can pre-order your Scooby Doo stamps (sheet of 12 for $6) at the USPS website. I think it costs $1.25 for postage to have the stamps mailed to you, even if you order more than one set, or additional stamps.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Letter Enclosed Stamp

I enjoy decorating my envelopes when I send a letter and I think most people like to receive envelopes that have been decorated - I know I do! Recently I've been using this lovely "Letter Enclosed" stamp that I purchased at the Well-Appointed Desk shop (online).
You can see how the stamped image appears in the images below.
Every other month or so I send mail to "Donate a Letter" which is part of "From Me to You", an organization that delivers these letters (and others they collect) to cancer patients.
If any of you would like to receive a note card or short letter, you are welcome to either comment with your mailing address to this blog post, or send me a card/letter/postcard with your request to the address at the bottom of this post. I will plan to use this lovely stamp on each one. and will max my sent responses at 100 or until September 1, 2018, whichever comes first.

Jackie Flaherty
Letters & Journals
PO Box 120052
St Paul, MN 55112

Making the world a kinder, gentler place, one letter at a time.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Visit to the University of Minnesota Bookstore

I love a bookstore that has an insane amount of notebooks and pens. Welcome to the University of Minnesota Bookstore (Minneapolis).

On the right we have a long aisle of notebooks - all sizes and bindings.This is one of the few places where you can buy a left-handed notebook.
On the backside of the same aisle are even more notebooks and some folders! The selection doesn't get any better than this.
Notebooks are everywhere!
On the left we have an aisle of pens, pencils and markers. As a good pen store does, they have slips of paper available so that the pens can be sampled.
I must have spent two hours at the store. They do have quite a bit of other items for sale such as gift items, school clothing, etc. It's a wonderfully laid out store with a wide selection of items. Index cards, anyone?
They also had some name brand notebooks including Rhodia, Moleskin Clairefontaine, and Leuchtturm1917.
Where do you find the best selection of pens and notebooks for brick and mortar stores?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Put a Stamp On It

There was a scavenger hunt at the National Stationery Show (NSS) this year! Legion Paper, NSS, Paper Chronicles, Parse & Parcel, and the Rifle Paper Company sponsored this year's stamp collection called #PutAStampOnIt.
The box to hold all of the stamps was designed and created by Rifle Paper and printed by Legion Paper, who also printed most of the cards in this lovely 2018 card collection.
Ginger P Designs with the Occasion Group created the glitter foil border design below. Like many, I miss stamps with their amounts on them and wish the USPS would find a way to re-incorporate them.
I met Val of Lily & Val and she was so sweet and personable I could have visited with her for hours. I love the gold foil stamp design on this floral image. Simple, yet evocative.
Based in Knoxville, TN, the Smarty Pants Paper Co is all about bright colors, bold graphics and vintage style. Don't you love the lip stamps and wouldn't they be fun to use?
Euni + Co, based in Seattle, (below) started as a calligraphy studio and then expanded into other paper goods
These little unicorns are in a stamped shaped envelope that opens in the back to reveal more information about Halifax Paper Hearts.
This card by Paper Bandit Press was unique with its images and also the red clear overlay that went atop the white card to reveal the hidden images in the card.
Paper Bandit Press makes letter press cards and posters.
The stamp sheet below was created by the Regional Assembly of Text and they were creative enough to include "An Application for Maintaining a Friendship Over a Great Distance" application on the backside. Don't you love it?

They're based in Vancouver and once a month their LETTER WRITING CLUB meets and everyone is welcome to attend and join in - all supplies provided. When I plan a trip to Canada, I will keep this mind for my itinerary.
The Imagination Spot has this adorable snail mail stamp. What adds to this stamp (in addition to whimsical illustration) is the postmark. Kind of wishing there was an option to purchase postcards of some of these super cute cards.
As you may have surmised, Page Stationery is based in Virginia. This stamp card captured the great outdoors with their heavy card stock postage stamp. On the back it says "Let the Adventure Begin".
Hester & Cook, based in Tennessee, offers a wide variety of stationery and gift items. This adorable, sparkly unicorn postage stamp card is emblematic of their style.
Boss Dotty celebrates "strong women through playful illustrations that are laced with humor and a can-do attitude".
The Pinwheel Print Shop specializes in hand lettering and illustration for their fresh, whimsical designs. Owner, Colleen Reid is its Chief Snail Mail Officer.
I met the lovely Colleen, owner of the Colleen Attara Studio, at the show. She was a delight and she shared with me one of her handmade journals (altered book) which was incredibly detailed and inspiring (saving this for a future blog post). Her beautifully crafted card below shows her vision of the world coming together to support each other and work as one. After all, We are all in this together, aren't we?
Fresh Out of Ink is run by husband and wife team, Katy and Albert, who fell in love via snail mail when they were both 14. Sweet, huh?
Up With Paper is not only the original pop-up greeting card company, they're also the world's leading marketer of innovative, three-dimensional greeting cards and stationery products. Their #PutAStampOnIt entry below is a highlighted in rose-gold ink that, sadly, does not show up in the photo.
Sisters, Alice and Doris, love mail and puns so making cards is a natural fit for them. I Loot Paperie is based out of Pasedena, CA. Their design below is the perfect image for snail mail. I love it!
One of my favorite #PutAStampOnIt cards is the one below from Good Juju Ink, who believes that anyone and everyone can change the world one perfectly imperfect illustration at a time.
Inklings Paperie, based in Detroit, was founded by Lindsay Henry who believes in the power of the handwritten note, and is committed to creating products that inspire kindness and bring joy to life's many little celebrations, as perfectly illustrated in the card below.
Finally, we have the Gotamago Collection which features original ink-and-watercolour illustrations designed and printed in Toronto, Canada. I wish my pictures would capture the way the gold foil glitters on the card.
Now the challenge is how to keep and display these postal gems and keepsakes.