In the last week of InCoWriMo and A Month of Letters, I am seriously starting to deplete my stash of writing paper and notecards. While I love florals and pretty cards, I have a lot of male correspondents and prefer to send cards they might find appealing. I think Chronicle Books is great at providing a great range of looks in their notecards, postcards and stationery so I picked out a few favorites. I love the Art of Instruction postcards full of vintage botanical illustrations, maps and anatomy sketches. The Pendelton set is all deep colors and classic blanket patterns — a toasty note for this endless winter in the Northern Hemisphere. I spotted the Long Overdue notecard set in the faux card catalog box while in San Francisco but knew I would never be able to fit it in my suitcase so I’m delighted to find it online. Its filled with reproductions of Library of Congress card catalog cards and the box is perfect for storing incoming letters once the cards are used up. The painted terrarium notecard set is a little more feminine but quirky and fun with great diecut shapes.
I found even more notecards I liked at the Chronicle Books site including one of my favorite artist’s Rex Ray. The Woodcut, Cheers and Typewriter sets all have wide appeal that both men and women might like. Chronicle Books also offers more stationery sets and postcards than I can possibly list here. Check out their site or visit your favorite shops to find more great postal inspiration.
Hope these inspire you to start, finish or continue writing for February and beyond.
While I could not get Flickr to upload my travel photos, at least it saved my goodies, so I shall share those with you today. I did not buy a lot of goodies knowing so many things could be purchased later via Jet Pens and other vendors’ online shops so I limited myself to must-haves and small items that would fit in my carry-on bag.
Above, Melissa of Craftgasm and the Smithsonian Postal Museum shared the postal love with a little pink mail box filled with paper treats.
If you put red-and-blue airmail stripes on anything, I’m likely to buy it. Maybe that’s why I love red/blue pencils so much? The pencil pictured above came from the epic Patrick & Co. stationery shop for a mere $0.39. Patrick’s is a classic stationery shop that’s been in business for over 100 years with an endless array of legal pads in every color imaginable, pens and pencils in jars to be purchased individually and so much more. There are two locations in downtown San Francisco, both near Union Square and should not be missed. The Dennison Airmail seals and the gummed labels came from Saturday Morning Vintage who had a stellar booth at the vendor market at Ex Postal Facto. The G. Lalo Verge de France stationery pad came from Patrick & Co. while the Air Mail stationery and envelopes came from Maido.
I purchased a few Pilot Hi-Tec C refills and a Hi-Uni HB pencil in the Maido shop in the Westfield Mall in Union Square. I also visited the Maido shop in Japantown and picked up a few more goodies. The postcard set tied with twine came from the 826 Collective Pirate Shop in the Mission. What fun! The Ohto Dude pen was compliments on Jet Pens along with a couple Morning Glory Mach 3 pens.
And of course, no trip would be complete without a little green. I got a word cards deck, some green gel pens, a “beans” cutter and itty bitty green staples from Maido. There will be more details about these purchases in the near future but I wanted to give a little taste of the stationery bounty available in San Francisco, should you find yourself there.
I recently received a letter from Paul asking:
What are the best practices for archiving correspondence?
My first recommendation was the Paper & Type Letter Ledger which I use to archive all my correspondence. I use this to track regular correspondence as well as any thank you notes I might send. Christmas cards and thank yous get stored in a list in Field Notes since I really only reference those lists once a year. After some thought, I came up with a couple other ideas.
One idea is to tag letters with a sticky note with notes regarding your reply. You can write a few lines about what your reply stated, the date sent and any other info you think relevant. Then you can file the letter. I do store my letters.
I file my letters in accordion file folders by recipient. When I strike up a new correspondence, I have a folder for “Misc. Correspondence”. Once I’ve received a few letters from the same person, they get their own folder.
I read somewhere (it was ages ago so I’m not sure who does this. If its you, leave a note in the comments!) to store letters in 3-ring binders. You can slide the letter into a plastic sleeve with the envelope if you’re inclined to keep that too. Or simply hole punch the letter. Then you can easily review previous letters. You can add a 3×5″ card or sticky note to the sleeve with information regarding your reply. Add divider tabs for each correspondent.
For a digital solution, I saw this post on Lettermo. K. Tempest Bradford recommended using Evernote to photograph and tag your outgoing letters. You can then tag the photo and Evernote may even recognize words written in the letter depending on how tidy your handwriting is. You could actually photograph your incoming post as well and put both images in a collection so that you have quick access to the history of your correspondence. I think this is absolutely brilliant.
Hope these ideas help. Anyone have a different technique for tracking what you’ve written or how you keep your letters?
It took awhile but I have new stamps in the shop, just in time for LetterMo/InCoWriMo.
I also have an awesome deal for folks headed to Ex Postal Facto in San Francisco this weekend(Feb. 14-16). You can order now and pick up your stamps in person to save the shipping and get them personally delivered. Stocks are limited and I will not be vending so this is your only option to acquire stamps from me at the event. Use the code FREEXPF to ditch those pesky shipping charges (only good for folks who will be at XPF and the deal is good through Feb. 14, 2014). Email me if you have any questions (click the ASK THE DESK button in the header).
Handle versions of the stamps will be available after XPF and more stock will be added then. Thanks for all the support!
I’ve written and sent out about 10 letters this week for the first week of A Month of Letters/InCoWriMo. What I wasn’t expecting was when I posted my address last week was that anyone would actually write to me. Well, they did! I received 10 letters today so I guess if I send a letter, I really do get a letter!
I am thrilled, flattered and a bit overwhelmed. I just wanted to say thanks for the letters and to let anyone who has written to me know that replies are in progress. Also, pen, paper and letter people really are the best!
Keep on writing!
There were some beautiful shots of envelopes and letters on last week’s Downton Abbey episode. I can’t find images of them online. Any thoughts on how to find them? LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR BLOG!
Laura, Thanks so much for your letter. I feel like I must have been wrapped up in the story this week, watching Downton Abbey because I didn’t even notice the letters! I too searched the internet but so far screenshots from Season 4 are sparse. But you are in luck! Last week’s episode can be viewed and replayed through March 9, 2014 on PBS. I watched up to the Ritz letter for Alfred so you can get a better look at the mark on the envelope.
InCoWriMo, stands for International Correspondence Writing Month, which rhymes with “Ink a Rhino”. The goal is to write one letter, card, note, or postcard everyday for the entire month of February.
February is also LetterMo, as in A Month of Letters, a concept started by author Mary Robinette Kowal several years ago but whose mantle has been taken up across the blogosphere.The website is facing a few technical glitches this morning but should be ironed out soon. In the meantime, the Facebook page is up and running and will post when the site is working again.
Both collectives’ goals are the same, write a letter everyday for the month of February.
Since I have an enormous pile of letters to reply to, hopefully, February’s letter writing push will help me get caught up.
If you want to participate and need someone to write to, you can drop me a line, show off your favorite ink color or latest pen acquisition:
The Well-Appointed Desk
PO Box 411752
Kansas City, MO 64141
Include your return address and I promise to write back.
In preparation for National Handwriting Day, here’s a little advice from Donovan B. from the Letter Writers Alliance on the best way to improve your handwriting. Thursday is Handwriting Day so get your pens, pencils, brushes and crayon at the ready!