April is National Letter Writing Month

(Original photo from Silvebluestar on Flickr)

(Original photo from Silvebluestar on Flickr)

While it might be a bit late in the month to bring this up, April is National Letter Writing Month. In 2001, the USPS released a statement to encourage letter writing by designating April as Letter Writing Month. We all already know and may have participated in February’s A Month of Letters or InCoWriMo but why not use April to reply to all those letters you got in February? That’s what I’m doing.

If you wrote to me in February, don’t be surprised if your reply arrives this month or in the early part of May. I’ve been spending each day writing at least one reply, usually over my lunch break in an effort to finally respond to the many cards, postcards and letters I received in February.

I did receive a few cards and letters without a return address. If you sent me a letter in February without a return address, I assume you were not anticipating a reply. If not, please send me an email using the Ask The Desk link at the top of the page and send me your mailing address so I can send you a proper reply.

There’s still more than a week left in April — plenty of time to dash off a few letters and cards.

Keep writing!

(for more info, check out the post over on the Letter Writers Alliance blog)

Ask The Desk: ID Protection Stamps

Ask The Desk Header

Sandy asks:

Think this is good idea?
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I assume the question regards any sort of blotting stamp for security purposes. Folks seem to like these as an alternative to paper shredders as they are smaller, quieter and portable for obscuring personal information on printed material. While shredding makes sense for a lot of papers, sometimes you just want to throw those credit card offers in the trash and the only incriminating information is your address. A quick stamp, stamp, stamp might be enough to make it possible to throw the papers in the recycle bin.

The general term to describe these stamps is ID protection stamps or ID Guard stamps. I definitely think that the Max Korkoro model, with the rolling stamp and ability to refill the ink easily makes a good option. The price for any ID protection stamp seems to be about $10 which seems reasonable.

The only thing I don’t know looking at the photos and description is whether the ink is water resistant when dry. That would be the winning feature. If its water-soluble, then someone might be able to wash the ink off reveal your address or account numbers.

So I suppose I ought to order one and put it to the test, huh?

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Bag Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger

Ever wanted a bag made form old USPS mail bags? Well, now’s your chance. Timbuk2 has introduced the Terracycle messenger bag made from old canvas mail bags. Each bag is unique and this option will only be available for a limited time. They are available in small ($99) or the medium ($109) and in original white canvas or in an overdyed brown (seems more UPS than USPS, but who am I to judge?).

I REALLLLLLLLYYYYY want one.

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger in brown

Paper Pastries’ Custom Return Address Stamps

Paper Pastries Custom Return Address Rubber Stamp

Paper Pastries just created some new custom, hand-lettered return address stamps featuring animal silhouettes. Margaret asked if I’d be a volunteer address for her new creations since she knows I’m a cat lover. She created a lovely hand-lettered rubber stamp with my return address inside a big fluffy cat silhouette. Looks like my big ol’ Maine Coon Milo!

Paper Pastries has a dozen different, animal designs available: cats in various poses,  dog silhouettes, and even a bunny! Or you can send her a clear photo of your pet to be turned into a custom silhouette stamp. Then she’ll hand letter your address and make this fabulous wood, art block stamp for you. Each stamp will cost $70 but they are original designs, made just for you and, seeing one in person, it’s clear that its a great value.

Paper Pastries also has state silhouettes, custom calligraphy and unique hand-lettered rubber stamps available as well.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Paper Pastries for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Kickstarter: Tiletto

Tiletto

By now, I’m sure you’ve probably already heard about the Tiletto. Tiletto is a Kickstarter project that’s a multi-function letter opener made from titanium, of course. It can also be used as a bottle opener (my favorite additional feature), hex wrench, straight edge, pry bar, box opener, and the list goes on. Its durable, functional and pretty elegant looking. You can get in on the ground floor for $30. The project has just eleven days left.

More Than Just Pens

Washi Tape from JetPens

Sometimes I forget there’s more to JetPens than just pens. I recently went on a hunt for some cool non-pen goodies on Jet Pens. First, Jet Pens is now stocking an assortment of washi tape. I got a roll of MT red cross tape  ($4) and a roll of Pine Book Nami Nami deco tape which has keys and locks printed on it and a wavy edge ($3.65).

MT is THE original brand of washi tape and the best quality by far. The printing on the tape is always very good and its stickier than some of the other brands. I do hope that Jet Pens continues to stock the MT tapes and offers a wider selection of prints and sizes in the future. Those $3 and $4 rolls are a great way to bump up to that free shipping and great for adding a little color to your workspace, notebooks and letters.

Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bags Sugar Candy

I also decided to try out the Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bag ($10). There were about a dozen different patterns to choose from but I chose the simplest which was navy blue with colored dots on it. The pattern is Konpeitou which translated to “Sugar Candy”. I guess the dots do look like little candies.

This is one of those reusable shopping bags that fold up into a small carrying case. The carrying case was pretty heavy duty with the same fabric as the bag with a padded lining. The actual bag is shaped like a traditional tote bag (a big rectangle) with straight straps and a wide gusseted bottom which will allow it to hold lots of books, groceries or other shopping goodies. The material is considerably heavier duty nylon than other reuasble bags I’ve had and the seams are all nicely finished. I can definitely see using this for a long time. It seems durable enough to stand up to a trip through the washing machine if it gets dirty.

I might have a little trouble refolding it properly to fit back into the carrying case but I’ll cram it back in for awhile. All in all, I’m quite impressed with the bag and can see why its $10 and not $1.99. It is made to look good and last.

Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bags Sugar Candy

So, there’s more to Jet Pens than just pens. Happy shopping (and don’t forget to bring your own bag)!

Review: G. Lalo’s Vergé de France Writing Pad

G. Lalo Writing Pad

For some time now, I’ve kept and ear and an eye open for good quality writing paper for letter writing. Stationery (not note cards) is getting harder and harder to find so I’m always on the look out for it. I’m familiar with the French line G. Lalo but had not tried out their paper until recently. It’s a textured paper with a classic laid finish which gives it some toothiness. I was concerned the toothiness would cause ink to bleed or skip but I should have expected that an upscale French paper would be as luxurious as it sounds.

G. Lalo Writing Pad

I’ve used  the G. Lalo Vergé de France pad for a couple weeks to write letters and found it easy to write on. The pad is a standard A5 size (5.75 x 8.25″) with a glue edge at the top to easily tear away sheets. Each pad had a cardstock cover with a metallic finish and gold embossed logo. It folds back easily. Each pad has 50 sheets.

The pad I purchased is listed as white but I found the stock to be a warm white/ivory color which is pleasingly warm but not so dark as to alter ink colors dramatically. The paper is blank but I use an undersheet with lines or grid under it to keep my lines neat and straight.

G. Lalo Writing Pad

The best thing about the paper is that not one single fountain pen I tried on it bled or splined or did anything untoward. This is THE paper for writing letters for sure. The paper is thick enough (100 gsm)  to use both the front and reverse of the stock too so its economical — relatively speaking.

I purchased my pad at Patrick & Co. Office Supply in San Francisco but can be purchased online through European Paper for $11.50/pad (if you purchase two or more, the price drops to $11) and they stock a range of colors including a lovely pistachio green. I might have to grab another pad. Matching envelopes are also available.

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Writing & Letter-Writing:

Paper & Notebooks:

Notecards for All

Clockwise from top left:

Clockwise from top left: Long Overdue Notecard Set ($19.99), Pendleton Greetings Notecards ($14.99), Terrarium of Expertise notecards ($9.99) and Art of Instruction Notecards  ($19.99). All sets from Chronicle Books via ModCloth.

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.

Clockwise from top left: Typewriter Notes, Woodcut notes, Cheers Notes and Rex Ray notes. All from Chronicle Books.

Clockwise from top left: Typewriter Notes ($14.95), Woodcut notes from Princeton Architectural Press ($15.95), Cheers Notes ($12.95)  and Rex Ray notes ($14.95). All from Chronicle Books.

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.