Monthly Archives: July 2013

Daily Euphoria: attention to detail

tattly mailAll this talk of fun mail has clearly put the postal gods on my side.  This week, my order of Tattlys arrived and I was especially pleased to find such beautiful stamps adorning it.  Small details,  like those butterfly wings, certainly do heighten the anticipation and pleasure of opening mail.  Don’t you agree?

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How to get more fun mail


Window Display at The Regional Assembly of Text in Vancouver, summer 2012.


Vintage loveliness seen at the St. Lawrence Antiques Market, Toronto. Winter 2013

Hankering for some snail mail, but too shy to get the ball rolling?  Let me offer you an intriguing and no-strings attached suggestion:  Stuff In Envelopes.

You can sign up to receive a free letter from the SIE crew and here’s the best part, you get to choose the topic of the letter if you like. Based in British Columbia (hello, beloved left coast!), they are a dedicated bunch of folks who want to put an extra spring in your step on the way to the mail box.  I’m looking forward to being a part of their next round of mailings on August 1st – there’s still time if you want to join me!  And their motto, “Bad handwriting has never looked so good”, makes me love them that much more.

If you already have someone in mind to write to  but find yourself procrastinating, perhaps the Post A Letter Social Activity Club can help?  With local chapters all over the world which include Toronto, Los Angeles and Copenhagen, this club’s mandate is to “promote letter writing as a social and political tool, as well as a powerful generator of love, surprises, anticipation, relaxation and fun!”   Gather with some like-minded individuals and hunker down at a cozy location to write letters, have a beverage and maybe swap stationary. I dig the idea of hanging out with other people over a shared love, but not having the pressure of maintaining a running conversation the entire time. (Why yes, I AM an introvert. How could you tell? ).  For my fellow Torontonians, the next event is happening on Wednesday July 31 at the Holy Oak Cafe from 7-10 pm.

If you live in Vancouver, head to The Regional Assembly of Text on the first thursday of every month and join their letter writing club.  I had the great pleasure of visiting their flagship store on Main St. last summer and it is a beautiful space filled to the brim with swoon-worthy paper products.  I can’t imagine a better place to congregate and get inspired to write!

Maybe you’re already a prolific writer of missives and are looking for a little novelty to add to your routine.   Pigeon Post from The Letter Writers Alliance, has got your back.   You can send your pigeon, as is, within the US for just $2.86!  If someone sent me a plastic carrier pigeon in the mail, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able power wash the perma-grin off of my face.  With more than 3700 members across the globe, the LWA is well-supported in their dedication to preserve the art of letter writing. A $5 (USD) membership gets you some neat swag (there’s a badge!) as well as access to a pen pal swap, membership mailings and exclusive LWA items such as the limited-edition RSVP mailing.  The Royal Society of Venturesome Post is a 4-week mailing full of special postal-related items curated around a specific theme.  Have a look at the latest RSVP #12 on the Paper Pastries blog.  What a lucky girl!

If you have any other tips on how to make your mailbox a hub for fun mail, I’d love to hear them!

Pigeon Post image originally published on LWA.
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Snail Mail


I’m sitting here at the dining room table with the computer on my lap because, as you can see, three decades worth of  correspondence has exploded onto every flat surface within reach.  It’s a little overwhelming sharing space with the motherlode of nostalgia in front of you.

It also feels like I just won the jackpot.

Here in Toronto, we’ve had  two wild storms in as many weeks.  They left a large number of trees uprooted ( like this historic landmark) and countless basements flooded in their wake.  Casa Hobo was lucky enough to avoid damage, but it definitely forced me to survey our subterranean space,  aka “The Graveyard of Indecision”,  with a more discerning eye.  What are my prized possessions down here? What would I save?

The letters. Bien sûr!  We have a lot of history together.

My love for paper and ephemera started early and with the most accessible of utilitarian objects:  recipe cards from the “junk drawer” in the kitchen, graph paper pads liberated from my dad’s drafting table, post-it notes from my mom’s clinic.  I distinctly remember saving four different shades of pastel-coloured Kleenex (does anyone else remember that fad?) inside an Ovation chocolate box, which was also deemed worthy of collecting for its unusual shape.  Welcome to the mind of a weirdo seven year-old.


You thought I was joking about the tissues, didn’t you? This is a box I saved from my childhood c. 1980s.

When I got older and discovered The Muppets and Hello Kitty , my allowance took a big hit from the stickers and stationary sets. It was also around that time, that my older cousin Audrey took pity on me and started a correspondence,  sending short notes about her life in Montreal .  Being a few years my senior, everything about her was sophisticated and mysterious to me.  How else would I have known exactly how annoying older brothers were and what it was like going to a school run by nuns?   While I had little of interest to report from grade school (see letters below for evidence of this)  I certainly put an extra effort into picking the right stationary and accoutrements to make an impression. Cue the scratch ‘n sniff stickers, googly eyes, and scented markers.

IMG_3859 IMG_3860

And so began a lifelong love of snail mail, not only for the excitement of receiving news from afar,  but also for the chance to send something out into the world that might somehow communicate who or how you were , even if you weren’t old enough to have the words for it.  Okay, I’ll say it:  Miss Piggy paper unwittingly  helped me tap into the joy of creative expression.

This week’s muse is snail mail.  In my back pocket, are some neat links about the art of lettering writing,  inspiring missives – illustrated and otherwise – from my personal archives, and lots of  correspondence-related eye candy to share.   I’m getting so excited thinking about it that I feel it’s time to put pen to paper and  send some fun mail out into the world right now.   Until tomorrow!


If I had a dollar for every time I saw this…

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“Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.”

 Gertrude Stein

via The Happiness Project.

Gertrude knows best

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From The Desk Of

Artist Adam Stennett’s Desk via From the Desk Of

Artist HuskMitNavn’s Desk via From the Desk Of

Graphic Designer Milton Glaser’s desk via From the Desk Of

Following on the heels of my obsession with In the Make‘s studio tours is a new little discovery: From The Desk Of.

No need to feel guilty over your voyeuristic prediliction for other people’s work spaces.  Get your fix right here!

Each desk usually features a combination of on-site shots, photos of projects in process or finished works, and a short  interview about their work space, process, tools, and favourite objects.  I especially love the rare ” inside my desk drawer” money shot.

You’d think that the sprawling and pristine studio workshops in the woods would have me pining for acreage and floor to ceiling windows.  Surprisingly, what I take the most comfort in seeing, are the artists that make their magic in tiny, chaotic spaces.  I  want to believe that I’m not the only one that goes to bed with bits of paperscraps unwittingly glued to her feet.

From The Desk Of is the brainchild of writer/photographer/traveller/cultural enthusiast Kate Donnelly.  She has some pretty neat things going on here and here.

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens: Uppercase Issue #18



Did you get the Sound of Music reference?  I’m sure the Von Trapp family would agree with me that Uppercase Magazine deserves a place on anyone’s “favourite things”  list.  Self-described as a publication for the Creative and Curious –  Issue #18 is heavily focused on a medium near and dear to my heart: Collage!

While I’m still waiting for my subscription to arrive, I got a great email yesterday from Erin at Uppercase.  She had a little preview to share from their reader-participation project “The Handsome Ransom Note” that caused an enthusiastic-yet-tragically-inelegant-happy dance at the kitchen table.



Getting to see my stuff in print is new and exhilarating.  Thank you Uppercase, for putting out such a fun call for submission and giving me the incentive to flex my creative muscles.

Want to find out more about what the people behind the magazine are up to? Visit their blog .

Itching to get your hands on a copy?  Subscribe or renew by August 1 using the code “contributor18” and get $10 off. You can also find a list of stockists on their website.

Happy cutting and pasting, my friends!

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Daily Euphoria: Dueling Banjos

This short animation by the artist Kristen M. Liu made me choke on my lunch today.  Watch the eyebrows!

Are you creatively satisfied?

This is the first in a series of questions asked of creative professionals by The Great Discontent.  The variety of answers are surprising , and challenge my assumptions about the creative contentment of those who are leaders in the world of design and art.

This is how TGD describes their new video project:

Two Minutes with TGD is a series of brief interviews that expands on themes already explored by The Great Discontent: creativity, risk, and what connects us. The series is a TGD special project, introducing video content in addition to our regularly published written interviews.

Can’t wait to see more!


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