How to write more fun mail – Part 1

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streetside table + almond milk latte + stationary on hand = perfect letter writing conditions.

First off, let’s talk environment.  Is there a place in your house that you gravitate most to – one with good light, a flat surface and a comfortable seat?  Maybe when you’re on campus with time to kill between classes there is a picnic table en-plein-air that calls to you?   When writing, do you like to fly solo with nothing but the breeze as your soundtrack, or do you prefer the low din of a public place for maximum productivity?  More often than not,  when I find myself in a cafe at a sunlit table and  happily caffeinated, the letter-writing muse strikes!  Having lamented the fact, too many times to count, that I don’t have the tools on hand to  take advantage of the moment,  I have finally wised up and taken note of my preferred writing venues.  If there is even a remote possibility for coffee shop schlepping, I gather together a supply kit to take with me when I leave the house.  Conveniently, Moleskine sketchbooks have little accordion pockets at the back that perfectly fit a selection of notecards and stamps.  If you’re feeling crafty,  you can easily DIY it, and glue an envelope into a day planner or journal that is easy to carry around with you.    Do as the Scouts do and “Be Prepared” for the write moment. ( I know.  pun intended. I’m groaning too. )

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Choose materials you love to look at.  The more aesthetically appealing the stationery, stamps and writing instruments you have, the more likely you’ll want to use them.  Start with stamps! If you aren’t already a regular at your local post office, pick a time of day that won’t be super busy to visit (avoid lunch hour!) and ask to look at some of their limited edition offerings.  Unusual stamps mean that you can take a more minimalist approach to addressing your envelopes if you are not of the “more is more” camp.   Their design and beauty will speak volumes and it’s like giving two gifts to the recipient – a well penned missive and a keepsake.  I still paste my favourites into a scrap book.   Anne Stark Ditmeyer, of the travel blog Prêt à Voyager , recently featured some wonderful stamps of illustrated French Idioms on her instagram feed. Have a look at these irreverent designs and get schooled here .

I love this card from Paper Rifle Co.

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Some favourites from my stash – Shiv card by Seltzer Goods and Like a Match Made in Heaven by Tom Frost for Urban Graphic.

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Beautiful custom address stamps by Paper Pastries.  And another reason to buy more Washi tape!

Whether you plan on writing an epic letter or a short and sweet thank you note, there is a multitude of choice when it comes to paper and writing instruments .  Experiment with different mediums – from Bic ballpoints to feathered quill pens,  yellow legal pads  to handmade paper – and find out what your preferences are.  Ultimately it comes down to what feels natural in the hand and on the page.  I love the look and cachet of fountain pens, but they are not well suited to the way I write.  I gravitate towards the more utilitairan, but no less satisfying,  Uniball Vision Rollerballs  and colourful gel pens.   I am a sucker for a darkly humoured “encouragement”  note card and when it comes to full fledged letters, I tend to gravitate towards simple blank sheets housed in a brightly hued envelope.  My handwriting knows no boundaries ( aka chicken scratchings) so I eschew lined paper and allow my cursive some room to roam across the page.

Here are just a few of my favourite resources to get you started if you are looking to add to your stationery stockpile:

Have a curated selection of letter writing goodies sent to your home with monthly stationary subscriptions  from Nicely Noted or Green Gables.

Themed pencil sets that will make you chuckle.

Irreverent rubber stamps and stationery from the Small Object.  My favourite is sunny eyes.

My favourite, David Shrigley postcards at Polite Cards.

Letterpress loveliness from Egg PressYellow Owl Work Shop, Port Paper Co.  and Papillon Letterpress.

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