Tag Archives: Paper Pastries

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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How to get more fun mail

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

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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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