Tag Archives: paper

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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Divine Detail: Leah’s hand-drawn signs

IMG_2889When visiting The Paper Place,  a Toronto-based mecca for paper and craft lovers, brace yourself to be wooed by the quality and selection of goods at your fingertips.   Having had the good fortune of working there many years ago, in it’s former incarnation as the Japanese Paper Place, I can attest to the thrill of seeing a “first-timer” walk in and pause, pupils visibly dilating with joy .    Nowadays, as a seasoned customer, I would love to draw your attention to one of my favourite details about the store:  Leah’s hand drawn signs.



Her sense of humour shines and her style will forever be recognizable to me, even on such a tiny scale.  Leah remains one of my favourite co-workers of all time, and I fondly remember my lame attempts to crack her up, each and every shift we shared.  In truth, she’s the really funny one.  I wish I’d kept better track of the silly notes we used to exchange or better yet, all the signs she’s ever made in the past two decades. Now that would be a show I would love to curate!  Here are the gems in my “personal collection”.

"Michelle. This is NOT real food...  "  Cerise

FYI post-it, left on  a pile of fruit-print origami I wanted to buy: “Michelle. This is NOT real food… ” Cerise

The two-inch “Kalmic Book” , our take on Spy Vs Spy: IMG_2928


Does anyone else get this location-centric joke?



Leah is no one trick pony, check out this project she did for the Paper Place using handmade Kozo cards.

I miss you, Poopy.  Love, Snarky.

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