Tag Archives: Toronto

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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Hand cramps of love (for hand lettering)

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What I’m working on these days.

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Decisions, decisions…

I’m going deep down into the rabbit hole with this map-making project and kind of fuzzing out on the big picture at the moment.   Eventually I will manage to assimilate all my little doodles into a Franken-map of the odd and awesome, but for now, I’m geeking out on the details!

Clearly, what I’ve been getting the most pleasure out of is practicing my lettering.  I came by my love honestly and early, thanks to my highschool art teacher.   Mrs. Huebener was a calligrapher, and in those days, I’m pretty sure I thought that was uncool.  What did I know?  The most advanced art instruction I’d had to date was sewing pink aprons with plastic pockets (how avant garde!) in junior high Home Ec. class.  Thank goodness the bar was raised by Mrs. H.  I distinctly remember one of our first grade 9  assignments was to create a monogram of our initials using Roman Caps . I recall how badly my hand shook trying to draw a straight line that first class, the pervasive smell (and stain) of india ink, and how my writer’s callus ballooned over the course of the year.  To this day, I still grip my pens too tightly and that callus?  I call him Arnold.

While I never saved any of those shaky and earnest high school assignments, I did rifle through some old sketchbooks recently while looking for map ideas. Care to join me on this little walk down memory lane?

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Doodle on a mail-forwarding label, 2009.

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Old school layout ! Draft of a Christmas postcard for clients c. 2008.

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2006 – I suffered from a bad case of insomnia that year.

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An everlasting love of word bubbles, 2007.

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Drawing whatever was on my desk, apparently mostly CDs and art supplies. c. 2004.

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I have always enjoyed (obsessively) making lists, c. 2007

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Some keepers from the Hand Lettering class I took last year, taught by the amazing illustrator Katy Dockrill at Nook. Super fun!

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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.

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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

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Does anyone else get this location-centric joke?

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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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