Who doesn't love storage solutions? I was looking for a way to cart along my supplies and stationery to my letter writing club hosted by an awesome paper shop called Paper Umbrella. I found this cute tote at Michael's and it called my name. I have two of the larger version of this bin but this is a nice size for carrying around.
It's got this little tray on the inside which is perfect for my pens, some stamps, washi tape, ink etc.
Inside I have my writing paper, postcards, address book, mailing labels and some extra stickers.
I added a little charm I got in my Cocoa Daisy kit in July. It seemed to match perfectly. I am going to try out my new tote tomorrow when I head to Paper Umbrella for this month's Letter Writing Club. It is from 7 - 9 and loads of fun! I will be bringing my Canon Selphy printer with me if you want to print off some little photos to send to your recipient. Jeremy will likely be writing some more postcards as he has been "King of the Mailbox" this week with all the postcards he has been getting (I'm not jealous or anything). I hope to see you there!
I wanted to share with you about a great stationery club I joined a couple months ago. It's called La Papierre and it starts at only $6 a month!! I get a wonderful selection of papers that I use when writing to my pen pals. They are good quality pages and I can use my fountain pens on them for a smooth writing experience. In the basic club you get 12 sheets of paper, 6 different designs and a few extra goodies once in a while. They even have coordinating envelopes as an option! I have really enjoyed the mix of designs and the bright vibrant colours. If you are interested in signing up, why not let them know that I (Susie Gourlay) referred you and then I can get some extra goodies too :) They also have an Etsy Shop where you can see many of their other designs and work to jazz up your correspondence.
I wanted to share some great letter writing sets we came across in our travels. They are all remarkable and have such lovely details like cut work and coordinating envelopes. We listed them in our Etsy Shop if you would like to see more pictures. The set below has 80 sheets of paper!
We also found a perfect little Travel Journal which you can fill with your daily adventures, itinerary and even contacts you meet along the way. Also includes some awesome colour maps.
What letter writer's desk would be complete without an address book for all your pen pals? This perfect vintage coil bound book will keep you organized and even includes a card log for all those greetings you send and receive year after year.
I was asked to do a short presentation during one of Paper Umbrella's Letter Writing Club nights and decided to touch on the secret language of stamps. I've always loved ciphers, hidden messages and codes in plain sight, so this topic was intriguing as I researched it.
This all started in the Victorian Era when courting was an art in itself and men and women were expected to behave in a certain, respectable way. Discrete messages between two lovers could be hidden in plain sight, especially when living with meddling parents. This way of sending secrets was also during the heyday of postcards as your messages were in full view of prying eyes. You could write, "Wish you were here.." or talk about the weather but the stamp would carry a different meaning.
So what's the code? If you split up the surface of a postcard or envelope into 8 sections (9 if you count the area of the recipients address)
- Stamp upside down in the top left corner: I love you
- Stamp is sideways on top left corner: My heart belongs to another
- Stamp positioned in the centre top of the envelope/postcard: Yes
- Stamp positioned in the centre bottom of the envelope/postcard: No
- Stamp upside down in the top right corner: Write no more
- Stamp positioned at an angle to the right, positioned in the top left: I hate you
- Stamp upright in the top right corner: I desire your friendship.
Codes like this became so common, many national postal services introduced strict guidelines and sometimes letter weren't delivered if improper stamp placement wasn't present. Some codes would even go a stamp further and incorporate 2 or more stamps, or even using the same of different coloured stamps would signify a different message. Nowadays it's not such a big deal where you place your stamps but because today's stamps are a lot more colourful, you can't use the colour system so much.
Sometimes codes were confusing as they crossed international borders are different countries had their own code system. In the USA a stamp placement might portray "I love you" where in Sweden it meant "Leave me alone in my grief.
Codes of this sort are still used today in the military and in places such as prisons where mail is usually intercepted before reaching the intended receiver. During the Vietnam war, putting a flag stamp upside down was a gesture of protest and it signified distress. Most commonly today stamps are either upside down which means I love you or sideways which means you've been relegated to the friend zone.
This is a postcard I found at the Antique Mall. It says "It is not right for you to read the message on the other side of card unless it is addressed to you. Directions must be followed carefully" Rub a wet sponge or cloth in the tinted developing material on the other side of card and wipe lightly and slowly downward until developed. Start at the stars each wipe. When you turn the card over....
The card reads "We want you to try Purity Flour, Purity Rolled Oats, Purity Food - for breakfasts and desserts, and Puro-a-self rising mixture for pancakes, gems, cakes; in fact 40 different recipes. Every sack and package bear this trademark. It is a guarantee of perfect quality, absolute purity. Ask your dealer.
Western Canada Flour Mills Co Ltd.
This postcard uses invisible ink for this ad made by the National Invisible Print Co. How cool is that?! Another way to post a secret message!
Sending correspondence back in the day was a heartfelt practice. Sending email today just doesn't have the same effect.
I decided to to a wrap up of all the correspondence I sent out in February during InCorWriMo. I was 1 day late on my last outgoing mail but I am still counting it as a successful month. This was my first time participating in InCorWriMo and had such a good time. Only 2 letters sent were Canadian, the rest were USA or international. How did you do?
February is International Writing Correspondence Month or InCoWriMo. The idea is to write a letter, postcard, note or whatever for each day of the month - so this year that's 28 letters. I found out about this on the 1st and have been keeping up with it so far. I have sent out 9 items of correspondence so I am ahead of the game. This might be a good time to send a quick note to a friend, send a valentine, write a letter to your grandmother or even just say hi on a post it note.
There are lots of ideas on the InCoWriMo website even a list of people you can write to if you can't think of anyone. What about a thank you note to your mail carrier, or someone who's made your day special, even a random letter left on a windshield to brighten someone's day! It's fun and you can even win some prizes (check the InCoWriMo Instagram). You can check out the map to see which countries are participating and join in on the fun. This might be the perfect time to join Postcrossing as well. Hopefully this inspires you to get out some paper and your favourite pen and spread some cheer in an often cold and blah month :)
We have updated our Etsy Shop with a few new items which may help in your correspondence this month
Our first meet up was a great success! We had about 17 people attend; some recognizable faces and some new, including some young snail mailers! We swapped cards, talked about our collections, signed up a few new users to Postcrossing and held a couple giveaways.
We met at the Blue Rooster Cafe & Studio in Pilot Butte (which is just outside Regina). They were the perfect meet up spot not only for their set up but also their friendly service and awesome food & drinks :P
Our meet up cards went fast. We are sending some to Germany, India, Belarus, Solvakia, Austria, France and Canada. It was fun to have everyone sign the cards that will be going out into the world and we had a lot of requests for our limited edition cards.
I had some of my favourite cards on display.
We brought lots of supplies, including stickers, washi tape, pens/markers and rubber stamps. Anglea of Sparkling Medusa had a great selection of notecards/postcards for us to buy as well. I love showing off her photography.
Thanks to everyone who came out to make it such a fun evening and time flew by! We hope to have another meet up again in the future.
After being a member of Postcrossing for 8 months I have reached a milestone; my 50th postcard received! This one comes from the Ukraine. I looked back on my tin of postcards this weekend and I am very happy with my new collection.
We have started a Facebook Event page for our upcoming Postcrossing Meet Up. We hope you can join us. I will have a small 5 pack of Saskatchewan postcards for one lucky attendee to get started. I may gather a few more freebies to give away as we near Jan 21st.
Jeremy and I also listed some new items in our shop this weekend. Some vintage postcards, a journal, a stationery set and this cool book Jeremy found while we were in Edmonton.
This gem is full of examples of letters (almost 400 examples) where you simply change the name a a few minor details of the template and there you have a well written, thoughtful letter using all the right letter writing etiquette. In the Preface, there is a list of hints for the reader to consider when sending correspondence. They are as follows:
1) Always address and date a letter.
2) write distinctly and do not write across your letters.
3) Punctuation is important.
4) The formation of sentences deserves attention.
5) Be natural and do not strive after effect in your correspondence.
6) The frequent underlining of words is a blemish which should be avoided.
7) Too many quotes, dashes and notes of exclamation are unnecessary.
8) It is better to err on the side of over-politeness when addressing gentleman of any position.
9) Come to the point.
10) Huried writing is to be depreciated. A clean, well written letter, free from erasures and unsightly blots implies consideration.
11) Rude or impertinent letters should never be written and of received, should be ignored or returned to the writer.
12) Never say ill natured things in a letter
13) Never use postcards when applying for payment of a debt.
14) Never assume in correspondence the pretence of being a Solicitor. And finally
15) Fold your letter up carefully. Do not crease it up to make it fit in a small envelope. Use, rather a large one so that the sheet of paper may be unsoiled and smooth. Put the stamp on straight and fasten the envelope firmly.
Now how's that for covering the basics?
I have been looking at different ways people journal or memory keep and have really loved those who art journal combining vintage books and ephemera in a creative way. These can really be anything you would like them to be, using any format or filling the pages with a little or a lot of stuff. I have been collecting a couple... ok, a few, and wanted to share them with you.
I have 4 at the moment. 3 are from BurkeSevenVintage on Etsy and my lastest aquisition is from RadishBlossoms, whom I follow on Instagram.
These books are made using different papers and book pages which you can incorporate with your layouts or totally cover. Half the fun of these books when you receive them is flipping through all the pages. Some give a sense of nostalgia where others are more functional - like ledger paper. You can use blank spaces for your writing or use journal cards for captioning memories. There are also envelopes scattered throughout which you can tuck pictures, notes and such. Here are a few of my favourite pages.
This is all the ephemera that was included in my journal from RadishBlossoms!
I also love the little tabs on a couple that co-ordinate with the covers. Little spcial touches, I can't wait to punch our paper and start filling these up.
I wanted to share about this great sticker club subscription I am in called Pipsticks. I get a great selection of stickers that I use when sending postcards, or in my planner/journal. The above photo was my club kit for December. The kits include themes like travel, food, seasons, vintage etc and I find I get a great selection of both functional and fun stickers. It is nice to add that special touch to a postcard; raise chickens? I have a sticker for that, love the King? I've got those too. Popcorn aficionado? I have just the sticker for you! If you like glitter, puffy, kraft, kawaii, and more, this is a great sticker club to try. Mo designs some herself but most of the stickers are brands you recognize, and good quality. You also get a chance to win an awesome prize each month just for being a member and you get a postcard you can decorate as well, and she has kits for kids too! Here are a few more pictures of stickers from past kits.