Category: news

Letter Writing Call To Arms!

I have two big news items I wanted to share and they were too important to wait.

The first is the new Love Letter America web site. Artists are creating postcards you can download and send to you representatives to tell them the reasons you love your country and the values you want them to uphold. The first artist to submit designs to the project is one of my favorite artists, Oliver Jeffers the creator of The Day the Crayons Quit.

The second item is a local Kansas City event this Saturday. It’s a letter writing event to show support for the immigrants and refugees in the Kansas City community at the KC Library’s #ToImmigrantsWithLove open house event. The event will be held this Saturday, February 18, 2017 at the Kansas City Public Library Central Library at 14 W. 10th Street downtown in the Helzberg Auditorium on the 5th Floor from10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The library will provide postcards at letter-writing areas in the auditorium along with a photo station where you can snap a selfie with your letter. Postcards and letters will be collected and delivered to local immigrant families through Jewish Vocational Service.

There will also be activities for children and families in the Children’s Library (2nd Floor) with coloring sheets available, and two special themed story times at 10 a.m. and noon.

RSVPs are requested so the library can anticipate the number of attendees. RSVP or for more information, email Hannah Johnson at hannahjohnson@kclibrary.org.

Letter Writing Month: Day 2 and It’s Not Too Late to Start

February is both InCoWriMo and LetterMo, two challenges to encourage you to write a letter a day for a month. I started with A Month of Letters (AKA LetterMo) many years ago, so its the challenge I think of first, but I know many people think of InCoWriMo as the larger of the two challenges. They both accomplish the same goal… to write more letters.

I’ve been trying to slowly prepare you all for the whole month of January in Link Love but I forgot to post an official post yesterday to kickstart February yesterday. But I did write my first letter.

So, if you didn’t write a letter yesterday, its okay. Just write two postcards today… or do two thank you cards for those holiday gifts you got to get started and You’ll be all set. Easy peasy.

My goal is to make my way through some unanswered letters, write my thank you notes and write to big wigs in Washington and give them a piece of my mind. I don’t know if it will help but I’m hoping that having to stumble over giant bags of mail will at least annoy some interns. It’s the little things.

What are your plans?

Winner: Decoylab Wall Calendar

Thanks to Decoylab for offering the wonderful opportunity to get organized with their aweseom wall calendar and to everyone who entered the giveaway. I’m glad I’m not the only one still trying to get my act together for 2017.

The winner of the Wall Calendar is :

I’ve contacted Pete directly so he’ll be receiving his wall calendar soon!

Decoylab wall calendar are still available for purchase for $26 plus shipping. And there are add-ons available like moon stickers and a big bulldog clip for hanging as well. I can’t wait ti get mine!

National Handwriting Day

Actual handwriting from Hallmark lettering artist Sarah Cole

Every year, National Handwriting Day sneaks up on me. Luckily, I have a whole bunch of writing samples from previous National Handwriting Days.

Hand written by Madeline Tompkins of TagTeam Tompkins

Hope you get to put pen or pencil to paper today and use your handwriting.

Handdrawn lettering by Hallmark designer/illustrator Lauren Tobaben

 

An Administration Remembered, Stationery-Style

(Photo credits: in order clockwise from top left: A reporter takes notes while President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom speak to the press in the Oval Office, March 3, 2009, Photo by Pete Souza;Pens to be used by President Barack Obama are set on the signing table with the bill prior to the signing of H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, July 22, 2014, Photo by Amanda Lucidon; The place-setting for attendees of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet meeting to discuss the economic recovery effort in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 8, 2009, Photo by Samantha Appleton; resident Barack Obama’s place is set at the table prior to the State Dinner for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in the East Room of the White House, April 28, 2015, Photo by Chuck Kennedy. )

Over the years, I’ve frequently used photos of President Barack Obama writing as examples of an overwriting lefthander because of the tireless work of the staff photographer (usually Pete Souza) in the White House who has spent the last eight years photographing just about every time President Obama signed anything. And thankfully, the photos have been available for use by the press on the White House Flickr feed, now archived as the Obama White House feed.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite pen related photo over the years. I’ve spent much time trying to figure out exactly what pens are used for the signing of legislation (I’m assuming either Parker or Sheaffer) and admiring the occasional photos of the handlettered place cards for luncheons and state dinners.

And that photo at the top left of the reporter who still writes in shorthand?!? That was back in 2009 but still! Pretty cool. I always like to see how other people work and live especially in such a world in which they meet foreign leaders, visit other countries and still occasionally dig in dirt, go for burgers and play basketball and manage to do it all under a microscope and smile through it all. I don’t think I pull that off. But I guess if I got all those pens, I’d sure try.

(Photo credits: in order clockwise from top left: Close-up detail of President Obama’s signature on a bill, and a pen used for the signing, aboard Air Force One on a flight from Buckley Air Force Base, Denver, Col. to Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2009, Photo by Pete Souza; President Barack Obama signs a United States name plate at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014, Photo by Pete Souza; President Barack Obama writes a response to one of the ten letters he receives each day from the White House Correspondence office on Saturday, July 25, 2009, Photo By Pete Souza; A copy of the menu sits on a table following the Congressional Spouses Luncheon, May 20, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton).


These photos are official White House photographs and are made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Giveaway Winner: Write Your Own Adventure Planner 2017

write-your-own-adventure-2

Congratulations to the winner in the Write Your Own Adventure Giveaway. Our random number generator picked: Jenn Dee!

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Good luck on all your adventures, Jenn, great and small. A wedding in Korea sounds like it will be a blast. And Korean stationery stores will be on your itinerary too, right?

I hope everyone gets a chance to adventure a little bit in 2017, whether its a walk through the pages of a favorite book, a walk around the block or a walk around the world.

Screwed By Passionfruit Ads

grinch

This is a story about the grinch (Jason Lynes, the owner and founder of Passionfruit Ads) that ruined ad hosting for me in 2016.

I’ve kept pretty quiet about this all year because I am not the kind of person who uses this blog to complain, throw people under the bus or generally be a bully, but I can’t keep quiet any longer because I am downright furious by someone who could not run his business with the least bit of professionalism. He hurt me and he has hurt many other bloggers including many folks here in the pen community, many who I recommended use the Passionfruit Ads service to manage their ad and sponsorships so in the end I feel partially responsible for other bloggers losing money to his trollish business practices. I mentioned it briefly in my year-end Cheers and Tears post but I decided that, with the deadline for the official closing of Passionfruit Ads having come and gone, I will finally speak out.

Passionfruit Ads offered a monthly subscription service to handle blog ad backend work, collecting funds from advertisers, providing statistics, a marketplace and other lovely services that made it a great service for bloggers and advertisers. Weekly, I would receive “payouts” from money collected from advertisers with a small percentage withheld for the service via PayPal. Easy peasy.

After using the service for several years, payments suddenly started to get a little haphazard in 2016, coming more monthly than weekly. Then they would list a projected payment date and would miss that. It started to get frustrating but its not my sole source of income and payments did eventually come so I didn’t sweat it. Too much.

Goodbye Passionfruit Screenshot

Then, in May, the screenshot above appeared without any fanfare, email announcement, tweets or other information. It seemed like things would be business as usual until December and I wanted to give the company the benefit of the doubt. Sure, he may be struggling and ready to move on but I didn’t realize things were dire. Little did I know, within a month or so, bad turned to worse.

passionfruit

This was also the same time almost all of my sponsors renew their ads. Payouts pretty much ceased completely. They sat in queue indefinitely for months. I sent email after email with no reply. May, then June than July passed and payouts never happened.

Passionfruit Ads contact info

By late summer, all lines of communication with Passionfruit Ads were removed from the site (the screenshot above shows all the info that used to appear at the bottom of the login pages on the Passionfruit Ads website when it still existed, all the accounts are now only visible via the Wayback Machine). Jason’s twitter account was closed, emails were no longer answered, his Instagram and Facebook accounts were closed as well. A private Facebook group was set up to help bloggers who were left struggling and to have a place to talk about what steps to take to try to get paid. In November, the whole Passionfruit Ads site was down. I had to frantically piece together the ads, email my sponsors and hosts the content directly on my site rather than through the javascript code I’d been using. Again, all without any notification from Passionfruit Ads. It was just gone — and way before Lynes had said it was going to be moved.

Fellow blogger, George Hahn, ended up posting a video on YouTube outing Jason Lyne and his seedy business practices which did, in the end, get him paid the money he was owed. Other bloggers have put together PayPal invoices and send daily reminders to Lyne in an effort to get paid. I know that has worked for one or two people. That is the tactic I’ve tried though it has not worked for me. I’m still waiting for my $450.

There’s been conversation amongst the bloggers who are still owed money about a class action lawsuit but, for most people only owed a couple hundred dollars, the legal fees would eat up what little money they’re owed. A couple hundred bucks is often a blogger’s operating expenses for a year for web hosting or the cost for a couple week’s groceries, but in the grand scheme of things, its chump change when you start talking legal fees and court costs.

So, anyway, I just thought I’d share one of the GIANT frustrations that has occupied both my time and my brain for the past six months — all for what might seem like a little (or a lot of) money, depending on your perspective. I don’t mean to be vindictive but sometimes its nice to know what goes on “behind the curtain”. I know not everyone wants to know how the blogging sausage gets made and in this case its probably best to become a blogging vegetarian. I certainly feel like I got put through the meat grinder this year.