Tag: post and letter-writing

Ask The Desk: Good (and Pretty) Stationery

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Cialina asked (me way back in October):

Hello! Holiday season is coming up and I’m looking for fountain pen-friendly stationery to gift to my friends. I’m looking for more than just blank writing tablets like Clairefontaine and more in line with Rifle Paper Co products. Any ideas? Thanks!

This is a question that frequently comes up. Folks are often looking for good quality stationery (emphasis on GOOD paper for fountain pens) but also pretty designs. While there are several good options that are plain paper like Clairefontaine, G. Lalo or Original Crown Mill, or even Rhodia Pads they are not very “fancy”. No flowers, dots, stripes, or embellishments that capture the sender’s joie de vivre. But the paper quality is excellent. I recommend having some on hand for second sheets, and for those occasions when you might not want to use floral, funky or Hello Kitty stationery. Goulet Pens and JetPens are good sources for these.

My first instinct is to go to the tried-and-true stationers like Crane (who also produces William Arthur and Vera Wang stationery), Kate Spade, other high-end producers of stationery goods.  I don’t have the budget to personally test out each and every brand but I was able to establish that Crane uses 100% cotton paper which is tree-free, obviously, and considered quite upscale. Cotton paper will be a bit more absorbent than cardstock notecards but overall, Crane has been making paper for handwritten correspondence for over a century. You can buy some of their pre-printed designs or have a monogram or custom design printed. Very posh indeed.

Rifle Paper Co. Monarch Writing Pad and Envelopes

Then, there are a few stationery shops that I basically have to hide my credit cards before entering because I will spend all my money. One of those places is Greer Chicago. The amazing proprietress and her staff stock such an assortment of paper goods as to make a grown woman weep with joy. Greer stocks lots of options for notecards and folded cards. Unfortunately, there are still not a lot of letter sheet stationery options on the market. Greer does offers the Rifle Paper Monarch Set with paper and matching envelopes for $29. Its listed as heavyweight paper and, while I cannot attest to the fountain pen friendliness, it is so beautiful, I’d be willing to take a chance on it.

Finally, here’s an assortment of some posh but not necessarily fountain pen friendly stationery options that I’ve found. Most of this is small batch printing, so the paper quality is probably much higher than most. It’s largely letterpress printed as well so they usually use fairly heavyweight stocks which will increase your odds of paper that will play well with fountain pens. Either way, they are super cute and non-seasonal and would be perfect to have a stack handy for dashing off your next letter or note.

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  • Write_On Hello! Lucky Bird Stationery Kit $26.95 (via Paper Source)
  • Social Preparedness Kit TUBES WRITE-ON-ELOPES $18 (via Egg Press)
  • Violet Floral Set of 12 flat notes and envenlopes $18.70 (via Rifle Paper Co.)
  • WRITE ON notecards Set of 6 for $14 (via Hello Lucky)
  • STRING THEORY box set of 20 note cards and pattern-lined envelopes $8.25 (via Elum)

InCoWriMo Stationery Package Set: Bamboo Green

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I swore to myself this year I would skip InCoWriMo/LetterMo because I can get so overwhelmed with too many letters and not enough time. However, everywhere I turn this year, all signs are pointing to a February full of letter-writing. I cannot diverge from the path, not when people are putting all these beautiful things on my doorstep making it impossible for me not to want to write lots of letters! To start, the folks are Goulet Pens have put together fabulous color coordinated Stationery Package Sets like the Bamboo Green Kit ($84.90, reduced from $100.90 retail). In this kit is Original Crown Mill Correspondence Set with 25 edged sheets and matching lined envelopes in lime green, a bottle of color coordinated Pilot Iroshiuku ink in Chiku-Rin and a Faber-Castell Loom fountain pen in Lime.

incowrimo kit-6

I’ve  always wanted to try a Faber-Castell fountain pen and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. The barrel of the pen is shiny, silver chrome with a brush solve grip section. The cap is lime green plastic embossed with the Faber-Castell logo and has a spring-loaded, silver clip. When I’ve seen pictures of this pen the cap always looks really bulbous. In person, its not nearly as noticeable. The cap is a little bit more rounded than the smooth cylindrical barrel of the pen but the cap is not onion-headed. Its much better looking in person. Is it possible for a pen to not be as photogenic as it is pretty in person?

The body of the pen is quite weighty. The whole pen with cap weighs in at 33gms, unposted its 27gms. Comparing it to other low-priced pens, you can see that the Faber-CAstell Loom is no lightweight. Surprisingly though, when I started writing with it, the pen itself is so well-balanced, I did not notice the weight though I did use the pen unposted so it was just a little weightier than a Lamy AL-Star.

Fountain Pen Weights

The Loom is 5.125″ (13cm) long capped, just 3/8″ (1cm) shorter than a Lamy Safari and the grip on the Loom is 3cm long to the Safari’s 3.5cm grip. So they are quite comparable in size but the Loom is a much weightier pen and the nib is much silkier out of the box (comparing F nib to F nib). Both also use snap caps and the Loom snap cap is very tight.

I got the F nib and I was kind of blown away with how smooth it wrote right out of the box. It wrote immediately upon filling and had no hard starts, even after I left it uncapped for 10 minutes.

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The Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin also performed quite well even in the fine nib of the Loom. everything was readable and I got good shading out of the nib. The Loom plus the Chiku-Rin is actually a good match-up I was quite pleased with my results! I did my writing tests on my standard Rhodia Blank writing pad just so my results were consistent with all my all ink and pen tests and I was really happy with how it all turned out.

I haven’t tested everything out on the Original Crown Mill stationery yet but the paper is a nice bright white with some lovely tooth to the stock and I will be sure to do a follow-up about how the stationery performs but I’m not expecting any issues. Original Crown Mill is known for its good quality paper and it looks beautiful! The paper and envelopes came in a sturdy metallic silver box too which seems posh and old world. I miss stationery that comes in a good box and this set delivers! Lined envelopes!

Several other stationery color sets are available as well in navy, fuchsia, royal blue and dark green in a range of prices and each include a fountain pen, matching ink and a Original Crown Mill Correspondence Set if lime green isn’t your thing.

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And the folks at Goulet Pens wanted my InCoWriMo/LetterMo to be completely decked out and totally color coordinated so they included an edelweiss wax seal ($12) and handle ($16) and two matching green wax seal wax sticks ($6 each) too. I love that the was sticks are embossed with “Atelier Gargoyle”.

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I was a bit nervous to try the seals out on an actual letter so I thought I might practice first in case I made a complete mess.

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I’ve never learned how to seal a letter with a wax seal so I looked for some videos on YouTube to learn how to do it. I now know why Brian Goulet was playing with blow torches on the Q&A video this week. I didn’t have anything that extreme so I practiced melting the wax using a long grill lighter which worked great until I ran out of butane. The example above was my first try and I think it turned out pretty good on my desk scratch paper. (The dust in the seal was from my second attempt with a candle and I got candle wax all over my desk. It was not the wax stick’s fault. It was a total user error)

The best thing is the wax his actually quite flexible, its not at all brittle and I think it will hold up well to the rigors of the postal service, even in the cold temperatures of a Midwest winter. I can see why Goulet chose to stock this brand. The wax melted easily, it smelled pleasing and stayed supple. And I’m impressed with the level of detail in the seal design. Wow, I’m officially a convert to wax seals. This was super easy to do. I just wish I hadn’t run out of lighter fluid.

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So, it looks like I’m all set for February! Are you? Will you be participating in InCoWriMo/LetterMo this year?


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Paper Pastries Rubber Stamps

Paper Pastries Stamps

Paper Pastries has been in the news lately for the LA Pen Pal Club which is so exciting. But what I’ve been all swoony about is this pile of stamps I recently received from Margaret. Since we both make stamps so we decided to swap.

Margaret makes her stamps herself and will also make custom designs for return address stamps, monograms or pet silhouette stamps. So clever!

I love the Greetings From stamp which I plan to take with me when I travel in the future — if I ever get a day off.

I also love the Hello, Mr Postie stamp that I think would pair perfectly with my Keep the Post Office Public stamp. Clearly, we make a good team!

I really think I should have gotten the left-handed letter stamp and ordered a custom return address tea pot stamp for my tea-pusher pal, Laura.

Paper Pastries Stamps

Also shown here:

Thanks again to Margaret for the swap and I hope you like her stamps (and all the other wonderful stuff she stocks in her shop) too! If you’re in the LA area, be sure to try to visit the next LA Pen Pal Club event. For future events, check out the Paper Pastries blog.

DIY Envelopes & Liners

(photo by the Hallmark Photo Studio)
(photo by the Hallmark Photo Studio)

Today, the Hallmark.com featured a tutorial and free printables designed by me! Visit the site to find out how to make an envelope liner for your Mother’s Day card or even make your own envelope using found papers like gift bags and wrapping paper.

(via Hallmark.com)

April is National Letter Writing Month

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Has your letter writing slacked off since the big push in February during InCoWriMo and A Month of Letters? Are you ready to get re-invograted and reply to that stack of letters sitting in your in box? Well, let April be your inspiration since its National Letter Writing Month. And ther are lots of things to help inspire you.

From Me to You Forever Stamps

First, the USPS just released the new From Me To You Forever stamps designed by Michael Osborne. Around the postage are useable stickers with designs and messages to embellish your letters, cards or envelopes.

Laura from Suburban Pen Pal created a video on how she makes mail art. Jazz up your letters with some of her techniques. (link via Letter Writers Alliance)

Paper Crave collected ten great cards to use to write your April missives.

And finally, Egg Press created their own 30 day letter writing challenge called Write_On and offered others free cards to inspire them to connect with others through letters. (link also via Letter Writers Alliance)

There’s still plenty of time to write some letters this month. Send a thank you to a friend for just being there, mail some birthday cards instead of just saying “happy birthday” on Facebook, or send a love note to your significant other.

Fashionable Friday: Postally Yours

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It all started with the “Yours Truly” dress covered with airmail envelopes. I bought mine at Donna’s Dress Shop here in Kansas City but there are online retailers that stock it as well.If it wasn’t 4ºF outside, I would have even considered modelling it so y’all will have to wait until the Atlanta Pen Show in April to see it up close and personal. But, it did inspire this week’s Fashionable Friday — in all its airmail glory. For tha last push to finish InCoWriMo and A Month of Letters with just one more day left!

  • Isobel dress, Yours Truly pattern in red £79 (via Emily & Fin)
  • Mailblok Blue Airmail Paper $8 (via Kikkerland)
  • Airmail Via Paper Plane Mug by Kim Vervuurt $15 (via Society6)
  • “Good Mail” Round Rubber Stamp 2014 $10 (via Well-Appointed Desk on Big Cartel)
  • Kaweco AL Sport fountain pen blue aluminum €59 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Airmail washi tape $4.90 (via April103 on Etsy)
  • AIRMAIL Washi Tape in Red and Blue Stripe Air Mail Pattern $2.25 (via Pretty Tape on Etsy)
  • Mark’s Flake Air Mail Stickers $7.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Wanderlust Airmail Flexi Journal by Troy Litten for Chronicle Books $9 (via Amazon)
  • Pilot Letter Pad for Fountain Pens – Horizontal Lined $14 (via Jet Pens)
  • Custom “Sealed By” Stamp $35 plus lifetime membership $5 (via Letter Writers Alliance)
  • Sheaffer Sentinel Signature Ballpoint Pen with geometric engraved design in chrome $15 (via Pen Chalet)

(Supplemental design elements from Graphics Fairy and Pugly Pixel.)

Social Preparedness Kits from Egg Press

social preparedness kit

The Social Preparedness Kit from Egg Press is a new collection of tools and materials to make keeping in touch, postally-speaking, an easy and good-looking option. The site will be selling products that span the range from canvas pouches to contain your correspondence to paper goods like letterpress-printed Write-On-Velopes  (a foldable letter sheet that doubles as an envelope) and card sets.

Products will be available for sale soon so check back on their shop or on their blog to find out when they will be officially released.

I love the document-sized pouches and the Write-On-Velopes.I can’t wait until they are available for purchase.

I hope the Social Preparedness Kit product line is successful for Egg Press because I get lots of questions about where to buy good and interesting stationery sets beyond notecards so maybe SPK will expand to letter sets soon!

SPK from Egg Press

LWA Book Club

368916Did you know there is now a Letter Writer’s Alliance book club? Its true! The group is over on Goodreads and Letter Writers Aliiance members and non-members alike are welcome to join. Starting January 27, 2015 (that’s actually yesterday) we will be reading 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and there will be a discussion live over Google on Sunday, April 12, 2015. I’ve been invited to be one of the panelists, along with Donovan and Kathy that will discuss the book on Google Hangouts live on Sunday, April 12 at 3pm Central Time.

84, Charing Cross Road is a short book of real life letters between the author, a New Yorker and a London bookseller over decades. With fewer than 100 pages its a quick read and if you feel you can’t commit to it, there is a film adaptation starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins that was made in the 80s as well if you want to supplement your reading.

In between your February flurry of letter writing, pick up this book and give it a read then join us in April to discuss it.

Postage Frame Stamps from Anticipate Invitations

postage frame stamps

The release of the postage frame stamps from Anticipate Invitations have been burning up the Twitter feeds of many a letter writer this week. Six frame designs are available and each is available in four sizes to accommodate the most common US postage sizes. Prices for the stamps start at $14.30 and go up to $20.46 for the largest square size. Or a set of four can be purchased for $52.38.

I would love to assemble a mixed set of four stamps to make envelopes look like a mismatched gallery wall.

February is Letter Writing Month

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Once again, its time for InCoWriMo (pronounced as “Ink-o-rye-mo”), International Correspondence Writing Month. The goal of the project is to write one letter, card, note, or postcard everyday for the entire month of February. Just 28 little bits of correspondence.

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February is also known as LetterMo, as in A Month of Letters, a project started by author Mary Robinette Kowal several years ago but whose mantle has been taken up across the blogosphere, myself included. LetterMo gives you the leeway of not writing on Sunday since there’s no postal pick-up so the requirement to complete this challenge is just 24 pieces of written correspondence.

For me, February is my chance to get all caught up on my letter writing AND even send some new letters and cards. Are you planning to participate?

With a week to plan, be sure to stock up on some stationery, postcards, note cards, stamps and, of course, have all your favorite pens and inks at the ready. This is a great chance to use up some of that paper you have squirreled away and try out ALL those inks you’ve been hoarding.

Need something for your upcoming month of letters?

(image modified from a WPA poster from the 30s available at Free Vintage Posters)

Book Review: Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

While I’ve been under the weather, I’ve been catching up on my back log of reading, including Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing by Liz Williams. Its a pretty book with short pieces about the history of letter writing as well as common references, quotes, books and movies where letters feature prominently and other tidbits about our favorite paper missives.

“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.” – Lord Byron

This book is definitely for the letter enthusiast though it will not probing new information on the subject. As a gift to a young person, it might spur them to start writing but does not necessarily provide compelling analysis or deep investigation about the topic. Kind Regards is written in short blubs, often less than a page, which makes it easy to thumb through or read an entry or two over coffee in the morning.

Williams clearly loves the written word and provides enough interesting facts to inspire me to tackle that pile of incoming correspondence again. If you’re looking for a little something to nudge you back on to your letter-writing path, then Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing might be the ticket.

LWA Fountain Pen Laboratory

LWA Fountain Pen Workshop

The Letter Writers Alliance is hosting a Fountain Pen Lab next Saturday in Chicago at the amazing Greer Stationery Shop. The lab is limited to 6 people and the lab fee includes a Kaweco sport demonstrator pen with a medium nib as well as all their experiences and knowledge about using fountain pens and improving penmanship.

Fountain Pen Laboratory
Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1-3pm
Location: Greer, 1657 N Wells St, Chicago, IL
Fee: $75

Go to the Letter Writers Alliance blog to register.

World’s Smallest Post Service Tiny Mail Activity Kit

World's Smallest Post Service Tiny Mail Activity Kit

When I heard about Leaf Cutter Designs’ Tiny Mail Activity Kit Kickstarter project, I had to invest in it. I missed the chance to buy the kit when Chronicle Books released the first kit. But what is so awesome with the Kickstarter project is that Leaf Cutter wanted to make a new kit EVEN better than the original release. The kit added more die cut envelopes, envelope liners, newspaper wrapping papers with real news stories printed on them, a super fine line Sakura Pigma Micron, string, a magnifying glass, tiny postage stamps and tiny rubber stamps to mark the parcels “air mail” and such.

World's Smallest Post Service Tiny Mail Activity Kit

Everything is incredibly well-produced with plenty of pieces to send lots of teeny tiny letters and parcels. The boxes used to organize the kit can be used to wrap small parcels as well which is extremely handy.

World's Smallest Post Service Tiny Mail Activity Kit

Kits can now be purchased directly from the Leaf Cutter website. The standard kit is $32 and my deluxe kit is $49. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Its absolutely fab!

Typewriter As Art

Olympia Typewriter print
Olympia Typewriter Print by SloeGinFizz (via Etsy)

While not everyone might be as inclined as I am to have a pile of old typewriters at hand, the image of a typewriter inspires the writer, poet and correspondent in all of us. Today I discovered several “typewriter as art” pieces to inspire and compliment the paper aficionados desk.

(Click on images to visit the sources or purchase images.)

Typerwriter Spring Flowers Framed Print
Poetry Typewriter framed art ($46) by Kata (via Society6)
Typewriter note card
Typewriter Greeting Card ($4) by Michele Maule (via Etsy)

Eccentric Envelopes

Make Eccentric Envelopes

Stephanie Fishwick posted some loose but lovely envelopes with her tips and techniques for creating fun envelopes for non-calligraphers. She recommends using watercolors but ink samples would also work and i a great way to use up all those samples you’ve accumulated.

Her best tip is that imperfections make it more awesome. Use a limited color palette and repetition to pull it together. No one will complain if they got a hand lettered envelope in the mail ever. It will make their day. So,  start playing.

She recommends good quality envelopes like Original Crown Mill cotton or Crane. Big box office supply shops usually carry 100% cotton envelopes in the section with invitations and resume stationery.

Maybe your kids will want to make some of their own envelopes too and send a letter to Grandma? That would be a fun, rainy day activity this summer.

If you do want to improve your writing, Stephanie also has some recommendations for getting started with calligraphy and the tools, web sites and books she uses for great calligraphy.

Most of all have fun and be inspired!

(via Stephanie Fishwick)

Smart Travel Tips for Pen Geeks

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I’m about to embark on a little holiday getaway which always leads to seeking out good travel tips. Buzzfeed posted one of their silly lists called 13 Travel Tips to Make You Feel Smart. There are a couple good tips on the list but most will be things you’ve probably already heard.

My favorite tip: Ask the desk at your hotel for cords or chargers if you forgot to pack yours. It sounds like their is inevitably a box of random cords and chargers that get left behind so they might have one for your device.

Now for some travel tips for the pen-and-paper inclined:

  • Check the locations you’ll be visiting and find out if there is a pen shop nearby. Make time to visit the shop. This will improve even the most boring business trip.
  • Stop in local drugstores, book shops, truck stops or tourist shops (museum shops, state park offices, etc) to seek out postcards. I find these are the best places to find cheesy tourist postcards to send home or keep as souvenirs.
  • Tourist destinations can often yield cheap, fun souvenirs in the form of pencils. Isn’t it time you started a tourist pencil collection?
  • If you’re worried about fountain pens leaking on flights, store them in a plastic ziploc bag for the flight. You can also travel with the cartridge removed and pack a few spare cartridges to use at your destination. For more pen travel tips, check out the article I posted awhile back.
  • Put together a Letter Writing On The Go kit.
  • Don’t forget to pack stamps. Or plan to visit the local post office to pick up stamps and meet the locals. If you let them know you’re visiting, they might just hand cancel your postcards if you ask nicely.

every trip should include a stop at the local PO #showandmail

I discovered the Rock County Historical Society in Janesville, WI which is on our route this summer and home to the Parker Pen Collection. And I might get a peek inside the Coudal/Field Notes HQ in Chicago.

Are you traveling this summer? Business or for fun? Did you find any great pen-related goodies? Can’t wait to hear!

Photo of the day: Genine Zlatkis

genine zlatkis studio

Genine Zlatkis is a prolific illustrator with a great style and her studio is amazing. She posted these pictures of all her supplies, organized so neatly, I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.

I recognize a cup full of Sakura Pigma Microns, Pink Pearl and assorted erasers, and the recognizable ferrule of a Dixon Tocnderoga pencil.

Genine Zlatkis Rubber Stamps

Genine also created some rubber stamps recently that would be perfect for decorating letters and envelopes and sold here.

genine zlatkis studio

(via Genine Zlatkis)

Neatography: Paper Good Subscription Service

Neatography Paper Goods

Neatography offers a monthly or quarterly subscription packages filled with paper, letter-writing and office goodies. I received the May kit entitled “The Good Ol’ Days” which included an assortment of pencils, a His & Hers list notepad that is perforated down the middle to split up the tasks, a Rifle Paper Co. Thank You card, Telegram-style postcards, postcard stamps, a calling card, a sharpener and a self-addressed stamped postcard to send back to Neatography letting them know if you liked the latest kit.

Its a lovely package and a great way to discover new paper goods brands and receive a lovely little pick-me-up in your mail box. A monthly package with cards and stamps is $17 per month or on a quarterly schedule, and a paper good subscription is $27 per month or on a quarterly schedule. Shipping costs for the US are included in the costs but international subscriptions require an additional shipping fee.

I like that there’s an option to receive a package every three months. I acquire a lot of other office supplies, cards and writing tools that if a package came every month, I don’t think I’d ever get a chance to use everything and it might accumulate.

I love that the kit includes some stamps so that I can immediately write out a few cards and pop them in the mail.

Neatography package unwrapped

Once I unwrapped the His & Hers notepad, I was able to see the perforation and started to really like it. There is a magnet on the back of the pad to attach to the refrigerator making it easy to make lists of tasks that each person can tackle. I’d also love one that was “groceries” on one side and “everything else” on the other since our trips to Costco, Target, and the hardware store usually happen separately from the grocery buying but its still a clever pad and will probably get a lot of use at our house.

NEatography Pencil Close-Up

The pencils in the kit were a Palomino Blackwing 602, Golden Bear #2, Ticonderoga EnviroStik #2 and a Ticonderoga Laddie #2. I look forward to trying a few of these new-to-me pencils like the Laddie and the Envirostik. More about those in the coming weeks. But, yeah! Pencils!

The apple Thank You card from Rifle Paper features a gold foil apple on the cover on soft ivory paper. Its lovely and general enough to be sent to anyone though it would be perfect to give to a teacher.

Sharpener & stamps close-up from Neatography

The sharpener is a brushed aluminum from Maped and looks like a decent little sharpener with a reomveable/replaceable blade. The postage stamps are the new hummingbird design postcard stamps that will go perfectly with the Telegram postcards from Girl of All Work. I’ve used these before and I quite like them. The paper has a bit of tooth to it but ink stands up nicely to it and the look is classic postcard/telegram.

All-in-all I think a subscription with Neatography would be a great opportunity to explore some new paper goods. Looking through the Lookbook at past offerings, each paper goods kit looks to include at least one small-press card, a notepad or other larger item (one kit included Rifle Paper Co mail stickers), some postage stamps,  and a small selection of office supplies (pencils, thumbtacks, washi tape, etc.). They value of the items seems to add up to the asking price pretty closely and includes domestic shipping so it is a good value. Everything is packaged beautifully too so it feels like a little gift.

I wrote a previous review of products in October of 2013.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Neatography for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Parcel Ghost Postal Whimsy

New Hammerpress Letterpress Cards

hammerpress

Kansas City Letterpress-ati, Hammerpress, have recently updated their web site and added a lot of new products. Their letterpress cards are gorgeous and if you can’t make it to Kansas City to shop locally, ordering online is the next best thing. Prices on cards are $4-$5.50 per folded card, and are blessedly blank inside and ship with a kraft or coordinating envelope.

But the best shopping experience is to stop in to the Crossroads store in KC and browse posters, postcards, and ephemera.

Kickstarter: Leafcutter Designs’ World’s Smallest Post Service Kit

As a diehard mail enthusiast, I could not possibly resist the new and improved Smallest Post Service Kit from Leafcutter Designs. This might look a bit familiar to you because several years ago Chronicle Books published a version of the kit but this new, Kickstarter version will be exactly the way Leafcutter Designs wanted the original kit to be, with all the bells and whistles including tiny stationery, tiny stamps, tiny envelopes, a tiny newspaper and a super-fine tipped pen for writing your letter. If you purchase the deluxe kit, you’ll also receive tiny rubber stamps, stamp pads and glassine envelopes to mail your tiny mail through the big postal service.

I went ahead and purchased the deluxe option because I always want the rubber stamps. Lea is super cute in the video above so, if for no other reason, make a contribution to her Kickstarter just to see her sweet, happy smile.

Leafcutter Mini Post Office

(via Make Everyday A Good Mail Day)

April is National Letter Writing Month

(Original photo from Silvebluestar on Flickr)
(Original photo from Silvebluestar on Flickr)

While it might be a bit late in the month to bring this up, April is National Letter Writing Month. In 2001, the USPS released a statement to encourage letter writing by designating April as Letter Writing Month. We all already know and may have participated in February’s A Month of Letters or InCoWriMo but why not use April to reply to all those letters you got in February? That’s what I’m doing.

If you wrote to me in February, don’t be surprised if your reply arrives this month or in the early part of May. I’ve been spending each day writing at least one reply, usually over my lunch break in an effort to finally respond to the many cards, postcards and letters I received in February.

I did receive a few cards and letters without a return address. If you sent me a letter in February without a return address, I assume you were not anticipating a reply. If not, please send me an email using the Ask The Desk link at the top of the page and send me your mailing address so I can send you a proper reply.

There’s still more than a week left in April — plenty of time to dash off a few letters and cards.

Keep writing!

(for more info, check out the post over on the Letter Writers Alliance blog)

Ask The Desk: ID Protection Stamps

Ask The Desk Header

Sandy asks:

Think this is good idea?
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I assume the question regards any sort of blotting stamp for security purposes. Folks seem to like these as an alternative to paper shredders as they are smaller, quieter and portable for obscuring personal information on printed material. While shredding makes sense for a lot of papers, sometimes you just want to throw those credit card offers in the trash and the only incriminating information is your address. A quick stamp, stamp, stamp might be enough to make it possible to throw the papers in the recycle bin.

The general term to describe these stamps is ID protection stamps or ID Guard stamps. I definitely think that the Max Korkoro model, with the rolling stamp and ability to refill the ink easily makes a good option. The price for any ID protection stamp seems to be about $10 which seems reasonable.

The only thing I don’t know looking at the photos and description is whether the ink is water resistant when dry. That would be the winning feature. If its water-soluble, then someone might be able to wash the ink off reveal your address or account numbers.

So I suppose I ought to order one and put it to the test, huh?

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Bag Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger

Ever wanted a bag made form old USPS mail bags? Well, now’s your chance. Timbuk2 has introduced the Terracycle messenger bag made from old canvas mail bags. Each bag is unique and this option will only be available for a limited time. They are available in small ($99) or the medium ($109) and in original white canvas or in an overdyed brown (seems more UPS than USPS, but who am I to judge?).

I REALLLLLLLLYYYYY want one.

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger in brown