Tag: post and letter-writing

Ask The Desk: Good (and Pretty) Stationery


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.


  • 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

incowrimo kit-4

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.


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.

incowrimo kit-2

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”.

incowrimo kit-3

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.

incowrimo kit-7

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.

incowrimo kit-1

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


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


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