Tag: post and letter-writing

Kata Kata A4 Postcards

There’s only a few days left in April and I’m thinking I need to end Letter Writing Month on a BIG note. Thankfully, Fresh Stock Japan sent over these A4 sizes die cut Kata Kata postcards ($6 each, six designs available) that will be the perfect thing. Aren’t they fabulous?

They are basically blank on the back and say “postcard” but they exceed US postcard regulation sizes so I have no idea how much postage they would actually need so I’m going to have to wing it and hope that Mr. Whale doesn’t lose his tail and Mr. Bear keeps his feet. I think if I use standard First Class postage and consider it either an “odd-shaped envelope” ($0.70) or a first-class parcel ($2.67) I should be in the clear.

They are just way too cool to keep to myself! Hope you are having fun with April Letter-writing Month too and give these oversized postcards a try. The art is brilliant and who doesn’t need a whale in their mailbox?


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

April is National Letter Writing Month

Okay, gang! I know you’all get jazzed about InCoWriMo in February but letter-writing is not a once a year occurrence. Did you fall short in February? Did you lose steam? Did you not even know about InCoWriMo at all? Whatever the case may be, going back as far as 2001, the USPS made a statement that it wanted to expand its previous weeklong card- and letter-writing campaign tradition beyond the first week of April to the entire month of April. It hoped  to encourage school-age children to write cards and letters along with the rest of us by giving us a whole month to put forth the effort to put pen to paper.

In 2014, the Letter Writers Alliance documented that other dates have been chosen as of letter-writing significance. But let’s decide that April is as good a time as any to develop, hone or polish our letter-writing skills. Whether its dashing off a few Easter cards, writing some birthday wishes this month instead of just posting messages on Facebook or finding some like-minded friends to start up a correspondence with – take this month to do a little letter-writing.

One of the most inspiring things I heard this week that got me wanting to write was the podcast Nerdette interview with Tom Hanks talking about typewriters. Go forth, listen, enjoy and get to writing!

You also might want to consider the Egg Press and Hello Lucky collaboration project, Write_On Kit to help you stay motivated.

Write_On is a labor of love. Each year, we offer Write_On Letter-writing Kits because we believe in the power of letters to bring people together in a meaningful way. This year, we invite you to invest in Write_On too – by paying what you can for a kit – so that we can continue to supply you with the tools and inspiration you need to keep your letter-writing practice strong. We really couldn’t do it without you. Free kits are still available to those who need them, but please consider purchasing yours if you can. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

And don’t forget to check out the Think.Make.Share. blog which will be “getting serious” throughout the month of April with posts focused on letter writing, printables, inspiring stories and other excuses to use the tools you love. I love it when my day job and my night job cross paths!

The best thing about the April Letter-Writing Challenge is there is NO challenge. It’s just letter-writing month. You are not being challenged to write a letter every day or set some heroic goal. You can set a realistic, doable goal. Is it to just answer the letters from February? Or finally write those Christmas thank you cards? Maybe just send a couple sweet nothings to your spouse or your child so they get a real card or letter in the mail? Invite a couple friends over for a mini-letter writing social? Or give yourself an excuse to spend an extra hour at your favorite coffee shop and dash off a few notes to old or new friends.

Happy writing and don’t forget to use all those pens, inks and papers you’ve been collecting!

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?

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.

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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.