Monday, March 28, 2011

Lovely letter-writing quote

...I've been passionate about letter writing and receiving. Some women buy a new shade of lipstick when they need their spirits lifted; I write a letter. For me, once in the mood, it is never a question of finding time -- there is always time to write, just as there is always time to enjoy life. I wonder, how can we not find time to sweeten our lives? I know that my own life would become impoverished if I were somehow forced to cease my letter writing.

-Alexandra Stoddard, "Gift of a Letter"

I need to reference this for inspiration and a reminder. I am coming out of a period of time when I really WAS so busy that I couldn't find the time, or so it seemed... but now I have breathing room again, and I'm hitting the letters.

I also think I buy new stationery when I need my spirits lifted...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patriotic Quill Stamp??

Patriotic Quill Stamp

I was just tooling around the Beyond the Perf website, and thought I'd browse the 2011 Stamp releases just for the fun of seeing what's coming out next. (I do that sort of thing.) I'm really excited about a couple of upcoming releases, but this super-cool Patriotic Quill stamp completely flew beneath my radar! I am delighted by any meta-writing-related stamps, and of course a quill pen tickles my fancy.

I did some mad searching on the USPS Postal store website, and indeed this stamp was released on February 14, 2011. But the minimum quantity in which you can buy it is a coil of 3000! WTF?? Check it out. The cute little blurb ends with

This lively design will add a touch of elegance and a sense of timelessness to communication of many kinds. It may even inspire a new generation of "great American writings."

Good gravy! What kind of writing is it going to inspire if you have to lay down $1320 for a coil of 3000? I mean, I am a pretty darn huge stamp consumer, but even I am not going to buy in this quantity. Why not a sheet of 20? I totally don't get it. Thoughts from the postal experts?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A gentle Jewish reminder: no Easter here, please

Because my casual blog readers may not remember, or may not have paid close attention to my repeated references to the pervasiveness of Christian holidays and how so many folks just assume everyone celebrates them (and yes, this is a link to a Christmas post, but the sentiments remain the same for Easter):

I'm Jewish.

Not only do I not celebrate Christmas, I don't celebrate Easter, either. That is generally a Jewish kinda thing, although everyone makes their own decisions about how to handle these mainstreamed holidays.

Please, don't wish me Happy Easter. It will only just kinda piss me off.

If you want to wish me Happy Spring, rock on! I welcome the vernal beauty and floral awakenings of the season. Happy Spring to you, too - may your realm be showing more greenery and less chill than mine right now.

Grant me the right to be curmudgeonly right now? I am missing my kitty really hard. And maybe a little extra testy because of it.

Wishing I could hug Memo right now,
Your Jewish letter blogger

A welcome visit from the Feline Postal Brigade

Soda, lettercat

Here's a photo of Soda, Feline Postal Brigade charter member, "helping" with a letter. She has learned how to get up on my letter-writing desk, and now it's a free-for-all in kitty correspondence.

Soda oversees another letter

I took these photos back in January, when Memo was still with us. I can't help but think that now, as I post them. We are taking so much comfort in our two remaining kitties, Soda and Magic, and I find myself wondering - are they really grieving for Memo as much as they seem to be (they are unquestionably confused by his absence), or are they just tuned into our grief, and staying close by to give and receive comfort?

In any case, Magic and Soda and I have been thick as thieves the past few days, and I am so grateful for their presence and feline love. Soda has been sitting all over my letters on my writing desk (yes, I have been writing a few), and she is more than welcome. She is purring on the arm of the chair I'm sitting in, as I type this, and nuzzling my hand.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Goodnight, sweet prince

Goodnight, sweet prince
Memo P. Katt
July 10, 2000-March 18, 2011
Darling, beloved kitty, rest in peace

We said goodbye to Memo yesterday. It was excruciating, and saying "now" to putting him down was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made. He was not responding to ever-increasing doses of insulin, and lost function in his back legs. We could have kept him going a little longer, but chose to end his life while it was still a little bit good.

I still can't believe he's gone, and am grieving terribly for him. Please forgive me if I lay low on the letter-writing and blogging for a little while.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Postal Amsterdam

Post slit

I took quite a few postal and letter-writing related photos while in Amsterdam, of course, and I can't resist sharing them with you because I got such a kick out of them. I love anything mail-related, and it's always interesting to see how it works in different countries.


Here's the desk where I sent postcards. I sent out 20; that's all I could afford on my trip budget!

Cheery modern postbox

And here's a bright red mailbox, similar to the one where my postcards went out. This shiny one didn't have any graffiti, but a lot of the mailboxes did.

Glorious red Dutch postbox

I came across this more antique-style mailbox in the Vondelpark.

Nee, Ja

Can any of my Dutch readers translate this? It was on a lot of mail slots. Some said Nee / Nee. I know yes and no, but I'm not sure what the rest refers to. Flyers and junk mail, perhaps?

UPDATE: Thank you to Henderica, for her translation!
The Nee/Nee or Ja/Nee stickers are :
first bit just No if you don't want advertising folders or non addressed mail
The second bit Yes or No is usually for if you want local free newspapers


Just a cute silver snail I had to photograph...

amazing stationery store

This is the very cool 2-story stationery store where I bought the Eclat D'Ors paper I blogged about yesterday. I should have taken a picture of the stairs - sooo narrow! Such is Amsterdam.

stationery store display

The stationery store also had an awesome display on writing...

stationery store display

...with all kinds of vintage paper stuff.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First thing I bought in Amsterdam? Paper!


My Amsterdam trip was amazing, as I knew it would be... but it was probably even more amazing than I figured. Where to begin? Our hotel room was unbelievable. (We got a great deal, we thought it was a great deal before we even saw the room, and then when I saw the room, I practically fainted - nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in in my life. We had our own FLOOR. No one next to us, and we were on the top.) The weather was perfect: low 50s, and it didn't rain a single day. I didn't get any blisters. We walked miles and miles every day, drank great beer, had quality time with an old friend, and just got everything we wanted and needed out of the vacation.


But back to business, for this blog post. Can you guess what the VERY FIRST THING I bought in Amsterdam was? Paper, of course! We stumbled upon an excellent stationery store (I'm sorry, I don't remember where it was or what it was called), and it was my beloved who pointed out this paper.


Made by G. Lalo, the Eclat D'Ors paper has little flecks of gold in it. I've heard tell it's great for fountain pens - what from G. Lalo isn't? - but it isn't available in the USA, so of course I HAD to buy a pack!


I haven't used it yet, but I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Going away for a bit

In case you wandered by my etsy shop and wondered why it was on vacation... it's because I'm on vacation! I'll be away for about a week, and will have only minimal access to email. (Yay!) I will surely fall behind even further on mail, being away from the mailbox and letter-writing habits for a week... but I'll be sending a few postcards off from Amsterdam while I'm there.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My new favorite pen pals are 6 and 4 years old

My new favorite pen pals are 6 and 4 years old

I keep in touch with my best friend from high school. She still lives in the same town where we grew up, and I've moved all over the place. We used to write each other, back in college and shortly thereafter, but now email is her medium. She keeps me up to date with regular email and photos of her awesome daughters.

I recently started writing to her oldest daughter, who is now 6 years old and a really bright kid. (Yes, I'm biased. But her kids are all great, really.) Annalise has become one of my best pen pals - she writes to me almost every week. She is clearly into it, and I've encouraged her with multiple gifts of cards and stationery, and of course I enclose stickers and fun pens and such. I recall that I got into writing at a similar age, urged on by stationery and pen gifts from one of my mom's friends (who is also, coincidentally, child-free).

Annalise is the oldest of three girls; Scarlett just turned 4 and Noelle is a little under 2. Apparently Scarlett was getting jealous of Annalise's mail from me (of course I decorate it and make it pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself), and recently she started crying when one of my letters arrived for Annalise, because she felt left out. So big sister Annalise saved the day, and told Scarlett to pick any of the cards I had sent to use for letter-writing, and Annalise would write down the letter that Scarlett dictated to me.

So now I write to both Annalise and Scarlett. Annalise writes her own letters, and has recently even started addressing the envelopes herself; Scarlett's letters are dictated either to Annalise or to her mom, but she signs her name herself.

Needless to say, their letters make my day; recognizing how long a wait of 5 or 6 days for a letter may be to a tot that wee, I make a point of writing them back immediately. It doesn't take long to write a bite-sized letter to a child, and they always write me back within a week. It just warms my heart to have brought such young letter-writers into the fold, and to have an opportunity to get to know these little girls who I'd otherwise only see once a year or so. And their mom tells me that it's great writing practice for them; certainly I can see the improvement in Annalise's handwriting as she goes along.

Kids' personalized stationery

And of course I have a lot of fun finding cute stationery to encourage them! I've given them the Sukie Animals on Parade notecard set, Masha and Friends: 15 Matryoshka Notecards, and most recently, personalized stationery from Owl and Branch notecard set and Hibiscus personalized notecard set from JoseJeanDesign on etsy (shown in photo above).

My favorite line from a recent letter is from Scarlett, dictated to her mom: "I'm gonna be a grown-up like my mommy someday."