Category Archives: Office Supplies

I Failed Letter Month…

Whale Valentines, Paper Source, Valentine kitYou guys, I failed at Letter Month this year. I didn’t even send my usual stack of Valentines! (Sorry grammas!) I assembled a few whales (from a Paper Source kit) and then just didn’t feel like making more. And instead of just writing letters, I did nothing. (Well, I visited my parents and I got sick, but that’s only an excuse for a few of the days!) dessert postcards, letter monthSo, this is all the mail I sent in the month of February. (#worstpenpalever) Thirteen pieces. I’m going to try to be better in March, while also looking forward to Write_On in April for National Card and Letter Writing Month. I ordered a party pack, so I’ll be planning a letter writing party and it would be just shameful if I wasn’t writing letters! analog bag, Mt Nasty sticker, Raygun, Obama Biden love buttonIn happier news, my friend Tremaine sent me this fantastic Valentine: a bag that she screenprinted herself, a Raygun sticker, and an Obama/Biden button that I wore almost every day last month. I need to work hard this month and next to put my mail karma back into balance!

 

How did you do during Letter Month this year?

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Letter Month 2017

GalaxieSafari hand-typed vintage postage card, zip code stamp, send more mail Well, hello there! It’s been a little quiet around here, but I wanted to pop back in because it’s that time of year again–Letter Month! I’ve been a dreadful pen pal since I got home from Japan last spring (yes, that long ago) so I’m hoping this will get me back in the mail spirit again.

I’m planning to use this month to reconnect with my pen pals and my representatives. I’ll be posting my daily missives on Instagram. (Maybe I’ll share a few here, too!)

P.S. If you need cards for letter month, the shop is open.

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Itoya & Cafe Stylo

Itoya big red paperclip signOn our first full day in Japan, we went to Itoya, one of my favorite shops in the ritzy Ginza district of Tokyo. (I’ve blogged about Itoya a little bit before, here and here.) Itoya has been building a new store since 2011 or 2012, so for the past few years, we’ve been visiting the temporary location. On this trip, I was most looking forward to seeing their shiny new store. Itoya buildingThe new twelve floor building is very sleek and it sits between Tiffany’s and Bvlgari (just to give you an idea of what kind of neighborhood we are talking about.) The lower floors are all devoted to retail space selling stationery, pens, paper, craft supplies, and high-end travel and home goods. On the seventh floor, there is a “paper bar” filled with hundreds of papers that you can use for personalized stationery, business cards, or wedding invitations. (I didn’t take any pictures inside the store, but you can see part of the wall of paper at the bottom of this page.) What I’ve always loved about Itoya is that you can find very expensive things there, you can also find plenty of special gifts at reasonable prices. And they’ve always had a huge selection, especially of the things I love: origami paper, stamps, stationery, pens…I used to spend hours in the store narrowing down my choices. Itoya spring windows, flower pensThe new Itoya, though, is much more pared down. They still sell amazing things, but they just don’t carry the same wide-ranging selection that they used to. Truthfully, I hardly bought anything during my visit. And we didn’t stay all day like I thought we would. It was kind of a bummer at first, but honestly, I had more money to spend at the other stationery shops all over Tokyo. (There was no shortage of things to buy!) It was just an unexpected change. Cafe Stylo lettuce, ItoyaBut, one really cool thing about New Itoya is that they have a full-service restaurant, Cafe Stylo, on the top floor. (The old cafe had a very limited snack menu.) And in Cafe Stylo, they serve Itoya-grown lettuce grown in a hydroponic farm on the twelfth floor! We visited the farm and got a peek at the lettuces growing at various stages. Cafe Stylo smoked salmon, ItoyaCafe Stylo chef salad, ItoyaNaoto had the Smoked Salmon Sandwich, which he loved. Because I wanted to try the Itoya lettuces, I ordered the “Cobber Salad” (Cobb salad). It was crisp and fresh and delicious! And we both enjoyed Campari cocktails with our lunch.Cafe Stylo floor sign I highly recommend checking out the restaurant if you go! It’s the perfect spot to write postcards and enjoy your new stationery!

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Write On for National Letter Writing Month

Mailbox pin, drawn by Marissa Falco, Thimblewinder on EtsyApril is National Card and Letter Writing Month!

Ok, I know I expressed a little bit of burn-out at the end of February’s Letter Month, but how can I not attempt another letter writing challenge for National Letter Writing Month? Just like last year, I’m attempting to write a letter or card every day in April as part of the Write On Challenge.

A few things:

  • I really want to use the challenge to use up some of my stash. (I say this every time but this time I mean it!) I have stationery sets from my past two trips to Japan that I’ve never opened…that’s just WRONG!
  • I’m not sure that I will document my daily mailings on Instagram this time. I like that posting daily keeps me on track with writing daily (and I love looking at everyone else’s posts!), but I also want this month to be about the letters and the connections and not necessarily about the mail art. Don’t get me wrong, I love making mail art…but sometimes I don’t feel so creative and that makes me feel bad about my mail. Mail should always be fun. (Well, unless it’s a sympathy card or something.) I guess I should say mail should always be about the connection. The other stuff is just a bonus.
  • I’m hoping to share a couple of mail-related books and maybe some more stationery items (both vintage and Japanese) this month.
  • I found this USPS packet for educators from 2015 that has some fun letter writing activities for kids. It kind of makes me wonder why the post office doesn’t make more of a big deal about Letter Writing Month.

Write on, friends!

P.S. The mailbox pin is made from an original drawing by Marissa Falco and can be found in her Etsy shop, Thimblewinder.

 

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Paper Antiquing in Princeton

vintage foreign language teacher stickers, vintage Eureka patriotic seals, vintage librarian record After we checked out the covered bridge and ate lunch in Princeton, we went antiquing. Princeton has several little antique and gift shops, but we stopped into the large Sherwood Antique Mall and decided to save the little shops for our next visit. Sherwood is basically a big building with loads of independently operated booths to poke through. It offered a nice variety of antiques and price points. Actually, I thought it was a little bit pricey for its location–some pricing was on par with Chicago antique shops. (Usually in my experience, the lower rents away from Chicago reflect in lower prices for the goods.) But, for the most part, prices were fair and I found some really fun things.

I’m always on the look out for vintage paper bits and dishes to add to my collection. I picked out these sweet vintage Hallmark teacher stickers with “Good job” written in a variety of languages. I especially love the little Japanese girl (top right corner) and the German boy (carrying milk pails?) I also scored a full book of patriotic-themed Eureka seals which were only a dollar, making them basically the deal of the century. vintage USPS puzzle postcard, Vintage Berghoff chicago postcardI poked through hundreds of boxes of postcards throughout the mall. I actually had to stop myself because my parents were with me and I didn’t want to slow us down. Sadly, I didn’t find any good Princeton, IL postcards to send that day, but I found a USPS hot air balloon puzzle postcard and an old Berghoff postcard. vintage chicago postcardsAnd I picked up some other vintage Chicago postcards. I love the scalloped edges! (Seriously, can you find edges like these on modern postcards?)vintage playing cards, horses and hawaiiI thought the horse cards would be fun for mail art in May (for the Kentucky Derby, which I’ve only seen once on TV.) And Naoto and I have been to Hawaii a few times but I’ve never made an album of our adventures, so I thought maybe some playing cards would help make that project happen. vintage Dennison labels, vintage Dennison gummed foil starsThe money I saved on the Eureka seals was wasted on these Dennison stars. They were packaged in a sealed bag and labeled “almost full” which was less than truthful, especially as far as the blue and red boxes were concerned. You win some, you lose some I guess. And, last but not least, this box of Dennison mailing labels! There are more than 200 in the box (which was also in sealed packaging) and it was definitely a winner!

I also found a couple of fun dish sets, but I’ll share those soon.

Have you found anything fun in a thrift shop or antique store lately?

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Letter Month, The End.

Month of Letters, Letter Month, mailing from West Loop, Sawada Coffee, blue box, USPSHow did your Letter Month go? I have to admit, I crawled towards the finish line. Not making and sending a bunch of Valentines really messed with my mojo for this project. And I’ve been feeling very boring lately, even though I’ve been busy this month, so letters aren’t coming easily. Meh. Thanks to everyone who sent me mail this month! You guys were the light at the end of the tunnel because I wanted to make sure I responded to all of the mail I received in February (as the original Letter Month rules suggest.)

I tried to take a picture of my hand “feeding a mailbox” each day so please enjoy some of my favorite shots from the month. IMG_8739IMG_8645IMG_8821IMG_8391 2IMG_8633letter month, feed your mailbox

Good things:

  • I sent a few packages this month and it’s been fun to play with stamp combinations and mail art on tiny boxes.
  • I did mail at least one item for every day of February. I missed one day completely (but made up for it the following day by writing two letters.)
  • I am all caught up on my mail pile!
  • I enjoyed clicking on the #lettermo hashtag on Instagram to see what other people were doing throughout the month.
  • A package I sent to Danielle weighed 12.9 ounces, a mere 0.1 ounce under the 13 ounce weight limit for mailing a package from a blue box. It was a mail miracle!

My totals for the month:

  • 19 letters/cards
  • 9 postcards
  • 3 international letters/postcards
  • 3 packages
  • 34 total mailings

Aaaaaaand off to mail my first card for March.

 

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Don’t Be Cruel Valentines

img_8621I only made a few Valentines this year. (I got behind in planning as usual.) I made a few Elvis Presley Valentines and a few MY Presley Valentines. For the Elvis ones, I started with my usual heart cards and stamped them with some hearts. Then I used my vintage DYMO label maker for the words “Don’t be cruel.” I added an Elvis sticker. (Ah, that gold lamé suit is fantastic, right?) On the back, I wrote “Be mine.” (Get it? Don’t be cruel, be mine?) Easy and kind of cheesy…perfect.img_8622
For my Presley-the-cat fan friends, I made cards using A2 cards and some pictures of Presley hanging out with Yeti holding our special Presley patch. I added “Presley loves you” with my DYMO on some and “P *heart* Y” with Thickers on others.img_8627img_8628img_8643They were fun to make and, even though some will be late, I suppose a little message of love is well received all month long, right?

 

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Mail Totals for 2015

2016 mail so far,How is January almost over? Before we move too far into 2016, and before we get into Letter Month, I wanted to share my mail totals for 2015. Last year was the first year I’ve kept track of what I sent and how much I spent on postage.

daily mail trackingEach day I write on my daily calendar page what I sent out and how much the postage cost. On this particular day, I sent out three letters, four international postcards (for a postcard swap I participated in), and one U.S. postcard. tracking mail sent each monthThroughout the month, I tally up the total number of U.S. letters, international mail (letters and postcards cost the same, so I lumped them into the same category), U.S. postcards, and packages I sent that month.tracking mail sent each month, tracking mail spendingThen, at the end of the month, I total up the number of pieces sent and the cost for the month and write it on the monthly page of my calendar.

My totals for 2015:

$231.41*

U.S. Letters: 213

International (Postcards & Letters): 31

U.S. Postcards: 63

Packages: 9

Letters & Postcards Sent from Japan: 26

Total Mail: 342

Not too shabby, right? My best month was December (no surprise) with fifty-six, but February wasn’t far behind with fifty-one. And September was the worst with a piddly FIVE pieces of mail leaving my mailbox. Womp, womp!

This week, I’m trying to respond to all of the mail I’ve received since the start of 2016 (some is pictured at the top) so I can start Letter Month on a clean slate. Wish me luck!

How’s your mailbox so far this year?

 

*This total does not include the cost of postage of mail sent from Japan.

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2016 New Year’s Postcards

Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016After buying Japanese New Year cards (nengajo) for the past two years, I decided to try making my own for 2016. They were pretty simple…so simple that I made a stack of fifty! So far, I’ve sent out about half of those. Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016, 2I started with some A2 Paper Bag flat cards as my base. Last summer, I picked up a traditional nengajo stamp at a (yet-to-be-blogged-about) stamp shop in Kyoto and I was happy to get to use it for these cards. I embossed the Japanese characters and then added my Greetings from Illinois, LWA member, and a giant 2016 in blue, red, and gold inks. I added a quick message to each card. Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016, nengajo, Japanese washi tapeOn the front side, I added a strip of Japanese patterned washi tape and a label. It feels good to start off the year with good mail momentum!

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All I Want For Christmas 2015

Field Notes box, Field Notes Traveling Salesman, Field Notes Cold Horizon, CArry On Cocktail KitNaoto spoiled me rotten this Christmas. The big gift was a trip to San Francisco to see our friends who moved there last year. He gave me a little Carry-On Cocktail Kit for the flight. It made me laugh and I can’t wait to crack it open once we are on our way.

He went to the Field Notes HQ during their open house and snagged the long-retired Traveling Salesman and Cold Horizon 3-packs for my stocking and gave me a box to hold my ever growing Field Notes collection. craftgasm postcards, Kaweco Sport mint, envelope pins,In other paper-y gifts, he gave me two sets of postcards from Craftgasm, two envelope pins from Paper Pastries, and from Jet Pens, a bottle of J. Herbin anniversary ink, a pencil sharpener, a white Decorese pen, a mint Kaweco Sport, and (unpictured) some Tomoe River paper, a new Frixion stamp, and a converter so I can actually use that fancy ink in my new Kaweco.

Yay for gifts that can be used up…except for the Field Notes, which will go into the “collection”.

Did you get anything fun for Christmas?

P.S. I didn’t get my usual zines in my stocking this year because I didn’t submit my wishlist early enough…so I ordered some as a New Years gift to myself! I’ll report on those soon!

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