Tag 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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HoneyCraft Recap

HoneyCraft Market, Woodstock IL, KimberlyAH, GalaxieSafari, handmade ValentinesMy third craft show is in the books and I still feel like a rookie. Everything went really smoothly and all. My table is simple so my trusty assistant and I have set-up down pat, but the week before the craft show was a bit crazy. Since I’m a huge procrastinator, I stressed over getting everything done and also making time for card and quote ideas that popped into my head at the very last minute. I had plenty of cards, and even enough quotes. And the Valentine puns were a hit. Someone called them “dad jokes” which I take as the highest compliment. HoneyCraft Market, Woodstock IL, KimberlyAH, GalaxieSafari, handmade Valentines, Displays2Go card displayI used a new card display so customers don’t have to rifle through a box to see all of the designs. It takes up quite a big section of the table, but cards are my thing, so…I think it’s real estate well spent. Before my next show, I need to play around with the display and my pricing signs. Simply Anderson laser cut wood origami cat necklace, HoneyCraft marketWhen Naoto wasn’t helping in the booth, he was shopping. He bought this sweet laser cut origami cat necklace for me from Simply Anderson. Isn’t it cute? img_7330And we got a set of these alpaca dryer balls to give to my parents. They are made of hand-felted alpaca fur (I don’t think fur is the right term?) and you toss them in the dryer with your clothes and they take away the static and reduce drying time by 25%. We got some at the December show and they really do work. The alpacas are raised in Harvard, Illinois on Argyll Farm.

HoneyCraft market, groundhog days, woodstock, ILThe best part for Naoto (besides the ramen dinner reward at the end of the day) was meeting the official groundhog of Woodstock’s Groundhog Days. He came to visit and check out the booths.

Thanks for having us again, HoneyCraft!

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HoneyCraft Market 

HoneyCraft Market at Mixin Mingle, Groundhog Days, Woodstock, ILIn December I did my second craft show, the HoneyCraft Market in Woodstock, Illinois. It was a last-minute decision but I’m so glad I took the risk. I still had all of my stuff boxed up from the Petite Boutique and I just had to fill out some things that sold well there. It ended up being a really good show for me. The HoneyCraft veterans thought the crowd was thinner than usual but it all worked out in the end and the long drive out west was worth it for us.

Woodstock is a sweet little community with an adorable downtown and lots of small town charm. It’s actually where Groundhog Day was filmed! So every February they have a town wide celebration based around the movie. HoneyCraft Market is open during Groundhog Days and Naoto and I are heading west again tomorrow to sell Valentines and more. I have a new fixture to display my cards and it’s all stocked and (almost!) ready to go. (As always, there is a lot of last minute stuff to do…thanks Dad for the procrastinator genes!)

I’ll report back next week and hopefully be ready to post about some non craft show stuff again too! Thanks for your patience!

 

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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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Petite Boutique 2016

craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Ahhh…we survived our first craft show!

Petite Boutique was last weekend and I think for the first show, we did pretty well! People were generally really nice about my cards and I loved talking to everyone about old postage stamps and typewriters! I felt “in my element” for the first time in quite awhile. I loved telling people about the first USPS Christmas stamp and listening to customer’s stories about learning to type on a typewriter. (I, too, learned to type on a typewriter.)craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016All of the artists showing at Petite Boutique were spread throughout the home. Shoppers went from room to room looking at each little “shop.” We lucked out and got the sunroom, which ended up being really beautiful, both on Friday night and sunny Saturday. The windows look out on Mills Park and some great fall leaf and people watching. artist statement, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I had such a good time planning my merchandising. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I think it’s a good start for future shows. I made a simple banner out of airmail envelopes and twine and added my name with some chipboard stickers that I found at Michaels. I pinned the banner on my (very wrinkly) tablecloth. The banner held up well, though sometimes it got disturbed by shoppers. Ideally, it would be hanging high behind me so shoppers could see it, even if my booth was busy.

I displayed my “artist statement” on one of my typewriters. (I didn’t actually type it on the typewriter because I thought the type might be too small.) Only a few people read it, but it was nice to have out there so people could learn a little bit about how my cards are made. holiday card display, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I displayed all of my holiday cards (boxes and singles) in old wooden boxes from my dad’s basement. I liked that they gave some height to the display. greeting card display, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Single non-holiday cards were all in another wooden box in the center of the table. I don’t really have enough card categories to require dividers. But if I keep doing craft shows, I’ll probably invest in a tabletop spinner or try to think of a better way to display these. Customers didn’t seem to mind sifting through them, but for a busier show, I think better visibility would make it easier.  stickers and stationery sets, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I had two options each of letter sets and sticker sets. And I offered the Japanese New Year cards like the ones I sent out for 2016. I made a sample so people could see that they could add a creative touch to the cards, or just write a new year message. The letter sets did not sell at all, but the stickers and postcards were pretty popular. framed quotes with postage stamps, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I also had a small display of framed and unframed quotes adorned with postage stamps. These sold really well, so I’m looking forward to adding some more to my shop soon. one whale, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016And last but not least, I had a wooden whale holding white and silver gel pens for sale. I sold a few cards with dark envelopes, so it was a good way to give people an easy option for addressing those envelopes. shoppers at Kimberly AH, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Naoto was an amazing help! He learned the details about my cards (he loved telling people about the unique encyclopedia page envelope liners!) so he could talk to people while I was finishing up with another customer or chatting with friends. I know lots of people do craft shows alone, but it was perfect to have moral support and help for my first show. (I secretly think Naoto enjoyed it as much as I did, too!)

Thanks to everyone who shared their craft show advice in the comments, in letters, and in person (Sean!) And I have to send out a heartfelt thanks to friends near and far who came to say hi and to support the show. You all made my day and I loved being surprised when I saw your faces in the crowd. And a huge thanks to our shoppers who all seemed genuinely excited about buying handmade and to Pleasant Home for organizing the event. THANK YOU!!

 

 

P.S. I’ve begun listing my greeting cards in my Etsy shop and will continue to add more over the weekend. (All of my greeting cards are listed, but I’d like to add boxed options and mix & match savings.) Stay tuned.

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I’m Doing a Craft Show!

Petite Boutique Holiday Market, Pleasant Home, Oak ParkIt’s exciting! (And slightly terrifying…)

For the past few months, I’ve been making greeting cards using my Royal Safari typewriter and featuring vintage cancelled postage stamps from my collection. I recently got my act together to open a little shop and I applied for a local juried craft show at Pleasant Home. And, I got in! So over the next month, I’ll be busy typing at my typewriter and sifting through my stamp collection and cutting envelope liners out of Karen’s grandparents’ encyclopedia collection. (Thanks, Karen!) I am very excited and nervous. What if no one buys anything? What if I forget how to count money? What if I run out of products? (None of these scenarios are likely. I’m very good at math. But seriously…how do you even know how much to make?) Thankfully Naoto has agreed to be my customer service associate so he can help me manage small talk and sales.

I’ll share more as I get into a good production groove around here. If you’ve ever done a craft show -big or small- I’d love to hear your advice!

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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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