Saturday, 11 January 2020

Fundamentals of the written word . . .

Handwritten letters?
Greatest thing in the world.
Keep them coming.

Sad to say it, but the written word seems to be dying in this modern world.  People don't send letters or notes anymore. My mother wrote me a letter every week, and then every two weeks for most of my adult life.  She wrote my children letters.  I always got very excited when I received a letter in the post from her and was sad when they stopped. I have kept them all and I have them in a box upstairs.  I haven't quite felt ready to start reading them yet, but I reckon I could take one out a week for the rest of my life and never run out. 

I admit, I still get excited when an unexpected note or card arrives in the post.  That someone took the time out of their busy day to sit and pen a note to me makes me feel special.  It always has and it always will.   

I am not even sure if children are taught the fundamentals of letter writing in schools anymore?  Does anyone know?  I used to love the classes we had on letter writing and penmanship.  (Please tell me I am not alone in this!)  I thought it would be fun to spend a few Saturdays spelling out all the do's and dont's of a fading art . . .  

Stationary Essentials

To receive a thoughtfully penned letter has to be one of the most wonderful delights in the world.  Whilst it is still nice to get a letter, and still appreciated to be thought about . . .  some of the delight is lost when it is penned on a piece of copier paper with a biro pen, and extricated from a business envelope with the employers logo scrawled on it, or worse still  . . .  hotel stationary. 

A sophisticated letter writer should have a stationary supply.  I content that stationary, like clothing, is am interface to the personality of the sender. 

My ex employer  had stacks of monogrammed stationary in her writing bureau.  Each member of the household had their own.  Now I am not suggesting that anyone go to the expensive of ordering special monogrammed stationary of their own. (Not unless you have no money concerns)  Its really easy to make your own however and Lia Griffith gives a very good tutorial and free downloads to create your own monogrammed notecards and envelopes and I think they are really attractive. 

Classically, writing paper should be watermarked, A5 sized, white/off white in colour and of a minimum of 100gsm in weight.   

Save that for the mucky mucks! 

I just enjoy getting letters and notes on any paper at all, but of course if it is pretty paper so much the better and any creative person can make plain paper very pretty with just a tiny bit of effort and trust me when I say, its the small things and details that count and delight.  Playful stickers and colourful stamps show me that the sender has really gone out of their way to send me something that will not only cheer my heart but please my eye.  To put it succinctly  . . . nothing makes a body feel more important than knowing that someone has cared enough to spend a bit of extra time making something attractive and fun for them.    

If you don't feel like making your own, or haven't the budget (that's me) to purchase fancy hoi-poloity papers, there are some really nice writing paper and note card sets available to buy that are not that expensive at all.  Amazon is a great source for these, or even a card shop.  Garden centers are also good sources.  You can also find cute free downloadable and printable stationary on Pinterest. 

This Harry Potter Hogwarts stationary I found on Amazon would be really fun to use for letters to grandchildren. And lets face it, I don't know of a grandchild alive that wouldn't be thrilled to get
their very own letter in the post, even if they just live down the road from you.   I also like to tuck in little surprises, like some stickers they might enjoy, or a little origami creature I made just for them. 

Its fun filling your writing desk/portfolio with different papers and envelopes, to suit the mood, occasion and person. 

I like to pick up little packs of notecards at the Chester Cathedral when I visit.  They are really nice with pretty cards, and lined envelopes, but you can even find courses online on how to make your own if you are really feeling creative.  You can really personalise things like this.  

Decorative rubber stamps and inks are also fun ways to dress up stationary and envelopes.  I have an assortment of small ones. My favourites are these little angel mice that I have had for yonks and yonks.  I also have a variety of colours of stamp inks.  Blue, brown, Black, red  . . . they add interest.

One thing I like to do for my grandsons when I send them birthday cards is to make the envelopes as fascinating as the cards themselves.  I draw pictures on them and put little jokes/writings, etc. on the back.  I don't know how they feel about them, but I think it adds to the enjoyment of the whole experience, at least it does for me. I have a lot of fun doing them. 

I love getting letters with sealing wax closures.  I don't have any sealing wax of sealing wax stamps myself but they are on my bucket/wish list.  

Its nice to have a selection of pens to use as well.  Real ink in black or blue are the traditional way to go, but I think fun pens are even nicer.  Any colour but red. I think red ink is rather aggressive, but then maybe that is just me.  Just be careful not to get too exotic as that can be hard to read.  

If you are a caligrapher, that can be rather nice, but even biros, felt tips and pencils can be special if artfully employed.  

It is a bit tacky to just print out a letter on the computer, but I suppose beggars can't be choosers.  If you do choose that route to take, try to use a fun font or colour. I quite like the old fashioned typewriter font myself.  Always make sure you hand write your signature however!

Nowadays you can even get fanciful with your postage stamps. These Leonardo De Vinci ones from Royal Post here in the UK are really nice, but there are all sorts to choose from these days. 

To be honest, even the traditional first class stamp with the Queen on it holds a certain charm for me. 



Envelope art, or mail art is also quite popular today. You can get already printed envelopes or you can do your own.  There is a ton of inspiration on Pinterest.  Just look up Mail Art.  You will be amazed by what you find.  

Another handy thing to keep on hand is an assortment of greeting cards.  It never hurts to have a built up collection of emergency birthday and other occasion cards for last minute panics.  Stash away a selection to suit all ages and genders.  It is nice if you can think ahead and have specific cards for specific people and I do that as well, but you never know when you are going to need a card at the last minute!

The important thing is to have fun with all of this. If you have fun with it, then I am sure it will also be fun for the recipient.  You can never underestimate the value of something sent or received that is hugely invested with love and time.  Even a simple letter gifts both the sender and the recipient. 

Next week I will get into more about what kinds of letters we write and how to do them.  I hope you have enjoyed this today.  Do you have any hints or tips for these types of things?  I would love to hear about them! 

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Don't be impressed by
money, followers, 
degrees or titles.
Be impressed by 
kindness, integrity, 
humility and generosity.
•。★★ 。* 。•。★★ 。* 。

In The English Kitchen today, Cranberry, Maple & Cinnamon Baked Apples (for two).  A delicious homey comfort dessert for the Winter months. 

I hope you have a lovely Saturday. I'll be finishing up on my lesson.  Have a great day and don't forget! 

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ 

And I do too!  



  1. Good morning, Marie. I enjoyed your post about the old-fashioned lost art of letter writing. I cherish a letter written to my mom from her dad when she gave birth to my brother and I almost 74 years ago. I never knew my grandfather as he died when I was still a baby but reading his letter makes me feel so loved. No one knew my mom was carrying twins as we were both so tiny and it was quite the surprise to everyone. I used to write letters to my aunts but sadly they are gone now. I do have a box of letters my grandmother wrote and they are a treasure. We lived 200 miles apart so didn't see each other that often. She used to make date cookies and send them to us in the mail. Your grandchildren must love getting letters from their grandmother in England. I bet they save the stamps as well as the letters. Hope you get your lesson plan done in good time so you can enjoy the rest of the day. Hugs, Elaine

    1. What a treasure to have Elaine. My mother had a letter from her mother where she spoke about me and what I meant to her in it that mom was always going to give to me, sadly it never got sent. These types of things are true heirlooms! Love and hugs to you. xoxo

  2. You are so right, handwritten letters are a thing of the past, and I agree about loving to get one. What an extra special treat it is. I'd even appreciate emails these days.

    1. E-mails, letters, cards. Any communication is a special treat when it comes from the people who love Pam, I agree! xoxo

  3. I can vouch for the care and attention you put into letters.
    I love them.
    I love writing them also.
    Christmas came and went and again down..what's up with that?:(
    You are right penmanship and letter writing are things of the past in schools.
    I gave Oli pencils with his name on they aren't sharpened yet:) I had kept two and gave him a sharpened one and said bring yours next week we will sharpen.A monogrammed football would have had higher marks;)
    It's just different now.
    I feel that in France..they may still be pickier..
    Here..not so much..public or private.
    And I love all paper paraphernalia♥
    I bought Noah a quill pen and Hogwarts seal..:)

    He is the most artistic I think..but they go through stages:)

    1. I love your missives to me as well Monique! They are treasures I keep! It is so much fun to see our creativity coming out in our grandchildren. Noah must have been thrilled with his quill pen and Hogwarts seal! xoxo

  4. Hi Marie~

    I haven't written a letter for so long! Like you, I love getting a letter in the mail, it makes you feel special. My mom used to write letters, sending us little things she clipped out of a magazine, a recipe or a photo...I loved it.

    Schools in my neck of the woods don't teach cursive, in fact they don't even want the students to turn in papers that have been written in cursive! I wrote something on the chalk board once in cursive while teaching 12-13 year old girls...they couldn't read sad. My DIL who is a school teacher, does teach cursive. She is a third grade teacher and feel strongly that children should know how to write in cursive - bless her! Anyway, I do love letters, and beautiful stationary. My brother always used a fountain pen when he writes anything. I think I would like to do that as well, in fact, the other night I had a dream that I was shopping for fountain pens, so I really need to buy one! I used to love to draw with pen and ink, I should get back to that as well.

    Thank you for all these wonderful ideas! I'm so glad that you kept your mom's letters, and I know how difficult it is to read them. When I was getting ready for Christmas, I opened a box with some Christmas cards inside. I found a handwritten note that my mom had written to my brother, but never sent inside one of the cards. I will treasure it, as they are both gone now.

    Loved this you!


    1. Its so sad that they don't teach cursive writing anymore. I bought myself writing exercise books a few years ago so I could practice. I found my writing becoming deplorable because I type so much! What a treasure to have that handwritten note from your mom to your brother! Love you too. Love and hugs, always, xoxo


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