Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If you break the chain....

Harper, aged 4 1/2, recently received his first chain letter. According to the letter, if he sent a sheet of stickers to the person at the top of the list, added his name to the bottom of the list and sent it to 6 friends, he would receive 36...count 'em, folks!...sheets of stickers within 2 weeks.

I remember receiving chain letters as a child, long before ordinary people had access to photocopiers, so each copy of the letter had to be rewritten.It took forever to write those damn letters. But I never once considered not sending the letter on, because I was terrified by the sinister threats of what would happen if I broke the chain

In my twenties, I took part in a chain letter called the 'pretty panty exchange'.  I sent off 1 pair of undies, and was promised 36 pairs of undies in return. Now this was not like e-bay. They could not be very good condition or even new without tags. These had to be brand spanking. Sounded okay. The threat in this letter should have been "If you DON'T break the chain, you will most likely receive a whole bunch of G-strings (aka thongs) which you should never wear because they go up your bum (aka butt) and are frankly, uncomfortable." Lesson learned.

In the movie, Chain Letter, released last year, a maniac murders teens when they refuse to forward chain mail.Yikes!

Harper didn't receive any death threats with his chain letter. Nor did he receive any G-strings. (That would have been weird, no?) He had fun choosing who to send them to, signing the letters with his name, which he has just learnt to write, decorating the letters with stickers, and in one case covering the entire envelope with stickers, including the address and the stamp. I wished for a grown-up sticker club to take part in. Huzzah for the chain letter!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Frankie Goes to North Perth

Have you got the latest Frankie? Did you have to go and BUY it? How passe! Mine just landed in my mailbox, as if by magic.

Actually, my husband bought me a subscription to Frankie for my birthday. I think magazine subscriptions make wonderful presents. Because they're really a series of presents, throughout the year. Do you know someone who loves trashy gossip and fashion aka trashion? You could buy them a gift subscription to Grazie and that would be like giving them a present EVERY WEEK. And who wouldn't want a present every week? 

Or maybe you know someone who loves really really good books. You could buy them a subscription to The Paris Review. (My husband did this for me, when we first met, and he's faithfully renewed it every year. Did I mention that he is a truly excellent husband?) It's a quarterly journal, so they would have to wait so long between issues that they would forget all about it. And then it would be a marvellous surprise, which would make them think of you. And because it's really a very classy little number, they would start think of you as a classy little number (if they didn't already), and what's not to like about that?

When it comes to magazine subscriptions, there is something for everyone. So next time you need to buy a gift, get online, click, click, click and voila! Somebody's mailbox will be really really delighted again and again, all because of you. And won't that feel good?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Killer Fish Pie

Have you ever sat down to write to someone and then been paralysed by the blank page? Maybe you just wanted to say something short and punchy. Pow!

that was one killer fish pie


sliding across your kitchen floor on that rug was the most fun I have had this year BAR NONE!

Sort of like a txt, but on paper. Keepable.

Designer Sarah Neuberger of The Small Object likes little notes with a predetermined amount of space to say how do you do, I love you to bits and see you soon. Not too much space that the task seems to soak up an hour trying to figure out how to fill up the space. Nope, just the right amount of space. The kind of space where you have to flip it over to write on and your enthusiasm is contagious. That’s the kind of note I want to send. These are it.

You can download the business-card sized template, print and pretty it up with some stamp action. These little matrioska dolls are pretty darn schweet. Or you could go crazy 8 bonkers and freestyle it. Yeah! You could just cut a piece of paper into little bits, and draw something at the top. Don't think about it too much. Jusdoit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pop-Up Excitement!

I just saw these beautiful 3D cards by Lovi over at Mr Sparrow. You can mail them just like any other flat, envelope-sized card and whoever you send them to can turn them into a beautiful hanging ornament. Pop-up excitement for grown-ups!

If you're not lucky enough to be able to visit Mr Sparrow, you can still get lucky at their online shop.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Musical Interlude: Simon & Garfunkel

My lovely friend Eliyos posted me a link to this classic Simon & Garfunkel song "Why Don't You Write Me?"

Why don't you write me? 
I'm out in the jungle, I'm hungry to hear you.
Send me a card, I am waiting so hard

Why don't you write me? 
A letter would brighten my loneliest evening.
Mail it today

Monday morning, sitting in the sun, 
Hoping and wishing for the mail to come.
Tuesday, never got a word, Wednesday, Thursday, ain't no sign, drank a half a bottle of iodine.
Friday, woe is me, gonna hang my body from the highest tree.
Why don't you write me?

How's that for a guilt trip? Do you have someone who you're really hanging out to hear from? You could try sharing this song with them. Send them the receipt for the bottle of iodine you bought, just so they know you mean business. I have a friend who's seriously overdue to send me a mixtape he allegedly made me (yes, Swifty, I'm talking about you).

Eliyos and I have been bantering on FB but I had been feeling the urge to write a full report of goings on. Alas, because he is such an international gadabout, I didn't have a current address for him. So I wrote him a very long and juicy email. Now, I'm the first to say that an email can't compare to a letter. No sirree. But, if it's a choice between an email or nothing at all, an email can occasionally pass muster.

Yes! I hereby give you permission to write someone an email instead of a letter, if you satisfy one or more of that following criteria:
  1. You have your arm in plaster and can't hold a pen
  2. You are down to your last 60 cents and would rather not spend it on a postage stamp
  3. You absolutely know that you won't ever get around to writing to someone, even though you've had the best intentions and been thinking of them constantly
Are you at work right now? Are you supposed to be enaged in something productive? Well, I'm giving you a 'hall pass'. Stop whatever you're doing, and start writing an email to someone you love. They're out in the jungle; they're hungry to hear you. And you surely don't want them to hang their body from the highest tree...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mexican Wave!

There's a saying that 'flattery will get you nowhere'. Well that's just plain hogwash if you ask me! Everyone loves to be told how simply super they are and a sincere compliment will always be appreciated. That's why I was so excited to find this free compliments poster at kind-over-matter.
You can download it and print it out and stick it up somewhere public. People can tear off a compliment and give it to someone they value. It's simply dreamy! I stuck one up on the noticeboard at my local shopping centre and one in the bathroom at work and I was thrilled to go back and discover that all the compliments had been taken within a couple of days. It made me so happy to think about all the compliments people were going to be getting.

You could double the fun by taking up my mailbox of joy challenge. Print a copy out, tear off one of the compliments and put it inside a letter/card for a loved one. When you send them the card or letter include the poster with the remaining compliments and ask them to do the same for someone they love. 11 compliments = 11 mailboxes of delight. It's a mexican wave of compliments! I'm bursting capsules at the thought of it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Squashed Tomatoes and Stew

Happy birthday to you
Squashed tomatoes and stew
Bread and butter, in the gutter
Happy birthday to you!

Have you ever rung anyone up on their birthday and left them a birthday song like this? Or what about this one?

Happy birthday to you
You live at the zoo
You look like a monkey
And you smell like one too!

Okay, so maybe it's just me. But these variations on the great classic were the business when I was a kid. And I like having a trill into someone's voicemail on their birthday. But more than that, I like sending cards. 

Have you ever been guilty of the birthday Facebook post? Or the text message? Oh my golly gosh. Hearing you admit that breaks my heart a little bit. After all, what is a birthday for, if not for saying, I'm so happy you were born! My life just wouldn't be the same if you weren't in it. And how can you say those things by pressing buttons? You just can't!

Do you always mean to send a card but somehow things don't come together? Well, those days are over! Here's how:

Step 1: Put your loved ones' birthdays on your calendar, or in your phone, or on one of those birthday reminder websites.  Whatever works best for you. Get the reminders sent to you  a week or so before the birthday so you can make sure your card (and gift?) arrive on time.  

Step 2: Buy a bunch of stamps. Local and international, if, like me, you have those annoying jetsetting-type friends who live overseas, seemingly just for the purpose of making you envious of their fabulous intercontinental lifestyles.

Step 3: Keep a stack of cards handy. If you're crafty like a fox, you can make your own cards. Here's one I made recently:

If you're not even the slightest bit crafty, you can buy any one of 85 million or so cards, quicker than you can say Jack Robinson! Yes, my friends, I speak of online shopping. For something pretty and a little bit kooky, I love the cards at Oh My Cavalier.

Or for something irreverent and tongue-in-cheek you never need to look any further than Able and Game

So then, no more excuses now. Think of all those mailboxes of delight you'll be creating. Way to go! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stationers of Delight: Interview - Mitchell & Dent

Mitchell and Dent is a bespoke stationer, producing beautiful and quirky cards and invitations out of Leederville, Western Australia; the brainchild of graphic artists Angela Mitchell and Leah Dent. Angela had studied fashion and textiles before settling on graphic design, and Leah was formerly  a high school music teacher. Their ‘silent’ partner, hiding behind a dramatic black and white floor-to-ceiling curtain in their studio, is their letter-press, 105 year old ‘Herbert’.

How did you meet and begin working together?
We met while studying graphic design at Central TAFE. We had a mutual admiration for each other’s work, as well as a shared love for nostalgia. We always knew that we wanted to work together but we also knew we needed to get experience in the field first. We worked in other design studios for a few years which was valuable in some ways, but exhausting and unsatisfying in others. We both felt that we wanted to do things differently, which is why we decided to set up Studio Bomba.

What’s different about Studio Bomba?
It’s a much more open, collaborative environment than you find in the larger studios – we work at one giant desk, sharing ideas constantly, and we deal directly with our clients, so it’s very much about relationships.

How did Mitchell and Dent come about?
Our Studio Bomba designs respond to our clients’ ideas and needs. The Mitchell and Dent line gives us the opportunity to express our creativity in ways that resonate with us personally.

What's included in the Mitchell & Dent range?
Our bridal range is really taking off. It includes printed, letterpress or bespoke stationery, and some couples really appreciate the value of having something different, something designed to reflect their day. But we also do birth announcements, engagements, special birthdays, corporate events etc

How did ‘Herbert’ come to join the team?
Our range already included letterpress stationery, but we were having it printed elsewhere. We found Herbie on e-Bay and had him shipped over from Victoria in a giant box which even included some dirty old cleaning rags! He’s a tricky little beastie and we’re learning as we go but we enjoy the craft of the print process and the element of surprise that comes with having so many variables.  Letterpress is more textural than other printing, and the cotton paper feels beautiful, lasts longer and allows for a greater impression.

Is Herbert a grumpy old man?
He’s very gentlemanly but he needs little adjustments. And he runs slowly – the paper has to be hand-fed. [Leah] My husband, Duncan feeds the paper in. He’s a bass player so he’s got good rhythm!

The language on your website is unusually playful and full of curious words. Who writes the copy?  
[Angela] That’s Leah. [Leah] I’m a huge reader and we keep a collection of words for the studio, divided into nouns, verbs, adverbs and sayings. Sometimes, we listen to Big George on BBC Radio Talkback. His show is in the wee small hours so the people who ring up are either nutters or drunk people. We get a few new words there!

Can you tell me about a particularly memorable mailbox of delight experience you’ve had?
[Angela] Can it include things you order on the internet? I was pretty excited when I received an Audrey Kawasaki print in the mail.

[Leah] When I was 9 years old I went on holiday to Busselton and made friends with a girl called Gemma Jones. We became pen pals. I lived on a farm and I was always begging my parents to drive into town to see if there was a letter from Gemma. Because it was the eighties it was all about smelly pens, different papers and Garfield stickers so her letters were always exciting to receive. After a few years we lost contact, but then last year, I emailed Outre Gallery in Melbourne to order a book, and received an email back from my old friend Gemma Jones! So we are now, once again pen pals, although this time the stationery is a bit more classy!

If you want to delight someone's mailbox, their online store is a great place to begin. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clip It!

As some of you may know, my latest novel has got sucked into a worm hole of late. I write a few hundred words, only to delete a few thousand others. My dear friend LKH found an article in the newspaper about creativity, and how to get it back when it seemed lost. Being a thoughtful lass and handy with a pair of scissors to boot, she snipped it out and sent it to me, with a cute card and some words of encouragement. Lucky me.

Do you ever read an article in a newspaper or magazine and think of someone who'd enjoy it? Do you have a pair of scissors? Do you know how to wield them? Well get onto it!

While you're doing it, you can sing this little song to yourself, to the tune of Devo's Whip It!

when an article comes along
you must clip it
before the mailbox waits too long
you must clip it
when something's going on
you must clip it

now clip it
into shape
shape it up
get straight
go forward
move ahead
envelope it
it's not too late
to clip it
clip it good

Monday, February 14, 2011

Put on the Ogre Costume!

I had a Mailbox of Delight today! My lovely friend Amanda sent me 2 cartoons from her New Yorker desk calendar, and some sprigs of lavender from her garden. Not only was the envelope hand-addressed but it also smelt delicious. And inside was something that made me laugh. Triple whammy!

 Image via Bleubird Vintage

What a lovely idea, to send a page from your desk calendar. It reminded me of a friend I used to work with who had a Spanish 'phrase a day' calendar. Whenever she came across a real gem she'd leave it on my desk. My favourite one ever translated as "Put on the ogre costume!" I can't even begin to imagine a situation in which that particular phrase would come in handy, unless it was your lifelong dream to work in a costume shop in Spain... or something for the bedroom perhaps?

Do you have a desk calendar? A rib-splitting one, or one with profound wisdom encapsulated in a tidy little soundbite? Next time you tear off a page, instead of putting it in the recycling, perhaps instead you can think of somone who might enjoy finding it in their letterbox.

Monday, February 7, 2011

In Praise of Snail Mail

Seems I'm not the only one who loves real mail. I came across a link on Oh So Beautiful Paper to an article entitled In Praise of Snail Mail by Meghan Daum from the LA Times. Meghan writes: 

For me, it's the trip to the mailbox, the opening of the lid, the retrieving. E-mail offers no such pleasures, nor can it do that magical thing that real mail can do : reminding you intimately and tactically of who you are. You linger over a letter from a friend; you don't hit delete. 

Have you ever thought about it like that? That just by sending a piece of REAL mail to someone you can remind them of who they are? It's not just delightful; it's life-affirming. Don't you want to remind someone of who they are? I do!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Personalised Tea Bags

Do you like tea? I have to confess I am in that group of weirdos who don't like it at all. Over the years, many people have tried to change my mind by making me exotic teas of all stripes but beyond the raspberry or nectarine or cloves they all still taste of ...well, tea. 

I have some friends, however, who are fiends for tea and I'm planning to make them some personalised teabags I found a DIY tutorial for on The Spotted Fox.

They are perfect for sending in the mail as they are so light and virtually flat. The ladies of the Spotted Fox suggest using paint chips, but you could use any coloured paper and if you don't have fancy zig-zag scissors little squares would still be cute. Get crafty! And tell me what you're going to write on yours. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

i 'like' you!

Apparently almost 65 million facebook users 'like' things daily. That's a whole lotta likin'!

I think it would be super-lovely to 'like' someone you know, on paper, in real life,  instead of just 'liking' something they've written on facebook.

That's why I 'like' this I like you card from kind-over-matter. 'Like' someone, now! And if you get around to it, i'd love to hear who you 'liked' and why.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Valentine's Schmalentine's

What do you think of Valentine's Day? I mean, when you really stop to think about it, it is a good idea to let the marketing departments of card manufacturers and shops tell you when you should declare your undying love to someone? Seems kind of crazy, no?

To me, it seems so much more romantic for somone to write you a card or buy you a gift, spontaneously, just because they were thinking of you, than for them to make the very same gestures out of a sense of obligation on an officially designated date.

Ask yourself this: do you want to be a daredevil of love, a trailblazer? Or a robot? I'm guessing you're going to choose option A. So my advice is this: forget all about February 14th. If you're lucky enough to have someone you're crazy about, and they're crazy about you too, send them a card, or buy them a gift, now, today. Yes, today! Radical, hey? But sort of exciting. 

If you already live with the person you love, and you want to jazz things up a little, why not send something to them at work? If you want to be lavish, have their favourite cake delivered to them at their desk, or an extravagant bunch of flowers. Or make them a beautiful card with a heartfelt note inside. Only you know the right gesture to make to the person you love best of all. But why wait until February to do it? Get onto it, this minute! 

I'm a big fan of these nerdy quirky printable cards from Maquette:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Letter Writing Week

I've just found out that January 8th-14th is Letter Writing Week. In honour of this, Melissa made writing a letter this week's 'nice assignment' on Operation Nice.

Melissa also provided a link to an article on e-how which provides some letter-writing steps for the utterly clueless. The fact that you would need a how-to article on such a basic activity suggests it really is becoming a lost art. 

We musn't let that happen! Let's rediscover letter-writing. Let's make it the great new trend sweeping the world in 2011. Yeah! Let's make t-shirts with witty slogans about it. Let's blog and tweet and facebook about it. But most of all let's just do it!


I just wrote a letter to my friend in Laos. Who are you going to write to?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stationery Fiend

For me, one of the joys of real letter writing is the stationery. Ever since I was a little girl I've been a stationery fiend. Though a trip to an office supplies megastore is a pretty pleasurable adventure for me, what really makes me pop my cork is a trip to a beautiful paper store (or paperie, if you want to be fancy).  

I recently came across this post about the joys of writing a real letter from Two Hands Paperie in Boulder, Colorado:

I have... recently helped a few customers purchase letter writing materials- paper, envelopes, pens, and even wax seals and sealing wax. Their intentions were to do away with email, and write letters again. Because of these interactions, I recently decided that I needed to write a letter myself.  I asked myself Who do I know that would really enjoy receiving a letter? ...The tactile experience of writing, of addressing an envelope, and sending it off was something I had forgotten about.

Who do you know that would really enjoy receiving a letter? Do you have an old friend you've lost touch with? An elderly or sick relative who doesn't get out much? A long-distance love? Why don't you get down to your local paperie, pick out some beautiful paper and get inspired.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Postcards Connecting the World

I've always liked the idea that what comes around goes around. My theory is that if you start sending more personal mail, you'll almost certainly inspire at least some of your recipients to do the same, thus transforming your own mailbox into a mailbox of delight.

But I can't wait that long, I hear you say. I want a mailbox of delight NOW! If that sounds like you, you might want to think about signing up to Postcrossing. Postcrossing was founded more than 5 years ago by Paulo Magalhães who describes himself as a "geek with a passion for postcards". The goal of the project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. The idea is that if you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world. This beautiful postcard recently journeyed from Germany to Taiwan:

The more you send, the more you receive. What's not to like about that?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

oh, hello!

Friends and loved ones are always in our thoughts, even if we don't often see them or speak to them; something we see or hear might remind us of them.

How nice would it be to get a card from someone you loved, just telling you that they've been thinking of you?

Is there someone you've been thinking of lately? Why not give them a mailbox of delight experience by letting them know? You don't have to write a long letter. You could just send them this free printable cute little card from Ginger & George (oh, you pretty things!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

What is a Mailbox of Delight?

Checking the mail can be a dreary experience, can't it? All those plain white DL envelopes filled with the administrative data that is allegedly so essential to modern life.

But what about those days when you lift the flap to find something else... something colourful, something handwritten, something just for you? It might be an invitation to a thrilling event, a heartfelt thank you note, a postcard from a globetrotting friend. Will you rip into it right then and there or wait for a moment when you can savour it? Doesn't just the thought of it make your day? By golly, yes. That's what I call a mailbox of delight.

This blog is about writing a letter instead of an email, sending a postcard instead of a text message... it's about putting your love on paper, sealing it up in a beautiful envelope and trusting in the majesty of the postal system. It's a call to arms, or at least to hands. The world needs more personal mail. And it's up to YOU to send it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...