Cordially, Fondly, With Love

June 9th

africankelli seal

so pretty!

viva la frida

initial stationery

frida's birthday is coming up

packages ready for post

cards for correspondence month

I was the kid at summer camp who always came home with a stack of addresses and managed to write a dozen pen pal letters in the first week, chronicling life in suburban Arizona as though it was dramatically different from the other WASPY childhoods of my new friends.  No surprise my fondness for this form of communication carried forward into adulthood, although my Hello Kitty stickerbook has been updated a bit. I typically start the new year with a fresh address book, making edits to the year’s changes in addresses with a stack of Christmas card envelopes in hand, and adding birthdays for new babies, etc. I keep a running list of birthdays in some attempt to remember as many as possible.

I’ve got plenty of people who think I’m crazy for operating on a pencil/paper system these days, even though my Blackberry is permanently attached to my otherwise technologically savvy self. I like an agenda where I can doodle, make lists, paperclip notes and not worry if I spill my morning coffee. Ink runs, but it doesn’t spark.  Same goes for my address book. It’s a scratchy mess by the end of the year — it seems this is a time of life when most friends hop from rentals to mortgages — but it is my mess and it doesn’t ever need to be in binary code.

And so, every few months, I find stationery and stamps and create a stack of  notes to be posted. In part, I enjoy writing letters because it forces a thoughtful selection of word choice and flow. There are things I’ll discuss at length when writing with pen that I’d never consider sending via gmail. Plus, with email how often do you have a greeting, a point and a kind valediction?  And in part, I write letters selfishly because the sense of opening the mailbox to find something handwritten and personal is the bee’s knees.

I’m adding this to my “list of descriptive words I need to create,” along with the feeling of finding an unexpected love letter. My mom used to tuck notes of love in our lunches on occasion. My dad slipped a letter into my luggage once when I left for a long trip. My grandma regularly sends me letters of love. I’ve even found one or two romantic, sappy and completely exhilirating notes from ghosts of boyfriends past. It isn’t just the words, but the paper and the ability to tuck such sentiment away to be cherished again and again.

I’m in the mood to spend extra time writing letters and connecting with friends. A correspondence month admist an otherwise busy technological world is old fashioned or vintage, quaint or lame, thoughtful or a waste of time. Like everything else in life, it depends on your perspective. I’m venturing to bet on I’m not the only one who appreciates kindness signed, sealed and delivered.


Posted in
Correspondence, Domestic Art, handmade, Journal, June Cleaver
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22 Responses

  1. I agree Kelli, there is nothing like getting a handwritten note in the mail. It always makes me smile!

  2. Long live the written word! Although, I prefer pen to pencil…

    Any chance you’re interested in making stationery for this guy? 🙂

  3. Absolutely. Just like I loved getting those notes, all the way from Mozambique, from you in the mail last week.

    Plus the pen and ink correspondence is good for the economy of the US Postal Service. A patriotic gesture, to be sure.

  4. When my grandma died, I found all the letters I wrote to her when I lived in India. Someday I’ll get them bound into a book to share with my children. Such a treasure.

  5. Tina in Duluth June 9, 2009

    I love this post! The art of letter writing or note writing has fallen by the wayside. Thanks for keeping it alive!

  6. AmyinAZ June 9, 2009

    This post made me feel all warm and fuzzy because I love writing and receiving handwritten notes as well. Email is convenient, but a card or letter shows true intention and care. Where do you get your stamps?

  7. Great post! My grandma has sent me a letter every week since I started college and I still look forward to them today. Are those packages full of note cards you made to share with others? What a great idea to encourage others to send a note or letter. Receiving an unexpected card or note in the mail just makes my day.

  8. Such a great post. I agree with you that something handwritten and personal in the mail is so special. And it works both ways : it is a special process for the person who sends it, and most definitely a delightful thing for the person on the receiving hand.
    Have a beautiful day !

  9. Oh yes, something to hold in my hand, to read again and again, I love it. Love those strawberries, too.

  10. I send a lot of handwritten notes and I love getting them too!

  11. I love, love handwritten notes/letters. I really thought I was in the minority on that but I guess not. My friend gave me a box filled with cards, stationary and post it notes for Christmas and I was tickled pink. I love all your handmade stationary. So cute!!

  12. I used to be a big journaler….loved everything handwritten. It started when I broke my leg and wound up in the hospital. I started chronically every detail of every day. I love the tiny little handwritten notes and the record of my life that it created. Not to mention the number of fights it helped me win! I can totally relate to your new year ritual of updating. that was my FAVORITE way to spend NYE…a fresh journal, predated of course, I would go through and decorate pages for birthdays and special event…stickers, stencils, stamps, it was a very soothing ritual. I’ve lost this ritual now that i have my son, but hope to find the time to do it again. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  13. I too love handwritten notes and love going to my mailbox and being surprised by them. When I was going through my tumultuous time last year when I lived in TX, I remember finding a sweet surprise letter on handmade stamped stationery from you Kelli with words that filled my soul and touched my heart. That is such a wonderful gift, and I am glad you love to share that with your friends and family. I update my calendar each January so that at a quick glance I can see who is celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, but I also have a Palm Pilot where ALL of my addresses and contact information lives, along with the birthday info yet again. And THEN I have my work Palm Treo that has all of my work contacts in them. I miss the paper and pen address books and day planners and enjoyed hearing how you too paper clip stuff to them, add notes and doodles, etc. Great post!

  14. Snail mail is the best! I love sending cards/notes and also receiving them among the stack of bills or junk mail in my mailbox. 🙂 (Oh, love letters! I checked out that book about love letters I was telling you about. I can loan it to you too if you want.)

  15. It is a lost art, isn’t it? Email has a lot of advantages and I think it helps people stay in touch since it’s so instant gratification. But it is always fun to receive a thoughtful note or letter–just like it’s nice to have something you can touch and feel. Your cards look lovely. I like to make handmade cards and postcards, too–I just wish I did it more.

  16. I limit my handwriting in birthdays, Christmas, Easter and wedding cards, but me too, I’m the proud owner of a messy address book and an even more messy agenda!

  17. You’re not alone!! I love to write and receive letters too. Good for you!

  18. Your stationery is beautiful – I love the Frida portraits. You have inspired me to print some address labels so I will have no excuses for at least sending a few postcards while I’m on vacation!

  19. I have already told my local friends that when I leave for college in the fall they should be expecting letters from me! I also love it when someone sends me mail. I have a whole box full of letters that people have sent me since I was about 9 years old. I have pasted some of them into an inspiration/memory journal so I will have easy access to them.
    It’s cool that you wrote about this because I’ve been trying to work on making some stationary recently so I can send letters to people. 🙂
    Happy writing!

  20. with so much email on a daily basis, i so treasure letters and notes. just yesterday i received a sweet note from my 9 year old niece. so special. i too enjoy sending notes & letters. love stationery.


  22. Me too – I love my diary and I would never change it to an electronic piece. I had a try (10 years ago with a palm) and it was not-for-me!
    And I love cards as well.