Letterpress Dreams

January 12th

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If I had gobs of money to spend on new hobbies, I’d be taking letterpress classes. I love the design, look, feel and weight of letterpress stationery. It is simply perfect.

Alas, this is not in my immediate future. (Although a friend mentioned yesterday he knows someone who knows someone…) In the meantime, I enjoyed the current stationery sale at JoAnn’s and bought a few new supplies that fueled an afternoon of correspondence creation.

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That Ginger Rogers really did get the short end of the stick. You know who else gets cheated? Every single female character on Mad Men. Have you watched this show? I am a bit obsessed. The fashion, set design, and feel of this show makes it visual art. The writing makes it brilliant. I simply love Mad Men, but I am struggling with the female leads. I don’t identify with any of them.

It makes me wonder what my grandmothers put up with and how they view the world today — one where in certain circles, not wearing panties gets you splashed on every magazine for the week. How the art of femininity has changed for the masses.

My love of a great handwritten note and Mad Men are linked in that  I’m enamored with all things old fashioned. Sure, text messages are efficient, but a well written letter? A letter you hold on to. Certainly jeans and soft cotton t-shirt work, but a tailored dress, flats and pretty jewelry? They make me feel like Christmas morning.

And so, another contest for a bundle of handmade stationery. Leave a comment describing one of two things: a letter you’ve received or need to write and why it is special, or, what old fashioned thing you consider the bee’s knees. I’ll select the most creative answer and post it Friday.


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20 Responses

  1. I love your numbered stationery! Nice work!

    One of the most special letters I have received was from my father’s mother, who lived in Ohio at the time. Her youth was so interesting to me–she lived a lot of similar things as what I read in Laura Ingalls’s books. My grandmother and I maintained a correspondence from the time I could write a letter until just before her death.

    When I was about to marry my first husband (we were both 21), I wrote to my grandmother to tell her about my dress and our plans. She was not going to be able to attend our small wedding, and I wanted her to have a good sense of what the day was going to be like. I asked her to tell me about her wedding in return.

    She married my grandfather when she was 16 and he was 18. He had become smitten with her when she was 12! She had a pretty new dress, she said, which later became her “Sunday best,” (by the way, my other grandmother, a “city girl” by comparison, also dyed her white wedding dress in order to use it for her own Sunday best!) and for their wedding night, she and my grandfather had a fish fry. They had eight children, and I honestly don’t know off the top of my head how many grandchildren, but I am the youngest of them all. My grandmother wrote that I was the first of any of her descendants to have ever asked about her wedding. She was a pragmatic person, one whom I still admire for her husbandry and housewifery skills, so I can only imagine that to write about her wedding, to remember that time in her life, was a lovely indulgence.

    I treasure that letter more than any others from her.

    As far as old fashioned things I consider the bee’s knees…well, let’s keep it on letters: a fountain pen with an extra fine nib. Delightful!

  2. I love all the letters you made! Of course, as one who has a graphic design degree, I too am in love with printing processes. I hope you get a chance to do letterpress very soon, it is so neat!

    Old things that I love, besides good old snail mail? Oh, just about every car from the 1950’s, aprons, milk glass, “ladies who lunch” in gorgeous old style gardens, and poodle skirts.

  3. The absolute bee’s knees thing I love, love, love? My grandmother’s gold-plated thimble given to me just recently by my mom. Gran passed away almost a year ago now. She was an avid crafter, up-cycler before her time and skilled needlewoman. I am honored to be slipping on her thimble.

  4. I have Letterpress dreams too!
    Have you seen the new small one at Paper Source?

    I’ve got my eye on it.
    My favorite old fashioned thing I love is my 1950’s Juice King Citrus Press. It’s awesome, and no new fangled juicer ever worked better, IMHO.

  5. Kelli,

    Great stationary, too cute!

    I would say letter(s) received. My grandpa wrote me a letter every week when I went to college. He always kept me in the loop on the at home activities and he would always share a story or two from his youth, most of which I was unaware had taken place in his life. When he passed my grandma happily took up the pen and continued the letters. She shares her week with me, offers words of encouragement for me being a mom and a working mom, and includes the cutest stories she cuts from papers and magazines she reads. I have been blessed to have over 15 years of letters and so happy to say that my grandma,at the age of 90, shows no sign of stopping. My goal is to someday bind these to share with my daughter and other generataions in our family.

  6. Love it.

    This weekend, I kept saying that it felt like I was stepping out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I planned to go grocery shopping on Saturday morning to take advantage of the weekend sales. Walking around the store with my chai latte made the experience so much more fun. I purchased a few firsts–mandarin oranges–in the produce section, not in a can; cornstarch–to make homemade pudding; and an entire chicken for my hubby to grill. On Sunday, during the one and half hours Eric was napping I made pudding–yep it took that long! It wasn’t exactly how I hoped it would taste, but was pretty darn good. Then Eric took the brined bird out and grilled it on the grill. We didn’t end up eating until 9:30 because we got started a bit late, but it was super-quaint . One of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. The mandarin oranges are pretty good too–though totally different than the canned variety!

  7. The comments on grandparents writing along with your love of the written word has inspired me to write a note to my grand-daughter. She is only three, but one can never start to early with making a girl feel cherished. Thanks for sharing this pleasure.

  8. A memorable letter I have received was my father’s GoodBye before he passed away. It was not a direct message, but I knew. And I knew, that he knew I knew.

  9. whenever i find cat-themed stationary in a box of old things, i now immediately who it was from. and then there’s more excitement in store as i try to decifer my grandmother’s handwriting. even as her health faltered, she did her best to keep writing. to her, letters were a welcome treat.

    a couple of my favorite old is new items would have to be boatnecks and feathered headbands. i also love skinny jeans and ballet flats audrey hepburn style.

    that’s all, have a great week!

  10. Oh I am a sucker for old fashioned letter writing (and how I’d love to get to letterpress someday too!)! And old fashioned dresses… I swear some days that’s all I want to wear, with a pretty apron!

    My husband and I used to write letters back before we were married, and we still have them all tucked away in a box – he even wrote a love note on a can of pineapple once (it was an inside joke from our favorite movie) and yes, we saved the can of pineapple in our box too, although it expired about 10 yrs ago.

    I’ve written a journal of letters to all of our kids while I was pregnant with them, to let them know what life was like that year, how much we were looking forward to them, our hopes and dreams. I love knowing that there’s something here that would tell them how much we loved them (and each other) from the beginning. There is nothing like a handwritten letter!

  11. I love stationary too! I think my favorite letters are ones my Dad has written to me over the years. And I also have old letters from ex boyfriends (back in college) and it’s fun to remember their sentiments.
    Favortie old fashoned item: I love that wax you can melt and stamp your initials on letters. And I love sewing with vintage sheets. Yay!

    And I have my eye on a Gocco printer!

  12. Get out, I love stationery – and making cards is my latest creative THING. 🙂 (Can’t wait to get cracking on my pix from vacay.)

    When my glamorous oldest cousin turned 18 and graduated from high school in OH, my parents brought her to visit us in CA for 6 weeks. I was just finishing fourth grade and idolized her. She was the big sister I never had, the epitome of all I wanted to be, and just so much fun (she knew all the words to “What A Feeling” – the top song that summer – you just can’t get any cooler than that). After she left I was so bereft, my mom suggested I write her a letter. Thus began a correspondence that continued through her college years and my elementary ones. Her letters were treasures, every one. Good memories.

  13. Cool stationery! I’m officially not entering because I was the fortunate recipient of one of your recent giveaways but I love old things, too. And I am also hooked on “Mad Men.” I can’t believe their seasons are so short. Like you, I don’t identify with any of the women but I enjoy watching them (even smoking) and Don Draper, despite being a cad, is hot!!!!

  14. I have some letters that my Grandparents wrote to me in 1967 when they drove from NY to CA and back…what an adventure they had! I also have two letters written to me from my Mother from the summer of 1969. I flew from eastern NY to Erie PA to spend a couple of weeks with my Great-Grandmother. I was a young teenager and it was my first flight and the first time I was away from home on my own (other than to camp). My Mother wrote to me and I wrote to her and my friends. Its funny that we would never think of phoning each other!
    Old fashioned things that I enjoy? Visiting with neighbors, family and friends. On hot summer nights, everyone would be outside on porches or patios while we (the kids) would play. In the winter, it would be indoors and often people would just stop by for a chat. It seemed that we took more time for each other. My neighbor and I have been making more time to visit with each other, friends and family and we find it so enjoyable!

  15. I’m not used anymore to letters but…..some years ago my fav cousin’s outing made me want to talk to him with my heart in my hands. I wrote a letter to him (he was living in Hamburg at the time) and I received the most loving, heartwarming reply a few days later. This writing really deepend a caring connection that already existed, just unexpressed with words. The bond is here to last, the love for each other we wrote about still warming our hearts.
    P.S. I love your works with that paper……..

  16. I don’t know if this is considered “old-fashioned” but it certainly seems the tide is turning with all these new e-book thingys like the Kindle and the Nook. Give me a good old-fashioned book any day…I love the feel of it in my hands, the feel of the pages, the smell. I have never listened to an audio book either, and I don’t really care to – even if it might save me some time. 🙂

  17. I would have to say the fashions and their appearance. The housewife looked stunning by todays casual standards but that is how they dressed. They wore an apron in the home and could wip that off if the door bell rang.

    I am guilty of losing the written word, time makes it more efficent to email or text, really should get back to putting pen to paper.

    Enjoy your day.

  18. The best letters in my life we written to my daughters. When I was pregnant with my first daughter my group of friends from college put together a little scrapbook album for her. In the album they each wrote her a letter. The letters contain advice, pearls of wisdom, reminders of how much God loves, and many other heart warming things. I was so moved by this.
    After my second daughter was born my college friends all flew into town to meet her and gave her an album of her own. The letters are personal and at moments make me cry and at moments make me laugh out loud. They express so perfectly each of my friends personalities and each of their love for my daughters.
    Now, each of my daughters have these incredible albums that are theirs to read, laugh at, or whatever. They are theirs and they are not from mom, but from other adults who love them deeply.

    This is the most special gift. I know my daughters are too young now to appreciate this, but one day they will treasure these albums just as I do now.

  19. Each year from age 12 to 18 I went on a week long church girl’s camp…one night during each of our camps we got letter from both our parents. I have every single of these letters still and I love reading them every few years. My moms loopy feminine handwriting and my dad’s perfect engineer penmanship. I treasure these letters.

    Just about a month ago I receive an unexpected letter from a friend – a good friend but not a particularly close friend – from church. I had shared some frustrations I had with her about an incident and she wrote me a beautiful heartfelt letter about our mutual frustrations over this incident and about her love for me. It was a complete surprise and she hand delivered it with a plate of cookies.

  20. There really is something special about a letter. Even the prettiest greeting card is made more special when it has a few handwritten lines in it. I have to confess though, I tend to buy more stationary/stationary-making supplies than I end up using.

    I think many people would find aprons kind of old-fashioned but I love them – and my new (to me) vintage tea pot that I found on etsy!