September 30, 2009

Eureka! I've (Re)Discovered Stamping!

Back in college I took a printmaking course, which I really enjoyed. But unfortunately, as time moved on, so did my interest in the printed arts. That is, until now! In seeking to create my own stationery, I ventured into my local artists' supply store and found myself looking at linoleum cutting products. A starter kit was only $20, so I bought it. And I haven't looked back since.

My first stamp was a simple address box, pictured above. It's the perfect size, and I really like how the bottom portion of the box allows just enough room to print out in large font the zip code of the addressee. After re-teaching myself how to use the cutting tools, I tried a few increasingly difficult stamps. Then finally I was ready to make my stationery stamp. For this purpose, I selected an image very unique to the District of Columbia, where I live - row houses!

While the townhouse is found in virtually every city in America, the ones in Washington are unique. There are several distinct styles, and they often stand shoulder to shoulder for multiple blocks, each house painted a different color, from pink, to red, to purple, brown, green and ... well, you get it. Anyhow, the image I chose was too tall (these houses are typically 4 stories tall, often plus a basement) so I had to lop the bottom off and use just the top portion.

From beginning to end, this stamp took me around 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. But I think it was worth it. If anything, I found the process incredibly relaxing. And, now I have the ability to produce a virtually endless supply of James-specific papers!

Do any of you stamp or do other types of printing? Do you have links to samples of your work? I'd love to take a gander.

September 29, 2009

Hear ye, hear ye!

The two winners of the Everyday Correspondence drawings, each for a No. 11 Rhodia lined notebook, are octoberchild and Stardust! Octoberchild won the first drawing, and as such will receive the notebook in his choice of either black or orange, and Stardust won the second drawing.

Thank you to everyone who follows Everyday Correspondence, you're a wonderful community.

Very truly yours,


Winners, please contact me via e-mail at james[at]everydaycorrespondence[dot]com to claim your prizes.

September 28, 2009

I'd Appreciate Your Vote.

Hey there, Everyday Correspondence Readers!

Although it's only been three months into this blog-venture, I'm really having a good time, and I hope that you are, too. But, I'd like to make it better. For those of you have have been with the site for a while, you know that I post about a variety of different subjects under the umbrella category of correspondence. Because the objective of this site is to be informative and inspirational to you, as well as a creative outlet for myself, I'd like to get your feedback about what keeps you coming back to Everyday Correspondence, and/or about what drew you here in the first place.

To gather this information, I have posted a poll at the top of the web page, asking which post categories you most enjoy. If you like a posting category that you don't see listed, or if there is a topic area that you'd like to see that is not currently covered on Everyday Correspondence, I'd love for you to let me know by leaving a comment on this post.

Thank you sooooo much for reading. And a double thank you to all of you who have left comments, your contributions have helped to make Everyday Correspondence a collaborative effort - and as we all know, two (or more) minds are always better than one.

Very truly yours,


The poll will close on Friday, October 2, 2009 at 10 AM EDT.

Ladybug Wax Seal

I recently received this fun wax seal in the post from a pen pal. Sadly, it was slightly smushed in a mail sorting machine, but not enough to ruin the fun.

September 27, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Post

As much as letter writing was more prevalent in Emily Post's day that it is today, it would be an overstatement to say that it was terribly popular in her time. In her book, Etiquette, Emily laments what she sees as the slow demise of the personal letter, which she estimated at the time to be only ten percent of the contents of an average mail bag in the United States. She sees the practice as, "shrinking" and fears its usurpation by telegrams, telephone messages and post-cards.

Given her feelings about preserving the art of letter writing, however, Emily still feels that certain people just shouldn't bother writing for waste of stationery. Who shouldn't be writing, one might ask? Emily would answer: young people and others that are equally as lazy. Emily writes:
[m]ental effort is one thing that the younger generation of the "smart world" seems to consider it unreasonable to ask ... they let their mental faculties relax, slump and atrophy.

To such as these, to whom effort is an insurmountable task, it might be just as well to say frankly: If you have a mind that is entirely bromidic, if you are lacking in humor, all power of observation, and facility for expression, you had best join the ever-growing class of people who frankly confess, "I can't write letters to save my life!" and confine your literary efforts to picture post-cards with the engaging captions "X is my room," or "Beautiful weather, wish you were here."
Although I can't endorse Emily's generalization about young people (I'm not too far out of my teens myself!), I can agree with her rationale. Emily explains that:
[i]t is not at all certain that your friends and family would not rather have frequent post-cards than occasional letters all too obviously displaying the meagerness of their halting orthography.
Emily is not telling we young folk to give up writing altogether, but is instead encouraging us to package our messages as best we can. And if our messages are short and sweet, they should be expressed as succinctly as possible rather than stretched out over several saccharine pages.

This post is part of an ongoing series of posts highlighting the rules of etiquette as recorded in 1922 by Emily Post in her seminal text Etiquette.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I stumbled across this article from Autograph Magazine. It seems that Emily Post's distaste for post-cards runs much deeper than I originally thought. The article centers around a piece of fan mail that Emily received, to which she responded, "Why do you write on a postcard? No one ever answers a postcard!!!!"

September 26, 2009

Ink Swatch: Conway Stewart Green

I'm not sure why Conway Stewart bills it as a plain green, it looks very very teal to me.

September 25, 2009

Contest: Lined Rhodia Notebook!

I'm incredibly grateful for those of your readers that have followed Everyday Correspondence during these last many weeks that I've been posting infrequently. So, as a token of my appreciation, I would like to send one of you current Google Followers (chosen randomly) one of these two Rhodia notebooks, in your choice of either orange or black.

I would then like to give away the second notebook to a randomly selected Google Follower, new or old, that is listed as following Everyday Correspondence as of 1:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, September 29, 2009.

The winner for the first part of the contest, applying only to existing followers, has already been selected, however, the name will not be announced until Tuesday the 29th, along with the second winner. Winners will have 72 hours to provide a mailing address via e-mail following announcement the announcement of their names before a new winner is selected to take their place.

Both winners will be selected by using the random number generator hosted by

September 22, 2009

I won, I won!

Several weeks ago, I entered a contest for free merchandise. And wouldn't you know it, I won! Well, actually, I won third place, the prize for which was a compact mirror with the above ice cream cone and sprinkles design. But, after the proprietor of Bubbledog checked out this site, he offered to send me some free notecards instead!

I quite enjoy the designs, particularly the hamster holding the mushroom and the puppy in the teacup. As a bonus, they're printed in rather high quality on some pretty decent paper. If you like these designs, I suggest that you check out the Bubbledog Etsy store for related items.

I have no affiliation with Bubbledog, I just like free stuff and thought I'd share.

September 20, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Post

As ironic as many modern day readers might find it, Emily Post absolutely detests pretentious behavior. From what I can tell thus far, Emily does not define pretension, but rather provides her reader with examples of it. The examples range a variety of behaviors, but they all seem to fall under the broad category of behaviors that feign culture. Emily believes that false presentations of culture have become so problematic that she states culture to be:
[a] word rarely used by those who truly possess it, but so constantly misused by those who understand nothing of its meaning, that it is becoming a synonym for vulgarity and imitation.
In her world, the cultural impostor is a person in the poorest of taste. Right below the cultural impostor on Emily's list of people she holds in low regard is the individual who misguidedly exhibits behaviors in attempt to display evidence of culture and good taste when, in reality, those behaviors, per se, are evidence of the contrary. For example, as the last paragraph in chapter on long letters, Emily writes:
[n]ever sprinkle French, Italian, or any other foreign words through a letter written in English. You do not give an impression of cultivation, but of ignorance of your own language. Use a foreign word if it has no English equivalent, not otherwise unless it has become Anglicized. If hesitating between two words, always select the one of Saxon origin rather than Latin. For the best selection of words to use, study the King James version of the Bible.
Aside from the ethnocentrism with which Emily writes, her point makes a great deal of sense. It seems only proper that when writing to someone that you would use the vocabulary that the reader of your letter would most likely be acquainted. And, in 1922 America, most people would be at least well versed in the language of the Bible.

This thread of analysis leads us to Emily's central point on what makes good etiquette. To Emily Post, good etiquette is the practice of making people comfortable. And, from what I can tell, pretension tends to make people uncomfortable, and that is why it's so bad.

This post is part of an occasional series highlighting the rules of etiquette as recorded in 1922, by Emily Post in her seminal text Etiquette.

September 18, 2009

Paid Advertisement: 1-800-Recycling

1-800-Recycling is a new website all about helping people to live more eco-friendly lives. The site offers suggestions about how to recycle everything from vegetable oil, batteries, televisions and paper. One of the features I thought to be really cool is the list of links by state that list recycling centers for a variety of different products. For example, I didn't know that Home Depot would take old florescent bulbs or that Lens Crafters would accept old eyeglasses. But I do now.

I most appreciated, however, an article on the site about bamboo fibers. I've seen many papers out there that are starting to incorporate natural fibers, aside from cotton, like bamboo. I always just assumed that they were more environmentally conscious, but thanks to 1-800-Recycling, I now know what logos and certifications to look for when buying bamboo products, like paper.

*cue NBC chimes*
The More You Know.

This post is a paid advertisement for Everyday Correspondence advertises only for products and services that it actually endorses and feels will be of actual interest to its readership.

Ink Swatch: J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis

This image is a pretty accurate representation of what Bleu Myosotis looks like. Though, to add another dimension to it, to my eyes this ink looks like what an arrangement of hydrangeas and lavender might smell like... next to a clothes line of clean linens. Although it's Fall, this ink makes my mind think it's Spring.

September 17, 2009

Minty Fresh Letter

To enhance the letter opening experience, a pen pal recently sent me a letter laced with mint tea. The objective was for me to feel the wonderful crane paper envelope, see the creative designs, and to smell the mood with which I was intended to read the letter. Or at least that's my interpretation of her intentions.

Unfortunately, the scent was gone by the time I opened the envelope. But I got the point and I appreciated the thought! I'm going to respond with a "multi-sensory" attempt of my own.

Have you ever sent or received a multi-sensory mailing? I'd love to hear about it.

September 15, 2009

Personal Icons

According to Emily Post, it is perfectly acceptable for an individual to adopt a symbol for use on their stationery. Granted, Emily places limits on the acceptability of this practice, limiting it to stationery used for one's country house, for young girls, etc. In any case, I think that it's a marvelous practice, one in which I myself indulged for a short time. At one point, I adopted the pineapple as my symbol, and though I still have many pieces of stationery with the symbol on it, I now use engraved correspondence cards for professional notes.

This lovely image arrived to me on a card from a pen pal. I don't think that my pal intends on making it his hallmark, but he wanted to send it to me in response to a letter I wrote him on the toile de jouy stationery I purchased while visiting Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. This icon is based on Martha Washington's writing desk at Mount Vernon. I just love it. The paper it is printed on is none too shabby, either.

Do you have a personal icon? What is it? If not, what would you like it to be?

September 13, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Post

It's been over a week since I received my reprint of the first edition of Etiquette by Emily Post, written in 1922, and I have yet to set it down! At over six hundred pages, there is a whole lot of Etiquette to take in. To better tackle this enormous tome, I have decided to read it by section, in the order of which those sections are of interest to me. First on the list: the chapters on the etiquette of writing letters.

Emily (I know it would pain her to know that I refer to her by first name, but I've come to feel so well acquainted with her that calling her Mrs. Price Post feels too stiff and impersonal) writes a great deal about what is proper, but I find most amusing her commentary about what is improper. Those are the gems that I should like to share with you, dear readers.

In today's Sunday Afternoon Post, the name I've chosen for this series of posts, I would like to highlight a section that brought to my mind the many politicians in recent memory who have found themselves above the fold in newspapers around the country due to their intimate indiscretions.

From the chapter her chapter on longer letters, Emily writes about "The Letter No Gentleman Writes":
One of the fundamental rules for the behavior of any man who has the faintest pretension to being a gentleman, is that never by word or gesture must he compromise a woman; he never, therefore writes a letter that can be construed, even by a lawyer, as damaging to any woman's good name.

His letters to an unmarried woman may express all the ardor and devotion that he cares to subscribe to, but there must be no hint of his having received especial favors from her.
This post is the second in an occasional series highlighting the rules of etiquette as they were in 1922, published by Emily Post in her seminal text Etiquette.

September 8, 2009

Second Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper

It's that time again, time for the Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper, hosted this month by the Pen Addict. The Carnival might not be able to satiate your desire for cheese curds or corn dogs, but with a number of pen and notebook reviews, as well as a couple of useful how-tos and features from bloggers' personal pen and paper collections, it will surely satisfy your inner office supply geek.

September 4, 2009


Today, I received Emily Post in my afternoon post. I'm so excited! This volume of Etiquette is a reprint of Post's 1922 first edition.

Widely regarded as the outspoken authority on social etiquette, Post writes about the proper etiquette from public gatherings to formal dinners, from weddings to funerals, and, you guessed it, letter writing.

As I read through the book, I will post excerpts from Etiquette, to both inform and entertain.

In her introduction to the chapter on Notes and Shorter Letters, Post writes about the importance of neat handwriting, stating:
Therefore, while it can not be said with literal accuracy that one may read the future of a person by study of his handwriting, it is true that if a young man wishes to choose a wife in whose daily life he is sure always to find the unfinished task, the untidy mind and the syncopated housekeeping, he may do it quite simply by selecting her from her letters.

September 1, 2009

Ink Swatch: Levenger Pinkly

One of my pen pals frequently writes a page or two in Levenger Pinkly. I dig it. This image pretty accurately captures the bubble gum pink of the ink.