February 23, 2010

Ink Review: Rohrer and Klingner Morinda

Here it is, my first, and most difficult to capture, of a series of Rohrer & Klingner inks! German in origin, I thought it only appropriate to use a German made pen to conduct the review. In this case I used a Reform 1745. A great-quality-for-the-price piston filler, fine springy-nibbed, plastic bodied, 1980s West German pen. Please, forgive the inaccurate color scan, I tried photographing the review in all sorts of different light, but they all came out looking too orange. The below scan was the best result I got, but even the scan is too bright. The actual ink color is somewhere between dried blood and the mid-range reds in the rose pictured below.

[click image to enlarge]

I really enjoyed writing with Morinda. It is a perfect ink in the sense that there are no technical issues, it has great flow, minimal feathering, and no bleed-through, so the only thing I have to worry about when using it is whether or not I like the color of the ink. And, I do!

While I wasn't initially impressed with the color, as I wrote with it, it occurred to me that it would be a perfect red to write a love letter. Morinda has just enough purple in to soften the color, producing the same softening effect as the texture on a rose petal.

Rohrer & Klingner inks are German products and are difficult to find in the United States because they currently do not have a U.S. distributor. The ease of purchasing these inks, however, is about to improve, as The Pear Tree Pen Company, who provided me with these samples, just received a order for the inks. If you'l like to see Morinda and other R&K inks in person, I suggest ordering a few ink samplers to try them out for yourself.

February 22, 2010

Correspondence as a Message of Love

It is with a bit of sadness that I inform you, dear readers, that blotter paper has been placed on indefinite hold due to an insufficient response to last year's calls for submissions. While I do plan on picking up the project again later this year, it is unclear what will come of it. In the meantime, I want to publish some of the brilliant work I did receive here, on Everyday Correspondence.

[click image to enlarge]

This magnificent hand drawn piece, by Laura Alvarez, is titled "Correspondence as a Message of Love." The grey border is from the template, which will be removed should blotter paper ever move to print. I hope it doesn't get in the way.


February 21, 2010

And the winner is...


Thanks to all who entered to win a copy of Yours Ever, and a special thanks to those who spread the word about the giveaway.

Very truly yours,


EDIT: I attempted to copy and paste the widget used to determine the winner, but after failing to do so properly, I just removed it from this post.

February 20, 2010

Rohrer and Klingner Inks: Reviews on the Way

I've read lots of good type about Rohrer & Klingner inks , but have never been able to get my hands on any samples, as they do not have a major U.S. distributor. Lucky for me, The Pear Tree Pen Company, a company featured a couple of times as market watch posts here on Everyday Correspondence, is importing a significant number of bottles and passed a few my way for review. I'll be rolling these reviews out over the next week or so, so check back soon!

February 16, 2010

Yours Ever: A Book Review & Giveaway

Late last year I saw posts on a couple of other letter writing blogs about the new book by Thomas Mallon titled Yours Ever. The reviews were encouraging. So, when I was approached by Pantheon Books to do a review of the book and a giveaway here on Everyday Correspondence, I accepted the offer immediately. While there were no expectations of a positive review in my agreement with Pantheon, I still feel compelled to give Yours Ever strong marks.

The New York Times gave the book a good review for it's content, but Mallon's appreciation for the written letter aside, two things about the book struck me as both refreshing and unique. First, I appreciated Mallon's organization. Rather than taking the reader through a chronological journey of people and their letters over the years, Mallon organizes the chapters in Yours Ever by subject matter. In doing so, Mallon is able to draw connections between different approaches to delivering the same message. The organizational style also allows Mallon to analyze the impacts of technology on written correspondence. For example, in the chapter "Complaint," Mallon observes:

Sarcasm ("My dog left home when he heard I had voted for you") depends, in both the writer and the reader, on an appreciation of distortion. Paranoia has no time for such contrivances. It is terribly urgent, under the gun and ready to assert itself in ALL CAPS, which even now pack an unsettling punch when they show up in the pixels of angry e-mail - though nothing can be more upsetting than the slithering hate fax, whose paper seems to come, somehow, from the sender himself and not the recipient's own machine.
Mallon's acknowledgment of technological contributions to correspondence is the second point that made Yours Ever stand out to me. Mallon takes a more or less neutral position on the effects technology in the form of e-mail and texting have had on personal correspondence. Rather, he points out the positives and negatives, in the hopes of enriching the the reader's appreciation of correspondence in all forms. Before detailing the "lack of emotional affect to much e-mail," Mallon notes that while e-mail doesn't have sentimental intangibles like envelopes sealed with a kiss:

[E]lectronic mail has a few of its own oddball, endearing traits: the subject line that hangs around long past the point at which it has anything to do with what the correspondence is now discussing; the whimsical screen names that it shuttles between. Shipboard cable addresses, temporary handles for the transoceanic traveler, used to have something of the same charm. Jessica Mitford's was ELKSHATRACK, chosen after a friend told her "You need news from home like an elk needs a hat rack."
It is Mallon's organization and his treatment of technology that made Yours Ever a stand out read, for me. So, if you are looking for an entertaining account of correspondence from some of the world's most prolific figures and writers, without the "woe for the modern age and it's lack of good letters" attitude, then I recommend this book for you.

If the $26.95 price tag for the first run hardcover is a bit too much for your wallet at the moment, then I have good news! Pantheon Books is sponsoring a giveaway! Books may be shipped anywhere in the world, so this contest is open all readers of Everyday Correspondence.

Giveaway Rules:

1. Please, leave a comment after this post with your name and an e-mail address at which I can reach you should you be picked the winner of the giveaway. You may enter once in this fashion.

2. Additional entries may be had by tweeting about this giveaway and/or linking to this post from your website. Please leave an additional comment with a link to the tweet/post/website for each additional entry.

3. A winner will be randomly selected using the random number generator on Random.org at 1 PM EDT on Sunday, February 21, 2010. A short time later, the winner will be announced on Everyday Correspondence and the individual will be contacted by e-mail.

Best of luck to you all!

Yours ever,


February 12, 2010

Friday Night Favorite Reads

Little Red Mailbox at Goodnight Little Spoon

I Heart Mail Art: a mini-book at The Missive Maven

The Oscars of Type at Printmag.com

Snow Service

Due to the ridiculous amounts of snow we've received here in D.C., today marks my 8th consecutive calendar day without a postal delivery.

On Wednesday, I dropped some quality mail in the mailbox pictured above. I wonder if it's been sitting in there ever since.


Pulp Find: Mame Edition

I have an auntie Mame. Well, not the real auntie Mame, but an aunt that is equally unique and adventurous as the character from the show of the same name. With this correlation in mind, coupled with my affection for 1920s style, this card caught my eye while I was perusing the racks at Pulp.

Once I saw it, I knew I had to have it... and that I had to sent it to my auntie Mame. The woman on the card looks like the character, as by Lucille Ball in the film version of Mame, walked right off the screen and onto the paper.

Even if the image didn't spark an emotional response from me, the fantastic image, the vintage style and the glitter would have been more than enough for this 5 x 7 to find its way into my basket.

I sent the card off to my aunt as a Valentine. Have you posted any special Valentine's this year?

February 11, 2010

IKEA Envelope

My homemade envelope rash continues! Although, I actually made this envelope from the page of an IKEA catalog over the summer. I found it last week tucked in a folder and I just had to use it.

February 10, 2010


Washington, D.C. received as much as 30" in parts of the metropolitan area this past weekend. I live in Washington, D.C. Therefore, I have been stuck inside for the past few days, right? Wrong!

I actually escaped my dwelling place for a couple of days between snow storms (we are in the midst of the second storm as I write) and trudged around the city, making the most of my days off.

During one walking adventure in my soggy Chuck Taylors, I came upon Pulp, a stationery store with as much attitude as its exterior would suggest. I have read several mentions of Pulp on a few of the local blogs that I subscribe to, but had never been there myself. I consider this the first stop in what I hope will become a tour of my local pen, paper and ink stores.

Entering the store, I was greeted by the largest display of sassy, snappy, and charmingly rude greeting cards I have ever seen. The collection began at the front door and stretched all the way to the back, up a staircase, and then back some more. Fantastic as this cache of cards was, I was more in the market for loose stationery.

Luckily, I found some great letterpressed loose sheets (I'll post about them later). And, because I couldn't resist, I also picked up a number of cards (you'll see those posted soon, too).

On the whole, I considered the trip worth the journey. If you're ever in the area and need a cool place to kill some time, or you just really have a hankering for a greeting card that says, "I'm indie, edgy, but still like to celebrate birthdays," then I recommend you pay Pulp, located on 14th and S Streets N.W., a visit.

I have no affiliation with Pulp or any sassy greeting card companies.

Magazine Needs Your Content

There are people that are passionate about written correspondence and journaling, there are people who are good writers, and then there are the people who read Everyday Correspondence. By reading this you satisfy the third grouping, so if you also fit into the other two groupings (read: if you're in the middle of my little venn diagram) then I strongly encourage you to submit content for Letters & Journals, a magazine about correspondence of all sorts, and it's soon-to-launch website! Check it out.

February 6, 2010

Dino-mite Correspondence

Back in January I read about a functioning post office shanty that had been set up on a lake in Minneapolis, over at Letter Writers Alliance. In the blog entry, I learned that I actually know some of the people involved with the project! Many years ago I worked at the Science Museum of Minnesota with a couple of the artists behind the shanty.

I absolutely had to write them a letter. In recognition of our common past, I employed a dinosaur theme for the letter. On the exterior of the letter, I used some temporary tattoos (I accidentally bought them in the dollar section at Target a while back, thinking they were stickers). Thought, I didn't remember them until I had already sealed the envelope... so I hope I didn't inadvertently smear the water based fountain pen ink I used to write the letter.

I also used a tree stamp to create some flora to go with the envelope's pre-historic fauna.

February 5, 2010

Friday Night Favorite Reads

Niblets at Bleubug

Midnight Rendezvous at The Missive Maven

Special Postmarks for Valentines at Letter Writers Alliance

If your ballpoint stops working, you throw it away. at Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

The Dracula Collection at Goodnight Little Spoon

Episode #08: Habana v. Webbie at The Ink Nouveau (video blog)

Pallarols Inkstand Envelope

Several months ago, I stumbled upon an article about a silversmith named Juan Carlos Pallarols from Argentina, who works for months, sometimes years, on single pieces of art. One of his specialties is writing accessories, the products of which are often purchased by kings and... Antonio Banderas.

At the time, I tore out the page and tucked it away in my bag. Then, today, I came upon the article, which included some great pictures. And I did the most logical thing I could think of, I made the page into an envelope to send to a pen pal who loves fountain pens. I used a Gary Cooper stamp on the envelope because his is the classiest looking mug in my current stock of postage.

I would love to own one of these fine pieces! But, then again, I might rather spend the $25,000 required to purchase one on things that would make me feel way less guilty.

February 4, 2010

Musicians' Protective Union Letterhead

Many weeks ago, I received a letter from Julie at Whatever written on a classic letterhead. When I responded to the letter, I asked politely whether Julie would mind e-mailing me the image for posting here... and, well, BAM! Here it is! The image needed no cleaning up (anything needed to make the image more crisp is unfortunately beyond the exercise of my remedial GIMP skills). It blows up to top a full size 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, but as with all the other letterhead images, I suggest printing it out two to a page (to produce two 5.5" x 8.5" sheets) to reduce distortion.

Also in the image archive is a new link to LetterHeady, a great new site that is compiling quite the archive of original scan vintage letterheads.

This image is now available for download in the Everyday Correspondence Vintage Letterhead Image Archive. However, if you follow Everyday Correspondence on Twitter, this is old news to you, as you hear about it yesterday.