Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stationary Stationery

by Anna Campbell

When I was a little kid - I'm going back to primary school here - I thought the most boring presents in the world were toiletries and stationery. Which was a pity because the relatives used to give me toiletries and stationery in droves.

Switch forward um, 20 years or so (please, humor me!), and two of my favorite things to receive as gifts are, you guessed it, toiletries and stationery!

I must admit to being a bit of a stationery nut anyway. A real treat for me is a visit to OfficeWorks, our local warehouse office supplies company. Amazing what interesting little doodads you can find in those long corridors smelling deliciously of paper. Little doodads you had no idea you wanted until you saw them in front of you begging to be bought. 

I thought today I might share some of the pretty stationery in the stationery cupboard. This year, I've made a concerted effort to write more actual letters. There's a reason the universe is showering me with all these pretty notecards.

Actually I really enjoy writing letters, but it's something that requires a bit of a mental shift, doesn't it? It's so much easier just to shoot off an email. But I think people love getting actual mail in the post - I know I do. And I'll keep letters, whereas it's just so easy to hit the delete button when it's electronic. 

I also love buying pretty stationery for people - clearly so did all those aunties and cousins when I was a wee gel! There's something really pleasurable about looking at gorgeous printed cards and thick creamy sheets of paper and wrapping them up as a present.

Luckily, my critique partners love buying people (me!) stationery, often as souvenirs of their wonderful overseas trips. Both the New York and the two Rijskmuseum sets in this blog came as booty from my friends having exciting times far away from me.

Hold on, that didn't come out quite right!

The Liberty set was a birthday present this year from a fellow historical romance writer who understands my taste to a T.

And the beautiful romantic Victorian set of notelets, a very welcome Christmas present, came from another romance writer who I know has a wonderful time picking out nice stationery as the perfect gift. We've both admitted that we tend to buy what we'd like someone else to buy for us as presents! Often those are the best gifts, aren't they?

So do you write letters still? Or have you gone completely e in your communications? Do you like stationery? Do you have a favorite style of stationery?


Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hmm, I recognise a couple of those sets in your gift booty. ;) Love, love, love this post, Anna, because I love, love, love stationery! Especially embossed, heavy paper. I love sending and receiving 'real' letters or cards. Letter-writing is becoming a lost art. My handwriting has suffered from using a keyboard and phone so often!

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

Yes, I recognise some of this too. I've often wondered if readers are hard-wired to love stationery. I don't think I know one who dislikes it and whenever the subject is mentioned so many people I know ooh and ahh over lovely paper etc. There's nothing quite like receiving nice mail from someone special, is there?

PJ Ausdenmore said...

Hi Anna! I've been having a love affair with stationery since my teens. I could spend hours meandering through stationery stores. (There aren't many of those around anymore, are there?) I do still write and mail 'real' letters but mostly to the young people in my life. I want them to experience the joy of receiving hand-written letters in their mail boxes.

I agree with Vanessa that letter writing is becoming a lost art. Do you know that here in the U.S., many schools have stopped teaching cursive writing? I think that's so sad. :(

I'm now off to meander through my stationery supply. You've put me in the mood to write a few letters. :)

dstoutholcomb said...

I write letters to my bff.

Louisa Cornell said...

Lovely post, La Divina! Like you I adore stationery! I was raised to write hand-written thank you notes and I still do. And I have a lovely collection of stationery. I simply can't resist a set that speaks to me. And like PJ I have heard they don't teach children cursive handwriting any longer in schools. A very sad loss.

I do write letters, but not nearly as much as I did when I lived in Europe. I wrote faithfully to my great aunt when I lived in Germany and when we cleaned out her apartment after she died I found those letters collected in a lovely box. I've added them to my collection of letters.

And you KNOW how much I love postcards!!

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, isn't that funny? I was doing some edits yesterday and that fine muscle control (which let's face it, given my scrawl, was never that fine) really has got weaker. Every year when I do the Christmas cards, I need to work up to doing a lot at the time. I just don't have the muscle power to handwrite for a long time at first. Isn't that sad? So glad you like the post - thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how much I LOVE your presents!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I love that set of Victorian cards you gave me for Christmas. They're SOOOO pretty. If I had more room, I'd take pics of all the designs. Actually you're so right about stationery and readers. Definitely all the writers I know think that Officeworks is their local drug dealer! I so agree about getting real mail. The neighbours across the road saw me getting my mail the other day and were so impressed that I still get 'real' letters.

Anna Campbell said...

PJ, I've got a book due this week but I've promised myself that I'll write a few letters once it's in - all these lovely cards need to spread the joy. I love the smell of paper! What a lovely idea about writing real mail to the young people in your life. And I so agree with you about it being sad about cursive writing going out of style like the dodo. It's happening here too.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, good on you! I have a friend in England who gets 'real' letters from me. Recently she's deteriorated to using the typewriter but at least she mails and posts her letters so I get the envelope and the stamps. Oh, dear, I"m starting to sound like a stationery tragic, aren't I?

Anna Campbell said...

Hmm, was that a hint at the end of your lovely post, Diva? I love postcards too. They live a long time too - I display them until they curl up like dead worms! When I lived overseas in the mid-80s, it was the Dark Ages, aka pre-internet. I wrote hundreds of letters. When I lived in Sydney, my mum and I used to write every week. I still have all her letters - lovely to have as a keepsake.

Teresa K. said...

Hi Anna,

I so adore getting stationary & notes for gifts. Most of my friends know I love to write. One of my missions at work was to make sure everyone got a card for their birthday. I loved writing out those cards and watching that receiver of the card smile knowing that someone was thinking about them. I did that for 15 years at my job. I still have my list of birthdays and I have some addresses of the people I worked with. I'm going to start up that practice again. Don't you think that would be a nice surprise?
I love the frilly, fancy very feminine stationary the most. Especially the king with matching envelopes. I adore writing. I think I'm the only one in my family that does. I spend hours in the Hallmark Store for the perfect card. Or I have two different programs on my computer for making cards.
I recently heard the same thing about the schools stopped teaching penmanship in the school. To me that really sucks because children's handwriting is atrocious. Have a wonderful week.

Louisa Cornell said...

ROFL ! Curled up like dead worms? Oh dear! That is why I have an entire collection of postcards from Oz framed and hanging together. I also found these neat postcard albums when I lived in Germany and I have several albums in my postcard collection.

Mason Canyon said...

Anna, it's nice to know someone else loves collecting stationary. I say collecting, because I never seem to get around to writing actual letters or notes any more. My best friend and I use to write letters to each other, now we email (an even that isn't as often as it should be). I remember my Mother and her cousin writing long letters to each other years ago and I thought it was crazy. Now I completely understand. I have to admit I also enjoy collecting pens to go along with the stationary. Thanks for the reminder I need to write a letter today.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Teresa! Oh, I think the card idea is fantastic. I still send cards for my friends' birthdays. I also send a lot of handwritten Christmas cards. This year because of a ridiculous price hike in international postage, some of business rather than personal contacts got an e-card, but I have to say I felt a bit shabby doing it. I love that wonderful rich creamy paper with the matching envelopes too. A friend gave me some Verge de France writing paper. It's just gorgeous!

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, what a great idea to put them in albums. I have a couple of inspiration boards inthe office and the REALLY favorite postcards go there (until they curl up like dead worms - sadly, it has to be said!). Hmm, I know a lovely person who sends you cards from Australia that you have framed. Who on earth could it be? :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Mason, I think there's something so special about a letter that you just don't get from an email, however wonderful it is. And we keep letters - I said above that I have drawers full of letters from my late mother and my late best friend. Such treasured possessions and if they'd be emails, they'd be lost forever. And there's something really nice about the fact that the person physically touched the object before sending it - makes it much more personal, somehow. Since getting this latest flush of stationery, I've made an effort to write a few more handwritten things. And you know, when I sit down and do it, I really enjoy it!

Anna Campbell said...

Well, look at all you fellow stationery fans! Thanks so much for swinging by and talking about one of my obsessions! See you next month!