The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Letters on a Wedding Day

Many people are planning weddings this time of year especially if their wedding is scheduled to take place in the summer months. My own brother is planning a wedding and we are all eagerly anticipating June 18th when we will gain a new member to our family......officially.

I wanted to post about a really cool idea that I have only seen one time at one wedding. If you or someone you know is getting married in the coming months, you may want to consider incorporating this letter writing twist to your festivities.

My sister, Stephanie, and my brother-in-law, Robin, were married at an outdoor ceremony on the property of a beautiful log cabin in the Ottawa valley in August 2004.

After the marriage took place, there was a sit down dinner under a tent followed by live bluegrass music. We danced in our bare feet as the sun shone down upon us. The bride and groom requested that each one of us spend a few moments at a table that had been set up off to the side of the dancing. There was paper and pens, pencil crayons and markers. There were also pre-labeled envelopes with titles such as: Christmas 2005, Valentine's Day 2010, 10th Anniversary, 25th Anniversary, St. Patty's Day 2009, Easter 2005, etc. There were a lot of them and we were instructed to write a letter to the couple on their wedding day and then choose an envelope, insert the letter and seal it. The envelope was then placed in the basket for safe keeping.

Everyone took part......young children drew pictures of the day's events and some of the older guests wrote words of wisdom and tips for a happy marriage. Some of the guests have since passed on and those children are quickly growing up. I love this idea and wish I had done it for my own wedding.

My sister and her husband have had seven years of events where a letter written on their wedding day by one of their guests has been read. And they tell me they still have several to read in the coming years.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Lost Arts on CTV-Ottawa News

CTV-Ottawa (especially Joanne Schnurr) did an excellent job on Part One of The Lost Arts special series. The Letter Writing Revolution and Cooking at Home with your Kids were featured this evening. If you missed it or you are not in the CTV-Ottawa viewing region, you can see the clip here if you scroll down beneath the CTV News Video Player to Reviving The Lost Arts of Cooking and Letter-Writing.

There is also a photo gallery (with captions)of some of the letters my grandparents wrote to one another in the early part of their courtship and marriage. You can read the actual letters here or read more about TLWR and my grandparents treasured letters here.

The revolution is growing!

I'll be updating the blog momentarily!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Latest Stationery Gems

Before I share my two recent stationery discoveries, I want to send out a big thank you to Angel of Pal-Sac for sending me a selection of stationery and writing goodies and another big shout out to TLWR follower, Linda in Nova Scotia, for sending me some assorted stationery as well. Both happened to arrive on the same day. I have some letters to write and will happily dip into this new stash!

After receiving a comment on a recent post from Kaitlyn of isavirtue I checked out her blog and shopping site on Etsy and immediately fell in  love with her gorgeous homemade stationery. I also discovered that Kaitlyn and I have a lot in common:
  • she lives in Victoria, BC and I spent 5 years there 
  • she works for a well known BC artist whom I also know. I used to work for an art publishing company that published his work into art cards.
  • she has worked in many art galleries in Victoria as did I
  • she is a big fan of letter writing and well.......
  • and she came upon TLWR when she ran into a woman who is a friend of mine from years ago
 Here is a little peek at one of a few of the styles I purchased:

Now, my next new favourite is the complete opposite of Kaitlyn's gorgeous creations. Last summer I received a letter from Stephanie G. and she happily described that the paper that she wrote her words upon (and that I was holding in my hands) was made from elephant poo. What? Did she just say, "Elephant poo?" Yes, folks, there is even writing paper made from the dung of Sri Lankan elephants. Recently, I learned that a local shop carries many products made from the elephant poo......journals, notebooks, writing paper, envelopes and more. I visited Earth Rocks yesterday in Eganville, Ontario and bought this gorgeous writing set.
Elephant poo paper and a smashing carrying case!
The carrying case is made from the paper as well and covered with material from a Sri Lankan Princess' dress. I just think this writing paper is the coolest. No trees were harmed in the production of this paper! You can visit Earth Rock's store if you live in the Ottawa Valley or you can order the elephant writing sets online from their website for only $15. Earth Rocks also carries several lines of earth friendly cleaning products, laundry soaps, teas, cosmetic lines, men's products, jewelery, personal items, candles/incense, cloth diapers and swimming bottoms and other earth-respectful items. I think these writing paper sets (which, by the way, are hard to find these days) would make an inexpensive gift to your letter writing friends.

These are just two of my latest finds. If you like them ,too, then take a gander over to isavirtue and Earth Rocks and see what else they have to offer. Let me know about your favourite stationery that you have discovered.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Letters To Read On The Plane

I took my first plane ride when I was 19 years old. My older sister had invited me to travel with her and a friend to Europe. We planned to leave in early November and spend three months backpacking across the British Isles and western Europe. I had never flown before and was starting to feel really anxious about the whole thing. My sweet father decided to give me a test flight before departing for Amsterdam. He bought two return tickets from Ottawa to Toronto. We flew to Toronto and landed within an hour from take-off, had a beer in the airport lounge and then flew back to Ottawa a couple of hours later. It did the trick! I LOVED flying and felt so incredibly privileged for the opportunity to see the world from the sky.

Our departure date (Nov. 7th 1990) arrived and my sister and I (with a friend) boarded a KLM flight to Amsterdam. Once we were settled into our seats and had soared high up into the sky, my sister and I eagerly opened the handwritten letters given to us by our parents to be read on the plane. Little did we know that this small gesture would become a family tradition.

After that trip, every flight I took whether it be from Victoria to Ottawa or Ottawa to Victoria when I was living away from home, my boyfriend (and eventually husband) and family members would always slip a note into my bag "to read on the plane." I also wrote letters to my sister, Stephanie, when she flew to France for a student exchange as a teenager and again when she flew to Belfast, Ireland to attend a year of university. I have written letters for my husband when he flew to Ottawa from Victoria to start a new job and when he flew to Toronto on business. I wrote letters for my dad to read on the plane when he has travelled to Nepal, Africa and New Zealand and countless other places.

This morning, my niece Sarah, who is 12 years old, boarded a plane for her very first big trip away from home. She is travelling to Arizona and Nevada for a week and a bit with my parents. When she was only six weeks old, my dad gave her a book called, "I See Something Grand" which he had picked up during a trip to the Grand Canyon. She was his first grandchild and inside the book, he wrote her a note promising to take her to see the Grand Canyon when she 12 years old or so. And now he is.

My letter to read on the plane was lengthy and talked about the excitement of visiting new places and talking with the locals and trying out new food and seeing new sights. I told her about her mother's travelling bug and how her mother had travelled to Europe, Asia and Australia before she settled down to have children. I told her that she may get bitten by the travel bug after this trip. I enclosed a photo of her mom and I in 1990 on our first big trip away from home. My younger sister, Stephanie, as well as Sarah's mom, also wrote her letters to read on the plane.
My sister and I in Galway Bay (1990) on our way to the Aran Islands, Ireland
This family tradition of writing letters to be read on the plane is one that is now continuing into the next generation. It is never too late to start a tradition like this one. If your spouse travels a lot with business, start writing him or her a note (long or short) that (s)he has to wait on opening until (s)he is high in the sky.
Although I don't get the opportunity to travel much anymore, I know that when I do, I still look forward to these little messages of farewell and bon voyage!

Friday, March 4, 2011

TLWR In The News

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from CTV-Ottawa (Canadian Television's Ottawa station) asking me if I would be open to an interview regarding my blog about letter writing. "Of course!" was my reply. That afternoon, a reporter and a cameraman arrived at my home and spent an hour filming and interviewing me about The Letter Writing Revolution. If you live in the Ottawa area, tune in on March 21st and 22nd when CTV-Ottawa's 6pm news will feature a two-part series on The Lost Arts. The piece about TLWR will be the first segment. If you do not live in this area, I will hopefully be able to link to it so that you, too, can view the piece.

Then last week, after I spent the better part of the morning with Lisa, our favourite Canada Post Letter Carrier, I was interviewed for our local newspaper, The Whitewater Cobden Sun. After the owner of the paper read some of my favourite posts, she turned to me and said, "Let's just forget about the interview. You need your own column!" Now, that was a surprise and rather hilarious form my standpoint. Originally, she thought I could feature weekly articles about The Letter Writing Revolution but then we speculated that  people might get bored very quickly about letter writing only soooooooo........

The first installment of "Judicious Jabber" by Julie Keon will be in next week's paper. The second installment will be about letter writing and then after that.........your guess is as good as mine.

My dry spell is over and letters are leaving and arriving........we're back in business.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Day in The Life

I received these photos taken by Lisa, the Canada Post letter carrier, who I wrote about in Monday's post. She wanted to illustrate a typical wintry day delivering mail. These photos were taken on Monday. As I was cozy in my home writing about my day spent with Lisa, she was trudging through a blizzard with a bad head cold, getting the mail out as usual.

As I trudged through the snow on my way to the gym, I thought of Lisa trudging through the snow on her mail route. I could empathize and I hoped her customers were thinking of her as well.