For the Lost Art of Letter Writing

This Letter Writing Kit was made for those of us “born in the wrong century”! It is “All things Austen!!” With this kit, you or a loved one will be able to spend time relaxing and enjoying an almost ” Lost Art” of writing letters in the style of Jane Austen. Enjoy sealing your letter with a real wax seal and using all the Jane Austen themed ephemera! And while you are at it … Enjoy a cup of tea courtesy of me!

It contains:

1. Mini ceramic wax seal ( current stock: heart enclosed in a wreath).
2. 1 wax stick
3. Variety of Jane Austen Themed Stickers
4. 1 set (6) of Jane Austen Silhouette Stickers
5. 1 gorgeously illustrated ( from the beloved novel: Pride and Prejudice) blank note card/ envelope
6. 1 Unique, fill in the blank, Jane Austen Letter Writing Society Mail Tag card
7. 2 blank note cards/ with envelopes to decorate
8. 2 sheets of Victorian mailing labels
9. 2 Jane Austen quote post cards
10. 1 log book to record correspondence
11. Sample of Bakers Twine
12. Sample of craft lace or ribbon
13. 4 mini , stamped envelopes ( to hold a tea bag)
14. 1 vintage themed rubber stamp
15. An assortment of vintage die cuts ephemera
16. 2 large dimensional stickers ,includes 1 large oval Jane Austen Silhouette
17. 4 small doilies
18. 4 vintage circle letter seals
19. 1 package of “Forget -Me -not” seeds just for sentimental sake!
20. 1 roll of vintage paper or fabric tape

Source: On Sale Jane Austen letter writing kit letter by LostArtRevived

What Do You Write on a Postcard??

The first picture Postal Card was Sent as a Joke!

The Origin of the Modern Post Card

In 1840 the British author Thomas Hook made a post card with caricatures of postal workers on it. It was meant to amuse and irritate the workers as it went through the mail. I imagine it did, I am sure he got a lot of attention.

Hook didn’t send it out to anyone else, he addressed it to himself, so he could be sure of having a grin and a chuckle at the end of the process.

From – What Do You Write on a Postcard?

This post has suggestions from humour to writing a mini journal. All good ideas. What do you tend to write on a postcard? Do you only send them when you’re travelling?

Postcards are also a nice way to give someone personal mail (a letter) without having to say a lot. Nice when you’re trying to be nice and send a personal note to someone you don’t know very well.

How would you write a postcard to a Great-Aunt you’ve never met?

Google Marketing and Dear Webmaster Letters

Have you had an email asking you to remove a link? There are various reasons someone might ask you to remove a link, some are practical and make sense. Often it’s about a copyrights issue. The new trend I’ve noticed is the request to remove a link for Google.

You get a Dear Webmaster letter, not so unlike a Dear John letter about a century ago during the World Wars. Don’t take offense, it’s just marketers trying to please (or scare) their clients. They don’t really know what they are doing.

A Dear Webmaster letter:removelinksforGoogleThis is the second email (this year) which I have had asking me to remove my link to a site. Not for the reason you would expect. It’s not about how I mentioned the link, or that I linked in a bad way at all. Actually, the link was just an additional resource when I had written about a relevant topic.

Long ago I was asked to remove a link to Starbucks. But, this was back in the very early days. Starbuck’s concern was about their privacy online. That was so long ago everything was still new and no one knew what to make of the Internet and the very earliest websites, networks and web logs. (Yes, bloggers was not even an accepted word yet).

This time, I was asked to remove a link because the company was concerned about Google’s algorithm.  They are not interested in being part of a post, relevant to their content. Their focus is Google, not readers.

To me it is ironic that Google made their latest changes in order to get online content to change from spam created to please Google into writing created to please readers. But, some people do not quite make that connection. Instead they are just trying to turn things around to be what will please Google.

Today I read something where they decided the biggest problem for brands now is to create content people will want to share on social media.

They still don’t get it either.

Google and social media are software, basically. Software does not have a lot of buying power all on it’s own. It needs people with credit cards, online banking or some other method of making payment for goods and services.

Why don’t businesses/ companies still understand they need to attract people – not software?

Each time I think they’ve got it… it just passes them by… like a ship in the night fog.

Anyway, I did remove the link, as requested. It was actually listed once on a blog I moved to a new domain (in one post but showed up on several links with indexing). If any of the people who did this research on what Google likes actually understood how links and blogs work, they would have known that. But, that would be a waste of time when they can do so much automatically with software and then send out a form letter, with more software.

If they had actually checked any of the links, manually, they would have found them all 404. Still on Google, but not actually on the web. I wonder what kind of automatic form letter they will send Google’s bot?

I’m sure there are some marketers who will just never, ever get it.

PS- I was irritated that they want me to respond when I have accommodated them so they can take me off their list rather than nagging at me again. Just in case you wondered… removing a link for this reason (for Google marketing) is not something you are obligated to do. The link is public knowledge and my post was almost ten years old (from 2005). So, if you don’t feel very accommodating when you get a note like this… just ignore it. I just think it’s silly because the first note I got (for a different site) was from a company which had paid me for the link. See how backwards it all is?

I will likely continue to remove links when requested. Why not? It takes me a half minute to edit the post and I don’t mind not giving another site the promotion if they don’t want it when it’s free. Maybe later they can pay me for another link.

Love Letter Writers

love letter writers
I was a letter writer until my last older relative died, the Grandmothers and their sisters. I did write to my Grandfather sometimes but it was mainly the women who wrote back and gave me more reason to write back. It is much easier to reply to something in a letter than to break out fresh inspiration each time all by yourself.

However, not everyone answered my letters and I would not have known they actually liked them if it weren’t for my Mother and others who knew the older women I wrote to. Maybe they didn’t know what to say to reply back to a grandchild they would only see a few times a year. Weddings, births and funerals as they say, but I would see my Grandparents at family holidays too.

Writing a letter seems simple enough when you decide to start one. Then the blank page… it just sits there so untouched and unhelpful.

So how do you start a letter?

Salutations! Greetings are a simple place to start. A simple Hello gets you into the letter writing process. Address them by name or title (I went with Aunt Emma, the title and the name, when I wrote to the older ladies). You would likely write something else if you were writing to someone you knew on a casual basis.

Next, remind them who you are in some way. Just like leaving a phone message, you tell people who you are and why you are calling. This is pretty much the same when you put your message into print too. Simply give your own name and title (in the family letters I was usually Diane’s daughter or Violet’s granddaughter). Then say you are writing to see how they are, let them know how Christmas/ Thanksgiving/ Easter/ etc went with your family… there are endless reasons you can think up as the purpose of your letter. (You don’t have to say you’re writing because you thought they might be feeling old, lonely or left out).

At this point you start the real letter, the actual content, like a leap out into space. Don’t get tangled up – just talk about your day. The ordinary occurrences can be far more interesting than you think.

Next paragraph, talk about whatever you said you were actually writing about, your reason for the letter. I don’t start with that. If you get right to the point in a letter you seem to be pressed for time, unsocial and not really wanting to connect with your letter reader. With the older ladies this was especially important. I didn’t want them to think someone had told me I had to write to them. No one had, it was all my own idea.

The body of your letter can go on for as long as you can think of some bit of this and that to write about. Often as I get started I think of several things I can mention in the letter. Trivial stuff is fine. Life is made up of the little things.

Don’t ever forget to ask about your letter reader, how are they doing, what are they doing? Ask questions in the body of your letter too. Make it interactive. It’s not likely you will get your questions answered, not all of them, but it does give your letter the feeling of being directed to the reader rather than your own personal monologue to no one in particular.

When you are reading to end your letter, or when you realize you’re close to running out of paper to write on, give some kind of conclusion to the whole thing. Wrap it up with a bow. Something simple like: I hope this letter gets to you before Christmas. After all, it is traditional for letter writers to talk about the post office and the cost and reliability of mailing a letter.

Sign off with your name. Dating your letter is optional – but you never know where it might turn up far in the future when some relative picks up an interest in family history.

Don’t forget to actually mail the letter.

I usually pick an interesting stamp too. Sometimes I get into mail art as well and doodle/ draw on the envelope before I mail it out into the big, wide world.

10 Day Letter Challenge

10 DAY LETTER CHALLENGE

10 day letter challenge

day 1. write a letter to your past self.

day 2. write a letter to your your future self

day 3. write a letter to your parents

day 4. write a letter to your siblings

day 5. write a letter to your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush

day 6. write a letter to your best friend

day 7. write a letter to a stranger

day 8. write a letter to someone you’ve been thinking about lately

day 9. write a letter to someone that changed your life

day 10. write a letter to yourself

via 10 day letter challenge – Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges!.

Modern Chain Mail

modern chain mail

Do you remember old fashioned chain mail, the promises of fame fortune and death threats to you and your family (loved ones)?

Modern chain mail has taken a new twist. Now we have to reply, friend and follow people in order to save the world or at least save the life of someone deathly ill or suicidal.

At least these are easier to ignore. It was kind of spooky not sending on those old, retro chain letters. I always did feel creepy about throwing them out… just in case something did happen.  These modern chain letters all sound just too phoney to me. How can I possibly save this boy from committing suicide just by passing this along to strangers, from strangers. So I don’t feel even a twinge of creepiness.

But… could you use a modern chain letter and come up with a really creepy story, something unique?

Play a Game that Begins With…

From Facebook this morning:

Let’s play a game. I have been given the letter “D” by Name not included

Something I hate: Dumbasses

Something I love: Dreams

Some where I have been: Detroit

Somewhere I’d like to go: Dubai

Someone I know: Dianne Bushell Best film: Devils wears Pradha

Like my status and I’ll give you a letter.

The idea is you are given a letter by the person who had this posted on their Facebook page. Then you find answers for each of the topics but they must start with the letter you were given.

Something I hate: rudeness

Something I love: red

Some where I have been: Revelstoke, BC

Somewhere I’d like to go: Russia

Someone I know: (I can’t think of anyone with an R name. Will probably come up with something an hour after I post this).

Best film: (I’m not that into film).

Write your own Christmas Newsletter

ascii art angelI admit I don’t write and send a Christmas newsletter every year. Often I have it started, get it written, find the art to put inside and then I don’t get it mailed in time. Or, I get stalled out somewhere along the way. So, the best I do is send Christmas cards and try not to feel bad about not getting the newsletter finished and mailed out in time. But, the years I did work everything out and send the Christmas newsletter (inside the standard, yet cheerful, Christmas cards) were good years and I had the feeling of a job well done and having done a good deed.

Who to Send the Newsletter To

The first people I send a newsletter to are those who are a bit isolated among family and friends. Elderly and singles can feel disconnected from friends and family at this time of year. I think it’s important to make them feel included. If you want them to come for Christmas dinner or meet for coffee over the holidays, add a personal invitation to the newsletter.

If you want a newsletter for people who don’t really have a personal connection to you (like business connections or people you know online) send an edited down version, with less personal information about you and your comings and goings.

Consider the people you are sending the newsletter to and decide how much you really want them to know. Why not boast a bit if things are going well? If you don’t go too far, stick to the facts, the people who know you should feel happy for you. Encourage people to write back about their own great moments and events so you can add them to the newsletter for next year.

Never write a pity letter. The holiday season is about good cheer. Find yours before you start to write. The only people you might want to send a whiny letter to are your parents, maybe.

How to Create the Newsletter

Creating a holiday newsletter is fun. It’s a chance to find my Christmas spirit early. I look for holiday images and think up something to write about whatever we are doing for the holidays. Sometimes I find great seasonal quotes too.

In a non-digital way, I like to make the newsletter in the retro zine publishing way: glue, clippings from magazines and I hand write at least some part of them. It’s too much to write them all by hand, but you can stash in a few sentences or at least hand write the salutations for each one.

Add a recent photo of yourself and family. Take a photo in the middle of summer with everyone wearing antlers if you plan ahead that far. Pick something you do, like a sport or a hobby and make that the focus of the photo. There’s no reason the photo(s) need to be seasonal or holiday photos. Make a cake and decorate it for Christmas, get everyone’s face around the cake and use that as a holiday photo. Take pictures of your family (or yourself) making paper snowflakes, snow angels outside or pulling the Christmas decorations out of storage. You don’t need “deer in the headlights” posed photos.

How to Write the Newsletter

If you tend to babble once you put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) read it over the next day, or the next week. Decide if you really want to tell EVERYONE that much about yourself, your plans and what you’ve been doing. Consider the person you least wnat to communicate with… do you really want them to have all that information?

If you can’t think of anything to say, recruit help. As your direct family (husband, kids, parents, siblings) what they have planned for Christmas and include that. Or, interview yourself. Write out a set of impersonal sort of questions and then answer them. Or, include more photos and less text, if you really can’t write about yourself. Add captions or some explanation to go with the photos. Let people know what they are seeing.

Three paragraphs of text should be plenty. Stick to one side of a full sheet of paper, add images and illustrations. If you have kids they can decorate the back of the newsletter with their own drawings. But a newsletter doesn’t need to be continued on the next page, one page with about 200 words is just fine. You may add personal notes to individuals if you have the time and interest. Just make sure you get those sent in the right envelopes.

How to Mail the Newsletter

Sending the newsletter via email is the fact that it’s impersonal and defeats the purpose of connecting with people and making them feel valued and important. There is a very different feeling to having a real newsletter made with pictures glued to it, hand written (versus typed) and opening an email file to see what someone made with their computer. It lacks the personal touch. Email never has been great when it comes to sharing emotion, feeling and atmosphere.

Weight and packaging. If you plan to mail it out you can’t create a newsletter which won’t easily slip into the envelope or cost too much to mail out. Think light if you want to add extras. Also, don’t add anything which could poke a hole through the envelope. Light and flat.