Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stampede for handwritten letters

There is nothing more personal than a handwritten note and nothing more exciting than finding one in your letterbox. Receiving an envelope that has somehow made its way to your home after being pushed into a red box on the side of a street many miles away is miraculous in itself.

They say letterwriting is a dying art, and while I'd like to believe it isn't true, I've recently realised that it is indeed on its way out. I want to dig my heels in and revolt! Helping my mum sort through years of old cards and letters recently highlighted how much communication has changed. It was such a delight to read all the letters from her mum and gran who have long since left the earth. The letters were obviously written in place of expensive "STD" phone calls. They contained so many tidbits that it was obvious they hadn't had a telephone conversation in a number of weeks, if not more. There was always a plee to receive a reply to hear about one thing or another. Imagine only hearing sporadic updates on exciting family developments, like how your new grandchild is settling into life outside of the womb?! 

The thing I enjoyed most about trauling through boxes of letters from my ancestors was seeing their handwriting. I feel a little pang whenever I see the handwriting of someone who is no longer living. Handwriting is so personal and, to me, such a special reminder of a person. How can their writing "voice" and their unique letter formations remain, but they don't?

My answer to keeping handwriting and letterwriting alive is to get some rubber stamps. They give letters that vintage edge and they make sending letters fun. Back in my pen pal days, I used stickers to jazz up my writing paper and I dreamed of having an address sticker! It's been a long time coming, but I've finally realised my dream in the form of a rubber stamp. With some inspiration from vintage-look Cavallini & Co stamps and some much appreciated help from talented designer Ros, I now have this little gem that is a real highlight of becoming a home-owner:

Coupled with a wooden alphabet stamp set ($24.95) from another of my favourite shops, kikki.k, I've been able to make little cards to give to friends and family (see top photo). It even comes with four colours of ink, so I can match the stamps with my writing paper. Whoop!

Oh, the small joys. That's what life's all about, right?

Stockist notes:
I've seen Cavallini & Co stamps at the heavenly Zetta Florence stores in Fitzroy and Armadale, Victoria (a feast for your eyes and you must go if you live in or visit Melbourne), Dymocks bookstores and my favourite Castlemaine shop, Malmaison (no trip to the Central Victorian Goldfields is complete without a peek in this magnifique gift and homewares store).

kikki.k sells Swedish home/office products through their stores around Australia and New Zealand and online.

My address stamp is 21mm x 51mm and was made by Swift Rubber Stamps in the Melbourne CBD. Send them your artwork file by email and they can post it to you (handwritten envelope cannot be guaranteed :). Otherwise, Google "rubber stamp manufacturers" closer to home. As I was able to pick my stamp up, it came in a brown paper bag with the words "Ellise $25.99" handwritten on the front. Je t'adore Swift!

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