Letter Writing

I had a bunch of cute stationary, and in that collection was some I made myself with rubber stamps and coloured papers.  But in the last year when I was madly purging everything for the move to Malaysia, that stationary went to a thrift shop.  I wasn’t going to be using it in Malaysia, and keepting stationary in storage for 2 years just seemed silly.

And then the two disasters happened at once, my godson was incarcerated, and we weren’t going to Malaysia.  Well, not going to Malaysia has turned out not to be a disaster for several reasons, but the reasons I won’t be going are pretty awful.  But anyway, my godson…. he wants letters. He can’t get email or text messages.  And I had hardly any paper the house at all- printer paper, mostly.  Scrap paper.  Origami paper.  But all stationary and extra blank journals and notebooks had been purged.  I could type him some letters, but that seemed impersonal.  I tore out some pages from the back of journals I was using. I even used a couple pages torn out of the back of an old journal where I kept notes from my oceanography and zoology courses in college- it had not been purged because I loved those closses very much, and because the notebook was purchased in Japan and I liked the style. It was like our black and white composition notebooks, except it was a sturdy, well sewn hard-back.   That notebook is 33 years old.  I finally decided to go shopping for some new stationary since I am writing to him often.


My friends, nobody sells stationary anymore.  They sell thank-you cards, but I could not find blank notecards at any of my usual places. I couldn’t find notepads of pastel sheets of paper such as I used to use for stationary.  I found rows and rows of thank-you cards, which is apparently the primary occasion anybody sends out batches of letters.  Eventually, I found something at Tuesday Morning, but it was floral and girly, which is fine for me, but I wanted something else for my godson.  I did find some cute things at Current online when I remembered that it existed- I liked a set of cards with colourful birds on a wire, trees at the edges, and a spot to personalize with your name. I was going to personalize with “All of God’s Children” instead.  But then they wanted five or six dollars for shipping, so I didn’t.


I found some things at Amazon, and I’m still looking for exactly what I want.  I can’t tell you, I will just know when I see it.  I saw some pretty Chinese brush painting designs in the pads with matching envelopes style I used to buy for a couple dollars.  It was 8 dollars.  Is this where I snarl at people to get off my lawn and tell long stories about how things were different when I was young and you could buy candy bars for a dime?

I found a lot of things on Amazon, and that’s where I will probably be buying my stationary, but I really prefer to touch and handle stationary before I buy it.  It needs to feel and smell just right.

I’ve decided that when I am writing my godson in the old-fashioned way, I will also occasionally send the grandbabies a note as well, and maybe some other friends here and there.I do understand why hardly anybody snailmails anybody these days, .55 for a stamp alone could do it.  But there is something special about having a tangible, pretty, personally written note in your friend’s handwriting that you can keep and read again years later if you wanted to.

Whatabout y’all?  Any of y’all hand write letters? What are your favourite sources of stationary supplies?

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  1. Tracy
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I am NOT a letter writer, but I have one friend who homesteads and isn’t online anymore, so this is the best way to correspond with her. I’m terrible at it. I much prefer updating people via a cute FB post with a few pictures attached. But I will keep trying, for her sake!

  2. Frances
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    (discreet cough) stationery.

    Handwriting is terrible these days – was never great but arthritis et al…

    Mostly I just use printer paper if needed.

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 29, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      My hands do get tired by the second page, and sometimes they ache. But as long as he’s there… And thanks for the correction. I do think spellcheck does me no favours when it comes to homonymns.

  3. Sarah D.
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I have gotten packs of blank cards at Michaels (they have large packs of cards with envelopes – 6 different patterns/colors of cards in each pack) I think they’re on sale right now for some ridiculous discount. Sometimes they are labeled with words, but other times there are just colors or patterns on the cards.

    Also I just wanted to say that you have been on my heart and mind. I have been following your blog for a long time and I really admire your writing and insight. I especially enjoyed your time in the Philippines, as my husband and I spent 7 years in Indonesia as missionaries, and your tidbits about the Philippines brought up so many memories for me of our time in SouthEast Asia. I pray that God will give you strength and peace as you negotiate this unthinkably difficult time in your life.

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Thank-you so much! I hope that God will make a way for me to return to the Philippines some time, even if it is just for a visit. I miss it very much.

  4. Posted January 29, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I can’t hand-write letters anymore. It’s just too hard with arthritis. I have a friend I write to regularly. While she sends me lovely handwritten letters, she has to settle for my typewritten ones. In the end, it’s what’s inside that counts.

  5. Allison R
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I stock up on blank notecards of various types when I see them at thrift store, often works out to just pennies per card – check the place where you donated yours, you might be able to buy them back 🙁

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 29, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Mine are long gone. In fact, some of them I had picked up at thrift stores in the past. I have checked at thrift shops a few times and haven’t found anything, but I do always check the office supply area just because.

  6. Lisa Beth W.
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Well, here in Canada I usually go to the dollar store for notepaper or cards. Don’t know if your dollar stores would be any help?

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 29, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      The two I checked had… Thank-you cards.

  7. 6 arrows
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Hobby Lobby has stationery. https://www.hobbylobby.com/search/?text=stationery

    On the Kraft Lace Stationery I hand-wrote a letter to my daughter and gave it to her on her wedding day. There are a few others at the link that would be fitting to use for letters to your godson.

    I wish letter-writing was done more these days. There’s a treasure trove to be found in old letters, and we’re just not producing much of that these days.

    My brother recently got a phone call from the granddaughter of a woman who had dated the uncle we never met. (He died in WWII at the age of 19.) In going through her now-deceased grandmother’s things, the granddaughter found letters my uncle had written to her grandmother. She’s bringing the letters and pictures and such to our region of the country when she’s visiting in the area next month.

    We also have a letter her grandmother had written my grandparents around Christmas 1944, a few months after my uncle’s death. She wrote with joy that year about celebrating her first Christmas as a Christian.

    It feels like so much more of a personal connection to receive hand-written letters than typed messages. Your godson is blessed.

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 29, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      That phone call! Old letters from your WW1 vet uncle who died too young, like so many- oh that gives me goose bumps. What a treasure!

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 29, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Hobby Lobby! Never would have thought of that. I just go there for yarn.

  8. Juanita
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    My daughter in law got me back into writing letters to her and my grandson regularly. It’s really lovely to be sending and getting letters again.

    It’s really hard to find stationery. I bought a pad of paper at Chapters (Canadian bookstore) but I’d like to be able to get the plain paper sheets and envelopes I used to be able to find.

    My daughter in law gets paper from this subscription service. http://lapapierre.com/ They have a shop on Etsy too. It’s quite nice paper.

  9. Vi
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Here in OH Dollar Tree has lots of blank cards. Packs of 6 or 8 for $1. Usually they have various designs too
    As an avid snail mail writer this has been an amazing discovery. I hope that you have a Dollar Tree near by! Praying for you in this hurricane you are in.

  10. Frances
    Posted January 29, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure you know this, but I just love the description of the furnishings of Ellen’s desk!


  11. Anne M
    Posted January 30, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I find standard printer paper to be too large and intimidating for letter writing, but it works just fine if I decorate an inch or so around each edge. That has the extra benefit of allowing for customization to the season, occasion, recipient, etc.

    Courage and strength to you as you navigate your new now.

  12. Anne-Marie
    Posted January 30, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    My mother-in-law tried to buy stationery for a grandchild who’d asked for it for Christmas. Not only could she not find any, the clerks in the stores didn’t even understand what she was asking for. One of them finally said, “Why don’t you send an email?”

    In my part of the country, craft stores like Michael’s and A.C.Moore have notepaper and blank cards in the papercrafting section, near the rubber stamps.

    Our family writes letters because we have a daughter who is in a convent 500 miles away from us. I find it difficult to remember what I have and haven’t told her. Probably I should start making notes.

  13. Kris Tyree
    Posted January 30, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Writing letters and sending cards are two of my most favoritist things to do. I get cards sometimes from Rod and Staff. They have done nice ones and not too expensive. Out here in Massachusetts we have Christmas Tree Shops, which have notecards and stationery and all sorts of cool pads of paper. My pastors wife is fond of using them as favors fir us at our ladies teas. I’ve actually been wanting to send you an encouraging note but I can’t find the small note I received from you guys a while back that had your address on it, and just felt a bit weird asking you for it.

  14. JoyH
    Posted January 31, 2020 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Try a thrift store. I hear that people donate stationary to them sometimes!

  15. D Martin
    Posted January 31, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, yes!! I had so much stationery as a kid that I saved beyond its usefulness….. waiting for something special enough then outgrowing the style. I must have chunked it. I went looking in the stores for some for my girls….. and NOTHING. My world was jarred.

    Then we spent four years as expats in France and at our local market every few months a stationer came through. He had a table covered in all the most gorgeous stationery I had ever seen. AND he had an ancient embossing tool— a gigantic, heavy thing with a spoke he would emboss up to two initials. Honestly, it probably wasn’t well done— the embossings frequently showed the corners of the blocks and not just the letters. But it didn’t matter. Every time I saw him I stocked up on them for us,(the styles were perhaps too mature for my girls, but better to grow into than out of!) and gifts. And ALWAYS monogrammed. He was a cheerful man and had great patience with my stumbling French. Before we came back to the US, we ran over to Florence. It’s the only place I’ve seen similar stationery. It was three times the price.

    A heartbreaking story. Two christmases ago, I made my girls write thank yous. They chose to write them on postcards, a 100 unique collection of Mary Cicely Barker’s flower fairies. They carefully selected their favorites. They wrote them. They stamped them. They were waiting on me to adresse them. And then we heard the mail truck, and in an idiotic flurry I sent them to put them in the mailbox quick. Hours later my daughter realized: I had never addressed them. I called the post office. I called USPS. I emailed USPS when I could never talk with a person, and trust me, there’s no number to press for ‘I was an idiot and mailed a stack of postcards sans adresses.’ There’s à lost mail warehouse in GA, but these days it only takes packages. Sigh.

    180. I keep thinking there’s such a thing as cutesy Japanese stationery, but searches haven’t turned up much except in all the accessories.

    May the Lord bless you and comfort you.

    • Headmistress
      Posted January 31, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Oh, no. That story of thank-you notes just makes my heart sore. How sad. I am so sorry. It’s exactly the sort of thing I do in a panic and so I can imagine how you must feel.

      I did find these at Amazon: https://amzn.to/36GWXTT

      And these are less girly, just bold stripes and shapes: https://amzn.to/3aYOAGl

      And the graphic sea life design by Papyrus is too cute for words, but also too expensive (nearly a dollar per card/envelope set): https://amzn.to/2Ue7W4l

      And thanks for the encouraging words.

  16. Mama Squirrel
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Yard sales! For gift wrap too.

  17. Mama Squirrel
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    But you knew that anyway.

  18. Sarah
    Posted February 5, 2020 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Check on eBay!

    Also, https://www.victoriantradingco.com/category/cards-stationery has blank cards (and Christmas cards and other types, some of which are on sale), but I don’t think many are very “manly.” I have sometimes had success in Michael’s and other craft stores. Hallmark stores are getting kind of hard to find in my part of the US, but Hallmark does still sell cards and stationery online.

    Office Depot and other office supply stores sometimes have stationery, and I’m thinking places like Ross and Big Lots and other closeout stores might have some?

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