Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Universal Letter Writing Week (& Contest!)

When is the last time you wrote a letter to a friend? Not an email, not a note tucked into a package, but a real letter. How many people have never seen your handwriting?

I have to admit, my answers to these questions are pretty sad. Like most people, my life moves quickly and letter writing is one of those things that gets left behind. How about you?

But now it's January. The holiday rush is behind you. Slow your life down a bit and take time to write a few letters. Grab a cup of coffee or tea or cocoa and sit down with a pen and some nice stationery or a card or two. Make it special. Take a few minutes to find your favorite pen. For me, using the right pen makes all the difference. Now, who would really appreciate a letter from you? An old friend? A family member? Maybe someone who has never even seen your handwriting? If you can't do it now, in the bleak days of January, when will you be able to do it? Sip your tea, think about the recipient, and take a few minutes to write to them. Fight the electronic age and multi-tasking for 30 minutes.

My dear friend Mary was a strong advocate for letter writing. She used to take a box of her homemade cards to work. She'd park the box in the employee lounge with a note that said "FREE CARDS." All she asked was that they use the card to write to someone. Help me honor Mary's memory by writing a letter to someone you care about this week.

Ok, and beyond helping you slow your life down for a few minutes this week, I have another motive. I do happen to sell some very nice cards in my Etsy shop :) If you're looking for inspiration, perhaps purchasing a few pretty cards will help!

And now for the contest....
To celebrate Universal Letter Writing Week I will be giving away a set of my "The Art of Writing Letters" artist trading cards. The set of four cards feature artistamps from my issuing authority, Craneland, a fictional island in Lake Erie. The four cards would be great framed separately (in tiny frames) or as a set. As you may know, artist trading cards (ATCs) are little works of art that are meant to be traded, never sold. You can't purchase them, but you can win them!

To enter, just add a comment to this post. ULW week runs from January 8 through January 15. You have until midnight (EST) on January 15 to enter. Shortly after that, I will hold a drawing for the winner. I will contact the winner for their address. Good luck!

Visit katydiddy's blog for more info on ULW week and links to other blogs that are celebrating!


katydiddy said...

Oh your cards are wonderful! I love the sweet story about Mary too. Thanks so much for joining the party.

Cesia said...

Great blog!

- Cesia.

reinaswan said...

This is some good advice. I have been wanting to write an old friend but have been putting it off

Iberostar said...

You know, I was thinking the same thing! I put a box of cards on my desk in front of the monitor pedestal and I've written four letters already - one to my brother-in-law who just had by-pass surgery, one to a dear friend in Australia, one to my aunt and one to my god-daughter. I'd love to be included in the drawing!

Tammy said...

I love that you shared this ULW idea! I will get on it and send out some letters! I love getting letters, but don't get them or send them often!

Off to start my list!

Tammy (aka Scout Pinky)

Metallyptica said...

Oh my god, someone that shares my love for writting letters!! I had no ideia such a week started today, but I'm really happy that I found that out and I'll surely honour this week by writting a few letters!!

I love writting letters or at least cards!! I love it!! Specially when I do create the cards I'm using!! :)

I have a very close friend who had just moved to a place in the country that is unreacheble to me if not by plane and he is really missing out everyone here, so I sad to my boyfriend that we should start writting him every month and so I guess this month it will be this week!!

Your ATCs are great, as every piece of art you do, so I'll be damn pleased if I win!!

Thanks for letting me know about this week!! :)

confettiny said...

Most people only put their name on their Christmas cards.
I always give an update of my life and fill the remaining space writing about combined interests.
This way I maintain a mutual bond with my own handwriting.

Trix from the Netherlands

nikki/WhiMSy love said...

Happy Letter Writing Week! (Saw your link on katydiddys blog.)
I love your story about Mary.
Love your cards too!
I'm gonna go party now with my stationery...

Deb said...

Hi Heather - Thanks for the letter writing inspiration. One of my 'main' art things is notecards --so I love that you're promoting letter writing!

I love your blog --and those hats you made for Christmas gifts are awesome. I never learned to knit very well --knitted about ten rows of plain knit and purl once. Much to slow a process for me! I do love to crochet however!

Enjoyed your blog! I'll be back to visit again!
Deb (aka beyondhope of the sharpie scouts!) (haven't done much trading...gotta get in gear!)

Off to write a letter...

Occams Scissors said...

Reminds me of the Pen Pals we had as kids :)
I just donated 100 handmade cards (with envelopes and a roll of stamps of course) to a local shelter for those that come in for services. They come in with almost nothing and I figured they may need to contact someone to let them know they are ok now, or a thank you to a friend that helped them out, or so many other reasons.
I have always had trouble writing things on a personal level, business letters are easy for me. I do like random acts of kindness though and like to mail those out, so much better then junk mail :)

Sandra Williams said...

I love your post about letter writing and especially your friend Mary - it was very sweet.

The Eclectic Studio

altermyworld said...

HI I have a penpal that i write to once a month . I write my sister at least once a week. I love to write letters. I will honour dear mary with a letter to my mom this week.

Wabbit said...

I saw your topic and thought, When on earth does Heather find the time for all she does?!?!???" I love this post! You are soooooo right! I don't even like to write anymore because now I've been typing so long that my handwriting is icky. It's time to sit down with some quality creamy-colored paper and a nice pink pen and write a letter to someone besides my journal. Thank you! Marilyn

Gene Black said...

Ohhhm I wrote a letter this very week. Letter writing is very rare these days. I need to do it more often.

Fat & Fabulous said...

This is really a great idea, and what a wonderful way to honor your good friends memory. I used to have penpals growing up as a kid, and I have several events that I just found out about that are deserving of a letter!

I will definently do this.

Welcome to the ATC Group!
AKA idratherbescrappin' AKA Fat & Fabulous AKA Fabulously Fractured Feline

RenMeleon said...

Hey sweetie! :::hugs::: Do NOT enter me in the contest since I already have all of your Art of Letter Writing series :::muwahahahaha::: and I can vouch for how gorgeous they are in person. Mine are going to be framed soon too. :)

Just wanted to pop in and tell you that I think this is a great idea and that I hope it is an infectious one! I wasn't aware it was letter writing week !!! so I am definitely going to post something, maybe I'll run a contest too and you can come play! hehe

I had TONS of pen friends growing up and have been encouraging my daughter to do the same as I get her into swapping. At one point, I had 117 penfriends through a group out of California. Thank God they didn't all write me at once, but sending out Christmas cards got expensive! LOL

I loved going to the mailbox and that exquisite feeling of finding something from one of them inside. Looking forward to rekindling that age old art that I love so much. Keep an eye out on my blog [ www.renmeleon.com/wordpress ] and the lists...hmm, card sets, maybe a letter writing gift basket!

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

Fabulous idea and the cards look great!

purplemajic said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement - I think we all need to be aware of how much a hand-written card or letter means to the people we care about.

Last night I dreamt about a dear friend of mine that lives in Australia (I'm in New Zealand), and in October I visited him for the first time in 10 years. I've been meaning to send him a thank-you card (he picked me and my daughters up from the airport, and taxied us around when we stayed for a few days), but I haven't got around to it. We used to correspond regularly, but with both of us on the net now, our letters have dried up - and it must be time for me to start again!

I think my dream, and your reminder about ULW Week, is the universe reminding me that I need to keep in contact with him - so thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Lynette (aka Scout dalsmum)

ps ... I love your blog - your knitted hats are gorgeous!!!

Kathleen said...

Great idea, Heather! We should all write each other more often! (easier said than done, I'm afraid, but less time on the computer would make more time for letter writing :~)!

Lori said...

Your art and idea is fabulous. I had the same thought about writing old friends during the holidays. I only wish my handwriting was easier to read. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dancing Faerie said...

I visited...I write in a pen pal club often.

Anonymous said...

So glad you're promoting ULW! I have several snail mail pals, though not as many as I once did! Kristina from artinthemail and bookartz

Monica Yvette said...

I've been following the letter writing trail all the way back from Katydiddy and Innocent Charms blogs because I love the idea of writing letters more. Your cards and blog are beautiful! Count me in the drawing if it's not too late!

Mamameo said...

Wow! I am glad I found you!! I am also a ULW advocate and even have a swap via SB "A Letter for Me, #17." This is our 17th handwritten letter swap and I absolutely love how many people are out there in the world that also love the art of letterwriting. Since I have just read your post, I too am going to write a letter to my best friend in college..she'll be suprised. Glad I found you!!!

Anonymous said...

I love receiving a real letter in the mail! I use e-mail all of the time too but nothing beats a real letter read while snuggled up under a blanket. Thanks for reminding us of this simple joy.

a~iek said...

Great blog and awesome work! Thanks for the link on the treasury site you set up

Heather said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments! I'm so happy to nudge everyone a bit to write a letter this week.

Anonymous said...

Wrote 2 letters today because of you and boughht some way cool stamps at the post office because of the letters.

Rebecca said...

Heather, thanks for posting about this on Art for Cures!! I first mailed my letter, THEN posted about it in my blog, linking both you and katydiddy, and now I'm commenting to both of you! I needed to make sure the promise was fulfilled before I made it. ;-) I LOVE this challenge. I used to write letters all the time, doodling all over them, collaging into them, adding flat things like cartoons from the newspaperor other odd ephemera related to the recipient. But life and other rationalizations got in the way. I have really lovely script, too, something people frequently comment on -- it's one of the things people like to get about my letters! So I've set myself a new challenge. It's on the calendar. I'm going to send at least one letter every month this year, and make it my new habit. Perhaps it will grow to more than one letter, who knows? But it really felt good to send this letter. I loved the tactile nature of the activity, adding the creative bits, and imagining the reaction of my friend who will recieve the small treasure. I'd love to win your prize, but I figure I've already won, either way. Thanks again for the heads up!

Rebecca (SunSpotting)