Monthly Archives: September 2012


The month of September has been one of the busier times in my life. Between hosting a wedding ceremony as well as a dance party/taco truck/b-day party for a friend, family visiting from Seattle, and Oliver’s birthday party, this family has been on GO mode. I would not have changed a single thing. But now, I am ready to be still.

The funny part is, I’m not sure this is even realistic in my present life while managing a house filled with three kids. Go figure. However, I will do my best to simplify my life. Some people might react to this thought with “emailing vs. letter writing will sure save you time.” And although they might be right, that’s not part of my master plan. Instead, I will find ways, manageable ways, to keep up with the writing without losing sleep.

Idea #1 – The Document Folio from Letter Writers Alliance

I can’t even begin to tell you how useful this bag became this summer. Between swim lessons, park outings, plane rides, I always had my pouch from LWA on hand when I needed to shoot off a birthday card, thank you note, or generic postcard. The key was to supply it with enough postage, stationery and pens to stock me up for battle.  And this small bag is the perfect size and weight for all I needed.

I also include a tiny address book with all my friends’ & family’s addresses on hand. I found this one at a Minneapolis boutique years ago but they’re not hard to find.

Idea #2 – Buy Postage online

I am happy running errands but these days my time is limited. So, when I enter the neighborhood Post Office to find a line out the door and only one or two postal workers behind the counter, it’s hard to not let out a major sigh and do a 180 (it’s what we get for paying all those bills online). One great solution, which I’ve thought about for awhile but never taken the initiative, is buying stamps online. And lo and behold, it’s the easiest process. The shipping is less than it costs you to drive to the post office.

Once I went online I was blown away by the variety of stamps offered. I had no clue the USPS sells custom stamps which you can’t find in the post office. They’re twice as much as the 45 cent forever stamps but, hey, it does make your letter stand out from the rest of the stack.


The Candy Corn stamps are Ollie’s favorite but I prefer the Autumn Treasures.

Crazy about these Hand Turkey Custom stamps


You can get a jump on your holiday cards by ordering the Santa and Sleigh right now. Talk about simplfying your life. Bring on the snow.

As I go forward with this idea to simplify, finding the time to write cannot be pushed aside. I have this gut feeling…life is not going to be any less crazy even with a slower social schedule. I’m up for the challenge. Let the writing continue.

literary fashion

I have to be honest. I’m not a big Fashion Week follower. It’s all a bit overwhelming for me. But this one caught my eye.


There appears to be a trend in statement sweaters becoming very literal, such as J. Crew’s version for Spring 2013. You can catch a few of them already hitting the streets.

From Miss Selfridge, you’ll definitely be sending out a certain vibe.

Bella Freud 

Although I prefer this writing with a bit of history to it, an homage to Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s legendary love affair.



Since I am a T-shrit and jeans kind of gal, I think I’ll go with this direct statement!


An Instagram Summer

Tomorrow morning, in the midst of the chaos of a dozen 4 year-olds running around our backyard celebrating Oliver’s birthday (hurray for jumpy castles!), I hope to take a moment to breathe in the Fall Equinox, around 9:45 central time to be exact. It’s my favorite time of year, hands down.

This summer raced by with a pregnancy smack dab in the middle of it all. And somewhere along the line I found myself addicted to Instagram. I started using the app solely for brown ink but soon used this magical photo styling device for Brown Family moments.

So as I take in this new season, let’s look back, shall we, on the Summer of 2012’s written mementos.

Art on Eat Street

Love this concept at the new clothing store in Uptown, Motto

Brown Boys selling their hearts out at South Beach

Local & fresh at Kingfield Market

There she goes, our Ms. Beatrice

My daily breakfast in Manzanita, OR

Nothin’ like a handwritten card sent via instagram when your brain is mush due to new babe

If we had one of these in Mpls, this where you would find me

Another top notch market, this one on the Oregon coast

 Homemade goodness from our dear friend Amy

 Love the Moleskin tear sheet wallpaper at The Bachelor Farmer

A day to remember (nice letterpress, Jeani!)

Backyard madness pre-wedding

The Lowenthal-Walsh kids win for Best Original Wedding Gift Wrapping Paper

a few scribbles before Nicky took to the stage for wedding toast (although he never needs notes)

Back to Kingfield we go for some mouthwatering tomatoes

October wedding in Palm Springs, good times to come in the coming month. xo

neighborly stamp

Over the past three years I’ve become friends with Beth, a mother & wife who lives on our block. I’ll share basil from our garden with her and she’ll send her daughter over to play with the boys. She’ll ask what can she pick up for me at Target and I’ll ask her for the inside scoop on teachers at our neighborhood school. It’s a great relationship and one that grows with each season.

Yet, last week when I received both a written Thank You note and a card for Beatrice from Beth, it dawned on me that I had never seen her handwriting before.

Beth is a former teacher so it should have been no surprise that she writes with impeccable cursive, with a bit of D’Nealian. What did take me back was how moved I was to see this new part of her, Beth’s personal stamp, if you will. I had never realized or gave much thought to the fact that her handwriting was unknown to me up until that point. But after seeing it on paper it was another reminder of the value I place on handwriting. It has become personal.

And speaking of helpful neighbors, our friend Bryan, who lives next door, mentioned an article in Monday’s Business section all about the importance of handwriting. It’s a quick read but to sum it up, writer Steve Wilburs states “Students need to learn handwriting, even in this age of texting and keyboarding, because forming the letters by hand — shaping and creating them — slows them down, helps them think more clearly, brings them to a more intimate connection with language, makes them feel more committed to their words and helps them remember what they’ve written.” Thank you, Steve, for reminding us why it is important to keep our writing up, student or not.

Handwriting needs to be looked at as something which shapes our minds as well as what makes us all original. So why not write a quick note to a new friend or someone who has only heard your thoughts in person or via email. Your handwriting makes you unique. Even if your penmanship is not as lovely as Beth’s, it’s your personal mark that they’ll appreciate.

keepin it fresh

In a world where everything has become digital, it’s a welcome surprise to see handwriting popping up in the most unexpected places. Thanks to some brown ink followers, I’ve encountered a few fresh ideas as of late.

The other week I asked my friend Tasya to send me her fantabulous stuffed date recipe and I received the following response…

“I just drew this on Doodle Buddy. With Doodle Buddy you can create awesome drawings on tons of backgrounds and even use cool stamps. Doodle Buddy is available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Check it out at”  Love a gal who’s keeping up with the digital world but still has the time and desire to handwrite. Thanks Tasya! I printed it out and it’s going right in my recipe book – and, of course, the beauty is, now I not only have the recipe but it’s stamped with her personal touch.

Another recent fresh idea came from brown ink’s #1 fan, Jennifer David.

After celebrating my birthday with her and some friends, Jenni sent me this awesome postcard from Postcard on the Run.

It’s a simple iPhone app which turns your pictures into a typed and handwritten postcard. I know, I know, it’s not the same thing as receiving a written letter with enclosed photo or even a handwritten postcard. However, it’s a thoughtful gesture and still encompasses the handwritten note. It get’s my vote.

So before I turn myself in for the afternoon with a nice glass of vino and dinner with our family visiting from Seattle, wanted to give a Shout Out to this weekends Men’s Pop-Up-Shop, NorthernGrade, in NE Minneapolis.

I first wrote about this, now annual, event last fall after noticing the trend in pencils becoming a part of the ‘old school heritage, American made’ vibe. And this year, what I believe is a new vendor, comes Doane Paper selling their stationery which has combined both grid and lined paper. Stellar idea.

So for you Twin Citians, come meet me there to sip some Moonshine Coffee or local whiskey while drooling over America’s finest material. Stay fresh and keep it local.