Life is full…and messy, scary, exhausting, exhilarating, rewarding, challenging and beautiful. All of it, fluctuating day to day, moment to moment. Why not introduce more “high points” into our days with one gesture – the delivery of an unexpected note.
A simple act, really. The note doesn’t need to be long, witty, or even written on fancy paper. How about giving thanks to the couple next door who often welcome the neighborhood children into their home with open arms. Or before the day begins, drop a love note in your partner’s briefcase, just because. Try tucking a written message under your high-schooler’s pillow, praising his or her dedication to an activity. Next time you pick up your daily latte, drop a humorous one-liner in the form of a note for the Portlandia-extra barista behind the counter. Or slip a note in your grade schooler’s folder for the teacher to find, a little praise for the energy they put into each day.
If you need help in the idea category with notes or messages, take a look at these clever lunch notes from provisions. If not, cut out a good clip from the newspaper’s funny section. Or handwrite a note on the back of a vacation photo, reminding a loved one of a “high point” from Summer Break.
Of course, it’s always easy to get the kiddos smiling in the middle of the day with an unexpected joke! Print off the Halloween Joke Notes from All for the Boys for a guaranteed lunch-table laugh.
This act will literally take you 5 minutes, if that, to a make someone’s day. And also your own.
Art seems to rush in like waves in my life and recently they seem to be at an all-time peak.
This past Thursday night Emmett and I spent time at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts checking out the new Matisse exhibit where we were inspired to “draw with scissors” and create our own colorful collage postcard to send to someone who inspires us. (Bonus: The Institute mails the postcards for free, smart promotion!). How brilliant to combine personal art with writing!
Then on Saturday afternoon our family took a walking field trip to the Weinstein Gallery, my favorite gallery in the Twin Cities. Martin Weinstein has an eye for talent. He currently is featuring a collection of work from local Alec Soth, a world renowned photographer. We heard Alec speak a few years ago at The Walker and I was hooked instantly. His projects have taken him everywhere from Paris to down the Mississippi River, each bringing with it a raw, visceral effect, giving a fresh perspective on today’s world. The piece below is my favorite from his Niagara project. No surprise, it’s handwritten. Alec asked locals to find existing love letters in their home which he then photographed. This one has my heart.
Would You Come Home? 2005
Another artist who combines personal notes with art is Cape Town artist, Lorraine Loots, with her project 365 Paintings for Ants.
In 2013 Lorraine created a miniature painting and postcards for everyday of the year, some driven by a client, others not. This year she is continuing the project with each piece painted with a Cape Town theme. Not only is the art for sale but Lorraine will handwrite a personal message on the back of each piece or postcard, making this a personal piece to treasure.
A few other exhibitions recently surfacing in the Twin Cities…
St.Paul artist Siri Knutson will feature a lovely, new collection this Saturday night between 8-10pm on 48th & Chicago (just picked up a few tiny gold circles I am crazy about!).
Looking forward to the new Edward Hopper exhibit at The Walker, Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process, which includes never before exhibited drawings and preparatory work.
It’s a gift to live in a world with such great talent, using their hands to create art which can bring one to a different place, touching each one of us differently than the other.
Handwritten letters and cards have been close to my heart ever since I can remember. This also means I’ve saved most of them. How can one toss a letter received at Summer camp from their grandmother or a sweet note from your best friend in grade school? The writing takes you back to a time in your life or a relationship which may or may not still exist. Each time I walk up to my attic I notice the shoe boxes of correspondences, waiting to be read again. And every once in a while, I’ll pause to reread one of these letters, little pieces of goodness really, documenting a time in my life.
Yes, there are occasions when a Holiday greeting card or a 30-something Birthday note has seen its day, but these days I often keep the handwritten treasures close at hand. It seems as though handwriting and cards have taken over my office space and I have found more opportunities to keep these correspondences on display throughout my living and working day.
It wasn’t planned but as soon we moved into our home five years ago, my bulletin board became the mecca for some of my favorite written notes. It felt so right. These friends and family had slowed down, selected a card, taken a pen to paper, formed the words, and stayed in the moment a bit longer than an email or text. This space in our office began to feel like a community art project, a creation from each individual, their personal stamp on our wall. And I found myself rereading multiple letters and notes more often during the day.
I soon realized I needed another system to hold these little pieces of art, easily accessible in a our busy lives. The perfect solution was found on Etsy, with a vintage sliced bread holder. I often place notes in the bread slots, cards which I want to reread, inspiring words to return to, letters to respond to, and constant reminders of good friends. When noticing this variety of cards on my desk each day, I feel thankful for people who still believe in corresponding with letters and the connection to each other in a way that transcends time.
When I see these kinds of notes, splattered throughout my day (including my bathroom cabinet, the kids’ bulletin boards, in my wallet, framed in our living room) I think of these relationships which fuel my fire and strengthen my belief in the power of writing. Keeping these notes out is good for us all.
There are those who write letters and there are the others…this is for the others.
A spanking new company, Fountain Greetings, is all about the importance of a handwritten letter. So much so, they are willing to write one for you. All you need to select is the card and the words, the rest is taken care of. While using premium fountain pens, their staff of writers capture your words on the highest quality cotton and card stock from Terrapin Stationers. The elegant, cherry-on-top bonus is the wax stamp which seals the envelope. Brilliant!
The cards take 1-4 days to reach the recipient, coming from New York City. That means for many of you, just in time for Friday’s holiday. The I Love You and Hearts cards are just beautiful, especially being 50% off. So if you’re shy to share your handwriting but the words are bursting out of your heart wanting to be expressed, you no longer have an excuse. Go for it Romeo.
Just another fabulous company staying true to the pen. Cheers to you Fountain Greetings!
My good intentions of needed Brown Ink catch-up work have been put on hold with the kids home today due to temps in Minneapolis ranging from -25 to -14…And that’s NOT including the windchill which places our temp at -54. So why not throw a good old FROZEN SALE!!
No need to head out when Paper Goods can warm you with a few clicks! Go on, treat yourself.