Tag Archives: Mail


This past weekend as I was filing away a few books (Nick is notorious for loaning his male friends a good read or two), I came across the Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan. Completely old-school style, copyright 1969, hippie in leotard and tights kind of a guide. It’s fabulous. But what I found inside felt even more vintage. Hidden in between the pages was a postcard mailed from my Uncle Will-Bill in Ely to his sister and nieces in the “cities” in July 1998.

Hi, ya’ all. An after thought on the yoga book – 1) Read + follow all the instructions everyday. 2) Set aside a 1/2 hours to do each day’s program. 3) Don’t push yourself to extreme positions, let your body find the point where it’s comfortable. 4) Go slowly through each posture. 5) Be patient with yourself. Love – W

An instant smile appeared on my face, and flashbacks of my Uncle demonstrating his yoga moves on the sunny porch of his log cabin filled my head. He was persistent with the idea we all needed to integrate yoga as a daily practice. At the time, there was no need for yoga in our lives (pre Blooma for my sister, I simply ran and rarely stretched, and mom’s more of lifetime speed walker). Not only did Uncle Will-Bill hand over his yoga “bible” he’d been carrying around since practicing in the Moab Desert in the 60’s, but he followed up with a handwritten card, so we would remember his recommendation, his poses. I hear of few people these days who take the time to advise or reach out to a friend on a meaningful topic through a handwritten note.


15 years has passed and my Uncle is not stretching as much as he used to. I wonder, if I mailed him back the book and included the postcard (although it might need to be a photocopy because the original is a keeper!), would he start the practice up again? Looking at his own writing, it might hit a chord. He might even strike a pose or two.


Stop the season. Summer is halfway over and I have yet to remind readers my love and the importance of camp letters! As I shared last year, aside from talent shows and singing in harmony around the campfire (you think I’m joking?), nothing brought more happiness than receiving a written letter at camp. A simple reminder that someone back home is thinking of you can bring joy to any camper, especially in today’s digital world.

Packing pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes with colorful notecards and unique stamps is probably all you need. However, if you supply a child with camp-themed stationery it might be just the trick to get them to share a wee bit more of their adventures while away from home.

Anne Marie from Scout’s Honor Co created a summer theme to her recently released stationery. I adore the Summer Camp card set as well as the Bait + Trail set, both perfect for camp letters.

Image of Summer Camp Card Set

Image of Bait + Trails Card Set

Personalize your stationery with these Campfire & Tent themed cards.

For the enthusiastic letter writer, this letterpressed camp stationery from Fawnsberg is perfect for young people to share all the details of their activities.



My Camp Adventure Stationery seals the deal with a Summer Camp 2013 sticker!

 Sideshow Press is entirely Camp-themed (can’t wait to be selling some of their fabulous goods this fall!). A camper would go crazy for the Canoe Pencil Case filled with Message Pencils.



When packing their duffle don’t forget to throw this Sunshine Journal (filled with awesome craft paper), Paddle Postcards, and a Patch card with a message sharing how proud you are of your child venturing “away” camp. They can wear their badge of honor when camp is finished!




Why shouldn’t learning to write letters be among one of the independence-building experiences your child brings home this year? Who knows, they might even come home with their first pen pal.

voila party

My co-pilot and I are opposite when it comes to blogging. He has the wit, and at times bizarre, inside-baseball kind of humor. Me, I’m more practical and sing-songy. Nick handwrites all his posts before logging in and I, on the other hand, need to type when organizing my thoughts (I realize, a bit anti-Brown Ink). Nick stores all his ideas in his head. For me, I collect ideas and store them under a specific category using my awesome filing system (with the help from russell&hazel file folders).

Funny enough, even with well-intended folders spilling over with post ideas, for me it always comes down to what feels fresh at the time. I often wait for the right topic to knock me over. So this past week, buried under stationery catalogues while narrowing down the goods to premiere on Brown Ink this fall (so excited!!), I had no time or room to let an idea surface. But leave it to a morning run to solve or at least sort out my present problems. Summer humidity finally arrived and out came my need for a summer party…voila. Who doesn’t love a little social gathering in the heat of the season!?!

invite1 Take the time to handwrite an invite! I used these invitations from MARA-MI for a Bon Voyage party for my neighbors this spring. I adore the origami and gold foil print inside the envelope.


 And for more of the garden party…

Garden Party Invitations

Rifle Paper features a beautiful party invitation which can be used for many occasions.



Use this nautical, summer themed gift tag from MARA-MI with a bottle of bubbly for the host.


0040 Make your drinks labels stand out and feel festive with a celebratory stamp!



Letterpressed Neon Coasters - "Bottoms up"

These chic, neon coasters from Haute Papier use an added touch with the letterpress handwriting.

Find a way to make a statement as your guests arrive. A good friend of mine welcomed her friends by using chalkboard paint in her front entrance. An easy feel good.

 Find chalkboard paint around town or make it temporary with peel & stick boards


Of course, if your party has many people chatting it up with one another, they will love the napkin notes for the last minute thought, much easier than digging for you iphone to message yourself.

With these food writing pens, your handwriting is actually edible!

iPad Step example

If you’re not a big Thank You note writer, make it simple by shooting a photo with the host and send a card using inkFelt, RedStamp, or Postagram, all phone or tablet apps which send an old-fashioned written card, on real paper, delivered by a mail carrier. All before you exit the party.


Let the festivities begin….

making a mark

Kids these days (I can say that being almost 40, right?). Lately, I’ve been particularly delighted by the creations young adults are behind, especially when they have something to do with handwriting.

Michael Polk, a young documentarian, is creating a film titled Making Mail. It’s about a group of artists who are spreading their art not just through the mail but the mail is the art itself. Michael feels, “In a world where most communication has moved online, these people have embraced the physicality of mail and turned it into an incredibly intimate art form.” How awesome.

This past March the film completed its funding via Kickstarter and Michael has begun filming. We’ll keep you posted if or when it reaches the indie film circuit.

Another impressive young one is Hannah Brencher, the founder of More Love Letters. I wrote about her last year and since then she has created quite the team of letter writers. Their mission is for people to move away from Twitter, email and other apps and start writing letters to those who could use (who couldn’t?) some joy in their lives.

One of the aspects I most appreciate about this group is how simple it is to get involved. I just signed up to start writing love letters (no pressure on the amount, even one a month will due) and I’m also considering hosting my own writing party this summer.

Finally, two 20-year-old blokes from Australia are fighting the potential death of the postcard with PhotoPostcards. They create a postcard with your photo and words, then drop it in the mail for you. Even I, currently an instagram addict, find receiving a photo postcard in the mail a welcoming change from the nanosecond travel updates  I view on my iPhone.

Twenty-somethings making their mark in the name of writing. Well done.

smell of coffee

I’ve been reading someone else’s letters. It’s true. This might sound a bit like a confession if I hadn’t purchased the letters at a local antique store.  When I first came across the stack of papers tied with a sweet pink ribbon, one of the women working behind the counter gave me the background scoop. It appears the letters were a part of an estate sale in south Minneapolis and the original family had moved.


To be honest, I did feel a little strange purchasing someone else’s letters but knowing my intention was purely research for brown ink, it didn’t feel too terrible. Had I known I would soon be immersed in the life of a young women named Joyce I might have hesitated. But before I knew it I was reading the details of her everyday routines, living overseas as an Officer in the United States European Command. She was stationed in Bavaria and Munich when not traveling all around Europe in her “dandy” Renault with her best buddy Bea. For over two and a half years Joyce wrote letters to her family with wonderful elaborations of her life. From the cost of her new radio (it was a Philco for $19.95) to the place setting at an elegant dinner, Joyce used lovely cursive penmanship to communicate to her family her experience in Europe.

photo#2Although her letters were filled with tales of her exciting explorations, Joyce often referred to the smell of coffee and taste of custard pie she missed back at home. In her final letter before returning back to south Minneapolis, she asked her parents to listen for the telephone on March 6th when she planned to phone from New York, her layover stop on her way back to home. And that was the end of the life I came to know of  sweet Joyce.

I don’t think the kinds of details Joyce wrote in her letters are the ones people mention on the phone or in an email any longer. The kind of descriptions regarding a party, a meal, the cost of a radio, specifically what you miss about home…these bits are not communicated to others like they used to be. Maybe people have already moved on to the next “thing” in their lives. Or have too much on their plate to give it a second thought. Joyce’s letters remind me to not only look at finer details but share these thoughts in writing with people who I love and appreciate, if not simply for myself.