I’ve written often on this blog about my love of letters and the abiding magic of good things in the post. For someone who delights in receiving mail, I don’t write to others nearly often enough, so have gradually been gathering together lovely supplies to make it easier to scribble a pretty card or note in the moment I think of it, before life rushes on and the distracted hunt for a stamp or an envelope causes me to abandon my good intentions.
Harry too is becoming a man of letters, and has discovered the presence of the Royal Mail and the astonishing fact that letters, when posted into a box on our street, can be transported to far flung corners of the world in a matter of days (actually, in truth the time element has yet to be understood; Harry’s default expectation is that anything we post will reach it’s destination – wherever that may be – by teatime).
I’ve made Harry a Box of Letters which contains all sorts of lovely things for making and sending letters and cards to grandparents, family and friends – and even to us. It’s helping him with his writing and means we can distribute the growing pile of artwork somewhat more widely.. and also has the bonus of generating letters in reply, which he adores.
Here are some of the things in the modern man’s stationery bureau;
1. Enticing coloured crayons, pencils or pens. We love Giotto pencils which have an almost oil-pastel like vibrancy and creaminess and go on thickly and easily. They’re also triangular which helps with learning pencil grip, if you’re 4-5yrs old and facing such grown-up challenges.
2. Fun, bright stationery which doesn’t require much writing to fill it all up. I’ve given Harry a fistful of my Happy Notes which only need about a sentence-worth of concentration and heavy-breathing before they are full. I’ve also packed in a few of our home-made holiday postcards and some of Harry’s monogram stationery – again, just the right size for the attention-span of a small child.
3. Decorative paper tape and stickers to adorn envelopes and add a dash of flair. I also use the tape to hold the paper or cards in place whilst Harry writes and draws; with the flamboyance and heavy-handed pressure involved, it’s easy for them to skid and slip around unless I tack them lightly in place.
4. And my favourite… personalised stamps and fun stamps. I made some stamps for Harry using the Royal Mail Smilers service, and there are similar websites for the US and Canada which will allow you to upload photos and turn them into personalised stamps (lovely for a wedding or event as well as fun for kids). They’re fun to use and raise a smile when they arrive on the mat at their destination.
I made the storage box out of an old shoe box, and designed the picture below for the top (you can download a PDF printable below if you want to make your own). I found some cow-print paper in Harry’s art cupboard which I used to line the box and lid – and now we have our correspondence kit to hand for whenever inspiration strikes! I think one of these would make a lovely gift too for anyone young or old with a passion for stationery and lovely things; something to think about perhaps as Christmas stealthily approaches.
I’d love to know any other ideas for bits and bobs to include in Harry’s box or ways you’ve encouraged letter-writing and managed to avoid it becoming a tortuous semi-annual task after birthdays and Christmas; all tips welcome!
Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are and whatever you’re doing; we have a back-to-school party and a small family reunion to look forward to – and baking too; September sees the return of our Saturday Cake-in-the-House tradition; a glass of wine and a new recipe book await me this evening.