stationery

Dreams come true

boots cards This is one of the most exciting announcements I've been able to make in a very long time. 

Earlier this year, I received an email from the owner of my favourite paper company, Boots Paper (I wrote about them here), inviting me to design my own stationery! I sat there at my computer, reading that little message from one of the most beautiful, high-quality, ethically-produced stationery companies going around, inviting me to put my own stamp on their products, and had to pinch myself. 

I decided to play it cool and act like this was the kind of invitation I received every day, as opposed to what it actually was: a dream come true. Moments later I utterly lost my cool and immediately hit reply with a resounding YES. I think I might even have written "This is a dream come true." 

The original brief was to create two different notebook designs, the type that I would love to use myself if I was to sit and write a lively, personal letter (or write a lively, personal shopping list, for that matter). I got straight to work, and sent in those paintings, and then we started on some more. Swing tags, stickers, greeting cards, postcards, envelopes and more; featuring animals, botanicals, people, retro hobbies, food and hygge. And so much more. 

And today I am proud (SO PROUD) to announce that the very first of my designs are now available for sale on the Boots Paper online shop, as well as in Boots stockists all over the country.

They are the greeting cards you see in this blog post: hand-drawn and then painted by me in watercolour, gouache and ink; printed on 100 percent recycled paper; with matching envelopes that have been printed on the inside; all hand-assembled in Gippsland, Victoria.

Eeep! 

There's more to come, so please excuse me while I go and paint some more. xo

 

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ps. If you like these or any of the other Boots Paper designs, they ship anywhere in the world, and everything is hand-packaged beautifully. Just take a look at this package sent to me on a recent order! Leave a little note for the lovely owner, Brenner, to tell her I said hi. 

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Lost for words

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA These nifty Correspondence Cards take postcards and "thinking of you" to the next level. When you want to reach out to someone by snail mail but you don't really know what to say, they'll do it for you! With sweet and funny little choose-your-own comment prompts, you simply tick the box that is most relevant.

Such as... 

I'm: distracted / well / a superhero / lost / drinking tea

This place is: beautiful / smelly / prickly / peaceful / interesting 

I've been: mugged / knighted / fishing / studying / adventuring 

Please: write back / dream of me / send money / feed my cat / take care  

And so on. The comments side of the card is illustrated with a lovely photograph originally captured on 35mm analogue film, and the back simply contains lines for the address, and space for a stamp.  

Tell me: would you use these? I think they are fun and pretty, and a postcard like this would put a huge grin on my face if it arrived in my letterbox (unless of course the person had ticked that they were lost and had been mugged), so I'm going to assume others might feel the same. 

I spend a lot of time writing to strangers to bring a moment of happy surprise to their days, which is something I love to do. But sometimes that means I neglect to write to the people in my life who are nearest and dearest. I feel like these cards are best suited to someone who already knows me (and appreciates my sense of humour), so that's where mine will be headed. 

Right now I have a box of 10 of these cards, sent as a gift from Brenner of Boots Paper, and I am itching to use them.

This all happened after I ordered some new notepads from Brenner, because I was running out of resources to write to you all. Her shop Boots Paper appealed to me because the notepads were not only beautifully-illustrated and lovely to hold (good quality recycled paper), she also donated a percentage of profits to conservation charities.

After I placed my order, Brenner found me on Instagram and reached out to say hello (this is her), and to celebrate the snail-mail joy that she and I have both spreading in our own ways. The following week, the most incredible box of stationery goods arrived in my letterbox as a gift from Brenner, and you can see it all here. She left a little note: "For all the stationery love you put out there, I wanted to give some back." 

It was an act of extraordinary generosity and kindness, and I intend to repay it by sending these gorgeous Boots Paper creations far and wide, as I write to each of you all over the world. 

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ps. Have you signed up to receive my monthly mail-art template emails yet? They're free, and the first one will arrive in your Inbox about mid-January. Sign up here

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Brown paper packages tied up with string (or: 5 mail subscriptions to boost your creativity)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho doesn't love a surprise present in the mail?

I’m a big fan of mail subscriptions, and have been known to sign up to more than a few of them over the years. For most, you pay a flat rate, and receive a themed gift in the mail every month (or week, or whatever you’ve signed up for).

Is this something you might like, too? In case it is, here are five subscription boxes to boost your creativity, or that of your children, that I think you might enjoy:

 

1. Busy Bee Stationery busy-beeWhat's in the box: a curated selection of stationery, generally between five and 10 items. The creators say "We choose items that inspire creativity and help you with your everyday note-taking, planning, journaling and letter writing." Each box is developed around a theme, season, or specific creative project.

Cost: $39.90 Find out more: busybeestationery.com

 

2. Bookwormz bookwormzWhat's in the box: newly-released books for children, selected by former editor Lizzy Fowler, accompanied by a creative gift designed to spark the imagination, a parent-card, and a colouring competition. The boxes are designed to foster a life-long love of reading by channeling the excitement of receiving a gift into the joy of discovering new books.

Cost: $34.99 plus postage Find out more: bookwormz.com.au

 

3. Pairings Box pairings-boxWhat’s in the box: three gourmet recipe cards, one or two premium ingredients to go with the food, a seven-inch vinyl record with music from rising artists to match the mood of the food, and a download code for a full playlist.

Cost: $25 plus postage Find out more: turntablekitchen.com

 

4. Little Passports little-passports-smallWhat’s in the box: depending on the age-group you select, a first month’s subscription box includes a suitcase, a “passport,” wall-sized wall map, welcome letters from “pen-pals” (characters created by Little Passports), and activity sheets. Boxes in subsequent months feature new themes, such as countries, animals or music etc, and include items such as letters from the pen-pals, souvenirs, activity sheets, stickers, adventures and photographs.

Cost: starting at $11.95 Find out more: littlepassports.com

 

5. Goodie Box blank-goodsWhat’s in the box: creative, craft and stationery supplies such as gift wrapping, paper craft, DIY projects, and a poster with ideas and inspiration on how to use the contents of the box.

Cost: $35 plus postage Find out more: blankgoods.com.au

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Wish you were here

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How would you like to receive a 100-year-old postcard in the mail?

I found several books of antique souvenir postcards at a market stall on the weekend. I kind of want to keep them because they are quite beautiful, however, call me sentimental but I also kind of want to give them flight.

So I have decided to do just that.

Postcards have always been created to travel the world through the post, carrying messages of surprise and thoughtfulness and silly stories and "wish you were here." That's their destiny. They shouldn't be hidden away in boxes or drawers, and these particular postcards have waited an entire century to be free.

Would you like one? I have 60 postcards, and I'm happy to send them to anyone, anywhere in the world. I might tell you a little story, share a moment from my life, or write a snippet of a poem. It'll be a surprise and, like the postcards themselves, each message will be different.

If you'd like to receive one of these lovely, old postcards in your letterbox, simply give me your address and I'll get writing. You can either do-so in the comments, or, if you'd prefer to keep your address private, use the form I've created below. I'll choose the postcards randomly, and send them out on a first-come, first-served basis. I'm happy to write to your friends and family too, if you want to send me their addresses.

I'll update this blog post to let you know when I've run out of postcards.

Yours sincerely, Naomi xo

UPDATE 25 May, 10pm:  As of just now I have run out of postcards, so I have disabled the form and am sitting down to write the ones I promised. If you missed out, I'm sorry! I promise to host another project like this as soon as I can find more vintage postcards, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, I still send mail-art to subscribers of this blog, so if that is something that interests you, you can find more information and request mail here

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Snail-mail vending machine

book o mat File this under fun but probably-impractical business ideas: I want to find myself a vintage, coin-operated vending machine, and fill it with beautiful stationery and snail-mail ephemera*.

Stuff you need if you want to send a letter on the go, or just feel suddenly inspired: airmail envelopes, beautiful short-run letterpress stationery, hand-painted cards by local artists, unique postcards, sealing wax and seals, and boxes of matches. Stamps of course, washi tape, pens, pencils, stickers, and all kinds of other snail-mail-esque goodies. Maybe some vintage postcards and vintage used stamps, and possibly even some good snail-mail related books.

I'd restock my vending machine regularly, changing up the stationery and card options so that passers-by could always find something new and beautiful to send to friends and lovers and pen-pals.

My vending machine would stand somewhere unexpected, like the street-art-covered wall of a laneway beside a cafe, or under the pavilion of a park, or inside an art gallery. It'd be pretty fun, don't you think?

* Inspired by this snail-mail vending machine, spotted at an airport (a much more sensible location, I admit) in Taiwan

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The Passion Planner (and other stories)

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Good morning! This is my new diary. It's called a "Passion Planner" which is a dubious name for a fabulous concept. It bills itself as "the one place for all your thoughts," and also "the life coach that fits in your back pack."

The diary is filled with prompts and questions and lists and mind-maps to help you define the life you want and then get there, step by step. The idea is that you can manage your work tasks, your personal tasks, your creative tasks, and all the rest, all in the one place.

This is perfect for me because I'm trying to juggle so many things at once. I write freelance for a number of clients, so I have to keep all their deadlines and meetings and briefings and interviews etc under control. Then there are all the children's appointments, from daycare and music lessons to doctors' visits and vaccinations and play dates and parties. Mr B's work calendar, when it impacts on me because of meetings and missed meals and travel. And of course our own (limited but still it does exist) social life, and some big parties we are planning this year. On top of that, I have this blog and my snail mail and the book I'm illustrating and the books and zines I'm writing and several more dreams in the wings, and I want to keep on top of all of them but also be a little more strategic AND inspired about them. None of those needs and schedules exists in a vacuum, they all impact on one another, so a planner that can hold them all together seems, to me, genius.

I ordered my Passion Planner from here, and got the undated version (because hello May already?), but you can also get proper yearly Passion Planners, and in bigger sizes too if you want to scribble more.

How was your weekend? I know many people think Mother's Day is a commercial construct, but BOY I really enjoyed my day yesterday. Yesterday was like the poster child for everyone who says the Simple Things are the Best Things. Kisses from babies (the big, open-mouthed ones). "Letters" from toddlers. Toasted bagels with cream-cheese for breakfast. Warm salad of pearl couscous, chorizo and roasted vegetables for lunch. Paper-thin crepes rolled up with lemon and sugar for afternoon tea. (Are you beginning to detect a theme here?) Drawing pictures while watching old westerns on TV. Two children racing up and down the hallway, each pushing toy prams, laughing and squealing and yelling "We are going to the Lost City!" And affirmation. So much loving affirmation, from my family.

(Also both children ate all their vegetables and at least some of their tuna for dinner that night, by which time I was pretty much feeling like Mother of the Year.)

We are funny about presents in our house on "days" like this, and on birthdays, and anniversaries. Sometimes we give big, extravagant presents, sometimes we give a card and a kiss, or a meal out. (Sometimes we forget altogether, we are scatty like that). But that's because the love and affirmative words are given freely throughout the year. The gifts are big and extravagant when budgets and time and inspiration allow. They are smaller when budgets or time or lack-of-inspiration dictate. So nobody gets unwanted, pointless presents, only presents that truly mean something, both to the recipient AND the giver. I like it that way.

This year, despite me saying "It's too much," my family bought me not only a voucher for a massage and facial (oh! bliss!) but also a personal lesson from an artist on letterpress type and and line-art plates. And it is too much, really it is, but I've got to be honest, I can't wait to do this class. Do you want some letterpress mail from me? The deal is that if I enjoy it as much as we all THINK I will enjoy it, we will put our money-box savings into buying an antique letterpress at the end of the year. Now that's a generous family, don't you think?

How was your weekend?

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