My love language involves handwritten notes on pretty paper or gorgeous post cards, leather bound journals, hand addressed envelopes with tiny surprises stuck inside or even just a new pen to write with. I’m a stationery junkie. I love paper, postcards, watercolor paper, and blank cards. I love pens. I love fountain pens and bottles of colored ink. I love color, especially if it comes in a flat pan.
I’m only just coming to this realization lately. Maybe I should have guessed sooner. Where other DIYers have stashes of yarn (ok, maybe I do, too), bags of herbs (yes, I admit I have that too), and boxes of fabric (don’t look, ok?) I (also) have boxes of blank watercolor note cards, rubber stamps, and fountain pens (Pilot pens are my favorite). Shopping for a new blank journal is my ideal date night.
It started when I was in grade 2. Our homeroom teacher had a stack of foolscap paper that we were allowed to help ourselves to as needed. I entered the hall of shame in October, when the teacher found the paper disappearing more rapidly than he expected and he found my desk full of neatly stack blank foolscap paper. For a month I was the only person in the class that had to ask for my paper needs. 🙁 I did intend to write on All-the-Paper, I was just afraid of running out of paper before I ran out of words.)
In college, I wrote little “secret” notes on yellow encouragement postcards, to my class mates, sneaking them into their mail boxes when no one was in the lobby of the mailroom. The notes were written in elvin script and signed “Galadriel”. Interesting I ended up marrying “Celeborn” although when I started this little game, we weren’t dating and I was engaged to someone else. But I digress.
As a mom I was too busy to indulge in this passion of note writing and I only just realized how much I loved it as I hand addressed my daughter’s Save-the-Date envelopes (She won’t be home from Jerusalem till June — Wedding is in August).
I recently discovered there is a whole culture of postcard senders and you can buy boxes with 100 different postcards for under 25 cents a postcard. And there are even postcards of botanical prints and postcards of my favorite children’s book artists, like Beatrix Potter, and E. H. Shepard’s Winnie the Pooh drawings. Swoon! Lately I’ve been sending postcards to my 3 grand daughters with handwritten notes.
Another serendipitous discover I had this month is Bible Journaling. People actually draw, paint, and illuminate their Bibles and there are whole Bibles created specifically for this artful interaction with the Words of Life. (There’s an online Bible Journaling Conference on now, and for a few more days. Check it out if you’re interested. I’m not affiliated with it.). And there is a whole Bible Journaling Gallery on Instagram (see #biblelettering, #biblejournaling, #faithjournaling, #illustratedfaith for inspiration.)
What has this to do with homesteading, gardening, and herbs you ask? We homesteaders are a frugal lot. Herbalists too, often enter the craft because they want to save money on medicine, grow their own herbs and be more independent of big pharma. Those of us who also share an ecological — Save the trees — motivation to our DIY Homesteading Life spend a lot of time online, avoiding printing paper to save the trees, preferring digital media over print books.
I think we’re missing out when we skip handwritten notes for digital communication. There is something very tangible about putting pen or paints to paper, that soothes the soul, relaxes the mind, connects in a way that digital media can’t connect. It’s similar to the way the adult coloring book trend offers relaxation, meditation, and stress relief. But handwritten notes are more flexible and independent.
For me it’s as real as the feeling of dirt between my fingers, the smell of peppermint and lemon verbena as I walk past the herbs in the garden. Putting pen to paper involves all our senses: The smell of new paper, the smooth flow of the ink, the warmth of the pen barrel between the fingers. There’s JOY in this slow communication — handwritten words on pretty paper.
If you missed the “penmanship” lessons in school, don’t worry, there are entire books devoted to adult penmanship so you can gain this lost art of handwritten notes. So as you consider the list of skills you want to learn to revive the ancient art of homesteading, revive your penmanship skills and create handwritten notes on paper. It might be the least expensive investment in tools and supplies that you make. Plus this homesteading skill is available even if you live in an apartment in the middle of the city.
This Mother’s Day, in my empty nest, I’m writing postcards from the “100 Flowers” series from the Royal Horticultural Society to the 99 Founding members of my brand new DIY Herbal Fellowship Membership. It might take me a few weeks. I’m loving the gorgeous botanical prints, some dating back to the 1700s. My Japanese Pilot pen is smooth, reliable, and never blobs or skips. Searching for the words for each individual postcard is giving me a chance to learn more about my founding members and delighting my heart. I love these folks already.
If you too, are a stationery junkie and love to write handwritten notes, you might enjoy these posts:
If you are looking for some of the postcards, stationery and pens I mention, Amazon is a great place to find these supplies.