Books and notecards by Janice MacLeod
I should make it clear right away that I do not advertise on my blog. When I mention a product – a particular nail polish or chocolate, a book I have read or a perfume I enjoy wearing – I do so because I enjoy sharing that enjoyment with others. Indeed, I do not have adverts on my blog (which I believe is called ‘monetizing’). That is not what my blog is about; it is a totally advert-free zone, but a the same time I want to be able to talk about things I like and so today I am going to talk about stationery. Not the full range of stationery which includes files, paper, envelopes and so forth, but notecards, postcards and correspondence cards.
I first came across Janice MacLeod’s book Paris Letters in 2015 and enjoyed it so much it became my go-to book for sending as a present to friends, or if someone simply needed cheering up. I loved Janice’s book and this year, her second book, A Paris Year, has been published and which I posted about recently.
Janice has now produced a wallet containing twelve lovely notecards and envelopes entitled Paris Letter & Art, Paris Post. I lost no time in buying this collection of notecards and it arrived yesterday.
Janice has chosen six designs of old postcards in this collection, i.e. two notecards of each of the six designs. If, like me, you are reluctant to part with the prettiest of your stationery items, you can now use six of them and perhaps keep the other six! (This is one of two sets of notecards that Janice has produced; the other has scenes of Paris.)
They fit neatly into the pretty pale pink wallet
I have always loved stationery. Perhaps being brought up in my parents’ newsagents’ shop made me aware of it, even though there were only two main kinds of writing paper in those days in our shop (smarter establishments would’ve had similarly smarter papers) – pads of Harley Bond and Basildon Bond. There were cheaper writing pads (as they were called) but these tended to have ‘ruled’ pages, and even as a child I thought these looked declasse: designed for those who had never learned for form their letters correctly.
Indeed, when I was at my grammar school, our English teacher (who just happened to be Head of English in the school) was very sniffy about ruled paper. She said we must always use plain (un-ruled) paper, in white, cream, pale blue or pale grey, using black or blue ink (‘coloured’ inks were beyond the pale, although I had a phase, as many teenagers do, when I used green ink) and if we couldn’t write in a straight line, we must use the guide sheet provided (this was a thickly ruled sheet of paper which was slipped beneath the page on which you were writing, so that you might keep your lines of writing straight.)
For my 12th birthday my parents (as well as my desk, which I still have) bought me a box of personal stationery. The smart, dark brown box contained Doeskin Deckle paper. Deckle-edged paper doesn’t have a smooth edge, is if cut on a guillotine, but instead it has a ‘nibbled’, rough edge. It was heavy cream paper with a watermark, and on the top right hand side was my address and on the left hand side my initials, all in brown ink. The envelopes were similarly made of smooth cream paper, with dark brown tissue linings. I thought it was the most beautiful paper I had ever seen.
In 1960 I was part of a group of Devon teenagers who participated in a student exchange with a similar group in Luneburg, West Germany (as it was then styled, because this was long before unification.) While there I bought some writing paper and I kept one sheet with one of the envelopes.
I apologise for the areas that once held sticky tape, as I’d stuck these items into the diary I kept of that visit more than 57 years ago. The lining shows an artist painting at an easel. I even like the asymmetrical slant of the envelope.
Over the years I have included mention of the paint and wallpaper company, Farrow & Ball in some of my writing, and they have kindly sent me small gifts, such as the above box of postcards with envelopes. These are promotional items, highlighting their latest designs, but they are so attractive that I’ve not been able to bring myself to use them, only as bookmarks!
A Farrow & Ball postcard for my Nancy Lancaster book
More recently I have bought a box of 50 postcards, Botanicum (which I mentioned earlier in the year) but which, again, I think I will find too beautiful to use for their intended purpose and simply keep them to enjoy as miniature works of art, or as bookmarks.
Just eight of the lovely postcards in the Botanicum collection
As well as the lovely Paris Post notecards by Janice MacLeod, I like the personalized correspondence cards from www.madebyellis.com
There are several designs including flowers and butterflies, but I like this simple design of pen and ink, a little arcane in this day of computers (but a stylised design of a computer on an item for handwriting just wouldn’t be right, would it?)
Do you love stationery, or do you simply use sheets of A4 or a writing pad? Do you hoard lovely postcards, as I do, unable to part with them? I’ll bet few of you have notecards dating back to 1956, such as my set of Japanese Ladies, four of which I kept from a box which my mother gave me and which I had framed. These now hang above my desk where I am now writing this post.
Until next time.
Coming soon: Follies