I am such a history-lover that I am naturally attracted to all things historic. Every time I visit a vintage shop or a quirky boutique, I end up with a history-themed thing of one sort or another. In a perfect world, I would probably dress up every day like Felicity Merriman. Since I live in the real world – and, alas, I have a real job in midtown Manhattan that seems to frown upon 18th-century dresses – I have to settle for incorporating subtle history-themed touches into my every day life.
One way I channel my inner history nerd is by writing snail-mail letters to friends. Writing letters – and sending them through the U.S. Postal Service – is a dying art, but it is seriously so much fun and a great way to keep in touch with old friends.
People love receiving mail, and writing letters provides an excellent excuse to go a little overboard at the stationary store. Letter-writing is an area of modern life that still employs a lot of historic techniques. Letterpress is as old as Gutenberg, rubber stamps hearken back to the days of woodblock printing, and vintage postage adds a fun mid-century modern touch. Luckily, all three of these historic elements are easily found on Etsy.
Card by Parrott Design Studio.
There is nothing like the feel of a real letterpress print. I love the way the thick craft paper feels in my hands, and the way the type feels when it is indented into the paper. Letterpress cards are available everywhere these days, but Etsy is a particularly great resource for a letterpress card for any occasion. I love Parrott Design Studio (they are doing my wedding stationary!) and 1canoe2 in particular.
Card by 1canoe2.
Write a “just because” note to a friend on a lovely letterpress card, or consider sending your Christmas card list a lovely letterpress Christmas card!
Vintage Postage Stamps
Postage by Pack and Post.
There is a huge market for vintage postage, since a lot of brides choose to use it to send their wedding invitations. But it’s not just for weddings! You can use fun vintage stamps on your envelopes for any occasion – and there are so many cool ones out there that you can make a color scheme or a theme collection on your envelope.
Vintage, uncancelled stamps are perfectly valid U.S. postage – so don’t be worried your letter won’t get there as long as your stamps are uncancelled (don’t already have the cancellation stamp on them from going through the mail). Plus, vintage stamps are affordable – they cost more than their face value, but not too much more.
Custom stamp by Flourish Design Co.
Rubber stamping is a fun (and reusable!) way to dress up your envelope. One of the most logical ways to use rubber stamps in letter-writing is for the return address. You can get your own custom return address stamp from a bunch of great places on Etsy. I got mine from Rubber Stamp Press and I am really happy with it! It was only $30 and it is reusable for years – all you need to buy is an ink pad!
Stamp by Stamp Couture.
Of course, return addresses aren’t the only way to utilize rubber stamps in your letters. There are loads of adorable rubber stamps to add a little personality to your envelopes. I like this cute cat one from Nora Jane and this handmade bee stamp from Blossom Stamps.
Sending letters in the snail mail may be a lost art, but it is a cheap hobby (49¢ to be exact!) and a ton of fun to put together. You can get really creative with finding the perfect stationary, tools, and vintage postage for your envelopes. The lucky recipients of your letters will appreciate the vintage touches – especially if they are a history-lover like me!