Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Letter writing and card set

While I was out and about yesterday I found this lovely letter writing and card set.  I don't write many letters these days as most of my correspondence is by email but as it was so pretty and inexpensive (only $7.00 in Kmart), I bought it.

It contained two sets of cards large and small with envelopes, two writing pads large and small, a memo note pad, pen and some pretty stickers.  Aren't they lovely!

While catching upon my blog reading list last night, I read a delightful post by Marigold Jam
about communication and the demise of the good old fashioned letter delivered to the mailbox.  After reading her post I was doubly glad I bought my pretty writing set and thought it would be nice to correspond with friends now and again by letter.  I must say I really enjoy receiving and sending Christmas cards in the mail, perhaps it's because you know someone has taken the time to hand write them that makes it so special.  Emailed Christmas cards aren't quite the same, you can't display them around the house adding to the Christmas cheer that's for sure.

 Think of all the times we send a card and imagine if it were an email, it just wouldn't be the same.  Get well soon, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Congratulations on the birth of your new baby, With Sympathy, Happy Fathers/Mothers Day (I have been guilty of sending one by email tch tch), Congratulations on your new job, new home, retirement, Bon Voyage etc.  

Letter writing almost use to be a ritual in the olden days.  Doesn't that sound funny, the olden days, relative to one's age I suppose.  Sorry, I digress.  I've been doing a little research into how the old fashioned quill pens
were made and thankfully only the flight feathers discarded during a bird's moult were used.  Apparently goose feathers were most commonly used, swan feathers being somewhat more expensive.  Then there is the use of  ink.  It use to be a very complicated process to make ink, something I'm sure we wouldn't have the patience with today.  Can you imagine how long it must have taken to write a letter?  First acquiring a quill from a quill maker or perhaps make one yourself, a skill that probably took quite a while to master and then the continual dipping of the pen in the ink.  Then there was the problem of the ink smudging  and the need for blotting paper and before that, the blotting sand to help overcome this problem.  If it was sand you were using, a little box would sit on the desk.  Goodness only what happened if it got knocked on the floor. And let's not forget way back, there was sealing wax.
It seems such a romantic thing to seal a letter, envelope or document.  Apparently the Romans used bitumen for this purpose before sealing wax was available or invented. 

Of course no writing experience would have been complete without a writing desk perhaps something like these below might have been used.  How lovely to have a special place for writing and storing writing essentials.



This is an old writing set that belonged to my Great Grandmother and sits on my dressing table.

 The illustration on the front of the writing pad is quite gorgeous. 

In the photo below you can see a label that would have been wrapped around the envelopes and below that,  a sample of my Great Grandmother's writing.  The word is graciously and I'm wondering if she was writing it out to see if it was spelt correctly or was perhaps sending me a message.  :) My name does mean grace.

It's lovely to have a sample of her handwriting.  I suspect she would have used a fountain pen rather than a quill though.  Here is a photo of some of her used blotting paper.

My Great Grandmother use to be a parlour maid in a Manor House in England before she came to Australia, something I can't begin to imagine how different and difficult it must have been for her.  Whether or not the writing set was something she brought with her from England, I don't know.  I do know her hand writing is lovely though.

Hubby and I find that we don't hand write as well as we use to because we type mostly for communicating now.  Have you found your handwriting skills have diminished with the use of computers?

Have a wonderful day everyone.  I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.

Anne  xx

P.S. Mum, if you can shed any light on the details of Great Grandma's writing set, could you add a comment.  Thanks. :)


  1. I am not a writer at all - in fact the computer and it's keyboard is a wonderful thing to help me keep in contact via the written word - but I do love all the old fashioned writing goodies. How lovely that you still have your Great Grandma's writing set too. Cherrie
    PS We called our English step grandmother Grandma too!

  2. Yes Anne - all true, particularly the bit about your writing skills diminishing when not actually writing as much. I look at mine sometimes and wonder what I've actually written! cheers Wendy

  3. Oh my handwriting! I'm not sure it was ever beautiful, but it has most definitely deteriorated. I need to write more and type less. Maybe I should dig out my writing set again, just as an excuse to practise.

  4. Lettering should make a come back. So much more personal. I write letters still here and there but it's sad when nothing is returned. Love your Great Grandmothers set and the cute one you picked up. :)

  5. What a beautiful page. I really enjoyed reading this Anne. I once read a book during a difficult time called 'Stopping' given to me by a friend. It reminded us of a time when people 'stopped' and took a few minutes from the stress of running from here to there and barely breathing and how stress had increased. The best example was an analogy of a banker at his desk working on difficult figures. He ran out of ink in his fountain pen so had to stop. He carefully put his pen down, unscrewed the lid of his inkwell then the lower part of his pen. He carefully dipped the nib of the pen in the inkwell and refilled his inkpen. He re attached the lower part of his pen and slowly and carefully wiped the nib on a tissue. He then re screwed the lid of his inkwell. He scrolled a few patterns on a sheet of scrap paper to allow the new ink to flow through it, then blotted so as not to smudge on his accountancy books. He resumed his difficult figures.

    The process had allowed him to 'stop' from his given task, to focus his mind on something else and to take time out.

    I went out the following day and bought a fountain pen. I have used it ever since and though I do not have to use an inkwell but cartridges, and it doesnt take so long to refill, I always think of this and I slow down and take time to breathe. I love to write letters and still have pleasure in receiving a 'real' letter, card or note through my letter box.

  6. I love to get real letters! And I send Christmas cards out every year! :-) My handwriting isn't all that great to begin with, it's sort of a combination of script and printing. But my best fiends who is a school teacher has really lovely penmanship.

  7. sorry Anne I do not know where Grandma's writing set came from but do remember seeing her use it when I was young. I enjoyed seeing the delightful set with the butterflies from Kmart.What a treasure. My dishcloths are knitted from knitting cotton, but now that I am relearning crotchet after many years Imay just try one when I finish my present project.


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