We keep referring to Happy Mail in the shop and whenever we are about town. And even though we don't get a chance as often as we would like to practice what we preach, we still believe in it and promote it. We are passionate about the written word and sharing with those we love, hand written notes, cards, letters and journaling always created with the care and attention they deserves. Old school writing. It means something.
Let me back-up. Do you know what Happy Mail is? You definitely know what Un-Happy Mail is. Un-Happy is when you go to your mailbox and what is it you typically receive? Bills. Flyers. Notices. Paper like this usually doesn't really make you feel that great. This is Un-Happy Mail.
But every so often, and truly not often enough, we receive a card or even better, a letter. It may be for a birthday, or it may be just because. It may be from Mom or Grandma, or a long lost cousin or even an acquaintance. And it makes us feel special. It makes us feel loved. It means something. It has substance. This is Happy Mail.
If I was to send you an email on your birthday, I guarantee, it will be deleted soon after the day. Because, technology has stripped us of our human connection to each other. And yet, if I was to send you a card or letter, snail mailed to your postbox, I can guarantee, you would keep it longer than that email and you would read it more than once. I can also guarantee, that it will touch your heart, even your soul. This is the power of paper and pen. This is the connection we are loosing touch with. This is what a lot of us are looking for or missing.
National Letter Writing Month - #Write_On
April 1st, 2018 will mark the fifth year of Write_On a campaign of letter writing led by the creative geniuses at Egg Press & HelloLucky and co-hosted by Mohawk Paper & Sakura Of America. And it all happens during National Letter Writing Month. And for the third year, Soul Paper is on board in Saskatoon.
“Didn’t we just write letters in February?”
“What was InCoWriMo?”
InCoWriMo did just happen in February and was a very, very successful “International“ event. But the National Letter Writing Month campaign is the brain child of Scholastic and the United States Parcel Service (USPS) to promote joy, connections, artistic expression and sharing through hand-written correspondence. It is a way for us to unshackle ourselves from technology and put our souls into something that will mean the world to the recipient.
“So why is Soul Paper doing this?”
We believe in Happy Mail. It is one of the founding cornerstones of our little shop. One of the disappointing things in our lives, is going to the mailbox every day to find … un-happy mail. Flyers. Bills. Summons to appear in court. Tax forms. You know the depressing, trivial, mundane mail. The stuff that we want to forget.
But Happy Mail is, that card from Auntie Gertie for your birthday or pictures and a notecard from your son away at camp or that touching letter from a lost friend traveling the world reaching out to reconnect. These are the letters we save in a shoebox for safe keeping and further reflection. Happy Mail creates moments that touch our souls. We believe in the cause, and want to promote it here in Canada.
“So why should I write?
There are oh so many reasons. Remember the shoebox? Wouldn't it be great for your grandchildren to happen upon it long after you are gone, and learn about you? Or even the mysterious pen pal you had in Sarikei?
How about for the simple fact that you truly wish to keep old school correspondence alive. Emoji’s have their place, but there is nothing quite as personal or heartfelt as a hand written letter. It shows that someone actually cared for you enough to write to you, and not simply email.
Or are you upset with the way the world is today? Write a letter that saves, makes a change or speaks for those who cannot. Use your words to make a change.
A great example for "why", is an excerpt of an article by Samara O’Shea for Huffpost in 2011;
“A text message that says: I Luv U
A letter that says: My dear Girl I love you ever and ever without reserve. The more I have known you the more have I loved. In every way--even my jealousies have been agonies of love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you.
(Excerpt from a letter written by John Keats in March 1820).”
“I want to get in on this! What can I do?”
1. Participate. Commit to writing a letter every day for 30 days. Even if you just put them in a shoebox for your great grandchildren to find.
2. If you are in Saskatoon and wish to participate, follow the link for more information about our Kick-Off & Stationery Swap. If you can join us, be ready to trade stamps, washi, envelopes, etc.
3. For all other news, updates, connections and all letter writing goodness, follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram.
4. The official Write_On website.
5. Also, please connect, follow and share with these great folks too;
6. Have fun with this. It may well change your life for the better.
Remembrance Day - The Poppies in the Window
Yes, my father was a deserter. But he was also one of the many heroes.
But this night, was the night before the Soviets arrived. And my father saved hundreds of innocents as he ran alongside others, escaping this war. This revolution.
He ran from his post, after receiving the news of twenty-five thousand strong were marching towards him. He consciously ran thirty miles warning people along the way. He warned farmers in the fields working for the almost overthrown, albeit corrupt, government. He warned women and children cowering in the bushes, fields and shanties along the roadsides. And he warned strangers, knowing full well, they might just shoot him in the back, as he kept running, because after all, they may be secret police.
But most importantly, he warned my mother’s entire family. They all survived, by hiding, or running, or accepting the Soviet occupation. His own kin, did not.
They all ran out of time, and with tanks at his heals, grabbed my mother and older sister and made a run for it with the other thousands of Hungarians for the border.
Italy was the safe haven. That is what everyone knew. That is where they went, to catch a boat to Canada, Australia or South Africa, to safety, and the unknown. For if they had stayed, or took their chances, this story wouldn’t have been written. History would have definitely been different.
You also wouldn’t be able to read the reason I am writing this. Or why the poppy means so much to me and my family. Why I am so adamant about closing for the day. Why this one day of the year is most solemn and most reverered and true in my heart.
Dad always planted poppies in his garden. Wild, Hungarian poppies. It really doesn’t matter what the color, as long as they were pinks, oranges or reds. He tended them with more care than any of the other plants in his garden. Making sure the patches along the fence were weed free, even in the back lane. For him, they were a sign of respect of everyone he had lost. Everyone he had known. All the sacrifices. And all that was given up for his freedom. It was also a symbol of everything he gave up and did to save whom he could.
The Poppies were Dad’s way of paying respect.
In 1984, my father was pardoned for desertion and acknowledged for his contributions to saving his countrymen in the long but not forgotten past. He wore a poppy on that day.
Every day after that, he carried petals from his poppies, folded in a handkerchief in his pocket.
He always told me, Never forget.
The 2016 Special Edition Lamy AL-Star - Charged Green
Each year Lamy creates a new special edition, limited production run, of their bestselling AL-Star series.
This year the latest colour is (drum roll please) – Charged Green!
And although it seems as though the Lamy designers are caught in a “green” loop after releasing the Safari Neon Lime last year, the Charged Green is already becoming a favorite on pen blogs and the internet since it was announced in December. The green is subtle, stylish and since it is an anodized aluminum, the green has been described as olive, pear, green apple or lime leaf. Either way, it is beautiful, and will certainly become a collectable as are all of the special editions.
The AL-Star is an aluminum pen with a semi-transparent barrel grip, a patented exchangeable nib (hot-swappable) and a spring-action metal clip. The original design dates back to the sixties but was truly re-introduced to the public in 1980 and has remained one of the best pens on the planet. The pen is extremely light weight, but very stout and robust. The little brother to the AL-Star , the Safari, shares the same nib and ink cartridge system and is given to grade schoolers in Germany. So for everyday use, they just keep performing.
This year, Soul Paper will be Pre-ordering and stocking the AL-Star Charged Green in fountain pen and roller ball, and of course, we will also have the limited edition inks in cartridge and bottles.
The AL-Star ’s and Safari’s will accept the Lamy Z24 converter or Lamy ink cartridges, and each series are sold with converters. We love how easy they are to fill from bottles.
Last year’s special edition sold out before production and this year is bound to be no exception. With this in mind, we are accepting pre-orders until January 29, 2016. So if you are looking to add to your Lamy collection, are in need of a very special gift for someone this year, or are thinking of Christmas gifts (it is only 353 days away!), give us a call and reserve yours today.
The Blackwing Pencil
We also stock the Blackwing Limited Editions, but only while they last.
- Limited Edition Chuck Jones (of Looney Tunes fame) available (only 5000 boxes were produced).
- Limited Edition 211 in honour of John Muir.
- Limited Edition 1138. The most unique to date.
For everyone at Soul Paper, having Blackwing in the store is a bit of nostalgia, as we all have been using them since our days in grade school, college or in our previous careers. The fact is, before the store opened, we had been ordering them online and using them sparingly. They are a staple in our personal studios and still dear to our hearts. And as soon as you pick one up, you remember something from your past, because they are so familiar.
The Day After
The list of people we want to thank for coming out in the rain and cold to celebrate our First Birthday is truly endless. Less it to say, thank you everyone, we love all you and we couldn’t have done any of this with without you. And if you follow on Instagram or Facebook, you would see the pictures, links to videos and fun everyone had. Please take some time to follow the links to others in our community too, as their posts on yesterday’s festivities are incredible.
Yesterday was also the opening of our workshop space! After a full year of threatening to open the space to the public, we finally have. This was a major milestone at Soul Paper as it signifies a real need for a space for our community to share, learn and grow. We are super excited for the first classes in calligraphy and mixed media. Watch the Workshop page here on our website for the October calendar.
We really hate ending our little blog posts with apologies, but to everyone signed up for a Newsletter … Sorry, it IS coming soon. We needed to focus on the build of the workshop and ensuring the great finds for the shop kept rolling in. We also have a few new faces around the shop and with the added support, will be focussing on Newsletters and Workshops. We may have now started a rhythm.
Thank you again for your Love and Support.
Happy Birthday to...US!
Yesterday (August 29) marked a very important day at Soul Paper! We turned 1! Can you believe it? One. Uno. Edg.
Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary!
This past year has gone so quickly. We have diligently worked on building our stock, supporting you the community and having fun. Thank you for your support, love and kindness!
To celebrate this milestone, and to thank everyone, we are inviting you to our party on Saturday September 5, 2015. There will be treats, grab bags, libations (non alcoholic of course), an incredible in house prise draw and mini demos! We should also mention, that this will be the soft opening of our newly renovated workshop space!
We hope to see you!
Long Hot Summer
When we say long hot summer around the shop, it is usually with the rolling of eyes and a tongue firmly planted in a cheek. We don't really have air conditioning, but we do. The building as old as it is (built in 1910) has quite a lot of charm, but not the most efficient of cooling systems. So the little air conditioning unit we installed to provide some relief is doing a sufficient job. It's the little engine that might ... depending on the temperature outside.
When we say long hot summer around the shop, it sometimes means the extra-long hours we are putting in receiving our summer, fall and now Christmas stock. Yes. Christmas in July. We set a standard, almost a year ago, to keep the shop ever changing with new products. To this promise, we are delivering. Sometimes Daily. The ladies in the shop really have their work cut-out for them.
The term "Long hot summer", is also used when we talk about our progress on construction. The long days and late nights working on the storeroom, workshop and office have taken its toll on all of us. Especially when the little air conditioner that might, decides to not. So yes, through shear tenacity, stubbornness and determination, the construction will be completed soon (thank you Mr. Contractor - we are tired of dust) and programs will be posted shortly.
But really when we say long hot summer, we smile and feel light of heart. Because of YOU. Even in the warmth of the old building, surrounded by great new stationery, while fanning ourselves with that brilliant birthday card, you stop in to say hello and linger to talk about the lake or that party you are going to. You stop, for a minute, to ask what's new. You stop. To breathe and share your time with us. And that is why; it's a long hot summer. That is why we do it. For Community. That's You.
Thank you all for an incredible summer!
Dirty Hands Happy Heart
This month we have been pining to get into the workshop/studio, crack open some acrylic paints, dirty up some brushes and get our hands dirty. Every year, around this time, when the cold of winter has settled in and the snow is still on the ground, we yearn, as many artists do, for that embrace of creativity. Although we have had snippets of creativity and a smattering of inky hands and sticky paper, it has not been the same this year.
We have been creative in other ways ... with our minds planning workshops, events and tradeshow travel with our team and supporters, like you. With notepads with our vendors, suppliers and other creatives that supply us with great products. But mostly, we have been creative with saws, and hammers, and paint, and wire, and wood. To be honest, we are physically putting the finishing touches on the workshop. We want it just so when we officially open to the public.
We are so close to opening, that we have had to re-organized our art supply area, to make room for all the new products (yep ... gonna use em in the workshops!). Had to source and found a large format paper storage unit (thanks to Mid Mod Vintage & Hidden Stitch). We even scored a few other display units from some other businesses (thank you Periwinkle). There has been a ton of work in the back ground that will be revealed soon.
But in the meanwhile, come on in and check out the updated Art area! We are sure you will find something worth dirtying your hands with.