Pretty by Post

For those of you who share the Mary’s love of all things paper, but aren’t having a lot of success locating a source of cards and stationery, you’re in luck. You don’t have to spend hours haunting thrift stores or online resources, the paper and cards can come to you.

Pretty by Post® offers a bi-monthly greeting card subscription service, and a quarterly stationery box for paper lovers.

Founder and fellow paper lover Danielle Nelson, believes in the power of intimate connection and keeping the old school way of communicating alive. She is a self-proclaimed paper junkie, obsessed with stationery, journals, lovely notebooks, and greeting cards. Like this Mary, she heads to the office supply aisles in whichever store she visits.

If you sign up for her newsletter, you net a free shipping code and subscriber-only discounts, sneak peeks and first dibs on her offerings.

For $35 for a 3-month subscription, you will get a box of notebooks, journals, stationery, note pads and note cards once a month.

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Each box will include one of a kind offerings. If you aren’t interested for yourself, you might consider this as a Mother’s Day gift for the paper lover in your life.

You can also choose a subscription of greeting cards, a gift subscription, or even a mini-gift subscription for $12 every two months.

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Follow Pretty By Post on Instagram for pretty card images and updates, or on
Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

If you have an idea for blog topics, e-mail Danielle at info@prettybypost.com.

If you’d like to know more about a 30-year friendship linked by letters, you can read my guest post (and maybe win a book!) that was featured on Day 12 of her #sendcardsspreadlove challenge.

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Click HERE to read the post. And don’t forget to make a comment underneath the post for your chance to win a free book!

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New release in the Grief Diaries book series, Christmas Giveaway~

Update: mctag2015 was the winner of the new books. Please message Mary at marypotterkenyon@gmail.com with your name and address~ Thank you to all who entered.

Lynda Cheldelin Fell  lost her 15-year old daughter Aly in 2009. Fueled by a desire to help others through loss, she founded AlyBlue Media in 2013,launched Grief Diaries Radio in February 2014, and the National Grief & Hope convention in April 2015, which is where I met her.

When she began her Grief Diaries series of books last year, I knew I wanted to be a part of them. Filled with poignant firsthand accounts, each anthology serves as a portable support group.

My writing is featured in several of the books, including Grief Diaries: Loss of a Spouse and Grief Diaries: Hello From Heaven.    I’m a co-author of the newest book in the series, Grief Diaries: Poetry & Prose, released yesterday.

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I’m especially excited about this book because of its focus on utilizing expressive writing as a tool for healing. The pieces included were written by those who experienced a loss of some sort. Coincidently, at the same time we were completing this book, I’ve been working on a related project, a grief journal I signed a contract for in August. Lynda will be writing the foreword for the book I hope will be utilized as a healing tool. Clinical research reveals it isn’t the simple act of writing alone that promotes healing in the emotionally wounded. Instead, it is reflecting and searching for meaning in our experiences that helps us heal. James Pennebaker, Regents Centennial Chair of Psychology at the University of Texas in Austin, is a pioneer in the study of using expressive writing as a route to healing. His research has shown that short-term focused writing can have a beneficial effect on anyone dealing with stress and trauma.

Reading about grief can help others in their own healing, and that is the concept behind the Grief Diaries. After my husband died, I devoured every book on the market that dealt with the loss of a spouse. It helped me to know that others had gone down the same path and not only survived, but thrived.

My friend, Dianna Vagianos Armentrout says much the same thing in her introduction:

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Many of Dianna’s poems are included in the book, along with poetry, blog entries, journal entries, and prose pieces from other authors. Here’s one of mine, written on my blog six years ago today:

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There is more to the entry, but you’ll have to pick up the book to read it. It’s uncanny  that the very first entry in my section of the book is dated six years and one day before this book’s release. Or that so much of what I am working into the journal fits into this book. In compiling quotes for the journal, I could then include my favorites in the Grief Diaries:

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Again, there are many more pages of uplifting and encouraging quotes included in Grief Diaries: Poetry & Prose.  I also utilized the resource section of my journal to help me compile a list of ten books that brought me hope in a dark time.

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Despite my lack of poetry prowess, I even managed to write some poetry myself. Any widow with children still at home will recognize the sentiment.

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To celebrate the launch of this newest title in the Grief Diaries series, I’m giving away two books from the Grief Diaries series: Grief Diaries: Poetry and Prose, and Grief Diaries: Hello From Heaven.

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To enter, just leave a comment below this post. I will randomly choose one name next Sunday, December 18.

 

 

Women’s Friendship Day Giveaway with $25 Barnes & Noble

This giveaway has ended. Thank you to all who entered on our Facebook Page.

It’s here…your chance to win a prize package on September 18, National Women’s Friendship Day, valued at well over $60. Not only are we celebrating female friendship, but also the one-year anniversary of our book release.

First of all, drumroll please…

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We have a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. (not the one pictured)

Next up, a copy of Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink

mary-meOne winner will also get all this; two packages of notecards, “A Prayerbook for Spiritual Friends” by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw, a package of cloud/sky paper with matching envelopes, “Signed, Sealed, Delevered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing” by Nina Sankovitch (who wrote a blurb endorsement of our book), “Gift of a Letter” by Alexandra Stoddard, the two books recently reviewed by Mary Potter Kenyon, the lovely “Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters” edited by Mary Savig, and “Nobody’s Cuter Than You: A Memoir About the Beauty of Friendship” by Melanie Shankle, and because both of the Marys journal; “The Journal Keeper” by Phyllis Theroux, “Grace for the Moment 365-day journaling devotional” by Max Lucado, and “The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Finally, a box of Sunblooms stationery by Amy Butler with 30 sheets of 6 different designs and matching envelopes.

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How do you enter?

*Go to our Facebook Page and “Like” it, if you haven’t already.

*Share the Giveaway Post on our Page

*Comment under the Giveaway Post

That’s it. Three easy steps. One winner’s name will be randomly drawn on the evening of September 18.

Good luck!

Pen to Paper, Artist’s Handwritten Letters

No one would mistake one of my letters as a work of art. Consider the missive I began this morning to my friend Mary.

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We stopped caring a long time ago what our letters to each other looked like. If neat handwriting, composition, and proper grammar had been a big concern of ours, we likely would have written much fewer than the thousands of letters that passed between us in the last 30 years.

Neither one of us remembers exactly how or when we decided not to keep each other’s letters, but the sheer volume of them had a lot to do with it. Where would one store such treasures that numbered in the thousands?

I do have a stash of letters I have saved; letters from my mother, siblings, a few from my grandmother, and many from my own children. Would my brother Bill be surprised to discover that I kept the letters he wrote to me when I was 16?

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I thought then, and still do today, that my brother’s handwriting reflected an artsy soul. A 2009 letter from my nephew Garrett seemed a precursor to the talent he has since developed as an artist.  I discovered a similarly decorated envelope among my mother’s things after her death. She, too, saved his letter.

Garrett letter

All together, my saved letters number fewer than what Mary and I might have written in our first ten years of letter-writing, but they still take up a good space in the trunk where I store them. Handwritten letters are indeed a treasure trove, as attested by the stash I’ve kept in a trunk and in books like this one.

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Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, edited by Mary Savig, is truly a work of art in its own right.
A collection of letters by artists from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, the book reveals how letter writing can be an artistic act, just as an artist puts pen to paper to craft a line in a drawing. Brief essays explore what can be learned from the handwriting of celebrated artists such as Mary Cassatt and  Maxfield Parrish. Each letter is accompanied by an archival image of the artist or a related artwork, with a full transcription at the back. (I needed those transcriptions as the penmanship was difficult to decipher at times.)

I was surprised to see a Dubuque, Iowa art professor listed in the book. Sister Mary Paulita (Helen) Kerrigan, was a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She devoted her professional life to painting and teaching, serving for 48 years as an art professor and artist-in-residence at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa. In 1962, she left Iowa to spend the summer studying at the Art Students League of New York, sketching in the streets of Manhattan and painting in a studio. This letter was her thank-you letter to noted painter and sculptor Charles Alston.

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Her handwriting demonstrates the Palmer Method of penmanship, popular especially in Catholic schools in the United States throughout the 20th century. Many of us remember the repetitive drills that brought us our own fluency in similar cursive handwriting. My mother took some art classes at Clarke College before marrying my father. I wonder now if one of her instructors was Sister Mary Paulita.

You can see the same style of handwriting in my mother’s letters that I have saved.

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More than thirty years later, my mother’s written words can bring tears to my eyes. This letter, written in December 1985, was penned during a difficult period for my parents. My mother wasn’t sure she would make it to my mid-December college graduation. She didn’t explain until later why she and my father did not attend. But despite the difficulties they were facing, my mother attempted to look at the brighter side of things, to “be surprised how God works and feel very blessed.”

It is the words “I love you and am so proud of you always” that brings tears. I admit, at the time this letter was written, all I’d seen when I read it was “I might not be there.”  The “It’s a hard life isn’t it!” speaks volumes to me today, the hint that there was so much more to her absence than she could share in a letter.

This treasured letter makes me smile, too. “My heart is full of poetry, like Angie says.” The sister my mother mentions now writes poetry. “And maybe just how you feel, too, Mary?” Yes, oh yes. What a letter written more than 30 years ago can do for me today is make me feel as though my heart, too, is “full of poetry.”

What letter we might write today will be pulled out of a trunk 30 years from now to bring both tears and joy to the recipient?

This lovely book is just the beginning in a series of letter-writing and friendship related books we plan on reviewing in this blog during September. Many of the books reviewed this month and in the past will be included in a prize package drawing on September 18, which is National Women’s Friendship Day. Stay tuned for your chance to win this book and many others.    –Mary Potter Kenyon

Sharing an Obsession: Drawing

WINNER CHOSEN Dec. 1: Hanson Bloesch of Iowa City~

~Mary Potter Kenyon

Readers of our book will know that both authors have an obsession with paper and pens. Yet it is this Mary who owned enough note cards in her personal stash to fully supply the materials for all of the “Letter-Writing 101” workshops the Marys have conducted at libraries, with plenty left for future workshops. I can add more to our workshop supply, thanks to a stop at a consignment store. I always gravitate toward the stationery and office supply sections in stores like this. And I’m a sucker for grab bags of cards and stationery. I snatched these bags up at $2.99 for the big bags and $1.99 for the smaller.

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There is always that thrill of anticipation that comes before opening up one of these bags. Will the visible cards be Hallmark and Current, while the rest are the free ones everyone gets in the mail from organizations? I opened one of the larger bags first, and immediately noticed two large cards that looked homemade. They had handwriting inside! This did not bode well for the rest of the pack, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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I’ll use the smaller thank you cards myself, but the other note cards go into our letter workshop supply. There is a Forever stamp attached to one envelope, which means free postage for a future mailing. Besides the note cards, I’ll keep approximately 12 of the cards for my own use. Considering the free stamp, $2.49 for 12 greeting cards and approximately 15 note cards is a pretty great deal. I also got a stack of extra envelopes out of the deal.

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The 2nd large bag had more note cards, including a stack that fit the extra envelopes from the previous bag. I loved the birdhouse small cards way up at the top, as well as a leaf sympathy card, a butterfly friendship card, a cute butterfly notepad, and a package of brand new red cards for Valentine’s Day.

The smaller bag had some cards of questionable value; several homemade ones that I wasn’t thrilled with, except the leaf one, and Blue’s Clues cards. Do children even know who Blue is anymore?

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But there was an unused stamp on one envelope and several brand new cards inside, including a lovely one that was well worth the $1.99 alone.

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So what will I do with all the extra cards I’m not going to keep? I think it’s about time for a giveaway, don’t you? Not only will I fill a box with the extra cards from these three bags, the winner will get that fourth small package of assorted cards shown in the first photo, along with a bonus of extra cards and notepads from my stationery stash. To enter, comment under this shared post on the Mary & Me Facebook page.  I will choose a winner on December 1st.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Friendship and Mary & Me With a Drawing!

Today is National Girlfriends Day, according to at least one website. According to the United Nations website, yesterday was the International Day of Friendship, with yet another source or two claiming that many counties, including India, celebrate it as Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August. There is also a Women’s Friendship Month (September), National Women’s Friendship Day (third Sunday in September) and International Friendship Month (February). And the fun doesn’t stop there. “Old Friends, New Friends Week” is the third week of May.
The Marys are thrilled to have their book Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink released during September, a month when two of those “holidays” fall. We are also taking full advantage of tomorrow’s Friendship Day by hosting one of our first appearances as co-authors at The Bread Basket tearoom in Manchester. With a free “friendship tea” from 2:00-4:00, and an author reading at 2:30, it is our way of celebrating both friendship and our upcoming book release. As for Women’s Friendship Month, we have two big launches planned, as well as a friendship tea, and several “Letter-Writing 101” workshops. October promises to look just as busy, and there is even a “Mary & Me” event already scheduled for November.

We have something besides friendship to celebrate this week, and that is the announcement from our publisher that Mary & Me will be released in Australia in the spring! What exciting news~

To celebrate this news, along with Friendship Day, we’ve decided to hold another drawing. One lucky winner, drawn at random on the morning of Tuesday, August 4th, will receive all this:

  • a signed copy of Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink
  • a sheet of forget-me-not stamps
  • a folio of flower-themed stationery with envelopes
  • 2 notepads
  • five new greeting cards, made with recycled paper that has flower seeds embedded into it
  • a new hardcover book from the lovely Victoria magazine, Writing Personal Notes and Letters
  • $10 Amazon gift card

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How do you enter? Simple. Follow these four steps for your chance to win:

  1. Go to our Facebook Page. Click HERE
  2. Become a fan of our page by clicking on “LIKE”
  3. Comment underneath the drawing link
  4. Then “Share” that post on your Facebook page

One name will be chosen from the entries and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 4th, our Facebook page and blog.

Good luck~

We Have a Winner~

It was a tough decision with so many wonderful ideas for a new sub-title for our work in progress. A top favorite was A Lasting Link Through Ink, so the winner of the basket full of goodies is Jill Humston.

This is our current working sub-title, but it doesn’t mean it will be the final sub-title. Our editor and publisher has the final say on that. Thank you for all your entries!

Name That Book…And Be a Winner!!!

While Mary & Me: Two Lives in Letters has been the working title for our book since its inception, we are seriously considering changing the subtitle, and we are asking for your help. We are running a contest for two weeks and offering a prize of a beautiful gift basket full of items that would interest our potential readers.

prize basketTo enter the contest, you must first “LIKE” our Mary & Me Facebook Page. Then make a comment underneath the Drawing Contest post on our page, suggesting a possible sub-title for our book. We are planning on keeping the main title “Mary & Me,” unless the publisher has other ideas, but we are searching for a winning sub-title. Keep in mind that it should give prospective readers an idea of what this book is about. Here is a short synopsis to help you out: “Mary and Me:  explores a long-standing friendship between two women; one who had never learned to cultivate female friendships, and another who had managed to gather and maintain a large group of friends throughout her adult life. The fact that handwritten letters tethered these two together is just part of the intriguing story. What one Mary could learn from the other is yet another aspect.”

Obviously, the topic of female friendship is at the forefront of our book, but so is the avid letter-writing. Keep this in mind as you come up with prospective sub-titles. If people suggest identical titles that is fine, too. Once we have collected a good sampling of suggestions, on January 15 we will decide which working sub-title we want to use to replace our current one, and the person who came up with it will be the winner of our gift basket. If more than one person has suggested that sub-title, we will do a random drawing with the names and choose one winner. Keep in mind that our publisher has the final say in our book’s production, but we will use the winning title on our blog and in the manuscript we turn in.

The prize will be mailed to the winner. The basket includes everything you see here, and more!

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*Box of Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea
*Box of Stash Pumpkin Spice Decaf Tea
*Verena Street Julien’s Breakfast Blend coffee beans  (12 oz. package)
*18 postage stamps
*8 greeting cards created by Iowa City area poets & artists
*3.5 oz. bar of  Green & Black Organic Milk Chocolate Almond
*2 oz. bar of Dagoba Organic Dark Chocolate Raspberry
*3 oz. bar of Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee
*1 hand-sewn brown/blue apron
*1 handmade small tissue packet cloth holder for purse
*1 tea towel
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*beautiful flower journal
*feather print notepad
winthrop storytime and basket prize 063And to top off this wonderful gift basket, we will be including a $15 Walmart gift card (not pictured)
So put on your thinking caps and come up with a suggestion for our book’s sub-title.