Half Price stationery find

Do you have a Half Price Bookstore near you? Click HERE to see. My daughter Elizabeth gave me a Half Price gift card for Christmas, and I’m glad I saved it for something special. It’s a rare find, but when I stopped there last week, I discovered boxes of lovely stationery priced at $5.99. I have the educator’s discount card so got a 10% discount. I’m sure we all agree I couldn’t pass up that deal. You might want to check out your local store to see if they have the same stationery in stock.



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.


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.

greeting cards mini.jpg
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.

spread love challenge.png

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!

Going once, going twice, SOLD on stationery!

I’m often asked where I get my stationery. While the majority is discovered at thrift stores and Goodwill, the online auction site of ebay has also been a wonderful source for my paper habit.

Now, if you’ve seen my shelves of stationery, it’s obvious I don’t actually need to purchase any more.


I have more than enough to last me a lifetime of writing letters.

That said, occasionally I need a little pick-me-up, something to brighten my day. Or, I may have sold some of my stash and feel the need to restock. Because I do often sell stationery that isn’t bringing me joy, or isn’t the texture I like, or I get tired of using. Yes, the wrong texture of the paper, or a bad pen, can ruin my letter-writing fun.

Now, as much as the other Mary claims a penchant for paper, her letters are more often written on notepaper, often of the “free” variety, while I am the one in our duo more likely to purchase pretty paper and stationery sets, as is evidenced by this pile of letters I’d written Mary.

mary letters

Note the colorful, decorated envelopes that matched the bright and cheery stationery inside. This was during my early 2000’s Mary Engelbreit stationery era.

Perhaps some would view my investment in paper as an extravagance, but I allow myself this one vice. It isn’t expensive jewelry, purses or shoes, but it’s obvious from my filled baskets that it is, indeed, a vice of mine.

As a public service for fellow paper lovers, I’ve decided to share my tips to discovering good deals on stationery on ebay.

  • If you type “vintage stationery” into the search on ebay, you come up with 2985 results. I love vintage stationery.
  • You can narrow down the results by typing “Hallmark vintage stationery,” or “scented vintage stationery,” or whatever it is you are looking for, like I did when I searched for bird stationery, and came up with this result, two boxes I purchased.bird stationery.jpg
  • Another idea is to spell it incorrectly in your search. Type in “vintage stationary” and you’ll get significantly fewer results (780 vs. 2985), but the majority are different listings. (some sellers know to spell it both ways in their description, because for some reason, this is a word that gets mis-spelled frequently) Someone might attend an estate sale and end up with a bunch of greeting cards and boxes of stationery that they aren’t sure what to do with. Or maybe their mother died and they cleaned out her desk. But for whatever reason, these people just want to get rid of something that seems so foreign to them. Stationery? (or stationary, to those not familiar with it)
  • I sometimes search under “huge lot of stationery.” I’d rather pick up five boxes in one fell swoop (and have) than purchase one box at a time. The same seller who had the bird stationery also had lovely sunflower and flower print vintage stationery listed, and was happy to combine shipping, even though his listing didn’t state that. I e-mailed to ask him before I purchased additional sets.

sunflower stationery

  • Some sellers list stationery under Collectible Paper Ephemera. That’s a clue they take their paper very seriously. That’s where you’ll see vintage stationery priced at $40 a box, or the box all by itself (with no paper inside) for $20. Avoid that category for your stationery search. I’m assuming you aren’t collecting stationery, but using it.
  • If you love a certain brand of paper, like Lang, try searching under “Lang paper” or “Lang printer paper.”  One of my favorite packets of stationery was from the Martha Stewart collection, but with just five notecards, five postcards, and five sheets of paper inside, I’m not about to pay the $13.27 Amazon price.

martha stewart stationeryAnother favorite was Susan Branch boxed set of paper with tea cups on it.  Occasionally, I’ll search ebay for these sets. There’s a Martha Stewart set listed right now, for $24.99, and yes, it is listed as stationary. 

  • My last tip would be to think outside the box (pun intended) when you are searching for stationery. Unfortunately, our Hallmark stores don’t carry as much boxed stationery as they used to. (“No one writes letters anymore,” I was informed when I asked why) Check out your local drugstore, bookstores, specialty shops. Don’t forget your Goodwills or consignment stores. I’ll share some online sources in the coming weeks.

Take the April Challenge; write a letter~

In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service officially designated April as “National Card and Letter Writing Month” to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing. While Mary JH and I don’t need a month designated to letter writing to write each other (we’ll do that regardless) I do love a challenge, and the idea of sending out at least one letter or card each day in the next 30 days appeals to me, particularly if I up the challenge and make it a card or letter to someone other than Mary!

mary letters

I often get asked where I get all my stationery and cards. While the majority of my stash is unearthed in thrift stores and from eBay, I have a penchant for paper, and there are times when I can’t resist a splurge. Like this butterfly paper I discovered in our local Widner drugstore last year. I mean, really…as much as I like butterflies, how could I have resisted?


As part of the April challenge, I’ll be sharing some stationery resources in this blog.

Today’s feature is the Lang Company, where today only (April 1) you can get 30% off your order with the code JOKES.  They sell gift items, as well as calendars, notepads, and notecards, like these beautiful Christian notecards.

lang note cardsYou might want to check their clearance section out for some good deals on beautiful gift items, calendars, address books and notecards as well.


A few of my favorite things

I begin every day in my office, even those mornings I need to rush to get to my workplace. I sit in my recliner, my book lamp on, a cup of coffee sitting on the end table where I keep my Bible, a devotional and writing materials.


I can look in one direction and see my beautiful oak bookshelves filled with a few of my favorite things. Next to it, the St. Michael the Archangel wood carving I inherited from the man who bought it from my mother more than forty years ago. It sits on my grandmother’s trunk that is covered by a quilt my mother handmade for me.

st michael.jpg

Each day, I gather strength from the visual reminder of God’s promise in Psalm 91:9-16
“For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.”

In the other direction, on the wall near my desk, are decorative and inspirational wall plaques, reminding me to dream and explore.


I’m never sure if it’s the surroundings, the gift of silence, or the coffee that jump-starts my day. It might be the combination of all three. But it is in this space, this haven, that I do my deepest thinking and my best writing.
For the majority of my adult life, my purchases were mostly utilitarian, and nearly always second-hand. Raising a large family meant operating on a tight budget. It wasn’t until I began conducting workshops that I needed to invest in some nicer clothing for myself. It was around that same time I developed a penchant for jewelry. Not high-priced diamonds or expensive gold, mind you, but dangly earrings and long chains with meaningful pendants and charms or steam-punk style; keys, gears, feathers, butterflies. I still enjoy that style of jewelry and since Christmas, thanks to my daughter Katie, I now have a way to display it.


After my husband died, the purchases of “stuff” got out of control. Still not of the fur, diamond and gold variety, but everywhere I went I was picking up books, stationery, jewelry, inspirational wall plaques, and clothing; anything to fill the gaping hole in my heart. Of course, it didn’t work. Nothing would fill that gaping wound.
The binge-buying was financially unhealthy, but my urge to surround myself with beauty and inspirational messages was not. Many of those items from that period of buying still bring me joy; the jewelry, the stationery, a butterfly pillow, and those inspirational plaques and pictures on my walls.
Author Alexandra Stoddard is convinced our surroundings can nourish us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
“The home is the center of your soul; it’s a total reflection of your inner life. If you have a dreary home, it means you are dark inside,” she wrote.
Possessions aren’t all bad. Our desire to surround ourselves with beautiful things is natural. God decorated our skies with stars and rainbows, peppered our hills with budding flowers, and filled our pastures with bright green blades of grass. An artsy plaque with an inspirational message on our wall or the soft glow of a lamp in the corner of the room can be soothing to the soul. My home office is full of such things, and my favorites are hand-made; my mother’s wood carvings, my daughters’ paintings and drawings, the painted brick books one daughter made, or wooden letters that spell out the word “WRITE” that another daughter crafted with the cover designs of my books. My book lamp, a handmade quilt on a trunk, and solid oak bookcases filled with books; these things make me feel as though I am surrounded by warmth and beauty.

A recent acquisition that is bound to become one of my favorite things; Martha Stewart Pen-pal bed sheets from Macys.  I bought them as a Christmas gift to myself, when they were 60% off.  I’m not sure I would have invested in pen-pal sheets when I shared a Queen bed with my husband, but if the other Mary is interested, there are flamingo sheets available as well.

penpal sheets.jpg
What about you? What are a few of your favorite things?

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…


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.

mary & me prize.jpg

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!

Want to make a Mary very merry?

Try paper.

As our readers are well aware, the Marys love stationery. Of the two of us, I seem to be the one more apt to imbibe in the collection of it.

When I received a $25 e-gift card from Staples in my work e-mail, I thought it might be a scam of some type, but the girls in the front office thought it was more likely I’d filled out some survey they might have ignored. Since it didn’t ask for any passwords or access to any of my accounts, I printed it out and intended to use it on programs for my daughter Emily’s upcoming Saturday wedding.

We headed to the Staples store located at 4601 1st Avenue SE, in Cedar Rapids. (write this down, Cedar Rapids area peeps, you just might want to visit this store in the next week or two).  Once there, we headed straight to the copy center, where the woman informed us the programs wouldn’t be ready for 2-3 days, since they were running on a skeleton crew because they would be closing in September. I might be a little rusty in the coupon-using department, but my  deal-seeking radar still went into full alert at that comment. I immediately turned my head to survey the area behind me, and there it was, in all its glory; a sign on the greeting card display, declaring all remaining greeting cards to be 50-cents. I handed Emily my keys and told her to head to the nearest Copyworks while I shopped. After all, I had that coupon to use before the end of the month.

50 greeting cards later (some originally priced at $5.95 each),  I pushed a cart up and down the aisles, looking for more deals. I hit the mother lode in the stationery/wedding aisle, where $11 packages of “thank you” cards were marked down to 50-cents. Three packages went in the cart for Emily. Blue envelopes, marked down to 50-cents, 100-sheet packs of designed letterhead printer paper just $2, packages of beautiful cards for 50-cents. I left plenty of 100-sheet packages of paper and if you were in the early stages of planning a wedding, there was embossed blank programs, name cards for table settings, and boxes full of wedding invitations.


If utilized correctly, those 50 greeting cards, paid for by a free gift card, will brighten the mailboxes of 50 people in the months to come.

Now, that’s the kind of sale that will make a Mary very merry.

Mary Potter Kenyon

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

office and stationery 007

amazon gift card

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~

Say What? Stationery? OR Stationary?

                                               STATIONERY STORAGE? OR STATIONARY STORAGE?



I swear~ I thought the sign on the truck on the side of the road said “Stationery Storage Available Here,” as in paper stationery, not stationary, as in staying in one place. And it made me think of the “Letter-Writing 101” chapter of our book.

From Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink:

Mary and I are addicted to stationery. All kinds of it. We give it as birthday and Christmas gifts (usually in designs we fancy since we’ll eventually be seeing those pages in our mailbox). We love free pens, pencils, and logoed pads from county fairs, businesses, motels, and hotels. Stickers adorn most of my envelopes. I’m also a fan of stamping designs on them. If someone gives me a card with just my name on it and it isn’t sealed, I recycle it, whiting out my last name and inserting Mary’s instead. Cheesy? Maybe. Economical? Yes. Is there ever a time when I think I have too much writing material? I doubt it, though my husband might think otherwise.
Mary Jedlicka Humston, pages 176-177
When Mary mentions our mutual love of paper and pens, I wonder if she knows the extent of my obsession. Would she be shocked at the contents of the cabinet where I store our school and office supplies? Three of the shelves hold paper; there are reams of white copy paper, stacks of colorful notebooks, bins of cute notepads, and brand new boxes of stationery. Then there is the seven-drawer plastic storage unit next to my desk. The bottom drawer holds scratch paper for grandchildren to scribble on, but the other six are crammed with vintage stationery, decorated printer sheets, and a wide assortment of note cards. I do have preferences: smaller stationery to the larger printer size, thinner sheets to the thicker ones, and vintage styles to newer ones. Thin air-mail sheets satisfy nearly all my senses. I feel a thrill of satisfaction when I fold the letter in half and hear the crinkling as I insert it in the envelope. Sometimes I take it out to re-read it just to feel and hear the paper again before mailing.
Mary Potter Kenyon, pages 171-172

When I wrote that previous paragraph, my stationery was stored in a cabinet and a plastic storage unit. Since an office/library re-design, however, I now use woven bins and decorated lidded boxes on a wooden shelf.

stationery truck 029The largest bin on the top shelf holds all my journals and new boxes of stationery. Another woven basket holds loose sheets of the smaller stationery that I prefer, and the smallest one holds my note cards and extra envelopes. The two large decorated bins hold the printer sheet sized paper, stickers, and address labels, and the smallest box holds all my greeting cards.

stationery truck 030stationery truck 031So when I wrote that I wondered if Mary H. had any idea how much stationery I actually own, I suspect the answer is a resounding No.

And this isn’t even counting the large bag of note cards, stationery and envelopes I’ve set aside for our upcoming “Letter-Writing 101” workshops.

stationery truck 035That’s a lot of stationery and note cards. Which is why this sentiment from the end of my “P.S. Postcript” chapter is accurate;

I love Mary. She is one of the first people I turn to in both good and bad times. Cowriting this book with her has drawn us even closer. Yes, I can imagine us living together as two old (much older!) widows. Would we want to continue writing each other even though we lived in the same house?
That would work. I own more than enough stationery already for the both of us.
(page 185)

Picture This~Paper~ One writer’s foibles

Both Marys love stationery, and all things related to paper and writing. Perhaps that is common with writers; of books or letters. Or, perhaps it is a particular foible (one could say obsession) of these two writers. But sometimes this Mary (Mary K) wonders if her co-writer is truly aware of the depth of her love affair with stationery. That when she stops at a thrift store she goes straight to the office supply section? Or when she stumbles across a packet of pink stationery priced at $1.49 and a $1.99 vintage box of DaySpring “elegantly foiled and embossed” stationery sheets, she simply cannot resist the temptation~She buys them.

stationery 014These splurges are without rhyme or reason, when she already owns drawers full of the stuff.

stationery 007At what point does a foible become an obsession? A collection become a hoard? This is one of the topics addressed in the “Letter Writing 101” chapter of our upcoming book.

From Mary K:

“When Mary mentions our mutual love of paper and pens, I wonder if she knows the extent of my obsession. Would she be shocked at the contents of the cabinet where I store our school and office supplies? Three of the shelves hold paper; there are reams of white copy paper, stacks of colorful notebooks, bins of cute notepads, and brand new boxes of stationery. Then there is the seven-drawer plastic storage unit next to my desk. The bottom drawer holds scratch paper for grandchildren to scribble on, but the other six drawers are crammed with vintage stationery, decorated printer sheets, and a wide assortment of note cards. I do have preferences, preferring smaller stationery sheets to the larger printer size, thinner sheets to the thicker ones, and vintage stationery to newer. Thin air-mail sheets satisfy nearly all my senses. I feel a thrill of satisfaction when I fold the letter in half and hear the crinkling as I insert it in the envelope. Sometimes I take it out to re-read, just to feel and hear the paper again before mailing.

A scent of patchouli emanates from the incense sticks and soap bars I store inside the drawers of paper. I don’t just like pretty paper~I want it to smell nice (like an old lady, according to the grand-daughter who shares my paper passion). While I love stickers, rubber stamps, and embellishments on envelopes, I don’t take the time to use them. I’m fascinated by the concept of “mail art.” When I receive an elaborately decorated letter, I will look at it many times before I store it in a trunk where I keep favored correspondence.

My favorite pen changes, but I consistently have detested any fine-tip utensils or colored gel pens. I abhor erasable ink pens. I love the thick pens that are free promotional items from businesses. I wrote much of the first draft of this chapter using a fat ink pen with a comfort grip. ‘Iowa Prison Industries’ is emblazoned on the side.”

We will be sharing some fun pictures with you soon, including an image of our cover design in progress. Later this week we plan on running a “Caption This!” photo contest featuring one of the fun photos our photographer, Daniel Kenyon produced from a morning photo shoot that took place at the Bread Basket coffee shop. The Bread Basket is where Mary H took Mary K out for lunch every month for more than a year and a half after her husband died.

In the meantime, enjoy this photographic tour through Mary K’s office supply storage and cabinet.

stationery 006Storage cart drawers. Note the bars of scented soap. There are sticks of incense in one of the drawers as well.

stationery 009Top shelf of cabinet; holds printer paper and notebooks.

stationery 008Second shelf holds journals, note cards, small note pads and new boxes of stationery.

stationery 011Another shelf holds envelopes, pens, pencils, highlighters, and more small notepads.

As you can see from my stash of paper, perhaps I came to the correct conclusion in the “P.S.” Chapter:

“Mary is a lot more like me than I realized,” I told my daughter Elizabeth on the phone.
      “Maybe if Jim dies someday, you and Mary could live together,” was her reply.
      Without thinking, I’d blurted out in horror, “Oh, no, she’d drive me crazy!”

Mary laughed when I confessed this transgression one day at my brother’s house. “We’re too much alike,” she agreed.
     “Can you even imagine not writing each other?” I asked then.
      I saw tears well up in her eyes at the thought.

Later on the way home, I let myself briefly consider a life without Mary’s letters. I couldn’t bear it. I thought again of what my daughter had suggested; that Mary and I live together someday, and this time I could picture it. Aren’t there things about anyone we might live with that annoy or irritate us? Didn’t I have to adjust to living with another human being when I married David?

I love Mary. She is one of the first people I turn to in both good and bad times. Co-writing this book with her has drawn us even closer. Yes, I can imagine us living together as two old (much older!) widows. Would we want to continue writing each other even though we lived in the same house?

That would work. I own more than enough stationery already for the both of us.