Q&A with Emily of Cabin Journal

Q: We love your vintage aesthetic – please tell us about some of the inspiration for your designs.  A: Thank you! Antique and vintage shows are my favourite hunting grounds for sources of inspiration; there was such an attention to aesthetic details then that I find is lost today. The most mundane objects and products were given beautiful tins alive with florals and scrollwork, gold accents and gorgeous typography. I collect milk glass (which inspired the Milk Glass Tea Towel) and am currently researching vintage tins for some upcoming products. I think risograph printing lends a the perfect vintage feel to anything it prints because of its delicate visible benday dot that mimics those found on old lithograph prints.   Q: Your colour palette is gorgeous, at once muted and bright, and stunning colour pairings – how do you select your colours? A: Printing risograph can be a blessing and a curse – there are limited flat colours to print with, but with overlaying the colours the possibilities can be endless. There are colours I am naturally drawn to, colours like fresh grass greens, blush pinks, bright poppy reds, blues. I tend to use those colours a lot.   Q: Nature features heavily in your designs. What are some of your favourite spots to visit and sketch? A: I have two favourite places, both of which are out of the city. A few hours north of Toronto my family has a farm; there are apple trees and bee hives, bubbling creeks, thick forests and fields of wildflowers in the summer. A lot of projects are dreamed up there first,...

June Reveal

Our first quarterly letterbox! We hope you are enjoying your first quarterly Q&A Letterbox! We were so excited to be able to include Michelle Mackintosh’s Snail Mail book – we hope that you are inspired as you flip through the pages. We love being part of a community of people that enjoy sending love and kind words, penned by hand. We enjoyed collaborating with Toronto-based calligrapher Grace Song on the creation of a custom card. And, as always, we loved seeking out stationery that we thought you’d like – and that says summer. Clockwise from the top right, we have That Sky Blue‘s  “Shell Phone” card, Jonesy‘s “Hi” card and paper pen,  Cabin Journal‘s risograph printed postcards, and a custom card created by Grace Song for Q&A. And, of course, Michelle Mackintosh‘s book, Snail Mail. Don’t forget to read our Q&As with our designers. Learn more about featured designers, their inspiration and creative process. Sign up by August 16th to receive the September...

Q&A with Grace Song

  Q: Please tell me what sparked your interest in lettering and calligraphy. A: I’ve always been drawn to beautiful lettering and calligraphy but it didn’t occur to me that I could learn the skills myself until the summer of 2015.  While surfing online one day shortly after the summer holidays started (I am a full-time elementary school teacher), I came across someone’s beautiful wedding calligraphy and in an instant I knew that now was the time to learn.  I had the luxury of having time off of work to really delve into this new skill and took advantage of it.  After more Googling, I came across artists who used different tools like brush pens and the pointed pen and realized that there were a slew of tutorials and helpful information that I could learn from.  Although I intended to start with the pointed pen, I thought using brush pens were more approachable so I started with those and never looked back.  The more I got into it, the more I was exposed to different styles, from traditional to modern, created with different tools and on different mediums.  The idea that I could take this learning in different directions and as far as I would like to take it, really excited me.     Q: What made you decide to invest the time to nurture your love of lettering and develop your own style?  A: When I first started learning, I found Nina Tran (@anintran) and Sharisse DeLeon (@piecescalligraphy) on Instagram and they had just made an announcement about creating a daily alphabet challenge and, thus, @handletteredabcs was born. ...

Q&A with Litsa of That Sky Blue

Q: Please tell us a bit about your stationery journey – what inspired you to create That Sky Blue? A: It was probably more than one single inspired moment that led me to quit my job and start something unusual and risky.  My inspiration mainly comes from the ability to be as creative as I want to be and perhaps show people something they may have never otherwise known much about…letterpress. Q: What appeals to you about the process of letterpress? A: Seeing my designs on the computer is cool but having the ability to use my hands to manoeuvre these machines that are over 100 years old in order to make my designs come to life…that’s an incredible feeling. Q: What do you think makes sending and receiving greeting cards special? A: There’s something about the human touch that can never be replaced by technology. I think we crave personalized experiences that matter. Q: Please share one of your own snail mail memories with us. A: One of my best friends during college took some time off to backpack through Europe. He would send me postcards and lengthy letters from each city and country he visited. I remember running to the mailbox every morning waiting for his next letter, excited to read about his new adventures. I still have those letters to this day. Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs from? A: Peers, family, travel…there are no restraints as to what or who I draw inspiration from to turn a thought into a design. I often tune out and focus on my own thoughts for a...

Q&A with Nina Jones of Jonesy

Q: What inspired you to create a line of stationery? A: I love stationery! Although starting a stationery company wasn’t planned, it has certainly become a passion and part of me. The tradition of writing and sending a handwritten note has always been a part of my life. I still have letters from my grandmother, my parents, sister, my friends, and my boyfriend (now husband).These are special little reminders of moments in time, and I am thrilled to be able to provide the canvas for someone to create a memory. Q: How do your greeting cards move from kernel of an idea to finished paper product? What is your process? A: My background in Anthropology gives me the desire to really connect to someone with a memory or feeling a card will give them.  This is what gives me pleasure in designing. There is no rhyme or reason to my madness! Q: Please tell us about a memorable piece of snail mail you’ve sent or received.  A: One memorable piece of mail was a handmade card that a friend sent when our cat Mr. Thomas died. My friend had taken the time to dig into her daughters construction paper and created a card with Mr. T on it, and let us know that she was thinking of us. I loved it. The kids loved it. We loved it.  I still have it… such an amazing piece of awesomeness. Q: You are committed to social goodness. What made you decide to donate 15% of each sale to the Canadian Cancer Society? A: I love to give back, and cancer is affecting too many...

Q&A with Bianca of Kid Icarus

Kid Icarus is a favourite shop of Toronto paper and contemporary craft lovers. Founded by designer Bianca Bickmore and master screen printer Michael Viglione, this sweet storefront and studio in Kensington Market is home to a well-curated selection of greeting cards (featuring some of our fave Canadian and international designers), books, twine, washi tape, gift items and wrap and posters screen printed in house. In short, it’s a stationery lover’s dream – and you won’t be able to leave empty handed. Kid Icarus creates and prints its own line of stationery, which we adore. They also offer screen printing and lino cutting workshops. Q: You left a corporate design job to start Kid Icarus with Michael almost 10 years ago, and the studio/shop has become part of the fabric of the Kensington community, and well-loved by Torontonians who appreciate cards, craft and great design. What made you decide to embark on this adventure? A: At the time, there wasn’t many places to purchase contemporary handmade goods other than Etsy and a few craft shows. The business started by offering screen printing as a service. Once there was enough business, we started collecting a lot of studio prints that we were able to sell. We like brick and mortar retail, and the social aspect of a small shop always appealed to us. Most print studio’s had seasonal or yearly open house sales, but we thought, why not sell all year? The answer at the time was easy – it wasn’t sustainable. The average person then didn’t even know what screen printing was. As technology became more prevalent, most people were able...

Q&A with Kat of Edgar & Martha

Love handmade and fun patterns? You’ll definitely be a fan of Edgar & Martha, a newly launched Etsy shop featuring coasters, change purses and quilts, handmade in Toronto by fabric lover Kat Akerfeldt. We couldn’t resist Kat’s coasters sewn out of paper-themed fabrics, perfect for celebrating National Letter Writing Month in April! Q: You recently launched your Etsy shop, Edgar & Martha, with a delightful line of hand-sewn goods include coasters, quilts and change purses. How long have you been sewing for? What made you decide to create your own line of items? A: One of my earliest memories is sewing. I was waiting to greet my new baby brother home from the hospital. While I waited, I sewed over a drawing I had drawn on paper, to colour it in with thread. Like a lot of teenagers, I would tear apart and reconstruct thrift-store treasures, or make outfits from Fabricland remnants. Once I made a pair of jeans into denim shoes. I can’t remember why that seemed like a good idea. As an adult, I suddenly realized that sewing classes were a thing, and set myself to learning garment and pattern design and construction, and, more recently, quilting. I had planned to start selling goods for a long time, as a creative outlet. But I could never make my mind up about what my shop would include, thinking that I should be very focussed on one product. Finally, I decided that I would only list objects that I enjoyed making, giving, and having. Having Edgar and Martha means that I have an excuse to practice and improve on...

Q&A with Marisa of Omiyage

A DIY force to be reckoned with, Marisa Edghill is an author, blogger, purveyor of washi tapes, craft supplies and stationery. And that’s not all. Marisa is also a creative collaborator on a variety of projects that encourage people to try their hand at various craft forms. I was lucky enough to come to know Marisa through a shared love of snail mail, and continue to be in awe of her ability to transform a wrapped package into a thing of beauty, as well as her gorgeous snail mail and the various creative challenges she sets out for herself. If you aren’t already reading Marisa’s blog, check it out! Full disclosure: I am lucky enough to collaborate with Marisa on a project called Pretty Postal (read more about it below). Q: When did you discover washi tape and add it to your craft arsenal? What about it appealed to you? A: I discovered washi tape about 7 (or 8) years ago when I was in the beginning phases of starting my business. At that time, it was known as Japanese masking tape and was popping up on popular design blogs as they discovered the joy of pretty tape! Intrigued, I picked up a bundle of “mt” tapes on my first Japanese sourcing trip and fell in love with the quiet beauty of the designs as well as the versatility. I knew right away that I had to bring this fabulous supply to Canadian customers. Of course, this was before it was available everywhere and in pretty much every colour and pattern! Q: Anyone who reads your blog can attest to the fact that you are...

Q&A with Storm and Shadow of Mythical Matters

Mythical Matters‘ cards feature the cutest teeny drawings accompanied by sweet, fun sentiments. It’s impossible not to be drawn in by these cards illustrated by Storm, one of the magical Mythical matters duo.  Shadow is Storm’s partner in paper, and key to the creative process as the two work together to come up with new ideas for their stationery line. In addition to cute cards the oft feature animals, Storm and Shadow sell old map prints featuring Canada and beyond. Follow their adventures on Instagram, and you’ll get a sense of this playful and mischievous pair. We loved the time they decided to mail a mailbox to the Postmistress at Toronto’s First Post Office (you can indeed mail a mailbox, in case you were wondering).   Q: How did Mythical Matters come to be? What inspired you to start your own stationery company? A: We love the notion of trading in sentiments and ideas, and paper is the perfect medium for that. Every business brings you into contact with different kinds of people, and paper lovers are a wonderful and intriguing bunch who are all about communication, so the stationery business definitely feels like home. Sentiment and symbolism is very important to us, so it’s a perfect fit, really.   Q: You create cards with the sweetest itty bitty drawings and handwritten sentiments – what appeals to you about small-scale drawings?  A: Thanks! 😊 It’s been something I’ve done since I was very young. When I was a kid, I’d make walnuts into tiny spaceships with wee animal pilots. I’d take whole walnuts, split them open along their seam to get...

April Reveal

Hello Letter Writing Month! April is a pretty big month for snail mail lovers worldwide. We join together with our stationery paper pals to participate in the 30 letters in 30 days challenge! So we wanted to give you plenty of supplies to start your writing adventure 🙂   Clockwise from the top right, we have Mythical Matters; “Pen Pals Make the Best Pals!” card, Kid Icarus‘ Anatomy of the Typewriter card, Sea & Lake‘s “Wish You Were Here!” card, Edgar & Martha‘s hand-quilted coasters, and Omiyage‘s washi pack. *** Q&A Letterbox, Quarterly Subscription Starts in May! If you haven’t heard, Q&A Letterbox is going quarterly! Our new format will be implemented shortly. Starting in June we will be sending you a box of paper goodies every 3 months! For more info, visit our website and we will continue to announces news on social...