I've always been a letter writer. I think it's in my genes. My mother is, too. When I was in high school, I'd find cards, ripped off pieces of paper, the occasional back of an envelope with messages on them. All from my mother. All saying, "Thinking of you" or "Have a good day". I wish I'd kept them. In reality, I'm sure they were lost in the trash of a teenager's car--folded and then out of sight among water bottles, old tests, and the odd fast food bag.
And there is a drawer in an old chest somewhere in my parents' house that hold yellowed construction paper with misspelled notes of love written in crayon. They did a better job at keeping those things than me.
And when I was younger, I could not always face things well. I'd write a note to say I was angry, sad, frustrated. I would wait for the response and in that interim, I would cool down or forget what I was even upset about. There was a time when my mother would go to work at four in the morning. Every night I would lay a piece of paper in the sink. The message was the same, a lilting plea to see her in the illumination from my clock radio light:
"Wake me up when you get up".
Writing has always been something I loved to do. To have a few minutes dedicated to someone else. To scrawl or chicken scratch or scribble. To emote, to congratulate, to beg for forgiveness. To say there's leftovers in the fridge. To warm my hand around an envelope before I leave it in the sink, on a countertop, in the mailbox, under a door. Sometimes I misspell a word. Sometimes it's illegible because I have so much to say I want to hurry through it all.
I thought about this all as April rolled around, as it's National Letter Writing Month. I thought about this as we took our Save the Date photos this week. I thought about this as I went to work on Saturday, where I work once or twice a month at a stationery store in town to surround myself with beautiful paper. And I thought about my history with letters when I reached out to Mr. Boddington and told them how beautiful their products are.
For me, I first knew about Mr. Boddington from their custom silhouettes for dogs and children. I had these bookmarked for months, before finally buying them for Nolan's Valentine's Day present this year. After supplying probably dozens of photos, notes, and pedigrees of the dogs, I received their likenesses right there, in lustered archival ink--Murphy Ann, Elsa June, and Milo Bug. I wrapped them up, but couldn't keep them a secret. I think I was so excited, I gave them to Nolan on the 11th of the month.
Their portraits now hang on a wall opposite some Hugo Guinness prints of dogs we have. Because the more dogs the better, in my opinion. Along with a papier-mâché mouse that rests on our doorframe. And an unobtrusive buffalo just around the corner. (And they all complement the cast iron stag that we hang our bathrobes on.)
And stuffed in drawers all around the house are varieties of notecards, stationery, journals, and postcards. All blank, all waiting to be filled with correspondences. And how excited am I to add Mr. Boddington's collection to the mix.
Here, in this first post of my new site, I'd love to share with you the products I adored from their online shop and why they so perfectly fit with my domestic philosophy: to take the duty very seriously, but a touch of whimsy and refinement only give it the attention it deserves.
Mr. Boddington Studios
The online store has both a section for adults and children. The democratic set-up means that there is truly something for anyone who loves jotting a note to someone. I adored the prints of in the children's section, and so, sheepishly, I ordered the children's writing set. And, to round out my age group, I got an adult writing set as well.
Every detail was accounted for in the packages. From a handwritten note to royal blue ribbon tied around the sets to a wax stamp to seal it all together, I was smitten by the beauty of it all and couldn't wait to dive into a few of the products.
Below, I've outlined a few of my favorite products from their current collections and give a little insight into how I've used these products in the last few days. In the upcoming weeks, I'm excited to share some writing tips that I follow, as well as my approach to writing. These will be found here, but also in my newsletter (sign up using the form to the left).
The morning after I received my package, I found myself already finding ways I could use the in my daily life. Each morning, one of us makes coffee for the other. Groggily, I scribbled there was coffee before heading out before Nolan. I came back to blurred ink and coffee rings and a well-loved note that's been our tradition for a couple years now.
The same day, I remembered that I had not written to thank my mother for having us over for Easter. Knowing what it was like to spend so many holidays alone when we lived in California, I always make sure to show my gratitude to my family now. I wrote my note of thanks on the leopard card and popped it in the mail.
And in the afternoon, when I got home, I changed into more comfortable pyjamas and stretched out on my bed, surrounded by library books, the dogs, and an iced Americano. And there I wrote out a note to my best friend, telling her how much I missed her and loved her and was proud of her recently-finished marathon.