2016 handmade valentine swap

<< sign ups for the 2016 swap are now closed! mark your calendars now to join us in 2017. >>

welcome to the 6th annual handmade valentine swap!

i'm so excited to put this swap together -- most of you have been with me from the beginning and it just doesn't feel like the new year until we're all busy exchanging addresses! read on for all the details -- and if this is your first time, welcome!

>> sign up by entering your information on this form by january 18. (sign ups are now closed.)

>> watch for an email from me by january 25, containing your swap partners' details. you'll be put in a group with 4 or 5 other swappers, and each of you will create and send valentines to each other. you will receive only US-based partners unless you specify otherwise on the form. 

>> make your valentines! they can be as simple or complex as you want -- some people send hand-stamped paper cards, others put together packages of goodies, but there's no wrong way to do it as long as you've got a handmade element!

>> put your valentines in the mail no later than february 3 so your recipients receive something before valentines day. 

>> share pictures of your valentines on instagram with the hashtag #handmadeval. you can follow me at @lyndseywells, where i'll share some of my favorites too. 

FAQs can be found in this post, or click here for a walk down memory lane as you peek at valentines going all the way back to 2011. 

can't wait to see what you create!


2015 handmade valentine swap

sign ups for the 2015 handmade valentine swap are now closed! so sorry if you missed us. mark your calendars for next january so you don't miss the 2016 announcement. 

it's that time again -- welcome to the fifth annual handmade valentine swap, hosted by the stationery place!

here's how it works:

>> sign up by entering your contact information on this form before january 21. (sign ups are now CLOSED.)

>> i'll send you an email by jan. 26 with your swap partners' details -- you'll be put in a group of 4 or 5 other swappers, and you will all create and send snail-mail valentines to each other. you might receive international partners unless you request otherwise on the signup form.

>> valentines need to be in the mail no later than february 4 to reach the recipient before valentine's day. PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO MEET THIS DEADLINE. nothing is worse than sending valentines and getting nothing in return!

>> share photos of valentines you've made and/or received on instagram with the hashtag #handmadeval. i'll share some of my favorites on my feed (@lyndseywells) and of course the stationery place facebook page!

valentines don't have to be made entirely from scratch, but should contain some type of handmade element (stamps, hand lettering, etc.). be creative and have fun with it! write a message inside too -- don't just send a blank card. the whole point of this is to receive fun mail from your new pen pal friends! last year we had 300+ participants from all over the united states and 10+ countries.

answers to previous FAQs can be found in this post, but feel free to email me if you have any specific questions not answered there. spread the word and get started on your valentines!


seattle culinary class with tom douglas and stephanie izard

i am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

i've been busy getting our 2014 christmas cards ordered and ready, but sometimes a girl's gotta take a break from all this holiday paper to start menu planning. we're staying home this christmas which means i'm in charge of creating a delicious, festive meal for my family -- always an intimidating feat.

i'm guessing some of you are in the same boat, so that's why i'm super excited to tell you about the december culinary council event at macy's downtown seattle. i've attended a few culinary council holiday events in the past, but i'm SO excited about this one -- because it features two awesome chefs: stephanie izard and seattle celeb chef tom douglas.

tom douglas is the king of this fair city's food scene and owns 16 restaurants in the seattle (dahlia lounge is my fave). stephanie izard was the season 4 winner of top chef (a show i used to watch religiously until babies sucked up all my free time). they're both coming to the seattle macy's on december 6th to teach us how to make some of their best holiday dishes. and it's FREE!

everyone who attends will get up close and personal in the macy's test kitchen to watch tom and stephanie prepare a few holiday dishes, giving their favorite cooking and baking tips along the way. (you'll get to sample everything too, which is a big plus in my book.) afterward, if you make a $35 purchase in the macy's home department, you'll receive a $10 macy's gift card and a copy of one of the chefs' recent books (douglas' the dahlia bakery and izard's girl in the kitchen) -- which they'll sign for you on the spot!

sounds awesome, right? this event is going to sell out for sure, so make sure you reserve your free tickets via the eventbrite link. all the info is below -- i hope to see you there! now you can get back to working on your holiday cards. :)

macy's culinary council with tom douglas & stephanie izard
saturday, december 6th at 2:00 pm
macy's seattle, culinary kitchen (level 6)
1601 third avenue
seattle, wa 98181


josie portillo for red cap cards

even though i live in seattle, my homeland of southern california is never too far from my heart. palm trees, spanish architecture, desert mountains, crowded freeways...all of it triggers a feeling of homesickness for me. i think that's why i love the illustrations from josie portillo for red cap cards so much -- she's a born-and-raised angeleno just like me, and i can feel that through her cards! 

josie received her BFA from the art center of design (i interviewed for a job there once, a loooong time ago!) and works as an independent illustrator for clients including random house, NPR, st. regis hotels & resorts, vogue living and more. she joined the red cap cards team earlier this year -- check out the full line of her cards here. some of them seem right out of a so cal travel book -- and even the rest have a nice california-cool vibe. 

check out more of josie's work on her website


good idea: pennie post

i received a package from pennie post to facilitate this review, but all opinions are 100% mine!

whenever i put together a plate of cookies for a friend or want to send a snail-mail note, i'm always shuffling through my ever-growing stationery supply looking for the perfect all-occasions notecard. i love having a stack of cute postcards and blank notes for just such a purpose, but i go through them so fast!

instead of constantly trying to remember to put stationery on my shopping list, it might be even easier for me to sign up for a subscription that brings new notecards right to my door. a subscription service just like pennie post.

created by the stationery wizards at elsie j, a pennie post subscription gets you three new pieces of stationery every month -- anything from postcards and notecards to gift tags and holiday cards, every month it's something new! subscriptions are available in single, three month, six month and twelve month increments so you can get yourself (or a loved one) set up with beautiful stationery right on their doorstep for a whole year.

be sure to check out the pennie post website to subscribe, or follow their blog for sneak peeks at what's coming in your next delivery.


kids stationery from teeth and claws

i received product to facilitate this review, but all opinions are 100% mine. 

i'm all about getting kids on the snail mail bandwagon as soon as possible, so i've already got my 4-year-old helping to write and send thank you notes for his birthday, christmas and other occasions. i think it helps entice them to send mail if they can have fun or unique stationery. when i came across teeth and claws, a UK-based shop of cards & prints by illustrator nicola robinson, i KNEW it was a great find.

as soon as jack laid eyes on these dinosaur note cards, he was thrilled. we both oohed and ahhed over the beautiful illustrations and he asked to play with the cards before we wrote anything on them. ha!

[images courtesy nicola robinson]

we both loved the vivid colors and clever design -- the cards are printed on high quality paper so it feels like you're sending a gift when you mail the card! i'd totally frame one of these if i got it in the mail.

you can get the dinosaur cards individually or in a set of 6 -- these awesome dinos are also available as 6 signed, 5x7" prints in the shop, too. if dinosaurs aren't your thing, be sure to check out the rest of nicola's shop for illustrations like dragons, bugs, birds and lots more. (the nautical prints will match my boys' room perfectly!) pretty paper with clever drawings are perfect for any kid -- or kid at heart. :)


back to work | seattle blogger meetups

wow, i was not anticipating taking almost the whole summer off from blogging! we've had a busy and fun few months but i'm looking forward to settling into a school routine soon enough. which will include more time for blogging!

i've been busy with seattle bloggers unite this summer -- we had a letterpress workshop at the farewell paperie letterpress studio (more on that soon!) AND got to attend a lunch meeting at allrecipes, which is based here in seattle. now we're busy getting ready for our next meetup, a candle- and terrarium-making party at glasswing in capitol hill. click here for more details, if you're in the area i hope you will come!

and now that you know i'm still alive ;) ...stay tuned for some awesome paper goodness coming your way. 


PR 101: salt lake city

in june, i traveled to salt lake city to teach a PR 101 workshop. aimee from the elephant of surprise and sara from confetti sunshine hosted the evening and, true to form (they're both party bloggers, what do you expect), planned a fabulous night.

we did the workshop in the bake it pretty warehouse -- so i got to get up close and personal with the amaaazing party supplies in there. literally, walls and walls full of cupcake liners, treat bags, patterned straws and sprinkles in every color of the rainbow. these are all straws!:

we had a fab little dessert table with donuts and DIY italian sodas, yum! i loved getting to know some of utah's best up-and-coming bloggers -- i think salt lake city & provo have always been ahead of the social media curve. it was fun to hear what everyone was working on and to teach some PR tips. 

we had AWESOME sponsors for this event too -- the gift bags were amazing. thanks to stampin up (i totally used their father's day card kit this year!), bake it pretty, the confetti bar, avery, garnish, 2 just b you, whisker graphics, sweet works, latter day home, richey and roo, star and arrow designs, kensie kate and sweetopia! whew. (pic below by kendra at key lime graphic design.)

such a fun night! now i'm busy planning the next few kismet workshops -- i'm heading to orange county CA and las vegas NV in september, so stay tuned if you're near those cities because i'll be announcing dates soon. 


my writing process / blog tour

i'm so excited for today's bonus post -- welcome, this is my stop on the my writing process blog tour! it's a way for you to get to know other bloggers (and to introduce you to some of my favorites), and i get to tell you a little more about what my life is like behind the scenes at the stationery place.

my friend rose from our lady of second helpings (is that not the best blog title ever?) invited me to participate -- i met rose through our seattle bloggers unite meetup group, and we bonded over various in-person events around the city and the fact that we both have two boys about the same ages. rose's blog is a delightful collection of gorgeous photos and text, simple healthy recipes and inspiration for living a balanced lifestyle. rose knows what she's talking about too -- she has lost 145+ pounds since 2008 and kept it off, even through having two babies! she's super nice in real life and i'm so glad i know her -- and, i'm glad i read her blog, because meals like her creamy chicken basil pasta have made it onto my meal planning chart. ;) here's rose's beautifully penned writing process post -- she's such a great writer.

anyway, here's a peek inside my writing process:

1. what am i working on?
right now i've got a million ideas and no time to write them up! i've been blogging here at the stationery place since 2009, back when i worked full time in PR and used this space as a creative outlet to document my stationery obsession in my free time. five years later, i'm a stay-at-home mom with two anti-napping active little boys, and i find my "free time" to be incredibly sparse. between my work with seattle bloggers unite, my PR consulting business, volunteer work with my church, and finding time to do things like spend time with my husband or go for a run -- this poor little blog gets neglected much more than i'd like. however, i do still try to get over here as much as i can to highlight some of the amazing designers and small business owners in the stationery world, and i really love doing my small part to keep the love of snail mail alive.

2. how does my work differ from others of its genre?
i like to think my blog showcases stationery for real life. i focus on affordable, high quality products that add a little extra pizzazz to your life (why send a boring white note card when you can send a neon pink chevron one?) -- and i try to only include the best of the best, instead of an overwhelming overload of products. i also like to share kid-friendly paper crafts and fun bits of our life here in seattle in hopes that other moms can get new ideas.

3. why do i write what i do?
as mentioned, when i started this blog it was really just a fun outlet for me to share pretty paper. over the years, this motive has transitioned a bit as i've become more passionate about the paper industry overall. from meeting with designers at the national stationery show to creating card drives to mobilizing hundreds of people worldwide to send snail mail, i am so in love with the impact a handwritten note can make on another person. in our ever-digitized world, i'm proud to be able to have this tiny little platform to remind people how good it feels to send (or receive!) a pretty piece of mail.

4. how does my writing process work?
i pull ideas for posts from browsing etsy or pinterest, receiving emails from designers, reading magazines, visiting stationery shops -- just about anywhere. i star emails in my inbox or write short notes in my planner or phone, and when i grab a few minutes to blog (usually at the end of the day after my kids are in bed and my house is cleaned up) i pick an idea that jumps at me from the list and write it up.


i invited three of my favorite people to share their writing process.

first up is caryn payzant, writer at the mid-life guru -- where she documents ways to make the most of life after 50 through travel, continued education, spending time with family and advice from inspirational peers. caryn lives in southern california and when she's not blogging, she's a high school substitute teacher, a member of the local school board and a social media consultant. she also happens to be my mom and my best friend. :)

aimee error is the creative master behind the elephant of surprise, a blog full of seriously adorable (but not overly intimidating) DIY projects -- i copy just about every single things she makes, usually while asking myself "why didn't i think of that?!" aimee lives in utah and is a mama to two sweet little boys (and a baby girl on the way!) with a husband in dental school. i met her in college and we've been tight ever since -- she's one of my most talented and creative friends.

and finally, paige evans is a blogger, scrapbooker, book maker and crafter extraordinaire currently living in germany -- she and her cute little family tour all over europe, be sure to check out her travel posts because they're more educational (and better photographed!) than any guidebook. her blog is a fabulous collection of her various creative endeavors, beautiful photos, adorable kids and life as an ex-pat. i met paige when we both worked at american crafts, and since then she and i have lived in the same neighborhood in three different states, but never at the same time. random, i know.

check in on those three blogs next monday for the next stop on the writing process blog tour!

invitations by sandra picco design

sandra picco is a crazy-talented graphic designer. she specializes in event stationery -- designing pretty paper for everything from weddings and baby showers to corporate events and fundraisers. her etsy shop is full of ready-made invitations and she also has an exclusive collection on minted -- plus, she'll hire out for custom work! (she was also my special correspondent for this year's national stationery show coverage.) i'm tired just looking at all of her beautiful designs, this woman knows how to get it done. :)

here are a few of my favorite pieces, but you've got to check out her stationery pages for a bigger look at sandra's work. how darling is this nautical suite?:

[all photos courtesy sandra picco]

check out sandra's website and etsy shop for all your printing needs, and be sure to follow her on instagram and twitter for sneak peeks and more!