Used clothing alchemist since 1987

Hey, Welcome!

WELCOME!  I’m Crispina ffrench. Recycled textile artist, author, teacher – creator of many things. My sister and I run The Dolphin Studio, a second generation, family owned screen-printing business. My hubby and I own Shire City Sanctuary, a Makerspace in an urban Cathedral in the heart of The Berkshires where my studio is housed. It’s a pleasure to share here creative high-jinx, as we work toward environmental consideration of all aspects of living.

ReConsumerEYES: DeClutter

by Lorne Holden

Stuff. We love it, right? However….

… during the Holidays, our homes can feel like explosions of stuff. Paper, food, decorations, gifts, gift wrapping – it’s all there in spades. While some of it can feel festive, the disarray brought on by too much clutter can bring a real sense of visual weight to one’s surroundings. Why not take some time to clear things up?

It’s great to remember that it doesn’t have to take long to declutter a space. The pictures below demonstrate how our toy area went from a cumbersome mess to a clear joy with only fifteen minutes of focussed attention. No kidding! And the gift of the new view will be felt for much longer than that. Here’s the before..

Declutter 1


And here’s the after..

DSC_0007A great improvement, don’t you think?

Decluttering your space offers up a variety of benefits – some obvious and others more subtle. The most obvious benefit is having a space with a clear and welcoming view. What’s in view is both what is chosen and what is necessary, either for aesthetic or practical purposes. The power of this cannot be overstated – to walk into a home that is well organized is both calming and inspiring. When the home is your home, you get to feel those great things every day. When your guests come, they feel welcomed and happy and you get to feel proud.

Another great benefit is saving time – you don’t have to hunt for items when they are in clear view and you’ll have less to clean. Your home will be safer too as you’ll be less likely to trip or fall over objects when you know where they are and can see them.

You’ll have more space too. Or actually, you’ll have made more space with the space that you already have. The Chinese believe this matters – in their of Feng Shui, the flow of energy is a crucial. The belief is that when there is more space around things, energy can flow and your environment will be healthier. So when you create space through organizing and decluttering your belongings, you are actually inviting a larger wellness into your environment.

Perhaps most importantly, to have a decluttered space offers up peace of mind. Your environment is supporting you with it’s clarity and beauty rather than honking at you with it’s visual chaos as in the scene below. clutter with baby

Grab some time and lighten up your home this holiday season! Small efforts can really help you keep on top of things and the result of having a clear, organized home will be a great gift to yourself and to others.

Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the Bestseller “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” She often sets a timer for ten minutes and then she and her son clean and organize his bedroom before the bell goes off. Works every time! Check out her amazing online course “LifeBloom” which is a three week adventure in making things happen.

Weekly Treasury – Simplify

Simplify‘ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Living in a Tiny House make one more conscience of how you fill your home. Space is at a minimum so you have to be creative with your storage solutions. Here are a few excellent items to help you get organized.


Antique Letterpress Drawer Large Typeset Tray Wood Display Compartments For Printer Stamps Wall Hanging Industrial Home Decor Blue Faceted Ceramic Hanging Planter with Drainage Plate. Succulent Hanging Planter. Cactus Hanging Planter, Air Plant Planter-Made To Order Handcrafted Nesting Tables! toilet paper holder "Rollland" toilet tissue holder storage for toilet paper storage solution for bathroom 2 rolls in a row
Magnetic Knife Holder Bar with Vintage Green Glass - Refrigerator Mount BAKING SPICES, magnetic spice rack, spice kit,  DESSERT  spices, for mom, kitchen storage, spice storage, spice rack, spice jars. Set of 3 hanging baskets - toys organizer - felted wool baskets from natural beige wool with red and yellow strings Jewelry Box with ring storage
Floating shelf,  wine glass holder , wine  storage, liquor shelf, CROCHET STORAGE PATTERN, Crochet Basket Pattern, Storage Basket, Crochet Storage, Crochet Home Decor, Crochet Pattern - The Storage Handler Ultimate Kitchen Storage Under Cabinet Spice Rack Organizer Save Big Use Code: BUY2SAVE10 Washable Kraft Paper Storage Bag - Ideal for anything you need to store!
Storage Shelves - Honeycomb Shelving - Wood Floating Hexagon Shelves - Children's Furniture - Eco-Friendly Toy Storage - Large 5 shelf set Mason Jar Storage Xmas Sale to DEC.16 Collapsible Wood Basket in Solid Red Oak wall storage pocket, Versatile multipurpose pocket, Wall hanging planter, wall organizer storage | Dark gray  | 6 patterns | Single


Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy
Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

ReConsumerEYES: Handmade Holiday Cards

by Lorne Holden

In our house, we love mail. Real mail. The kind that arrives in our box at the Post Office. When my son was little he loved the Post Office so much that I got him a box of his own and the first time he opened it, his “mail” was a wrapped donut hole – a gift from the people who worked there. After he retrieved it, a hand shot out of the mailbox opening, offering him a pretzel. It was the Post Mistress who had heard him moving towards his box and was ready with a treat. We will never forget it.

If you can’t be near a loved one to pop them a pretzel at a zingy moment, how about making them a handmade card? I’ve already expounded on the joy of sending handwritten notes to people – why not double the happiness by sending a handwritten note on a handmade card?


Handmade Christmas cards have an interesting history. The first cards were made and sent in Great Britain by Sir Henry Cole in the 1840′s. He was a civil servant who was interested in the “public post office” (a new thing then) and wondered how it could be used more fully by ordinary people.

Sir Henry came up with the idea of Christmas Cards and worked with his friend, the artist John Horsely to create a design. The very first Christmas card had three panels – the outer two depicted people caring for the poor and the central panel showed a family enjoying a sumptuous Christmas dinner. These cards were sold for 1 shilling each (8 cents today) and were an immediate hit. We’ve all been sending cards ever since.


While there are a gzillion truly beautiful cards available to purchase, why not try making a handmade card or series of cards? Handmade doesn’t have to mean hokey – using scissors, paper, markers and more, you can create cards of unique and astonishing beauty. All it takes is time, creativity and love and ’tis the season for all of that!

Sift through pictures, magazines, old wrapping paper and other items in your home and see if you can re-imagine them as a Holiday card. Use markers and stamp pads to illuminate your message with love. Even the simplest paper can come alive when adorned with a one of a kind creation, made by you.

The thing to remember is that making a handmade card is to create something that is one of a kind. And when you send it to a beloved friend or family member, you are letting them know that they are one of a kind which in turn makes you, yes, one of a kind. Be generous with your creativity this season. Take the time to give cards and gifts that matter to the eyes and hearts of the people you love.

paper card 1

Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the bestselling book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” Check our her amazing course “LifeBloom” a three week adventure in making things happen. Next course begins January 12, 2015. Join her list to be the first to know when registration opens!


Freak of the Week – Ali Herrmann

 THIS Ali Herrmann
THIS Ali Herrmann


  1. Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I am and have always been an artist, even when I didn’t always see it to fruition or only worked at it part time or as a hobby. For as long as I can remember, I have always painted, but I have also been known to explore ceramics, jewelry, book arts, drawing, and printmaking. I received my BA from Bennington College in 1998, where I studied fine arts and soon there after, explored NYC for a year. I moved back to the Berkshires after realizing that I was living simply to pay rent and found myself with no time to paint. That was back in 2000. Since then I have found myself gardening, cooking, exercising, exploring, and making art, while learning to build a career around it.

Lily pads

  1. Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

Aside from studio time, I like to jog and go on long walks and hikes. The combination of nature, fresh air, exercise, blue skies, grey skies, and Vitamin D helps clear the mental slate. I often find myself thinking of things and ideas that wouldn’t normally come from working in the studio, so it’s good to get that perspective, like a part of the brain exercising alongside me. I also love to cook and belong to a FB foodie group called Eat Share Eat, where we share our recipes/creations, talk food, and post lots of  tasty delectibles. We just exchanged secret Santa names and have to send a fellow foodie something, so it will be fun to give/receive in this group!

Tools Tools 2

  1. Do you have a prized possession? What is it?

My hands are probably my greatest possession, as they allow me to create and make my art; however my eyes would be a close second. Without my hands I could not create as I know it


  1. What is your goal or main focus for your next 12 months?

Over the next twelve months, I want to explore new areas and ideas within my artwork. One big way I’m going to do this is through a Journal Project I recently created, funded by the Martha Boschen Porter Fund grant, awarded by the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. I have given out about 30-40 journals to interested friends, artists, peers, and anyone who said, ‘I want one!’, and asked everyone to ‘journal’in any fashion or style they choose. It could be writings, lists, doodles, collages, poems, etc, but basically whatever journaling means to each individual. I have a wide range of participants, so it’s going to be exciting what I receive back. I’ve already started getting wonderful, heart warming comments from participants and it’s only just begun! When I receive the journals back, I will then begin to go through them, using the words, notes, sketches, etc to create a new body of work, solely related to/reflective of these journals. It’s still in the exploration phase, but I am very excited to see what I get back from everyone.


  1. Where do you find your inspiration/motivation? Who/What has been most influential in your work?

Nature is my biggest influence, inspiration and motivation. I love looking at colors, patterns, and repetition that nature provides and that motivates me to emulate and create from what I see. The act of creating provides a motivation to continue to make more, and provides the inspiration and ideas to continue to make work. There are always new discoveries to be had in the act of creating.


  1. What is your current passion?

My current passion is painting. I use oils, acrylics, watercolors, inks and encaustics…and have even been known to use nail polish on vellum as a paint medium.


  1. How did your passion come to be?

When I was in fifth grade at Cheshire Elementary School, I was in a program called PAT, Program for the Academically Talented. This was a time when, during 3rd period, a group of students would be excused from class (but expected to make up the work) in order to pursue extracurriculars like art, creative writing and computer science. It was there that I studied oil painting and have been in love with painting ever since. And yes, I know….

art = extracurricular? {Harrumph}


  1. Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience. Tell about a transforming memory?

When I was a senior at Bennington, I had been working on this oil painting for my thesis exhibition. It was a painting of blue jeans, repeated on a grid format. Each square had a pair of pants in it, painted a specific color, while the background was also a separate, solid color.            The painting went from looking very checkerboard-like to very quilted, and continued to flip flop in this fashion. I struggled to finish the painting and felt very much like I was ‘painting the painting’, which at the time meant that I was simply laying color down, like a color by number piece. No matter what changes or improvements I thought I made, I felt like I was simply going through the motions, that I was struggling, forcing if you will, this painting into trying to be done and complete. But every time I looked at it and revisited it, it was just so unsettled and unresolved. I let it hang in my studio as my crucifix to bear, so that I could study it and be reminded that I needed to find a way to finish it. It was gruesome. I ended up taking it off the wall and propped it face first in the corner of my studio, so that I didn’t have to look at it and be reminded. I had other work to do! One late night in the printmaking studio, while working on a series of prints using similar ‘pants’imagery, I had that magical moment, an epiphany of how to finish that painting! It was through making prints that I finally understood what this painting was all about, what it needed to be. So I mad dashed upstairs to my paint studio and in about ten minutes, mixed up paint colors and finished the painting. The next morning, coming back to the studio was pure excitement! The smell of soppy wet oil paint was in the air and my painting hung there, smiling at me. One of my fellow peers came over and said, ‘it looks great!, so where’s the other one? You should hang them both together, side by side!’I said, ‘that’s it…that’s the one.’Of course then the conversation bantered a bit with, ‘no the OTHER one,’until seeing the horror in their eyes, it had finally sunk in that I had so drastically transformed new life into this painting and wasn’t looking back. I smiled along with the piece, knowing I had done it.


  1. If you had the power to make one change in the world what would it be?

I wish I could wave a magic wand and put an end to Monsanto and all the evil, sickness and destruction it is causing and spreading in the world.

REd Flowers

10. Imagine a story. It is 2030 and we have brought the environment into balance. How did we do it?

So you mean after the big apocalyptic global climate shift we just nearly survived? First we would have to admit we were part of the problem. Then we’d have to learn our lesson, forgive ourselves and move on to change our ways. I’d like to think that we stopped hydrofracking for natural gas, banned Monsanto from ruining the food, water and land, found a way to eliminate fossil fuels out of our lives, minimized our plastic production, cleaned up the air pollution in China, and forced companies to take/buy back the waste that is generated in whatever they produce, you know, recycle? I could go on, but don’t want to be that negative or pessimistic here; however, that would be a really great start. Guess I should wave that wand again.

Close up Earrings

11. Tell a story, have we met? When? Where? Who introduced us? Oh, maybe you are my niece, well, just give a little history here. People love a sett.

 It won’t be long, but here it goes. I applied to the Holiday Shindy 2014 and got in! Hooray! So a few days before I went to pick up my packet of postcards, Crispina had emailed me and said, I have a really funny story to tell you. When I got there and introduced myself, Crispina explained that she thought that I was her friend, Ali Herrmann. And then I smiled and it dawned on me!: she thought I was the OTHER Ali Herrmann. So yes, there are two of us in Berkshire County. We haven’t ever met. And I’ve tried Googling her, but all I find is that I’m stalking myself. So perhaps if the other Ali Herrmann is reading this, she will stop at the Shindy and say hi!

12.  Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting? When? Where? Details and contact information please.

HOLIDAY SHINDY:Holiday Shindy 2014 Postcard

Shire City Sanctuary

40 Melville Street

Pittsfield, MA 01201

Preview Party: Friday Dec 12, 5-8pm

Saturday Dec 13, 10-5pm

Sunday Dec 14, 10-3pm

and preview some of my work here too:

Pour it All Out on Paper

by Lorne Holden

Anne Frank. Mark Twain. Lewis Carroll. Stevie Nicks.

What do all these remarkable people have in common? They kept a diary. They wrote down what mattered to them and ultimately their thoughts have come to matter to us. Where would we be without the words of the incredible Anne Frank to help personalize a difficult chapter in human history?

Anne Franks

You may not want thousands of people reading your innermost thoughts in the years to come, but there are many reasons to keep a journal now. Here’s a few to get your brain tingling:

Keeping a journal is a great way to harness your creativity. If you write in a way that is completely stream of consciousness, you may find yourself in a new place with new ideas that you never even knew you had. Writing can also be a tremendous cathartic release. You can say all those things to your journal that you might not want to say to the people in your life. This way, your journal can become a way to hear your truest thoughts and then get your balance before you approach other in sticky situations.

Journal writing can boost your self-esteem. Not only does the act of writing feel good, but it allows you to reflect on events in a safe environment where you can process things without fear of judgement. There is so much data about the benefits of journaling that psychologists and counselors often encourage people to write, write, write.

person writing journal

Writing daily is a great way to document both disappointments and successes in a way that can invite balance and reflection at a later date. There are many glorious paper journals (see Becca Strouts great selection below) in which to pour your heart into. I personally am a fan of the hand written as I revealed in my last post, because you not only have a record of your thoughts but those thoughts are recorded in the way only you can record them, however, if you like the idea of working with a device there are some wonderful journaling Apps, such as Day One.

pen on journal

Ultimately, journaling is a record of who you are right now. It’s a private conversation between you and you and in our increasingly distracting and noisy world, the importance of this couldn’t be more….well….important. Ultimately, you’ll be able to read back and see how who you are now is the result of who you have been, where you have been and what has happened in the years prior. If you don’t have a journal already, ask for one for the holidays and then pull out that pen. Chart that dream. Register that hope. Process that heartbreak. It’s all a great way to stay connected to yourself and alive to the flow of your life.

Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the bestselling book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.”  Check out her website for news of her amazing program “LifeBloom” - a three week adventure in making things happen. She likes to jot down her thoughts in …..yes, ten minutes a day.




Weekly Treasury – Jot It Down

Jot It Down‘ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Want to avoid the ruckus of the mall, but find your Main Street doesn’t have what you’re looking for? Thoughtful gifts like these journals are available on etsy from the comfort of your home. Happy Shopping!


Hand Bound Journal with Red Horse Block Printed Lokta Paper Cover - 4.5" x 2.75" Leather Journal Sketchbook Leather Diary, Amethyst Suede Leather & Blank Pages, the Chunkie Lee Pastel Ethnic style Journal, Journals, Handmade Diary, Travel Book, Old Paper, Pregnancy journals, Notebooks Refillable Felt Journal MIDORI Traveler's Notebook
Large leather journal sketch book with buckle closure - rugged leather sketchbook journal with small pen pouch Cosmos - Jotter, Pocket Notebook, Mini Journal with antique paper Notebook/Journal SMALL Navy, Sky Blue and Floral Mood Journal / Diary / Notebook / Dream Journal with Mood Beads and Hand Braided Button-and-String Closure
Paper Dreams - Travel Journal - 4.5 x 6" A6 - Mixed Paper Journal Leather bound Journal, Aerie, Nature, Handbound Hand bound notebook or 2015 diary Set of 3 Mini Leather Pocket Journals
Personalized Music Journal- Choose Your Own Binding Paperbag Art Journal Mixed Media Altered Book Green journal notebook handmade journals lined journal blue green journal flowers journal notebook diary writing journal for women or girls Dark Brown Leather Journal or Sketchbook - Personalized with Initials


Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy
Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

Blog Theme – Diaries, Journals, Journaling

There was a time when I ‘journaled’ every day. It was a long time too. Learned a lot about myself and enjoyed the download of information, thoughts, and ideas swirling inside my head. Over time my journal turned into a notebook where meeting notes are jotted, Where I sketch, and dash fleeting ideas that seem worth revisiting. While writing this its occurring to me that these notebooks are in fact journals, just my style has changed. They contain all sorts of information that marks a place in time or reminds me of the day, or experience. This week our theme is Dairies, Journals, Journaling.  Do you keep a journal or diary?  What is you favorite type of book to spill into?

Send a picture of something that pertains to this week’s theme of Diaries, Journals and Journaling to to be included in our Friday column called 1000 words.  No captions, just images.

12.01.14 Journals

ReConsumerEYES: Candles, Lanterns, Flashlights

by Lorne Holden

Many years ago, I had the chance to visit the Svalbard Islands, an international archipelago under the governance of Norway, far above the arctic circle. I went with two friends to participate in an arts festival that celebrates the return of the sun after many months of darkness. As you can imagine, this place was like nowhere else I’d ever been. The quiet was indescribable, the weather was wild and reindeer roamed the streets unbothered by people, snowmobiles or cars. (The fellow below was wandering around during our visit and didn’t mind posing for a picture.)Svalbard Reindeer

As part of our time there, my friends and I offered movement classes to the town’s nursery school. At the end of our class, we were invited to stay for snack and at snack time the teachers lit candles for the table. Candles! For a table of tiny children at mid-morning. I was struck by the beauty and tenderness of this and asked the teacher about it. “We spend so much of the year in darkness,” she explained,”we always try to create light when we can.”

I am thinking of that nursery now as our days are growing darker and we are beginning what is so aptly called “The Season of Light.” There are many ways to celebrate this aspect of the holiday season and candles, lanterns and even flashlights can all play a part in the festivities.


Candles are available everywhere but there can be real magic in making your own. Beeswax candles, with their great honey scent, are always a favorite and can be made in a variety of shapes. There are wonderful instructions on how to make them here. Additionally, there are ways to make candles out of home ingredients including that old fashioned ingredient – lard. Here’s a great short video full of inspiring ideas.Beeswax candles

I was delighted to learn recently that you can actually make candles out of old crayons. If you’ve got a bunch laying around, gather them up and follow the simple instructions here. This is a terrific project to do with kids and a great way to let them know that those old crayons can be reimagined as holiday treasure.Crayons in cup

A wonderful holiday event to experience with your family is a “Lantern Walk.” You simply make homemade lanterns, tie them to the end of sticks and head out into the evening darkness. Whether you walk through the woods or just around your neighborhood, it is an amazing, magical experience for all. There are many simple, wonderful ways to make homemade lanterns. The great Bob Vila of ‘This Old House,” offers thirteen ideas here.



Something we really love in our house is making light sabers and light shafts out of flashlights and colored paper. This is the simplest project ever and can offer up a load of fun. Simply take a flashlight of any size and wrap the lighted end with colored paper. Tape the paper to itself in a column and to the top of the flashlight as well. Then simply stand the flashlight anywhere you need a soft light or do happy battle with it as a lightsaber. The very small LED flashlights brought to life with a piece of vellum paper make great lightsabers for very small children. Haven’t been able to get a good photo of these, but trust me, they’re magic.

Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the bestselling book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.”  Check out her website for news of her amazing program “LifeBloom” - a three week adventure in making things happen.




Weekly Treasury – Illuminate

Illuminate‘ by Becca Strout for Crispina ffrench

Are you prepared for the upcoming snowstorms of winter? These items help you find the beauty in any situations, including a power outage. Let this treasury light your way in the dark winter days.


Wine Bottle Candle Holder Hanging Hurricane Lanterns Set of 2 Clear Glass Outdoor Lighting Wood Star Lantern Hand-Distressed Candle Holders - Small Shabby Candle Cups - Rustic Decor Candle Sticks - Harvest Thanksgiving Fall Autumn Decoration Beeswax Candles -Set of 15 Natural Beeswax Votives- 1.5" tall
Christmas Pottery Candle Luminary, Holder, Votive, Pretty Little Liars, Patio Lantern, Handmade Ceramic Lantern,In Stock Ready to Ship Candle Holder #4 SET of 7 Beeswax Candles, Handmade. Retro Industrial French Flashlight Torch Sanpeur In Grey with Switch Lever
Vintage Railroad Lantern, Old Signal Lantern Beeswax Candles - Hand Dipped 100% Beeswax Tapers Settler's Candles - 24 Count Vintage Hurricane Candle Holder Wood and Glass Carry Around Candle Latern Urban Industrial Copper Pipe Candelabra.  Interesting Hand Made Gift or for use as a Christmas Table Centre Piece?
Brass Patina Candlestick Holders - Set of 5, Gold Vintage Candlesticks, Instant Collection, Mantel Decor, Mid-Century Candle Holders Rustic Log Candle Holder - Primitive Log Centerpiece - Rustic Thanksgiving Log Centerpiece - Primitive Christmas Decor Vintage Lightmaster Brass Flashlight Shell Concrete Candle Holder.  Free Shipping in US!


Every week we gather a handful of treasures around a theme, from Etsy - an online marketplace featuring handmade wares, vintage items, and supplies for making. Weekly treasuries are normally featured here on Mondays.  You can click on the images above and be taken to a place on Etsy where there is more information about and pictures of that item. Crispina’s online shop is located on Etsy along with a whole ton (like over 800,000) of other handmakers, vintage resellers and material retailers. If you have a minute, leave a comment – it is always so nice to hear from you and build community right here in cyberspace!  Join us in supporting Handmade, Recycled, Organic, and Locally Produced wares for living. Enjoy
Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

ReConsumerEYES: In Praise of Handwritten Letters

by Lorne Holden

The other day my son pulled open a dusty drawer in our front hall. “What is that?” he asked, pointing to a pile of papers. Zounds! They were love letters from an Italian boyfriend. I hadn’t seen them in years and hadn’t even remembered that I’d saved them but I paused to give them a long and tender look. At this point, I barely remember the boyfriend and this being so, I was struck not so much by the letters’ content but by the simple fact that they were handwritten. They weren’t just words, they were his words, this long ago love, written in a way only he could write them. With pen and ink. On paper. After reading a few, I realized perhaps I did remember him. Would I have ever had this experience if I had stumbled upon a batch of old emails? I think not.
handwritten letter
How far we’ve come from the simple act of writing each other letters! According to the US Postal Service’s annual survey, the average home received a personal letter only once every seven weeks back in 2010. My guess is that number is probably down to 1 or zero by now. There has been a cost to this shift away from handwritten communication. Texts and emails sent in a generic font have brought an anonymity to our communication that zaps the individuality out of written expression. Our messages from the Electric Company often arrive in our email looking the same as true words from someone we love. We need an antidote!



This upcoming Holiday Season, consider writing to the people you love. Yes, writing. Get out that pen, find or make some beautiful paper and send your message in the one way only you truly can – by writing it yourself. Handwritten notes and letters have more power now than ever before, simply because they are so rare. Think of how you feel when you receive a handwritten note, and know that you are creating that warm response in someone else simply by making such a gesture. Sure, sending a handwritten note takes more time. I say: take that time. Whomever you are writing to will know that you took the time and it will be meaningful for them. Write one letter a day. Once you get in the swing and feel how great it feels, the time factor won’t be so daunting.

Remember that handwritten messages don’t need to be long. (Look below- a postcard from 1906 was addressed on the opposite side and there was only a small space under the photo for a written message.) Even the smallest handful of words written by you and sent from you, can change the day for a beloved recipient. Consider what is at the essence of what you want to say, and simply say it. Words have power. And words sent in your own writing are doubly powerful.Dive in!

Old Postcard


P.S. Don’t forget to send your note with a beautiful stamp. There are many available.

Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the bestselling book “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done” and the creator of LifeBloom - a three week adventure in making things happen.