Full disclosure. Yes, I do operate two shops on Etsy where I sell blank note cards. And, yes, I hope that after you read my blog posts you might pop on over to one of the stores and buy something. However, my intention in writing this blog is not to be “in your face” to try to get you to buy something from me. If, by some chance, it is a by-product, then that’s great. But, mostly, I want to write blog posts that inspire you to write a letter or two.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Hilltop Paper Studios, a shop on Etsy I started back in 2012 (Wow! Five years ago). I had been hoarding scrapbook paper and supplies for several years, so much so that I was running out of places to stash them. Spurred on by my loving husband, I made a few cards and opened Hilltop Paper Studios. I had always enjoyed making cards and loved the creative outlet. Here are some of the first cards I made:
In 2013, I became a Navy Mom, and added several Navy cards to my shop (these cards have since spun off into the Etsy shop Anchors Aweigh Studios – more later in another post).
Recently, my cards have taken a different twist. Other than just liking to make cards because I get to be creative and use all different kinds of pretty paper and embellishments, I have realized how important it is to actually WRITE letters.
When my dad passed away I was left with the daunting task of going through over 85 years of accumulated “stuff”; with help from said loving husband, of course. In amongst the stuff were several boxes of old, musty letters. Boxes of letters my dad had written home to his parents, letters my grandmother had written to him, letters my mom and dad wrote back and forth before they were married; boxes of letters that told of their life. These are some of the letters my grandparents wrote to my dad during WWII:
As I read the first few letters my dad had written back home, I actually learned things about him I hadn’t known, or, hadn’t really taken the time to think about. Like how he grew up in a very small town in Northern Michigan and at age 17 hopped on a train by himself and headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan, by way of Milwaukee and Chicago (no bridge back in 1944). I learned that he played Pinochle with his buddies for Cokes (he and my mom taught me to play), that he didn’t like to eat fish even back then (he used to like TO fish but I never saw him eat any), that he actually liked swimming class (he didn’t like to swim when I was growing up), and that he was looking forward to going hunting with his dad when he got back home for a visit (he used to take me hunting, although I never fired a shot). Everyday things, for sure, but it was wonderful to be able to read about them.
And, I got to thinking. What am I to do with all of these letters? Sure, I could read them, reminisce for a while, and then put them back in the box to be thrown away by my children 50 years from now.
But, I know they will already have a lot of “stuff” to go through, so I thought I’d make the task less daunting. I decided to use these letters as a starting point for the cards I was making. What I do is read through a few letters to find one that has an interesting story I can share. Then, I scan the letter to preserve it for future reading. I then, and please don’t have a panic attack, I cut up the actual letter into sizes that I can use as a base for a card.
It was hard for me to do this at first, but then I realized that I could share part of my parent’s story by reusing these letters. I wasn’t just putting them back in a box to be stored in a storage unit miles away; which basically would have been the same thing as just throwing them away. I could share. So, each card that I make with a letter comes with a little note, letting you know what the letter was about. And, I somehow try to “make” the card to reflect a thought or event that was written about. Here are a couple of cards I have made using a couple of my dad’s letters:
These two cards are made from a letter my mom received from a friend back in 1945:
So, there you go. An introduction to Hilltop Paper Studios. I hope you will click on the link below and go to my shop on Etsy, but if you don’t, that’s okay. What I’d really like you to do is go sit down and write a letter to someone!