Posts in Inspiration
April is Card & Letter Writing Month
Tell someone they’re swell in April - Card & Letter Writing Month. Card by Swell Made Co.

Tell someone they’re swell in April - Card & Letter Writing Month. Card by Swell Made Co.

April is Card & Letter Writing Month (and also my birth month — how fitting for a stationery lover). It’s April 8th, I know; but it’s never too late to send a card or letter. Did you know? The U.S. Postal Service officially designated April National Card & Letter Writing Month in 2001 “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.”

In a world of non-stop of texts and emails, nothing says you care like taking the time to write a handwritten card or letter. You can read more about why I love writing and how it's not a lost art in this past post. Today, however; here are 5 simple things you can say in a card right now. Like, RIGHT NOW. No excuses. I've even given you a few prompts. Grab a pen and card or paper and get writing this month (or any month for that matter) to celebrate. There's always something to say that will help you connect with those you care about. Happy Card & Letter Writing Month!


5 simple Things to Say in a Card

Thank You

At this very moment, I'm sure you can think of numerous people you'd like to thank. Think of the people who support you in your day to day life. From the neighbour who collected your mail while you were away, to your barista, to a friend that gave you a thoughtful gift. When expressing gratitude be just as generous and write a handwritten note. A thank you note should recapture the moment where you were on the receiving end (the smile, maybe the hug, the warmth). Mention what you're thanking the recipient for, but keep it short and simple. Over exaggerating comes across as insincere and don't say "you shouldn't have". It's similar to taking a compliment. Just say thank you.

Congratulations or Words of Encouragement

There's always something to celebrate! Moments big and small should be congratulated with a handwritten note. New jobs, babies and homes all deserve a “HOORAY!”. Maybe your friend or family member reached a goal. If someone did something awesome, tell them. If someone needs some encouragement to get to that goal, tell them. Never underestimate the power of your words of encouragement or congratulations. It literally means the world to someone and those notes often become keepsakes to remember life’s milestones.

I Love You (or, I Like You)

When surveyed, 50% of adults in the United States said they preferred to hear "I love you" with a handwritten note. Can you blame them? I’m a hopeless romantic and apparently a lot of us are. Expressing affection can be as simple as dropping a note in your child's lunch, telling your partner or a friend how much they mean to you for no reason at all. You don't need to an occasion to tell someone you love them. The simplicity of your genuine words goes a long way. Especially if they’re spontaneous.

I'm Thinking of You

Similar to expressing affection, you don't need a reason or occasion to tell someone you're thinking of them. Texting or emailing someone is quick and passive. Take some time to slow down and let someone know you're thinking of them by recalling a sweet memory you shared together. Share a book, song, quote, recipe or even a Netflix series. Share a funny story or a great idea. Pay someone a compliment. Maybe you forgot to tell them something during a conversation. Surprise with a note when you remember. These are all simple ways to connect with someone you care about. Nothing is too silly or insignificant.

I'm Sorry

Saying sorry is never easy. Sending a handwritten note is the best way to let someone know you're sorry when something bad happens. This entire post could be dedicated to ways to express sympathy with nuance; but the most common are a death, a disaster (divorce, illness, etc.) and an apology after someone has been hurt. No matter the circumstance, the goal of the note should be to recognize and validate the source of pain, let the recipient know they are not alone, strengthen your connection and give utmost respect. If you have experienced a similar circumstance as your recipient, let it guide you in choosing the right words. If you don't have a shared experience, it's okay. Try your best and be incredibly thoughtful with your words.

Finally. Don't stress! Keep it simple, keep it casual and write in your natural voice. Take note (pun intended) of how you feel once you've taken a few minutes to handwrite a thank you, a compliment, a memory or a silly story. It all matters and I can guarantee it will produce a smile and all the feels on the other end. Happy writing, swell friends.


These are swell too:

Printable | Simple Goals for 2019
Printable | Simple Goals for 2019

Printable | Simple Goals for 2019

2018 was a good year. Like any year, it had its fair share of challenges, but I’m grateful for those life lessons too. The highlights include: taking necessary breaks to spend time with my family and friends and take care of myself too, rekindling a mad love for hitting the trails and running outside, finding new perspective and focus for Swell Made Co. through the Starter Company Plus Expansion program and being awarded a grant to grow my business in its fourth year, working with a community of small businesses that constantly inspire me and help me grow, doing good through working with Plan Canada and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, having our home featured in Apartment Therapy at the tail end of the year (a way to confirm, we’re home at last) and continually finding new ways to keep things simple and delight YOU. Wonderful you! Thank YOU.


Simple  Goals for 2019

I typically recalibrate a few times a year (do you?), but there’s nothing like finishing off the year with gratitude for the past and optimism for what lies ahead. Setting goals and intentions for a new year is, simply put, refreshing. No matter how big or small. Complex or simple. As 2018 comes to a close, I’m staying true to myself and keeping it simple with these 5 things. The best part? To thank you for your continued support and another incredible year, this art print is printable and free. If these 5 things resonate with you and your intentions for the new year, you can download it and print it for your own spaces. Available in two sizes - 11x14 or 16x20, all you have to do is download it, print it at a local or online print shop and frame it.

Eat Plants

Is there nothing the humble plant can’t do? From healing and nourishing our bodies, to calming our minds (that refers to the houseplant variety that you don’t necessarily eat), 2019 is about finding even more ways to bring more green into everyday life over here. Including buying more plants in addition to eating them.

Keep Moving

Whether it’s moving our bodies, or finding ways to move forward personally and professionally; 2019 is the year to keep moving. Especially when faced with a block or challenge. Physically moving your body will help you get through it and move the mind too. Fast or slow, it doesn’t matter. Just. Keep. Moving.

Write More

Not only is pen to paper therapeutic, it’s an effective way to track goals, dreams, ideas, lists and gratitude. Less screen time and more thoughtful time spent writing (and reading) is a way to keep ideas flowing and moving in 2019.

Let It Go

If it has no place or purpose in 2019, it can stay in 2018. From self-doubt to toxic habits and relationships. Anything that doesn’t serve in the past year is staying behind as we channel our inner Elsa. See yahhh! Less is more, right?

Be Grateful

As always, expressing gratitude is an intention for the new year because when you look around, there is SO much to be grateful for. Even when faced with a challenge, there’s always something to learn and ways to change and do better. It’s the simple things that matter most.

Eat plants, keep moving, write more, let it go and be grateful. Simple goals for 2019.

Eat plants, keep moving, write more, let it go and be grateful. Simple goals for 2019.

What else is in store for 2019? To start, we’re making some simple changes to make your experience even more swell. We’ll be offering more printable art (and tips for printing, framing and styling) in addition to our exisiting collection of art prints. At the tail end of 2018, we launched our 6 and 12 card stationery subscriptions.

In light of the recent Canada Post strike, we’ll be introducing new faster and reliable shipping options. You’ll also be able to find Swell Made Co. in more shops across Canada and the USA.

A dream from Swell Made Co.’s inception in 2014 to work with more textiles will be unveiled this year, and we have fun collaborations in the works. As always, new products (and ways to make existing products better) will continue to roll out throughout the year.

What would you like to see from Swell Made Co. in the new year? We’d love to know. Watch for ways to let us know, or feel free to get in touch anytime. We’d love to hear from you.

Happy New Year to you, friends! Thank you again for being so swell.


These are swell too:

Read It | The Art of the Handwritten Note
Read It | The Art of the Handwritten Note

Read It | The Art of the Handwritten Note

During the winter months, I love to curl up with a good book. Don’t you? Why not share those books with you. Introducing READ IT — mini book reviews that cover all kinds of books. Business, lifestyle and wellness and maybe even a cookbook. If you have any reading suggestions, I would love to hear them. Feel free to comment below or contact us.

First up, The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd. This feels like a timely book. The holiday writing season is upon us and with writing becoming a lost art, what better time of year to get back to simplicity than winter? With a love for all things simple and slow living (and paper goods, of course), it felt like this was a good choice for thinking about how to “reclaim civilized communication”. The way it once was and the way it can be now.


Margaret Shepherd’s book beautifully defends the practice of writing notes which essentially comes down to protecting the time it takes handwrite and keeping it simple (from stationery choices to what you write). The book is filled with reasons why you should write; but explains them in a very practical way. It pushes you to stop making excuses not to write and even provides writing prompts to get you started. From thank you notes to notes of regret, Margaret covers many of life’s sentiments. While I love this little book, it is definitely more traditional. Personally, I prefer a more casual approach to writing; but there are suggestions for that too. Here are my takeaways as a modern stationer and lover of the handwritten note and WHY we should write more of them.

Notes deserve attention

We live in a world where we’re constantly consuming information, it’s no wonder it’s so difficult to cut through the clutter and get anyone’s attention. The handwritten note’s rarity heightens its appeal. As your recipient sifts through the junk mail, a hand addressed envelope immediately captures their attention because they trust it will repay their attention. And while it immediately captures attention, it doesn’t immediately demand it like the the incessant phone calls, texts or emails we have become accustomed to. Recipients can enjoy the anticipation of opening it when they choose and they can reread it at their leisure. The slow and intentional act of reading a note is just as lovely as writing one. Which takes us to…

Notes make us feel good

When you carve out time to sit down and thoughtfully write a letter, it just feels good. The act of slowing down (as mentioned above) and simply putting pen to paper can be therapeutic. Science has linked writing to better mood, reduced stress and improved overall sense of well-being. This includes journaling too. It’s also inspiring and increases creativity with its ability to put us into a flow state. You’ll find yourself using words and expressing yourself in a way you just can’t with tapping. Unplugging to connect the mind with the hand is a rare, but simple, yet powerful sensory experience.

If note writing makes you feel that good, just think of how the person on the receiving end will feel. You send an meaningful message when you write down your thoughts by hand, physically deliver your note to a mailbox and wait for someone to receive it. The smile and gratitude on the other end is well worth the effort. Talk about boosting morale on both ends.

Notes are personal

From the stationery you choose to what you say, your note is a reflection of the one and only you. Exclusivity is certain; no one else is receiving exactly the same note. It doesn’t get much more personal and unique than that. Choosing to write by hand in the first place means you care a great deal about connecting with people. Add the elements of materials (stationery), your own handwriting and choice of words — you have yourself a simple work of art.

Notes are also private. Concealed in an envelope and addressed specifically with a person (or persons) in mind, means you words are safe until they meet the recipient’s hands. That’s personal.

Are you inspired to pick up a pen this holiday season and beyond? Give it a try and see what opportunities come from the simple act of writing a note. You might just be surprised and you’ll certainly feel good doing it.


These are swell too: