A Simple Guide to Handwriting Letters

There's something special about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. 

It's much more of a rarity these days, but there is a growing movement to revive it in this age of text messages and emails.

Paper

We get our letter paper from all over the world. From Montreal to Japan to France, we have a selectively curated selection of the best paper.

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We also carry decorated papers to add a bit of flair to your writing.

Pens

Choosing a pen is a large part of writing. A pen that you love using will make the process truly enjoyable.

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There are many types of pens - ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, fine liners, fountain pens... the list could go on.

In this post we have focused on just a few of the pens, but don't let that limit you when you browse our selection - you never know what you'll end up enjoying!

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Ballpoint pens are some of the most popular pens. They are simple and easy to use and hassle-free. When you don't have time to sit down and fiddle with your pen or think about the type of paper you're using, a ballpoint pen is a great choice.

Rollerball pens are much like ballpoint pens but use a gel ink that flows more smoothly and has more colour to it. Since they are a thicker ink, however, you must be sure to choose paper that is thick enough to handle it.

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Fine liners tend to be very smooth but also put more ink on the page than a ballpoint pen. They are often waterproof and fade-resistant or archival, but tend to be a one-time use pen. They come in a variety of colours and widths, which allows for unique customization.

Fountain pens are a little bit more complicated, and may take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, they are a joy to write with. They are refillable with a wide variety of coloured inks, and sport beautiful nibs. They require thicker paper to prevent any bleed-through of the ink and need to be handled a little bit more delicately.

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Dip pens are probably the trickiest, but they are also the most versatile. In our previous post we made a video to help you learn how to use a dip pen. With all the inks and various nibs, they are a whole lot of fun to use!

Inks

Inks come in every colour of the rainbow and more! You can get inks that are scented and even inks that sparkle!

With fountain pens you may need to be a little bit more selective with your ink to make sure that it does not get clogged, but with dip pens you have free range!

Envelopes

Matching envelopes are available for most of our letterhead paper. You can also mix and match and make some fun combinations! 

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We have so much more in store, including ways to decorate your letters, improve your handwriting, and even little gifts you can include in your mail.

We love helping our customers pick the perfect combinations for their projects. If you're not sure where to start, just ask any of us and we'd be happy to help you out! 

Blog by Christine Wiebe

Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas at Paper-Ya

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Choosing personalized wrapping paper and ribbon is always a blast here at Paper-Ya. With so many options in store, we can help you truly customize your gift wrapping. Even though we cannot wrap it for you, we can do everything else to make sure it's easy for you to complete it when you get home!

To get your ideas rolling, we have brought together some beautiful combinations of ribbon and paper.

For a mature, festive look, we love red and purple tones. Bold ribbons provide a beautiful accent of colour.

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For a more traditional look, choose reds, golds, and greens. Add an extra little flare to the gift by adding small ornaments to the bow. Layering ribbon also helps add beautifully contrasting texture to an otherwise simple paper.

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Don't be afraid to be bold. And don't forget, raffia is a great way to uniquely dress a gift!

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For a fun, whimsical look we recommend brighter, airier colours.

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If you need any help or suggestions, just come see us here at Paper-Ya, and we'll help you find the perfect combinations. And don't forget, we've got you covered for gifts and cards as well!

Blog by Christine Wiebe

Merry Gifting at Paper-Ya!

In order to make your Christmas shopping a merry experience, we've filled our store with unique gifts! To jump start your shopping, we have compiled some gift ideas for all the wonderful people in your life.

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Even if you’re not sure what to get for the guys (we always find it hardest to shop for them), you’ll be sure to find some fantastic presents here at Paper-Ya. 

We have so many beautiful choices for all of the wonderful ladies in your life. Let your gift speak for itself and show how much you appreciate them!

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Christmas can be a stressful time, so don't forget to give your host or hostess a special thank you for all of their hard work.

Show your coworkers how much you appreciate them with thoughtful gifts!

Bring joy and laughter to the little ones with games, toys, and activities for their creative hands.

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And don't forget those stocking stuffers!

If you need something for the person who has everything, there’s always our gift card.

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We wish you the very best of holiday seasons!

Blog by Christine Wiebe

Get Inspired: Make Your Own Christmas Cards!

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There’s something special about a handmade card. You get to add all your own personal touches, whether you enjoy drawing, lettering, or decorating with stickers and stamps. It also allows you to get creative, and make each one unique! 

 Our favourite blank cards are brought in from Italy. They have a beautiful texture and gorgeous deckled edges. There are matching envelopes to go with them, and a choice of the white and cream colours. We also have a variety of coloured envelopes and card stock paper to help you make any kind of card!

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With thicker paper, you don’t need to worry about what kind of pen you’re going to use. You can choose any type of pen you'd like!

One of the most fun parts is, of course, decorating your cards! 

We also have so many different papers that you can use to collage your card! Go nuts with shapes and layers and textures of paper. You can make little winter scenes or keep it simple and classic. The choices are endless!

Our favourite way to finish up our cards is, of course, to seal it with sealing wax! With a whole rainbow of wax colours to choose from, you can put a different colour on each envelope!

Whether it’s for Christmas or birthdays or just to send a bit of love, handmade cards are sure to convey your sincerest feelings.

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Just don’t forget to get your cards out nice and early so that they arrive in time for Christmas!

Handmade cards by @Recchiaprints.
Blog by Christine Wiebe

Why We Love Bellroy at Paper-Ya

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”Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci

Bellroy’s innovation is based on the beauty of simplicity, form, and function. They have perfected this art to create lasting pieces for your every day needs.

Materials

Bellroy uses environmentally sustainable leathers that only get better with age. Their woven fabrics are also sustainably produced, and are both lightweight and durable.

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Their products are made to last, and their hope is that this will also help reduce waste, as there is less need to discard older products. 

Bellroy's B Corp status proves their dedication to making and using environmentally sustainable products. From source to final product, they strive to ensure that their actions promote a greener world and give back to the environment. 

Wallets

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Bellroy’s wallets embody their goal of simplicity. Having removed any extraneous flaps and folds, their wallets are beautifully slim. They carry a range of sizes to suit everyone’s needs - from the more minimalistic to the more forgiving size.

Card wallets for those who rarely carry cash.

Larger wallet for those who need to carry a bit more.

Accessories

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Bellroy's passport cover is a multi-purpose wallet that allows you to carry your passport and wallet in one, with the addition of a small pen that adds no extra bulk.

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In partnership with Fieldnotes, Bellroy has also made a leather cover that fits these pocket sized journals.

The magnetic closure keeps the journal securely shut while it's tucked away in your bag or pocket. Perfect for those who still love the good ol' pen and paper (like us!).

Bags

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Bellroy’s recent venture into bags is one that has resulted in wearable works of modern art. There is beauty in simplicity, and Bellroy has worked this into all of their pieces. From backpacks to work bags, these pieces are versatile and elegant, and incredibly well organized.

We carry both their regular and water resistant styles. Both are able to fit a fifteen inch laptop, and come in horizontal and vertical forms. 

The various compartments of the internal organization promotes a tidy bag even on the busiest days, and the beautiful, professional colours allow for versatile use of the bags, whether for work or personal use.

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We love Bellroy for their quality, style, and sustainability, and we are proud to carry their products. If you haven't yet, come on in and check out the styles that we carry! They make a great gift for a loved one - or for yourself!

Blog by Christine Wiebe

How To Start Writing

There are so many different types of writing. Some people like to write just for themselves, and some people like to write to share their words. Some people want to create a world of fantasy, and some people want to explore reality. 

Whether typing on a laptop or writing with a pen and paper, the process starts in your mind and flows to your fingertips. But how do you start?

Creative Writing

How do you start a story? An empty page is daunting. You might find yourself staring at your screen or paper for ages with a world of adventure in your head, but no idea how to translate it into words.

Here are a few ways to jump start your creativity:

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Reading: Okay, you're not actually writing, but you're boosting your creativity by exposing yourself to the creativity of others. A great way to start your writing sessions is by reading for 20 minutes and getting those creative juices flowing!

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Writing Prompts: You can find writing prompts that encourage you to expand your ideas and take your mind to places you might not have expected! This is a great way to exercise your brain and warm it up before you try and dive into your own story.

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Point Form Outline: Having a very structured outline can help you figure out your plot and characters and organize everything ahead of time. This lets you solve any inconsistencies that might evolve as you’re planning.

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Winging It: It does not work for everyone, but some people just like to wing it. Just type a word, then another word, then another word after that, and see where the story takes you. It might not be the most practical way, but it can be fun to see how it turns out!

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If you're up for the challenge, November is National Novel Writing Month! It's a great way to push yourself and get your story written with the support of hundreds of other people! 

Daily Journals

Sometimes the best way to wind down at the end of a busy day is to take some time to write. Writing things down can help alleviate the stress they create in your life. Writing down moments of happiness can also help you appreciate the joys of life!

Guided Journals: For those who find themselves unable to focus when it comes to writing, these journals have prompts and layouts that are conducive to letting your thoughts flow. 

Journal photos by @aashishmanov

Blank Journals: For the DIY lovers, try buying a blank journal and decorating it yourself! Grab some Washi Tapes, stamps, and coloured felts to make beautiful pages that will be a pleasure to use!

Non-Fiction

Whether you're writing an autobiography or an article for a newspaper, you can still use many of the tips previously mentioned. After all, you'll be including your own brand of creativity into your writing! You can still use the above suggestions to warm up your brain before you write!

Even if you type your article on the computer, taking notes by hand is a great way to help you remember what you've been researching. 

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The more you write, the more you'll find your rhythm, and what does and does not work for you. Most importantly, enjoy the process! 

Blog by Christine Wiebe

How to Use a Dip Pen

If you've been to our store, you've probably seen our giant shelf of dip pens and inks. If you've been curious but hesitant about trying out dip pens, now is a great time to get familiarized with the basic techniques!

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At first glance, dip pens can be daunting. From choosing your nibs to experimenting with bottles of liquid ink, it seems like a lot to dive into. 

And that's why we are here to help you! We are always happy to recommend different nibs as well as inks and paper and any other accessories to help you get started.

Dip pens are not limited to writing. While they are certainly very popular for calligraphy and letter-writing, they can also be used for drawing and illustrating. 

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In our video below, we demonstrate the basic techniques for writing and drawing with a dipping pen.

Thank you for watching!

Blog and video by Christine Wiebe