About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Monday, April 10, 2017

H is for HANDWRITING #AtoZChallenge

Hello and Happy Monday!

I’m participating in the A-Z Blog Challenge where throughout April, each day will correspond with a letter of the alphabet. My theme – Scrapbooking.

Last week I touched on the foundation of the hobby (Albums, Cropping, and Glue). This week we move into the sentimental parts of scrapbooking starting with H is for HANDWRITING.

I wanted to give handwriting its own letter because, similar to keepsakes, a person’s script is special. Like a voice or a thumbprint, what you write leaves an impression.

I’m a bit of a hypocrite because personally, I don’t like my own handwriting. I’ve had friends tell me it that it’s pretty, but I just tend to be more critical of my own chicken scratch.  

I think that I take handwriting seriously because I have several teachers in my family, and they all had beautiful penmanship. There is a history to handwriting in culture. In the early centuries, everyone from kings to scribes had a style to their writing. I’ve witnessed a great change in this in the modern years. When I was growing up, I was taught cursive handwriting in school, and now, in the era of computers, the art isn’t passed down anymore. My niece asked me to teach her how to use cursive to sign her name.

With these changing times, it makes sense that the pieces of handwriting that are given to us should be preserved and cherished.

My Mom and I have conversations about this often. She and I both love to get “Happy Mail” – handwritten letters and cards sent by post that aren’t just a mailed advertisement or a utility bill. There’s a positive aura to anything someone has made with their hands. It’s a special thing when someone takes the time write a letter to you.

Here's a quick example story: I was visiting my Mom, talking about the subject of Happy Mail, when she pulled out a letter she had written to my great-grandmother. My Mom was 15 years old, away at summer camp, and the letter was drafted on the complimentary stationary provided by the lodge where she had stayed.

It was simple letter, brief and beautiful. Mom spoke of the hazards of camping (bug bites and a flash sighting of a snake), but she included details of her friends and how much she enjoyed the sunshine.

For me, the address on the envelope was even more fascinating, because all that was listed were my great grandparents’ names, their street, and zip code. This sparked a discussion with my mother as to how a letter could reach its destination with so little resident information. My mom explained that at that time (mid 1960’s), there was only one family with our surname on that road, and my great-grandparents lived in a small town, so box numbers weren't necessary.
Mom went on to tell me how, at the time, my great grandparents and their neighbors still utilized the phone technology called a “Party Line,” where all of the service recipients would take turns sharing one telephone connection.  
Party phone lines eventually became obsolete by the late 70's, but it marked an interesting time in the evolution of communication.

A classic example of this technology is in the 1969 movie PILLOW TALK starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

And I learned all of this history from one handwritten letter.

This illustrates what a unique addition like handwriting can do for your scrapbooking. There are a lot of different ways to include handwriting in your pages.

-         Basic handwritten descriptions and labels. Like a personal seal from the scrapbook artist, you can list the names and details on your pages. J

-         You can attach the handwritten words of a loved one or a friend, such as:
o   Postcards

o   Greeting / Thank you Cards

o   Letters

o   Handwritten Recipes

o   Small, Personal Notes
This is a recipe for my grandmother’s corn bread.

Another example – years ago, I'd discovered a coffee shop recipe for a flavored latte called a “Fog Lifter.” It's still a favorite, but I have to ask the coffee baristas to make the drink for me.
My coffee guy liked to draw illustrations after I’d give him the coffee syrup recipe
(2 pumps White Chocolate, 2 pumps Toffee Nut, and 1 pump Caramel).

I smile as I look back at these memories, all of them preserved with handwriting.
I kind of went around the world with this post – Letters from Camp, Party Lines, and Coffee Recipes – I thank you for hanging in there! Lol.

There will be a few more “biggie” posts before we get to Z, but I promise to make it entertaining and educational.
Please leave a comment if you’d like. There are a bunch of awesome blogsters participating in the challenge this year, so please browse their sites if you’d like to read more A-Z topics.

I’ll be back here tomorrow with more Scrapbooking how-to – I is for Impressions.

See you then!

-         SNG


  1. My handwriting sucks and I never had beautiful penmanship like some people. I have tried calligraphy and enjoyed it. It's a shame that cursive is not being taught. There are tons of letters, postcards, census records that are all handwritten so I think it's important to still teach the children

    1. Hi Birgit! Oh, I bet your handwriting is lovely - we're always our own worst critic. I hear you, though - I never thought mine was good. Yes - isn't it strange that cursive isn't taught anymore? I remember that 3rd grade was the year you learned it. Now, with the advent of computers everyone types, but I think signatures are still needed. How does one make their mark? Just an "X"? I don't get it either. Thanks for commenting!