6 Feb 2012

letters to toulon… an inspiration

A couple of weeks back I passed a local depot vente…  a permanent flea market style shop for buying and selling all kinds of household paraphernalia… I came upon this bundle of letters in a dusty old box and promptly bought them… all for a couple of euros … I loved the handwriting and even though some would say that they are junk… that they are rubbish and that they should be binned… I found then lovely… I tied them up with string and sat them on some old books in our living room…

Today the mistral wind is blowing and the temperature is in the minus region… I am about to light the fire, cosy up on the sofa and start on your postcards… This handwriting pictured will be my guide… although I make no promises to write as prettily… xv

image – vicki archer

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Jeanne @ Collage of Life

Wonderful Vicki…you have the patience of a saint to try and write in such beautiful script. A talent I do not possess. I hope you will show us the finished product. :) So glad there is another who shares the passion for postcards…so nice to hold onto these traditions.

Best wishes for a lovely day Vicki xx


Such a romantic post! I love old letters and postcards as well! I couple months I came across an envelope in a tiny shop and bought it for the lettering, only to arrive home and realize it was a letter from a gentlman in WWII back home….there is "something" about holding onto letters written long ago by someone whom I didn't know to some other unknown. It's like finding a journal that didn't belong to you….


I would have been right alongside you vying for those treasures!! Love old letters, cards, diaries, ledgers etc. with beautiful writing. They are reminders of a more genteel past when people actually took the time – and were taught – true penmanship, and took pride in that acquired skill. Great find Vicki and I love how you have displayed them.

Stay warm – Mary

Helen Sturgeon

How lovely! Such a shame that the art of letter writing is fast disappearing. And the beautiful handwriting along with it. Good for you (and us!) for rescuing these. I hope you will share both your calligraphy as well as the content of the letters. I have old letters that I treasure.Each of our handwriting is as unique as our personality.


Oh and I think the string adds to the charm V. I would have snatched them up myself. The handwriting is so beautiful. Keep the mistrals at bay and stay warm my friend.

French Girl in Seattle

Great find, Vicki. My mother writes like this still. She learned the old-fashioned way. I hope you are staying warm in your corner of France… Bonne semaine from Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)


You always seem to have just the perfect words and lovely is a beautiful way to describe something once treasured and now treasured by you. They are especially meaningful to me today because my dear mother in law, who I have treasured is having a difficult time holding on to what she has treasured all her life….the comfort of her home. I am glad you found a place to honor the essence of someone's written words! Have a wonderful day,

Geoffrey Wynkoop

Though slightly sad, this image, the top letter is bordered in black. In the old days, this was how letters were sent to announce a death of someone dear. ♥


You discovered a great find Vicki, certainly something I would have purchased if I found them in a shop. The calligraphy is lovely, surrounded by the black border.
Enjoy this midwinter day by the fire. It's a perfect time of year to capture the beauty of bare trees and the frozen silence!

peggy braswell

I love them also. I found some letters from my dad to my mom the other day, What a treasure to me they are + the handwriting is just the best. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Joan Schulze

Dear Vicki,
We can never shop together as we would gravitate to the same thing. Which hand & eye is quicker?
Love the rough string to contrast with the romance of the letters.

Teresa at Splendid Sass

I cherish the old love letter from my grandmother's life and those before. I miss the days when the written word was the only way, and I try to do the same now.
Thank your for sharing your beautiful find.

Vista Gal

Hope that your day was wonderful! Sitting on the sofa in front of the fire as the wind whistled and perhaps still does around you!
Just as you desired,making art with your cards and pen in hand! Lovely~
My day begins and I hope to get into my studio and weed through the paraphenelia so I can get to creating also! ~m

French Heart

Oh…..!! Although anyone could leave all their most secret things with me for decades and I would never violate their privacy by even peeking at them. Those letters seem fair game since anon, purchased and nearly a sacred trust to read their memories. What a wonderful find….basis for a novella?! Now you've made the cat curious. Curious indeed! ;)


We live in an era of dizzying speed and amazing technology. It has both its good and darker sides. While none of us would want to trade many of these advances we unfortunately, have lost much because of it.
The intimacy of receiving a letter, beautifully written with words expressing the deepest feelings of the the heart…well…they are no longer ours to be had. The Twitter Age has arrived and made us into a people of brevity and abbreviations. The Hyperactive Generation.
You have found in this obscure little flea market lying, at the bottom of the bin, masterpieces wrapped in string and I would like to thank you for sharing it with us.

Lost in Provence

Stay warm, Vicki! They say that tomorrow the Mistral will hit 110 km/hour!

And one of these days, I will wrangle out of you the name of your Depot-Vente! :)

Lynn King

Beautiful post! I adore these letters, documents and envelopes and search high and low throughout France for them on my buying trips. I then have them matted in a soft white and framed in wonderful old French and Italian frames that are showing their age with chips and faded gilt, gesso worn through and hand blown glass. They have become a signature look for me and I cannot keep them in stock! There's just something about that gorgeous penmanship, so romantic. Imagine receiving a love letter for Valentine written in this script?

Trish Murphy

I love the letters tied with the string.I can see you snug in front of the fire writing away. I can remember the modified cursive writing when we were kids with the nuns standing over to check mistakes!It certainly takes you back. It is such a shame that we
do not take the time as we used to to write letters.My parents kept my letters when I was travelling the world in my twenties and when they gave them back I was amazed to read them.They are like a journal.Keep warm and happy Vicki.x


Wishing you a lovely day! But the one who this black bordered letter is addressed to will have received some sad news. There is still beauty in sorrow, non? xx, Julie

Fi's Kitchen

Dear Vicky
I have just discovered your blog. It is fabulous. I was inspired by Amanda who has just been in Sydney…and told me all about it. I am in the early stages of having a blog. I am teaching myself to cook..I am a terrible cook..I have set up a very basic..and I mean basic blog called Fi's Kitchen..it along the Julia and Julia road..trying to cook something different every day for 365 days..using cooks from all over the world (a lot of British)..I want to publish it and give the majority of the proceeds to refuge kitchens around Australia..Matthew Talbort, Oasis, Lou's Place etc..supply pots and pans and kitchen equipment to the homeless. I have set it up with my youngest son George who did it on blogspot..I will try and improve the website in time. We are coming to England in July for three months I hope we can catch up when we are there. You are amazing. You are now on my Favourites. love Fiona Playfair


l too would have bought those beautiful letters. l love that you have decided to spend time working on your penmanship, it's very much a dying art now.

à la parisienne


What a lovely find. Handwriting is a lost art…I keep throwing around the idea of buying a calligraphy book for some practice. Since I've stopped teaching, my handwriting has become quite atrocious!



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