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Blog > Stationery makers: The Missive Maven


Do you ever idly browse the internet looking for stationery? I know I do… a lot! On one of these research sessions, I ended up in MissiveMaven’s lovely Etsy shop, filled with vintage-inspired paper goods… I was instantly hooked!

A letter is better!

Ilona (aka Missivemaven) has been running her shop since January 2011. She uses very old photos or designs that are in the public domain, giving them new life in the form of postcards, notecards and stickers. We were curious about the process and inspiration behind her stationery, and decided to interview her for the blog!

How did you get started doing stationery design?

I have been addicted to stationery since I was a small child. Letter-writing has always been a part of my life, pretty much since I learned how to hold a pencil, and friends and family were great about encouraging that pursuit by giving me gifts of stationery. (Also, my mother forced me to write thank-you notes – an excellent habit to foster!) So, being a stationery addict, I’m always on the lookout for fun items. After I started my letter-writing blog,, in 2008, my list of pen pals and postcard correspondents went through the roof… so I had an excuse (sort of?) to collect even more stationery to further my postal pursuits. I often searched for letter-writing and mail-related postcards on Etsy. I had an idea of what I wanted in my head, and was disappointed when I couldn’t find it… and then I thought, why not design it myself?

MissiveMaven's swallows
Where do you find your inspiration?

I am very inspired by all the mail I receive, and all my wonderful pen pals. I’m also really into “modernized” vintage graphics, so the vintage graphics themselves are a source of inspiration, too.

What is your favourite item in your shop (and why)?

Oh dear. I find that question so hard to answer, because how can I pick just one? If I must pick, I am very fond of the Classic American Postman design, which I offer in postcards, notecards, and sticker seals. With his arms brimming full of packages and letters, he looks so cheery, and his posture of holding out a letter to you seems so full of hope. (Can you tell what a postal mail addict I am?)

MissiveMaven's postman
If you could define your style in 3 words, what would they be?

Classic, epistolary, nostalgic.

Are you a letter/postcard writer yourself?

Voraciously so. It is my greatest, favorite hobby. I’ve been Postcrossing for more than 7 years, I’m a proud member of the Letter Writers Alliance and I write hundreds of letters and postcards each year to friends, family, and pen pals.

Can you show us a picture of your studio or workspace?
Missive Maven's desk

Thank you Ilona!

You can find Ilona’s postcards, greeting cards and other products at Don’t forget to check out Missive Maven’s blog as well ! :)

21 comments so far

Geminiscp, Portugal
Very cute! Thanks for sharing! :)
jahooli, United Kingdom
Love this!
florencen, Australia
love your offsider .what a great site
chandlerguera, United States of America
I've mailed out many postcards from the Missive Maven's etsy shop! Her blog posts are informative and inspiring. Long live snail mail!
Luziaceleste, Brazil
Lovely work!
postmuse, United States of America
So happy to see MissiveMaven's art highlighted!
sirosi, Finland
So lovely to see Ilona's interview here!
She is the one who inspired me in starting my own mail art blog when I happened to receive a Postcrossing card from her.
So I'm very thankful for both Ilona and Postcrossing! :)
Cars, Netherlands
mingshu, Finland
what a lovely angel on the desk :)
Arieth, Netherlands
I love it to read! Happy Postcrossing and I see you on your blog.
Tchors, United States of America
Beautiful Esterbook Icicle :) I have the same loaded with J. Herbin 1670 Blue and have used it to write many postcards!!!!

Happy Postcrossing!
irina_koloshva, Ukraine
I fell in love with your postcards! They are wonderful! I wish you inspiration to create even more beautiful postcards!
MichPen, United States of America
A cat always adds the finishing touch to a workspace!
Robin67, Austria
When I read this (and some other features on the Postcrossing blog) my passion for stationery overwhelms me. I can't write as much as I feel like "acquiring" *cough, cough*! :-D
I feel it more each day: my day should have more than 24 hours!
I hand-write most of my letters too and try to make them look nice! :-) That is very time-consuming.
scriptor, United Kingdom
I've bought from Ilona a couple of times. Being skeptical about 'homemade' products I didn't buy much the first time so I found I used the first lot I bought very quickly! I love all her stuff but, like her, that postman is my favourite.
scriptor, United Kingdom
P.S. I meant to say how great it was to see Ilona's study and see that she too has to cope with a helper who sits on everything.
Bluma, United States of America
I too have bought from Ilona and love her blog :) My personal favorite is the letter writing stamp postcards. They are also my favorite set of stamps. Soda looks she is a big help with keeping things organized!

danalicious, Canada
I love the MissiveMaven shop on etsy. Thank for the great interview and a peek into Liona's creative space.
Circassian, Russia
so cute :)
MissiveMaven, United States of America
It's so cool and heart-warming to see all these awesome comments from folks! I am touched by the support. I'm also tickled that so many people were amused by my feline helper, Soda - she is a faithful friend (and, occasionally, a purring obstacle) in all my postal endeavors.

Happy Postcrossing, everyone!
zwj-Gaga, China
Love it

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