July 25 2012 11:44 AM

Where to buy things that force you to put pen to page

Greeting-card and gift accoutrements from Sweet Paper

As I type this, I'm trying to remember the last time I hand-wrote something on paper that was longer than a sentence or two. Hmm. Last month I wrote a sentimental bit in my dad's Father's Day card. What else? A letter? A poem? Anything? Oh, man, I'm totally guilty. I'm really good at typing (86 WPM!), texting and commenting on Instagram, but when it comes to writing things down, I've let myself go.

These days, communicating is all about pushing buttons, not pushing a pen across paper. I even heard they're not teaching kids how to write in cursive anymore, which is a damn shame. In an effort to inspire myself (and, thus, you) to sit down and write out a letter, grocery lists, a sweet sentiment in a card or just a little note, I've scouted out some shops that have top-notch offerings of paper goods.

First up is Noon in Ocean Beach (4993 Niagara Ave., Suite 105, with a second location in Solana Beach). Opened in 2009, Noon is a lovely little shop run by Nora Alexander and Maie Liis Webb. While Alexander designs Noon's standout jewelry, Webb uses her graphic-design skills to create sweet letterpress paper products. All are produced locally with 100-percent cotton paper, soy ink and recycled envelopes. Noon oozes femininity, so every one of its products has a distinctly feminine touch, making the cards especially appropriate for weddings, bridal showers, girlfriends, moms and sisters. Inspired by life in San Diego, the beautifully colorful cards depict hummingbirds, sea urchins, seashells and waves. They also stock Decomposition Books, a clever new take on old-school composition books, but with cool new designs and a promise that they're composed of 100-percent recycled paper and post-consumer waste.

Sweet Paper (7660-A Fay St.) in La Jolla is all about things that are—you guessed it—sweet. The charming little shop is owned by sisters Julie O'Brien and Theresa Anderson. They sell fun custom stationery, greeting cards and invites, as well as those little extras like colorful twine, double-sided wrapping paper and rubber stamps. The sisters stock the shop with great paper designers like Fig. 2 Design Studio, Knot & Bow and Dear Hancock. The stationery here is so awesome that you want to frame it and use it as art.

Next is Solo (309 S. Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach). Housed in what used to be an old warehouse, it's absolutely gigantic. Solo is home to many different vendors, so each little nook of the store has its own personality. Someone at Solo must love paper goods, though, because there's a fairly large nook devoted entirely to it. The walls are lined with greeting cards, and tables are stocked with notebooks, stationary, file folders, list pads and more. I love the products from Cavallini & Co., which feature old-world anatomy, botany and map designs.

If you're in South Park, Progress (2225 30th St.) has a massive selection of cards well organized by occasion. They veer toward funny, and I found myself chuckling at some (my favorite was one with an illustration of two sweaters that read: "Matching sweaters, it must be love.") Progress also stocks Orla Kiely journals, Keel's Simple Diaries Volumes One & Two and nifty bookplates by Sugarcube Press (large stickers that you stick on the inside cover of your books that allow you to mark your book in case you lend it out).

And, finally, don't miss Ink by Kymberli Parker (127 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619- 233-4203), though it would be easy to, because her summer hours are a little tricky (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday). Parker's shop is a gem, filled with classic paper goods including the Kate Spade Paper, Mr. Boddington's Studio and Hat + Wig + Glove Co. The latter's cards, with sayings like "Viva la Epidural!" and "Children Will Ruin Your Life" on the front, had me laughing out loud. On top of basic cards, you'll find birth announcements, recipe cards, party invitations and more. There's even a journal called "Smart Women Put it in Writing." My thoughts exactly. 

Alex Zaragoza contributed to this piece. Write to editor@sdcitybeat.com and check out the Urban Scout blog: sdcitybeat.com/urbanscoutWrite to alexz@sdcitybeat.com. You can also bug her on Twitter.


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