Art House

Remember when phones had cords?


When phones had cords and no one had heard of call waiting and televisions had three channels and text was something you read in a book and people talked face-to-face and cell phones were for billionaires who carried them around in giant cell phone suitcases.

And sometimes your television even had rabbit ears that your dad would put a piece of foil on to get better reception.


I’m raising four little people at the house who have only read about those pre-technology days in books or heard about it occasionally whenever I decide to climb up on my soapbox to remind them how lucky they are.

And I thought technology had triumphed.

Until the other day.


Until the other day…..when I walked down the winding sidewalk to the art house and heard the giggles.

Giggles that floated down the lane accompanied by the occasional whisper.

Curious….as to the reason for all the giggles and whispers….I approached the art house and slowly opened the door.

There sat the twins surrounded by paper….

….scribbling away.

Pink and Brown Bedroom 2

As soon as the door opened….two pairs of blue eyes turned toward me…dancing with excitement.

One of the twins jumped up and ran toward me clutching a piece of paper covered with hearts and doodles….signed LYLAS.

“Mom….you are never going to believe it,” she said excitedly waving the paper around.  “You won’t even believe it.”

“What?” I asked curiously.


She spun around twice….folded the note…. and turned toward to me with an air of excitement.

“Mom….did you know….you can write a letter….and put it into an envelope…and you can put it your mailbox.”

“Really,” I said starting to smile.

pink turquoise bird

“But that’s not all Mom….that’s not even the best part.  You can put it in the mailbox….”

And here’s where she paused.

I think the pause was to emphasize the almost unbelievable reality of the next statement.

To make sure I understood the magnitude of the situation.

Her eyes widened and she held up the letter in the air and stated emphatically with a tone of absolute incredulity…..

“After you put it in the mailbox….then they come to your house and pick it up…..

…..and actually take the note to your friend’s mailbox!”

Pink and Brown Bedroom 2


My ten-year-old just discovered mail.

I couldn’t help it.

Right then…..I started my own giggle.

And then I laughed and laughed and laughed so hard that my sides hurt.

And amid all that laughter….I rejoiced.

For a brief moment that afternoon in a tiny art house strewn with paper… had taken a back seat…..

….to the overwhelming joy of a simple letter. 🙂

PS  Have a wonderful day…..LYLAS 🙂 

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Suzy @ Worthing Court Suzy @ Worthing Court

    Sweet, sweet story, Karianne. I never cease to be amazed at the way that my granddaughters take all of today's technology in stride. They would DIE if things suddenly reverted to the way they were pre-1990! I can remember what a thrill it was when my dad finally gave in and bought a color tv - wow! lol Have a great weekend!

  2. Image for Sarah (20 State) Sarah (20 State)

    I know I sound like an old lady right know, but man things have changed! I was lucky to grow up in an exchange phone household until the mid 90's, got to love outback Australia. I know she listened in on all of the good stuff and always knew when my birthday was. I may have all of the 'good stuff' now but still only four TV channels to choose from, until the end of this month. And I like it.

  3. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Isn't that just amazing. They come to our house and pick the letter up and take it to our friend's mailbox. I'm impressed. And I love the art house.

  4. Image for Jenna Jenna

    well, as you would say, sigh...that made my day! Yesterday I did the unthinkable, I turned off email notifications from Facebook and Linked In. I know! The freedom I felt, brave fearless me! I don't know how long I will last though...what if I miss something important...what if....well, I just won't have to worry about it!

  5. Image for Mary W Mary W

    What a great story! And I love the Art House. Please show us more pictures. I still remember having a party line when I was growing up and my inlaws had a party line well into the 90s.

  6. Image for Kim Kim

    Cute cute art house as I knew it would be. Your girls are going to have so much fun. Ah, yes the days of mailing letters. Technology is good and bad. Kids these days just walk around with a hand held device to keep in touch. My mom hates it that no one writes letters anymore. Really hard for the older crowd to change.


    Oh my gosh KariAnne you never fail to make my day......I remember growing up and having a "party line" which was a few people on one telephone line and when you wanted to call someone you had to call the operator and she'd come on and ask "number please" and you would only hope that the people on the party line didn't like to talk a lot or you would have to keep trying until the line was clear!!!!!When the "dial" phone eventually came,we were very excited!Nowadays,everybody has cell phones that do everything but the dishes,and you can take and send pictures and do numerous things that I will never be able to figure out how to do....anyway,do we really need all that your art house :-)

  8. Image for Rachel @ Architecture of a Mom Rachel @ Architecture of a Mom

    Sometimes, I wonder what my kids (5, 2 and 2) will think about my childhood. They already look at me funny when I tell them they can't choose what's on the downstairs tv (we have streaming upstairs). But they still love crayons and paper and crafts...and I hope they always do. Thanks for the smiles as always, sweetie! Your blog always gives me the greatest mood.

  9. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I love it! I remember our household graduating from a wall phone to not one, but TWO desk phones with EXTRA-LONG CORDS! LOL You could go anywhere, do ANYTHING with that! HA! My eighteen-year-old recently had me double-check the addresses on her graduation thank-you notes. And neither of my kids will call if they can email. THAT is snail-mail, to them! Have a fantastic day!

  10. Image for Christy Christy

    Karianne that is too precious!!! The other day I had to mail something out that required the inclusion of a self-addressed stamped envelope. I put the stamp in the wrong side!!! I do everything on line now! It's wonderful that your girls are so excited about this long lost way of communicating with loved ones!

  11. Image for Donna Donna

    That's hysterical and so cute. Whenever I see your posts and start reading them they think of Paul Harvey on the radio saying "and the rest of the story."...... Your posts just draw people in everytime. Love your writing!

  12. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    What a precious story! Don't you just love life through the eyes of a child! She's right there is nothing like a hand written letter! I love the art house!!!

  13. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    Sometimes I think I may be the last person on earth who still buys stamps ... Don't they ever see the mailman ... and wonder what he's doing? :) Adorable story about your adorable girls. And with all the giggles and twirling and hand waving, I have a feeling they are very much like you!

  14. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Not sure what LYLAS is.... but this made my day. Your girls are so precious and yoir blog ALWAYS makes me smile. We had a party line growing up, remember that well. kids also could never believe that when I was in COLLEGE, we had a curfew at the dorm, and if you were late, the doors were locked!!!!!!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

  15. Image for Rachel Rachel

    A hand written note is almost a lost art. I wrote some thank you notes to my parents' friends to thank them for helping and bringing meals and the response I received was overwhelming. Their friends were so touched that I took the time to handwrite a note. Never mind what I said or didn't say, just that I took the time to do it. Thanks for sharing such a cute story.

  16. Image for Gee Gee

    OOh the joys of the past. In the 1980's I had one of those HUGE cell phones. People would stare when I used it. Now it's the norm. Cute post... cute art house :-) Happy today. Hugs, Gee

  17. Image for Sarah Sarah

    Oh, the joy of getting a letter in the mailbox! It still makes me smile, and I tend to save those bits of paper more and more these days. It's comforting to actually see the handwriting that took the time to write to me. I hope handwritten letters never disappear! Thanks for another beautiful post!

  18. Image for Pam W Pam W

    LYLAS!!! "Love ya like a sister"!!! Oh that's one of my favorites. Which goes along with the "new" technology-all the abbreviations we use when texting and emailing. I remember the first time I used a mouse and how "challenged" I felt trying to move that thing around and now it's like an appendage....and will probably be replaced one day soon by eye movements that your computer reads. I am absolutely filled with joy when I read your blog. It makes me stop and think about all the wonder in my own life. Thank you dear. And I covet your Art House! ~Pam~

  19. Image for Leslie Leslie

    I will never forget when my nephew was about 10 and spent the night at a friend's house. He came back and told his parents about how they had this great thing that you filled with water and put in the freezer to make ice cubes!

  20. Image for Susan Susan

    I can relate so well to this post today. I love reading REAL books to my grands and sending them cards with notes of love. Both my parents are deceased and the letters I have from them are still some of my most treasured possessions. Technology is great, but there's nothing like leaving a "footprint" of actually being in someone's life with a handwritten letter, note, or short story (Kelly wrote me those all the time!) XOXO

  21. Image for Gwen Gwen

    What a truly wonderful sharing of a moment in being a mommy. I miss teaching. I think the art house is so fun. And will your kids grow up thinking someone long ago by the name of Art lived there so that's why you had to put his name by the door? Giggle giggle. They are also too little to know anyone like Art Linkletter which until this moment I never thought of his name as artist kind of art!!!! Truly you are so talented in writing, decor, plus creative development :)

  22. Image for Rosylyn Rosylyn

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing. I am new to your blog and I think your home is beautiful and the art house is precious.

  23. Image for Debbie Debbie

    What a sweet story! I would have loved to been a fly on the wall to see her excitement, and your joy at them discovering mail. And, your art house looks like such a fun place to create and fuel the imagination... Debbie :)

  24. Image for

    I swear this is true & I am slightly embarrassed to share. Last month I was driving along with my 2 girls ( 12 & 10 ). I had one of those magical envelopes in my car that can get transported place to place. I saw a mailbox on a corner & pulled over. I asked my 12 year old to jump out & put the envelope in the box. She got out, approached the box...and then just looked & looked at it. Then she gazed up at me as if to say is this joke. My feisty 10 year old says from the back seat..."oh Mom...let me do it". She gets out of the car in a matter of fact, let me show you how this is done sort of way. Gets right in front of the mailbox & does the same stare as the other one. Then they both raise their arms as if to say we give up. I think...'really, really'...ok, maybe it is one of the "special mailboxes". I turn off the car, get out & look. Normal mail box...handle painted deep blue & somewhat tucked into the top...somewhat mind you. My gals who make crafts, collect sea shells & bake from scratch...did NOT KNOW HOW TO OPEN A US MAIL BOX! What have I done wrong I thought!! They were pleased to learn how...but said they probably won't do that much anyway. We had a big great laugh & every time we drive by that mail box we laugh again!! Wonderful post Karianne xo

  25. Image for Cheryl @ Living Design Cheryl @ Living Design

    I love this story! One of the girls I babysit learned about mail while in kindergarten (they did a unit on it) and for a few months every single piece of mail that came into the house was exciting! I still love getting mail, especially since my "pen pals" of the last few years have been my great-aunt and great-uncle. It's so nice to get letters from them, and then occasionally FaceTime. It's funny though, they really do treat FaceTime like its a long distance phone call with no time for extra chit chat! I read recently that the phone companies are looking into phasing out land lines in the next ten years...that will be another thing my future kids will grow up only hearing about.

  26. Image for Sharon Sharon

    And years from now, when she pulls out a hand-written letter saved in her special box, she will smile and be delighted all over again! What a fantastic discovery she made!! Thanks for sharing :-)

  27. Image for amy watson amy watson

    Oh, how I laughed at this......I have 2 granddaughters 8 and 10 Well they were here with me for 2 weeks when school let out...when my daughter came to pick them up and take them home, my youngest left her Kindle charging cord pluugged into the wall, Well, they bearely got home before I got a call...Nana please send me my cord, Ok I said I will put it in the mail tomorrow and tou will have it by the next day..( they don't live far).....So I waited and waited after 4 days I called....You see before I mailed the cord, I gor out one of my gorgeous note cards from One Kings Lane and wrote to them how wonderful it was to have had them here and how much fun we had and crafts we made and cookies....etc...So I asked "Did you get your cord?'" " Yes Mam" Thank Yoy Nana...Then I asked, How about the note I sent with it? silence......"What note Nana"? I wrote tou both a really sweet note it was in the envelope with the CORD!!!!! OH, We must have missed that, they said :( Then " Nana why didn't you just text it"? so I quess snail mail is OK if you are sending something very important like a Kindle charge cord...but if it is "just" a note from Nana...Why not just TEXT IT.....OH, Lord..... I am soothed by the fact that my daughter, will in fact put it in their memory boxes and one day get a real thrill out of theit Note from Nana written in cursive :) amy watson

  28. Image for Kat Kat

    What a coincidence! My son & I just picked up an old typewriter for $6 at a thrift shop. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever. He actually asked to play with it instead of the Wii the other day! I am actually on a mission to find a portable typewriter to use for a fun, interactive mailing service to include in my booth at shows now that I'm doing some stationary too. Because apparently my son isn't the only one fascinated with these new discoveries- lol!

  29. Image for Terri Terri

    It's truly amazing, isn't it ;) Love it! I grew up with party lines and no television. We had a television, but the reception where we lived was terrible. Cable didn't go out there, either. I spent my career around technology, but enough is enough. I don't run out and get everything out there!

  30. Image for Tanya Tanya

    Thank you for making me smile and giggle too this morning Karianne! I love the sounds of my kids laughing and realizing that fun is found not in the latest app or gadget, but with some dirt on your hands and the freedom to explore. Hugs to you! xo, Tanya

  31. Image for Anita Anita

    It is a wonderful thing! How sweet, and letter writing is sadly a lost art:-) I have always tried to keep my three children grounded that way. Last year they went crazy over a typewriter--amazed that you could type something and see it right away. We have had an old rotary corded phone for a while because the power here goes out frequently, and that is the only kind that will work. In some ways I think technology is failing us greatly because everything depends on electricity or battery power, and we are enjoying learning to do things like my grandparents did. The art house is just fabulous!!

  32. Image for Lauren Lauren

    How precious. Keep them writing! We were just discussing at work today the sad reality that schools will no longer be teaching cursive writing. Very sad indeed.

  33. Image for Lynn Lynn

    Gosh what a cute story!! My girls are 3 & 5 and we "write" & "draw" letters to send to relatives... I love how excited they get when we go mail it and then the pure joy in their hearts when they receive something back :) Have a great day & enjoy!

  34. Image for Colleen P Colleen P

    Too funny. Remember when you could leave the house to go, well anywhere really...and nobody could get ahold of you? (gasp). I miss that sometimes. I also have found memories of dragging the corded phone down the hallway into my room to call my friends or boyfriends.

  35. Image for Janet Janet

    Love that story and your art house. I miss those days and magical moments of nice that you have them"documented" for when they are older.

  36. Image for Susan J. Sias, Couture Baker & Chocolatier Susan J. Sias, Couture Baker & Chocolatier

    Oh my goodness! Your girls are adorable! What an enchanting story to read! Hope they remembered the postage! Ha! Lovely! Thank you for sharing the photos! Sweetly, Susan J. Sias, Couture Baker & Chocolatier

  37. Image for Jaime Jaime

    LYLAS! I had to think about that for a second or two. Boy, that brought me back a few years! Thank you for the giggles!

  38. Image for Felicia Felicia

    What an adorable little house! We have a phone with a cord! When my husband's grandmother passed away one of the things he wanted from her house was her old, black phone with the cord. It sits in our kitchen and is the main phone in our house. What a ring. We love it except when we get those calls that say " press 1 for....." Lol

  39. Image for Claire @ The Rustic Pig Claire @ The Rustic Pig

    Ha ha ha!!! So sweet!! I just love this! I so wish I had girls! And an art house! And girls that played make believe and wrote letters! Can I come play too? I'll write letters too! And mail them. :) Love ya! Claire

  40. Image for Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

    My children have pen pals, so they love to get mail. It's been a lot of fun for them. They want to check the mail every single day to see if they got a letter! They know they could email, but email is for mom (I even email their pen pals' mother) and they would much rather get a letter in the mail. They draw pictures on the envelopes and send pictures in the mail. My oldest wants to send a friendship bracelet next time. We read real books at my house, and at some point in the not so distant future we need to build more bookcases for all of the books. I love that I can buy a hardcover book in like-new condition for $2 or less. If I were buying the Kindle edition it would still cost me $10 or more per book. Buying used hardcover books helps us fill our library for a lot less, and I'm not terrified if a child drops the book. Of course, I don't even have a cell phone :) Or my own car! We are a one-car family. And it's just fine!

  41. Image for mcgrathinnola mcgrathinnola

    Love that sweet story. I love it when I take pictures sometimes with my "film" 35 mm zoom camera of my pre-school classroom and they want to see themselves on the camera screen....they look at me like the camera is broken...confused. It makes me giggle with enjoyment. And as far as the "cord"...confession time: I still have one phone with a cord, living in storm zone New Orleans, good ole "corded" works everytime (even outlives the cell! LOL!)

  42. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    The art of the beautiful handwritten letter lives!...I am trying to teach my granddaughter that a simple written note of thanks and thoughtful notes put a smile on anyone's face...Love that sweet story Kari...and I have a princess phone with a cord tucked away in the closet...reminding me of the days of only having one phone in the house when we were growing up with a very long cord, so we could drag it from room to room!!...

  43. Image for Gloria R. Gloria R.

    I know the feeling of glee you had with you twins. When my grandson was 7 he spent a week with me and watched with amazement at my making a call on a rotary phone. I had him call his mother on it and he was thrilled. He also entered the magical world of vinyl records and a turntable. That kept him busy for at least three days off and on listening to both music and stories that had belonged to his dad and aunt during their childhood. You see, I only came out of the stone age, as my son called it, a little over two years ago and invested in a computer. I still have a rotary phone (more of a conversation piece and to use when the electric goes out) and that old collection of records. Someday there will be great grand children and when that happens, I hope I'm still here to see the amazement in their eyes too. Heaven only knows where we'll be technologically then but I hope these strange items from days gone by will still work for them. :)

  44. Image for Jena Jena

    Your stories always have me cracking up! Believe it or not I actually still have a corded phone that I even USE on a regular basis (for work conference calls...the sound is better than a cell or cordless). You reminded me of this Youtube video I saw with a baby using an ipad then a (broken) magazine that I thought you might appreciate.

  45. Image for Marian Marian

    Absolutely charming. But true. I sent a letter on plain notebook paper to my girlfriend and her then 13 yr old daughter asked her what it was. Since then, I've thought of letters like gifts and I plan writing more of them. There's something amazing about being able to capture a bit of someone's soul within their handwriting. Marian

  46. Image for Jodi Jodi

    lylas... so many good memories. very cute how exciting they found mail to be! as adults we forget how awesome a letter from a friend is... you just get bills! thanks for sharing this adorable story

  47. Image for bethanie bethanie

    "Love ya like a sister"...yep, we used to sign every NOTE that way. Those were the days...passed them to the cute boy in the hallway between classes. No such thing in the world we live in. Man, they're missing out!!! Although, I just had to have my teenager help me with attaching something to an email on the computer and she thought I was a total moron. I wanted to say, "so how many words a minute can YOU time with all ten fingers on the correct keys, you little twerp!" Oh, maybe I did say a thing or two. Those were the days!

  48. Image for jessica @fourgenerationsoneroof jessica @fourgenerationsoneroof

    That has to be the cutest room ever! Do you know, one year into dating my husband, I put a piece of mail in his mailbox to be picked up and he questioned what I was doing. He had NO idea (at age 40) that the mailman would pick up your mail! Being from the city, they had mail slots in their door so he never knew that! I still bust his chops today about that :) hehe

  49. Image for Nicole Nicole

    isn't it so funny, the simplest things our kids don't know about, or miss out on? My 17 year old is dumbfounded when I tell her that when I was growing up you waited for Sunday night to see what was on Wonderful World of Disney to watch a movie at home! lol

Comments are closed.