Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Here is my music for you

06 God Bless The Child

I have mentioned a number of times that grad school has kept me from my letter-writing habits... and at last, I am finished with grad school. I am looking forward to a return to letter-writing, especially over my summer vacation - more on that later! - but now I would like to take a moment to share with you an accomplishment of which I'm very proud. Did you know that I'm a professional musician and voice teacher?

On 23 April 2017, I gave a recital for the completion of my Master of Music degree at New England Conservatory of Music. I prepared for this recital for over two years, and it was a very big accomplishment for me, in large part because it marked my debut as a songwriter. I sang 14 songs, 5 of which were my own original songs, and accompanied myself on piano on 4 of them. (For the others, I either sang a cappella or had other fine musicians collaborate on piano.) You can see all the videos on my recital page on my professional website: http://www.ilonatipp.com/solo-concert-2017. Of, if you'd like to see the songs in the order in which I programmed and performed them, you can see the the YouTube playlist.

I'll share with you here one particularly letter-related song I wrote:

© Copyright Ilona Tipp 2017, All Rights Reserved

This song, "Best of the Real," had its genesis in me staring at a pile of letters to which I needed to respond, and gave birth to the opening song lyric, "all the letters left unwritten..."

I hope you enjoy my music. You can peruse more of it on my musician website at ilonatipp.com. I'm not yet sure Where I May Go next professionally, but I'll be sure to keep you posted. I would love to hear your feedback on my music if you'd like to share!

And on the letter-writing front, tomorrow we move up to Maine for the summer, and I always joyfully return to much happy mail-making over summer vacation.

All information, music, lyrics, sound recordings, content, and linked content connected to a third party storage website on this web page is owned by Ilona Tipp. Any attempt or claim of ownership by any other party other than Ilona Tipp is illegal by all copyright laws, and can be pursued with legal action. By downloading content from this web page, the party doing so completely understands the restrictions of privacy outlined above (if applicable) and that all content is the intellectual property of and owned by Ilona Tipp. © Copyright Ilona Tipp 2017, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UPDATE: Etsy changed deadline, my shop open until May 31

BREAKING NEWS: Etsy pushback has worked. Enough sellers have shown anger and planned to leave over the new Etsy forced payment system that Etsy has pushed back the deadline. My sincere apologies for the dire "my shop is closing today" warnings, because I only learned five minutes ago that they have moved the deadline from May 17 to May 31.

If you want the backstory on all this, please see my post about why Etsy's changes are forcing my shop to close. This has all been very sudden, and my very cynical mind is that Etsy is seeing the bump in sales over sellers who are doing "shop-closing" sales just like I am, and has decided that two more weeks of delaying the forced changes will get more money for them. And they're right. And perhaps they are weighing the words of so many people, who just like me have said they will quit spending their money at Etsy over these changes. I can't speak for others, but any small profits I make from my shop (and after the materials, shipping, time, etc, the profits are tiny indeed) go right back into other purchases at Etsy. If you don't want to read my post about why Etsy's changes are forcing my shop to close, let me just say that much of the issue hinges on use of PayPal, and word on the street is that Etsy may be planning to phase out PayPal altogether - for buyers as well as sellers. So from me, they'll lose their profits from my listings and sales, AND the profits from my purchases based on those sales. Sigh. I'll get off my soapbox now, but if anyone has questions or comments, please let me know. I'm happy, and even eager, to have a dialog on this.

So, this means my shop will stay open for two more weeks. I will continue to work hard to get the word out. To those of you who have already placed orders thinking they're the last, I cannot thank you enough for your support (and hey, if your items arrive and you love them and decide to order more, there's still time).

Today is the LAST DAY for my Etsy store!

Postman sticker

UPDATE: I learned at 11:45am on May 16 that Etsy has pushed back the deadline so my shop stays open until May 31. Learn more here

Today is the very last day to buy anything from my etsy shop, Missive Maven on etsy. After today, it closes forever. It is a long and complicated story involving policy changes at etsy that relate to payment, which affect the buyer somewhat and the seller dramatically. You can read the whole story in my prior post if you're interested.

Letterbird Letterbird postcard set

The quantities of stickers are somewhat limited and what is listed on the site is what is accurate. When they're gone, they're gone. There are more cards and postcards available, but that point is moot since the shop closes at the end of the day today, so buy now if you want anything! (I do not know exactly what time the shop will close. That is up to etsy.)


I'm very sad and upset about this, but there's nothing I can do except exit as gracefully and gratefully as I can. I may look to re-open another online store elsewhere next fall (suggestions and opinions are welcome!), but nothing will be sold online before then... and I may decide not to reopen. I thank you for your great support of my shop over the years, and to everyone who's bought more items in the last few days and shown a lot of love. It's been a lovely time.

Last chance to buy Missive Maven etsy goods!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Etsy shop closing on May 17, possibly forever!

As long as there are postmen, life will have zest

UPDATE: I learned at 11:45am on May 16 that Etsy has pushed back the deadline so my shop stays open until May 31. Learn more here

I have sad news. My etsy shop, Missive Maven on etsy, will be closing on May 17 - indefinitely. Possibly forever.

Last chance to buy Missive Maven etsy goods!!

The short info: if you want any items from my shop - like my very popular mail-themed postcards or stickers, BUY THEM NOW. You may not have another chance after May 17. (It's also unclear to me whether the final ending will be May 17 or May 18, so the sooner the better, if you want to be careful.)

The longer story: for a huge host of business reasons, etsy is now requiring all its sellers to use their own "checkout" and payment system instead of PayPal. You can still use PayPal (though they are phasing it out) but sellers must opt in to using the Etsy payment system, which requires linking a bank account and sharing all kinds of personal information like forms of ID with etsy - things I wouldn't share with most people. I do not run my business as my living, it's very much a hobby shop, so I guess I can afford to stand on principles here... but it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth that etsy will effectively close down shops that do not comply with their new payment system (which has a whole host of other glitches, including witholding money from sellers, that I won't even get into).

I am researching other online selling venues including Amazon marketplace, Zibbet, and more - I would love your feedback! Do you have any suggestions for a great online marketplace? (I would prefer a marketplace that has its own traffic, like etsy or Amazon, to a standalone checkout system, but I am open.) Do you have strong feelings about any of this? I want to know!

It is possible that etsy is getting enough pushback on this issue - many, many sellers say they're leaving and taking their wares elsewhere - that they will change their minds. So I'm not saying I'm closing "forever," but that is certainly a possibility. The timing is good for me as I'm about to move to Maine for the summer, and this takes away my decision of whether or not to move my etsy stock with me: I won't. I may or may not reopen elsewhere, but if I do, it likely won't be until the fall. And I may not reopen at all... this may be the end of all the things I sell in my shop, Missive Maven original goods as well as vintage items. (That's another thing: I need a sales platform that allows selling of both new and vintage goods.)

Unanswered correspondence: Do it now! Unanswered correspondence: Do it Now! postcard

So again, the big takeaway: if you want something, buy it now before it may be gone forever!

Last chance to buy Missive Maven etsy goods!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Video of cats and mail

Not a lot of substance in this post, folks, but I present to you a video of cats getting, playing with, or attacking the mail.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year! I'm still here!

Hello dear blog readers,
I'm sorry to have been so absent from this blog. I've been busy with grad school, to the point of where it's overtaken all my time for hobbies like letters and postcards. (I haven't even sent a Postcrossing postcard in months!) I'd like to say I'll be better about it now, but realistically... until I get through my graduation in May, I'll probably lay low. But I'm still out here, writing mail when I can, and dreaming about the day when I can return to mail (and my garden!) in the future. Rest assured I am loving my grad program, and if you're curious about what I've been up to professionally, please check out my music website at ilonatipp.com.

Happy New Year, and Happy Mailing!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lovely mention on Anchored Scraps

I recently got an etsy order from Helen, who blogs about at AnchoredScraps.com. Here's her angle:

"Through her website and blog, Helen is looking to connect with kindred storytellers who are likewise looking for insights on how to balance our 21st Century technological lifestyles with the joy of traditional communication methods."

Sounds pretty great to me! Helen was pleased enough with her recent order from me to write a lovely, photo-rich blog post about Missive Maven original mail-themed stationery. Thanks, Helen! Go check out Anchored Scraps: it's full of great mail- and writing-related goodness.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Postcards from Taiwan

Postcards from Taiwan

I just got back from a trip to Taiwan! Of course the first thing I bought there was a big pile of postcards. These are cards in the Gotochi style, though they are from Taiwan and not Japan. They're thick and with unusual shapes all featuring local attractions or culture, done in a cartoon illustration style. I sent one to myself from Taipei on August 16, and it was waiting for me when I got my mail today! Hats off to you, Taiwan postal service. Also, holy cheap, Batman! Just about everything in Taiwan was reasonably priced or even inexpensive, coming from the USA, and the postage for this international postcard cost 11 NTD (New Taiwan Dollars). Guess how much that is in USD? As of this posting, 35 cents! Wow. I was able to send off a few postcards from Taipei, but it was mostly a work trip and I was busy most of the time, so I didn't get a whole lot of mail written or sent there. Also, mailboxes were a little hard to find in my area, so I carried a few postcards around for a number of days until I could finally mail them on Friday.

This Taiwan trip took up a lot of my mental energy this summer, preparing and planning for the trip (work trip - I did some guest teaching and gave a concert, so it was a lot more than just travel adventure!), and I guess I can offer that as an excuse for being so absent from this blog. We also spent the first couple months of the summer at our new house in Maine, which was idyllic but also busy. I did spend a lot of time actually *writing* mail instead of blogging about it, but we also did a lot of work on the house and I spent a ton of time in the gardens.

Garden in the mountains

YES! I have gardens again! I'm super excited about that, though it's challenging to be away from them for weeks or months at a time. The summer days flew by, as I spent hours in the garden with my hands in the dirt.

So right now I'm in a bit of location limbo... a week in Maine, a few days in NH, a week in Taiwan, a few days in NH, nearly a week in Maine, a few days in NH, a weekend in Maine... you get the picture. (Because I'm so back-and-forth, my etsy store will remain closed for a couple more weeks.) And then summer is over and I'm back to school crazy-ness. I've had all kinds of postal adventures in addition to travel adventures, and I'll try to catch up and get them blogged as best I can, but in the meantime... I hope everyone is having a fantastic, mail-filled summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Good mail place

Mountain Postcrossing view

I'm settling into summer mode, and getting back into the mail groove! I don't have an actual writing desk here, but I brought a stash of stationery, stamps, and postcards, and I did a lot of Postcrossing cards at this table recently. I think this is going to be my prime mail location ... except I keep getting distracted by the view! This Midwestern gal has become entranced by mountain-watching.

Yesterday I walked the 2 miles (and back) to our new PO Box to get the mail. It was a lovely walk, and it's nice to slow life down so that I can take the time to do this. You notice so much more on foot than you do in a car, and you get a much more intimate feel for the neighborhood. Sometime soon I'll have to take some photos of this sweet little post office.

The cats are settling in nicely to our new place as well, and Oberon also enjoys the light:

Evening garden with Oberon

And in other news, Missive Maven on Etsy has reopened, selling just postcards for the summer.

Happy Summer Mail Days!