Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vintage postal atoms for peace


One good red deserves another. In response to the letter I featured in yesterday's Raise the red lantern blog post, I wrote on vintage Hallmark Muppet stationery, which includes these bright red envelopes.

And I used some of my favorite vintage meta postal stamps:


I love the Universal Postal Congress old mail truck image, and I adore the 70s-feel U.S. Postal Service stamps with their pictures of mail on its journey, but how can you beat the atoms for peace stamp?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Raise the red lantern

Raise the red lantern

This snazzy envelope takes the theme of Chinese New Year to a whole new level. I love all the red.

celebrating lunar new year

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cinema stamps + flower doodle

Singapore stamps + flower doodle

Here's an image of sent and received all in one. In response to another wonderful letter from Singapore (with those smashing "Cinema Theatres of Yesteryear" stamps), I wrote on an International Girl aerogramme, which has a handy little box that commands "draw picture here." I'm not a huge doodler, but given the directive, I'm finding it kind of fun. My doodles are nothing fancy - flowers, little cartoon images, etc - but perhaps my doodle skill will improve with practice. Anyway it's fun to use a bunch of different fountain pen inks.

For a closer look at those awesome stamps (or the doodle, but it doesn't do as well under the macro spotlight), view large.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I failed, but I failed well

I had large chunks of time today, and they were blocked out for letter-writing. My lofty goal was to write 10 letters, and I failed... but I wrote 9, and they were 9 good ones. And now I'm exhausted (only 5.25 hours of sleep last night, so on a bit of a deficit) and must sleep, but I'm still feeling good about the 9 letters I wrote.

What a lovely feeling, addressing that envelope with individually selected stamps, and seeing it waiting by the door to begin its journey tomorrow...

Stamps and glitter from a reader

Flower glitter envelope

This lovely piece came from another blog reader, and blogger herself. I like her use of glitter with the rubber stamps.

Bird's eye

By this bird stamp, at the end of the letter, she wrote "not yet a master at stamping" -- HA! Neither am I! I just don't post photos all my flubbed attempts here. But I think this bird, with its glitter eye, is charming. Lovely paper and envelope, too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writing paper with fountain pen design

paper with fountain pen design!

Love this paper with matching envelope! The sender doesn't use fountain pens, but she knows I do. They're very good representations of vintage pens, and there are little stamps and letters there in the design, too.

For a closer look, view large.

Update: Because a lot of people have already asked where she got this paper, I'll say here that I don't know where she bought it, but the copyright at the bottom reads "Peggy Jo Ackley." So that's a start.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stuff on my cat fold and mail

Stuff on my cat fold and mail

Here's another blog reader letter, featuring one of the Chronicle Books fold and mails that I DON'T HAVE: Stuff on my cat!

You can't tell from the photo (alas, I keep saying and saying that - glittery sparkly things don't photograph well in the hands of amateurs like me), but she used orange glitter gel pen for the address. Lovely. I am particularly fond of this combination of stamps, too - perfect kitty for the stationery, and y'all know I love the Letters Mingle Souls stamps.

Singing along

The back is very cute - cats singing along with a record player... or possibly berating a record player. Who knows.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yellow Catwoman fold and mail

Yellow Catwoman fold and mail

A few of my correspondents have commented on how sexy these Catwoman fold and mails are. I guess they are kind of edgy. This set is by Chronicle Books, although I haven't been able to find it on their website so I believe it may be discontinued.

Catwoman tames Batman and Robin

She keeps Batman and Robin in line, that Catwoman does.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Frogman strikes again

More weird frog men

More of this wonderfully weird Japanese stationery, featuring a man in a business suit wearing a frog head.

Frog envelope with green wax seal

He used a delightful wax seal again, which survived the mail from Canada pretty well. There tends to be a delay on international mail with a wax seal, especially from Canada (sometimes from the UK also), but it's worth the wait.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1920s ladies and their headgear stamps

stamped with 1920s ladies and their headgear

I tried to capture the gold ink in the stamps on this envelope, but to no avail. It's some lovely kind of metallic stamp pad that brings the images through sharp and clear. I really love these 20s ladies and their hats and headwraps.

Lady-head stamped envelope, back

It looks like different ladies on the back, or with different headgear.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lucky Poo

Lucky Poo envelope

Kawaii has its bizarre aspects, and Lucky Poo is among them. I find it fascinating and delightful that little piles of poo are considered cute and lucky, but there you have it. Of course I snatch up Lucky Poo stationery whenever I find it. This set is called "Bang Bang Feces" (don't ask, because I have no idea).

Lucky Poo envelope, back

Be that a poo burger on the back of the envelope? Whoa.

I won't ever send this to anyone who isn't into the weirdo humor, so don't worry if you're one of the ones that would be offended to find some lucky poo in your mailbox. Hope folks get a giggle out of this post instead of an "eeewww." This particular Canadian correspondent, I know, has a penchant for odd kawaii. So it's cool.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Letter with a hot tea theme

Hot tea tortoise

This is the adorable Hot Tea Tortoise Letterset from A turtle blowing on a cup of hot tea? Where does she get these charming ideas??

Vintage stamps on Hot Tea Tortoise letterset

The envelope has only the cup of tea on it; the tortoise is an inside surprise.

Vintage postal themed stamps

Let's have a closer look at some of those vintage stamps. It's small, but I'm particularly fond of the Andrew Carnegie stamp. He looks so thoughtful paging through his book. (If REALLY want a close look at the stamps, view large.)

Gibson Girl hot tea sticker

Finally, a Gibson Girl sipping her tea is the choice sticker for the back. This came from Victorian Papers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Take a letter-writing survey, help a magazine about letters

Jackie over at Letters & Journals is looking for a little help from us letter-writers. She's trying to start a magazine, and she's got a little survey going to see what our letter-writing habits and tastes are. I took the survey, and it was very short and painless and even kind of fun. So, if you've got about 3 minutes (that's how long it took me), give her a hand and take her survey. I know she'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hello, yellow!

Yellow envelope with deco tape

From a favorite correspondent in the Netherlands, a bright yellow envelope with pretty deco tape. You can see her pretty fountain pen handwriting here, too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More vintage stamps

Vintage stamps headed to Florida

Nothing too exciting today, folks, just some pretty vintage stamps on a G. Lalo envelope.

Here's a closer look:

Vintage stamps

Oh, how I love those "P.S. Write Soon" stamps.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Old church + lovely ink from Philippines

Postcard from Philippines

A blog reader sent me this postcard of a funky old church from the Philippines. Though I am not much on old churches (or any churches, for that matter), this is a really lovely building. The other side was the rockin' side, though.

Parker Quink Ruby

I don't know how I hadn't managed to see Parker Quink Ruby fountain pen ink before, but I hadn't. Gorgeous stuff! Wow. I have a couple Parker Vectors -- could it look that fantastic in mine?

Philippines bird stamps

The stamps are awesome, too.

Update on 5/19/2009: Clem informs me this is actually Parker Penman Ruby ink, not Parker Quink Ruby, for those dropping everything trying to find this vintage ink.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Aerogramme with meta mail stamps

Aerogramme with meta-mail stamps

Here's another look at the Chinese Sun & Clouds design from the International Girl aerogrammes. I used some of my favorite stamps. Let's have a closer look at those stamps:

meta mail stamps

Oh yeah. Super postal. How much do I love those U.S. Postal Service 8 cent stamps, with the big old 70s car? They look a little out of focus here, but that's just the way the artwork looks.

International Girl aerogramme

And finally, the lovely posterior of the aerogramme.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shiny pretty thing for Sendsomething

Black postcard with metallic silver

I did a random search on Sendsomething (I know, I have a letter pile, but sometimes I just want to send out something random and unexpected to a stranger) and came up with an interesting profile of someone who likes "shiny, pretty things" and cats. So she got this postcard.

Black postcard with silver ink

I actually bought it years and years ago in Amsterdam, and could never figure out to whom to send it. And that night, its time was right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fountain pen and inks comparison

Fountain pen ink writing samples 1

One correspondent was asking about what fountain pen nib size to choose, so I gave her a showing of a few of my various sizes. I was going off on a bit of a tangent about how much thinner a Japanese fine is than a western fine, so you'll see that in my writing. I was trying to showcase my finest and extra-fine nibs, so all of my very finest (fine being a measurement of line width, that is) will be in these shots.

Inks shown above:
Noodler's Lexington Gray, Private Reserve Blue Suede, Caran d'Ache Storm, Noodler's Tiananmen, Noodler's Forest Green, Noodler's Legal Lapis, Pilot Black.

To get a better idea of the colors, best viewed large.

Fountain pen ink writing samples 2

Inks in second shot:
Private Reserve Midnight Blues, PR Ebony Blue, Noodler's Squeteague, Noodler's La Coleur Royale, PR Ebony Green

Again, best viewed large.

These writing samples are on Clairefontaine Triomphe paper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rose parchment stationery from Victorian Papers

Rose parchment stationery

Here is some of my favorite stationery from Victorian Papers, which I can sometimes find on their website and sometimes not. This set I believe I actually bought at their B&M store in Kansas City.

I'm very proud of myself for matching ink color to the printing: this is Private Reserve Black Cherry ink.

Rose parchment envelope

On the envelope I used a different ink, Noodler's red-black, because it is fairly water-resistant. It matches fairly well, but not as well as the Black Cherry.

I had to use extra postage because I wrote soooooo many pages in this letter. Sometimes I do that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wallace and Gromit: teatime

Wallace and Gromit blue design

Here's another fabulous Chronicle Books fold and mails, again of the Wallace & Gromit variety. This time I DID photograph the other side:

Tea time, with skull

I've found it's best to "help" the glue of the fold-and-mails by adding stickers, because some folks have reported that they've arrived intact but unglued. So I thought a skull would be the perfect accompaniment to this twee tea party.

Another aerogramme design

International girl aerogramme, folded front

As promised, here is a peek at another design from the International Girl aerogrammes, this time the Chinese Sun & Clouds design.

International Girl aerogramme, folded back

The stickers are my own addition.

Spread your words and fly!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Raven card with Poe stamp

Poe postcard

I got another wonderful surprise from a sendsomething stranger. I forgot to photograph her postcard, but it was of a dark and murky hippo. Quite a treat. I continued the dark and murky theme with these wonderful Raven flat cards from time2cre8 on Etsy. They come with envelopes, but I think they're pretty fun on their own, and the stock is fairly thick. A Poe stamp seemed so perfect for this combo. I used a little glitter glue to give the raven a sparkly eye, and for general bling.


I was feeling fanciful when I wrote her my response.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My response to The Letter Writing Project

My response to The Letter Writing Project

I see a lot of cool letter projects in the "letters to strangers" posts on A Passion for Letter Writing, and I have much fun blogging about them here. Last month, there was Sign up to get a free letter, about a new Letter Writing Project. I didn't even have to write this fellow first, I emailed him with my address as directed, and I did indeed get a very sweet letter from him. It took me a couple of weeks, but I did write him back. I do encourage you to check up on the progress of his Letter Writing Project, which I see has gathered a lot of steam. He has a Facebook page for it, but I don't do Facebook so you can get the link from any of his posts I've linked here.

Technical details on the letter above: it one of the Chronicle Books fold and mail lovelies, specifically of the Wallace & Gromit variety. I added a few dots of Stickles glitter glue for some bling. You may or may not be able to see them here at this smaller size, but they'll pop out if you take a peek at the larger size photo. I don't know why I didn't photograph the other side, which actually shows Wallace & Gromit themselves, but I didn't. C'est la vie. Next time.

A top-notch source for old stamps

A lot of folks ask me where I get my old stamps that I use on letters occasionally, and where they can get them. My greatest source is my grandfather's old stamp collection, which he has passed along to me and my mother. However, I'd also said to check out eBay for old stamp lots that could occasionally be found for less than face value or right at face value. Those are hard to come by, though, and you never quite know what you're going to get. Most of the full-sheet stamps on eBay are sold for the collector's market, so you're not likely to get those at face value. But now I've found a FANTASTIC new source that I must share with you all. (Said fantastic source has given his permission for me to share this info.)

On the Stamps post at Letters and Journals, I read about Errol Murphy (emurphy at emurphy3101 at He sells mixed lots of older stamps in great condition for mailing, and sells them in $20 increments. You pay face value plus shipping, and the shipping for the order I just placed was a whopping 42 cents for letter rate postage. (Sorry, folks, you'll have to pay 44 cents now, since the rates go up on Monday.) But here's the best part: you can request a theme!! Olympics, nature, animals, politicians - I gather he's got quite a collection. I wasn't sure about buying from someone without a website, just out of the blue, but Jackie at Letters & Journals seems like a reliable gal, and she said she'd been buying from Errol for 2 years. So I contacted Errol on Monday about a stamp order, he took me at my word that my check to him was in the mail (it was), and must have sent the batch immediately, because I got them on Thursday. I haven't photographed them yet, but wanted to blog about it right away because I am just as pleased as punch with the batch of stamps he sent. NOW, when folks ask me where I get all my groovy old stamps, I will point them right to Errol. To quote what he said when I asked if I could promote his services on my blog: "I'm so glad you like the stamps. I do this as a hobby and enjoy it when I can provide stamps at a reasonable price to appreciative collectors and stamp users."

As a side note: even the stamps that he used on his envelope to add up to the 42-cents postage were very cool!

[UPDATE: as of May 19, 2014, you can find Errol's most current contact info on his website at]

Friday, May 8, 2009

Going postal

Here is yet another "you don't know me but I follow your blog" letter

I just love how she started this one! It also came in a fun handmade envelope:

Going postal, front

But the back of the envelope is my favorite side:

Going postal

Tee hee!

Reader letter with handmade card

In handmade envelope, with handmade card

A couple weeks ago I posted photos of this lovely blog reader letter with a handmade envelope featuring a summer porch scene.

I didn't do justice to this post, because I took those particular photos before I even opened the letter. When I opened it and responded, I took the photo above: she also enclosed her own handmade card and envelope, for me to use! It features this embossed beehive stamp. What a lovely treat! Of course I wrote her back on that sweet card.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wax seal: gold sun on Crane envelope

Wax seal: gold sun on Crane

My wax seal envy continues. Here's a really fine sun with a sharp, clear impression on beautiful gold sealing wax. I love the concentric circles of the wax, and am proud of myself for successfully capturing the embossed "Crane & Co" logo. I'm a great fan of Crane's 100% cotton papers.

On another note, thanks to all my viewers, new and returning, for making yesterday the highest-traffic day I've had yet. (Gee, I wonder if it was my review post on FPN?)

Finally, a mail nerd moment: I have planned a trip to the post office this afternoon to pick up my new Simpsons stamps!! Today is the release date. Don't forget: postage rates go up on Monday. First-class letter rate goes up to 44 cents.