Welcome to my celebration of snail mail! This letter-writing blog features photos and thoughts on letters and postcards written and received, favorite stationery, fountain pens, mail art -- all the accoutrements of the old-fashioned letter in your mailbox. So read about letters for a bit, contact me with questions or comments (and/or follow me on Twitter), and then GO WRITE A LETTER!
"Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company." -Lord Byron
I just returned from a short little weekend getaway, and of course I was eager for the mail call haul. Awaiting me in my fresh batch (7 letters today!) were two from blog readers from whom I'd not heard before.
I love every single letter I receive; each one has its own special joy. I got two today from people I know in real life - one a dear friend and one a dear relative - and those are all kinds of special, as well as the amazing people with whom I've started up correspondences through the Fountain Pen Network, the Letter Writers Alliance, The Letter Exchange, Flickr, other blogs, and other miscellaneous sources.
But I have to kvell for a minute about the absolute surprise of an unexpected letter from a stranger. Aside from the thrill it provides to me immediately, it proves to me that this blog is fulfilling its mission: encouraging everyone to write letters and keep letter-writing alive! It proves that there really is a dedicated base of letter writers out there, and I am so humbled that I get to be the recipient of some of them.
Thanks to anyone for writing to me, and thanks to everyone for writing to each other, or for writing to anyone else! Every letter sent is just a little packet of loveliness, a kind of altruistic gift. Certainly it's good karma. :-)
Thanks to Z. in Canada and B. in Germany for today's treats. Photos of your fantastic letters will be showing up here in the future!
(Sorry no photos tonight. It's late and I'm tired and bed is calling soon.)
This is a great vintage postcard I picked up on eBay, way way cheap. I got it for, and sent it to, my grandfather, who likes postal memorabilia as he worked for the post office for many years. He's been to all these state parks, too.
I love the back, with the pre-stamped 6-sent postage showing the sailing ship. I added my own vintage stamps to make the current postcard rate.
The envelope shown above is for Kali, goddess of death. You see just the head on the ground because on the stationery paper she is shown holding the severed head... but all in a very cutesy way, I promise. The wonderful recipient of this letter blogged about it with much more detail than I have, and she took more photos, so please do take a look at her wonderful chronicle and her excellent blog in general, Damaged Goods. She is quite an artist.
Here's the back of the envelope, showing Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of knowledge and luck.
Just packaged up my first little package to Anysoldier.com. I was going to write a letter, but I saw a listing where a particular soldier asked for paper and envelopes for her unit so they could write letters themselves, so I thought, heck, I can spare a few of those. So not only can you send letters to soldiers, you can send them materials so they can write letters, too!
Here is my original post about Anysolder.com. I don't mean to harp on it, and I certainly don't represent any particular political agenda, I just think our deployed soldiers are really deserving of some good mail. If you're inclined to use sendsomething.net, maybe you'd send off a goodwill letter through anysoldier.com, too.
Beautiful handwriting + quirky fun stationery + awesome content = letter bliss.
I think this design is fantastic - the little poodle and pink-dot bush are folded so that they "pop out" at you, and then peek through the windows on the envelope. Can you believe she found this stuff for ONE BUCK? Man. Those NYC sales would be dangerous for me.
This wonderful letter from a very creative correspondent carried a pirate theme. I have to note that these are not stickers or stamps - this beauty is all hand-drawn.
Part 1 beckons with a bloody knife and a skull-and-crossbones warning.
Inside, part 1 is a fabulous treasure map. Not only are all the edges decorated with doodles (the legend to a treasure map, really) and witty spellings, but she also creatively crumpled and "aged" the paper. Was it coffee or tea spilled on the paper to stain it? It's a VERY cool effect, and I'm afraid a lot of it was lost in my blurring out the words for privacy. For details, view large.
Gotta share some close-ups of my favorite corners. Love that octopus.
HA! Widow's Peake!
Part 2 (page 2) is a message in a bottle.
Finally, a hand-drawn cut-out skull glowers from over the Crane marker on the back of the envelope.
Continuing my addiction to fold and mails, here is one that is actually NOT from Chronicle Books. I stumbled upon this browsing around on the web, and couldn't resist. It is Sempé: Ballet Dancers Fold & Send Stationery from Phaidon Press. You can see more photos of the inside if you look at the listing on Amazon.com, where there are some nice customer-uploaded images.
Two of the stamps I used are Zazzle photostamps using photos of my kitties: Magic on the top and Soda on the bottom.
The design on the front remains the same on each sheet, though the colors vary. The backs have various book covers (I guess? I never read a full book) and each has a different line drawing on the inside.
Now I'm home again and I'll go back to my regularly scheduled blog posting routines. Not only do I have a bit of a letter backlog, but I've got a backlog on letter photos, too. So we'll go back to where I left off... these 9 were sent on Monday, June 1. I wrote them over that weekend. I liked the collection of different envelopes and stationery, so I photographed them all together like this.
I'm back home again, hooray!!! As requested, I'm sharing a photo of my backlog pile. The pile on the left, the most embarrassing part, is the letters awaiting responses that were already backlogged when I left on my trip. The pile on the right is the letters that arrived while I was away.
Enough blogging - I've gotta go read and write some letters!!!
I've been away from home for quite a few days now (for me - I'm a homebody who's not much of a traveler) and am experiencing some serious hard-core letter withdrawal. Letters have been arriving in my mailbox - my husband reports daily about the mail call - but I am not there to read them. I am looking forward to being home again, for many reasons (I miss my beloved and our cats!), but missing my snail-mail routine is no small part of it.
I admit it - I've still not written anyone but the aforementioned husband in this brief foray to the heartland. I imagine my letter backlog is becoming quite huge (especially since I already had a backlog before I left). Soon, dear lovely readers and letter-writers, I will delve back into the land of letters wholeheartedly.
The Victorian Papers outlet store in Kansas City yields many gems and surprises. These Morning Fairy cards, with artwork derived from a 19th century Fairy Soap advertisement, were on a rack there. I've never seen these cards in their store or their catalog, and I've been frequenting their store and browsing their catalogs for nearly 20 years now. I was delighted to find this surprise.
I am actually a big fan of fairies, but don't like the cheesy kind - I'm picky about my fairies - and I'm kind of surprised I haven't blogged about fairy cards or stationery before.
One of my favorite things about the small 3.5x5 Victorian Papers cards is the die-cut envelopes with the beautiful back flap, which I hope this photograph captures.
I wasn't able to successfully photograph the back of the card, which has printed Lord Byron's "She walks in beauty, like the night" poem.
Being in Kansas City means being able to frequent the Victorian Papers outlet store. Here's a view of a vacation stationery purchase, which I might not have made had it not been on quite the clearance. But I like the kitties. The paper is on the left, and front and back views of the envelope are on the right.
I'm a cheetah because I'm "cheating" with this post. (Get it? Cheater? Cheetah? Oh gravy, but I do love a good pun.) This isn't a letter photo, and it has no connection to letters or snail mail except to illustrate proof that I am far away from home and my letters.
No, I'm not in Africa - this photo was taken in the Kansas City Zoo. I hope it will hold you for a while, dear blog readers, while I am away from home. I will try to post at a distance, and promise to be home and updated with my usual missive posts in just a few days. (Don't try to rob my house, my husband is still at home. Ha.) And for those of you who have wonderful blogs of your own that I follow - I'm WAAAY behind in my blog reading, too. But I'm having fun doing things like watching fabulous cheetahs. Hope you're having fun (and writing letters), too.
Another batty decorated envelope from a fellow bat aficionado, who is far more artistically capable than I. She has wonderful rubber stamps, especially of bats, and makes these beautiful art pieces of her envelopes and sometimes cards. Yay bats!
The title of the post, seriously, is the title of the artwork on this oversized postcard. I love it! It came from a dear old friend, my freshman year college roommate. She knows what will make me smile.
Still having fun with vintage stamps over here. I didn't photograph the card inside the envelope, but it is of the Muppets' Animal saying "ROCK." It's not part of the Jim Henson Muppet stamp series, but a fortuitous match.