Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

heed the black cat

In honor of this fine, fine holiday, I present a fine, fine letterpress card by hello! Lucky, which I received recently from a dear friend. I am so grooving on this black cat with the bold orange stripes emanating from his head.

hello! Lucky

Even their insignia is beautiful. Ah, the gorgeous texture of letterpress...

she drew me a pumpkin

Said friend drew me a l'il pumpkin on the orange envelope.


(heh heh... BOO!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy-making postcards

demonstrative lady

Today's post, just a couple of recently received postcards that made me smile. I love this lady. She is full of life.

pug mug

I am not-so-secretly a pug fancier. I forgot to photograph the back of this card - I know it came from a Postcrosser but I can't remember who now. Ack.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cat Postcard Swap

Kitten in the mailbox

I'm coordinating a November cat postcard swap on Swap-bot as part of my new adventures there. I was looking for one, and there wasn't one there, so I figured, what the heck, I'll give it a try myself! I hope some of my blog readers who do Swap-Bot will join it.

The full info, as listed on Swap-bot:
The theme of this international postcard swap is cats, both in the imagery and in what you write.

Send 1 postcard each to 2 partners. The image on the postcard must contain a cat, or have a cat as the central image. It can be photography or artwork, it can be handmade, but it must be clearly kitty!

Also - equally important - on the back you must write a little bit about a cat or cats. You can write about your cat or cats you own now, ones you owned before or grew up with, copy a short poem about a cat, or talk about the awesome cat that hangs out in your favorite bookstore. Any cat-related prose will do! I'm just looking to "double" the cat theme, and also ensure that no one gets a postcard with no writing on it.

My apologies if I am duplicating any past swaps. I am new here and I searched for cat postcard swaps and didn't see any... so I started my own!

Newbies are welcome if they have a complete profile, with more than just a couple of sentences. No one with a minimal profile or a low rating will be allowed to participate. I hope no one will flake, but I think I can angel if you get a no-send. There's over a week to send this, and that week includes the USA Thanksgiving holiday, so that should be plenty of time.

I'm advertising this on my own blog so I hope some of my blog readers at will be participating!

Hope to see a few Missive Maven readers there! (By the way, my swap-bot user ID is GreenVelvet.)

Autumn bats mail art

Autumn bats mail art envelope

Earlier this month I got a most exciting handmade batty envelope from a blog reader in the Netherlands. I don't know where she found this paper, or if she made it, but the bats are realistic and amazing!

Autumn bats mail art envelope, back

I liked the contrast of the rainbows on the return address sticker.

Autumn bats mail art

There was a letter written on the back of this fantastic collage, which was layered and handmade and gorgeous, and must have taken her a lot of time to make it. I love the way the bat is flying into the round moon...

I was just blown away by this batty creation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back to school letter

Back to school letter

James of Everyday Correspondence sent me this excellent "back to school letter" (and blogged about it, too). It's folded notebook paper, written in pencil. Great concept! He said, when he was writing it, "it felt like I was writing a note to pass in between classes."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sparkly Halloween stickers

Sparkly Halloween stickers

I've been having fun with these little sparkly Halloween stickers that I found in the Christmas Tree Shop. They're small and silly, but they put me in the mood... and I've vowed to use them all up before Halloween! Nearly there. Here we have a ghost with bats, a single bat, a cat with a pumpkin, and some candy corn.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Benevolent Postcard Society

Benevolent Postcard Society: Sent September

I made it in just under the deadline to participate in The Benevolent Postcard Society, "a postcard exchange and art project in one." Their blog is quite well-organized, and you can find out all about it there. Basically you get assigned one person to whom to send a postcard on the first of each month, from September 2009 to September 2010. Above is my first postcard, September to Russia. Of course the day after I sent it, I was emailed that the poor Russian gal forgot to include her zip code, so my fingers are crossed that it made it to her in St. Petersburg without her zip code.

Benevolent Postcard Society: Sent September

I sent a lovely mill view from Maxfield Parrish, an artist whose work I enjoy.

Benevolent Postcard Society: Sent October

For October, I got a UK address, and made a postcard out of half of a card. On this side, I thought I was pretty clever for writing my blog address alongside the lady's skirt.

Benevolent Postcard Society: Sent October

Here, an autumn scene prevails. It feels like that here now!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

a gloriously fancy envelope

a gloriously fancy envelope

This colorful envelope came from a favorite blog-reader-turned-pen-pal from Texas, who I think said she found this at PaperSource. WOW! I love the bird-over-mail-ephemera theme, and of course she used exquisite stamps, including an owl stamp to continue the bird theme.


Check out that glitter! I was able to turn this envelope at an angle in the light, and I think I did a pretty good job photographing the glitter this time, if I do say so myself. Not sure if the glitter came on the envelope and label, or if she added it.

a gloriously fancy envelope, back

The crazy combination of patters continues on the back. What an envelope! I definitely couldn't pass that up if I saw it in a store.

UPDATE 10/29/2009: the sender did add the glitter herself.

Doggie mails a letter

doggie mails a letter

Okay, I'm not really a dog person, but how can you not love this little sticker?

The pattern on the envelope is a security envelope turned inside out. Cool idea.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Swap-Bot question

I know a few of my correspondents do swaps via Swap-Bot. I was kind of intrigued to learn that you can do a postcard swap or a letter swap, which basically just entails writing and sending someone a postcard or a letter! So isn't that kind of like a pen pal exchange? Seems like it to me.

Anyway, I'm curious - who out there does Swap-Bot? Do you really enjoy it? I just signed up for a couple of postcard swaps - what should I watch out for?


Mailbox kitten

Kitten in the mailbox

I found this box of cards in a Christmas Tree Shop, where I ended up rather randomly while running other errands. It was ridiculously cheap, so I thought I'd take a chance on the paper quality since the kitten in the mailbox was just irresistible. In fact, these cards take fountain pen ink quite well! I might have to go back and try to get my hands on some more of these cuties. Kitten mail!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Alice the cat

Alice the cat, drawing

This pen pal often draws very charming pictures of her cat, Alice, on envelopes. I love the crayon.

Alice the cat, photo card

She also makes cards by gluing a photo onto some nice card stock - an excellent do-it-yourself alternative to expensive photo-printed cards.

And of course, I love getting to see Alice the cat!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Watercolor letter

watercolor envelope

Here's proof that a Postcrossing card can turn into a pen pal! I got this artist's address for a Postcrossing postcard back in August, and she wrote me back the most beautiful letter, which she watercolored! Here on the envelope, she painted the same flower that she used on the stamp. What a lovely theme!

watercolor letter

Wow. So gorgeous. Watercolor stationery. I am verklempt.

envelope dots

I like the little dots on the back of the envelope.

She blogged about this letter on her own blog, and in fact she was inspired by this here blog to start her own mail blog! Her fine mail art blog is at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another UK postal strike, this one national

My fellow fountain-pen fanatics at The Fountain Pen Network do keep me informed. I've learned that there is to be yet another UK postal strike tomorrow and Friday - but this one is to be national. I've seen statistics that 120,000 of 140,000 UK postal workers will be striking those days, and the FPN folks seem to think that will grind postal service to a halt.

Here's the info from the Royal Mail website.

I don't know the postal workers' reasons for striking, but I imagine they're pretty good. I sympathize with all my UK correspondents and readers for the disruption of their mail - please share your experiences in comments, is it bad? worse than you thought? not a problem? - but I also sympathize with postal workers, who tend to be under-appreciated in this country. Maybe that's not the case in the UK, I don't know - UK readers, I'd love to hear from you about this.

You may wonder why I give so much attention to the UK: quite honestly, I have a lot of correspondents and blog readers in that fine country, and I am generally just blown away by the excellent mail service. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side, but I regularly receive letters and postcards 2-3 days faster from the UK than from the midwestern US, and 1-2 days faster from the US west coast. (I keep track of the postmarks and arrival dates in my little letter log - yeah, I'm that OCD about it!)

Oh well... it's snail mail, and one always hopes it will arrive eventually. I guess the waiting is part of the charm... oui?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gnome with butterfly stamp

Dutch gnome with butterfly stamp

This fine stamp came from a correspondent in the Netherlands. Is there a story behind this, I wonder, or is it just a cute little gnome sitting on a branch, reaching out to a butterfly? I can't read the words that are on their side by Priority.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hand-drawn headers

bat + bird header

One of my correspondents decorates her pages in the most delicate, artistic ways. I can't even imagine how long it takes her but every page is a work of art. Of course you know I am fond of the bat here.

blue spray

She and I share the habit of alternating different pens and inks on different pages, which gives a very colorful look to a letter... and if you are an ink admirer like I am, it gives you dangerous ideas for new inks!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shakespeare buck condolence card

Shakespeare buck

This beautiful card came in from a dear pen pal, condolences on my grandfather's death this summer. I link the post about his death here because the photo I used in it helped inspire this kind soul to choose this card, which is beyond perfect. You couldn't have chosen a more perfect card if you had known him.

The quotation by William Shakespeare reads:

His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world: "This was a man!"

It made me cry, but in a sweet, remembering sort of way.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Martian letterbat

Martian letterbat

This fabulous correspondent not only made drawings on the envelope, but it looks like she watercolored them! Her dogs are at the bottom, and on the top she gave me a letterbat. I enjoy her commentary as much as the artwork.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Now you're an engineer

I am a doctor, not an engineer

The postcard caption reads:
McCoy: I am a doctor, not an engineer.
Scotty: Now you're an engineer.

That sassy Scotty.

Following up on my previous Star Trek stationery posts, here's another lovely from the Star Trek Postcard Box by Chronicle Books.

Star Trek postcard with Star Wars stamp

I went with a retro theme and used a Star Wars stamp on the Star Trek postcard. It was more postage than necessary, but how could I resist?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yak mail

Tibetan yak mail aerogramme

Introducing yak mail! I just love this little design. It may not be called yak mail but I dubbed it thusly. This is from the One-speed aerogrammes set by International Girl aerogrammes.

Yak mail looks east

I know you want a closer look at that yak.

Tibetan yak mail aerogramme, back

The back has Tibetan characters (it says the same as the English, just noting where to fold and where to open) and our friendly yak facing the other way.

If you're new to my blog, you may not know that I've done an extensive review of these aerogrammes, and that I really love them and post about them quite a lot.

Yak mail looks west

If you're anything like me, you want a closer look at the back yak, too.

Yakety-yak! Do write back!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Sociable Thief

Shag: The Sociable Thief

I promised more Shag postcards, so here we go. This one's called "The Sociable Thief." Love the dog. I found the colors very autumnal.

The set is from Chronicle Books, of course.

This is what happens when I work late

...I stay up way too late afterwards, "winding down" by blog-hopping!

I should be in bed now, but I just found this awesome Pen Pal Envelope wraparound label and had to share it with you, dear readers. Check out the other labels linked at the end of the post - cool stuff. I'm gonna have to try this. I am also quite fond of the French postcard wraparound label.

And, to trace my blog-hopping routes, I found it on the fine 20 ways to be a good penpal post, which I reached via the ever-lovely Goodnight Little Spoon.

That's my blog-map for the evening, now I really must take a bath and sleep.

(Hey, since it's waaay after midnight, maybe this will count for a Wednesday post... or is that cheating?)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Letters Mingle Souls

Letters Mingle Souls

I tried to achieve some harmony in the stamps on this envelope, both rubber and postage, in that the Letters Mingle Souls theme appears in both. I am particularly fond of the Universal Postal Union/Letters Mingle Souls stamps, and use them sparingly. I love the Metropolitan Opera stamps, too, though I have a few more of those left from my grandfather's collection.

Oh - it's hard to see here, but the smaller blue postage stamp is "first automated post office in the United States" (Providence, RI) - what's an automated post office??

As for the rubber stamps, I see them on envelopes and in photos like this, and I think, "Why don't I use those more often?" Truth be told, sometimes I just forget about them. I'll try to remember more often - I really like the way they can make an envelope so much more decorative, which is great for those of us (like me!) who can't draw but still want to be visually creative.

Scarlet Tanager sticker

On the back I used a large Scarlet Tanager stamp from Cavallini.

Monday, October 12, 2009

She read the letter again and again

She read the letter again and again

I was so taken with this postcard when I read about it on GirlZootZilla's post -- imagine my happy surprise when it came in my mailbox and I realized I was the recipient!

The text reads, "She read the letter again and again, oblivious to the fact that she'd missed her stop fifteen minutes ago." I love the quiet mood, and how it illustrates the transcendence that a good letter can bring. The artwork is by Adriane Tomine from Optic Nerve, which at the moment is sadly out of stock.

APAK Happy Hermits + glitter

APAK Happy Hermits envelope + glitter

Here's yet another Dark Horse design that I overlooked while browsing the website, but when it came in my mailbox, I kvelled over how adorable it was and wondered how I'd ever missed it. Behold, APAK Happy Hermits! These round creatures are so adorable and loving.

Happy Hermits ride a unicorn

And, BEST OF ALL, they ride unicorns together!!

Here's another view of the paper inside from the sender before it was mailed.

Turtle mail

Turtle mail

Turtle mail! So cute! Is this a slight upgrade from snail mail? Speedier? Who can say? I positioned the card over the other sheets and envelope so you could see the great stamps, and the wonderful embellished page numbers (with little envelopes!) and "snail mail rocks." Ah, the special joy of letter doodles...

(For another view, the sender bloggged about this long ago when she actually sent it...)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hurry - awesome stationery giveaway in a few days

I just discovered, thanks to a tip from Jackie at Letters & Journals, that one of my favorite etsy sellers not only has a blog but is doing a giveaway!

Okay, I call her a favorite seller because I have coveted her stuff for ages, but in fact I have never bought anything from her. But here's a look at all the great stuff from We've Got Paper on etsy.

Cool, oui? Now check out the giveaway on her blog. Perhaps you will be a lucky winner of one of her stationery sets! Hurry, though, you've got to leave a comment before Oct. 14.

I see a lot of giveaways here and there in blog-land, but I only post about it if I'm actually interested in it myself... which is kind of decreasing my own chances (since I'm in the running, too!), but I really like the looks of her designs. (My favorite, of course, is the Diablotine with a bat-lady theme.)

Sorry no photos, but I wanted to get the word out on this before it expires.

Good luck!

Red Tango RainBow Kitty: Happy National Coming Out Day!

Red Tango RainBow Kitty

I haven't sent this postcard yet - I love it so much I can't quite bear to part with it yet; it comes from the Red Tango Postcard Set B at

Since it's National Coming Out Day today, it seems a perfect time to feature this awesome RainBow Kitty.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The cutest sneeze in the world

Cutest sneeze in the world postcard

In a recent post, I showed off some postcards that a blog reader had sent me with a letter. I wrote one, so here you get a closer look at one of the fabulous The Cutest Sneeze in the World: 30 cat postcards by Jeffrey Brown from Chronicle Books.

Cutest sneeze in the world: lick, lick

The back of the postcard has this little clean kitty in the bottom left-hand corner, and underneath the area where you are to affix a stamp, it says "lick, lick."

I heart these postcards. (Yes, I've caved and bought the set.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy World Post Day!

Whaddya know? It's World Post Day! Who knew? I didn't, 'til I just read about it on the Postcrossing blog.

Universal Postal Union on World Post Day

Happy World Post Day from Postcrossing

I hear that many countries celebrate this in various ways with special postal releases, goodies from the post office, etc... but I saw nothing on the U.S. Postal service website. Do we just not play nicely with all the other countries celebrating World Post Day?

Orange ivy + Wilde quote

Orange ivy

I can't say why, but I found this orange ivy doodle on the front of an envelope quite charming. The fact that it came from Frostproof, Florida - a town I've never heard of, despite having lived for 3 years in Florida - added to the charm.

Sealed with a Wilde quote

The back of the envelope, along with a few letter-writing phrases, had a sticker with a fabulous quote from Oscar Wilde:
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."

Exquisite Estonian stamp

Exquisite Estonian stamp

This lovely stamp arrived on my first Postcrossing postcard from Estonia last month.

Why do I go so ga-ga over animals with envelopes? In any case, I am just loving this stamp with the birds passing an envelope from beak to beak.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shag postcards


I've professed my love of the art of Shag (aka Josh Agle) many times in this blog. And Dark Horse comics makes some very cool stationery out of his artwork. I recently learned that Chronicle Books makes a Shag Postcard book, too!

Shown above is "Barracuda," which I sent to a Postcrosser with a username Saracuda. I thought that was a fun synchronicity.

Shag postcard, Barracuda

The back is fun, too. It's a bit coated and isn't perfect for all fountain pen ink, alas, but the great design almost makes up for it. The spot for addressing has a kind of blaze shape (which I accented with Sharpie here) and there's a curtain-esque design hanging down from the top left corner.

I may have to post some more Shag postcard images in the future, his designs are so retro fabu.