Friday, December 31, 2010

Where outgoing letters await their journey, part 2

mail holding pen

I always love to see where people stack their letters before they hit the mail. You know, the product of a day's or evening's letter-writing, where all the proud mail pieces sit until they begin their postal journey. A while back I posted about how I lined them up on the staircase, a sort of natural resting spot near the front door in my old apartment, but no such architecture presented itself naturally in this new place.

Mail is ready

My husband insisted I should have something special (he is a good egg, that one), and I searched and searched for something just right. I came up with this metal item because it is both mail-evocative, with the envelope design, and because the front flap is a great place to secure/hang something whose glue, glitter or adhesive is still drying, to keep it separate from the other mail piled up in the back. And I can still get a good view of what's in there, and when it's full.

Envelope mail sorter by door

If you don't read my blog all that closely or regularly, you may think the bat is just Halloween decor, but no... my love of bats keeps that little purse-item hanging there year-round. It serves as not only decor but also a catcher for overflow mail, on days when I've been particularly productive.

Door with letter bin

I know someone will ask, so I'll just share that I found this Umbra Lettro Brushed Aluminum Letter Organizer very reasonably priced on Amazon.

Where do your letters await their journey?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A fancy package

Fancy package

This went out to a special acquaintance who moved on to another phase of her life. She never responded to the letter or gift, but I think she probably appreciated it anyway.

Fancy package 2

Sometimes you just gotta send something really special, even if you think you may never get a response.

On blizzards and mail delivery

My husband and I were among the lucky few travelers who were able to reach our destination (home!) on Sunday, December 26. Our flight from the midwest landed in Baltimore late morning, just before the snow started, but when panic had already set in. Our flight to Providence from Baltimore was the last Providence-bound flight that left that day. (All subsequent Providence-bound flights were canceled, which made our flight a standby zoo. We were so glad to have our seats on that early flight!) We later learned that our flight was one of the last to leave Baltimore (at noon!) and possibly the very last one to touch down in Providence around 1pm.

So we drove home to Newport in a lovely blizzard (all was safe), only to learn that the main bridge onto our island (yes, Newport is on an island) closed later that night due to high winds. The Pell Bridge doesn't close very often! But hey, the NJ turnpike doesn't close very often, either, and it closed that night.

It was still snowing Monday morning, but lightly. This is New England. We are used to snow. So what if there's a foot of it? Roads were plowed, life seemed fairly normal. But when I went to pick up my mail at our local UPS store, I got only one package. What? On a Monday? After Christmas? One package and NO personal mail? Apparently local trucks were delivering, so that package must have made it to the Newport sorting station before Dec. 25. The pros at my UPS store told me that local mail trucks were on the road, but the trucks from Providence didn't make it down to us. (Rhode Island is the tiniest state, as many of you know... mail for the entire state is sorted in our capital city of Providence.)

But here's the kicker: UPS trucks weren't even on the roads that day! I have that from an official UPS employee. Goodness! Our own underdog postal service is more intrepid than UPS! Who knew?

Though the apocryphal post office creed, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," clearly doesn't hold when getting mail from Providence to Newport, they at least moved the mail around on the island. Yay U.S. Postal Service!

Anyone else have any fun blizzard-related mail delivery stories?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Queen of Soul


I sent this via Postcrossing to a Postcrosser in the Netherlands who said she likes Aretha Franklin. Aretha is one of my very favorite singers, and this postcard was quite dear to me... glad I found someone who would appreciate it.

As a regretful aside, I do wish I could find a good photo postcard of Aretha from this golden era of her career that does NOT include her holding a cigarette. But this is still a great image.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Giant pink snails in Miami Beach

How often do I get to pose with a giant pink snail?

I recognize the connection to snail mail may be tenuous, but hey - it's a giant snail! How could I not share this weird phenomenon with my blog readers?

Pink snails in a line

Check out to learn more about the giant hot pink snails that have flooded Miami Beach, Florida for a few weeks this winter. I was in Miami Beach for a few days, and it was enormous fun to see them sprinkled all over the place in various parks and such. Also, it was great fun to see other people climbing them - and to climb them myself!

Pink snail profile

It's a bummer to be away from my mailbox due to holiday travels, but among all the destinations to keep me away, Miami Beach was pretty darn awesome.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Might you also like? I can't stand it

As an update to this post, I'm making an executive decision. I can't stand it. I'm taking it away. Most of the time it won't even load properly for me (my connection is twitchy), and it slows everything else down.

If you want to browse my blog, use the tags, or browse by month, or just search. I would use the feature if it weren't so sluggish, but it's driving me nuts so it's going away.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Missive Maven stamps, in honor of my 2-year blogoversary

Missive Maven stamps

To celebrate my Blogoversary (Missive Maven is 2 years old today!), I present my new Missive Maven stamps. I designed and ordered these photo stamps through and I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out. Some of them have already traveled out on letters. The first-class letter rate and postcard rate are represented. They are made from my own photos.

You can take a closer look at the image on Flickr.

I am playing around with the idea of a Zazzle store. I have in fact already started one, but I'm not quite ready to share the link.

Would anyone else be interested in buying stamps like this? Should I sell them on Zazzle or is that too opportunistic? Do be honest. Your reader feedback is invaluable to me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Might you also like?

I just added a new blog widget that puts the "you might also like" links at the end of each post. I've seen this feature on other blogs and it seems kind of cool, so I added it.

However, it seems to be adding significantly to page load time, and that piffles me. Also, the recommended links seem rather nonsensical. (Do I tag badly?) So you might not also like them at all.

Might I request your feedback once again? Do folks like this feature or think it should take a hike?

(Now I'm curious what will end up suggested after this post.)

Jetoy reindeer cat postcard

Jetoy Choo Choo reindeer cat postcard

I don't know why I find this particular postcard so irresistible, but I do. This was the one that made me cave and finally order the whole damn box of Jetoy Choo Choo postcards from an eBay seller in Korea. (They are not cheap.) So I sent it to a very special friend who will appreciate it in all its adorable weirdness.

(What's with the apple?)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Almost blogoversary!

It just dawned on me (thanks to my own Blogoversary counter) that this little blog is almost two years old. We'll celebrate that birthday on December 16. That's going to be a very busy day for me -- and it's a very busy week -- so I don't know if I'll think ahead to post it. If I were really organized, I'd schedule the post ahead of time and put a fancy picture with it; and I have a good idea for that, hmmmm.... but things have been so nuts lately that I'd better just put it out there while I'm thinking of it.

I can't believe how many incredible letters I've exchanged with blog readers and pen pals over the past two years. I can't believe how much MORE there seems to be about letter-writing on the internet now... I felt like I was one of the only letter-writing blogs two years ago, and now there are masses of them. (Of course the fabulous Letter Writers Alliance long predates my internet presence.) Hooray for letters! Hooray for connecting on the internet in order to walk away from the computer and put pen to paper!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Hanu-Kat!

Magic + Menorah

My very shy tabby cat Magic would like to join me in wishing a Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish blog readers.

Our menorah is popular with all three cats - they stare at the flickering candles with odd expressions. Soda has learned the hard way that getting too close to candles results in burned whiskers, but Magic has always kept a wiser distance.

They care

They Care

Anyone who has pulled one of these "We Care" envelopes out of her mailbox knows it is not a good sign. In this case, I thought the postal service did a pretty darn good job of preserving the letter.

Mangled, inside the new envelope

There's the front, with the address and return address still visible through the plastic window.

Mangled plastic envelope

The letter was originally sent in a very thin plastic envelope, which opened and folded up at the corner. I imagine it was too flimsy for the sorting machines.

Holding the mangled plastic envelope closed

That's my hand holding the envelope closed for the photograph. It wouldn't stay closed on its own.

The good news is that it seems everything the sender included did actually make it to me, and she had enclosed all kinds of little stickers and papers and such... so my hat goes off to our postal service in this case. The envelope wasn't strong enough to make it through the sorting machines, but they salvaged it and the contents as well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My stationery is not stationary swap envelope

decorated swap envelope

Way back in July, I participated in a wonderful Swap-bot swap called My Stationery is not Stationary, hosted by the lovely PostMuse. She sweetened the deal with a giveaway on her blog, too.

I knew any swap she hosted was going to be well-organized, and it sounded great, so I participated with glee. Above you see the envelope I decorated for the swap,

my stationery is not stationary a little glitter-pen embellishment to the deco tape. The recipient liked birds, so I used a bird theme for the stationery and used more birds on the envelope.

I miss the summertime, when I had time to decorate envelopes like that...

PostMuse later did a summary of the swap, with her wonderful follow-up, if you're looking to read more about it.

It was one of the best swaps I've participated in - thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Send me a million postcards (the website project)

My offering to

Somewhere, through someone else's mail or postcard blog, I saw a link to Hmmm. Interesting. So of course I had to send one.

And, of course: WHY?

Of course I wondered why the mysterious postcard collector was undertaking such a project, as I didn't find that really explained on the website... and felt the question was better underscored and outlined in glitter. (What isn't?)

My offering to, front

The postcard front isn't terribly exciting, but a cool billboard message from John Lennon in NYC, so since someone will ask, there you see it.

The curator must have agreed that my decorated side was more interesting than the front, since that is what got uploaded to the site.

Check out Send me a million postcards if you're looking for a place to send a postcard. As of this writing, the mysterious postcard collector has only received 295 postcards, so there are still 999,705 to go! I did get a response, which I will eventually post... someday.

Rosie the Riveter


I sent this postcard, US-737314, via Postcrossing back in June. (Yes, I am behind in posting, no need to note that in the comments.) Loved the image, photographed it to share, am finally getting around to doing so.

This is a famous Norman Rockwell depiction of the WWII figure, Rosie the Riveter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Very creepy vintage postcard poem

Creepy Vintage Postcard Poem

Belen sent me this very bizarre vintage postcard. Lovely image, but whoa, man, that poem! She commented on its strangeness, too. I wonder if these sentiments were common??

The poem reads

Mother cooking, no one looking,
Kiss her like a real man should.
Footsteps running, papa's coming,
Beat it while your shoes are good.

Ewww, creepfest!!

I feel like this should be some kind of PostSecret postcard.

A Vintage Reproduction Page

A Vintage Reproduction Page

Here's an interesting mail art postcard from Fluffy special tiger.

I thought it was a letter and I tried to open it, so the front is ripped. Oops.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A trio of terrific dumpster-dived mail art

Cat stamps + paw prints

Here are three more fine offerings from Carroll the Dumpster Diver, mail artiste extraordinaire. Love the very puffy chubby cat stamps, complete with paw prints. More on this envelope here.

Meta mail stamps

I think I've blogged about these stamps before, she's used them on other items to me. I am absolutely in love with them.

E was an exquisite elf

Embellished by "a touch of spilled ink"... how can you do better than an artistic elf?

If you can't decipher it from the photo, the quasi-limerick reads:

E was an exquisite elf
Who enjoyed being quite by herself.
She delighted to play
In an elegant way
With the things that she found on a shelf.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper elephants, all in a line

LWA postmark

This fine letter, with its own special Letter Writers Alliance postmark, came to me from Donovan, one of the LWA mavens herself.

bat on the back

She often indulges me with bats.

Elephantine letter

The stationery has to be one of the most charmingly re-purposed examples I've seen: it's a line of paper elephants, connected by a string. Very fun to read and open!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Purple cat lady envelope

Purple cat envelope

It's been AGES since I posted about a sent item instead of something received, so this is long overdue. I had a crazy fun time making this envelope from a page of the crazy weird book "Why Paint Cats" by Burton Silver and Heather Busch. (You can see more of the book on It is a parody of art books, and I hope that is sort of obvious as the shots are kind of hilarious, but anyway... they make killer envelopes. I have a hard time looking at that photo without smiling.

Purple cat envelope, back

Because of the light at the time, I scanned this instead of photographing it. So the sparkly stickers may not look their best, but you get the idea.

I sent this to some very fun people in the UK; hopefully they've received it successfully by now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Have you ever wanted to mail a letter from an airport?

Vintage airmail label

I know I have. I am often eager to mail things from airports, be they postcards or letters... either because I want that area's postmark, or because I've been writing letters and postcards in airports and on airplanes while traveling.

But airport mailboxes can be really hard to find! And sometimes the airport personnel don't even know where the mailbox is, or even that there is one on the premises.

Now, letter-writing friends, we have a new resource to aid us in our travels! Meet

I just learned about from today's post on The Letter Writers Alliance website (where, for mysterious typepad reasons I don't understand, I am somehow unable to comment today). Isn't this fabulous??

I just looked up mailbox locations for two airports through which I've traveled before, where airport staff have told me there is no mailbox - HA! Now I know there is! I also just submitted the airport information for my local airport. Traveling letter-writers and postcard-senders, rejoice! (And, if you can, submit info for any airports with which you're familiar, to aid other postal travelers.)

Here's to 21st century air mail...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meta mail art: a pen and ink collage

Pen and ink collage card

Just another gorgeous piece of mail art from Carroll. She wrote more about it here. I think everything she makes is amazing, and I am lucky to receive her art.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Best. Halloween Card. Ever.

Happy Halloween: anything can happen

I don't usually blog about mail before I respond to it, but this one must be an exception. This lovely Halloween card came on Friday, and I squee'd and squee'd and squee'd. Like a stuck little pig. This is the most amazing Halloween card ever! It's got everything: a bat, some wine, little silver dots, the bat is wearing a bowler hat...

spooky sleepy hollow stamps

..AND the envelope had a glow-in-the-dark spider secured in the corner! There was transparent tape over it which I removed for photographic, but I am amazed and delighted that the spider made its journey intact and unmangled. And how much do I love those Legend of Sleepy Hollow stamps? They are pretty amazing. The sender of this fantastic card, one of the amazing gals behind The Letter Writers Alliance, even wrote a great blog entry about these stamps; if you're itching to know more about them, this is the place to start.

washi + running moon

The back of the envelope is graced with some pretty silver-tinged washi tape and a marvelous paper sticker of a running moon-man pumpkin-head man. You can see the legs of the spider on the front poking out from the corner there.

The letterpress on this card is particularly well-done; it comes from Greenwich Letterpress in NYC, a shop that I've actually visited in person on one of my Big City ventures, and I can attest that all of their work I've seen is really fine. I am sore tempted to order a set of cards now.

Anyway, I wish a Happy Halloween to those who celebrate this spooky holiday! Remember: anything can happen.

(Don't let a bat steal your wine.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Because it is a good pen

I just came across a wonderful thread on The Fountain Pen Network showing old Parker Pen advertisements. This is but one of them. They are priceless! For anyone who likes vintage advertisements, pens, or writing paraphernalia, I do recommend a peek:
Old Parker Advertisements

Tsar Nicholas II postcard... and stamp?

Tsar Nicholas II postcard

This excellent postcard of Tsar Nicholas II came to me from a Swap-bot swap for a famous person postcard. I really love the mood of this image, and of course we know that Nicholas II had a very bloody history, as the postcard sender noted in what she wrote to me. Here, he appears aboard the yacht "Polar Star" in the early 1900s. I love the dog next to him.

Russian postcard stamps

I'm also quite taken with the stamps... is that oval also showing Tsar Nicholas II? I can't really tell, there's no name, but they certainly look similar. Anyone know?

**UPDATE:** Thank you, educated blog readers - it is Chekhov, a stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Siamese Batcat!

FI-790942: Siamese Batcats!

This has to be one of the best Postcrossing postcards I've ever received. It's a Siamese Batcat! Wow. I was pretty amazed by this one, which came from Finland. The artist is Linda Peltola, and though I've perused her site and her Zazzle shop, I can't find this particular wonderful design.

Linda Peltola's "Siamese Batcat" postcard

It's so cool when someone reads your profile and sends you something really fantastic. I mean, we all know the Siamese Batcat would not be for everyone, but it certainly made my day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cat drawings from Germany

Cat from the top

One of my pen pals from the German pen pal site Letternet is also a cat lover, and an excellent artist! I love the perspective of the cat whimsically batting from above.

Closing cat

Another cat said goodbye at the closing. The use of white on the brown paper is really cool, I think, and I was thoroughly charmed by her feline artwork on this letter.

Cat envelope from Germany

It even had a cat to hold my address on the envelope! Note the cat is holding down the Luftpost sticker... good move, as we all know air mail is prone to flying away.

Speaking of flying away... I've removed my sent statistics. They served their purpose as an interesting experiment and examination, but I feel they've taken the focus away from the letters themselves. It doesn't matter how many letters we write, just that we are writing them... don't you think?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A bevy of wild west girls

A bevy of wild west girls

This most excellent postcard, a reprint of an old rodeo-type poster, came to me from my favorite sendsomething user in Wyoming.

Cowboy stamps for a cowboy postcard

She even kept the stamps all-cowboy: traces of Buffalo Bill Cody on both sides. Yee-haw!

Friday, October 15, 2010

...a little behind...

Tee hee... Just came across this on the Good Mail Day tumblr and had to share.

As for myself, I've gotten a BIG behind in my letter writing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Since there's Christmas crap in the stores already...

'Tis the season: I wasn't enough ahead of the curve last year, so even though it's only mid-October, I'll go ahead and direct folks to my "A word on holiday cards, or, why I don't do Christmas" post.

If you're really interested, there's some fairly in-depth dialogue in the comments section.

Glorious glittering bird

hand-painted quetzal stationery

Wow, was this ever a sight to behold! This fine pen pal is (obviously) a fabulous artist, and I've been treated to her wonderful artwork before. The explosion of color on this hand-painted stationery is so exciting!

quetzal closeup

I hope I am not misremembering, but I believe she called this bird a quetzal, a tropical bird with brilliantly colored plumage.


I know you wanted a closer look at those glittering feathers! Her use of glitter accents is ever so masterful.

Quetzal stationery + rose envelope

This beauty came packaged in a handmade rose envelope. I could almost smell it...