Saturday, May 28, 2011

Schmoomunitions cat postcards

Worried cat postcard by Schmoomunitions

I don't even remember when I found out about the fabulous Schmoomunitions on etsy, but I've been very enamored of her cat postcards ever since. They mostly looks sort of forlorn, but very feline, and they pull at my heartstrings without being excessively cutesy. The one shown above is from her Worried cat postcard set of 5.

When I lost my dear cat Memo, I received quite a few very sweet letters and postcards of condolence. They really brought me a lot of comfort, and it was part of my ritual to respond to a condolence letter/postcard immediately, and I always did so on one of the Schmoomunitions postcards. I ended up ordering more when I ran out, just because the mood seemed perfect to thank someone for acknowledging my grief.

Schmoomunitions cat postcards

I wrote a few in one day and photographed them all sitting on my table, knowing that I'd eventually do a blog post about it.

I love how she describes the name of her shop so I'm going to quote it directly:

And the name Schmoomunitions comes from my dearest deceased cat "Schmoo" and ammunitions as in artillary as in things needed to protect yourself from the harshnesses of modern life. So having one of my artworks will protect your emotional state just like a bazooka!!!!!

In the days and weeks right after Memo was gone, I certainly felt like I could use some extra protection of my emotional state!

She also notes that she takes care of a group of feral cats, and purchases from her shop will help with their care.

I wish I'd taken a photo of the backs of some of the postcards, too - some of them are different, but they're all really cute.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dogsled mail

Canadian dog sled and barrel mail stamps

As further proof that I need to continue the blog posts about great stamps, a Canadian blog reader sent me a fine letter with these great Canadian meta-mail stamps showing historical mail delivery methods in the hinterlands of our neighbor to the north. I think they are a new release? He explained them quite nicely, so I shall quote him directly:

The first stamp tells the story of the winter of 1910 in the Magdalen Islands. A telegraph cable snapped and left the inhabitants cut off, so they put their mail in that barrel, rigged a sail to it, and sent it off with a letter asking the finder to mail it. The second stamp shows a dog sled carrying mail, which until airmail was the only reliable method in northern Canada. It was still used regularly until the 1960s, and it's still possible to have mail delivered this way by the Gold Rush Trail Dogsled Mail Run in January!

Wow. So incredibly cool. And I am so very delighted to have received these stamps firsthand!

So... anybody ever had mail delivered via the Gold Rush Trail Dogsled Mail Run?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tarot reading envelope

Handmade envelope: painting of tarot reading

I felt that my response to the most exceptional "Unpick to open" sewn letter deserved something special, so I sent it in this envelope I made from a painting of young girls reading tarot. It came from one of those 1980s Time/Life "Mysteries of the Unknown" books. (Those are fodder for some fine envelopes.)

Lady's pedestrian hobby-horse

On the back, a vintage-image sticker... I think I might dig one of those pedestrian hobby horses.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Unpick to open

Unpick to open

I warn you this is going to be a photo-heavy post - quite possibly my most photo-heavy post ever, but I must share all the details with you, as this is quite possibly the most amazing piece of mail I've ever received.

Amazing hand-sewn mail art!

This came from a woman who is clearly a talented seamstress, as the entire envelope was hand-sewn. I picture it being hand-delivered gingerly and with reverence from one postman to the next, because it arrived in absolutely pristine condition; had I packed this in my luggage in an international flight, it would not have arrived any more perfectly. (In fact, it probably would have been considerably more smooshed!)

Air mail & stamp fabric

I have to zoom in on all these little details, because they just blow me away. Embroidered air mail! Multiple different kinds of stamp fabric! Meta mail to make me swoon!

Vintage stamps from England

Check out those vintage stamps! Shillings, people! (I am one of those Anglophile Americans who can get a thrill just by whispering "shilling" to myself. Don't ask.)

By air mail with postbox stamps

And postbox stamps! Glorious red postbox stamps! Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.

Embroidered address

I don't sew myself, not anything, not ever, not even a button - so I am even more impressed by this. Does this sort of hand-embroidering of every single letter not take a ridiculous amount of time? It seems to me it must.

Unpicked, opened

Now, on to the back. It had that "Unpick to open" embroidery with which I started this post, plus a hand-embroidered return address. And opened - there's even DIFFERENT liner fabric! You can see a bit of the letter peeking out here.

Fabric of old letters

Now check out the fabric of the envelope lining: old letters and postcards! Gaaaa! (Clearly I am at a loss for words now, just making sounds and happy mail drool.)

Embroidered air mail

Also, because two is better than one - another hand-embroidered air mail label, this one complete with hearts.

Very well made in England

Lest you think it couldn't get any better - as I did, after I'd unpicked the stitching on this envelope (which I did very, very carefully, having no idea of the proper unpicking technique) - here's what was inside the envelope. This is like the "stationery," the fabric with all the vintage-esque cursive writing on it.

The amazing embroidered letter

And last but certainly not least, the entire embroidered letter! What handiwork! I seriously cannot even imagine the hours this took her. I suggested to her that people would pay big bucks for this sort of thing if she sold it on etsy or the like, so if she opens a shop, I will refresh this post and link it here for sure.

Aside from all this kvelling, I must say this letter really touched my heart. It is now hanging over my writing desk, where I look at it every single day and smile. I don't even think I deserve a gift this wonderful, but I knew I had to share it with you all, my mail-loving readers, who could share my joy in such an incredible creation.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The flaming juggler

US-952559: The flaming juggler

I sent this weird card via Postcrossing a number of months ago, but forgot to blog about it. It was US-952559 to suraizgyta in the UK, which took a whopping 29 days to arrive (a record for me, for sending to the UK. I think she took a while to register it). I found this postcard randomly in a discount store, for the whopping price of 10 cents. I think I bought 4 of them; now I wish I'd bought more! It is a vintage image, in the vein of bizarre that delights me beyond words.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sealed with ribbon and wax

Ribbon and wax seal, inside envelope

This letter came to me wrapped in ribbon, sealed with wax - all inside the envelope. That was might smart, as it made it through the mail beautifully intact.

I stupidly forgot to photograph the envelope, too, so I've now forgotten exactly who sent this. My humble and embarrassed apologies to the creative sender! It looks a lot like the work of the mighty Catwrangler, though.

Ribbon and wax seal, inside envelope closeup

I hope this closeup photo shows not only the detail of the wax seal and the beautiful ribbon, but also the texture of the paper in which the letter was wrapped. It was like unwrapping a present when I opened this envelope. What a treat!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another sort of penvelope

Another penvelope

This lovely meta-decorated envelope came in from Sirpa, my favorite Finnish mail-artist pen pal. I think every one if Sirpa's letters has been a work of art - literally, as she hand-paints many of them! She took my love of pens and meta-writing themes and crafted a beautifully decorated envelope.

Another penvelope, back

More nibby goodness on the back.

Another penvelope with kitty pictures

Here you can see a bit of her hand-painted border stationery peeking out from beneath photos of her adorable new kitty, Killi! Yay for getting a cat!

In her post "Letter to a fountain pen lover," she posted more photos of this letter, including a better one than I took of the way she painted around the edge of the paper.

I think it's so much fun to see before and after mailing photos of letters. This one survived beautifully, as mail from Finland usually does.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thanks, all 300 of you!

Oh my golly, today I hit 300 followers. I am so touched and humbled! The occasion probably deserves a better post than this, but I'm so excited to have access back to blogger (how frustrating was a whole day without blogger, and two posts removed while they fixed the data??) that I just have to kvell about it immediately.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why I need to blog about stamps more often

Egyptian stamps

I don't often run right to the scanner and blog after reading the day's mail, but I was so delighted by this postcard that arrived today that I had to share it immediately. (Oh yes, and an hour of free time in the afternoon in which to do such things does contribute to the practice!)

A blog reader in Egypt read my post on stamps from Qatar and said she was inspired to send me a postcard from Egypt. Egypt! I hadn't even realized I had regular blog readers in Egypt! (Guess I need to comb those groovy usage statistics more often.) I don't like to obsess about mail from particular locations, but it's just plain true that I get a plethora of mail from Germany and Finland, and precious little from the middle east or Africa. In fact, I believe this postcard is my first mail from Egypt, and I am quite taken with the iconic stamps. Maybe they're common over there, but they're pretty cool to me!

Egypt Postcard

They came on this postcard. I can't tell what it is, because the stamps are partly covering the location, but it looks to be an older photo.

Ukranian inkwell stamp

And while I'm sharing cool stamps, I got this stamp on a Postcrossing card today. I get a fair number from the Ukraine, but I've never seen this awesome inkwell stamp before! It's worth noting that although it is postmarked 4 May 2011, the Postcrossing system lists it "sent" on July 10, 299 days ago! That is my record for longest "travel" time on a received postcard. My guess is, she just never actually sent it until May; that is a less frightening thought than the possibility that she DID send it in July, and they only got around to postmarking it and sending it over here this month. Annoyingly, it was one of those postcards that has nothing written on it except my address and the postcard ID - not even a "Happy Postcrossing" or "Greetings," but oh well. I'm pretty psyched by the stamp.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random notes of kindness

I just got wind of this lovely project from The Letter Writers Alliance.

Caveat: I am posting about this before I try it myself, but it sounds pretty cool. Have a look at Random Notes of Kindness. In a nutshell, you create a kind note, mail it to the PO Box of the project coordinator, and she will mail it ahead to someone else. You include your own name and address on a separate piece of paper, and she will mail something to you from another anonymous sender. She requests that you include a 44-cent stamp, if in the USA.

It seems like a very new project, but a lovely one. There is also a Random Notes of Kindness blog. For anyone who is looking to both send and receive more mail, but doesn't know to whom to send, this might be a great place to start.

An official description, from the Random Notes of Kindness blog:

Random Notes of Kindness is a project to collect and distribute hand generated notes of kindness through the use of social media.

The Notes of Kindness will be generated by hand and sent through the mail to a special post office box where I will collect them. The Notes will then be resent randomly on to those who are in the pool of having originally sent notes. The original sender's identity is kept anonymous throughout the whole process.

The Notes become property of "Random Notes of Kindness" and may be published through a blog, book and other media outlets. All senders' and recipients' names and information will always remain confidential and will not shared with any other person or entity.

If you do participate, or have participated, let me know how it goes!

Saturday, May 7, 2011



This correspondent remembered my love of (and devotion to) fountain pens, and made this fantastic handmade envelope.

Penvelope back

In fact, they're all vintage fountain pens. Swoon!

Looking at them makes me want to pick up one of my fountain pens and go write a letter right now.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finnish mailbox postcard from Postcrossing


This is FI-1026669, sent to me via Postcrossing from Finland.

Finland postbox postcard stamp

Here's a closer look at that stamp, on the front of the postcard with the mailbox... yay mailboxes! I say in my Postcrossing profile that I love images of mailboxes or mail-related themes.

Finland postcard postbox stamp

And here's the pre-printed stamp on the back of the postcard.

Some Postcrossers DO read profiles and choose something the sender will especially like - and it's such a joy when that happens.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More than one Postcrossing account: what do you think?


Last week I sent this postcard to someone in Germany. It arrived in 6 days: awesome. Then yesterday another German address came up... and it was to the same name at the same address! Wait a minute, I thought this wasn't supposed to happen on Postcrossing? Lo and behold, it was the same person with a different account.

I've heard that people do create multiple Postcrossing accounts - I guess to get around the limits on how many postcards they can send? Initially I felt sort of cheated, like - hey, I just sent a postcard to this guy! But I pondered it a bit further, and figured he's really enthusiastic about postcards, and he clearly cares enough to register them quickly. He also has a full, robust profile, and has had both accounts for nearly a year with around 200 postcards sent and received in each. So why not send to someone who's really enthusiastic and will register immediately?

One of the things I love about Postcrossing is the serendipity, so I did feel taken aback to be assigned to send a postcard to the very same person basically one day after he registered the first one. In that sense, having multiple accounts is sort of cheating the system. But I'll admit I have often toyed with the idea of opening a second Postcrossing account myself - my username there long predates this blog, so it is not Missive Maven. Something always holds me back from doing it, though; I guess it's a combination of some weird sense of ethics plus really wanting to keep all my stats in one place. Under my current account, I am allowed to have 15 postcards at once, and the way it works out, I usually end up sending one new one a day.

I've got a postcard traveling in the USA right now that's been traveling for 40 days and the recipient hasn't logged into Postcrossing for a month, so I am pretty well prepared for that one to expire... and then there are all the postcards that get sucked up into that giant country on another continent that has a poor track record, in my experience, with postcards actually arriving or getting registered. So I've had the max number traveling and, again, I've been tempted to make that second account. I'm now repeating myself, so I'll just stop and ask for your feedback:

What do you think? Do you have more than one Postcrossing account? Do you think it's inappropriate or no big deal?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shag postcrossing jag


I'm on a Shag jag! Here's yet another Postcrossing offering, this one sent to Austria, with artwork by the ever-beloved Shag (aka Josh Agle), from the Shag Postcard book a la Chronicle Books.

I forgot the title of this one. Oops. I already sent it today.

Love the facial expression of the waiter - oh so surly!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fun with washi tape

Fun with washi tape

I sent this letter to my pen pal Sirpa in Finland. (Wow, is the mail service between the east coast of the USA and Finland ever fabulous! Have I mentioned I can exchange mail with Finland significantly faster than with the midwestern USA? But I digress.) Sirpa blogged about this letter when she received it, and she also posted lovely images of the back of the envelope and the inside of the stationery; if you want to see those, take a look at her "Beautiful letter" blog post.

I used Japanese washi tape to form the top and bottom border. I had been noticing it online and on letters and mail art from other correspondents, and I have to say, it's really neat stuff. One can remove it easily, and it is essentially paper tape (we also call it masking tape here in the USA) and can be easily torn by hand. It tends to look pretty classy, and the designs are more sedate than some of the plastic "deco tape" options. Anyway, I bought about 7 or 8 different designs, mostly patterns and stripes, and I've really been having fun with them. I got mine from PrettyTape on etsy, and was very pleased with her prices and service.