Friday, September 30, 2011

Tweet, tweet

Exquisite Estonian stamp

I'm holding out on Facebook for a million reasons I don't even want to get into here (yep, I'm one of those people who doesn't do Facebook), but I did cave and join twitter once I learned you don't have to do it from a mobile phone. I tweet from my laptop.

You can find me on Twitter now, and I even added the little buttons above my post labels so you can tweet, or email, my posts. (The latter is somewhat experimental.)

Are you on Twitter? Let me know. I am still exploring that realm and would love to check out your little corner of it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

L'Shana Tova / Happy New Year 5772

Handmade Rosh Hashanah card

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, 5772 in the Jewish calendar. Blog reader and lovely pen pal Rusty created this handmade, textured card featuring the traditional Rosh Hashanah symbols of apples and honey, sweet foods for a sweet year. She even sent it to me in time for it to arrive before Rosh Hashanah! I am touched by this lovely handmade artwork, Rusty, and delighted to share it with my readers as the mail image for this joyous holiday.

L'Shana Tova / Happy New Year 5772! Wishing a sweet year filled with joy and peace for all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Send the love: show support for postal workers

doggie mails a letter

Thanks to a comment on my last post about saying no to a bad postal bill, I learned from The Creative Beast about another wonderful little campaign called Send the Love. This one is more about good energy than politics, but gratitude is a powerful thing, and letting our postal workers know we appreciate them has to brighten their day. So this idea is all about "sending messages of support and gratitude for our postal workers during this time of crisis."

My favorite option is the "make a mark" suggestion:

Next time you put something in the mail, on the back of the envelope, make a mark of support to show postal workers that you value what they do. Just draw a simple heart with a P.O. inside. If you’re more creative, make a drawing or write a note. The postal workers who handle the mail, from the person who takes it out of the blue collection box to the people who do the sorting and processing to the person who puts it in your box — they will all get the message. So many postal workers make sure your mail gets where it’s going. Send them some thanks.

Post office politics: say no to a bad bill, and yes to 6-day delivery

I recently blogged about the current woes of the U.S. Postal Service in my post, Is the postal service really in trouble?.

While I normally keep politics off of this blog (though on a personal level, I'm a pretty political kinda gal), this is a very important political issue for supporters of the U.S. Postal Service, postal workers, and 6-day delivery, so I'm going to stand on my soapbox for a minute.

I just read this excellent and informative post from the Letter Writers Alliance about a nasty new bill that's reared its ugly head in the senate called the Issa-Ross bill. The LWA quoted one of their members, post worker Carol C., who said it so well that I'm going to quote her again right here:

"I need to put out an all points bulletin! Perhaps you are already aware of a very mean-spirited bit of legislation which is aimed to dismantle the USPS. It passed in the House and John McCain introduced it into the Senate this past Friday. It is called the Issa-Ross bill which will eliminate Saturday delivery, cut jobs, services, close more offices than previously anticipated and ruin the unions. And it is completely unnecessary. They are using a scare tactic by saying the USPS will need a taxpayers bailout- this is completely false...However, it is gathering them support. The fact is there are sufficient funds in other postal accounts to cover the under funded one. Congress needs to authorize the transfer of money. HR1351 would do just that and keep our Saturday deliveries. But common sense is overshadowed. Time is of the essence- please spread the word to have everyone contact their Senators ASAP and vote NO to the Issa-Ross bill. Ask that they preserve Saturday delivery and support HR1351 instead! Sorry, to be so political, but it is crucial. They are trying to push this through before Friday. Yikes!!!

Thank you! Visit for more info."

The links above should point you in the right direction to take some action and contact your legislators. I like this one, too: Ask your representative to co-sponsor HR1351. It's pretty egregious that they're trying to push this through on such last-minute notice, but I admit that I don't entirely understand how these political games work.

I DO vote, though, and I voice my opinions to the lawmakers: I urge you to do the same! Stand up for our mail!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Letter to Crane & Co., as per their pen pal request

Letter to Crane & Co. Pen Pals

Remember the notice that Crane & Co. wants pen pals? Of course I did write in a letter, though we all know I don't need any more pen pals... I somehow doubt the lovely marketing lady really intends to correspond long-term with anyone, but it's a nice thought and I wanted to send a supportive gesture. And hey, the possibility of winning some goods from Crane & Co. paper was a nice incentive, too. So I had to make my letter nice and pretty, since I'm sure she's getting quite a deluge of pulchritudinous post. I used some washi tape, Japanese decorative masking tape, and my own Missive Maven-designed stamps and stickers, with white ink on a red envelope.

Letter to Crane & Co. Pen Pals, back

That's my dandy new return address sticker (a la on the back.

I know of one person who said she'd heard back from the official pen pallers at Crane. I know a lot of us have written - anyone else heard back? I have a feeling that they didn't quite know what they were getting into when they asked for handwritten mail on the Crane blog, but I hope they are enjoying the letters that are coming their way. Read the details of their offer here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Is the U.S. Postal Service is really in trouble?


Image: cover of the Sept 19, 2011 issue of The New Yorker, with a parody of the unofficial postal service motto. We subscribe to the magazine, and the covers are always witty, but this one is a favorite, and relevant to this post, so I hope I'm not blowing the cover surprise for any subscribers who haven't received it yet.

A lot of folks have been talking about what trouble the U.S. Postal Service is in these days. Dropping Saturday delivery? Going bankrupt? Defaulting? It's a complex story - and our postal service is a complex institution, being an odd mix of a mandated public service/agency that is expected to generate its own private revenue - and I am the first to admit I don't understand the details of it. So I've tried to refrain from posting some of the "doom and gloom" news stories, which I'm sure most of you have read or seen, until I can really get a handle on my own opinion on it.

Of course I support the U.S. Postal Service, I believe in its value and necessity, and I want to see it thrive - but that doesn't mean I have blind faith with how it is run. Still, I wouldn't want to run it myself, so...

I've found a few links that I think are really valuable and I'd like to share, for those who really want to know more.

The best compilation of facts I've yet found is at The Consolidating processing network map post has some insightful analysis of the numbers, and some musing on what these closures would mean for mail delivery time. I'm still exploring other areas of the site, including an excellent indexed news table with links to stories of post office closings.

I'd also like to highlight Save America's Postal Service because it is from the perspective of postal workers - letter carriers, mail handlers, postal workers union, and the people who really know what's going on from the inside out. I gather that the very nature of the budgetary issue right now has become tangled up in politics (sigh, what hasn't these days?), but I found their background explanation of the situation to be most illuminating. (In their words, "a congressional mandate is killing the U.S. Postal Service.") Whatever your thoughts on the matter, it's worth reading for perspective.

A great source of insider postal service information is Your Postal Blog, pithily written in the voice of "Benny the Blogger," aka our first postmaster, Benjamin Franklin. I've had this blog linked from mine for years and am a regular reader, as it's not only well written, but full of good, current, accurate information from those in the know - and not those in the business of sensationalized conjecture.

So what can WE do? Well, write letters, buy stamps (vintage stamps are fun, and I buy them, too, but I always make sure to buy new issues just to support the postal service), and send mail, of course, but beyond that, I really don't know.

I do think the McCaskill Mail idea pitched by Melissa of Viva Snail Mail is a lovely one, though, and certainly can't hurt anything.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Catwrangler's fabulous stamps

Stamped postcard from Catwrangler

Fellow cat-loving mail enthusiast Catwrangler has the most amazing collection of rubber stamps, and she's not afraid to use them! She is also generous with her mail, sending me lots and lots when I still haven't responded to her, and sending other random goodies. I think I love every single one of the stamps she used on this all-stamp handmade postcard.

Stamped postcard from Catwrangler, back

And so many of them are meta! I heart meta mail. Yay letter stamps. And look, that's her own kitty on the Zazzle postage stamp, too.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Star Wars postcard carries random info

Star Wars for swap

I sent this fine Star Wars postcard for a Swap-Bot swap last month. The postcard comes from The Art of Star Wars Comics: 100 Collectible Postcards set from Chronicle Books.

Random info swap, back

This particular swap was for "random info about oneself," so I wrote about my particular aversion to jewelry. It's a tactile-sensitive thing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rainbows for sale!


Here's an update on some new rainbow items I have for sale in my etsy shop. First up, these awesome vintage 80s rainbow hearts postcards, which I love and am using them all up myself already. I'm loving these really fun, simple happy rainbows to send through the mail. The rainbow beams ending in hearts. The front has the rainbow with a space for address and stamp, and the back is completely blank for your message. Each postcard is roughly 4x6 inches, and they're for sale in lots of 10.


Also, I now have multiple color options for these awesome Zebra super marble rainbow gel pens, which I'm also using a lot of myself! They're great on postcards, and the rainbow colors really stand out.

I guess its my vintage kitsch side, but I'm really into 70s and 80s rainbows right now...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dark on Red

Dark on Red

This offbeat and exquisite blog reader letter came from Lithuania, a country from which I don't receive mail too often. I wish I had taken a photo of the letter, because the sender has excellent and interesting typewriter-like handwriting, and she drew a couple of illustrations on the letter as well.

Dark window, literally

This artwork on the envelope was the most detailed and eye-catching. Can you tell that the background in the window is "dark" repeated many, many times? I like that use of words as texture in the drawing.

Tall Ships Lithuanian stamp

And here's a closer look at that Tall Ships stamp. I really appreciate that the sender included the continued panel next to it, for the full picture! What lovely postage, and other than a tiny rip at the top, it survived the journey well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stationary vs. Stationery

I have blogged about my peevishness over the conflation of these two words before. I have often vowed, with rare irresistible exceptions, not to purchase from vendors who don't know how to spell their own stock.

But now I see the search results on etsy, and I wonder if I need to mistakenly tag my items with "stationary." I think more people search for "stationary" than "stationery." ARRRRGH!!

I mean, is a postcard really meant to be stationary? I think it's meant to fly...

Apologies for the late-night rant. I think I won't respect myself in the morning if I cave. Persnickety grammarians will agree, and the rest of you will probably think we're just fuddy-duddies. Ah well. Perhaps we are.

Latvian writing postcard + bat stamp


I've complained about some of the crappy cards I've gotten from Postcrossing before, but this one is another winner! This writing-themed postcard is LV-42684 from Latvia. I really like that the design shows ink, writing, and a writing hand, against a warm, well-organized background. Plenty going on, but not too visually distracting. Awesome!

LV-42684, Latvian stamps

Is if that weren't groovy enough, it has excellent stamps! Of course the Pope gets a "meh" from me, but the bat, people, the BAT!

LV-42684, Latvian bat stamp!

The bat deserves a closer look. Yay! I like the moose below it, too, which uses metallic silver ink.

Whenever I get bummed about Postcrossing, I remind myself of cards like this. There really are wonderful postcards moving all over the world because of Postcrossing, so if you are a postcard lover and you can afford international postage, I highly recommend it!

Hot postcards!

Don't Ever Love Me

I had a lot of fun picking postcards for the Hot postcards swap on swap-bot. I do love me a good pin-up and a little bit of sizzling salaciousness, and nothing was better for this swap than postcards from the fabulous Hellcat Amazons postcard book.

Sinful Sisters

I'm a big fan of the campy-ness of these classic pulp images. This one promises to be "revealing." Ha! I received one of my two postcards for this swap yesterday, and it's a bit too risque for me to post it here!

This swap was a play on hot weather/hot postcards, but I do believe the summer is gone. Labor day is past, and it certainly seems like fall here now.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crane & Co. wants pen pals

Kate Spade Snail Mail notecard detail

The Crane Insider, the blog of the venerable Crane & Co. paper company is looking for pen pals. Check out their blog post, Pen pals wanted, for the full details. They offer to write a letter back to anyone who writes them.

I would caution them about that promise, since I do not even make it myself anymore, but I am but one gal and not a company that employs quite a lot of people, and makes paper, to boot.

Oh yes, and the icing on the cake is that "every pen pal will be entered in a contest to win an assortment of Crane & Co. paper goodies." Hmm... I certainly don't need more pen pals, but I will most likely send a letter for that entry!

Pictured at the top of this post is some of my favorite Crane stationery, Snail mail correspondence cards, made in their Kate Spade line. I did a blog review of these cards way back in 2008.

Dutch-themed mail art from Sirpa

Dutch Delft-bag envelope from Sirpa

The artistic, talented Sirpa is at it again! She and I both went to the Netherlands recently, and she used one of the very cute Delftware-themed gift bags to make a wonderful envelope. It also features photo stamps of her adorable kitty, Killi! As I told her in my response, this was the first time I had seen photo stamps from any country other than the USA. As always, leave it to Finland to make amazing stamps... I think her photo stamps are prettier, and the photo printing resolution is great. Ah, Finnish stamp envy...

Hand-painted letter book from Sirpa

Then, inside the letter, Sirpa really put her talent to use! That's a hand-painted cover to a letter book she wrote, showing a watercolor bouquet. Wow! Sirpa also blogged about this letter booklet; have a look at her post on it, too. Of course she beat me to it by a long shot... and she's already blogged about my response to that letter, which I'm pretty sure I didn't even photograph from my end.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another great giveaway

If you missed my recent postcard giveaway, you can get another chance to win some of my postcards along with a whole slew of wonderful items at the
Letters & Journals September giveaway.

There are beautiful items there, from vendors new to me as well as some of my favorites. The L&J giveaways are always excellent, but I'm especially excited for this one as it's the first time I've donated any of my own items.

Good luck!