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
Just some shameless promotion. I always enjoy it when favorite bloggers mention they've added items to their shops, even if I have no intention of buying them, so I'm just following suit. Tell me if you think it's skeezy.
First-class domestic letters will remain 44 cents, and international letters will remain 98 cents, but letters to Mexico and Canada are going up to 80 cents, and the domestic postcard rate is being raised to 29 cents.
And I just bought all those Zazzle stamps at a 28-cent postcard denomination rate!
I can't parse through the USPS website to find their full info on this, but my information comes from Your Postal Blog, which I consider a pretty darn reliable source.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that my email subscription to the Letters & Journals magazine newsletter entered me for a chance to win the monthly giveaway. But mostly I forgot. I do enjoy the newsletter (called LetterNews, which I also won a previous contest to name!) and seeing the pretty graphics with the well-done letter-writing info in my inbox every month is a joy in and of itself. But lo and behold, imagine my surprise when I won the September stationery giveaway! This isn't just any little giveaway, as the large box above shows, but quite a lot of sponsored goodies come every month to some lucky LetterNews subscriber.
Wow! What a box of letter-writing goodness!
Here are the goodies all spread out. You can find out about each item with its own link on the L&J page about this giveaway. I will note for the record that the Sakura Stardust gelly roll glitter pens are the glitteriest pens I've ever used, and I am now addicted to them and never want to be without one. I'm already a huge fan of the Quo Vadis Habana journals, and of course Crane cards are always welcome. Pennant magazine has awesome photos and info about fountain pens. Lots of this stuff is right up my alley!
A couple of things I won are items I know I will never use, but someone out there is going to love them, so I plan on doing a giveaway of those items sometime in the next month or two, in order to keep that good karma / pay-it-forward spirit going.
So you've seen all my goodies, which I just happened to win. There are different goody giveaways every month. Do check out the excellent Letters & Journals website anyway, just for fun... and I highly recommend you subscribe to their newsletter. Not only is it beautiful, informative, and interesting, but you just might win awesome stuff, too!
I don't use sealing wax myself, but a lot of my correspondents and fellow letter-writers do. I've posted many times about beautiful wax seals I've received, but sometimes they don't make it through the mail. I gather there are more modern, supple kinds that are made to be flexible in our modern mail sorting machines; sometimes the old-school stuff is fine and sometimes it isn't.
This time it didn't survive very well... just an FYI for what it can look like when it gets smooshed by the sorting machines.
UPDATE: after a minor PayPal snafu, my shop really IS open now! I already sold one of my three items, yippee!
I am finally running out of room for my stationery and supplies.
I have to cut down. Argh!
I get a lot of things in eBay auctions that come together with other things I really don't want, or know I'll never use. Or I bought some stationery that I find isn't fountain-pen friendly. Or whatever.
It's a tiny little shop, and right now (grand opening: today!) I only have three items listed, and I didn't make any of them myself. (I have fantasies of making and selling some hand-made envelopes and the like, but... we'll see.)
I doubt it will see much action until the summertime, when I have a lot more time, but this was something of a lark and I really had to share it.
Comments? Suggestions? (Do the banner graphics suck?) Berate me for shameless self-promotion? (I really have been thinking about this for months, and it's pretty much a break-even, niggling-profit, I-need-to-make-room-on-my-shelves / why-the-heck-did-I-buy-this? sort of thing.) I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Yeah, yeah, more photos of the adorable Soda lolling about on my mail.
This time she's sleeping on the incoming, not the in-progress or the outgoing.
Yes, folks, being a mailcat is often exhausting business.
This week must be the week for getting around to doing those things I've been musing about, because I've just gone on a lark and started a Flickr group for photos of cats on mail. It's called the Feline Postal Brigade, and I invite all you cat-owning, Flickr-using letter-writers to post your mailcat photos there.
Mail artists and letter-writers are a generous lot, and I have sent and received many fine gifts to and from pen pals. I appreciate the spirit of giving in serendipity - not for birthdays, not for Christmas or some other gift-required occasion, but "just because."
My cats are particularly close to my heart, and this hand-carved rubber stamp from the amazing Carroll just arrived out of the blue. She titles it, perfectly, "Memo Guards The Mail." And yes, folks, she hand-carved it herself! I have oft admired her handiwork (more of the fine mail she's sent me here), and prodded her to sell her stamps, but she is a creator for joy and not for cash. I was positively verklempt when I opened this, and it came in this amazing box. (I don't know how to embed these photo files, so please do follow the links - they're worth seeing!)
Carroll's own photo of the back and impression of this stamp is here...
...and she referenced this photo of him as one of the inspirations.
Ain't it the spitting image??
Slight tangent and Memo update: I was so verklempt when I unwrapped this that I actually teared up and wept a bit, and that is because Memo is not in the best of health these days. When the stamp arrived, we thought he was descending further into kidney failure. (No joke, he's had "six months to live" for the past 4 years.) The day before we went away on our many-days holiday whirlwind trip, he was convulsing and we took him to a very expensive Sunday morning emergency vet appointment, bracing ourselves for the worst and prepared to put him down. However, it wasn't kidney failure, it was a combination of (unrelated?) a bladder infection and feline diabetes. Because he needed constant monitoring, we had to board him at the vet while we were away ($$$$!!!). He is back home now, and I'm becoming a pro at giving my fat cat twice-daily injections of human insulin. Surreal. But he's doing much better now, and no longer seems to be at death's door.
But what an amazing gift Carroll has given me, Memo forever embodied in a stamp. I am absolutely touched beyond words, and stamping Memo all over everything. He is gracing quite a lot of my outgoing mail these days - you might see Memo guarding mail on a future letter to you!
I love this postcard. I bought it at an awesome independent bookstore, Rivendell Books in Montpelier, VT.
Yet another reason why this blog is proudly ad-free.
Edit: someone asked me on the Flickr page for this photo where to buy the postcard, as they couldn't buy it on the online store at Rivendell Books. I bought it at the physical store, not online. However, the maker is Stella Marrs, and I just found it on her mailorder catalogue. A dangerous site - she has some amazing stuff!
I met this pen pal through Swap-Bot... amazing mail art, heartfelt and real and unique letters and it's just such a joy to exchange letters with this incredible artist. I probably don't deserve Bobberdilly's patience, because it took me about 6 months to respond to this letter...