Thursday, June 30, 2011

Japan Philately Week 2011 stamp

Japan Philately Week 2011 stamp

This wonderful stamp came to me on a Postcrossing postcard last month. It may be difficult to read from this scan, but the fainter letters, formed with horizontal lines, behind "Japan Post" read "Philately Week 2011."

Do you think the smartly-uniformed gentleman on the run is a postman? I do! In any case I find the colors and illustration style very lovely.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Canada Post is back!

A big sigh of relief for all the Canadian snail mailers - Canada Post is fully operational as of today. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unicorn postcard swap

I have been back into swap-bot lately, but my rule is never to join swaps to "get rid" of postcards; only join swaps with postcards featured that I'd really want to receive. Since I haven't seen all that many themed swaps with postcards I'd like to swap, I figured I'd just start hosting 'em. It's summertime, and I have a little bit of extra time to do it...


Come join the Unicorn postcard swap I'm hosting on Swap-Bot. It's an international swap with one partner, so you send one unicorn postcard to another swapper anywhere in the world. Full details on the unicorn swap page. I got lucky, I guess, because one of the Swap-Bot administrators decided she liked the swap idea, and it's now a featured swap on the Swap-bot blog.

If this unicorn postcard makes you plotz the way it does me, you can get one of your very own from the fabulous etsy seller Pagey of Pink Toes Press. I admit, I did buy her unicorn postcards, and may be using them for this swap.

Swap deadline to join is July 2, so don't delay! (If this one is popular, I'll certainly host another.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2 new postcard designs in my shop

To get a letter, write a letter postcard

I promised I'd have new postcard designs coming soon: here they are!

I got the idea for the first design when I wanted to buy postcards with this phrase. I searched for it on etsy, and when I found only buttons and not stationery, I figured I'd just go ahead and design it myself.

The phrase "to get a letter, send a letter" predates my generation by many years, but it is a great motivator for anyone who wants to receive more mail. If you want it coming in, send it out! I have seen this on vintage labels as far back as the 1950s. The slogan on this postcard is slightly modified to match the vintage graphic of writing hands; it reads "to get a letter, write a letter." I hope it motivates some letter writing and postcard sending!

"To Get a Letter... Write a letter" postcards in my etsy shop

E-mail: when you care enough to send the very least postcard

For the second design, I have faithful blog reader (and etsy customer!) Joe Chapman to thank. He suggested this pithy phrase in a comment after I debuted my Snail mail: not dead yet postcards.

So... in response to all those who have fallen into the habit of emailing thank-you notes, or corresponding via email instead of proper snail mail, this postcard thumbs its nose!

The postcard reads "E-mail: when you care enough to send the very least" set inside an ornate baroque frame, with the email "@" symbol highlighted in the internal frame.

"Email: when you care enough to send the very least" postcards in my etsy shop


I've updated my listing for postcard combination packs so you can now order any combination of my four designs, too.

I'd love to hear what you think of the 2 new designs!

I had no idea when I started this blog two years ago that I'd step into designing postcards, and have so much fun with it! I fear I have created my own monster...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My heart goes out to the Canadians

Canada Post is on strike. I don't know the details of how the rotating strike is working day-by-day, but my impression is that the entire country is pretty much without mail service right now: no pick-up, no delivery. I've heard that postal workers in the USA aren't even accepting packages for mail to Canada right now. (My thanks to 100 days of snail mail for the most recent update.)

I gather there is legislation brewing to address the striking postal workers - I don't know the politics of the situation, but given my sympathy with postal workers, I really don't want to be quick to place blame on anyone - and I sincerely hope our Canadian friends will get their full mail service restored soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Snail mail may not be dead yet, but my postage idea is!

I tried to get some stamps printed, just for myself and my own correspondence, of my new "Snail Mail: Not Dead Yet" design. I thought they would have been pretty darn cute, to be honest.

But Zazzle won't let me print them. My order was canceled due to a "violation of the content guidelines," and when I asked for further explanation, I received this reasoning:

In this instance, your order contained products that references death and "snail mail" on customized postage, which violates the Zazzle User Agreement and content guidelines.

Go figure! I'm glad I could get them printed (from a different company), and bummed about the postage. Interesting rule. Just had to share my immediate frustration...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Walltype, anyone?

Through reading a swap partner's profile on Swap-bot, I just discovered a link to Walltype. It is apparently another postcard exchange website, similar to Sendsomething and Postcrossing... but different.

I've never even heard of it before today, but apparently this Swap-bot partner of mine is pretty active on it. I'm intrigued, and I'm very curious to check it out.

Has anyone else ever heard of or used Walltype?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Letter-writing ritual: incense

Incense & candle

I know a lot of us have letter-writing rituals: one of mine is incense. I might write a quick postcard without lighting a candle and incense, but a letter always gets my favorite olfactory/atmospheric assistance. When I settle in to a long evening of letter writing (evening is my favorite time to write letters), I'll go through many different sticks, cones, logs, bricks, or what have you. Generally I light the candle first, and then light subsequent "flavors" of incense from the candle throughout the day or evening.

My favorite incense

Here are some of my very favorite kinds of incense. I guess this selection illustrates how much I favor spicy, woody scents; the floral, fruity, sweet ones are not for me. Clockwise from top left, my favorites are Piñon by Incense of the West, Paine's Red Cedar, Morning Star Cedarwood, Shokeido Magnificents Jewel Series: Sapphire/Devotion, and Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Aloeswood. The latter is the one that may be my very favorite, but it is a night-time scent... I will only light in in deep evening or dark, and often accompanies my last letter(s) of the night.

This is Paine's red cedar, which I've got burning right now.
I've explained to a lot of folks who ask if I write in cafes and the like: nope. I'm a homebody. I almost always write at home. Having my arsenal of pens, papers, and favorite incense at my disposal is all part of the full experience.

Do you burn candles or incense when you write letters? Do you have any favored rituals?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post office tour patch

Post Office Tour patch 1

Have you done a post office tour? I wish I had! At least you can pretend with this fabulous patch. Perhaps it was a girl scouts merit badge? Perhaps it just the best sort of bonus for a mad mail enthusiast.

Just listed in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The big contortionist


I often post photos of the postcards I receive via Postcrossing, but rarely the ones I receive. Partly that's because I rarely scan them - either the images have already been uploaded when I receive them, or it's not worth the bother.

But this one was worth the bother!

This one is NL-582690 from the Netherlands; oddly enough, it reached my mailbox when I was actually in the Netherlands! It came from a museum I walked by (but didn't go in), also: the Stedelijk Museum.

Here's the info from the back of the postcard:

Pyke Koch, 1901

de grote contorsioniste
the big contortionist
1957 - 168x120cm
collection stedelijk museum amsterdam

Quite the painting!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Snail Mail: Not Dead Yet!

Snail Mail: Not Deat Yet postcard

I'm really excited about these two new updates to my etsy shop. First we have the creepy, skully, "Snail Mail: Not Dead Yet" design.

Don't you hate it when someone says "snail mail is dead" or "no one writes letters anymore" or something like that? I do! I put those sentiments to work in my slightly creepy, goth-inspired, Monty-Python-quoting design.

Snail Mail: Not Dead Yet

The postcard reads "Snail Mail: Not Dead Yet" alongside a black-and-white graphic of a skull holding a letter, accented with a red seal on the envelope. (The real postcard won't say "proof," of course.) This skull design has a high-gloss image side, and the writing side has a slight gloss but is still fountain-pen friendly...

Fountain pen ink check I took a picture to prove it! This is a close zoom with two different inks (Noodler's Eternal Hunter Green and Legal Lapis, for those who are curious).

Vintage postman illustration postcard

I also have a reprint of my Vintage postman illustration design. The original set from is almost sold out, and aside from being not terribly friendly to fountain pen ink (a bummer, in my book), they are also quite expensive. They cost lots more for me to print, so they cost more for you to buy. I decided to try out a different printer for this run, and I'm really happy with the results, as well as the fountain-pen friendliness. I chose a recycled, matte paper for this postcard.

I have to be honest and say the precision at moo is better. I am a little piffled that the trim on the Postman postcards is inconsistent; nearly always uneven, but sometimes moreso than others. I think I'll have to size the next batch in a more exacting fashion. I'm learning as I go...

2 Missive Maven postcards for sale

If you're indecisive like I am, or you like variety, I'm also selling them in combination packs: 5 postcards, you choose how many of each design.

Postcard backs

Here you see the backs of the postcards, with the matte Postman on the bottom and the glossy skull on the top. The matte color isn't quite as bright white.

Stamp in stamp frame

The frame on the back is a perfect fit for the current design of 29-cent postcard rate stamps, the correct postage rate if you're sending domestically within the USA.

I'm really excited about these postcards! I'm sure I'll be using them for a lot of my own correspondence, too. I'd really, really love your input, though: my blog readers give me the most valuable feedback, and I cherish it. What do you think? Would you buy? Why or why not?

No Body's Perfect, from mystery Kate

Body Shop Supermodel Postcard

When I sorted my postcards into two piles yesterday, I came across this wonderful postcard I received months ago.

Love the sentiment. So true. We must keep this in mind.

It is from Kate in Australia. She is a mystery. No last name, no return address... if I should remember her, I am embarassed to say I don't. She wrote, "I found this when going through a box of olx papers. I think it's a great message and still needed to be said today! I thought you might enjoy it! ♥ Kate."

Perhaps she meant it as a serendipitous message, needing no response... in which case, I thank you, Kate, and I'm delighted to share this fine postcard/message with my blog readers.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm going to harp on the importance of a return address once again

Postcard piles: a comparison

I just sorted the postcards in my "needs response" pile into two separate piles.

The ones on the right have a return address, the ones on the left don't.

Guess which ones receive a faster response?

...For those that don't have a return address: in most cases I know the sender in some way, and can look up their address online or in my address book. But I don't write down everyone's address in my address book, so it's a real guessing game sometimes. At times I don't mind looking up an address online, and at other times, mail-time is strictly computer-free... hence the two separate piles. Now when I say "it's time to respond to a postcard," I can go directly to the A+ folks who do take the extra-credit care to write (or stamp, or sticker-stick) their return address on the postcard.

And now I'll get off my soapbox.

Everyone has their own mail habits, and if you're one of those carefree types that doesn't include a return addrress, rock on. Just know that if there is a mailing error, it may never reach the recipient OR come back to you, and it may take me twice as long to feel like looking up your address.

Grumble, grumble. I realize I'm ridiculously anal about this. I put a return address on everything, always. (Or did you figure that out already?)

Catalog man: underwear gymnasts


This incredible postcard came from the Catalog Man: Mail-order Fashion Hunks set from Chronicle Books. It is tres, tres kitschy. These underwear gymnasts are over the top, and yet they look so serious.

This was US-1110868 sent to a Postcrosser in Poland.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two bashful (or not) postcards

Typewriters: cooler than any computer

I recently received two most wonderful postcards from the lovely letter-writer behind Bashfully designed. The one above shows some typewriter love from Rar rar press of Chicago. I've seen their work lauded before, and I wish this postcard were available in their etsy shop, because I'd snatch some up.

Write your letter when angry but mail it tomorrow

And on this one, sage advice: write your letter when angry but mail it tomorrow.

Note the mail-sorting-machine smudge at the bottom of the word "letter"... *sigh* smudge happens.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Even my coffee is official...

LWA mug with letters

You may know I'm a member and big supporter of the Letter Writers Alliance. (I've had a couple of links to them here on my blog for ages.) It's a fine organization, and they have great merch, too!

Some of their lovely items are available to anyone, but of course their coolest stuff is behind a members-only login. Such is the case with this lovely mug which I recently purchased. I love the logo, and of course it's hand-crafted by a small company (Circa Ceramics), but it's also a really great coffee mug. It holds tons of liquid and has become my preferred daily caffeine delivery method.

I have no affiliation with the LWA other than being a happy member, and if you love letter-writing I'd encourage you to join - and moreover, if you're already a member and you're looking for a great mug that proclaims your epistolary devotion, I highly recommend this one.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sleepy Soda drawing

Sleepy Soda drawing

I frequently claim that I can't draw, which I still think is pretty true, but I'm trying to be more creative and free up that inner critic. I want to draw, and sometimes I like to draw, so... yeah. Trying to just practice for fun.

The fantastic International Girl aerogrammes (I've blogged about them quite a lot) have a little box that says "draw picture here." Ever one to follow instructions, I usually give it some kind of try. So one night I had Soda sleeping at the edge of my letter, and I drew her. It doesn't really look all that much like her, but it is fairly apparent that it is a cat, and for that I am proud of myself.

She's sleeping on the couch near me now, actually, but all curled up this time. Awww.

Shop update: vintage Current postcards

Hello! Vintage Current post-a-note

Hello! I have some updates to my etsy shop to share.

My favorite is this old-fashioned telephone postcard.

Time for a note! Vintage Current post-a-note

It's always "time for a note!"

A little light on the subject! Vintage Current post-a-note

And who doesn't want to shed a little light on the subject?

I've got a few more of these designs that will be going up for sale, and I've also listed a bunch of new Lisa Frank items, with more to come.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Smoking cat postcard

The smoking cat

I must really be losing it, because as I post this, I'm questioning whether I sent or received this. I have a memory of buying it in a bookstore, so I'm going with sent. I think I sent this in March as a sort of funny postcard about Memo's death. But it is possible that I received it instead. I remember the other correspondent, good gravy, but I can't remember if I sent it to them or they sent it to me. J&H can ring in on it, and their collective memory is surely better than mine.

I also have some kind of sense that this was an Inkognito postcard, but again... didn't photograph the back...

Maybe I'm losing my touch.