Tuesday, August 30, 2011

500th Postcrossing card giveaway winners


Behold - my 500th registered postcard via Postcrossing! This is a Jetoy cat postcard, US-1268197 to Finland.

The winner of the 5-postcard giveaway...

#10 is Sirpa! Sirpa has some really great luck, because she's won one of my giveaways before - way to go, Sirpa!

7 people correctly guessed that the 500th registered would be in Finland. Just as I was wondering if the random number generator ever picks 1...

...it did! Kanerva was the first of the seven, so she is the winner of the extra 2-postcard lucky guess giveaway.

Messages are off to Kanerva and Sirpa (is Finland a really lucky country? Both these gals are from Finland!) to let me know their choices for which postcards they want.

Thanks to everyone for entering, and for your congrats on my 500th postcard milestone! I'm pretty excited about it. Now, I wonder when I will have received 500 postcards? Right now I've only received 484.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post hurricane, we're fine!

We had no damage during Hurricane Irene but we did lose power, internet, and all phone service for 32 hours. It was a fun candle-lit evening last night. Just got power and internet back - hooray! Thanks for all your concern and comments.

Just to compare to my photos from Saturday's post before the hurricane...


Here's the same view on Sunday around 1:30. The hurricane-force winds were down, but we were without power... it was still blowing hard, but other folks were out walking and gawking so we went out, too. It wasn't raining but we got covered in sea spray. I don't know if you can tell by this photo how much bigger the waves were, but I couldn't stop and take too many photos because the wind kept blowing me back a few feet. Seriously. Had to keep walking! It was a little scary.


And then today brought typically gorgeous post-hurricane weather. This is what the ocean usually looks like right here!

I am ashamed to admit that I only wrote a few letters and postcards during our 32 hours without power. Frankly, I was just nervous and unsettled. There were little things to do, like get all the perishables from the fridge to the cooler, pick up branches in the yard, unstow trash bins and pots and bikes from hurricane-yard lockdown, make sure candles were in place ready to be lit for sunset, etc... I lost myself in a good book and played with the cats, and tried to keep my mind off not knowing how long we'd be without power, and without a phone to call my family and let them know we were okay. So. I'd like to say I was a flurry of letter-writing activity, but that is unfortunately not the case. Oh well. I guess a hurricane is sort of an excuse, no?

Oh, and one last thing: I couldn't get my mail today! To their credit, the postal trucks were out and delivering, but as some of you know, I get my mail at a UPS store. Most of Newport was without power today, including the UPS store, and people in our area were urged to stay home from work because stop lights weren't working, etc... not to mention flooding here and there. So, although the mail was delivered some places, my UPS store wasn't open to accept or sort it. I hope they have power tomorrow so I can get my mail! I know we are lucky ones who got it back quickly, because I can still hear generators humming a couple of streets over...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene on the way


Thanks to everyone who has expressed wishes of safety and concern with the approach of Hurricane Irene. A few of you know, but most of you don't, that I used to live in Florida, and we had an awful lot of hurricanes down there in the 3 years I lived there. Our house flooded in Hurricane Wilma in 2005, a category 5 direct hit, and we were inside the house while it happened. It was a terrifying experience just 2 months after Hurricane Katrina did so much damage elsewhere, but I digress.

I've been through a fair number of hurricanes. It's hard to get too worried about a category 1, though I grant you things aren't built quite as hurricane-proof in Rhode Island as they are in Florida. I do live a quarter of a mile from the coastline now, but up high on a hill, and we have our fingers crossed and hope for the best. My superstitious side won't allow me to say "it probably won't be that bad," but optimism is good.

But anyhoo, apologies for a non-letter-writing post, but I've been getting so many emails and comments that I thought I'd better just send the word out that we're fine, we're not evacuating our little island, and maybe send your concern to NC and NYC and all the other areas that look like they may be hit harder.


We just took our usual neighborhood walk, but I took my camera along this time. The waves are starting! I can't believe how many people were surfing. See that tiny little dot in the photo? That's a surfer WAY out. (The beach is behind him.)


More photos of the ocean by our house in my Hurricane Irene Flickr set.

Stay safe this weekend, everyone, wherever you are!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Postcard giveaway in honor of my Postcrossing 500 sent marker

To get a letter, write a letter postcard

I'm too excited, I can't wait any longer - I'm starting my postcard giveaway!

I've been waiting for my Postcrossing sent postcards (which really means registered postcards) to hit 500. I'm still at 498, but I'm starting the giveaway anyway! Here's the catch: the giveaway will be closed when I announce hitting 500 postcards, or on Tuesday, August 30 at 12pm EST - whichever comes SECOND. I realize that it's possible that 2 of my traveling postcards could be registered in the next day, which really wouldn't give folks much time to enter... so if you're thinking of entering, enter now! If I hit 500 before Tuesday, August 30 at 12pm, I'll keep the giveaway open until then. If Tuesday, August 30 at 12pm comes and I still haven't hit 500... then the giveaway is open until I do.

My 6 postcard designs, as of July 7, 2011

But what am I giving away, you ask? I'm offering 5 of my new postcards from my etsy shop. The winner can pick any combination of the designs listed above: all of one, 5 different, whatever. I will ship these anywhere in the world, so this giveaway is open to all locations.

(Hint: there's a secret bonus extra giveaway at the end of the rules, too!)


1. HOW: To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post. One comment/entry per person, please.

2. WHO: No anonymous comments will be approved. You need a blogger profile to enter this giveaway (simply because I need to know who you are - I'm not going to count through "anonymous #7"), and if you don't have a blogger profile yet, just make one. It's fast, easy and free, doesn't require a blog, and I think only requires a valid email address. Also, your profile with email address MUST be viewable, or you must provide a valid email address in your comment. If your name is drawn as the winner, and I don't have or can't access an email address for you, I'll choose another winner. (Don't be an Indigo.) Either 1) you have an email address or a blog of your own accessible on your blogger profile, which I am allowed to view; or 2) you leave an email address in your comment. If your comment/entry doesn't fall into one of those categories, it won't even get approved, lest it throw the numbers off for the random number generator when I do the final pick. Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for this magical phrase after you submit your comment/entry: "Comments will be visible after blog owner approval." If you miss that and comment twice, or three times, or more, I'll delete duplicates.

3. WHERE: No location restrictions this time. I'm going to open this one up to anyone, anywhere in the world.

4. WHEN: The deadline for comments/entries is no earlier than Tuesday, August 30 at 12pm EST... but possibly later!

Postcrossing traveling postcards, 26 August 2011

5. RANDOM BONUS: I will also send out two free postcards to anyone who guesses the correct country that rings in at #500! I'm not sending out any more Postcrossing cards until the 500th is registered, so these are the final 17 countries that are possibilities for this milestone. If the random winner of the larger 5-postcard giveaway also guesses the correct country, a secondary winner will be chosen for this smaller bonus... so this giveaway really has two winners. To clarify, though - to win the larger, 5-postcard giveaway, you don't have to have a correct country guess or even a country guess - everyone who comments on this post (and gets through my rigorous selection process in #2, ha!) will be entered for that prize. But you might as well guess a country, because that will give you two chances to win.

Good luck! Let the giveaway begin!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New R by Rhodia tablet: my new favorite paper!


I just got my latest, greatest order in from Goulet Pens, and I couldn't be more excited. I have been eagerly anticipating the new R by Rhodia soft-touch notepads for longer than I even knew. More on that in a moment.

I warn you, this is going to be a long and photo-heavy review. But you already know that if your page is loading as slowly as mine is. I think it will be worth it, though.

First, you might want to acquaint yourself with the hype. Brian Goulet did a wonderful video on his Ink Nouveau blog that gives an excellent review of the new product, and a nice overview and comparison. I wish I had remembered to take a photo of this paper in comparison to other papers, but I didn't - I think he does that in the video. Anyway, worth watching.


So here is the awesome new paper. It is a gentle ivory/cream color. It does not detract from any ink color, but it's not SCREAMING BRIGHT WHITE like Clairefontaine Triomphe and most of the Clairefontaine notebooks, including my current ink journal. Nor is it screaming bright white like the other, original Rhodia pads.

Inside of new R by Rhodia No.16 tablet, close-up

Also unlike the other Rhodia pads, there is no margin, and the lines (this is also available in blank, but I started out with the lined version) are sort of a soft grey, not blue. Subtle. Nice touch. I like the ruling. It's a good width for me. (I just checked, for those of you that want precision: it's 7mm.)

But it's really about the paper, and how well it takes ink. This new pad is an "upgrade" to 90g paper from the previous 80g. It does feel slightly thicker to the touch. In his video, Brian said it was nearly as smooth as Clairefontaine Triomphe, and I would mostly agree with that, but it doesn't have the Triomphe's "glassy" quality... which, in most cases, is a plus. I wouldn't say there is drag on the paper, and there is definitely not "tooth"... it's just a lovely smooth surface.

Fountain pen ink test on new R by Rhodia No.16 tablet

Again, though, it's all about the ink. And this is where this paper really excels. For those who like their colors harmonious, I apologize, as I just grabbed pens with excitement in no particular order, other than thinking, "this is a juicy wet pen!" or something like that... really putting the paper to the test, as it were.


As you can see, no feathering. Slight smudging, due to wet inks and my smudgy over-writing hands (+ general impatience). Ink dries significantly faster on this paper than on Clairefontaine Triomphe: a significant plus! All of the inks played nicely, even one of my newest, least favorite inks: Noodler's Old Dutch Sepia; this is the only paper I've tried it on yet where it doesn't feather! (It's humid here in August. That happens. I hope it will be have better in the winter, when everything, including my pens and papers, is less damp.)

Inks and pens shown:
Noodler's Heart of Darkness / Pilot Varsity M
Diamine Registrar's Ink / Pilot Varsity M
Noodler's Eternal Hunter Green / Pilot V-Pen F
Montblanc Ink of Love / Pilot V-Pen M
Noodler's Old Dutch Sepia / Daiso Mini
Diamine Steel Blue / Waterman Taperite
Montblanc Ink of Joy / Parker Flighter 180
Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku / Sheaffer school pen F
J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite / Noodler's flex pen
Diamine Violet / Dollar Demonstrator
Diamine Dark Green / Noodler's Nib Creaper (firm/non-flex)
Diamine Delamere Green / Waterman Graduate M
Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng / Platinum Preppy F
Diamine Oxblood / Parker Vector M
Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses / Esterbrook 9788
Noodler's Blue Ghost / Platinum Preppy M

Writing with Noodler's LED backlight on my finger to reveal the Blue Ghost

Slight tangent - if you thought the last line of ink was Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses, you thought wrong! Included in my order from Goulet Pens was the awesome Noodler's Blue Ghost invisible ink, which shows up with a black light on non-bleached papers. COOOL! Goulet pens also sells this ingenious set of black light rings that you can attach to your pen or your finger as you write, illuminating in black light just your area of writing. Trust me, this is key: it is eerie to be writing if you can't see what you're writing! I'm writing with a Platinum Preppy M, which came from Goulet Pens already as an eyedropper conversion (and folks, I am happy to pay the extra $2 to Goulet Pens for them to do the eyedropper conversion for me - it's a time-saver, so this pen came all ready to go), and for a specialty ink such as this, I wanted to make sure to use a brand-new pen. Platinum Preppy eyedroppers are one heck of a great bargain for about $6 from Goulet Pens!

Noodler's Blue Ghost under black light

I do happen to have a larger black light, which is handy for the reading part, not so much for the writing... but it allows me to show you the whole line of ink and not just part of a word.

Noodler's Blue Ghost under black light 2

With the ivory color of this paper, this ink looks fabulous! It does not show up at all in my bright white Clairefontaine ink journal... that paper is just too white.


So back to the paper. This photo above is the most exciting photo to me of the whole bunch, and if you're a real fountain pen/paper aficionado, you'll guess why. This is the back of my ink tests page. Not only is there no bleed-through, there's not even any SHOW-through! You can only tell there is even writing on the other side if you look really closely. WOW! And I even flexed my flex nibs with Noodler's BSIAR and Herbin's 1670 Rouge Hematite inks... wet inks in very wet pens! LOVE it. This, as much as anything else, is why this is my new favorite paper. I will use it for second/additional sheets in letters, and I can write on both sides with ease. It's also a great size for the sort of stationery I prefer to use.


And finally, the back of this wonderful tablet. It comes in many sizes, both lined and blank, with black and orange covers. (The inside of the cover has the inverse color.) I chose orange this time, since my other Rhodia pads have black covers.

Important note: I am not affiliated with Goulet Pens, I am just a happy repeat customer. Here's the buying info: R by Rhodia No.16 tablet, 70 sheets for $7. This stuff is new and freshly out, but other retailers may be carrying it now as well.

If you wanted pretty much the paper that comes in Rhodia webnotebooks but in micro-perf tablet form, this is it.
If you wanted "off-white Clairefontaine," this is it.
If you want a great, high-quality writing paper for a great value, this is it.

Highly, highly recommended!

My writing desk is a Rhodia advertisement

My writing desk is a Rhoda advertisement (and Chronicle Books postcard boxes!)

I tidied my writing desk yesterday because we had a little cocktail party. I didn't mean to arrange it as such, but the piles (I always have piles!) ended up looking like an advertisement for Rhodia, with a secondary tier for Chronicle Books boxed postcards. They do stack tidily... On the top of these piles you can see my Rhodia Webnotebook, a Rhodia No.16 lined tablet (black cover), and the new R by Rhodia soft-touch No.16 tablet (orange cover). Lurking underneath there somewhere is a Rhodia dotpad, too.


I always love seeing photos of people's writing spaces, so here's what mine looks like right now (or what it looked like yesterday when I was doing an ink test, which will be showing up on this blog shortly). I am particularly pleased with how I've learned how to use the room's built-in lattice, which used to be an annoyance, as an advantage, by hanging things from it. My latest storage idea was to hang my washi tapes from a ribbon (with a paper clip securing them underneath) - keeps them right at hand, but off the surface of the desk.

If you click on the photo above, that will take you to the photo on Flickr, which is covered with a lot of notes showing what things are. Sometimes I just love Flickr notes so very much.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Countdown to Postcrossing 500 giveaway


As of this moment (10:45am on 24 August 2011), I have all 17 of my Postcrossing postcards traveling. This shows you where they're traveling... and only 3 more of these puppies need to arrive to reach my 500 sent (well, registered, really, as I've sent well over 500 by now) marker!

Once I hit 500 registered, as I hinted last week, I will do a giveaway of postcards from my etsy shop. I'll announce the milestone and the giveaway officially, and at that point interested parties can register...

...but I'm looking at this traveling list and getting awfully curious! Which of these will be #500? I guess it's statistically possible that one I have even yet to send will be the magic postcard, since some things travel awfully slowly...

My personal opinion? It WON'T be the one to China. I predict that one is fated for expiration.

Any guesses? This is NOT the official giveaway contest, I'm just feeling like a guessing game will be fun right now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comparison of grey fountain pen inks

Grey ink comparison, scan

If you've read my blog for a while, you know I keep an ink journal to keep track of all my fountain pen inks. I update it every time I refill or clean a pen, so it's a great record of maintenance, and of course it helps me remember which ink is in which pen! But I also play around in it from time to time, and ink comparisons are always great fun. I had a yen a while back to compare my grey inks - or at least, the grey and blue-grey inks I had loaded in pens at the time.

What you see above is a scan of that comparison.

Grey ink comparison, photo

I also took a photo of the page, in natural light (indirect sunlight), and to my eyes, this one (the photo above) is a far more accurate portrayal of the colors. But some people prefer scans to photos, so in the interest of a full range, I used both imaging options.

I hadn't realized, until I put them all together like this, how very greenish the Noodler's Lexington Gray is.

The inks and pens listed above:
Diamine Grey / Esterbrook 9550 (EF)
Noodler's Lexington Gray / Guanleming 706 EF
Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun / Platinum Preppy M
Diamine Prussian Blue / Esterbrook 9788 (M)
Diamine Registrar's Ink / Lantu Bazic Eclipse M

The Registrar's Ink and the Lexington Gray are both waterproof, so they show up on postcards with some regularity. The others are for the innards of a letter or a journal.

Do I have a favorite? I guess I'd have to flag the Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun and the Registrar's Ink as current top picks, both for the color and behavior.

For those who are as geeky as I am about this sort of thing, these comparisons are in a Clairefontaine Basics clothbound journal, just like this one I blogged about over a year ago, except the current incarnation has a black cover. I'm pretty happy with using this journal as an ink journal, but when I finish this one, perhaps I'll branch out. Who knows.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Elton John, 1975 earns fashion hunks

Elton John, 1975

I got this FABULOUS Elton John postcard months ago on a swap-bot swap for LGBT people. I am so taken with this image - Elton (he wasn't Sir Elton yet, then) in his closet, surrounded by shoes, with a little stuffed replica (of him, most likely?) on his shoulder, beatific expression on his face, complete with hat. It's one of my favorite postcards ever.

Weird coincidence: when I pulled this postcard out of my mailbox, an Elton John song was playing on the radio in the UPS store that holds my mailbox. I think it was "Tiny Dancer."


My excellent swap partner DID put a return address on his postcard, so I finally got around to sending him a thank-you postcard. I don't have anything that is on par with Elton John, but I thought one of the fine underwear postcards from Catalog Man: Mail-order Fashion Hunks from Chronicle Books would be about the best I could do in these circumstances.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cat postcard + wonderful stamps from Ukraine


A wonderful Ukranian postcrosser, Jirafka, took the time to read my profile and go through my favorites on Postcrossing. She saw that I had favorited this awesome cat postcard, so she sent me one! UA-130118 shows a cat smoking a pipe with a mug of beer on a nighttime rooftop, looking at the moon and stars. Lovely scene, and an imaginative illustration...

ua-130118 stamps from Ukraine

...and she used wonderful stamps! I am just hypnotized by the beautiful artwork of that striking woman, with what I presume might be traditional Ukranian headwear? Lovely stuff. I don't know what's going on in the scene with the regal-looking man and woman with the long braids, but it's an interesting scene as well. You may not be able to tell from the scan, but the name of the country on that stamp is in metallic gold. Fancy stuff!

Just as soon as I get fed up with Postcrossing, I get another one of these wonderful surprises. It definitely helps me keep the faith in my 5+-year relationship with Postcrossing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Check out the latest Sandbook pen pal magazine - I'm in it!


Remember the blog post I did last month for Sandbook magazine? It showcased all 6 of my new postcard designs.

Well, it's hit the internet newsstands!

Hop on over to Sandbook.net to download the latest issue. (I'm on page 12.) If you read many letter blogs, this will be well worth your while, because you'll also see great articles from the following fellow mail bloggers (all linked in my blog sidebars, too!):

  • Send More Mail
  • Confessions of a Pen Thief
  • Bywater Wisdom
  • The Pen Pal Project
  • It's a Pen Pal World

  • It's full of lovely photos and other great mail-related articles and ads - give yourself plenty of time to explore it, it's pretty packed. (Warning: it also has lots of great photos of delicious food, so don't read it when you're hungry.)

    My thanks to Raia for the opportunity to crow about my postcard designs in this great magazine.

    Go to Sandbook.net to download August issue in PDF format.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Giveaway hint

    I am very close to 500 postcards sent on Postcrossing.

    One can never know when that 500 milestone will happen - I've certainly got plenty of postcards traveling, but who knows when they'll get registered - but I think when I reach that milestone, I will have a postcard giveaway, from the postcards in my etsy shop.

    Stay tuned!

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    More from the Feline Postal Brigade: Soda guards my postcards

    Feline postal brigade: Soda guards my postcards

    I usually sit on the couch with my laptop when I register postcards - from Swap-bot, Postcrossing, etc.

    Soda usually sits next to me and keeps my postcards warm.

    If she's still on them when I get up, I let her keep them for a while... hence there are usually postcards on the couch.

    See more excellent mail cats in the Feline Postal Brigade Flickr photo group... and please submit your own!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Beyond the perf 2012 stamp-a-day preview

    A lot of other blogs have mentioned this, so many of my readers may already be aware of the wonderful 2012 stamp-a-day preview from Beyond the perf, the USA Philatelic website.

    But this may indeed be news to you. If you haven't checked it out, you really should; each weekday at 7:30am, they release a preview of a 2012 stamp to be released, with photo and description. They only skip holidays and new stamp release days, so it's a great way to stay current with the new releases, too.

    I find myself popping over to the site every day just to get a glimpse of the future stamp for that day... it's a neat gimmick, and a great publicity method. You can also see all the previous stamps they've previewed there, too, to play catch-up.

    Take me to the 2012 stamp-a-day preview!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    A very odd Monday

    Monday is usually my biggest mail day.

    Every now and again, a day will come when I get no mail - often a Tuesday, maybe a Saturday - but NEVER a Monday...

    ...until today! Today was my first mail-free Monday in years. Something funky must be up with the sorting, as the friendly folks at my UPS store who answered my frantic queries ("WHAT? Did the mail not get sorted? Where are all my letters and postcards??") said that it startled them, too, because the only mail that came into the whole store today, with hundreds of mailboxes (my UPS store box is similar to a P.O. Box, except that I can get any kind of delivery including UPS and FedEx, and they're significantly more service-oriented), was packages and magazines.

    Go figure.

    All of Rhode Island mail is sorted in Providence, so I wonder if my fellow Rhode Islanders had the same issue today, or if it's specific to my area.

    It's got me a little bummed out, but it's not like I don't have a HUUUUGE backlog of fun mail to keep me busy anyway. And hey, tomorrow will be a BIG mail Tuesday.

    (Or else I really will be biting my fingernails!)

    You want mail?

    I just read a wonderful blog post called You want mail? by Pamela of the excellent blog Cappucino and art journal. I highly recommend you check it out. She really breaks it down for mail enthusiasts, and burgeoning letter-writers: start writing!

    For inspiration, and a bunch of good links, go check out You want mail?

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Vintage rhino postcard

    vintage rhino postcard by Current

    I sent this lovely little vintage Current postcard to Lela in Estonia recently. (She blogged about it, too, and took more photos as well.) She and I both have a fondness for animals and fanciful illustration styles. I am a big fan of these vintage Current postcards - they are very sturdy, and take fountain pen ink beautifully. I love the colors in this, too, with the toucan making a splash of brightness against the purplish-grey of the friendly-looking rhino.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    If I had a dollar...

    ... for every time someone addressed something to me as Massive Maven instead of Missive Maven, I would be able to send a lot more international letters and postcards.


    (For the record, I am not massive... I'm pretty darn average.)

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    AMAZING writing bat postcard from Carroll!

    AMAZING writing bat postcard from Carroll!

    If you know me at all, you know I absolutely plotzed when I saw this postcard. It came to me in my own Monster postcard swap, and the amazingly talented Carroll. Oh my gravy. A bat, holding a fountain pen and writing a letter to me? Incredible! And what a fine bat it is!

    You can't tell from this scan, bit it's like this was a painting painted right on canvas. Carroll worked her magic somehow to make this beautiful yet tough, and it arrived in my mailbox today in absolutely gorgeous, perfect condition.

    Writing bat postcard, back

    And here's the back. Of course she used bat postage stamps! She also used a wonderful hand-carved stamp of a skeleton holding an envelope, and I'll wager that is bound to be Carroll's own handiwork. If you've been following my blog for a while, you may have seen some of her hand-carved stamps featured here...

    Memo Guards The Mail

    ...most touchingly one she carved for me showing my dear cat Memo ("Memo guards the mail") which I received just a few months before he died.

    Carroll, you have outdone yourself once again!! What a treat!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    The mystery of Miss Millie [now solved, sort of]

    To Miss Millie, returned

    Someone signing herself "Miss Millie" sent me a postcard in April. She was one of the good ones who put a return address on her postcard, so I did send her a postcard back in July.

    But it was returned to me.

    I thought I copied her address exactly, but her handwriting was not the most... direct.

    So, if you are Miss Millie in the vicinity of Puyallup, WA (or were in that vicinity in April), do let me know the proper address and I'll try again. Miss Millie was a bit of a mystery even then, because she wrote to me with some sort of familiarity, but I had no idea who she was. Did we exchange on swap-bot? Postcrossing? Sendsomething.net? Another method? Because I really do get a lot of mail, and if we don't write regularly, I am likely to forget. C'est la vie.

    I am amused by the "nixie" in the top left corner of the postal label. Is that an official designation for "give up and send back?" Too bad for the nixies...

    UPDATE: thanks to a kind and observant reader (thanks, Pen Thief!), I've got an address (though not from Miss Millie herself). I misplaced one letter, which has me somewhat baffled, as I was under the impression - from postal workers - that it gets routed by the zip code, which was correct. Hmm. Anomalies happen. I'll pop it in an envelope and send it off again. I am still not sure where our correspondence began, but that could be due to my own rusty memory and slow response time!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Simpsons postcards


    Although I don't have a TV, I am a huge fan of the animated series "The Simpsons." It's a long story, but I find their brand of humor brilliant. So when I stumble across out-of-print Simpsons postcard books, I snatch them up. This postcard of a surfing Bart (doesn't that wave look Japanese?) was US-1097163 sent to the Netherlands.


    The next two postcards come from a much older set, circa 1990, when the Simpsons were still quite young as a TV series. It even includes characters who died, like Bleeding Gums Murphy. All those postcards are single-spot mug-shot character studies like this one. This sweet little Maggie card went out as US-881455 to Poland.


    And of course the great Homer! He went out as US-952533 to Russia. Favorite snack: pork rinds lite! Ewwww!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Literary postcard swap sent

    Book Spines for my Literary Postcard Swap

    I sent my postcards for my Literary Postcard swap, and really enjoyed the process.

    It helps that I am entirely in love with the "Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One Box" by Chronicle Books. They take fountain pen ink so nicely, and the designs are wonderful - lots of variety.

    Tiger! Tiger! for my Literary Postcard Swap

    The book that I raved about, not coincidentally, involved a tiger: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

    The Tiger's Wife and the tiger's cousin

    Even Soda liked it!

    Happy summer reading and writing... I think I'll go write a letter now.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    A postal tip on foreign addresses

    I recently chatted with a very friendly postal clerk at my favorite post office, and she gave me some great advice about addressing international mail.

    I have long known that it's best to put the name of the country LAST, but haven't understood why. Sometimes I'll get an address on Postcrossing where there are numbers listed after the country. I usually figure that the person who lists their address most likely knows best the conventions of addressing mail in their own country, but that is not necessarily the case if sending from the USA.

    I recently got a postcrossing card to Russia, and I've altered the info, but let's say the person listed their address as

    15 Petroskaya circle

    or something like that. My friendly postal clerk pointed out that you always want to list the country last, because American postal scanners will scan mail from the bottom up. If they see a country name first, it's headed for that country. If they see numbers first, they will read it as a zip code. I don't know if I'm explaining this as well as I could, but I think I understand some routing difficulties with international postcards I've sent in the past.

    So - if you're in the USA, and you're sending to mail outside the USA - always put the destination country's name last, and on its own line!

    And there's your friendly postal tip of the day. I love to learn new postal facts and tips!

    UPDATE 8/4/2011: Thanks to blog reader David Harrison for some really excellent tips. Please read the comments for the full dialogue, but at the heart of the matter he recommended FRANK'S COMPULSIVE GUIDE TO POSTAL ADDRESSES, which is really spectacular. Do have a look.