Saturday, December 29, 2012

Show and mail? Snow and mail!

Keep calm and send postcards

Last spring some folks at the National Postal Museum started a groovy Twitter hashtag, #showandmail. The concept was similar to "show and tell:" show us what you've mailed! I love seeing photos of mail, and it was a fun way to see quickly what other folks were sending and receiving. (Especially cool for those who don't have a mail blog to be able to share an instantaneous photo.) I did a blog post about it back in April when I first got into it, and all my posts that I subsequently tweeted about are tagged with #showandmail here on my blog. It was really hot Twitter hashtag for a while, but it's sort of died off lately.

The Letter Writers Alliance did a nice post recently about Show and Mail, with the intent of reviving that hashtag and mail show-and-tell. For an explanation, the LWA Management articulated it better than I could:

Why should we do this? Well, firstly, it will get us to write more letters. Secondly, it will inspire others to write more mail. Whenever I see a show and mail I get an itch to write someone. Why not spread that feeling to others?

I've been writing mail today, and our long-awaited snowstorm has finally arrived... so I thought I'd contribute a Show and Mail in the form of Snow and Mail. (Yes, I love puns, and I'm not ashamed.)

Soda knows how to chill in the snow

Of course, Soda had to help.

The lovely Keep Calm and Send Postcards postcard is from MaxAndCoPost on etsy, and they have some other fine mail-related postcards in their shop. It's a great sentiment for any day, but especially a day like today when many of us on the east coast are getting quite a good bit of snow.

Soda knows how to ride out a snowstorm

Soda and I intend to snuggle up and enjoy it.

Whatever your weather, if you're writing mail, pop a photo up on Twitter and use that great #showandmail hashtag, so we postal voyeurs can enjoy and be inspired. And thanks to the Letter Writers Alliance for the reminder!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The slow little hedgehog that could


This delightful Postcrossing postcard was sent to me on August 31, 2012 - and it arrived in my mailbox on December 20, 2012! I have no idea what makes a postcard travel 111 days... did it get lost along the way? Did it languish in some very slow office? Who knows, but I am so glad that this postcard from Belarus, BY-582121, did finally reach me. I am a big fan of hedgehogs, which I gather are (or used to be?) common in Europe, but are not indigenous to the Americas. I just think they're cute!

I'm always fascinated by slow Postcrossing travel, especially from countries where mail is usually speedier. Generally I get cards from Belarus within a week. I'll never solve the mystery, but it's fun to ruminate on the adventures this postcard must have had in its travels.

Deep Letters Correspondence Project

I know a lot of my blog readers are still looking for more pen pals, and I try to post resources to that end when they come to my attention. I am doing this post as a favor to another mail blogger. I do not participate in this project myself, and so I make no claims for its longevity or reliability, but here's the info:

LadyKayy is launching a "Deep Letters Correspondence Project". She calls it a "letter exchange with a twist" and she describes it thusly:

This exchange is geared towards those of us who suffer from emotional or psychiatric issues! I've always found that it is much easier to confide in someone who has similar 'problems' (I prefer to call them quirks!) as me, so this will hopefully link you up with someone who is looking for that same deep friendship that I am so glad to have in my life already!

I do know that letters can be a real lifeline to anyone who is suffering, so I hope this is a great outlet for some. Full info at Deep Letters Correspondence Project. If you have any questions, please direct them to LadyKayy at the link above.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I made the Letter Writers Alliance blog!

Well, color me tickled - I just happened to be bopping around to my favorite letter writing blogs, and saw a big old photo of me heading off a recent post on the fabulous Letter Writers Alliance (LWA) website. The post, Photos in front of mailboxes, came out yesterday, and touts a "call to arms" for LWA members to take photos of themselves in front of mailboxes. I love that idea. They used the photo of myself on my recent Postcards from Amsterdam post, which of course is not my favorite photo of myself, per se (I swear, my smile doesn't always look quite that cheesy), but I love that I'm wearing the LWA member bag.

I would certainly be tickled to see photos of other letter writers in front of mailboxes - who doesn't love a good mailbox photo? - and this is a great time for me to plug the Letter Writers Alliance as a fabulous organization. I didn't know they featured me on the post, so this is not one of those you-blog-me-and-I'll-blog-you tradeoffs that I find somewhat tiresome, though in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I am a proud member of the LWA and have been for years.

Membership in the Letter Writers Alliance is very reasonably priced (I recommend getting the fine member stationery which comes with a free membership), and it is good for a lifetime so you never have to renew. The have all kinds of great little perks, like free goodies and downloads, and I just love the idea of supporting an official letter-writing organization of such quality and style.

Rate Change Guide from Beyond the Perf

Postage rates for first-class mail in the USA go up on January 27, 2013. Beyond the Perf has a nice Rate Change Guide, complete with pretty new stamp images, to help illustrate the rate changes. It's worth a peek. As for now, I'm trying to use up my Lancaster County international stamps that just debuted in January 2012.

Monday, December 17, 2012

About the fabulous Platinum Preppy fountain pen, and the eydropper conversion thereof

Platinum Preppy fountain pens, eyedroppers and with converter

A blog reader recently spotted a Platinum Preppy fountain pen in one of my recent blog posts, and asked how I "filled the barrel completely." That practice is called an eyedropper conversion (when you completely fill the barrel of a pen with ink, and then just screw it shut, that's called an eyedropper pen, because you used to fill with an eyedropper), and Platinum Preppies are famous for this. I love 'em. You can see the difference in ink capacity in the photo above - the 7 pens on the left are all eyedroppers, with nearly the entire barrel full of ink, whereas the 2 pens on the right are using Platinum converters, which hold only a scant fraction ink in comparison.

Platinum Preppy fountain pen cap - see the inner plastic cap?

I have no fewer than 7 (actually I have 10, I missed a few in my last count!) eyedropper Preppies going at once; that is my current favorite fountain pen option. They write beautifully, they hold a ton of ink, and the Preppies have some thingamajiggy device (that's a technical term, folks) that is spring-loaded inside the cap so that it makes them extremely airtight, and therefore unlikely to dry up for months. You can see a close-up of it above.

Platinum Preppy fountain pen - awesome cap

You can see above how when the pen cap is closed, the nib pushes it tight inside the end of the cap. That special inner airtight cap thingamajiggy is a handy thing for me, since - I confess - I do often neglect my pens. I can manage not to write with one of these pens for months (it's happened), and then when I pick up the pen again, the ink is not evaporated or dried up at all. Love it. But I digress - let's get back to the eyedropper info.

Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku ink in Platinum Preppy eyedropper

If you are at all a pen or ink geek like me, you may think it's pretty cool to see that ink sloshing around in the clear pen barrel like that. The ink in this pen is Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku, a lovely deep green with quite a lot of blue in it.

So, an eyedropper conversion is very easy to do properly, and there are tons of online resources to get you through it... even those of you that, like me, are loathe to undertake any fancy pen modifications.

My favorite two articles are from JetPens and Goulet Pens (which are, incidentally, two of my favorite online retailers for all of my pen and ink needs). The JetPens article, "How to do an Eyedropper Pen Conversion, shows a really nice tutorial using a series of photos. I prefer step-by-step photos, because my internet connection does not always allow me to stream videos very successfully. Goulet pens has a tutorial, "Converting a Platinum Preppy to an eyedropper pen," and theirs has both photos and a how-to video. Both Jetpens and Goulet Pens sell the supplies (o-rings, and maybe silicone grease) to do the eyedropper conversion, which is extremely easy and no-fuss. I do recommend using the silicone grease. JetPens calls it optional, but I consider it pretty much essential.

Platinum Preppy eyedropper - see the o-ring?

I have done countless Platinum Preppy eyedropper conversions, and only ever had one leak on me. The reason it leaked was because I screwed it closed too tightly and cracked the barrel. Platinum Preppies are very well-made pens, but they are inexpensive, and the plastic isn't perfect. When you have a rubbery o-ring in there, there's a lot of "give" when tightening the barrel. I thought, the tighter the better, but that is not the case. It's a little counterintuitive for me NOT to screw the eyedropper pen full of ink as tight as possible, but lesson learned; I close them gently now, and haven't had a cracked barrel since.

Platinum Preppy pen cap, posted

As the name implies, the first eyedropper fountain pens were filled with eyedroppers. There are some inks that come in bottles with eyedropper tops, and those are handy - but some people use a syringe to fill their pens. I use disposable plastic pipettes, which can be found all over the place (I get mine on eBay), and I know they are not terribly sustainable, but plastic pipettes keep your ink safer from contamination than a syringe would do. They are also faster, and require no cleaning because you just throw the darn things away. Granted, you have to be quite the intense fountain pen and ink geek in order to have a supply of plastic pipettes on hand, but... we all have our quirky hobbies.

My thorough blog reader also asked about air travel and these pens, which is a wise question indeed. The major advantage of an eyedropper pen, especially one with a large barrel like the Preppy, is that it holds tons of ink and lasts for ages. The disadvantage is that it is very susceptible to heat and air pressure. If the ink is very low in the barrel, the heat of your hand itself will make the ink "blort" (another technical term, folks) and flow out of the pen too quickly. On airplanes, they can also spit out some ink. This is very easily handled. When I fly with fountain pens (and I always take pens with me when I travel, so I should just say "when I fly"), I wrap them all in a paper towel or two inside a plastic ziplock baggie. Most of the time, there are no leaks. If there is a leak, the paper towel inside the baggie absorbs the excess ink, and the plastic baggie keeps it from making a mess on anything else in my bag. The one time I had a Preppy leak fantastically on a trip, it was a little messy when I opened the bag to clean off the pens, but since the bag was clear, I knew what I was in for. (It was also my own fault, sort of - I should have known better than to fly with the ink level so low, and therefore more susceptible to changes in pressure.)

If I've made you all excited to get some Platinum Preppies of your very own, you can get them at JetPens or at Goulet Pens, along with eyedropper conversion options from either site. In the top photo on this post, you can see the little baggies of o-rings I've purchased from both Goulet Pens and Jetpens. I always have extra supplies on hand, so I can throw together an eyedropper conversion whenever the whim strikes me. [UPDATE: It seems JetPens no longer sells o-rings. You can get o-rings from Goulet Pens.]

Happy writing!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

4 years of Missive Maven

This little blog of mine is four years old today. I can't believe it. In some ways it seems so much longer, and in other ways I think, FOUR YEARS??!?

I know in the past year I haven't posted as much as in previous years, and right now it's my busiest of busy seasons, but I still so enjoy the wonderful mail blogging community. So on my fourth blogoversary, I say a big thank you to all of you, wonderful blog readers!

May you continue to send and receive magnificent mail, and thanks for sharing your stories and reading mine.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

International first class stamp rates to go up in January

Have I been under a rock (always possible, this time of year), or is this breaking news? I just learned that international first class stamps - currently $1.05 - will go up to $1.10 on January 27, 2013. Oh dear. It seems so recent that they just changed to $1.05, but I guess that was way back in January (2012).

To soften the blow, the new international first class stamps will be "forever" stamps, meaning they'll be valid for full postage with any rate change, just like the domestic "forever" first-class stamps. I guess that's pretty cool. The stamp design is round, which looks nifty to me:

You can learn more about the stamp on the Beyond the Perf stamp preview, which is also a lovely way to get a look at the new stamps to be released next year.

UPDATE: Thanks to Derrick for alerting me that regular first-class domestic stamps go up to 46 cents next month as well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vintage Christmas stamps


We know I don't use Christmas stamps, but... I've just listed some lovely vintage Christmas postage stamps in my etsy shop.

Above, vintage 1982-1983 Christmas stamps, 8 1982-1983 20-cent stamps. Four have artwork of Santa Claus, and four have artwork featuring outdoor winter scenes.

Vintage 1989 Christmas stamp booklet: Carracci artwork, mint condition

These stamps are in a vintage 1989 Christmas stamp booklet with Carracci artwork from the National Gallery. The booklet contains 20 25-cent stamps, all in mint condition.

From Arago:
"Lodovico Carracci’s “The Dream of Saint Catherine of Alexandria” begins to move into the Italian Baroque style esteemed by Samuel Kress, who donated this and other paintings from that period to the National Gallery. The stamps, designed by Bradbury Thompson, were issued in sheets and books of twenty: a new format for Christmas stamps (Postal Bulletin, Oct. 19, 1989).

The lithographed, engraved design for the stamp represents only a portion of the composition of the painting, which includes Mary and angels above the sleeping Saint Catherine, for whom the painting is named. The scene illustrates the “mystic marriage” of Catherine, who dreamed Jesus “placed a ring on her finger to signify betrothal,” and indeed, she wears a ring in the painting (De Grazia 1996). While the luminous colors of the painting are not communicated on the stamp, the elegant forms of the mother and child are, with Jesus appearing more child-like in this version than in many other Christmas stamp images (De Grazia 1996)."

Vintage 1990 Christmas stamp booklet: Antonello artwork, mint condition

From the next year, I also have the Vintage 1990 Christmas stamp booklet with Antonello artwork. This booklet also contains 20 25-cent stamps, all in mint condition.

From Arago on this stamp:
"The stamp depicts Antonello da Messina's (c. 1430-1479) "Madonna and Child," which is housed at the National Gallery. Designed by Bradbury Thompson, the stamps were issued in panes of fifty stamps and booklets of twenty. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed the stamps by the offset/intaglio process."


Finally, a mixed lot of vintage unused Christmas postage, with the following items:

1 - 29 cent Jack in the box Greetings stamp, self-adhesive
2 - 20 cent Fra Filippo Lippi National Gallery Christmas Mary and Jesus painting stamps
1 - 22 cent Luca della Robbia, Detroit Institute of Arts Christmas Mary and Jesus on blue
1 - 6 cent toy train Christmas stamp

I know a lot of folks send holiday or Christmas cards, and if you're looking to dress up those items with some themed postage, these may be right up your alley.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Postcards from Amsterdam

Writing postcards with my trusty LWA bag

This year for Thanksgiving we went to Amsterdam. I think it is our favorite city in the world. I won't go into why here, but suffice to say we had a fantastic time. Of course I sent postcards, and had an awfully fine time writing them in various wonderful Dutch bars. Pictured above and below is my favorite bar, a haunt right down the street from where we stayed (and we went there every single night!), Gollem Proeflokaal.


Here I spent some fine time writing, drinking, talking, listening to music, and communing with the fantastic bar cats. And thanks to the amazing bartender who fixed us up with two transcendant beer flights, I discovered my new love: Karmeliet Tripel beer. (For those of you that know about my gluten sensitivities: I am not celiac but don't consume any gluten in the USA, it causes me all kinds of problems. For reasons I don't understand - different farming practices? GMO rules? - I can have gluten in the Netherlands. Beer, bread, none of it bothers me over there. So I drank a hell of a lot of fantastic beer!)


Another bar where I wrote postcards, Parck, was an "American style" bar, but I didn't even know that until I looked up their website just now!

Postcards, beer, cat

The bar cat here was friendlier - I was about the only person in the place at this time - and she came up and was very interested in my postcard writing. She helped, for sure.

Last chance to mail postcards!

I forgot to get my picture taken when I mailed postcards from other mailboxes, but the very last batch went out at the airport, and I remembered to ask for a photo then. I had no idea I was matching my Letter Writers Alliance bag so well, with my blue sweater and red earwarmers. Incidentally, the LWA member bag (sorry, it really is for members only - but if you're reading this blog, why aren't you a member of the Letter Writers Alliance?!?) is my new favorite travel bag. I have carried it on trains, planes, in cars, and it's been all over the world now. It's a darn fine bag.

So that was my trip, my postcard fun, and why I've been a little absent lately. Now I'm home, in my very busy season at work, but I'll have a brief respite the second half of December so I do hope to have some more blog posts coming. November has not been a good month for blogging or for mail, but it's been a fine month for travel and adventure!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1940s aerogramme-style Air Mail with wings

Air Mail with wings

What a find! I'm so excited about this World War II era stationery, just listed in my etsy shop. The little envelope with wings is my favorite part!

Wessel's Air-Mail Envo-Letters

This is a complete original set of Wessel's Air Mail Envo-Letters, in original packaging. The paper folder contains 12 sheets of aerogramme-style stationery, which fold up into their own envelopes. The 1940s air mail graphics are stunning! Though they do not have a specific date on them, I'm near certain they are from the 1940s, roughly in the World War 2 era.

Vintage air mail envo-letters stationery

The packaging folders do show some wear and age spots, as you can see in the photos, but the envo-letters contained inside are in excellent shape, perfect for modern retro letter writing (or for the collector, of course). Above you see the folded sheets on the outside, with the excellent red and blue air mail stripes...

Vintage air mail fold and mail stationery

...and they are mostly blank on the inside, except for the fantastic Air Mail with wings graphic shown in close-up at the top of this post.

For aficionados of vintage writing instruments, I have enjoyed these in my own letter-writing, and can attest that this vintage paper is very fountain pen friendly, and takes fountain pen ink beautifully.

These are not to be confused with V-Mails, which Wessel also manufactured - V-Mails were for correspondence with American troops stationed overseas, but these Envo-Letters looked to be for any international air mail. (I also sell vintage WWII V-Mail sets, too.)

Vintage Envo-Letters aerogramme

I have a few of these sets in the original packaging - fun to look at, and fun to write on. Check out an example of one I sent internationally a few months ago.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's that time of year again...

Magic and the menorah 2

It's the appropriate time of year to go ahead and direct folks to my oft-viewed "A word on holiday cards, or, why I don't do Christmas" post.

If you're really interested, there's some fairly in-depth dialogue in the comments section.

The short bit: don't send me a Christmas card, please.

The long bit: read why.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! / Cannibal Pumpkin

Cannibal pumpkin

Sorry I don't have any photos of my Halloween mail - I've sent and received some - but I do have tonight's photos of the fabulous jack-o-lantern duo that my best beloved carved...

Don't eat me!!!

...Cannibal Pumpkin!

Pumpkin cannibal

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: We're OK

Just a quick post to let you all know that we made it through Hurricane Sandy OK. There was a fair amount of flooding in Newport but not, thankfully, at my house. We have some tree limbs down and we lost power for 24 hours - off work for 2 days!! - but now power is restored and things are returning to normal.

It's kind of amazing how helpless one feels without electricity. It was sort of fun reading by candlelight last night, but I was too nervous to write. Hurricanes are not ideal letter-writing conditions!

I'm thinking of all my pen pals and mail friends all up and down the east coast, and hoping everyone is OK.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New letter-writing themed notecards

Notecards: Zesty French postman with quote

I am extremely excited to announce that I have finally created notecards out of my popular letter-writing themed postcard designs. There are notecard sets available for almost all of my designs, and you can find them all in the New original cards section of my etsy shop.

Notecards: Solitude and good company / Lord Byron letter-writing quote

Quite a number of my blog readers and etsy shoppers have asked if I would offer notecards, and I weighed the decision carefully for a while. Notecards are much more expensive to print and sell - more paper, envelopes included - and of course, more expensive to ship.

Letterbird notecard set

But they offer a lot more room for a proper letter, and feel that much more sophisticated. (Sort of. Some of my designs are a bit silly, I suppose...) I experimented with small print runs from a number of different professional printers, and found quite a few disappointments: cheaper price and lesser quality.

Notecards: Unanswered Correspondence - Do It Now!

I did not wish to sell a notecard that I wouldn't want to write on myself, and the ability to take fountain pen ink and still look good was very important to me. I have finally found a product of which I can be proud, but they are definitely more expensive than the postcards. They are on par with other similar cards found on etsy, and I am selling them in sets of 3 - 3 cards, 3 envelopes for $6.

Notecards: I jump for joy over snail mail

Like the postcard sets, they will come packaged in a clear plastic envelope sealed with a sticker, perfect for giving as a gift or as a gift to yourself.

Notecards: To Get a Letter, Write a Letter

So what do you think? I am very pleased with the tactile, in-person quality, but I'd love to hear any opinions upon viewing the photo or the concept, including from anyone who thinks they're just too expensive.

Notecards: Swallow's air mail garden

I did a small print run of these and don't have all that many to sell, so if they are unpopular or unloved, they won't stick around.... if they don't sell, I'm out a little cash but I'm happy to write my own letters on 'em!

Notecards: Snail Mail, Not Dead Yet

Because as we letter-writers all know, letter-writing is NOT a lost art. Snail Mail isn't dead yet.

Notecards: WRITE - A letter is better

Here are links to all the notecard designs and options:

1. Classic American Postman
2. Unanswered Correspondence: DO IT NOW!
3. To get a letter... Write a letter.
4. I jump for joy over SNAIL MAIL!
5. Swallow's Air Mail Garden
6. Letterbird
7. Snail mail: Not Dead Yet
8. Solitude and good company: Lord Byron letter-writing quote
9. WRITE: A Letter is Better
10. Zesty French Postman with quote
11. Combination pack, you choose 3

All made and printed in the USA!

Notecards: Classic American Postman

Again, you can peruse them all in the New original cards section of my etsy shop.

Whatever notecards or stationery you choose, support snail mail and write lots of letters!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Really expired Postcrossing postcards

I knew Postcrossing postcards that were expired (postcards "expire" after 60 days, so the sender can be allowed to send another, accounting for things lost in the mail, people not registering them, etc) could still be registered if they were received later, but did you know they expire for good after 365 days? I didn't. I received a postcard from China last week, and it couldn't be registered. I tried to have the Postcrossing "robot" find the correct ID (if you haven't used the Postcrossing robot to find missing or incorrect IDs, I highly recommend it), and just received an email letting me know that the postcard ID from China was over 365 days old and thus couldn't be registered. It was postmarked in September 2012, so either the Postcrosser sat on it for a year, or mail from mainland China is even slower than I'd imagined!

Many of you may already know this tidbit, but it was news to me, so I just thought I'd share. Adventures in mailing...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's almost Monster Time!

Bump - just three days left to sign up for theMonster Postcard Swap #2 swap that I'm hosting on Swap-Bot! If you're interested in sending and receiving some mail monsters, do join in and sign up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just in time for Halloween... another Monster Postcard Swap!

Monster Postcard Swap Graphic

Just in time for Halloween... I'm coordinating another Monster Postcard Swap on Swap-bot. All the details are on the Monster Postcard Swap #2 page, so have a look if you're interested, but here are the basics:

Send one postcard featuring a creepy monster -- vampires, werewolves, zombies, Frankenstein, bigfoots, yetis, ogres, banshees, etc -- to one partner. Signup deadline is Oct 19, send deadline Oct 26.

In case you're wondering, the postcard image above featuring bloodthirsty zombies comes from Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies: 30 postcards by Chronicle Books.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The postman delivers mail to the Red Army


This fine postcard was another very pleasant surprise from Postcrossing, in the form of RU-1125795. According to the sender, it shows a photo entitled "The postman hands a letter to the Red Army," from a set of "victory mail" released by the Russian Post "for the day of victory in the great patriotic war." You know I love any imagery of mail and mail delivery, especially involving mail carriers, and views of postpeople from other countries and eras always fascinate me. Plus, he's got a great bike!


The sender, Yury, even included this awesome stamp showing Vologda lace.

My new favorite Pinterest board: Art Cat Stamps

I do hop over to Pinterest every now and then, and I just discovered a board that combines two of my great loves: cats and postage stamps. Just had to share with you my new favorite Pinterest board: check out Art Cat Stamps!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back to mail! Or, a return from the doldrums

A big part of me was missing the past few weeks when I was in the mail doldrums (i.e. I wasn't even reading my mail, let alone sending any!). To clarify perhaps from my last post -- it wasn't that I didn't WANT to read my mail, I just didn't have a large enough chunk of time to do it. And I like to sit down and do it properly, with my little routine and all. It took me a little longer than I thought, but I'm now all caught up on my mail reading, postcard registering, etc... all mail logged, read, and enjoyed.

Now I can get back to the business of sending mail again, too - and I just wrote my first letter in three weeks! (Ack.) It felt wonderful. I think I'll go write some more.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mail doldrums

I have a confession to make, and I am doing it here with a goal in mind, in hopes of making that announced goal come true.


I haven't read my mail in two weeks. Letters and postcards from September 10 onward are sitting in a pile on my writing desk. I have a ritual with reading mail that involves logging my mail in my letter log. Each piece gets noted, along with received date, postmark date, the date written (if they included it), and where it came from. It is also a ritual of slowing down and taking uninterrupted time at my writing desk.

What with the start of school (since I have summers off and work really hard the rest of the year, I'll wager my longtime readers have figured out that I'm a teacher) and the Jewish High Holidays (L'Shana Tovah! Happy New Year!), things have been madness. The little time I've had, I've spent in quality time with my beloved.

I've also not written any mail in those same two weeks. I miss it terribly!


Today is the day to read my mail, and hopefully to write some, too!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Crazy Postcrossing: Have a Nice Day


I received this wonderful Postcrossing card from Ukraine yesterday, UA-288738. (Yes, it really did take 3 months to arrive!) Normally I don't post the backs of written cards - or at least, not too often - but this one is pretty spectacular.

If you want to read the lovely text, view this photo larger on Flickr. My favorite quote: "Materialize your imagination."

On another note, my apologies for again taking so long to post. My summer is over, I've gone back to work, life is crazy busy again... and I'm still dealing with health issues. I haven't had much time for mail, but I'm trying to devote as much time to it as I can... I'm off to write some letters and postcards now, but I wanted to reassure readers I'm still around, and will still aim for posting once or twice a week at least. I'm doing my best!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Of course I spent money in the Edward Gorey House giftshop...

The Envelope Art of Edward Gorey poster

I promise this will be my LAST post on my visit earlier this week to Edward Gorey House (at least for a while...?), but I thought it essential to share with you my purchases from the gift shop. Of course I was highly excited about the gift shop, and indeed, they had a very fine Gorey selection.

Above, we have the poster for this year's exhibit itself, Edward Gorey's Envelope Art. The poster doesn't show Gorey's actual envelope art, but it does show some lovely mail-related Gorey artwork. I wish they had this poster available as postcards, or this artwork as a postcard, but oh well. I was so taken with the poster that I just had to buy it, for decor as well as a fun commemorative. It is adapted from Gorey's cover art for "Other People's Mail," Berg Collection, NY Public Library, 1974.

My haul from the Edward Gorey House gift shop!

They had a fine selection of Gorey postcards, so of course I had to buy a bunch. Here they all are. I included the paper back they came in, because it was pre-stamped with bat stamps. SWOON!

postcard of Edward Gorey (1925-2000), photo by Kevin McDermott

I bought one postcard of the artist himself...

Info on Gorey postcard

There's the full info from the back of the postcard, for those of you who (like me) want the full story.

The World of Edward Gorey stickers

I was terribly excited to see these "The World of Edward Gorey" stickers, because as far as I know, they're discontinued. I used to buy them regularly online and in certain bookstores/stationery stores, but I haven't found them anywhere in years! So I had to buy three sets. Yay.

I wanted to chronicle my finds before I sent any, but now I think it's time to go write some Edward Gorey postcards.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Edward Gorey House visit: Part 3

Edward Gorey's Couch placard

As previously mentioned, Gorey was a cat lover, and apparently his feline companions had run of the house to do as they pleased. I find it utterly charming that the House Museum included this placard near the original couch. "The dramatic and creative result of many years of many cats is the couch you see before you..."

Gorey's couch, as "destroyed" by his cats

Yep, that's what the kitties can do.

O is for Olive run through with an awl.

Gorey wrote The Gashleycrumb Tinies, one of his most famous books, in 1963. It is an abecedarian book featuring the death of a child for every letter of the alphabet. It's delightfully morbid. My current 2012 calendar, above my writing desk, is from the Gashleycrumb Tinies. This month I see "Q is for Quentin who sank on a mire. R is for Rhoda consumed by a fire," complete with the accompanying drawings. Behind the house is a "graveyard" for the Gashleycrumb Tinies... here we see O is for Olive run through with an awl. (Here's more about the gravestones, if you're interested.)

My happy pose with The Doubtful Guest

Here I am posing with the garden sculpture of The Doubtful Guest. What an honor!

My Doubtful Guest sort-of-imitation

Naturally, I had to get a little silly and try a sort-of imitation. It kind of looks like he's sniffing my head or sucking my brains out, no?

Tea at The Optimist Cafe

After our visit, we headed over to The Optimist Cafe for lunch - just a few blocks down the road, and a delightful lunch. They had a whole tea menu, so I indulged in a pot. It was an indulgent day, an utter delight. I hope you've enjoyed my excessive posts about the visit (and good gravy, I think this is more photos of my own self than I've ever posted, oy!) and, as I said before, I encourage anyone in the area to make time for a visit. The Gorey House is open seasonally, April through December.

The Edward Gorey House visit: Part 1

The Edward Gorey House visit: Part 2

If you want to see the whole slew of photos of my visit (with commentary), hop on over to my full Edward Gorey House photo set on Flickr.

And don't forget to check out the Edward Gorey House website, too!