Thursday, February 28, 2013



This wonderful Postcrossing postcard came to me this week from Germany, DE-1961098. The artwork is fabulous in and of itself - reproduction of a vintage cat food advertisement from Germany. I think that cheesy kitty tongue is painted on/doctored on the original photo, which only adds to the kitschy kitty charm.

Double fantastic, though, is that this postcard is metal! I guess it's some kind of tin/aluminum thing, sort of like old metal advertisements, but the backing is paper-coated so the sender just wrote on it with an everyday ballpoint pen. It's clearly been hand canceled, but still, I'm amazed it arrived in such perfect condition. I've gotten wooden and plastic postcards before, but I think this is the first metal one I've received. Very, very cool.

Also, I love learning that the German word for "purr" is "schnurr." How delightfully onomatopoeic! Thank you, Google translate, for helping me figure that the rest of the caption is "Because Whiskas tastes so incomparably good." Schnurr!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do you use Postable?

I've seen a lot of buzz on Postable lately. I just read a nice post on The Letter Writers Alliance about it. Basically, it seems to function as an online address book, where contacts can update their own info and therefore it stays accurate because the data is live and fresh.

I suppose I am the paranoid curmudgeon. Right now, I am abstaining from it as deliberately as I do from Facebook.

I started to sign up when it first started its social media splash a couple of months ago, but there was something in the signup process that gave me pause. I don't recall the exact wording, so I don't want to get myself in hot water, but I do not entirely trust that the addresses are all private, and not given over to any kind of future sharing. What does Postable really gain from this? I am too suspicious, so I neither have my own account/database, nor do I willingly add my own info - though I realize that folks could add my info manually.

I'm still thinking about it, though, and look forward to feedback from folks who've used it for a while. Many of my favorite and most trustworthy mail pals and mail bloggers use it, so I may be too paranoid here. What do you think? Do you use Postable?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Most frustrating Postcrossing postcard quote this year

I just got a Postcrossing postcard from the UK.

I am utterly, utterly piqued by this quote from it:

"I liked Downton Abbey too but I think it was a bit over the top to kill _________ off. Hope it wasn't a spoiler for you. :-)"

Hey, folks in the UK: please remember that Downton Abbey is about a year behind here in the USA! I had no idea that character was "killed off."

That was a terrible, terrible spoiler for me. (NO SMILEY FACE HERE.) I have avoided all possibilities of spoilers online, and did not think to see it on a postcard. I had no freaking idea of this. (I have redacted the name of the character, to spare all of you the most annoying knowledge I now unwillingly carry.)


Update on 16 Feb 2013: I just got a very sweet message from the sender, who genuinely had no idea that the USA was behind the UK in the series and felt awful for spoiling. Ah well. Now it won't happen again to someone else, and I am touched she took the time to send a sincere apology. Lesson learned for me: I am way too involved in this series, and this is why I generally avoid TV shows!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard Nemo update

I bet many of my blog readers have heard about the huge blizzard, dubbed "Nemo," that just hit New England. Thanks to all of you who have expressed concern. We are fine, but we are shoveling ourselves out of a lot of snow. I haven't yet found an official statistic for how much snow we've received here in Newport, RI -- the snow only stopped falling a few hours ago, after over 36 hours of continuous snowfall -- but I can tell you from my own exhaustive shoveling efforts that it is somewhere between two and three FEET of snow. That is an incredible amount for coastal New England! In my neighborhood, we lost power for 23 hours, which is more than uncomfortable in 20-degree weather... it's downright dangerous. I cranked the heat in my house before the power went, because I expected to lost electricity, and when we lost power at 10pm last night, it was 71 degrees in my house. When we regained power at 9pm tonight, it was 47 degrees in my house. I was reading with hat, coat, and gloves on - by the fire in our fireplace - when the joyous beeps of appliances restarting on the electric grid resounded throughout our quiet house.

We've lost power for longer during hurricanes, recently during Hurricane Sandy, but I've not lost power at this very cold time of year before. I was starting to really worry about my elderly cats. Fortunately there was PLENTY OF SNOW to stuff inside the coolers that we employed to try to save the food from our powerless refrigerator! We were very lucky and didn't lose any food, and also didn't sustain any damage to our house, though two very large trees in our yard have come down from the weight of the snow. Don't know which was louder last night, the crack of a tree trunk breaking, or the horrible noise of a transformer blowing out when the whole few blocks lost power!

I hope the scariness of the storm is behind us. I wrote a few nice letters yesterday when the snowfall was just pretty, and the power hadn't gone out yet. As I noted in a tweet on my Twitter stream yesterday, I love to write letters in snowfall, but once we lose power, I get too nervous to write letters, and have trouble doing anything but reading. So it's been a very nervous day, and I'm beyond relieved to be back on the grid, with my furnace pumping heat into the cold house again, and hope to be able to relax into some more letters tomorrow.

I took a few snow photos today, and maybe when I have more energy and less anxiety tomorrow, I'll post some of 'em. First I've got to finish shoveling, and dig out my car.

I hope everyone in Blizzard Nemo's path is warm and safe, and happily writing letters instead of worrying about heat and electricity!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The glorious grape: wine cards

Like to drink wine and browse etsy?

Me, too.

Voila: enjoy a selection of my favorite wine-related notecards in my etsy Treasury, The Glorious Grape: wine cards.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Outgoing February 4: a prolific mail weekend

Feb 4 outgoing, front

I am at the end of a special long weekend - I actually had 4 days off from work in a row!! This, during my busiest season, is particularly exciting. On Sunday, I went on a big mail extravaganza, and finally not only had a nice pile of outgoing mail to photograph, but actually remembered to photograph it, too. In here are personal letters, personal postcards, Postcrossing postcards - even my dreaded "tourist" postcards (but a lot of Postcrossers love 'em, so I keep 'em on hand).

Feb 4 outgoing, back

I was pretty decorative with stamp choice along with stickers - and you can see that I FINALLY received my new Global Forever stamps, too. Yay.

To everyone, a good mail day!

January mystery package extraordinaire

January mystery package 1

I get a fair number of fancy letters and postcards, but I don't often get fancy packages - especially ones that are a total surprise!

January mystery package 2

This fantastic package, which is really sort of a triangular tube (is there a word for that? High-school geometry was long, long ago), came to me from the fabulous Melissa of Craftgasm, sender of tons of very good mail. (Lucky me, I'm the recipient of quite a bit of it!)

January mystery package 3

Because I was so tickled with it, I had to photograph it from every angle before I even opened it. I thought I should share the joy with my blog readers.

January mystery package 4

She did a truly excellent job with the tape. This was a big hit in the UPS store where I get my mail, with all the employees and a few of the customers standing around to admire it when they brought it out to me.

January mystery package 5

And, my personal favorite - all those glorious stamps! An air mail letter label! (The letter really was inside there.)

I am going to keep the contents a secret - they were a marvelous surprise, but they may show up later in a different form so for now, I just had to share the joy of the big weird surprise package itself.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Green, gold, and gorgeous: Lunar New Year Snake from Carroll

Year of the Snake 2013 Block Print postcard

I can hardly thing of a lovelier harbinger of the Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year) than a fabulous block print postcard from Carroll. She has sent me countless gorgeous things over the years, and I haven't even blogged about them all. She does hand-carved stamps, block prints, paintings, drawings, collages - and what else? Probably everything.

I admit I don't understand the detailed process of block printing, not really, but you can take a look at a great photo of her process on her Flickr. The scan doesn't do justice to the golden snake in the green, green grass.

2013 year of the snake postcard back

It's not only the front that's fabulous, of course - she used a delightful older Year of the Snake rainbow 34-cent stamp, and her own hand-carved 2013 Year of the Snake stamp (I assume she carved it, she's such a fine stamp carver). Carroll, you could sell this stuff! In a comment on my photo, she noted "The skinny snake carving is made on a scrap from the soft block I used for the big snake on the front. Rubber stamps by Design in Squares and Kodomo say 'Having Plenty' and 'Long Life'."

And, she's headed to the L.A. Pen show soon. Who's envious? ME!