Wednesday, March 27, 2013

International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club

Remember my whole caveat about how I'm drowning in pen pals and can't take on any more? Yeah, that's still true. But since so many of my blog readers are still looking to connect with more pen pals, I wanted to share this new phenomenon, which has been a Twitter/Tumblr sensation since its launch just last week: International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club.

It appears to be a pen pal matching service that works in rounds, and it looks like the second round is closed already. The first round reached 1000 pen pallers in 3 days, and the second round reached 1000 correspondents in 26 hours. Wow!

As with any new pen pal matching endeavor, stay tuned to see how it goes. I really hope that all 2000 of those folks who signed up will genuinely exchange some great mail, and I hope the service continues, because it certainly looks fun.

Their blurb says "we are reviving the lost art of letter writing," and if you've been reading my blog for a while, you may be aware of how I get a bit touchy when someone asserts that letter writing is a "lost art." Maybe you lost it, folks, but it's been with me and lots of others, going strong! Still, as I always try to remind myself, any efforts to get anyone to write more letters are worthy and appreciated.

Did any of my readers make it in the first two rounds? Any thoughts on the experience?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Missive Movin'...

I have exciting news. (It is actually terrifying and exciting all at the same time, but I'm focusing on the exciting part.) This has been brewing for a while, and if you've noticed that I've been blogging a little less, my apologies... I've been busy in a whole new way.

National Zoo backyard bird mailboxes

Sometime soon, most likely in June, I will be moving.

The White House

I am tantalizing you with photos of my new location-to-be.

The National Postal Museum!

Have you figured it out yet?

Washington, DC postcards in a DC hotel

Washington, DC -- here I come!

We spent most of the week there last week, checking out the scene and specifically looking at apartments. We need to find a place to live, and oh yes, a little detail - I need to find a job. Any DC folks with tips, I'd love to hear them! We are familiar with the city but it's still a big incredible exciting ($$$EXPENSIVE$$$) move.

Though I'm still in Newport for a while yet, I definitely feel like I'm already in transition. It's a fluttery, strange feeling. I've done cross-country moves before, but never to a city this big.

So a few notes as relate to this blog and my correspondence:

I don't know my new address yet. I won't for a while. I'm trying to be patient. I've gotta find a place to live first. I will keep my Newport address well after the move, and I will use mail forwarding from the U.S. Postal Service as well as a backup option from my UPS Store mailbox service. Never fear, I am hoping the mail transition will be a fairly smooth one.

Space is going to be at a premium. I live in a fairly spacious house right now (that I don't own, so no worries about selling it - whew!) with incredible amounts of storage. I am going to move to a tiny apartment, which will be half the size of my house if I'm lucky. I am doing a lot of downsizing. I will be listing a lot of items in my etsy store. I will be putting a lot in storage, and divesting myself of some other possessions in various ways. For all of my blog readers and lovely pen pals who send me surprises, I love them, but please don't send me stuff now. Everything I look at is regarded as more expensive pounds to move or to store, and I am trying to get rid of stuff in a major way.

I am going to be on a much tighter budget. (WAY poorer until I find a job!) Right now I'm pretty comfortable, I don't make all that much money but my housing and utilities are provided by my employer, so my expenses are nearly nil. This will not be the case come June. DC is a very expensive city, the process of moving alone will be costly, and money worries are starting to set in already. I have run this blog for the past four years as a labor of love, and I've kept it ad-free because I can. I am considering a change to allowing ads on this blog. I welcome feedback as always.

You'll be hearing plenty more from me in the future about moving plans, and I'm curious to see how my letter-writing life will transition to my new home. One of the most exciting things about Washington, DC is all the culture and museums, though, and sometime soon you'll be seeing my blog post about my first, fantastic visit to the National Postal Museum!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We can improve your nightlife


Another gem from Postcrossing, this is FR-268010 from France. It shows a photo by Jill Posener (in London, 1981), of an ad by Rest Assured Beds. The ad tagline is "We can improve your nightlife," and it's been wittily defaced with "join lesbians united" graffiti. It's been a long time since I've come across a Jill Posener postcard, but I used to see them (and buy them!) all the time. She's a fantastic feminist photographer who happens to catch some great sexist advertisements that have been re-framed by wonderful feminist graffiti. This postcard was a treat to receive; it was published by The Women's Press in London.

French Karate stamp

The sender also used a righteous stamp of a woman doing karate. Even though the woman looks a little anime/stylized (hello, unrealistically long legs), it's still a great image of a woman in a powerful pose, and a fantastically fitting accompaniment to this fabulous postcard.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

German rainbow stamp

DE-1879905 German Rainbow Stamp

I've seen this fabulous rainbow spectrum stamp from Germany on a few German Postcrossing postcards now. I love it! The colors just jump out when I pull the postcards from my mailbox.

This stamp honors German optician Josef von Fraunhofer. Honestly, I'm most excited about the fine rainbow spectrum. My love of rainbows is childish, primal, and somewhat inexplicable.

Along with the fine postcard surprises one gets from Postcrossing, I am often just delighted with the postage stamps, too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Roses and unicorns: new sticker seal designs

Unicorn sticker seal

I'm very excited to share with you three new envelope sticker seal designs I've just listed in my etsy shop. First, as seen above, we have a magical unicorn!

Unicorn sticker set

Who wouldn't want to seal a letter with a unicorn? Okay, I can think of some people who wouldn't, but I am not among them.

Rose sticker seal

Next up, a lovely bright seal with a single red rose in full bloom.

Rose sticker set

I love roses in real life and in artwork, and this large, lush red rose bloom in a vintage illustration is one of the loveliest I've seen.

Old-fashioned vase of roses sticker seal

Last but not least, there is a vase of blooming roses, overflowing with blossoms in yellow, pink, and red.

Old-fashioned vase of roses sticker set

I really enjoy the colors in this old-fashioned vase of roses, which is more subtle than the single large red blossom.

These three new sticker designs - unicorn, red rose, and old-fashioned vase of roses - are the new additions to my other three sticker designs - postman, To get a letter, write a letter, and letterbird - which have been around for a while but have proved fairly popular. I hope there are other letter writers out there who may enjoy these new designs, too.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The letter: an abstract gift of time

In one of my favorite bits of geekery, I often read the online forums of The Fountain Pen Network (FPN). I've never directly quoted a post there on my blog before, but I just read a marvelous post in the thread "Who do you write to?" by a new user with the charming appelation Epistler, and I found it such a fine summary of the value of writing a letter (instead of posting on Facebook, per se) that I was moved to share it:

There have been times when I was about to post a link or a comment to a friend's Facebook wall, and I decided to email instead—to emphasize that this communication was a gift to them, not a performance for the world; and then beyond that sometimes I have thought "No. That's still not a clear enough emphasis that this is for you." And it doesn't have to be really personal stuff. It could just be pointing out an author or an article or such of interest.

It just feels like a more directed, caring, generous, mindful, focused, gift-giving act to write to someone in post rather than to just post a link on their FB wall. And there are many dimensions to this: the time cost, the stationery cost, the postage cost, the extra time that writing with a pen takes, the better thought-out product that usually results, the individual expressions involved in paper/pen/ink/stamp choice (saying things perhaps about the writer, perhaps about the writer's perception of the receiver, perhaps about the writer's perception of his or her relationship with the receiver) and in the uniqueness of handwriting, the giving of a physical object that was once yours and was made with your own hands for a specific intended—much as if you had knitted them a sweater, the opportunity for the receiver to have and to keep a physical reminder of being thought of and cared about which has, among its significances, the role of being an enduring manifestation of the otherwise evanescent, abstract gift of time—the time taken to craft the letter.

Epistler, I couldn't have said it better - or even as well. Bravo!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Winner: Outstanding Achievement in Mail

outstanding achievement in mail

This lovely little surprise came to me from Melissa of Viva Snail Mail. It's a letterpress card with a sweet personal message on the back. I am utterly charmed by the little tiny letterpress mailbox icons along the bottom. Squee!

It was printed by Gutwrench press (great name, no?), and here is the fun and serendipitous story of how Melissa got these printed.

Mail surprises are their own unique brand of joy!