Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Examination Blue Book

Recently I sent my friend Kijjit a Blue Book. Remember these?

 I wrote on one side of the pages and glued fun things onto the other sides.
This hilarious ad came from the pamphlet I received at the American Craft Beer Fest which took place June 3rd & 4th in Boston this year.

A just having fun collage:

The caption on this photo I borrowed from my boyfriend. He thinks (and I agree) that crocodiles and alligators always look extremely pleased with themselves, even in zoos... They look as if everything is going just the way they want it- according to some sneaky plan of theirs.

And here is the back of the book. I closed it with strips of stamp selvage around the edges (not shown in this photo) and then sent it as is.

Anyway, besides being a letter, the "subject" - see first photo - is kind of accurate.
Kevin recently followed his dreams to San Diego and has been inspired by me to keep in touch with family and friends from the East Coast through letters. Yay! Another convert!
So, I gave him some pointers on mail... 

And I guess I'll give them here too in case anyone is interested. Nothing new to seasoned campaigners I'm sure.

First off, for my American readers, the USPS website is a wonderful resource.
Especially their postage calculator.
If you have a small scale and can weigh your packages at home, this postage calculator can tell you how much postage you need. I bought a scale meant for food from the grocery store for about 4$. It's a good investment if you mail a lot, especially things larger than normal letters.
The postage calculator will also tell you the size limitations on letters, postcards, large envelopes etc.  Just click on the question marks.  If your postcard etc. is larger than the limitations it is pushed up to the next bracket and you need to add additional postage.
There are also rules about non-machinable letters that you will be shown on the next page of the postage calculator.

Kevin also goes by Kijjit the Fox, see his blog here, so I let him know that if he wants to get mail under that name or another pseudonym he needs to notify his postal worker.

Back to USPS, as you see from one of the pages above, I'm rather against boring stamps (read Liberty Bell and American Flag).  My feeling is that there are so many awesome stamps out there that you should use instead! If your local post office is difficult to get to or does not have a good variety of stamps available, remember you can order them online from 

So most of the advice I gave was about the logistics of frequent mailing, but I also encouraged my friend to look for free stuff to use as part of his mail art.  If there is a university near where you live they probably have some sort of free publication that they put out.  Sometimes you can find really wonderful images in them.  Also, look on the ground! Litter can be a fun addition to mail art if it's not too dirty.  Tons of scratch off lottery tickets get littered around my neighborhood. You can acquire some fun material and clean up your neighborhood at the same time!

I hope I didn't bore you too much.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fairy Tale Mail

A while ago I did a swap-bot swap for Fairy Tale Mail!
This is one of my favorite swaps so far.
Here is what I received:

And here is what I sent:
 Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose contents and of course, Little Red Riding Hood envelope

 I traced these images from a wonderful book, My Book of Old-Time Fairy Tales, illustrated by Margaret Evans Price.

And here is the back of the envelope, a sticker & stamp selvage collage. It was a lot of fun to make!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Aunt Denise and I each picked up a few of these free postcards on our visit in Brooklyn for my brother's wedding.  I showed her my collection of stamps and she was thrilled with the Carmen Miranda stamp. It is pretty fabulous. 

So I gave her one to send to me, which she used on the postcard above, and I promised to send her one on a letter as well.... Promise upheld with the card below.

I received this card from a friend recently and it was like a little hello from the stationery world because a couple years ago I had a set of these cards as well.

I've had so many recommendations from penpals to use fountain pens that I'm considering asking my parents for one for Christmas.  Anyone have any suggestions for a good starting pen? Preferably not very expensive.

Here's a very fun set of stationery from PostMuse, with one of the cool new Industrial Design stamps. I still have yet to buy a sheet of those.

 Mail from my momma below. She used one of the envelopes I made for her and decorated it a bit more. :-) Postcard is from the lovely Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.  I love visiting there.

Letter to my parents, decorated with vintage bird/state stamps and cuttings from the USA Philatelic catalog I've subscribed to. It's free by the way! You can order a subscription here.
They have a complete listing of the stamps available plus small articles about new stamps coming out.

My mom has sent me a couple of these pre-stamped Seabiscuit envelopes. I love them! And I love how she added an exclamation mark to this one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Return from the Beach!

I just returned from a wonderful week vacation at the Outer Banks!
There were a few storms during the week, but it didn't affect us much. Here's a shot of a storm off the coast that didn't roll in on us.  I also saw water spouts for the first time! It was amazing!

The Collison Brand Beach Beer was a huge hit.

Here's a couple pieces of mail I wrote at the beach.

And here is the lovely pile of mail awaiting me on my return!
Vacations are all the more wonderful when there's something at home in the mailbox for you.

I put the mail on hold for the week we were gone.  Apparently someone expressed surprise to my boyfriend that we did this. Perhaps this service isn't very commonly used. Would you put your mail on hold for a week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Kitties

It seems like everyone posts photos of their cats posing/helping with their mail.  Well, now it's my turn. Let me introduce you to my two kitties who love to help me with the mail...

This is the first kitty.
 She loves guarding my mail for me.  Though she may look sad, she's never lonely with her little friends there with her.

Here is my second kitty. She's a little rough around the edges...
 She came to me all the way from Haiti as a gift from my mom.

She goes with me everyday to check the mail.

Well, I hope you enjoyed meeting my cats!

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Orange Letter Day

 A lovely orange mail day!

I love the piggies on the inside of this envie!
 (speaking of piggies, check out this awesome "porcine love" envelope sent to Penpal from Northeastern Colorado)

...and a fun sticker and a wax seal
from two lovely D's : Dana and Dominique

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

PENGUIN #11 The Penguin John Lennon

Adopted by Ilona (a.k.a. The Missive Maven) in  Rhode Island

When I sent this out to Ilona I wasn't sure what exactly this book was. A biography? 
Ilona kindly informed me that it is a book of John Lennon's poetry.
She was also surprised that this lovely postcard was so colorful. Rightfully so, since many of them are more "sedate" as she worded it.

Ilona writes that she was obsessed with the Beatles as a highschooler and as well as listening to their music, also "devoured Lennon biographies and any and all books about the Beatles I could get my hands on".

I also love the Beatles. I don't know what your excuse is if you don't. :-)
I've never read Lennon's poetry though. I do remember looking at a book of Paul McCartney's artwork when I was a teenager, and not being very impressed.  Maybe it would appeal to me more now. I'll have to check it out again.

Recently I have been compiling songs for a Mail Mix CD,
and the Beatles are certainly the biggest contributors so far with these gems:
Please Mr. Postman
All My Loving
and P.S. I Love You

As of right now I have 16 songs on the list, but it is only about 42 minutes since most of the songs are older and therefore generally rather shorter than the songs of today.  I would like to add a few more songs.  I don't want to give away my list yet, but if you have any suggestions please let me know!
Also let me know if you would like a copy when I'm finished!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Collison Brand Beach Beer

Every year a good friend of ours goes to the beach with his large family, the Collisons. They rent a beach house for a week and we and several other friends are invited.  It is the greatest time ever. The best part of the year. 

So, in the past year my boyfriend has been homebrewing and he decided to make a beer for this special beach occasion.  It's a Belgian Tripel.  Yesterday evening was spent making labels for our awesome beach beer.  And here are the photos!

our supplies: permanent markers of many colors, ink pads, construction paper, rubber cement, and some beach themed rubber stamps

25 finished labels

a small selection - each one is completely different!

and finally, glued on the bottles!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Earthscapes: Natural" 2012 Stamp Preview

Like many other mail enthusiasts I have been following the release of the 2012 stamps at Beyond the Perf. I am extremely excited about the above stamps, much to the amusement of some of my school colleagues on facebook. 
Why am I so excited?
Because the last of these stamps, the "Inland Marsh" is from the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Not only have I been to Blackwater Refuge, but I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and it is one of the most special places in the world to me!       Home.
(I am coming to dearly love Boston too.)
So I am just so excited to have my beloved Eastern Shore being featured on a stamp!

And of course the other designs are lovely too. I really loved this series even before I read the details about where the Inland Marsh stamp was from. I assumed it would be from the Everglades or someplace more famous than my home.