Wednesday, March 30

Let's Discuss ATC's

When I began my mail journey, I foolishly started it off with a blog!  I jumped right in, head over heels, and then spread my wings to sites like postcrossing and send something.  The world of mail and mailart has been filled with wonderful delights and wonderful people!  Although I probably should have looked around before jumping in, what's done is done and my experiences have been worth it.  But there is so much i still don't know and haven't found yet. 
So now with trepidation, I am toeing the waters and thinking of trying my hand at ATC's. (Artist Trading Cards for the other uninitiated)  I saw the write up on the e-zine about them and have seen several posts asking to trade on
I found a great guide and gallery at Cedarseed that laid out many options.
But before I dive in, I'd like to pick your brains for tips and suggestions on your experiences. 
A) I know they are 2.5 by 3.5 Inches- the size of a standard playing card and were originally supposed to be sent or traded like baseball cards. 
B) Anything goes?  or so it seems, at least as long as some handiwork is evident?
C) Recommendations on trading?  Positive versus Negative Experiences
D) Anything you think I should REALLY know before I embark on yet another adventure?

Thanks and I hope this finds you all happy and healthy (by the way the coughing has slowed!  Recovery is around the corner!)
some fabric inspired cards by Liberty Fabrics

Monday, March 28

What to do when you're home being sick

I hate being sick.  My voice is all raspy and gone.  Even the littlest movements throws me into coughing fits.  I don't feel terrible (today, yesterday was a different story)- just can't talk or move.  So what to do? 
After trying to clean (may have hacked a lung up over that) and lots of fidgeting, I decided to work on my letters.

And then make some envelopes

And then a few random notes to send something folks.

I hope tomorrow I will be able to go to work, although I did enjoy working on my mail hobby.  I'm all caught up writing everybody back and my mailboxes were empty today, sadly . . . but hopefully a clean slate means I'm ready for mail to come!  You know what they say, if you are ready, it will come.
Hope this finds the rest of you healthy and happy with full mailboxes!

Friday, March 25

What's Up?: This Week's Board

Hello Everybody,
I hope you all had a good week and that everybody had better weather than we did here.  Last Friday it was gorgeous!  Warm, sunny, and mild, just beautiful!   This Friday- is a different story.  The snow is mostly gone from the mid week precipitation, but the temperatures remain frigid and Mother Nature chuckles at those of us who thought Spring was actually here.
Oh well!  I got a lot of pretty mail this week to warm my heart!
I hope you all enjoy the mail.  There are several postcards from postcrossing, A very pretty "Wee the People" drawing, and random but wonderful cards from a few friends.  I also want to point out 2 cards from the friends and family project made it up.  Em's is at the bottom and Ash's is up in the right corner! 
I was going to wait to post this till tomorrow, but I got a lot of postcards today too and I needed to make room!
I hope this finds you all having a good mail week!
Peace and Stamps,

Wednesday, March 23

A Gift for you and the Earth!

Warning I'm feeling a bit sappy and poetic today!

The other day I got hit up at work for one of those fund raisers.  You know the ones.  Where Mom brings the sheet to work with all the stuff the kids are selling and hits you up to buy something to support a school, a club, or a class trip.  At least this time, there was a pleasant surprise.  Hidden among the cookies and candies and ooey gooey pies, there was some beautiful gift wrap.  Plain but with a hidden agenda.
  The gift wrap is biogradable paper that is lined with seeds!  Seeds of beautiful wildflowers.  This wrap is literally meant to dissolve away and transform from trash to the kind of free beauty that only Mother Nature can create. 

3 sheets of paper inside and a list of the flowers they grow.
I just watched a powerful documentary today called "What I Want My Words to Do" and I want my words to reach out to others and grow!  Light a fire and encourage them to feel better, write others, or just be content. 
I hope this paper will become beautiful stationery items that my recipients can reuse to grow something visual to remember my words with.  Words that won't sit in a box but instead transform a patch of dirt into a patch of poseys.  Grow to become something other than landfill refuge. 
I often wonder where my letters go after I send them.   Do they end up in a box? Recycled? Tossed?  Do my words go in one ear and out the other- or in this case in one eye and out the other?  Or do they sink into the brain?  Linger in the thoughts? Warm the heart?  Content the soul? Or make something click in the mind of the recipient?
All I know is that I hope, I want . . . my words to grow!

Tuesday, March 22

Stamping out drugs?

There was a news item today that struck me funny and sad at the same time.  At a local prison, they figured out how to smuggle drugs into the prison on the back of postage stamps and stickers.  Literally!  They would attach a strip soaked in drugs.  Here's the article. and video.
What made me sad was that these people won't be happy till they revoke the mail privileges of prisoners.  There are folks who did bad things but maybe aren't bad people who probably really need the mail to connect to their children and loved ones.  I'm not advocating for or against prisoner rights, I just always think its sad when a few bad seeds destroy an opportunity for others.  Not to mention, deface the sanctity my glorious mail!
Just a thought,

the new stamps!

Monday, March 21

Make Mine Chocolate

So I know this is a mail blog, but occasionally I let some of my causes creep into the topics and this one is a passion of mine.  When Easter and Spring come around, many think of bunny rabbits!  For the last 5 years I have proudly supported a project all about rabbits called "Make Mine Chocolate"

  The Make Mine Chocolate group tries to educate folks against buying rabbits for presents over Easter UNLESS you are serious about taking care of them for life!
A pet rabbit lives 8-10yrs.  Pet rabbits should eat a hay based diet along with fresh greens and very minimal pellets.  Pet rabbits are better pets once spayed or neutered ($250-$400 operation).  Pet rabbits HAVE to RUN and EXERCISE 20+ hrs per week.  Not all rabbits like to be held and snuggled.  Actually most HATE to be picked up or handled on terms anything other than their own.  Rabbits need routine veterinary care to make sure their teeth and general health is okay.
   The consequence of getting a rabbit and keeping it in a tiny cage is often a premature death for the rabbit.  Shelters are often overwhelmed with cast away pet rabbits the months after Easter, and some have to be euthanized to make space for other unwanted pets.  Finally "releasing" a domestic rabbit to the wild is a certain death for them.  While the coyotes and dogs may thank you, the rabbit will not.

   I step down from my soap box now and tell you I have had a few pet buns.  I love them but they are not little cats and dogs.  I actually spent more time and money taking care of the long eared kids than the other 4-legged children.  Livingston was death to many appliances by biting through the cords.  Tulip was a saint, till she gut loaded on cats' litter- something she hadn't touched in the months that I owned her- just took one time and end of bunny.  It was an expensive vet bill to try to save her!  Then there was Kipling.  He had major behavior problems and it came down to Kipling or the dog.  Literally, the dog (previously Livingston's best friend) wanted to settle the feud with a death match! So he was re-homed.  So I have a bunny free household . . . . for now.
  So please pause and consider what you have learned here.  If you want to help, repost this or do a link of your own to the 'Make Mine Chocolate" sites, or print and hang one of the many pdf fliers available at the aforementioned sites.
Thanks for taking the time to read about something near and dear to my heart! 
My best to all!

Friday, March 18

Drum Roll Please- The Winner is . . . . .

So I was a little vague on the end of the contest, but life pulls me out of town this weekend, so today it is.  The winner for the CSN $35 give-away is . . . . Aykra!

She sent the cutest, most upbeat, and optimist postcard and was one off the winning number.  So I'm glad she won!  Plus student's also need money and mail!  Check out her cute blog.

A big thanks to all the other entrants!  I loved checking the P.O. Box and seeing the various PC's and letters sent!
And finally a look at what ended up on the board this week.  My friend Mona was over the other day and couldn't believe all the pretty things I received. 

You folks are the reason I continue!  My stationery problem was the beginning, but the friends and connections are the real veg and potatoes of the operation!
Hope this finds you all well and happily mailing!

Tuesday, March 15

Some Random Bits I Made

Hello all,
I thought you all might like to see some random cards I have been working on.

Created with vintage dictionary paper sent to me by the Pen Thief

This weekend's enterprises
My scrap pile I was working with

I love paper punches and this was made by layering and paint pen embellishments

Made from the interior of an envelope and foil from a wine bottle.  Nothing like drinking and crafting!

And envelopes made of strips of paper to hold the rest of my projects.  Man they were a pain in the ass to make, but they look pretty.  We'll see how they hold up to the USPS!

Never be afraid to create!  It takes practice and you will never love everything you make, but at least the people who receive them will.  One time I sent out a bunch of stationery that I just wanted to be rid of because it was ugly and my friend Kim made sure to tell me that I could write her on "the ugly stuff" as long as I kept writing her!
Hope this finds you all well and happy!

Sunday, March 13

Final Week of the GiveAway!

Hello Everybody,
I hope this finds you all well!  This is the final week of the big CSN GiveAway!  I have received a few entries and I can safely say there are still many numbers left for the taking.  I also recieved Valerie's number and I am now the number keeper!
For those of you just joining me -  I am hosting a $35 giveaway from the CSN stores and as a few entrants have found- they do sell paper and office supplies which fits into our little group theme. 

the stack of entrants
The premise of the Give Away is easy.
1) Pick a number between 1 and 100. 
2) Write the number in a note or letter and send it to me
3) You must be a US or Canadian citizen to enter (sorry rest of the world- those are the rules)
4) See more official points here!

There are still plenty of numbers to choose from and still a chance to win!
Happy Mailing!

Saturday, March 12

A Paper Problem

Hello Folks,
Several mailers have asked me recently where my love of stationery came from.  Well I am one of those people from an early age who knew I loved paper and writing.  I remember going to the local dollar store when I was in my late teens and buying stationery packs for a $1 a piece and writing tablets for the same!

Some of the paper I purchased back then and still have in my stash.
And then college took its all consuming toll on my life and I didn't think of picking up the pen till I was out of school and working my first major job.  It just so happened that I lived near a Hallmark Discount store where the discontinued stationery was sold for 50-75% off list price!
All the above are papers from the Hallmark store!
 Now I live near Marshall's and the problem continues! 

The first step is admitting it.  So yes I have a problem!  Actually a major paper problem that somehow allows me to find cheap and beautiful stationery where ever I live!  It takes years of compulsion to build a stash like this and it'll take years to get rid of it!
I hope this finds you all happy and well and burning your pens up writing,

Friday, March 11

A Mail Surprise

My friend Emily sent me some beautiful envelopes in celebration of the Chinese New Year.  She knows my rabbit obsession better than most, but

 . . . these bright and cheery cards can't detract from my other thoughts. I think and hope that all my mail friends in Japan, the Pacific, and the West Coast are safe today.  And those in the US are heeding the warnings along the ocean side. 
My deepest sympathies to those who have been personally touched by the tragedy.
With Love and Warm Wishes,

Thursday, March 10

2011 Letters

Hey folks,
I just dropped in on my friends at 2011 letters in 2011.  It looks like they could use some help in achieving their goals so I thought I'd throw a second post up encouraging any of you on the fringe of writing to write them. 
The goal started when a mother decided to expand her daughters horizons and collect letters to show them the world!  See here
Please consider sharing a piece from your corner of the world!
Gotta love Mary Engelbrite cards!

Tuesday, March 8

Laura Ashley and Rachel Ashwell: What's the Connection?

Hello all,
I saw a post by Letter Rip about Laura Ashley wallpaper she found, and of course, I have actual Laura Ashley stationery, but something was stuck in my brain.  For some reason I had her confused with the Shabby Chic brand, but that is actually a Rachel Ashwell brand.

 Well other than being designers both from the United Kingdom they both designed beautiful stationery!  And of course I have both.  The Laura Ashley cards I found at Micheals awhile back and coincidentally Micheals is also currently caring Shabby Chic stationery cards (Rachel Ashwell's brand).

Shabby Chic paper I've had for awhile. 
I must say I'm not a fan of the current Shabby Chic cards even if they are only $1 a pack, I came home with none.  I know I don't seem like I have much control when it comes to staitionery, but if it's not love at first sight or first write, we part ways.

What's in your stash?

See you in the mail!

Monday, March 7

Mini and Mighty

Hello all,
I thought I'd do a post on on object of my affection.  One I never knew I could not live without until I owned it!  Mini-clipboards!!!  I know it may be a weird item to obsess about but I bought a stationery tablet with an accompanying clipboard last year and it was love at first write!

The clipboard allows me to write anywhere!  And it fits a standard sized A2 card which is the most typical size and most standard sheet stationery.  So I can work on a letter or envelope decoration in my lap while watching a fave movie (another addictive hobby).

The pink edged stationery tablet is by Macbeth who has a variety of beautiful tablets (not sure it they all come with clipboards.  This one did!)  When I researched them, they are not stationery makers persay, but have a selection of home decor.  I am so-so of that stuff, but the paper designs are hip and cool!
Also if anybody (in the US) is looking for cheap clipboards, check out Micheals, Marshalls, and Staples.  I think I have seen them as low as $1 undecorated.

A heartfelt note to my wonderful readers: 
Thank you so much for reading about my mail experiments and stationery obsession.  I hope to keep the momentum going but summer is rapidly booking up, so expect less frequent posts.  Darn life for getting in the way!

I hope this finds you all sending and receiving lots of love!

Sunday, March 6

My Real Bulletin Board

Hello all!
I was shopping the other day- (big surprise ! ) And I found a great bulletin board, so I got it (another big surprise)!  I was looking for something to put on an empty wall in my apartment with the hope of hanging postcards and mail surprises there.  I was also hoping to post updates of what's hanging on there every now and again.   I don't know about you but I like to see my stuff on other folks sites. 

At the bottom is the last another of the Friends and Family PC Project.  Shana's daughter(s) helped with the project.  Also 2 from Pamela at Cappuchino and Art.  Several from postcrossing.   The upper corner is a quilled piece, a combination of my and Elena's work.  Also some fan mail!  And a new note from send something.  Wolfey has talent even if she doubts it. 

  The first post has a couple weeks of accumulation on it. Mostly postcards, but a few other items did make it up. If you entered the give-away, your beautiful PC's and notes are in a basket.  I'm hoping when we are all done, to forward some of them to Caitlin so she can show them off at CSN!  Let's see if we can inspire the corporates to pick up a pen and write.
  Please don't take offense if you sent something and it's not here.  I also have 2 other places I stash things.  The Give-away basket and letters go into an organizer till responded to.  It's a system!  We'll see how it works!

I hope you all are giving and getting beautiful things!

Friday, March 4

The GiveAway Continues

I'm still excepting entrants for the CSN GiveAway!  You must enter by mail to win and be a US/ Canadian citizen- please see details here.
I've had a few more entrants, though the grand total is still less than ten.  So the odds are great!

Get your stamp and post card or stationery out and pick a number between 1-100.  Address and stamp it! It's that easy!

See you in the mail,

Wednesday, March 2

Andy Eat Your Heart Out!

Hello all,
I have to stop shopping, things scream out for me to take them home with me at least I'm cheap!
   Some more thrifty finds from Goodwill!  The punch is actually quite large and one I had been eyeing for some time at art and craft stores, so I was happy to get it for a cheaper price- brand new too!  And the paper is an old embossed Hallmark set- Awesome!!!
Andy look- cheap stamps!
Also I found some Crane at Marshall's.  (Right next door) 
This set is more nostalgic and reminds me of some stationery I inherited from my Grandmother.  Nothing like a paper trip down memory lane!

    I know I'm going to get totally blasted on what I say next, but I don't usually love Crane.  I think their stuff is a bit overly plain and pricey even when you can buy it 75% off.  I have to say I left a lot of other designs at the store for others to partake.  Feel free to enlighten me on why folks like them so well.  I've never understood the thrill and mystique surrounding their products.  Maybe I'm just too too cheap!
     Actually I got all this for the price of a discounted box of Crane!   (Style vs substance, the classic battle!)
And Caspari- I still adore you!

I thrive for a bargain!
Hope this finds you saving more and sending lots,

Tuesday, March 1

Friends and Family PC Project

Hello Folks,
I had previously posted a few postcards from a project I'm calling "My Friends and Family PC Project".  I don't know about all of you, but I feel as though I am part of a separate mailer/ pen palling community that is separate from the world on my long time friends and family.  
My parents aren't writers, and most of my long time friends are Christmas only senders.  So I decided to marry the 2 communities by sending out a self addressed and stamped blank white postcard and told my recipients to do whatever to the front of the cards and send them back.

Here are a few more from the project.  So far I'm fairly surprised at a 50% return.  We'll see how it continues.  I had to chuckle at Brandy's, she's a poor college student, so she decided to write as much of a letter as she could on the front and back.  Call it a cheap letter!  Brilliant use of resources!
Hope this finds you getting some special mail!