Monday, June 16

Question: What Are Your Inspirations?

Hello all!
This weekend, I was looking at taking my collage techniques to the next level.  I often enjoy being in a creative environment and learning from others.  I thought I would look into classes or magazines where I could find ideas, not that I don't have enough floating around in my head, but I was never trained in arts and have questions about many medias and techniques.
The magazines look really cool, but many where close to $60 for 6 issues, therefore I will have to par down my want list to match my budget.  So I toss this out to you all, what magazines, sites, or classes are you taking that inspire you?
Any YouTube channels that you have found particularly helpful?
Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, June 15

New Mailers

Are you just joining us and looking to get into pen palling?  Well I thought it would be a great time to recap a few of the awesome groups out there that I have experiences with. 
Postcrossing:  This is probably the most international of all the experiences.  It revolves around being randomly assigned a person to send a postcard to and in return, you get one randomly sent to you.  Most people use it as a way to see the world without leaving home.  Although most people really would rather travel, but the price is prohibitive.
Postcrossing is very secure.  Your address is only available to the sender until a card is registered.  There are a few out there who place their addresses on their profile, but this is not the norm.  I've made a few pen pals through this site, but mostly just one time mailings.
It costs nothing to join.  Donations are welcome.

SendSomething.Net: A single person runs this low tech site which basically lists addresses and descriptions but no pictures.  This allows a fellow in the group to see the address, drop a comment and send out something!
This is my go to site to send things out into the world.  I use a PO Box to be secure as anybody can join.  You have to stay active though, or your profile will be deleted after 6 months.
It costs nothing to join.  Donations are welcome.

Letter Writers Alliance:  This is a great site for info on all things mail oriented.  They do have a members forum where you can connect with others and make pen pals that way.  I have to admit, I have been a bad member and rarely go on here, but those who love, love it!
There is a nominal fee to join and member perks like special stationery to purchase.

League of Extraordinary Pen Pals:  This is a more recent group.  I do not know the members perks or challenges, but I do know they had a nifty newsletter and other cool geekery available through their site. 
This is a pay to play site, but I have friends on it who adore it, so worth a look.

Swap Bot:  This is a site where people form swaps and everybody makes something to send to a randomly assigned member in the swap.  Somebody in the swap "hosts" the event.
This group is great if you are into making things and exchanging them.  I will say I have had friends love this group and friends hate it.  The negative comments have been from those who either A) felt like the project received was slapped together with no thought or B) the sender flaked on them all together and sent nothing.  Mostly B has really upsets people.  I only heard and A complaint once and I saw the object in question.  It would have taken 5 minutes to make.  My friend spent hours on hers, so there was a definite discrepancy in expectations. 
I believe this is a free group.

I am sure there are many other groups out there.  I know the Missive Maven had a list up that you are welcomed to look at for finding pen pals.  Biggest thing is, find people you think you will enjoy.  Mail takes awhile, so be patient.  Try not to over extend yourself, or you may burn out and that would be a tragedy.  I've had more than a few pen friends get started and then disappear.  It always leaves me wondering how they are and, as humans are often conceited creatures, did I write something they found they didn't like?  Many times I never know, but feel the loss just the same.

Go forth and write many!

My Best,

Sunday, June 1

Begs the Question

I recently watched a TED talks about how to influence people into doing what you wanted them to do.  It was very interesting.  Basically it said that people are much more likely to do an action when they see the action being done.  An example would be the best form of getting people to do what you want.  It's the science of conformity.  Unfortunately I could not find this video to relay it to you, but I did find this one.

What relevance does the art of persuasion carry in the letter writing community? 
If we could show that letter writing is NOT a forgotten art and a letter sent DESERVES a reply, then we would be a lot closer to saving the USPS and maybe influence some friends and family members into making another level of exchange and bonding with us.  Crazier ideas have caught on and spread like wildfire. 
For my part, I have started to read and write a letter or 2 a week in a public space.  Which is pretty easy since I have a farmer's market across from the post office on Saturdays.  I wish I had a badge that said, "letter writing was never dead, so stop trying to bury it" to show people when they say the infamous dying art phrase.
What are your thoughts on the subject?