Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Ending on a Positive Note

Some of my followers are already in 2012 and shortly everyone reading this will be as well. I have nothing bad to say about 2011. Sure there were disappointments (getting turned down for multiple jobs...) but there is always a positive spin (getting a new job right before Christmas).

And while this blog isn't a year old (just yet) I do feel like I need to say something about it. I started this blog on a whim. Basically it was Brad telling me that if I liked reading everyone else's blogs..that I should start my own. I am pretty sure in that moment I rolled my eyes. Honestly, I could have never imagined that I would meet so many wonderful people. I started this blog with one follower...Brad. At the time of writing this, I have 121 visible followers and I would guess there are quite a few who aren't visible. Just knowing that people (like you) enjoy reading what I have to write makes it all worth it. It is not always easy to find a topic to write on, and it is not always practical for me to sit down every night and write something. But I try my best to bring new content on a regular (ish) basis.

Now, I am not a superstitious person and I don't really believe in making New Years Resolutions, but there are a few things that I hope to accomplish in the new year ahead.

    *I want to take a serious look at Etsy. Maybe offer some stamp jewelry or ornaments, or decorated envelopes. I just know that I should give it a try.
    *I want to host more giveaways or contests. Something to make it interactive for everyone who reads.
    *I would love to add a historical spin to my blog. Maybe taking a post every now and again and seriously learn something about the postal service. ( I love learning so why not learn about something that I love to do?)
    *I plan on doing some more reviews, both commissioned and not. I always plan to tell you whether I got the products for free and I promise to give a fair and honest review. I will also never review something on the blog that doesn't somehow fit into letter writing (I personally hate when people do something that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the theme of their blog). And of course..there wont be so many that the blog turns into a reviewing blog
    *I am going to have a running contest for each new stamp that is released in the US. I am still working on how to word everything and most importantly whether (and what) a prize will be given. I also want to think of a way for international readers to get in on the action. I will post more details on this tomorrow (hopefully).
    *Probably one of the biggest goals I have, is to completely record all my mail this year. What this means is that each envelope, postcard, box, object, etc. that comes into my mailbox will get documented in pictures. I am not sure if I will post all of them to the blog. Someone suggested setting up a I may look into that. Regardless, there will be some pictures taken each day and occasionally posted to the blog. Not only that, but I will be recording each piece in a mail log (if anyone is interested I will post how I have mine set up). is the biggest goal (and the one I think I will utterly fail at) I would like to scan every card, or letter I send so that I have a record of the words I have sent. I think it will make it easier, and really neat to look back through and read whole conversations.

That is all I can think of off the top of my head. Other than staying caught up in my mail (which is a no brainer). Do you make your own little resolutions? Or have plans for the New Year? If so, tell me about them. And if anyone has any suggestions to help the blog or just in general, I would love to hear them. =)

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Post Brought to You By The Letter...

Limner sends some really neat things. I never shared the Texas sized gift she sent me..and honestly its because I want to wait until it is framed. It is so beautiful and inspirational. Just like this M.

I apparently forgot to take a picture..but now this M hangs where I can see if when writing my letters. =)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Peter R Mason

Remember the post from yesterday? The one about sending used postage to a good cause? Well check out what artist Peter Mason does with used makes me insanely jealous!!

Don't you wish you could do that? I know I do!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Used Postage Stamps

Have you ever looked in your stash and noticed that you have way too many used postage stamps? I know that I have from time to time. Granted I use a lot of old stamps to make jewelry, cover boxes and make postcards out of. However, if you are less inclined to make something with your used stamps there are a number of helpful ways you can use them.

Stamps for the Wounded is an organization that collects stamps for wounded soldiers. Soaking the stamps off the paper and cataloging them into their own collections gives them something to take their minds off their injuries. If you are interested in donating stamps, you can clip them off the envelopes leaving a quarter inch around the stamp. (This will allow the soldiers to soak the stamps off themselves). Then package the stamps up in an envelope and send it to:

Stamps for the Wounded
P.O. Box 297
Dunn Loring, VA 22027

Boy or Girl Scouts of America use the stamps to help the scouts meet their merit badge requirements. Same rules apply, the stamps need to be clipped from envelope with about a quarter inch left. As for where to send them...I recommend donating local. =)

Foxborough Regional Charter School in Foxboro, Massachusetts has been collecting stamps for almost 3.5 years now. Their mission, to collect 11 million stamps. They want to collect one stamp for each soul that was lost in the Holocaust. It is a lofty goal, but what a great cause. Check out the neat mosaic that they created.

If you are interested in sending stamps to the Foxborough RCS then you can send the stamps here:

Holocaust Stamp Project
Foxborough Regional Charter School
131 Central Street, Foxboro, MA 02035

All of these places are excellent ways to get rid of used postage stamps. Why toss the used stamps when you can send them to a good home?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Class Tracer

The USPS announced today that they will start marketing a product called First Class Tracer in a limited market soon. For a small fee you can buy barcodes and add them to your letters/postcards or even *gasp* mail-art! The barcode allows the postal employees to scan it and give you tracking information. You could then access the tracking information on the postal services website.

After reading the submission to the Postal Regulatory Commission it appears that they will be offering the FCT in around 50 post offices in and near the DC metropolitan area. They will be most likely found in areas that already sell the gift cards and other merchandise.

So my question to you is...would you use the First Class Tracer?

** I would use this..cause I think it would be fun to see how many stops my letters make before they reach their destination. Also, I secretly hope that someone reading this blog finds these in their post office..buys a couple..and sends me a piece of mail with one on it. Cause that would be too cool for words.**

Mail Art Show!

Blog follower Derrick sent me this by email..and I thought I would share it with all of you. I am looking forward to creating something to send in myself. AND I would love to see what you come up with, if you decide to submit a piece.

"Milk is calling for artists for our February mail art show! No packages will be opened, envelopes must go through the post and be ready for display. Any packaging must be the art itself. Postcards have already started to arrive and we have heard rumors of objects to be sent. Art will be for sale at a 50/50 ratio to artist and gallery. Include your address on the art in order for compensation for sales to be forwarded! Any unsold art will not be sent return post due to the volume of works being received. Artwork needs to be received in the gallery by February 1st.

Please mail your awesome art to 212 13th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New International Postage

In less than a month the cost to mail a letter outside the North American continent will increase from 98 cents to $1.05. And with that change comes new postage!!

The new stamp features Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Lancaster County is famous for the Amish communities that reside there. You can read more about the Amish here.

I am pretty excited to use this stamp because I send quite a few Amish Country postcards through Postcrossing, and now I can add a stamp that matches! I may even use a few of these stamps on postcards with destinations inside the country. =)

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Vintage Christmas stamps from my collection
My all time favorite Christmas stamp. It is just so darn pretty!

Have a great holiday everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Track Santa

Have you ever tracked Santa? I have done it a few times..and this year will not be different. (You are never too old to believe!) This year instead of tracking Santa through the NORAD website, I will be tracking him on my cell phone.

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) started tracking Santa in the late 1950's and has continued to do so every year since. They get calls and emails from children (and adults) from all over the world asking for Santa's whereabouts. The volunteers field those calls with the help of radar, satellites, Santa cams and even fighter jet pilots. They then relay this information to the public.

You can track the big man from the website above, or you can download the app to your phone (both iPhone and Android are available). At the time I wrote this post, this was the countdown:

I will be watching to see where he is...will you?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Postal Limbo

Ever had a package mailed to you, only for it to get lost in postal limbo? I did. Once in college a friend of mine studied in Japan. He sent me a package around Christmas time, but I never got it. Luckily he came home for Christmas that year and apologized for the goof. He didn't want me to think he forgot. When he went back to Japan he re-mailed a box to me (which I got) and all was well. Incase you are wondering..I have never gotten the other box.

However, one lady in Florida just received a Christmas present from last year. Her daughter mailed it in a flat rate priority box and decided to forgo the insurance (I always do delivery confirmation or insurance when it is a gift). The package got lost in postal limbo, only to show up 371 days late! It always amazes me when I hear things like this and wonder if some day a letter or package will arrive to me like that. One that has been traveling far longer than it should have.

Ever gotten a letter that was lost in postal limbo? If so, I would like to hear about your experience.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stamp Rugs

Looking for a gift for the letter writer in your life? There are many that I would recommend, however, this is probably the one that I would buy.

How awesome is that?? I totally want one. But being that they are completely handmade..and woven by ladies in guess is they do not come cheap. But if your pocketbook is more forgiving, you can find the rugs here.

What sort of postal goodies did you ask for?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Had you heard of this story? A 78 year old lady accidentally swallowed a felt tip pen 25 years ago. The crazy thing is, when they x-rayed her before they said it wasn't in there. However, they recently found it when she was being diagnosed with some stomach issues.

They said the pen did not cause the stomach issues, but I think it probably wasn't helping the situation. The craziest part of this whole thing... is that the pen actually WROTE! Imagine that as a business slogan. "Pen-Thief Brand Pens. So strong stomach acid is no match!"

Have you heard of anything like this before?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ask Me Anything

If you have been following since the beginning, or have read all the posts you might recall a post where I invited the readers to ask me one question. Well, my (lame) Christmas present to each of you is the ability to ask me one question (on roughly any subject) and get an honest answer. I am open to any questions. Though I try to keep this blog family friendly so please make sure your question is too. =)

Now...ask away!

New Job!

That's right..I am moving on up to a new job! Hooray! I will be doing basically the same thing that I do now...though at a different library and full time to boot!

How is this going to affect the blog or my letter writing you might ask...well...I shouldn't affect it at all. =)

This will also make it easier for me to replace my laptop thereby making it MUCH easier to write blog posts when I am in the mood to do so. Talk about Christmas wishes!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Laptop Battery

Well folks...I was planning a loooong post on how to make some neat Christmas ornament stars...but my laptops battery decided to become bloated..and therefore not all that usable.

So until I get it replaced or problem solved..I will most likely not be posting as much. Though I will certainly try to post frequent enough so you do not think I am gone forever.

This will certainly give me time to write some letters huh?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spectrum Eagle Stamp

I know my image is fuzzy..but it was a little too small. I had a hard time finding I just enlarged it a bit. You get the idea. To see it in the resolution I found the picture.

On January 3, 2012 the United States Postal Service will issue new Presorted First-Class Stamps. Most of us will not use these on mail, unless of course you work for a company who uses them. BUT...I thought they were neat and wanted to share them with all of you.

Illustrator Michael Osborne worked with art director Ethel Kessler to create the stamp art for this series.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Closure Delay

The USPS has announced that it will hold off closing any more Post Offices until May 15. They are expected to default on a $5.5 billion payment to the treasury and are also expected to lose more than a record $14 billion next year.

These forecasts are quite grim aren't they? The worst part of the predicted closings is all the people who will be losing their jobs. It is projected that 100,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of these closures. How very sad.

I am hopeful that delaying the closures will allow the USPS and congress to reach a better solution. A senator from Ohio said it best: "Though the Postal Service faces serious challenges, this will provide time to reach a solution that will strengthen the USPS, instead of crippling it."- Senator Sherrod Brown.

What do you think of this delay?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Delicious Mail

Look what came today! (Carter got one too).

In case you were was delicious! I will have to look for it at the market. =)

Monday, December 12, 2011

To Be Responded To:

You ever look at your pile of mail that needs responded to and want to scream? Yup..that's me. So until I get caught up (fingers crossed by the end of the week) I will be keeping kinda silent here.

Hope everyone is doing well!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Postmark

Alan D. was nice enough to send me an email with the scan above attached. How awesome is that postmark? I definitely think it is worth sending out for. If you are interested, send your already stamped mail (inside another envelope) to:

West Point Post Office
C/O Postmaster
Pearl Harbor cancellation
634 Swift Road
West Point, NY 10996

I couldn't find anywhere online that specifically said so, but generally special cancellations are available for 30 days after the event they were created for.

Thanks for sharing Alan!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbreadman Postcard Run

For anyone not following the LWA (Letter Writers Alliance) blog I thought I would repost this here.

"L.W.A. member Laura sent this project our way. It's another class postcard project, but this one has a fun, holiday theme.

They have a Gingerbread Man in their classroom and will read stories about him and one day he will disappear and they will discover he has run away (like in the story). The class will make a plan to get him back and try to solve the mystery of where he went. Here comes the "need help" part. They need friends and family to send postcards from other places to report sightings of their missing friend. They will map each postcard and track his journey. If you can help please send a postcard to the address below keeping the points below in mind.

-Begin each postcard with "Dear Madison"

-Say that you were doing something ordinary when you spotted the Gingerbread Man

-Report that you tried to stop him, but he turned and shouted "Run, run, as fast as you can. you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

-Mail them to:
Mrs. Schindler's Kindergarten Class
Nottingham Country Elementary
20500 Kingsland Blvd
Katy, TX 77450

Neat,huh? I wish a teacher would have done this with my class when I was younger. Who knows...maybe we will do this in the library next year?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jose Ferrer Stamp

Better late than never right? The postal service announced the other day that Jose Ferrer will be the next American to be featured on a postage stamp in their Distinguished Americans series.

Jose is a well known actor and director of film and theatre productions. According to his wikipedia page he is also the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award. (Learn something new everyday!)

An oil painting by Daniel Adel was used for the artwork on this stamp. The painting's reference material is actually a photograph taken of Ferrer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giveable Greetings Giveaway

Winners! I will mail out everything tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Homemade Glue for Artist Stamps or Envelopes

Someone emailed and asked if I knew of any good recipes for glue that can be put down and moistened to seal an envelope. Glue like the kind found on the backs of envelopes.

Well...I have never attempted to make any, are a few I came across online. (I will be making some when I buy the extract. Something tells me that vinegar only would make them taste extremely bitter)

This website has four recipes for the glue. This one was the easiest:

ENVELOPE GLUE RECIPE #1 - Licky Sticky Glue from Karen Craig:

1 tsp Elmer's Glue
1/2 tsp. vinegar
2 drops mint flavoring

Have any of you attempted to make your own adhesive for envelopes? I must admit I usually just use a glue stick or double sided tape. But with a recipe that simple..I might try to make my own!

**The Giveable Greetings giveaway ends tonight. If you haven't taken the time to enter please do so. The cards are really nice and will not disappoint.**

Pearl Harbor

I do not remember ever learning that December 7th, 1941 was the day it happened..I have always just known. I am sure someone sat me down at some point and told me, but that memory is long since gone.

Too many people my age and younger cannot tell you the date the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I find that not only odd, but frankly...sad. Sometimes younger generations take the view that if it didn't happen in their isn't worth learning about. How wrong can they be?

So I ask you to take today and remember that freedom is not free, and never has been. As long as there have been societies..there have also been wars.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tea Stained Paper

Limner sent me the box of hand towels above. The box got a little dinged up, but was still very much usable. Her note to me was that I should attempt to redecorate it. She had redone one herself which you can find here.

Well...I thought and thought...and thought some more before I decided what to do with mine. My original thought was to cover it in stamps. Doing so is one of my favorite things, however, I had already covered a cigar box in them..and wasn't sure I would have a good enough variety of stamps to cover the Kleenex box.

The idea came to me when I was cleaning out one of my craft drawers. I remember putting the tea containers in there..but it has been a while. Regardless, I saved some expired tea to do this very thing with. So I decided to try tea staining paper.

What you need to do (unfortunately no pics) is place hot water (close to boiling) in a basin or dish. I used a pyrex glass dish to prevent any staining on the dish itself. Then you place your paper and tea selections in and let them sit for a while. When you check on them you can see if they need to sit all depends on how strong of a color you want. Now for mine..I actually tore open the teabags to allow the leaves to sit directly on the papers. This gives a stronger color.

With black or green teas you will get a brownish color depending on the strength of the tea and how long you leave the paper sit. I used fruity teas, which is how I was able to come by that nice blue/green and a pinkish/purple shade.

I always let my paper dry flat overnight before messing with them. You might need to brush off the remaining tea leaves after the paper dries. And you want to be extra careful not to rip your paper (unless you want to do so).

I covered the whole box in the paper (bottom included) and then placed three coats of glue overtop to protect it. I used Elmer's (thinned out) for this project, but you really could use any of your favorite decoupage glues.

I am not sure what I will do once the towels are gone..perhaps make it into a hanging box to store outgoing mail. We shall see.

What items can you think to repurpose?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Closing of Mail Sorting Facilities

Remember that post I did a few days ago? The one about how the USPS is no longer going to guarantee that First Class Mail will reach its destination overnight?

Well, I have just read about the changes that will be taking place here in Ohio. The postal service is considering closing 10 Ohio Processing Centers leaving only 2 in the whole state. Which means my mail might take longer to reach many of you.

I knew the cuts were going to be bad, but I didn't realize it would be this drastic. Have any of you heard of cuts in your neck of the woods?

Holiday Postmarks!

I am slipping!! I had planned to post this a week or two ago..(right after Thanksgiving to be exact) because I know many of you like to post holiday cards around that time. However, there has to be at least one of you that waits til the last minute (like me).

So, if you missed the post by Becky (The Snailmailer) then this might be for you! The USPS released a list of Post Offices that have holiday names. You can find that list by clicking here (same list that Becky posted).

And there is another list that I use which can be found here. This list includes all holidays (though it may be outdated) and also has some images of postmarks gotten from different places. Which makes it nice when trying to figure out which place offers special pictorial cancellations.

When sending your mail for re-mailing, you need to put the stamped and addressed mail inside a larger envelope. Stamp that envelope and address it to Postmaster C/O Remailing or Holiday Postmark and then include the address to the post office of course. I like to include a small note thanking them for taking the time to cancel my mail. =)

Now, you might want to pop over to this post and leave a comment to join the fun of the Giveable Greetings giveaway! There are only a few days left to win one of her lovely cards. The giveaway ends on Wednesday at 7pm Eastern Standard time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cha-cha-cha changes....

with the USPS delivery guarantees. They are scheduled to announce on Monday that they will be limiting the next day delivery guarantees for first class mail. This of course will depend on where you are sending your mail from, and where the destination is.

My guess is if you live closer to one of the sorting facilities, and your destination is nearby ( like me sending mail to Ms. Ashley...40 mins away)..the mail may still arrive next day.

You can read the whole article I read here.

So my question to all of you is...will this affect you?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giveable Greetings! + A Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a listing of people wanting reviews from bloggers. Most of them weren't even remotely anything I would be interested in...OR that I would want to share with all of you. That is..until I came across Giveable Greetings. I started looking around the online store and instantly fell in love with some of the designs. They are so cute! Some of the designs are loosely based on puns, which totally appeals to my sense of humor. I emailed Steph and the rest is...well...this post!

She sent out a nice package with a couple different things, including these wonderful postcards of some of her designs. (You can see these and others on her store which you can find here or here.) The backside of the cards are blank, and take ink (including gel pen) very well. Plus I mean...they are totally cute right?

 The colors on these postcards are actually a heck of a lot more vibrant in person. Also, the lines are much clearer than they appear in my photos. (I got a new cell phone..and am sad to say I do not like the camera as much.)
 Then being the Christmas season, she sent out some nice holiday cards! I love them!! I am telling you, you seriously need to go look through the Giveable Greetings store. Each card comes with a white envelope and they are wrapped in a plastic pouch. I took the stocking card out so you could see they to come with envelopes.

The cards are good quality printing and a good quality card stock as well. They certainly are sturdy enough to travel through the mail. Oh, and the envelopes are nice as well. There is nothing worse than buying a card..and realizing the envelopes are too thin. You don't even need to worry about that with these ones. The cards also take the ink very well, though seemed to need a minute or two to dry completely when using a more gel based ink. (This is common though, which means I do not consider it a flaw by any means)!
Finally, Steph threw in these cute gift tags. The design is so comical. They really make you wonder...why didn't I think of that!

She even wrote up a nice blurb about how she started the Giveable Greetings line:

"Giveable Greetings was started by Steph ~ a stationery-obsessed graphic designer who has an insatiable need to illustrate puns and put them to paper. Though originally studying to be a forensic psychologist, Steph did a sporadic 180 and instead went to school for 2d animation (you know, the hand-drawn kind), an industry in which she was employed for several years before realizing that she preferred to work with images that didn't move. Currently working as a freelance illustrator / web & graphic designer / children's book artist, and hobbyist photographer, Steph began Giveable Greetings as a side project for her more quirky, vintage- and retro-inspired art. Currently offering cards and gift tags, she plans to branch out and incorporate her designs into other media. Her cards can be found for sale at the Outer Layer in Toronto, Ontario, as well as online. She is taking part in the Sketchbook Project 2012, and can be found in various places around the cybersphere including:

Tumblr (not as frequently updated as it should be)
Online Store

So how about the giveaway?? Well to enter, all I need you to do is leave a comment here with which design from the Christmas cards listed above is your favorite (exclude the stocking card...I used that one as the card to test the ink on). For an extra entry into the drawing, like her Facebook page by clicking the link above. Once you have done that, leave a comment letting me know so. (You can just leave one comment if you like her page before commenting.)

The first prize winner will get the Christmas card of choice as well as the gift tags. I will pull three other names and each will win one of the other cards. That way we can spread the love. =)  The contest runs until Wednesday, December 7th at 7pm Eastern Standard time. I know sometimes the comments system gets buggy so if you have any issues, send me an email with the information listed above and I will enter you in the drawing.

I wish everyone luck, and I hope that you enjoy her designs as much as I do!