Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stamp Faerie

Look what the stamp faerie brought me. :) It was great timing too as I came home sick early from work.


John H Johnson Stamp

Today is the release date for the John H Johnson stamp. Mr. Johnson is the 35th person to be honored on the Black Heritage stamp series.

For more about John H Johnson you can take a look at his Wiki page here.

If you are curious like I am, you can also take a look at the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections site to see all the stamps issued in this series. Harriet Tubman was the first to be featured in this series followed by Martin Luther King Jr. It is interesting to see how the look of the stamps have changed over time.

What do you think?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Speaking of Birthdays..

My baby brother turns 21 today! I swear I cannot believe it. I can still remember changing his diapers..and um...well...dressing him in my doll clothes. *grin* What are older sisters for?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

White House Greetings



A blog reader and excellent mail artist Edward sent me an email reminding me of this, so I thought I would post about it here.

Did you know that you can request greetings from the White House for specific events? You can write to the President or fax him and ask for a specific greeting depending on the event. Granted there is a limited number of events, and of course you must submit the request well in advance. But hey, how neat is this?

Rather than reposting information from another site, I will just link to it here.

Have you ever done this? If so, tell me how it went. =)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Birthdays

Ok, so everyone likes to get fun mail right? Right. Now that we have settled that mystery...
When is your birthday? I realized that I write so many of you..and I don't even know when your birthdays are. How am I supposed to send birthday mail if I am unsure of the date?

So here is what I am asking of you. You can either post it in a comment (no need for years..just the month and day would be fine), email it to me, OR you could send it in your next letter. I am asking that if you have already told me once...please tell me again? I promise I will make note of it this time. =)

This is all part of me trying to be more organized. And your help on this will keep me from digging through my letters over the past year to find the ones that tell me their birthday. Wont you help me out?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sojourner Truth

Did you know that today marks the anniversary (1851) of the day that Sojourner Truth spoke to at the first Black Women's Rights Convention (why isnt there a wiki page for the convention?)? Well, now you know. =)

You might ask yourself..how I knew that. Well, my answer is actually quite simple. I am a genius! (queue evil laugh) Ok..so we know that isn't true. The real reason I knew that is because I will occasionally check the National Postal Museum's website. They do a little widget thingy called This Day in Postal History. You can find it in the bottom left of the screen once you click the link above. Everyday they update it with another tidbit. Sometimes they are interesting and sometimes..they are a bit..well...boring. But I almost always learn something new.

(I am slowly letting you in on my secrets.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

OpenTable

Have you ever been on the road and wanted to find a nicer quality restaurant to eat at, but worried you wouldn't have time to make the reservations? Or wasn't sure which restaurants to go to? Or whether you needed a reservation? Well, if you have an Apple device (iPad or iPhone), Android device (tablets or phones) OR a computer..you now have a great option.

OpenTable is a resource that allows you not only to search for restaurants near you, but also to place a reservation right from the web or appropriate app. Want to know the best part? If you book the reservation online and keep the reservation, you are awarded dining rewards points! Most restaurants and times are only 100 points. However, occasionally you can find one that will award you 1000 points. Once you have accumulated at least 2000 points you can redeem them for a dining check! 2000 points have a $20 dollar value, so not much...but better than nothing.

Brad and I made reservations for a place called Blue Canyon today. We shall see how it goes. =) I will certainly keep you posted.

Postage Rate Increase


New postage rates take affect today:

  • Domestic First Class- 45 cents
  • Domestic Postcard - 32 cents
  • International Letter to within North America- 85 cents
  • International Letter elsewhere- $1.05
Be sure to affix the correct amount of postage to all your letters today and be mindful of the fact that other shipping and service prices may have changed as well. For more information be sure to check out USPS.com .


Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Glacier National Park Stamp


Today is the release date for the Glacier National Park stamp. The stamp is an international rate, to be used to mail letters to Canada and Mexico. The park was established in 1910 and lies in Montana.

Ready for an interesting fact? There were once 150 glaciers in the park in the 19th century. As of 2010 there are only an estimated 25 active glaciers left. And what is really sad is that scientists estimate that by 2020 there will be no more glaciers left in Glacier National Park. How sad! It makes me want to pack my bags and see the glaciers now before they are all gone.

Have you ever been to GNP? If so, what was your favorite thing there?

Aloha Shirts


Pardon the fuzzy picture. Today is the official release of the Aloha Shirts postcard rate stamps. There are five designs total, which you can view here.

Hawaiian shirts (Aloha Shirts)were made popular in the 30s when seamstresses in Hawaii would make shirts for business men out of left over Kimono fabric. The trend caught on and the Aloha shirt was born.

An interesting fact about Aloha shirts is that they were the reason we now have "Casual Friday". Employers in Hawaii would allow their workers to wear Aloha shirts to work on the last day of the week calling it Aloha Friday. The trend spread to the mainland and by the 90's was a mainstream idea. Instead of Aloha Fridays, we have Casual Fridays. =) Always something neat to learn.

Now, remember that postage stamp contest I mentioned earlier this month? Well, you have 5 opportunities to win this one. I am working on creating a special postcard that you can only get if you are the first to send me a piece of mail with the new 2012 postage stamps affixed. Hopefully I will get that done and sent to the printers soon. =) Oh and of course you get to be "famous" (grins) because I will post your winning entry on the blog. (Silly I know, but hey exposure is exposure right?)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Milk Gallery Mail Art Show

I have some updated information thanks to blog reader Derrick. The gallery has pushed the dates of the show back due to another art show in the same area. They wanted to make sure the Mail Art show has its own days and times. (Awesome right?)

The new deadline to get your art to them is March 1. The show will actually be scheduled for March 8-10. So now you have no excuse as to why you cannot create a piece for the show. I hope to see a lot of you participating. Remember Derrick will be there taking some pictures for me to post to the blog. What more reason for submitting a piece could you need?

Remember the pieces need to be sent through the mail and cannot be enclosed in anything. The envelope or object needs to be the artwork. Send your completed pieces to:

212 13th street
Sacramento, CA 95814


(On a side note..problem solved with my piece. The gallery said that Derrick could deliver mine personally because it had been cancelled by the USPS. Thank goodness! Now I am off to write some letters.)

Ugh

Remember that nice cover I made for the Milk Art Gallery's mail call? If not look here. But if you do remember...take a look at what came back to me today...

They postmarked it and then...sent it to the address on the opposite side of the envelope. Talk about upset. NOW..I have to take the time to create the same piece of art over again...so that I can mail it out tomorrow and have the whole set displayed. I am more than a little disappointed.

No letters will go out tomorrow because of this. *sigh*

United States Smallest Post Office


That is the Ochopee Post Office located in Ochopee, Florida. It is the smallest post office in the United States at a tiny 7ft by 8ft. "The person who delivers mail from this post office has a daily route that stretches across three counties, 132 miles long." said one article I found on this post office. The most interesting thing about that is that the post office sits in an area that boasts only 11 in the population (as of about 2005). So my question is: do they deliver outside the area? Or are the residences extremely spaced out? Either way it is kinda neat huh?

Would you ever consider making a special trip to Ochopee to visit this post office?

Oh and this Post Office is not to be confused with the worlds smallest...

Blog reader Derrick sent me this lovely, yet tiny package a few weeks ago. I was so excited as it was the first piece of mail I had gotten from the Worlds Smallest Post Service. You can purchase the Post Office for yourself, OR you can order special things from the site here.

Have you ever gotten something from the Worlds Smallest Post Service?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin!

Today would have been Benjamin Franklin's 306th birthday. Pretty neat huh? There are lots of things I know about Franklin, but honestly I have never read a bunch about him. I sit here skimming his Wikipedia page and it sort of makes me sad that I have never really read a biography of him. What kind of librarian am I?

Regardless, one of the most important things (in relation to this blog..) about Ol Ben is that he served as our nation's first postmaster general in 1775! It is amazing to think that they set in place a system for delivering mail that is now the US Postal Service. It makes me wonder, do you think the continental Congress or Benjamin himself ever thought that their means of delivering mail would carry on this long? I also like to ponder what they would say if they could see the decline in mail that we have been seeing.

Another interesting fact is that Benjamin Franklin appears on more postage stamps than any other notable American other than George Washington. Did you already know that? I sure didn't.

Here is another fact from Wikipedia, "From 1908 through 1923 the U.S. Post Office issued a series of postage stamps commonly referred to as the Washington-Franklin Issues where, along with George Washington, Franklin was depicted many times over a 14-year period, the longest run of any one series in US postal history."

These are my favorite posts to write. I enjoy learning new things and I hope you do too. If you know an interesting fact about Ben Franklin leave me a comment. I am quite curious about him now. Perhaps I will even read his entire Wiki page. =)

(Random fact...Benjamin Franklin is one of Brad's favorite people)

Belated MLK Day


Can I just say how silly I feel for missing MLK day? I honestly meant to write something for the holiday..and then got sidetracked like 7 million times and then I come home from work to realize...I goofed. I really need to try and be better at this scheduling my life thing. Haha

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Travel Time



So..you may have noticed my lack of posts the last few days. Well..the main reason was that after my first week at my new job I was exhausted. I am hoping that once I get into a good groove with my routine, I will be back to my old posting self. For the time being though I am asking for you patience. (Thanks in advance)

Also, my friend Kelly and I decided to take a trip yesterday to Columbus, OH. Talk about last minute planning. Haha. We drove down and stopped at a place along the way ( I bought a cream soda..but busted the bottle in the parking lot at Brads.) We had a lot of fun while we were down there. I will be trying to get pictures in order and write up a long post tomorrow. Until then, I hope everyone had a great mail week this past week and again thanks for being patient.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lancaster County Stamp - No First Day of Issue Ceremony!


I was reading through my RSS and read a post from the Piccadilly Post blog that was very interesting. It deals with the fact that there was no ceremony to commemorate the release of the Lancaster County $1.05 stamp. How crazy! Why wouldn't you want to promote something like this? Even if for nothing more than just us letter writers or stamp collectors.

If you haven't stopped over to read her article I highly recommend clicking the link above and visiting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First New Mexico Stamp

I got my first piece of mail with a New Mexico Statehood Stamp on it. Marguerite from the Piccadilly Post sent me a New Mexico postcard with both the 50th anniversary New Mexico stamp released in 1962 AND the 2012 new issue.

Neat huh? I will be sending something neat your way soon!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Animails

Has anyone else heard of these cute things?


They are called Animails and you can find them not only online, but in select toy stores across the country. I am not sure how big of a hit they are (because they seem relatively new) but the concept totally makes me smile.


Here I am sending rubber ducks and other strange shaped things..when I could have been sending these all along! Ugh. Oh well..there is always time for an Animail. I actually took a look at them in a local toy shop but didn't buy one. (I know...I know...I should have picked one up). I think I may do that as I have a really neat idea of what to do with it once I have it. =)

Have you ever seen these? Would you buy and send them if they were sold near you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

National Letter Writing Week 2012

January 9-16th

Hey everyone! Today kicks off National Letter Writing week. You know what that means. We all need to write some more letters this week! And maybe try to get our coworkers..or friends...or family to write more letters.

I have decided to mention it to my new coworkers. Hopefully just one will write a letter this week! =)

Who will you write a letter to this week??

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Flea Market Find (Detail)



I found this lovely group of items are the Flea Market yesterday. I get the itch to go every once in a while..and even though this indoor one isn't as nice as the outdoor ones we visit, it still holds some wonderful things.

The picture is of striking Air Mail pilots in July of 1919. They were striking because of the poor work conditions and the fact that their planes were recycled from WWI. The worst part was they were forced to fly in horrible conditions and the engines would give out due to the poor weather. This of course caused crashes and thus the strike. The pilots wanted the right to say whether they were comfortable flying in the conditions present. And after the strike they had some say as to whether they would go up.

The caption is:
(If you click on the picture..it will get larger for you =)

And of course the picture of the Special Cancellation:
It is the 50th anniversary of the Airmail Service. Neat huh?

Well I haven't much more information yet. I was going to research this before I wrote up the post..but I got sidetracked and start my new job tomorrow. So I will end this here. Anyone have a good place for me to start my research? I already tried to google search by the images..but no luck so far. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Flea Market Find


New Mexico Statehood Stamp


Yesterday the USPS released the New Mexico Statehood Stamp featured above. It is in commemoration of 100 years as a state. Now, while this stamp has gotten a lot of hype, how many of you have seen this stamp?

It was released in 1962 to commemorate 50 years. I think it is just as neat as the new one. And I will be picking up some of these on my next trip to the Post Office.

Now remember I told you there was going to be an ongoing contest this year on the blog? Well, I still haven't worked out the prizes. BUT the concept is easy. The first person to send a piece of mail to me with each new stamp released will get a prize. I will do my best to remind you every time there is a new stamp out, but I may forget.

Now the question becomes...what should the prize be? I will have to continue thinking on it. But at any rate..I thought it might be a neat idea. So how about we try it for the New Mexico stamp and see how it goes?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Boston Tea Company

"Where old world blends with new"

I know that many of you enjoy a nice cup of tea from time to time. Some of you may even enjoy the tea while you are writing letters to your friends. I enjoy more than one cup of tea a day which is why I contacted the Boston Tea Company when I saw that they were looking for bloggers to write reviews.

My favorite thing about the Boston Tea Company is that they have been around since 1773 (think Boston Tea Party). Not only that, but their teas are still plucked by hand and blended using old world techniques. And as if that wasn't enough, all of their teas are Kosher Certified and gluten-free!

My contact at the BTC, Caitlyn, was nice enough to ask if there were any teas I would like to try. Now, let me tell you, they offer all types of tea. Black, Green, Herbal, Red, Chai, Fair Trade, Loose leaf..I could go on. So looking through their tea to find a few I would like to try was no easy task. I wanted to try them all! I settled on a Vanilla Almond Oolong tea (which is loose leaf) and a Bombay Chai (which is also loose leaf). To my surprise I got a box in the mail with not only the teas I requested but three others!

The first tea I tried was their Boston Tea Party tea. It is simply delicious! From the moment you open the canister you can tell it is going to be a great cup of tea. You can smell the spices and slight citrus-y aroma even before you put the teabag into the water. The taste is hard to describe, but it is a must try if you enjoy drinking black teas or teas that have a bit of spice to them. It is not overpowering and I enjoyed it both without anything added and with a tiny bit of sugar. I suspect that the orange pieces help to keep this tea from being too bitter like some black tea blends.

A fun fact about the Boston Tea Party blend, it was a favorite to Jaqueline Kennedy!

Next I tried the Gingerbread Spice Tea. After all, it was the holidays! This one was very good, and you can certainly taste the ginger in it. I again enjoyed this one without adding anything, but it was also good with a small amount of honey. If you enjoy spices like cinnamon or you like drinking chai, you would probably like this tea. I even drank a bit while eating a gingerbread cookie, which was a lovely pairing.

The Organic Earl Grey Citrus tea was another winner. Though I must say, it was probably my least favorite of the 5. Reason being, I am just not that big on Earl Grey tea to begin with. That said, I did enjoy this tea because it has such an original flavor. The citrus distracts your taste buds from the fact that you are drink Earl Grey. Again, this is nice both ways, as well as cold (you know sometimes you let your tea sit too long between sips...). My next step is to taste the others iced to see how they taste. I will keep you posted. In case you are curious what the teabag looks like when out of the individual wrapping:
Next I tried the loose leaf teas. Just a note that in the pictures I show a tea ball. That is something I already had. =)
The Vanilla Almond tea was delicious! Probably one of my favorites from this batch. The neatest thing is that you can actually brew with this full leaf tea twice. So that would be two cups! You can really taste the vanilla, which comes from Madagascar. It was interesting drinking a tea that had almond in it, but overall I cannot complain. The only thing negative I can say about this tea has nothing to do with the tea. My tea ball (again bought at a box store) allows for some small particles to get into the glass. Upon using my new tea canister with insertable strainer that I got for Christmas I can say that no tea leaves get into my mouth. So I recommend using a tighter knit strainer.
The Bombay Chai tastes very much like you would expect it to. Just like the Boston Tea Party blend you can smell the aroma the moment you open the pouch (which is resealable by the way). All of my favorite spices are in this tea, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and it also includes anise. I would highly recommend this to any tea drinker who likes chai. Though I prefer this blend with a bit of honey rather than by itself.

I had a lot of fun doing the "research" for this review and I want to thank the Boston Tea Company for sending me samples and allowing me to write this review. I highly recommend them to anyone in the market for new teas. So please take a minute and look through their offerings. And if you decide to order one, let me know if you like it. =)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tumblr

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I did set up a Tumblr blog for the pics of incoming and outgoing mail. I find that this will be easier than making multiple posts in the same day (like I did yesterday). Also, it means that people who care to look, can. And those who like the other posts can read them here.

You can find a link to the tumblr page by clicking the mailbag underneath the Google+ button in Social Media, OR you can just click here.

Just a quick side note. I will never post your address without your consent. I will also not post pictures of anything I deem to be non-family friendly (I don't really get anything like this..). If you have any questions or concerns PLEASE email me. I promise I really am a nice person. =)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Entry for the Mail Call

Hey everyone! I hope that all of you are working hard on your entries for the Milk Art Gallery's Mail Art Show. I have completed one piece and I am in the process of working on a second. I know that Derrick will be taking pics at the show and I will be posting some pics to the blog, but I wanted to give you all a peek at my first submission:


Two envelopes...but when you put them the right way....
You get a zebra! This was so much harder than it actually looks! Getting all the lines to match up was CRAZY! I literally was covering the completed design with painters tape as I went so I didn't smudge the design. And if you can read the pencil, that was me planning out where the address and stamp will go so that I have little interference with the design itself. =)

Please tell me you are sending in submissions? If you remember, your piece could be featured on the blog when they are all displayed at the Milk Gallery!

Mail Log 2012

Everyone seemed like they were interested in the way I log my mail, so I decided to write up a short post about it. Though the biggest piece of advice is: do what works for you!

I start with a journal. This one has a hard cover with a pen sleeve on the side (SO HANDY!). If you are interested this journal is actually a Reflexions sketchbook and is similar to a moleskine with heavier weight paper. (It was a gift, but I am thinking I may invest in more like this one.
( I know...I am the worst cell phone picture taker...)

Then as you can see from this picture, I write the date and then record the outgoing mail first (mainly because I put it in the mailbox early in the morning) then the incoming later. I don't get into too much detail. I do however, note if it was a postcard, letter, Object or package (markings not shown as I didn't get any packages yet). I mark down who sent it to me, and that is about it. For my outgoing I mark all the same things, occasionally I will mark if I sent something special to someone (just to keep track) and then I will note how much postage I used for that days mail.
As you can see from this picture, I have noted the total postage for outgoing mail..and then cringed a little inside. Just kidding. =) Keeping track of the postage is something new. I am curious to see my postal spending habits for this year.

Again, I don't expect this to work for everyone, but it works for me. I have tried multiple ways to make a mail log, even used a database for a while...but I couldn't get into the habit of marking it down. Somehow computers and letter writing do not mix so well.

You can also read about how the Missive Maven keeps her mail by clicking her name.