Champion of Postal Cheer, Acts 2, 3 & 4

December 3, 2013 § 10 Comments

I have a collection of things that are waiting to be glued.  Not broken items waiting to be fixed, but bits and pieces waiting to be cobbled into something new.  More accurately, I have several collections of such things: canceled stamps, old photos, quotations cut from magazines, pages from books that have fallen apart, scraps of colorful paper, fabric remnants, buttons.

Sometime in October, I covered the floor with several of these collections (there is, again, a sewing machine on my desk) and plunked myself down in the middle of all the possibilities with glue stick in hand.  Over the course of several days, I made about two dozen cards.  I used a couple to write to friends, but most I bundled into sets to be given as gifts.

cards2

cards1

cards3

cards4

This weekend I put the sewing machine to good use and made a scarf.

scarf

Between the cards and the scarf, I’ve checked off nearly everyone on my Champion of Postal Cheer project list — hooray!  What’s my next project?  I’m not certain.  Janice MacLeod, the artist behind Paris Letters, recently wrote about her November Nurture project and it sparked a couple possibilities that I’m considering.  What creative projects–letter-writing or otherwise–are you enjoying these days?

Champion of Postal Cheer, Act 1

March 20, 2013 § 6 Comments

In the first few days of January, several of my friends posted similar status updates on Facebook.  They ran something like this:

The first 5 people to comment on this status will, sometime in this calendar year, receive a handmade/homemade gift from me. I will send it out when the mood strikes me and, with luck, it will reach you at the perfect time.

The catch is, you have to make the same offer to all your friends.

The first time I saw it, I thought, Interesting, but I’m not a fan of chain-letter-esque stuff. 

The second time I saw it, I thought, I really like the idea of making and sending out-of-the-blue gifts.

The third time I saw it, I thought, Wait a minute, there’s no reason I can’t make this offer to send gifts without a you-must-do-this-too stipulation.

So, I rewrote it a bit–changing the stipulation to an invitation–and posted it.

HomemadeGift copy

The response was enthusiastic and I quickly found myself committed to make and send things to a variety of people.

Last week I finished my first gift.

TeaWalletBalance

Then I filled it up with small goodies.

TeaWalletGoodies

And I packaged it in an envelope made from a poster I’d plucked out of the recycling bin at work.  (The back of the envelope shows Frankenstein reading Gone with the Wind.)

TeaWalletEnvelopeFront

I was rather gleeful when I posted it off.  Sending mail is as much fun as receiving it, don’t you think?  If you’ve been looking for the perfect way to be a Champion of Postal Cheer, I highly recommend committing to send random gifts to random friends throughout the year.

Christmas Love Letter

December 30, 2012 § 9 Comments

As you may remember, it’s fairly common around here for letters and notes to be found in out-of-the-ordinary places.  Christmas day was no exception.

I must say, it was more than enough to open a box containing my very own desk-top sized card catalog manufactured by the Library Bureau circa 1915.

cardcatalog

But then I opened the drawer with my name on it, too.

catalogcardsloveletter

See that set of cards?  On the back, each is numbered and contains a few words.  Together, they make up a 106 card letter.

By way of explanation, my husband said, “You always ask for a love letter for Christmas, so I had to find something to put this year’s letter in.”

Yes, I do believe he wins the award for best envelope of the year.

Merry Mail to Me!

December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Look what I found on my desk at work last week!

Baskets are a sweet way to present a gift, don’t you think?

A closer look at the contents:

write back soon is a letter-writing zine created by Phantom Limb.  The neat brown paper envelope you see here was stuffed with nifty little letter-writing encouragements and ideas.

Address Unknown is a slim volume of fictional correspondence, which the introduction explains was inspired by a handful of real letters discovered by the author, Kressmann Taylor.  I have not yet read it, but it’s in my book queue.

The quotations are lovely and they go several steps up in awesomeness when you know that they were letterpress printed by a talented Lady of Letterpress.

Christmas day added to the letter love, bringing me this fantastic set of notecards courtesy of the combined creativity of my sister and one of my nieces:

The woodland scene is a photograph taken by my sister and the others are all photographs (also taken by my sister) of artwork created by my niece.  The photos are mounted on blank cards, producing greetings-waiting-to-be-sent.

I am particularly smitten with the alien family:

I like it so much I might have to use it to write a letter to myself.  Tell me, wouldn’t you love to find a card like this in your mailbox?

I am looking forward to the new year and hope that you are, too.  Despite the coming USPS postage hike, you can rest assured that I’ll be continuing to scribble.

It’s just what I always wanted!

December 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

As the season of giving whips into a frenzy and people rush about madly looking for stuff to give, I’m here to suggest that there’s a less stressful option: give a letter.

I know, this may sound weird, especially if you’re currently under the influence of the ubiquitous reminders to Buy!Buy!Buy!, but stay with me with for a minute.

No matter what you’re celebrating, the underlying point is to share a connection, right?  Birthdays and anniversaries celebrate personal connections.  Religious holidays celebrate shared beliefs and the connections between believers.  Secular holidays celebrate ideas or themes that draw people together.  You see where I’m going with this?

If:

Celebration = Connection

and:

Letter = Connection

Then, how about:

Celebration = Letter?

Why do you give gifts?  I give them because there are people I adore and I want them to know that they’re important, loved, and worth celebrating.  I write letters and leave notes for people to find for the same reasons.  And I’m fortunate to have family and friends who are on board with doing things that are fun and meaningful, rather than just straight commercial.

Am I advocating replacing all gifts with letters?  Not at all.  But if you sneak a letter in among the baubles and the bling, you’ll have the thrill of giving a truly one-of-a-kind gift.

It can be done in any number of ways.  Here are three ideas to get you started:

  1. Love Letter.  One of my favorite presents from last Christmas came in this envelope:
    It was exactly what I’d said I wanted.  ♥  ♥  ♥And don’t limit yourself by thinking love letters are only for romance.  Parents, siblings, children, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents–you can write a love letter to anyone you love.
  2. Letter of the Month.  Several years ago, my grandmother announced that she absolutely did not want any more stuff for Christmas, so I gave her a card letting her know that I’d be sending her at least one letter each month of the following year.  She was thrilled and I was on the hook to deliver–it worked out to be a huge win-win.
  3. Little Thoughts.  One year for my birthday, a lovely friend of mine sent me a card accompanied by a handful of slips of paper.  On each slip she had written something she enjoyed about me as a friend.  I kept those slips of paper in my desk drawer for years and smiled every time I saw them.The great thing about this idea (in addition to the fact that it will make someone incredibly happy) is that it’s easy to do even if writing isn’t usually your thing.  You don’t have to wax poetic or even use sentences!  Pick a theme–best sister ever, reasons you’re cute, why I love you, remember when, top moments of the year–and jot down a handful of words, sentences, or ideas that capture the essence of what you want that person to know about how you feel.

    When my desk was cleaned out during a move, I packed up the little thoughts I'd received. I can't put my hands on them at the moment, so, in lieu, please enjoy these thoughts I wrote with some friends in mind.

If you’re feeling stressed about finding the perfect gift to convey your feelings, go ahead and skip the whole material object part of the equation.  Go for simplicity and get right to the heart of why you’re giving by scribbling a present or two this year.

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