October 22, 2016 § Leave a comment
Because joy is a thing best shared, I’m passing along a follow-up on the call for cards for Miss Phoebe’s 100th birthday. Her birthday was a few days ago and, as of yesterday, she had received 99 cards – and not just received them, but received them with delight and appreciation at being made to feel so special.
Cheryl reports that some of the cards decorate the walls and the rest are tucked into a special new box which is brought out for all visitors to admire. To quote Cheryl, Miss Phoebe is “shining with delight” over the cards. Thank you to all my readers who took the time to add to her happy glow.
More opportunities to make people glow with the joy of letters are on the Scribbling Good page. Happy letter-writing!
October 5, 2016 § 3 Comments
I’m signal-boosting a request from my friend Cheryl:
Miss Phoebe is turning 100 in a couple weeks. She doesn’t want a party, but she would welcome cards. If you have a few minutes, perhaps you will send her well-wishes as she celebrates a century of life?
Her address is:
Golden Rule Nursing Home
20806 Bayside Ave.
Rock Hall, MD 21661
For a little more about Miss Phoebe, visit Cheryl’s blog.
January 5, 2016 § 6 Comments
The slightly-dented, rusty-around-the-edges mailbox that came with the house sent many letters off into the world and welcomed quite a few to their final destination. But it reached a point where the door regularly ended up dangling from its one good screw on days when a substitute letter carrier tugged it a little too hard. Even on a good day, the door didn’t shut properly and the rust was spreading.
Given the standing tradition of postal presents, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover a new mailbox under the tree. But I was genuinely surprised–and delighted.
It is top of the line, sturdy construction with a door and flag that glide smoothly. It had its inaugural use this morning when I sent off my first batch of letters for the new year. I can only imagine how impressed the letter carrier must’ve been with the upgrade.
In other news, the Cacti Captioning project is just about to launch into the postal stream. If you signed up to participate, I’ll be in touch very soon. If you’re feeling sad because the original post got lost in the whirlwind of the holidays and you didn’t have a chance to sign up–good news!–I still have spaces available for interested letter-writers and artists. If you’d like to join the fun, let me know and I’ll add you to the list of collaborators.
December 20, 2015 § 4 Comments
Quite a while ago, I received a package from a friend. Inside, I found this book:
It features photographs of saguaro cacti with captions – and space for you to write in your own captions:
I recently unearthed this book while going through a pile of Things That Have Potential and thought, The time has come for this to be the centerpiece in a collaborative altered book project!
To accomplish this, collaborators are needed!
If you would like to caption, doodle, collage, or otherwise take part in altering this book, please let me know in the comments or contact me privately by January 1, 2016. I will kick off the new year by contacting all interested parties with details about this round robin art endeavor and together we will create the Cacti Captioning & Creative Alteration Project.
On a related note: If the idea of captioning cacti makes you laugh and you’re a fan of quirky romances, you might enjoy the writing and humor of G.G. Andrews, the friend who found this book in the first place.
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.
This weekend I put the sewing machine to good use and made a 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?
October 27, 2013 § 14 Comments
This is Sanzi.
As you can see, she brought her own mailbox with her.
Next to the mailbox, she had a basket full of self-addressed postcards. She was inviting people to take them and write to her as part of an ongoing postal project she’s been running for the past decade. Did you notice the large and wonderfully folded creations at the front of the table in the first picture? They are collapsible books composed of series of postcards she has received. When the postcards arrive, she sorts, scans, arranges, and finally prints the compiled collections. For more information about this project, take a look at the Installations section of Sanzi’s online galleries.
Sanzi said that when she was living in England she had many more people participate in the project than she does now that she’s in the U.S. I asked if I could take a few extra postcards and give them to people who would be interested in dropping her a note (or sketch or painting or poem or piece of mail art…). I have three left and want to share! If you’re interested, leave a comment by Friday, November 1st. If more than three people are interested, I’ll toss the names into a hat. If your name is drawn, I’ll mail you one of the postcards, along with some mystery postal goodies from my own collection. You will then complete the circle by sending Sanzi’s postcard home. Deal? Excellent — let the creative collaboration begin!
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.
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.
Then I filled it up with small goodies.
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.)
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.
January 26, 2013 § 14 Comments
One of the fun little takeaways that I made for December’s Letter Writing Social was a postal rate sheet. I figured that people who aren’t currently avid letter writers might like a handy reference to help sort out the mysteries of proper postage. Since we were making envelopes that weren’t standard sizes, it was especially helpful to have a quick guide to double-check how much postage a particular mailpiece was going to need.
To my delight, the Letter Writers Alliance later featured a photo of my rate sheet as one of their Letter Writing Days of December posts. I got some lovely feedback, which encouraged me to follow through and create a revised version to reflect the 2013 rate changes.
And now–ta-da!–just in time for the changes that go into effect tomorrow, here it is!
I enjoy writing things out by hand and I do a fair amount of computer-based design layout for posters and brochures at work, but the combination of creating by hand and designing a layout placed me outside of the realm where things come easily. I’m so accustomed to (and spoiled by) being able to tweak, align, re-size, and move elements on a whim. This project required making rough drafts and marshaling my spacial reasoning skills. In short, it was an excellent challenge for my brain. I am pleased with the end result since this is only the second time that I’ve attempted designing something along these lines, but my eraser definitely got a good workout along the way!
If you are so inclined–and I do hope you are–you are welcome to download a copy.
June 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
I love the simplicity of orphaned postcard projects: you choose a post card, wait for it to arrive, write a tiny story about its significance to you, and send it back to the project organizer. It combines the human drive to connect with the spirit of StoryCorp and the fun of sending mail.
I’ve adopted two sets of postcards in recent months.
The first set, courtesy of PostMuse’s Orphaned Postcard Project, arrived in April. I sent one postcard back immediately, but am hanging onto the second one until next month (I haven’t forgotten, PostMuse, I promise!) so I can actually post it from its location of origin (it’s the little things in life that make me clap my hands with glee).
The second set arrived a few days ago from Kate who shares her love of postcards via deltiolog. I requested a postcard that prompted a memory from elementary school that I hadn’t recalled in years. Since Kate sent me an extra postcard, I’ve been having fun wracking my brain to come up with a second story to share.
The process of choosing postcards, then writing stories to explain their significance got me thinking: I should write some postal-style mini memoirs! If the concept appeals to you, too, here are some ideas to get you started.
7 Ideas for Creating Postal-Style Mini Memoirs
- Commit to writing one mini memoir each week and send them serially to one lucky recipient.
- Recount stories you remember being told by older relatives and send them to your younger relatives.
- Choose a theme (e.g., “The Wilderness of Middle School” or “Best Meals I’ve Ever Eaten”) and let it inspire a mini memoir series.
- Borrow a page from the Orphaned Postcard Project and use postcards, greeting cards, or your favorite quotations as memory prompts.
- Raid your photo albums and create mixed-media mail art memoirs.
- Recruit a few friends and write a Round Robin letter* about a shared experience.
- If you like the idea of turning mini memoirs into something larger, copy or scan your missives before you send them. Then gloat over your compiled memoir in private, tuck it away to share with special people, or blog it for the world to enjoy.
Happy writing — I can’t wait to hear about your Postal-Style Mini Memoirs!
*There are apparently several definitions for a “Round Robin” letter. I’m talking about the type of letter that one person starts, then the next adds to and so on until a packet with letters and comments from everyone involved arrives back in the hands of the original sender.
April 13, 2012 § 4 Comments
Yesterday I received an unexpected piece of mail from PostMuse.
When I opened up the gorgeous envelope two things happened.
First, I was tickled to discover that it was made from an old calendar page (note to self: spend some time making envelopes), which made the back of the envelope make sense.
Second, I was reminded that, in fact, this was an expected piece of mail. I had offered to adopt a couple postcards from PostMuse’s Orphaned Postcard Project and she had sent them my way.
If you haven’t heard of this project, here’s the gist. Several years ago, PostMuse decided that she wanted to do something above and beyond accumulating dust with her enormous postcard collection. So, she created an amazing database to inventory her collection and invited people to adopt postcards that they relate to in some way. I trolled through the list, found two that appealed to me, and sent her an adoption request. Now that they have arrived, it’s my job to write and mail them back to PostMuse. One more way to achieve Action #7 for 2012.
Intrigued? You, too, can adopt postcards and be a part of this neat project! Even if you’re not interested in participating, take a look at the Orphaned Postcard Project blog to see a selection of the postcards that have been sent out, had a postal adventure or two, and returned with stories to tell.