A Keri Smith Postcard Pack

082014 fruit stickers 223x300 A Keri Smith Postcard PackI am a huge fan of Keri Smith and her unbridled creativity. I think everyone should own a book or two by people like her or Sark or some other wild and crazily amazing person who encourages free thinking, fun and innovative idea making.

Last Christmas, I received Keri’s book of postcards, Everything is Connected, which was awesome because it allowed me to combine two of my favorite things: Letter writing and creative thinking.

This past week I put together a postcard package for one of our foreign exchange students. Generally I put together postcard packages when we travel because it’s a lot easier and cheaper to collect postcards on the road and then send them all together once we arrive home. Read more…

Making Lines Short with the Mobile USPS Van

070914 Mobile post office 300x223 Making Lines Short with the Mobile USPS VanI made an awesome new discovery at my local post office, and it was totally worth 20 cents.

Let me back up…

I discovered I ran out of one-cent stamps. I needed 20 of them, and because the post office counter at our local gas station is usually out of normal forever stamps, I knew there was no chance they’d have one-cent stamps. This meant I was facing a long line at the post office to spend all of 20 cents. To say that I wasn’t excited about this is an understatement. I had much better things to do with my time for a whopping 20 cents. How badly did I really need those stamps? I thought about doubling up on the old 33-cent postcard stamps just so I wouldn’t need to buy one-cent stamps, but I really didn’t want to do that. Read more…

Awesome Parents Encourage Thanks

061814 Note Awesome Parents Encourage Thanks

I’m am crazily obsessed with the thank you note. I think it’s incredibly important to acknowledge a thoughtful act, gift or presence at an event with something that says ‘I appreciate you and what you’ve done.’ Because we don’t always receive thank you notes under circumstances when custom dictates that we should, I find that I’m now pleasantly surprised when we do get one.

061814 Thank you note 300x225 Awesome Parents Encourage ThanksA few weeks ago, we attended the Bar Mitzvah of one of our neighbors’ sons. The family is close to ours, and the boy’s parents are among our closest friends. We gave a gift, and I sort of assumed that would be the end of that. This is a 13-year-old boy we’re talking about here. I was pleasantly surprised when we heard a knock on our door the other day, and our neighbors’ son was standing there holding a handful of envelopes.

I have thank you notes,” he said with a sigh, handing me an envelope.

Thank you,” I replied as he turned and left.

The envelope was addressed by his mom, but the note itself was written by the boy. It was simple and straightforward, but it was so, so appreciated. Read more…

Pony Express Mural in Ely, Nevada

052814 Pony Express sign Pony Express Mural in Ely, Nevada

On a whirlwind trip to the rural town of Ely, Nevada, I made the discovery that this small town has an awesome collection of street murals. One of these immediately caught my eye when we took a bus tour through the community, so much so that I tracked it down on foot when I had the opportunity. The mural, which covers the entire side of a building, depicts the Pony Express, a system of mail delivery running from Sacramento, California, to St. Joseph, Missouri, from April 1860 to October 1861. Read more…

USPS Workers Protest Shift to Staples

I heard this story about U.S. Postal Service workers protesting at Staples on NPR a couple weeks ago and wanted to share it with you. The discussion has to do with shifting USPS counters to some Staples stores to open up new avenues of business. Behind these counters would be Staples employees, not USPS workers. Many of the grievances on behalf of the USPS workers have to do with union-related issues and the fact that this move on behalf of the USPS would take away jobs from employees of the postal service, but I think one of the bigger issues is highlighted by this quote in the story from one of the postal workers:

The people of this country deserve to have their postal services performed by well-trained, uniformed postal workers accountable to the people of this country to protect the sanctity, security and privacy of their mail. Read more…

Happiness in an Envelope

032614 Bring on Spring 300x300 Happiness in an EnvelopeIt only takes a small piece of snail mail to turn an entire day around. The last few weeks haven’t exactly been the easiest to deal with, so it was with a slightly cloudy mood that I checked my mail the other day and found a wonderful surprise.

My friend, Julie, is a very, very busy person. She has two young children, and somehow she and her husband juggle freelance careers in one of the most expensive cities in the United States while raising a vibrant and dynamic family. I happen to know that Julie is in the middle of a couple good-sized projects (thank you, guidebooks), but she still managed to find time to make and send me a piece of mail that really lit up my day.

The envelope was a standard business-sized envelope, but inside I found an index card-sized pocket filled with colorful confetti. On the outside it says ‘Bring on Spring.’ Julie didn’t send a letter or even sign the confetti-bursting pocket. She didn’t need to. Sometimes the most perfect pieces of snail mail are simple and small yet thoughtful and able to change the course of a day for the better, just like this one.

Rewind to Valentine’s Day

031214 valentines 223x300 Rewind to Valentines DayI’m a little late in writing about my Valentine’s Day cards, but I wanted to share my craft magic of the season before is too far in the past to remember. I like decorating my own note cards and making my own birthday cards, and one of my favorite holidays to send greetings is Valentine’s Day. A couple years ago, I found vintage-esque valentines and last year I spread the love with handmade cards.

This past holiday season, I came upon a huge display at Michael’s of super discounted stickers. I stocked up on several sheets, including some heart-shaped stickers and lovely one-word messages. I figured there was a high chance that these would figure into my valentines for this year, but I wasn’t sure how, exactly, until I wandered the aisles of the One Spot at Target. There, tucked into one of the bins were two packs of six cut-out hearts each. They were so simple, so nondescript, so PERFECT for my valentines! Read more…

Letter Writing Binge

022614 Letter 223x300 Letter Writing BingeWhy, oh, why do I leave letter writing to the last minute? Why do I wait to write back to people until I have a stack of letters several dozen deep? I’m not a procrastinator, but when it comes to letter writing, I sure do a good job of not doing a dang thing until I almost feel stressed out about not writing letters.

Admittedly, January was busy. I traveled a lot … more than half the month. I had a lot of work that required I play a lot of catch up and chase sources to meet deadlines. And I fought a sinus infection on top of all of that. I know, woe is me.

But then it was February, and I had a stack of letters that had accumulated over the winter holidays. On a free Saturday afternoon, I gathered a stack of stationery, an envelope stuffed with stickers and a handful of stamps. I cleared the dining room table and started writing. I sent birthday cards and thank you notes. I wrote postcards and made valentines. I spent a long time writing a few letters and also sent off brief greetings to a few other people I haven’t written to in awhile. Read more…

A Trip Without Mail

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I tend to send mail when I travel. (See Ecuador and Canada as examples.) I recently cruised the Caribbean for a week on assignment with stops in the Bahamas, Mexico, Cayman Islands and Key West. At each stop, the temptation to buy postcards and stamps almost got the best of me, but on this trip, I avoided all snail mail.

On this particular assignment, I got to bring my two current foreign exchange students, and it was very important to me that the three of us thoroughly enjoyed our time and experiences together. This was about me and them, not anyone else. Although I was briefly in touch with others while traveling via electronic communication, it was more important that I sat with my girls by the pool, went to the piano bar with them and that we enjoyed each other’s company instead of focusing on other things like writing letters. Read more…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

121113 Holiday stamps 300x225 Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Tis the season to stock up on holiday forever stamps! We took our family Christmas card photo about a week ago and now I’m eagerly awaiting the package so I can address and mail off nearly one hundred cards to family and friends. Additionally, I’ve started hand making holiday cards for my closest family members, and our kids have stocked up on boxes and customs forms so they can mail all their goodies home in time for the holidays.

Though the handwritten letter is practically a thing of the past, I don’t think the holiday card has fallen in its footsteps. Often, the holiday season is the only time of the year when I receive written correspondence from some people, and I relish collecting the mail, opening the envelopes and reading the messages inside of the card, even if they are a bit generic. It’s pretty much the only time of the year that we’re guaranteed to get some sort of fun mail every single day. Read more…