Mail Art pen pal

In a recent post I told you about Postcrossing, a website for people around the world to send and receive postcards. In a scant four months I’ve sent 47 and received 37 cards! My postcards have travelled 395,996 km (246,061 miles) and those I’ve received have gone 298,069 km (185,211 miles). Here’s my Postcrossing map:

Postcrossing map

In their profiles (click the link to see mine), people tell a bit about themselves and can say what kind of cards they’d like to get. A wonderful Postcrosser from back East who was chosen at random to send me a card saw that I collect vintage embossed holiday cards and mailed me two fabulous old postcards. She used a triangle stamp on the envelope, because I mentioned in my profile that I collect those. Talk about a Happy Mail Day!

DSC_6715 small

Emailing through Postcrossing, we realized that we have many similar interests, and she proposed corresponding by mail. I couldn’t say yes fast enough! She also loves photography, and sent me a greeting card she made from her wonderful photo of a Fall garden, along with two more precious vintage embossed holiday cards from her collection.

For my first offering, I decided to send one of my accordion cards, which I made by printing four of my native flower kaleidoscope designs onto a sheet, and folding it. I wrote on the back.

Native flowers kaleidoscope accordion card

I’ve started making upcycled envelopes from paper that would otherwise be thrown away or recycled. I chose one that I made from an old calendar of botanical drawings.  The stamp in the right corner is one I designed from my photo of a masdevallia orchid. I had the stamps made through my Zazzle gallery.

Upcycled handmade envelope

Have you had a Happy Mail Day recently? If so please tell!

Here are my other blog posts about handmade postcards:

Passion for Postcards

Handmade Fabric Postcards

Printing on Wood Veneer

Passion for Postcards

I’ve told you before how much I love vintage postcards, and that I love making fabric postcards from my own artwork. Last month I read a great book on mail art called Good Mail Day that had a list of sites to swap mail art. One really struck my fancy, called Postcrossing, where after you sign up you send postcards and then receive postcards back from people all around the world.

In their profiles people tell a bit about themselves and can say what kind of cards they’d like to receive. I have a huge collection of postcard books, and it’s really fun paging through them to find the perfect one for each person. A girl in Belarus said she liked “cars of your country,” so I chose this cool card for her.

Postcard

It takes a while for you to get your first postcard, because you only get on the list to receive one after one of your cards reaches its destination. You can send out 5 cards at first, so hopefully at least one or two will reach the person quickly. And pretty soon they increase the number you can send out at once; I’m up to 7. This is one of my favorites, sent by a woman in Germany:

Postcard

She mentioned that when she read my profile she thought it would have been better to get a card from me, so I sent her a message (you can contact people through their profiles if they agree to that) saying that I’d love to send her a card. I just mailed her my own ladybug greeting card:

Ladybug stretching card

At first I sent only commercial cards, but a girl in the Ukraine wrote that she liked handmade cards, nature, and animals, so I decided to print one of my hummingbird photos for her. I had read that postcards to Europe shouldn’t be too flimsy or they might crumple, so I printed the back and front on one sheet of paper, folded it over, and pasted them together to make it double-strength. Printing the back let me include a fun “Postcard” graphic I scanned from one of my vintage cards, which I also use to print on my fabric postcard backs.

Hummingbird postcard

I just sent my photo of a monarch butterfly on a sunflower to a woman in the Netherlands who likes postcards with flowers and animals. I printed it on Epson Velvet Fine Art paper, which is thicker than most other inkjet paper.

Postcrossing original postcard

It’s so fun both to send and receive cards. If you sign up for Postcrossing and want to exchange cards let me know – you can do direct swaps along with the random selection of addresses that the site generates for each normal swap. Happy Postcrossing!

Here are my other blog posts about postcards:

Handmade Fabric Postcards

Happy Peeps-Day!

Happy New Year!

Mad Hens

Woman Vacations on Santa Catalina Island

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Printing on Wood Veneer

Happy New Year!

Don’t you love new beginnings? Nothing better than a fresh start, and a turn of the year is about as fresh as it gets. I found some treasures in my vintage postcard collection to help you celebrate the first new day of 2013.

Vintage New Year postcardThe design, the holly leaves and berries, the horse-shoe for luck, and the words “Happy New Year” are all embossed. The original is a bit more yellow-golden, but I liked the coppery shade of the scan. It’s postmarked Dec. 27, 1907, from New Mexico, and was sent to Miss Annie Roberts of Blair Okla. I can’t read the signature, but the message is: “Dearest girl, I am going to answer your sweet note real soon & not do you like you did me. Hope you are having a good old time nowadays.”

Vintage postcard New Year

Miss Jennie Bouman of Niantic PA received this card from her friend Mrs. Milton Gotshall of Boyertown PA on December 31, 1906. I love the girl with her little sailor suit, and the enthralled kitty with its merry red bow.

Vintage postcard New Year

And finally, a card sent by “E.V.A” from Times Square NY on December 31, 1913, to his or her Benjamin in Wellsley Hills, Mass. On the back: “If you were only here I would wish you a very very happy New Year.”

And so to you the same, although you are not here in person, I thank you all for visiting my blog this past year, and wish you a very very Happy New Year, and an “unbroken chain of the good things that will make you happy”!

Handmade Fabric Postcards

I love postcards! I’ve been collecting vintage postcards for many years, and when I started printing on fabric, I quickly realized that using my fabric designs and images to make postcards was just going to be way too much fun. This is one of my favorites, a self-portrait with text incorporated into the design, some stitching, and a bit of gauzy fabric.

Fabric Postcard

Here’s another, just a photo of our cat Lars that I stitched around.

Fabric Postcard: Lars Sleeping

I’m in the middle of writing and recording a new online class for CraftArtEdu, to teach you how to make your own unique fabric postcards. I just got to the part where I show different options to make the back of the card, and I thought I’d give you a preview. There are so many options to design the back of your card, but one of my favorite techniques is to scan the back of a vintage postcard. Remember if you’re going to sell the cards to use the copyright-free ones. Here’s a photo of two that I picked to use as examples in the class:

Vintage postcard backsI scanned them:

Postcard backs scannedThen I cleaned them up in Photoshop Elements.

Postcard back postcard backs scan 02b smallI’ll work on them some more, might take the color out of the bottom one, depending on how it prints on my fabric.

Have you made fabric postcards? Interested in giving it a try? Let me know! Well, back to making the class now — I’ll let you know when it’s ready. Click here for the link to the online class, check out the preview if you’re interested!