Happy Vintage Cupid’s Day

Next Saturday’s Valentine’s Day, meaning it’s time for me to share more of my vintage V-Day postcards.

Valentine tulips“When Tulips a heart entwine / It speaks of Love, my Valentine.” Mailed to Miss Matilda Blessing of Pitts Pa on February 9, 1910, there’s no message or signature on the back … a secret admirer perhaps? All of the text and illustrations are embossed, even the small field of tulips inside the heart-shaped center.

A very self-effacing lover mailed the next one to Miss Marie Cornell of Dickinson Center, New York in 1930.

Valentine cupid

“My Valentine / I’m slow, sweetheart. / And shy, tis true. / Yet Cupid loves me – Why can’t you?” This entreaty also was not signed. It’s not embossed, but the colors are still bright, and the scalloped edges shine with glittery gold paint.

Finally, sweet Cupid offers a bouquet of roses.

Vintage Cupid

Only two inches tall, he was separated from a larger Valentine’s card. The pink ribbon at top is real fabric, and Cupid is swaddled in a soft, folded paper diaper.

Want to see more? Check out my 2014 post Vintage Valentine’s Day Greetings, my 2013 post A Token of Loveand my 2012 post Happy Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Postcard Bonanza!

I’ve been having such a great time sending and receiving postcards through Postcrossing for over a year now. On Postcrossing, the number of cards you can send (and then get one back every time one of yours is received), depends on your total cards sent. I’ve sent 251 cards so I can have 14 cards traveling around the world at a time.

Postcrossing gives great stats! This map on my page shows my postcards, sent and received.

Postcrossing map

Other than receiving beautiful cards with heartfelt messages, my favorite part is trying to choose just the right card (and stamps) for each person. It’s hardest when they don’t say anything in their profiles about their preferences. They say they’d like anything, but … really?

Postcrossing page

I admit it puts me off when a person’s profile says they don’t want self-made cards. What could be more special than receiving a card that someone took the time and effort to make? As a photographer and artist, I pride myself on my card designs. I print on paper that’s thick enough to withstand the rough journey through the mail, and I also have some of my cards printed through Zazzle. But I respect those people’s choice and have fun flipping through my postcard books to find something commercial they’d like. Sometimes I can’t resist, and I’ll put a little plug in by writing that I myself prefer self-made cards, and that I would have loved to send them the exactly perfect card, but alas …

Anyway, a slew of my cards arrived at their destinations last week, so I had the chance to send 5 cards, and, woot! none of the profiles had the dreaded: “No self-made cards.” I got to work poring through their profiles, choosing just the perfect designs, printing, writing, and stamping!


And here’s what went out into the world. Top left: My blended collage of a Ferris wheel and sunflowers, photos I took at the California State Fair, is on its way to a woman in Russia whose wish list included ferris wheels.

Top right: My “Cactus Heart” card went to a guy in Ireland who said he likes … yep, cactus plants. In my message on the back I told him that this was a hybrid by Luther Burbank which was bred to be spineless, but that the spines had obviously returned.

Center right: “Musical Cat” is my photo-painting of our kitty Daisy studying a piece of sheet music. It went to a woman in Poland who said she liked: “funny/creative/vintage things, -black&white, -animals, -just pretty :)”

Bottom right: My photograph of the Space Shuttle Endeavor as it passed over our house in 2012 went to a woman in Belarus. This was hard, because she had so many fun interests that I have good images for, but her interest in “spacecraft” won the day for me.

And bottom left: my penguin photo-painting went to a woman in Finland, well, by now you know why…

What’s going out in your mail today?

This was my first blog post about Postcrossing. 

This one is about meeting mail art pen pals through Postcrossing.

More about Postcrossing and mail art.

No Sew Fabric Postcards

I started making fabric postcards years ago because I didn’t have the sewing chops or time to make bed-sized quilts. Postcards are my way to make very small-scale art quilts with the added wonder that they’re mail-able! Click here to see my 2012 blog post about my fabric postcards. I had been collecting vintage postcards since I was a kid, and once I began to print my own photos and designs onto fabric it was a small hop to sew them into mixed-media fiber postcard form. Here’s an example, my self-portrait photo that I printed on cotton, then adorned with a bit of gauzy fabric and stitching around the design.

Fabric Postcard

Here’s another, my photo of an egret flying with random stitching around the design lines.

Egret soaring fabric postcard

For these fabric postcards I adhere the front to thick stabilizer and then add a backing. I designed this back by scanning the back of an old postcard in my collection, cleaning it up in Photoshop Elements, and adding my name and website.

Fabric postcard back

I print this back onto fabric and then sew the front/stabilizer/back together and edge the sandwich with a satin or zigzag stitch.

These mini-quilt postcards are so much fun to make – but I recently came up with a much quicker no-sew version. I use the same design for the back, but instead of printing onto fabric I print it onto paper cardstock. The front is fabric – I print a few of my postcard-sized designs onto a sheet of pre-treated cotton, then cut each out and run through my Xyron machine to back them with permanent adhesive.

Fabric postcards

You don’t have to use a Xyron, you can use glue or double-sided tape, or spray with adhesive. Then I bond them to the cardstock backs, using a bone folder to make sure they’re well-adhered so the edges won’t come apart during their trip through the mail.

Fabric postcards

I just checked with my local post office, and they said the normal postcard rate would apply: that’s .34 for delivery in the US and $1.15 internationally. Since the postcard rate in the US applies to cards up to 6 by 4.25 inches if you want to make them larger just use the current first-class letter rate, which is now .49.

Anna's hummingbird fabric postcard

Interested in learning how to make the mini-quilt type of fabric postcards? Click here to see a free preview of my online class on CraftArtEdu, “Fabulous Fabric Postcards.”

Want to learn how to print your own fabric? Click here to find out more my ebook, Inkjet Printing on Fabric.

Vintage Valentine’s Day Greetings

I showed you some of my vintage Valentine’s Day cards in my 2013 post A Token of Loveand my 2012 post Happy Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is only a week away, so it’s that time again!

Two sweet cupids bring Valentine Greetings. The butterfly wings on the upper one are exquisite! Aunt Bertha sent this postcard to her niece “Dear Little Irene” in 1911.

Valentine Greetings vintage postcard

And more Valentine Greetings sent by Mrs Webb of Warners NY, to Mrs Gusta Upcraft of New Haven NY in 1923. Mrs Webb wrote that she is “just recovering from a 2 weeks siege of grip” and closed with “Lots of love, from your friend.”

Valentine Greetings vintage postcard

Finally, a bit of Valentine sass.

Valentine's Day vintage postcard

The peeved little girl, a frown on her face and hands on hips, says: “To greet you / Valentine’s Day  / If there weren’t something / dog-gone-affectionate about / you, I’d set you down hard!”

The sheepish little boy looks properly rebuked, and you can see that he even has a little doggie tail sticking out of his cute overalls. With nothing written on the back and no postmark I don’t know what year it’s from or whether the less-than-romantic message was ever sent to a reluctant beau.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

My Christmas Greeting

Digging into my vintage postcard collection to share some Christmas cards with you, I found two wonderful animal-related cards.

xmas 003 small

Three fluffy kittens bring you “My Christmas Greeting.” Their expressions are mischievous, you know they just messed with the Christmas tree. The half-border is a gold banner with embossed holly leaves and berries. “Vera” of Waterville Maine mailed this postcard to “Miss Mary L. Nutter” of Palermo Maine in 1911. Her handwritten message on the back: “With best wishes for a Merry Xmas, Vera.”

xmas 004 small

On a rich dark gold background two beautifully-drawn horses wish you “A Bright and Happy Christmas.” Sweet red flowers – they look like anemones to me – bring a festive feel. This card was sent from Lafayette Indiana to Mr. Edwin W. Savoyer (that’s a guess, it’s pretty illegible to me) of Breinigsville Pennsylvania in 1908, with no written message on the back.

xmas 005 small

Both postcards have one-cent stamps. Which reminds me – buy your forever stamps before the rates go up in January; the postcard rate will go up a penny to .34 (still a great deal in my opinion).

And have a wonderful Christmas or whatever you celebrate!

Happy Peeps-Day!

From my vintage postcard collection, here are two wonderful chicken-themed Easter cards sent to Miss Ada May Rhoads of San Jose, California.  In the first one, three proud hens and a rooster watch over their clutch of eggs…

A Joyful Easter

A beautiful art-nouveau daffodil design adorns the left side of the frame. This postcard was mailed in 1915 from Ada May’s absent-minded but attentive friend in Sacramento, who addressed it to “Baby Rhodes”, and wrote: “Little Sweetheart – I have forgotten your name but I’m writing you just the same. Lovingly, Belle Nick.”

Easter Joy attend you, vintage postcard

The second card was mailed to Ada May in 1913, with no message other than “From Auntie Jones.” I love the jumble of peeps scampering from an egg in a field of lilies-of-the-valley. I especially value these old postcards that are embossed. On this one, each chick is individually embossed, as are the  flowers, and of course – the jagged edges of the egg.

Happy Easter everyone!

Joyeux Noel

I spent a happy hour flipping through my vintage postcard collection for a Christmas card to show you, and I found this marvelous “Carte Postale”:

Vintage French Christmas postcardThe banner says “Merry Christmas” in French. The adorable mam’selle’s portrait appears to be a hand tinted photo. I think the holly and other foliage around the top and right side are also done photographically, with the snow-dusted winter scene trees and banner drawn in.

And oh-la-la, there’s more!

Vintage French New Year postcardA matched pair, this banner says “Happy New Year” in French, with the same pretty lady and background. Neither card has a date on the back, and I can’t tell the year from the cancelled stamps. Interesting that the stamps are on the front. I guess it’s time to resurrect my college French to do some research into when these stamps were in circulation.

Joyeux Noêl et Bonne Année to you!

Mad Hens

No, this isn’t about the character of any of the chickens that we know and love. Going through my vintage postcards, I noticed that some of the little chicks in the Easter cards look kinda angry. Here’s one:

Easter Card

Maybe it’s not mad, just peeping? These two look sweet:

Easter card

Here’s one made in France. I think this little guy looks pretty peeved, maybe it’s just a bit of Gallic attitude:

Easter cardFunny, I took French in high school and college but can’t remember the word for “angry.”  Online translators tell me it’s “être en colère.”

The top card is postmarked 1912 and the second one 1915. They’re both addressed to “Miss Ada May Rhodes” and they’re from her “Aunties.” The cost of the stamps? A penny.

Woman vacations on Santa Catalina Island

I recently revealed to you my passion for old postcards. I started out collecting holiday and flower cards, but sometimes I come across other treasures that need to come home with me. My favorite local frame shop, owned by Kathleen Glenn, just moved into a new space. At the moving sale, while everyone else was grabbing matboard and frames, I found a box jammed full of old greeting cards and postcards that Kathleen inherited from a friend. I should have bought the whole shebang, but instead I spent a marvelous hour going through the cards one by one and picking out the most extra special.

This woman, for example!

Woman on Santa Catalina Island

Isn’t she wonderful? If you can’t tell from the scan, her foot is propped on a real (or maybe fake) log, but everything else behind her is a backdrop, painted to look like she’s at the edge of the sea, with huge rocks behind her. I’m totally enthralled by her steadfast gaze into the camera, her jaunty little hat, and the white bowtie around her neck.

I don’t know much about that time period –  I wonder what kind of bathing suits women wore then. From the back of the card we can tell that she was likely vacationing on Santa Catalina Island.

Unfortunately there’s no handwritten message on the back to give a clue about who she was or when she visited Santa Catalina, but at least we know that the photo was taken by noted 1900s photographer Charles Ironmonger, of Avalon California.

Woman on Santa Catalina Island back of postcard

Do you think she was vacationing alone? Maybe she just wanted a portrait of herself as a keepsake and never intended to use it as a postcard.

In the pre-inkjet darkroom days I used to print some of my photos on black and white photo post cards that Kodak sold. The back of the paper was pre-stamped. I’ll dig some of them up and post them here next time.