Mail Art Happiness

My mailbox has been very happy lately! Here are a few of the wonders sent by pen pals and Postcrossing friends. First, a marvelous creation by mail artist Sally Wassink. On the outside: “Burn on completion” and “2016” stamped in red, and Sally’s “Wurlitzerworld January 1, 2016” postmark.Sally Wassink

Inside: a handy pocket calendar for 2016 and matches to burn it at year’s end (I won’t!)

Sally Wassink

With the bottom stapled, it folds and tucks just like a matchbook. Ingenious!

Sally Wassink

Judy Staroscik, a mail art pen pal I met through IOUMA (the International Union for Mail-Artists), sends me intricate handmade artist trading cards and other gems. Judy’s latest, a small card and ATC that she made on an art tour to England last year:Judy Staroscik

Carrie, a Postcrosser from Minnesota,made me a gorgeous stamp-art postcard with an inspiring message for the new year. The stalk / flowers on the right are embossed with gold ink.

Postcard

LadyOla, a Postcrosser from Belarus, was sweet to note from my profile that I adore triangle stamps! She used this one on my postcard — it looks like a fragment of a tapestry, doesn’t it?

Triangle stamp from Belarus

Ceejay, another treasured pen pal I met through Postcrossing, sends me her own beautiful photo cards with wonderful gifts tucked inside, often precious triangle stamps she finds for me!

Triangle stamps

And last but not least – a Postcrosser from the Netherlands made me this extra-special card with sequins, real lace, and a pop-up cuppa tea and flowers!

Handmade card

Curious about Postcrossing? Click this link. And this is my Postcrossing profile

Have you sent or received any mail art lately? I hope your mailbox has many happy days in 2016, both outgoing and incoming!

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Pop Goes the Mailbox!

Yesterday: happiest mailbox day ever! Sometimes when I’m owed a lot of Postcrossing postcards they seem to arrive in clusters. Makes me wonder whether some mail art lover along the route is delaying a few of them to admire as a collection? For whatever reason, yesterday I had incoming mail aplenty: three postcards from Postcrossers ’round the world, and from faithful mail art pen pals came a selfmade photo-card and a vintage ephemera collage card.

Postcards

What in the world is that in the middle, you may be wondering. I’m so glad you asked – that is an amazing handmade 3D postcard!

Popsicle postcard by RoselynRoselyn, a Postcrosser in Florida who was randomly given my name to send a card to, made this wonderfully fun, unique popsicle postcard. She told me she had been thinking about 3D mail art since she saw some on Pinterest,  and that after reading my profile she decided to give it a try! Following this post by Sandra Denneler on SheKnows, Roselyn sculpted blue styrofoam into a popsicle shape, added 2 wooden craft sticks, and attached cardstock to the back.  

Popsicle postcardIt only took two first-class postage stamps, and I bet a bunch of USPS people along its trip from Florida to California were grinning as much as I did when I saw it.

A Postcrosser in Germany sent me this very special wooden postcard – there’s a small sketched owl at the top left, and a punched-out owl figure.

Wooden postcard

Such a fantastic idea! I’ve made postcards by printing on wood veneer, but the delicate wood-cut designs used to create these cards are just exquisite. Click here to see the artist’s website, and here for his Etsy store.

Finally, this gorgeous handmade postcard from a pen pal I met through the San Francisco Correspondence Co-op. If the link doesn’t open for you and you’re interested in joining, let me know and I’ll send you information.

Mail art

I love the combination of ephemera she chose: old trading stamps and a lire note, with some music and asian type thrown in.

I’m constantly awed and inspired by the creativity of my mail art friends, and it’s as much fun to make my own creations to send to them as it is to open my mailbox and find a treasure! Hope you have a Happy Mail Day!

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!

Postcards

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.

In My Out Mailbox

Which do you find more rewarding, sending or receiving mail? The days that my mailbox is full of cards from Postcrossing and other mail art friends are fantastic, but it’s also a big thrill to make or select pre-made cards to send out into the world. Last week I jammed our mailbox with cards and flipped up the flag.

Postcards

This one went to a Postrossing friend in Singapore, who said that he liked photography and that self-made cards were just fine with him. It’s a photo of the sunset over San Francisco Bay that I took from our deck. I added the “El Cerrito” because there are no commercially-made postcards for my little town – so of course I had to make some!

El Cerrito sunset postcard

When Postrcrossers specifically say they don’t want self-made cards I search through my large collection to find the perfect pre-made card. A person who likes castles is getting the vintage card you can see in the bottom right corner of the photo at the top of this post.

I sent my photo-card of a hummingbird at a fuchsia flower to a young girl in Taiwan who has a really upbeat profile. She said she’d like to see something beautiful or an interesting thing that happened in my life. A visit from a hummingbird to our garden is always so special to me, so it fit the bill.

Hummingbird at flower postcard

This photo-painting I made of an Epipactis orchid grown by George went out to a pen pal who likes flowers. When I make postcards from my photos I print on extra-thick cardstock or Epson velvet-fine art paper, which has a wonderful textured surface and is thicker than normal photo paper.

Epipactis orchid

Finally, I made this postcard from discarded books and ephemera. It’s going to a pen pal I met through the San Francisco Correspondence Co-op.

Upcycled postcard

Anything fun going out your mailbox these days?

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