Ex Postal Facto


ex postal factoHave you heard of Ex Postal Facto?  It’s “a weekend event celebrating correspondence art, faux philatelics and postal modernism” which translates to mail art fun!

Events include:

  • A mail art show and reception at the San Francisco Center for the Book on the 14th
  • A vendor expo at the SF Elks Lodge #3 on the 15th, and
  • An afternoon of mail art & postal modernism lectures at the SF Public Library on the 16th.

I wish I could go!  I believe some fellow bloggers, and my pen pals, from The Well Appointed Desk and Craftgasm are going (Thanks, Melissa, for cluing me in.  I have been out of the loop!).

Save Snail Mail will be there in spirit! Please share stories with me if you go!



Graceful Envelope Contest

Calling all mail artists and calligraphers!

The Graceful Envelope contest is coming around again.  The contest is a combined effort of The Washington Calligraphers Guild and the National Association of Letter Carriers.  Your job is to beautifully decorate and address the front of an envelope based on this year’s contest theme: The Superlative Letter ‘S’.

They said that the S could stand for U.S. Postal Service Six days a week, including Saturday!  Huzzah!  But you can make the S stand for anything you’d like–the solar system, snakes, silliness, statues, whatever you can come up with.  Check out last year’s winners for the theme “A World of Change.”  Feeling uninspired by a letter?  Be sure to see all the fantastic winning entries for 2012 when the theme was the letter D.  My favorite was the Dragon by Tina Lee-Cronkhite!

Tina Lee Cronkhite

Here are the rules:

Artistically (and by hand!) decorate the front of the envelope and address all entries to:

The Graceful Envelope Contest
100 Indiana Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Legibly print your name, mailing address and e-mail address on the BACK of the envelope.

Students must also indicate their grade to allow judging in the following categories:

  • Adult
  • Grades 9-12
  • Grades 5-8
  • Grades 1-4

For full contest details, see www.caligraphersguild.org

Entries must be postmarked by March 24, 2014–so start designing now!

Edward Gorey Google Doodle


For those of you who, like me, adore Edward Gorey, be sure to check out the Google doodle today that commemorates his 88th birthday.


And since you’re here, you obviously like letters, so be sure to check out Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer.  The book includes many illustrated envelopes that Gorey sent Neumeyer.  Delightful!  My sister gave me the book a couple years ago and I am working my way through it slowly so as to draw out the joy.


Graceful Envelope Contest

Every year the Washington Calligraphers Guild and the National Association of Letter Carriers hold The Graceful Envelope Contest inviting calligraphers and artists to take a theme and create beautiful envelopes.

Last year’s theme “D-liver D-letter D-sooner D-better” produced some amazing winners.  Check them out for inspiration and then create your entry for this year’s contest with the theme “A World of Change.” Details for the contest can be found here, and the postmark deadline is Monday, February 25, 2013

Address the envelope to:
The Graceful Envelope Contest 100 Indiana Ave. NW Washington, DC 20001-2144

Graceful Envelope Contest

Calling all mail artists, doodlers, calligraphers and crayon wielders! The National Association of Letter Carriers and The Washington Calligraphers Guild are holding their 18th annual Graceful Envelope contest.

Deadline: April 30th postmark
Theme: “D-liver D-letter D-sooner D-better”–create a Graceful Envelope around anything that begins with D.

Rules: Only the front of the envelope will be judged.  Address and design must be hand rendered. No computerized type or images. Send the envelope through USPS as First Class Mail and do not wrap it in anything else.

On the back of the envelope (the entries won’t be opened), include your name, address, email address, and your age group (adult, junior Grades 6-12, and child Grades 1-5)

Winners will be chosen based on artistic hand lettering, creative interpretation fo the theme and effective use of color and design. Winning designs will be selected for display in the lobby of the National Association of Letter Carriers building in Washington, D.C. and on the internet.  Winners will also receive certificates.

Address the envelope to:
The Graceful Envelope Contest
Washington Calligraphers Guild
P.O. Box 3688
Merrifield, VA 22116

See www.calligraphersguild.org for last year’s winners of the “Time Flies” theme.

Thanks to author Rick Hodges for alerting me to this contest. His article, The Meaning of Mail, in the December 2012 issue of The Postal Record featured Save Snail Mail and others who enjoy sending and receiving post.

Women’s Mail Art Group–Series 2

I’m participating in a women’s mail art group.  There are about 25 of us in the group and I’m making pieces in several small groups to send to each participant in turn.  Here, I’m sharing Series 2 (I’ll share Series 1 pictures as soon as I can find them…they’re around here somewhere). This set began when I got an Urban Outfitters catalog in the mail and turned into a grumpy old lady while flipping through it.  The catalog raised only one question for me: “Why would I spend hundreds of dollars to look like a homeless streetwalker?!”

I keep wondering why commercial imagery these days has to make young people look like they don’t care about anything.  Disaffected youth annoy me.  I’m far too earnest to put up with people acting like they are disinterested.  At least I hope it’s an act.  If it’s real, then that’s even worse.

So, here’s how I dealt with my old lady frustration:

I am inappropriately dressed for hiking

“Yes, this is what I’m wearing to school, Mom.”

Fluorescent colors mean ‘safety first!’

I feel like I am forgetting something

If all this pink didn’t wake me up, this coffee sure as hell ain’t gonna.

Oh yeah, we’re naughty alright.

The pink letters on each one spell out a part of a saying that ties together all of the pieces I’m going to make.  Stay tuned!

Like, Totally 80s!

I celebrated my birthday 80s style this year, with a themed-party, 80s music and a decade-long mashup of decorations. From Boy George tapestries, Motley Crue posters and PacMan mobiles to neon jelly bracelets, banana clips, and Pop Rocks, it covered the gamut.

I was particularly proud of my Pac Man ghosts hanging from the ceiling. After the party, I just couldn’t throw them away, so I kept some for my junk book and I gave one a new life as a post card:

To keep the theme going, I sent out thank you cards on these mix-tape notes from HeatherJeany at Etsy. I bought them ages ago, and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.  I just needed to get around to having an 80s party!

And, uncharacteristically, I will share a photo of myself, dressed as the 80s rocker chick I clearly was born to be:

Yours in mail art and blue eyeshadow,


Celebrating 2000 Letter Writers

A few days ago, I shared here that the Letter Writers Alliance was celebrating its 2000th member by calling for mail art envelopes celebrating this milestone.

Well, here is the one I’m mailing out on Monday:

If you’re not yet a member, membership is inexpensive (a one-time $3 fee) and comes with some great benefits! The stationery is sold separately in the members-only section of their site!

Doodled Envelopes

I’ve always been one of those people who can concentrate better if I doodle while listening to someone.  At some point I realized that folks may think that I’m bored or ignoring them if I doodle in front of them, so I don’t tend to do it much in meetings any more.

But I’ve been on more than my fair share of conference calls lately and have found a perfect opportunity to doodle while listening!  I keep a pile of blank business-sized envelopes on my desk.  When I feel like I might be drifting during a call, I grab one and start doodling with the pens/markers/highlighters that are within reach.

Some of them are quite busy and detailed:

And others are very simple (maybe this depends on the length of the call!).

I find the space provided by the front of an envelope to be a perfectly approachable size to tackle during a call. And rather than having piles of scraps I’ve doodled, I now have lovely little creations to send to friends!

What about you? Do you doodle, too?

I’ll send letters to two people I choose randomly from folks who comment on this post.  They will arrive in one of these envelopes.  You can leave me your email address in the post and I’ll contact you directly for your mailing address.  Happy doodling!

P.S. If you are a doodler, too, you may want to check out Doodlers Anonymous.  They feature a lot of great doodle art that inspires.

Mail Art Call from L.W.A.

The Letter Writers Alliance (of which I am a proud member) has surpassed 2000 members and wants to celebrate.  They ask that you send a cover (an envelope) decorated to celebrate their 2000th member.  They will keep the envelope, but will photograph it and post it on Flickr.  Once the contest closes (all entries must be postmarked by January 31st), people will be able to review the Flickr stream and vote on their favorite.  The winner gets some L.W.A. goodies and they are always lovely.

This is a fun chance at winning something, but also a great way to exercise your craft muscles.  It helps me meet my New Years resolution, which was to use what I have to make more art and write more letters!

Click here for more contest details.