Pony Express Google Doodle

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express.  It features a game that lets you be a Pony Express rider, picking up letters, switching horses, and avoiding the treacherous obstacles that faced these riders as they traveled across the U.S. in the 19th century.  It is a lot of fun, especially when you fall off!


Pony Express DoodleYou can find the Pony Express Google Doodle archived here after April 14th.

And here is a great video on the making of the Doodle, with a little Pony Express history.

Hooray for mail-themed games!


Stationery Week AND the start of Card & Letter Writing Month

How time flies!  Here we are again, with national stationery week (in Britain) and April being National Card and Letter Writing Month in the U.S.  Both wonderful reasons to celebrate!

I hope you send cards and handwritten letters year round, but if the beautiful spring weather has you feeling hopeful and energetic, maybe it can boost your letter-writing rate this month.  Go outside and write (one of my favorite ways to enjoy the sunshine) and don’t forget to share the joys of letter writing with your friends and family who may not remember how wonderful it is!


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!

My Childhood Post Office Closed

My childhood post office, a nondescript, cinder-block building on the side of Route 16 in Orma, WV, was shuttered on November 20, 2013 after 108 years of operation.

Orma WV Post Office


My parents–knowing my love for all things postal–were thoughtful enough to send me a note that day with the last day’s postmark!


I am sad to hear that it closed.  The post office was already 5 miles from my parents’ house, and their new post office is 10 miles away. On curvy West Virginia roads, that’s a 20-minute drive.  The post office connected their rural community to the outside world for more than a century and now it’s gone.  Makes me wonder what the future holds for the community and for the postal service.

A member of the civilian army…

I spent some of this beautiful weekend responding to the cards and letters I received from members of the National Association of Letter Carriers in response to this article in the NALC’s Postal Record magazine.  The article shared a bit about me and two other folks’ efforts to support the U.S. Postal Service.

I’m sending exuberantly stamped envelopes as a thank you to them for their messages and their service to us all.  Thank you, readers, for also being members of the civilian army fighting to save America’s Postal Service.  Keep writing!


Happy Valentine’s Day

I sent out a few Valentines (and did not manage to take a picture of them before hand, sorry!) and used some fun LOVE stamps from the past. But I can’t wait to get my hand on the new wax seal stamps that are now available from the USPS.  They make me want to break out my wax and seals and get to writing! Click on the link to see the inspiration behind the image and learn a little history of letter writing and wax seals.

(image from Beyond the Perf)

Mr. Zip

(image from Beyond the Perf)

Beyond the Perf has a great little post about Mr. Zip–the icon of a speedy mail man who educated 1960s America about the use of the new ZIP code system. Mr. Zip is making an appearance on the backs of a couple of stamps this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ZIP codes.  Read more here.

Letter-Generating Event

Recently, a U.S. postal worker sent me two sheets of stamps because she was inspired by my blog and wanted to help me in my efforts to save snail mail.  I wanted to pay the gift forward, so I used the stamps to make letter sets with postage-paid envelopes, grabbed some pens and table decorations (including my Write More Handwritten Letters sign by Mary Kate McDevitt), and headed off to the Really Really Free Market!

Carrboro, North Carolina has a Really, Really Free Market once a month at the town commons area.  People bring items to give away, make food–like sandwiches or pancakes–to share, play music or offer services. I provided ready-to-send letter sets so folks could drop a letter in the mail.

It was so nice to see people’s faces light up when they realized what I was doing.  Some sat in the sun and wrote a letter right there.  Others asked if they could take a letter kit with them and write someone later.  Many said they hadn’t written a letter in quite some time.  So even though I showed up a bit late and missed the initial rush, I was able to put 35 letters out there as a result of one woman’s gift and a little bit of my time.

It was nice to enjoy the beautiful weather, connect with folks in my community and help them connect with others.  Thank you, Andrea, for the stamps.  I hope I did your gift justice.


Snail-y Mail Happenings

Well, I’ve finally broken my stationery fast of 2012.  

Well, to be truthful, I broke my fast just a teensy bit on February 29th. I felt a bit guilty, but it was a postal emergency!  I realized in the middle of the day that it would be fun to send Leap Day-cancelled letters to my parents, my sister and myself.  But I was out running errands and didn’t have any of my stationery stash with me.  Knowing I couldn’t get home, write notes, and get back to the post office by the end of the day, I stopped by the post office to see what they had on hand.  I found this lovely bonsai card set–10 cards, 10 envelopes and 10 matching stamps!:

The set is available here at The Postal Store or in your local P.O. if they carry them.

Preston at the counter agreed to hand cancel the cards, so I sat in the post office and wrote out three.  Preston gave them a beautiful cancel:

But I really broke my stationery fast on my most recent trip to Nest Paper Studio in Oxford, MS. I just had to have these two snail-themed card sets.

This first one is from Lark Press.  Look at that lovely snail!

I also picked up this Greek-inspired snail design from Sharp & Sally.

I love the detail:

The lovely snail theme continues this set I got for Christmas from Orange Tabby Press.

How cute!  I know the term “snail mail” isn’t exactly appreciated by the USPS, but I just love these snail designs.  It seems the stationery world is “embracing the snail” of handwritten correspondence and recognizing it isn’t a derogatory term.  It’s more a part of the slow movement–good things come to those who wait and savor!

What stationery have you picked up lately?