I have received some really lovely mail recently. A pen pal friend of mine, Steph, added me to her cool mail art Swap-Bot group not too long ago. Against my better judgement, I signed up for some swaps through her group. The only reason it wasn’t a good idea is because I still have a ton of letters to reply to that aren’t swap related. Oops.
The first swap I signed up for was an anything goes mail art swap. It was basically a free-for-all for this swap. You could send whatever your heart desired. My partner’s heart desired to send an altered peanut container. I’m sure happy they did that! I had a huge smile on my face when I opened my mailbox and saw this little container sitting in it. I really love how they decorated it as well! My partner also sent some goodies for me inside of the container. Hooray!
In regular pen pal news, I received a beautiful envelope from Mermeg and a nice postcard from Stephanie. I really, really, really love the envelope Mermeg sent me. Like, love love love. The purple and gold is so pretty!! She is just so creative. I also enjoyed the nice surprise postcard from Stephanie. It’s always lovely to be thought of!
Do you have that one pen pal where you know, no matter what, it’s going to be a good mail day when a letter from them is sitting in your mailbox? The envelope doesn’t even have to have any extras; the letter alone is the treasure.
That’s how it is when I receive mail from Megan, or Mermeg. Although she always includes something extra for me, her letters are all I care about. We’ve know each other for so long and we’ve met on multiple occasions. She is truly a friend and I’m so happy that I can call her my friend.
It’s great to get updates on her life and find out what she is up to. She always has something cool going on so her letters are incredibly entertaining. I love her mail art style as well. Nothing can be topped!
I have so much incoming mail to catch up on! The summertime is really the worst time for me, productivity-wise (and, well, everything-else-wise because I hate summer). Although I became a super hermit during the sunny months, I also did not get anything done while at home. I hung out in my living room with 3 fans pointed at me at all times.
I don’t really send a lot of postcards these days. I’m not active on Postcrossing anymore and I never think to pop a quick postcard in the mail to say hey. Sending mail is somewhat of a complicated process for me, though, so I think I like to reserve it for actual letters.
People still send me postcards though. How nice of them! I really enjoy all of the little things you can do to spruce up a postcard. A stamp, sticker, or even some fun handwriting can go a long way. I am also really impressed by folks that can fit a lot of text on their postcards. I feel like I can write like 3 sentences and then it’s full. I probably need to write small but how do you even do that? Hah.
Sometimes I am just completely in awe of the natural creativity of folks. For instance, this pen pal I met at the first Portland Correspondence Co-op, Supa’Flous. She wasn’t familiar with the world of mail art until that day, although she was familiar with sending and receiving mail. I chatted with her about the community that I have basically grown up with, the mail art community. I showed her some examples of mail art, letters that I had brought with me, and she seemed instantly hooked! We exchanged addresses and that was that.
The first thing I received from her, all I could think was that she was a natural! Her drawings are unique and she has some really awesome ideas of non-traditional mail. Here are some examples of the awesome mail she sends my way!
The majority of my pen pals are letter writing pals but Steph fits in a different category: mail art pal. I think she’s the only one (hmph! I need more). I received this amazing package awhile ago but it’s too good not to share. Steph has serious style. Like I-wish-I-could-be-her-style. Ok, maybe not that creepy. Specifically, her use of neon paints and bright colors is fantastic! She pulls everything together flawlessly. I don’t know how she does it! If you’re looking for eye-candy or inspiration, I definitely suggest giving her instagram a peek.
I can only imagine what her collection of images, ephemera, bits and bobs, scraps, and art supplies looks like. The various peeks she shares on instagram look overwhelming in the best way possible. Steph always sends a really great selection of papers and images. It’s always a treat getting mail from her!
I get a lot of amazing mail from my dear pen pal, Emilie. Not only does she send me really cool things, she also writes me the best letters. She is one of those people that I totally relate to (which is super hard for me to find these days!). Her letters always cheer me up and her thoughtfulness is just downright amazing.
Emilie and I have also met quite a few times. That seems to be a pretty common occurrence these days with pen pals. I can probably thank social media for that as well as just being an adult and being able to do things. Then again, even when I was a kid my mom drove me to California to meet a pen pal/online friend. Thanks, Mom! Anyway, I first met Emilie when I moved out to Rhode Island and she was living in Massachusetts. I think our first meeting was at an event at a local typewriter store in a suburb of Boston. I think! Correct me if I’m wrong, Emilie 🙂 After that, we met up once more when she hosted a letter writing social at a Boston bookstore. Now THAT was fun; it was just a few of us hanging out, cracking jokes, eating cookies and pretending like we were going to write letters. Emilie also opened up her home to me and my boyfriend when we drove across the country from Rhode Island to Oregon. Simply put, she is the best.
One of my favorite things about receiving mail from Emilie is how creative she is! I feel like she doesn’t use traditional envelopes often. She puts things in boxes, photo sleeves, chocolate wrappers, and bags. This package was no different! In addition to a very awesome letter, she sent me some rubber stamps, tree bark, stamps, washi tape, ephemera, and a pterodactyl! I’m pretty lucky, guys. Maybe one day I’ll convince her to send me one of her pies.
Here is a really great incoming missive from one of my best pals, Mermeg. She really knows how to pack an envelope and collage one! I think Megan is my longest-running pal at the moment; we’ve been exchanging mail since 2008. We have kept in touch over several moves (for both of us), different relationships, and other life happenings. It’s really amazing to think about. We’ve also had the pleasure of hanging out at least three times. It could be four but my memory is hazy. Most recently she came to Portland at the beginning of this year and we watched mail art videos on youtube. I’ll make it out to Wisconsin one day to hang out on her turf!
Megan always seems to pick the most perfect items to send my way. I’m not sure if she just knows me really well or that we just have the same style. I don’t care either way because it just means I end up with loads of ephemera. Yes! Also, recognize some of those stamps? They were featured in Monday’s post!
Stacks of mail are my favorite thing to photograph, I think. There is just nothing more beautiful than a pile of mail and stamps to surround it! Feast your eyes on some lovely mail that I have received over the last few months.
You guys, Portland is getting hot and I can’t stand it. I long for an A/C and wait for the sun to go down each day. I lose what little motivation I had when it’s warm. Go away, summer!
In other news, here are some fun postcards I’ve received lately. I don’t send, or receive, postcards that often anymore. I used to be pretty active on Postcrossing, Swap-bot and Sendsomething, sending postcards to randos across the world. They are easy and don’t require much effort. Why do I stop?
The below postcard is from a super talented mail artist, Allison Anne. I love everything about the postcard she sent, her handwriting, the drawing, the collage, the postage placement. It’s so lovely!
One of my favorite things about the mail I receive is that almost everyone addresses their mail to me as “TARAdactyl”. It’s so great. I love seeing my nickname written in all different handwriting and colors.
Postcards can be challenging for me because I love to include a variety of postage, stickers, doodles, and whatever I can fit on the card. That usually isn’t a lot. I need space! In addition to decorating the card, I love to include a long message as well. Usually I have to sacrifice one for the other! Do you like decorating the postcards you send?
A little bit of lovely mail from Cara, aka Chewy Tulip. I’ve blogged about her fun mail before in a Mail Artist Spotlight post. Her style is unique, crazy, and I completely love it.
I especially enjoy all the different ink scribbles and the sparkly bits. I’m not sure where Cara gets her inspiration but I’m thankful to receive bits of her creativity in my mailbox. Her style is so fun and bright! She always includes scribbles and doodles in her letters as well.
In this letter she included bits of heart and circle shaped confetti. I ended up with a bunch of pink hearts all over my floor when I first opened the letter! Oops. I have a really amazing talent of dropping things on the floor and then, when trying to make it so nothing else drops on the floor, I end up dropping everything. This scenario applies to a lot of different situations in my life. My boyfriend calls it “Tara blows it”.