Saturday, June 30, 2012

Using Paint Chips

I found a great post on using paint chips:

from Chica and Jo

So, on my errands today I stopped by Home Depot and Lowes.  Here's what I brought home: 

In one big pile:

So, I may have gone overboard this time.  I guess I'll just have to spend lots of time coming up with fun ways to use them all!

I confess that I haven't actually made anything with them yet.  I was too excited about just getting them and didn't want to wait to post this.

If you're interested in crafting with paint chips, a list of ideas for inspiration can be found here.

Credit also goes to Miki who had a great post on things to send to your pen pals.  Sadly, I didn't find any of the Mickey Mouse paint chips this time.  I'll keep my eye out though!

I'm off to start crafting!

~ Anne

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nature in the Mail

I love these ideas!

Plantable postcards from USPS:
Seeded postcards produce wildflowers when planted.

Postcardens from uncommon goods

~ Anne

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Postcrossing Spam: Update

Several weeks ago I posted about some mail I received through postcrossing.  At the recommendation of several readers, I sent a message to the admins, just an FYI that I had gotten some unusual mail from a postcrosser.

Well, I have received a response!

Hi Anne,
Sorry for the late reply, and thank you for letting us know about this.  
We'll get in touch with the user.  
Kind regards,
community manager, 

~ Anne

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Many thanks to Sabrina for the Liebster Award!

What is This?

The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have 200 followers or less.
The word Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Here are the Rules:

1. Each person must post 11 random facts about themselves
2. Answer 11 questions the tagger has given you and give 11 questions for the people you tagged
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post
4. Tell them you've tagged them
. Remember, no tag backs!

My Random 11 Facts:
1- Grammar errors drive me nuts.  If you need a person to proofread something, I'm your gal! (Exhibit A: I changed "here's the rules" to "here are the rules".)
2- I am now worried that there are grammatical errors on my blog that I've missed and now I've just embarrassed myself with (1).  Oh well!  Forgive me, dear readers.
3- My family is full of professional (classical) musicians.  We sing for fun.
4- I'm addicted to NPR.  I often start conversations with "so I heard this story on NPR..." 
5- I was a vegetarian for 10+ years but gave it up two years ago because I needed more protein.
6- I make smoothies for breakfast every day.  Yum :)

7- I have my ears pierced but I never wear earrings.
8- I absolutely love rain and thunderstorms.
9- We never had pets when I was growing up except for fish and a hamster (and the hamster ran away :( so we didn't have him for very long!)
10- I love flowers and gardens.
11- I want to visit every continent (except perhaps Antarctica).  I have travelled a fair amount for someone my age, but there are so many places I still want to see!

My questions:

1. What inspired you to blog the way you do? I was inspired to start my blog after reading Good Mail Day.  
2. What is your favorite post you published? I suppose it's this one about getting advice on how to organize my mail.  I got some very helpful suggestions, and it always makes me smile when people comment on my posts.
3. What do you see right now? My computer, some unanswered mail, the trees in our backyard.
4. What is your best feature/characteristic? Compassion.
5. You are offered a super power. Which one do you choose? I would like to save the post office.  So maybe I'd be super postal woman?  Does that count?
6. What's one thing you see every day? Nature.
7. Do you have any regrets? Not really - I used to but I try not to dwell on the past too much.
8. Which is your favorite blog? I'm not sure I have a favorite blog.  I love mail blogs in general :)
9. If you could do one thing without suffering the consequences, what would you do? Hmm... I would buy lots and lots of stationery!
10. What is your favorite TV show? The Daily Show.  I watch it online during my lunch at work.
11. What are your favorite kind of clothes?! Anything from Anthropologie. I only wear clothes/shoes that are comfortable though.

I know I'm supposed to tag people and come up with my own questions, but I need to go to work!  I'll try to remember to do that later.

~ Anne

Czech Stamp: Gerbera Daisy

I received my first postcrossing card from the Czech Republic!  It came with a lovely stamp of a gerbera daisy.

Some of my favorite stamps are stamps with flowers on them.  I previously posted a picture of some vintage flower stamps I got from etsy.

Last but not least, here's a picture I took a few weeks ago of an iris picked from our garden:

~ Anne

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Stamps

Lovely new stamps:

I ordered these online because my local post office didn't carry most of them.

The one thing that really bugs me about ordering stamps online is the amount of wasted packaging.



Fortunately the plastic can be recycled, though I would rather not use the plastic at all.

The cardboard I'm going to use to make a few postcards and then I suppose I'll recycle the rest. 

I understand that they want to protect the stamps during transit, but why can't multiple stamps go in one thing of packaging?  I ordered several identical sheets and they were each packaged separately.

In general I love shopping online - reading reviews before I buy something, taking as much time as I need to make a decision about whether or not to get something.  But, everything seems to be packaged in plastic! 

~ Anne

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm Curious!

Question for my fellow lovers of all things postal: how do you open your letters?

For example, do you have a letter opener?  Do you open the top or the side?

Before opening a beautiful envelope there is a moment of hesitation for me.  I don't want to ruin it!  But, alas, it must be opened.  Plus, I'm eager to know what's inside!

~ Anne

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flower Stamps (vintage?)

I ordered these lovely stamps from etsy recently and I haven't been able to bring myself to use them yet - I just love them too much!

Does that ever happen to you?  You buy stationery, stamps, etc and hold off on using them because you will be bummed when you run out?

Well, it's happening to me!  Perhaps I will start posting pictures of some of my stationery and stamps that I'm, well, hoarding.  Then you can encourage me to use them!!

~ Anne

PS: can I consider these "vintage"?  They are from 1993.  So maybe they are "old" but not yet "vintage"?  Or perhaps "vintage" but not "antique"....?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Expired Postcard

It seems I have my first expired postcard with Postcrossing.

I hope it arrives at its destination safely eventually!

Have you had any postcards expire? Do they arrive eventually?

~ Anne

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Incoming, Week of June 11th

Some great mail this week, including letters from new pals!

Incoming, part one:
Part two:

~ Anne

Edit: I just realized I had one piece of mail from two weeks ago in this week's mail pictures. I'm not quite organized yet!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

post-it desk

This reminds me of those restaurants where the table is covered with a big piece of paper and they give you crayons to draw while you wait for your food!

post-it desk
via we love stationery.

~ Anne

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recycled Paper Pencils

Happy Friday!

I stumbled on these pencils from Poketo on the blog of paper and things

recycled paper colored pencils

They have really neat paper on them...

At home I have baskets made out of old newspaper.  It's fun to wonder where the paper went in its former life. 

They also sell pencils made of reclaimed branches.  I want to learn how to make these!  Cool, right?
reclaimed branch colored pencils

~ Anne

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting Organized: Before

Hello everyone!

recently posted about my utter lack of organization when it comes to my mail, and asked for input/advice.  Fortunately for me, I received many great suggestions!

So, I'm now going to try to follow through by organizing my mail!

pile of mail*

Stay tuned for my new and improved mail archive! :)

~ Anne
* growing by the day**...
** except Sundays

PS: if you have any more tips for me (or other snail-mailers) please let me know.  I'm not organized yet!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moleskine Postal Notebook

Love these! 

More pictures on Moleskine's website.


History of "ZIP Code"

I needed to look up the zip code ("postal code" in Canada) for one of my penpals, which got me thinking... why is it called a zip code?

In case you've ever wondered the same thing, here's what I found out:

ZIP = Zone Improvement Plan.

1973 stamp promoting the ZIP code system.

This brilliant system didn't start until the 1960s.  It's amazing to think that mail got to the right place without it!  If someone from, say, Utah sends me a letter, how are the postal workers there supposed to know where Hummelstown, Pennsylvania is?  Before this ZIP system, I suppose they would just send the letter to Pennsylvania, and once it got here hopefully the postal workers would know that I live in the south-central part of the state.  And eventually the letter would reach someone who had actually heard of Hummelstown, and then it would reach my mailbox.  Miraculous if you really think about it.
It's true: it all depends on ZIP code.

How does the system work?  Like magic!  But really, it is pretty cool.  (Well, it's cool if you love the post office as much as I do!)

The original system was just the five digits we usually think of as our zip code.
The first digit designated a broad geographical area of the United States, ranging from zero for the Northeast to nine for the far West. This was followed by two digits that more closely pinpointed population concentrations and those sectional centers accessible to common transportation networks. The final two digits designated small post offices or postal zones in larger zoned cities.

Almost 30 years ago (1983), USPS added four more digits to the ZIP Code system, yielding "ZIP+4".

The nine digits of a ZIP+4 code (e.g., 12345-6789may be grouped as follows: [123] [45] [67] [89]
  • [123] : Sectional Center or Large City
  • [45] : Post Office facility or Delivery Area
  • [ - ] : The required "dash" or "hyphen" separates the first five digits from the last four digits; the +4
  • [67] : Sector or Several Blocks
  • [89] : Segment or One Side of a Street

Use of the 4-digit add-on is not mandatory, but it helps the Postal Service direct mail more efficiently and accurately because it reduces handling and significantly decreases the potential for human error and possibility of misdelivery. 

So there you have it, folks!  I, for one, am going to start using ZIP+4 more often for my return address.  Just one more way to help save the post office!


Information from

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Incoming, Week of June 4th

Can't believe it's June already!!

Incoming this week:

lots of great mail!

Have a lovely week,


Friday, June 8, 2012

Postcrossing Spam?

Happy Friday, everyone!

I didn't plan to post another question, but I was puzzled by the mail that was waiting for me when I got home from work today.

I've only been doing Postcrossing for two months, and I'm hoping to hear from some of the long-term postcrossers out there about something that was sent to me.

This is part of the mail sent to me by a postcrosser from Belarus:

Postcrossing letter.

Hi, my name is Alina.  We would have to share their gifts with you, the fact that I can not buy in my country some things, so maybe you could buy me things that were drawn on the sheet.  If you agree, then I will immediately be sent to you gift from Belarus, and as soon as you make sure that he will come, you could send to me.  I already did one American, we exchanged gifts with her, she sent me a mascara from America, which I very much wanted, and I gave her a gift from Belarus.  Thanks in advance.
My address is: 

On the other side of the letter is a picture of DKNY perfume and a Louis Vuitton mirror case from Sephora.

I should mention that she did include both a card and a postcard (plus a few stickers) in the envelope:

Before I register the "postcard" I want to know if this is something I should respond to in my optional message to the sender.

Have you ever gotten anything like this through Postcrossing?

Thanks :)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Hello dear readers,

I'm hoping to learn how you all manage to keep your mail organized.  I'm pretty sure I misplaced a letter from one of my pen pals and didn't respond (even though I remember thinking about what I was going to say!).  (Leah, I didn't forget about you!)

How do you keep track of what mail you received and when - and then whether or not you've replied?

Also, do you hold on to everything you've received?  So far I have every letter that I've received as part of this project, but they are in a big pile!

Thanks for the input!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Incoming, Week of May 28th

This week I got mostly postcards from postcrossers (Germany, India and the Netherlands).

Incoming: a few letters and postcrossing postcards:

I love the idea of using old maps to make envelopes - another great idea for me to try!

~ Anne

Friday, June 1, 2012

More New Stationery

My recent post about buying stationery was fairly popular, so I figured I would share with you more stationery that I got!

This order came from Smock.  Here is their display at the National Stationery Show.  (Photo by Kristen Magee at Paper Crave.)


"use these to do good."
Other purchases:

more cute cards from smock.

mini notecards with giraffes!

I live in Pennsylvania where "fracking" (hydraulic fracturing) in the Marcellus Shale is a big issue, so these cards caught my eye.

Also part of Smock's Change the World series are these bee-friendly cards.

 They come with sunflower seeds!!

"XO, Pesticide Action Network & Smock."


If you're interested in "eco-friendly" penpalling I encourage you to check out Smock's website.

"eco sticky notes"

Previous purchases from Smock include:

 Some of my pen pals will recognize the paper!

Have a great weekend everyone!