Monday, April 24, 2017

Letter Writing Month Wraps Up This Week

As the United States' National Letter Writing Month comes to a close this week, National Stationery Week is just getting started in the UK.

If you're looking for some inspiration in your letter writing, here are a couple of articles that will provide all the encouragement you need:

* Joy Bailey, a 27-year-old from Grapevine, Texas, is featured in The Dallas Morning News. She has a website, SpreadJoy24-7.com, about the letters she shares with the world.

*  In Camarillo, California, Julie Merrick has long known the power of writing letters. She turned that knowledge into a TEDx talk, "The Gift That Can Last Forever." You can read more about Julie in an article in the Ventura County Star and on her blog, A Letter A Week.

Now, go write some letters!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day is April 22

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day, which began in 1970 as a national day to focus on the environment. The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating Earth Day this year by continuing and encouraging others to practice good recycling. The USPS recycling program is known as USPS Blue Earth; you can read more on the Blue Earth website.

Letter writers (and receivers) around the world can join in by recycling as much of what comes in the mail as we can. If your community has a recycling program, use it instead of the trash can to dispose of unwanted paper, cardboard, plastic, etc. Don't forget to reuse as much as possible, too. Check to see if the paper, envelopes, boxes, packaging material and more can be reused, either in their original form or altered in mail art projects.

One way to support the USPS and to add a bit of "green" to your mail: Purchase some of the upcoming "Green Succulent" stamps. They are for First Class International letters, at a value of $1.15 (for a 1-ounce letter). The round stamp features a photo of the echeveria plant. They aren't available yet, but you can pre-order the stamps online.

Happy Earth Day and Happy Letterwriting!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

He'll mail it for you

Ryan Epp, a former computer science student at Temple University, has created a new service -- mailing letters to Congress. According to The Temple News, the student newspaper, Epp came up with the idea when he wrote a letter to a senator but didn't have a stamp. He searched for a service that would mail the letter for him, and when he couldn't find such a business, he started one -- Snail Mail Congress.

Anyone wanting to write a letter to a U.S. senator or representative can write their letter on the website, pay $1.28, and Epp will format and print the letter. Then, he'll put it in an envelope, address it, add postage and mail it. The service even offers a tracking service.

On his website, Epp says that the fee covers only the exact cost of the paper, envelope, postage, etc.

If you'd like some tips on How to Write Your Congressman/Woman, check out my February blog post on that topic.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Patriot Letters

Boston was a busy city Monday, with both the annual marathon and the Patriot's Day Parade taking place yesterday. The marathon may have lasted all afternoon for some runners, but the parade was over in less than an hour. Immediately following the parade was a reenactment of Paul Revere's April 18, 1775, ride to warn people of the approaching British troops.

More information about Paul Revere and that famous ride are available at the Paul Revere House in Boston, which is also hosting a letter-related event. If you're in Boston today and tomorrow -- April 18 and 19 -- you might want to drop by the museum, located at 19 N. Square in Boston, and take a look at the collection "Your Own, Paul Revere" which features some of the letters written by the Revere family and their friends.

Those attending will also get a chance to see examples of vintage postcards sent by tourists in the 19th and 20th centuries. According to the Paul Revere House website, some postcards in the collection feature the Revere House, others showcase the surrounding North End neighborhood. Everyone will also have a chance to practice their quill pen writing skills and make a postcard to send from the Revere House.

From the Northeast Document Conservation Center
Another interesting Paul Revere-related letter story is about the "Lost" Paul Revere letter, dated May 2, 1775 -- almost 242 years ago. According to an article by Julie Martin on the Northeast Document Conservation Center website, the letter was taken to the Paul Revere House, where its authenticity was immediately recognized. The museum worked with the family that owned the letter to allow the NEDCC to do some restoration work on the old and damaged letter. The letter was treated and then digitized so that further study could be done without injuring the original document.

According to the site, later, the museum was able to acquire the letter for its collection.

What a letter writing history!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Weekend Letterwriting Topics

Vintage card from The Graphics Fairy
This weekend, we’re a month into Spring in the northern hemisphere, and here in Texas, the

As you’re writing letters this weekend, here are a few topics you can write about:

* The weather. What's happening in your world today? Is it sunny or rainy? Is there still some snow on the ground? Is this typical?

* Spring holiday(s) you celebrate. What do you celebrate? How?

* Sports. Here in the U.S. baseball and softball are going strong right now. Do you play sports? What's your favorite sport? Your favorite team?

* As we move from winter to spring and into summer, our food choices often change. What are your favorite spring foods? Include a recipe in your letter!

Happy letter writing!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Letters of Artists

If you're going to be in South Florida next week, you will have the opportunity to attend the opening of "Pen to Paper," an exhibit of letters written by various artists, as well as attend an accompanying lecture at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Robert Motherwell (from the Smithsonian)
The letters are a selection from the Smithsonian Institute’s Archives of American Art. It includes handwritten letters from Berenice Abbott, Mary Cassatt, Frederic Edwin Church, Howard Finster, Harriet Hosmer, Ray Johnson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Motherwell, Maxfield Parrish, Edward Weston, and many others.

According to the website www.SouthFlorida.com, the exhibit includes 38 letters written by 32 American icons and "marks the start of a national Smithsonian tour of the letters, which span the early 1800s through the 1980s and feature love letters, notes and elaborately illustrated missives."

"Pen to Paper" opens at the Norton on Tuesday, April 18. On Thursday, April 20, Liza Kirwin, Deputy Director, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, will introduce a range of artists’ writings in a lecture "Archives of American Art from A-Z." 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Recycling and Writing Letters!

 
I love stationery. Cute, quirky, simple, elegant...it doesn't really matter. I just almost can't resist it.

But, I know that stationery -- especially fancy stationery -- isn't necessary for letter writing. Believe me, a letter written on plain notebook paper will be just as enthusiastically received as one written on expensive paper.

Even if you don't have access to notebook paper, there is paper all around that can be recycled into writing paper, envelopes, cards, etc. I'm always saving different types of paper to reuse, such as the comics from the Sunday newspaper, magazine pages, pages from damaged books, etc.

But, if you're really into to recycling or really need paper, there are even more sources of paper readily available...food packaging, junk mail, computer printouts that are no longer needed, old school papers, etc. Sometimes, it takes a little creativity to use paper that has already been used. Addresses can be difficult to see if the paper has words or pictures on it, so you might need to use labels. Other options are to write the address on a small piece of paper and tape it to the envelope or to use some type of correction fluid or tape to make a spot on the envelope to write on. With such techniques, you might need to place clear tape over the address to make sure it doesn't smudge, scrape or fall off.

Limner over at Oh, Write Me has been blogging about some great mailings she's making from recycled Whole Foods Market paper bags. Click on over there. You'll be amazed by her talent!

Earth Day is coming up later this month (April 22), and these ideas are great ways of combining Earth-friendly ways with letter writing! Do you have any other ideas? Share them with us!
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