Friday, January 30, 2015

Just in time for Valentine's Day

The U.S. Postal Service has released this year's "Love" stamps, and the whole sheet of stamps is as great as the individual stamps are!

The stamps are called "Love: Forever Hearts" and feature an intricate design that winds the word "Forever" into the shape of a heart. The stamps come in two designs, one is a red heart on a white background, and the other is identical but reversed, white on a red background. When alternated on the full sheet, the stamps combine to create a delightful checkerboard or patchwork pattern!

Artist Jessica Hische created the lettering that forms the heart, first drawing her design by hand and then finishing the stamp art digitally. The stamps were dedicated in Richmond, the capital of the state with the slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.” The first-day-of-issuance ceremony was Thursday, Jan. 22 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

There are nine philatelic products for this stamp issue:
* Framed art
* Press sheet with die-cut
* Press sheet without die-cut
* Pane of 20 stamps and Digital Color Postmark Keepsake 
* First Day Cover
* Digital Postmark
* Ceremony Program
* Stamp Deck Card
* Stamp Deck Card with Digital Color Postmark

If your local post office doesn't have the Love stamps, order them online at

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lincoln Collection Sells for More Than $800,000

Lincoln letter (
Last Saturday, Heritage Auctions in Dallas sold the Dow Collection of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln memorabilia for $803,889, twice what it had been expected. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the president's assassination (April 15, 1865), and the collection included one-of-a-kind memorabilia tied to Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth.

The collection included photographs, paintings and even a lock of Lincoln's hair removed after he was shot. Of particular interest to correspondence fans may be the sale of Lincoln-related letters, including:

* An 1864 letter signed by Lincoln — authorizing an P.O.W. swap involving Confederate General Robert E. Lee's son from a Union prisoner of war camp — which sold for $27,500.

* A letter signed by Mary Todd Lincoln, on her personal black-bordered mourning stationary, sold for $10,625.

* An 1861 letter written by Booth to a friend boasting about his career and value as an actor, which sold for $30,000.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

National Letter Writing Week

According to many unofficial sources, the second week of January is known as "National Letter Writing Week." I'm sure somewhere out there is an explanation about who started it and what the exact dates of the observance are, but without the time to spend on all that research, we'll just be happy it's generating some interest in letter writing.

Some observers claim the "week" to be the literal second seven days in the month (that is, Jan. 8-14), no matter what days of the week they fall on. Others seem to claim the second full week (this year, that's Jan. 11-17) as the appropriate dates.

Whether today is the last day or the midway point of National Letter Writing Week, let's all use it to write another letter and encourage someone else to pick up their pen and join us in our love for correspondence.

Here are a couple of links to keep you inspired:

Four Ways to Celebrate National Letter Writing Week

How to Write a Letter, From the Jane Austen Handbook

Happy letterwriting!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Want more mail? Here are a few ideas!

Do you wish your mail carrier had this much mail for you? (Courtesy of USPS)
Last week, I received an email that simply said, "Please, some advice for more mail." So, let's share some advice for how to get more mail. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!

Of course, the first rule of getting more mail is: To get mail, send mail. If you want to get more mail, be sure that you're sending out a lot of mail. Unfortunately, sending out lots of mail doesn't automatically ensure that you'll get lots of mail; it just increases the likelihood. To even further increase those chances, try to send mail to people more likely to write back. That may take some effort to figure out who will write back and who won't, but eventually you'll come up with a list of reliable penpals.

Another way to get more mail is to make sure that the letters you send out encourage the receiver to write back. Comment on their last letter; ask questions that they'll want to answer.

If you're wanting mail from anyone in the world, post your address online. Now, I highly recommend that you get a post office box. It will cost you a little bit of money. In my small Texas town, the post office boxes cost from $48 to more than $200 per year, depending on the size of the box. And, you can pay the fees once a year or every six months. But, paying that fee ensures that your home address isn't posted out there on the Internet for the whole world to see. In my opinion, it's better to spend a little money and be safe. If you can't get a post office box, see if you can use your work address, if you work in an office.

Look for sites that offer mail exchanges, including and You might also find some penpals at one of the swap sites, such as

Here are a couple of posts I've done in the past that have resources for ways to get more mail:

Finding People to Write to

How to Get More Mail in Your Mailbox

As I mentioned above, if you have ideas for ways to get more mail, please post a comment and let us know!

Happy letterwriting!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Saying 'Thanks'

I've been seeing a lot of stories out there lately proclaiming January as "National Thank You Month." I'm guessing it's not an official holiday in any country, but any excuse to encourage people to write more letters is always fun.

Of course, they're not calling it Thank You Note Month and there are many ways to say "thank you." But, the preferred method here at 365 Letters is to write a note or letter.

These Thank You! cards are available from Crane & Co.
For a casual thank you letter, you can get the "thank you" part out of the way up front and then continue your letter to include your regular chatty conversation.

But, for a more formal thank you, you might want to use a nice thank you card and keep the note topic to the official appreciation.

One standard piece of advice for writing thank you notes for gifts is to specifically mention the thing you're thanking them for. And, if possible, mention how you've used it or what you plan to do with it. For example, if you received a gift card over the holidays, let the giver know you used it for a specific purchase or maybe that you're saving it till you get a chance to go shopping next weekend. If you received a blender for a wedding present, you might mention that you can't wait to try it out on breakfast smoothies.

Let's say you received a gift you don't like, and you've exchanged it for something more appropriate. You can still send a thank you note, and you can still express appreciation for the gift. It's not really a lie. If you exchanged it for something you really like, then you can be appreciative of the original gift that eventually allowed you to get what you wanted. Even if you re-gifted it, you can still say thanks, since the unwanted gift saved you the expense and time of shopping for a gift for someone else. And, there's no need to mention the exchange or re-gifting. Just say thanks and that you appreciate the gift. That's all you need to say. If you think the letter's too short, move on to another topic, such as the weather or your family.

Good luck with the thank you notes!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New 2015 US stamp

The first new U.S. stamp of 2015 is scheduled to be released tomorrow, Jan. 8, in Chalmette, Louisiana. The stamp,  The War of 1812: Battle of New Orleans, will be the final stamp in the USPS commemoration of the War of 1812, a conflict with Great Britain that many Americans viewed as the nation’s “Second War of Independence.”

The subject of this year's stamp is Andrew Jackson’s victory over the British on Jan. 8, 1815, at the Battle of New Orleans.

The stamp art features a mixed media illustration by historical painter Greg Harlin and depicts American troops and artillery repelling British forces from behind a mile-long defensive earthwork known as Jackson’s line. A portrait of Andrew Jackson in his military uniform, by artist John Vanderlyn (1775–1852), appears on the reverse of the stamp pane. A19th  century depiction of the battle by Oliver Pelton appears on the front of the pane above the selvage text. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp and pane.

For more information about the stamp, visit the the USPS website.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2015!

Are you determined to write more letters this year? I know many of you already write a lot of letters, but many have good intentions that sometimes fall to the wayside.

If you'd like to write more letters in 2015, here are some tips for meeting that goal:

1. Organize your letter writing materials. You don't need an elaborate organization system. Just gather together your stationery or writing paper, a pen or two, some envelopes and stamps. Put all of those items together in some type of box or binder.

Vintage Leather Portfolio in the 365 Letters Etsy shop.
If your stationery came in a box, you can use it to organize your supplies. Other things to use include an accordion folder readily available in the office supply sections of most discount stores, large supermarkets, etc.; a pocket folder like the kids use for school; a briefcase, large purse, tote bag, etc.; or even a plain manila folder (consider taping or stapling the side edges together to keep your items from sliding out). There are also stationery portfolios out there that you can purchase.

 2. Find a good pen to use. It doesn't have to be an expensive pen, but it needs to be a quality writing instrument. You don't want your letters smeared with blobs of ink from an inferior pen. Also, you don't want a pen that skips, making your words difficult to read.

3. Keep stamps on hand. For the past several years, the U.S. Postal Service has sold "Forever" stamps, which are First Class postage stamps that are sold at the going rate (currently 49 cents for a regular-sized letter weighing up to 1 ounce) and that can be used for First Class letter postage "forever," even if the price of a stamp increases in the future. So, buying too many stamps really isn't a'll be able to use those stamps indefinitely, without even knowing the current price of First Class postage.

4. Consider postcards. If you find that you don't always have time to write long letters but you still want to keep in touch with friends and family, buy some postcards to send out quick notes. An added bonus: Domestic postcard postage is cheaper in the U.S. than mailing a full-sized letter. To mail a regular-sized postcard in the U.S., a stamp costs only 34 cents. Note: For details on the accepted sizes for regular postage, see the U.S.P.S. website (postcards and letters).

5. Use an address book or contact list so that you always have important addresses handy. An old-fashioned paper address book will work even when your phone runs out of batter power.

6. If your letter writing organizing system is big and bulky, pull out a few sheets of paper, envelopes (maybe even pre-addressed) and stamps for a portable letter writing kit you can carry with you. If you're waiting in a doctor's office, stuck in traffic or finished with lunch early, write a quick letter to a friend or relative and drop it in the nearest mailbox.

Happy Letter Writing!
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