Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Of History and major writers cramp

Well, I had a goal in mind when I started in on letter writing.  My first major exposure when hunting for a way to get started was the site Good Mail Day.  There I have found almost all of my regular correspondents.  Misty, Limner, Laurie and a few others.  These are folks I have gotten comfortable writing to and whom I'm sure could tell you I really don't have any kind of filter.

You see I figure letters should be written in a way that I feel I am talking to a friend. You never hold back things from friends, because friends should never judge.  A true friend just absorbs and either reacts or brushes off anything that they really don't care about.

So I'm curious.  How do you start conversations with new folks?  Do you empty the bath water on them? Do you hold back the dirty laundry covered by air fresheners in the back room behind the locked door till the stench can't be hidden anymore? (yea I'm just spewing right now, off the cuff as it were).  But seriously.  How do you introduce yourself to someone for the first time?  I don't have a problem telling someone my short family history in an attempt to give them the broad overview of my life.  Why write about trivial stuff when the book is much better than the movie.  Ever hear the term "You can't make this stuff up."?  That's because the old phrase life is stranger than fiction rings so true (liked that movie by the way).

So with that (and not a real good segue) I have chosen to embark on a little Hey, how ya doin' project today.

I have sent out over 70 cards in one day.  My wrist can testify to that one, damn thing feels like it's gonna fall off.

The cards are from the USPS Black Heritage Collection.  I had 4 sets of cards from volumes one and two.  I went out and bought 40 of the new John H Johnson stamps today and they are ALL GONE.  It will be interesting to see how many responses I get.

The cards below Volume One and Two respectively show the heritage stamps that have been issued so far (in a collection anyway).  Each card has a history of the person represented and on the back it has the release date of the stamp.  See dinner and a show.

Now due to lack of inventory and honestly funds (hey its the first of the month).  The only folks that didn't receive the cards were overseas.

I plan to do this for some major days/months of the year as funding permits.  Example  I have one for the next major holiday planned.  Opening Day April 1.  Hey, Hey, Hey.. You have your holidays I have mine.  Opening day of baseball season is definitely one I don't miss. I have a press pass and I'm not afraid to use it.

One last thing before I let ya'll go.  I have noticed that most of the blogs that cover letter writing or postcards don't have an address listed to send them something.  Now maybe it's just me, but the "send a letter to get a letter" works better when I have somewhere to send it.  Just sayin'.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Of Katy and Des Moines

Well I received a few letters today :) and one post card from he Ukraine.

So the post card first..  This one comes to us via Post Crossing.  A lovely lady named  Landsman Olga sent this with a brief history of the city she lives in Kiev.  She informs us that Kiev is home to more than 5 million people and was founded in the year 482 and is situated along one of the biggest rivers in Europe the Dnieper.  (You have all learned something today.. You can now go home)

Other incoming letters.  First one is from a new person to send me a letter.  Toni from Des Moines, Iowa.

Her letter was written on card stock and included a lovely book cover.

Which when open was a nice surprise.

Toni informed me that her family has been in Iowa since before statehood.  That's what I call putting down roots folks.

And last but never least.  Limner.  Who had a lot of questions, to which I provided many answers.  Prepare for a long one Ma'am. (incoming)


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Of Catch up time..

Well I have been a busy beaver this week, had a bout of food poisoning over the weekend (that was fun), and then my trip to Macworld in San Francisco.

I have already sent out the first "care package" shown below.  More to follow soon. Have to find out what it "actually" cost me as I just slapped a bunch of stamps on i to make sure it goes through this time.

So on with the show.  I received this one from Gini who decided to go all mid-evil on a travel ad postcard.  Major improvement. (Good Mail Day)

Juli Sent this one, very nice snails and some sausage deco tape on the back. (Good Day Mail)

Laurie sent this one.  She is fast becoming a where do I open the letter at person.  I have enjoyed every letter from her so far.  Not many folks sit down and write in a very calligraphic style.  LOVE THESE LETTERS. (Good Day Mail)

Christy sent in this one stating "I do a lot of inking while watching netlflix".  I Have a confession to make.. I write quite a bit of my stuff while having old programs running on my other computer as well.. MASH, Big Bang theory are my favs.. (Good Day Mail)

And now for some outgoing.  This one is headed off to Misty, I told her I would be sending her some garbage from Macworld.  I have a tendency to collect all of the freebies and this should do till I really start digging into my stash of stuff from previous years. (Pen-Thief).  I Made use of one of the "iPad2" cases Omni was giving away.

And the last one for the day goes to Margy, who is having a contest with me to see who can write the most pages in one letter (I'm leading with 6) (LWA).

Well if most of you haven't figured out where I have found most of my pen-pals try Good Mail Day and LWA.  To get a letter/post card try sending one.  You might meet some of the nicest people you'll never meet.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let the mailing begin..

Well I made it back from the Macworld yesterday.  The show over all was pretty good.  Plenty of vendors there. 

Xerox was giving some of these away.  I have 3 to send out.

One of the vendors there, POLK AUDIO had a trampoline set up in the middle of the floor showing off their new sports line of in-ear headphones.

Rogue Amoeba, makers of some of my favorite software gave me one of their mascots.  Not sure if I'm giving this one up.  I like "ammo"

I did come away with some pretty nice items to giveaway or just mail out to some folks.  I have 9 notebooks from the Omni Group these are grid pattern 2 different designs.  HP was giving away these little micro cloth bags (10).

Omni also had these really nice envelopes, a craft type which they claim were for ipad 2 cases.  Ummm..  Yea, I'm not sticking my $800 ipad in a craft paper envelope, but can I have 4 please?

 Then there is the ever present pens.  They are everywhere and I also managed to get ahold of 6 smencils. These are pencils made from recycled newspaper and infused with scents (bubble gum, black cherry, watermelon, etc.)

Pins, plenty enough to draw a quart of blood, and stickers.

So there you have it.  I will start putting some packages together for send outs, some may get a little and some a bunch.  I will also start digging into my old collection and adding to this haul.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Of Apple Vintage Giveaway..

So I am a big fan of Apple Computer.  Been using their wonderful products since the mid 70's (yea I know, I'm Old.).  Anyway, I have a fair amount of interesting stuff I am going to be parting with in an effort to "thin" down my life.

Over the next few weeks, I will be parting with some very unique items that I have never found or seen since.  And guess what.  They are stationery related.  I will be posting some pics in the next few days.

I have some binders (MEAD) that have the old rainbow logo on them.  Some day planners with FLOPPY holders (again, yea I know I'm OLD).  I have some posters from the original Think Different campaign (These are actually worth some money folks), that include ted turner, picasso, and others.  Sorry I'm keeping my Jackie Robinson and Jim Henson posters.

So rules:

Be a follower (yea it's a cheap ploy, but it works)
Leave a comment on some stuff you also might like to see given away (you never know what may show up)
Write a letter, a postcard (not a requirement but why not you may get something back)

So stay tuned.. Same Bat Time.. Same Bat Channel..

Of Excursions..

Well I am off to Macworld here on the west coast tomorrow, upon which I will be obtaining large quantities of crap.  Or ephemera as some of you may call it.  I will be sending random pieces of Macworld stuff off to those of you who request it.  This will be a grab bag approach.  You never know what you are going to receive.  I have lanyards, bouncy balls, little things that light up, brochures, postcards, little things that no longer light up because I neglected to turn them off, things that go click (pens) and bags.  I have some of those whirly things you spin between your hands and they take off and you go "whoa" and your little ones go "OOOOOooooo" then they go LET ME TRY!!

So, If you are up for grab bag crap fest from macworld 2012 (and earlier).  leave a comment below..

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Of Strange Surroundings and Stranger People

Well I ventured out today to the Capital Paper Show in Sacramento.  Never having been to such a gathering I went with high expectations.  Would I find some really cool ephemera?  Would I find that perfect post card for my favorite pen-pals?  Would I find anything at all that I could use?

What I found was this.  It's a nice place to visit, but WHOA!  I wouldn't want to stay there.

Due to budgetary contraints (sounds like most states :) I had to stay to the cheap bins.  the 10/$1.00, or 4/$1.  I came home pretty well loaded.  I did find a few cards I just had to have but when the cash I brought was gone, so was I.  See this is like going to the Casino.  Don't bring more than you can lose.

And like the casino, you will find the folks that hover over the slot machines.  You know the kind that never leave that ONE machine, that wait all day for the waitress with the pushed up *@%$, and unnaturally small waist to keep bringing you free drinks, the folks who frankly could use a little more sunlight.

Most of the folks I saw there follow these shows from town to town.  Why, I don't know because the same dealers are there every time (I asked) and carry the same stuff with some new drops in their inventory every now and then (estate sales).

The look I got from most of the "collectors" when I told them I was going to me mailing everything I was buying was nothing short of pure horror.  To most of these folks this is a SERIOUS endeavor.

Will I go to another show?  Sure, I found some really neat cards.  Those of you who have received some of mine know the style of cards that I like to purchase/make and send out.  For the most part older vintage or humorous cards.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip today.

This one will be going to one of my readers.  Hmmm wonder who?

I have a very nice pen-pal I met on Swap-bot that will be getting this one.

This reminds me of a spotted owl incident in Washington.  Inside joke.

I found a few in this line.  I'll post a few more later this week.

This is one of two I purchased that actually had been sent.  I will be reproducing this one as it's out of copyright and just to good to leave here.  A little clean up will be needed.

And one of my favorites from today. and one of the most expensive ones I bought $3 (hey I said I was tight on money)

So again, sure I'll go to another show (August).  Mainy because I can't find this kind of selection at the antique mall and the dealers are actually willing to haggle. Which one of us old farts doesn't like to haggle?  Hmm..  So will you take 3 oranges and this bazooka joe wrapper for those 2 cards, and I get to keep the gum!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Of sick little girls

So the rosy cheeked one has been a bit rosier than normal. It all started on Friday with a little cough, then alot of coughing then a large amount of "stuff" in her nose and on to the full blown fever.

To those of us with little ones can I just say this "ISN'T PRESCHOOL A HOOT!".  And now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

So while she is sick the puppy is keeping her plenty of company in the bed (thanks Martha) and while going out to check the rabbits we find out that we are plus 6 overnight.  Yea!! and then Kim forgets the most important thing with animals of prey.. DON'T MOVE THEM.  So sadly after 1 day we are now down 6.  We dug the hole, we filled the box, she painted the place marker, placed the box and said good bye. We have a very grown up 4 year old child after 2 weeks of this.

But here is the thing we didn't know about bunnies.. looks like we will be plus something in about 30 days after which time daddy (bunny) is getting clipped.  He was BUSY this morning!

So my question is HOW do you get a sick child to take her medicine?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Of Moose (but sadly no Squirrel)

 We has three incoming today.  Our FIRST overseas postcard from Sweden for a "non touristy" swap-bot.

Our second over seas (two in one day!!) comes from Lithuania. I do like the church stamp.  Notice the floor plan.  The Gentleman in the last though looks a bit miffed.  Should find out a bit more about him..

And our last comes from right here in the U.S.  Sent from 'Bama the postcard is of Cooperstown, New York.  I really need to get there in the next few years.  Me a baseball photog and all..

And to our final postcard of the day an outgoing, took me awhile to complete, but someone requested a "V".

Friday, January 13, 2012

Of Monsters and Cows

How nice!.  Kaylee got her first postcard addressed to her.  And she loved it!  Actually, we received 2 cards today.

The first from Caitlin, who definitely read my "about me" and picked the Kaylee state card. Caitlin, look for a reply coming soon from Kaylee.

And the second one from Charoltte.  The card meant quite a bit to me personally.  Kaylee is in love with the embellishments.  You made her day.  I had to fight her for the card to scan it.

To everyone that writes in, I promise a response.  Although Kaylee can't write yet, dad will be writing for her.  Let me know if you want a postcard with her art work on it.


Capital Paper Show

Well, being new to the letter writing and postcard world, I have been trying to find some decent stationery.  Not an easy task.  Have you had any luck finding a good stationery that can take a fountain pen well?

Now I'm not taking about some nice and pricey Crane here..  Nay nay.  I'm talking about something I could use for everyday correspondence.  So while trolling around the interweb..  I found that in my locality there is going to be a antique paper/postcard show next weekend (Jan 21-22).  While I may not be able to find anything to suit my current dilemma.  I might just find some cool post cards to pass along.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Fire:

This one has nothing to do with mail, notebooks, pens or anything else.  This is a.. hmm.. well something I need to write to get it off my chest and hopefully let it go just a little bit.

This is about a dog.  This is about an 11+ year old Chessie named Fire.  This is about my true friend, my couch buddy, my separator of the adults in a king sized bed.  In short this is about my companion.

Fire came to us in mid 2009 when I lost another named Jake.  Jake left us as he had sudden onset diabetes that when symptoms showed it was already to late he was 9.

When Jake passed I waited a week and started looking for another chessie.  I had ALWAYS had 2 dogs in my house.. always.  And being one who has had 2 dogs and having one pass the other is usually lost and in need of companionship as well.  This was truly the case here as Jake and Charlie (his buddy) were paired up within a month of each other and had never been apart.

While looking all over California and the west coast for a pup, I came upon Sandy Oak Chesapeakes and Kathy Miller.  While Kathy didn't have any pups at the time she did have one of her older dogs she was trying to place into a chessie home.  While I was hesitant, I made arrangements to come and visit with the family.  We went home +1.

Kaylee (daughter) was 2and a half years old at the time and REALLY missed Jake.  Jake was her buddy.  He slept in front of her door every night and followed her everywhere.  Kaylee's first word was not mommy or daddy but Yake. (Kim to this day still mentions that and not in a good way).

When Kaylee met Fire, that was it.  Her first response is Fire is coming home with us right?  Yes she is.

So with that Fire came home.

Now Kaylee being 2 and a half wanted to make sure that Fire was comfy in her new home.  You see Fire was never allowed on the furniture before and that isn't exactly our style with the family pets.

Fire needed to have some sleeping buddies and her own blanket.

And later Kaylee.

They went for walks

Passed out together

Fire let herself get buried in leaves 

But the one thing this old lady was really good at was being loved.

We lost Fire this past weekend.  A week and 4 days later I am still trying to forget.

For some reason, the dog I had less than 2 years was closer to me than animals I have had for their entire lives.  She was constantly with me.  She slept by my side of the bed, or in between Kim and I on the bed (you know theres a problem when your dog puts her back into you and pushes your wife away with all four feet), she stayed by me while I was sick and had surgery.  She was my companion and for that 2 years I will always be grateful.  While I sit here and write this I still look at the floor every once in awhile and see nothing there where she should be.

So those of you who read this and think this guy loved his dog more than his wife.  Never.  But there is an old joke that the men folk will relate to.  

"if you ever wonder who has the more unconditional love for you, put your spouse and your dog in the trunk of the car for one hour.  When you open it, who's still happy to see you?"

On a good note.  We have Martha.  Fires granddaughter.  Martha is now 6 months old and spent the past 4 months with Fire.  I would like to think that maybe the old lady told her how to act and how to be a true lady.  We shall see.  Right now she is a puppy and acts as a puppy should.. Goofy.

So with that I will now say good-bye to a true friend.  You will be missed..

Ch. SandyOak Webfoot Hearts Afire CGC "Fire"
October 20, 2001 - January 7, 2012

Out into the wild

So I have started in ernest sending out large quantities of postcards and letters.  Most of my creation, and some not so much.

I have a love of older vintage cards which has led me to making my own, as buying them has become very costly at the antique places around town.

This is one of the "found at the boutiques" in the area.  Got lucky as this was one of the 4/$1 bunch. It went to a post crosser in Sweden.

While this is one of my "made" while looking for some books on Cursive Writing

Some of you may have started to get some of my Mr. Zip cards already and a few of you should have (Limner) received some of my "vintage" cards I put together with graphics I found on one of my favorite authors website.  They offered the templates for free for marketing purposes.

I have to admit that when I started looking into the letter writing and postcard exchanges, I was more than hesitant to freely post my address with thoughts of prisoners scanning the websites looking for suckers.  Some of the sites I visited almost wreaked of that kind of vibe as well.  Then I stumbled on Good Mail Day and Missive Maven which led to a slough of very nice blogs and turns out VERY nice people.  I have made it a daily pilgrimage to keep up with the blogs (Oh Write Me!, Confessions of a Pen-Thief, Just Letter Rip and others).  

While Post Crossing and Swap-bot are quite fun it's the letters I have recieved that have been the most enriching and fun to explore.  I have received only 4 letters to date and these 2 are by far the most enjoyable in the look of the envelope (still trying to get that one down to where I'm truly happy) and the content.

This one is from Patti (Just letter Rip)

And this is the one I have passed around the office today.  While simplistic in that the envelope is a single 12x12 sheet, the contents are LOVELY.  The writing was done in full calligraphy.  The kind of letter that makes you want to go out and LEARN calligraphy. 

While this all started out as an endeavor to show my child where other live and how to communicate with a send it and wait for a response in our "get it now" world.  I have become a bit obsessed.  OK a bit more that a bit. (little more than a bit is a middle bit?)

Well, I just received an order with some new artwork, so off to make some more postcards and do some more research to add facts to the artwork..  To those of you who have received my postcards you know what I'm taking about.  To those of you who have not.. Just request one.  I've got the cards and the stamps, won't be but a few days :)