Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The $39 Experiment




Tom Locke decided to put a roll of stamps to interesting use and write to 100 companies asking for free stuff. His website documents everything he received, didn't receive and the hilarity in between the cracks.

Have you ever written to a company asking for free stuff? Maybe you should! I know I plan to now that I've read over his site. It never hurts to send a letter and in this case, you may actually get something other than just a letter in return.

What companies would you write to? I think I'll start a list based on his to begin with (the ones he had success with) and then tear apart the house to find my own product ideas.

Snail mail is a wonderful thing and I can't wait until he does it again with "Another $39 Experiment". The URL has been purchased and I'm just waiting for updates now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Massive Stationery Overload!









Today you lovelies get an overload of stationery! I've been busy working on various types of stationery for my wide range of readers.


If there's a kind of stationery you would like me to make for you guys, please leave comments to let me know. I'm happy when you guys are happy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Penpal Monday

Okay, here's the first installation of New Penpal Mondays and today we are featuring Felicia. Please read on to find out more about her so you can contact her and become her new penpal!


How long have you been penpalling for? 
I had my first pen pal at age 11, so I've been at it for half my life. 

What got you into penpalling? 
I love to get to know people and hear their stories and how life in a different country is different than mine. 

What are you looking for in a penpal? 
Someone who is funny and honest and open. 

Do you keep all your letters? 
Yes I do!

Where do you write your letters? 
Wherever I can. 

Do you collect anything via snail mail? 
I love Jip & Jannekke from Finland, so anything related to them is always appreciated. 

Are stamps important to you? 
Not really, but I do enjoy them. 


Name: Felicia
Age: 22
E-Mail: openupthesky42 [at] gmail [dot] com
Location: Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
Blog/Sitefeedotbee.blogspot.com
About You: I am in my final year of university, graduating in April. Coldplay is my happy music. I live for books. I am fantastic at Rock Band but I cannot play any instrument for real. Random things that I like: chai tea, anything purple, owls, flowers in my hair, baking, mail art, and movies. Write to me - I'm a lot of fun :)


                                --------------------------------------------------

Do you want a new penpal? Want to be featured on SMA's New Penpal Mondays? Well copy and paste the above information, fill in your own answers and send it to me, Jess via e-mail at:    eveoftheworld@gmail.com

Please title it: SMA Penpal Ad

Thank you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dawdlr


Do you love or hate Twitter? Well, I've found the snail mailers version of it, and it's called Dawdlr. At Twitter, you post online what you're doing right that moment. On Dawdlr, you send in a postcard that let's us all know: 

"what are you doing, you know, more generally?"

While many of you are familiar with Post Secret, Dawdlr takes a new stand on it. Check out their website, with frequent updates happening twice a year - their next update will be on May 21st in 2011, so mark your calendars! 

In the mean time, check out the current uploads to find out just what people are doing or thinking about generally. 

So grab a postcard from your stash (I know you have one!) and send it over to Dawdlr via snail mail, and come May - you'll see your postcard posted with your "general" update.

Reminders:

Please sign up for SMA's "New Penpal Mondays" by sending me an e-mail via: eveoftheworld@gmail.com   Learn more about it here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Stationery and Reminders



Here you have a lined and an unlined version of a Christmas themed printable stationery sheet for the holiday season. Use it in good cheer! 

REMINDERS:

Is your letterbox a little light these days?
Wishing for a friend from whoknowswhere?

Well then, read on!

I want to implement something new here on SMA called New Penpal Mondays. Every Monday I will post a penpal ad from one of my lovely followers or readers. All you have to do is send me an e-mail at:   eveoftheworld@gmail.com with the following information:

Name:
Age:
E-Mail:
Location:
Blog/Site:
About You:

Small itty bitty tiny print:
* You have to be over the age of 13
* You have to want SNAIL MAIL pals (that is the purpose of this blog, after all!)
* Your about me has to be longer than just one or two sentances
* There's no limit as to how long (but try and be reasonable please)

So, to sum up - Every Monday I will be posting ONE (1) penpal ad. This means YOU will be featured on my blog for one day (don't you feel special? lol) and may get a few e-mails in response.

Tell us about you! Do you swap? Write short or long letters? Love skydiving and urban exploring? Anything at all!

Again, send requests to:   eveoftheworld@gmail.com   
Title it: SMA PENPAL AD

We need a first penpal for this upcoming Monday, so please message me so we can get you featured!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Stationery for the Masses




And today, lovelies I give you some "snail mail" inspired stationery. The top is unlined and the bottom is lined. Pick the one you like best and have at it! Let me know if you like this style and I can do more in various colours. 

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Penpal Mondays!

Is your letterbox a little light these days?
Wishing for a friend from whoknowswhere?

Well then, read on!

I want to implement something new here on SMA called New Penpal Mondays. Every Monday I will post a penpal ad from one of my lovely followers or readers. All you have to do is send me an e-mail at:   eveoftheworld@gmail.com with the following information:

Name:
Age:
E-Mail:
Location:
Blog/Site:
About You:

Small itty bitty tiny print:
* You have to be over the age of 13
* You have to want SNAIL MAIL pals (that is the purpose of this blog, after all!)
* Your about me has to be longer than just one or two sentances
* There's no limit as to how long (but try and be reasonable please)

So, to sum up - Every Monday I will be posting ONE (1) penpal ad. This means YOU will be featured on my blog for one day (don't you feel special? lol) and may get a few e-mails in response.

Tell us about you! Do you swap? Write short or long letters? Love skydiving and urban exploring? Anything at all!

Again, send requests to:   eveoftheworld@gmail.com   
Title it: SMA PENPAL AD

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Updates and a great opportunity!

Hey everyone!

I'm sure by now you're wondering what's happened to me and my lovely little blog, so here's a bit of an update for you :)

I started a new medication to help not only with my depression, but my diagnosis of schizophrenia as well. Unfortunately the medication did not work out and I developed a severe "tremor" in my right hand, making it difficult to do much of anything. I'm now going back to my old medication for the holiday season and after that, we might try a new medication altogether.

You will notice the blog has changed as well - I want to brighten it up and make it fit my own personality a little bit more.

Also - if you're a follower of my blog and have your own blog or shop related to snail mail - POST A COMMENT HERE and let me know so that I can link to you or provide you with a square advertisement (for free!) on my blog.

The small print here really isn't that small - you've gotta be related to mail in some way - if you're an Etsy store that sells postage stamp art - that works for me. If you have a snail mail blog, that's perfect - shoot me a message or a comment and I'll put up your information here and we'll get some more people over to your blog or shop.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hiatus

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am taking a bit of a hiatus from the blog for a while. My friend is going through some extreme stuff, my husband is working again and I find myself being very depressed. Updates have been few and far between, and I apologize to my readers for that.

Please continue to Follow me - I'm not gone forever, I just need a couple weeks to regroup and kick-start my butt.

Depression is a nasty nasty leech.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Act of Selling Letters

Spurred by a very insightful post over at The Missive Maven, I wanted to comment on the act of selling letters (Maven had seen several on Etsy).

I don't know what drives people to offer something for money that you can get for free (and without a doubt more sincerely, love and friendship) throughout the internet on various website, zines, blogs and so on. You like mail art? Fine. Make a friend who likes it too and exchange original mail art with each other. I guess I just can't wrap my mind around something like that. I mean...I'm on a fixed income. I am on disability and I don't get a whole lot of money monthly, but it has never crossed my mind to sell "letters". Selling art, yes. Selling various crafts I've made, yes. But never selling friendship, which is what this act seems like to me.

I did, for a while, jump on the band wagon of asking for donations to buy stamps (due to my being on a fixed income), but I have since removed it. I don't get to send out much in the way of letters these days, but it seems to be a very sore topic these days, so its best I not have the link up - I didn't mean to offend anyone.

If you want a pen pal, while I may not be in the market - I can push you whole-heartedly in the direction of many people, websites, etc. that are looking to make friends via the mail and who want to [willingly and gladly] swap mail art and other lovely things. Don't pay for it. Make a true friend - I have faith in you!

If you want to see some amazing mail art - check out swap-bot and swap for it! Can't find a swap for it currently? Start your own. Take that first leap into checking out something you're interested in, without monetary compensation.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sandra E. Lambs "Write the Right Words" Review



I was approached (as many were) by the publicist of a new book by Sandra E. Lamb to review her new book “Write the Right Words” and was sent a free copy of the book. I was very excited to have been asked to participate as well as excited at the prospect of reading a new book based on sending snail mail, be it letters or greeting cards.

To be quite honest, though (and I was very unsure of how to approach this review), I was not a fan of the book. There are several reasons for this, which I shall go over throughout this review.

To begin, Sandra’s book was not really aimed at “me”. Different types and styles of books are aimed at different age groups, people with different hobbies, styles of life, income, etc. This book was obviously aimed at the sort of person who does not actively put pen to paper and send it through the postal mail service. This is a book aimed at those of you who have a hard time putting pen to paper, and those of you who only write to friends or family during special occasions (be they happy or sad) and who need a gentle push in the right direction when it comes down to what to say in those brief instances.

I have never been a fan of greeting cards as a whole - they are too short and very rarely is much care put into them. Sandra has tried to help her readers change that and describes (rather adeptly) how to take on those various situations which so many people try to avoid because they just don’t know what to say or how to say it. For me personally, I would rather sit down, make some stationery, write out a heartfelt letter, decorate it, design it, etc. and send it off with care.

If I was the sort of person who lived within mainstream society and attended many weddings, funerals, birthday parties, showers, and various other social engagements, then this book would be exactly what I would need. Her writing and ideas are very Hallmark inspired and I feel it would be a perfect book to pick up and just flip to the section of the book for the particular event that was going on that week and briefly skim through and write down your thoughts mixed with hers.  I do not, however, attend such events. My friends and family do not have birthday parties, through showers, etc and etc. I am comfortable enough in my own writing that if such an event occurred, I would not need a book to flip through to tell me what to say or think of that particular situation – but that is me in particular.

While I applaud Sandra for trying to get the average person back to the post office and away from “hotmail”, it is not a book I would recommend for my readers to go out and buy. I have more faith in you than that – we are not average people, you and I. We know how to put pen to paper and we already know our postmistress by name. However, for those of you who want to start small and are looking for that small push in the right direction, this book might be the ticket you’re looking for. Get away from e-mail and spend the time putting that lovely pen of yours to some beautiful paper and get writing! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Disgusting Things in the Mail



Afternoon, everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I received a rather disturbing message in my in box today. Apparently someone or someones are sending people used feminine products in the mail. Not only is it disgusting, it's dangerous and obviously rather offensive - but also illegal.

If you or someone you know has received something like this in the mail, talk to your local post office or e-mail them via their website. If you let the USPS or Canada Post (etc.) know, it's the first step to stopping it.

No one deserves to get that in the mail. Help stop mail crime by reporting these issues.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Been a busy little crafter

The last month or two I've been really rather out of it mentally - so as I posted about before, I've been doing a lot of reading, and now to mix things up, I've also been doing a lot of crafting.




^ I wanted something Oscar the Grouch related, so I painted a Sucrets tin that was holding various coins from other countries - so now they're being guarded by the Grouch ;)


^The above is a shelf I picked up from a garage sale for $1 and decided to fix up for my 11 year old brother-in-law who loves Stargate to showcase the clocks he collects. The following are the resulting changes:






^The sides feature chevrons from the Stargate itself - he really liked it!


^ I made antique labels for all my herbs in the kitchen - they turned out awesome!



^ Finally, I made a Bob-omb lamp from Super Mario (Nintendo) for my friend Jeff - it took quite a lot of work, but I love how it turned out and so did he :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How-to: Aged paper

I have an absolutely wonderful pen pal who lives in Italy who absolutely ADORES Xena (stop reading if you want to be surprised, missy!), so what I've been doing over the last couple of days is making aged "scroll paper" to write my letter on to her - right out of "I-wish-history-was-really-like-this".

So I thought I would provide a "How-To" on how to do this for those of you who either like crafts or have pen pals who would get a kick out of receiving an "old" letter.

You can do this with any kind of white paper, but obviously the better quality the paper, the better your outcome. I used both a high grade acid-free paper to test a couple on, as well as a low quality generic white printer paper. You get a much deeper colour with the acid free and it feels almost cotton like when you're done, which adds to the mystique of it. Be careful if you're using the cheaper generic paper, as it will rip very easily as you go through the processes.

What you need:

Paper
2-3 tea bags (I used Tetley's Orange Pekoe)
Boiled water in a mug
Flat cookie tray
Oven or iron
A thick towel that can get stained/dirty
Kitchen tongs
Wax paper

To begin, take your paper and crumple it up. Un-crumple it and crumple it again - you're going to want to do this at least ten times.

Put the paper aside and, in the kitchen, boil a cup of tea with 2-3 tea bags. Ready your paper, flattened, on the tea towel (folded to be about the size of the paper). Using your kitchen tongs, grab a tea bag and start to brush it against the paper, covering it in deep reddish brown water. You can lift up corners to make the water slide into place it hasn't yet been. When the front is complete, do the same with the back, dabbing the excess water off with the towel as you finish each piece of paper.

Another way to do this is to boil the water, add the water to a mug with 3 tea bags, let it steep about 30 seconds and then pouring the tea water into a flat tray that you can simply set the paper in on one side and then flip to do the other side. You'll get different results both ways, so try experimenting to see what you like best.

After you've done either of the above steps you need to dry your paper. This can be done two ways, depending on your own preference. First, you can take the paper, and, two sheets at a time, place it on a clean cooking tray, atop some wax paper - then cook the pages in the oven at 200 degrees for five minutes. When you pull the pages out of the oven, they will most likely be curled and lumpy - this may be the look you're going for, but if not - what I do is take a kitchen cutting board (we have a lovely big thick wooden one here), place it on top of the paper on the kitchen counter, pile it high with recipe books for weight, then leave it over night to flatten. It will take less time depending on how many papers you have stacked together.

An alternative way is to use an iron on the pages (atop the towel) when you have finished staining them with the tea. Put your iron on a medium to high setting and lightly go over the pages. You'll hear a woosh sound as the water evaporates with the touch of the iron - don't worry - that's a good thing! Doing it this way will also save you the waiting time from the previous step as you won't need to pile books on top of your paper (or at least you won't have to wait as long).

So, when your pages are dry and flattened to your liking, go ahead and put a fresh pen to the page - or, you can print some stationery onto it (like what I offer here at SMA) and go for gold!

Let me know if this process turns out well for you - there are loads of different ways to make aged paper, but this just happens to be what I find works with the items I have on hand. You can try a really dark coffee, for example, if you wanted an even deeper colour - experiment and have fun with it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

100 Followers!



Snail Mail Aficionado has reached 100 followers!  Read through this post as I ask YOU, my followers LOADS of questions!

I just want to thank everyone for sticking with me in starting up this blog. Thank you to everyone for following me here on Blogger!

It really makes me feel justified in posting when I know you guys are reading and appreciating what I'm posting.

In the future - what kind of things would you like me to post? Do you like the free stationery or do you prefer me posting images of the mail I receive and the mail I send out? Please, your comments really make my day and I would love to know more about what YOU, my loyal followers, would like to see on this blog. I am happy to accomodate :)

What are your thoughts on doing contests and give-aways on this blog? I've tried it before and no one signs up for them, so I never end up giving anyone anything - and I'd REALLY love to be able to send a special person, a winner a great snail mail package.

Do you have a blog you could post my give-aways on? Let me know!

Also - is anyone interested in doing a banner exchange? Either from one blog to another or from this blog to your website. Leave comments and let me know, or you can e-mail me at:  eveoftheworld@gmail.com    OR you can send me a letter at:

Jessica Armstrong
98 Luke St.
Oshawa, ON
L1G 7G4
Canada

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Music Sheet


Let me know if you need me to lighten this - I really liked the tones in it :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm still alive!

Just a post to let you guys know I'm still alive - it's been wicked hot here in Southern Ontario and I've had about a weeks worth of sun stroke and let me tell you - it's not fun.

I'm behind on my letters, behind on my scanning for Arachneas Attic - behind on everything, that is, except reading.

I've been pollishing off about a book a day. I'm re-reading some old favourites from highschool. Last night I "re-finished" Hunters Moon by O.R. Melling. The perfect book for a Canadian girl with an Irish heritage. Being taken away by the Fairie folk and getting married to the King of Fairies himself! I love O.R. Mellings writing and definately recommend any and all of her books. I've found two of them, and am on the lookout in the used bookstores for more of them. Not the easiest books to find.



I also finished reading an old classic - Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time - very good book, but a bit slow in parts. I dragged myself through the second book - A Wind in the Door - a very slow read and not much of anything actually happens in the book - a little disappointing. We'll see what happens in the next one.

I'm also breezing through the Series of Unfortunate Events books - I'm on to book 8 out of 13 now. Very silly books, but a good read none the less. I enjoyed the movie that came out a long while back - Jim Carey did an excellent job as Count Olaf.



What else? Oh - I just started the Pendragon Series by D.J. MacHale - and by just started I'm only a chapter or two in at the moment. I've got to get used to the letter-like-first-person writing. Not used to it, but not bad so far.



What are you guys reading right now? I would love recommendations!

Jess.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pictures!

As promised - pictures of my flea market finds:

^ ink pen and inkwell from the turn of the century

^ I'm not sure where to display it - hubby wants to go to IKEA to get a display case - I wish we had the money to do so.

^ And here's the book I stumbled upon - I can't believe it! And, for all of you who don't have an awesome flea market to look through - I've found a free online copy for you to read through, if you so choose, Check it out here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I found the most AMAZING thing today at the flea market - the shop I went to last week to pick up some books for illustrations over at Arachneas Attic had a book from 1902 on the lost art of letter writing! And, as if that weren't awesome enough - I also got a caligraphy pen from the turn of the century and an ink well to go with it.

It's all I can do right now not to annoy my husband with "Can we go to Curry's? Can we go to Curry's? Can we go to Curry's?" and jumping up and down like a little school girl.

So I got the lot I described above, as well as about five other books for the other blog AND - *fingers crossed* he has a bunch more in a wicked box for sale - I'm hoping I can trade with him and give him some of my non illustrated books from the turn of the century and hopefully I can get the box of inkwells and pens - and my hubby has his eye on this old helmet they have there as well (like a knights helmet).

I'm so excited! I'll take pictures of everything tomorrow to share with everyone!

To tide you all over, here's todays stationery:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome back - Aficionado's!


I'm back up and running after two days down due to the bots flagging my blog as spam - argh! It's so frustrating when you don't know what you've done wrong or what you can do to make it better. However, the blogging gods have smiled on me and everything is tip top right now on both this blog and my new one over at Arachneas Attic - *fingers crossed we won't have any more problems*

So, as a welcome back, I've got 4 new pieces of stationery for you guys - and I also wanted to pose something new - a special request day. You, my lovely followers can post throughout the week as to what you would like to see thematically in the stationery I post on the following Stationery Request Day - let's say Wednesday. Request Wednesdays. Sounds good to me - so - post comments to let me know what you would like. Some ideas are: Piano's, ladies, pink, friends, newspaper - anything, really. If I can find it, I'll make it for you.

So with out further ado, here's todays stationery:

^ Another in the set of Alice in Wonderland stationery I've been working on - this one featuring the White Rabbit. Many of you will remember the Disney movie from the 50's: I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! - this stationery features the original Lewis Carrols words (I rather love the book!)

^ I don't use enough purple - I like purple!

^ For the music lover in all of us.

^ I ate the most delicious strawberries the other day - like candy, they were. Never had some so good before. Yummmm.

And that's it for today :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursdays Alice in Wonderland Stationery



I just finished reading Lewis Carrols Alice in Wonderland and I absolutely loved it - so I've been on an Alice in Wonderland stationery kick - enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Check Out Arachneas Attic

If you're into mail art or doing any crafts that require graphics - especially vintage ones - check out my new blog for that very purpose over at Arachneas Attic.

I have no Followers yet and it would make my day if you would go and check it out :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Typical Thursday

Good evening, everyone!

I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I've just discovered The Graphics Fairy and put together two new pieces of stationery for everyone. I prefer the vintage look, without a shadow of a doubt and I could really use feedback from everyone as to what types of stationery are favourites that I've done in the past, or the kinds of things you *want* me to put together for you. I'm happy to make you anything your little heart pleases, as long as everyone else gets to use it, too!

Do you prefer lines or no lines?
What about background colour - is white okay, or should I keep throwing a couple colourful ones into the mix?

Let me know with comments!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Good Letter Writing Day



I finished two letters today, and about two yesterday, as well - I'm back on the horse!

There's still a big pile to go, but I'm on a roll. I just have to put them in envelopes and make them shnazzy (one of the best parts!).

It has recently come to mind that I haven't told anyone much about who I am, outside of posting mail art, goodies and just fun stuff in general. My name is Jessica, though I prefer Jess - I'm 25 years old and I live in Southern Ontario, in Canada. I'm married to my husband of two and a half years, Noel - who puts up with my shenanigans probably more than he should ;)

                       ^ We were feeding a not-so-shy raccoon who came out of the marshes at Lynde Shores

We live in a small semi-detached home here in Oshawa with our 2 dogs: Max and Jake, 2 cats: Monkey and Merlin, 2 red-eyed tree frogs: Baldur and Hel and our two baby tarantulas and plethora of fish. It's a zoo over here!

         ^ Toronto, the closest major city to Oshawa, as taken from the CN Tower a couple weeks ago!

I'm a giant geek, and I mean that in the nicest of ways. I love fantasy stuff, video games, computer and tech support jokes, brittish comedy, photography, cooking, baking, watching horror movies, comedies and documentaries, mail art, penpalling and any type of arts and crafts I can get my hands on. I've tried bookbinding, scrapbooking, envelope making - and I'm willing to try pretty much anything. The world is my crafty oyster!

                                              ^A boardwalk out to the marsh at Lynde Shores

Outside the house, I love going to Provincial Parks, conservation areas, etc. for hiking, camping and mad picture taking. Most frequented is Lynde Shores in Whitby, ON which is a bird conservation. You can get the birds to come and land in your hand and eat peanuts. It's such an amazing feeling!

                                               ^Noel feeding a chickadee at Lynde Shores

I've never been good at talking about myself, so if you guys have any questions - ask and I'll post answers in a reply.
 

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