Friday, April 30, 2010

Prison Pen Pals

This is a touchy subject in and of itself. The idea of exchanging mail with someone who is incarcerated is more than a little daunting. Paranoia creeps in and your thoughts drift to 'what if they escape?' 'what if they use my information to steal my identity?' 'these people are in prison for a reason', and so on and so forth.

I'm not denying any of these things as they are all quite valid - but I want to pose the question, none the less, as to whether or not you currently write to a prisoner or would ever consider writing to a prisoner.

If anyone is wondering the bad side to the "what if", I give you this article, snagged from

SAN DIEGO (AP) — An ex-convict has pleaded guilty to killing his prison pen pal, encasing the body in cement and living off the victim’s savings and credit cards.
Thomas Jeffrey Brooks faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty Thursday in San Diego to first-degree murder.
Prosecutors say Brooks and 80-year-old Edward Andrews became pen pals while Brooks was in a Victorville prison. They say Brooks met the victim after he was released.
Authorities say Brooks killed Andrews and that he and an accomplice encased Andrews’ body in a concrete orb that was the centerpiece of a rock garden in the San Diego backyard of Brooks’ landlord.
Prosecutors say Brooks withdrew about $24,000 from the victim’s accounts and made $108,000 in phony check deposits over eight months. 

Outside of a random, possibly one in a couple million chance - would you? These are people who's families may have abandoned them, that are dealing with a lot from day to day. 

Then there's the people who "collect". People write to famous murderers, generally serial killers. What would you say to Charles Manson in a letter? How about the BTK killer, the Unabomber, Dr Kavorkian, David Berkowitz, and so on.

Would you give them your real name? Would you ask about life in prison or why they did what they did? Or would you travel outside the norm and ask some more unique questions?
The high profile killers get a lot of mail. More mail than they can reply to, a lot of the time. I'm told the Unabomber doesn't usually reply to pen pal or "fan" mail, while other people are just very picky to whom they will respond to, like Charles Manson. And still others will write to you about God, the universe and everything.

One of the biggest tips I've learned, though it may be self evident - if you're uncomfortable, then use a P.O. Box. These people will understand. They're not dumb - they know people are afraid of them.

I give you the most complete list I have found so far, on a forum and website title "Write-A-Murderer"

Before writing to anyone, do your research. Google them. Wikipedia is a great source of information, but sometimes only on the more widely known felons. There are also sites that you can input prisoner numbers and search for how long they will be incarcerated for, as well as why they were incarcerated in the first place.

You might also want to find out if they are regretfull of what they've done or not. I can't imagine it being very pleasant to write to someone who talks incessantly about killing.

Also, before sending your letter out - STOP! What are you sending? Your letter WILL be read by the Warden, or an employee hired specifically to read all ingoing and outgoing mail. Every prison is different - some prisons will not even allow you to use stamps that are stuck onto the envelope in any way, and must be printed. Some prisons its okay to send the prisoners extra stamps, postcards and the occassional picture or magazine article - and others, it is forbidden. This may also change depending on what level of security the prisoner is located in. Do your research first and formost.

If you have further questions, I recommend the site: Ask a Convict -

I would love to hear everyones thoughts on the subject. Any rumours, myths, facts - anything.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Etsy Finds

Firstly, let me apologize for my slow updates as of late. The weather has been nice and I've been out gardening, and then coming in exhausted for the rest of the day/night. I haven't even had it in me to write any letters in the past couple of days. So, I'll also apologize to any penpals who read my blog who are awaiting letters - I haven't forgotten you, I promise!

On the downside, I've either caught a cold or my allergies are haunting me due to the change in weather so my head feels like it's floating above me near the ceiling at the moment. And that spot under my nose hurts now from blowing my nose so much.

I figured now would be as good a time as any to share some more awesome Etsy finds with everyone. I'm not addicted to Etsy, I swear! *innocent look*

This lovely frame comes to us from the mind of  Pink Bird Creations. I adore the creative use of postal stamps. It brings new ideas to mind of what else we can do with all those stamps we get in the mail. Never throw them out!

Though it may be a little out of my price range - I can't help but love this postage stamp belt from Emerge Designs. I have the very same stamps used in the belt and I love them - beautifully implemented!

Next on todays list, we have "Owl Post Stationary" from Celestefrittata. I love the concept in Harry Potter of having owls deliver the mail - and this stationary just fits the bill perfectly. And for $4.00 USD, you just can't go wrong. Celestefrittata also has some other Owl Post themed items stocked in the shop as well right now, so definately go take a look!

I had a bit of trouble narrowing down which item in this shop to feature - as they are all absolutely amazing for anyone who snail mails and loves mail art. They are vintage and postage-themed sticker seals that are hand made. These are available at Seasonal Delights . I think I am literally  in love with everything in this shop. I could find a use for all the goodies. Have any of you ordered from Seasonal Delights before? I hope once I've got some more money in my account, I'll be able to order some of these.

And last up today, this lovely greeting card from Amy Sue Crafts . Beautifully put together, and I'm sure a treat to receive. I love both the colour and design of this card.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Etsy Ephemera

I have been so busy over the last couple of days trying to get my etsy store up and running, so please forgive this blatant plug for my shop.

I've been cooking up some ephemera digital collage sheets for making ATCs/ACEOs, mail art, decoupage, collages, scrapbooking and just about anything your mind can think of.

Arachneas Attic: Ephemera Shop

Also, I need to remind everyone of the CONTEST! I really want to be able to send these goodies to a new home!
Here's the info for it again:

We need more followers around these parts, so what I'm going to do is hold a month long contest, beginning tonight and ending April 30th. For every person you get to "Follow Me" here on the blog, you will get a point. I'll add up everyones points and at the end of the contest, the winner will get a package from me that will include:

* A Magnetic notepad

* A spring-themed journal

* 10 sheets of stickers

* A set of 20 recipe cards

Make sure that the people you get to sign up e-mail me at: and that they tell me YOU referred them. It's that simple :)

So get the word out - get people into the snail-mailing mood!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Etsy Finds

I spent a good portion of today looking through Etsy and I found some postal stamp inspired things that I thought I should share with everyone.

Also, check out my new additions to my Etsy shop: Arachneas Attic

Zippered Fabric Coupon Wallet with divider pocket from

Vintage-inspired Butterfly Postage Gift Tags from

Vintage Postmark and Postage Stamp Buttons from
Donovan's (I'm so in love with these!)

Vintage French Postage Stamp Glass Magnets - Set of 4 from:
Crow Biz I love this take on making postage stamp magnets - a little extra creativity goes a long way!

Snail Mail Faux Postage rubber stamp B709 wood mounted from:
Rubber Hedghog The shop also has another snail mail stamp I love - go and explore the shop and I bet you'll know which I'm talking about!

Green Notions Such an original idea - I love it!

Postage Stamp Jigsaw Puzzle from:
Oakley Craftworks What a cute little postage stamp puzzle - I'm sure it would take a whole 30 seconds to complete, but I just love the idea as a whole :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Letters to Roger Part 2

Today we have a letter to Roger from the year 1940. The author makes sure Roger knows this is not a "letter", but instead a "note". My attention is drawn specifically to the back of the envelope to the lovely wax seal used on the "note". Such lovely penmaniship for a note.

I think this is also the saddest letter I have ever read. It's actually quite heart wrenching. They were married 12 years and she passed on....very tragic. It brings to mind many questions. I hope Bill and Lora are both together and at peace now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letters To Roger, Part 1

Well, due to popular interest, I'm going to go ahead and post the letters I bought at auction last week. They are all to the same man, someone named Roger who lived in Toronto, Ontario - Canada somewhere between 1900 and 1955.

As the earliest letter I have to him is dated 1918, Roger has obviously passed on (which would make him 92 if he had been born the day the letter was sent to him). I was unable to find an obituary for him as the Toronto Star's obituary records only go back to 2008.

What do I know about him? Well, I know that he owned a Drug Store called Bodkins Drug Store in Toronto, and he was married to a lady named Rita. As you read through the letters, you will learn more about him, his family and friends.

It's fairly clear to me that Roger was a very nice man and everyone who wrote him seemed to have only good things to say.

The letters, totalling 8 range from 1918 to 1952. Some are closer together than others. I'm going to post the letters in chronological order, and will post them rather sporadically (one letter per post), so please keep checking back to find the next Letter to Roger.

Please comment on writing style, ink, paper - anything that comes to mind. We're all interested to know your thoughts on the letters. The image files are huge, so feel free to copy, paste and then re-size to whatever size is easiest for you to read. Please do not post the letters anywhere else, though.

So, without further ado, I give you letter 1, dated March 11, 1918.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Reading Other Peoples Mail

Now, based on the topic title of this post of "Reading Other Peoples Mail", you might think I'm talking about grabbing your neighbours mail from next door and opening it to see what bills they got. No, I'm not even talking about reading a personal letter addressed to someone who used to live in your house - I'm talking about reading letters that belonged to people more than fifty years ago.

At the auction that my husband and I went to on Friday, we bought A LOT of things pertaining to philately or stamp collecting. First Day Covers, Stamps, Envelopes, etc. Among the lots we purchased were several letters from 1900 - 1950.

In my opinion, reading through them is reading a piece of history in regards to people who are no longer alive. In my husbands opinion, it's being nosy and offensive. I found the letters fascinating and would love to post scans of the envelopes, letters and stamps here on my blog - would this offend a lot of people, or are you just as curious as I am?

I find that its of historical relevance. These letters talk about love, war, good times and bad times and give us a look into how people wrote letters at the turn of the century. How did letter writing then differ from how we write letters now? What was important to write about? How were letters adressed, ended, etc.?

What do you guys think? I need input!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stationary For The Masses IV

I had some time the other day between letters to make some more stationary for everyone, so please enjoy!
Also, I put the url to this blog on each piece - please keep it in. I'm going on the honour system here - it will tell more people about my blog while giving you pretty paper to write on. Hopefully I'm not asking too much :)

Also - let me know if you prefer the dotted lines I've used this time around - would you guys prefer dotted lines or solid lines or no lines at all? With feedback I can make stationary aimed at what you guys would prefer. Please leave comments to let me know how I'm doing, and thanks everyone for following!

Butterfly Border Lined

Flower Border Lined

Pink Floral Lined

Pink Border Lined

Sepia Tree Lined

Under Your Spell

blogger templates | Make Money Online