I Did It!

I made it!  I completed the “Month of Letters 2013” challenge today with a postcard to a friend and colleague in Louisiana.  LV is a lawyer and an English professor. She has achieved much, but I admire her most for the three wonderful, accomplished, God-honoring sons she and her husband have given to the world!  Here’s the postcard I sent her:

Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979), by Betsy Graves Reyneau  (1888-1964)Oil on canvas, 1953

Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979), by Betsy Graves Reyneau (1888-1964)
Oil on canvas, 1953

Edith Spurlock Sampson was a lawyer and judge.  She was the first African American named to the permanent United States delegation to the United Nations (in 1950).  While working at the UN, Sampson went on several international lecture tours and held membership on the U.S. delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).   In 1962, at the age of 61, Sampson was elected a judge on the Chicago Municipal Court.  With that election she became the first African American woman in the United States elevated to the bench by popular vote.  Edith Spurlock Sampson retired from the bench in 1978 and died one year later in Chicago.

LV loves law and history and I know she will be thrilled to receive this postcard!

Yesterday, I finally sent a postcard from my Postcard 2013 Desk Calendar to my friend Lindy in Indianapolis.  The calendar is really neat.  There’s a beautifully designed postcard for each weekly strip (53 postcards).  At the end of the week, I perforate the calendar strip, and voila!  I have a postcard to send, complete with the address lines and a postage box on the back. The calendar sits in an attractive framed box.  This is the best calendar investment I’ve made yet!  🙂  Postcards make Lindy really happy, so she’ll be pleased to see this surprise in her mailbox:

From the Postcard 2013 Desk Calendar

From the Postcard 2013 Desk Calendar

If you’re interested, you can purchase the calendar at Calendar.Com.

I  wrote a few letters this week, sent cards, music, poetry and stickers to friends (and their kids).  I received a second letter this month from Tk, my awesome former research assistant.  She sent a nice long letter and photos of her beautiful family.  Her five-year-old daughter even enclosed a letter for my six-year-old.  Oh, happy day for him!  Tk is an amazing singer/songwriter with a powerful voice. You can check out some of her music here (HerStory) and here (Mellow Love).

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I thoroughly enjoyed the “Month of Letters.”  I don’t always have time to write lengthy missives, but it is a pleasure I would love to indulge more frequently.  There’s something about the “look” and “feel” of words on a page.  I enjoy musing and thinking about life in writing.  Letters are also journals, records of our lives, our hopes, thoughts, dreams.  Every purple moon or so, I run across my boxes of letters and piece together parts of my life based on letters written to me.  I find myself engrossed for hours.  Now, if only I could get more of my friends to WRITE BACK!

I was a bit obsessive about vintage writing and reading instruments this month, so I “designed” a very simple stationery set for my February letters.  I used a typewriter image from Books, Reading and Writing Illustrations, a Dover publication with 347 different copyright-free designs. The book comes with a CD for Macintosh and Windows that includes EVERY image from the book.  The stationery looks beautiful on parchment or any lightly textured paper–with a font that resembles that of an old fashioned typewriter.  If you’re interested in the stationery, here it is.  Click the  link to download.

Vintage Typewriter Stationery

While you’re downloading, you might also like this Victorian Rose stationery I designed almost two years ago using elements from Victorian Rose Spring Fresh, designed by Vicki Pasterik of Heritage Scrap.  Heritage Scrap has beautiful kits.  This stationery also looks great on textured paper–with burgundy or maroon ink!  Click the link to download.

Victorian Letter Stationery

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Use them freely.  Find a quiet place and write (or type) a few letters this weekend!

Month of Letters: Postcard Shower!

Obviously, I’ve been neglecting my posting responsibilities re: Month of Letters. But this is a low-stress, just-for-fun blog, right? No pressure. I’m here now and that’s what matters. 🙂 So far, I have kept my commitment to send a letter, note, postcard, and/or greeting card every day during the month of February. I focused my efforts on letters, but I did send a few postcards. I also received lots of great postcards over the last two weeks, so I’ve just got to share.

First, I must correct a minor error in my last post, Tiny Photo Gallery and a Piano-Playing Panda. I thought I sent the panda to my partner, but I found it days later sitting in a stack of postcards next to my desk. This polar bear with his penguin audience is what I sent:

Junzo Terada

Happy Animal Time by Junzo Terada

This is actually the (inside) cover of the collection, but it features the image. Since I scanned the wrong postcard, I don’t have a copy of this one. 😦 The good news is my partner loves the postcard! Now, who will get the “Piano-Playing Panda”?

In honor of Black History Month, I sent out a couple of postcards that feature prominent African Americans:

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) by Betsy Graves Reyneau (1888-1964), Oil on Canvas, 1943-1944

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) by Betsy Graves Reyneau (1888-1964)
Oil on Canvas, 1943-1944

“Mary McLeod Bethune believed that the route out of poverty for African Americans was education. In 1904, with her funds totaling $1.50, she acted on that conviction to establish a normal-industrial girls’ school in Daytona Beach, Florida. Within a decade, the school was thriving and on its way to becoming Bethune-Cookman College.

In the 1930s, Bethune served as adviser to the New Deal’s National Youth Administration and was a member of the unofficial “black cabinet” that sought to move the government toward curbing racial discrimination. In these capacities, she contributed to implementing some of the first meaningful measures toward requiring equal opportunity for black job-seekers in federal employment and the nation’s defense industries.

Hanging in the background of Bethune’s portrait is a picture of Faith Hall, the first major building erected at Bethune-Cookman. At the time the likeness was done, Bethune had no physical need for the cane that she holds. Instead, she regarded it as stage prop that, as she put it, gave her ‘swank'” (from the National Portrait Gallery website, Smithsonian Institution).

I sent Bethune to a colleague in New Orleans who served in the public school system for many years before transitioning to university teaching. She has always admired Bethune, so I’m sure she appreciates this surprise treat.

Harry T. Burleigh by Laura Wheeler WaringOil on canvas, not dated

Harry T. Burleigh by Laura Wheeler Waring
Oil on canvas, not dated

“Although his name is relatively unknown, Harry Thacker Burleigh (named Henry after his father) played a significant role in the development of American art song, having composed over two hundred works in the genre. He was the first African-American composer acclaimed for his concert songs as well as for his adaptations of African-American spirituals. In addition, Burleigh was an accomplished baritone, a meticulous editor, and a charter member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).” (from the Library of Congress website. See H.T. Burleigh for more information).

Burleigh is on his way to a 14-year-old pianist who lives in Russia. I thought she would appreciate learning about another composer.

Here are the other postcards I sent over the last two weeks:

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Now, here’s my own little shower of received postcards (Click on each image for a closer look):

I received several more postcards (vintage churches, Alexander Pushkin Museum in Russia and more);  I’ll highlight those in later posts. For now, enjoy my little bit of postcard heaven!

Month of Letters: Tiny Photo Gallery and a Piano-Playing Panda

I desperately needed a bit of creativity over the weekend, but my little one got sick and, of course, I couldn’t desert his bedside for my own pursuits.  He and I managed to exercise our creativity just a bit.   We completed the first two pages of his smash book.  Frogs, salamanders and talking trees!  We were pleased with the results.  We also talked about Valentine’s cards for his classmates.  For the last three years, he’s had a robot theme and he decided he’d like to stick with it.  So we tossed around ideas and did a quick sketch of one–we’ll do more when he’s all better.

I also flexed a tiny bit of creative muscle for the February 6th Month of Letters mailing.  I joined a “Cell Phone Photo” swap.  The requirements were to send two mobile phone pictures and comment on how we feel about phone pictures in general.  After I saw the variety of photos I’d taken with my iPhone, I didn’t want to just send my partner a couple of pics in an envelope with a quick explanation.  I just knew I had to create “something” other than postcards and/or photo note cards (my usual), so I created a mini gallery of iPhone photos for my partner and included a letter, two note cards made with iPhone photos, robot and heart stickers and two inspirational postcards from Scott Albrecht’s hand-lettered postcard collection, Live the Life You Love, Love the Life You Live.

Here’s the “tiny” gallery I created:

iPhone Photos Gallery-Front and Back Covers

iPhone Photos Gallery-Front and Back Covers

iPhone Photos Gallery-Inside

iPhone Photos Gallery-Inside

I am not really a fan of phone photos.  I prefer my “real” camera, but there have been times when I didn’t have it with me and the iPhone camera did the job–often very well.  I am grateful that I had my phone to snap a photo of my son “mock-voting” in the recent presidential election.  Had I known that his school would be holding a mock election, I would have camped out there with my camera all day!  Fortunately, I was able to capture “real camera” photos of my own “first-time voter” students adorned with “I Voted” stickers.

Side note:  If you’re interested in iPhone photography, you should take a look at Brett’s iPhone 4s & Japan. Great blog! And lots of inspiration for phone photography (Is it really called “phonography,” as I’ve heard others call it?  That always makes me think of a phonograph–you know, record player, that thing we played music on before tapes and CD’s came along).

I also sent another Happy Animals Time postcard–a happy jamming panda.  The person I sent it to likes items with cute animals.  I hope she l-o-v-e-s this “koooooool kat.”  Errrr…panda.  I decorated the back with Suzy’s Zoo stickers.  Cute overload.

Happy Animal Time by Junzo Terada

Happy Animal Time by Junzo Terada

That’s all, folks.  See you in a few days!

Month of Letters: More Postcards!

My little one is ill at the moment, so I’ve placed plans on hold to get some of my personal letters out in the mail.  I did manage to meet my mail commitments for February 4th and 5th–thanks to swap-bot and Postcrossing.  Three postcards–one an advertising card–hit the “mail stream” the last two days.

Aerial View of the French Quarter in New Orleans.  Interestingly, this was sent to a swap-bot who lives in Alabama but wants to move to New Orleans some day.

Aerial View of the French Quarter in New Orleans. This was sent to a swap-bot who lives in Alabama but wants to move to NOLA some day.  I wonder what she’ll say when she learns that I’m a New Orleanian who recently moved to AL! 🙂

And here’s the advertising card I sent out:

Matine Chaisson Gallery presents NIAGARA:  paintings by JACK NIVIEN.  This is from a late 2010 exhibition.

Martine Chaisson Gallery presents NIAGARA: paintings by JACK NIVEN.
“The Woods” by Jack Niven, 2009, Oil on Canvas

If you’re planning to visit New Orleans, the MCG is located at 727 Camp Street.  If you’re thirsting for more of Jack Niven, an artist who lives and works in New Orleans, check out his website.

That was yesterday.

Today, I sent a “Happy Animal” postcard to a Postcrosser from Kiev (Ukraine).  I’d forgotten all about our private swap, until I received a postcard from her (see below).  Eek!  “Feja” likes animals and Winnie-the-Pooh, so I thought she’d appreciate a cute animal.

Happy Animal Time by Junzo Terada

Happy Animal Time by Junzo Terada

According to the bio provided, Junzo Terada is an Osaka-based artist.  He designs and illustrates a wide variety of products that can be found in the Comes Mart store he owns in Osaka, Japan.  The Happy Animal Time collection of 30 different postcards is published by Chronicle Books.

Here’s the awesome card “Feja” sent to me:

"Woman's Strength" (my title)

By Smugasta

I “heart” this postcard, but I really can’t tell you much about it because everything is written in Russian or Ukrainian.  You can find more of the artist’s work at Smugasta or at Smugasta’s Live Journal.  Even if you can’t read a word, the artist provides a lot interesting, amusing, quirky and fun illustrations for  your visual pleasure.

That’s it for now!  See you tomorrow–maybe!

Month of Letters 2013: Turtles, Hearts and Postcards

It wasn’t hard to send on days 1 and 2 of the month. I had commitments to fulfill. 🙂 I sent six postcards and one card in an envelope with the back decorated for Valentine’s Day.

I sent postcards and a decorated envelope yesterday, February 1st. The two postcards that follow were sent for the “Send a Smile for 33 Cents” swap. I can rarely squeeze what I have to say onto one postcard, so my lucky partner will receive two. The second postcard was oversized, so this smile costs 78 cents, but the pleasure–for sender and receiver–is priceless!

Turtles basking at City Park in New Orleans (I miss City Park!).  Photo by Me!

Turtles basking at City Park in New Orleans. Photo by Me! Postcard printing by moo.

I love these turtles and I think I saw the same turtles practically every time we visited the park. It is my son’s favorite park, so we visited A LOT before we moved–at least once a week. I miss City Park!

Quilts of Gee's Bend

Quilts of Gee’s Bend

This postcard comes from the Quilts of Gee’s Bend postcard collection referenced in an earlier post, Swapping Faith and Books.

Okay, now, don’t judge me for my crazy and random envelope art. Usually, as I hope you can tell from other posts, my envelope decor is a bit more orderly and “clean.” In this case, I just looked at my V-day stickers and decided to use some of everything–rather randomly. I was in that kind of mood. Ask my son. He’ll let you know that I sang practically everything I said to him the same day I decorated this. I sat down and drew and colored the hearts with him at his desk to encourage him while he was finishing his homework. Not sure those hearts would be there otherwise. On the card enclosed, swappers had to write a Bible verse or quote. I chose 1 John 3:18: Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). AMP

Random Hearts

Random Hearts

Today, I posted postcards for a “Superhero Postcard Swap” Two partners will receive two postcards each. Once again, I couldn’t fit everything on one card. Here are the cards I sent:

I’m not sure I have a favorite superhero, but if I have to choose, Batman it is! He’s “human” and he relies on skill and intelligence (and a few tools) to defeat his foes. Plus, I enjoy some of the wonderfully weird and whimsical super-villains. These postcards come from The Art of Vintage Comics collection of 100 postcards. Check out Superman’s expression in No. 247. And Batman and Robin losing to “the Bat-woman” (No. 233). Too funny! Catwoman is always awesome. Well, there was that one Catwoman who didn’t quite hit the mark…

Who’s your favorite superhero? Super-villain?

A Month of Letters and January Goodness

LetterMo2013square-300x300Author Mary Robinette Kowal offers a fabulous postal challenge for the Month of February: Mail an item through the post every day it runs.  This year, that’s 23 days.  A minimum of 23 items.  Not so hard.   I am going for it and am looking forward to posting something every day–maybe, even on Sundays just for kicks.  I’ll try my best to post daily in February to update you on my progress–this will be quite a feat and almost a miracle.  If you want to find out more about “A Month of Letters,” check it out at www.lettermo.com.

January was a pretty busy mail in/mail out month for me.  I’m pretty sure I met February’s “Month of Letters” challenge in January!  I  sent and received a number of ATCs, postcards, photos, photo note cards, letters, collages, packages and much more.  It was a great mail month.  I can’t remember exactly when items were sent and received, but I’ll highlight several.

Imagine my excitement when I received the Shakespeare Book of Postcards (Pomegranate) which features art from the “vast collections” of  the Library of Congress.  I ordered them (“used”) through Amazon (seller: cheapdozen) and was delighted to receive them in pristine condition.  The postcard book offers “oversized” art reproductions based on Shakespeare’s plays and a few artistic renderings of the Bard himself.  There are also representative lines from the play highlighted on the back each of the postcard.

Front cover of Shakespeare Plays:  A Book of Postcards

Front cover of Shakespeare Plays: A Book of Postcards

Here are a few of the postcards included:

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That wasn’t the only bit of Shakespeare I received this month.  “Txstitcher,” my partner in a floral mail art swap included a couple of Shakespeare-inspired embellishments in the super-stuffed envelope of floral goodness she sent.   I’m a little more Shakespeare-obsessed than usual at the moment because I’m teaching Shakespeare this semester and it’s great to have all of this visual inspiration.

Shakespeare Quote Embellishments

Shakespeare Quote Embellishments

I also received a number of ATCs this month on various themes:  Photo ATC, Valentine Owl, Pink Valentine and Dr. Seuss.  Some of the ATCs that came in:

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And some that went out:

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One of my favorite swaps this month was “Take a Photo:  Look Up.”  My partner sent a lovely photo note card that was taken on a dreary day in Pennsylvania.

"Look Up," by swap-bot CDheartsdragonfies

“Look Up” by Chari, swap-bot CDheartsdragonfies

Chari reports the weather’s been dreary and it’s difficult to get great photos.  This particular photo was taken on a nice warm day at about 11 in the morning.  So yes, that’s the sun, not the moon. And, though the photo looks black and white, it’s actually a color photo.  I like it! The feel and the color. Sometimes, dreary, rainy, and/or foggy days “make” the best photos!  (This scan does little justice to the actual photo and note card).

And here are my own “Look Up” Photos.  I chose two cloud photos taken from a plane en route to New Orleans from New York City.  I captured at least a dozen great cloud photos that day and I get a kick out of how clear the photos turned out.  They were taken through dirty airplane windows, after all!

"It's Wonderful to Look Up"

“No Boundaries” by Me!

"Liquid Mountains" by Me!

“Liquid Mountains” by Me!

This is just a little of the January goodness.   I’ll have to highlight the many postcards I received in January in another post.  Until then…Toodles!