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Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "letters"

The Graceful Envelope Contest

Time to submit your entries to the Graceful Envelope contest, one of the nicest mailart contests out there! Every year, they pick a theme for the submissions, and 2018's topic is simply the weather. 🌦

From their website:

There’s always something to say about the weather. From severe storms to sowing crops, to using the sun and wind for renewable energy, the weather affects everyone. Summon a brainstorm to capture what’s outside your window—or outside the box—and design a winning envelope!
The Graceful Envelope Contest

And if you think you don’t have a nice enough handwriting to participate – don’t fret! One judge on the contest’s 2011 edition revealed that they’re not simply looking for the best calligraphy or painter… in the end, what really matters is the winning combination of all elements in the envelope (ie, design, calligraphy and stamps) and how they work together to reflect the year’s theme.

The contest is open to entries from all around the world (as long as they are sent in by March 26th 2018) and there are separate categories for children too, so do encourage your little ones to give it a go!

You can read the contest rules and how to participate on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website, and check out some of the previous entries for inspiration on their Flickr page.

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February is a busy month in the mail calendar, and we can’t wait for it to start! Are you ready? :)

Letter Month

I love a good mail challenge, and since February is the “Month of Letters”, it is time to dust off your special stationery and put pen to paper! It’s the perfect opportunity for reconnecting with family and friends, sending a Valentine card to your special someone, saying thank you to the helpful people in your life… or simply surprising strangers across the world with postcards! 😉

The rules of the Month of Letters challenge are simple:

  • Mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture or a cutting from a newspaper… anything goes!
  • Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

That’s it! The challenge started back in 2012, after Mary Robinette Kowal decided it was time for a break from the internet. She spent a month offline, and asked her friends to communicate with her through letters. The results were relaxing and intimate, so she decided to invite others to join, sparking a flurry of correspondence.

Mail Carrier Appreciation Day

Another happy mail-related event coming up is Mail Carrier Appreciation Day, which happens every year on February 4th. This is the day to celebrate our trusty postmen and women, who make it possible for this hobby to exist by delivering all our postcards!

The date falls on a Sunday this year… but don’t let that stop you from making something nice for your mail carrier. Pour your gratitude into a thank you note that you’ll deliver (or affix to your mailbox) on Monday February 5th, when they make their rounds. I’m sure it’ll be the highlight of their day!

If you can, take a photo of what you did to celebrate this special day, and share a link to it in the comments! 😊

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The Letter Writers Alliance turned 10 years this week, and we’ve been extremely remiss in not mentioning it on the blog before. So today we’re setting this straight and letting you all know about the best letter writing community out there!

Letter Writers Alliance

Started in June 2007 by Kathy and Donovan, the Letter Writers Alliance is a wonderful project dedicated to maintaining the art of letter writing. Membership for life costs just $5, and gives you access to the many activities they have, as well as to the member-only section of their shop.

I’ve been a card carrying member for over 5 years now, and besides enjoying the posts on the LWA blog and mailart inspiration on Instagram, there are two things they organise that I’m particularly fond of: the penpal exchange and the book club.

The penpal exchange is what it says on the tin: you sign up for a new penpal, tell them a bit about yourself, and some days or weeks later, they match you with someone they think you’ll enjoy exchanging letters with. The difference is that all matches are done by hand, as Kathy carefully chooses who your next penpal is going to be. The results are usually brilliant!

The book club also works really well. Every quarter they pick a new book related to mail, letters or other postal topics, which is then read by everyone and discussed live in video and chat. The discussion is always lively, and I’ve found some really interesting books this way.

They also keep a very interesting blog on all sort of postal-related subjects, offer free downloads and stock their shop with carefully designed postal items, such as writing paper, rubber stamps… and even pigeons you can send your friends by mail to surprise them!

It’s an inspiring project with strong values — one that we admire and often recommend when we notice postcrossers are into letter writing. So if you like letters as much as postcards, you should definitely check it out! 😊

Letter Writers Alliance

Happy 10th anniversary Letter Writers Alliance, and congratulations Donovan and Kathy!

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Graceful Envelope Contest

Another year, another chance to participate on the Graceful Envelope Contest!

This year, the theme is “Pushing the envelope”, which is very exciting as it leaves room for all kinds of artistic interpretations. The organizers explain how this motto embraces two concepts at the heart of the contest:

The first meaning dares you to take your creativity beyond your comfort zone. “Push the envelope” and find new ways to use graphic design, hand lettering and postage stamps to enhance your entry. It may be a small canvas, but you are capable of big ideas.

The Graceful Envelope Contest also celebrates the significance of writing, sending and receiving letters. In this era of email, tweets and emojis, seeing a hand-addressed envelope in your mailbox can make any day special. So your entry should “push the envelope” in the sense of promoting the exchange of letters. Depict the joy of letter writing. Or salute an American tradition as old as the U.S. Constitution, which empowered Congress “to establish post offices and post roads."

One of the previous contest’s judges revealed that they’re not simply looking for the best calligraphy or painter… in the end, what really matters is the winning combination of all elements in the envelope (ie, design, calligraphy and stamps) and how they work together to reflect the year’s theme. The contest is open to entries from all around the world (as long as they arrive before March 27th 2017) and there are separate categories for children too, so do encourage your little ones to participate!

You can read the contest rules and how to participate on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website, and check out all of last year’s winners on their Flickr page for some inspiration.

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February is just around the corner… which means it’s time for another Month of Letters challenge! Are you joining this year?

Month of Letters 2017

On September 2011, Mary Robinette Kowal decided it was time for a break. She spent the entire month offline, and asked her friends to communicate with her through letters. The results of this personal challenge were a revelation:

When I write back, I find that I slow down and write differently than I do with an email. Email is all about the now. Letters are different, because whatever I write needs to be something that will be relevant a week later to the person to whom I am writing. In some ways it forces me to think about time more because postal mail is slower. “By the time you get this…” It is relaxing. It is intimate. It is both lasting and ephemeral.

How so? I find that I will often read the letters that I receive twice. Once when I get them and again as I write back. So, that makes it more lasting. It is more ephemeral because I don’t have copies of the letters that I write and I am the only one who has copies of the letters that my correspondents write. So, more ephemeral.

I know a lot of postcrossers share these feelings — this is part of the reason why Postcrossing exists!

Mary decided to turn February into a Month of Letters, in which she challenges herself and everyone who decides to join to write and send at least a piece of postal mail every day. Here are the rules:

  • Mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture or a cutting from a newspaper… anything goes!
  • Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

We can’t help but feel that postcrossers have their work cut out for them in this challenge… Nevertheless, we wanted to encourage you all to do it! Write postcards, letters or aerograms or surprise a friend with an unexpected package. Maybe even pick a Facebook/Twitter friend and send them an offline “hello!” or catch up on those “thank you” notes you’ve been meaning to send.

Are you up to Mary’s challenge? Grab your stationery and stamps and start writing! 😊

PS. – Don’t forget that February 4th is Mail Carrier Appreciation Day!

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