Postcrossing Blog

Stories about the Postcrossing community and the postal world

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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!

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.


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!


Is this year going by especially fast? I feel like I blinked and next thing I know it’s already April… whoa! The worst of winter is (hopefully) behind us in the Northern hemisphere and days keep stretching ahead, promising and enticing.

It’s a good thing we shook off our winter slumber now, because April is Write_On month! If you’ve never heard about it, here’s a little video to bring you up to speed:

Doesn’t that sound nice? The Indiegogo campaign they put together earlier this year went really well, and they used the funds to make and send thousands of writing kits (with stationery, pens and a zine) to everyone who signed up for them. Slowly, Write_On has shifted from a personal challenge to a cultural movement that is picking momentum, challenging people to develop better letter-writing habits. We’re all for more reasons to send mail and make people happy, so naturally, this sounds like a wonderful idea!

And because the people behind Write_On want everyone to write more, they offering to equip one lucky postcrosser with a mighty impressive set of stationery supplies, sure to delight the recipients of your correspondence! Have a look at the swag:

Write_On giveaway Write_On giveaway

There’s postcards from Egg Press, pens from Sakura of America, boxed card sets from Chronicle Books, an assortment of cards from the Write_On sponsors, and a pin as well! 😀

To participate, leave a comment below sharing a reason for writing someone a postcard or letter. It could be something like “Thanking someone for being a great role model” or “Sending someone a list of places you’d like to go with them someday”… anything goes, as long as it’s a good excuse to write!

Good luck everyone, and remember to check back on this post around this time next week, to know whether your name was picked by Paulo’s random number generator. Thank you to the Write_On organisers, for putting together such a neat spread for this giveaway!

And the winner of this bounty, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator is… paleon! Congratulations, and thanks everyone for your enthusiastic participation! :)

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Have you ever heard of the Graceful Envelope Contest? Maybe you’ve seen some of these stunning envelopes before…

Graceful Envelope Contest — Linae Frei Graceful Envelope Contest — Cindy Rudolph Graceful Envelope Contest — Jeri Hobart Graceful Envelope Contest — Ruth Korch

The contest is held every year by the Washington (DC) Calligraphers Guild and open to worldwide entries. Participants of all ages are invited to use their calligraphy and artistic skills to interpret a given theme on an envelope, which is then mailed to the Guild. Bonus points for using stamps that fit the topic!

This year, the theme is Communication:

“Ever since Benjamin Franklin became America’s first Postmaster General, many of our most important messages arrived inside an envelope. Now your challenge is to design the outside of an envelope to highlight this—or any other—mode of communication. Your Graceful Envelope could honor the mail or the internet; the telegraph, telephone or television; person-to-person conversation or whatever kind of communication inspires your imagination.”
Graceful Envelope Contest — Leena Vierikko & Yukimi Annand

The deadline for 2016 is March 28th… so gather your stamps, envelopes and colouring pens, and 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 on their Flickr page. A big thank you scribefriend from bringing this wonderful contest to our attention!