Tag Archive | lettermo

Blog Post: Junk Mail Envelopes

Through the magic of following the #LetterMo, #SnailMail, and #MailArt hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and through looking at a whole bunch of mail art things on Pinterest, I have been experimenting with junk mail envelopes and more broadly make-your-own envelopes

The first thing I learned is that the US postal service’s guidelines are a wee bit complicated and slightly arcane, but once you have done your algebra and geometry and figured out your allowed envelope sizes vs. the paper you have, you can have a lot of fun.

I had a couple fliers from AAA and magazine from our local grocery chain when I found someone on Instagram who was using calendar pages – https://www.instagram.com/p/BvKEsgzFweR/That sounds good, I thought, but where do I find a calendar for cheap?

The next day, I walked into the local Dollar General (https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/dollar-general-throws-a-lifeline-to-hard-pressed-communities-but-at-what-cost/ar-BBO0d5jhttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/13/dollar-general-walmart-buhler-haven-kansas ) for a half-gallon of milk (Dollar General is literally on the way home even if I take the bus stop and is the only thing except a gas station and a strip club that is.) and there was a 2 foot tall stack of calendars for 70% off their $1 cover price.

Yeah, I have some calendars now.

I’ve read people talking about this sort of thing as being good for the environment, and I’m not 100% sure about that (more below), but it’s fun, and it’s a different way to make sure that the mail I send people has a pretty wrapper as well as a pretty inside and nice words – which is fun.  I get more excited when the envelopes in the box are fancy, or have wax seals, or are drawn on, or all three.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, too.  (Do you?  Is it awesome to see some art in your mailbox?  I know my mom really likes it)

Okay, environmental impact.

As far as I know, the university I work at recycles all paper that’s put in the recycling bins, so not putting these fliers in the blue bin there doesn’t really keep them out of a landfill.  It might put them IN a landfill at the end, to be honest – I don’t know what people do with their envelopes. And as for what happens once that paper hits the county recycling plant – it’s hard to find concrete information on what percentage of paper that goes in a recycled bit ends up being paper again.

So that’s what I know about my boss’s fliers: almost nothing, but I probably didn’t keep it out of a landfill but making an envelope out of it.

Junk mail at home:  In the winter, everything paper without plastic attached goes directly into heat via our wood stove.  The ashes are composted – not in the garden usually, but in the meadow and other non-food areas.  Every piece of paper I turn into an envelope is actually taking heat and a decent soil amendment away from our house/yard.

And the calendars?  I don’t know what Dollar General does with things they don’t sell!  I know that the pile went pretty quickly, and that other people were buying them while I was there – I also know I went back and bought a couple more when they were 90% off, too.

The flip side: Not using store-bought envelopes?

Well, On the other hand, I’m sending more mail this way that I might have otherwise, and THAT costs a lot more fossil fuels than just sending an e-mail.

The end result of this is – I don’t feel comfortable in any way saying that junk mail envelopes are in any way better for the environment than any other craft.  If I’m being a responsible citizen and recycling all of my paper (or burning it for heat, which would be a reuse), then paper beads, junk mail envelopes, and other crafts from the back of magazines… decoupage!  I’m decoupaging my received-mail box! Collages!  – any of that is not inherently environmentally friendly.  There are things I can do that are a lot more so – like using reusable plastic containers instead of ziplock bags, bringing my own shopping bags, buying less…

… but the envelopes are really fun!

(and I bet they’re neat to get in your mailbox, too…)

 Zen and the Art of… art?

I discovered probably a year ago that drawing maps, when there’s no stress and no requirement, is a very soothing activity for me.  I have some doodled maps that chart spaces that don’t yet exist in fiction and may never see paper, but they were still very fun to make.  I even plotted a journey of an unknown adventuring crew over one map!

(This may also be why I have more unfinished maps than finished ones…)

Yesterday, I discovered, or rather, perhaps, solidified, that folding-paper things also does this for me.

This is interesting, because I am a) not great at following diagrammed instructions (for a fox I made to stick in a piece of mail, T. figured it out from the directions and then showed me), and b) not great at precision at all.   Like, even the amount required to cut a perfect square is really pushing it for me.

But it’s fun.

I’ve been making scrap-paper envelopes, which are sort of barely folding-paper stuff, so I bought 3 calendars for 30 cents each at the Dollar General to play with.

And for Christmas, my friends got me The Art of the Fold, by Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol ( https://www.artofthefold.com/ ), so I’ve started working through these.

This led to me making a teeny accordion book (an inch and a half by just under three inches finished size) from one calendar page and putting little 1/3 index cards into each of the pockets, on which I wrote a rather short letter.  Since, you know, I’m still writing back replies from Month of letters. 😀

What will come next?  Stay tuned to find out!

Month of Letters / Int. Correspondence Month round-up and plans ahead

It’s March! Aaaaa!

Okay! So, in February, I:

* Sent out 26 initial letters or postcards, to which I received 6 replies, to which I’ve replied, so far, to 4, with one more almost ready to mail
(32, 6 in)
* Received 6 initial letters, to which I’ve replied, so far, to 4, with one more almost ready to mail
(32+4 = 36; 6+6=12)
* Received one reply to my reply, which I’ve replied to.
(Total: 37 out, 13 in)

I mailed out two letters already today as well, both initial.

I wrote to:
* 5 relatives, with 4 more planned
* 10 complete strangers (from Twitter and the LetterMo and InCoWriMo sites)
* People I’ve known for years
* People I only know on Discord or Mastodon
* 1 person who used to live with me
* 1 person I met through 4TheWords

And, as far as I know, I have had one piece of mail completely lost in, well, the mail.

I plan to:

  • finish my list of people-to-write-to, so if you haven’t gotten a letter yet and you asked for one, have faith!  It will get there.
  • Write back to everyone who wrote to me
  • Take the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month to write out letters to people or reply to letters I get in the meantime.
  • Finish my STAMP card eventually (LetterMo Bingo, shown below)
  • Make some envelopes
  • Keep making Letter art.

Continue reading

Sick Day

I’m home sick!  And I’m home sick with something banal!

When I woke up Saturday with a cold, I was actually excited.  There’ve been so many obnoxious “what is WRONG with me?” “Is this a symptom of something extant or is it something new?” “What did my medicine DO to me?” in the last two years that having something whose symptoms I recognized completely, something that I understood what to do about, was more than a relief; I was cheerful!

Of course, on day 4 (maybe 6) of this, I am not so bright and excited, but hey, I have been taking naps and drinking lots of fluids and husband has been making me lots of tea.  A nap in front of the fire is a pretty nice way to spend part of the day, especially with a cat asleep on my belly (That would be Merit, the one of our three who has really mastered sleeping-on-people).  Continue reading

Month of Letters and Stationery!

I’m still doing LetterMo (and InCoWriMo)!  As of today I have mailed out 22 letters/postcards/cards (with one ready to go in the mail), received 3 replies and one letter-not-a-reply, and drawn castles, maps, lava, clouds, and barns.

I’ve talked about the weather a lot, Ithaca, winter activities, and whatever else came to mind – including often the paper or card I was writing on.

And Friday and today, as a reward for finishing my work self-evaluation and then for getting the taxes done and sent, I bought a bunch of stationery.  Continue reading

Month of Letters and International Correspondence Writing Month: a Blog Post

This month — as I did 2 years ago — I am participating in A Month of Letters / International Correspondence Writing Month.

The goals of these two remarkably similar things are, respectively:

  • Mail something every day the post runs in February; reply to every letter you get.
  • handwrite a letter every day in February.

For me, this is a combination of postcards, cards, stationery (there’s a lot of print-your-own stationery available online; there’s a bunch pinned on my Pinterest page Printables (Snail Mail Love is also awesome.).), and… well, a bit of notebook paper when, uh, writing where I don’t have anything else.

Have I mentioned that I love office supplies? The hard part of LetterMo for me is not buying All The Supplies. The printable stationary helps with that, because I can just print like 2 pages and an envelope.

…I think I want to visit a stationary store.  Anyone know any good ones? Online is fine.

Back to the actual letter writing.  When I first started, I found it was tricky to write letters to people who I talked to daily online.

This time, I’ve been letting my mind wander based on the cards or the weather or… anything, really.

I find I like it.  It makes me focus on questions, which is nice.  I practice my handwriting, which sorely needs the work.  I have an excuse to buy paper things!! And fancy pens… and STAMPS! Some of the current USPS stamps are super awesome.   And then there’s mail art.

Mail art! Have you encountered mail art? OMG I love it.  Banners! Flowers! Boats! A barn! Anything you can fit an address in the middle of in vaguely the right spot.  Envelopes drawn on or printed out or made out reused paper — magazines, calendars…. Anything.

There’s a pinboard for that, too. (There’s a pinboard for everything…)

I mean, on top of all of that, there’s **getting awesome things in your mail!**  Getting letters and post-cards is *so much more awesome* than getting e-mail, although I can’t even begin to explain why.  I mean, things like mail art, inserts, pretty cards, that seriously helps, but just a handwritten letter from a friend (or typewritten; when I was in college my mom would type and print out letters and mail them to me) in the mailbox instead of just bills… awesome.

So, letterMo, InCoWriMo, they’re awesome. It’s, granted, almost halfway through the month, but you could still play along late!

And if you’d like me to send YOU a letter or local/pretty (or Grand Canyon, oops) postcard (and, as I said on Mastodon & Twitter, is there is a non-zero chance that you will write back, or if *cough* I owe you a letter anyway), e-mail me or drop me a line with your mailing address and I will do so.


Weekend Blog: Writing Letters

Writing letters and cleaning house: that’s what I did last weekend.

I’ve been taking part in the Month of Letters (http://lettermo.com/, it’s also http://incowrimo.org/) for almost half a month now — really, a whole two weeks, because I started writing on the 29th and mailing on the 30th January.

It’s weird. That’s the short version: It’s really weird. Also, it’s fun, although it’s perhaps, like most things I do, a little too all-consuming.

My letter-writing falls into a few categories:
* Writing to relatives I haven’t seen in a long time, or very rarely in that long time.
* Writing to facebook friends, who are generally IRL people I haven’t seen in a very long time and barely interact with.
* Writing to twitter friends — people I talk to every day on twitter but rarely see in person.
* Writing to people I encountered on the LetterMo site.
* Writing to and/or as fictional people, mostly to real people I know.
* Writing to family I see on a semi-regular basis.

All of these have their own unique challenges, and I’m finding all of them quite interesting for that.

For instance, writing to LetterMo people combines this “getting-to-know-each-other” sort of protocols with a fear of being judged by (and this isn’t really a thing) Professional PenPals (Okay, it might really be a thing, but I don’t know anyone who is). Like, am I doing enough? Is my letter pretty enough? Are there unspoken rules I’m breaking?

And then you add in all of that stress with contacting estranged family — people my father feuded with, or feuded with him, for instance, back when I was in college. Do they even want to hear from me? Do they remember me? My dad has four siblings, a half-sister, and four step-siblings, and almost all of them have kids. That’s a lot of nephews and nieces to keep track of.

(Okay, so there’s a lot of anxiety going on there).

Letters to family, I’ve been trying just to put into the world and let go. If they answer, they answer. If they don’t, I’m no less connected than I was before.

Twitter friends — that’s it’s own challenge. I talk to these people every day, or very near to it. (These people? Many of them are you guys.) What do I say that I wouldn’t share on twitter, or on gchat or in e-mail?

The thing is, for the most part, a little anxiety aside, these are fun challenges. And getting letters back in the mail — that’s amazingly fun. It makes going to the mailbox a blast!

Will I keep writing letters after LetterMo? Well, April is National Letter-Writing Month…

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Setting Meme

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI was playing around with my friends on Twitter (thinking about Month of Letters) and this came up.

So: If I wrote a setting just for you, what would it look like?

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