Friday, July 31, 2015


I sent Hester my remaining Paper Source bag envelope.

And she sent me this great bag. The gold didn't scan well on the old scanner, not sure what the new scanner would do with it, so I took a photo as well. Great stuff.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A MailArtMartha Minizine

Martha sent this great minizine featuring her drawings of a pair of horses she met. Enclosed in one of her trademark newspaper homemade envelopes, and accompanied with a trashpo flyer, and a collage where she reused part of the envelope I sent her.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Artist in Seine in America

Dean, who resides in Paris, sneakily sent a card from his trip to the US. There is always a lot to look at on his mail art and I almost didn't notice the stamp - it is from one of my favorite sets, EarthScapes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Stamps - say it with flowers

These are the envelopes I sent out for Jean and Jan's June exchange. Don't be shocked, regular followers of this blog, there is hand-lettering ahead, so sit down if you feel faint.

I usually send out my hand-made envelopes for these exchanges, but this time I thought I would mix it up a bit. I prefer to take on an alphabet that is do-able, and one that is forgiving of mistakes and inconsistencies. I'd admired the cream letters that Chuck sent Jean and then Jean created some lovely envelopes, including this one she sent to me, which started out like this.

So I combined the letters from Chuck, the tree branches from Jean, and the Vintage Tulip stamps, which are my selection for today's Sunday Stamps. To see more flower-themed stamps click hereThey were first issued in February as 70c stamps, then reissued last month as non-denominated 2 oz stamps (currently valued 71c). Based on drawings from engraved plates originally created by naturalist artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), they are printed using the intaglio method, i.e. the engraved lines are slightly raised, giving the stamps a vintage feel themselves, as few modern stamps are printed like this in the US. The only other one I can recall is the $2 upside down Jenny.

Five envelopes are for the exchange, and three were bonus ones to Jean, Jean's Mom, and Eric. Perfect that non-machinable international (1.20+22c) = 2 x non-machinable domestic ;) And I thought the design warranted a red hand cancel from the post office, so this marks the third time I've requested this service - two clerks thought they looked great and were happy to oblige.

They are posted more or less in the order I addressed them, and even I can see there is a progression from thinner to thicker, and there is a lot of variation, but I think it still looks OK.

And the group shot. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bertha, Adèle and John

Bertha sent me this commercial card, unsolicited, no message on it, just a return address.
She has sent out  a lot of cards to people in similar fashion, occasionally with a greeting. This generated a lot of discussion over at IUOMA.

I did send a reply to Bertha, and I used the card to create a 6-part collage which I sent to Adèle over the course of a week. Hopefully they'll all make it, as I wrote the message in 6 separate parts, only adding my name on part 6 :)

Where does Jon fit in? The rest of the scorpion is made of pieces of ephemera (aka junk) that he sent me. The background is courtesy of a USPS mailing.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Trashpo bag book from MomKat

A thicker than normal envelope arrived from Thessaloniki, and it contained a great, personalized mail art book from MomKat... and apparently I am her inspiration for sending out a whole set of these!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Trashpo art book for Steve

I've been using some of Steve's artistamps in other trash books sent out, so I thought it was time to send him his own.

A few selected pictures.

And the 3D view.

And Steve sent me a fantastic book right back!

It arrived in a Chipotle wrapping paper envelope (I looked for a burrito but didn't notice one).

I was highly entertained by the back of the envelope, too.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday stamps - float like a butterfly

Today's Sunday Stamps theme is butterflies.

The US post office charges an extra fee, currently 22c, for items they consider to be non-machinable - square and other non-rectangular shaped envelopes, lumpy envelopes, etc. Additional ounces also cost 22c each for letters, up to 3.5 oz (yes, you pay 22c for that extra 0.5 oz after 3). If it is >3.5 oz it is not considered a letter, and you are charged package fees.

Where is this all going you ask? Well, the greeting card industry partnered with the USPS in 2010 to try and let people know when their cards are going to cost extra by placing a butterfly symbol in the stamp corner, and the post office has stylized butterfly stamps to cover that. These stamps are also square, to reinforce the non-machinable concept.

This is printed on many greeting card envelopes that are square, irregular, or will contain thicker cards requiring the extra postage. This symbol is printed slightly smaller than the stamp itself, making it easier to cover it up.

The USPS article about its introduction is here.

I've received the 2013 66c Spicebush butterfly (my favorite), and the 70c Great Spangled Fritillary. The new stamp which is non-denominated, and currently valued at 71c, features the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. I haven't received that one yet, but I have a sheet of stamps waiting for the perfect envelopes.

I also spotted a Monarch butterfly on the Ohio stamp in the Flags of our Nation series.

The Monarch was also featured on the 64c butterfly stamp, the first in the series issued in 2010. Here's an image from USPS.

The 65c butterfly showcased the Baltimore Checkerspot.

Bonus extra!

VioletSky's post today reminded me of these stamps from the Insects and Spiders sheet - a Monarch caterpillar and butterfly. I showed this envelope in an earlier blogpost. If you'd like to see the rest of the insect envelopes and accompanying stamps (there are a few spiders thrown in as well), here's the link.