Postcards from Spring Break

I splurged recently with a trip to visit my parents in Florida. My yard was still covered in snow when I left so it was wonderful to see green again.

I’ve always wanted to do the Sanibel stoop, so I was grateful to do some beachcoming on Sanibel Island.

I love watching the sanderlings chase the waves to find bugs left behind.

I also love watching all the shorebirds and waterbirds, like this Ibis poking around for something good to eat.
It doesn’t get much better than sunsets over the ocean.

Snail Mail Treasures

Receiving any snail mail is a good thing. I’ve added some great treasures to my collection lately.

I received another letter from my Paris Letters subscription, which talked about the flowers starting to bloom in spring in Paris. I always feel like I’m right there seeing, hearing and smelling the sights alongside Janice as she writes and illustrates her letters.

Paris Letters February March April

I also have this beautiful collection of watercolor postcards from my friend Cindy, with whom I started exchanging postcards this year. She realized how difficult it is to find postcards these days, so she prints her own using photos and the Waterlogue appWatercolor postcards from Cindy

For my monthly subscription of paper goods from OliveBox, I received this box of treasures in March, which included Samantha Hahn‘s new book of watercolor illustrations of women characters in fiction, one of her prints and a lovely watercolor notecard from Monica Lee. (Click here to see what I got for January and December, and here to see the February box.)

Olive Box for March


I was especially thrilled to receive anything done by THE Samantha Hahn, a famous illustrator and designer, whom we studied in design school. Each portrait is painted so beautifully, and the quote is hand written to match the mood of the character and her scene.

Samantha Hahn's illustrated book

Samantha Hahn's illustrated book

Samantha Hahn's illustrated book

Samantha Hahn's illustrated book

So wonderful to receive a variety of fabulous art in the snail mail to add to my growing collection. Happy letter writing!


DIY: Make Your Own Postcards

I love postcards! I love collecting them, sending them and receiving. But they are hard to find these days. So I bought a kit from Amazon with adhesive templates for making my own postcards.

I’ve been using my own photographs to create a series of Weekend Exploring postcards, which I share each Friday. So I thought it would be fun to use those digital postcards to create actual postcards I can put in the snail mail. I used Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper, which looks amazing on my Epson Artison 1430 printer.

making postcards from photos

Here’s how to make them yourself:

  • Print two postcards per page.
  • Trim them to 6″ wide by 4″ high.

making postcards

  • Peel off the top part of the adhesive postcard back.
  • Align it with the top of the photograph.
  • Finger-press the top edge to secure.
  • Peel the rest of the adhesive off, and finger-press the rest of the template to seal the photo and eliminate any bubbles or creases.

weekend exploring postcard

It’s a great excuse for taking more photos and improving my photography skills. I can already tell making my own postcards is going to be addicting!


Weekly Snail Mail

Some of my outgoing snail mail lately, going to places like Minnesota, Ohio, California, Florida, northern England.

snail mail Jan 26 2014

outgoing snail mail

It’s been fun to receive a lot of incoming snail mail lately.

incoming snail mail

I love seeing such a colorful variety of postcards and notecards, including some notecards of my own designs.

incoming snail mail

Did you send or receive any letters this week?


Postcard Collecting

You may know that I collect postcards. I love to send them and receive them.

The first postcard I bought to start my collection was a postcard of the Hollywood sign. I was in Los Angeles back in 1991, and I really wanted to take a close–up picture of the giant letters, but I couldn’t get close enough. So I figured postcard photographers probably got a better shot that I could ever hope to get.

Hollywood postcardThen I started telling everyone I knew that I was collecting postcards, in hopes they would send me one on their travels. And here’s my current collection:

postcard collection

I have so many wonderful postcards from all over the world!postcard collection

postcard collection

Here’s my newest collection, all postcards from my sister over the past two years, which don’t fit in this cigar box anymore.


postcards from my sister

IMG_3174I don’t typically collect anything because I don’t like clutter or having too much stuff, but I really cherish these collections.

I’m hoping to turn some of my own photographs into postcards, which is great incentive to spend more time experimenting and improving my photography.

Do you collect anything?


Weekly Snail Mail

It’s such a thrill to open up the door on our mailbox and find a letter or postcard! Someone actually took the time to find a pen and paper and write a note. As you can see, one of the postcards I received is handmade and beautiful.

Outgoing this week: postcards to my sister, brother, mom and a friend in the UK.

Outgoing snail mail

Did you send any hand–written letters this week?

Incoming this week: postcards from my sister and a friend in the UK.incoming snail mail Did you receive any hand–written letters this week?

In this day and age when people are busy and life can be centered around technology, it’s a treat to send and receive snail mail.


Letter Writing

Do you remember when was the last time you hand wrote a letter? I try to write a few letters a week, whether it’s a note thanking someone or a letter to a friend, catching up on my past week.

I have been collecting some great articles on the theme of writing letters, so I thought it would be fun to share them with you:

  • This post talked about how today’s technology is cramping letter writers’ style. “Years of relying on mechanical devices, first the typewriter and then the computer, had eroded my handwriting skills,” writes author Dick Hirsch. The handwritten letter can be more effective and memorable. Someone cared enough to write a message and address an envelope.
  • Check out this post which discussed how technology is making the business pen obsolete. (How many of you are like me and love to try new pens?!)
  • This post (link broken!) focused on the importance of handwritten letters. The feel of the paper, the thought that goes into choosing the stationery, the way the letters were formed by the hand, all invoke emotion; and that’s before you even get to the message that was written.
  • I loved this article about a Cursive Club in New Jersey that is trying to keep cursive handwriting alive by teaching elementary school kids in an after-school program. (Did you learn how to write cursive in school? I still write cursive all the time.)
  • I recently found a blog that has great etiquette advice on sending notes and letters, addressing the best style and method for the occasion.

My sister and I have continued to send each other a postcard every week for the past TWO years. How fun is that! Since I’m always on the hunt for postcards, which are getting harder and harder to find, I decided to go to Etsy to find some unique postcards. Check out these great treasures:

illustrated postcards

postcards from Courtney O Quist

illustrated postcards

postcards from Danielle V. Green Illustrations

from Paris Print Shop

postcards from The Paris Print Shop

Sending postcards is a fun way to stay connected because we are handwriting our messages rather than texting each other, which we do almost every day anyway. We share a thought on a project we’re working on, an event we attended, or an adventure we went on. I’m excited to write letters on these fun postcards! Thanks for stopping by.


Congratulations to Katy – you are the winner of my set of thank you notecards! Send me an email with your mailing address. Thanks to everyone who entered, and shared your thoughts on sending thank you cards.

Postcards From My Sister

In early 2012, I came across a blog post about two sisters who sent each other one postcard a week for a year. I thought it would be fun to try this postcard project with my sister, who was skeptical at first of our ability to keep it up.

me and my sister

My sister and I have different personalities and life aspirations, but we have always been close. I can always count on her. We have lived far apart from each other for many years, but we text, email and talk often, as well as send each other notecards and random care packages. I miss her constantly, so I cherish her friendship.

Postcards from my sister

It didn’t require a lot of work or writing. Sometimes we wrote just a simple sentence about our week or something we were looking forward to. It also became an adventure to find more interesting postcards than those with pictures of the towns we live in. Now I have this really fun collection of postcards from my sister from the year 2012. Thank you, MaryKay, for playing along so well!

Thanks for stopping by.


Final Project for Typography Class

The final project for my Typography class was one of my favorite graphic design projects to date.

Our mission was to make up a name for a font company (called a font house or font foundry), and design a logo.

Then we had to make up a name for a typeface that already exists, and create a direct mail marketing piece for designers in the field. I chose a font that had an Art Deco style, called Parisian, which I renamed BessieSmith Typeface. Bessie Smith was a famous African American blues and jazz singer in the 1920s.

As soon as our teacher introduced this project and showed us marketing examples for inspiration, my brain was flooded with ideas.

I chose to design what I am calling a Typeface Toolkit. Since the typeface I picked was Art Deco style, I wanted to keep the designs clean and simply by using a black and white color scheme with pops of red. I usually gravitate to bold colors, but I wanted this to look as real and professional as possible.

-Fabric swatches, which I designed in black and white versions, and then sewed into zipper pouches, with hangtags describing the contents.

-Postcard booklet. I designed postcards for each letter, and front and back covers, and then stitched the book together using a hemp stitch Japanese stab binding method. I made the postcards perforated so they would be usable.

I designed the postcards to show each letter of the alphabet in uppercase and lowercase, and to show the typeface in action with a positive word on the front and the definition on the back.

-Stencils of a couple letters.

This project was a lot of work to design and pull together, but I had a lot of fun doing this. I hope I get the chance to do more design work like this in my future.