Saturday, July 20, 2013

Where do I find postcards?

Most of you know I am in a postcard club, Postcrossing, and I love to send and receive snail mail. So, over the years, I've accumulated hundreds of unused postcards that I have available and ready to mail out. With Postcrossing, you fill out a profile where you can indicate your postcard preferences (like cars, the ocean, black & white vintage prints, celebrities, etc.).  I pride myself on selecting the perfect postcard for the recipient and most of the time they seem to like what they've received. There have been a few times where their preferences threw me for a loop and I didn't have anything close (Renault car, SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon, Starbucks).

I also love sending postcards to friends and family (even locally). I think it's an easy way to let loved ones know you're thinking of them...and who doesn't like receiving "good" mail?  It's cheeky to sign a fake name too! i.e., Sending glittery love, Mariah Carey

I like to order standard-size photo prints at Walgreens or Walmart (I wait until they are on sale), then you can attach them to the self-adhesive blank postcard to make your own postcard. My resource for the adhesive backing is The 2 Buds. The backing makes the postcard very sturdy for mailing (just 33 cents within the United States and $1.10 for international mail).

I have printed many of my own photos from vacations and whatnot but I have also "borrowed" shots from google, which is not illegal because I'm not profiting from someone else's photography. Obviously I would never use copyrighted work. Here's two examples (a movie poster and and a photo I took in Spokane):

Sometimes I write a letter on several postcards, and then mail one card a day. I'm not sure about the order that the cards are delivered in but I number them (i.e., 1 to 5) so the recipient  can piece together the cards as a full letter when all are received.

Where can you find FREE postcards?

*Movie theater lobbies often have postcard-size film information that you can mail as-is or attach the adhesive backing.
*Museums and art galleries offer free postcards as advertisements. The Phoenix airport, which is my local airport, has free museum postcards at Terminal 4 downstairs by the art display cases, in their Airport Art Gallery and even near the big works of art that are hanging before security -- there are free postcards right there!
*Art festivals are a great place to find free cards of the artisans' work.
*Local coffee shops often have stacks of postcard-size flyers advertising music festivals or film festivals.
*Libraries have similar stacks of info and you can find a postcard-size advertisement for an author or book.
*Some businesses utilize postcards as a means of advertising; usually there are piles of postcards near the register. If you start looking for them, you'll find them! Some businesses will have cards from other stores in the area and to promote business for each other. I've found cool restaurant postcards, tattoo shop postcards and beautiful small boutique postcards, advertising their business.
*Magazines will sometimes include advertising postcards for cosmetics or liquor. Watch for them!
*Hotels will often have a postcard or two in the drawer, as well as stationery, if you need it.
*Accumulate through swaps. I swap postcards through Postcrossing, Swap-Bot and my penpals. Don't be hesitant to speak up for what you are looking for, and if you want to add to your collection of unwritten postcards available for mailing, then ask for them unwritten and in an envelope.
*Put the word out to friends and family and they'll start finding postcards for you. Mine does!
*Make your own postcards with supplies you have already: A chunk of cardboard from food or other goods packaging works great or makes a nice canvas to decorate with paint, stickers, glitter, etc. Here are some I've made:

So where have I come across all these different postcards that I've purchased?

*Online:  etsy, eBay, Amazon, Cafe Press, Zazzle (great selection but the postcard paper stock is thinner than typical postcards), or purchase directly from the artist/company website.
*Gift shops are probably the best source because you can see/touch/select the ones you want in person, as opposed to online shopping.
*Retail stores:  Harley Davidson, Walmart, IKEA, etc.
*Visitor's centers when traveling
*Stationery supply stores
*Drug stores
*Gas stations
*Convenience stores at truck stops
*Thrift stores: Super cheap
*Estate sales: Sometimes there are a bunch available, like a shoebox full. Make them an offer on the whole lot.
*Garage sales: Hit or miss, but cheap and often you can find a book of postcards (with a few missing) with a theme (like dogs or artist Thomas Kincaid)

Good luck! Remember, to get good mail, send good mail!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Esposo

Today is my hubby's birthday and I'm cleaning up the camera because we're taking a little trip tomorrow. I found photos we took for my birthday in January -- we drove to Northern Arizona, to Sedona and Flagstaff for an overnighter. There was plenty of snow.  We drove up Mt. Ord in the Mazatzal Mountains outside of Payson.  The elevation is 7,128 feet, which to someone from Colorado, this isn't a huge mountain, but it was snowpacked and freezing cold at the top.  Here's my favorite photo of that trip:

I wrapped my Mum's birthday presents very clever this year, with a postal theme.  I found the Queen Elizabeth British postage stamp wrapping paper online. I wrapped some of the gifts to look like a parcel and used old postage stamps and stickers.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I collect stuff...

I'm a typical American woman -- I enjoy shopping, collecting, and displayingHowever, now I'm reflecting on how much is too much?  

My collections include:  Royalty memorabilia, pheasants (not real or stuffed), Porcelain bisque in the color ivory, Deer figurines, Madonna figurines (holy, not the Superstar), and plenty of other quirky vintage stuff.  I've collected for a lot of years.  For example, in my teens, I had saved all my issues of Seventeen Magazine in my closet and until there were so many stacks that my mom thought they were going to collapse the floor and fall into the she got rid of them. I do wish I had the first Seventeen Magazines where Whitney Houston was the cover model, though.

The television show, "Hoarders" is both fascinating and horrifying to watch. Those people have too much junk and trash and their homes are uninhabitable.  My brother-in-law (jokingly, I hope) calls me a hoarder.  But I think my stuff is organized and there is no trash laying around anywhere!

Having said that, I know I can get rid of some of this accumulation. I've held a lot of great tag sales (I was once told that "Garage sales are keeping the earth in balance because the junk keeps getting moved around from home to home").  I donate goods several times a year to Goodwill or other charity shops, and donate books and magazines to the library.  

In the past I had a booth at a local antiques mall and I've sold over the years on eBay (also known as "Fee Bay" because of all the fees the seller incurs). Today I'm selling books on and recently opened a store on etsy!  I really love etsy and have purchased a lot of stuff over the years; I've featured some of my favorite purchases on this blog. I have bought original artwork prints, postcards, stationery and books on etsy. The aspect of supporting artists is important to me. I am not one of the talented artists, but I have some quirky vintage goods to unload.

Here is my etsy storefront:  GueraMart

I have already sold three items, and one of the items in my store was featured this week in an etsy TreasuryVintage Cruise plan is to minimize purchases at estate sales, tag sales and thrift shops. Limit my etsy purchasing obsession. Declutter and recycle.  Keep selling and donating.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lotsa postcards

I haven't shared any mail art for quite some time, so here are a few postcards I made:
Just in time for Valentine's Day, this is going to a Postcrosser in Poland.  I love the washi tape!
This is going to Finland for Swap-Bot Chunk O' Cardboard (she's a seamstress and knitter).  I used vintage images and patterns. The black and white sideways sweater information is in Russian.

This was a thank you postcard for Jennie, who sent me some of her artist-stamps.  She's in San Francisco and I figured a sports theme was appropriate since it's Super Bowl week.  I found the Playboy playing cards at an estate sale a long time ago and the cards feature Playboy Bunny pinups from the 1950's - 1980's (very cool indeed).  Oh, and that's not a REAL Superbowl Game ticket; I think I got this replica in a box of cereal.
These are some other "Chunks O' Cardboard" that I'm sending out for Swap-Bot. Starting from clockwise top left, I used a piece of a cardboard mailing box received from Japan. It's covered in postage stamps. The Agave Wheat is a 6-pack beer carton and I love the Dia de Los Muertos logo. The checkerboard is the packaging from Philosophy's "Cookbook" shower gel set. And the last one is packaging from a cake box from Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey. Chef Buddy is on the reality TV show, "Cake Boss." I don't know how they ship cakes from New Jersey across the USA into my local supermarket, but I saw it and had to buy the cake. It was very good!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Send Good Mail, Get Good Mail

Hello again! Thought I would post some mail related photos.  First, I would like this "Princess Grace" fountain pen in my Christmas stocking, Santa. Please. (Only 72 sleeps till Christmas).
I received a letter in the mail this week from Pamela, who wrote four pages and tucked each page into an origami-folded wallet. The origami paper was a restaurant menu.  She is so clever!
I did a postcard swap with a gal from Finland, and she made her envelope from a shopping bag! What kind of paper are you using to make envelopes? I've used calendar pages, record album covers, thick scrapbook paper and turned security envelopes inside out so the printed design is on the outside.
She sent me a postcard of dancer Cyd Charisse and my favorite Sophia Loren.
 One of my all-time favorite postcards received is from Graphic Artist, Postcard Jim:
And one more favorite for ya: