With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and a winter storm yesterday in the Northeast, I hope this illustration by Trina Schart Hyman becomes manifest at kitchen tables throughout the region. And beyond! This scene is like my own vision of Utopia.
Thanks to Christina Wild Joanis for showing it to me.
Another year, another successful ritual of making, sending and receiving paper valentines. My favorite paper mail holiday of the year!
Its February and you know what that means in the Northeast, right? Cold. Grey. Snow. Slush. And.
Colorful, cheerful, love filled mail traveling coast to coast, mailbox to mailbox!
Yes Valentine’s Day is next week and it is the most beloved of VSM opportunities! Not the chocolate and teddy bears commercial holiday that makes people feel bad if they don’t have a mate. But the handmade holiday when you get to make and send your favorite people a token of your affection. Ok and enjoy a bit of chocolate. Let’s do this!
Last month my sister sent an email to the family with a link about terrible candies made in Boston, our hometown, including Necco wafers. We all remember walking past the Necco factory in Central Square in Cambridge and smelling delicious artificial flavors but apparently not everyone has such positive associations. Frankly, they are unpopular. My own daughter handed a just sampled mini pack to me on Halloween and said, “I don’t like these.”
I took 4 mini Necco wafer packs from a generous neighbor when we were trick or treating and mailed them to my mom and 3 sisters, along with the anecdote about my daughter’s Necco wafer rejection. Since you can’t send mini Necco wafer packs via email (yet) I opted for analog Reply All packages. All 4 were as identical as the human hand can muster. It was an email/paper mail hybrid, following up on fun, group experienced email content with a handmade, paper mail delivery system. Best of both worlds.
Despite assertions by my wise grandmother that I should be underwritten by the USPS, I’m not doing all this for them. My devotion is to communication, to paper, to art, to the hand-made. And that can happen without a stamp. This past week my daughter and I were thinking up creative ways to spend a cold, winter afternoon and decided to leave pictures and clementines on our hallway neighbors’ doorsteps.
And we got several responses, including this beautiful letter.
Viva hand delivered messages between neighbors!
How lovely are these garlands? I have one hanging over my desk, a gift from my friend Dari. Her friend Claire makes and sells them at her Etsy shop, MontclairMade. They would be fun to make too. Here’s an inexpensive gift idea: Mail one of these garlands to a snail mail appreciating friend, using vintage stamps for postage (un-cancelled stamps never expire). Who wouldn’t love receiving that?