January 26, 2012

Desk Essentials: Postal Scale


"How many ounces do you think this is?" I used to ask that question all the time, defaulting to the greater possible weight, likely spending unnecessary postage for envelopes which felt a little thick. But, now with my handy dandy postal scale, I am sure of how much postage any particular envelope or parcel requires.

At $9.99 I probably paid a bit too much for this spring scale, but Rite Aid played to my weakness by displaying it next to the packing tape on a day when I really needed to mail a lightweight package of uncertain weight. But, by the end of the year, I expect to recuperate the cost of the scale in saved postage. My dream, though, is to get a digital scale. My local Post Office sells an over-priced digital scale, but it's got all the USPS imagery all over it. Who knows, I may have a weak moment while waiting in line to mail my mother a birthday present this October...

But, if you're a normal, rational person who is in the market for this desk essential, there are many more affordable options (sans fun USPS stickers) available online.

January 20, 2012

Out of Stamps


I hate when this happens. I find a limited run of stamps I really, really love - the Abstract Expressionists series, which I think was the best of 2010. And then, I run out - I used the last stamp, the large Jackson Pollock, today. Damn it. 

January 17, 2012

A Thoughtful Thank You


My dear friend, Grace, is a most fastidious sender of thank you notes. In this week's post, she kindly sent me a card thanking me for including her in a gift exchange I organized. While her prose was kind, her script unique and attractive, my favorite element of this card is the card itself. 

Grace and I are friends from high school back in the Twin Cities (for readers not familiar with the American Midwest, they are St. Paul and Minneapolis, in Minnesota), and we each found ourselves on the East Coast - myself in D.C. and her in New York. While we're both happy living short distances from the Atlantic, we each have deep affection for our hometowns. So, it's become almost a personal hallmark for her to send cards from (and often about) Minneapolis. I don't know where she buys her stationery, but I strongly approve.

This card, with colors appearing more saturated in person, depicts a historic Minneapolis/St. Paul trolley, before the tracks were torn up and the trolleys retired in the mid 20th century. I like the simple image so much, I've added it to the pile unusually sized items (it's 4" x 5.25") which I plan on having framed.

Wow, three paragraphs on simple card. Behold: the power of a thoughtfully chosen, well written thank you note. 

January 5, 2012

A Classic Letter


After much consideration, I decided to respond to the modern black and white pen pal letter with a traditionally themed letter of my own. I chose to write on some of my most favorite stationery, which I use very sparingly - the Toile de Jouy which I purchased as a souvenir from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. The design is attractive, the paper takes fountain pen ink pretty well, and the envelopes feel fantastic.


And then, as an homage to the original letter, I used a very modern art stamp for postage - my favorite set of postage stamps released in recent memory. And, I finished it off with a faux wax seal. I have no idea why, but as hard as I try, and as much as I practice - I can never seem to pull off a good wax seal on an actual letter! It drives me nuts. This time around, I even put on twice as much faux wax as I normally would, and it Still.Didn't.Turn.Out. Not that I'm going to stop using seals, but I may just have to admit it's another one of those things I'll just never be able to do, along with making a good pot of coffee and whether my father's birthday is on May 3 or 4. Oh well.