Tag Archive for 'mail'

How Many People’s Lives Do you Touch By Sending REAL MAIL?

UntitledOne of the first inspirations I had in making mailart was an editorial in Real Simple magazine, probably in 2000 or 2001. The editor told a short story about lamenting to her mail carrier about only receiving bills and junk mail, and her carrier responded “how do you think I feel, that’s all I deliver anymore?” postcard for elaina
I decided then and there that I wanted to make mail that was fun for me to send, fun for my recipient to receive, and fun for all the carriers and postal workers in between my recipient and myself as well! I hope that it brightens not just myself and my friend’s day. I made my first mailart postcard around 2000-2001 (above from Flickr). This was probably a few years before I even discovered there was a whole “mailart” movement/culture/community.
(Side note: I love that the postcard has grass and stars, even in my original mailart that far back.

I honestly think of that Real Simple editor’s letter all the time still. When I make mailart I like to imagine all the hands it passes through between myself and the recipient. When I first started making mailart I focused mainly on postcards because the artwork would be able to be seen by everyone along the way, and while post carriers are probably dissuaded from reading the letters on the back, I’m sure they do and I would sometimes address them and wish them a good day.

mailart collection

That drive to put joy out into the world via mail has resulted in me sending out hundreds and hundreds of pieces of mailart over the years. You can see more of it in my Flickr mailart album

robayre assorted handmade envelopes

Fast forward to today and that sentiment is just as true as it was in the beginning, though now I like to spread that joy even further by offering my original stationery paper products (like these one of a kind handmade envelopes) in my online shop. Visit robayre.etsy.com today to find some paper treasures that will certainly brighten my day, hopefully your day, your recipient’s day, and all the carriers in between.






New Stationery Sets

As promised, I am back with my prairie project!

After returning from Nachusa I was inspired to watercolor some prairie grass. Using this picture of mine as a reference…

This might be a bunch of invasive, non native plants, but I thought it was pretty. Just got back from #nachusa #tallgrassprairie

I came up with this…

I'm about to ruin this (probably) in my next step, so I thought I better take a picture first. #watercolor #painting #workinprogress

Which is a fairly loose (read: not botanically correct) interpretation in watercolors, but I really liked it. Originally I was going to go back in and try to paint a really dark green in all of the negative space, but I ended up liking it so much that I was afraid to ruin it. If you know me, I’m not done painting grass, not for a long shot, so something like that might happen again later.

New stationery set in my shop. Link in the profile

In the meantime, I let the watercolor sit around and I enjoyed it until I came up with the idea of using it for a stationery set. I continued to paint more, added some details and voila!

I created a stationery set which has two designs, one with the grass at the footer, and one with green watercolor stripes as a header. In the past I had customers inquire about double sided stationery and so both sheets are lined on the back as well. The stationery set comes with an assortment of green envelopes and the stationery paper is printed on a lovely Neenah Classic Linen paper (same as my recycled envelope and stationery sets). Find out more details about the stationery set in the etsy listing.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve recently started exploring into digital downloads, so I’m offering the same stationery set as a printable download as well. With the printable PDF you can print the prairie stationery on whatever paper your heart desires, AND if you’d like it to double sided or not.

I’ve also started offering this geometric pattern stationery set as a printable download as well!

I’m getting really excited about my etsy shop again. For a long while I wasn’t keeping up with all the changes on etsy, and apparently etsy was making a LOT OF CHANGES. Keep an eye on the shop for new listings that I hope to be adding regularly.

I have been saying this for a long while, but there’s this HUGE trend in greeting and note cards, but to me stationery is and will always be letter writing paper. To me, cards are for a quick thanks or hello, but letter writing paper is for real correspondence. I remember years ago being so sad while searching etsy and seeing the results for stationery was 99% cards. Where were all the letter writing paper sets? Then I read a feature in Stationery Trends about a particular designer (who I can’t find the name of right now) that said her best selling products were letter writing papers and I was all “YESSSSS!” and it really gave me the confidence to keep doing what I love to do, and not feel like I have to bow to trends and start offering only greeting cards. This is not to say that I don’t LOVE cards as well, I do, but I just also love paper and it also has a nostalgia factor for me, of writing long letters and being a dedicated penpal as a kid. I also know that excitement of getting real mail and how much I LOVE pouring over a long letter and rereading it over again. Even when I send postcards I try to fill up ALLLLL the space hoping that the recipient will enjoy it that much more.

Do you write a lot of letters? Or mostly use cards? And when you do write cards, do you find you just jot a few words down or fill it up like a letter?

You Are The BOMB DIGGITY (Thank You)

You Are The Bomb Diggity
So, even though this blog has been resembling the scene of a tumbleweed blowing through a ghost town, I have been plenty busy. This year has started out with a bang. First of all, I now have Fridays off again, WOOT! At the end of the year my schedule had changed so that I was working a half day on Friday, which was fine by me, but now I have the whole day off. If you’ve been following this blog for any time you might have heard me complain about having to work on Fridays oh, about a bobajillion of times. Vacation days? I essentially went from having 15 a year to having an additional 52 on top of that. High Five, everyone!

That being said, I have been uber productive and am so thrilled with a HUGE project that I kicked off right at the beginning of the year and have essentially completed already. Late last year when I was tweeking some of my product packaging, I wanted to revise my thank you notes that I put into every order. I came up with a little design to expedite outgoing orders. I designed a stamp I would put on paper and then add a simple handwritten “Thank you, Robyn” instead of the whole long handwritten thank you notes I have been doing. The personal touch is so important for my shop, but writing out whole notes has really become a time consuming hurdle for me. The revised design would still be very handmade and personal, but would speed up the process. I blogged about the process in this post from November, where I carved a stamp, and then took the stamp a step further by heat embossing the image.

Spent the day writing letters, stoking the fire in the fireplace, watching episodes of The Dome  and walking on the treadmill. We had the day off for the holiday but without any obligations and with the constant snowfall it felt like a snow day from schoo
I shared that top picture on instagram and Jessee from Art School Drop Out replied saying it would make an awesome framed print which made me want to send one to her, which then made me want to send one to all the awesome people that inspire me on instagram. My original goal was to make 20 or so, but then I kept thinking of more and more people. So far I’ve sent out 50 and and still keep thinking of more and more.


1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE snail mail. I always think I need to send out more real mail and then I rarely do. I’m obsessed with all things mail (designing stationery, making mailart, having my own p.o. box, just to name a few) and yet I don’t actually send out as much as I daydream about. 2. Instagram is the bomb! Really.I have been on instagram since 2010, and have been posting pictures for two years strong. I love that I can share images of what I’m working on or what’s going on in my life and others do the same. There’s a very casual exchange and connection of people that I think even flickr didn’t get. (I had a few people toell me that they were very intimidated by flickr and that they could only post pictures that looked of a certain caliber.) I love the inspiration, the interactions and the support from the community. I wanted to send something out to everyone there that means something to me and let them know just how special they are. 3. It just kind of goes along with my love of random acts of kindness and putting positive things out there in the world. I know how much I love receiving real mail and so I like to imagine every single card I sent out and how it will brighten their day when it arrives. Even though I was the one who sent out the cards, not getting things in my own mailbox, I had an added benefit and that was seeing all the shared images of my card in my instagram feed! I made a mosaic of some of them above. How fun!

So, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! To all the people that have been so supportive and provided me encouragement and inspiration. You Are The BOMB DIGGITY!

Lost Packages

Could have been another post for #white. My parent's mailbox. Our mailbox is sadly one of those new, beige, Rubbermaid-looking, ugly things. Love this one though.

I totally lost my cool on the phone with the United States Post Office today. I sat on hold for a half an hour before I could actually talk to someone and then that person was of no help. I demanded that I talk to a manager. I lost my cool on both people and feel like such a jerk. A lot of the anger could have been dissipated if only they had some sort of system set up to deal with lost packages, but their resolution for me was “have your customer check with their post office” and that is not sufficient. After over an hour long phone call I finally was able to fill out a complaint form, in which a USPS employee will call me back within 2 days. Good service that does for me in tracking a $400 package that I entrusted to them. A few hours after I updated my customer, I received a response that the package had arrived today, a month after I had delivered it! Yay, but also boo, because that package was supposed to be pieces sold in their store for Christmas sales.

Post Office run
This is the second time this winter that I’ve had packages go seemingly lost. In my 6+ years of selling on Etsy I have yet to lose a package. Of course there have been a small handful that seem to have been lost, but that turn up just very much delayed. It seems that right when I am at the threshold of losing it, the package arrives. The very first package I thought I lost was being sent only 60 miles away. I immediately sent out a replacement and a few hours later I got an email that the package arrived. I know there was no way that my replacement had arrived that quickly, so I learned a lesson. Always give the post office a little more time. I wish I could go back in time this afternoon and had more patience with the 2 USPS employees.

My 6+ years streak continues on.

Stationery come to life


I am so excited to share this little video (below) with you. I shot it on my ipod and put it together in instagram. It just gives you a 15 second glimpse into offset printing of some stationery I whipped together.

I am the in-house designer for an offset printing company. We print everything from newspapers and magazines, down to brochures, letterhead and business cards (and everything in between). Sometimes on the rare occasion, and if I’m lucky, we print a job that only requires so much space printed on a big sheet of paper, leaving an open hole. This week I scrambled to put together a quick little note paper for writing letters. You may remember this pattern that I made below.

I’ve used the pattern to make little notebooks and note cards before. But, earlier this week I scrambled to use that pattern as a masthead on some stationery. I already had the image scanned and saved on a jump drive, and then I drew out some loose pencil lines, scanned them and put them together to make the above stationery that I am IN LOVE WITH! It’s a good thing too because I have enough to write letters for the rest of my life.

I was on cloud nine when I pulled it together because often an available hole shows up very last minute and there isn’t time to design something and get it ready for the press in time. The print world moves FAST! You’d think that I’d learn by now and have a whole folder of projects to pull from for last minute, but the holes are never predictable in size or nature. One time it might be a job that is being printed in an odd spot color only, or it might be a business card sized hole and another time it might be something printed on label paper. But this time, I had an idea and pounced quickly. I was so excited all day and told Matt that it would be my DREAM job to get to design things like this all the time and get to see them go from my original handwork to a final printed product. I love designing for print, but it’s almost always other people’s design ideas and I’m just executing it. It’s not very often that my personal creative side and professional side get to cross paths and it felt amazing.

Maybe I’ll share some in my etsy shop?

Package from Rosa

Last week a special package arrived on my front step. My friend Rosa sent me a box filled with goodies. I got teary when I opened it. She is too good of a friend to me, I don’t really deserve all of this.

5.20.13 Package from Rosa
I may have kissed an item or two (or three) when opening everything up. She sent the package because I sent her one a while ago where we swapped ring blanks that we both use for our jewelry. My package to her was not nearly as awesome. Rosa’s daughter has learned to crochet and made some bath scrubbies and I wanted to buy one. When I opened up the package everything smelled so heavenly. It actually started giving me a complex, wondering what my packages smell like when I send them out. Then I realized her package smelled so great because of the bath scrubby. Now I want bath scrubbies to go in every package I send out so they can all smell so amazing. Her daughter then wrote thank you notes and heaven knows I love me some kid writing. I hold it right up there alongside kid’s drawings. Perfect.

In this package, Rosa included several items that she had made and shared on instagram. Pretty much everything Rosa makes is magic so you should follow her on instagram.

5.20.13 Ring by Rosa Murillo
Top picture by Rosa, bottom picture on my finger

The biggest prize had to be this house ring. I think Rosa could make fortunes from these new rings. Not only is Rosa an amazing artist, she is also a skilled architect! When she combines her loves for art with her passion for buildings something magical happens and these rings are a perfect example. Another example is

5.20.13 House by Rosa Murillo
This little house. I don’t know if she’s thought of it before, but this would be an amazing artomat piece.

Thank you so much for the wonderful package. I’ve listened to the mix CD many times now, and can’t wait to play with the rest of the treats.

Check out Rosa online

Rosa Murillo’s blog

Rosa’s flickr

Rosa’s Instagram

Rosa’s etsy – art

Rosa’s etsy – jewelry

Day 5 – 31 Postcards in 31 Days

10.5 mailart

Day 5, a little different. Instead of space we have grass.

I’m going for a 3rd attempt at the silk screen this weekend. Doing prints should be much quicker for next week.

Have a good weekend!

Day 4 – 31 Postcards in 31 Days

Rather than waiting until the evening when I'm exhausted I did some painting this morning before work. It was great.

This morning I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Instead I got up and actually started painting my mailart postcard for the day. It was such a nice start to the day. I was in such a good mood in the morning. I’d love to say that I should begin each morning this way, but I also know I’m one to love to sleep in. I know the moment I’d make such a commitment I would not be able to climb out of bed until 7:30 to be at work by 8. In an ideal world…

The top picture was an iphone macro lens shot of the painting this morning. Bright and cheerful.
10.4 mailart cropped
This is the finished piece. Day 4 of 31 Postcards in 31 days.

For over 200 more pieces of mailart I’ve created, see my flickr photo set here.

Day 3

10.3 mailart3

Day 3 of 31 Postcards in 31 Days. It’s been such a busy week. Every day this week I finish my postcard and then fall into bed and sleep like a brick.

Is anyone else participating in #31Postcards?

File under: Project Addiction

Happy Monday! This weekend was my birthday and it was an AWESOME one. I had Friday off and I to went a lot of places and did a lot of things that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I took tons of pictures and video, so I hope to return later this week with a great post on that.

In the meantime I thought I’d pop in with a little post today.

The jewelry display post from last Thursday was a hit! I submitted it to craftgawker and it was accepted AND has received MANY-MANY hearts and views. It’s even on the popular page for the last 7 days! And it’s been pinned a lot on pinterest too!

It’s the last full week of the month and this weekend I found a couple of fun projects for October. I think I’m going to jump in on them and so I thought I’d share them here in case anyone else might be interested too.

First, The100 (a photography project to document the lives of 100 people, ages 1-100) is doing a 100 week. October 1-7th, 2012, The100 is asking folks to purchase a disposable camera and document their week on film. After the week is up, develop your film and then share it the pictures online. I’m guessing pictures should be posted to your respective blogs, flickr, facebook, etc., and perhaps tagged with the project name? I have to look around some more and see if there is a flickr group for it already.

The Second project was one I discovered through a hashtag search of mailart on instagram. It’s the 31 Postcards in 31 Days Project organized by The South Side Letter Writing Club. Anyone can join, just send 31 postcards in the month of October. To officially join the “event” accept the invitation on the facebook page. If you want to share and paticipate online, upload your postcards to flickr, tumblr, instagram, etc., and tag them #31postcards. I don’t see anywhere that it is a mailart project, and since it’s organized by a letter writing group I think postcards can be commercially produced cards, but you know me, I’m sure I’ll be creating art to go through the mail.