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April is National Letter Writing Month, and whether or not you're taking part in Write_on Campaign this year, we think it's a fabulous time to send someone a note in the mail. (I mean who doesn't need some cheering up these days?) But if your local post office is shut down or you're nervous about sending mail right now, that doesn't mean you can't take part in this month's challenge.

Dust off your stamp collection, this month we want to celebrate the art of postage stamps!

Show us the loveliest stamps in your collection. Create a beautiful piece of mail inspired by a stamp, a card that looks like a stamp or even a piece of art that uses vintage stamps! Maybe you've always wanted to design your own stamp... here's a nudge to give that a try. (nudge)

No matter whether you're sending mail, creating art or simply sharing images of your stamp collection, we do hope you'll join us for this month's theme. 

So how does this whole monthly mail challenge thing work?

It's quite simple really. We'll reveal a theme and if it inspires you, you'll create pretty mail based on that theme. Mail it off to someone you know then post images of your pretty mail on Instagram using the tag #prettypostal. (Sorry, we won't be assigning partners this month!)

By taking part in our monthly mail challenges, you'll connect with people both on and offline, get inspired, try new things and spread good cheer. We'll share #prettypostal images we love through our Instagram feed and stories. See you there!

xoxo

Happy March mail lovers!

As we roar our way into the third month of 2020, we are super excited to invite you to join us for the first Pretty Postal swap of the year (and the decade). Isn't that just the bee's knees?

This time we're challenging you to turn back time... a little bit farther now... all the way back to the 1920s. Let's explore this oh-so-enticing decade through the medium of pretty mail.

The 1920s you say? Why that sounds like the cat's meow. And how!



The Roaring Twenties, the Golden Age, Les Années Folles, whatever you call them and wherever you are, the 1920s were filled with social, technological and cultural change. We'd love you to look at back at this golden decade and find something that interests, intrigues or inspires you, then create beautiful and thoughtful mail exploring a 1920s moment, movement, trend or icon.

You'll exchange pretty mail with other mail lovers from near or far, connect on and offline with our mail loving community, stoke your creativity and maybe even learn a little something in the process!


Image Le Nil, 1926, Erté via Vogue France

Have we piqued your interest?

Here's a few 1920s themes and events to get you started on your journey back in time...

Art Deco design
Jazz / The Jazz Singer
1920s fashion (goodbye corsets, hello ankles!)
Prohibition, Speakeasies and Rumrunners
The discovery of King Tut's tomb (and the resulting Egyptomania)
The Great Gatsby
1920s slang (don't be a wet blanket, it's the berries!)
The invention of sliced bread!

And now onto the fine print...

Tell Me More!


  • You will be placed in a group of 3-5* and will exchange pretty mail with each member of your group. Most participants send and receive 3 pieces of pretty mail.
  • Using the 1920s as your jumping off point, do a little research and find something that thrills you about the decade. (Or maybe you're a history buff and you already know exactly what you want to explore!) 
  • Create beautiful, thoughtful mail using an aspect of 1920s culture or history as your inspiration. 
  • Start with an artful envelope! One of the joys of Pretty Postal is spreading joy everywhere it goes - we want to see creative, colourful envelopes that you've put some thought and effort into. No Plain Jane envelopes please! (Sorry to any Janes reading this - you're lovely and beautiful and clearly not a boring envelope!) 
  • Make your mail extra-special using beautiful lettering, hand drawn details, stamps, patterned paper, washi tape, paint… anything goes!
  • Inside your envelope you should include a handmade card or other clever mail. Your partners would love to hear about you, your inspiration and maybe even some interesting facts about the 1920s culture point that you're exploring!
  • Include a little goodie (or two) with your note. Not sure what to include? How about stickers, a pretty postcard or other lovely paper ephemera. For this swap, let's skip tea bags or anything edible. From what we've read, it sounds like it's unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread via post, but let's be safe and avoid things that go in or near people's faces!
  • This swap is all about getting creative and challenging yourself! While exchanging “stuff” is nice, the focus of Pretty Postal Swaps is to create beautiful and unique mail art. We are more interested in seeing decorative envelopes and creative contents than big gift parcels.
  • It’s free to join!
  • Please tag #prettypostalswap when sharing images on social media

* We aim for groups of 4, so that each participant sends and receives 3 pieces of mail, but, due to the dynamics of open sign-ups and special requests, some groups end up a little bigger and some a little smaller.

Dates, Deadlines & Important Details

  • Sign-ups are now open. We will accept sign-ups until midnight on Friday, March 13th.
  • You will receive your partner assignments by Tuesday, March 17th.
  • Mail must be sent by Monday, March 30th, 2019.
  • Partners will be assigned randomly. We cannot accommodate specific partner requests.
  • Swap is open to mail lovers from all over the world!
  • Participants must be over the age of 18.
  • If you would prefer not to send mail internationally, please indicate this in your sign-up email. We will do our best to accommodate you. Please note that for participants outside of North America, we cannot provide domestic partners - by signing up, you are agreeing to swap internationally.
  • This is a one-time swap. Participating in The Twenties Mail Swap does not automatically enrol you in any future swaps.

How do I sign up?

Please submit your details using this form. If you have any questions, please direct them to prettypostalswaps@gmail.com

February's theme is a sweet one... let's send chocomail!

If there's one thing we love just as much (if not more) than snail mail, it's good chocolate. Dark, milk, white or ruby, we'll happily nibble on it all, so we couldn't resist a theme all around chocolate. 

This month, why not mail something sweet to friends and loved ones near or far. I mean, the only thing better than a good mail day is finding chocolate in your mailbox, right?

And really, is there a better time than February to celebrate all things chocolatey? Well, at least up here in the Northern Hemisphere where winter is waning but you definitely still need some extra treats to get through the season. Plus the temperature is perfect for shipping tasty goodness - no risk of melting on route. For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, you might need to take less literal approach to sending chocolate mail!

Whether you choose chocolate from a local chocolatier or pick something up by the supermarket checkout, we're sure your loved ones and pen pals will be delighted to discover something sweet in their mailbox!



So how does this whole monthly mail challenge thing work?

It's quite simple really. We'll reveal a theme and if it inspires you, you'll create pretty mail based on that theme. Mail it off to someone you know (or email us for a partner - we'll connect a limited number of people each month), then post images of your pretty mail on Instagram using the tag #prettypostal.

By taking part in our monthly mail challenges, you'll connect with people both on and offline, get inspired, try new things and spread good cheer.

Over the course of the month, we'll share #prettypostal images we love on our Instagram feed.

Over the course of the year, you can expect monthly themes, a handful of mail swaps, features on mail artists and small businesses and giveaways.

We do hope you'll join us for this fresh new take on Pretty Postal in 2020. Can't wait to see what tasty treats you mail this month!

With a fresh new year filled with Pretty Postal activities, we thought we'd take a moment to re-introduce ourselves to you! Here's a mini interview with Marisa, who loves nothing more than an excuse to make a creative mess!

Hi Marisa! What are 3 fun or interesting facts about you?

I ran a sweet online craft and paper goods shop for many years. Omiyage was one of the first (if not the first!) shop to bring washi tape to Canada back when it was all made in Japan and before it was available here, there and everywhere!

I've written or co-written four craft books, which are available in at least eight languages (most of which I can't read!)

While I was mainly raised in Canada, I was born in the Caribbean and lived in Japan for a number of years after university (where I met and married my Brazilian husband). I feel like my work and aesthetic is greatly influenced by my tropical roots and time immersed in Japan's modern craft culture.


What is the most memorable piece of mail you've sent or received?

I can't think of one particular piece, but I feel like I learn something new from each creative piece of mail I receive and then try to take those ideas and add my own spin to them. 

Thanks to mail I've received over the years, and a good dash of Instagram inspiration, I've definitely been inspired to turn items that would otherwise be headed to the bin (like junk mail envelopes, plastic card sleeves and packaging) into lovely snail mail components. Sometimes looking at ordinary items in a new way can make something really special.

I've also been inspired to use my favourite materials in new and exciting ways - whether that be a clever way of folding paper, a new way to layer washi tapes or even how the placement or choice postage stamps can create a whole different look in a piece of mail art.


What do you love about Pretty Postal?

I love coming up with creative challenges and swaps that we are excited about, and then seeing all the different ways those themes are interpreted by our amazing community of snail mail lovers.

For me personally, I always look at the swaps as an opportunity to try something new and stretch my own mail art skills. It's always a thrill to send a piece of art out into the world, rather than locking it away in a sketchbook somewhere!

It's also wonderful to see all the connections that Pretty Postal creates, both online and off. In our crazy fast-paced world, encouraging mindful offline connection through creative expression feels really special.

Marisa is craft designer, author and pretty mail enthusiast. Connect with her on Instagram @marisaedghill

With a fresh new year filled with Pretty Postal activities, we thought we'd take a moment to re-introduce ourselves to you! Here's a mini interview with Andrea, our resident snail mail lover, promoter and supporter of stationery designers, and advocate for the lost art of letter writing!

Hi Andrea! You create and send oodles of beautiful mail, what are your must-haves for creating pretty mail?

Washi tape! I love embellishing envelopes with washi tape. My fave brands are Daily Like, mt and maste. It's such fun to combine different patterns and weave tapes together.

A selection of pretty papers and ephemera. I like to use a mix of solids and bright patterns, along with stickers, doilies, pages from vintage magazines and cookbooks and old calendars.

A good pen. Don't your thoughts flow better with the right pen? Some of my go-to pens are the Muji Gel-Ink Ballpoint, Pilot Juice Up 04 and Sakura Gelly Roll.

Great stamps. I enjoy using a combination of vintage and current postage. There are so many fantastic stamps to choose from, and they can make envelopes just a bit more special.


What do you love about Pretty Postal?

I love that the Pretty Postal swaps bring together snail mailers from around the world. Snail mail is such a lovely way of connecting - it's an opportunity to take pause, get creative and to make something that has the potential to brighten the day of someone that you've never met. It's cool to watch new friendships developing between swap partners.


I like that the swaps and monthly themes provide creative inspiration, and it's really fun to watch as participants interpret themes in a variety of ways. I'm really excited to see what 2020 brings for Pretty Postal, and to see how people respond to the monthly themes. I'm looking froward to participating as well!


What are you excited about for 2020?

It's the beginning of a new year - and a new decade! I'm excited about all of the possibilities for what lays ahead...I am really looking forward to planning the second Toronto Stationery Show with my paper partner, Queenie. There are so many talented designers and makers across the country! I always look forward to monthly meet ups of the Toronto Letter Writers Society - all are welcome to join in and catch up on correspondence. On a personal note, I am really grateful to be able to watch my toddler marvel at the world as he discovers new things.

Andrea is the co-founder of the Toronto Stationery Show,  Q&A Letterbox, and the Toronto Letter Writer's Society.  Connect with Andrea over on Instagram!

Happy New Year & happy new mail challenge!

With January marking the start of both a brand new year and a brand new decade, we are feeling inspired by all that newness and all the potential it holds. It's just so Fresh!

That's right, January's theme is Fresh!

Fresh start,
Fresh slate,
Fresh air,
Lemony fresh,
So fresh and so clean, clean.

We want to see how you interpret Freshness into creative snail mail!





So how does this whole monthly mail challenge thing work?

It's quite simple really. We'll reveal a theme and if it inspires you, you'll create pretty mail based on that theme. Mail it off to someone you know (or email us for a partner - we'll connect a limited number of people each month), then post images of your pretty mail on Instagram using the tag #prettypostal.

By taking part in our monthly mail challenges, you'll connect with people both on and offline, get inspired, try new things and spread good cheer.

Over the course of the month, we'll share #prettypostal images we love on our Instagram feed.

Over the course of the year, you can expect monthly themes, a handful of mail swaps, features on mail artists and small businesses and giveaways.

We do hope you'll join us for this fresh new take on Pretty Postal in 2020. Can't wait to see your inspired pretty mail!

There's just something about good old fashioned snail mail. In an era of go-go-go and digital everything, to actually sit down with your thoughts and take the time to write someone a letter is a really lovely thing. It's made even more special when you add a dash of colour and creativity to that outgoing mail.

In 2020, a year that is so clearly from the future and yet here we are, finding a piece of actual mail in your mailbox (you know, one that's not a bill or a KFC flyer) is quite rare outside of the snail mail community. So in 2020, let's try to change that. Let's send beautiful mail to people we love and brighten mailboxes and days one envelope at a time!

This year, to help you spread cheer both on and offline, Pretty Postal will be sharing monthly mail themes. On the first Monday* of each month, we'll reveal a new theme and challenge you to create pretty mail based on that theme. Share your mail on Instagram with the #prettypostal tag and see how others interpreted the theme. It's a lovely creative challenge for the year with low stakes - take part every month or only in ones which inspire you, create a single piece of mail for the month or a big pile, try new things or stick to what you love.

Want to take part but don't have anyone you really want to send mail to? We'll take partner requests from the first 24 (or so) people who email us with their addresses each month. Please note that we won't be able to take specific location requests, we will be assigning partners based on when emails arrive. If you do not hear back from us, this means that we do not have a partner for you.

But wait - what about swaps? Don't worry, we'll be hosting two or three swaps over the course of the year.

We hope you'll join us for a year of lovely mail adventures!

JANUARY - Fresh

*Or the Tuesday following the first Monday, if the first Monday is a holiday. We do love our holidays!