Tag Archives: postcards

Razzle Zazzle ’em

Hey! We had a “Wee Spot of Mail” two weeks ago when LetterMo 2020 started on Saturday, and yesterday we finished our first full week.

Here are the original badges for accomplishing those two parts of the MOL challenge:

Did you earn them? (Even if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start sending letters and people are active in our member fora!)

Also there are still postcards and challenge cards available for purchase through the LetterMo Zazzle store (if you’re not up to printing your own):

Onward to Week Two!

[Wayback Repost] Posting A Compliment

This post was originally published on February 5, 2015. It’s reappearing today as a Wayback Repost, so you might see some old comments below. Feel free to continue the conversation!

compliment

As I mentioned last year, I start out each Month of Letters by sending people postcards because they’re low pressure and I like sending beautiful art and photos along with my correspondence. This year I’m doing the same, but with another specific goal. The idea sparked when I read this NY Times column by Mandy Len Catron. It’s about how to fall in love with anyone, though this is the part I found very compelling:

The moments I found most uncomfortable were not when I had to make confessions about myself, but had to venture opinions about my partner. For example: … “Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time saying things you might not say to someone you’ve just met” (Question 28).

Much of Dr. Aron’s research focuses on creating interpersonal closeness. In particular, several studies investigate the ways we incorporate others into our sense of self. It’s easy to see how the questions encourage what they call “self-expansion.” Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.

It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time.

Yeah, why don’t we?

I’ve decided to make an effort to compliment my friends and loved ones more over the next year and hope to turn that into a habit. And what better way to do so than via a postcard?

I fill the small space on the back of each with what I like about the recipient: the ways in which they’re awesome, why I admire them, how much better the world is because they’re in it. A small rectangle of love and happiness.

My goal is to send out at least three of these a week on top of my regular letter writing activities. Too bad there’s no badge for that 😉

Best Postcard Apps For Smartphones

Though the Month of Letters is over I know for a fact that many of you taking this challenge will continue to send out letters and cards and postcards throughout the year. Maybe not so many as this month, but more now that you have the letter writing bug. For those of you who particularly enjoyed sending out postcards, I have one final post for you.

Last year I talked about how much I love being able to send custom postcards right from my smartphone. I still do, and I still use Touchnote to do so most of the time. When this year’s challenge rolled around I decided to try and determine if Touchnote is really the best app for this purpose. The cards cost $1.99 and come from Europe, so they take some time to arrive. Were there any worthy services doing it faster or cheaper?

Throughout this month I tested postcard apps to find the answer to that question. The answer? Not really.

mypostcard app

Touchnote is still one of the best smartphone postcard apps out there. The only one I like better is MyPostcard, which is not cheaper or faster.

How did I go about making this determination? I started with some basic culling. There are a little over a dozen apps and services that offer the ability to create and send a postcard from your phone using your own image. Before I started testing, I whittled the list down by eliminating apps that are iOS only (no app can be the best if it ignores Android) and those that have really low ratings and terrible reviews.

That left me with four contenders: MyPostcard, Popcarte, Postino, and Touchnote.

Next, I used the apps to create a postcard to see how easy or difficult the process was.

Postino had the most unintuitive interface of the four. No Back button, no guidance on whether you’d saved the text or image or address, and no help text at all. It also withheld key information from me until the very last step in the process: how to pay. Trying to send a postcard brings up an error message, yet gives no clear instructions on how to solve the problem (i.e. how you buy the postcard and postage). This process is too convoluted. Once you stumble through that the card finally gets sent.

When it arrived the postcard looked the same as the preview but the card stock was not as high quality as i’d hoped. Plus it took longer than stated. Postcards cost $1.99 to send one, but if you buy in bulk you get a slight discount. It’s not worth it.

The Popcarte interface is slightly better than Postino, but not by much. As you move through each step of setting up a card there is no easy way to go back and change an element. You have to keep hitting the Back button until you’re where you need to be. This was very frustrating because the preview of the card did not match how I positioned my image. Thinking it might just be a bug, I sent the postcard, anyway.

It arrived looking like the preview image–i.e. kind of jacked up. Not worth $1.99.

Touchnote has an intuitive interface that is well-designed and easy to navigate. I like that I can choose a picture from my gallery and Share it to Touchnote instead of starting from inside this app. Also like that there’s a generous character allotment for the message on your postcard. The only thing I don’t like is that I can’t choose a font face or size.

The card I sent arrived in the stated time frame and looked as I expected.

MyPostcard stands above the rest for several reasons. The first is that you can put multiple images on one postcard. Choose either one photo to fill the frame, three photos, or a six photo grid. When you type out your message you have 450 characters to work with, but when you’re done with text the app will warn you if the current font size means the whole message won’t fit. The app is easy to navigate. Postcards cost €1.99 and you can pay via PayPal.

The card arrived looking better than I thought it would and within the stated timeframe.

So there you have it. If you’d like to send postcards from your phone using your own images, Touchnote and MyPostcard are your best bets. I hope you enjoy doing so!

Send It, Frame It

Just after Christmas, my aunt was putting away all of our decorations and gathering up the many cards we’d had out on display. One card in particular she set aside and said she intended to frame since the art on it was so beautiful. I agreed, and it got me thinking about the cards and postcards I send.

art cards
These are going in the mail soon

I send a lot of postcards from my smartphone since it’s easy to use services like Touchnote to create one with one of my photos on the back. (Later this month I’ll put up a post comparing all my favorite apps.) They’re often pictures of me or some cool thing I think the recipient will appreciate. They’re meant to be saveable on the fridge or in a photo album, for people who have such things (and for people who wish to look at pictures of me now and then).

I really like the idea of sending art worthy of a frame or at least displaying beyond that courtesy period most cards get. Such postcards and cards may be found in the usual places if you search thoroughly or stumble on a great gallery or poster store. If you don’t have anything like that near where you live, or the selection isn’t all that interesting, here are some suggestions for places to look online.

Ink Dragon by freeminds

DeviantArt has more beautiful art than one person could ever comb through in a lifetime. Even better, DeviantArt has a Print Shop. Artists opt in to allow people to buy their art in multiple formats, including as postcards and greeting cards. You can browse by subject or start at an artist’s page–just click the Prints tab at the top to see if they’re offering any of their pieces.

Other art print shops that do postcards and/or greeting cards: Society6, Redbubble, and Pomegranate (check out their 100 mystery postcard box!)

Printsagram will create blank inside greeting cards from your Instagram photos (or any of your photos through Print Studio). The card stock they use is lovely and you can write a short or long note depending on which size you choose.

Zazzle also has a custom postcard and greeting card (both traditional and big sizes) creation tool. You can upload any image from your computer for these, and the image will fill the whole front instead of just a square, as with the Printstagram ones.

I know some of you must have received some beautiful cards, postcards, and letters over the years. Have you ever kept them out for display long after the holiday or special occasion? Framed them? Share pictures in the comments or using the hashtag #LetterMo on your social network of choice. I’d love to see!


P.S. In case you’re wondering, the cards from the top image are: Santoro Eclectic Selection (hummingbird and tortoise) found at B&N, a National Geographic photo card, A is for Alice promo card for the Wonderland Alphabet (art by Janet K Lee), a postcard from the Susan Seddon Boulet Bestiary, and Fairy Tale Woman by Alethea Kontis.