We’re trying something new this year. At the onset, virtual “badges” were awarded to participants for various mailing accomplishments. They were awarded on the honor system with submissions through the website. Sadly, given the current state of the code and our resources to fix it, virtual badges are not available this year.
Instead, we’ve created an analog way to keep track of your frequent mailings (our downloadable mail tracker) as well as this challenge for your postal participation.
If you share your progress, please tag us with #LetterMoSTAMP
We hope you enjoy the game. If you have any questions, please ask!. As the month continues, we’d love to see snaps of your progress. Call out “STAMP” (like BINGO) in the STAMP forum when you complete a column, row or even share a picture of you completing the task (FB group, on IG, or in the forum). Share photos of your task completion — either images of physical evidence or the progress on your card.
Explanation of STAMP Game — LetterMo’s version of BINGO
Each square has a task. This post will point you toward resources for completing them.
S1 Used a typewriter Typewriters are making quite the comeback. Many analog folks have already given them homes. Stores and enthusiasts around the country are refurbishing them. Type-ins are become more and more common. If you don’t have access to a typewriter, but would like to complete this task without buying one, check in with your local library. Several still keep one around. Or perhaps drop by the NYC Police Station? Not sure if they’ll let you borrow theirs.
You can choose to type on a label, a whole letter, or just the salutation. Whatever works for you, works for this square.
S2 Tagged #LetterMo on IG or Twitter Our official tag for the year is #LetterMo2019. Share with us your outgoing, incoming, or photo evidence of a finished challenge task.
S3 Used Vintage Postage Stamps Some of us have this in bottom drawers of our desks, but new vintage postage can be found easily on Etsy or eBay. If you’re not in the U.S., verify the rules about using vintage postage. Using old value postage in the UK is acceptable.
S4 Used LetterMo Stationery Our designers and other member volunteers have created several options for downloads. Check our Dropbox Link or FB Group Files, for the latest updates. Bonus points for creating and submitting your own design!
S5 Used a Wax Seal All kinds of sealing wax is available, from pre-made discs with a backing, to using glue guns, to mail safe wax as well as traditional. Historically, wax was used inside a letter to mark its authenticity, as well as to keep various folds secures (see Letter Locking). If you place your seal on the outside of your envelope, consider paying the non-machinable fee to help ensure the seal arrives intact, or place your finished letter inside a vellum or clear envelope. Remember the stamp still needs to be on the outside!
T1 Sent International Mail We have members in many different countries! Using our search tool, you can find a specific country to which you’d like to send mail or find an international pen pal who shares yours interests. If you participate in Postcrossing, that counts!
T2 Attended a Letter Writing Event Letter Writing Societies are having a zenith moment. Megan, the founder of Colorado Correspondence Coalition has created the LWS Directory to help people find letter writing groups in their area. Once she gathers information about the organizations, her next step will be to help the people who are interested in correspondence clubs to find each other if a group doesn’t already exist in the region. Consider posting in our forum or asking in the Members Group if you’re looking for a social letter writing opportunity. Folks have been known to hold virtual events as well. Whether that means coordinating with other LetterMo folks and sharing your progress via social media, or connecting over Hangouts, Skype, or Facetime while you chat and write. Perhaps the LetterMo Postmasters will organize a write-in date?
T3 Posted Intro in the LetterMo Forum The easiest way to ensure your account will survive our May spring cleaning — not to mention the best way to see which members might be your perfect pen pal match — is to post your Introduction in our Forum.
T4 Sent a Homemade Card Mail It Monday has an IG movement (#MailItMonday) for all our card making enthusiasts — don’t stop at being card makers, be card mailers! For those of you not regularly crafting your own cards, give it a try! Hallmark’s blog Think.Make.Share. offers several ideas for cards to make.
T5 Became a Member of the L.W.A. Whether we are members or not, most snailmail enthusiasts have been positively impacted by The Letter Writers Alliance’s 10 year devotion to correspondence. For a $5 lifetime membership, you can show your appreciation for their efforts, as well as access Member Only downloads, other goodies, and super secret mail initiative challenges — as well as take advantage of their pen pal matching service. Their blog is full of epistolary joy and worth a regular read.
A1 Sent a Homemade Envelope There are so many ways to make an envelope. Member goodjujubot offers a tutorial in her IG highlights. Naomi Bulger sends along gorgeous mail art printables for free via her newsletter or you can purchase her Mail Art Coloring book. A quick search or perusal of Pinterest will provide an array of templates, foldables, and tools. Some writers turn security envelopes inside out to create new, interesting envelopes. Ideas are endless!
A2 Used a Postbox Taking inspiration from L.W.A., Postmark’d Studio has declared 2019 as The Year of the Postbox in an effort to save U.S. blue boxes. For a postbox to stay in service, it must receive 25 pieces of mail daily. The #2019YearofthePostbox movement is to encourage us to adopt a local postbox and feed it as often as possible!
A3 MONTH OF LETTERS This square is earned by completing the Month of Letters Challenge — putting something in the mail every day the post is delivered and replying to all the mail you receive in February. Yay you!
A4 Sent a Recipe It might be as simple as your favorite personalized five ingredient hot chocolate mix or as complicated as your favorite recipe for an impressive main course. The recipe can be a tuck-in for a letter you are already sending, or if cooking is your jam, you might involve yourself in a recipe swap.
A5 Sent a S.A.S.E. In the early ‘80s, Free Stuff for Kids opened a whole generation’s eyes to the power of the S.A.S.E. (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) by compiling a book of kid friendly things that one could procure for the cost of two stamps. S.A.S.E. opportunities are less common these days perhaps, but it’s no surprise when snailmail oriented folks give them a purpose. The You Are Beautiful campaign offers stickers. The L.W.A. has their book Zine via S.A.S.E. Occasionally, the marvelous folks at Leaf Cutter Designs, who are responsible for #tinymail and the World’s Smallest Post Office also occasionally offer S.A.S.E. opportunities. Sign up for their newsletter and/or follow their Instagram.
MizLit will be offering a limited S.A.S.E request opportunity. Free tickets will be available from Eventbrite. Once you “buy” the ticket, your spot will be reserved, and then you will receive an email with instructions for where to send your S.A.S.E.
M1 Shared Picture Mail Snap your outgoing or incoming mail to share it with us … in the forum, the Members Group, IG, Twitter — pair with S2 to earn two squares!
M2 Sent a Homemade Postcard Several of our members make outstanding postcards, so hopefully they will chime in with some tips and tricks. There are many ways to complete this square. Upload a photo to a service like Touchnote or Postcardly, print your own on heavy cardstock at home, or cut a postcard shape out of heavier weight paper and decorate it are just some of the ways to create postcards. If you’re concerned that you masterpiece might not make it through the mail intact, you can pop it in an envelope (a homemade one?). A homemade postcard in an envelope still counts as making your own postcard.
M3 Tried Letter Locking As mentioned previously, Letter Locking was often paired with wax to ensure the letter reached its intended recipient unopened. In essence, Letter Locking is a more intricate version of what many of us know as the way we folded the notes tossed into friend’s lockers or surreptitiously slid onto desks. The one difference is that a locked letter, once opened, the tampering would be obvious. You can do your own research to attempt to recreate a locked letter, or send a modernized version of folded paper.
M5 Sent a Mail Tag Mail Tags are tuck-ins that specifically list questions for your pen pal to answer. They can be designed for your partners to answer and send back to you; or just ask questions to help them start their response to you that’s part of a longer letter, or even challenges for them to complete. The tags themselves can be functional, short lists or more creative depending on you or your recipient’s tastes.
P1 Sent Away for a Special Postmark The USPS frequently uses a nationwide pictorial postmark. Specific post office locations can also offer special postmarks. Lucky for us, Collect Postmarks keeps an updated availability list. Location cancellations can add interest to holiday mail, like this list of Anti-Valentine’s postmarks or sending your cards to be remailed out of Loveland. Make sure to read the How To section to know how to garner your own special postmarks.
A list of Canada Post pictorial cancellations can be found here.
P2 Participate in a Mail Mission Members have already posted several ways to put positivity into the world via mail. Check this list and watch our media platforms for additional opportunities.
US Military members, Canadian Forces, folks who have been nominated to be showered with letters, prisoners, elders, foster youth, hospitalized kids, Peace Corps members, long distance truck drivers are all people who would be happy to receive mail from you.
P3 Sent an Unusual Object Until recently, the L.W.A. offered pigeons that could be sent through the post unboxed. Rubber chickens. Pinatas. Beach balls. Flip Flops. This piece of cake. All meet the requirements to be mailed without any additional packaging as long as postage is appropriate. You may need to choose your postal clerk carefully. If you’re a bit shy, you can employ a service who mail coconuts.
P4 Hosted a Letter Writing Event Virtual or in person. Invite another like-minded mail aficionado to hangout and write with you and you’ve hosted a letter event! If you have a larger group in mind, consider these tips or send a message to any of the several writing groups on IG asking for suggestions about how to start. Snailmail people are the best people!
P5 Used a Fountain or Dip Pen If you don’t already have a fountain pen, consider an inexpensive purchase from this listhttps://www.jetpens.com/blog/the-beginners-guide-to-fountain-pens/pt/927/a or these recommendations. Dip pens or dip pen kits can also add to your letting writing options for minimal cost.
BONUS Apply for a Blue Castle Badge Castle in the Air is a magical shop located in Berkeley, California. Besides a love for creativity and whimsy, the shop also values written correspondence and good deeds. According to the requirements listed on their website: The Blue Castle Badge is awarded to those who have accomplished one or more of the following achievements:
- They have sent a real, paper letter to Castle in the Air illustrated with some of their own artwork.
- They have sent a real, paper letter to Castle in the Air telling us of a good deed they have performed.
- They have been mentioned favorably here on the Castle in the Air blog.
If you’re not feeling deserving for whatever reason, you can also nominate someone else to complete this task.