Mostly postal but art and other things of interest too.
Come and visit.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Postal Friendly City (Budapest)

Budapest is a very postal-friendly city. If you are looking for a place to mail this.....

...or maybe won't have to look very long long................

......before seeing one of these...
And is that a great mail box or what? Just look at that little envelope on the side with the red dot!

I only mailed four of these incredibly fun postcards (sorry guys) and they got delivered to the USA very quickly.
Budapest puts mail boxes on post cards. Postal Point Number One.

And they have a really great Postal Museum (Point Number two). We don't have a Postal Museum here in San Francisco. But we should.

This is the street we walked down to get to to the Postal Museum.....lovely, isn't it?

If you get to Budapest I suggest a visit. Lots of vintage Hungarian post boxes to ogle. 

Interesting exhibits. And did you notice that wall?

Just in case you need to see it close up. I may need this in my studio. Anyone want to come over and stencil?

Delicious Hungarian stamps with postal workers and post boxes on them....

And some very cool mail...

A display of a postal workers desk from way back in the day....see all those seals on that envelope?  Those are "security envelopes" and I found two at the Budapest Flea Market.

I want to take all these home with me me....but having a picture of them is almost as good. 

And, if a Postal Museum isn't enough -- there is also a Stamp Museum. And it is amazing.

The Stamp Museum is filled with interesting displays....

and rows of these pull-out drawers that are filled with stamps from all over the world.
The collection is so huge that only a portion can be displayed here in this room.

And -- due to an introduction from my pal Alice -- I got a personal, guided tour from the delightful
Lucky me! Monika took time out of her workday to spent a couple of hours showing us around the stamps.

It was so lovely to meet her and we are now swapping mail art.

See those things that look like small records? Those are stamps!
No kidding.

The Stamp Museum

Ladies room door.....Monika's idea and I think it was a really good one..

Me and my new best friend.....

This is the last of the "travel posts" from  my last trip. Thanks for coming along for the ride and all the nice blog comments. 

I wonder where I'll be off to next? You know I'll be packing up my mail art kit one of these days.

Where would you like to go?

Only three more blog" followers" needed to hit 300. A nice round number.
Tell your friends.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stamp Head ATC's

It doesn't feel like the cold season here in San Francisco what with the blue skies, sunny days and incredibly mild temperatures we have been having.
But I've been down for the the count the last few days. Haven't been able to summon enough energy to do much of anything.
But ATC's are small....

Stamp Head ATC
Karen over at Mail Me Some Art is hosting a Stamp Head ATC Swap. Since I love anything and everything postal I thought I'd make some....
but these are harder than I thought they'd be.
I am hearing I'm not the only one who thinks they are kind of tricky to put together which makes me feel better.
I thought maybe it was just the bad cold....

Stamp Head ATC

I don't like using "new" paper so I cut up a vintage children's game I bought at the flea market in
Prague and used the people on the cards as the base.
Added a couple of old postmarks.
I think they work.

What do you think?

This one works well....that was my favorite stamp.

Stamp Head ATC
These may or may not be finished as I am still looking at them sitting on my work table...

Stamp Head ATC's
These two were made using a vintage French postcard....

And this one has a stamp head on a vintage photograph.
See what I mean? I like everything old.

How did this one sneak in here? Not a stamp head...but made from a Russian postcard from a flea market there and Hungarian photo, stamp and paper ephemera.

Stamp Head ATC
After all this work I am not entirely sure I can part with the ATC's now....well, at least not all of them.

Two Soldiers.....
Stamp on vintage photo (this needs a little something else).

Stamp Head ATC - Dinner Time!

Typewriter ATC
The Stamps can't have all the fun, now can they?

So, what do you think? Do these work? Are they worth all the time and effort? The jury is still out.

And, on another note, I have a special offer for Cappuccino&Art blog readers from a friend.
My pal Anissa runs an ETSY shop
There is quite a lot of washi tape on sale in the shop and if C&A readers place an order for $10.00 or more (excluding S&H) Anissa will include a special washi sampler of one yard of each of five different tapes with your order.
Just send her the code "mailart" in the "message to sender" part of the order and viola - an extra gift for you.

Ok you all, just remember you've got to SEND MAIL to RECEIVE MAIL so get busy and have some fun.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Coming to SF for Ex Postal Facto?

Chinatown SF
If you read my blog regularly, you know how much I love walking around in Chinatown.
On a recent day with blue skies and 75" weather I took a walk on Grant Avenue
and I'm sharing some photos I took with you.
I just hope it's raining by the time you all get to SF because we really, really need rain.
It's OK, you'll still have fun.

This post isn't just about Chinatown though...I will throw down a few names of places for you mail artists and paper ephemera fans to check out while you're in town.
You can use the names to Google the spots and also go to the Search Box for my blog because I have already posted about a number of places to go to in SF.

Well, of can't miss Chinatown. There are shops entirely full of joss papers, incense, books to practice cursive writing, tea, air mail envelopes, Chinese language newspapers, old coins....and food!
Hit the Search Box and put in joss paper for some ideas.
Two fabulous joss paper shops are on Jackson Street between Grant and Stockton Streets.
One is called Exquisite Buddha and the other is across the street.
Just remember -- these shops are selling religious papers and be respectful. They usually do not want you to take photos of the inside of the shops but I have gotten some good shots from the doorway.

Old Coins for Sale in Chinatown

Besides Chinatown, there is also Japantown near Geary and Post Streets. You can ride the 38 Geary bus. (Search the search box for this too - I did a post). There are two really wonderful "Dollar" stores there called Diaso and Itchi-ban-Kan as well as Mai Do stationery. Washi tape for sure.
Lots of interesting stuff to look at -- including a Japanese supermarket (with a cool, free magazine in Japanese that would be great for mail art).
And did I mention the food?
Sushi, ramen, undon.....
(There is also a Paper Source within walking distance on Fillmore Street)

Some tin boxes in Chinatown

My personal favorite art supply store is called FLAX. They have an entire huge room of beautiful sheets of paper. And they carry the Cavallini line of papers, washi tape and various other products. Some rubber stamps and loads of art supplies.
FLAX is on Market Street at Valencia Street. You will have to look this one up.
I think it is worth a trip. And it is pretty near the ZUNI restaurant if you are inclined to stop in for oysters at the zinc bar or have lunch.


Another favorite of mine is SCRAP. I've blogged about Scrap before so go to the Search box for pictures and a link to the website. This is a very fun place. It is completely hit or miss but I usually always seem to find some treasures there. A bit tricky to get to on public transit so look up directions online ahead of time.

Funny...I was just drooling over these metal UK post boxes online the night before my Chinatown walk.......

And look what I found in Chinatown! A newish shop selling metal models of all kinds of things including these post office boxes.
I want one so much. They are kind of pricey but if you need a special treat, go check out
Krystal Rock 515 Grant Avenue SF.
Tell them I sent you!
(BTW Grant Avenue is the "main street" of the tourist part of Chinatown. Stockton Street (which is parallel is for the natives to buy food, herbal medicine, etc. Portsmouth Square is interesting to walk through too).

Right next door to Krystal Rock is a tea shop where you can sample and buy all kinds of teas.


Another personal favorite of mine is the Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Market. Easy to get to right at the very end of Market Street on the Bay.
Think local olive oil and chocolates and the fabulous Acme Bread. The outdoor Farmers Market is all day Saturday. If you are an early bird, you could go by real early for Peets Coffee and  an Acme treat before heading downtown to XPF.
But the food markets and restaurants inside the Ferry Building are open everyday.
You get a beautiful view of the SF Bay.

Now, I don't know if this is good news for you or not but the same weekend at Ex Postal Facto is the BIG Chinese New Year's Parade. Saturday evening, starting at 5:50 is the parade and Chinatown will be absolutely MOBBED with people. In fact, it is going to be pretty mobbed all day Saturday and Sunday that weekend so I suggest, if you have any choice, try to go on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday if you are arriving in town early. Or the following Monday or Tuesday.
Otherwise, prepare for major crowds and lots of firecrackers and lion dancers.

The Chinese New Year Parade is a big SF event and it's free if you want to try to see some of it.

You can pick up the Year of the Horse envelopes and lots of postcards in Chinatown too. I liked these postcards because the pictures look like stamps.

So -- hope this helps you guys out in your planning. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to SF but lots of people have been asking me about places to go while visiting and these are a few spots I enjoy.

You will have to do some research on your own to get addresses, directions, etc but I told you about some of the fun stuff!

I hope some SF locals will add suggestions in the comments in case I have left out anything good.  

Maybe I will get a new idea or two.
Can anyone recommend some good lunch spot downtown for the Saturday XPF event?
I can't think of any good spots to eat downtown.

Start packing those mail art kits!
See you soon in beautiful San Francisco.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Postal Playdate with Red Letter Day

Meet Jennie Hinchcliff -- Miss Red Letter Day herself ! Jennie is the co-author of the mail art book
Good Mail Day.
I'm sure most all of you reading this already have a copy . She is also the organizer of the
Ex Postal Facto Event coming up here in San Francisco
February 14 - February 16

Jennie ( and I) are hoping to see lots of you here at XPF in SF.
 I asked Jennie what she's especially excited about --

--- I have to say that one of the things I'm most excited about, in relation to the Ex Postal Facto weekend is the fact that so many of my postal friends will be in the same place at the same time. There's something really special that is generated, when like-minded folks get together -- especially mail artists! Ex Postal Facto will be one of those events that people look back on and say to themselves "I was there, I was part of it all."--JH

I recently had a chance to spend a wonderful day in the RLD studio with Jennie and I asked her a few questions about the upcoming three day mail art event.
I know you are going to enjoy seeing some of her studio and hearing a little about Ex Postal Facto.

What inspired you to organize the XPF event here in SF in February?

--my main inspiration was 2012's AARPEX (Artistamp Artists Reunion & Philatelic EXpo) event in Seattle, organized by Carl Chew and Robert Rudine. It was a two day event and featured many of my mail art/artistamp heros together in the same room! E.F. Higgins, Ed Varney, Cascadia Art Post, Teesha Moore, Bugpost -- they were all there, and it was unbelievable.  Everyone was so kind and generous; Carl and Dogfish (Robert) were gracious hosts. During the course of the event, folks were asking me why a mail art event hadn't happened in SF (the last big thing to happen here was 1997's Pacific Rim Artistamp Congress). I didn't really think anything about it at the time. But once I arrived back in SF, it was the ONLY thing I could think about! After that, everything started falling into place: the venues, the exhibition, different's all come together in this very magical way. -- JH

Three days of mail art events sounds wonderful. Can you talk a little bit about what will be going on each day of the event?

--absolutely! On Friday, February 14th the SF Center for the Book will host an opening reception for the "mail/art/book" exhibition. Ex Postal planners have put together some fun events for the party, such as a mail art creation station and a postal cancellation window, where you can hand over items created at the opening reception. On Saturday, February 15th there will be a vendor expo held in downtown San Francisco at the historic Elks Lodge building -- in a perfect bit of synchronicity, the address for the Lodge is 450 Post! Vendors will have a variety of wares related to mail art, letter writing, and faux postage -- a little something for everyone! On Sunday, February 16th the weekend will wrap up with two different correspondence art/artistamp lectures at the SF Public Library. There are also a handful of satellite events in the works, but I can't quite talk about them yet...--JH

What do you say to those who absolutely can't get to SF for the event?

--Even if you aren't able to attend Ex Postal Facto in person, I would encourage you to follow the blog. I'll be updating regularly and encouraging people to upload photos, documentation, etc. from the weekend. My hope is that the Ex Postal blog becomes a "document" for the weekend itself, but also a way for people to connect and share their experiences.--JH

 Will you be making any artistamps for XPF? 

--yes, indeed! There will be a special issue of Red Letter Day/Barbary Coast Post stamps for the event, which I'm pretty excited about.

  One thing I'm excited to share with C&AJ readers is the news that we'll have a specially issued passport for the Ex Postal weekend. Designed by Happenstance Type-O-Rama, these passports will be a great way for attendees to collect and share artwork and artistamps -- the hope is that by the end of the weekend, each attendee will have a beautiful souvenir! Each day's event will have a special Ex Postal "passport cancel" at a passport stamping station; attendees get their passports stamped for each event they attend. Passports will be available for sale via the Ex Postal Facto website, as well as at the opening reception at SFCB.--JH

 What would you say to encourage someone who is "on the fence" about buying a plane ticket and making it to SF for this?

--San Francisco in February is a lovely time to visit! :-)
   If you're contemplating whether or not you should attend, I'd have to say "yes!" (and I'm not just saying that); the Ex Postal weekend is going to be a great mix of both old school and new school mail artists and artistamp folks from across the country (and a few from the other side of the world!). It's an amazing feeling to be in the same place with artists you admire, people you've only "met" in the mail -- there's nothing else like it. The people I correspond with are like extended family; when I'm able to meet many of them in the same place, it feels like the best kind of family reunion.--JH

I was recently emailed by a blog reader who will be visiting SF for XPF and she wondered about shops that might be really interesting for paper/washi tape fans.
I'm going to write a short post with some ideas for you out-of-towners so watch for that coming up very soon. You know I know the good places to go!

And we can also guarantee if you come to SF in February it will not snow!

February 4 - 15 -16,  2014

Who's coming? Come on, you can tell us. Any questions for Jennie? Leave a comment and she just might answer.
I am planning on being around for the three days so I look forward to seeing you guys here in SF.
And remember, stay tuned to Jennie's Ex Postal Facto blog for all the exciting updates and information.

A three day mail art event? Special artistamps? A XPF cancellation for your passport? Sidetrips to Chinatown? Venders all day Saturday? 

What's not to love?

(PS I would love it if you would all comment on the blog rather than send me emails or just comment on FB -- then  I'd have everything all in one special place! Many thanks)


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