Monthly Archives: February 2015

Happening Today: LWA Virtual Social

Letter Month, Presley sitting on ValentinesHappy Virtual Letter Social Day!! Although I won’t be able to participate in the video portion of the social (I hate it when work commitments get in the way of letter writing!) I will be finishing my Valentines and writing letters throughout the day (or as long as Presley stays off the table.)

Happy letter writing!

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Holy Snow!

CHicago BLizzard 2015On Saturday night it started snowing and it pretty much didn’t stop until sometime early Monday. And it snowed some more on Tuesday and Wednesday. Our area snowfall was somewhere between the 19-22 inch range. Above is what it looked like when I walked for coffee on Sunday morning. Everything was still passable and it was very pretty!Chicago Blizzard 2015 CHicago BLizzard 2015Late Sunday afternoon, Naoto and I walked over to our friends’ place for the Super Bowl. The wind had picked up by this time and sidewalks and streets were somewhat of a challenge to walk in. We ended up walking to the L and taking it two stops and then walking through at least a foot of snow in some places to get to their apartment. It felt a little insane, but it wasn’t very cold and we feel like as Chicagoans, we should be able to handle a little bit of snow. (That being said, we never would have driven in that mess!) CHicago BLizzard 2015By the time the Super Bowl was over, we found ourselves walking in the streets to get back to the train. Some homeowners were outside clearing the walks, but not everyone had, so you’d find yourself in a clear path that walked into a dead end of waist-high snow. CHicago BLizzard 2015CHicago BLizzard 2015In front of our own building, the snow had drifted up by the garage door and we had to climb a snow mountain to get to our front door. What a fun adventure! CHicago BLizzard 2015On Monday morning, things were bright and sunny and a big mess! We’ve been trying to walk everywhere (mostly to work, for coffees and to the blue mailbox!) so we don’t have to navigate the messy roads and crazy parking situations out there. Stay warm, Chicago!

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Easy Printmaking For Kids (& Adults)

printmaking for kidsLast week, I quickly shared about my thrift store find, Tomie dePaola’s Things to Make and Do for Valentine’s Day. When I got to this printmaking craft, I was really excited because I’ve done something like this before. I think it’s a really fun project–for kids and adults–and a good introduction to block printing without investing in a ton of materials.

Here are the instructions starring Tomie’s cute kids and cuter cat:Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Day styrofoam print project 2, Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Daystyrofoam print project 3, Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's DayA few notes:

  • I know styrofoam is a horrible thing for the environment and a few cities in the U.S. are banning the use of styrofoam take-out containers. Think of this as re-purposing something evil. I got my styrofoam trays with fish and vegetables at Mitsuwa.
  • I used a brayer because I already had one on hand from a printmaking class, but a rolling pin works just fine and may be even better for kids since it’s bigger and easier to handle.
  • The book suggests poster paints. I used Martha Stewart craft paint because I had some already. It worked fine, but it did dry quickly. So, I tried oil-based printmaking ink, which I also had. It worked perfectly but I would highly suggest you don’t use it if you are working with kids. It’s messy, permanent and dries so slowly.

printmaking for kidsI made my “block” by tracing the outline of the Japanese character for “friend”. I flipped it around and traced it onto my styrofoam with a sharp pencil. I went over the outline a couple of times to make a deep enough channel to get a clean outline. If I had pressed too lightly, the outline would not be as clear.printmaking for kidsMy prints are imperfect, but that’s okay. It takes some practice to get the right amount of ink on the styrofoam–I need some more practice! And, if this oil-based ink ever dries, I will cut them apart into little cards and send them out as Valentines.

If you try this project, I’d love to hear about it! Happy Valentine making!


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USPS Consumer Advisory Council Meeting 5

Love stamp 1992At our January Council Meeting, we continued to discuss the customer service surveys. (Some may say we were beating a dead horse with our continued belaboring, but others found the information useful.)

Postmaster Crawford was back in attendance and he brought some statistics regarding the surveys. Survey responses increased from 16 in the October report to 71 in the January report. This makes sense because so many more people are frequenting the post office during the holidays. The only negative responses on the surveys were related to the clerk’s attitude. Other questions include clerk’s knowledge, wait times and staffing. Postmaster Crawford said he was open to hanging signage in the post office to inform customers of the surveys, but needs to stay within the standard prescribed by the USPS.

Oak Park will be one of the first on the list to receive new vehicles and new scanners. The new vehicles will be better equipped to handle the large amount of packages the USPS will handle. The new scanners will have GPS to aid in delivery patterns.

Now that the holiday rush is over, the Postmaster needs to schedule a meeting with the village of Oak Park to discuss the education and enforcement of the snow removal ordinances. Suggestions from the Council included a note in the VOP Newsletter, a mention during Village board meetings and a piece on the local TV station. Members also suggested that the post office reach out to residents by hosting a booth during A Day in Our Village (a community event during the summer) and having an information table at the Farmers Market (which runs May-November).

We were reminded that as council members, it is our jobs to help to educate the public about the USPS. So here’s my PSA: Please keep your walks and stairs clear of snow and ice to help make your letter carrier’s job a little bit easier. And if you have elderly neighbors, give them a hand with clearing their walks and stairs. Your letter carrier will thank you for it.

Even though–at the time of the meeting–our area had not seen a large amount of snow or severely cold weather, Postmaster Crawford said he felt very confident that this season would be much better than last season* because of increased staffing and training. We had a huge snowfall on Sunday, 17+ inches and blizzard conditions. My building did not receive mail on Monday but delivery resumed on Tuesday.

That’s all we were able to cover since we spent such a large portion of the meeting discussing the surveys. Hopefully next month will be more productive.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear it!


*Last season’s mail delivery issues, chronicled here, were the catalyst for starting the council.

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Vintage Postcards Are Delightful

vintage postcards, The Casino Forest Park and Abe & Mary LincolnMy pen pal Ryan is a frequenter of the Vintage Paper Fair in San Francisco. Last month he sent me a couple of fantastic old postcards from his shopping adventure. The top one, featuring my favorite president Abe Lincoln and his wife Mary, is unused. I’m not sure if Ryan knew I was a fan of Abe or if this was just a coincidence, but I’m excited to display the postcard with my mini Abe collection this month! vintage postcard, The Casino Forest ParkThe second card was mailed from Chicago in 1911. It shows The Casino in my very own Forest Park, Illinois!! I had to do some research to see where The Casino was located, most likely down by the shopping area along Roosevelt. I might need to visit the Forest Park Historical Society soon to learn more. vintage postcard, 1 cent postageThe postcard was sent to Clara in Wisconsin. The note is hard to decipher (maybe someone else can read it better?) but I believe it says:

Can’t you send about 300 $ bills to Mak. Would like to bring Fields stinb(?) with me. Get the book. Lee

I love having a tiny piece of someone’s Forest Park history in my hand. What luck it was for Ryan to find a card from my little city!

Thanks, Ryan, for thinking of me in your vintage paper adventures!


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