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Crafty by Mail
Wednesday September 20th, 2006 06:03 PM
There was a time there in the late 90's when almost all of my fun personal correspondence had switched to e-mail, and with the exception of birthdays and holidays, the only exciting post was an occasional magazine or catalog. One of the wonderful developments of the crafty internet revolution is the resurgence of thrilling postal mail. From swaps both large and small, to the ability to purchase unique handmade work from crafters around the world at places like etsy, I am much more apt to wait impatiently for the day's mail.

In particular, the crafty mail order club or subscription combines several elements of my "100 Things that Make Me Happy" list, including:
1. A surprise
2. Exciting mail
3. Crafty goodness
If you are unfamiliar with these, in brief-- for a small fee, a super-fun crafty surprise shows up in the mail monthly, or with whatever regularity the club abides by. I am not a member of as many of these as I would like (I'm sure there are tons I'm not even aware of!), but I'll share a little about the ones I've personally experienced. Please do comment with suggestions for others to check out-- I for one would love it if there was a "fabric of the month" or "yarn of the month" subscription by ooh, maybe SuperBuzzy or Purl.

mailorder, by Amy Karol of Angry Chicken and KingPod
I'm going to start with mailorder because your only chance to sign up for this year's mailorder subscription is today, September 20th through Saturday, September 24th. I was not lucky enough to get in on the very first run of mailorder last year, but I did snag a one-off of mailorder #2, and it was everything I dreamed it would be. A ridiculously yummy recipe for Banana Bread, a fabulous bonnet pattern for adults, kids and babies, and crafty whimsies like a merit badge, secret handshake and paper project. All of this in an 8.5x11" red envelope! I need not tell you that I wait with baited breath for this years' various offerings-- mailorder #4 appears to be full of Halloween goodness.

Plum of the Month
by Rachel and Amy

I recently learned about the Plum of the Month when several websites I love were up for their Plummy awards. Since these plum pickers obviously seemed to have good taste, I decided that I had to sign up right away for their crafty subscription. After all, who wouldn't fall for the super-sweet silly plums on their website? Plum of the Month chooses a handmade item by an indie designer and sends one along to each subscriber each month. They support indie business by buying the plums from the designers, and also by featuring the designer on their website for the month. They do a very good job of keeping the Plum a surprise until they're pretty sure everyone has gotten theirs, which is a big plus in my opinion. I received my September plum a few weeks ago and was blown away by the care taken with the packaging (cute handmade or painted plums everywhere!), and with the high quality of the plum itself, a lovely necklace from Mary Andrews of Contrary. I'm anxiously awaiting my October plum!

Button of the Month Club
by Laural of thimble

This club is admittedly a bit more specific-- the surprise is what the theme of the buttons will be that month. Laural is so meticulous and creative in her choice of graphics for the buttons that no matter what the theme is, the buttons will be mini works of happy art. They also come in a sweet little envelope with a pretty Canadian stamp (which is fun for those of us in the US who don't see those too often).

Tiny Showcase
Tiny Showcase is not exactly a subscription or mail order club, but the driving principles are similar. The idea of Tiny Showcase is to give artists a chance to sell high-quality prints in a run of 100, and to give art enthusiasts a chance to buy a small, lovely work of art for a reasonable price. They also donate a portion of the profits for each print to a charity that the artist chooses. Crafty artists like Susie Ghahremani of boy girl party, Jen Corace and Jill Bliss have sold their work through Tiny Showcase. Tiny Showcase prints are a great way to start a real art collection on a shoestring, and to support up and coming artists. Another bonus is that all Tiny Showcase prints are the same tiny 5x5 size, so they look good if you frame and hang them together on a wall!

Please don't think I'm neglecting the Queen of crafty subscriptions, The Sampler. I have never managed to get in there in time to sign up for a round, so I can't share personal experience, but I'm told it is fantastic.

I no longer trudge wearily down the steps to get the mail, and sigh with distress as I tear apart credit card offers before recycling them-- when a new month begins, any day could be the day a plum, or buttons, or an envelope full of crafty inspiration arrives at my door.

comment by girlsavage
Thursday September 21st, 2006 09:13 AM
Oh wow! So much goodness through the mail!! I didn't know there were that many things available! I don't think there is anything much better than crafty goodness through the mail.

Whenever I know I have a package coming I watch for the mail everyday. I get the same excited feeling I did as a child at my birthday, waiting for packages from Grandma and my Aunt.
Thanks for all the great info., as usual :)
comment by buzzville
Friday September 22nd, 2006 11:50 AM
thanks for the suggestion! I love the idea, and Mariko and I will mull this over to see how we might be able to make it work!
comment by ceebee
Friday September 22nd, 2006 01:13 PM
this is so great...i think i might order some subscriptions for christmas gifts for friends. i miss mail--i used to be such a letter writer. i need to get back on it!
comment by ariellyn
Saturday September 23rd, 2006 03:13 AM
That's awesome! I'm wanting to get in for The Sampler and I signed up for the Kingpod! Thanks for those awesome websites!
comment by CraftinFool
Wednesday September 27th, 2006 08:40 AM
your getcrafty blog is the best. I always get the best gems when I read it. thanks so much for sharing this info.
comment by West Coast Crafty
Thursday October 26th, 2006 10:48 PM
ooh, I love the Sampler! I have the opposite luck--I always miss Kingpod's Mailorder window. Bummer!

I also recently heard about the card society:

It sounds lovely!
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