Many Postage Stamps + Washi Tape = Happier Mail

When an envelope that looks like this (below) arrives in your mailbox, you almost forget there might be something even more interesting inside!

After studying the stamps for several minutes, I did finally open the envelope to find an elegant handmade card from my penfriend Beth. She and I had not corresponded in quite some time, so I was overjoyed to receive a newsy letter from her.

“This Is the Day,” Handmade Card by Beth

My scanner is being weird, and no matter what I do, I can’t capture the vibrant colors in the card.  “In real life,” the white is whiter, the pink is “pinker” and the gold is “golder,” shinier, and more glittery.

Beth made the card with card stock, washi tape, and a scripture stamp. If I remember correctly, she’s the reason I made my first washi tape card (so embarrassed by it now) and postcards many moons ago. I haven’t made a washi card in years!

Her card comes at a good time. I’ve been bored with my washi tape (and my Cricut), but you can guess what I’ll be up to this weekend…

Thanks for the happy mail and the weekend therapy, Beth!

heART Exchange: Joy to the World!

Do you want to see what was in yesterday’s mail that made my heart skip with glee? 😃

Wishing you...

“Wishing You…,”–Handmade art by Ellen

I know this looks like a Christmas card and for some the holiday is “over and done,” but this isn’t a Christmas card. This is a joy to the world card.  To-maa-to,  to-mah-to. 😉  No matter.   I love the holiday season; in fact, I am still in the process of mailing my last few greetings.  [My rule–I have up to one month after the holiday to send cards.] 🙂

This piece of art was sent to me as part of heART Exchange, the Global Art Swap, coordinated by artist Louise Gale. Similar to other art swaps I’ve participated in, Louise inspires artists, collects and coordinates participants’ information, and assigns partners.  For the heART exchange, participates create art based on the assigned theme and send to three partners; they also receive art from three different partners.

Louise started the swap in 2011 because:

Giving and receiving is the constant flow of energy for our heart and what better way than to create, send and receive something beautiful and hand-made through your letter box. I would love to inspire you to live and create from the heart everyday, so it is so wonderful to host and take part in this global art swap.

The theme of the December exchange was “Joy to the World.”  “Wishing you” is the first postcard I’ve received from an assigned partner and I’m looking forward to the others showing up in my mailbox (fingers crossed).  The postcard made its way to me from the Netherlands with warm greetings from Ellen.  The scan does little justice to the cheerful creation which has lots of texture and silver and gold touches.  You can see more of (and perhaps purchase) Ellen’s work by visiting her website.

My postcard pal Christine–who introduced me to the swap–sent a bit of joy my way as well:

"Joy for the Anemones," Photo by Christine B.

“Joy for the Anemones,” Photo by Christine B.

If you’re interested, the next Global Art Swap starts in February, so click the link and join the fun!

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of creating and sending art into the world, Liberate Your Art 2017 signup is open, so take a click over to Kat Eye Studio and join in!

 

Cup and Chaucer: Mini Pocket Flipbook

One of the most enjoyable snail mail projects I worked on this year was a mini pocket flipbook for a swap in the Cup and Chaucer group on swap-bot.  Cup and Chaucer, as you might have guessed, is a group of swap-bots who love mulling over a great literature with piping hot cup of tea.

I’d never done a flipbook before, but my interest was piqued by the theme–books!  How could I resist?  Besides sticking to the theme, the only other requirement was that we incorporate a pocket.

My “receive from” partner, AnnaM, created a beautiful flipbook–lots of purple and gold, pretty embellishments, and many thoughtful handmade items.  Overall, it was an elegant flipbook, nicely presented.

This is how the flipbook came out of the envelope:

Flipbook Packaging

Flipbook Packaging

Here’s the front cover:

Flipbook Front Cover

Flipbook Front Cover

And the back cover:

Back Cover

“There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as the faint subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” –Arthur Conan Doyle

And everything in between [click an image for a closer look]:

Here’s a closer look at some of the tuck-ins [click an image for a closer look]:

There was just so much “eye candy.” I remember doing the happy mail dance when I opened the package.

The swap came at a crazy time for me–April.  The cruelest month. Remember?  I didn’t even see an opportunity to work on it until the mail deadline date.  I ended up grabbing a bunch of supplies on my way out the door one morning, working on it, and completing it in record time in my office (between classes, of course).  I posted it on my way home.

I chose a color pallet and crafted without a plan:

fullsizerender-57

It was early spring and I was happy to see and play with color again.

True to my “English professor” word, I finished the front cover last (I tell my students to write their essay introductions last).

Bookish Flipbook Front Cover

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”  –Charles Williams Eliot

Here’s the back cover and everything in-between [click an image for a closer look]:

My favorite part is Dickens’ Dream by Victorian artist Robert William Buss.  I scavenged it from a mailer from one of the textbook publishers. The curly haired lady was also salvaged from an envelope or the back of a postcard.

The flipbook was 5 x 7 inches, a manageable size.  It was bound with washi tape. I tucked in Jane Austen postcards, Project Life cards, star-shaped Post-it notes, washi tape, and paperclip bookmarks–something else I learned to do this year.

Making the flipbook was an easy and fun activity; I’m looking forward to crafting another one. If you’d like to make your own flipbook and need to see more of the process, here’s the YouTube video I reviewed before making my own:

Doesn’t this look like fun for a rainy day?

Autumn Happy Mail

I hope you’re not tired of reading about autumn, because I received a bit of autumn happy mail today and I have to share!

Swap-bot’s Midteacher sent a swap in an autumn-themed envelope with a gorgeous autumn card and photo.  Autumn was not the theme of the swap, but it is not unusual for swappers to send extras that the receiver will enjoy. Of course, my love for the season is no secret.

I will share the swap items tomorrow, but for today, let’s just take a look at the envelope and the autumn extras.  Here’s the pretty mail art:

Zentangled Leaves by Midteacher

Zentangled Leaves by Midteacher

Just seeing this envelope makes me smile.

On the inside was a card designed with one of Midteacher’s photos and embellished with paper, ribbon, and other items.

Fall Card made by Midteacher

Fall Card made by DBW aka Midteacher

I mentioned Midteacher’s card-making techniques in a post earlier this month.

She wrote a special thank you note inside which made me feel warm, fuzzy, and appreciated.

She adhered a little photo  inspiration to the inside of the card:

Photo Inspiration by Midteacher

Photo Inspiration by DBW aka Midteacher

And added a photo featuring her favorite autumn mug and a crunchy, frosty pile of autumn leaves:

"Leaves and Tea," Photo by DBW/Diane aka Midteacher (swap-bot)

“Leaves and Tea,” Photo by Diane aka Midteacher

Now, I have to make a decision: Should these go on my “Fall Wall” or should they be used in my journaling?  Maybe, they should go on the wall until I’m ready to use them in a journal. Hmmm… I’ll figure it out later. For now, I’ll just enjoy the little happy-makers.

“See ya” tomorrow…

 

Postcards from Dr. Seuss

"Speak for the Trees," Mail Art by Nancylee on swap-bot

“Speak for the Trees,” Mail Art by Nancylee on swap-bot

Wouldn’t pulling this envelope out of your mailbox make you grin from ear to ear?  Maybe, that’s just me?  Swap-bot’s Nancylee so cheerfully decorated the envelope she sent to me in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday (in March) that I almost forgot to open the envelope!  The front was inspired by The Lorax; the back was inspired by none other than the Cat in the Hat.

Dr Seuss Bday Swap-1

Yes, she adorned the front and back with her imitations of Dr. Seuss characters.

Now, what was inside the envelope?  Two postcards from the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield, Massachusetts, Theodor Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) hometown.  Although she has yet to visit the sculpture garden, Nancylee’s mom visited and sent her a bunch of postcards.

The first postcard features Horton of Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches the Egg fame standing inside the pages of a book.

"Horton Court,"

“Horton Court,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Sculptor

A couple of my favorite Horton quotes:

from Horton Hears a Who–

Please don’t harm all my little folks, who
have as much right to live as us bigger folks do!

from Horton Hatches the Egg–

I meant what I said and I said what I meant.
An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.

The second postcard features Yertle from Yertle the Turtle standing loftily on top of all the turtles of the pond.  Yertle is probably the favorite Seuss tale in our home.  We applaud the moxie of a “plain little” turtle named Mack who stands up for turtles everywhere.

"Yertle the Turtle,"

“Yertle the Turtle,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Sculptor

My favorite quotes from the book:

I know up there on top, you are seeing great sights
but down here on the bottom, we, too, should have rights.

and of course,

And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles, and, maybe, all creatures should be.

The sculptures were created by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Geisel’s stepdaughter.  What a precious way to pay tribute to his memory and imagination!  If you’d like to find out more about the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, click the link.

 

Letters!

Yesterday was “blah.”  I struggled through the day.  The sun fought bravely for a moment, so I opened my curtains to let the light in fully.  I normally work with only natural light in my office, so I figure having to turn the lights on contributed to my malaise.  The sun’s dominance was short-lived.

My mood suddenly turned bright when I arrived home to find four wonderful pieces of “real” mail waiting for me in the mailbox.  My heart jumped for joy!

First a postcard for “Superhero PC Swap #1” from “namelessgirl” (that’s her actual swap-bot name).

Action Comics No.419, December 1972 | Artists: Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson, DC Comics

Action Comics No. 419 |December 1972| Artists: Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson, DC Comics

She writes that she loves all things superhero and she just finished reading the book Super Gods by Grant Morrison.

My partner’s favorite superhero is Batman, so I sent her two postcards:

Detective Comics No. 587 |June 1988| Artist: Norm Breyfogle, DC Comics

Superhero Swap-1 Sent 01-23-15

Detective Comics No. 38 |April 1940| Artists: Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, DC Comics

I also received lists of fairytales, myths, and folklore from Pynart, who hosted the swap “I Still Believe in 398.2,” the Dewey Decimal number for folk literature.  Swappers were supposed to send three lists–cherished fairytales, myths, and folklore.

IMG_5473

I love the “Puss in Boots” envelope.  I’m still working on making my too-long lists manageable, and I plan to include one of the lesser known tales with the letter to my partner. Shhh…don’t tell.

I received not one, but two letters from Artybeth, one of my pen friends and a “Christian Friend” on swap-bot.

IMG_5457

This first one was for a Christian Friends swap, “Spiritual Goals 2015.”  We were to share our spiritual goals in a letter and place an encouraging scripture on the outside of the envelope. As usual, Artybeth enclosed extra goodies–more washi tape samples for me! I really like getting samples with swaps.  I usually  get samples of washi tape that I don’t have–there are so many great ones!  But what I really like is that they’re flat and fit anywhere, so they’re perfect for journaling and letter writing on the go!

IMG_5463

The second one was just because…Well, really, in response to a letter I’d written to her back in November.  Again, she enclosed cute extras.  I’m loving the vintage typewriter and Snoopy happy with a letter; this is probably what I looked like after leaving the mailbox.

Well, I’m off to respond to letters and start my list of individuals to write during “Month of Letters 2015”–a letter, notecard, postcard, happy mail into the world every day.

Wishing you a happy mail day…

Love, (Typo)Graphic Violence, and Dancing Bears

I participated in a “graffiti style postcard” swap about a month ago.  Participants had to create a postcard using graffiti style letters (“blocks, bubbles, angles”).  Mine featured the title of a song written by John Lennon, “All you need is love”–the word “love” in shades of pink and a spray of hearts, set against a blackish, grunge background.  I’m sure this description sounds lovely.  Not so in reality.  Remember? I can’t draw! When I was younger I could draw block, angle or bubble letters very well, but, for some reason, the curves and angles no longer work in my favor.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look:

Graffiti Postcard? by Me!

Graffiti Postcard? by Me!

As you can tell, this was designed digitally.  I used the Art Studio iPad app to draw and color the word “love” and create the .png file and three other apps for the grunge look, the “all you need is…” font, and hearts (Snapseed, PicsArt, and the resident iPad photo editor, I think).

Once I created the .png file, I had fun playing around with different colors.  Here’s “love” in shades of purple, my favorite color.

Untitled 3

And green, my guys’ favorite color:

Untitled 5

The benefit of drawing in Art Studio is once the drawing is complete, one can play around with the colors.

This was the first one I did.

Untitled 6

Didn’t like it at all because the first two letters look like the number 20. And the color scheme?  What was I thinking?  I hope I was just “playing around.”

I think my postcard/mail addiction makes me momentarily delusional, so I sign up for challenges I can’t meet.  To make up for my lack of talent in this area, I sent my partner two postcards–the other real graffiti art from NYC. She was kind and gave me a “heart,” which means she thinks I went above and beyond. Based on my skill set, I did.  😉

My receive-from partner sent me a wonderful postcard which was a lot more complex in thought and execution.  Not making a comparison–just noting the obvious.

“Deesides” is a graphic designer from Finland.  She loves the way graffiti style twists letters, in “often quite unreadable forms.”  She theorizes that graffiti is, in a way, typographic violence:

"Typographic Violence," by Deesides on swap-bot"

“Typographic Violence,” by Deesides on swap-bot”

Deesides says she doesn’t have as much experience in graffiti art, so her work here is a lot more legible than what we typically see from graffiti artists.  I really like it!

The bonus: cute postage stamp on the back of the postcard:

Postage

The dancing bears clash with the idea of “typographic violence,” but don’t you just love them anyway?

 

 

My First Washi Tape Postcards

How did I unwind this evening?  I made not one, but two washi tape postcards!

Washi Tape Postcards-1

This (above) was the first one I made.  They are simple enough to make–washi tape and a sturdy backing.  I used The2Buds adhesive postcard backs.  I’ve been using them for years and they’ve not let me down.

Washi Tape Postcards

I haven’t decided yet whether this will be “all” there is to the postcards.  I’ve been experimenting with adding letters and images.  I will probably keep the pink and green one “as is.”  We’ll see about the red and black one…

What did you make today?

“Me”…in an Envelope!

Here’s your task:  Enclose at least five items in an envelope that define you.  Nope.  This is not a bridal shower game, but it was the subject of a swap I recently completed–“Me in an Envelope” hosted by “isabellasnow” on swap-bot.  The swap required that participants send an envelope of items that would give the recipients an idea of who we are.  What did I include? My partner and I have very similar interests and tastes, so I sent her things that I thought she would use:

  • a book of poetry–I’ve loved poetry since I was a little girl and I am thoroughly enjoying teaching the British Romantic and Victorian poets this semester.
  • a couple of tourist postcards–one from New Orleans (home) and one from Alabama (where I live now)
  • a third postcard–robots (guess why)
  • peace, hearts, and flower stickers–the ideology of “Flower Power” is still so appealing to me
  • inspirational quotes–Don Miguel Ruiz (“The Four Agreements”) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (“Nine Requisites for Contented Living”).
  • some of my own nature photos
  • Paris notecards–Paris is on my bucket list.  I did spend a few hours in a Paris airport once.  I don’t think that counts.  🙂
  • teddy bear postage because it was easier to send the postage than it was to send an actual teddy bear
  • washi tape samples–my latest “crafty” obsession

There were many other things I wanted to include, but I forced myself to exercise a little discipline.  I’m not sure I would say these things “define” me.  They certainly hint at some aspects of “me,” but a package that “defines” me would probably be much more difficult to put together.    Besides, even though the swap was “sender’s choice,”  I try to send people items they can/will actually use.

I think “Metruis,” my “receive from” partner took the same approach.   We have some similar interests as well, and she sent a fun package of goodies.

Her note was written on this far too cute panda postcard.

"Deck the Halls"  Christmas all year long, I say!

“Deck the Halls”

Christmas all year long, I say!  I love these pandas.  Isn’t the one hanging from the tree simply adorable?

Metruis is a freelance writer and an artist.  She even drew a picture of herself on the back of the postcard, “sort of.”

"Me Sorta" by Metruis

“Me Sorta” by Metruis

She sent fabric swatches from the last quilt she made.  These will be great for making a collage postcard!

"Fabric Swatches"

“Fabric Swatches”

She loves loose tea, so she sent two of her favorite teas and recipes.  Here’s one of the recipes:

Tea

“Fruity Cold Brew Tea”

She paints, so she sent a paintbrush.  She “always” paints her nails and her favorite color is green, so she sent green “nail glitter.”

Paintbrush and Nail Glitter

“Paintbrush and Nail Glitter”

She loves steampunk, so she sent a “steampunk dude.”

"Time Traveler?"

“Time Traveler?”

And a compass charm because she makes maps for a living.

"Compass Charm"

“Compass Charm”

Along with a receipt from one of her favorite restaurants and a library checkout receipt, she sent a bookmark advertising one of her web comics.

Me in an Envie-3

“Between Places”

If you’re into graphic novels, check out Between Places, a fantasy novel with scifi elements, and Stargazer’s Gate, a fantasy graphic novel about gates between worlds.

What would your 5 items be?

Little Bear Road

Can you imagine my JOY when I opened my mailbox to find a teddy bear envelope that came from Little Bear Road?!  My family and I are going to live on Little Bear Road. I will find a house on Little Bear Road or buy the street name and own a whole street named Little Bear Road!  How perfect is that for a teddy bear lover?

I hosted a “Teddy Bear Envelope Fun” swap in the “Teddy Bear Dreamers Group” on swap-bot and my partner CarlaDMG aimed to please.  The envelope oozed with so much cuteness–including awesome Teddy Bears postage–that I almost forgot to open it and review its contents.

Teddy Mail Art (front) by CarlaDMG

Teddy Mail Art (front) by CarlaDMG

Teddy Bear Mail Art (back) by CarlaDMG

Teddy Bear Mail Art (back) by CarlaDMG

CarlaDMG pulled out a little of every-teddy-thing for the envelope. Stickers, stamps and the all-too-cute “Teddy Bears’ Picnic Lyrics.”   Cute overload!

Here’s a closer look at the postage stamp:

"Stick Bear," 1920s.  Scotts #3654

“Stick Bear,” 1920s. Scotts #3654

“Stick Bear” is part of the four-bear collectible United States Postal Service Teddy Bears Centennial Sheet.  The other three bears in the collection are: Bruin Bear #3653 (1907); Gund Bear #3655 (1948);  and Ideal Bear #3656 (1905).   If only this stamp had come out just a little later as a “Forever Stamp”…

And since you’re “just dying” to see the envelope’s contents–

Even more cuteness.  (Click an image for a closer look).

Well, I’m off to see if there’s a street named “Teddy Bear” or “Little Bear” or “something-cute Bear” nearby.  Bear hugs to you!