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!

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.

 

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?

 

 

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!

There’s Something About B&W…

I received a beautiful package a couple of days ago that brought a genuine smile to my face even before I opened it.  Doesn’t this hand-decorated envelope make you smile?

Dee enclosed gorgeous handmade black and white photo notecards and a lovely letter that I will cherish.  She empathizes with the loss of a sister, as she lost her own beloved sister many years ago. Her letter was wrapped in hugs and hearts.  Here are the photos.  I’ve received photos from Dee before.  Whenever I discover she’s my partner in a swap, I delightfully–and a little impatiently–anticipate what I know will be a lovely package.  She never disappoints!

Wilting Tulips by Dee Stead

“Wilting Tulips” by Dee Stead

Dee added a little color to “Home by the Bay” below.  She also sent the color version of this photo.  The home has character and history.  I can just imagine the stories!

"Home by the Bay" by Dee Stead

“Home by the Bay” by Dee Stead

My partner will receive three photo notecards as well.  If you’ve been following my blog, you should recognize “Sweet Beloved” from the previous post.  I had little intention of sending it, but it really tugged at my heart.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had a little fun deciding which ones to send.  I solicited opinions from my hubby and son.  My hubby is partial to black and white photos, so he loves them.  My son, I learned, prefers color.  He doesn’t like any of these!  Oh well! I can’t please everyone.  Hopefully, my partner will enjoy them!

I can’t say I prefer one or the other, but there’s something about black and white photos that I really like.  They’re classic, appealing–stunning really.

Art + Quote = Inspiration

I participated in a “Words of Inspiration” Postcard Swap last month.   The swap was hosted by Kara, of I Wanna Be Me When I Grow Up blog.  For this swap, swappers added a quote to a “work of art”–a photograph, a mixed media piece, etc.–and sent their creations to five other swappers.  I enjoy integrating words into photos and I have put together many, many “photo inspirations.”  For this swap I sent one that features two of my favorite things–music and Paddington Bear.

“The Musician”

The photo features “The Musician” from the Royal Doulton’s The Paddington Bear Collection.  A very dear aunt (-in-law) sent four of the PB figurines from this collection to me from England several years ago.  I cannot be any clearer than Martin Luther regarding my sentiments about music.

Imagine my glee when day after day I retrieved delightful postcards from my mailbox featuring the work of the individuals who sent them.  I had the postcards sent to my campus box, so the postcards were a special treat in the middle of a few workdays.  Here are the five postcards I received.

“Advice”

This postcard was made by Shari of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I like the color combination and the way Shari uses paint and book pages to “create” texture.

Lisa’s “Sea Jellies”

Lisa, lschwing on Instagram, took this beautiful sea jellies photo at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  She writes on the postcard, “Life is full of amazing beauty! It’s important to take time to enjoy it!” Sea jellies are mesmerizing in their beauty, so Lisa chose a perfect subject to underscore her point.

“Every Leaf is a Flower”

Deborah of Ohio sent this postcard which features her own artwork–watercolor paper with airbrush ink, stitched by machine.  Deborah shares Albert Camus’ quote–“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”

“Art washes from the soul the dust of every day life”–Pablo Picasso

Kara, our swap host, created this one.  I’m intrigued by how people like Kara can use a few simple art tools and techniques to create such interesting pieces. This one, along with Shari’s, is going in my favorite handmade postcards collection.

Last, but not least, Jo’s postcard traveled all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand.  Jo is attracted to rusty old houses “that are falling down.”  For her they are full of mystery.

“Rusty Old House”

Jo loves the many textures and colors in this lovely scene.  I do too.  Oh, don’t miss the tiny heart in the window or the good advice–Be in love with your life!

All of this inspirational art has me craving for a bit of creativity, so I must take some time over the Thanksgiving Break (yay!) to craft something meaningful.