Mail Art Dabbling

September 4, 2016 § 10 Comments

There are some truly spectacular mail artists in the world.  Me? I’m more of a creative dabbler.

Recently, I’ve tried my hand at a couple projects inspired by tutorials generously shared by Lindsay at The Postman’s Knock.  Lindsay’s examples are gorgeous and precise.  My creations are rather more wobbly, but it’s such fun to play!

If you look at Lindsay’s How to Draw Lace tutorial, you can see that she has worked with great care and achieved a very balanced design.  In contrast, if you suspect that I did not follow the direction about using a ruler to measure the spacing of the ovals (or anything else), you would be correct.

TPK1

My Hand Drawn Frame attempt turned out more true to the original.  I used the ruler this time!  I wasn’t sure how the envelope at hand would take watercolors, so I jumped right into bold color at the start.

TPK2Regardless of whether my attempts look like the original example, when I make mail art, my goal is to create something that didn’t exist before and enjoy the process.  Achievement unlocked!

What about you? Have you dabbled creatively recently?

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Banana Love Notes

August 28, 2016 § 6 Comments

Over the past few months, I’ve received a series of love notes written on bananas. They cannot be tucked away and saved, so I have photographed them for continued enjoyment. For you inspiration, here is a small sampling.

I’m all in favor of creative celebrations of love. Have you ever received a love note in a form that delighted you as much as the message? Do you consider good nutrition an act of love? Will you now be writing someone a banana note?

Month of Letters Success and Fun with Postcards

March 5, 2015 § 2 Comments

The challenge of a Month of Letters is to 1) mail at least one item each day the post runs during February (this works out to 23 items for those of us in the U.S. after accounting for four Sundays and one federal holiday); and 2) to write back to everyone who writes to you.

I accomplished neither of these goals.

However, during the month of February, I sent 24 pieces of mail and had only two unanswered letters in my queue on the 1st of March.  For me, this is an accomplishment.  Therefore, I’m declaring Month of Letters 2015 as a success since I found the (often elusive and definitely variable) letter-writing rhythm that worked for me.

I was already feeling good about Month of Letters, but it was nice to learn that I’m not alone in measuring success using unofficial metrics:

As the founder [of Month of Letters], I should totally have been able to send that much mail. I didn’t and I don’t feel badly about it because I still sent more mail than I would have without the Challenge. So I might not have won the challenge, but it was still successful for me.

Mary Robinette Kowal

Well said, don’t you think?  (That is hardly a surprise, though, given that Mary Robinette Kowal is very good at saying things.)

If you participated, I hope you, too, had a successful experience by whatever reckoning method suits for you.

I found postcards very helpful for increasing the amount of mail I sent last month.  As promised, I even put my art supplies to use and watercolored a set.  It was my first attempt at using masking fluid (inspired by Lindsey at The Postman’s Knock) and I was pretty pleased with the result.  I’ll definitely be refining my technique and making more.

201502_postcards

Continuing the postcard fun, I found this gem second-hand, with only one postcard missing.

201502_postcards2The contents lived up to the name and I am now well-stocked for those moments when only a tacky postcard will convey the proper sentiment.  How often does this happen, you ask?  You might be surprised!

Whether you’re trending elegant or tacky today, keep scribbling.

Month of Letters: Time for the Art Supplies!

February 10, 2015 § 4 Comments

It’s day ten of A Month of Letters.  I’m writing my 11th letter of the month tonight, so I’m in good shape to meet the challenge of mailing 23 items by the end of February.  I’ve written every day and posted something every day the mail has run – several birthday cards, a sympathy note, replies to a few letters that have been patiently waiting, a couple postcards with slice-of-life stories, and a “thank-you” for a lovely visit with a lovely friend.

For the next round of letters, the art supplies are coming out.  Lindsey of Postman’s Knock inspired me to buy some art masking fluid and it has arrived.  A new art adventure for me!  Fun will be had by all, which is to say me and, hopefully, whoever finds my creations in their mailboxes.

Scribble-icious Christmas

December 29, 2014 § 2 Comments

I received a love letter for Christmas.

It was not the first time I’ve been so fortunate (it’s totally a thing around here), but it was the first time that one was delivered inside a vintage post box.

20141225POB

That man of mine is adorable.  Love letter + postal theme + repurposed materials = just my kind of present.  (If you’re thinking it’s just your kind of present, too, a very limited supply is available from TnBC designs.)

I’m mulling over where to put the post box and how to use it.  You may recall, I’ve been enamored of the personal P.O. for decades and love the idea of using it to exchange messages.  I don’t anticipate that the one currently sitting on my bookshelf will be utilized that way, but perhaps it will end up housing something particularly special.

Christmas was a pretty scribble-icious celebration:

A dinosaur-themed create-a-card kit (it comes with dino stickers!) and a set of hand-made cards made by my talented photographer sister.

A dinosaur-themed create-a-card kit (with dino stickers!) and a set of cards made by my talented photographer sister.

New pens, Literary Listography: My Reading Life in Lists, and–see that big white triangle under the pens?–a story that my oldest niece wrote just for me.

New pens, Literary Listography: My Reading Life in Lists, and–see that big white triangle under the pens?–a story that my oldest niece wrote just for me.

The sample letters in these vintage stocking stuffers inspired a number of dramatic readings and much hilarity ensued over the dated slang and phrasings.

The sample letters in these vintage stocking stuffers inspired a number of dramatic readings and much hilarity ensued over the dated slang and phrasings.

So much kindness, creativity, and good humor in my family — I’m so very fortunate to know these people.

What creative gifts made your heart sing?

Merry and Bright

December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

May your day be merry and bright!

photo courtesy of bowenmurphy (and thanks to LWA for mentioning it was available)

Alice Through the Pillar-Box and What She Found There

July 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Oh, oh, oh!  Have you ever had the good fortune to come across Alice Through the Pillar-Box and What She Found There: A Philatelic Phantasy by Gerald M. King?  If you appreciate either Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland or the world of letter-writing, letter-sending, and philatelic pursuits, it’s worth tracking down a copy.

In 1965, Gerald M. King decided that since the G.P.O. was not celebrating the centennial anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland with a commemorative stamp, he would create his own set of fantasy stamp designs.  This idea grew until it evolved into a book brimming with clever references to the story and showcasing Mr. King’s clear love of philately.  In it Wonderland stamps and envelopes sent through the Wonderland post to and from various characters are paired with relevant quotes from the books and various notes about the fantasy artifacts and their origins.  The detail and cleverness are a treat!  The scan below is not of superior quality (I had to be gentle with the spine of the book), but it should be enough to pique your interest.

AliceThroughPillarBox

Champion of Postal Cheer, Act 1

March 20, 2013 § 6 Comments

In the first few days of January, several of my friends posted similar status updates on Facebook.  They ran something like this:

The first 5 people to comment on this status will, sometime in this calendar year, receive a handmade/homemade gift from me. I will send it out when the mood strikes me and, with luck, it will reach you at the perfect time.

The catch is, you have to make the same offer to all your friends.

The first time I saw it, I thought, Interesting, but I’m not a fan of chain-letter-esque stuff. 

The second time I saw it, I thought, I really like the idea of making and sending out-of-the-blue gifts.

The third time I saw it, I thought, Wait a minute, there’s no reason I can’t make this offer to send gifts without a you-must-do-this-too stipulation.

So, I rewrote it a bit–changing the stipulation to an invitation–and posted it.

HomemadeGift copy

The response was enthusiastic and I quickly found myself committed to make and send things to a variety of people.

Last week I finished my first gift.

TeaWalletBalance

Then I filled it up with small goodies.

TeaWalletGoodies

And I packaged it in an envelope made from a poster I’d plucked out of the recycling bin at work.  (The back of the envelope shows Frankenstein reading Gone with the Wind.)

TeaWalletEnvelopeFront

I was rather gleeful when I posted it off.  Sending mail is as much fun as receiving it, don’t you think?  If you’ve been looking for the perfect way to be a Champion of Postal Cheer, I highly recommend committing to send random gifts to random friends throughout the year.

Matching-Optional Stationery & Envelopes

November 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

A couple weeks ago, I got together with Lindsay, of Goose Hill and Thread Lock Press fame, to print stationery that she designed for our upcoming Type-In and Letter Writing Social.  It was my first time using a printing press and I had a blast!  This is partly because Lindsay did all the challenging parts and I got to do the fun bit, but also because it’s really neat to try a new way of being creative.

I could spend this post telling you all I learned about the process of printing.  However, since I have the option of referring you to a thorough and concise outline of all the steps involved, I will instead simply share some photos and recommend that you direct any questions about what you see to Journeyman Printer Lindsay. She’s much more well-versed than I am and knows all the proper vocabulary while I’m still at the “it’s a metal thingy” stage of understanding.

The chase (one of many metal thingys involved) is filled and locked!  We’re almost ready to print.

Even application of ink is key.  (Are you admiring Lindsay’s printer’s apron?  If you’re in the market for one, check out Thread Lock Press on Etsy.)

Was it really that exciting?  Yes.  Am I often silly?  Definitely.

My first attempt was a success!

We went on to print a stack of stationery in a variety of sizes.

Stationery, of course, needs to be paired with envelopes, so we will include an envelope-making station as one of the activities at the Type-In & Letter-Writing Social.  I brought stationery samples home with me in order to create templates for making envelopes that will fit the stationery.

In a world where Pinterest exists, it’s easy to feel that plain cardboard just won’t cut it.  However, after a failed attempt making a more aesthetically pleasing template, I decided that I was cool with plain.  They are more utilitarian than beautiful, but they’re a means to an end and what they help to create will be lovely.

Voila! Template + page from a picture book with a damaged spine + scissors + tape = envelope of the perfect size!

I realize that the bright and shiny envelope does not exactly match the elegant stationery printed on quality paper, but it was what I had handy at the time.  And, hey, who said things always have to match?  However, those who feel the need for more decorum and coordination of their letter-writing materials should not be scared off by my jumping-june-bugs-kissing-katydids envelope.  There will be an assortment of materials available for making envelopes and other mailart on December 7th; I’ll endeavor to include some more refined options. ;)

Because Saying Thank You Is Fun

January 18, 2012 § 4 Comments

I am a firm believer in thank-you notes.  Acknowledgement and appreciation are just plain important.  This year I was inspired to draw several of my thank you notes!

Does this amuse you? It cracks me up!

Yes, that's right, I got a year's supply of laundry detergent. It was exactly what I wanted!

I am pleased to report, the recipients of my thank-yous were greatly amused.  Am I a brilliant artist?  No.  But do I have lots of fun with markers!  And you can, too, if it strikes your fancy.  Next time you want to express your gratitude, try doing it colorfully.  You’ll be sure to make an impression.

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