Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

While wandering around a lovely liquor store I found this cool looking bottle of gin.

The cork and the perforations are so nice. Stamp imagery is always a draw for me, and I love gin, but I stuck to buying the bottle of champagne I came for. 

Best wishes for 2015!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Festivities

Christmas 2014 - White Elephant / Ugly Sweater party

The tree was  trimmed with a cigarette garland and decorated with beer cans. The healthiest of lives for our friends.

The gift I brought to the White Elephant exchange.
 Edward Gorey is one of my very favorite artists. I had Christmas cards with this image too! But I bought a poster book when I visited his house two years ago, and I framed several images and gave them away as gifts this Christmas.

In case you didn't hear... The LWA did a live video for the last letter writing social. It happened the night of my White Elephant party, but I watched it the next day and caught up on some mail. You can watch it here :

It was so much fun. The video is 2 hours long and at first I thought, man, I don't know if I can do this that long. But then the time flies when you are writing letters. There's a lot of quiet time, which is good, because I can't write letters while being constantly talked at.
Donovan and Cathy are planning to do this again, which I am super happy about.

Christmas decorations.

My friends and I have started canning things this past fall, and we got together one Saturday for a major canning session. We made all this, and it only took us 7 hours! hah!
Dilly beans (pickled greenbeans), spicy radishes, and bourbon mustard.  My share was given away as Christmas gifts.

Gingerbread man at the big family Christmas party this year. 
I also make gingerbread cookies from the same recipe- my grandmother's, but mine turn out a little different. Thicker, and I didn't have time this year to decorate them with icing and sprinkles. Still delicious!

And finally, I'll leave you with a photo of the cutest Christmas pup that ever was:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Mail

 Here are some of the Christmas letters that I sent out. I love theme-ing my mail to the holidays and Christmas is no exception. I mainly decorated these envelopes with labels, stickers and my 4 Christmas washi tapes. Some of the images are from those sample cards that people get sent... like the back has information on it about ordering the cards, but the front is the design? Anyway, I cut those up and use those too.

I've blurred out the names on these because I think I sent them most recently and I don't want to spoil any surprises.

I have a TON of Christmas cards and things. I have a large shoebox worth that last year I taped shut because it was overflowing. I believe that last year I bought one pack of cards because they were just so darn cute, but this year I didn't buy any new, just used what I already have. That has been my practice basically all year.

 Above and below is a sort of postcard I made from some junk mail. I think the image below was used to sell eyeglasses or something. And now it's mail again! Better mail! :) The top image was from a Cricket catalog I think. They have lovely illustrations. I no longer get the magazine, but I will occasionally get mini catalogs trying to sell different things from them.


These two were made in November, before I broke out my Christmas stamps, but they are sufficiently wintery enough to be put in here too.

I don't send out Christmas cards, per se... in the method of sending one to all my family and friends and penpals.  Mostly I just reply to letters I receive with Christmas stationary. I enjoy doing this, but it always means that those boxes of Christmas cards never dwindle as fast as I think they will.

Merry Christmas Eve everybody! I'm going to spend at least a little time today writing more letters.
And happy holidays if you celebrate something else!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Delicacy and Strength of Lace : Book Review

So, what was I doing in my long absence from blogging? Well, I've been very busy with work, and when I had spare time, I was reading rather than writing. One of the books I've read in the past few months was : The Delicacy and Strength of Lace, a collection of letters between two poets (and professors), Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright.

I enjoyed it very much. It's a very short book, only 106 pages. You can see above how I spilled coffee on it. I was so upset, but now it looks like a much loved and used book, eh?

My favorite part of the book: I did not know before reading it that Leslie Marmon Silko was a Native American, a Laguna Pueblo Indian. One of my favorite parts of the book was when she talks about the importance of place and shared knowledge in storytelling.

"I am pushing to finish the first of the scripts which attempt to tell the Laguna stories on film using the storyteller's voice with the actual locations where these stories are supposed to have taken place. In a strange sort of way, the film project is an experiment in translation - bringing the land - the hills, the arroyos, the boulders, the cottonwoods in October - to people unfamiliar with it, because after all, the stories grow out of this land as much as we see ourselves as having emerged from the land there. Translations of Laguna stories seem terribly bleak on the printed page. A voice, a face, hands to point and gesture to bring them alive, but if you do not know the places which the storyteller calls up in the telling, if you have not waded in the San Jose River below the village, if you have not hidden in the river willows and sand with your lover, then even as the teller relates a story, you will miss something which people from the Laguna community would not have missed. Laguna narratives are very lean because so much of the stories are shared knowledge..."

I've moved around a fair bit in the past 7 years, and as I've moved places have become more and more special to me. Knowing what things are, where things are... when you meet someone who knows what (where) you know- it's so exciting and I feel a kinship with them. I really love this idea that Leslie Silko had about filming the locations of poems. I've found out that in 1980 she made a film called "Arrowboy and the Witches" but I haven't been able to find it. Maybe at my university library.

My least favorite part about the book: Silko and Wright were both university professors and being in the academic world myself, it was kind of painful to read about some of the annoyances they faced, because I understand the frustration all too well.

Really, this was an excellent book, and I think I would reread in the future.

Monday, December 15, 2014


I know I've been procrastinating and haven't blogged in a while, but I was really surprised to see that I hadn't blogged since October! And my well laid plans fell to waste because even though I prepared the give-away envelopes before posting about the give-away, I still didn't manage to send them out in a reasonable time.

So, the give-away. Only five people signed up, and instead of disappointing someone, I'm going to send everyone an envelope! If you entered the give-away by writing a comment, please send me your mailing address. You can email me at jouaient AT

This means you : Phonelady, Caddy, clcdark, and Pam Foster!
Limner, I already have your address.

And now, beyond whinging about my guilt...

Here's a stack of mail that was sent out in September:

On this one I put the stamp upside down so that the men look like they are standing up. heh heh heh

And I love this scene, so pretty. Mountains and water!

 This is one of my Wallace and Gromit fold ups, but I forgot to take a picture of the other side.

 This above envelope was made out of a piece of a lovely gift bag someone gave me last Christmas.
I really like these colors.

 Envelope made from an Arthur Rackham calendar. He has such fabulous and weird illustrations.

 two more fold ups, above and below. These are very nice for thank you notes, but normally I write longer letters, and if you can't seal up the sides, it's more difficult to have inserts. Although there are ways... suppose I could staple things on.

You can look forward to some more regular posting by me, at least over the winter vacation.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween (mail art) Party!

So I didn't get around to having a summer time mail social, but last weekend...

we had a Halloween/autumn party with mail art!


Do you like my tablecloth? We bought it last year after Halloween, when everything was on sale. I packed it away in the Halloween box and it was such a fun surprise when I found it this year!

The party was complete with two kinds of pie!
My first ever pumpkin pie and an apple pie.

Much spooky fun was had making mail for a friend of ours that moved away. Later that night we also watched two scary movies: Pumpkinhead and then V/H/S.

P.S. Don't forget to join the giveaway below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

4 years of blogging

I've been blogging for over four years now! September 18, 2010 was my very first post on the old blog.

I've thought a lot about my history of mail art and my future.

I have sent letters since 2nd grade to my oldest friend, Amanda, who moved to another school.  I wrote letters to friends and sometimes decorated the envelope with drawings when I lived in France for a semester. I had another regular penpal start up during college.

It wasn't until my lonely year living in Wisconsin where I knew no one but my parents that I really started with mail art. I got involved in Swap-bot. It was through Swap-bot that I received my first handmade envelope. That was an eye-opener.

I go through periods of low productivity and creativity in terms of blogging and in terms of mail, but I really really enjoy both things. In four years at Winnie's Girl and Pie Post I have a little over 400 posts, a pretty good rate.

I am right now going through another period of low productivity because my work load has been tripled. I am teaching 3 classes as well as tutoring outside of the university, so I'm busier than ever before. I'm still doing a little, but penpals- that's why you haven't heard from me lately.

I'm not worried about periods like this because I know they will pass.  I love that I've started quite early and that I have a whole life ahead of me of mail art. I think about things I've learned and explored in four years - fountain pens and ink, pie making, artistamps, rubber stamp carving, postage stamp collecting. What will the future hold?

What does the immediate future hold?

A giveaway!

In the past I've been pretty terrible about giveaways, not sending the packages out until a long long time after the giveaway winners were announced, mostly because I hadn't already made the packages. This time I planned ahead!!! I have made several packages before hand, so that all I need to do is address and stamp them!

There are 4 packages for my 4 years of blogging, each one themed around a different color: red, blue, green, and yellow.  Comment on this post and make sure to list from 1 to 4 the order of the color you would prefer. I will allow only one international winner because of postage costs. So if you are international, feel free to enter, you just have some smaller odds of winning.

Giveaway will close on October 23rd!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Get well soon

Do you remember Patty from Just Letter Rip? She's still recovering from her car accident.  All this and her address was posted on her blog with a call from Patty's daughter for get well cards. The address is also below, so think about sending a card!  Here's a letter I sent to Patty not long ago.
 I thought she might enjoy some well wishes from Gregory Peck and a similarly ailing bulldog.

And here is the address. Let's send her some lovely mail!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Raspberry Tarts

I branched out recently and made tarts instead of a pie!

 I received these beautiful little scalloped tart pans as a wedding gift from an aunt. I love them! 
Two of our friends came over for brunch one day and they left behind 3 packages of raspberries, so I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to make raspberry tarts! 

I chose a recipe from the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. The recipe for the crust was very worrisome. The book tells you to use a food processor, which we don't have. You are supposed to cut up the butter into pieces and then put it in the processor with the flour etc. I used a method that I learned from the Brown Eyed Baker where you grate the butter and then add it.  Anyway, the dough was extremely crumbly. There was no way on earth that I could roll it out like it says in the book.  So I improvised and just smooshed it into the tart pans.  Thank heavens, it turned out really delicious!

So for these tarts there are 3 components: (1) the crust, which you bake separately at first and then let cool before you add (2) the raspberries which you pack into each tart, and then (3) the filling which you pour over the raspberries and bake.

It looked so beautiful.

And presto chango! They are done!


When making tartlets as opposed to one large tart, be sure that you are checking them way before the time used for a 9 inch tart. When I baked the empty tart shells I checked them 10 minutes before the recipe said to and they were already quite a bit browner than I would have liked.

 Look at those beautiful scalloped edges. Glorious!

I gave two of the tarts to our friends who left the raspberries. They were pleased with the transformation.

I would definitely make these again. The raspberries were still tart which Clay and I both loved. It makes a very bright flavor. And also, tart is the name of the game!  Clay really wants me to try lemon tarts next.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Air Mail-ish pattern, of sorts

After carving a stamp I had this fun little piece of rubber left, and I thought it would be perfect for making a border. I have this cool double color stamp pad, but I think it would be cute just with one color too.


After keeping it a long while, I sent it to Mary. Sometimes simple is just what I'm in the mood for.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My desk

I said a while ago that I was trying to draw and paint more. Well here is a drawing from back in July of part of my desk.  The lamp on the left is actually much larger in person. My scale is all wrong. I have my little cat letter holder, which is always stuffed with things to reply to. A polka dot tin with ink pads inside for rubber stamps, and a jar with washi tape inside. Missing in this artistic rendition is all the crap that accumulates!