Monday, May 26, 2014

Wishes for this summer

Several of my favorite bloggers share lists of goals. It's something that I love reading! It makes me excited just reading them, thinking about all the fun things there are to do, and the fun of planning events.  I also like the idea of creative lists.... things that aren't exactly goals, but just more ideas for when you are bored and don't know what to do!

Here are a few list links:
Goodnight Little Spoon - 23 before 24
Champaign Toast - Life List
Uncustomary - Personal Goals

So with a summer of vacation in mind I've made a list of things I'd like to do.

1. Paint the front door
2. Paint the kitchen yellow!
6. fix the chair in the garage
7. repaint the chair
8. find a new couch
10. get rid of the garage junk!
11. Have a mail social
12. Put up hooks for pans in the kitchen.

Most of my goals have to do with mail art or making the house nicer.  Neither Clay nor I are clean and tidy people by nature, but we are sick of being messy so we are making great efforts to keep the house clean.

I'll also try to give updates when I accomplish things!

Do you have a list of goals for life / this year / this summer? If you comment with a link I'll add it at the bottom of this post!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Outgoing from December / January-ish

Hello friends,
So I've finally finished with teaching for the semester! After my normal semester I taught the first week of an intensive language course - 3 hours a day of class! It was quite a lot to prepare for!

So I'm really enjoying the beginning of my summer!

Because of being so busy with the end of school I haven't been sending much out, so I dug back in that annals of iphoto for some old mail that I hadn't yet blogged.

This is a beer tin from the bar where we go to "beer club". They have punch off cards, and you have to get a certain number of different kinds of beers. Bottles are $2 off, so it's a pretty cheap and very fun social ritual we have with our awesome group of friends here. After every 20 beers you get a "prize". One of the prizes was two beer tins. I sent one in the mail to a fellow beer lover.

Christmas in May!

Sigh, for the blurry photos....   I really loved those gingerbread stamps. I kept some for this year!

I love love love using sticker selvage like this. Shapes all of one kind are especially fun.

When postcards have one of those cute little stamp shapes on them I never want to cover them up with the actual stamp!

I made this strawberry love envelope soooo long ago. And it took me forever and ever to send it. I made it when those love stamps were released!

Rainbows and magic wands for Mary- who else?

I'll take a break there but there's lots more to come!
I am so looking forward to sending more mail this summer!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

On writing condolence letters

Recently I have written quite a few condolence letters. They are so difficult to write. You want to let the recipient know that you care, that you are thinking of them, but the words you put down can so often seem trite or sappy. Beyond that, you don't want to say the wrong thing and possibly hurt the recipient. 

I've read a few articles and have some of my own ideas that I'd like to share:

1. It doesn't have to be very long.
I recently wrote a condolence letter to a co-worker who lost her father. I do not know her very well; she is definitely an acquaintance, and I had never met her father. For an occasion like this I didn't have much to say. An important aspect here is choosing a good card. The card I chose was medium sized, so when I didn't write much it wasn't like the text was just swimming in a huge card, looking like it's not really finished. I think it's best not to go on a lot if you don't really have much to say.

2. Don't worry too much about it being a bit trite. 
The fact alone that you took the time to sit down and write a letter will show that you care. If the only things you can think to write seem over-used, don't worry about it. Expressions of grief are always hard. The important thing is to let the person know that you have them in your thoughts.

3. If you do know the person who passed away, share a sweet memory of them.
It is bittersweet, but I really think that it's good to share a nice memory.

4. If you think that the death must have been a relief to the family, don't say so.
Recently the last of my grandparents' dogs died. This dog had been sick for a long time and was preventing my grandmother from getting good sleep because of its needs. I am sure that in some ways it's passing was a relief to them. But I didn't mention it in my letter. It has the possibility to offend, and I think it places emphasis on the wrong things.

5. Don't give vague offers of help.
One of the articles I read earlier this year (I don't remember where) gave the advice that you should avoid saying things like "If there's anything I can do, just let me know." These offers are not very likely to be taken advantage of. Most people will feel awkward actually asking for help. If you know the person well enough, just straight up offer to do something specific (maybe even in person). Go grocery shopping for them. Bring over a meal. When my co-worker's father passed away I wanted to do something nice for her that might brighten her day a little bit, so with the card I gave a little bag of chocolate caramels.  I'm not sure about the traditional propriety of giving someone chocolate after a death, but I did it anyway. I was trying to show that she was thought of in this hard time.

6. No mail art
Although I decorate almost every personal piece of mail that I send, I do not decorate the envelopes for condolence letters. I put effort into writing the address very nicely, most times with one of my fountain pens, and I choose a pretty stamp, but I feel that mail art is too irreverent. 

I don't at all think that these are rules to follow in every situation, but I've found them to be things that make sense and work for me. Do you have any advice or suggestions about writing condolence letters?

And... here's a link to a few very well written condolence letters on the blog Letters of Note.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Recent outgoing... greeny themey
I bought those thin green labels you see in the first envelope very recently. They are filing labels I think and I bought some in green and some in orange. Labels are definitely a weakness. I've stopped buying a lot of things like stickers, notecards, etc, but I still buy labels and gluesticks. And stamps of course!