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.