Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Flower Fairy Postcard

I received this lovely postcard from Caddi as a thank you for the giveaway I sent her. This reminds me of my childhood intensely, as I was basically obsessed with fairies. I used to make fairy houses in the woods and swamps near our houses with my best friend.

Thanks for the thank you Caddi! :-)

And a fitting abode for a fairy tale, though quite different from the fairy houses I used to build, here's the stamp it came with:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

To and fro with Allison Anne

I received a lovely first letter from Allison Anne of Dear Detective.

Isn't that quilt gorgeous?

For some reason when I link to her blog it won't let me link to the specific blog post where she blogged about this, but it was on March 24th.  I had been wondering if the white labels saying Champaign IL 61821 were done by her or the post office, so it was fun seeing her post and discovering that they were put on by the post office! I guess they didn't like the way she addressed it. But I'm happy as long as I get my mail!

 She sent me some fun things inside as well as a great letter.
I really love these cassette tape labels!

I sent her back a letter in an envelope made from a poster I'd been hoarding since my Indianapolis trip. Such a gorgeous painting. 

I can't wait to see what her next letter will bring!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lemon Tarts

So I haven't made any pies in a while, but I did make these DELICIOUS lemon tarts for a book themed party my friend threw. They are Lemony Snicket tarts... heh heh heh. I am in love with these tarts. They are really rich.

This was my status update when I came home from shopping for these:

"I love it when it's super obvious from my shopping cart that I'm about to make something delicious: heavy cream, butter, confectioner's sugar, eggs, and 10 lemons."

There was quite a bit of hard work involved. You needed a crazy amount of lemon zest, like half a cup? Maybe more. 

I'm looking forward to making more pies this summer when berries go on sale.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Back and forth to the dactyl in my life

After being penpals for a while it's pretty easy to identify most of my penpals from how they decorate their envelopes, or if they don't their handwriting, even before I look at the return address. Tara is one of these penpals with a distinctive style of collage. The fact that she frequently sends me dinosaurs helps too.     :)

 She's been experimenting with mixed media and I think it's really cool to see her using new mediums and how that changes her mail art.

In return for this lovely letter (chock full of dino bits too!) I sent her a packet made out of one of those things you used to get photos back in from the pharmacy.

Inside I used for the first time in forever, my sealing wax and seal. It's a quill feather... It's upside down in this picture. The LWA is now selling their own wax seal stamp set with a similar image! There's one with two crossed quills and another one with and envelope. They are only being sold in the members only section though.

I don't like using my sealing wax on the outside of envelopes because it's quite old and I'm afraid it will get scraped off or fall off during transit. So mostly I've used it to close sheets of paper and then put it inside the envelope. When I use up this wax I think I will buy some of the new flexible wax that's meant to be used in the modern post office.

And here is the inside, right before I'm going to tape it up!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rose Stamped Outgoing

A friend of mine gave me two of these rose stamps, which are so so lovely. Lots of other bloggers have mentioned it, but they have a great texture. I used them almost as soon as she gave them to me.

One on this letter to my friend Anna, who had given me a pen. I told her I would write her a whole letter about the pen, and voila! Here it is.

And the second on this monochromatic envelope. This is such a great photograph. Their faces are so expressive.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


I was so happy with this group of mail that I sent out together. I loved the shiny and jewel toned aspects that are in a lot of them.

 6 outgoing!

 front and back--- I got this shiny purple ribbon from a penpal and I love it. I hope the glue sticks!
Also, I got these thought/speech bubble sticky notes for Christmas in my stocking and I've started using them as address labels. I use glue on the part that isn't already sticky. Here I've surrounded it with some glitter glue that I recently found in my stash.

 This shiny silver tape is a new acquisition. I got two huge rolls of it from the I.D.E.A. store for $8! You can see it continues on the back. I'm not sure what it is really for... I'm guessing no one designed it for mail art. It's like foil.

This envelope was made out of a 2014 weekly planner that my mom gave me. Lots of beautiful artwork. I thought the Fort McHenry stamp went really well with these military looking gentlemen. I bought the Fort McHenry stamps because I'm from Maryland and that battle happened in Baltimore, (It's where the Star Spangled Banner was written, and what it's about!) but I think it could be a lot nicer. The colors in the stamp seem muddy and drab, especially in the foreground.

Here's the back. I love these labels!

Outgoing to Joel. He and Anjanette (the letter above) are friends of a friend, and they got excited about mail art when they came to my house for a party. So of course I sent them something to help get the ball rolling!
 Here the shiny silver corner triangles are made of the same tape that I was talking about above.

This photo came out a bit blurry, but more shiny and more bluish purple!
 These two are also from the planner I talked about earlier.
Weird face lion has a lot to say.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blue Book to Australia

  I sent my friend Abby a lonnng overdue letter.  I had a great idea to pose these stamps together.

And then Clay thought of the perfect caption!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Crying of Lot 49 : Book Review

Oh, man. The Crying of Lot 49 was another fantastic book, but kind of like Herzog, one where I just accepted that I wasn't going to understand it all. I reread passages a lot. This is the first book where I marked out passages while reading, thinking about what I was going to write in my review.

So, the plot... Oedipa Maas is made the executor of the will of an ex-boyfriend.  Through these duties she gradually discovers what seems to be an underground postal service.  If I had to put it in a genre I guess I'd say it was a mystery... she's trying to learn more about this organization and the tension builds and builds. The ending, I don't want to spoil the ending, but it's the kind of book where you let out a huge breath at the end.

Here is a passage that I loved, loved, loved... It comes right at the end of the first chapter.

"In Mexico City they somehow wandered into an exhibition of paintings by the beautiful Spanish exile Remedios Varo: in the central painting of a triptych, titled "Bordando el Manto Terrestre," were a number of frail girls with heart-shaped faces, huge eyes, spun-gold hair, prisoners in the top room of a circular tower, embroidering a kind of tapestry which spilled out the slit windows and into a void, seeking hopelessly to fill the void: for all the other buildings and creatures, all the waves, ships and forests of the earth were contained in this tapestry, and the tapestry was the world. Oedipa, perverse, had stood in front of the painting and cried. No one had noticed; she wore dark green bubble shades. For a moment she'd wondered if the seal around her sockets were tight enough to allow the tears simply to go on and fill up the entire lens space and never dry. She could carry the sadness of the moment with her that way forever, see the world refracted through those tears, those specific tears, as if indices as yet unfound varied in important ways from cry to cry. She had looked down at her feet and known, then, because of a painting, that what she stood on had only been woven together a couple thousand miles away in her own tower, was only by accident known as Mexico, and so Pierce had taken her away from nothing, there'd been no escape. What did she so desire escape from? Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her ego only incidental: that what really keeps her where she is is magic, anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. Having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of force, she may fall back on superstition, or take up a useful hobby like embroidery, or go mad, or marry a disk jockey. If the tower is everywhere and the knight of deliverance no proof against its magic, what else?"

I've read this passage a lot. It first grabbed me because of crying in front of a painting in a museum, which I've done. The idea of looking at the world through a certain set of tears is a fascinating idea. And the helplessness in the last part. Thinking about it today it reminded me of Lovecraft. There is definitely a feeling throughout the book of something much bigger than you, and especially near the end there's the threat of madness. I just made that connection today, but while I was reading it it kind of reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut in parts. It's weird in a similar sort of way. 

Anyway, a really great book.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Indianapolis trip

Earlier in February I went with my husband and a friend to Indianapolis for a day trip. It was a super great time even though it was frigid. First we went to a medical history museum which was AMAZING!
There were so many cool things... microscopes...

skeletons... they asked us to guess which was male and which was female. I got it right!
Can you tell?

The taller one on the right is the female.  I looked at the pelvic bones which are wider and flatter.


I love the movie Young Frankenstein, and this museum had me thinking of one of my favorite lines.
Abby... normal...

This is a really cool thing. It stamps a seal.

You can just see the words going round. I wish I could have stamped something with it.

We also went to a really small Kurt Vonnegut museum. The coolest thing they had was Vonnegut's typewriter. Such a great color!

I also had a Cuban sandwich for the very first time at this amazing little Cuban sandwich shop, owned by a father and daughter. It was fantastic. I wish the restaurant was here in Champaign; I would eat there allll the time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February is done. Winter is still here.

As you might be able to tell from the lack of Letter Mo posts... I crapped out again. But! With my new mail cataloging system, I've kept track of my incoming and outgoing.

I'm happy to say that I did a ton of catching up on mail over this month. In December I wrote down all of the mail that I hadn't yet responded to.

I check off the received mail when I respond to it. Writing in caps for received mail (RCD) helps me see at a glance what I have and haven't answered yet. This has really helped me to answer letters in something approaching chronological order. I still sometimes answer a letter I just received before others in line, but this has helped me avoid months long return times. Right now I'm all caught up to within a month of receiving the letters.

I also have counted up the last couple months, how much I've sent and received. So even though I crapped out on Letter Mo. again, I sent 27 things this month.

I've also received a ton of great mail lately.
In one day I received these three:
A first correspondence from C. Mehrl Bennett with some artistamps, a letter from my cousin, and a letter from a friend in town.

Also received this lovely Valentine from my sister in law. 

Today is a Sunday that feels like a stay-in-and-mail-art-the-day-away day. I think there's about a foot of snow on the ground and it's still coming down. Nevertheless it's possible we might go out for trivia tonight if our friends are determined to brave the weather.