playing with paper

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Postcrossing: Finland, Russia, Netherlands

From Finland via Postcrossing 26 September 2011
A first day of issue mailbox card and stamp? Yes, it's true postal love!

From Russia via Postcrossing 28 September 2011
My middle daughter is enamored with Matryoshka dolls.

From Netherlands via Postcrossing 29 September 2011
I hope this is not an official card, as there is no ID number and only a scribble of a name, but I will try to register it, just in case.
(It was an official card, and thanks to the Postcrossing system, I was able to register it.)

Thank you to all who sent Real Mail this week!
And thank you to the USPS for delivering the world to my doorstep!
Send the Love!

Postage and Art History

Because I always need (read: want) more beautiful stamps, I dashed off to my local post office yesterday to purchase the new Romare Bearden issue (and mail a package too.) I love to mail my mail art with art stamps! I am grateful for the encouragement the USPS offers me in continuing my art history education. You can read more about Romare Bearden here and the stamps celebrating his art here and here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Letter Writing Styles

"Space mail" pocket tag card and letter mailed 26 September 2011

Vintage finds card and letter mailed 26 September 2011

I was able to write two letters over the past weekend to two very different pen pals. I was musing afterward how my letter-writing style changed based on the recipient.

The first letter was to a young, single man in Brazil. We have exchanged a handful of letters and postcards, so I don't yet know a great deal about him. He is gifted in several languages (I am not) and his written English is excellent. When I am writing to someone who does not speak English as their first language, I am very aware of my grammar and tend not to use contractions or abbreviations, including "&." Despite my formality, I feel my tone is still warm and friendly. I enjoy sharing whatever is currently happening in my daily life, hoping to give him a glimpse of family life in the United States. I feel I sometimes limit my content because I'm not sure if all that I might write as a woman and mother would be interesting to a male reader.

The second letter was to a newly-engaged young woman in Chicago. We have exchanged perhaps two or three handfuls of letters, and she keeps a daily blog, so I feel I know more about her. We have several common interests, not just letter-writing and mail art. Often our letters are filled with our current activities, sprinkled with bits from our past, but there is more insight and emotional content. Since we already share language and cultural history, I can write more naturally and freely. Although I feel more at ease sharing with her than I do with my male pen pal, I still try to filter my content by writing only what I think I would feel comfortable telling her face to face.

Upon further reflection, I suppose part of any good writing is tailoring how and what is written to the intended audience. I am sure my personal writing style will continue to evolve as I write more letters. So, I will just have to go and write some more letters!

(I say "young" as I know both recipients are five year my junior. Plus being a mom seems to add on the years more quickly!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gone Missing?

Ah well, I'm back now, but without #21, 22, and 23. I had a feeling if I missed one post I might miss more. I've been feeling bit scattered recently.

I began this card-a-day challenge to help me learn what I want my blog to be and how much I can handle. So I am learning, and this is what I'm thinking (in a Bianca-style list!)

+ I am not a post-a-day sort of person; perhaps I'll aim for three a week.
+ I do not want to post the same sort of thing every time.
+ I want to focus on mail I make, mail I send, and mail I receive, but it's OK if other bits and pieces seep in sometimes.
+ I might need to make myself a posting schedule to actually accomplish any of this.

So, perhaps I'll call off this card-a-day business and get on to some other interesting items. Thank you for joining me in this experiment. Now I need to send more Real Mail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Puzzle Note #20

I purchased a Sizzix puzzle die on clearance, and I have been itching to try it. I finally took the time tonight, despite the growing creative mess on my desk. I am pleased with the results, though the outer edges of the puzzle are not straight. (I am a recovering perfectionist.) I adhered printed paper from 7gypsies to both sides of a piece of chipboard and rounded the corners (my poor thumb.) I wrote a note on the reverse side before I die cut it. Into the mail it goes, then perhaps I will clean up before starting any new projects. Or not.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Happy Card #19

Today was tiresome. I am worn out.
This card makes me happy every time I see it.
I made it for my middle daughter's 6th birthday (she's now 7 1/2.)
It is my favorite layout with some of my favorite Cosmo Cricket paper.
I hope it makes you smile too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hooray for Mail Art!

My dad sent me mail art!
He painted this watercolor while taking a short vacation
in Ocean City, New Jersey.

I am replying with this fashionably altered vintage card
showing the Pennsylvania Railroad Horse Shoe Curve.
For more railroad fun, check out this amazing video:
Maple Mountain Sunburst Triolian Orchestra - The Age Of Steam

A beautiful drawing of a Xiamen University building from China
via Postcrossing.

My reply to China. The cool of autumn is beginning to creep in,
and I had my first cup of hot tea today!

Many Thanks #17

I wish I could give proper credit for this layout, but it's been too long since I found it. I knew when I saw it, I had to make it. I love the bits of thread tied to join the eyelets. I like to embellish with eyelets, so it was one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" moments. Looking back at some of the cards I made a few years ago makes me want to try some of these old layouts with new paper or add an old technique to a new layout. I'm off to the worktable!

Friday, September 16, 2011

If Friends Were Flowers #16

I am not feeling very social this week, but I am thankful for my friends.
I am glad I can make and send unique cards to let them know I care.
A simple layout with everyday objects can make a quick but sweet card.
Quilting flower pins, grosgrain ribbon, and Dymo labels.

Sometimes what we chose to see is not what we need to see to grow.

Two great sites to check out it you haven't already:
Save America's Postal Service
The USPS brings the world to my front door.
I love Real Mail in my mailbox, and real people at my local post office.

The World Needs More Love Letters

It's beautiful. Let's send more love letters.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quilt #14 and Fun with Die Cuts #15

I'm back, with two cards to make up for missing yesterday! I call this a Pocket Tag Card. As I noted before, I like tags and cards that do something more that just open in the usual manner. I was making some library pocket cards, and this design grew from that. I have been using this basic style for quite some time, though I continue to tweek details. I recently began sewing the sides closed instead of gluing them, and I changed the tag style. I often use these for my own notes, and several mail friends told me they enjoyed reusing the pocket. A bunch of these will soon leave my desk and travel to the quilt museum.

Here's a bit of fun for today.
I spent my quiet time playing with an owl Sizzix die.
Rather sweet with it feathered belly!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quilt Museum Card #13

Another quilt-themed card headed for the Museum Shoppe.
This is a slight variation on Just Off Centre from Sheetload of Cards.
I incorporated two different vintage trims and some machine stitching.
The focal point is another postage stamp; this time a 34c Amish Quilt.
Time to make more cards!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quilt Museum Card #12

A good friend introduced me to the buyer at The Quilt Museum at the Old Country Store, and every once in a while she surprises me with an email order for some of my handmade cards. I created a line of quilt-themed cards especially for the Shoppe. I received such an email this weekend, so this week I will be working to fill her order and sharing some of those cards before I ship them off to the store.

This is one of my all-time favorite layouts, the very first sketch (I'm aware of) from Sheetload of Cards. I really like the colors on this one. It features a postally used Gee's Bend Quilt stamp with some more lovely K & Company papers.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

#10 Mail Art Instead

Mail Art Reply to Superhero

Fragmented Photos (side 1)
Brainless Bureaucrats Are Deadly

Fragmented Photos (side 2)
Bureaucratic Politics

Red White Blue 11

Every day, I am grateful for the freedoms afforded me in the United States.

I am free to create.
I am free to disagree.
I am free to forgive.
I am free to be helpful and hopeful.
I am free to look up into the sky with wonder, not fear.
I am free to love.
I am free to question.
I am free to be thankful.

I am grateful for the men and women, past and present, in and out of uniform, who serve this country so I can continue to enjoy these freedoms.

Today I will hug my children a little tighter.
Today I will not hide my tears when I listen to stories recounted over the public radio station.
Today I will remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bewitching #9

"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"

Fresh off my desk this afternoon, a fashionable card for Halloween. I had not done any vintage pattern book page cutouts or typewriter captions for awhile. I found a different kind of glitter paper, the DCWV Glitter Cardstock Stack, and of course, had to try it out with the flourish die. I finally, FINALLY found a witch hat paper punch, at a local warehouse clearance center of all places! It is a huge punch and includes a bat, ghost, and pumpkin as well. The houndstooth background paper is from the DCWV Mod-Retro Stack. The clock face is die cut from a Tim Holtz paper pad. The jewels, felt flowers, and buttons are from my stash of tiny things.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#8 Travel Cards

I created six similar cards in this series using a lovely set of papers and embellishments from The Girls Paperie. I was hoping to finish them before this year's vacation, but I'm writing notes and sending them off into the world now. They will travel near and far, even if I am stuck at home with the kiddos due to Hurricane Lee. I have heard of snow days, but this is my first flood day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#7 Card for a Rainy Day

I am grateful my family members sometimes come card-shopping at my house. Recently, I had a request for a get well card. I thought I didn't have any made and would have to whip up something, but it turns out I had several tucked away. I made a series of three or four similar to this one last year from a Sheetload of Cards design.

If you are getting rained on today, I hope tomorrow is sunnier.

Papertrey Ink cardstock, buttons, baker's twine, sentiment stamp, and cloud die,
K & Company printed papers,
my wool felt and ticket.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Card #6 CPS Sketch #234

I just made this Halloween Bingo card yesterday afternoon. I figured since I'm working mostly from other designers' sketches right now, I might as well work on a current sketch and share it. I'm currently obsessed with Halloween cards. I have black and orange bits and pieces all over my work area. I made a set of cards and a bunch of tags, and I'm still going strong.

I couldn't wait to use that glittery swirl on a card. I don't consider myself a glitter girl, but I was drawn to the flourish die and the glitter paper. I am really pleased with the results, and I'm looking forward to adding some glittery swirls to Christmas cards in the near future.

The sketch is vertical, but I created my card horizontal. Now that it is finished, I think it works either way.

This is a postcard, but I just found an almost-perfect sized glassine envelope to protect it for mailing!

The Girls Paperie Toil & Trouble printed papers,
DCWV solid paper,
Tim Holtz Elegant Flourishes die and paper tape,
Recollections glitter paper and spider punch,
Inkadinkado spider web stamp,
Cavallini & Co. Vintage Number stamps,
my vintage bingo card.

#5 More Art, Less Craft?

I often have trouble calling my card-making Art, especially when I base the design on someone else's sketch. I recently read an article about this very dilemma, and the author wrote something to the effect that if you make a technique your own, own the work, put your own spin on the design, it is Art. If you are simply following directions or recreating from an example, it is Craft. Even the cards I make completely from my own brain still feel like Craft. I suppose I aspire to be an Artist. Maybe someday I will arrive.

I created this in the past month as a wedding card. It is 5x7 inches, larger than most cards I make. The background is a page from a 1930 play script called "Oh, Promise Me!" Scraps of cardboard, sheet music, mulberry paper, with large button, twig, and linen thread comprise the focal point. Machine stitching and letter beads frame the collage of textures.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Card A Day #4

This is one of my very own layouts, created to show off the plastic tab and employ a button closure. I love cards that DO something, cards that are a little more interactive. The two tags hang free on the safety pin for more moving parts. I love that diner stamp; used postage has been a favorite embellishment for some time now. My label on the back tells me I made this back in 2009, and it is the last one of its kind in my stock. I will send it off as a birthday card this month, and then maybe I'll make some more.
K & Company printed papers,
Papertrey Ink
cardstock, buttons, and sentiments,
additional embellishments from my collection.

Interior 1

Interior 2

Card A Day #3

Fun but bulky paper-covered buttons pop off this monochromatic card I made sometime last year. To make the buttons, I used a kit meant for making fabric-covered buttons and dampened the paper to make it more flexible. I snipped off the button shank and added self-adhesive foam mounts. I like to make my own embellishments whenever I can. I am often disappointed in the quality of the ones available for purchase. I love tabs, buttons, and layers of paper on my cards, as I am sure you will see be the end of the month! This design is from "The Cardmaker's Workbook" by Jenn Mason. I hope it's masculine enough to use as a boy's birthday card because it is going in the mail soon.

September Card-A-Day #1 and #2

I am making a lot of cards these days. A lot. I still have plenty in my stash, but I'm on a roll. I collected so much great paper, I really want to turn more of it into beautiful mail. I am going to challenge myself to post a card I have made, recently or one from my stash, each day this month. Considering my posting record so far, this is truly a challenge! If I have time and a good memory, I will include materials and links. (I have no affiliation with any companies, except I buy some of their stuff.) I guess I better post two today to make up for yesterday. Wish me luck!

I made this one last year and listed it for the opening of my Etsy shop. It didn't sell after relisting, so this month it will be a birthday card for a friend.
Based on a CPS sketch from sometime last year, it's a one-of-a-kind.
K & Company papers with added rubber stamping and inked edges,
my vintage lace, button, and machine sewing.

I made this one (and a bunch more in a similar style) a few weeks ago, with envelopes to match.
Based on one of my favorite Sheetload of Cards sketches "Just Off Centre."
Cosmo Cricket Love Earth papers,
Papertrey Ink felt, die, buttons, and twine,
my burlap, vintage ric rac, and machine sewing.