Tuesday, 30 April 2013

track 025 - coffee and letters

It's been a while! I have been extremely busy and stressed out with school lately, and haven't written a lot of letters, or at least not ones that look pretty enough to show over here. I sometimes resort to ready-made stationery, too..! However, I have received lovely, lovely mail as demonstrated here:

I'll post some more pictures tomorrow, since the battery of my camera died, had to be charged and now there's not enough light anymore to take decent photos! But just let me tell you... it's ALL SO WONDERFUL!

The green envelope you see is from Mickey, who included something very precious, which you'll see later (yes, I'm a tease). I figured that the reply required some special stationery, so I decided to give coffee a try. Now, normally I'm a tea person through and through... but when it comes to aging paper, coffee is the way to go! There are plenty of tutorials out there on the wide web on how to do this yourself, but here's my method very briefly:

1. Brew strong instant coffee.
2. Apply on letter paper with wide brush.
3. Add blotches/splatters/lines/ whatever your heart desires.
4. Let dry, or, if you're impatient like me, blow carefully with hair dryer.


Saturday, 13 April 2013

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

track 022 - an abundance of mail

I'm back home and, as promised, showing what goodies I have received lately. It's not a lot, but I value quality over quantity!

Some of these were received a while ago and even replied to already, such as Mickey's letter, which was a pleasure to read as always, and a wonderfully chatty long letter from Helena, Japan:

And a couple of them were received by opening my mouth in the right place at the right time:

A wonderful Easter goodie bag from Katri, Canada. A while ago she asked for comments from people who wanted her to send them something, and obviously I was one of them. I follow her blog regularly and have seen the beautiful things she creates, how could I not want something from her?

This one came from Bubbles. One of her blogs, Make My Day, specializes in, well, making people's days by sending them various things. In addition to the gorgeous Alice in Wonderland post card, she included a bunch of funky memo sheets. I love Pingu! This definitely made my day. (:

And lastly (but definitely not leastly), I received some 'normal' correspondence as well - that is, things I didn't go begging for! Sofie from Sweden sent a beautiful tomte-postcard after I sent her something during my Month of Letters, and Caroline from France sent me a letter with some extra goodies.

That's my incoming mail in a nut shell! Now, from letters let's move on to something smaller, but equally important when it comes to snail mail... stamps! I already mentioned I got a bunch of old Finnish stamps when I spent the Easter at my parents' place, and here's some proof. (Also proof that I celebrated Easter: origami bunnies!)

This is the pile. Most of them are from the 80's, but I did manage to spot some older ones:

The dark green ones are the oldest ones: they were manufactured in 1932. The rest of the stamps in this picture date to the late 1940s or early 1950s.

In addition to the old stamps, the pile is full of otherwise interesting stamps. I really liked the visual look of these, for example! I can't wait to stick them on envelopes and make collages. (:

And finally, as promised, bunnies. Instructions from here and here.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

track 021 - still alive

Hi everyone!

I'm still alive, yes. School hassle has taken all my energy lately, but now we're spending Easter in Lapland with my parents. It's been filled with ice fishing (my boyfriend did that for the first time!), driving the snowmobile (my boyfriend did that for the first time, too!) enjoying the sunshine, eating lots of yummy food and generally just relaxing. (I've read two books so far!) I finished my Lettermo when I was supposed to - 18th of March - but forgot to take a picture of that, as well as two letters that went to Mickey in the Netherlands (who's expecting her first child! Now that she has it in her blog, too, I can tell you guys I am so excited for her! She's going to be an awesome mother.) and Helena in Japan. Too bad, next time better.

But! I promise as soon as I get back home I'll take pictures of the wonderful mail I have received lately. Plus my mom found some old stamps that she gave to me - they date back to the 1950's and are gorgeous! I can't wait to use them in collages and send them to people! Speaking of which... does someone collect old stamps? I have beautiful Finnish ones now, so just holler!

To end this post I'll show you guys some images that have caught my heart (not just eye) lately. I've been dreaming of having a simpler life - you know, a house and a sunny garden, a couple of chickens and cute kids, pantry full of self-made jams and pickles. I never thought of myself as the homemaking kind, but maybe I'm getting old? Or maybe it's just spring affecting me! Does anyone else share my secret dream? I was thinking of renting a small veggie patch from the city of Oulu - they start renting them in May again - and seeing how that goes first! :D

Happy spring to everyone!

Friday, 15 March 2013

track 020 - a week's worth of mail

Hi everyone!

It's been a week since my last post! That means I have a week's worth of mail to show you guys. I have one more day to go in my Month of Letters challenge, and this week I fell behind - but I caught up yesterday and wrote 3 letters! Also, for AGES I've thought I have to send 24 pieces of mail, when in reality it's just 20! Oh my, Monday's the last day! I think I will continue after that, too, though. I'm hoping that with all this letter-sending I'll receive something soon enough too... This week I did get some incoming mail, thank goodness! I've been worrying that all the mail to me gets lost on the way, because I haven't heard from my pen pals in forever. 

Monday's mail! Was I happy!

This postcard-looking item is actually an envelope. How fun!

And then for Lettermo letters #14 - #19:

To my newest pen pal Anna, USA.

To Mickey, The Netherlands.

To Jesse, USA, via Sendsomething. Inspired by this post, I loved making this!

To Anna in England, via Sendsomething.

This folder was so much fun to make as well. In this picture it's still without most of the items that I put in the small pockets. I'm just afraid that since the sides are open, something will fall out or it'll be ruined by dirt/moisture... let's hope that the mailmen are delicate. It went to Carissa, USA, via Sendsomething. Inspiration from here, but without the button closure system.

This mini-accordion envelope was inspired by this Martha Stewart craft. It looks super funky when closed! The backside is like the front side, but upside down and with reversed colours. It goes to Aline, also via Sendsomething. I used that site a lot this week since I haven't gotten a lot of mail that requires replying (=non-swaps).

I am quite sad that the challenge is over in one day! All of you who did Lettermo during February, how did you avoid post-partum depression?

Friday, 8 March 2013

track 019 - save a post office

Hello fellow snailmailers!

One day I stumbled upon a blog post written by Jane Davies, a woman who owns the cutest small post office ever.
Isn't it cute? Image via Jane's blog.

 However, since the office is cute and tiny and there isn't that much mail going through it, it's under the threat of being swallowed by larger offices.

Artist's rendition. Image via google.

Isn't that a shame? However, you can make a difference! Make a piece of art and turn it into a post card, mail it over to Jane, and she will mail you one in return! You can read Jane's blog post, see pictures of the cards you might receive in return, read all the comments by people who have done it or plan to do it, and find more instructions over here. I might just give it a go during my Month of Letters - I've never made a post card before, so wish me luck! I'll make sure to report back here if I manage to create anything.

Has someone done this already? Did it feel awesome to know you made a difference?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

track 018 - spring?

You'd think that March is a spring month already... well, if you live in Finland, think again! We had a snow storm in Oulu yesterday and when me and my boyfriend walked to the bus stop around 7pm to make our way to my grandmother's place, we had to do so with snow up to our ankles. But the dinner we had at my grandmother's place - spinach soup, shrimp and herb salmon and goat cheese salad, with ice cream and berries for dessert - was totally worth it.

My own personal Lettermo has reached #13 already! Since I'm planning to send 24 items, like I would've in the month of February, I'm past halfway! Now I'm just waiting to get some replies... any replies... my mailbox is so sad. I did get some envelopes I had ordered, but it's not really the same.

My Lettermo #11 was a private swap called Fancy Mail with Stefanie on Swapbot. The term 'fancy mail' only stood for mail art and a short letter... but the fancy part stuck with me and that's how it ended up like this. Very wedding invitation-esque:

My numbers 12 and 13 were replies to letters I have received. Caroline first wrote to me through Sendsomething, and Marijke did Lettermo last month! These took quite a long time for me to reply to, but hey, patience is a virtue. ;) Both envelopes are from the batch I ordered from fastrunningfox on Etsy, I really love the colours! The yellow is way more yellow in nature, but the picture I took killed it for some reason. (By the way, I love using Korean stickers because they're full of hilarious stuff... check out the flag in the France - sticker for example and then compare it to the colours on the left of it - that's how they're supposed to be! I guess the mentality for the sticker was "as long as the colours are there, it's OK." I also have a sticker that says "Go fine yourself" - I think the original was 'find'.)

Monday, 4 March 2013

track 017 - lettermo 9&10

My Lettermo letters numbers 9 and 10 are also part of the Selfmade Envies- swap on swapbot I mentioned in my last post. I'm looking forward to seeing what my partners are sending me! My mail box has been very sad lately -but today I did get a tea swap! However, tea feels so lonely without a letter, don't you think? The most perfect thing to receive is a long, rambling letter with a tea bag to accompany it. <3 A couple of my pen pals have been abroad lately, and I really miss getting their letters! (Plus I'm really jealous. Mickey just came back from New Zealand, for example, and look at those pictures! Wanderlust anyone?) I think I'll have to find a new pen pal or two, because mail-less days are making me really sad.

I hope you'll all have a week filled with mail, tea and happiness!

Friday, 1 March 2013

track 016 - holiday

Happy holiday to me! Or, a period of independent studying as they put it... meaning, I can't fully get away from school things, but at least I can fully get away from school! I'm celebrating that by watching Zoo Days accompanied by popcorn, reading a lot and writing this week's last Lettermo letter. A classmate of mine is celebrating his 24th birthday today, but the last few days I've felt sluggish and afraid that I might be catching a flu of some sorts, so I'm probably not going. There will be more parties... (:

Yesterday's Lettermo letter was something I really enjoyed making! It's a part of Self-made envies swap on swapbot. Now, I'm not sure if swaps count towards Lettermo, but I also included a short letter so I'm deciding it counts. Plus I really wanted to show the envelope to you guys! I usually stick to basic stuff when I make envelopes - making them out of interesting paper so I don't have to add a lot of embellishments, or making it out of plain paper and collaging on it. But yesterday I felt like drawing, and my swap partner's profile mentioned feathers, so I drew a feather. And it ended up pretty!

Today I got a package from my mum: she always sends them with loads of stamps instead of the boring post office barcode. This package featured this year's and last year's Finnish Valentine's day stamps! Also some autumn stamps on the left.

This is what was inside: magazines, a couple of kitchen wipes she made and a card that also doubles as a sticker sheet. She said she got the car insurance letter I forwarded to her after it was being sent to me, and wished me a happy holiday, reminding that if we have the energy/desire, we can visit them, too. I think we're staying home this holiday, but I already reserved Easter for visiting my family! (:

Happy weekend, everyone! And those who finished their Lettermo - congratulations! What are your feelings now? (:

Thursday, 28 February 2013

track 015 - in and out

I've had several nights of bad sleep (nightmares and waking up constantly) so my brain feels like pudding at the moment. Therefore I won't even try to write anything interesting... a picture is worth 1000 words, right?

Outgoing (Lettermo 4-7):

A card to Sofie via Sendsomething, in two envelopes - a see-through red one and a smaller one made out of a magazine page.

A reply to Romy in Austria. Nature themed (ish).

To Nicole in U.S.A.

This is actually both in- and outcoming: on the left you can see a card sent to me by Helena in Japan (she was doing Lettermo, too!), and on the right is my reply.

That's that! Has your mailbox been happy lately?