Somewhere, lost amid the super-markdown bins of a beloved nearby craft store, the perfect craft paper pad summoned me, singing of its pastel, magical-themed glory. Because I suppose mermaids, unicorns, and tiny sparkling stars are “seasonal,” this collection cost me a mere $5 – a quarter of the original price.
The even more miraculous twist in this tale, though, occurred when I discovered that these papers perfectly matched some of my favorite washi tapes and embellishments, including this beautiful mint bird-patterned tape and Rifle Paper Co. labels – very kind gifts from my future sister-in-law! In fact, I’m so pleased by this absolutely superlative pairing of colors that I almost feel I’ve reached the zenith of my envelope design abilities. However will I best this next time?
It seems that I only turn to knitting exactly once a year: something I hope to change in 2018! My single project for 2017, though, was typical fiber fare for me. I’ve been dazzled by illusion knits since I was in high school, and I have crafted a number of such scarves as holiday presents over the years (my personal favorite was the miniature helix scarf I attempted as a secret Santa present for a friend in college). This time, I decided to design my own pattern, inspired by Generic Squid Characters In No Way Associated With A Game My Fiancé Enjoys.
By the time you read this, he will have already opened this weird and whimsical gift at our belated second-Christmas celebration in January, so it can be safely revealed to the world. I, however, am writing this in the past, and at this moment in time all I can say is that I truly hope he likes it!
Though I cannot in any way profess to be one of those talented planner folks who create works of art in tiny week-by-week boxes, I do get a lot of mileage out of my own organizational tools: after all, I’m a grad student, a TA, and a snail mail-er who enjoys carefully cataloguing every letter I send and receive.
I use a bullet-journal style notebook for to-do lists and keeping track of assignments, but I’m happy to have this larger planner to maintain a sense of the bigger picture.
(I’m typing sentences like that last one in an attempt to convince you that there are many logical reasons supporting my ownership of this planner, but let’s be real — I’m mostly in it for the mermaids.)
The most enjoyable aspect of studying eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art last semester was reveling in how downright nerdy many experimental European artists were–in one fascinating example, the German Romantic painters who called themselves the Brotherhood of St. Luke basically cosplayed as medieval monks, and would paint each other dressed up as romantic figures from a seemingly distant past. In Johann Friedrich Overbach’s Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr, Overbach depicts his buddy in an anachronistic paradise–he even gives him a pious medieval babe for a wife in the background, though Pforr was unmarried!
Perhaps my own romanticized fixation with various aspects of the past — including as the nineteenth-century William Morris designs I transformed into my outgoing Christmas mail — becomes less strange when contextualized within each generation’s endless cycle of “golden age” nostalgia.
Both flowers and ghosts seem woefully out of season by this point, but far be it from me to let my irregular blogging schedule keep them out of the spotlight!
My new patented Grad School Mail Schedule™ (i.e., writing approximately one million letters at once during any break from courses) means that I receive letters in bulk too — I haven’t had much mailbox activity since I caught up on my mail over Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I still have some gorgeous September and October mail to show off: how time flies!
These past December days, I’ve felt most frustratingly filled with the holiday spirit – and completely unable to act upon my gift-giving urges!
A cloud of end-of-the-semester papers and grading looms over me, and, meteorologists suggest, will likely stick around for the next few weeks. As Christmas creeps closer, I’d love to devote my evenings to putting together my festive outgoing mail: perhaps some study breaks are in the distant future?
In any case, for convenience’s sake, I happen to work at a historic house museum with an extraordinary gift shop that’s proven a perfect place to finish my holiday shopping. I might not be able to make any envelopes out of that incredible William Morris paper yet – but at least I have it on hand!
I might not have been the fastest at writing letters (or blogging) these past few months, but I’ve certainly enjoyed reading and enjoying all the mail that found its way to me! It might take me a few posts to explore all of these works of art in detail, but I’m up for the challenge!
Speaking of art (when am I not?), I’ll kick off this first half of my mail marathon with a few Art Nouveau/nineteenth-century inspired styles!