outgoing mail: all’s well that ends shell

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What an exhilarating return to the world of envelope art! I’m so delighted by these beachcombing-inspired designs, created from a combination of craft paper picked up in a Labor Day sale, my secret cache of mermaid-themed washi tape, and some sea life stickers with a lot of character.

It’s been a while since I decorated a pre-made envelope base rather than making my own, but I enjoyed discovering creative ways to make these envelopes my own! (In case you’re wondering, I’ll add on the address in the blank triangular space when each is ready to send.) What crafting experiments have you tried lately?

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outgoing mail: billions & billions of stars

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Space may be the place, but the sold-individually decorative paper section at a certain major craft store (that will remain anonymous as I still refuse to provide free marketing for chain retailers on my little-read, niche blog) is currently also “the place.” I don’t know when their paper design department upgraded from stripes and polka dots to sky-maps and painted galaxies, but I am not complaining. And neither, I hope, will my pen pals when they receive these envelopes!

(If you want to know how to sing the title of this blog post, check out my #1 jam as a highschooler: one of Symphony of Science’s quality musical remixes of quotes from various “great minds of science.” I think Bill Nye was responsible for this title-worthy phrase!)

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what’s in my mailbox? offline is the new luxury

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Two blog posts in one week after my extended hiatus? It’s no April Fool’s joke, don’t worry! (My Polish-American heritage means my childhood springtime holiday of choice is “Dyngus Day,” anyway.)

This flow magazine postcard from my German pen pal quite aptly sums up my lifestyle lately. I’m trying to strike the balance between spending offline and continuing to pursue my digital hobbies (which includes blogging!). Thanks for your patience with me as I enjoy this luxurious existence!

Speaking of the joys of offline communication: let’s take a look at some springtime letters!

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The Perils of Pen Pal-ing: Missing Letters and More!


At its core, snail mail is a hobby that requires a lot of faith in the universe–and by “the universe” I mean “the intricate postal network that somehow allows me to send letters across continents and oceans for $1.15 or less.” Most of the time, all goes according to plan: letters arrive, gifts are exchanged, and friendships are forged between eccentric strangers who share a fondness for writing and washi tape.

But what happens when it doesn’t?

I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary of actively partaking in the snail mail/pen pal community. I’ve easily sent and received over a hundred pretty envelopes since January ’15, and I’m no stranger to the quirks and pitfalls of letter-based communication.

Read on for some thrilling tales of the most common challenges I’ve encountered in the pen pal world: though I’ll say up front that the occasional hiccup by no means outweighs the joys of receiving mail!

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What’s In My Mailbox? Here Comes the Sun

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Autumn is just around the corner–but the summery snail mail I received this week proves that the hottest months aren’t quite over yet! After two weeks of a mostly-empty mailbox (mostly my fault, as I sent out a bunch of letters all at the same time instead of staggering them!), I was delighted to find gorgeous envelopes from some of the pen pals with whom I correspond the most: from Nevada, Germany, and Ireland.

(Yes, you’ve seen snail mail artistry by all three of them on my blog many times before–have you given them code names yet?)

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What’s In My Mailbox: Snakes & Secret Doors

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Disclaimer: unlike a certain Dr. Jones, I’m actually rather fond of snakes. One of my favorite childhood books was Verdi, an adorable tale of a yellow python who comes of age while accepting his transformation from a cute yellow baby into a verdant adult. I feel you, Verdi!

I was delighted, then, to see this equally green serpentine envelope from Ireland in my mailbox this week–along with a lovely secret door/garden situation (among other things) in from Germany! Receiving two coloring-page envelopes on the same day must be a sign of some kind: perhaps that I should be playing around with my sizable library of coloring books, too?

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Outgoing Mail: Leaves That Are Green

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Perhaps this outgoing mail post could also be called “return of the Best Scottish Castles” calendar envelopes! I’ve been going through a recent bout of ruthlessness with my craft table, and hoped to finally use up these gorgeous photos of medieval ruins from Skye to Stirling. (Appropriately, I photographed these on a rainy, stormy day: very reminiscent of Edinburgh!)

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