extreme enveloping: woodland wrapping paper

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Hey, remember back in the days of yore when I wanted to make “creating envelopes out of unusual materials” a thing?

In November, I showed you, gleefully, the envelopes I’d crafted from a recycled roll of wallpaper, hoping to kick off a glorious new age of extensively eccentric envelope fabrication–and then I proceeded to spend the next eight months making envelopes out of nothing but magazine pages.

There’s no time like the present, though, and I’m happy to say that in my continued quest to catch up on all the pen pal letters I owe (if you’re still waiting on me, you should have yours soon!), I decided to turn my manufacturer’s eye to a new substance: wrapping paper. (Specifically, ridiculously cutesy forest creature wrapping paper probably designed for literal babies but I don’t particularly care.)

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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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postcard party

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Surprise: I’m traveling abroad today (and am posting this from the past in my usual time-hopping manner)!

Do you know what else travels? Postcards! (I kind of hope that I could get overseas faster than a postcard, but who knows?) By sheer coincidence, it seems like pen pals (and parents) have been sending me a plethora of postcards lately. I’ll let them take the lead today while I jet off to parts unknown!

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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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outgoing mail: all that is gold does not glitter

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Goodbye, “Standing Stones and Sacred Places of the British Isles: 2016 Calendar” and hello, brand-new envelopes for 2017! I have to admit that I spent a good portion of last year eagerly waiting for January 1 to roll around and give me an excuse to transform these pretty pages into something worth sending.

Now that time has come. From the ashes a fire shall be woken/new mail from old paper shall spring!

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A Year in Letters: 2016 Edition!

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‘Tis the season to reflect on another wonderful year of snail mail! Once again, I am astounded and delighted by how many lovely people I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” ever since I decided to start sending mail to random fellow humans around the globe at the start of 2015. I feel very honored to share a letter-writing-relationship with you!

For me, penpalling is all about making friends and glimpsing life outside of my tiny New England town. I’m certainly not in it just to check countries off a list, but after a year of writing I always find it fun to take note of the places from which I’ve received mail. Over the past twelve months, I’ve had the pleasure of sending letters to twelve different countries in Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. Where will my mail travel next? Only 2017 can tell!

(Before you read on, you might want to check out my first “A Year in Letters” post from 2015 to see how my snail mail network has expanded this year!)

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Extreme Enveloping: Jewels & Jungles

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Sometimes I dream of starring in the mail art equivalent of Chopped, where contestants try to best each other at creating envelopes out of the most unexpected things imaginable: opening their supply baskets to find, like, take-out menus and that strange pliable glue that kids would pull off magazines in the 90s. (Guilty as charged.)

I’m far from the most masterful crafter out there, but I’m very pleased with my latest accomplishment. With nothing more than a roll of wallpaper, some stickers, and tape, I’ve put together these very cool rainforest envelopes that are surprisingly strong and roomy. To really add an elegant touch to my outgoing mail, I’ve also mined (ha!) a damaged geology textbook for cool photographs of gems and crystalline structures.

If you, like me, have come into the possession of a wallpaper treasure trove from the Goodwill, read on to discover the challenges of working with this bizarre material. (Or you could just, you know, put it on your wall like normal people do.)

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