outgoing mail: lost worlds

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Of late, I’ve found my thoughts straying to dinosaurs: or more specifically, the Dinosaur Court built for the relocated Crystal Palace Park in the mid-1800s, where models of Megalosaurus, Iguanadon, and a number of other prehistoric beasts struck awe into the hearts of nineteenth-century audiences. In all the time I’ve spent in the U.K., I’ve never had the opportunity to visit these strange relics of historical science, and I dream of one day wandering through their lost world in London.

In one of my thrift-store expeditions, I discovered a beat-up – and relatively unreadable – copy of dinosaur encyclopedia (this one, if you’re curious, except the one I found was a Spanish edition). It was already missing a few pages and had suffered some damage, so I worked my envelope alchemy to salvage what I could for crafting. In the end, I was so pleased with how these collages turned out: and glad as ever to offer new life to a dying book!  Continue reading “outgoing mail: lost worlds”

outgoing mail: “the whole world is a garden”

outgoing mail: “the whole world is a garden”

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Three weeks ago, I did the unthinkable and purchased a wedding magazine, drawn to its glossy promises of fairy-tale nuptials while in a weakened shopping-for-groceries state. When you’re planning an elopement with only a handful of close family witnesses in attendance and your idea of “fairy-tale” is more in line with hobbit homes and Arthur Rackham illustrations than elaborate hotel ballrooms, though, mainstream wedding publications – while lovely to look at! – can only help so much.

The pictures inside, however, remained absolutely gorgeous, so I made the best of my $6.99 expenditure and transformed them into wordlessly verdant garden envelopes!

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I considered writing a proper tutorial for my magazine envelopes, but I’ll reveal this arcane secret instead: there’s really no method to my madness. My typical recycled-envelope process goes something like this…

  • I select full-width photo pages – usually intro spreads to an article or advertisements – and literally tear them from the magazine. (I warned you!)
  • Once my desired pages are from their publication untimely ripp’d, I fold over neatly any jagged edges that may have resulted from this violent beginning.
  • I fold the adjusted page roughly in thirds – with the top third slightly smaller – to form a basic envelope shape, and tape the sides shut.

It’s not exactly alchemy, but I can’t think of any other way to do it, as magazine pages aren’t wide enough to accommodate an envelope template (like I use on 12 x 12 craft paper squares).
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The most delightful part, of course, comes when you can match stamps and washi tape to the illustrations! I’m enamored with these “Flowers from the Garden” Forever stamps that I somehow missed last year – but their time with me is only temporary, as the new Bioluminescent Life set came out at the end of February and I might just use only those for the rest of my snail mail days.

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I’m happy that my ill-informed wedding planning purchase did serve a purpose beautifully in its new form, but even with these envelopes complete, we still have a ceremony to plan! If anyone reading this happened to enjoy a very intimate-sized wedding, I’d love to hear about it.

outgoing mail: the golden age

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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.

Continue reading “outgoing mail: the golden age”

outgoing mail: birds of america

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It’s been a rather fraught fall, folks! The boundaries that once demarcated “work” and “free time” for me have been completely obliterated, and as a result, I’ve fallen woefully behind in the activities that I enjoy the most – including blogging, writing letters, and appreciating autumn leaves. (Seriously! A recent tempest blew them all away before I even had the opportunity to experience at least one of my annual leaf photography marathons.)

Now that the bleak post-Daylight Savings days are upon us, I have found myself even more listless and melancholy. Here’s hoping that a restorative dose of letter-crafting might help me feel more like myself again!

Continue reading “outgoing mail: birds of america”

what’s in my mailbox? pegasus & puddle-jumping

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Everything about this set of incoming letters fills me with childlike joy and whimsy. Winged horses and rainbow hearts? Flowers beyond belief? Beachbound seagulls and puddle-swimming ducks? Just what I needed to escape a week of very grown-up transitions and emotions!

Continue reading “what’s in my mailbox? pegasus & puddle-jumping”

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.)

Continue reading “extreme enveloping: woodland wrapping paper”

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!)

Continue reading “outgoing mail: billions & billions of stars”