Wondering where I’ve been this past week? If you’ve ever had to experience the joy of wisdom teeth surgery, I’m sure I needn’t say more. I survived, though, and in the meantime, received some beautiful letters that I read after emerging from the mental fog of oral surgery!
As I rest and weep and wait for that far-off day when I can eat carrots and blue corn chips again, I have plenty of vintage-inspired mail to keep me company. I say “vintage-inspired,” but what I really mean is “one letter that looks genuinely vintage, as in styled after a kind of mod 60s look, while the other reminds me of nineteenth-century natural history.” Pretty cool either way!
My menagerie of pins continues to grow, broadening into a bestiary of the most fantastic creatures! The newest member of my merry band of enamel revelers is this gorgeous leafy creature–a mousemoth by Minnow & Moss.
It’s been many a year since I darkened the door of a certain extremely popular microblogging site, but in the days that I did, I used that platform exclusively to discover enchanting artists. Among those lovely illustrators kindly introduced to me through Tumblr was Olivia Chin Mueller: now you too can spend hours poring over her magical portfolio!
Anyway, Minnow & Moss is the combined efforts of Olivia and her mother Tracye, and they have a variety of beautiful pins for sale. I bought this mousemoth as a seconds-sale item, which usually means the pin has some kind of minor flaw (hence the discounted price)–though I can’t for the life of me figure out what it might be! This mousemoth is perfect just the way she is.
What’s the best way to shake yourself out of a creative mail slump? Pick your favorite author and go to town with themed literary letters!
A while ago, I showed off a Jane Austen mailing from a pen pal, and I finally had the time to craft the perfect reply. I took my visual inspiration from an amazing vintage volume in my personal library: David Day’s A Tolkien Bestiary, published in 1979. Its surreally beautiful illustrations perfectly capture all the earthly and ethereal creatures of Tolkien’s world. The book is in great condition, so I’d never turn its pages into an envelope any time soon–but I did borrow its color scheme and general Middle Earth aesthetic!
I never thought I would say this, but with temperatures skyrocketing to the 90s and beyond in Massachusetts this week, I’m rather missing the temperate/constantly rainy climes of my time in England! Though we dodged raindrops with every outing, at least each drizzly day was bearable with an umbrella and a coat.
I actually enjoy staying inside on a rainy day; conversely, I feel guilty for avoiding the outdoors when the sun is shining. Yet that’s exactly what I’ll have to do over the next few days until the East Coast decides to chill! I suppose it will give me a good opportunity to look back through some more of my photos capturing moments in the English woods…
A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.
Ever since I was a child, I have loved “collecting” poems: committing them to memory so I can recite them again and again like ancient, arcane spells. I found this childhood hobby continuing throughout the literary studies of my college years, too. Repeating verse in my mind whilst writing analytical papers. Scribbling stanzas in the margins of textbooks.
My most beloved poets, however, will always be the Romantics. I remember encountering Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” for the first time at age seven and subsequently exploring its sprawling sands as often as possible. And who among us didn’t have a teenage crush on Keats? You can imagine, then, the joy I felt at visiting the small villages in the Lake District where William and Dorothy Wordsworth spent the latter parts of their lives…
(A note: the William Wordsworth on the grave above is actually Wordsworth’s son, who just happened to have a slightly more photogenic headstone than his father!)
The Lake District is the place where many (non-British) forest girls’ dreams were born–exploring the land of Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth felt like returning to a childhood home that I’d never visited before. I imagined all the romanticized visions of idyllic woods-and-country life from children’s stories playing out before me as we drove by the lakes and trees and mountains and stone cottages…
The first stop, though, was a place entirely unlike a simple “cottage”: Blackwell, a great Arts & Crafts manor decorated in the most beautiful Art Nouveau-esque style. Every grand, sweeping room included tiny windowside reading nooks, tucked-away places for contemplation and creation.
(So who wants to contribute to the “let me live in an Arts & Crafts house in the Lake District” fund? I promise it will be a good investment [for me, at least]!)
As I may have said before, I’ve always held romanticized ideas about the stereotypical “woodland” environments of North America & Europe. Imagined visions of the forests of more temperate biomes–home to foxes, great horned owls, squirrels, and other fauna –have captured my heart since I was very young.
Luckily, my pen pals understand this strange fascination of mine! It just so happens that “whimsical, stylized woodland animals” is apparently a thing these days…and my collection of stationary that fits said theme has seen some new additions in the past few days! Continue reading