stamps & sundries: nautilus ahoy!

nautilus mail (4 of 5)

About a year ago, I halted my long-standing tradition of blogging about the mail I received. Somehow I’d turned the delightful pastime of documenting beautiful letters  into a responsibility, and I felt a great deal of self-imposed pressure to photograph mail before I’d even read what they contained (mostly due to the fact that limited winter light rarely allows for good picture-taking indoors!).

To be honest, though, I did so enjoy possessing a visual diary of the letters that traveled to me from various corners of the world. With that in mind, I’m resurrecting my old series with a slight twist: as the title suggests, I will mainly feature stamps and envelopes, with some (assorted) exceptions.

Continue reading

outgoing mail: my gallant star

celestial mail (5 of 8)celestial mail (7 of 8)celestial mail (6 of 8)

The almost-equitorial skies of my childhood dazzle me every time I return home. Thanks to the welcome lack of light pollution intervening between my eyes and the heavens, the sky sparkles with a clarity unmatched in any suburban setting.

I made these envelopes just before I left on my trip – during one fleeting moment of post-semester freedom! – and their stellar sensibility seemed to prefigure the celestial adventures awaiting me here…

Continue reading

outgoing mail: pastel imperfections

pastel mail (1 of 7)pastel mail (3 of 7)pastel mail (7 of 7)

Perhaps the reason why the stereotypical fairy tale/ fantasy romance closes with the wedding scene is because the alternative–“and then after the marriage, they proceeded to live a quiet and wonderful life together as the princess spent her days reading primary source texts from the nineteenth century, studying the history of ceramics, and otherwise navigating her second year of graduate school”–while delightful to me, lacks the charm of the more celebratory happy ending.

Which is all to say: hello! In the two months since I vanished from this blog, I’ve enjoyed the wedding of my dreams, spent a two-day maritime mini-moon by the coast in Salem, and subsequently found myself very reluctant to return to real life. Living with my husband/best friend/former pen pal for the first time has been absolutely incredible, but it’s also coincided with a very busy fall semester. Needless to say, I’ve not only fallen behind on my letters once more, but have also barely had the chance to experience mail-related post-wedding activities – like sending out thank-you cards and announcements!

Because we “eloped” (which is to say we had 10 people in attendance at our enchanted Hobbiton-esque venue), there are many friends and relatives around the globe who were not able to share in the festivities, and we planned on sending out some photos and cards to spread the word in a way that’s a little more personal than a Facebook post. Combining my husband’s illustrations with some Tolkien-friendly typefaces quickly resulted in the ultimate elopement postcard! To keep them safe, though, we will nevertheless send them in envelopes – which I took upon myself to create this past long weekend.

Continue reading

outgoing mail: lost worlds

dinosaur mail (5 of 5)dinosaur mail (3 of 5)

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: pure imagination

sparkling snail mail (7 of 9)sparkling snail mail (4 of 9)sparkling snail mail (3 of 9)sparkling snail mail (9 of 9)

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?

Continue reading

snail mail successes of 2017

all that is gold does not glitter ♡ parsley, sage, rosemary, & thyme 

billions & billions of stars species speaking  woodland wrapping paper

desert dreaming ♡  birds of america  all’s well that ends shell

I boast no particular pride of the speed at which I replied to letters this year (particularly after I began my master’s degree–so it goes!), but I am quite fond of the mail art designs I sent around the world whenever I had a moment to spare. It’s quality over quantity, I hope!

Continue reading

what’s in my mailbox? mail marathon pt. 2

mail maraton II (1 of 10)mail maraton II (8 of 10)mail maraton II (5 of 10)

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!

Continue reading