Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Favourite Photos from June

The centre of a double bloom poppy

Trying to capture the texture of a foxglove

Bee buffet

Don't know if this makes a 'professional' photo but I loved
the way the sun shone through the white petals

Hot pink

The aim of this photo was to get the petals in the centre in
focus, the central bud of the rose slightly out of focus - success

Another rose, this one a buttery yellow

My Persian buttercups have been so beautiful this year, deliciously
thick ruffs of petal after petal

Technically a weed intruding from the garden next door, but the
colour of these flowers is just amazing - and impossible to do
justice with via camera

A grainier shot - wanted a dreamy quality to this

You might not be able to see without enlarging this photo but the
point of focus is the dandelion seed caught in the flower in the
bottom left hand corner

Shiny ladybird carapace

Monday, 26 June 2017

Monday Mishmash

Pinterest Cute
A speckled padloper tortoise - try saying that repeatedly when you're tiddly. Found on Pinterest, pinned from

Book Club
So . . . a new penpal suggested I check out the Vaginal Fantasy Book ClubLike trashy paranormal/ urban fantasy romance? Like wine and/or spirits? Like finding out what other people thought of the trashy romance you've just read? This could be the book club for you!
I've listened to a couple and things go off topic pretty easily so if you like concise book reviews these vlogs are probably not your cup of tea. If you just want something entertaining and rambling in the background while you are doing the ironing/ cooking dinner then it could fit the bill. 

Classic Comedy
My CD set of choice while pottering about the kitchen this last week. Some comedy ages terribly - this still feels relevant and funny. So many great lines. Made me wish I still worked with my ex-colleague Matt so we could have a quote off in the office

Mail Tag
I've heard the phrase 'mail tag' on and off over the last couple of months as I've got back into the snailmail community and this last week I actually did the research on what the phrase actually meant. I thought it was just asking someone questions but actually the process involves someone asking me questions and me responding with my answers, and my own set of questions. The person writing back sends their answers to their questions, my questions, and sends a couple more questions. At least, this is what I think happens from what I've read on the subject. I've started a list of possible questions in my bullet journal. 

They are pretty random, ranging from the more standard
-Do you have a favourite season? If so, which one and why?
-What would your ideal reading room look like?
-What is the ideal size for a pet dragon?
-If your pets were in a film, which actor/actress would voice them?
and other such intellectual enquiries.

The idea is to get to know penpals in a way that a standard letter might not always allow. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Random thoughts on wax seals

I was given a set of metallic sealing waxes as a gift a couple of years ago. They have managed to evade my regular culls of 'I never use that! Off to the charity shop you go!' and now I feel their time has come.

Once you start looking around at the snailmail options available today, you realise that while wax seals may be a thing of the very distant past (for some historical facts check out this article on the Art of Manliness website) they have never died out in the face of flashy technology. In fact, the popularity of the wax seal. Search Etsy or Amazon for wax seals and you will find all sorts of designs on the market.
Fancy a Rebel Alliance Star Wards seal? Such things are out there!
The best kind of wax to use is wax designed for use as a seal rather than candle wax but when it comes to the seal itself there are no rules. You can buy a swanky one if you have the spare cash. You can also make your own. Coins, medals, buttons, charms, brooches, pendants, ornate scissor handles - anything with a pattern on a relatively flat background is fair game. I assume flimsy plastic is a no-go owing to the temperature of the wax but I can't confirm that through personal experience.

There are tutorials on the interwebs, like this one from Offbeat Bride, which shows you how to make a wax seal out a button and a chess piece. Don't have fancy chess pieces? How about going simple and using wine bottles corks instead.
Taken from Offbeat Bride
Can't quite picture how to create a wax seal? Here's a handy little how to from YouTube with a delightful amount of calming birdsong in the background.
From what I can tell, melting pieces of wax in a spoon rather than lighting a wick is a better option for less soot, and I'd also prefer to use a proper sealing wax melting spoon than a standard spoon to minimise wax wastage.

I've raised my button stash and found some lovely potentials for a wax seal. When I find the time to give it a go, I will share pictures.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Snailmail: Foxes and Teacups

Yes, this picture does contain duplicates from the photo at the
top of the post but I'm a mad cat lady so it's staying.
Superman came from an 80s film book; the Smurfs came
from a children's book picked up for 10p in a charity shop
book sale
Sticker I added to the back of the kitty postcard
80s knitting, 80s pudding

Stamps - a colourful assortment from the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Writing paper
vintage teacups, and foxes with cacti.
Washi tape
Envy inducing - I don't know if this exhibition will ever make it's way to the UK (I suspect not) but it's something I would very much like to see.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday Mishmash

Pinterest Cute
When I first saw pictures of these little creatures, I thought they had to have been photoshopped. Not so! Mother Nature, I salute you on your work with sea bunnies

My Morning View: An iPhone Photography Project about Gratitude, Grief & Good Coffee by Tammy Strobel

I managed to pick this up on kindle last week when it was being offered for free. I bought it because I recognised the name of the author as the blogger Rowdy Kittens, and the book You Can Buy Happiness (And It's Cheap)It's a simple little book made up of various photographs, details behind the shots and occasional advice on how to take pictures. My favourite pic involved a stealth cat paw. Yes, there are lots of cat piccies - of course there would be for me to be interested! :) 

Bullet Journal
Found on Instagram - @knitashajanice
A nifty take on the habit tracker format. Don't know if I'll use it but I like the fact that it's out there in the world, and I feel the need to share it.

My new Netflix discovery. 

Archer, according to the IMDB blurb, is a show where:
Covert black ops and espionage take a back seat to zany personalities and relationships between secret agents and drones.

I'd probably swap 'zany' for 'asshole' in the majority of cases for the characters on display here. The humour is pretty irreverent and un-PC at times so if you are easily offended it won't be your cup of tea. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

What We Leave Behind

After the death of her mother, a friend asked me if I would like the embroidery threads that were left among the possessions to be sorted. I said yes, these were duly passed on to me, and over the course of the last few days I have taken time to sit out in the garden and sort through this gift of colour.

I have sat on my picnic blanket and run my hands over these threads and thought about their previous owner. I never knew her and yet through this bag of possessions I know something about her.

I know that she liked to keep the colours organised, and would carefully separate them out after purchasing them and wrap them in tissues, blues, greens, pinks, yellows and so on. Her daughter told me that this was one of her memories of helping her mother. 

I know she liked the colour purple, or at the very least was drawn to patterns that featured the colour purple, as that was the shade most prevalent in the bundle of gleaming threads. 

I know she thought ahead on her projects and would cut lengths of those cottons she anticipated needing so she could just pick them up when they were required. 

I know she loved to create and loved to play with colour. I don't think there was a single grey or dull brown colour in the whole bag. There was one small amount of black. The rest of the shades were like a summer meadow.

So I have sat in the sunshine, and thought about this creative woman, and wondered what beautiful pictures she created with these cottons, and pondered what will one day happen to my stash.

I would like to think that my fabric and buttons and threads and needles and crafting miscellany will make their way into other creative hands after I am gone. Hopefully I won't be going for a while yet but it pleases me to think that one day there could be someone else sitting in the sunshine, tracing the patterns on a particularly beautiful piece of fabric with the tip of their finger, wondering what I did with the missing part that is cut away. And planning what to do with the piece I leftover.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Storing Letters

Owing to the fact I am now firmly back on the snailmail wagon, I need to give some thought to how I store my letters. At the moment, I'm following the process I did when I was a child/teen: keeping all my received letters in a box with a piece of coloured wool keeping together those received from the same person.

Impressive letter bundles from Retired in Delaware
That worked well enough back then but I'd like to come up with something a bit more creative and colourful. And something that doesn't require me untying and retying wool to get in and out of my bundles.

Over to the interwebs for some advice and inspiration!

Image taken from this article
I could use a storage system like the one above. This type of expanding box file organiser is very easy to find, and I could get a snazzy patterned one from Paperchase or similar. And yet it would be a solution that meant I didn't need to make anything.

Inspiration from Letters, Postcards and a Cup of Tea 
I could use different boxes for different types of mail and indulge my creativity by getting plain boxes then smothering them in craft papers and stickers courtesy of The Works. What keeps me from getting enthused about that option is that I already have a good system for incoming mail and, as I said above, I've done the box storage before and would like to try something else.

My current thoughts revolve around me using up some of my fabric stash and creating fabric envelopes to hold letters from individual people. Have a simple button or velcro closure, with perhaps a pocket at the front to hold a sheet of paper with address, DOB, likes and dislikes of that person, dates letters sent and received, ideas for stationery they would like the look of and so on and so forth. I need the time to sit down and work out sizing, then mock one up on the sewing machine. If it is successful, I will post pictures, maybe a how-to as well for anyone else who is interested.

Proving the point that you can find anything on YouTube, here's a vlog on organising letters from penpals.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Monday Mishmash

Gadget Love
One thing about penpals is that as well as putting you on to books you might like to read, they can also suggest stationery equipment that you will be unlikely to resist.

Like this envelope maker.
Curious as to how it works? Here's a YouTube how to:

I'm saving up my pennies to buy one. I still enjoy making the A-style envelopes I recently shared a tutorial for, but I've been receiving some lovely home-made baronial style envelopes and would like to be able to make my own. 

And now for something completely different...

Memorable Image
Of all the pictures Pinterest has suggested for my perusal in recent days, this is the most memorable. Mark Ryden is the creator of this particular meat dress. According to the interwebs, this is the picture that inspired Lady Gaga's meat dress, though I can't confirm that in interviews I've tracked down where Lady G talks about the dress. 
Don't think I want to know what the petticoats are made of...
Interesting App
I am by no means an app aficionado but every now and then a blogger I follow will mention something that will make me think of people I know. Thus it is with the Recolor app, mentioned recently by The Bloggess. Do you have lots of amazing colouring books but your inner (pain-in-the-bum) perfectionist won't let you take a felt tip or pencil to them because he/she insists you will get it wrong? This app could be the answer for you. As I understand it from The Bloggess, you can scan pictures and colour them in on the app as practice before moving on to the real thing. It's not something I'd use as I like to challenge my inner perfectionist so she doesn't take over the joint, but I was chatting to someone at the weekend who won't touch his Doctor Who colouring book in case he picks the wrong colours and this could be what he and others need.

Tips for Compulsive Notebook Buyers (like me . . .)
30 Ways to use a Blank Notebook. And no! This does not give you an excuse to go out and buy enough notebooks to bring your collection up to 30! (I'm talking to myself here, not you).

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Blank cards + cat pics + 80s hunks = . . . .

A collection of collage cards to delight/entertain/horrify/bemuse your friends and relatives with!

These trash-fest cards brought to you in association with:
and the friend who covered me in duct tape at my insistence a little over a year ago.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Snailmail: Rhinos and Mermaids


Unsurprisingly, the envelope that came bearing the above slogan on the back also came with the image below on the front. When I first saw it, I was wondering what the mermaid was holding as at first glance it looked like a misshapen strawberry. It is of course a conch shell. Doh!

A cute little snail stamp. I don't have any stamps like this, snail, mermaid or otherwise. Something else to add to my stationery cupboard if I see anything out suitable and about. 

An eclectic washi tape selection. The rhino tape is especially sweet as I wouldn't have assumed that a rhino smelling flowers while wearing a pink knitted jumper would be something anyone would make tape of.


Stamps-wise, there's been a royal UK, Portuguese sporty and Canadian sweeping scenes mix.

I got these bookmarks as a gift with one of the letters received - they're all lovely but the one on the right hand side has that striking orange pattern, and as that's a colour I love it will be the bookmark I use first.

Penny monitored the photo taking this morning.


It's been a busy week so I haven't had much time for writing. These two went out today though. The sci-fi scene envelope came from the airbrushing book I mentioned in a previous post, and is headed out to fan of the genre. Hope it puts a smile on her face to receive it in the mail.