A little Monday night spring craft

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In an attempt to get my creativity flowing again, I’ve decided to try to create a small something everyday until..well, indefinitely really! I will try to do new things, use different media, and most of all, try not to over think it which is typically my worst problem. I probably won’t like everything, but the whole idea is to get over it and keep going! 🙂

For this postcard, I used some old card stock I had left over from an old project, a scrap of greenish blue map paper for the leaves and eggs, craft paper for the nest and some facial tissue for the snow. I really enjoyed zoning out while cutting and glueing itty bitty leaves and eggs.

Japanese mystery mail!

When I went out to my mailbox this afternoon, I had a double surprise! Firstly, my mail driver was actually able to drive over a big chunk of ice that was piled in front of my mailbox, and secondly, I had a a mysterious brown craft paper envelope in there waiting for me, with no apparent return address. It was covered in several really cool looking stamps that indicated it was from Japan.

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I love the crown, it’s actually really shiny and I think it depicts a constellation!! Which one do you prefer?

When I opened it, I found this. Still not a very clear indication of what it was or where it was from!

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Finally when I unwrapped the contents ( Apple tea, a Sapporo city brochure map and a 5 yen coin) I found a little note from Yurie, my swap bot ”ISS: I wish for” swap partner. Mystery solved! Apparently it wasn’t mystery mail after all 🙂 I’m excited to check out the city brochure, although I don’t have any nearby plans to visit Japan, I’m sure I’ll find something to do with the brochure when I’m done reading it! Yurie also says that the 5 Yen coin means/symbolizes ” Good Encounters” and is often used as donations in temples in hopes that it will bring the donor chance encounters that may bring them luck! Interesting!

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Have you ever gotten mystery mail (Or mystery mail that’s not really that mysterious after all, like me :p)

Re: A call for swappers!

Earlier this week I made a post with the same title, minus the Re: mentioning a swap I had just put together over on Swap Bot. I’ve deleted that post now to avoid any confusion, so here is the updated version.

I am hosting an International swap over on Swap Bot called Tour package swap- Travel . The idea behind the swap is to create a tour package for your swap partner. A tour package would typically include stuff like an itinerary, postcards, maps, tickets, brochures etc.

I thought this would be first of all a fun craft to put together, and secondly a wonderful way to discover a town, city or area that you may never have heard of. When I worked in tourism, my favourite part of the job was building an itinerary and putting together a little package of info to send people on their way with, although I didn’t have the luxury of doodling and washi taping the heck out of it 😛

Anyway, the sign up deadline is April 4th and then the final shipping date will be 10 days later, on April 14th, leaving plenty of time to put together something awesome. I would love to see some fellow bloggers on the swap! For those of you who are not Swap Botters, but would like to start, I’ve allowed swappers who have not yet been rated, so long as they have a well filled out profile, so go on over and create and account 🙂

Hope to see you there!

Whales, lighthouses and curious kittens.

Having the weekend off this week, I took some time to write a few replies to a couple of my newest pen pals, Kate and Paloma and it wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that I realized I had totally used a coastal/ sea theme!

First up, this letter to Kate which I put into a handmade envelope. I used the first page of a 2013 calendar I found on top of the microwave( Whyyy??) which happened to be a lighthouse. I think it might even be the Peggys Cove lighthouse in Nova Scotia! It turned out beautifully I think and excited to send off such a pretty picture into the mail stream!

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On the front, I went a little bit stamp crazy after a very long debate. I’m worried it might get ”lost” by an annoyed postal sorter when they realize they have to calculate the total of 7 stamps, but it looks quite nice!

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Next, a letter to Paloma. I used a plain white envelope, then dug around the drawer where I’ve been keeping clippings from old magazines and pulled out this one of a whale. I really like the look of a torn piece of craft paper like Dear Detective uses a lot so I thought I’d give it a try and it turned out quite nicely as well I thought. DSCF2466And there we go! Involuntary sea theme! 🙂

Oh, and of course I cannot forget my ever-present curious helper Shmidttens.

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A little book of spring for Portland

Sometime last week, when the mail service managed to get up and running again after the storms, I received a Letter and Tea swap from a fellow swapper named Jen in Oregon. We actually have quite a bit in common which seems to be a rare thing for me in swaps, so I was pretty excited to reply. In fact, I tried to write a reply about 3 times before giving up for a while. For some reason, none of the letters I wrote seemed right, which for me, usually means that it’s time to pull out the paper craft supplies.

I folded together a few printer sheets and used a nice springy daisy tape for the ”binding” of the mini booklet which then became the base for my letter. The letter itself was just a regular letter, with nothing very spectacular, though I added a packet of orange tea and a little headline clipping for a local paper on the back page.

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The envelope started out as just a clipping of one of my favourite kinds of flowers, again for a spring look, but then I just started playing around with some lines all around, almost in a zentangle style ( but not quite) and soon enough I had this :

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I’m really pleased with how it turned out! The blurred out address looks a bit funny, but if you can manage to not focus on it the way I am right now, I think it makes for a pretty cool looking envelope!!

Now to clean up the mess I’ve created while looking for the right pieces for this letter!!

Sad news.

Last fall, while we were visiting family in Belgium, my mother in law took us to her cousins vineyard. He had only been in the business for a few years and his business was still taking off, but it was beautiful. Vineyards are not typical of Belgium, but he made it work in a small town near Ypres. In fact his fields and surroundings had once been the center of intense battles between the Germans and Allied forces during WWI, which inspired him to name one of his sparkling wines Wipers ( the nickname British forces had given Ypres when they had trouble pronouncing it)

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He is a passionate and hard working man who built the Zilver Cruys vineyard up from nothing. While we were there, he told us about his projects to open a B&B, showed us all the work he was doing and had done and shared his hopes and dreams for the beautiful place.

Today, we learned that someone had gone in an destroyed many, if not all of his plants. Someone had gone in and sprayed them with herbicides, killing several years of hard work and causing around 50 000 euros in damage! What kind of person does this? He had told us a few stories about people trying to stop him from making the vineyard happen, causing him grief over the name wipers, over logos, over building his small business and as if that wasn’t enough, someone took it this much further. I am disgusted that somebody would want to crush someones hopes and dreams  this badly, stomp over all their hard work! We are not talking about some huge vineyard here, this is a man who spent his autumn harvesting grapes by himself and occasionally with the help of friends.

I’m totally disgusted and I truly hope they find who did this, and I hope that he can somehow keep going with his dreams.

News post in Dutch

Outgoing to Wales & Australia

It’s been a while since I did a snailmail post, and I thought it was about time I do one so here are 2 Outgoings I worked on yesterday.

First up, a letter to my dear Penpal in Wales, Hannah. Hannah was one of my first pals and we have a lot in common and I really enjoy being pals with her. Sadly,before the holidays, she sent me a letter and it got lost. I typically don’t communicate much with my pals outside of actually snailmail, so I waited and waited and finally after a few months, I got in touch with her over Interpals ( where we found each other) and we figured out that the letter must have gotten lost, blah, blah. Anyway, I had recently sent her a short catch up letter to make the re-write easier for her ( I hate having to do rewrites after my mail gets lost) and finally on Tuesday her new letter arrived. I was so excited to read it and hear all about what has been going on with her lately so I wrote her back a nice long letter, focusing mostly on the actual letter content and keeping the deco and fun stuff minimal. I’m really happy with how it all turned out and it even got a ”Hmm, It looks nice” from hubby when I held it up grinning. Doesn’t sound like much, but usually he just teases me and calls me a dork when I do that! 😛

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Next up, I have an outgoing swap to Australia. This is actually my first mail to go to Australia at all.

This was an ” I wish for” swap, where once you sign up, you post a wishlist of little things you would like. Sarah’s wishlist had Vintage items, Any paper or embellishments with a travel theme for a journal and anything Smashbook or Project life.

I was a bit stumped at first to be honest, I wanted to make it good, not just pick up something in a shop and send it off, so I rummaged through all my craft stuff and snail mail supplies in search of something good. And here’s the result:

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Firstly, I took a clear smashbook pocket which I used to hold all the little pieces. Inside the pocket, I included some project life cards with the vintage tones, several vintage inspired travel images including a cool old hot air balloon, some used stamps from several different countries and some travel themed deco tape on a mailing tag. I put the whole thing in a handmade map envelope I made during Mondays storm and as a final little extra touch I put in a vintage Alice in Wonderland tag I’d received in a swap some time ago.  Alice was one of the things on her wishlist, but since that was the only item I had, I didn’t want to use it as an actual swap item.

I really hope she likes it, since I’m still fairly new at this swapping thing, I always worry that the receiver will be disappointed or that the swap I receive will be so much better than the one I sent. Everybody has seemed happy with their mail so far though, so I suppose I’m doing ok so far ! 😛

What is the best swap you’ve ever received!?