Women’s Mail Art Group–Series 2

I’m participating in a women’s mail art group.  There are about 25 of us in the group and I’m making pieces in several small groups to send to each participant in turn.  Here, I’m sharing Series 2 (I’ll share Series 1 pictures as soon as I can find them…they’re around here somewhere). This set began when I got an Urban Outfitters catalog in the mail and turned into a grumpy old lady while flipping through it.  The catalog raised only one question for me: “Why would I spend hundreds of dollars to look like a homeless streetwalker?!”

I keep wondering why commercial imagery these days has to make young people look like they don’t care about anything.  Disaffected youth annoy me.  I’m far too earnest to put up with people acting like they are disinterested.  At least I hope it’s an act.  If it’s real, then that’s even worse.

So, here’s how I dealt with my old lady frustration:

I am inappropriately dressed for hiking

“Yes, this is what I’m wearing to school, Mom.”

Fluorescent colors mean ‘safety first!’


I feel like I am forgetting something

If all this pink didn’t wake me up, this coffee sure as hell ain’t gonna.

Oh yeah, we’re naughty alright.

The pink letters on each one spell out a part of a saying that ties together all of the pieces I’m going to make.  Stay tuned!

Like, Totally 80s!

I celebrated my birthday 80s style this year, with a themed-party, 80s music and a decade-long mashup of decorations. From Boy George tapestries, Motley Crue posters and PacMan mobiles to neon jelly bracelets, banana clips, and Pop Rocks, it covered the gamut.

I was particularly proud of my Pac Man ghosts hanging from the ceiling. After the party, I just couldn’t throw them away, so I kept some for my junk book and I gave one a new life as a post card:

To keep the theme going, I sent out thank you cards on these mix-tape notes from HeatherJeany at Etsy. I bought them ages ago, and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.  I just needed to get around to having an 80s party!

And, uncharacteristically, I will share a photo of myself, dressed as the 80s rocker chick I clearly was born to be:

Yours in mail art and blue eyeshadow,

Dana

Paper Sculpture Mystery

Although slightly off the snail-mail topic, but thoroughly in line with my obsessive love for paper, books, and altered art, I’d like to pass on a link to a lovely story about a mysterious artist who, for the love of books and fantasy, created ten pieces of paper art and released them into the world for us to enjoy. Check it out here. One of the pieces is below.  Beautiful!

Mysterious paper sculptures

(photo by Chris Donia)

And thanks, again, to Allison for the link!

Cereal Box Postcards

This weekend I was browsing some local shops and one gem features handmade and local items where I saw stacks of postcards cut out of cereal and cracker boxes. I thought the bright colors and designs on the boxes made for some awesome abstract postcards and (if you don’t buy them at this shop), they save you some cash in your efforts to send more mail.  And whether you make them yourself or buy them pre-made, this “up-cycling” leaves a bit of space free in the landfill.

Then, just this morning, I saw an ad online from Cheerios about “Sending some Cheer” to military families.

(Picture from Cheerios.com)

They have pre-printed the inside of Cheerios cereal boxes to have a postcard design and address near the “Cheer” part of the cereal name.  Cut out the “Cheer” and mail it to military families who are making sacrifices this holiday season by not having their loved one at home with them.  What a great idea! You can read more about the program here.

This makes me look at breakfast in a whole new light!

11-11-11 and Veterans Day

Happy 11-11-11!

As the perceptive Melissa over at Viva Snail Mail has noted…today’s cool date: 11-11-11 will unfortunately not be a date you can get postmarked on your letters.  The post offices are closed today to observe Veterans Day. Well, you can write letters today and write the awesome date proudly at the top and mail it tomorrow while we still have Saturday delivery.

And while you’re writing letters on this Veterans day, take the time to write notes to friends or family members who have served in our armed forces.  Thank them for their dedication and sacrifice.  If you don’t know any folks who’ve served, there are several websites that help you send letters and care packages to current service members overseas.  Below are some I found, but I haven’t used any of these yet.  If you have, please let me know about your experience and/or share others you would recommend.

http://www.anysoldier.com/
http://www.soldiersangels.org/
http://www.adoptaussoldier.org/
http://adoptaplatoon.org/site/
http://www.operationmilitarypride.org/
http://www.booksforsoldiers.com/
http://www.treatsfortroops.com/foster

Here are the USPS rules for mailing packages overseas to troops.

Letters have always meant a lot to military members overseas.  They are small bits of home that servicemen and women can carry around with them to remind them what they’re sacrificing for.  During World War II, letters from home were so important that one man, Jim Johnston who accidentally received a letter to Jim Johnson, held on to the letter for more than 60 years.  After Johnston passed away, his son found the letter and tracked down the original recipient.  The letter shared mundane bits of life at home that soldiers longed to hear. You can read the full story here.

A recent New York Times article For Soldiers, The End of Mail Means the End of War notes that mail to miliary members in Iraq postmarked after November 17th will not be delivered in Iraq because the war is ending and troops are leaving.  The article shares the perspective of a former serviceman who tells how hearing that the mail service was ending made the end of the war seem more real to him.  Mail makes me feel more real and I’m sure it’s a lifeline to those living in conditions I can’t even imagine.  So keep sending mail to Afghanistan and to troops in other active areas until the mail lines end there, too.

And speaking of letters and soldiers, Letters of Note has Kurt Vonnegut’s letter home written after he was held as a POW in Germany’s Slaughterhouse Five. Letters home from war are perhaps the most powerful of all, because while our letters can provide them some opportunity for mental escape, their letters expose the stark realities of war to those of us lucky enough to be safe at home.

Here’s a video of some Post Secrets from soldiers:

Thank you to every person who has sacrificed for and served our country.  Thanks especially to my Dad John, my brother David, my grandfather Jim (R.I.P.) and friend Kerry.

Holiday Preparations

I’ve begun the annual ritual of writing my holiday letter. I’m sure you’re surprised to hear I am one of those folks who includes letters in holiday cards!  But each year it’s nice to stop, take a deep breath, look at the whole year, and take stock of my life.  I also hear from friends and family that they actually read it, so I keep writing.

In addition, I’m in the design stages of my holiday card.  I usually have grand plans and sometimes they come through and sometimes I fall short given other demands for time in November and December.  I’m thinking of using a postal theme this year to commemorate all of my postal-related activities of late, but we will see what the muse provides.

All this holiday thinking has me pondering my Christmas tree ornaments.  I try to pick up one or two each year that commemorate big events in my life.  Given the birth and growth of this blog over the year, I’m thinking this snail ornament from Anthropologie might be just the ticket:

Cute! And a great way to remember all of the snail mail fun I’ve had this year.  What about you?  Any mail-related holiday traditions?  What’s your favorite part about sending out cards?

Happy Halloween!

Well, the house is covered in cobwebs and filled with giant spiders, gargoyles and skulls. We’re almost ready for our party on Saturday.  I can’t believe it’s Halloween already!  It snuck up on me this year and I only had time to make a few cards to send out. 

I fell short of my grand plans to send out a couple dozen.  But this put me in the mood to begin my Christmas/Winter holiday cards.  I love any reason to play with glue and scissors!

Hope you all have a great Halloween.  Trick or treat!

Chaos Reigned!

It’s a constant battle…trying to keep my creative space from morphing into something you’d see on that t.v. show about hoarding.

Exhibit A:

My problem may be that I have too many pursuits–letter writing, journaling and art journaling, photography, book making, calligraphy, water color, doodling, acrylics, collage, scrap booking and card making, writing, and a general obsession for pens and paper of all types.  Pulling out supplies to do one thing leads to another, and I’m always shuffling notes, and ideas, and articles from one place to the next.

Even when it’s “clean,” I still have a small, slightly chaotic space to work:

I’ve heard that some creative types like clean, flat spaces in which to create, undistracted.  But I find something beautiful about the chaos and clutter of so many great ideas, inspirations, and materials.  It makes me smile just sitting down and looking at this space!

I create, the pile rises, I fight back, I make new ideas, I create some more.  I’m beginning to think of this as my “process.”

Given my tendency for clutter and messiness, it may seem strange that I’m equally drawn to organizers, file folders, labels, orderly boxes and other things that reduce clutter. I devour magazine articles on simplifying spaces and organizing your life.

Here, for example, is how I keep my stationery organized these days:

 

How cute is that?!  My darling dear brought that home for me. And that cute pen and pencil holder, too!

So, I’ve come to accept that this is how I work–vascillating wildly from chaos to control, feeding both parts of my soul, and knowing that creativity, for me, blossoms somewhere in between. What’s your creative process?

Things to do with Junk Mail

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my desire to limit junk mail conflicted with my desire to save snail mail (and the post office that delivers it) because junk mail is–for now–the life blood of the U. S. Postal Service.

Well, since we’re getting junk mail anyway, we may as well use it for good purposes.  Check out this junk mail art! What a wonderful re-purposing of those colorful flyers and coupons.  I save the return envelopes sent with credit card offers and re-use them (Just Letter Rip shares a great idea about turning them inside out here!).  Any other suggestions for making good use of mail you otherwise have no use for?

Father’s Day–the Big Reveal

In my Father’s Day post, I promised to reveal the card I made for my Dad this year, but not until after he received it.  He read it and loved it, so now I can share.

It had a secret snail mail theme.  Here’s the front.

On the inside, it revealed the snail mail connection.  The photo on the front is from a post card my Dad mailed me from Alaska in 1978 when I was not yet two years old.  He was in the Navy and he sent my Mom a postcard and also sent a special one just for me!

I found the post cards when I was going through some old cards and letters.  I knew it would make a perfect Father’s Day card for my Dad, with the “big deer” creating the perfect outdoorsy theme for him.

So glad he loved it!