Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

 Happy Halloween everybody!
Here are just a couple more Halloweeny incoming mail pieces I've received.

 And my pumpkin candle (cheap from Goodwill), finally set alight last night, Halloween Eve. :-)
So, yes I have been missing for about a week. I had lots of wonderful family visiting me and they took up all my extra time.  We said goodbye last night.  Sigh.
But it's nice to have some down time to myself.
Soon I'm off to watch The Shining with Clayton! I've never seen it before! I've heard it described as the scariest movie ever.  Yikes!

This reminds me of one year when I went to a friend's house for trick or treating.  We used pillowcases as our candy bags.  When we finished we watched the Exorcist, the first and only time for me! I sat with my candy in the pillowcase in my lap, and I was so scared I couldn't put my feet on the floor. I had to have a blanket covering me with my feet tucked up under me on the couch. I got so hot under that blanket but I was too scared to take it off... I needed that protection!
Finally when the movie was over we took off the blanket and when I looked in my pillowcase of candy I discovered that I had melted all the chocolate because I was so hot!! It was pretty gross. haha

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hi everybody,

I'll probably be absent for the next week as I have a lot going on school-wise and I have a lot of company from out of town this week.
If you are craving fun mail and don't already follow other blogs, check out the ones on my sidebar. Lots of lovely people. :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guilty...

Yes, I forgot to post before midnight again... Blogtoberfest is getting harder for me... But here I am up late!
Anyway, today was a good day.  I got a new issue of the USA Philatelic catalog in the mail and the Washington Capitals (my hockey team) creamed the Detroit Red Wings 7 to 1! And I ate dinner at Raisin' Canes, best fastfood in the world (Chick-fil-a is a contender though).  Also, my guilty pleasure, I downloaded Sims 3 the Pets expansion and I spent a few hours brushing my horse (I named her Rum) and training her to run races. :-) Maybe tomorrow I'll make a dog.

And here for your enjoyment is a postcard I painted at the end of the summer.

I named him Fat Dirty Panda.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can you guess what I want to do to these sweatpants???

I got these comfy sweatpants at Goodwill.
And boy do I have some plans for them!
Take off a few letters, maybe embroider a little envelope on there, and I'll have the perfect pair of sweatpants to lounge around and write letters in!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today we bought 3 kinds of squash.













And to end the post... I had a very autumn-y dinner tonight thanks to my awesome cook of a boyfriend!
And Mom and Dad I hope you read this because he got me to eat squash!

Before being baked:

 Baked and filled with sauteed onions, garlic and chicken.
Clay figured out the cost and for both portions it was about four dollars total.  DELISH!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What are your feelings about big postcards?

 I really love Pomegranate's postcards and I have several of their postcard books, both given as gifts and purchased myself.  The only thing is that I really don't like the fact that they are oversized and I have to pay regular letter postage for them.  For this one I trimmed off the edges so I could just send it with a postcard stamp.  But that doesn't always work without cutting out a nice part of the image too.  It also makes the back look not nearly as nice, sometimes just missing cutting of the description of the postcard or the stamp here image.

I find myself loath to use them except for international mailing when I already have to pay more, or I use them in an envelope, figuring that I can get more bang for my buck that way.

Am I being too picky?

In other news, the postage rates will be going up in January.  Just one cent more for regular letters. You can read the other details here at the LWA.
I really don't mind the stamp increase.  I'll do whatever it takes to keep the USPS around!

P.S. The above postcard is from the Pomegranate postcard book "America Dances".  I love these photos!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Halloween Card

When I got home today, I received this from my wonderful boyfriend.

Happy Halloween indeed. :-)

Midnight Posting for Blogtoberfest

So, it's a few minutes after midnight here in Boston, but I think this totally still counts as posting for today. After all it's only 11 something where my parents live in Wisconsin.

Today I enjoyed some delicious yellow curry with chicken and pineapples at one of my favorite Thai places here. I sat outside in the crisp air while I ate. Perfect.
I think that's a habit I gained in France.

For your viewing pleasure, a drawing from an awesome penpal I received a week or so ago:

She's 11 years old!

This is what I sent her back:
I hope she likes Halloween as much as I do! This is only my 2nd letter to her, so I don't know much about her yet, but I do know that she likes Harry Potter.  So I sent her a witchy card. :-)

Hope you had a great mail day today!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rusty Mail

So far I haven't missed a day of posting for Blogtoberfest, and even though I'm very tired tonight from finishing a school paper I didn't want to miss today.  So here's a quick photo post of a recent lovely letter from Rusty:

 I love the old stamps she used! They came off of the plastic wrapper very easily, so now I can use them in my mail art or just keep them in my collection.
Very fun and colorful exotic themed mail :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BeerbeerbeerbeerBEER!

So, I'm taking a short break from my normal correspondence themed postings to show you some pictures of my activities today: BREWING DAY!


That's right, today we brewed the Imperial Stout.


Earlier this week Clay helped me make a yeast starter.  This is it: 









A yeast starter is basically a very simple terrible beer made solely for the purpose of feeding the yeast.  We want to build up a large population of yeast because the Imperial Stout is a very alcoholic beer, so there need to be enough yeast to survive the deadly alcohol.  You don't have to make a yeast starter for every beer.


Here it is again. This is what we actually poured into the beer.  The yeast settles to the bottom and then you pour off the extra on top.  But the yeast goes into the beer last of all.










Here is one of the first steps of brewing beer:

Right now this is just the malted barley soaking in water.

Next fun step: pouring the malt extract into the brew. :-)


This is as thick as molasses. Ooooh.

We poured two of these jugs in the wort (but at different times).  Total that's 12 pounds of dark malt extract syrup.



















Then comes lots of stirring and making sure the wort doesn't boil over.



This is by no means a how-to of beer making.  I'm describing here the steps I took photos of!
There's also a lot of sanitizing and you add hops and other steps. It's not hard, but don't try to make beer by looking at this post!!

Anyway, after chilling the wort in the sink surrounded by cold water, ice and cold packs, you get to pour it in the fermenter!
In our case, a bucket.
You also add 2 gallons of water to the fermenter before you pour in the wort.
This makes five gallons total of delicious beer to be!

The you put the lid on and rock the beer back and forth to aerate it...
and this is what it looked like after that!
 This is even before we put the yeast in, so before it is fermenting at all!

Oh boy. I am so excited.  I just love the photo of Clay pouring the wort into the bucket. Dark as night!!

And now I have about four months to wait before I can drink it.
I just hope I can think of a name for it before it's ready!
Any suggestions?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Unwritten Cards?

So in the past I've received many letters in which there is an unwritten card in the envelope and inside the card is the letter on other sheets of paper.  I've always been a bit flummoxed by this. For those of you who do it, is it because the card is so pretty you can't bring yourself to write on it? Or are you just giving me a card? The fact that the card surrounds the actual letter and there is no extra envelope included makes me think that it's not just that they are giving me a card.  I had a wonderful penpal who I've sadly lost touch with who did this all the time with cards that she had handmade herself. 

Any enlightenment? Have you experienced the same thing?

Well, here is one card that I received that way, and here at least it is clear why my friend didn't write on the inside.
 It is so colorful inside and out that it would probably be difficult to read what was written if you actually wrote on it. 

So after she sent it to me with letter enclosed, I sent it back after I had sewed some pages in and made it a sort of little book.

I love sewing paper together because it's so easy compared to actual sewing and because it makes me feel so accomplished. :-)

P.S. I don't mind it when people send cards this way (I'm always happy with mail!), I just don't quite understand why they do it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Snow White

Sent & Received mail from a Snow White Mail Art Swap

Received: A Buxom Lass

 I especially like how she used an apple as the O in Snow White.

Sent:


and the back, printed image colored with colored pencils.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mail Lost in Cambridge :(

I lost this letter while walking around in Cambridge. I'm never putting mail in that outside pocket of my purse again. :-(


I can only hope that some kind soul will find it and pop it in a mailbox...

Bonnie, I'll write again, but please let me know if you get this!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Swap-bot Swap

Hello all readers who are also USA swap-bot members!
I'm hosting a new swap: Postcards You Don't Like

Do you have postcards you don't like? Here's a chance to get rid of them and maybe even find them a home with someone who does like them! For this swap, to each partner send 3 postcards that you don't like. There are 2 partners so that will be 6 postcards total. This is completely senders choice, you don't have to choose according to the recipients preferences. However, please nothing graphic for this swap.
Send them unwritten in an envelope. Postcards can be normal (4-1/4 inches by 6 inches), or be over-sized (~4 3/4 in. by 6 1/2 in.) - over-sized requires a 44 cent stamp to be sent naked in the US.
Newbies welcome. No recent unexplained 1s or 3s.

Last day to sign up is Oct. 19th.


Hopefully this way I'll be able to get rid of some postcards I've had around for quite a while. And who knows, one man's trash is another man's treasure! Maybe I'll get something I'll like.  At least it won't be the same old thing I've been staring at...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Puzzled?

I sent a handmade puzzle to my friend Kijjit.
When you put all the pieces together in the right directions...


you get this:
 the packaging:

For some reason my taste buds think that ginger only belongs in gingerbread cookies, but Clay likes these.

Sorry for the blurry photos, I don't know why I was fighting with my camera.

Here is the previous letter to my foxy friend:


I bought a book about foxes for cheap and really enjoyed this anecdote about a playful fox.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's a good thing that on the one day a week I don't get mail, there's football.
Any other football fans out there?
I'm into lots of different things.  It's interesting because I find that by liking football I have something to talk about with a whole genre of people who otherwise I wouldn't have much in common with.

Anyway, I did spend a nice amount of time today responding to letters as well as reorganizing my stationery stash.  I've moved my spring/summer stationery into the hallway cupboard and brought out my fall/Halloween cards into my desk drawer. 

I also looked through the collection of Christmas cards I've amassed.  It'll be fun to start using them pretty soon too! Oh holidays, holidays, lovely holidays.

Two boring outgoing checks... but I used the opportunity to tell the USPS how I felt about them!

Also, you may have seen a few of those horsey return address labels of mine before... well look at how many I have!!


300!
And I got them all for free!

A friend gave me a coupon for them from Staples. I was so excited. I went in and got to chose the design and everything.
I'm in my last year of my masters program here, so I may only be at this address until the end of next August... so it will be a challenge to see if I can use all of them up! Do you think I can do it?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Supplies Envy...

So CappucinoAndArtJournal is one of my favorite mail blogs. I love her style.  She recently has put up a notice for two mail art calls, one of her own and one of a friends.
Her mail art call is about mail art travel kits.  I recently participated in a swap-bot swap for mail art travel kits where you put one together for each of your two partners. I just realized that I haven't done a post about that yet!
Anyway, in her most recent post, CappucinoAndArtJournal linked to this travel kit... the travel kit of Jennie Hinchcliff, co-author of Good Mail Day (my favorite crafty book EVER) and all-around mail goddess. 
Man, I drooled over these photos of art and letter writing supplies.  And at the very end of the post, was this:

Ok, so I didn't know what it was either until I read about it.
It's a hand-held perforator!
Completely awesome!!
Ok, so yes I am a complete nerd about office supplies.
Whatever.

I have been wanting to make faux postage for the longest time, and the perforation was my stumbling block.

Recently the Letter Writers Alliance did a post on "Perforating at Home".
I'd heard about the sewing needle method before, but I left my sewing machine in Wisconsin (oh, I've missed it so) and I was not about to spend the time to do it by hand.

I had no idea that there were little handheld perforators like Jennie's! So as soon as I saw it I googled it and came up with this.
 Definitely not as cute as Jennie's ladybuggish one, but functional.  I caved and bought it. Including shipping (within the US) it came out to about $7.50.

I felt a little guilty because I made a huge stamp purchase not too long ago and I kind of felt like I'd already exceeded by mail budget, but Clay told me I shouldn't feel guilty. So I won't!
And I'm so excited about making some faux postage when it arrives! I'm not sure what exactly the perforations will look like, but it'll be fun to experiment.
I'm definitely going to try to make some Halloween faux postage since the stupid USPS doesn't make any real Halloween Postage! BOO to them! (heh heh- get it? Boo, Halloween)


Friday, October 7, 2011

Even MORE Halloween!!!

Today before I left work for the weekend I opened my desk drawer in my office and found this!!

 I have been BOO'D!
I love it! I share an office with several other teaching fellows and apparently they used to BOO people all month in October. I am going to have to get on this and make some fun BOO packages myself.  P.S. It was filled with yummy candy too!

Then I came home to a WONDERFUL mail day!!
Received this from Dana:

She included 3 awesome stickers from the National Book Festival in D.C.


AND I got the first mailing in the LWA's October RSVP mailing!!
Yes, I was one of those that shelled out for fun stuff in the mail.
By the way, I love the name of the group; RSVP stands for Royal Society of Ventursome Parcels! 

In the little orange suitcase were orange and black sequins! I'm excited about using those in a mail art project soon.

Because I love Halloween so much, one of my goals is to send all of my penpals a Halloween card or postcard this month.

Here are some great stickers I got from Trader Joe's.
I always ask for some stickers when I go and no one ever gives me a hard time about it.
One time a cashier even told me that she loved it when adults asked for stickers. :-D heeheehee

I ALSO received in the mail today my kit for brewing my first beer!!
I have a three day weekend so I'm hoping to start it this weekend.  Another post on that sometime soon!