Friday, April 20, 2018

Mail, Tomatoes, Poems :)

This has been a great mail week!  


The mysterious postcard from North Carolina at the top above was fun because I have no idea who sent it.  Is the "L" for the first or last name? There is really no hint at all and no return address--so I can't mail a reply!  But it is addressed to Jenny Claire which is what my my father used to call me and what my grands still call me.   I checked with the Lamkins, but not them.  Curiouser and curiouser.  

On the back of Teresa's envelope, she included a pic of ratatouille and a poem she wrote with the lovely line "okra chortle a ruffled message in their pods" -- that makes me smile!

Here is the postcard TES enclosed with an excerpt from a poem.

 the other side...
this poem makes my mouth water

An anthology of poetry in which there is a tomato in every poem!  If ever a vegetable deserved an anthology all its own, it is the tomato.

I didn't move the pot with the cherry tomatoes on to the shelter of the patio when we had a really cold morning.  I meant to.  I knew I should.  I forgot.  So damage to the leaves and the flowers that hadn't set, these little guys were OK.

If there is anything I love more than juicy, ripe tomatoes, it is fried green tomatoes.  Cherry tomatoes won't do for that, so when they ripen they go into salads.

I used to collect poems on various subjects for comparison, just to show students different ways to approach a topic not normally thought poetry worthy.  It started with poems by Plath and Hughes, but then I was amazed at how many famous poets had written poems about pigs.  Here are a few of the ones I collected.  

Sylvia Plath -- The Sow
Ted Hughes -- View of a Pig
Claude McKay -- If We Must Die
Denise Levertov -- Her Secret
Galway Kinnel -- St. Francis and the Sow

P.S.  "L" if you will email me your address, I will send you a postcard back!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More Snail Mail Ideas for National Letter Writing Month

*  This is one of my favorites:  Penny Berens keeps in touch with her young grandchildren by drawing scenes and characters they might enjoy; when her grandchildren get the letters, they can color them in--a fine collaboration!  Check the link to see!

*Writing letters can be a solitary activity, but it doesn't have to be:
Kimberly Ah likes to party.  :)  Halloween Mail Art PartyBirthday Mail Art Party
Pamela Gerard at Cappuccino and Art attends regular mail art gatherings.
         Letter Writing/Correspondence Clubs  

All of the above look like fun!  
Letters, good company, shared supplies,
ideas, and techniques.  :)

 *Print a photograph and add to an envelope or postcard.   

In 2016, when my little brother (Ha!) was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame,
I printed an old pic of the two of us for the envelope.  I was actually
bigger than Steve at that point, although he is two years younger.  It
didn't take him long to outgrow me.  An old basketball stamp was perfect.

*Use pages from old books.  Tutorial

*Paste stickers and/or use rubber stamps on a plain envelope.  Connie does such a wonderful job with her envelopes and her beautiful brush pen addresses.

Another one I liked was #13--
"Finish a Conversation."
quote on back

post card to Teresa

Oh, dear!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gardens, Mail, Mushrooms

Another day trip to Blue Moon Gardens.  Texas highways are in better shape than ours and the wildflowers are gorgeous, lots of Indian Paintbrush and Queen Ann's Lace and Black-eyed Susans and others cover the median and the sides of the highway.  No bluebonnets that we saw, but I'd love to take one of the driving trips to see the wildflowers in Rusk County: 

Peak season is coming up!

We got another Japanese Maple, milkweed plants, a firecracker plant, daylilies, prostrate rosmary, some sedum, more basil, orange mint, lantana.  Some were chosen for their attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds--others, just because I like them.

Our new Orangeola Laceleaf Maple!
Where will it end up.
Right now it is in the middle of our path, 
and I'm having to side-step around it.

 I love Fountain Grass, but "Fireworks" is a new favorite.
I planted this one in a big pot, but now, I'm rethinking that and may move it today.

Having to reconfigure the garden now that the birches (with their wonderful shade) are gone.  Lots more thinking needed and more backaches in the future.

Outgoing Mail

I found the perfect stamp in my stash to go with the excerpt from the poem I used on this envelope.  Mila likes Sylvia Plath, and so do I, but the best known of Plath's poems are pretty dark.  April Aubade has such lovely imagery--I wish Plath had had more of these lighter moments.

 I used this from the stamp sheet on the back

I wanted to use the dinosaur stamps and found a poem about dinosaurs that I thought Max might appreciate--especially the second verse on the back.  When I read the last two lines, I laughed out loud!

And an excerpt from a cat poem for Bryce Eleanor and Prim Paws.

"Arabelle is a calico kitten . . .
helping Grandmother tend to her knittin'.
Over and over, 'round and around,
in skeins of bright yarn Arabelle's wound."


Rain predicted for the weekend, so time to get back to the garden!

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Snail Mail


from Anna

 from Teresa


to Anna
(another Jackie Long inspired scrappy girl)

 back-- trying to work something about poetry in somewhere,
 and I love the quote by Gwendolyn Brooks.

to Hannah

Have you ever written to a celebrity or an author?  I've never have, but I know that many authors and celebrities will write back.  Some do it personally like children's author James Preller; some rely on assistants or publishers.

This a link to some replies from celebrities to thrilled fans.

Atlas Obscura wants to knowDid Your Childhood Hero Ever Write You Back?

More Ideas and a Tutorial for Fun Envelopes:
(In keeping with National Letter Writing Month) 

*Take some pretty paper and make an envelope by folding it and using double-sided tape or washi tape to secure the sides or use an old envelope for a template.  Tutorial

*Scribbling Glue always makes fun envelopes from illustrations in children's books. :)

*Annie (Freezeframe) makes delicious postcards. I received this one last year and love the use of the old card catalog entry!

Monday, April 02, 2018


Well, the birch trees came down on Saturday, and I miss them.  I know they had to go, but it hurts to see the loss of shade and interest.  

Besides being National Card and Letter Writing Month, April is also National Poetry Month.  For the last two years I've included lines or entire poems when sending mail.  The plan is to do some of the same this year.   

from Connie


Another Mushroom

More Ideas for DIY envelopes:

*Use old calendars to make envelopes.  Homespun Seasonal Living has a great tutorial.
Homespun Seasonal Living

*Use an old map.  Although I have used paper maps,
 I made this one last year from fabric with a pretty map, 
heavily starched it, and sewed up the sides.

Don't want to make your own postcards?  
Amazon has packs of postcards that are so much fun!  
Travel?  Vintage?  Fairies?  Circus?  Quotes?
These vintage Cosmopolitan covers are so cool!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


The Japanese Maple in the back; leaves catching the late afternoon sun.

I bought 3 Kangaroo Paws which I like because they are so unusual.
 And columbines

I can't plant them yet because we are going to have some too-tall birch trees taken down first.   Every time the tree guys are scheduled, it things are moving slowly.  It is frustrating, but there is plenty of other stuff to do in the meantime.  

The problem is that right now that in this time of wonderful temperatures, there is also so much pollen.  I weed for a while, do several outdoor chores, clean the patio is short segments because of sneezing and itchy eyes.  My eyelids swell, and I get sleepy.  Allergies become a bigger problem each year.  Yesterday, I came in and tried to read, but ended up taking a nap!

This morning it is raining.  Washing some of that pollen away!


postcard to Mila

 to Max


Two ARCs from NetGalley that I've enjoyed recently and need to review on my book blog.


Monday, March 19, 2018

National Letter Writing Month and Fairy Rings

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month 

I like to send and receive personal mail and have participated in several challenges in the past, but now my goal is simply to send as much mail as I feel like--no more, no less.  The "feel like" varies from week to week and month to month.  :)   April may see more mail making its journey, although I won't participate in a challenge.

If you don't usually send personal mail and want to get involved with snail mail in April, 
here are a few things you can do to prepare:

*Create a stash of new stationery, cards, postcards to make things easier.  So much beautiful stationery is available in stores or online, so many funny cards.  You can buy or DIY.  Over the years, I have collected many cards and postcards I couldn't resist.  Sometimes, I couldn't commit to sending them because I liked them so much. 

*Check out pretty stamps and purchase enough to send a few letters or a lot of letters.

*Make a list of who you might write--with their addresses.  Parents, children, siblings, friends.  A niece or nephew or friend's kid.  Someone who has a birthday, graduation, or new baby.  Teacher, co-worker.  Senator, Congressman.  And you can always write me!

*Letters don't have to be long; a note that lets someone know you are thinking about them will be appreciated.  Include a cartoon or a joke, a quote, a funny list if you like.  Suggest a recent movie or book you enjoyed.  Sometimes all I do on a postcard is include a quote or a stamped image on the address side and a "Hi!"

One of my favorite sources of mail art inspiration, Jacki Long, sends "thank you" postcards with a collage on the back to folks who take her classes, which eliminates having to think of anything to say!  I've done this several times with postcards to the grands.  (A picture, a stamped image, or a cartoon or a joke work as well.)

I owe some mail to folks and have been working on some postcards, just to let them know I haven't forgotten them and to have some extras for later.

I like DIY.  I have a kindergarten mentality.  

Here are some postcard backs I played with yesterday.  I cut cardstock to postcard size or use index cards and then tear up junk mail, those catalogs that keep arriving each month before making their way into the trash, and other bits and bobs of pretty paper, maps, etc.  I apply some stamps and leave room for the address.

DIY postcard backs

I'd like to say this is quick and easy.  And it is, if you don't count the time cleaning sticky fingers!  How so much of my glue stick ends up on me is a curious thing.

And look what I found in the garden this morning:  a fairy ring!