My lovely Liebster Award nominees!

Some time back Shannon and nazymidget nominated me for the Leibster award.My response to their questions and the rules can be found over here.

First a quick disclaimer – the rules say you should pick blogs with less than 200 followers, but I have no idea how to figure out number of followers for people not on wordpress, so I’ve gone with Bloglovin’ figures. This has also shown me just how terrible I am at engaging with other bloggers, especially those in the start up phase (ergo a little cheating below). Trying to decide on who to pick has made me follow new blogs – one of which is nominated here.¬†Now onto the fun bit…

And the nominees are….

1) A Problem of Sobriquets

This blog is a wonderful mixture of all things creative: be prepared for anything from snail mail to planners to mixed media collage and drawings. I may personally have a thing for Bari’s parakeet drawings especially, but let’s not elaborate further on that particular obsession.

2) Dactyl Life

Look no further for excellent mail art! This girl is seriously on it with the more collage style of happy mail, which I never quite seem to be able to accomplish myself. Mailart envy!

3) Snail Mail Love

I’m¬†definitely¬†stretching the rules with this one [looking just on bloglovin’ it’s 204 followers], but since it’s one of my favourite blogs I’m just going to go ahead and include it anyway. Fab puts together wonderful bits of mail and just everyday inspiration. She’s also the person behind¬†SPSH, for those of you wanting to try it out in the future! Fab¬†also has a bunch of freebies for download, so you’ll want to check that out!

4) Petite Blasa

This is a blog I just recently stumbled across, and since I can’t read Spanish I ¬†don’t really have much of an idea what it says. But this girl takes really great pictures of all the crafty stuff she makes, and they themselves say enough that even following the DIYs becomes possible. Most of the inspiration is in the visuals for me anyway.

5) A little bit kinder

This blog’s a little different from the rest, depicting more general life than it’s about a specific hobby. Nonetheless, Christie is an absolute sweetheart and you should all go give her a shout.

Questions

1) Why did you start blogging?
2) Which book had been the most influential in your life?
3) What’s the most interesting thing that happened to you this last month?
4) Which is your favourite mythical creature?
5)¬†What’s your dream travel destination and why?
6) Best movie to watch as Spring descends upon us?
7) Dream career when you were six?
8) Biggest adventure you’ve ever gone on?
9) Fictional world you’d like to move to?
10) Hobby that’s currently taking up the most of your time?
11) Best recipe for a Sunday brunch dish?

I hope you all enjoy playing along!

May the postman deliver ever in your favour,
x Alex.

I’ve been nominated for a Leibster Award!


A¬†few days ago I was checking my notifications and saw that two wonderful people had nominated me for the Leibster Award – but due to deadlines I was too bogged down to appropriately show my appreciation.¬†Finally¬†I can now take the time out to properly thank Shannon¬†and nazymidget¬†for nominating me! For those of you who are not familiar with the Liebster Award, it is an award given to Bloggers, from Bloggers. To receive an award, you should have less than 200 followers and the goal is to help small blogs you like get discovered. It’s a¬†sweet gesture and all around kind of awesome, if you ask me.

The Rules

  1. Mention the person who nominated you on your own blog and link them.
  2. Answer the 11 questions chosen by the person who nominated you
  3. Nominate 5 to 11 more blogs you like who have less than 200 followers
  4. Create your 11 questions
  5. Let your nominees know!

The Questions

Because of the double nomination I ended up with a lot of questions, so I decided to pick my favourites from the both of you – I hope you guys don’t mind!

1) What  pushed you to start blogging? Why do you blog? 
I put these two questions together because the reasoning is the same. I started blogging about my snail mail because before I started I spent weeks looking at other people’s incoming and outgoing letters. I looked at their¬†mail art for inspiration, and that’s what finally got me involved in the snail mailing community. Now¬†I wanted to contribute to the wealth of inspiration¬†that other people have put out there.

2) Who is your fictional character crush?
Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t been reading any books lately, or¬†that this seasons TV shows are shockingly disappointing, but I currently don’t have a fictional crush. My most recent fictional crush was Stiles from Teen Wolf. I identify strongly with that guy. And Castiel¬†is a forever love.

3) All-time favorite movie and why?
The Princess Bride (1987) is my go to favourite movie ever. I’m not sure why exactly it’s my unrivaled favourite – perhaps it’s the fact it’s profoundly ¬†hilarious and absolutely quotable, perhaps it’s just the idea of a fairytale satire. Either way, you should all watch it ASAP.

4) What is your favorite comfort food?
Either great vanilla icecream with only half-baked mudcake batter. Or, if we’re going for something more food-like, the homemade mac and cheese I made a few time in second year of uni but sadly haven’t made since.

5) What would your weapon of choice be in a zombie apocalypse?
Assuming I knew how to use it, and also knew how to make arrows – then totally bow and arrow. Accurate, quiet, and depending on sizes and stiffness can be used for a variety of distances.

6) Which fictional world would you want to live in?
The wonderful world of Harry Potter is definitely high on the list. Preferably during a non-dictatorship period, say, post-Voldemort. How amazing wouldn’t it be to be able to do magic and encounter strange creatures and all the like?

7) What item would you run back for if your house was on fire? (Safely assume that all humans and pets are safe)
My Finance 2 book, to remind me that I’ve been through worse.

No, but seriously, this is a really hard one, because for the life of me I can’t think of anything at my current place of residence that I would risk my life to retain.¬†Most of my sentimental mementos aren’t in my flat, and all my photos and files are backed-up on the cloud. I wouldn’t risk my life for my clothes (not even my stunning DVF dress..) or craft materials (even though I love the desktop edition PL cards). Maybe I’d grab my favourite planners and a box of washi, if they were close to the door.

8) If you could put 5 things from your home into a time capsule today, what would they be?

  • A month or two of decorated filofax inserts, with everything I’ve been up to.
  • 3 very long letters to my future self, including pictures and stories behind them.
  • Printed print screens of some of my most used social media sites and blog stats page.
  • A mix tape of all the songs I’m currently listening to.
  • Year-end National Geographic (Year in Pictures Edition).

9) What is your all time favourite book?
My all time favourite book isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it’s the one that had the biggest impact on me when I read it. I’m talking about¬†The Perks of Being a Wallflower¬†and the first time I finished it I felt genuinely different. Like all the things I’d always known and never quite been able to put my finger on had suddenly become real. To me, on a very personal level, it changed everything and nothing all at once and it’s been precious to me since.

10) What do you do to relax?
Bake some cookies or cake, start a TV show marathon, grab a bunch of craft supplies, and either scrap or write letters while watching. Creativeness always makes me unwind from the academic stress in my life.

11) Do you prefer the country or the city?
I like a mix of both, but since that’s a cop out answer I’m going to go with city – it just works better with what I want from my life right now.

12) What is the most adventurous thing you ever did?
Last year during my exchange at Cornell in the US I received an email from the international listserve wondering if there was anyone willing to perform at a start-up school festival at a university in Chengdu, China – all expenses paid. I emailed back, saying I was interested, and after a few email back and forth it had all been arranged – I hadn’t met anyone, never mind been auditioned, but I did have tickets to fly alone to China. When I got there I was treated like the biggest VIP superstar. I went to the same restaurant Michelle Obama had gone to on her official visit, I was bought gifts, I was interviewed by some local papers and TV (I use local broadly, Chengdu is China’s third most populous city). What really makes this an adventure is the fact that the concert I performed at wasn’t in front of the 600 or so people I was expecting. It was a crowd of over 3000 people, on a n almost 15m wide stage. If you need help visualizing that, here’s a picture of the crowd, and one of me on stage.

And here’s about half the audience.
Hey look, it’s me!

13) How did you come about one of the hobbies you blog about?
I came across the happy mail variety of letters one day during a particularly extensive Pinteresting session. From there I started looking for all the pins and then all the blogs and then gradually joining various online groups. After using Swapbot for a few months I found a few more permanent penpals, and then started to blog about it and connect with the Instagram community. It’s no more exciting than that, I’m afraid.

14) What is your favourite word?
My favourite word changes quite frequently, but I’ve always had a soft spot for words that sound and feel like exactly what they mean.
Right now I’m quite fond of ‘meridian’.

My nominations Рand questions for them Рwill be up on the blog tomorrow! 

May the postman deliver ever in your favour, x Alex.

Incoming Acts of Kindness

Today I’m sharing some incoming mail with you – two are Random Acts of Kindness and the third a Pay it Forward.

The first is a RAK I received quite some time ago, but never said thank you for properly because of my crazy schedule at the time. But this happy collection of vintage ephemera and other bits and bobs is from omnivoracious – her IG feed is gorgeous, and¬†if¬†you check it out give her a shout and let her know who sent you ūüôā

My favourite was the card with an actual pressed flower on it – so pretty!

The second RAK was a bit of Surprise Mail from a girl on The Postal Society, Tania. Surprise Mail is pretty much what it sounds like, a list of addresses that people from time to time will select randomly from and send something fun to. All you have to do to get on the list is be active on The Postal Society for a while and ask for the password.

Last, but not least, here is the Pay it Forward that I received from ara_esp. I really love most of her creations, she’s got a fantastic way with pastels and layering that I’m profoundly envious of. She also has an etsy shop, in which she sells envelopes, cute planner clips and more.

Thank you again, all you lovely ladies that sent me super cute things!

May the postman deliver ever in your favour,
x Alex.

Secret Penpal Scavenger Hunt 2015: Outgoing

It’s the day after reveal day! Which means I’d like to share the packagee I sent out with you guys.

I had so much fun participating in this year’s Secret Penpal Scavenger Hunt and putting together a little package of goodness. For other people’s reveals, take a look at the #SPSH2015 hashtag on Instagram!

I’ve split my reveal into two posts – one containing my own outgoing parcel and one with the incoming parcel. For my incoming, please take a look over here!

My outgoing was heading to head honcho Fab herself, and I’m really hoping she liked it! I should probably warn you right now that this is a very long and picture heavy post, but I had too much fun putting the package together to rein myself in.

One of the things Fab had stated that she liked was teal, so I focused on that for the decoration of the different parcels mixing it up with some bright green and my own favourite neutrals. And a lot of string, you know how I love to wrap things in string.

  

The first thing I decided I was going to include from the list was the Bad Day Survival Kit¬†– I’ve always liked putting together small packages like this for my friends. This time it was a little harder, since I didn’t really know what Fab likes to do on a bad day. So instead I reverted back to what I like to do to make a bad day better: I like to hide away in my room with a good, preferably funny movie, some home made cookies and a warm cup of tea.

I designed a handful of mini-zines with some of my favourite funny movies that are profoundly quotable. The zines all contained why I thought the movie was a good bet, and some fun subtitled screen caps and quotes.

And of course tea for two, since most bad days are better with friends.

The next thing to get gathered and packed up was the Postal Freaks Kit, or in this particular case an Airmail themed letter writing kit.

I included some air mail envelopes, address labels and stickers, and a sheet of Royal Mail air mail labels. I’d also saved an old cover for first class stamps, and turned that into a small booklet where I told her a little about Royal Mail and some of my opinions relating to it, with two small unused vintage definitive stamps.

I wrapped it up in double string, so that she should have enough of it to do the same for two parcels going into those envelopes. By now, you probably know how much I love to have everything be matching a theme…

My third component was Something that represents me.

I decided to include some pretty stationery with to do lists printed onto them. I’m crazy when it comes to lists, I keep making them all the time. It’s the only way I get anything done, and if I don’t have a to do list I forget half the things I need to get done. If I’ve just written my list, I don’t even necessarily have to look at it to remember – something about writing it makes it stick for me.

I also threw in a “Choose Happiness” journal card, since I feel this represents me more and more. I’m less willing to accept anything but happiness, and I make conscious choices to bring more of it into my life. On the back is a quote that’s helped me through inevitable rough spots in life: “In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

For the¬†Something oddly shaped prompt I included an embroidered patch that I’d made.

Since I know Fab likes letters, I went with that theme. The patches are really versatile, and can be either sown onto any fabric, or just attached with a safety pin. One girl I talked to said she was going to put hers as a charm on her Midori closing strap.

My final thing of the list was¬†Something old-fashioned. I got too excited wrapping it up before I’d taken pictures, but I included two envelopes with bits and bobs. On one I’d stamped “Actually Old”, in that one I’d added a number of vintage cigarette cards depicting a variety of different things – including some really old-school inventions. On the other I’d stamped “Fake Old”, and in that were some bits of reproduced vintage ephemera.

Lastly, there was The Gift, selected especially for her with listed preferences in mind. I looked through a number of local shops, but nothing really stood out to me, and the few things that did were out of my budget. Coming up on the final day for send off, I was actually getting a little nervous. In the end, I decided to put together a filofax decoration kit with a bunch of things from my stash Рnot a bought gift, I admit, but one that was far more personalized to her listed preferences and definitely over the spending limit.

Fab had stated that she like pale yellow and teal, so I scoured my collection for things in those colours. She also said she was using a filofax, and after some stalking I found out it was a pocket size. I’ve seen some¬†people use PL cards as dashboards in those on IG – I only use larger planner sizes, so I couldn’t test it out.

In the kit I included: PL Journalling cards, Washi tape samples, Sticky notes, some of them from Knock Knock, a variety of die cuts for decorating purposes, some paper clips and a PL folder.

And that was it!

My the postman deliver ever in your  favour,
x Alex.

Secret Penpal Scavenger Hunt 2015: Incoming

It’s reveal day! And I was lucky enough to receive my package just before the big day, and it was looking gorgeous.

A few times now,  Fab of wreckthisgirl fame has organized the Secret Penpal Scavenger Hunt. This time around I was lucky enough to both know about it and have some extra time on my hands to participate.

I’ve split my reveal into two posts – one containing my own outgoing and one with the incoming parcel. My outgoing post will be published tomorrow!

Now let’s get on to the fun part. My no-longer-secret penpal was Lorraine Bell, a mixed media artist from Florida. She sent me a ton of goodies, and I’m so happy about the box I received! Everything was elegantly¬†wrapped in cute kraft based paper bags or fabric pouches.¬†

There was also this large tissue paper wrapped package.

Having fulfilled my photo-taking duties I felt free to dig into each of the small packages, all of which were filled with some lovely surprises.

I first opened the big tissue wrapped package – unlike when I was a kid, I don’t always feel obliged to keep the biggest gifts¬†for last. The package contained¬† Souvenirs from where she lives¬†and it was a lovely little set of things – a cap, a shot glass, some post cards and a mickey mouse key ring.

Next up was the¬†Gift just for me, and Lorraine managed to grab just the right IKEA tags. I’ve been wanting to get more of them, and these were exactly the ones I didn’t already have.

For the prompt Something that represents me she sent some stickers and¬†cards with her art on it. Isn’t it all so colourful and lovely? The paper clip has such a fun texture to it.

Lorraine also threw in some of her favourite candies. I’ve never tried this type before, but I’m excited to do so later. I always think it’s a blast to try the candy from other countries, and this seems to be an old classic type.

Next I reached for the canvas pouch, curious about what the Some quirky things tag might be referring to. Inside was a fun mix of things: Matroschka doll pen, glittery nail polish, target dollar spot page flags (yes!), thin duct tape, and a stamp.

There was also this unlabelled muslin bag which had been sown together. Those who know me know I’m a curious and stubborn person by nature. The bag itself was lovely, and I didn’t want to cut it open, but I¬†don’t have access to a seam ripper in my university halls. So I grabbed a scissor and a needle and started at it. My flatmate spent the entire time laughing at me, but I was very satisfied when I got the bag open! Inside was a package of mixed media¬†paper bases, a notebook, some ribbon and perhaps most fun of all, a vintage grapho analysis book. I’m definitely looking forward to reading about the study of handwriting.

Last, but the very opposite of least, was the¬†Some mailing supplies¬†bag. I know you shouldn’t play favourites, but I loved absolutely everything in here – it was perfectly collected just for me. Four for you, Lorraine! Inside were cards, vintage stamps, sticky note labels, personalized tags, chalkboard labels, and my personal favourite super cute library style card holders.

Thank you so much Lorraine for your package, it was a blast to have you as my secret penpal. The gifts you sent me were wonderful, and I’m sure I’ll find a lot of use for them – if I can bring myself to stop hoarding, that is! ūüėČ

Lastly, here are some pictures of my favourites in the package,just because I got all excited opening it!

And a close-up of that Hungarian vintage stamp, just because it’s so gorgeous!

Winter mail to Canada

I got a penpal request from this lovely lady on Instagram a while back, and her starter was in the giant pile of mail waiting for me when I got back from Christmas break. Now that I’ve received her reply (and thus know she received this) I can share! I wanted to make her a little booklet letter, inspired as I was by the lovely mixed media booklet that she’d sent me.

For the front of the booklet I used a vintage repro winter card with a snowman, as we’d finally been getting some snow around here when I put this little thing together. The colour scheme was a little all over the place, but with a focus on icy blues and cold greens, with¬†lots and lots of gold pens and washi. Overall this booklet is a lot ‘rougher’ than the other ones I’ve made, and it was fun playing around with that style.

As always when I make a booklet, I try to make it feel interesting by having mismatched levels and things that overlap – generally speaking, no two corners should match! Below are some of the pages from the booklet.

As a final small touch, I played around a little with the envelope. Instead of a normal envelope (or my usual candy bags) I put all the details straight onto the booklet and stuck it into a see-through bag. Nothing but the stamps on the outside!

May the postman deliver ever in your favour,
x Alex.