Slow Saturday and my happy mailbox

It’s not even 8pm yet and I’m here in bed, typing away and yes, getting ready to turn in.  It’s surprisingly a very relaxed Saturday evening.  We grabbed burgers from our favorite Bobby’ Burger Palace before heading home, so I was spared the task of whipping something up for dinner tonight.  We even had my mother-in-law taken cared of thanks to lunch at PF Chang’s.

So I’ve tidied up, and while I could be doing yet a last errand before turning in, I’m here trying to wind down.  Not quite done yet, and hoping to get started on some long-term swaps at Swap-bot.com.

I just sent off two mail art envelopes I’m rather proud of but which I don’t want to post yet because I don’t want to pre-empt the surprise.  I took a sturdy envelope and collaged it all over as the theme for this particular swap was Collage Mail Art.  I’m really beginning to like mail art which is not as high-pressure as ATCs and which is more practical in terms of expectation.  I try to do something in line with the recipient’s profile on the swap site, then I add a few elements that relate to mine, which is usually something in reference to New York.  I will wait a few days until the recipients get theirs — might be a while longer, since one headed towards Chicago, and another for Australia.

I haven’t done my “Five Things to do this Weekend” list for two weeks now because life has been awfully busy thanks to work.  I’m looking forward to things easing up a bit the next two weeks, but Monday promises to be a chaotic day.  I usually go through a lot of motions sending off the boss to some foreign land, making sure all arrangements are taken cared of (done), all data required is gathered by his Chief of Staff (presumably done), and that an itinerary is pulled together for the trip.

For the first time, I was pre-empted by someone working for the Chief of Staff who had committed to do the itinerary, and I was more than happy to let the task go to someone else because we’ve really been very busy with a slew of other things that were  equally if not more important than the painstaking task of covering every facet of the trip.  With stops in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Delhi, I could use all the help I could get.  So I was rather taken aback but not totally surprised that there was a misunderstanding about the itinerary.  They were only taking care of the Tokyo leg, with no information at all on the rest of the trip.  I had no choice but to take over.

I guess the slow weekend is a God-send because it will help me prepare for the week ahead.  I’ve done it before, it will be done, but I hate the stress of having to do something I could’ve started last week and refined in the succeeding days in one day.  But that’s life.

I’m not rushing to complete any other swaps except for one which should be a breeze.  I have a couple of chores which I can easily handle tomorrow.  More letters to write, hand washing to be done, and a piece or two to sew.  I am reminded yet again that I have a fully-functioning electronic sewing machine in the attic.  Although I’m not too sure it still works as it might need oiling after practically more than 12 years of non-use, it’s a pity that it’s sitting there gathering dust.  The truth of the matter is that my art gurus are into sewing paper — yes, paper — and adventurous crafter that I am, why not?  It’ll have to wait another day.

I just sent off this card today which was inspired by the artwork of Nicoletta Ceccoli.  Her art is rather unusual and dark, but the colors and the soft lines mesmerized me.  I’m hooked.

Printing the graphic on thin kraft paper also lends it a softening touch.

Handmade card by Gotham Chick

The kraft paper I used here was rather thin that it crinkled when I pasted it with mod podge onto the main card.  I left it at that.  I also used two coats to “seal” the collage including the simple word art.  I like the way glossy mod podge gives a linen-like finish to the surface giving it a soft gloss that seals the work flat.

I’ve also experimented on printing straight onto newsprint — as in literally onto a sheet folded to size from a newspaper (my printer has regular paper limitations, unfortunately, ) and the result has been magical.  It seems to ‘magnetize’ the paper, though and makes it initially difficult to handle, but it gives a glossy sheen much like what we see in glossy magazines.  (I had always thought that it was because magazines were printed on glossy paper, which is the case — but it produced the same effect when I printed straight onto newsprint.)  My next batch of mail art used this printed newsprint but again, I cannot as yet post any samples until they have reached their intended destination.  I plan to do this with my personal photography which should make for some interesting compositions.

Meanwhile, here is the mail art I received from my partner, Roxanne (roxswapbot).

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 1 (Front, uncovered)

The “envelope” she used was quite a “teaser” because she had used a soft plastic CD case, giving us a peek into what was inside.  My interest was immediately piqued by the very revealing packaging.

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 2 (Back, unopened)

The packaging was very playful and I didn’t want to just open it although I was dying to see the contents within.  I waited patiently for the chance to be able to do it when I could photograph it as the little presents within were revealed to me.

Here are some close up details of the outer packaging before I opened it:

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 3 (Close up of removable sticker at the back)

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 4 (Detail in front)

She had used tape extensively, so I knew that once I opened there would be no putting it back together again.  So what was inside?  Have a look:

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 5 - metal alpha

My name spelled out in a very unusual metal die-cut alpha.  That alone made me happy already.  And there was that turqoise-tissue wrapped teeny-weenie package… what could possibly be in it?

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 6 - first package within uncovered

Ta-da!  Inside were two pewter charms of a pair of dice.. (Someone read my profile extensively!)  So next I opened the tiny envelope which revealed a mini-treasure trove of its own..  More goodies!

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 7 - Envelope within

And she could’ve stopped with the metal beads!  Yet another package…
Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 8 - tiny package within upclose

And inside was yet another present —

Mail Art: Sender's Choice from Roxanne 9 - another charm within

This unique charm of a token-like charm with a cupcake imprint that said  “good for one Birthday Wish”.  (Closing my eyes to make that wish now even if it wasn’t until April!)

Happiness.. you can see that she had put together a truly well thought-out package for her partner… and I can only imagine what the second of two partners had received.  But I have no cause to be envious because I got quite a present.

I am often tempted to feature the items I receive in the swaps, but I’m afraid to start a precedent which might lead to other senders feeling bad if I don’t post their items here.  I am often pressed for time posting my own work — and that would give me a major backlog given the swaps I’m in.  This was an exception because I learned a lot from what Roxanne had put into my envelope and because it was truly a delight opening each “layer” of the package.

We usually rate with a 5 and a heart for such outstanding swaps like this one, but I would’ve wanted to rate her with a dozen hearts but I can’t.  The least I could do was share the joy here in my little corner because joy indeed, is what she had brought me.

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