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 Zen and the Art of… art?

I discovered probably a year ago that drawing maps, when there’s no stress and no requirement, is a very soothing activity for me.  I have some doodled maps that chart spaces that don’t yet exist in fiction and may never see paper, but they were still very fun to make.  I even plotted a journey of an unknown adventuring crew over one map!

(This may also be why I have more unfinished maps than finished ones…)

Yesterday, I discovered, or rather, perhaps, solidified, that folding-paper things also does this for me.

This is interesting, because I am a) not great at following diagrammed instructions (for a fox I made to stick in a piece of mail, T. figured it out from the directions and then showed me), and b) not great at precision at all.   Like, even the amount required to cut a perfect square is really pushing it for me.

But it’s fun.

I’ve been making scrap-paper envelopes, which are sort of barely folding-paper stuff, so I bought 3 calendars for 30 cents each at the Dollar General to play with.

And for Christmas, my friends got me The Art of the Fold, by Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol ( https://www.artofthefold.com/ ), so I’ve started working through these.

This led to me making a teeny accordion book (an inch and a half by just under three inches finished size) from one calendar page and putting little 1/3 index cards into each of the pockets, on which I wrote a rather short letter.  Since, you know, I’m still writing back replies from Month of letters. 😀

What will come next?  Stay tuned to find out!

Month of Letters / Int. Correspondence Month round-up and plans ahead

It’s March! Aaaaa!

Okay! So, in February, I:

* Sent out 26 initial letters or postcards, to which I received 6 replies, to which I’ve replied, so far, to 4, with one more almost ready to mail
(32, 6 in)
* Received 6 initial letters, to which I’ve replied, so far, to 4, with one more almost ready to mail
(32+4 = 36; 6+6=12)
* Received one reply to my reply, which I’ve replied to.
(Total: 37 out, 13 in)

I mailed out two letters already today as well, both initial.

I wrote to:
* 5 relatives, with 4 more planned
* 10 complete strangers (from Twitter and the LetterMo and InCoWriMo sites)
* People I’ve known for years
* People I only know on Discord or Mastodon
* 1 person who used to live with me
* 1 person I met through 4TheWords

And, as far as I know, I have had one piece of mail completely lost in, well, the mail.

I plan to:

  • finish my list of people-to-write-to, so if you haven’t gotten a letter yet and you asked for one, have faith!  It will get there.
  • Write back to everyone who wrote to me
  • Take the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month to write out letters to people or reply to letters I get in the meantime.
  • Finish my STAMP card eventually (LetterMo Bingo, shown below)
  • Make some envelopes
  • Keep making Letter art.

Continue reading

Sick Day

I’m home sick!  And I’m home sick with something banal!

When I woke up Saturday with a cold, I was actually excited.  There’ve been so many obnoxious “what is WRONG with me?” “Is this a symptom of something extant or is it something new?” “What did my medicine DO to me?” in the last two years that having something whose symptoms I recognized completely, something that I understood what to do about, was more than a relief; I was cheerful!

Of course, on day 4 (maybe 6) of this, I am not so bright and excited, but hey, I have been taking naps and drinking lots of fluids and husband has been making me lots of tea.  A nap in front of the fire is a pretty nice way to spend part of the day, especially with a cat asleep on my belly (That would be Merit, the one of our three who has really mastered sleeping-on-people).  Continue reading

Month of Letters and Stationery!

I’m still doing LetterMo (and InCoWriMo)!  As of today I have mailed out 22 letters/postcards/cards (with one ready to go in the mail), received 3 replies and one letter-not-a-reply, and drawn castles, maps, lava, clouds, and barns.

I’ve talked about the weather a lot, Ithaca, winter activities, and whatever else came to mind – including often the paper or card I was writing on.

And Friday and today, as a reward for finishing my work self-evaluation and then for getting the taxes done and sent, I bought a bunch of stationery.  Continue reading

Month of Letters and International Correspondence Writing Month: a Blog Post

This month — as I did 2 years ago — I am participating in A Month of Letters / International Correspondence Writing Month.

The goals of these two remarkably similar things are, respectively:

  • Mail something every day the post runs in February; reply to every letter you get.
  • handwrite a letter every day in February.

For me, this is a combination of postcards, cards, stationery (there’s a lot of print-your-own stationery available online; there’s a bunch pinned on my Pinterest page Printables (Snail Mail Love is also awesome.).), and… well, a bit of notebook paper when, uh, writing where I don’t have anything else.

Have I mentioned that I love office supplies? The hard part of LetterMo for me is not buying All The Supplies. The printable stationary helps with that, because I can just print like 2 pages and an envelope.

…I think I want to visit a stationary store.  Anyone know any good ones? Online is fine.

Back to the actual letter writing.  When I first started, I found it was tricky to write letters to people who I talked to daily online.

This time, I’ve been letting my mind wander based on the cards or the weather or… anything, really.

I find I like it.  It makes me focus on questions, which is nice.  I practice my handwriting, which sorely needs the work.  I have an excuse to buy paper things!! And fancy pens… and STAMPS! Some of the current USPS stamps are super awesome.   And then there’s mail art.

Mail art! Have you encountered mail art? OMG I love it.  Banners! Flowers! Boats! A barn! Anything you can fit an address in the middle of in vaguely the right spot.  Envelopes drawn on or printed out or made out reused paper — magazines, calendars…. Anything.

There’s a pinboard for that, too. (There’s a pinboard for everything…)

I mean, on top of all of that, there’s **getting awesome things in your mail!**  Getting letters and post-cards is *so much more awesome* than getting e-mail, although I can’t even begin to explain why.  I mean, things like mail art, inserts, pretty cards, that seriously helps, but just a handwritten letter from a friend (or typewritten; when I was in college my mom would type and print out letters and mail them to me) in the mailbox instead of just bills… awesome.

So, letterMo, InCoWriMo, they’re awesome. It’s, granted, almost halfway through the month, but you could still play along late!

And if you’d like me to send YOU a letter or local/pretty (or Grand Canyon, oops) postcard (and, as I said on Mastodon & Twitter, is there is a non-zero chance that you will write back, or if *cough* I owe you a letter anyway), e-mail me or drop me a line with your mailing address and I will do so.

 

Homeownership: The Plumbing Volume

Things I have learned that you never say, because you are simply tempting fate, Volume LIII:

Oh, I’m not worried about our pipes.  The one pipe in our house that COULD freeze was replaced when it froze years ago.

Saturday morning we woke up to a glubbing sound.

Glub-glub is not a sound you want to hear in your house, I assure you.  Continue reading

Storms and Snow Prep, a blog post

We had a storm this weekend!

I think it’s possible that, even if you didn’t live in the region hit by Harper, you’ve heard of the storm that hit this weekend.

It was one of those “the snow just keeps coming” sorts, and then, when the snow had settled down, then came the wind.  Huge gusts.

We were lucky: we didn’t lose power, we didn’t need to leave the house.  We were warm and cozy, or at least tolerably warm (Depending on which end of the house we were at).

Continue reading

Bullet Journals

(A Blog Post)

I am wrapping up my fifth bullet journal — all but the first holding 6 months each; for the first I used the back of an old notebook I’d had lying around (everyone has those, right?) as a test.

I love it.  

I mean, considering I’ve kept something up for over two years (other than writing and roleplay) pretty much consistently (not so good at tracking things on vacation), that ought to be an indicator that I really, really like it. I don’t keep up anything for that long consistently.

Continue reading

My Weekend, with Beets

Hello!

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but let’s see.

I have two major non-writing, non-work things going on in my life right now: Getting the yard ready for autumn/winter, and Finishing the $*( attic.

This weekend was mostly yard.  We dug up potatoes and beets (yes, we’re pretty sure that’s a beet).  We chopped down the horseradish and walking onions so that we can dig up the horseradish soon. (“this smells like an angry Polish soup.”)

We planted garlic!  (And hyacinths…)  We cleared out one of the back beds of weeds and planted a cover crop of oats (an experiment).  We harvested mustardseed and eggplants and peppers.
(and that beet….)

We brought the bay tree and lavender inside, the lime tree having already come inside.  We dumped some pots and cleaned them out for next year.  We trimmed back the asparagus.

(The Kale, parsley, and sage will be fine for at least another month).

We put the grill in the garage.  We bought a lawnmower.

(We bought a lawnmower!)

(WE BOUGHT A LAWNMOWER.)

At about that point, T. asked how tired I was, and I could manage about “uh-hunh.”

But now I’ve bought more garlic, I’ve bought some Liquid Nails and some spray foam, and today:  BACK TO THE ATTIC.

I mean, once I get out of work.

But hey, we got some garlic planted!!  We’ve never managed that quite on time before!

 

Blog Post: Last Weekend with Friend Visit

I had an Eseme visiting last weekend!

I hadn’t seen Eseme in five or six years (she’ll know the specifics; I just know it had been ~forever~).  So this was a very special occasion, and not just because she drove 8+ hours each way to see me (and the kitties).

(Not that it won’t be awesome if I manage to see her once a year, like we discussed!)

We greeted her on arrival Thursday night with homemade pizza and equally homemade ginger ice cream, both of which I’m rather proud of.  

Friday we let other people do the cooking — my favorite diner for breakfast/brunch, my favorite Thai place for dinner — and in between, because I live in the Finger Lakes, we went out and tasted at a winery, a distillery, and a cidery. (She drinks a whiskey drink, she drinks a winey drink; they skip the lager drink, she drinks a cider drink….)

Oh, and my favorite ice cream place.

Saturday, we spent approximately all afternoon shopping, most of that at Hobby Lobby (there’s only one in the whole state of Maine!) and then at our local ReUse center, which is similar to the Habitat for Humanity Restores ( https://www.habitat.org/restores ).  Between the two, I ended up getting, notably:

* Some Washi Tape.

(This is my new thing.  It’s endless)

(I mean… After we bought washi tape at Hobby Lobby, I went online and bought us both some at Ali Express.  Which, being Ali Express, won’t get here for like 5-30 weeks (yes weeks) so it will be a surprise when it gets here).

(for those of you going “what is this thing?”  – https://www.cutetape.com/creative/blog/2012/6/what-is-washi-tape – Although at this point, many people call anything narrow-ish and decorative and adhesive washi tape.  For instance, one of the ones I bought was a zebra-printed very thin duct tape. Definitely not of the same origins as Japanese paper.)

* Some clearance yarn (of course) and knitting needles.

* a frame for a mini I bought from @Fax

And then from the ReUse Center, another frame (later spray-painted black for my postcard from Antartica), a Holly Hobby plate for Merit (long story, but that’s a cat), and some more knitting needles.

So all in all I’d call that a win for a shopping trip..

We hit the Commons – this is something Ithaca is known for, an area of two blocks long that has been blocked off to car traffic and is just for walking and shopping.  We had a blast there, too (I believe Eseme got a tiny dragon or two and I got some vinegar) and then bac home for dinner and s’mores. (With a pipe torch!)

Phew!

All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful trip!  I sent Eseme home Sunday morning with a good breakfast, and I hope I get to see her again soon.

In the meantime, I can always mail her more washi tape…