Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear Sarah...

 Would you believe that I have not one, not TWO, but THREE pen pals named Sarah?

Well believe it, baby.  Look:

This is for the first and closest Sarah.  She sent me the Most Amazing Package last time she wrote.  And this time I didn't have any treats to send her but I did use a plastic clamshell to at least make it interesting to receive.  I remembered to snap a pic of it JUST before I slipped it into the mailbox.  I wrapped the actual letter in some other paper to keep the mailman from being able to read it.  Since part of it was about the difficulty of getting a chicken to hold still so I could practice giving it stitches, I thought that was for the best.

Sarah Red?  Totally different personality.  Also fiercely intelligent, down to earth, and a ton of fun to talk to in letters.  This time I picked a clear plastic envelope and used some paper out of a notebook to give it a nice background.  And to keep the mailman from seeing what I wrote.  Since part of it was about French beauty pageants and taking purses into football games… wait.  That's not that bad!  Next time I might just let it intrigue the people whose hands it passes through.

Sarah in the UK is the newest and bravest Sarah.  She had to write me a letter and basically knew nothing about me, so she went out on a limb to tell me a little about herself in the hopes that we would get along and I would write back.  Mission accomplished!  She left out enough intriguing details that she tweaked my curiosity and I had to find out more.  MY letter is full of nosy questions.  This one actually went out this very morning.  Strangely, the mail to and from the UK is faster than to the US.  So I'm sure I'll be hearing from her soon.

That's all I have to show you for today.  I have to go find that chicken… talk to you soon!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Something creative that ISN'T mail!

Here's an ATC (artist trading card) I made yesterday... it's a car.

(I specified that because I can't remember what kind of car it is.  Old.  I don't know.)

Pretty simple supplies: a piece of Canson artist paper, a 0.05 Copic liner pen, and three colours of Inktense pencil.  

In hindsight, I should have used a heavier paper because the water did make it buckle a little.  But eh, learning experience.  

First I sketched it out lightly in pencil; then drew it out a little better with the liner pen.  I was working from a photo in a book.

Then I started adding layers of Inktense.  I love these pencils because they behave like watercolour pencils... until they dry.  Then the colour becomes permanent.  So you can layer over it and it doesn't move!  <>  I probably came back to it ten times over the course of the afternoon, waiting for it to dry, then adding more layers.  In between I was baking sugar cookies, so all in all, a pretty pleasant day.

I'm pretty happy with the finished product.  It looks REALLY good if you take a super-quick glance, and don't start at it too long and start to notice flaws.

Okay, that's all I've got for now.  Back later.

Love Shelley!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Mail!

Nah, we don't really get mail on Sundays.  Wouldn't that be AWESOME though?!

But.  Of course you can still send mail.  All you need is to know where a handy mailbox is; and have some free time to make something.  And some extra-loud music to drown out any fighting kids who may be nearby trying to drive you bonkers by fighting non-stop and calling each other names and wanting you to referee.*

Anyway, in the urgency to escape the madness in the kitchen, I suddenly remembered that you don't have to actually use REAL ENVELOPES to send mail - you can make a mail-containing-thing out of whatever you want.  Just tape it up good** so those little holes don't get stuck in one of the mail-sorting machines, and bob's your uncle***.

I have to go now.  There's a massive mess in the garage from the honey extraction we started yesterday.  And the bees found us, so there are about 800 of them buzzing around in the driveway, and they're frankly still kind of pissed that we robbed them yesterday.  So if you know a way to politely escort them back to their hive, I'd be happy to hear it.  My plan right now is to wait until they all go home at dark, then bring the empty frames back for them to clean up.  And I'll put up a 'No Loitering' sign in the driveway too.  That should fix the problem.

Ok bye.

Love Shelley!

*Your experience may vary.
**Yes, I know.
***No, I don't know what this means, either.  But I can't ALWAYS yell "ta-daaaah!"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fancy Nancy

This afternoon I got pretty sick of working, so I busted out the el cheapo pencil crayons at my desk, and what do you know - my muse decided to join me for a few minutes!  It probably helps that I'm deliriously tired and my guard is way down.  She's sneaky; she likes to wait until I've given up on her, then she blows back into my life like a bad boyfriend fresh out of jail.  That's probably the worst metaphor I've used yet on this blog, too, so you're welcome for that.

I have a second one in the works - completely different, yet exactly the same.  (Don't ask, I'm even confusing myself right now.)

Stay tuned.

Love Shelley!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mail - Still on a roll!

Here's the one lone piece of mail that's going out today:

BRAND-NEW PEN PAL - hopefully she has a high tolerance level for silliness, because the 5-pager in this innocent-looking envelope is kind of out-there.  That's the hard part about starting a new pen-friend relationship: the one-sided delivery of enough information - in a conversational format - to intrigue them and make them want to write back; without over-sharing too much and letting them see your crazy.  Not right away, anyway!  I like to save the Real Me for at least the third letter.

Oh, who am I kidding, it probably shines through in the first paragraph.

Wait - didn't I promise something inappropriate?  Yes, I did!

Okay, so I have another relatively-new pen pal.  He* was recommended to me through another friend.  So I threw together a letter and fired it off, and sure enough, back came an equally bizarre and offensive missive.  I might have some real competition here!  Check out the rating page he sent:

I don't remember using the word "virgin" but I'm proud anyway.  Also you have to like a guy who opens with a story about his 187-lb dog's anal leakage problem.

*Yes, "he".  I haven't had a boy pen pal before, mainly because most of the dudes that are looking for pen pals are writing from prison.  But I'm, like, 90% sure this guy isn't.  In prison, that is.  I'm willing to accept that he's a dude, based on his description of his ear-hair grooming habits.

I'm going to go check the mail.  Think happy thoughts for me!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Friday's outgoing mail

Still slightly lame, but getting marginally better:

I especially like the 7cent Pierre Laporte stamp, because it's got a ton of texture on it.  I don't know if it was letterpressed or what, but it is AWESOME.  Now the stamps are smooth and plasticky, and just not as official-feeling.  Anyway, it's gone now, but at least I still have the memory of it.  (deep, nostalgic, nerdy sigh).

And this one is just a sneak peek, because otherwise it will ruin the fun for the lovely lady who's going to be receiving this in the next week or two.  Once she gets it, I'll let you see the rest.  Deal?

I didn't make as much mail this weekend as I would have liked.  Instead I kept busy making salsa and tomato soup and getting a bunch of canning done.  I was going to make pickled beets too, but thankfully SADLY the beets are tiny this year and so it wouldn't be worthwhile to go to all that trouble.  I'm still looking into canning pumpkin for holiday pies, though.

Tomorrow I might have something a bit more entertaining for you, if you don't offend easily.  If you do... maybe skip a day.  I'll be back with good clean fun later in the week.

And now... back to work!

Love Shelley!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The muse, she is elusive right now

So I'm in the mood to write letters, lots and lots of letters, but do you think I can come up with ideas to decorate the envelopes?  Nope.  I think I'm out of practice!  I could cheat and look for ideas on Pinterest, but I decided just to go with it and let my muse come back in her own good time.  She will.  She always does.  She's a good shit.

In the meantime, this is today's outgoing mail.  Not my finest work, but still better than a poke in the eye with a frozen stick.  (I like to keep everyone's expectations nice and low.)  The postcard is from SomeECards and I'm not showing you the front because it's rude.  Funny, but rude.  Plus, I have to save SOME surprises for the recipients.

What are you sending out today?  Get going!

Love Shelley

PS: Lisa, I replied to your comment.  I KNEW you'd call me out, that's why you're my favourite!  The letters are written but the envelopes are... lacking.  They'll be in tomorrow's mail.  Pinky swear.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WANTED: New Pen Pals

Okay, so you know that I love the mail, Canada Post, my delivery driver, pens, papers, envelopes, and of course postage stamps.  I delight in going to the mailbox and seeing what exciting surprises await within.  But lately, that isn't happening so much.  Instead, I'm just getting, bills, statements, newsletters, flyers... all boring grown-up stuff that's beating out the happy mail by a ratio of like, 10 to 1!

Now, I have a bunch of pen pals, some of whom I consider close personal friends; and others who are mere acquaintances but who are still fun to write to and receive mail from.  So I don't know what's going on; maybe real life is getting in the way, or maybe I'm just not everyone's cup of tea*.  The bottom line, though, is that I NEED TO TAKE ACTION.

So, I've fired off a letter to the LWA.  They're going to hook me up with a couple of random new people, to see if we hit it off.  I'll send first, introduce myself, and see what happens.  Then, hopefully, slowly, steadily, my trips to the mailbox will become the highlight of my day again.

Want to play?  Either join up and see who you get, or if you want, hit me up.  I promise to write back.

Okay, that's all for now.  I'm off to go find some trouble, and I'll report back.  Because this blog is getting bo-o-o-o-oring.  Stay tuned.

Love Shelley!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

So I cleaned up my desk...

... and I found a couple of things I'd forgotten about!  

These are just a couple of postcards I made when I was hacking around. The first one is more doodling than anything.

This second one is a little more focused, but it's still on a piece of old file folder cardboard.  It's so weird that I can't resist buying fancy art supplies, but then every little piece of trash I come across has incredible potential, and I end up using that stuff first.  Junk mail, cereal boxes, packaging, magazine images and words, (and numbers... I use a lot of numbers when I'm writing letters and marking the pages), stuff out of the newspaper, flyers; basically anything is fair game as long as it doesn't have food on it.  Dirt's okay, I've used lots of stuff I've found in parking lots and at bus stops.  But no food.  I don't want feral coyotes attacking the mailbox when I go dump my daily pile of envelopes in the outgoing.  The new mail-lady would be upset too, and I kinda need to get her on board with my mail habits, so yeah... gotta watch what I use.  Also I think all coyotes are feral so I probably didn't need to qualify that, but it sounded more descriptive, and that's how I roll.

Because of these magpie-type habits, I've realized that I don't need to keep buying actual art supplies.  In fact, I'm putting a moratorium on any more art spending for 2013.  I have more than enough STUFF and even books, and I'm going to use what I have for the rest of the year.  This is a scary resolution to make, especially for books... I freely admit I have a... problem... with books.  In fact, I keep expecting to come home and see this hanging up:

I'll still keep a running wish list though - because I'm only human, and I know I'll still WANT more.  But let's see what I can do with what I have on hand and what I come across in my daily travels.  I bet it's a LOT.  Between finishing up things I've started, and following through on ideas that have been brewing, I have a lot to get to.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, I know I will.

Love Shelley!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The mail is alive and well

This isn't super-fresh, because etiquette dictates that you make sure the recipient gets the mail before you go splashing it all over the internet for everyone else to see.  Plus it would be a spoiler if you saw your mail online before it showed up in your mailbox, right?

I just grabbed a plain white envelope and started playing.  First I collaged on some bits and pieces that looked interesting, then I think I put a coat of gesso over some of it to mute it a little.  Then the rest was pretty much all done with Inktense pencils.  They behave just like watercolour pencils when you're using them, but when they dry, the colour is permanent, hence the reference to ink in the name.  You can even go back and add new marks over top and if it's dry, the stuff underneath won't move.  The permanence is nice because you never know what's going to happen to that envelope between here and there.  If it gets soggy I don't want the address to slide right off the front, the mail people have enough challenges.

To make the lettering stand out, I gave it a white highlight with a Sharpie paint pen, and then I used a T5 toner grey copic marker to shade the grey underside of each letter.  

Then of course, stickers.  I'm all super fancy up in here!  Oh, but since stickers are considered cheating, (whatever), we'll just call it additional collage.  If you send me a letter and it has stickers on it, I promise not to judge.  Ha!  

I know it says "SECRET" but there wasn't much in there that was very incriminating.  (Or maybe there was.  I'm not telling.)

Hey, you should go send a letter.  Then you might get a letter back, and that could really make your day.  It always works for me.

Love Shelley!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dear Loren:

Okay, let's see.... this isn't the only thing I've been up to, but it's the most recent:

I'm all caught up on The Walking Dead now, and this is from the second-last episode.  It's Me'Shonne, and if she looks grim, she should: Merle is about to hand her over to the Governor, who is PISSED at her.  She poked him in the eye and now he wants to get even.  

Anyway, I was going for a certain effect with the watercolour, but it wasn't as easy as it was when I rehearsed it in my mind.  Turns out you can't just look at someone else's work, decide you want to emulate their technique and then have it turn out as nicely as theirs.  Especially when they're a professional illustrator and you're hacking around with a waterbrush in the garage.  

Okay, what else...

Oh, I organized the pantry!

I can't show you the "before" pictures - they're too shameful.  Not only was it a messy, jammed-together wreck of open packages, expired products and mysterious bags of strange food; but a bag of potatoes had gone bad in the back.  To the point where they leaked on the shelf and ruined the particleboard, plus smelled like Satan's armpit.  Sooooo, I had to replace a shelf, (housekeeper of the year over here) and put everything in proper containers and threatened the rest of the family with bodily harm if they messed up my work.  It took about 8 hours to get it from what it was, to this.  Two Hefty garbage bags to the dump, a trip to Rona and Home Outfitters for plastic bins and organizers, and a ruthless purging state of mind.  

We are also keeping bees now:

Ants attacked our hives so we put them up on tables in cans of used motor oil.  Not really environmentally friendly, but it did the trick; the ants got the message and scrammed.  Today we're extracting our wildflower honey; then in the fall we'll have canola and/or sunflower honey.  YUM.  

And now I'm going to go make something, so I have more to report next time.  Stay tuned.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Um... happy new year?

HAAA!  Is anyone else as far behind as I am?  C'mon, I can't be the only one.  

Maybe I'm still recovering from these:

I don't usually do anything for new year's but this year I went to a house party... and some bright bulb had the idea of serving these.  They are literally maraschino cherries, soaked in straight 100 proof grain alcohol.  Bleah.  SO, to kill the taste, they put a couple into a shot glass and filled it up with sambuca.  And that's how they invented a new drink called "Satan's Testicles."  I think it made my hair grow a little.

I haven't nailed down any resolutions yet but I'll keep you posted when I do.  In the meantime, here's an ATC I made.  I haven't been making much art lately (but I sense a resolution about that coming up) so I thought I better do a little something before I dry up and blow away.

That's all I've got for now.  What are your resolutions?  Inspire me!

Love Shelley!