Beautiful, creative, generous, heartwarming incoming mail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It's time - long overdue - to do a bit of show-and-tell with some of the SERIOUSLY GENEROUS snail-mail that has been filling my letterbox of late. Each and every one of these letters and postcards completely made my day. Every time (every single time!) I find a personal letter or card in the letterbox, it puts a big smile on my face, and a very special tingle of anticipation as I wait to open it. That's one of the main reasons why I love snail mail so much: it's so personal, you can see the person's handwriting, their drawings, paintings, pastings, and gain so much insight into their lives and thoughts than words alone could share. A big, heartfelt thank-you to everyone here (and to the other gorgeous letter-writers, whose beautiful mail I haven't yet had time to photograph).

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∧∧ Zoya sent me a wonderful, heartwarming letter about her world, and made these amazing gifts for me and the kids. I have been admiring the watercolour paintings on her blog Step, Skip, Pause and on Instagram for a long time, and can't believe I'm now the owner of something so beautiful! Take a look at those seriously adorable crocheted veggies! They were presents for my children, who absolutely LOVE them. Ralph carries them around in his mouth (good one, kid), and Scout has found them perfect for the little play kitchen she got for her birthday. Zoya, I owe you a proper, hand-written, heart-felt thank you in the mail. It's coming soon!

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∧∧ This rainy-day envelope from Ally is about as pretty as it gets, and it brought genuine sunshine to my day when it arrived in my letterbox. And then when I opened the letter, it literally rained beautiful, thoughtful paper ephemera. It was a bonanza of beautiful, thoughtful things. In her letter Ally said she wasn't particularly artistic but, looking at this collection and at the amazing mail art, I beg to differ! Don't you? You can see beautiful images from Ally's world on her Instagram feed, and I highly recommend her blog Everyday Miracles.

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∧∧ This hand-coloured springtime field of flowers postcard from Jen was exactly what the doctor ordered on a rainy, icy Melbourne winter's afternoon. I was so touched at the time Jen had taken not only to write to me all the way from Oregon, USA, but also to so beautifully colour this piece of mail-art.

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∧∧ I loved the rainbow drawn across this envelope from Bek of Just For Daisy and, after I opened it, the rainbow contents brightened my day. How sweet is Bek's idea of drawing on little paint cards? I am definitely going to try that myself! Her letter was so sweet, and she even hand-made a little envelope filled with old stamps!

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∧∧ Eileen's postcard from Arizona came on just the right afternoon, when I was feeling a bit flat and a bit of a failure in a number of ways. Her kind, friendly words cheered me up no end, and (I must remember to write and tell Eileen this), Arizona is one of my favourite places: so much space, so much history, so much sky! I can't wait to go back there one day, and Eileen's postcard brought back so many memories.

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∧∧ Jaimie and I share the same "library card" stationery, so clearly she is a woman of excellent style and taste! Her letter, written on several of these precious cards (a true gift I can tell you, because each card is unique and relates to a classic text, and it's hard to say goodbye to them), was chatty and friendly and, just, lovely! She really made me smile.

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∧∧ So many beautiful paper things filled this beautifully-addressed letter from Sandra: little handmade envelopes, tiny pictures and stickers from the children, and a fascinating clipping about Australia from almost 100 years ago. I say "fascinating" but it was also embarrassing, containing some shamefully racist comments. I'm sorry you had to read that Sandra. Our country has a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I promise that does not describe our attitudes at all any more!

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∧∧ Scout instantly coveted the glitter cupcake on this lovely card from Julia. She even took it to bed and cuddled it during her nap that afternoon! I loved Julia's letter. I felt like it was a little window into friendship, and Julia if you're reading this, I promise to write back to you PROPERLY, soon.

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∧∧ Scout was also MOST enamoured of the star-spangled, pink-topped, double-cupcake balloon card in this mail from Sandra and, come on: who WOULDN'T be? It was adorable, as was Sandra's friendly letter about her Aunty Margaret. I like to hold the delicately-painted mandala pebble in my hand sometimes. It is cool, and smooth (not to mention beautiful), and somehow calming.

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∧∧ Karen from Leaf and Petal Vintage (on Instagram here and on her blog here) said she saw this vintage postcard and thought of me. I love it so much, and the gorgeous vintage sewing-pattern card! It was all so thoughtful of her! The postcard contains a birthday message for Mr A.J. Simons from "Nell," sent in August of 1909. Isn't that wonderful to ponder? I wonder who those two were. Friends? Relatives? Colleagues? Lovers? Ah, snail mail.

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∧∧ Emily's postcard from her family weekend in Port Fairy was so sweet, and arrived the day before I got to meet Emily in person at a bloggers' meet-up in Melbourne. She blogs at Squiggle and Swirl, and this is her beautiful Instagram feed. I was able to ask Emily about her trip, just as if we were old friends, which I wish we were because Emily is LOVELY.

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∧∧ This letter from Pippa was a proper, long, newsy letter. The kind you read after first making a cup of tea and raiding the biscuit tin, then sitting down in comfort for a true snail mail indulgence. Our lives on opposite sides of the world, and one in the city and the other in the country, are so different. And yet I felt like we had so much in common, and loved the insights Pippa shared of her world.

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∧∧ Just look at the hand-painted and pasted Valentine's Day card I received (blank so I could give it to someone I love) from correspondence artist Lefty Smudges! The card made it all the way from Canada to Australia and arrived after Valentine's Day, but I'm pleased about that because now I get to enjoy it for a whole year before passing on the clever, artsy goodness.

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∧∧ This letter brightened my day when it arrived all the way from Germany. Anke also participated in the 30 letters in 30 days April challenge, and I was one of the lucky recipients of her colourful, cheerful words and paper. I hope she enjoyed the challenge as much as I did!

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