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Mail-art: late harvest

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Do you know that feeling when you think something is getting on top of you, but you don't have the courage to look too closely into it, because it might be even worse than you thought? Yep, that feeling. And then you do look...

Well, I took a deep breath and then took a close look on the weekend, and discovered that I owe more than 65 mail-art letters right now. Ugh. I'm so sorry everyone! I hand-make each piece of mail, including what goes into it, and each letter can take me many, many hours. But I hadn't realised I'd fallen so far behind.

For this reason, I have decided to temporarily disable the form that lets people request this kind of mail, until I've caught up on the letters I already owe.

If you subscribe to this blog and have requested handmade, painted mail from me, I promise you are not forgotten. I appreciate you being so patient with me! And if you're reading this blog and would LIKE mail but haven't requested it yet, I promise to put the form back up just as soon as I've caught up, and I'll let you know in a future blog post.

In the meantime, I thought it was time to share the fruits of my labour (see what I did there?) last week, being these five letters. The friends who requested them did so all the way back in March, which shows you just how behind I am in sending out my mail. I hope they still live in those places (!) and that they like their harvest-themed happy-mail, despite the delay.

Brown paper packages tied up with string (or: 5 mail subscriptions to boost your creativity)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho doesn't love a surprise present in the mail?

I’m a big fan of mail subscriptions, and have been known to sign up to more than a few of them over the years. For most, you pay a flat rate, and receive a themed gift in the mail every month (or week, or whatever you’ve signed up for).

Is this something you might like, too? In case it is, here are five subscription boxes to boost your creativity, or that of your children, that I think you might enjoy:

 

1. Busy Bee Stationery busy-beeWhat's in the box: a curated selection of stationery, generally between five and 10 items. The creators say "We choose items that inspire creativity and help you with your everyday note-taking, planning, journaling and letter writing." Each box is developed around a theme, season, or specific creative project.

Cost: $39.90 Find out more: busybeestationery.com

 

2. Bookwormz bookwormzWhat's in the box: newly-released books for children, selected by former editor Lizzy Fowler, accompanied by a creative gift designed to spark the imagination, a parent-card, and a colouring competition. The boxes are designed to foster a life-long love of reading by channeling the excitement of receiving a gift into the joy of discovering new books.

Cost: $34.99 plus postage Find out more: bookwormz.com.au

 

3. Pairings Box pairings-boxWhat’s in the box: three gourmet recipe cards, one or two premium ingredients to go with the food, a seven-inch vinyl record with music from rising artists to match the mood of the food, and a download code for a full playlist.

Cost: $25 plus postage Find out more: turntablekitchen.com

 

4. Little Passports little-passports-smallWhat’s in the box: depending on the age-group you select, a first month’s subscription box includes a suitcase, a “passport,” wall-sized wall map, welcome letters from “pen-pals” (characters created by Little Passports), and activity sheets. Boxes in subsequent months feature new themes, such as countries, animals or music etc, and include items such as letters from the pen-pals, souvenirs, activity sheets, stickers, adventures and photographs.

Cost: starting at $11.95 Find out more: littlepassports.com

 

5. Goodie Box blank-goodsWhat’s in the box: creative, craft and stationery supplies such as gift wrapping, paper craft, DIY projects, and a poster with ideas and inspiration on how to use the contents of the box.

Cost: $35 plus postage Find out more: blankgoods.com.au

Hey letter-writers: do you want to be in my book?

winter-mail I think I might have mentioned but I haven’t really explained… I’m writing a new book! It's about snail-mail.

It’s been a long time between books for me - Airmail came out in 2011 and I wrote it a couple of years before that. I started and didn’t finish another novel in the interim, and I haven’t entirely given up on that but then I moved internationally, then I moved states six times, I got married, I had two babies within 18 months of each other, and, you know, LIFE got in the way.

In my naivety about life with kids I kept thinking “when the dust settles I’ll get back onto this or that creative project,” but now that my oldest daughter has reached the ripe old age of three, and my step-daughter is 17, I have realised that when it comes to parenting the dust NEVER settles and if you wait until life begins to resemble the way it was BC (Before Children), you will a) be doomed to creative-project purgatory and b) be wishing your children’s childhoods away.

So… I’m writing a new book. Busy life, work, children and all. AND… I want YOU to be in it!

My book is about snail-mail. I like to think of it as a companion to the growing number of snail-mail books that are beautifying our shelves. You know, the books that talk about how snail-mail is a dying movement; and the books that talk about the revival of snail-mail; the books that celebrate the history of snail-mail and its impact on human communication and connection; the books that talk about how snail-mail feeds the souls of both the senders and the recipients; and the books tell those of us who want to know WHY we should pick up a pen and write a letter, and HOW to go about making it extra special.

My book is the next logical step to those books. It doesn’t pit snail mail against email, or fast against slow. It celebrates the way the two can work together, to promote connection, creativity, purposeful communication, genuine thoughtfulness, and a sense of play, celebration, surprise and joy. In my book I celebrate the “mail heroes,” folks who are doing amazing, creative, surprising things with the post that inspire the rest of us. I introduce you to mail communities you can join (both online and offline); clever and creative projects you can be part of; and quirky resources and playful toys and activities that all put the joy back into writing and sending a letter.

It’s a little bit like the book version of my zine 19 ways to make snail mail (even more) fun, except at last count I had more than 100 snail-mail-esque goodies to write about in the book, every one of them with a “call to action,” a way you can get involved or create something or in some way enhance your own experience of and joy in writing letters.

Do you want to be in this book? I really hope so! Following are two ways you can be part of it (there may be more invitations to follow, but I’m not sure):

1. Tell me in one or two sentences, who should you write a letter to today, and why?

2. Did you participate in the write_on “30 letters in 30 days” challenge this year or last year? Please share in one or two sentences: “What I learned / gained from writing 30 letters in 30 days”

Email your answer(s) to me at nabulger (at) gmail (dot) com, and use the subject-heading “write_on" so I don’t lose you in the chaos that is my inbox.

I will quote you using your first and last name, unless you advise otherwise (I’ll follow any requests for pseudonyms etc you desire). If you’d like a bit of a plug, I’m happy to include ONE blog URL or social media link per person, so include that if you’d like to see it in the book.

I look forward to hearing from you, and please share this with your friends. It would be fabulous to get as many different responses as possible.

Yours truly, Naomi xo

(Image is from the Smithsonian Institution, on Flickr. No known copyright restrictions)