Monday, April 29, 2013

Mail Monday

Happy Monday everyone! Did you have a good weekend?

I have to say that it's been extremely hard to stay indoors and concentrate on anything when the weather is so incredibly nice. Yesterday was +20C/68F and I was outside wearing a t-shirt! (I also wore pants, so I wasn't being inappropriate or anything) I really needed to recharge my batteries, especially as it seems I will need to stay indoors most of this week. More about what I'm working on a little later!

Right now I am getting a lot of new projects coming my way, so please excuse me for posting a bit slower at least this week.

Despite of all the work, I do try to stay afloat on my snailmail! You should always have at least a little spontaneous craftiness going on!


Mail Love - Outgoing
The first outgoing is a larger, hand-decorated envelope. It's a surprise delivery, so I won't mention who it is for. I felt like I wanted to try out something a bit different. This was done on Saturday night, while watching SNL, so it didn't seem like that much work... And, it was fun too! Wouldn't recommend trying this if you're in a hurry though...

Mail Love - Outgoing
Another outgoing was packed in a bright yellow envelope and decorated with some washi tape. It might, or might not have been decorated this way so I could try out my new tapes...


Mail Love - Incoming
I got this awesome handmade postcard this week! I just love the collage. Thank you Lynn!

So, do you guys have a busy week ahead?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Inspiration - Notebooks

Have I ever told you guys how much I love notebooks? I actually make them myself, but still keep acquiring more. I've recently been working on my notebook-building techniques and I can't wait to share the final results with you soon. In the meantime, let's drool over some awesome paper-goodness!

Source: via Zaz on Pinterest

Source: via XiaoMei on Pinterest

Do you use notebooks?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Organizing - The best way to keep your mail supplies in order

Sometimes it's the simplest ideas that are the most effective.

The problem: All the small items, like address labels, priority mail labels, decorative stickers and most of all, postage stamps, are all over my desk. I can't find the ones that I need if I'm working on something else at the table. I used to keep them in a box, but then had to go through an entire stack of things when working on something.

The solution:

How I store my mail supplies
How I store my mail supplies
A photo album. I can't believe I didn't even think of this before. I actually bought this album a long while ago for another project. I ended up never doing that project, so it's been sitting on my shelf all this time, taking up space.

How I store my mail supplies
I organized it to have the large sticker sheets of postage stamps* in the first few pages in the front. Then there are mail related stickers like priority mail stickers and address labels. Then we have other "office supplies" type stickers (square and round blank labels, highlighter tabs, file organizers, color-coded dots, etc) and the end of the album is reserved to all sorts of random stickers, like the silly Korean ones.

How I store my mail supplies
I feel there are two major benefits to this; I have all the materials in one place, so 1) I can easily browse through what I have and 2) I won't have to look for things when I'm sending something out.

Do you have a great organizing tip to share? I'd love to hear about it!

*) I have another solution for non-sticker stamps. I'll share that with you next time!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mail on Monday

Happy Monday! It's everyone's favorite day! (No? It's not?)

For me, last week was... Well, really, really long. There was a whole lot going on and not all of it great. I am hoping this week will be much, much better. I'm actually fairly sure it will be. The weather is beautiful, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. A smidgen on the chillier side still, but not too bad. At +9C/48F it's definite sneaker weather. When I can wear my Converse, I'm one happy gal. It won't be  much longer now that I can bust out my nice heels too!

Let's take a peek at the mailbox:


Mail Love - Outgoing
Mail Love - Outgoing
Mail Love - Outgoing As I mentioned here and here, I've been working on some new items for my shop. The thing is that I don't just make things for sale, I love everything I make! To the point that I actually use the things I make. These envelopes are all a part of the sets I made this weekend, sometimes I just like them so much that I have to use a few myself before putting them up for sale...

The first two are made from the pages of a book about ChiChi the Panda. It's a photo book about ChiChi moving to a new zoo. There were a few photos of some of the other animals at the zoo, so that's why there was a photo of the deer. I love the quality of the paper! And I think the envelopes turned out awesome. I'm kind of tempted to keep a few more for myself. Maybe there will be a few left over when I start packing these... There will be a few sets available in the shop soon!

The last one of the envelopes is from a 1970s pastry book. The photos were just too awesome! They combine really yummy looking desserts with 70s photo props. How cool is that!


Mail Love - Incoming
The first incoming is a construction-y (I feel any word can be made into an adjective by adding a Y at the end) letter from Susanne! It's awesomely committed to the theme, the envelope is made from a page with pictures of tools, the stamps show kids dressed up in construction site appropriate gear and it's closed with, you guessed it, duct tape. Awesome! Thanks Susanne!

Mail Love - Incoming And the second incoming letter from last week is from Laura, who sadly just took a break from her blog. She can now be found over at LEP. I'm glad I get to still read your awesome thoughts on matters of life and death, like the zombie apocalypse and fountain pens! Thanks Laura!

So, are you planning on sending some mail this week?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday musings - more paper

I spent a good part of yesterday just chopping up paper. I have so many gorgeous things I've found and rescued over the years, but they tend to be forgotted and left unused. The whole point why I look for these treasures is to give them a new life as something else. The idea is not to just bring them home and let them pile up.

So I started the daunting task of slowly chipping away the mountain of beautiful paper. I have a few small boxes full of paper snippets. Things I've fallen for for whatever reason, saved them and here they are, unused. I talked about this before, but as I often have the tendency to do, talking doesn't really fix the situation, actions do.

I finally started figuring out what to do with all this. I finished the envelopes with the pandas and pies from earlier in the week. I then started putting together paper packs. I made these awesome ephemera packs in black and white. They have as many different kinds of things as I could pack in them; book pages from the 1950s, vintage playing cards, illustrations and photos clipped from books, postage stamps and other bits and bobs. I'm quite happy how they turned out. There's a few available for $4 per pack. Each pack has 20+ pieces.

There's also packs of vintage flower and plant illustrations available for $3 per pack. Each pack contains at least 20 vintage illustrations. They are from gardening books from the 1970s, printed on high quality glossy paper. 

You might have also noticed there is a new link at the top of this site, Vintage Paper Packs. This goes to another store of mine, where you can purchase some of my items. I'm hoping to start adding more and more vintage paper and other finding to that shop as time goes by. Right now, however, The packs are available in my Etsy shop as well.

I have to make a confession. When I was putting together those packs of paper, I actually remembered the ideas I had for most of the paper. I've saved those pieces over a long period of time and kept them with specific projects in mind. I'm not quite sure when I thought I'd get the time to make all these projects though...

Anyhow, paper packs: yay or nay?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Inspiration - a herb garden

As I write this, the temperature outside is +15 degrees Celsius. That's 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The high for today is supposedly 23 C/73 F. So, this means two things:

1) I am mentally starting my spring and summer preparations; and
2) I will go outside immediately after finishing this post and will not come back inside all day.

But, let's start with the first. I need to continue my spring cleaning. I should really pack away the last of my winter gear and bring out all the lighter shoes and clothes. However, that is incredibly boring and not really fun at all (especially if I'd write an entire post about it, the results make me happy, not so much the process).

However, there is something fun that I've been thinking about; a herb garden. No, wait! Hear me out! I've done this a few times and I only have fun herbs, things that I actually use. So far the most useful herbs have been basil; for cooking like pasta sauce and it's absolutely incredible when plucked from the plant and served on top of mozzarella and tomatoes; mint; for mojitos and it's amazing with fresh pineapple and finally, cilantro; for everything. I love cilantro. It's tough to grow at home, but it's so good with everything, also, makes incredible pesto.

I only have a small outdoor space that faces the sun, so I've been looking for inspiration for a compact herb garden.

Source: via Trix on Pinterest

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

Source: via Lyn on Pinterest

I can't wait to get started. It's still a bit early, but I'm already thinking about what to do this year. You can see the set up from last year here

Do you grow herbs? What are your favorites?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On the crafting desk - pandas and pies, paper, oh my

It's that time again to start going through all the beautiful materials I have piling up in my craft closet. Just because it's spring and I am sorting through things, doesn't make it "spring cleaning".

I'm just... taking inventory.

That's right, sounds much more fun than cleaning!

Vintage paper

I started going through my stashes of awesome paper. As I go through the materials for any of my products, I always save little snippets or pictures I think are great. Sometimes I use them in crafts, but there's always a huge pile that I'm not sure what to do with. I think I will bring back the paper packs to the shop... I had those available some time ago, but once I ran out, I just didn't make any more. I think I might just do the same thing again.

I feel bad when I have these amazing pieces of mainly vintage paper that aren't getting the appropriate attention they deserve.

book pages
I also found some awesome books from the 70s in the piles of books I've rescued. I've had them both for a while, but they've just been waiting for the right inspiration. Last night I got started, I feel they will make amazing envelopes. I will list some in the shop once they are finished.

Do you do this? Save paper snippets and run out of time to use them all?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mail Monday

Hello everyone! Did you guys have a good weekend?

Mine was pretty awesome. For example, I was finally able to go see one of the Michaels craft stores that are open in Quebec! There isn't one close by to where we live, so it was a rare treat. I basically spend a long while picking out papers for the custom wedding invitations I'm making. So, it was pretty great!

On the mail front I continued my experiments with the translucent tracing paper snail mail. I tried a few new things and still love working with it. You might still see a few in the future, but I am also trying to come up with new ideas for you to see!



Mail Love - Outgoing

Vintage comic book, superhero snail mail. I mean, what's not to love, right? I decorated the sheets of tracing paper with doodles of Superman, clipped out some images from a vintage comic book and stuffed them all in the translucent envelope. Of course it's all topped off with a speech bubble address label. I even took a photo of the back of the envelope, since I feel like it turned out pretty fun too.

Sometimes when I make these odd crafts of mine, I know immediately who it needs to go to. I just knew this one had to go to Jessica.

Mail Love - Outgoing
Another transparent envelope that's going out to Susanne. On this one I continued with the fashionable 1920s peeps theme, but added this dapper gentleman. He's looking all snazzy in his fancy suit and hat, marvelling the paintings, but secretly he's dreaming of being home, playing his guitar.

Sometimes the mail tells a full story.

On this one I wanted to experiment further with layering the paper and trying to add texture to it. It's tough to get a decent photo of it, but it's quite heavily textured.


Mail Love - Incoming
I got this amazing mail from Jessica. She's used a page from a calender to make the envelope and it was such a treat to get it in the mail! Thanks Jessica! As you can see, the answer is already on it's way! This happens very rarely that I get a chance to answer to something this fast. This time it just so happened that I had everything ready and I already knew what I needed to send.

Have you received anything fun in the mail recently?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Inspiration - Pastel hair

I can't help it. I've been thinking about it for a while and even talked about it since last fall. I want to dye my hair some awesome color. Most likely pink.

If I end up trying this out, then I promise to share a photo or a few. I don't like getting my photos taken, but maybe I can suffer through for a good reason...

No promises though.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vintage stamps

I'm not quite sure I can adequately express how excited I am right now. I spent an obscene amount of money on vintage stamps and couldn't be happier! Just look at this!

Vintage stamps
I've really loved that look of coordinated stamps on invitations or letters and finally can start experimenting with it!

Vintage stamps
Vintage stamps

Woohoo! Just wanted to share!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easy dinner - potato gnocci with balsamic mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes

I haven't posted any interesting recipes here recently, for the simple reason that I've started some corrective measures in my diet. I am more than happy to talk about eating healthier and loosing a few pounds in the process if anyone's interested, but for now, there is one recipe I tried and absolutely loved.

Potato gnocchi with balsamic mushrooms and sundried tomatoes  

Potato Gnocchi (salad) with balsamic mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes

It's again a recipe that looks and sounds rather impressive, but is super easy to make. This one, I'm proud to say, I came up with myself. Often I find recipes online that I like and make my own version of them, but this one came from to fruition simply I really felt like having gnocchi but didn't want to do my usual recipe of gnocchi in tomato sauce. To make this version, you'll need

Package of potato gnocchi
Sun-dried tomatoes (to make them at home, try this recipe)
Mushrooms (balsamic vinegar and salt for cooking)
Green onion

Lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

Please note that you could add anything you like in the dish. I'm thinking fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese would be amazing.

Start by frying the mushrooms. I have one specific way of cooking mushrooms and I use it all the time.

balsamic mushrooms
balsamic mushrooms Basically quarter the mushrooms and start frying them on medium heat with a little bit of oil. After a while the mushrooms start releasing the liquid. Sprinkle them with a little bit of salt and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, then drizzle them with a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Cook for a few more minutes so that all of the vinegar has been absorbed by the mushrooms. The results are amazing and so much better than plain ol' mushrooms. I fry up mushrooms like this for a lot of different recipes, I just find it adds a little extra.

While the mushrooms are frying, cook the gnocchi. It's very easy. Bring a pot of well-salted water to boil. Dump in gnocchi. They are ready once they gnocchi floats to the surface. This won't take more than 5 minutes. Prepare the dressing by combining equal amounts lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, half of that of olive oil (for example, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil), add a little salt and fresh pepper.

Combine the gnocchi, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and dressing. Mix together and sprinkle with finely chopped green onion.

I actually served this room temperature as a posh-sounding potato salad, instead of hot, but it works both ways.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Mail

Hello, hello and welcome to the latest edition of "Monday Mail", the segment of Brinnertime where we talk about all the random things I've sent though the postal system last week!

In this week's episode we'll see more trasparent mail, quite a few awesome postcards and airmail-y goodness.


I continue with experimenting with the transparent and translucent mail. This time the entire letter, both paper and envelope, are translucent. The first one has hand-drawn illustrations of fashionable ladies from the early 1900s, some washi and lace tapes and finally some vintage postage stamps. This one is for Tami lyn who left a comment in my birthday post.

The second one is a little bulkier. It's going to Andreia in Portugal, she was my swap partner in the SPSH (secret penpal scavenger hunt, organized by Fab). Without going too much into detail what's in it, I can tell you that the envelope is sturdy plastic. I made it using these instructions. There's a translucent letter, also decorated with those fashionable ladies and a mix of new and vintage stamps.

The third letter is actually the first one I wrote and it's for Laura. I experimented with translucent address labels, so when you remove the letter from the envelope, you can see that the address is written on several layers of translucent paper. This one also has vintage postage stamps. The letter might not have hand-drawn pictures, but I really needed the space to discuss very important matters that might, or might not, be specific plans in case of a zombie apocalypse...

Mail Love - Outgoing
Mail Love - Outgoing

Did you really think I would send out a week worth of mail and none of it was encrusted in washi tape?? Well, of course not silly! At least this week I cut some of it in little flag shapes. And the banner address label made a comeback too!


Mail Love - Incoming
Looks like I was extra good this week! I got postcards and letters! This first postcard is an adorable Moomin one from Mary, who recently went to Finland.

Mail Love - Incoming
I got these two postcards the same day. I had to take a photo of them together. Doesn't it look like they belong together? They have such a similar vibe to them, both picture funky, pastel-y colored buildings in the evening with the lights on outside. They are not even remotely from the same place though. The one of the left is from my parents and shows the tram museum in Helsinki and the one on the right is from Jess and shows the  Phipps Conservatory and Botanical gardens in Pittsburgh. Quite the coincidence.

Mail Love - Incoming

Then I got an airmail explosion in the mail. I admittedly go overboard on the airmail-y goodness, so this time I got something similar in the mail myself. This one is from Susanne and it's a response to this

Mail Love - Incoming
And finally, I got mail from my favorite librarian Lynn. She sent me some super cute spring mail with comic strips and an adorable Peter Rabbit card.

Thank you everyone!