Letter Writing Themed Birthday Gifts

airmail pillow coverMy birthday was last Saturday and Naoto threw me the most wonderful party and gave me such thoughtful gifts. I’ll share more about the party next week. It was a theme party -of course- and it will be the perfect thing to share during National Letter Writing Month.

I’ve had these airmail pillow covers on my wishlist forever. I’d almost forgotten about them until I unwrapped them on Saturday. They are screen printed on natural canvas and you can find them in the Two Hands Two Crowns Etsy shop. I was so excited to stuff my down pillow inserts into them and put them out on the couch for the party. I asked Naoto if he cares that I gave our living room a mail theme and he doesn’t care, so maybe there will be more mail additions in the future. Japanese post rubber stamps, Nico Neco Zakka Shop, Japanese office suppliesMy other gifts were these cute Japan Post stamps from NicoNeco Zakkaya. The little guy is the Japan Post mascot and I love how he’s inside a stamp shape. (I couldn’t find these exact stamps in their shop right now, but they have so many lovely stamps and other things!) I’m looking forward to writing my thank you notes tonight and using my new stamps. As usual, I’m behind on my letter writing, just in time for another Write On challenge! (But I’m hoping to get my thank yous out before Sunday–yikes!)

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From Our Herd to Yours…

galaxie safari, vintage postage, vintage typewriter, greeting cards, buffalo Last month, I did a custom order of buffalo themed thank you notes for a soon-to-be-mom’s baby shower. I didn’t have any buffalo postage stamps, but I did have this 1960 World Forestry Congress stamp that features a buffalo, a deer, and a hiker. galaxie safari, vintage postage, vintage typewriter, greeting cards, buffalo It was fun working on something new. Sometimes I see working with stamps and typewriters as a limitation…I’m limited in the designs I can come up with because vintage stamp designs are somewhat limited. I can’t really use a bunch of neon in my card designs (oh, how I love neon!) because there aren’t neon stamps, or neon typewriter ribbons for that matter. I can’t do a cat card because there aren’t many vintage cat stamps (readily available…I do have some with a cat and a dog though.) But limitations lead to creativity, so I’m trying to expand my bad dad jokes and puns and see how many cards I can come up with in my own style.

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Happy Birthday, Dadami!

dad and meHappy Birthday to my cute Dad! Here’s a picture of us from a long time ago (my college years?) when we had summer tans. Cheers to many more! xo

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KimberlyAH in Embroidery

KimberlyAH logo embroidery by KarenI can’t believe I’ve never shared this here!

Karen made this embroidered logo for me two Christmases ago. Isn’t is fabulous? It sits on top of my metal drawers that hold all of my card inventory and supplies, but I think I need to hang it on the wall above my desk. I’ve collected some new things to add to my wall, and this will fit right in. I’ve managed to collect another hoard of art that needs to be hung, so that’s a project for me this week in between work, chapters for book club, governor debate watch parties, and cleaning the bedroom. I have a plan, but I’m sure my indecisiveness will take over and delay things more. I just can’t seem to hammer a hole in the wall without a lot of hand-wringing. Anyone else have this problem? (And if you don’t, want to come over and help me hang some stuff up?)

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Story Corps

Story Corps, Story Corps Chicago, Chicago Cultural Center

Last month, Naoto and I did a Story Corps interview! Do you know Story Corps? If you listen to NPR, you’ve probably heard some of the many Story Corps gems from everyday people all across the US. Their mission (according to their website) is “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” They have a few booths throughout the States and also a booth that travels. There is one in the Chicago Cultural Center and my book club friend’s daughter, Lauren, just got a job there so we signed up to be part of her training. Story Corps, Story Corps Chicago, Chicago Cultural CenterSo on a rainy Thursday afternoon, we went to the Story Corp booth and chatted about Naoto’s experience coming to America, his eventual journey to Chicago, and how we met. (Forty-five minutes–the time they allot to each conversation–is a really long time to talk! Story Corps edits things down to the best parts for a short radio and podcast snippets.) The room is very small, and dark (as you can see from our picture,) and intimate. To chat, you sit across from your partner and you both have giant microphones to speak into. The Story Corp facilitator sits in with you to do the sound check and to help keep the conversation going if you get stuck. We got stuck quite a few times because Naoto didn’t remember a lot about his first days in America and I wasn’t prepared to ask more questions, so it was nice to have Lauren guide us back on track. I thought it would be weird having someone sit in with us, but it ended up being fine. We didn’t know Lauren before we met her in the booth, so maybe that helped?

We haven’t listened to our recording yet (it takes 3-8 weeks to get it back) but I’m sure it will be fun to listen to in the future. (We are not exciting or profound enough to make it on the podcast or the radio, I’m certain!)

Here’s a link to some of the most recent stories. This one was a particular tear jerker for me. And on the Podcast, there’s a great conversation with Officer Clemmons from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Do you have a favorite Story Corp story? I’ve been listening to the podcast, but often miss them on the radio, so I’d love to hear what I’ve missed.

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Forest Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade

forest park st patricks day parade, rainbow flag, pride flag, diversity, forest park diversity commissionLast weekend, Naoto and I walked in the Forest Park St. Patrick’s Day parade with our respective groups, the Diversity Commission for him and the Community Garden for me. forst park community garden, forest park st patricks day parade, community garden parade floatThe Diversity Commission had a banner and handed out stickers and the garden had our usual float and we handed out seeds. Anise hyssop was the seed of choice this year. People were really excited to get the seeds. Some people were a little too excited, like the drunk lady who grabbed my bucket and demanded seeds. Apparently all parade swag is good swag. forst park community garden, forest park st patricks day parade, community garden parade float, parade dog It was a really beautiful day. I’ve walked in the parade three times now and have been very lucky with the weather. Oh and I got to meet this sweet dog.

If you’re local, you can find the extra seeds we didn’t hand out at the Forest Park Public Library. Or you could come to the Seed Swap Sunday afternoon!

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Letter Month Was a Bust

gumby and pokey, mail reminder, letter monthSigh…I only sent fifteen pieces of mail in Letter Month. Sad, right? February was one of those months where it felt like I was constantly preparing for something and then failing to be fully prepared. I kept putting off writing to get other stuff done but then I’d waste time on my phone or “researching” ideas for things coming up in March and garden stuff for the summer. Dumb.

letter month mail, letter writing, mail, stampsBut I did manage to use up plenty of my Valentine stash and I didn’t buy anything new on clearance after the holiday! Though I did finally break down and buy this Martha Stewart stamp set that I’ve been wanting for years…no regrets. And I finally sent some overdue thank you notes and replied to all the mail from January. This month I’m working on replying to the stuff I received in February. I’m planning a little letter writing session tonight once I get all my laundry folded and put away. letter month mail, letter writing, mail, stampsAs usual, I’m glad I participated, even though I didn’t meet my goal, and I’m looking forward to Write On for National Letter Writing Month in April. (I’ve already ordered my kit!)

So, how did you do?

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International Women’s Day

Hillary Clinton quote, Women's rights are human rights, international women's day, galaxie safari, etsy shop

Happy International Women’s Day! I’m celebrating by writing letters to some of my favorite women and having a little feminist card special in my Galaxie Safari shop. Do you have any favorite quote about or by women? Mine are:

“Women and cats will do as they please.” –Robert Heinlein

“In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.”  –Margaret Thatcher

“Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.” –Mae West

“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.” –Susan B. Anthony

 

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Olympics Fever

olympics rings, olympics decorations, world flags, winter olympics, olympics party

My blogging and letter writing has fallen by the wayside thanks to the Olympics. No regrets though. These games are so much fun and the Adami-Hasegawa medal count competition is as close as it’s ever been (USA 12, Japan 10 as of this morning.)

I always throw a mini Olympics party, but this year the Olympics crept up on me and I didn’t have enough time to plan appropriately or come up with a theme cocktail. Party or no party I love decorating above our TV for the Olympics. Every year, I break out my flag banner and in 2016 I added an Olympic torch. (My guest room closet is pretty much the party prop room. I can’t save everything, but some things are small enough and took enough time to create that I figure they should be reused. If you ever need a sakura branch or some giant cacti, please give me a call.) This year I made some Olympic rings to hang. They’re a little small, but now that I’ve made them, I think I can probably work out a giant version for Tokyo 2020.

coffee brownies, patriotic browniesKaren came over for the Opening Ceremonies and we made a very simple menu: Korean beef tacos and Korean coffee brownies. (Disclaimer: these are probably not authentic foods.) Karen made the coffee brownies and I made these Korean beef tacos topped with this cabbage slaw and they were so good. 
Olympics decorations, Olympic rings decoration, Olympic torch decoration, Olympic flags
 Do you have a favorite Olympic event? I used to think mine was ice skating, but now I think it’s pretty much whatever is happening right now.

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Month of Letters 2018

After being a terrible letter writer in 2017, I’m trying to stay on top of my mail in the new year. February is Letter Month where we challenge ourselves to mail something every day the mail operates. While I know I’ll probably miss a day or two and have to catch up, I’m going to try to send twenty-seven things and spend out some of my stationery stash…my usual letter month goals. I got out my Valentine box so I’m hoping to make some Valentines and decorate some envelopes this week to get a jump start on things.

The Letter Month website is all updated and ready to go for 2018. If you happen to be looking for new pen pals or want to chat with other letter writers, pop over there and check it out!

Are you participating?

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