Monday, December 28, 2009

Wrapped to perfection

Lynn and I have decided to deviate from our normal posting so as to document our brief holiday meet-up in Michigan. Although we had dreamed about working on various projects and could have chatted for days, busy schedules meant that we only had a few hours together on Sunday. (I will happily take what time I can get, especially considering my imminent move to Africa.)

It was a good day. Lynn came over early and I made a breakfast of coffee, scrambled eggs and toasted homemade rolls (the picture is a shout-out to my favorite foodies). We then traded Christmas presents. Inspired by a post on the blog In this Instance, the original scheme had been to spend time creatively wrapping presents. Lynn succeeded and, despite an elaborate plan, I failed miserably. The mug I made Lynn was pathetically wrapped. Lynn, however, surprised me by making me a beautiful bathroom set that matched each other as well as the wrapping - even the bag she carried them in matched the set. The picture below show the presents wrapped and unwrapped.

I really liked how grey, black and white color scheme as well as
the simple lined designs matched the relaxation theme Lynn had set. And, yes, lets be honest. I have needed a bit more relaxation in my life. Thank you Lynn!

Lynn and I spent the rest of the day visiting each others family, wandering around downtown and hanging out at Morsels in downtown Traverse City. A nice visit - but oh so short. My fingers are crossed that my plan to stop by Lake Orion as I drive back to Michigan from DC in a few weeks to drop off my things before flying to Ghana will work out. It would be so nice to meet up one more time before my big move. Fingers crossed!

Friday, December 18, 2009

An owl and polka dots

Sorry this post is a couple days late. It has been a crazy week. I resigned from my work today and announced that I am moving to Ghana in a month. So exciting. So unreal. This blog is going global once again....
So Lynn sent this card last December after having been home to visit her family in Minnesota. While there she went with her mom to the Paper Source in Minneapolis to buy more book making materials. I remember being really pleased to hear this since I had been the one to get her started on her bookmaking/Paper Source kick. She also wrote that, inspired by my black and white tree card, she sat down thinking polka dots and owls and ended up with this card. I love that we were riffing off one another.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For you!

Here is a card Jessica drew around the holiday's last year. To help with our challenge to readers to use the post more- I am including a download for you. Simply print the file via the link at the bottom of this blog post, and you'll have 4 postcards to send using just a 25 cent stamp each! You can even try to squeeze on your holiday letter.

Before this blog started up, I scanned all Jessica's postcards. Now I find that the originals of one or two have gone missing from my stack. I am perplexed as to what Jessica might have wrote me last year. Because I don't know, I'll keep with my theme of this week and share from a postcard Jessica sent to me in August 2003- likely one of the first pieces of mail I got in Japan. People, the US postal service got it to me but it was a tad wrinkled in the corner and they stamped "Please accept our Apology" on it. How can you not like them?! Anyways, that was the important stuff. In her card, she wrote how anxious she was to hear about my new digs and job in Japan, and about her time in Pancake Bay Canada before she left for the Peace Corps. Also- this proves we have been at this for more than 7 years :-)

Enjoy the download but please remember it is for personal use only. This art is not for re-sale or re-distribution. Send it to your friends, share the holiday spirit and help the U.S. Post Office.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Friends, in the magazine The Week I recently read our dear post office is operating in the red and things aren't looking up. They're down $3.8 billion this year so far. Overall mail volume is declining and has been for three years. Now if you are like me, you get a lot of junk mail and you may begin to feel this big, bulky government system is just pushing around lots of worthless ads. You might even start to feel that we don't need the U.S. Postal serices.

But as you can tell, on this blog we are fans of the post office, postal system, and most postal workers! BIG FANS in fact. They have helped us to stay in touch for years. (In fact I believe Jessica and I once pondered which country's Post Office was shipping our letters between Japan and Samoa. Who was paying for them we wondered? But in the end we were just glad Air Mail existed as it allowed us to continue our communication.) So I'd like to encourage people to see the good in this service.

In the very informative article I read, a Post Office rep is quoted as saying, what would help is to "urge the public to mail a letter to a loved one and do it weekly." That's exactly what I'm doing-- people send some mail! I'll do you one better- take your Christmas and other Holiday gifts there to ship rather than the other guys. Stay tuned for this weeks coming blog post, it will help spring you to action on behalf of our shrinking postal services.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winter wonderland

I took a picture of this card, rather than scanning it, in hopes of capturing that window is cut out and the fireplace scene is drawn on the inside of the card. It is neat, because when you open it you can see a more complete fireplace scene. I like the concept, and thought she did a good job lining up what she had drawn on the inside of the house so that it can be seen through the window. Lynn, did you draw the inside or the outside first? Or did you slowly sketch both simultaneously?

Inside the card, she stated that she felt this card had tested her drawing skills and that she was glad this project would give her a reason to practice regularly. She also mentioned that the card had been inspired by the enormous amount of snow they had received. As I think about this, I realize that it seems comparatively warm this year, which, lets be honest, makes me very happy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What was I up to this time last year?

You may have guessed cooking my first turkey as a married lady, or some other Thanksgiving type activity. But, the truth is we'll never know because last year around this time I was shirking and failed to send Jessica a postcard. So loyal readers you will see more of Jessica's handiwork today. What was Jessica up to? Visiting both Eastern Market and the farmer's market where she scored some butternut squash that she turned into soup.

Here is her postcard, something she told me was inspired by a photo she found in Zambia. I truly adore this card-its striking and very graphic yet it's actually a scene from nature! These are the kinds of things I picture in my head but can't quite get down on paper. Don't worry, while I was shirking around this time last year I didn't give up entirely. I forged on, though I hope to see as the year goes on that I've improved my artisitc skills and in some way am approaching Jessica's.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To Cairo and beyond

Jess drew and sent this postcard after her business trip to Cairo, I think inspired by her visit to Giza and ride on Michael Jordan- the camel- there.
But, despite the drawing, she wrote "It has been a rainy weekend in D.C., and nothing is new besides my couch!" This was actually important news for me. I had gone along to the store with her to buy a couch- that weekend was one of the first in her D.C. apartment and she didn't have much furniture. We both had talked about how nice it is to have someone else with you when making a purchase of something a) expensive, b) which will be around for a while, and c) that you have to look at quite a bit in your home. Jess then travelled for more than a month and had long been waiting to have a Saturday at home to wait for the delivery of her sleeper sofa! I was glad to hear the saga had a happy ending!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A simple hello

Lynn wrote on the back of this card that she liked that it was simple. I agree. I have been enjoying looking back at we did a year ago - this is classic Lynn. As an added bonus, on the back she shared a recipe for green salsa she had been making from the tomatillos in her garden. It reads:
1 lbs tomatillos, cut in 1/4s
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 1/2 limes, juiced
2 jalapenos
2 avocados, sliced
9 cloves of garlic, diced
1 - 1 1/2 water
1/2 t. cumin
2 1/2 t. salt
1/2 black pepper

Combined all ingredients except spices/water in a blender and blend. Add water, blend. Add spices to taste. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Following Lynn's lead, I am skipping a week. This card was inspired by a website that teaches people to make pop-up cards. I have tried to capture the pop as the bird flies out of the house. Fun. The card was posted just before the Obama/McCain election last year. She wrote, "Also, our schools mock elections are in and McCain won by a few votes. I am not sure the kids are an informed measure, but it is still making me nervous. Hopefully, if you are opening this card Nov 4 we are getting better returns!" All that worry for naught!

Friday, October 30, 2009


I know this isn't the second card Jessica sent me...but Halloween is tomorrow! So, I thought it was a good idea to post this wonderful Halloween themed one she did last year. What I love about this one, is she's drawn a complete scene (and its on about a third of the postcard!) Can you see the pumpkins on the porch? The three trick-or-treater's complete with bags and unique costumes?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Lynn sent me this as her first card about a month after she got married. It was a nice surprise and was accompanied by a thank you note. Although my camera is not great, I like how the picture book opens so that you can see the two of us in the middle. Great memories and beautifully made.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Post

This is one of the first postcards Jess sent. Last September she wrote me "...I drew this while in Ethiopia, looking out my hotel window. The only pencil I had was a purple colored pencil." As you can see she may be the better artist of the two of us :)