Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Spiral

This card started as a telephone doodle. You know the ones that you draw while you chat and that some how mysteriously help you listen. She must have been discussing her holiday obligations because the card is all about being stuck in the holiday shopping spiral. She described it as an 'overwhelming tornado sweeping up fun and work and taking over.' Around and around she went only stopping to let her frustrations out on and into a postcard. A timely expression of a normal feeling this time of year I'd say. I hope that you are escaping the storm this year my friend!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas to all...

Last year about this time, Jessica was still madly packing up her life before our big Michigan meetup.  This year, I am frantically packing and luckily preparing to see Jess again while she is here for the holidays from Ghana.  I have gotten the gift of two snow days to get all my work done!  This card actually matches what I am seeing outside my window- lots of snowy textures.  Jess will fly in Thursday- this weather will be a shock to her system! 

Enjoy this beautiful winter scene that is reminiscent of last years holiday postcard!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dirt roads in Detroit

This this is another 'driving' postcard from Lynn. She wrote that she likes to take dirt roads in Detroit when she is seeking a scenic view. If this was not irony enough, she said that the way that the tree shadows fell starkly on the road made her think of store barcodes. Looks and sounds like December winter in Michigan to me.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Last year around this time Jessica was moving to a new country for a new job.  She didn't want to store anything for when she got back, so she was selling, sorting, and then packing up just a few things.  Jess was having trouble both getting a sub-leaser and selling some furniture.  She drew this card to capture her mood!  I love the details in this card each time I look at it I see some other silly item like a birdcage or 1950's style TV. 
Its funny that this year, around the same time, I am moving.  Although its just across town I too feel like the girl on this card- suddenly surrounded by possessions coming out of the woodwork needing to be packed or tossed! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Lynn writes on the back of this card that she planned to visit my mom over the holiday weekend knowing that Thanksgivings had become a bit of a sad time for her, since the loss of the family Christmas tree farm. As a kid, Thanksgiving meant the start of the tree season. Car loads of people would come to my aunt and uncle's city tree lot and out to the farm to cut their own trees the day after Thanksgiving. We would all help to prepare for the crowds and spend the entire weekend in the cold selling trees. It made the meal my mom and grandmother made taste that much better. I distinctly remember sitting on the piano bench next to my cousin eating blueberry pie, my cheeks burning from the wind. Blissfully happy. A true harvest celebration.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Turkey for Lunch

Jessica started out this card with visions of carving a Thanksgiving turkey.  Instead, it turned out to be a brown bag lunch.  I hope you can see a bit of the 3-D texture from this card, very cool.

First she wrote some fun facts about Jaime Oliver's school lunch project and a few other health and calorie factoids.  Then, Jess wrote about her own penny pinching efforts- spending the weekend cooking things to bring to work for lunch.  She then admitted it wasn't saving much, because "I love produce"  And we all know that produce, tofu, tempeh and other healthier options are pricey. 

What a fun accident that her turkey card turned into a lunch because I sure heard a lot about what she'd been up to based on her theme- stuff I'm not sure she would have emailed about or mentioned in a phone call.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A ray of hope for Detroit

Lynn saw this image in her rear view mirror last fall and ran home to draw it. She found it ironic that this this beautiful image showed up in a reflection of downtown Detroit, especially since the city's decay is all that you see in the media.

For Lynn, this card also demonstrated that our card project had strengthened her creative muscle. She was getting stronger. She had an idea and she went home and drew it - just like that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Perfect Pumpkin

The great thing about this card project is that you dont have to even try to ignore the obvious seasonal themes. That is what cards are meant for! This is a pretty standard pumpkin, but what you cannot tell from the scan is that its toothy grin is cut out as every pumpkin grin should be. The polka dots come from a magazine picture that has been pasted behind the card. In real life it adds some depth and an extra level of fun.
Lynn wrote on its underbelly that daylight savings time was coming, which the end of the year was near. Last year's close though was highly anticipated, though since she was looking forward putting 2009 behind her. After having just received bad news about my Samoan host family last October, I remember nodding my head in agreement.
Sometimes we need bright smiles to arrive in the mail on holiday cards, dont we?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A picture of Meripa

After calling the village mayor to check in on my Samoan host family after the tsunami last fall, I learned that not only had my family suffered physical damage to their oceanside fale, but that my host mother and three sisters had died since the last time I had called. Like so many poor people without access to proper healthcare in the developing world they went to the hospital and never returned - despite having treatable diseases like diabetes. I had called Falelatai expecting bad news, but I never expected that its cause would be from poverty rather than from mother nature. I also never could have imagined how it has felt to grieve four family members at one time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Life from Above

Jessica sketched this image out of the book Earth from Above, which was a gift.  She re-received the gift when her Mom moved and a box of her things arrived in the mail.  I really like the photographs in the book, so I really liked this postcard. 

Unfortunately for Jessica, she had recently got bad news about the tsunami reaching the small island of Samoa.  This was very sad because Jess lived there while in the Peace Corps for two years.  Never one to sit back and mope, Jessica quickly got involved with RPCV's and organized a fundraiser for the survivors.  I'm so proud she was able to turn her feelings into action and give back to her adopted country and family there. 

On this card she wrote about hope for 2010 to be a more positive year, after several sad events in 2009 of my own I heartily agreed. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Jessica had been throwing pots for months by the time she wrote the card.  And our blog had been up for a while too.  She was in the throws of creativity and seeing her cards online reminded her of her other art, I guess she decided her cards were always drawn with little boxy borders.  She wrote "I have been so stuck in a box!" and then decided to draw this lovely gathering of vases around a box to branch out! 
She wrote about how art was helping her stay centered during her job search, something I know we both share and one of the reasons we like this project and blog!  Jess also asked about Holiday plans for 2009, which was fun because we would get together!  Its a bit earlier this year, but Jess has already started to make her holiday plans, and I'm thrilled they will include me again!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The open window

I have decided not to paraphrase. A card from a good friend:

My mom once gave me a card with a photo like this. She wrote "when a door closes sometimes a window opens." I was thinking of that phrase after some of our recent phone calls. The future is uncertain - all we can do is be flexible, be prepared and watch for our options." Anyways, I have carried that card around because of how I like the message. So I hope you like this drawing :) So the other day I looked back at my 2009 goals - I am not on track. My word for the year was "balance" and a few (non-accomplished) goals, which included hosing a party. 2 months to go?! Did you have goals? How is your progress?!?
Your pal, Lynn

Friday, October 1, 2010

Plan "B"

From what Jessica wrote me on this card, her original idea was to cut out this same ceramic studio scene, she actually called that her brilliant plan a.  Seems having to do it on a 4x6 canvas caused some difficulty so she settled with plan b drawing.

While I don't remember when she signed up for her ceramics class and studio time, I know that last fall I was often talking with her on her way there.  Jessica likes to commute by walking, so she would make quite a hike there from work, and we could touch base about her life. 

Speaking of plan b- she was hoping that some of her job opportunities outside of war zones would come through for her in the next few weeks.  Relief for those of us who like Miss Jess in one, healthy piece. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stitch by stitch

Lynn was stitching up a storm last fall. She spent labor day weekend transforming her living room with pillowcases. As this drawing shows, sewing was on the brain. Most of the writing on the other side though is focused on asking me probing questions about boys, Afghanistan and crazy work hours. I cannot blame her since I vaguely remember calling her at random moments (when I was not writing proposals, which usually meant that I was walking somewhere) with a new plan and a new date. I would want to have serious discussions about whether moving to Afghanistan was worth risking my life and morals if it meant I could pay off my student loans. While at the same time I would go out on eharmony dates with quirky guys who wanted to settle down and had no idea I was planning to flee to a war zone. I was weighing extremes. Ditch it all and become housewife? Sell myself in order to find financial footing? Or, continue the exhausting search, which seemed endless, to find a job that I was passionate about? Thank goodness for Lynn, who wisely reminded me to have patience and stay the course - it paid dividends.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Here are two cards Jess sent me to begin our second year of the "project." 

The first is a test post-card.  After a year, Jessica had to buy new post cards at papersource and ended up with these 'non traditional ones'.  My memory is of Jess and I talking on the phone, and her relating a story about being told these scalloped edged cards would not be allowed in the mail without an envelope.  Our plan was to have Jessica send something on a card, sans envelope, and see if it arrived.  It wasn't a drawing in case it got lost.  It didn't, and so in the mail I got this peaceful photo of Kerala, India from Jessica's time there in 2007.  Go post office, you came through for us!!!

Knowing we could rely on USPS again, Jessica then sent this cut out tree.  On the back she wrote about how we'd been at post cards for a year.  She used grey paper, some fancy stuff from her dad's office, writing "I planned to cut a cityscape by found the flow of cutting organic lines what I needed."  Then, she added a flower to make it feel less like fall/winter.  I like it! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pencil time

School is starting again. Kids are back to doodling in the margins, and Lynn is starting at a new school this fall. Settling in alright my friend?

Around this last time my desperate quest (yes, it was at times desperate) for a change in employment was gaining momentum. Enough was enough. I needed something new. Lynn was filling in as my full time cheerleader and this is what most of the back of this card was devoted to. She dared to guess what I would take on (aiming suitably high for a motivational pep talk). And, perhaps also feeling restless, suggested that maybe one day our paths would lead us to live in the same city again. Can you guess where she suggested? Its not in Michigan.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to our regularly scheduled posting...

Its been a few posts since I've put up a postcard drawn by Miss Jess, and its past time to get back to what this blog is all about. I actually found a card that I'd forgotten to share from early last June.  Here is a young lady blowing on a dandelion puff, such a classic summer image.  Jess wrote on the back about her drawing of this girl "looking like an alien" but I think she looks pretty well drawn!  I'd like to think both Jess and I have used our project to improve our drawing, trying out some different subjects or methods of creating.  Its fun to have a reason to experiment and try something new and an audience too! The last of summer is floating away just like those little dandelion seeds so enjoy a lovely, long holiday weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Postal Paws

So, the other day my mail carrier met my two dogs.  They impressed her with their behavior, and if you know them you know this means they were having a really great 60-90 seconds, and so now she usually leaves them milkbones in the mail.  At first I thought she just did it the next day, but now, its been nearly three weeks and the puppies get treat mail everyday! 

While I always mean to take my camera to the mailbox and get a picture of the mail inside it, I have yet to remember to do that, so here is a typical view of our mail sitting around on the kitchen table.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Perfectly aligned

So besides the fact that the post office, Lynn, and all of my other friends and family must think that I have disappeared off of the face of the earth and the fact that I hate being out of communication, I have been walking around feeling pretty happy recently. Feeling like there is a lot of awesomeness in this world despite what some may say. I was recently sent a link to a blog site, 1000 Awesome things, that reports on the many outstanding, amazing, satisfying, wonderful things in the world. Awesome thing 557 recognizes the glory of mail, specifically - when you fold a piece of paper and it fits perfectly in the envelope. Read it; I could not have expressed it better. Seriously, you don't get this feeling pushing send.

PS - Dont worry Lynn, my backlog of cards are on their way and this communication glut is ending.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Under the surface

Have you ever noticed how much of your daily life is happening under the surface?  Maybe its just me, but often the thoughts that I'm consumed with aren't what you'd guess.  In this card, Jessica's drawing makes me think of that with the pattern and detail she's put underground.  On the back she wrote about really wanting to move, but assured me she hadn't done anything yet.  I'm really not sure the drawing was meant to be about the thinking or life beneath the exterior, or was connected to her desire to move.  I like this little metaphor I created looking at it, but I also like the layers of the earths crust she drew.  The simple black and white ink amazed me again!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I just had to put up this photo which inspired my llama drawing!  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I like this card because the llama seems to be sticking its chin out at the world. Taking a stance as it stares out with confidence. On the flip side of the card, Lynn wrote that the solitude of Peru and fun in DC gave her this same certitude and pushed her to recover from months of bad news. Finally she felt as if she did not have to feel bad and was able to have moments were she was free of feeling lethargic and dazed.
Makes me wish you could come visit Ghana Lynn! I promise there will be adventures and fun in store!
She also referenced my plan of the moment which was to migrate to Afghanistan. Generously, she said that her recent travels helped her to understand why I might opt to do so. Since even now I think my plan to move to a war zone was, in hearts of hearts, not sane in the least, I have a feeling that it took more than a little empathy for her to support my wayward soul no matter what. Up and down and all around we go but there is nothing like a friend to make us feel like we have the strength to carry on. Llamas.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Resting Poses

I love this card that Jessica sent me!  I think the overall pattern and color are fun but also all the little details in the people on their yoga mats remind me of books like "Where's Waldo?"  You can enjoy looking at the people and notice their pose, their clothes and they almost seem real- yet a quick glance is also enough to enjoy the illustration too.  Given my recent obsession with fabric for sewing I'm thinking this would be fun printed up on some cotton?!

Jess wrote to me about my upcoming visit, when as I mentioned in the last post we did Birkram Yoga in Georgetown.  This is a theme of our get-togethers, Jessica plans some very strenuous physical activities and sort of gives vague details about what I'm getting myself into.  Before I realize that I can't breathe/am sweating like a pig/no longer can move/forgot adequate water its too late to back out!  I'm mostly exaggerating, as in the end, I always appreciate doing it.  But I do have to laugh when I look back at all the times this has happened since I met Jess in college.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Jess drew and sent me this peaceful image last summer.  A woman looking centered and calm.  Odd that this was on her mind just as she was launching her world-wide job search...or maybe not odd at all!  On the back she wrote the transition was making her feel topsy-turvy and our drawing   project was grounding her.  She also wrote, "Yes, let's blog!" and that she would consider some of the names for our blog that I'd brainstormed.  A few weeks later I would visit Jessica in DC for the final time and we would do yoga.  Talk about art imitating life!

Monday, July 12, 2010


These poor hounds lost their noses somewhere along the way. I like the card though and think the idea is good. Lynn, have you considered doing a few more of these? They would make a good set.

This card was drawn as Lynn was preparing for a hiking trip in Peru. She was in dire need of a break and I remember being glad that it was finally her turn to jump on a plane.

The postcard's underbelly probes me for news on my birthday and latest eharmony ventures. Which, if I remember correctly, included dates with a guy who said very non-PC things to perfect strangers. Lynn was living precariously through me and I certainly was enabling this by going out on second dates just for kicks. Perhaps, I too had lost my senses. This is especially humorous now that I find myself a workaholic on another continent - I seem to be chasing extremes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ink and Paper

and water don't mix! Yikes, this card got a little water damaged.  But hopefully you can see the lovely black and white textures and patterns (if you ignore the bottom right corner!)

In this card, Jessica wrote about our postal pals project which was almost a year old.  She talked about moving from postcards to anything you can put in the mail.  Also though, she articulated something that both of us feel about drawing- sitting down to create is meditative.  When life is coming at you fast, or well, not fast at all and is a little stale, sitting down to do this little routine thing can leave you feeling restored on the other side.  Well said!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Last year around this time I received some very sad news.  My postal pal Jess sent me plants right away, and today the memory came back to me of how thoughtful it was.  Sometimes a letter, a call or an email don't say I'm thinking of you enough.  I like to send and get plants and flowers on these occasions- just the right kind of TLC for a friend.  Thanks pal!  (I went onto and found a picture of the little arrangment that made me smile.  Enjoy!)


When I saw Pilot Handwriting's new webpage that lets you turn your handwriting into a font to use in emails, I immediately thought of postal pals.  (To be honest, I've always been a little obsessed with handwriting.  I used to love a handwriting analysis kit I got as a child, and frequented this website about getting my own font.)  Here's the thing that made me think of this project, Jess now lives further away and while writing letters or postcards is great it takes a while for the news to travel.  The idea of an email is more appealing for staying in touch.  I like that with this little program I could send her a message via email that looks worthy of blog post because its in my own handwriting.  How would you feel about this combination of the new and old?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lilypad pop

At times, Lynn has been apologetic about not following the postcard 'rule,' but I love her pop up cards. I will admit they mystify me and it takes a lot of willpower to not dissemble them so I can figure out how they pop - especially when they are small. I love pocket size art. This one is as big as my hand when opened.
I may be posting this a week or so early because she was preparing to go to Canada for her mom's birthday right before this was mailed. A great break after a long spring. She was also quizzing me on what I had planned for my upcoming birthday, and preemptively reacting to birthday complaints by reassuring me that I had a lot under my belt to be proud of - be forewarned Lynn, I am going to need more reassuring soon! And vice versa?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawaiian Summer

Lynn wrote that this card had been meant for spring but when she added colors it became Hawaiian summer. I like that especially since as someone who is from a temperate climate I cannot help but to measure my year by seasons even when the world around me maintains a constant state of being hot. Lynn was gearing up for summer when she sent this card, and was compiling a summer reading list (beefed up by a list of books found in a dentist office magazine). She began with 'Gang Leader for a Day,' which I have yet to read. Lynn, do you recommend it? She also was preparing for a trip north for the Fourth of July, worrying about housing two dogs in her in-laws house and quizzing me on what I had planned. Sounds like summer to me.

On a side note, I have been coming across news clips and articles proclaiming that doodling increases concentration and can help with memory. Last week, the Harvard Business Review sent out the following blurb as one of its daily stat emails: "People who doodle while listening to a monotonous message recalled 29% more than non-doodlers on a surprise memory test." This may explain why I remember Financial Management as well as I do! Check out this link to the original post if you are interested.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Crazy? Genius?

I'm not sure whose face this is, but Jess wrote on this card "I'm drawing this while watching the movie How to Draw a Bunny, about Ray Johnson."  I don't even know who that guy is, but I just looked it up now, and it could be him! Then again, it could just be something else...
Anyways, she went on to say she wasn't sure where to draw the line between genius and crazy.  I remember thinking when I read this about artists especially who seem to fall into this "gray area"  I had recently been reading about new analysis about letters from Van Gogh and his infamous ear incident at the time from the New Yorker, which is another example of this same theme.  I truly cannot remember if Jess and I ever talked about it. 

Now, hopefully, we don't ever get too close to this edge!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pretty Packages

When Jess and I agreed to do our correspondence and art project,  we decided on sending a postcard every two weeks as our goal.  A postcard wouldn't really need an envelope...but I don't think we thought we would get as fancy with our creations as we have! So once in a while, Jess needs to hold her cards in something to reach me intact.  She makes the envelopes just as pretty as her art. 

I've discovered there are MANY envelope templates available if you want to google.  But the best thing to do is peel apart any greeting card envelope and trace it onto your paper.  As you can see with these, old magazine pages make just as beautiful envelopes as patterned stationary paper you could buy. 
Its fun for me to think I can post one of these "packages" as artwork itself! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Finding your way

Lynn's card, inspired by the blog Swissmiss, beckoned me home after long work trips to Zambia, Pakistan, Egypt and Namibia. Only later did she learn how appropriate her maze reflected my heart in the spring of last year. Nothing like finding your way home to your friend. Sometime these journeys don't end as sweet as we hoped they might. Just a month after having re-found her friend, Nora Longley, Lynn lost her to cancer last May. Nora's story is documented in this article, and pushed us both to follow debates on health insurance and argue for universal coverage. What a difference a year can make.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring themes

A simple hand grabbing for colorful radishes out of the ground makes this weeks spring themed card. (We really had spring on the brain last year from April through May.  I don't think we'd focused so much on any one season until now.)  I like the way this card is both detailed and simple in the same drawing.  This combination makes it seem so energetic!

On her card, Jessica wrote about spending more than a month away from her art supplies and her art because of more work trips.  She wrote about both wanting to do a drawing everyday and feeling like there wouldn't be enough hours in the day (until retirement) for that kind of thing. 

A year later, I'm feeling swamped at work and also thinking there aren't enough hours in the day to do the things I need to and the things that keep me sane! Well said pal :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Green- all the rage!

I just read about this card company called Regreet. They make a greeting card you can use and then re-use. You may have thought re-using a card was tacky (if found out!) but actually its now hip! It makes you green...

Check it out. Regreet is a card that you send someone along with a packet of labels/stickers that let them cover up your signature and such. That way they can save (time and) the earth while still getting the points for mailing the card to someone else for their birthday. But actually I think the coolest part is that if you start the chain you can see where your original card travels. Somehow, being able to login and see where my card ventures in the world makes me smile.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blue brilliance

Lynn used a kit I gave to her the summer before to make this cyanotype. We both used to play with such kits when we were kids. It brings back a lot of memories and makes me want to experiment with this technique now. I certainly have enough sun. Lynn wrote in the card that it would be neat to expose cyanotype paper with the cut paper designs like the ones I like to make. Sounds like a great idea. Now if only I had the necessary supplies!
This card arrived as school was winding down. Lynn said said she was feeling full of creative ideas and ready for the summer so she would have time to do them all. First on her to-do list was to pick up a sewing machine at her pa's so that she start sewing as soon as the kids were released.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mapping the unknown

I have been thinking a lot about maps since I read this article in Slate a couple of days ago. Julie Turner uses maps submitted by Slate readers to illustrate commonalities between hand drawn maps and to point out why they are often superior to the 'accurate' maps printed for the masses. Definitely worth a read. Julie Turner points out that hand drawn maps only include information necessary for the reader and this simplicity makes them more user friendly and personal. They also become more detailed as we get further from home - we dont need a guide to what is known. Also check out the comments section where this great link is posted. Wonderful inspiration for a pair of artistic travelers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Contrast of colors

I think I was supposed to post this card earlier in April, because Lynn wrote on the back that it was getting warmer in Michigan although everything was still brown. The brightly colored leaves on the card seem to show that she is optimistic this will change. The blue spot emphasizes this point.
Like the brown of her outdoor world, the card's underbelly is sad. Lynn wrote that she had been excited to recently reconnect with a friend from home only to discover that her friend was terminally sick with cancer. She lamented this news and its timing, happy to catch up but longing for more time with her.
I remember receiving this card in the mail and instantly picking up the phone to call Lynn. Snail mail might be conducive to expressing some of these hard to share feelings but cannot compete with the telephone when immediate comforting is in order.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Color explosion

Jessica branched out to color! And it looks good....
I love how she blended the colors on this vegetable (I think onions) and I hope it comes across digitally! When Jess lived in DC she had a farmer's market almost right behind her house on weekends. I wonder if the first spring market was her inspiration for this card?
On her postcard she wrote to me about enjoying being at home for a few weeks between business trips. She was savoring some normal activities like meeting friends for drinks and getting doctor's appointments out of the way.
Her card and message remind me of a time in the summer when I was in DC and we spend a morning at the farmer's market. We ended up chatting with the vendors about how to keep your herb plant from dying off so you could keep getting fresh basil. One thing about being with Jessica, you will have conversations with everyone you meet. Its fun!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nocturnal inspiration

When I am not working, I have been walking a lot at dusk and in the evening the past few weeks in Tamale. As night falls on the city, I find myself completely absorbed in the way that colors change. The coals of an iron stove light up a woman's green dress and the the bronze earth below. A red light silhouettes a woman carrying a silver pan on her head. Television light reflects on a crowd of faces gathered around an outdoor TV. They are flashes that I cannot seem to put on a postcard. For this reason, I had to share this link to a piece by the photo journalist, Lynn Saville, in the New York Times. I love these photographs as much as I love the city they capture.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Admitting guilty pleasures

Spring has sprung and Lynn is on spring break. It has been too long since we chatted on the phone. For this reason, it was especially nice to look at her card from last year. She had just finished taking her certification exam. After spending a lot of time studying, she was trying to remember what she used to do for fun. She admitted guiltily that she had been reading a lot of trashy novels - ones that you would usually save for an airplane ride. This made me laugh because my sister and I had a similar text message conversation. She admitted a current addiction to a 900 page book our mother sent her. Trying to make her feel better, I said that at least it was the Sri Lankan new year and she was home alone. I also reminded her of how when we were kids we used to try to sneak away from chores to read. This resulted in a practice of hiding our books in the waist bands of our pants and under our shirts so that our father could not see. We would rake the leaves or pull weeds until he stepped around the corner and then whip out our books to soak up a few more pages before he returned. The joke today is that my sister would need some very loose fitting elastic pants to hide her current obsession - or perhaps a mumu.
I hope you are also reading something fun on your break this year Lynn!

Friday, April 2, 2010


We've inspired someone. My brother sent me a postcard from his trip to Delaware! On the back he wrote "your postal pals blog inspired me to write." Its fun that he took the time to send snail mail from here, although he also posted video from his polar bear so he's not too old-school.

Jess' card from last year is this nice drawing. She wrote, "I ended cutting paper because my glue stick dried up!" This little tidbit makes me laugh. Her drawing was inspired by a food magazine her dad left at her apartment- must have been old because card was from Spring. Jess also wrote about getting ready for a work trip to Pakistan, saying she spent time drawing to avoid packing.

Added Dimensions

We have been posting things other than cards lately. I'm you like the additional things we've shared? Or should we just stick to our art?

OK, enough posing questions to the void! Jess' March 15th card from last year fell in her 'cut paper' phase. She put a printed design underneath adding some depth. She wrote, "next time I think I will paint/draw and then do a cut out on top. I think using this print is sort of cheating." Well, she went on to say what she had been up to: sewing,throwing another dinner party, hosting her Dad and Sister, so you could see why she'd need to cut a few corners to get her card in the mail on time.
I think the concentric circles are another cool abstract art experiment, much like her pears! The only thing I thought, was using a darker color paper to make the top stand out...I'm all for experiments and we know those don't always work out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Misery loves company

This seriously does not reflect how I feel about my current locale, but I cannot help but post this link. Apparently Lynn and I live in #1 and #2 of a list of the worlds 10 worst cities (See link here). Lucky us.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another pen pal in Michigan

This week This American Life re-broadcast a show originally aired in 2003 called, My Pen Pal. It describes a true story of a pen pal relationship between an 11 year old northern Michigan native, Sarah York, and the infamous dictator, Manuel Noriega. (You can see a picture of them here.) I love this story. It makes you think about how we classify who is bad. Noriega goes above and beyond in his letters to York in a way that cannot be justified only by political motive. You are left to wonder about the soft side of an evil man's heart and whether York's pen pal relationship led her to live off the grid with her family.

The last seven minutes of the show tells a second story. A woman describes her pen pal relationship with her husband to be preferable to the one they have when they live in the same house. This reminds me of a passage I once read in Margaret Atwood's book Blind Assassin that describes a reunion after a long period of time. The character's memories had softened and distorted over time, but when she met the person again all their harsh lines and wrinkles were once again revealed. There are some people we prefer at distance.

I am going to have to track down a copy of that book to find out how the eloquent Atwood described this, especially since I last read it when it came out 10 years ago. In the meantime, enjoy the podcast!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A fan of all things green

March=green! And pears are such a nice shade of green. Jessica's cut card theme continued on, and went beyond scenery with this lovely bowl of pears.
On the back of the post card she told me about being in NYC for 12" of snow, with stong winds that almost knocked her down. I am glad that today, my view is of sun melting what little is left of our snow.
But, back the the front, by cutting rather than drawing the fruit her top down view becomes more abstract in a very fun and pleasing way! I like it lots. It reminds me of Matisse, you?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

From somewhere warmer than here

I am a little behind, posting this cut out card from Jess in February of last year. She writes "I cut it while watching the Superbowl. It is clear I was thinking of Africa I guess." Her mountain view reminds me of warmer places, ones I wish I was traveling to while it was still cold and snowy out. There is a time in Michigan where the grey skies and dark of winter gets hard to bear, but I think we've broken through. March has arrived with high 30's weather, blue skies and sun. I almost feel like I am in a warm savannah with a view! Where do you wish you were when the winter months grind on and on?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mixed up selves

I love the unpredictable nature of March. You never know what you are going to get. I wish I could remember March of 2009 in DC but I believe that I was actually in Zambia so I missed it (although for the record I was mixed up about other things instead). Lynn, you will have to keep me posted on how March declares its self this year since it seems that March in Ghana will be, well, hot. (This is just a prediction but I dare global warming/mother nature to prove me wrong!) Last March, Lynn was in study mode and preparing to get her full certification as a social worker. She also reflected on a lost friendships and writes: "It makes you think about how hard (staying friends) is/what an accomplishment staying connected for years is. I think paces of life can be part of the 'cracks' as can distance. It make me glad we are still good friends."
Me too, pal. Me too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Tutorial!

This is a post I am so excited to do!!! Here is a card that even Miss Jess hasn't seen yet. She encouraged me to make a tutorial of my own because the style of my cards, and because I have uses so many books and blogs for inspiration to make them. If you would like to try your hand at making a moving card like this one- check out my tutorial. Making a moving card is easier than you might think- when you first open the instructions don't be overwhelemd I had to put in a lot of measurement instructions so it got wordy. Hopefully I can inspire a few people to try making their own version! I did a penguin waddling because of my recent bird obesssion but you could do a moving arm that raises a glass (as in "cheers") or a hand that moves (as in waving "hello!"). Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A quilted heart

Its valentines day again. I almost forgot. We are planning a staff conference here in Ghana, which will start on the day of love, and sadly my co-worker and I didn't realize it until someone pointed out that perhaps employees would want to be with their loved ones. Ha! Shows how used to being single I am. Last Valentines Day though I remember well since I arrived back to DC from Zambia on Valentines Day and went directly out with my eharmony adventure of the moment. I was so tired. I distinctly remember thinking over dinner: I wonder if I am making in sense. It was nice to have someone to go out with though. On the back of this card, which got wet in the February weather, Lynn writes of a V-day that included parental visits and basketball playing. Lynn, do you have plans this year? Also, do you remember that you had wondered if you could have made this card in a more traditional quilt pattern? Perhaps this will be good inspiration for future quilt cards. Love to all this holiday!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tiny little spaces

Jessica's cards in January of last year began a new theme for her. Cut out designs. She wrote "this is a change of pace. I have been playing around with an xacto knife since christmas. Its something I haven't done since High School." I think this gets at what this project has done for both of us- get us in touch with our creative sides. Which we have always had but didn't always make time for. I remember as a child having bins and bins of Crayola markers to draw with. Something comforting about it, and something enriching!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Art Stamps!

A short post with something interesting happening at the post office (if there are any people still checking in with us).  In a few weeks some new stamps will be out.  I know most of us usually buy basic flags or the forever stamps, but really the pretty ones are the same price!  My favorites among the new stamps are those featuring abstract impressionist art, but there are some other fun options as well.  You can see all of them here.  Although, I am going to have to begin using international rate stamps...wonder what those will look like?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hoo. hoo. who's there?

Lynn wrote last January that a book her mom got purchased for her at the Paper Source inspired this card. It is hard to tell, but the card is long enough to fit in a legal envelope (at some point it became folded, which you can see in the second picture), and inside it has three owls with little pop-up beaks down the middle. I love that somehow the eyes make the owls have personality. She wrote inside that she felt uninspired when it came to writing a catchy tag line although she did brainstorm a few ideas.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling if she made this card this month the tag line would be obvious:
Who's there?
Because, lets honest, I have been rather poor at communicating and didn't manage the promised drive-by hug on my way north from DC (my dad and I passed the Flint area around the time that night becomes morning and I didn't think I should wake her... which I regret in retrospect). But I believe that communication will be easier now that things are beginning to settle. So my response to all those hoos: I am here, pal!