Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thank you!

Its Christmas day and the end of the year, which is always a good time to reflect on the year. I have been a bit behind in all sorts of communication - phone calls, letters, emails, bills, faxes - you name it and I am surely late.  When we started this project, we agreed to be forgiving with each other. No judgement when we fall a bit behind or crank out a wacky card. In honor of another year of mail and just because it is fun, here is a big thank you song for 2012 postcards here. Hope you are having a great day Lynn!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Its nice when Jess titles her cards for me, especially this one!  I'm not sure I would have guessed these people on stilts were her Dad and her brother racing.  On this card she lamented not seeing her family very often.  Here's hoping each of you can be with family this holiday season.  It can be fun to miss one (or two) Christmases or Thanksgivings while on an adventure, but after a while a person craves home!

Monday, December 17, 2012

What a bikini!

Can you cheat at this project? 
Lynn wondered a year ago when she sent me a card she made in 2009 for a party that she had helped plan at a former job. Not surprisingly, she had been made 'invitation guru' for holiday parties and the slew of baby showers that had hit the office during that period.

In my opinion, Lynn was not cheating but she was enabling strange office behavior as she created this card as an invitation for an office pool party.  This explains the bikini on the grinning snowman - er, I mean snow-woman - but it does nothing to explain why someone would want to attend an office pool party. Is it only me who would prefer to leave my glaring thighs to my colleagues' imagination? Perhaps more precisely, I am hoping that they have no imagination or interest in imagining such things at all!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Unexpected and poetic 2

Jessica was on a lot of airplanes and on a roll with looking deeper at life last September.  She called it here traveling series.  Jessica took a long flight with her Dad and had an encounter with a stewardess. You know the kind that happens between strangers on a plane overnight where you are sleeping and eating with perfect strangers? It's formal and intimate all at the same. Jessica commented "she was uniform, and then she wasn't."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sampling the Nile

Inspired by seeing They Draw and Cook, Lynn drew this while making brownies. A fact that I love, because I recognize her bowl.

Lynn also shared that she ate Ethiopian food for the first time last year. She had been intrigued by this new cuisine at the Blue Nile, but also a little unsure. Her final review was that the restaurant decor was fun, but she could pass on what she saw as Indian-like spices and funny bread. Since she is not a big fan of lentils or peas, I suppose this is not a huge surprise. A girl after my own heart, however, she did like the kale and cabbage... really, who doesn't love vegetables?

(Note - Lynn, I am vowing to post these cards the last few weeks of cards once I am back in the US. I have been using my cell phone in lieu of a proper scanner!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

They Draw and Cook

Lynn hosted Thanksgiving dinner for her family last year. She shared that she successfully made a turkey, but it finished 2 hours too early so she had to find a creative way to keep it warm (wrapping it in tin foil and a towel and sticking it in a 'cooler') so that they could use the oven to cook other fixings. Her T-day meal was not only filled with laughter and cooking lessons - it was also filled with eager excitement about that fact that she was expecting. Happy news that enhances an already happy event.

This card was inspired by the book They Draw and Cook. The loose sketches in the cookbook illustrate basic recipes. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Unexpected and poetic 1

Seeing the unexpected, Jessica saw a man on her plane with a sparkle in his eye...only to realize a few moments later her was a prisoner in transit.  She wrote about him "flying free for a moment.". I re read this card to post about it, and I wondered where he is now, was he deported and sent home or locked up somewhere?  You always see these scenarios in movies, then even reading about them in real life feels jarring and raw.  I like her drawing of him bright and full of life!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time warp

Forgive the little time warp going on on the blog!  For now, I found this interesting news about a postcard lost for decades and just recently delivered to half of a pen pal pair.  Read details here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

3 parts

Lynn sent a two part series last fall of what she called - 'Three Part Characters'

On the flip side of the first, Lynn wrote that school was a blur last year as she had to learn and do seven new psycho-social and cognitive evaluations with her students last autumn. A number that is far above what had been normal for high school level. She reflected that because of the pace at work, she had been socializing most with me - who was half way around the world in Accra - making her feel a bit hermit-like. Reading this while at work, I remember smiling because it was so similar to how I had been feeling.
On the second card, Lynn wrote that Jordan, her dog, had been having skin problems a lot. The veterinarian knew how to fix his itchy sad state, but the solution was horribly expensive because Jordan was allergic to dust mites and needed allergy medicine for life. Apparently, Lynn lamented, Jordan was a high maintenance dog in addition to being a badly behaved one.

With horribly chapped lips since the start of fall, Lynn wondered if the veterinarian would be willing to check her out too.  Funny how easy it is for us to care for others while we ignore ourselves. 

Punched flower

Falling behind. As it is the morning after the bi-annual changing of the clocks,  this is a fitting post and postcard. With no more than a few days at 'home' at a time, I have been flying fast since my last work trip and finding it hard to remember to bring postcards to the office to scan. Yes, I am behind on posting. But since time is literally changing, I have decided to fix this problem before I leave today on another long work trip.

It had been months since Lynn had drawn a postcard last autumn before she sat down to punch out this card using a needle. While she found making dots a soothing way of getting back into the groove, just as I do, she admitted that holding the tiny needle was hard on her hands. So even though the card turned out fantastically, she was left with 'a little claw hand' and thoughts on how to make the process less painful next time.

Around four years ago Lynn and I made a pact to send two postcards every month. It has not been easy or painless to keep our promise, but somehow we find our way even if it is delayed at times and keep thinking of new ways to transform a 4x6 card. Happy (slightly belated) Anniversary Pal!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life's a beach

Jessica drew this a view from her lounge chair at the beach, but don't be fooled the book is a prop! A good friend and lots to say kept her from getting beyond the first page of her book.  Jessica wrote that she and Merilee ran, ate good food and enjoyed some much needed down time.  She told me of all their fun in the hopes that I could visit her soon, unfortunately it was not to be.  Sorry I missed Ghana pal, here's hoping your closer location will get us together sooner rather than later.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nova Scotia shopping

Lynn relied on one of my favorite sources of inspiration for this post card - a travel magazine. The image is from the Saa Paper Factory in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a city where Lynn studied abroad years ago (I should note that the drawing was not tilted on the card - this is a factor of crooked scanning). The card reminded Lynn to tell me about shopping in Nova Scotia, where she saw handmade cards from Chiang Mai selling for $35. The price took Lynn by surprise, remembering low Thai prices, but apparently was not so surprising since Nova Scotia prices were consistently high for Lynn's budget. Too bad, because she was yearning after Etsy-like jewelry - an itch I felt recently while in Sri Lanka at Barefoot in Colombo. Luckily, Asian prices are easier to swallow. :-) 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tube, as in the London Subway.  Jessica stepped off a plane into London and felt the clean, smooth, shiny and sparkly surroundings. I remember a similar feeling when I took a flight from Cairo and landed in Athens.  It was my first trip out into Europe after months in Cairo and after all the sand and grit I fell in love with the sunlight of Greece.  However, unlike me Jessica felt the world was too plastic, and she was separate from nature.  So it sure was a good thing this little lady bug on a well heeled man reminded her nature was still connected to the people in London.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dining in PA

While in Pennsylvania, Lynn went to her brother's local farmer's market to buy August peaches and tomatoes. Afterwards, they took their loot home to have as part of their lunch followed by happy family time, hanging out time playing games. Lynn, you are probably not surprised to hear that I think that this sounds like a perfect PhD defense celebration.

Apparently, the PA trip was filled with culinary experiences - some of them a bit more rough then the above farmer's market lunch. In addition to dining at home, Lynn's family hit up a local German restaurant where the wait staff yell at the customers. Apparently ,the waiter threatened to beat them if they didn't clean their plates! They also went to a tavern from colonial times where a fork flew down from second floor breaking her mom's beer glass. What gritty dining experiences!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Watercolor blots

Lynn made a series of water color blots and then squinted her eyes to find shapes in them.  This fish and the jellyfish postcard, posted earlier, were from this series. 
Last summer, Lynn's brother defended his PhD. She drove down to Pennsylvania with her husband to cheer him on, wondering if she would understand anything he said even though he had been discussing nanotechnology for years. She confirmed later that indeed she had really only understood 10-15 percent of of his defense. Luckily, this meant he knew complex material (he passed!) and not that he was hopefully confusing to his professors as well.

Once home, Lynn headed to an outdoor concert. Enjoying being outside and music simultaneously. It reminds me of concerts at Interlochen's Kresge Auditorium, where the notes roll over you as water and trees dance around you. Lovely.  Tonight, I am headed to listen to Fatou in NYC with friends. While I am sure the setting will be less scenic, she is a Malian singer and the wife of one of my colleagues. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


It had been six years since I had been in Sri Lanka. The country was recovering from the tsunami last time I was in Galle. Since then, the island has weathered another wave of war and sprung back, blossoming with signs of development so sparkly that it makes your eye's pop.  The scars of war and disaster are wearing away. The temporary beach house I stayed at years ago has been replaced by a better version of itself. Physical proof of impermanence and recovery.

A year ago, I sent Lynn my worries, knowing that sharing with a friend would help and that with time it would pass. Staying the course, thinking long term, worked it seems. There are not always dead goats on the beach.

After more than a month of creative doldrums, I am drawing again. It only took four Asian countries and a beach vacation on the Indian Ocean to get me ticking. No problem, right? Poor Lynn has yet to benefit. Instead, she is posting depressing postcards from a year ago, wondering if I am ever going to respond to her emails or find a card in her mailbox. Do not despair, pal, I too am making my way back again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Making light of things

So...as we've seen in the last three cards Jessica was drawing very dark, morose subjects.  I guess the direct quote about me getting all these cards at once was "Lynn will freak out!" Just after hearing this, Jess attempted to make light of things by drawing this dead goat she and Merilee saw on the beach making them both laugh.  She briefly considered a series of holiday postcards in this sardonic theme- dead goats on Africa's beaches...I wonder what other vignettes she would have included?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another dark period

This postcard was mailed a few days after Jessica's birthday. Her birthday was not the subject though...at a work retreat, a terrible accident occurred.  Jessica was dealing with all that it entailed, and again used art to process what she felt for all those involved.  While I was only able to listen from afar on the phone, it was lucky Merilee was there for Jessica to lean on.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birthday mystery

A year ago, Lynn launched a very fun project that left me guessing for months. White cards with letters and/or a leaf design trickled in each week (office mail was collected weekly). Each postcard made up a piece of a puzzle message and had a message from someone I cared about. While this postcard was a tantalizing start, filled with question marks on its otherwise blank underbelly, I would have known it was Lynn's enterprise without it. A ruthless period in other ways, this surprising gift was the highlight of the months that surrounded my birthday. It made me feel loved even though I was thousands away from the game's participants. I still can hardly believe that she tracked down so many of my friends and family from so many phases of my life.

Despite a number of cards, a bit hilariously, some of the cards were repeated or missing in the end so I was forced to ask, "What does it say?"  Lynn replied, "I'm so glad you were born."

I am not sure that there has ever been such a remedy for such a blue period. Thank you for being there.

Monday, August 20, 2012

WARNING the following postcard may be hazardous to the reader(part 2)

This card shows the busy streets of Jessica's neighborhood where she pondered car accidents a few weeks back.  She wrote on this one about the pineapple lady (she is there in the middle of all the cars)who not only sells the fruit but is over zealous with foreigners. She chases them and calls out "sweet ones."  I think anyone who has lived abroad has expereinced the starring and awkward moments that sometimes go along with being the only foreinger in sight.  My husband was once asked to pose with a family and their baby for a snapshot when we were visiting India, I often wonder why and what they think about years later when they look at that photo.  Do you have a story like this one?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A good friend

I was in need of a good friend around this time last year. As my postcards imply, it was a hairy period and I needed to let out some of the stress I felt through my art. Luckily, not only did a childhood friend visit Ghana, Lynn was also right there reminding me to take care of myself and to remember to start thinking about longer term plans. Her words were well timed reminders for me to plan ahead and that these down-times would pass.

Meanwhile, she was telling me tantalizing stories about Nova Scotia, which she had visited with her mother and sister in-law. Having been slightly obsessed with Prince Edward Island as a child, due to the series by Lucy Maud Montgomery about Anne of Green Gables, I could not help but be green with jealousy (just like Anne's hair!). With stories filled with scenic views and interesting people, Lynn could not have told me enough about her trip. I must admit, however, that I was very sad to learn recenlty that good ol' PEI had been connected to the mainland by a bridge. I suppose it is a bit unfair to wish isolation upon a group of people, but my childhood self had loved the mystic of a special world cut off from the rest of Canada. Nevertheless, now that I am based in New England, I am itching to go see for myself.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

WARNING the following postcard maybe hazardous to the reader

Jessica was advised by Merilee to call and warn me about this next series of cards because they are a bit morose.  On this one Jessica wrote that she was spending time on the streets of Osu and pondering how there were so few accidents on the narrow, busy streets.  Her quote about the possibility of being hit is "In my mind I'd be flattened like a paper doll and left floating in the wind" Hmm...I can see why Merilee wanted to warn me that Jessica's imagination was running wild but that she was safe and well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dare to display?

Interested in filling the walls of her relatively new house, Lynn used this card as practice for a piece she wanted to hang up. Inspired by a picture she saw in a store, she tried "copying... errrr.... was inspired by a version of this card." She then asked, would I dare to hang up my own framed artwork on my walls? Or would it be too easy to see the flaws?  It is a good question. I kind of like using my walls for inspiration and for displaying my family and I must admit that I would be likely to rip down pictures to fix something that irked me with time. Perhaps, it is safer to mail away my creations!

Lynn also noted that she had learned her mother was following our blog routinely. Being that we blog mostly for ourselves, this always surprises us (I remember thinking, we have a follower! And then, realizing that is sort of our mom's jobs to follow us). Lynn pointed out that mostly she was glad we were still mailing after 3 (now nearly 4) and blogging after 2 (now nearly three) years. I must agree this really is the very best part.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dads on Safari

Here is one of Jessica's favorite places to stay.  She wrote about how you can see elephants bathing and hear lion's roaring when you stay in these rooms. This is very fitting because last year around this time we both had taken safari trips.  Jessica took a trip here for her dad's birthday, and spent cool mornings searching out game and evenings watching girafes. One of the places I stayed with my dad on safari was a permanent tented camp.  A favorite photo from our trip is my dad sitting on the porch of his tent looking very happy and very much like some sort of Victorian explorer.  Its funny to me that both Jessica's dad and mine both turn into big kids when it comes to wildlife!  Maybe I will try to do a sketch of that photo as my next card.

Friday, July 13, 2012


After starting her summer with daily running, lounging and movies, my pal joined me in Africa last July. Being in Tanzania, however, she was on the continent's back rather than in its armpit. So close, yet so far away. While usually I am the one whipping off African themed cards, this time Lynn tried to lure me to join her on an East African safari. Oh, how I would have loved to meet her.

Not as good, but fun nevertheless, I got to hear her reflect on her first trip to my most beloved continent. Next time Lynn, we need to coordinate better!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Last year, I turned the big 3-0! Wow! Jessica drew this card, one of many handmade birthday cards I have gotten from her over the years.  On the back, she writes about how milestone birthdays drive people to ask you philosophical questions.  For me 30 was a much easier birthday than 25.  What about you, what age was your trickiest birthday??
p.s. my pal also added the sentiment that she hoped we could chat our way through the next 30, 60, or even 90 years.  Me too pal, me too!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Being that this is a card, rather than a postcard, it is technically too 'big' for this blog. Lynn asked jokingly if this meant I would kick her out of our project. Think again, friend. More likely, you should kick me out - based off of my recent lapse in timely blogging and mailing. A transatlantic move has me off kilter. Thankfully, things are starting to settle down, I am settling in and we will be able to catch up in person soon. 

This card - inspired by the cover for The Beekeeper's Bible by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch - celebrates wanderlust.  A term, Lynn tells me, that the dictionary defines as to get out the 'wild oats'. Although fitting at the time, this theme is a bit ironic now since Lynn and I are both nesting (well relatively) rather than setting off an a spectacular journey. Nonetheless, let's be honest, my itch for discovering new places is never far (as is Lynn's usually) and this book inspired card makes me dream of travel-inspired stories to come. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


It's not a postcard but its some art I've been working on recently.  I used a brush and ink to make several illustrations for a book cover. So, now I'm officially an illustrator ;-) You can see how it came together here. I made several versions of each and really enjoyed that medium, I hadn't worked with it since college.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Letters from everywhere

Lynn, and I have been sending each other letters since undergrad, long before we started this postcard challenge. Posted to and from all over the world, amazingly, our letters have yet to be lost (or so I think!).

I am constantly curious about the journey our mail takes.  Lynn's first June drawing captures mailboxes she dropped letters into over the years. Her drawing provides a glimpse to the start of letter's journey, but it fills my curiosity only partially. What path did letters take when she sent them from Egypt to Samoa? What adventures? It is a journey I'd like to trace.
Although the front of this card is a tale in itself, on its underbelly, Lynn wrote to me about the closing of school for the summer. The start of summer break is always sweet, but last year she also felt relieved to put distance on discussions of financial woes facing the public education system in Michigan. It can be a tiring, heated debate and is one that I listened to a lot growing up with a teacher as a mother. Although each day she would get up and work her heart out for her kids, her compensation, just as with most government jobs, depended on public policy and revenue rather than her effort or success. No rewards for hard work and no security if someone is relatively new or teaching elective classes.

It is the same in Ghana. Not only does a lack of incentives hinder teacher morale and performance, the budget is tight. In Ghana, nearly all of the education budget - which makes up a third of the government's total budget - goes to teacher salaries. This leaves the government with little money to build schools, develop materials, provide professional training - in short, to do anything other than pay teachers. Teachers deserve to be paid well, but each time I hear this debate, I always hope it will focus first on how to pay them rather than on blanket budget revisions. My two cents before school is out for the summer.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Jessica went paragliding the day after drawing this card- she had flight on the brain! This is such a gorgeous bird she drew, I really love all the natural and realistic details.  I remember seeing pictures of her paragliding with the instructor and seeing a smile of pure joy on her face.  Reminded me of when I went on zip lines in Costa Rica.  I would love to try paragliding!!  Jessica saw forest and villages and enjoyed the peacefulness of being suspended up above.  Such a fun memory.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Between a rock and a hard place. Another illustrated idiom, brought to you by Lynn (she deemed this my 'bonus card', since I got one extra last May).

Sometimes there is no easy decision.You look left and right, imagining there is another way, but there isn't one and that is the way it is. On a call with my mother today, we talked about a situation just like this one; a situation with no easy solution. Our conclusion was that sometimes when you find your self in these situations life doesn't start feeling better unless, after waiting a while to scope out the situation, you just deal with getting roughed up by that rock or that wall. You take a stance.

The problem is: what is on the other side?  Oh, please, send the poor stick-man a postcard revealing this.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Jessica drew a summery image of tomatoes in her typical dots.  This methodical way of drawing is her therapy from a busy time at work- which she had because she was getting ready to have a visit from her dad and take time off. I remember they were planning to go on Safari which was exciting for me becasue in a few months I would be going on my own safari.  I'm not sure if Jess gets tomatoes on the vine like this in Ghana, but perhaps she remembers why she wanted to draw this summery image?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Morel Madness

Lynn spent a weekend with her in-laws, hunting for morel mushrooms last spring. Although she said they were unlucky, their neighbors were more fortunate. They had set up card tables on the side of the road selling morels to people, like Lynn, who were dying for a taste.

Morel hunting has always been a spring ritual for my family. My Dad has secret haunts all over Leelanau County that he has visited since he was young and guards protectively. His secret locations and the mushrooms themselves are not easy to find. They blend into and hide under the leaves and make only a brief appearance during the flash that they call spring between winter and summer. It is easy to walk past morels without even realizing it, even if you are on the hunt. Well practiced, however, my Dad can walk behind us sweeping the ground with his eyes, finding mushrooms we nearly stepped on.

Even now, despite loving the taste of morels, it is the search that I remember most fondly when I am far from Michigan in spring. Morel hunting provides a rare, focused time in the woods with my father. As the spring sun beat down through leave-less branches, we would discuss rare plant species, the weather, unusual fungus and he would tell me stories all while wandering in a sea of trillium.

As a side note, I spoke on the phone with my father today and it seems that he has not been lucky thus far this year. Knowing it is all about timing, though, I am still optimistic and am dreaming of scrambled eggs with dried morels next time I am in Michigan.

Postcards that Wander

Its a new hobby of mine to look around the news and web and find postcard related projects, stories or art.  That's how I stumbled on "The Wander Postcard Project" where illustrators to imagine a postcard from everywhere and nowhere at once.  Their art is being shared every day on this blog. Go on over and check them out.  Its a fun parallel to our little project.  (You can download for wallpaper if you find one you like, I might add this to my new phone!)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

This is a funny card because it was either sent to me by mistake, or I was supposed to mail it on to a mutual friend of ours (and I'm just realizing that now!)  The card is addressed to Merilee and asks her all about her plans to come to West Africa for the summer.  I know she ended up going last summer, because some of the drawings Jessica did in June and July were inspired by their travels.  Sorry Merilee, hope you can enjoy this digial version of your postcard for now!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The proof is in the pudding

Yes, in this instance, the proof really is in the pudding. Thinking of how to illustrate idioms, makes me giggle. Inspired by Lynn's postcard, I went online and checked out a number of sites that list out idioms (find one here). Scrolling through the list, I could not help but laugh imagining how I might draw:
He lost his head * Back seat driver * Flea market * A chip on his sholder * No room to swing a cat * Everything but the kitchen sink * Lend me your ear * Its raining cats and dogs
 Lynn reminded me, on the underbelly of her card, that not everyone could understand idioms. Non-native speakers and people on the autism spectrum are likely to not get them at all. Somehow I imagine them conjuring up the same images Lynn and I might if we were to draw these phrases, although just as likely is that they are just confused.  This also makes me think about times I have used idioms during work conversations in Ghana. I have a feeling that if you had been a fly on the wall you might have cracked up realizing that my staff thought I was speaking mumbo jumbo.

Tee hee.

Monday, April 23, 2012


My dad mailed me this article about a man who wanted to brighten up mailboxes with more than bills. Jim chose a random family in North Dakota and wrote to them for years, they had a fun time trying to guess who he was and enjoyed getting his cards.  Would you like something like this, or would it bug you that you didn't know "Jim"? I think I would like it, I wonder if Jessica and I could do something like this next with our love of the postal system...   

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Self Talk

Tired of work meetings, Lynn tried to change her attitude by revving herself up for them. 'Let's meet it up!', she would say, while deep inside she was thinking - really, another meeting?

Lynn was practicing positive self talk. A term I googled to double check I had not made it up only to learn that Lynn would make the motivational coaches of this world very proud. While I was not in Lynn's meetings last year, I can say that self talk works. We believe the stories we tell ourselves. Often a little self deception is all that is needed to take the first step and before you know it you are doing something that you didn't think that you could or wanted to do.

If you hear a voice within you saying,
'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint
and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh
Lynn, you said you were inspired to write this down and send it to me by another blogger who posts phrases on postcards. Who was it?

Friday, April 20, 2012


Jessica wrote about and drew about her weekend at the pool!  In addition to sun and water, she got a massage which helped her through the long slog of work that she had just endured.  She asked about good books to read in order to help get her life back in balance- a long term quest of hers!  I remember living in Cairo and spending weekends at the pool, we had a membership to a hotel and it had a tiny fitness center and pool.  Because of either a good exchange rate at the time, or maybe an inflated sense of earnings, we often ordered lunch pool side.  It felt so extravagant to order a cheeseburger and eat it while relaxing by a tropical pool.  How about you pal, do you snack on American foods in your bikini?

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Last time dots, this time doodles.  Jessica's busy life in Ghana had her stressed and pressed for time.  She wrote that this card started as a doodle and grew. It was literally all she had time for in a month filled with hiring and managing projects.  At one point, she said she was writing the date on a paper and realized "Oh my gosh, its March already!" Seems funny to me because last march I was feeling like the dreary, gray month was going on forever.  I wonder if Jessica's doodle of a young boy's face is inspired by any of the young people in her day to day life or that she met on a project visit?

Saturday, March 31, 2012


After a break from our postcard project, Lynn climbed back onto the horse, making a slew of cards to catch up. She used the face of her first card to explain why she was behind. She was, she explained, having an artist's version of writer's block. She had plenty of ideas as she wandered through life, but none when she sat down to put them on paper (or to do some sort of sewing project) and it only got worse as time went on. 

This is a lesson learned from this project. Being creative, doing art, is no different than staying in shape. If you take a break from exercise, it is hard to jump back on the treadmill and to get moving again. Similarly, it is hard to sit down and make something you like when you have not done so in a long while. Somehow your hands and brain do not cooperate quite the way that you wish.

Thank you for climbing back on the horse, pal. I remember getting an envelope full of cards with news, thoughts and inspiration on day when I was feeling particularly far away from home. A wonderful gift.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


As I am sure has been said before on this blog, when Jessica draws with dots she finds it therapeutic and relaxing.  This image is from one of her work projects focused on literacy and numeracy.  Jessica remembered the French photographer who came to Ghana to shoot photographs was a lot of fun and had had some pretty cool previous jobs including White House photographer (complete with Press Pass).  I think photographer would be such a fun job, do you?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Japan 2011

A professional exchange program brought a group of Japanese teachers to Michigan early last year - just after the earthquake and tsunami and the resulting nuclear disaster struck. I imagine that it was a strange time to leave their country, all considering. Lynn said that the group was kept very busy and that the teacher who stayed with her would come home and want to hang low during her down time, recovering from the last few weeks of trauma.

The teacher's visit, and the fact that she had lived in northern Japan years ago, made the event feel closer to home for Lynn. This postcard memorializes the time with a very Japanese aesthetic.

Eye test for love

These dotted hearts were inspired by the tests used to check whether someone is colorblind. Lynn had always admired the pictures with warm colored dots surrounding a dotted green letter in the middle.

This card reminded me of how my brother discovered he was color-blind. While working on my aunt and uncle's Christmas tree farm,  someone complimented him on the green sweatshirt my aunt had given him to work in. He replied by thanking them, telling them that he liked that it was plain. This led to a bit of confusion because it was not plain at all. It had the bright red farm logo on the front. He had missed the message on his chest.

The situation makes the story funny, but at the time I felt sad that he had missed the cardinals that would have been sitting next to him in the pine trees while he worked.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

This news story on Slate a few days ago caught my eye.  I tend to read any headline with postcard in the title! Its about a tradition of women proposing during leap year.  At first I wasn't sure if it was just on Feb. 29th, but it seems to be about the whole year.  Sure made me glad I was a woman of these times, I just found some of the Slate cartoons to be sad and infuriating in the way they made women appear to be trapping and tricking unsuspecting men into marriage.  What do you think?