Sunday, January 16, 2011

Itty bitty craft fun in the mail

I'm a sucker for tiny things, and I love projects that allow me to use bits and pieces of leftover craft supplies to make stuff. So I'm browsing on Etsy, and I search "zines," and I come across Tanglecraft's shop, in which she offers an issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly because she has a project in it, on how to make your own mini matchbox. I had a little money in my PayPal account, so I bought it for $12 including postage from the UK, and it came pretty quickly, like in a little over a week.

There's a section in front, "A few of my Favorite Things," with brief descriptions of some items on the Web, some to buy and some to make, that all fit in with the miniatures theme of this issue. Not surprising with the way things change so quickly online, and how easy it is to get a long url wrong (she has them all shortened through a service that uses the beginning "", kind of like the more-familiar-to-me or tinyurl that people use), there is a bad link (just one that I found), but it was pretty easy to locate the correct site because she tells you the name--a blog called How About Orange that had a tutorial on making miniature origami houses (which, since I located it, I'll connect you to here). But, as I see it, without this mention in this little zine, I wouldn't have known that blog, and that tutorial, even existed, so it's still a plus.

Also in this issue are instructions to knit a dollhouse-sized cat, with photos, how to make a mini fabric banner, the afore-mentioned match box instructions, an interview with a crafter who crotchets miniature animals (and how to find her Etsy shop, where she sells the patterns), and several more features, including a little story by the editor/publisher about making a doll house with her dad, a recipe, a coloring page and a word-find game. The whole thing is just fun and clever and playful, I'm really enjoying it. And getting it in an envelope from the UK is part of the joy--who doesn't like to get mail, and foreign mail especially?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday postage stamp choices

About halfway through the holiday correspondence season, it occurred to me that, since I always notice what stamps people choose to put on their envelopes, why not make a survey of it. I already had a little stack of stamps from the cards we had received so far, but since I don't usually save stamps I find uninteresting (namely, the Liberty Bell and flag ones, although I'll grant that the newer flag ones are more artistic looking than the old ones), this isn't a very accurate accounting. Even so, of the 30 or so cards we received, I have 18 stamps. I'm going to assume that most of the 12 I didn't save were Liberty Bell forever stamps, because I remember noticing quite a few of those and wondering why people were using them when there are new forever stamps with images of evergreen trees on them. Of course, I do know why--because they bought a roll of 100 of the forever stamps and they're going to use them up before buying more stamps.

I know you're dying to know the results of my stamp survey, so, here we go. Of the 18 stamps I saved, evergreens are the clear winners, with all other categories, including the more explicit Christmas stamps, trailing far behind:

evergreens — 10
flags — 2
Liberty Bells — 2
Miss Liberty — 1
lute player — 1
Madonna and child — 1
English Christmas stamp featuring a snow-covered postbox and cartoon character — 2 stamps, both on one envelope
Original artwork matching the card, on a Zazzle stamp — 1

So there you have it.