A Gift for my Fairy Godmother

I hadn’t planned on any further Postal Patchwork experiments just yet, Postal Patchwork greensbut I had a reason to sneak this one in between some other projects.  I’m about to disappear off to Ireland for a few days to visit my aunt, who is also my godmother (I call her my Fairy Godmother, although I’m not sure how much she appreciates that…) and wanted to take a small gift with me.  So I chose greens for the Emerald Isle (and also because I’m pretty sure she is fond of greens) and pieced together this little notebook for her.

This notebook is obviously not for sale; however, this particular patchwork design used halves of 18 different stamps (which means I have 18 matching halves remaining) and thus its inverse twin will probably become available not long after my return.  I’m also seeing that almost-tree shape as a potential future Christmas card design (perhaps contrasted against a splash of red)…

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A circular owl-sound

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages, but finally, at long last, I have been able to find a source for one of those exclusively elusive Round Tuits!  I can therefore now present to you the results of my acquisition: a sequel to what is definitely one of my bestselling zines of all time, The Postcard Recycling Kit:

postcard recycling kitWithin this new edition kit, you will find labels designed to stylishly upcycle any old scrap card into functioning postcards, and extra labels to decorate the ‘picture’ side.  These include: a quotation from Lewis Carroll’s mostly forgotten treatise on letter-writing, a wordsearch puzzle allowing you to personalise a greeting for multiple occasions, a stamp album collector’s page, and a (hand-designed) cross stitch chart for my beloved classic Machin postage stamp.  As if that wasn’t enough, there is also an extra cardstock postcard ‘blank’ for you to upcycle with your own choice of used postage stamps and/or other ephemera.  Click here for full details.

For the puzzlers amongst you, I will soon be introducing a wordsearch-only recycling kit, and there are also more postcard kits on the way (soon-ish), to include blackout poetry and collage.  As of tomorrow, I will be away from home until the weekend, but upon my return, there will be all manner of new TangleCrafted delights to look forward to.  See you soon! 🙂

More postal patchwork (& other fun things)

Another crafternoon with Britta produced lots of fun results!  Of course, my new Postal Patchwork experiments paled somewhat beside Britta’s amazingly detailed hand-carved stamps – applied to Moleskine notebooks, so we can all share the goodness!

Badgified BoxesAs if that wasn’t enough, Britta presented me with a little stash of badges she’s been working on, made from the quality control marks & recycling logos on salvaged packaging (‘Badgified Boxes‘, as we decided to call them!).  We worked together on the presentation, hand-cutting mount cards from discarded packaging lying around TangleCrafts HQ, together with low-fi hand-stamped title & by-line, using my DIY printing kit.

We had a fun afternoon (topped off by pizza!), and I was inspired to carry on with a little more Postal Patchworking the next day.  This one is a postcard, and I’m thinking of putting together a tutorial zine & possibly kit so that you can try it out yourself.

airmail arrow 1

As soon as I started laying down the stamps for the above ‘airmail’ arrow pattern, I started visualising alternative pattern variations which are crying out to be tried.  The problem with this Postal Patchworking – with any kind of patchworking, probably – is that there is an almost infinite number of variations for every pattern, and it’s simply impossible to act on them all!

I’m suffering slightly from ideas-overload at the moment, so am planning to scale back again on PP experiments while I try to let some of the other ideas that are buzzing around in my head chance to breathe (before they just spill out of my ears…).  Watch this space (&, of course, the TangleStore) for the results!

Another crafternoon…

December frequently escapes me somewhat, with birthdays, increased busy-ness at work, and the forthcoming seasonal festivities, all piling on top of my days which already feel very full.  But earlier this week I did manage to make time for another get-together with the lovely Britta of JaguarSnail.  We had some fun playing with my new envelope punchboard – we struggled to follow the instructions, bluffed our way through to success by trial & error, then found that the instructions did make sense, after all… 😉  I really love the results & there will definitely be new TangleMail-designed envelopes  coming soon (probably not until the new year).

Britta brought with her a brand new zine, the seeds of which were sown on our last crafternoon a few weeks ago.  On that day she made a miniature mock-up of the concept, and I have to say she’s done an awesome job of following it through.  If you have ever aspired to invent a new life form, this is the mini-zine for you!

Mythical JaguarSnailEach page features an ordinary creature – man, lion, eagle, cobra, goat and carp (some interesting choices!) – and each page is split into 3 segments so that you can mix & match your own mythical beast!  There is even a section at the back of the zine where you can log and name your favourite hybrid creations.  The drawings are really cleverly done, with lots of character, and perfectly aligned so that any combination (of the many possible!) slots together smoothly – yet another example of Britta’s talent!  There are only currently 5 copies available of this labour-intensive, slightly-larger-than-average mini-zine, so don’t miss out!

first class notebooksBritta was also inspired by the sea of stamps that were overflowing in a corner of my craft room, and followed up on her previous stampy works by customising a couple of stray notebooks I had lying around.  One of these was snapped up overnight (the other is still available, at time of writing), inspiring me in turn to follow her example – see pic to the right for even more First Class Notebooks, this time stampified by me.  These are all one-of-a-kind creations, so if one of them catches your eye, be quick!

There’s something about that repeated motif – the same but different every time, thanks to the unique combinations of postmarks – and the patchwork effect of the randomly combined colours that never fails to fascinate me…

Britta and I generally have no problem thinking of new creative ideas, but our ‘crafternoons’ are definitely motivational for both of us to actually get down to putting the ideas into practice.  When I say that a sea of stamps was overflowing in my room, I’m actually being literal rather than gratuitously poetic – but now we have actually made a real start on crafting them, I feel far less like I am about to drown in them…!

Here’s to crafty afternoons!

Faux postage Wonderland

alice badgeI recently acquired a lovely collection of used stamps which were designed in 1979 to celebrate the Year of the Child.  They feature classic illustrations from classic British children’s literature: Peter Rabbit, the Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh, and Alice in Wonderland.  Unsurprisingly, I could not resist upcycling them into badges (click on pic above right to view full range).

While I was browsing around this subject, I discovered something quite wonderful: real (well, ‘official’, at least) Alice in Wonderland faux postage stamps which were issued on special edition first day covers when the Alice stamp from the series mentioned above was released (the pic below is an amalgam of 4 different envelopes).  There are 4 different Wonderland stamps: the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and Tweedledum & Tweedledee.  Better than that, each is postmarked from a different ‘region’ of Wonderland, including Hattersville, and the Pool of Tears (I might have expected this one to have been somewhat blurrier…), and each has its own little quirky detail in the design to tie it further into Wonderland.  I love it!  Just wanted to share…

faux postage wonderland

Postage stamps for charity

Project Dissimulation bird badgesEarlier this year, a lot of kind people helped me out when I made a plea for used postage stamps featuring birds for Project Dissimulation (in aid of bowel cancer awareness, following my dad’s diagnosis).  Well, it suddenly occurred to me that it was time to pay this thought forward.

I have accumulated far more stamps than I will ever be able to use over the last few years.  I’ve shared some recently with Britta/JaguarSnail (see below) and I am going to send a big batch off to the RNIB mixed international(Royal National Institute of Blind People) next week.  I’ve chosen this charity because it is based in Benfleet, where most of my dad’s family lives.  While I was growing up, we always saved our stamps (I had lots of penpals when I was at school, so this was an area I felt I could help!) and gave them to my great aunt Rene when we visited in the holidays – she passed away several years ago, but I know she would appreciate my carrying on the tradition.

Britta (/JaguarSnail) does amazing things as a volunteer for the Air Ambulance Service – her job is to creatively re-craft plain items that have been donated for sale, so that they can be sold at a higher value and raise a greater amount of money.  She does lots of postage stamp collages which appeal to me for obvious reasons…!

Stamp Collages by JaguarSnail

There are so many great causes out there that need our support, though, so here is a non-comprehensive list of UK charities that are currently appealing for used stamps – please help them out, if you can!  (If you know of any other charities collecting donations of used stamps, whether UK or overseas, please feel free to add the link in a comment.)

Project Dissimulation – first creations

Project Dissimulation Vol. i preview

As April is bowel cancer awareness month, I was keen to get the first issue of the Project Dissimulation zine completed in time for April – so keen that I managed to be finished early!  When I first put out a call for donations of bird-themed used postage stamps and artistamps, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what exactly I would do with them, although the title chosen for the project obviously lent itself to working with collective nouns (a dissimulation of birds being the traditional collective noun for a group of birds).  Once I sat down to get started, though, the idea shaped itself and the first zine was quickly born, as well as a series of badges.

Please click through to the TangleStore to support Project Dissimulation with a purchase – any profits from Project items sold will be donated to a bowel cancer research/awareness charity.

So far I have completed Volume I of the zine, a matching Project Dissimulation badge (I will create a new badge design for each issue, so they can be collected!), and bird badges made from upcycled postage stamps for anyone who would like a completely individual souvenir of the Project:

The first issue of the Project zine features a variety of collective nouns for birds, illustrated with selected used postage stamps which were donated to the Project.  I’m not sure yet how many zines there will be in total, but I will keep going as long as there are stamps to work with. 🙂  In addition to the current items available, there will soon be a one-off chance to buy a set of badges made from the actual stamps used to illustrate Volume I, as well as bird badges grouped by species.  As the Project progresses, I’m also planning envelope seals, address labels, postcards and mini-notecards – watch this space for updates & availability!

Project Dissimulation Store

Project Dissimulation Badges Vol. i

If there are any bloggers out there reading this who would be willing to help spread the word with a mention of the Project (please feel free to ‘borrow’ any of the pics used in this post), I would really appreciate your help, too – the more people we can reach, the bigger difference we can make. 🙂