I 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…
Britta (aka JaguarSnail) and I had another productive afternoon in the craft room, yesterday. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that she is a bit of a demon when it comes to hand-carving stamps?
Well, she has put together a tutorial mini-zine so that you can perfect your own demonic (I mean stamp-carving) skills. The demo design teaches you to carve an ‘airmail’ stamp featuring a funky little arrow in flight – but as if this wasn’t enough to satisfy you creative mail artists out there, she has also pre-cut & hand-stamped a set of airmail labels from the very design featured, so you can start adorning your outgoing post while you are still honing your own carving abilities.
I went through a stamp-carving phase myself a few years ago. I enjoyed it at first, while I was playing with new ideas, but I wasn’t really ‘a natural’, and eventually decided my time was better spent pursuing other…pursuits. So while Britta & I were sitting companionably in my craft room yesterday (with popcorn & chocolate close to hand), I was somewhat relieved when she ever so kindly offered to carve a robin stamp for me, to illustrate the presentation cards for my new Round Robin upcycled postage stamp badges.
(I know it seems early to be working on Christmas designs, but I thought better now than in a couple of months’ time when everything is too hectic to think straight & I don’t have enough time to put all my plans into action…) Then on top of feeling relieved, I was equally fascinated to watch her turn swiftly to the task at hand, and present me with the cutest little (2-layer) robin stamp you’ve ever seen in what can’t have been more than 15 minutes!
I loved Britta’s robin illustration so much that today I made a new batch of Round Robin badges giving her robin pride of place – and then I made some matching envelope seals, too! I’ve had a soft spot for robins since first reading The Secret Garden, so working on these projects the last couple of days has made me happy… 🙂
When my mum came to visit last week, she brought with her a sheet of Chinese ‘lovebird’ stamps cut from a bubble envelope, which they had clearly very nearly covered.
She had found them when sorting through some of my dad’s effects, and was happy to donate them to Project Dissimulation – it seemed about as fitting as could be!
Today, I discovered they were perfectly sized for upcycling as badges, so that was indeed their destiny. I feel like I have made hundreds of badges for the Project so far (although it is possibly not quite so many), but these particular ones definitely hold a special kind of piquancy for me, and I will definitely be keeping one for myself, as well as sending one each home for my mum & sister.
One of the items in the TangleStore which ticks over regularly is this set of 3 ‘Instructional Craft Badges‘, featuring vintage book illustrations and ‘sage advice from bygone crafters’.
I was singularly tickled to receive an email yesterday from Kris Bailey with a pic (below) of what she had done with her set! Putting slight feelings of inadequacy aside (suddenly my plain kraft packaging looks somewhat lacklustre…) I’m sure Kris’ friend Jan* will adore this witty, hand-lettered, handmade birthday card with badges for embellishment – so much fun! I’ve been thinking about making some cards to go with the badges for ages (who doesn’t love a badge on their birthday card – especially if it doesn’t tell their age! 😉 ), and Kris has definitely provided me with some inspiration here.
This rather pleasant surprise set me to thinking – have you done something creative with any TangleCrafty goodies? If so, please do drop me a line. It’s fascinating to see what happens to my stuff after it ventures out into the world…
(*Jan Eaton, author of numerous needlework books – by the by, but an interesting snippet nonetheless!)
Since I listed the first mini zine and badges for Project Dissimulation, in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer, I have been able to make two donations to the charity:
May 29th: £37.50
August 21st: £21.25
It might not sound like a huge amount, but I’m really happy to be able to make a difference – however small – for this good cause.
Since I began this project, I have added a second zine (bird-themed artistamps) to the series, as well as some packets of used postage stamps for your own crafty creations. Please stop by the TangleStore’s Project Dissimulation page to view all current offerings. There are lots of Etsy sellers out there trying to make a difference, so if you want to help them out, too, see some of the stunning items available in the Delicious Ambiguity Treasury.
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.
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!
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. 🙂