Carved stamps and Christmas robins…

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?

A collection of hand-carved mail art stamps by Britta Jarvis

Britta's stamp-carving mini zine & airmail labels
Britta’s stamp-carving mini zine & airmail labels

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.

Round Robin badge with Britta's illustration on the card
Round Robin badge with Britta’s illustration on the card

(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!

Britta's robin illustration in pride of place
Britta’s robin illustration in pride of place

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… 🙂

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JaguarSnail – welcome!

This post is to welcome the zines of Britta Jarvis of JaguarSnail into the TangleCrafts fold. 🙂  Britta is a local artist & crafter who I met through a mutual friend, a couple of years ago.  We have since spent many a happy hour on the production line together and have discovered lots of common interests – the most obvious being zines, mail art, and a weakness for terrible puns…  We are currently scheming to bring you various collabrative projects (largely involving me harnessing Britta’s amazing – and speedy! – stamp-carving skills!).  In the meantime, 3 of Britta’s mini zines are now available in the TangleStore:

I Love Mail - JaguarSnailI Love Mail! – quite a maxi mini zine at 20 pages long, but standard mini zine dimensions.  It includes 8 things Britta loves about mail, an envelope tutorial, a postal poem, an interview with a Royal Mail postman, and more.  Illustrated throughout with Britta’s own sketches & doodles, this one is a limited edition in the current format so don’t miss out!

Make a Zine - JaguarSnailHow to Make a Zine – an introduction for beginners.  If you’re tempted to write your own zine but don’t know where to start, this mini zine could be just what you’re looking for!  Lots of tips, guidance and inspiration, but the best bit about this mini zine is that it’s double-sided – open it out, and there’s a unique zine theme-picker on the reverse.  Twice the fun of an ‘ordinary’ mini zine squished into the same amount of space – genius!

Experimental Poetry - JaguarSnailA Collection of Experimental Poetry – This one does exactly what it says on the tin, and is a perfect example of Britta’s quirky nature.  These fun little poems are accompanied by original illustrations to make a unique addition to your zine collection.

Ideas

Have you ever noticed how when a deadline is approaching, creativity often sneaks out the back door?  Similarly, when I am determinedly trying to keep new ideas on hold until all moved into the new house next month (because I need to be packing & cleaning & doing boring things, not tapping away at my laptop and happily running things through my new printer) it seems that my imagination goes into overdrive.

Sneak preview of Enchanted Times Mini #4.5 v.iii - coming soon!  (-ish.)
Sneak preview of Enchanted Times Mini #4.5 v.iii – coming soon! (-ish.)

Not counting all the ideas I’ve written down for new projects to commence following the move, I couldn’t help myself from writing & laying out an entire new issue of Enchanted Times Mini, and, um, I’m halfway through another new issue as well…

March will herald the one year anniversary of my separate E.T.Printworks store and it’s going to be all-change.  Aside from the new paper mentioned in previous post, I will be discontinuing some items, re-packaging others, and of course, adding entirely new lines, as well.  It will be an ongoing process, but I will have as much of the new presentation ready as possible for March.  Be warned, there may be a couple of price increases (so buy now with your 25% discount for the best deals!) but there should also be a more cohesive and professional feel.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I will be closing the Etsy stores while my re-location takes place.  Everything should be re-opened by March, and if at all possible I will re-open a little earlier, but this will all depend on realities and practicalities of unpacking & more.  In the meantime I will try very hard to stem the flow of ideas, because I really already have enough to be going on with… 😉

Enchanted Times – not just for fairyland!

More readers behind the Times, courtesy of the Raven Rural Route postal service.

“Barbara and Marlene, enjoying an Autumn afternoon in the pumpkin patch, are enjoying the latest editions of Enchanted Times being delivered by Raven Rural Route postal service to outlying areas.  Their opinions are that while the news can be pretty Grimm at times, doll children need to be informed of fairy land news too.”

Many thanks to ET reader Wanda Mortensen for sharing this candid snap, showing dollkind catching up on the latest old news.  It’s great to see even more readers behind the Times & good to know that the Fast-As-You-Can Co Co (courier company) is working in successful collaboration with so many Real World postal services, as well as subsidiary branches of smaller districts such as (most commonly) the Local Post of Tangledom and the Raven Rural Route (as above).

While I eagerly await updates on Wanda’s recent yarnbombing adventures, you can catch up with her earlier crafty exploits here.

The (temporary) return of TangleCrafts

Has it really been 3 months since I last posted?  Guess so!  Well, after a much appreciated summer break, my muse has returned with the autumn weather.  There are new items in both the TangleCrafts and E.T.Printworks Etsy Stores, including zine bundles, mini notecards, a return to TangleCrafts’ roots (sort of) with the WeaveWorld Mini Manual of Weaving (for Novice Weavers with Imperial Aspirations), and possibly my favourite addition which is currently only in the E.T.Printworks store, the Light of my Life Matchbox.

Why is this only a temporary return?  Well, guess what?  TangleCrafts is moving house, yet again!  (Hence the Random Craft Clearout which has appeared in the TangleStore.)  Not until the first months of the New Year, so I will be around until Christmas; but then there will be another hiatus for a couple of months while everything (and we have a lot of stuff!) gets packed, unpacked, and settled in again.  At least this time it will have been 2 years since the last move, and please join me in  hoping that this time we have found somewhere we can actually settle!

Bookalogging (new TangleClub freebie)

In between projects, I’ve been reading a lot, lately.  Despite the fact I lived with my nose in a book when I was younger, it always feels very decadent now to spend a day with a comfortable chair and a good novel – but sometimes it just needs to be done!  Do you ever think back on the books you read years ago and find you only have the sketchiest memories of the details?  I’ve been lucky enough to be selected as a World Book Night ‘giver’ this year (one of thousands of people across the country – & I believe in other countries, too, this year – giving away free copies of books in order to ‘spread the joy and love of reading’), and the book I chose to give was Small Island by Andrea Levy.  I read it and really enjoyed it probably 5 or 6 years ago, and of the available titles, it was definitely the one that spoke to me.  But I realised that I only had the vaguest recollection of the actual plot, which isn’t really the best way of convincing somebody else they also want to read that book…  I’m currently re-reading Small Island, and relieved to say I am enjoying it just as much second time around!

With this in mind, I have just added a brand new TangleClub freebie: the Bookalog!  Maybe you have a journal where you keep track of the books you read, maybe a spreadsheet, maybe a blog, or maybe you just rely on your memory (all I will say about that is, I hope your memory is better than mine! 😉 ).  Whatever your preference, the Bookalog is designed to supplement rather than replace your preferred method of record-keeping.  Simply print & fold the mini-zine ‘blank’ – maybe use as a makeshift bookmark (I don’t know about you, but I always lose nice bookmarks & end up using business cards or till receipts, instead) or just stuff a couple into your purse or handbag.  Then when you finish a book, wherever you might be, you can jot down a few notes to keep everything fresh in your mind until you have chance to update whatever other system you might use.  You can, of course, use the Bookalogs as a record system in their own right, but if you read a lot, be warned that this may soon become impractical! 😉

The Bookalog includes spaces for:

  • your name!
  • an index of titles
  • dates read
  • a log of your thoughts about 3 books
  • space to add doodles or pictures or extra notes
  • books similar in style/theme
  • ratings
  • books added to your wishlist

(Please note, if you are not currently a TangleClub member but you wish to partake of the TangleClub freebie goodness, membership is available here, or is FREE with any purchase of £5 or more from the TangleStore!)

In the meantime – have you read any good books lately?  These are my favourite reads from the last month:

Ella Minnow Pea by Matt Dunn
A clever & enjoyable fable set on an island where an overzealous council bans more and more letters from daily usage as a historic monument begins to decay.  If you enjoy word puzzles, this is a really fun read, but more importantly, it’s a good story, too!

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki
A career conman reflects on his life as old age catches up with him, in this surprisingly touching portrait of a charming egomaniac and the lives he has touched.  This story could easily have produced a caricature but instead revealed a very perceptive look at human nature.

War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen
In this sharply witty tale, Gloria looks back on life with her sister during the war, and discovers why certain memories are more reluctant to re-surface than others.  I was relieved that the ‘twist’ (evident that it would be coming from early on in the story) was slightly different than I had imagined.

The next small thing!

We all know that often the best things come in small packages, so to celebrate the long-awaited launch of the Society for the Preservation of Borrowers, I have created an Etsy Treasury of all things Tiny!  There are some exceedingly cool (& tiny) things included (such as the wonderful miniature message embroideries from Of Little Consequence (right), so please take a look!

This month’s TangleClub freebie continues the Borrowers theme but moving away from miniatures and toward recycling,  with a set of printable envelope re-use labels & seals featuring the Borrowers Recycle! logo.  If you want to share the TangleClub freebie goodness, all you need to do is spend £5 or more in the TangleStore – Etsy, Folksy or Storenvy – and you will receive a free membership card plus password to access the TangleClub Archive of FREE projects & printables.

And on the subject of clubs, you are all hereby invited to join the Society for the Preservation of Borrowers!   Membership packets are now available from the TangleStores.  Each miniature manila envelope includes:

* a copy of the micro-zine Borrowed Time (you will need a magnifier to read this!)

* a membership card cut from discarded packaging

* and an upcycled pinback badge made using pages from a vintage copy of Mary Norton’s original ‘Borrowers’ book.  

The first 10 Membership Packets will be signed, numbered & dated.

Everyone knows that the Borrowers were the true pioneers of the upcycling movement, so SPoB is the ideal cause for crafters & literature lovers to support! 😉