Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Super Swap

So here's the post I promised with some attention to the Time After Tea stationery swap.  I was so happy to take part in this and even happier when my package far exceeded my expectations (not that I didn't expect something great from my swap partner Patty, I just didn't really have expectations going into it, you know)?  Anyway, another HUGE thanks to Patty for all the wonderful things she sent in the giant package for the swap.  I can't remember if I ever mentioned to her, but I LOVE vintage stuff, and she sent along a good deal of it, which made me super happy.  Take a look at all the wonderful things she sent my way:

^Real, unused vintage postage stamps.  Um, YES PLEASE!

^Lots and lots of mailing labels, one thing I have yet to buy for myself...will have no trouble putting these to use!

^Vintage Batman fold-n-seals.  OMG I LOVE THESE.

^I got such a kick out of the dialogue in this one...

^Kitty cat fold-n-seals.  I know a certain someone who might enjoy receiving one of these.  :)

^Bewitched fold-n-seals.  Again, I can't believe she included these.  Bewitched holds a special place in my heart because growing up I would watch the show on Nick at Nite every summer on "Bewitched BeWednesdays!"  I get a very strong feeling of nostalgia whenever I think of that show, The Munsters, I Love Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie etc. because they remind me of such good times being a kid over summer break...sigh...

^Mail-themed rub-ons.  I actually have never heard of such a thing but I guess I will be experimenting with these very soon!  

^Tractor calendar envelopes.  I love hand-made envelopes...everyone has their own style so it's great to see different templates.  I think these may be the most manly thing I own...LoL!

^MORE VINTAGE!  Air Mail-themed envelopes and note paper.  I hate to even use them because I just want to keep them forever! 

Great stuff, huh?  Here are a few pictures of what I sent out in my package to Patty for the swap.  I feel kinda bad because I certainly didn't include as much stuff as she did, but my collection of stuff to send for mail-related swaps is pretty small at this point, and most stuff I send has to be made or bought, and I don't have a ton of money to spend.  That said, I think I put together a pretty decent package and Patty said she really enjoyed it, so that's what really counts, right?  Ok, here we go:

^All contents together: Handful of handmade envelopes, sticker sheets, note cards with envelopes, "P" post-its, rubber stamps, and 6 sets of handmade stationery.

^Close-up of one style of stationery I made.  This was my first go at something like this, so they were nowhere near perfect...I cut out the 3 images from a food magazine article about traveling in France, glued them to paper, and drew lines for writing, then photocopied and made 5 sheets of each page.  I quite like the way they turned out.

^Close-up of my new rubber stamp.  I bought bird-themed scrapbook paper, cut it to note-size paper, and then stamped each page for a place to write date, etc.

Onto some food...

This past Friday, J and I had some of my good friends over for dinner and visiting time since I don't get to see them much anymore.  I say my friends because I knew them all first and I met J later, but we're all friends now.  :)  We put together a delicious roasted beet salad and then had a build-your-own-pizza bar for everyone to be creative with.  All 3 of them thoroughly enjoyed everything which makes J and I very happy.  :)

^Toppings: Arugula, goat cheese, parmesan, homemade pesto, sliced and diced tomato, basil, hummus, mozzarella, kalamata olives, capers, and homemade pizza dough out-of-frame.

^Before the oven...

^425 degrees and 10 minutes later...VOILA!  

Last deal of business for the day, some fun incoming mail.  I think after this post I will be all caught up with the multiple pieces of mail I've had lying around...such a nice feeling to know I've gotten around to posting it all and can safely put it where it belongs in my stash.

^Reply letter from Lauren.  LOVE all the date stamping!  I want to get one of those stamps so bad but have yet to find one that fits into my budget.  They're quite expensive, no?

^Back.  More date stamps?  Yes please.

^50 State Challenge entry from Bianca, to cross off Oregon.  This is a re-gift from a swap package she received, and it has a welcome spot in my collection now!  :)

^Back of the postcard, complete with signature Bianca-esque lettering, handwriting, and adornments.  I love the 3-D strawberry!  P.S., I guess it might seem kinda weird that I blurred out the message; it's not anything super personal or weird, I'm just taking a cue from other mail-bloggers who do the same.  In my mind I guess every message has something unique about it from person to person, and keeping it personal5 between person A and person B is a nice thing to do.

^Postcard from L, who was one of our dinner guests the other night.  She really, really enjoyed all of my postcards, letters, and fantastic things I've received from all over the world!  Usually, as I've mentioned before, people think my love for mail is a bit strange and a borderline addiction (LoL), so it was a nice change to have someone who enjoyed it so much!  :)  I told her if she thought the stuff I've created (envelopes, labels etc.) was so cool she should check out some of my fellow bloggers' stuff and be truly blown away!  I have yet to send her those links but now that I'm thinking of it I will.  Anyway, instead of a normal thank-you card, she sent a gorgeous postcard thank-you to add to my collection.

^Lovely decorations and a wonderful thank-you note.  

Well folks, that should do it for this post.  Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the incoming mail above!  By the way, if you see any fun mail items above (i.e. stuff from the stationery swap) that you like and would like to see in your mailbox, let me know!  I have a ton of stuff I am dying to use; I know some people who would like certain things, but definitely call dibs on anything you see and like!  Also, I have updated my 50 State Challenge list with the postcards I have received this week, so check back and see if you have anything to send my way!  :)  Like I said before, if you sent me something and I didn't post it here on the blog please let me know so I can give credit where credit's due, ESPECIALLY if you have submitted something for the postcard challenge.  I am really appreciative to anyone who sends something for that that I definitely want to acknowledge you all in some way.  Alrighty, until next time!  :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

...And We're Back!

Hey everyone!  That break was far longer than I had intended, but I'm back in the swing of things and ready to post.  I've been getting some great mail and have a good amount of it here, pictures taken, ready to be shown to the world.  I have quite a bit so it may not all make it into this one post.  By the way, if you sent me something and think I should've gotten it by now and don't see it on here, let me know cuz I really do want to give credit to everyone who sends stuff.  I'm trying to keep good track of all my mail but I could easily forget something on accident.  So, here's what's been going on:


^Another check off the list for the 50 State Challenge, from a reader named Vicki.  Thanks Vicki!

^More 50 State postcards: Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Colorado, New Mexico again, and a second from Michigan.  In order from: Ashley, Julie, Melinda, Anu, and Ambrosia.  I love them all, but especially the handmade one from Anu...the bottom right one from NM - some real mail art there! 


^Handmade scrapbook envelope to Lauren.  She has since written back...shows how long it's been since I posted!

^Postcard, also to Lauren.  She had mentioned Alice in Wonderland in a previous letter so I thought she'd like this postcard.

^Back of the postcard above.  If your read the message, you'll see I told her about the stamp that surrounds her address.  It is a rubber stamp I bought at Michael's for $1.00!  I still can't get over it.  Most rubber stamps are SO expensive, but they have all these $1.00 bins and actually have a decent selection of rubber stamps.  It's [sadly] my only rubber stamp so I am overusing it a bit right now, LoL.

That's it for mail right now, at least what I have photos of.  I don't have much more though, so this about covers it.  The batter on my camera is dead so as soon as it is charged up I'll put the last few stragglers up.

Back on the 11th and 12th of this month, J and I took a little mini vacay to Palm Springs for a big annual pro tennis event that is held there.  We had such a good time; I hadn't been for a few years and J had never been, so it was great to [re]-experience it together.  The atmosphere is very intimate, all the top players are there, and you can get really close to everyone and get autographs, take pictures, maybe talk to some of them even!  Here are a couple of fun pics we snapped:

^World #1 Roger Federer...J actually managed to make his way through the mob to get his autograph!

^Jelena Jankovic, one of my favorite players, who actually ended up winning the whole tournament!  

^Former world #1 Justine Henin, making her comeback after a brief retirement.  LOVE HER.  Unfortunately she didn't get too far in this tournament... She was also in a hurry to get to her practice so we didn't get her autograph.  No worries, I got it a few years back!  :)

^Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport.  Martina is a living legend and Lindsay is one of my favorite players who retired in the past 5 years.  

Some of you may have heard about it, and we were lucky enough to experience, an event called Hit for Haiti.  It was a big fundraiser to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief and it just happened to take place on one of the nights we had bought tickets for before the even was even planned!  We felt so luck to be there in person for such an amazing event.  The 8 players that took part in doubles exhibitions events were:

Pete Sampras/Roger Federer vs. Andre Agassi/Rafael Nadal
Lindsay Davenport/Steffi Graf vs. Martina Navratilova/Justine Henin

It was fun to see all the players having a fun, relaxed time since you usually only see them super serious and playing intense, real matches.  There was some awkward tension between Sampras and Agassi that actually made news headlines...J and I didn't think it deserved as much attention as it received in the media, but it was definitely weird.  The even raised over $1million, which is amazing, and Tony Bennet came out at the end of the event and sang, which was cool to see as well.  I re-watched the event on TV and all the commentators were saying what an historic even it was and that everyone that was there was taking part in a piece of tennis history; it truly was, and like I said, we were so happy to be there. 

That'll do it for this post, hope you all enjoyed it.  I sent off my items and in turn received my package for the Time After Tea stationery swap and will dedicate a post to that since I received an AMAZING package from my partner Patty.  I sent her a thank-you e-mail but in case she is reading and hasn't gotten it, THANK YOU PATTY!  Truly amazing.  I will also post the remaining few pictures of other mail I've received lately. 

Until next time, folks!    :)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Hey everyone,

This is just a quick post to say I haven't forgotten about my blog and all the wonderful mail I've been getting.  I've been out of town, and as I've mentioned before, I share a computer with J, whose school-related duties take priority over my blogging ones (especially during finals week).

So, I will be taking photos of a bunch of postcards I've been getting for my challenge (thank you, everyone; if you sent a postcard, it will surely make its way onto the blog)!  And if you're interested in sending one my way, I have updated the list as of today with cards I've received).  I will also have photos of what I've included in my package for Megan's stationery swap that I will be sending out (deadline is tomorrow, yipes)!  I've also got some fun pics of the little vacay I took that you all should enjoy as well.  Thanks for all of you who keep reading; there will be new things to come shortly!

Till next time,

Aaron  :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

24 and Counting...

Hey everyone!  Been waiting to rack up some good mail before I posted, and I now have some fun stuff to show off.  BTW I had some technical difficulties when I was trying to update the layout of my 50 State Challenge post and ended up reposting it rather than just editing it and keeping it in its place in line.  Anyway, as always, a big thank you to everyone who is participating; I really, really appreciate it!  The Missive Maven asked a good question that I wanted to answer publicly since there are probably [more than] a few more people wondering the same thing, and I don't want this to hold anyone back from sending me anything :)  She asked if the postcard had to be postmarked in the same state as was shown on the card.  In the beginning, that was my hope, but I realized that that could potentially be very difficult, and what I'm looking for in the first place is a piece of the state, and that is the postcard itself.  A few people have sent me postcards of a certain state that were postmarked in a different state and that is more than fine.  Like I have said and will say again, I am happy for anything people are able to send!  Onto some pictures of the incoming mail.  See anything you sent?

^Group shot

^From Lauren, representing Washington state.  I already had one for my challenge, so this one went up on my postcard string of lights that surrounds my living room.

^Also from Lauren, and same deal as above.  Beautiful card, lots of state facts on the back which was cool!

^From Belen.  OMG, I LOVE this postcard!  LoL, Belen, if you're reading, I cracked up SO HARD at what you wrote on the back!  Totally true, too!  

^From a reader named Stephanie, this one puts a dent in my challenge for Minnesota!  Thanks so much!

^From a reader named Jan, to check off Louisiana.  Thank you Jan!

That does it for mail to end this week.  I need to get my butt in gear and write response letters to The Missive Maven and Lauren, who have both sent me great mail in the past week or so.  Another big thanks to all of you who have sent me (and are going to send) postcards for the challenge!  



P.S. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm addicted to:

Song of the moment: I Drove All Night
Artist: Celine Dion
Album: One Heart

Friday, March 5, 2010

50 State Challenge

^Image from here

I've had a mail-related challenge going for a while now, and since I have started up this blog I figured I'd share with all of you. (I feel a bit strange assuming anyone even reads this, but hey, it's worth a shot, and maybe someday I'll have a ton of followers who really can help me out...) It's pretty simple really, but could take a while to complete, and I still have a ways to go. I want to see if I can receive a postcard from each of the 50 United States. So far friends and family have been the ones in on my challenge, but [at the advice of a fellow blogger] I decided to put up a post about it.

States listed below are those that I still need postcards from to complete my challenge, and I would be so happy and appreciative to any and all that can help me out with this! So whether you live in/visit/have friends or family in one of the states below, send me a written on/stamped postcard from there and you'll be my new best friend. Here are the 'guidelines' for the challenge:

1. See if your state (or a state you're visiting) is on my list below.
2. Comment on this post by letting me know you have something to send, include your e-mail address, and I will send you my address in return.
3. Send your postcard (include the phrase ' 50 State Challenge' somewhere on the card, along with your message) and check back here to see it posted on the blog! :)

Thanks guys! P.S. - I'll be updating this list as I receive cards to make sure it is current.
***Last update 03.31.2010***









New Hampshire

New Jersey
New Mexico

New York
North Carolina
North Dakota


Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota



West Virginia

**Washington, D.C.***

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

'I'm Green But I'm Wise'

Hey all, just a quick post to show you what's been coming in and going out mail-wise with me. It has been a pretty slow few mail days, so there's not a whole lot, but what is here is great stuff! (I haven't checked the mail yet today since J has the mail key on his keyring and has been out, so there might be some more good stuff waiting for me in there)...

Let's start with incoming, just two lonely pieces of mail:

^Beautiful French calendar page envelope with a great letter, plus a recipe card by my favorite FoodNetwork chef Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), all from Lauren. She also included some mailing labels which I greatly appreciated!

First outgoing is a my Package of Green for Swap-bot. I've had all the stuff for this for a while now, and partners were just assigned, so I am excited to tape it up and send it on its way:

^Side decorations #1

^Side decorations #2

^Side decorations #3

^Contents: Package of pencils, ribbon, 2 memo books, 1 set of sticky notes, paint samples (lol), large binder clips, 'good luck' stamp with 4-leaf clover, grow-a-frog, glitter, picture frame, 2 handmade envelopes, magnetic fridge writing pad, 4-leaf clovers stickers, and 'peace' emblem. I hope my swap partner likes all her stuff!

Last outgoing was a response to Patty:

^Handmade scrapbook paper envelope with address label from Lauren. A few posts ago I wrote about these little envelopes Patty sent along with her letter, asking me to decorate one and send it back. I put my contribution in with my letter, but since Patty reads my blog, I won't post a picture so she can have a full surprise with it.

OK, J just walked in with today's mail and I got two great postcards that I will post later, maybe tonight. One of them helps me with my 50 State challenge, so I'm excited about that! Good mail vibes to all of you out there!

Aaron :)

P.S. - I know I am completely biased because she is my all-time most favoritest artist ever, but did anyone catch Alanis Morissette's performance at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics? OMG it was gorgeous. She looks amazing and the stage she was on and the setting and the whole mood for the performance was just gorgeous! Check it out here if you haven't seen it yet. Which leads me to my:

Song of the moment: Wunderkind
Artist: Alanis Morissette
Album: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Soundtrack