Tuesday, November 15, 2011

  When I started this blog in the spring of 2010, I did so to connect with others who like me, love letters and mail art. I was in Costa Rica, living on a farm with the rain forest at my back door. I spent the majority of daylight hours working on the farm or preparing meals for my hard working family. But the evening hours were very quiet...the darkness of the rain forest was as palpable as it's vibrancy was during the day. It seemed to absorb light and sound. In the thick dark it is easy to feel a little isolated and lonely.
  I would have written letters and participated in mail art calls and other postal activities to alleviate the feelings of isolation, but I was living in a place where the postal system was practically non-existent. My physical address was: 600 meters north of the Plaza, Sabalito Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The Plaza as it is called there, is the soccer field...  Actually our house was 600 meters from the soccer field, up a dirt road that wended it's way to the top of the mountain, the road terminated at the gate to our farm, but how on earth anyone would know it was 600 meters north from the plaza up the mountain, I'll never know. It seems to me that the mountain top farm near the rain forest in Sabalito, might have been a better description... But it really didn't matter anyway since we had no mailbox, or mail delivery for that matter.
  But I digress... I used the Internet to connect with other like minded people and created digital postcards and posted them to this blog.
I made this digital postcard shortly after I started the blog.
The toucan in the photo is a resident on the farm where we lived.
The postage is of course an artistamp but on digital/virtual
mail it is legal to use artistamps as postage!

I wrote about letter writing and mused about other letter writers of the past, I wrote letters and posted them to my blog for anyone who came to visit to read. It helped me to stay connected and eased the pain of our sudden need to return to the states. I am really glad that I had this blog and my blog friends to keep me company.
  The 27th of November my husband and I will be leaving for a 6 week stay in Costa Rica. We will be staying with friends part of time. My husband's hiking group is traveling down to do a week of hiking and sight seeing and then we will spend the remaining time resting and traveling around Cost Rica. I will attempt to send some mail to the states while we are down there, but for the most part I think I will be writing virtual letters and making digital postcards. I will not have connectivity all the time but there are Internet cafes and I do have friends with Internet so I should be able to send "letters" fairly regularly. I will miss hearing from all my pen friends and blog friends while we are gone and would love it if you would post a comment on the blog occasionally or send me an e-mail to let me know how things are going. My e-mail is: elle.mental@yahoo.com  I will be checking my blog and e-mail often so that I can have virtual "good mail days"!

Pretty Paper Source stationery and specialty papers.
I love the plum blossoms!
  But for today I will show you some goodies I found at a stationery store in Charlotte. Due to my postal budget and my desire to mail out to as many people as I can, I usually  chose to spend my postal allowance on postage rather than on "boxed" stationery. Not that I don't adore all the beautiful stationery I see in the stores, but I try and squeeze as much mileage as I can from my allotted funds, so I usually pass on store bought stationery and make my own. I made an exception the other day since we are leaving shortly and I want to post as many letters as I can before we go. The stationery store I went to had a large selection of solid colored note cards and envelopes, as well as an amazing array of handmade and specialty papers. The specialty papers were hanging on dowels to display them and were sold in 24x36 inch sheets. I was in love... I spent hours trying to decide what papers I wanted. It was better than dessert! I decided on some teal envelopes and note cards and also some pink ones, then I chose some specialty papers that could be used with both envelope colors. The cash register total made my head spin, but I rationalized that I was going to be spending less on postage in the near future, clutched my new purchases greedily and left the store. I assuaged my guilty conscience and reasserted my postal spending controls by going to Goodwill and finding some album covers that I will turn into post cards... I can get 14 post cards from the 3 album covers I found for 49cents each. That comes to a little more than 10 cents per post card! There! Now I feel better... I am not sure that there is any logic in buying more stuff to feel better about spending more than I should have to start with... but it somehow it sounded good in my head so I'm happy! I am babbling aren't I.... sorry.
  I will leave you with a glimpse of my outgoing mail pile and get back to work using up my recent purchases and getting letters off in the mail to all my dear pen friends!

An album cover postcard and a couple of envies decorated
with my hand carved rubber cuts. The walking stick figures
are actually drawn by a different artist... my youngest son, when
he was 4 years old. I transferred it to the rubber carving material
and carved it to add some cheer to my mail art and  to remind me 
to keep things simple!

I used my new purchases to make some of these letters.

A promise too long overdue. I said I would
send out a post card with sand from one of my trips, to those who
wanted one and left me a comment. It took me a long time to figure out
how I wanted to send the sand. The sand on the back of this
postcard comes from a beach in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.  

I ended up putting the sand in a Dayquil capsule pack. I hope
 it still contains sand when it reaches its destination... We shall see!

                                                            See you in the mail!


  1. I hope that you have a great trip! I really enjoyed this post! I'm like you about spending more on postage than stationery; although if I could I'd buy every kind of cute stationery that I could find! I showed my mother-in-law the postcard you made/sent that showed your artistamp. She loved it! It is definatley a favorite of my collection!!! THanks!

  2. Oh, Elle! I want to stow away! Take me with you??? I am working on a spell that will turn me into a . . . Dang! I can't think of anything that might get me past security. I see potions that will turn me into a fly, a flea, a tick . . . Guess I'll have to stay here. (sigh)

    Oh well, at least I can write. I look forward to writing mail that might have an adventure. And I am so happy for you. When you write about CR you sound so much more alive--if that's possible. I feel that way about Colorado.

    We will miss you! But you know that, right? And we/I will write. I'll write while you're away, but I will write before you leave, too. Such an exciting life you have.

    The Paper Source is one of my favorite places to shop. I use their older catalogs for journal embellishments.

    I'll leave space for someone else, but, I am so excited, you'd think I was going. Lordy, I'm gonna cry! And you haven't even left yet. LOL.

    Gonna drop you a line before I go to bed!

    Be well!

  3. Stuffellaneous I am glad you enjoyed the post and the artistamp! I am cooking up a new artistamp that I will probably work on in C.R. and if all goes well I'll have it ready to send out soon after we return. Thanks for the encouragement! elle

  4. Limner!
    I figured you were out on the creek bank fishin' or in the kitchen helpin' Aunt Bea bread and cook up a mess of the fish you caught... but I sure am glad to see you here! I've missed you!
    We would be happy to have your company, but it is a three hour flight and it might be a little cramped in my suitcase... actually we are taking those big Tuff Stuff storage totes instead of suitcases, since they hold more and the airlines treat them like they were luggage... you might be more comfortable in one of them!
    I was thinking that at some point I would make a trip down to C.R. and host a pen pal get together... we know all the best off the beaten path places to go... We could have adventures, drink mango batidas, and photograph till our heart is content. Then everyone could go home and have lots of stories to tell... and we could "remember when..." for years to come!
    But for now,I will do my best to make this a trip worth writing home about. I will miss y'all and feel like I've forgotten something the whole time I'm gone...
    I am getting excited now that the election is over and hubby has turned his eye towards trip preparedness, (being he is a die hard boy scout), with his to do list and pen in hand. I ran errands all day today, by the end of the day it had really sunk in how close we are to our departure date. It is very exciting! But at the same time I will miss my kids, my pup, and all my wonderful pen and blog friends...what will I do without you all?
    Well I need to dash, here is a big hug :) elle

  5. Elle, Have a very good journey and enjoy your stay. Wishing you lots of happy times! Thank you for all the great blogs and letters...


  6. Thanks Hester! I will bring back lots of stories to share. I am still working on something special for you, but time has gotten away from me, so it may be that I finish my project and mail it to you when I get back...sorry. Hugs for now!

  7. Elle, I can't let you leave without a fish. I "caught" it 'specially for you, so you can't let it spoil. I know you've heard of flying fish, but have you seen one? Honey, one is headed your way. Open your back door and I'll sling 'I'm your way. Duck, you sweet thing!

  8. Hi Elle! I received your beautiful artistamp and letter today! I will continue to read your blog and hope you have a great time on your trip! :)