Friday, 14 December 2018

Just a Note

Hello my lovelies. My pen has been silent for a while now and I thought I had better let you know why. My husband has been ill these past few months and has had two surgeries so life has slowed down in a way. As many of you know, we live in an old Georgian house which we are restoring and as we do not have central heating wood must be chopped. My husband is not able to wield the ax or chainsaw so my son and I have been doing the wood for the fire. It's an exhausting job, but must be done and while my son is in school, I do most of the sawing. But, muscles are toning and pounds are being shed so I'm not complaining. At the end of the day, however, my hands have a bit of a shake from the work; my arthritis causes other issues and so my writing suffers. I just wanted to let you all know why your letters to me are still unanswered. Once the holidays are over and my husband is back in the mid-January the doctors tell us...I will be able to get back to my letter writing and blogging.

                                                                              All my best wishes for a happy holiday season,


Friday, 21 September 2018

Rough Journey

My bag after smoothing it out.

I always get worried when I see a bag like this in my mailbox. It's even worse when, like this bag, it was shoved carelessly under the front door instead of being put through our mail slot and looked more like an accordion when I espied it on the floor behind the door. I understand the machines at the post office sorting room can tear envelope flaps or rip corners off postcards but some of the post I receive in these bags makes me wonder what really happened. For instance, once I received an envelope neatly slit on the side, but no letter. This particular envelope I received the other day was torn on three sides, luckily Tracy put everything in a smaller heavily decorated envelope inside this one so nothing went astray. Had she not, I would have gotten a flimsy, envelope connected only by two tenuous folds of paper. It almost looks like someone put their finger under the flap to open the letter and ripped around three sides. I'm grateful it was recovered and put into the plastic bag but I didn't really appreciate it being shoved under my door into a scrunched up wad causing more damage. I know budgets have been cut and time is of the essence for our mail carriers but in this instance, I wish they would have slowed down and taken a little more care. Okay, now I'm done with my rant. By the way, it was a fabulous letter from Tracy with fun tuck-ins and that made up for all the angst of seeing that crumpled up bag stuck behind the door when I came home.   

Thursday, 13 September 2018


What could be better than receiving happy mail? You may be “surprised” at the answer. I didn't think there was anything better than a colourfully decorated letter or a small package of mail goodness until I found a little on-line group that send out random little parcels of happy mail. What is this fabulous group that sends surprise happy mail? The You've Got Mail Club, which began sending out swaps in 2015 allows you to create an account and opt to send a surprise to a fellow member. It operates much like Postcrossing in that once your surprise has been received and logged, your name goes on the list to receive a surprise based on your profile. This is relatively a new group, so membership is small and there are days when you opt to send a surprise and there are no available names to which admin cheerfully suggests, recruit more members!

An Italian Pride & Prejudice

I've been a member for several months now and have had a very positive experience with the group. I've gotten some marvellous happy mail, several of which were truly surprises, like tea someone had handpicked and dried, an entire envelope of mint stamps from Germany and some beautiful craft papers. Those I've swapped with have been generous and as excited to send their swaps as they are to receive them. Surprises have travelled to me from as far as India, as well as Sweden, Italy, Germany and the Aland Islands and I have sent out envelopes of mail goodness to Russia, Philippines, Malaysia, Germany, Sweden and Italy so it is quite a diverse group. More importantly, I've made some nice friends,  and even discovered a couple of Jane Austen fans to “Talk Jane” with.  

One of the fabulous envelopes I have received.

If you want to join this happy little group of mail enthusiasts, go here to check out the You've Got Mail Club. I've enjoyed being a member and hope you will too. For those of you who are avid stamp or coin collectors, there are sister groups to this group such as The 100 Stamps club, Mint stamps club, Paper Money club and a few others, all listed at the bottom of the home page with respective links.    

Saturday, 1 September 2018

World Letter Writing Day

Today is World letter Writing Day. What are your plans? It's a gloriously sunny day here in Herefordshire so I am taking my little writing table out in the garden and intend to sit and compose my letters while I enjoy the light breeze blowing in the trees. There is a touch of autumn in the air now and soon my letter writing will be confined to the house which makes this even more of a day to savour. Since the Write On Challenge I have (amazingly) managed to keep on track with my letters and have only a few to write and what a nice day to have for the task. I hope you will take pen in hand and mark World Letter Writing Day with a missive or two...or five! Enjoy the day and perhaps you will be the recipient of a letter written on such an auspicious day.  

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Pretty Letters

Lately I've been writing a lot of old-fashioned sort of letters.  I belong to a few groups on Swap-Bot and we've been exploring different kinds of missives.  There have been crossed letters, those written with dip pen and ink, or as a character from a Jane Austen novel and simply pretty letters, written with a fountain pen and sealed with a wax wafer. It's nice to stretch the boundaries of your daily writing habits and I've enjoyed all of these creative letters. For a swap called "Pretty Letter" I wanted to do something special, something I hadn't done before.  I remembered a beautiful letter sent to me by my pal Julie and decided to try to recreate the intricate fold she had used.  I was delighted to receive such a pretty letter and hope my swap partner will be too. 

This is the letter I received from Julie.  Such a beautiful looking letter.  I know you will all want to know how to achieve this gorgeous fold and seal so I thought I would share it with you.  I love it because it isn't just a fold and seal, it's a very pretty fold with a lovely seal.  Below is a tutorial on how to fold the paper and set the seals so your letter cannot be opened unless the threads across the opening fold are cut.

To achieve this stunning folded, sealed letter get a sheet of paper roughly 5 x 7 inches (Google translates this to: A5 size or 48x210 mm (15x21) 5-7/8 x 8-1/4 in ) holding it in landscape orientation, fold it in half.

Next fold the bottom corner to the middle fold creating a triangle, rotate 180º and do the same to the other side of the paper.

 Now fold the side of the paper to touch the edge of the triangle you have just made, rotate 180º and repeat.  

Once that is done, Fold each side to the centre and you should have a little rectangle-esque shape with a small gap in the middle.  

Now that your letter is folded, it's time to affix the seal.  Take a length of colourful string about 6" (15cm) long (I used embroidery thread) and make a loop on one side of the gap in your folded paper.  You'll want to put something on the folded letter to hold the folds down while you melt your wax over the string.  I used my ink bottle.

 Melt your wax and drip over the place where the threads cross to make the loop and impress your seal.  I need practice getting the right amount of wax and placing the seal. Perhaps Mrs. Duffy will do a tutorial on that!  She has a steadier hand than I and her seals always look marvelous.

The threads should extend over the gap and then are crossed again and wax applied and embossed leaving two short threads on the other side.   Try to get the seal close to the gap, I didn't do this the first time and it caused the folds to slightly open up.  Snip the thread so it doesn't overhang the letter.  I frayed my edges a little to give interest.  

Et voilà !  A gorgeous folded and sealed letter that your pen pal will be thrilled to receive.  

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Perfect Bliss

It is the end of a long, long week.  I have been working in my bedroom trying to fill in dents, holes and a long, large crack down the middle of the back wall.  It looks like a scar, jagged and ugly.  All week I have been filling and sanding only to have to do parts of it again and again.  It's probably the heat, we've had what is being described as a heatwave here even though it is only in the 80s.  The filler bubbles up in parts and I have to do it again.  By the end of the week, I think I got it all smoothed out and hope to put the paint on next week and be finished with it...finally.  It's been very hot upstairs and if I open the window the bugs and birds come in...there are no screens in England.  When you open the windows you are one with nature, a good and a bad thing at times.

In between working I've been helping my son study for exams.  It feels like it has been going on forever.  Next week is the last exam and then we can put away all the revision guides.  There are only three weeks left of school and I am so looking forward to a break in the daily routine.

All week I kept thinking about the letters I had to answer and composing as I worked but hadn't managed to get anything down on paper.  Very frustating.  Every time I thought I had a moment or two to write I got called away.  Today I declared I was "off duty" and set up my writing table in the garden and enjoyed the afternoon just answering letters while enjoying the view and listening to the birds sing.  Bliss.  The Write On Challenge helped me to get caught up and now there is no angst about answering letters as they are all up to date.  So, I had a wonderful day just relaxing and doing what I like best.  I hope your day was the same.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

A Fine Day for a Cup of Tea

All of my tea parties have arrived at their destinations and the weather here has finally cooperated so I can enjoy my own tea!  I love sitting in my garden.  It's still a wilderness since most of our efforts are indoors presently but it doesn't matter to me about the weeds and brambles.  Just to enjoy the blue sky and hear the birds sing is bliss to me.  For the past week or so we've had drizzles, or gusty winds and when you have to wonder if your table cloth is going to take flight or you'll have to sit under an umbrella, it's better to wait to have your tea party.  

Today is an idyllic day with blue skies, puffy white clouds and just the hint of a breeze.  I found a nice spot in the shade to put my table where I would enjoy my tea.  The small orchard we have is underplanted with daffodils and while we wait until they are ready to be cut, the area turns into a glorious meadow full of wildflowers and tall grass.  It's mesmeric watching the meadow gently rock in the breeze.  Butterflies and bumble bees go happily about their business as I sit and sip. Long after my tea was finished I sat at my little table writing.  I'd brought my letter writing things out with me and wrote letters to friends and pen pals while I drank my tea.  I lingered quite a long time, loathe to break the spell of contentment.

I've been getting letters from my guests and Mrs. Duffy has talked about her tea party experience here.  It's nice to hear how everyone has enjoyed the tea party.  Even though miles separate us we all meet over a cup of tea.