I have so many unfinished posts that I should really make some time to complete and put up here on the blog, but today I have something even more exciting than any of those. Something I just can’t keep to myself another minute more: I found a box for my envelope decorating supplies!
OK, so maybe for some this isn’t exactly Earth-shattering news. But some of you know just how enthusiastic I can be about my art supplies and the various boxes and containers that I find for them. Since we moved into the Airstream almost a year ago, I haven’t established a single spot for all my decorative tapes, rubber stamping letters, and airmail stickers … they’ve kind of been moving around and residing in various coöperative places (so many things have multiple uses these days). Unfortunately, I think that this is why I am months and months behind on my correspondence—I keep telling myself that tomorrow I will move my work stuff, clean off the table, and get everything together to write letters and decorate envelopes, but then more work comes in or another more pressing project takes over and my goals are postponed (again).
While I was writing in my journal the other day, outside on the patio at Poulsbohemian Café, I was lamenting exactly this problem and decided that I would visit the Poulsbo Antique Mall on my way home (it’s just down the street and definitely worth a visit). I had in mind that I wanted an old wooden toolbox with a carrying handle (I own exactly what I want but it’s in Nova Scotia and inaccessible at the moment). I didn’t manage to find what I thought I was looking for, but then on my way out, I spied this lovely old metal toolbox. How could I pass up an $8 solution?
Someone lovingly (if not poorly) spray-painted it silver at some point, probably to cover up the rust that had started to grow. But given that we live in a silver tube, and I like old [damaged] things, it seemed like a perfect fit. Badger will no doubt suggest that it might be an item that we could take to the metal recyclery, along with a few of my other “precious” finds, but I love this old box and it shall henceforth be named the Epistolary (yes, I know I am making an adjective into a noun, I can do that).
Many of the old metal boxes I have collected over the years don’t quite close right because the metal has been dented or bent in one way or another, and some of the locking mechanisms have fused, fallen apart, or are otherwise unusable—I have one old postage box that I need to take to a locksmith and get rekeyed (I’ve never managed to open it)—but this box closes perfectly and the latch locks with a solid snap. Winning!
It was a bit rusty inside and very rust-dusty, but that was easy to fix. I gave it a dusting and a wash and let it dry out thoroughly. Better than new! I much prefer to buy old things and repurpose them than buy new things that come with a more significant carbon footprint. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
So, inside the new box go my rubber alphabet stamps, my stamp pad, a sampling of my favorite Japanese tapes (I have a secondary hoard of them at the ready in two different sizes), a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and my airmail stickers. Containerized success!
I should mention that into this box goes another, smaller box that contains most my of rather large collection of airmail stickers from around the world. I have a number of friends who have contributed to the collection over the years, but none as consistently nor as prodigiously as my lovely friend Hutch, who has mailed sheets of them to me from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, and England. Also pictured here are stickers from Germany (Nancy), China (Walter or Jenny or Patrick), and Japan (Carol & Dan, or Sam, or Sarah). Thank you everyone for thinking of me over the years. Yay international mail!
And my tapes … so many tapes, so little time! My friend Erika at Rock Paper Scissors in Wiscasset, Maine—my very favorite stationery store, EVER—sells these delicious sticky bits and I have partaken in many colors and patterns over the years, and varying widths as well. I love them for so many uses, but especially for decorating packages and envelopes. I thought I had a reasonable collection going, but recently one of my Instagram friends (a nice lady in Japan with a white cat named Coco; Hi @a_pomme2010!) randomly posted a picture of her tapes, and I was flabbergasted by how many she has, and more than a bit jealous.
What more could a Mushroom need? Well … envelopes, I suppose, but they live elsewhere. As does my postage stamp collection, my hoard of larger packaging tapes (and their associated scissors), and my postage scale (another one of Badger’s brilliant gifts over the years). Those were some of the first things that I moved from the house into the Airstream when we were making the move, and they remain perfectly placed and organized. Here they are, below. And look, another old metal box (lock not working).
Oh, and where would I be without music, pens, markers, a burnisher, a big-boy pair of extra-sharp scissors, and my Clam (and another gift from the man so many years ago I can barely count, but that I still use every day, yup, it's called The Clam Clip).
In fact, the rechargeable BOSE player was yet another gift from the husband that I use *every* day. It's perfect for boondocking, too!
Anyway, maybe now I can get cracking on my stack of letters ...
Here's the kind of stuff that happens when I don't have a box to contain my various bits:
And here's some mail:
And here are a few hundred of the remaining cards and envelopes I made from old charts a few years ago—the charts were outdated and were on their way to be recycled, so I rescued them to make our New Year's Notes that year. But then I just kept making them while waiting for muffins to come out of the oven, or while taking a break from work, or ... well, it got out of hand. I still have a stack of unused charts many inches thick somewhere in storage.