Monthly Archives: October 2015

Halloween Mail

Halloween mail, La Familia Green glow in the dark button, mail artI’m behind on my Halloween mail because I got sick this week and I was down for the count for a few days. But, earlier this month, I got a jump start on sending some festive mail out to a couple of cat lady pen pals. I had these glow-in-the-dark cat buttons from La Familia Green that I wanted to send in a slightly more creative way than just sticking them in a plain envelope. I was inspired by the peek I had of my Presley patch from Margaret, so I decided to use a cellophane envelope instead. Halloween mail, La Familia Green glow in the dark button, mail art 2I used washi tape to attach the button to the card and wrote my note. I tried to place the buttons on the middle of the card, where the machine wouldn’t be canceling the stamp or printing the bar code on the bottom. Halloween mail, La Familia Green glow in the dark button, mail art 3I stuck it all in the cellophane envelope with an address label and added postage. Since the envelope was lumpy, I added the extra twenty-one cents. Halloween mail using cellophane envelopesI also used a cellophane bag to attempt to protect the googly-eye “bra” on my mail art to Kathy. Thanks to a Halloween mail art party with Donovan, I’ve have a huge stack of Halloween envelopes to work through. Now that I’m feeling better, more spooky mail will be written. Better late than never, I guess.

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Flat Rizzo 

After the Cubs beat the Cardinals last week, someone tweeted a picture of first baseman Anthony Rizzo in celebration mode. I printed the picture out (which is probably some sort of copyright violation) and cut around Rizzo and taped him to a dowel rod.

I’ve named him Flat Rizzo (like Flat Stanley but more athletic) and he’s been traveling around my living room all week, harassing the cat and watching TV.

Sadly, Flat Rizzo didn’t have very many opportunities to cheer last night in the Cubs’ loss to the Mets, but hopefully tonight will be better. Go Cubs! 💙

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Cocktail Perfected: Purgatory

Purgatory Cocktail, Old Overholt rye, Chartreuse, BenedictineI am embracing the Halloween spirit this week, finally finishing decorating and reading a few spooky short stories. We are reading “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” for book club this month. One of our book club members sent over Edith Wharton’s “Afterward” as a bonus suggestion since our stories are so short and everyone loves reading a good “ghost story” this time of year. I can’t wait to read “Afterward” and this post has some other great suggestions if you’re into Halloween reading.

I have a couple of good cocktails to share this month for Halloween. These aren’t Pinterest-y cocktails like a Witch’s Brew or Candy Corn Jello Shots, but classic cocktails that always put me in the mood for ghost stories, scary movies, and ghoulish mail art.

The first cocktail is Purgatory, a rye-based cocktail with warm, herbal, and spicy notes. It’s potent, especially considering it’s a 4 ounce pour, but there’s nothing like it on a crisp fall night.

Purgatory Cocktail

2 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (I like Old Overholt. It’s budget-friendly!)

3/4 oz Chartreuse

3/4 oz Benedictine

Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Drink slooowwwwwwly while reading about headless horsemen, the return of the dead, or Casper the Friendly Ghost.

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Plot #6: PUMPKINS!

Pumpkins, Forest Park Community Garden, plot 6Things are slowing down in our garden plot. On Saturday, I spent some time cutting down our broccoli “tree” (seriously, that thing was so tall and its root was enormous!), tearing out a tomato plant (the Cherry 1000 was not producing anything), and harvesting more than a pound of Brandywines and Juliets. I still have five more tomato plants that are flowering and producing, so I’m hoping to have a few more tiny crops before it frosts. And our loofah plant has two babies, but I don’t think they’re going to grow enough before the winter. I’m also swimming in parsley and thyme, but I’ll share more about that soon!

In the spring, Laura and I planted pumpkin and loofah seeds on the hill in the community garden. Sadly, no loofahs made it (I think the dirt was too heavy for them) but the pumpkins grew like gangbusters! Naoto and I picked our pumpkins last week, a tall one and a tiny one. They are on the lanai now with the mums and the waning summer plants. I need to get out there and take down the party lights and get rid of the sad summer annuals, but every time I think about it, the weather warms back up and we are able to sit outside and eat dinner!

Is your garden done for the year? Are you already making plans for next year? (I am!)


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My Heart Belongs to Presley…and Mail

Elvis Presley, Elvis sticker, Presley Patch, mail from MargaretMargaret sent me the best mail last month–a Presley patch in a Midori Kraft Window Envelope adorned with an Elvis sticker!! She hit all of my favorite things!! My Heart Belongs to Presley patch by Tuesday BassenMargaret loooooves Presley. (Presley loves Margaret, too!) Margaret said she couldn’t resist getting this custom patch from Tuesday Bassen (Link is to a similar one because the “My Heart Belongs to” version was a limited edition, see Margaret’s comment below.) at the Whurl & Friends Shop ‘n Pop. I love this patch! Think of the possibilities! You could get your own pet’s name, or your partner’s name, or your favorite snack. (“My Heart Belongs to Hot Dogs.”) Perhaps mail lovers need a “My Heart Belongs to Letters” or “My Heart Belongs to the USPS.” mail from MargaretAnd in true Margaret fashion, the patch came in the sweetest package. She addressed it on the flap side so that the patch could be seen clearly through the window. The label is letterpressed with the turquoise design and Margaret hand-stamped my name. Thin washi tape sealed it all up. I was delighted to find it in my mailbox. Thanks, Margaret.

P.S. Did you know today is World Post Day?

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Renegade Recap 2015

Renegade Chicago purchases, Migration Goods, La Familia Green, Arthurs Plaid Pants, Genevieve Santos, NerfectOur trip to Renegade happened by accident this year. It fell on a busy weekend and I had kind of resigned myself that we weren’t going. But Naoto and I had a coffee date with one of his coworkers (and fellow cocktail enthusiast) and since we were in the neighborhood, I bribed Naoto with a beer and a promise that I was only going to go to a couple of booths. I broke my promise because Renegade didn’t offer vendor maps this year (Annoying!) so I had to go through the whole fair to find the people I wanted to see. Darn! Hasegawa Happy Hour at RenegadeBut it was a gorgeous weather day and we had a mini happy hour, so I made it worth his while. Renegade Chicago purchases, Migration GoodsI’ve been following Eling from Migration Goods  on Instagram for as long as I can remember. It’s so weird following someone for a long time and then meeting them in person for the first time after feeling like you “know” them through the internet. But, it was so great to meet in person and put a voice and personality with those pictures of her fun products and Daisy the Dog. I just love Eling’s style and of course, I love her Sasquatch and Yeti lines! I got a few postcard sets (bears and tomatoes, pictured at the top) and the sweet Big Foot holding “Presley” ornament that will go on our Christmas tree but hang out all year long, too. The detail on her felt goods is so amazing…tiny stitches, tiny pieces…seriously I want to know how Eling has the patience to sew a grumpy brow on Big Foot? Renegade Chicago purchases, La Familia GreenI’ve been shopping with La Familia Green for years…since Mollie was selling Gocco-printed cards and VHS cover journals. Now she has a huge card line (two of the three cards I bought are on the top left corner in the top picture), great wrapping paper (the cat paper in the background of today’s pictures is LFG!), and quirky buttons (like Chicago weather man, Tom Skilling above). I’m obsessed with the weather and will stop my day to watch summer storm or winter blizzard weather coverage, so I had to have the Tom Skilling button. I’m going to wear Tom on my winter coat to remind myself not to kill the messenger when it’s 30 below in March. Genevieve Santos snail mail stickers Genevieve Santos snail mail stickersI picked up some mail-themed stickers from le petit elephant, Genevieve Santos. I’m going to try not to be hoard-y with them…now I’m wishing I had bought two sheets… Her illustrations are just so sweet and I love that she has some sweet pen pal themed options (like these sweet rubber stamps!) Renegade Chicago purchases, Arthurs Plaid Pants golden girls notecards Renegade Chicago purchases, Arthurs Plaid Pants golden girls magnetsI happened upon Arthur’s Plaid Pants by accident, drawn in by a Golden Girls sighting. I couldn’t resist the thank you cards and the magnets (which are now hanging out on my Ikea RÅSCOG bar cart). I love her quirky drawings and Midwest focus. Renegade Chicago purchases, Migration Goods, La Familia Green, Arthurs Plaid Pants, Genevieve Santos, NerfectAnd last but not least, I picked up a few buttons from Nerfect, our Berwyn “neighbor” to the south. Abe is a gift, but the others are going on my bag.

There were a few other sellers I wanted to see at Renegade but we somehow missed them. I didn’t have the energy to go back through the crowds to hunt for them. This is where a fair map (and maybe better booth signage?) would have been helpful. The good news is, Show of Hands is coming up in November and maybe I can get some Christmas shopping done there.

Any good craft fairs happening around you?

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After the Break

Super Blood Harvest Moon EclipseRemember me?

I feel like a blog abandoner. I never meant to ignore this space for so long. But I also hate those blog posts filled with reasons* for not writing, so let’s just begin again, shall we?

Did you see the Super Blood Moon Eclipse last Sunday? The weather was so crisp and cool here that night. I went out on the balcony and watched the moon go into hiding and watched it reappear some time later. Naoto came out to join me for the reappearance and we listened to moon-themed music (particularly Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bad Moon Rising, and Moonshadow.) I didn’t get any amazing pictures, but enough to capture the moment and enjoy the moment.

We had a really good end-of-summer and now it is decidedly fall…scarves and boots are out, Presley is more cuddly, and I’m decorating for Halloween. Hopefully I can get back into a good blogging routine—I have a few recipes, a few cocktails, and a little bit more about Japan and the end of our summer to share. And mail! I’m participating in 31 Postcards in 31 Days again and I haven’t sent a single one! And I’ve received some really fun mail this summer that I want to share with you, too!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a Renegade Chicago report. See you then!

*Main reason: I’ve been trying to eat all of my tomatoes.