Friday, August 31, 2012

Origami Sketches

I spent some time sketching the amazing origami on Gilad's Origami Page. It's crazy how skillful the folders are. I especially liked the nuns, graceful and simple in black and white. Copying the proportions, I made sketches that are way better than my actual sketches, because someone else had already worked out what to do. 

Then I water colored a mouse in origami style for a letter I wrote to my cat, Abigail. Abigail lives with my Mom, and they're home alone while my brother is at Burning Man.
I guess I think it's funny to mail drugs.

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Postal Museum

On Saturday I took the subway to the National Postal Museum. It's in a beautiful tall, stone building, but I didn't really take photos because there was no natural light. The current exhibit shows artifacts and mail from the Hindenburg and the Titanic. 

 I got to use this postmark to cancel some letters I'd brought with me.
The NPS puts on an event called "Build a Topical Stamp Collection" where you get to dig through plastic tubs of donated stamps and pick out six to take home. It was amazingly fun to see and hold all the tiny art from the whole past century and all over the world. Casey doesn't care for collecting things but he actually enjoyed it because he loves nations and the world. Still, he only found four stamps that he wanted so I got to pick two extra. 

My "stamp collection" didn't really have a topic, but I picked mostly contemporary foreign animal stamps: 1960 Camp Fire Girls, 37c American Flag, German line drawing, Luxembourg Owl, Czech Republic Owl, Swedish Hedgehog, Finnish Penguins, and Chinese birds. I like full color stamps that are water activated rather than stickers, so that means contemporary foreign stamps.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rainbow mail art!

Casey got a rainbow letter on origami paper, and I got excited and made a bunch of watercolor rainbows. 
The inspiration, on origami paper
 Pen and ink over watercolor

Envelope chain lined with business reply envelopes

Accordion folded envelope chain rainbow
 Detail, llama

Misting envelopes before applying paint gives a nice effect, and is easier than cleaning off dried-on salt.

From time to time I imagine I will make magical, totemic, dreamy cave painting mandalas using the collective unconscious/sublime, and it takes forever and they don't turn out. By giving these a little bit of structure (the rainbow) I got nicer results, although it absolutely took forever.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Watercolor with Additives

I tried a couple of tricks you can only do with watercolors, and it came out pretty cool. The texture is from throwing salt on the wet watercolor, and the resist is from putting rubber cement on one layer of watercolor, letting it dry, putting on a contrasting color, and rubbing off the cement. 
It was hard to control. Rubber cement is invisible on paper, and since there are hours of drying time in between each step, I didn't have a chance to learn whether something was successful when I did it.
These two are sloppy, but I think I should keep trying.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I used to feel so bad for people who don't live near an ichibankan, who have to pay ebay $5 for food picks shaped like pandas, and now I'm one of them. Of course we stocked up at the Union City Daiso before we left California, but I didn't understand what it would be like out here. I didn't realize it was the Oregon Trail so I only bought one. 

Casey takes his $1.50, 100ml box to work every day, and the lid cracked and a latch snapped off. I think we got a good amount of use out of it, but there's no way to get another. All of my boxes are sized for toddler or lady appetites so he's using the biggest intact box, which is shaped like a strawberry. It's aggressively cute, but it is hard to pack because foods aren't that shape and the top layer is very shallow. 

The latches also snapped off of my Daiso bento box before I used it very much, but I don't blame them because we were using it to hold a pound of butter that kept melting and hardening in the trunk and while it was melted we opened it and butter got in the gasket and latches and made it super hard to close. So that was more our fault. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Today I was going to study kanji all day long. I did a great job until my internet broke. I was so wiped out that I just took a nap. Even thought it was only noon. So, the highlight of my day was getting! the! mail! 
 This is detergent to put in the washer, in a box that looks like a washer. Why have I ever sent a package that didn't look like an appliance or a fish or an apartment building? Never again.
 Wisconsin sent Casey this awesome chart of cheeses. It makes me want cheese sooo much.
 I ordered Kenmore's free stamp catalog because their website is enormous. It came with all these stamps for me to mail back. It is kind of neat to see them. This is the only one I wanted, and it was bundled with a dozen other Australian stamps, so I guess I will send it back and use my coupon on a different order.
 It's fair to pay them something to dig through their albums and bins to find me a $.50 1931 red cross stamp, but $4 seems like a lot of shipping for something weightless (if you order a half-pound it will have 1,200- 3,000 stamps) and flat.
If I had a child to tend we would so much fun learning about history through stamps. And, I could pretend I was only napping to show them that getting plenty of sleep is cool and fun.