For today’s post I am thrilled to have collaborated with the illustrator Eva Polakovicova (Eva Pola Illustration & Design). She created these lovely illustrations to accompany my words, working by hand combining her stencil technique and colour inks. She did a wonderful job of capturing the joy of these small pleasures, and I am in love with this gorgeous colour palette♥
You can find out more about Eva’s inspiration and this technique in the interview we did back in January.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #182
Watching little groups of sparrows come to drink water on my balcony
The sound and smell of white wine evaporating from risotto rice
Lying down at the end of the day and relaxing into my pillow, knowing there is still time to read a good book
Opening the mailbox and finding a postcard or an envelope from someone I hold dear
Having no plans and letting myself fall asleep in the sofa in the afternoon without setting an alarm
Cooking with radish leaves and carrot tops and feeling like there is twice as much food and no waste
The smell of rain on the garden after a long dry spell
The lovely feeling of fatigue after several hours of walking or cycling in nature
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #179
In these weeks of confinement, some of the highlights of my days have been opening my mailbox to find cute cards from a friend living on the other side of Amsterdam, a lovely envelope full of collage materials sent as a surprise, a small package containing a hand-made mask in gorgeous Japanese fabric with swallows on it as a symbol of hope… These gestures have delighted me and made me feel deeply cared for.
Is there someone who you’d like to send a card to in these days? For a cousin’s upcoming birthday for example, or to celebrate how well a friend is handling living alone in confinement, or just to drop someone far away a message that isn’t digital and surprise them when they open their mailbox?
Here’s my suggestion: I’ll send one of my cards for you and I’ll donate the worth of the greeting cards to a local charity against domestic violence called Blijf Groep (read more about their approach here).
How it works:
- Choose the greeting card(s) you like best
- Send me an email with the number of the card, the address of your loved one and your message
- I’ll copy your message in my neatest handwriting and pop the card in the post!
- The greeting cards (including a recycled paper envelope) are 3€ each and postage is 0,91€ for NL/1,50€ for International. If you’re in NL, I’ll send you a tikkie. If you are abroad, you can make a bank transfer or I trust you to donate that amount to a charity close to your heart locally ♥
Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to share with anyone who you think might like the idea! Really looking forward to it 🙂
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #178
Yesterday I was discussing with a friend how difficult we find it to sit down and write lately. I alternate between times of acceptance and others where I despair about wasting this ‘ideal period’ where I supposedly have plenty of time to write. Interestingly the result is the same whether I beat myself up about my lack of writing or not, so I’m trying to remember that and take the pressure off.
Thinking about it some more today, I realised that actually that creative energy is being channeled in a very different manner lately. It’s most likely serving me as much as usual, but being used to find inventive ways of navigating these tricky COVID-19 times.
Like devising new routes around the neighbourhood for my daily walk, trying to anticipate where there may be less people to avoid and on the way picking wild flowers to brighten up the house.
Like finding various ways to recharge, be it a 3 hour nap on the sofa or treating myself to a taiwanese pancake take-away so I don’t have to cook dinner after a long day.
Like keeping in touch in ways that don’t involve a computer or a phone, such as writing a short card to be sent by snail mail, uncertain of when it will land in the recipient’s mailbox.
Like attempting to imagine what life might look like on the other side of this pandemic and journaling to keep track learnings I want to be sure I remember, of new habits I’d like to keep, optimistic plans I’d like to focus on…
I’d love to know, what are you imagining for after confinement?
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #161
Yesterday evening I sat down to write a letter. Though I do regularly send postcards, taking the time to write a proper letter made me realise how rarely I do so. I was writing in response to a letter from a dear friend, written a couple of months ago. Her familiar hand-writing covering several pages of lined paper, bringing me her thoughts and fragments of her life from the other side of the globe. A physical letter that I have pulled out, unfolded and re-read since I received it, thinking of my friend, taking the time to contemplate what I’d like to answer and tell her about, the questions I want to ask her…
So yesterday alone in the quiet of my flat, I finally took out some recycled paper and my favorite pen, and got writing. About banal things, how the holidays had been, what I’ve been up to recently and what is on my mind of late… The pages filled up quickly, thoughts flowing and getting more personal as I scribbled them down. I ended up with a neat pile of numbered pages, slipped tightly into an envelope which will make its way across the world.
I love that letters don’t demand an immediate reading or a fast answer. They can stray in the limbo of the postal system. By the time my words arrive, a couple of weeks will have passed, new events will have unfolded, thoughts will have evolved. The snippets of my life contained in the letter will be about an earlier-me, and penning the thoughts helped me to figure out what they meant to me at the time.
I really enjoy sending and receiving snail mail, so I’m very excited to announce that a selection of my photographs are now available as postcards and greetingcards on Etsy! I’ve kept the design simple, so the cards work for any occasion and there is plenty of space to write. I love the idea that these cards will be given for ordinary moments or special occasions, and sent by mail all around the world!
If you are interested in purchasing some of your favourite pictures, please head over to my Etsy shop. When buying a set of cards, you are helping me spread my art into the world and take the first steps to grow my independent small business.
Next I will be looking into making larger prints, let me know if you are interested in a specific photograph and what format. In general, please contact me if you have any questions and I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #28
Though I love receiving postcards and letters, I think I enjoy sending them even more! The idea of the recipient opening their mailbox to find something other than bills and junk mail for a change makes me very happy. So last weekend I took some time to write some postal mail to a few friends around the world.
Here’s my ritual. First I select a card or find some paper to write on (once on the Camino I didn’t have any paper so I just ripped out a few blank pages from the novel I was reading to write a letter, really anything will do). I settle quietly and think of the person I’m writing to before jotting down a few words, it doesn’t have to be long. Then I attempt to write the address as legibly as possible, and stick on a stamp or two (bonus points for lovely stamps:).
Remembering to post the envelopes is usually my struggle as I tend to carry them around in my bag for a few days by mistake before I finally send them off on their way… The uncertainty of when (and whether?) the postal mail will arrive is a large part of the magic of sending postal mail.
Simple tips for writing more snail mail:
- buy nice postcards or greeting cards when you see them in shops, having them handy at home makes it so much easier and quicker to write one
- always have a stock stamps in the house, this saves the effort of having to go out to buy them specifically
- write postal mail in batches of a few postcards/letters at a time for increased efficiency and satisfaction