Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mystery Muse-ing

It's COLORFUL in Artella Land
A few short weeks ago I signed up to be a Mystery Muse for the month of February, courtesy of Marney Makridakis and her wonderful Artella Land website. (Go ahead, click on the links above and check it all out.)

Being a Mystery Muse is like being a 'secret santa' only better.

Remember how I mentioned recently how much I love getting personal mail? And about how dang magical I think the whole process is? Well, being a Mystery Muse combines it all. (And -- big heartfelt apologies! -- I should've given you a heads-up about this earlier, because now the month of February is over and if you want to be a part of this project you'll have to wait until next year. However, by becoming a member of Artella Land now and signing up to receive future artellagrams you'll be one of the first folks to know when it all happens again -- yay!)

This year, the rules of Mystery Musedom were described thusly:  
  • Sign up to be a Mystery Muse and you will then receive the name and home address of someone else who has signed up.
  • Your job then will be to send at least two handmade creations to that person during the month of February. The things you send can be absolutely anything, as long as they are items that you have created personally with your own little hands. 
  • Be sure to remain mysterious and keep your identity a big old secret until you send your final offering, at which time it's OK to reveal your creative Secret Superhero-ness.
  • There's absolutely no cost other than your postage to mail your surprises to your assigned 'Muse-ee,' so it's completely free to participate.
  • And, as Marney says, this "is simply a fun way to start the new year with positive, supportive sharing a bit of your own creativity...while receiving a boost of inspiration from someone else's creativity, as well!"
This is what I started with...

See? Doesn't that sound like fun? And seriously, who doesn't love mysteries and secrets and messages and mail. Or mysterious secret messages IN the mail! :)

That being said, would you like to see one of the things I created for my Muse-ee?
Rose-shaped squiggles
When I received her name and address, I set right to work. The first thing I did was choose a piece of cardstock the size of a regular postcard. The one I chose was sunshine yellow. And unfortunately, I began drawing on the patterned, 'toothy' side instead of the smooth side; something I will try not to do again in the future unless I've got a different idea in mind, one that doesn't involve colored pencils....

I handlettered a favorite quotation on one half of the card, then squiggled some circles in pinks and reds on the other half. With a black Micron pen I outlined the words and then turned the squiggles into pen-and-ink roses.

Because I wanted the card to arrive in one piece (rather than mailing it 'as is' and risking a fold or two on the journey), I would need an envelope. I have plenty of storebought ones around, but I really wanted to continue putting good energy into the creation of this Mystery Gift, and so I decided to make my own.

The Envelope Mill
Ages ago I purchased a kit called The Envelope Mill by Haila Harvey. It's for making one's own envelopes out of creative things, like book pages and maps and magazine pictures and stuff.

Envelope templates
I hunted it up (no easy feat in my house....), chose the perfect-sized plastic template from the ones that came in the kit, and then with a pencil I traced around the template onto brown paper.

Envelope prior to assembly
After tracing, I trimmed along the edges of the pattern, cutting out my envelope shape.

Fold it, glue it, voila!
You can see at right that the unfolded envelope kind of looks like one of those old 'airmailgrams' that one could write an entire letter on before folding it up to make its own envelope prior to sending. (Guess what? I've recently discovered that the Post Office doesn't carry those any longer! Total bummer....)

I folded it all together and stuck down two of the three sealable edges with school glue.

After I made sure my card would fit comfortably inside my handmade envelope, I decorated the edges and then addressed the back flap with only "from: your Mystery Muse." (Geez, I hope the Post Office sent it along proper without an actual return address.... *fingers crossed*)

I handlettered my Muse-ee's address to a white mailing label, then stuck it to the front of the envelope before slipping the finished postcard inside and sending the whole business off with some heartfelt good wishes.

Now today -- February 28 -- is the last day of the project for this year, but I'm nowhere near done. I've yet to reveal myself to my Muse-ee, for one thing, and I'm not sure I'm even ready to do that yet. I've sent her other creations that I'd love to show you here, so perhaps I'll just keep chugging along. I'm sure she won't mind. And my goal is to hopefully make a new friend in the process. Wish me luck!

Happy Last Day of February. And thank YOU for being MY muse, my friend. :)


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