Saturday, November 17, 2018

Once Upon A Mailbox

I have decided that my favorite sort of mailbox magic is book mail!! Two of my favorite hobbies are reading and letter writing. One of my personal missions is to encourage young people in these fabulous pursuits!!
A wonderful book about a boy who really wants some mail! 

Reading is amazing and has a myriad of benefits for everyone! Did you know that just 6 minutes of book reading can reduce stress by 60%? It expands one's vocabulary, enhances the ability to focus, boosts memory, is associated with a lower risk of dementia in later life and improves communication skills. And that's just the beginning!! According to researchers Raymond Mar, Keith Oatley and Jordan B. Peterson, reading fiction literature helps us understand others who are different from ourselves and can increase our capacity for empathy and social inference.

Reading to children is incredibly important. Reading aloud benefits the brain development of young listeners. Through fiction reading children gain insights into mature relationships, personal values and cultural identity. Experiencing the world through fiction helps children deal with social struggles and moral dilemmas in safe surroundings. Reading aloud to young children improves concentration, self-discipline and enhances basic speech skills! Becoming a reader is an amazing thing and should be encouraged for everyone!! Yay! Books!

"Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light." Vera Nazarian
Now that the MurphyBros are all grown up, I enjoy passing on some of our favorite novels to my young pen pals.  I include a letter, of course, that details my personal experiences with the book and asks questions of the recipient in hopes that he/she will write me back with a book review! I've got a few ideas brewing and will be posting about them soon!

Join me in sharing the joy of books and letters with everyone! It's magic!

Mrs. Murphy 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Special Delivery Date Idea

I have two really great people in my life with whom I love to share my favorite things.  I call them the Murphy Bros.

Murphy Boy Wonder
Super Murphy Boy

One of my favorite snailmail items to send them is a date idea! We all know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut when it comes to romance and busy college students don't always have the time or resources to plan unique date ideas. That's where Mrs. Murphy's Mailbox Magic comes in!  Not only do the boys get a new idea for a date, but I get the joy of sharing some of my favorite things with the next generation! (And I get to create some fun snailmail, of course.)

For this snailmail date I've decided to share another home cooked dinner and a movie date idea. What could be more fun than combining food and flicks with a cinematic-inspired cuisine!  I'm a fan of quirky, independent films and so are the Murphy Bros. They also, both love to cook! So I decided to find a recipe to go with the film Everything Is Illuminated  (Warner Independent Pictures 2005) starring Elijah Wood.

This film is a quirky story of a young Jewish-American man who travels in search of a mysterious woman in a photograph who apparently helped his grandfather escape Eastern Europe just prior to the Nazi invasion. His journey takes him to Ukraine where he meets some very strange tour guides who make some discoveries of their own.  

Since this film take place in Ukraine, I included a recipe for a simple twist on Chicken Kiev. However, I don't think Chicken Kiev is actually Ukrainian....Hmm??? Kiev IS the capital of Ukraine, so that's good enough for me!  Ha Ha. And it's, who cares!? Yummy!! Check out Pillsbury's recipe for Chicken Kiev Crescent Bake here!

 I also included some discussion questions for the film because I am a complete nerd and love that sort of thing!! I packaged it all up and sent it on it's merry way. 

I hope the Murphy Bros and their dates enjoy this special delivery date idea! I had fun creating it! 
Try sharing your favorite things with your favorite people via post! It's a fun surprise that is simply magic! 

Send More Mail! 
Mrs. Murphy 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings

Hello! Snailmail Enthusiasts!! I hope you all have been busy sending and receiving post!

I've been thinking a lot about favorite things lately. Specifically my pen friends' favorite things! Snailmail by itself is, obviously, on the top of everyone's favorite things list, but I put my creative thinking cap on in order to come up with some fun themed snailmail packages to send to some of my favorite people!

One of my pen pals is a true kindred spirit and loves not only snailmail but also books and all things Jane Austen. I decided to come up with a little Jane themed post to send her way.

Letters are a wonderfully recurring theme in all Jane Austen novels, so I started with the letter, of course. I aspire to what Jane calls "the true art of letter writing" which she describes in a letter she penned to her sister, Cassandra.

"I have now attained the true art of letter writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth." - Jane Austen.

After I completed the perfect missive, I crafted a Mr. Darcy corner bookmark and added it to the package. This cute bookmark is a super simple oragami craft made with a square sheet of paper and some colored pencils. Isn't he dashing? (Every time I look at him I think he's judging me..."You're done reading already?") Ha Ha! Hopefully my recipient will feel loved (and not judged!)

Check out Red Ted Art for directions and some wonderful inspiration for these great bookmarks! I based my Mr. Darcy bookmark on the Ron and Hermoine corner bookmarks I found on Maggy's site! The possibilities are endless and would work with so many different kinds of "favorite things" snailmail packages.

I also added a fun Jane Austen Bingo card that my recipient can play during the next Jane Austen Film Festival she hosts!! The internet has all kinds of fun options to choose from or you can simply make your own. Easy and fun!

I encourage you all to send some favorite things snailmail to all of your favorite people!! It's magic!

See you at the mailbox!
Mrs. Murphy 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Capital Idea!

During the month of January I read three books from the Oxford Medieval Mystery series by Ann Swinfen.  The first book in the series is The Bookseller's Tale.  The story is set in Oxford in 1353 and the title character, Nicholas Elyot, is a bookseller. The story is a mystery and involves Nicholas discovering a body floating in the Cherwell (but that's not the part that inspired my snailmail).

The book details interesting information about the making of paper and the creation of books during the 14th century. The details were fascinating! The amount of work that went into one volume was incredible.  Just one more reason to be thankful, folks. Digital books!! (Not to mention the printing press.) Anyway, I digress. 

I was inspired by the work of the scriveners in this book. During medieval times books were hand copied by these folks. They were true artists and often added illustrated capitals to start a new chapter. I thought I would follow suit and start my letter with an illustrated capital! 

There are a lot of examples out there to inspire you. I am somewhat limited by my lack of true artistic ability and my tools (I used Crayola markers), but I always feel like the letter is the real gift and any goofy little doodles I draw simply add to the fun. Remember, perfectionism is for those who send no mail! Not only was the illustrated capital a fun artistic element to add to my letter, it was also a nice way to share about the book I read. 

Looking for inspiration for your mail? Maybe it's something from the pages of your books!! So read a book and write a letter.  It's a capital idea! And magical! 

Go postal, everybody!
Mrs. Murphy

Monday, January 1, 2018

Wishing You a Happy New Year and A Full Mailbox

As 2018 dawns I am excited to begin another year of postal projects! Sending and receiving mailbox magic has truly been a highlight of 2017! Thanks for sharing in my love of all things postal!

I've checked my mailing logs and am happy to announce I mailed 161 pieces of mail incuding letters, postcards, notes, cards and packages in 2017!! I didn't quite reach my goal, but it was my first year of recording all my outgoing post so I'm looking forward to surpassing that number in 2018! This year I think I will log the correspondence I receive, too!  It will be wonderful to look back on that information at the end of the year...a record of all the postal people who have corresponded with me across the globe!  Magic! 

As always I am hoping to think of new and creative ways to connect with friends and loved ones via the postal system and share them with you here on my little Snailmail Blog! Thanks for all of your kind comments and support thoughout the year! May your mailboxes be full in 2018! 

Go postal, everybody!

Mrs. Murphy

"More than kisses, letters mingle souls."  John Donne

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Books and Letters

Most of the postal people I correspond with are also book people. It must be the sheer love of words.

"She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them.  Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape." Michael Ondaatje. (The English Patient)

One of my favorite subjects to correspond with others about is, of course, books. I want to know what you're reading. Do you love it? Hate it? Recommend it? Who are your favorite authors? Genres? What is on your TBR (to be read) pile? I often find myself stuck in my favorite rut and want to be challenged to read outside my usual genres. I have a penpal who undertook a Dewey Decimal reading challenge and read one or two books from each category of the Dewey Decimal system every month. I was so inspired, I followed suit. So interesting! (She's a librarian, by the way. They make the best pen pals!)

I have a few young pen pals to whom I send books or book recommendations. I love to write and ask them their thoughts on the books. It's like book club without the hassel of actually leaving one's house. Introverts of the world, unite! (But just through the completely non-threatening method of mail. Winning!)

Every year I set a reading goal and keep track of my books. For 2018 I think I might try to write a letter about each book I read and send it to a bookish pal with questions to discuss via post. Doesn't that sound heavenly?

"She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live." Annie Dillard. (The Living)

So, go read a book! And then write a letter about it, of course. It's magic! 

Go Postal, Everybody!
Mrs. Murphy

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Season for Snailmail

Many of my friends and neighbors have already decked their halls. Christmas trees, light displays, stockings, garland, ornaments, and presents. Many folks put these things out while the turkey from Thanksgiving is still digesting!! They are really excited about Christmas, I guess, and simply can't wait for its arrival, with all its glitz, tinsel and noise. But not me. Nope. Believe it or not, I like to slow things down this time of year. (The snail is my spirit animal, after all.) 

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is decidedly not my thing. On the contrary, Advent is right up my alley!  Advent is celebrated during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a period of prayer, waiting and preparation. As a Christian, I want to use this time to slow down and celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Advent is a whole season in and of itself and it is worth it to slow down. On the first Sunday of Advent I hope to put out our wreath, hang the stockings in preparation for St. Nicholas Day (see below) and break out my snail mail supplies!

This year I am planning on sending some Advent awesomeness through the mail. As a postal twist on an Advent Calendar I am going to mail some Advent letters, not a traditional newsy Christmas letter but a thoughtful letter specially written for a few people that are placed on my heart during my time of preparation. While writing these letters I hope to slow down and take time to express my love and care for my recipients. I don't want to increase the pressure or add stress to my life so I think one letter for each week of Advent would be perfect. (More if I can manage it!) 

I am also planning on celebrating St. Nicholas Day. When the Murphy Bros. were little we would celebrate the true story of Santa Claus that begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century.  His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young.  He obeyed Jesus' teaching and sold all that he had and gave his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and became known for his generosity to those in need and his love for children. Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds.  One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. This poor man's daughters had no dowries and were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home, thus providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. St Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th. I'm planning on sending a little St. Nicholas snailmail to the Murphy Bros away at college. I think I'll include a cute St. Nick oragami guy I've been practicing and some "gold" for my poor college students. (And maybe some oranges so they'll get a little fresh fruit in their diet!!) 

Whatever your traditions are during this holiday time of year, I hope you will include a little snailmail!  It's a great way to spread joy, glad tidings and...magic! 

Mrs. Murphy