Saturday, March 31, 2012

Interview with a Chicago Mail carrier

Hello! Remember, almost a year ago, when I did an interview with John "the mailman" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?  Since then, he and I have become great friends, and exchanged lots of mail.  If you missed his interview, you can read it here.

 I have been wanting to find new mail carriers to interview, and especially a woman. As it turns out, one of our talented blog friends is a mail carrier in Chicago, who happily answered my questions! And, she has some great answers!

She is also an amazing art quilter, fiber artist, and photographer.
 Stop by her blog, Threadstory, and learn more about Karen's artistic side.

Karen's all ready for her day!

Here goes!! Let's meet Karen.....another fabulous mail carrier, working the zip 60656-60706, Chicago, Illinois.

How long have you been a mail carrier and what did you do before this?
I have been a letter carrier for 23 years. Right before this I worked in a photo lab.

What's the most interesting or unusual thing you've delivered
That's a hard one. There have been the coconuts from Hawaii, beach balls, baby bottles with shower invitations, A tire, And once a beautifully wrapped hockey stick. But nothing comes to mind as having been really unusual.
( And those items were not in boxes--I asked! I'd love to get a loose coconut!)

What's the nicest thing someone on your route has done for you?
People are amazing. They hand out cold water during the hot summer days. Offer umbrellas when it rains ( I have to say no to that as I just do not have enough hands! ) Gifts of gloves,scarfs, and pocket hand warmer packets. Once I was given a teddy bear in a postal uniform as thanks for all I do. The best days are the ones when you see someone excited and smiling because you just gave them the best letter or package ever!

What do you hate to deliver?
Mail that has been mangled by the machinery! The damaged pieces or magazines just make it look as if we don't care. Believe me, we care!

Do you have a favorite stamp that the USPS has issued?
The series of stamps with forest plants and animals from some years back. And of course the Gees Bend quilts!
Here's one of Gee's Bend quilt stamps

Have you ever been bitten by a dog (or person)?
Dog - yes. Bit me on the toe of my shoe and missed my toe thankfully. And once by a gargoyle...yes you read that right. A gargoyle. On a porch of a residence there was a big ceramic pot that had decorative gargoyles with gaping mouths full of fang like teeth poised along the upper edge. It had been near the mailbox and when I turned to go back down the steps I bumped into it and one of the gargoyles fangs jabbed my leg cutting me. Not deeply but a two inch gash and tore the slacks as well.

Anything about your uniform mail carriers wish they could change?
I would love to see them do away with polyester...

Has anything embarrassing ever happened on the job?
Of course! The slips and falls on snowy days where one pops back up and hopes no one saw.... Any time I make a miss-delivery ( only human after all ). But nothing that would make it to you-tube!!

And lastly, I always love to ask people this; What is something we can't tell by looking at you?
People have no idea that I am a fiber artist or that photography is something I have done for years. At work I am the 'mail lady' and while many of the people know me by my first name, that is just about all they do know about me. The conversations are usually short and consist of things like the weather and big headline news. They tell me of families and bits of their lives. For some people I may be the only person they talk with for days. I am always happy to listen for the few minutes it takes to make a better day for them. Many of the people on my route are elderly and I - as well as my co-workers - tend to watch out for them. Paying attention to mail not being taken out of the box etc. People have been saved by a carrier seeing that and notifying authorities so they can check on them if no one responds to the door bell. The people are the best part of this job.

Thank you so much Karen for answering my questions and letting us into the world of another mail carrier! Your answers made me laugh out loud at times! All the best and wishing you a long Spring!

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Oh, you get real mail."

I stop by the neighborhood mailbox on my way home from work every day. Today, there was a gathering of women around it, chatting. When I pulled out my pile, one of the women said, "Oh, you get real mail." As she said this, she held up her piles of bills. I told her I have great mail art friends and showed them Corrine's collaged card. Lots of ooh's and ahhh's! I should talk them into a mail art club!

Here's what I had today. Corrine's postcard (thank you much, cool gal!), an amazing card from my dear friend Jodie, and the fabulous cards I ordered on Etsy.

These cards are from ArboriCards, a gal in Brooklyn who gathers various botanical lovelies and makes these. Doesn't it look like the plant is real? I love them! The images carry around to the back of the card too. They are truly gorgeous, and really well priced.
 Check out her shop- I'm sure you'll love it!

Close ups of the blooming willow and red witchhazel.

Hope you all have a wonderful week and lots of sun!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Things....

I adore this fabric...what mail lover wouldn't, right?
So, I made this mini moleskine fabric journal tonight.

I plan on making all kinds of things this 3 day weekend! I can't wait!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Playing In Photoshop

Hi everyone!
I haven't been around lately. Honestly, I haven't made too many new things---except mail art that has been happily making its way out into the world.
I have been playing in Photoshop a little....messing with new banners. How do you like the new one I put up there today? I'm not so sure yet, but thankfully, I'm not afraid of playing with my blog and changing it up now! I was always terrified I was only one click away from destoying the whole blog. Ha!
I suppose I still could. Eek!

For my shop, I took a photo of me in the felted earrings and doctored it up so I wasn't so recognizable. Turned out kind of fun.

I did manage to finish one thing on my "to do" list ( that I rarely follow) and made a needlecase. It took on a little life of its own and ended up with a clever little pocket for a mini notebook.
I really like this one....It makes me feel good to say I dyed the fabric myself, handcarved the stamp, and added the embroidery.
 It just makes me happy.

I am hoping to find time this weekend for a lot of crafting and creating. I have my mind set on starting a new doll. I haven't done a full doll in awhile.
But, like I said, I rarely stick with the list.
Oh, I need to get caught up on Darcy's postcard challenge too!
Uh-oh, the list is growing!

Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Little Friends...magnet dolls

I have a couple little magnet dolls in my shop. A while back, someone asked me to make one in the likeness of her friend. She turned out pretty cute and then she asked me to make one of her. I finished it up today. Here is "little Traci".
Why are redheads just so much fun!?

This one is her friend, little Jane.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Felted dolls: the shop update

Hello! I decided to do a sale on the felted dolls in my Etsy shop. There are 4 left, and they are $5 off for a time...haven't decided how long. Ha! It's funny doing this shop- in ways I want things to sell right away- and then I also think I will miss the dolls I sell. I think it would be a bit too far to say it's like sending children off into the world, but there is that tiny bit of a sad goodbye.

Also, thank you everyone for your kind comments on the last post about the stolen bicycle. I have good turns out renter's insurance is going to come in handy! We'll get most of the money back. Hurray!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

When I'm stressed...


This week was one of those stressful, busy, everything going wrong kind of times. But, I made it to Friday and was looking forward to relaxing and staying in my pajamas a lot. It didn't turn out that way (not yet...I'm heading there soon!).

My husband commutes by bicycle, and last night had stopped at the grocery store on his way home, but when he came out, the bike was gone. The lock was cut and all evidence of ever even owning a bike were gone. I hate thieves! I feel sick about it.

I have done all those games we do: "it's only a bike.", " At least we have the money to replace it.",       " Maybe the person who stole it will get their karmic revenge.", " maybe we'll actually get the bike back some day if they try to pawn it.", and so on....

But, instead of being in my pajamas today, we had to buy a new bike. I do always try to find a silver lining or two in these things. One of them is my new bracelet! I have been eyeing this at a shop downtown (right next to the bike shop!)  for over a year but kept resisting because of the price....but, wouldn't ya know, it was back in the little Sale room today for 50% off! Meant to be?...or me coming up with a way to justify it?  Ha!  Either way, I love it!!  And, I was so glad they still had the deer!

And, I also found these great buttons!! Me? I think so!

So, I am moving on with my day....going to make some tea, sit and relax for a bit, and get back to my silk cocoon books (missed that deadline I set for myself!).