Saturday, February 20, 2016

Art Mail & Giftage: Christmas Edition

So most of my phone pictures aren't very good and I guess I never took pics of a few of the things I was going to throw in here at all; they weren't super great or anything, either, but I'm OCD about photos, so, you know. Eye twitch.

We mainly just sent out Christmas cards from Tokyo - about 3 dozen - as well as a few more candy/snack boxes that I got most everything for and packed while Hannes paid for shipping. It doesn't really count as art mail, but hey, art was made and a whole shitload of stuff was mailed, so check it out! Some of it's pretty cute.

Yep, sittin' here in the cold wanting to save money by only turning the heat on when my fingers are numb and stiff and stop working, watching Angel, putting together the photo albums with a gin Coke. That's how it goes.

Adorable mini picture book card I couldn't resist
("You've always been there", more or less)

("Thinking about this past year, on Christmas..")

("Thank you always; let's stay friends from here on out")

("This year has come to an end")

("Hope the next one is great, too")

Lurking in the background waiting to eat more stollen..

These are a prime example of pics I wish were better: 
cute pop-up display cards for my mom and grandparents.


This was Nico and Andrea's first goodie box. 
We also sent one to Lars and Lena, and one to Ivanhoe.

These are the little goodie bags I made for friends in Phoenix, plus a few other small gifts

The presents I took to the States with me were started before I knew I would be able to go, so they were supposed to be art mail, and kind of still count, I think, because they were transported to the other side of the world. 
That's fair, right? You can't argue because I'm the only one typing. 

Working on a painted box for my mom and the postapocalyptic desert envelope I sent Ale for her birthday on Halloween

I lined the inside of the box with printed felt (napkins, allegedly, but I don't see how they actually intended them to be) from Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I spent a lot of time trying to make the box pretty because, after months of having literally no money at all, I hardly had anything to put inside. The real gift was our visiting, of course, etc. etc., but one does not simply show up for Christmas empty-handed. 

I also wrapped it with a red ribbon and a red origami paper fan decoration with a white wire crane on it from the Daiso. I wish I'd taken a picture of my grandparents' wrapped gift, too, because the Daiso New Years' wreath (also with a crane) I put on top looked great with the antique brass paperweight in a wooden box and painting wrapped in the last of my gold Klimt paper.

The finished product

My grandpa had requested, quite specifically, "a painting of a ruby-throated hummingbird with a saguaro blossom" for his 85th birthday back in August, and since I knew last summer that I wouldn't be able to finish it in time, I had been planning to make it a Christmas gift.

I'm pleased with how it turned out. 

And so are they!

And here's the lovely paperweight I found at a weird, extremely tiny second hand store in our neighbourhood for less than $2 :D

Before leaving, the night we went to the somewhat ill-fated Weihnachtsmarkt in Yokohama, actually, I also gave Rejon a little Christmas/birthday gift.

As one would expect, my first time home in a little over two years was accompanied by an overwhelming amount of great food, drink, and other cool stuff:

My mom's bar, all set up with treats for us, after we'd been to the grocery store and opened Hannes' parents package. I have to say, I've never at any other point in my life lost track of bottles of wine.

Of all the great things she gave me, the coolest one, I think, was the Ghetto Tarot
Hannes already got me a new deck for my birthday last year, and to be honest I haven't used either yet, but I had totally forgotten telling my mom about this cool photography project, and thought it was quite a big deal that she got it for me. Here are some of my favourite cards:

Amazing, right? I need to get back into learning to read them.

The package from Hannes' parents was really great, too.

Hannes' mom took a ceramics class for shits and giggles and has been making these adorable and universally popular fish to give away...

.. and she sent one along with a lovely handmade and painted dish for my mom!

Continuing on with this super artsy Christmas trend, here's the lovely gift Ale was going to mail me but decided to give me in person once she found out I was coming..

A really cool painted, decoupaged, collaged, glittered cigar box full of really neat little things that I took clearer and more detailed pictures of later:

Later I also bought more sage from a really nice Eastern European New Age store lady to cleanse the bad 2015 juju from our apartment. 
I was going to do it on the lunar new year but have been too sick.

I will! Seriously. I will let you know when I do :)

I lol'd

I'm going to frame this (it was perfectly themed, we went to the Frida Kahlo photo exhibition that day!) together with the semi-anatomical heart I painted last year.

Nico and Andrea and Hannes' parents have been so good to us, treated us so many times, and given us such nice gifts, that I was dying to send them something more legit than silly snacks once I was on my own turf. This is what was in the second round of goodie boxes.

We went with these fruit-flavoured whiskeys in mason jars, and I picked shooters of Whipped vodka, iced tea vodka, and American Honey; Hannes found a couple of nice glass jars of cactus fruit marmalades, cactus candy, and the obligatory scorpion lollipops; we picked nice chocolate things they don't have over there and some cute bath stuff, and I included the extra goodies below for little Hannah.
The sleep shorts and T-shirt have rabbits on them because in German Nico and Andrea's family name means "rabbit", which is obviously just stupid because it's too cute and sweet.

After we got back to Tokyo I wanted to have NiQui and Rejon over for dinner to catch up before Patrick came to stay with us, because Rejon had also gone home, to Georgia, and NiQui spent her holiday in Spain.

I made cheesy Mexican rice and chicken quesadillas along with gin-ginger ale-lime-cucumber cocktails. To be honest none of it was quite as good as I would have liked, and that annoys me because this is the second time I've had them over and the second time that's happened; the first was on Thanksgiving when the spinach chickpea soup turned out quite bland when it had been absolutely perfect the first time. Ahh! Oh well. 
Everyone had a really nice night, though. 

Look at this adorable mini paella dish NiQui brought me all the way from Spain! I included a packet of chopsticks for scale. I haven't used it yet, but I'm excited to!

And finally, last but certainly not least: the presents I gave to and got from Hannes!

He's completely impossible to shop for and doesn't like or want stuff, so one of the ideas I got was to take these coasters I'd saved from the awesome craft beer tasting festival portion of the 2014 Korea Food Week Expo to the States and make them reusable. I superglued them onto cork and painted them with layers of an especially hard variety of Mod Podge.

The main gift, though, was the photobook I found out Juyoung, the drummer of Scumraid, had been making of 4 years of punk shows in Korea.

You can see Patrick in this one. The Iron Lung show was pretty unequivocally the best one we went to while there. He loved this gift.

He's not big on gifts at all, though, as you could probably guess from what I said before, but I knew he'd made what for him was quite a big effort this time, and I was definitely surprised and excited. It was all nice Ghibli items!

This scarf is actually more of a shawl; it's really big, soft, and has such nice earthtones.

Ahh! Tiny cute Jiji purse that nothing fits inside! >w<

And a Calcifer spatula that I am honestly totally never going to use! It's too cute! 
Display only!

Anyway, this past Christmas was such a big deal and so many great and artsy things were given and received, I just had to share. Here's hoping this year's is somehow even better.