First was this collaged packet for my mom, when she was trapped at home for weeks with whooping cough, of all things. You might know that her immune system doesn't work, and that's why she ended up with something so obscure. Included in here were sweets and some nicer, sturdier Japanese sick masks.
And, well, then Easter rolled around weirdly fast! Look at the lovely things our families sent us! Cards of course, little decorations, a bottle of South African wine, vegan sweets from Germany, Peeps, spice cookies a client brought from Basel, Switzerland, and also the karintou manju (sweet bean cookie dumplings) I gave as goodbye gifts when my main classes ended.
Closeup of the vegan Easter emoji gummies, lol. They were so detailed!
I made oversized Easter cards for my mom, grandparents, and a lovely little older lady named Irmela, who lives in the elderly folks' home that Hannes' mom manages. She hasn't been doing too well but this seemed to arrive there at just the right time to cheer her up a bit, thankfully.
Letters on the back, cutely-packaged chocolate-covered teddy bear marshmallows, check and check.
Aaand a recycled bow to seal them
Speaking of people who were unfortunately not doing too well this year, my grandpa - who's always been fit as a fiddle - has been under a lot of stress and had a minor heart attack. He's fine, but it kind of scared the living daylights out of him and my grandma, and I felt like I needed to make some kind of card and write a letter on it, because he's always loved that.
I took a look at the Japanese envelopes I had and thought, right, nesting doll-style.
The white pieces there are paperboard that I cut to fit snugly inside each one.
Then I painted on each piece of the paperboard.
The biggest one was this, a prickly pear cactus.
My grandpa loves hummingbirds and some always nest by their front door, so I knew that had to be the smallest one (even though the scale was a bit off and half of it is still shaped like a rectangle), and I rounded the whole thing out with a saguaro and jackrabbit.
I included some art museum extras for my mom, too.
Here's the finished product, including the outermost envelope that I just kind of threw together but was really satisfied with in the end.
They both loved it, though as my mom said, "Well, you know, they never really know
what to do for photos," lol.
Next are some artsy fartsy things I bought online that I'd been wanting - here's my Gimme Flair order! Mathilda patch, oversized Buffy and Spike pin set, "All oppression is connected" pin, and "This Machine Kills Fascists" pencils, perfect for tying to the ribbons of gifts. Though as Hannes said, "Be careful you don't use it up and sharpen it to this point, because then it'll just say 'fascists'."
Oh, and there's always some massively 90's kid ephemera included with these orders, and this time it was a Bill & Ted trading card!
And just in time for Walpurgisnacht and Beltane, this Stasia Burrington illustration as a patch!
One of the Japanese artists/crafters I follow is @pinopinetree - she lives in Mie (re: the middle of nowhere) and is happy as long as she's doodling or making something related to kakapo. I bought this adorably tiny but strong magnet from her new Etsy shop, because the Japanese website she's also on is kind of crappy and never processed my order, and I've been meaning to write her back because I want to be pen pals. She included a free... kakapostcard.
I know, I know. I'll show myself the door.
Speaking of postcards, though, I accumulate them like crazy from all the art galleries I visit, and I sent these really cool, dark ones (plus a cool business card, also from the exhibition the anatomy one came from) to Ale and Angelique.
I also found a vintage-style train one for Zac,
and sent this sparrow one plus collaged extras to my grandma.
This exhibition was really cool, and Akito Nakai's work is beautifully dark.
It's too bad the navy apparently sucks at delivering mail in addition to using their radar and steering their ships off the coast of Japan though, because Angelique never got it!
And finally, last but not least are the two late birthday boxes I sent to our parents.
Well, this one for Hannes' parents was for both their birthdays, Mother's Day, Easter, and Irmela.
And I guess, like, also Father's Day as long as we're at it. It was a catch-all gift package, is what it was.
I made a collage card thingy for Hannes' dad. I'd been saving this whiskey and skyline
I had cut out for this express purpose lol
And I coloured one of the sheets from the boxed calendar pages NiQui gave me for Christmas and stuck it on the back - I did one for Anke too but forgot to take a picture of it!
In the box were a great many things in addition to the cards: some Japanese sweets including cherry blossom castella and rice crackers, mini Easter cookies in cute plastic eggs, mini snickerdoodles in a beautiful butterfly box from Dean & Deluca, a tea towel, and a simple handmade chopstick sleeve from the fabric dyeing festival, and so on. I also kept one of those and sent the third one I had gotten to my mom.
Not pictured are the fancy Japanese cooking knife and artisinal red iron teapot Hannes also got for them, thereby imbuing the decorative tea towel he picked up at random with purpose haha.
And of course, there was the get well card I attached to the Easter card I had also made
for this darling old lady.
She put on the tabi socks right away (ha, I knew she'd have tiny feet!) and Anke says she enjoyed the chocolates and cookies. I was so glad that this cheered her up during such a difficult and sad time, and I almost cried when Hannes was Skyping with his mom and translated for me that this woman is so grateful and joyful that we've taken her into our hearts even though we're not family or anything (because she has none).
These are all the pieces I laid out to collage the birthday and Mother's Day combo box
(she was actually born on Mother's Day, though of course it varies each year) for my mom.
The coloured calendar page, check, and a mini photo album of memories from years past
that I made out of a Finding Nemo (we both love that movie) stamp rally pamphlet I've been
saving, double check!
Also a huge assortment of sweets I had been accumulating for two or three months, including the baked (crunchy) variety of yatsuhashi because I've mentioned it to her several times, more cherry blossom castella, Children's Day crackers and bunny marshmallows from the traditional sweets shop, baked cream cheese thingies that are pretty nice and different, and pineapple cake and bubble tea chocolates for a taste of Taiwan!
The centerpieces are The Secret History, because she loved The Goldfinch as much as we did, and a tiny abstract Parisian skyline dish I bought from the artist who made the sickeningly adorable robots we fawned over for a solid twenty minutes at the Mashiko Ceramics Festival in Tochigi.
It was all a bit over-the-top, really, especially since my mom isn't big on sweets - except for ice cream - but I don't think we'll be showering anyone with gifts again until Christmas.
And who knows where we'll be for that?