Surprises in the mail always make for a fun day. Ever since I was little I can remember being excited when the mail man came down the street. I was always certain that each little package had something special and exciting inside, just waiting to be found out. To this day, I love to get special mailings, special letters, packages and boxes. Heck, even the dog food that we ship in is like a present!
The postal service world wide has had a fascinating history with many twists and turns. Originally, it was all about government dispatches, with public use of the postal system against the law. The Persian Empire had mounted relay messengers that would ride and stop at placed "post houses" to get a fresh horse or pass a message on to another rider. The Chinese had a posthouse service that had been started sometime between 1122 - 221 BC in a very similar vein, again used to convey official documents. The Roman Empire built an advanced postal delivery system that serviced the whole Mediterranean world - but again, only for official government dispatches. During the Renaissance corporations & guilds set up their own messenger services for business correspondence. Italy, France, Constantinople, and Russia were linked through these services, and then finally, during the later Middle Ages, personal mail & commercial correspondence were carried by private postal services.
Carrying private mail was not legalized in France until 1627 or in Britain until 1635. Private services were eventually forced out of business or purchased by the government, as they felt a strong need to control the flow of mail. There was continued evolution of the services offered, with changes to rates, increased reliability of routes, and the invention of the commercial envelope.
Yet all throughout this history people have looked forward to receiving things in the mail. For me, the BBEST Swaps are one of my favorite surprises to get in the mail, and every time I order things from Etsy it is just as fun, waiting for my precious little packages to come by way of post. The magic of the public postal service is truly amazing, and it is fun to imagine all the places our letters and packages go to, all the hands that bring them to us. Even the care of wrapping and packaging and sending out mail is just as fun.
Recently I received two very cool surprise packages, and these have inspired me to do some fun making, sending, and sharing of my own.
First, I received a completely unexpected package that was sent through the Royal Mail from Chrissie at makeyourpresentsfelt! I had won a contest on her blog many months ago, and the prize package had been lost in the mail. I fretted over this for some time, and I am sure Chrissie did as well - and then, to my surprise, she sent over a second package! I was so excited to unwrap this wonderful package full of fabulous hand made goodies! It was just like Christmas! Chrissie sent me a lovely tag calendar, a wonderful smelling cinnamon sachet, and a beautiful hand sewn heart. What a delight! Chrissie has some wonderful items in her shop that would fit into a perfectly lovely surprise package, including her Colorful Egg Cosies that would be perfect for an Easter surprise.
A few hours later my front door bell rang, and on the porch was a box - addressed to me! I opened it up as quick as a wink, and inside I found a fabulous book about mail art - Good Mail Day.
This book has tons of excellent inspiration to make envelopes works of art, really brightening up the whole letter experience. Many of our BBEST team members send their work in artistic packaging, which makes it like receiving two presents at a time! Some fun cards and envelopes to work with can be found at our own Mr.PenQuin shop, where Judy make very cool sets - some just ready to welcome in spring, like the Silhouette Picket Fence Blossoms.
Also ready to welcome spring is Yarrow1's Orange Iris greeting card - what a colorful surprise!
And speaking of inspiring packages to receive, how about these Yellow Garden Stakes from Artsielady? These are so pretty they make me want to go out and get planting!
YankeeGirl's spring photography print of Cherry Blossoms would certainly be a welcome gift, as would AltheaP's Paisley Silk Bag.
And these Pink Crystal Earrings are just the thing for an Easter outfit, don't you think? What a fun package that would be, from Magdalene's Jewels!
In honor of Pam's great post on Haiku, I will end with this thought -
Handmade delights for the mail
Waiting just for you!