Spring is finally sprouting here where I live! How about with you?
I enjoy springtime for many reasons, and one is perhaps an odd tradition I have kept since just a little kindergartener that has evolved in to something so much more than as it started. I’d like to share that with you today and invite you to join in on a swap that stems from it.
As a child in NYC I had a delightful teacher, Ingrid Sassoon, who was wise and kind and interesting! Once the weather warmed a bit we had to clean out our desks. We had the most wonderful desks then, heavy wooden desks with very dark sturdy iron attaching the seat to the desktop that was hinged and lifted up! We stored our work, some books, a few belongings under this “lid.” I always stored “treasures” as well; I think most of us did.
When the time approached our wise teacher would have us clean out our desks, encouraging us to throw out all the unnecessary things we had collected. Knowing there were special collections under each desktop she allowed us an amnesty envelope. She explained to us we could keep whatever special findings and treats as long as they would fit in the envelope. For the things that would not fit, but we could not bear to throw in the trash we could fashion an envelope of treasured gifts to be given to someone. I remember lovingly tucking in a school girls menagerie of valuables in to this envelope: butcher’s twine, red and white twists found in the cafeteria, a shiny silver nut that seemed as if it would be the perfect paperweight or necklace charm depending on your need, a few stickers and the softest feather the colour of fog. There were things we had that could not fit in our amnesty envelope or envelope of treasured gifts, but they were collected in a shoebox as treasures to be shared after reading or quiet time and were not lost. Our envelopes to share were collected and traded with another class down the corridor, but not until closer to the end of term.
When we lifted the lid now the belly of our desk seemed so perfectly fresh and beautiful, a clean slate for a new season! Our amnesty envelope was tucked in the corner, filled with magical treats we could keep! Our other envelope of delights en route to become fodder for a new imagination!
As I grew up my desks changed, as did the trinkets I collected…yet there have always been things in the drawer where my letter opener, pencil and paperclips reside. No matter what my age, there always seems to be butchers twine, fasteners and quite often a feather, shell or rock (or two or three!). They have a menagerie of other things alongside them I had intended to use this year, and last year, and the year before… I tuck away some I can’t bear to part with into my amnesty tin (as one grows, so does one’s storage container) but I always create a few envelopes of treats. Sometimes there is a theme: nature, colors, textures, quotes… I curate an envelope that I really, really want to keep– and then I mail it to someone, oftentimes a person I haven’t written to in years. Every single time I have sent one I get in return the most treasured letter, one delighted and stunned, awed and surprised, all gladdened by the contents and inspired to do something with them. It is always, always a bigger treat for me. I have fun creating these envelopes and I have a sense of satisfaction knowing that my little treasures are off to encourage someone else daydreams and more importantly to fill their desk with possibilities!
I am eager to do this Envelope Of Treasured Gifts Swap with You Clansmen! I plan to do one with readers of the blog soon, but I wanted us to do a special one together. This is not a swap where you have to purchase or knit anything. You simply create a collection of things, useful, interesting or themed items that you have on your desk, in your drawer, tucked away…
If you are interested here are the guidelines:
Please read all first and then take action.
1. E-mail me from
March 18 – 25th immediately! to say you are interested at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Include your best mailing address in the email.
3. Secure an envelope approx. 9 x 5 (by approx. if you have 9.5 x 4.5 or 8.5 x 6, those work! 10 x 12…too big…5×5 too small. I am not policing anyone on this, just use your best judgement =) Your March envelope works or you can alter your Feb. brown bag! You can make one or buy one whatever you choose!
4. Head to your desk (or drawer, or cabinet) where you collect
odds and ends wonderful treasures, and sift through. Decide if you see a theme or pattern and run with it! Make it as much of a fun curating the collection as it will be to receive it!
5. Write about what you have included, perhaps as a letter or just a list.
6. Wait patiently until
4 April NOW APRIL 5th when you will be notified as to whom you will send it! All envelopes will need to be mailed between April 4th and 8th 6th- 10th. This is opened for international mailings. Mailing an envelope of this size should not cost much so please be willing to participate on a global level. If you feel as if you can not, please add that as a message when you email.
7. Smile and wait for your treat to arrive!
I hope this will be a fun way to interconnect with each other! I also hope it becomes an activity you implement from time to time!
And when this activity and post launches on the With∞Mel blog I hope you will consider joining in a second time!