I received a package of thirteen things from Susan on Friday the 27th, the "delightful thing" having arrived a few days earlier. I guess a large envelope is less threatening than a box, at least to whomever is responsible for making sure that American borders aren't violated by all sorts of unimaginable horrors.
The package and envelope were both beautifully wrapped in gorgeous red, handmade (I assume) paper. And my post office gives me crap every time I try to send anything that's not plain and brown.
- The delightful thing was a print of Stephanie. I love the colors and the soft-focus, and Susan remembered that I had admired this photo when she posted it. Now I just have to find the perfect framing, something I'm pretty good at when motivated.
- Beachy things- a lovely little collection of beach glass and spiral seashells, so delicate and yet so hardy.
- Several papery things, including a hot-pink journal, a beautiful page from an antique, hand-printed Chinese book, and a book that sounds really good, Not Wanted On the Voyage, by Timothy Findley.
- Thing that costs less than a dollar- A mix CD. Really like Breathe Me by Sia Furler and Must I Paint You a Picture by Billy Bragg, neither of which I'd heard before. There are also a couple of favorites of mine, Don't Speak by No Doubt and Your Latest Trick by Dire Straits.
- The soft thing is a gauzy orange and grey scarf, filmy and lovely.
- A once-useful Chanel stamp bought at the post office in the Eiffel Tower, attached to a wonderful post card. I'm kind of awed that there are Chanel stamps, how cool is that?, and this item means a lot to me, since I haven't been to Paris since I was twelve and would love to return.
- The red thing is this polaroid. I love that Susan loves to share her art; it's so personal, intimate, and frankly, brings tears to my eyes.
- Two traditional food items of Nova Scotia maple syrup, delicious!, and summer savory, an herb I've never tried.
- Two favorite candies: A fish Ticklestick and a Canadian Cherry Blossom. Really enjoyed the Cherry Blossom, I love chocolate-covered cherries and usually reserve them as a special treat around the holidays when they tend to be on sale. Although the Ticklestick was pretty, I'm not a big fan of gummi things, the texture I think, but happily, NSA is and liked the break from his usual bears.
- Something found at the back of a drawer- A beautiful pewter pin of two rabbits and a snail, absolutely lovely and makes me wonder what other fantastic things Susan has hidden away in the backs of drawers.
- The once-living things are a mermaid's purse, which is the egg case from a whelk, I think, and the delicate shell of a small, male (fairly certain) crab. Lovely, lovely sea treasures from the Atlantic Coast, and reminders of a childhood visit to Cape Cod.
- A favorite recipe for seafood crepe pie, printed on the back of a map of Nova Scotia. Sounds decadent and yummy, definitely a meal to blow your diet over.
- With a middle initial of A, Susan includes a print of her "Red Dog, Yellow Dog" illustration, which I certainly think qualifies as art.
- Just Us chai tea, a gentler version of what I like to enjoy in the afternoon.
The 14 things swap really was better than Christmas for me. There were genuine surprises, of the good kind, and many lovely things, without the stress that usually accompanies the holidays. Susan obviously puts a great deal of care and attention into the things she does, and I find her inspiring in many ways.