This morning a Little Parcel of Joy turned  up in my letterbox. It was a stack of paper. How does that give you joy? I hear you ask. Well, this wasn’t a boring stack of A4 printer paper or a pile of forms needing to be filled in but an Instant Collection of Paper from a wonderful website full of unusual stationery, old office supplies and random bits of paper ephemera they have collected on their travels round the world.

I stared at my paper packet for a while trying to guess what the snippets of words I could see spelled out and what the interesting patterns belonged to and then decided if I opened it I would have a much better chance of finding these things out.

Here are my spoils.

click to enlarge

I love my bits of paper, they have no real use to me apart from looking lovely. I’ll probably pin them and frame them as if they were rare butterflies and hang them In The New House. They fascinate me as to where they’ve come from and what stories they could tell so with the aid of Google translate, my imagination and Wikipedia I’ve imagineered what I could use them for …

(from top left to right)

I could …
1. Write a letter to a far off land.
2. Draw a bar chart or play Battleships
3. Import grapes (1933 vintage) from Crete to Paris neatly recording when they come in and when they go out and how many bunches I have in stock.
4. Buy a hotel with one room. Start a lending library of my personal books to said room (let’s call it room one) and become a slightly officious librarian in a beige pink cardigan smelling faintly of mint imperials.
5. Travel to Germany and visit the Town Formally Known As Karl Marx City*. When there find a farm where happy pigs wear chefs hats and see if I can taste a sample of their quality combined meat lard. Yum.
6. Write in my best hand my name and display it somewhere about my person when I am in a stranger filled environment.
7. Board a train travelling through Germany (maybe to Chemnitz) during World War One and take a job as  a waitress in the buffet carriage**. Take someones order and try not to spill hot coffee on them. (Unless they looked spylike.)
8. Find eight of something and give it this sticker.
9. As above (but for 6. Maybe some eggs).
10. Use these stickers to identify two similar things, maybe two notebooks. I would call them Book 1 and Book 2.
11. Check out the Dependable Hardware Service store*** for its values. (Probably monetary, possibly spiritual.)
12. Make a batch of Double Blackberry and Grape jam.
13. Save up all my sixpences till I have reached  one whole pound**** then take them to Lloyds bank and ask the advice of a Bank Manager on how best to invest them (or put them under my mattress. Same difference)
14. Invent an automatic bingo caller and play a solitary game of bingo. House!
15. Write another number in this round circle and stick it on something.
16. Sit and ponder what use this card had for a long time and not come any closer to deciding what it did!
17. Mark down by a couple of Euro’s some overpriced stock I’ve been trying to sell for a while. (Jetzt means ‘now’ in German)

*between 1953 and 1990 the German town of Chemnitz was known as Karl Marx City, It has a population of 3.5 million. None of these 3.5 million are or ever have been Karl Marx.
** Mitropa was a German catering company for the railway, it had sleeper and buffet carriages on trains from 1916 till 2002. Now it has cafes in stations. Here is the Mitropa logo. Very German. Very nice.

*** possible locations: Russellville, Alabama or San Carlos, California
**** 40 coins. That’s a lot of coins for that little bag.

As I’ve said I love my bits of paper but now I feel I know a little bit of history about them I love them that little bit more. If you want to get your own packet of paper history click here Jetzt.

I have been to Ikea. I went to get some eggcups (that they didn’t have), a replacement recycling bin – as mine was stolen from outside the house (that they have changed the design of so now it’s 2 inches taller than the old one and thus doesn’t fit in my cupboard), some metal hangers for Master J (they don’t make them any more) and some material (out of stock). It was a bit of a disastrous mission really until I turned the final corner and saw this …

Mmmmm, lovely lovely wrapping paper. I had entered the Ikea Gift Wrapping section.

Do I need some matching tags to go with that lovely lovely gift wrap?

Yes I do. But what about these number ones?

That also come in white …

but then there’s these picture ones …

With matching stickers.

And how about some Washi Tape

Don’t mind if I do, and to finish it all off, some curly wurly ribbon.

Thank you Ikea my faith in you has been restored.

(In true Ikea fashion nothing here was more than £5. The tags and stickers were 50p-£1, the ribbon £2, the gift wrap £4 and the Washi tape £5 … which is pretty damn good for Washi Tape. I couldn’t find them on the Ikea website so you’ll have to get yourselves down to a store (Top Tip: don’t go on a Bank Holiday, go when there’s some football or other national sporting event on, it’s well quiet then.))

Here are two books I found at a boot sale the other day, they are both going to help me with my next projects…

1. News Chronicle Needlework and Crafts

subtitled inside as “Every Woman’s Book on the Arts of Plain Sewing, Embroidery, Dressmaking, and Home Crafts”. A 340 page behemoth of a book with pretty much everything I’ll ever need to know about anything by the looks of things! It’s weirdly not got a publication date but it’s written in old money and inches so its pre 1971. It’s also got a secret pocket at the back with embroidery transfers in which I didn’t notice till I got home. Bonus.

2. Twinkle Annual 1977, Specially for Little Girls

of which I was one once and remember getting this comic from the newsagent on occasion. I love the illustrations and outfits in this annual and I think subconsciously my illustration style over the years has been influenced by them as I often draw girls with big hair and eyes, short dresses and big boots.

Today’s post is bought to you by the letter R.

R Facts

1. This letter R is 15 cm high
2. It’s made of stainless steel.
3. I traded it for five magic beans from a man I met in the street on the way to market
4. I didn’t but its a better story than where I actually got it from … Yup, it’s another Aladdins Cave find.
5. It’s almost Garamond and almost Charter but actually neither, so it’s something else entirely… look
6. Good words that begin with R: Remarkable, rambunctious and rufty-tufty