USERNAME CHANGE AS OF 11 JULY 2018
26 June 2018: I'm stepping back in a big way over the summer as my boyfriend and I prepare to move. This means that my groups will be more inactive than active until sometime in mid-September and, as I clear my dash (especially of Type 3 swaps), I'll be logging in less. If you're waiting for approval to join a group, I will still be available here via DM, and of course you can email me (phe dot needham @ gmail dot com), find me on Facebook as Phe Magpie, on Twitter, or on my blog (although blog updates will be more infrequent too until the move is done).
I still anticipate participating in some easier Type 2 or Type 3 parcel swaps as time allows, but I hope everyone has a lovely summer and I'll see you all soon!
My Personal Site: For some reason, the URL link at the top of my profile here isn't working correctly. If you're interested, you can check out my blog, Renaissance Magpie. I load art, bullet journal layouts, and other tidbits of shiny on a weekly basis.
Please keep in mind that the short notes here in no way reflect the entirety of the person I am, but here's a small glimpse of what makes up a Phe.
I am divorced, a non-custodial parent to an amazing daughter. My boyfriend and his cat have recently move in with me - and we're preparing to move to a bigger place with a yard and pool (in the city, unheard of...)!
I am a combat veteran. I served this country for 16.5 years in uniform, in peacetime and in war, and continue to do so as a civilian. Please note that this doesn't automatically make me a flag wavin', gun totin', beer n 'Murica lovin' 'Murican. It makes me someone who believes in serving a greater good, that being the people of my country. I sometimes feel that foreigners really don't know the first thing about the average American and especially American veterans. No, most of us do not, in fact, shit bald eagles in the morning and shoot our guns all day whilst stuffing our faces with oversized deep fried butter bars and wiping them with American flags. Trust me.
Over the years I have been varyingly referred to as Tank Girl or "Our own Abby" (NCIS). The current trend at work is to call me "Abby" after Abby Scuito from NCIS. I suppose this means I've calmed down some as I age. Either way, I'll take it.
I was a biology major and an anthropology minor degree seeker in college although I never graduated. My specific interest was in emerging infectious disease and how cultural norms and globalization spread catastrophic diseases within, and outside, of their endemic regions. I even assisted with the development of a Forensics 400 course. But now, if I go back, it will be to pursue a degree in Creative Writing. Why? Because I have a career and I'd rather chase a dream. I still love science though.
I am very sweary in real life although when I write letters, I temper that depending on who I am writing to.
I am a dirt bike rider and street bike lover.
I am a city baby from Boston. This city is my lifeblood - the history and architecture; the seasons and pace; the academia and arts - I have lived in so many places over the last 20 years, but I always come home, and this time, I'm home for good.
While Boston may run in my veins, my heart and soul is born out of the cold waters of the north atlantic shores I live on. In any season, in any weather, you are likely to find me on the beach throwing away the bad, the heartrending, the cruel; the emotional detritus accumulated by the simple act of living hard and living fully.
I am not a Christian. I was baptized Catholic and although I find some comfort in the unchanging rhythm of mass when I have to be there for weddings, baptisms, or funerals, I am not a practicing Catholic either. That said, if you want to pray for me, pray. I don't mind. I respect your adherence to your faith provided that it doesn't interfere with my personal or constitutional or human rights. I only ask that you keep your religious rhetoric to those who would appreciate it and not push it on me in any form or fashion.
To that end, I have come to embrace my solitary pagan beliefs again. I am not neo-pagan or wiccan, and I don't spell magic with a "k". I do, however, have a non-deist belief system that is best described as this definition of Hedgewitchery, combined with seawitchery - although a friend once told me I was "chaote" which fits rather well too. (I'd like to thank @CajunLady for directing me to the link that describes my path and beliefs so succinctly!) For swap purposes, please see my "Themes, Likes, and Dislikes" section below!
I am a writer who battles writer's block on a daily basis.
I am an avid bullet journalist!
I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I am continuing to try to live healthier and better each day (although I do backslide) - changing my diet, working out more even when it hurts, meditating, journaling, and trying to practice all-around self-care. I won't let Fibro rule me.
I am an unabashed smoker although I don't smoke in my home.
I am a musical magpie as I grow older. When I was young, it was nothing but old punk (77 punk), British Oi!, early hardcore, goth/industrial, ska/skacore, rockabilly/psychobilly, and 80's New Wave. I still love all of these but today, I'm more likely to be found listening to EDM, deep house, and trance or Balkan/Russian pop or even gypsy punk. That doesn't mean I pass up the opportunity to head out to a good show when I can though!
Art deco, the roaring 20's, turn of the century America and Victorian England fascinate me. But then, so does Marine Biology and the nature of emerging infectious disease.
I love to travel and have covered over 30 US states (whether I wanted to or not in many cases) as well as several countries overseas.
I suppose that in the end, when you factor in these small pieces of me with the rest that make up my whole, I consider myself to be a half-assed renaissance woman. That seems about right.
Unless I don't have enough postage or a package simply can't be posted in the blue bin, most of my swaps at this point are being walked to the blue bin on the corner and dropped as soon as they've been completed and partners are assigned. When I return from posting, I mark the swap sent. That could be at midnight, at 0300, or in the middle of the day.
I will not mark sent until a swap has physically been turned over to the USPS - whether at the counter or into the bin.
This means that the postmark may not reflect the date the item was mailed. My bin's pick up time is 13:00 (1pm) Monday through Friday. Please bear that in mind if you're someone who is meticulous about checking postmarks.
Rating and Non-Raters
A rating, to me, is both a way to acknowledge receipt of a swap, provide commentary (and even constructive criticism which I welcome), and to say, "Hey! Thank you!". For this reason, I always rate upon receipt. People who don't rate do this site a disservice because participation is largely ratings-based - and to be honest, not rating or acknowledging receipt of a swap or RAK or Tag is just rude. Someone who can't take 5 minutes to log in to do the right thing is not someone with whom I wish to swap.
My Swapping Philosophy
First and foremost, if you do not receive a swap from me, let me know and I will re-send. I take pictures of almost everything I send as proof of construction and sending. I am currently in the process of trying to migrate all of my swapping photos into one place since I am no longer active on Flickr.
Secondly, as noted above, I always rate. It's my way of saying "Thank you for making my day with your creation!", of letting you know that it's been received, of generally acknowledging you. With that in mind, I do tend to lump swap flakers and non-raters in the same category. It's not a very nice category. Trust me.
Finally, the rules of swapping on this site are quite clear. If I receive nothing from you but excuses or worse, nothing at all, you will get a 1. If I receive something late with no communication or if it doesn't meet the swap description and you will not resend, you will get a 3. I am a patient lass but even I have my limits.
And of course, if I receive a swap from you on time that meets the swap requirements, it's a 5. I don't auto-heart and when I give hearts, it's not because you've jammed the parcel or envelope full of extras. Hearts are given because it was clear you took time and care in your creation; that you read my profile; and that you sent something I consider to be an above and beyond swap.
I love to write. I love to paint in the abstract. I love to do mixed media work. I love to draw in the abstract. I love trying new arts, crafts, and techniques, so here are some of my current creative endeavours.
While I get that writing isn't a craft, it is certainly an art. Regardless of the topic, a writer who can convey clear meaning, emotion, place, time...using nothing but words...he or she is a true artist. With that in mind, I write daily for my job. For myself, I write letters. I write in journals. I write poetry (and won the Glasshouse Shelter poetry contest last year - a contest for Homeless Veterans. This resulted in my publication and a few readings, plus an interview with MassPoetry.org). I write snippets of things that come to my mind that perhaps one day I'll be able to expand into a story. I just...write.
ATCs. I love to create these and try to challenge myself, especially with hand drawn and mixed media work.
Handmade postcards. I've done quite a few of these now and I always fret when they're posted naked, but so far, only one appears to have been lost and one has been mangled. I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, that's not so bad.
Mono-Printing! I love my Gelli Plate and everything I create on it gets used in other pieces of art.
Collage and mixed media art.
Pen Pal Flipbooks.
Pocket Letters. OK, so I really, really resisted this trend for a while. Then I received one as a RAK and after seeing and holding one in my actual hands, I ran down to the comic book shop to grab a stack of 9-pocket pages and basically...I've become obsessed. The RAK was from @OrigamiGrace so I blame her for my complete 180 and obsession. :D
Photography, most especially architectural and industrial decay. Boston is the perfect place for wandering and photographing. I post all of those pictures to my Instagram.
Magpie journaling. I've just started to get into this in 2017 and I found it to be so much fun!
Although not considered by many to be a craft (although I do think of it as an art!), I love to cook from scratch and no recipe survives contact with me. I'll use them typically as guides for cooking times, but I almost always improve it (in my eyes anyway) or just create from scratch. Some of my family and friends' favorites are dishes I just sort of...made up.
A - Autumn, Atlantic, ATCs, Auroras, Altered Items, Atomic Age, Architecture, Arthurian Legend, Alcohol Inks, Anchors, Art Deco, Auntie Mame, Alphonse Mucha, Apothecary, Acrylics, Abstract, Arctic Seas, Archaeology, Anthropology, Avalon, Action Movies, Autumn Leaves, Acorns
B - Beaches, Bullet Journal, Brush Pens, Boho Berry, Boston, Big Band Swing, Bottles, Books, Berries, Biology, Bizarre Foods
C - Coffee, Collage, Curious, Calm, Celtic Knotwork, Cooking, Cemetaries, Coven's Cottage, Circles, Cuff Bracelets, Challenges, Creative Writing, Colouring, Crystals
D - Diving, Driving, Dolphins, Dylusions, Driftwood, Distress Oxide Ink, Discworld, Dirtbikes, Doc Martens, Deco Tape
E - EDM, Eclectic, Ephemera
F - Fish, Flappers, Forests, FitBit, Flip Books, Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens (S), Fountain Pens, Farmer's Markets
G - Gelli Plate, Gorjuss, Gas Masks, Ghosts/Ghost Stories, Glass, Graphic 45, Graphic Tees
H - Hedgewitch, History, Herbs, Hedgehog Feets, Heidelberg, HMPCs, Hoodies, Honey Bees, Honey
I - Irish, Indigo, Industrial Design, Infinity Scarves, Islands, Intention Cords
J - Jewelry, Journalling, Junk Journals, Journals, Jazz Age
K - Keys, Kawaii, Kitchen Witchery
L - Long Letters, Lush, Languages, Learning, Lighthouses, Legends, Letterset, Lunar, Leggings
M - Mixed Media, Meditation, Mindfulness, Motorcycles, Marine Life, Mango, Martini Kitsch, Modernism, Myths, MAC, Moors, Magpie Journals
N - Nautilus, New Orleans, NeoColours II, Nautical, Nika Rouss, Notebooks, New England, Nature Documentaries
O - Octopuses, Oracle Cards, Organic Landscapes, Oaks, October, Ombre
P - Pagan, Post-Modern, Photography, Pomegranate, Prismacolour, Poetry, Pocket Letters, Pen Pals, Pulp Riot
Q - Questions and Answers
R - Reefs, Ravens, Roaring '20s, Retro Kitsch, Ranger Arts, Rothko, Reading
S - Steampunk, Stamps (acrylic/clear and wooden block!), Sentimental Circus, Storyville, Seashells, Sea Glass, Stormy Seas, Skeletons, Skulls, Somerville, Seafood, Sunsets, Salzburg, Stencils, Stars, Spirit World/Realm, Silver, Stained Glass, Seascapes, Swimming, Sushi, Stones
T - Teal, Travel, Tree of Life, Tombow, Tim Holz, Tank Girl, Tarot, Texture Paste
U - Urban Decay, Underground, Union Square
V - Violet, Victorian Age, Violin
W - Washi, Whales, Whimsy, Waterfalls, Willows, Writing, Witch Balls
X - X-Rays, X-Ray Spex
Y - YouTube Tutorials
Z - Zen, Zines
Note: Please do not construe this as a "Wish List" as it is not. It is simply a guide for swapping partners for profile-based swaps. I do not auto-heart just because you put something from this list into a completely un-related swap package.
Postcards: When sending PCs, whether handmade or store bought, I prefer that they be mailed naked and written on unless they have elements that may be damaged or torn off in the postal handling process. If the swap description gives you the option of mailing in an envie and you're really nervous that mailing naked would result in something disastrous, just let me know. I'm fine with that (having had handmade PCs get mangled myself, I understand that fear).
As far as themes, I prefer non-touristy PCs. I love to see pictures of where you're from, but I prefer that they not have your location emblazoned across the front. Otherwise, anything goes!
Pagan/Witch/Spiritual Path: I've recently re-embarked on this spiritual path and have found a wonderful group of similar minded swappers here on The Bot. So, if you're paired with me in a pagan or witchy themed swap, I'm open to receiving...
Books on Hedgewitchery
Pagan or witchcraft themed ephemera for use in my Book of Days
Any natural remnants that can be used in witch balls or intention cords
ANY items of the seas (water and the ocean are my elements)
Tarot or Oracle cards
Anything you care to make or offer in these themes!
Themes that I love to Explore in My Creative Endeavors (and also receive):
The Atomic Age
Cold War and Propaganda
Asymmetrical warfare (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear)
The Roaring '20s
Sea creatures and the undersea world (please note that this is NOT nautical - sea/oceanic life and nautical are very different, even if they both pertain to the ocean)
The Autumn (my favorite season)
Science - especially biology and chemistry
Scarves - especially infinity scarves. I have skulls, leopard print, blacks and greys...and am always looking for more!
Tank Girl - the comic!
Gas masks! Images, clothing depicting them, jewelry...
Absolutely anything related to the ocean -especially Arctic and Atlantic seas.
Letters from similar minded pen pals or people who love to sit and write pages. I love to receive in-depth, thoughtful letters that are less a Q&A session and more like a wonderful conversation over good beer or whisky or wine in a cozy pub.
Lettersets! Kawaii: San-x Sentimental Circus, Q-Lia New Sound, San-x MonoBoo, Sanrio Kuromi...anything Kawaii Noir really. Also anything vintage/dark Victorian!
Steampunk image branded t-shirts and crafting supplies
1950's cocktail and martini kitsch
New Orleans through the early/mid 1900's (especially Storyville)
Pre-Christian history and mythology (particularly Persian, southwest Asian, and European)
Celtic history, mythology, and symbolism
Grimms Brothers fairytales - the real Grimm with the blood and the true consequences, based on even older tales. Not this watered down nonsense of today
Local legends, lore, and ghost tales
Colors... If you're ever considering something in colors, I wear mostly blacks and greys and prefer cool tones in general (blue, purple, deep greens, silver - think the colors of the seas).
Scents Clean scents only please. I do have a tart burner so feel free to send those or any sized candle or oil you choose, in any variation you find of the following scents:
Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate... I am not a huge tea drinker however, I prefer strong or fruity brews if you're going to send tea as part of a swap. When it comes to coffee and chocolate drinks, the darker/stronger, the better. I drink my coffee very strong and prefer deep, rich, dark chocolates as well.
Makeup/Bath Products... Like my home scents, I prefer clean (ocean-y) scents. I love handmade soaps and use almost exclusively Lush bath and skin care products. But for makeup, I'm a MAC and Urban Decay girl. I don't use anything else.
No Thank You (Please Do Not Send)...
Fairies or items relating to fairies.
Planner items. I have moved from my Kikki-K planner to a Bullet Journal and I don't use stickers, flags, clips, etc. anymore.
Displays of Wal-Mart Patriotism, the US Flag, military memorabilia/kitsch. So, I think I need to explain this. Nothing aggravates me more than Wal-Mart Patriotism. I served under my nation's flag. I don't need or want to plaster and display it everywhere. I am not, as I stated above, a WOOHOO MURCA type person. And as for military kitsch and memorabilia, the only things I've kept are things that have been given to me as part of units and missions - or exchanges between friends/service members. Challenge coins, commander's coins, other nation's military kit (my most prized is the RAF beret I was given by someone I served with in the middle east), unit patches - that's all super meaningful...when exchanged as part of something greater. Being a veteran is a big part of what makes me, well, me...but don't mistake that pride in service for some bullsh*t Lee Greenwood "patriotic" crap please.
Fabric/fat quarters/yarn etc. I do not sew, quilt, or otherwise do textile arts or crafts at all so I have zero use for these things.
Blank recipe cards - I have a book I've created for all of my recipes and don't use these, however, I have quite a few now as I've gotten several in swaps and tags. I'll send them on, but I'd prefer to not receive any more.
Drink packets such as MIO or powdered/liquid beverage additives, decaf coffee
Hand sanitizer/anti-bacterial soaps liquid/foam/gels of any kind.
Drug store brand makeup of any kind, or nail polish. I am very picky about my makeup brands and I don't do my own manicures/pedicures.
Lavender, cinnamon, apple, baked good, pine, or other "homey" scented anything. Please. The scent of these candles and oils makes me sick.
Anything that can be considered Proselytizing - religious OR lifestyle
Children's stickers, reward stickers, super hero stickers, etc.
Soppy images of animals in any form
Country crafting/country cutesy items/papers/stickers
Decos/FBs/LBs - I no longer swap any of these
Disney or Diddl stationery or stickers or anything really. I just really cannot stand these designs. Sorry. :(
I love letter writing. I'm sure I've said that once or twice already. I prefer long, handwritten letters and all but one of my pen pals is from overseas. I am not currently actively seeking new pals however, if after reading this profile you'd like to write to see if we click, I'm open to a PM. Here are some things to know:
I take a while (up to several months depending on my work and volunteerism schedule) to write back, but I do write back.
I treat pen paling as growing a friendship and some of my most trusted confidants and closest friends are pen pals. Thus, I am not a collector of pals. If you are, please do not send me a PM.
A long letter to me is 10+ pages (1 sheet of letterset, both sides written on = 2 pages) at the shortest. Mine average between 12 - 16 pages however, with some pals (a growing number as we grow closer), even a large pack of letterset isn't enough and I now write my letters to them in small notebooks.
I do have a few shorter letter pals whose friendship I cherish.
So, in short, if you think we'd be a good match, feel free to PM. : )
Seraglio, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Tea Rose, Discworld Series, Dreamland, The 20th Wife, Pharaoh, Auntie Mame, Around the World With Auntie Mame, Storyville, Gangs of New York, Haroun & the Sea of Stories, All Creatures Great and Small, Paddywhacked, Arabian Nights & Days, Stiff, Outlaws Inc.
...Let's face it. I just love to read and I do it every night in bed, no matter how late it is. When the day is done (and that includes all of the stuff I like doing on top of everything else...), reading is a must.
Amelie, La Femme Nikita (the French original), Leon the Professional, Snatch!, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Ronin, From Hell, Eraserhead, Repo Man, The Bourne Trilogy (I don't count the 4th one), Rocknrolla, Lord of War, Contraband, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and just about every John Waters film ever made
The Blacklist, NCIS, Scrubs, Stranger Things, 911, Scorpion, The Alienist, The Magicians, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, The X-Files, and documentaries - especially history and nature
Please, Please, Please... do not send me random extras! There is nothing more disappointing than receiving subpar swaps with the flat rate limit of random scraps and "extras" enclosed too often. These have almost all uniformly ended up in the bin and I've been left feeling as though the enclosures were to draw attention away from the swap itself and still beg for a heart.
Conversely, I don't send random extras unless it's something I have that your profile clearly states you'd love to receive. And if I send it, I don't expect a heart. I just want to make you a little extra happy. I want my swap to stand on it's own merit, not anything else I may choose to send, if I choose to send.
And to be clear, - if "going above and beyond and sending extras to make a partner happy" is part of a swap description that I sign up for, then obviously, I am prepared to send and receive things above and beyond the minimum - although I don't consider that "sending extras" nor do I view that as random and not related to the swap itself.
So please...spend time on your creation. Try something new. Enclose a note telling me about your technique. But don't send me random scraps/ephemera/destash stickers or other such "extras" that clearly have no thought put into them except to detract from the quality of your swap.
Thank you. xo
I want anyone reading this to know that you don't have to be an "artist" to make my day with your creation. I love that this site has introduced me to so many different artistic and crafty endeavours, and I don't consider myself an artist at all. What I do is put everythin I have into what I create. Sometimes I hit the mark, other times, I find that a technique just is not working for me. I'm grateful I was given the opportunity to try it and I send the best work I can.
That's all that I ask of you. I've met plenty of people here who are afraid to try new things because "I'm not an artist!" and they've been judged harshly in the past by professional artists here. I'm not that person. I'll be thrilled that you took a risk, tried to expand your creative boundaries, and that I was honoured as the recipient of that attempt.
We are too often our own worst critics and believe me, I've received swaps that the sender was in agony over sending but that actually came out pretty damn amazing - yet, they couldn't see it.
So, always try! And know that this is a judgement-free zone when it's obvious you spent time and care on your creation.
Amazing Swappers! - I've added this section because I think it's as important to recognize the good on this site as it is to warn about potentially bad swappers in our profile.
@piratecaptainmo for sending the most generous Witchy Mix RAK without being asked, and out of absolute love and kindness. She is truly one of a kind on this site and I'm so grateful and honoured to know her.
@OrigamiGrace for being just the most amazing host and group founder, and making up not just for flaked swaps, but for swaps that barely met the requirement to get a 5. Truly she goes above and beyond.
@CariahCreates sent me an amazing RAK which literally brought a tear to my eye. (12 Jan 16)
Swap Flakers - I have contacted everyone listed here on more than one occasion prior to naming them.
@sacredcatofburma for End of Year Swap 2015 Edition This one was frustrating especially since it was an e-swap and I was PM'd to be told she had received my email and was going to respond. I explained that was unnecessary but a rating would suffice and that was the last I heard.
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