Snail Mail

  • Bowers Holiday Tradition Cram-o-Rama


    Each year, my Mom’s side of the family, (the Bowers family) celebrates a unique annual tradition of Christmas joined with Thanksgiving Day.  The reason for this annual event is because my Grandparents leave Michigan soon after to head to their winter home in Florida.  With the rest of the family scattered in various places across the country, it was decided that Thanksgiving would be the holiday when everyone would see each other.  Part of our celebration is the annual Secret Santa activity.  Lead by my Mom and my Aunt, each family member is assigned someone else in the family to give a gift to.  Unfortunately, for Cam and I, we will not be able to fly back home this year.  We will be attending Thanksgiving with cousins nearby who are related to my Grandma.  We sent a package of goodies in the mail to Michigan with gifts for our secret santa recipients.  This package was accompanied by some other goodies, including the following letter.  Like a spectacle-clad duck at a cocktail party, it was written to be both formal and funny (although some of the humor may be lost on an audience that goes beyond family):

    Dear Family,

    Congratulations! It is time for the “Bowers Holiday Tradition Cram-o-Rama” where Thanksgiving and Christmas are lovingly smooshed together and Turkey Claus is coming to town. Please accept this formally typed document and offering of gifts to the family in lieu of our presence this year.

    Thanksgiving in Arizona will take place at the Parsey residence. Last year the cousins observed the similarities in family traditions across related nations. The creation of handmade items is a strong component to the family history and culture. Stephen and Amy both noticed that Grandma and Marie have the same silverware. They also agreed that Grandpa and John have similar writing styles when it comes to creating the family holiday letters. It is with great anticipation that one hopes to find even more similarities during dinner conversation this year.

    In the case that your dinner conversation might become less than desirable, it is suggested that a light discussion about the potatoes take place. Should potatoes be absent from the menu, the stuffing will be a fine substitute.  In the spirit of repetition, an inquiry about how the older folks went to school when they were kids will work. One could also ask one of the youngest present to tell a story. Another great topic is “who put Grandpa on Facebook?” Really, though, somebody should ask, because Amy really wants to know.

    Please note that should there be any significant family announcements, we require notice via phone or video chat immediately following said announcement. Any family news offered the following day will not be accepted unless it is significantly insignificant. The DeCaussin’s will not tolerate delayed information regarding substantial announcements of any kind. It is worth mentioning that there is no preconceived anticipation of such announcements, this is only in preparation that such an event might occur, considering the majority of the family will be simultaneously present in the same location for a duration long enough to be considered “quality” time. This paragraph satisfies Amy’s need to always be planning ahead.

    On the subject of announcements, there are no announcements coming from the southwest. Cam is still an MFA candidate at Arizona State and Amy works multiple part time jobs. Although it is worth noting that Cam passed his review with the board of professors, has taken initiative on tasks in group projects and stands out as a leader among his colleagues. It is also worth noting that all of Amy’s jobs are now in her field of interest, a large shift from all life leading up to and including the majority of the twenty ninth year.

    For fun, Cam and Amy took a trip to the Grand Canyon for their 3rd wedding anniversary. Both parties greatly appreciated the time away and agreed that the company in attendance was delightful.

    The fluffy one known as Mikey is still present in the DeCaussin home. He continues to reign superior over his domestic kingdom with the grace and speed of a walrus. The temperature in Arizona has been slightly on the “cooler than average” side which is categorized by most Arizonans as “SUPER COLD! LET’S GO INSIDE!” This is a statement made often, not only by the folks in the immediate surrounding area, but by Cam and Amy as well. Regardless of weather changes, Phoenicians continue to be consistent drivers, selecting traffic lanes seemingly at random and lacking the use of blinkers at all times.

    Complements to those who have read this far down the page. Your fourth grade teacher would be very proud of you. Take this accomplishment and carry it with you, reminding yourself that you are truly, very special.


    Cam & Amy


    A card for my grandparents featuring my Grandma’s very special Black Walnut Pie.


    A gift card for my cousin.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.


  • A Thank You Note


    My Grandparents sent Cam and I a wonderful card and gift for our wedding anniversary.  They are very thoughtful.  I love getting mail from my grandparents.  I made them this thank you note.  I wrote them a private note inside.


    Check out more of my “Snail Mail” here.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • A Letter to the Sisters and Clarissa



    I wrote a letter to the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, regarding my best friend, and their new member, Clarissa.  Clarissa and I were college roommates for 4 years.  Since Clarissa will be potentially living in the Catholic convent for the rest of her life, I thought I could share with them some wisdom about living with her.  I found creating this letter to be extremely cathartic.  It was a way for me to celebrate all of the time I was so blessed to spend with Clarissa and also to work through all of my feelings during this time of change.


    Clarissa and I only communicate through handwritten mail.  You can read my last post to Clarissa here.  You can also view more of my “snail mail” collection here.

    I wrapped up the letter to the sisters and wrote a separate private note to Clarissa.


    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Clarissa’s Flight


    After a long time of discernment, my best friend and former college roommate of four years, Clarissa has decided to become a Catholic Nun.  This weekend she joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in Brooklyn, New York.  There, she will live in community with other Catholic Sisters and devote her life to serving the poor.  You can read more about Clarissa’s journey here.  Clarissa spent a lot of time over the last years trying to decide if this is what she really wanted to do, however I never realized that it would have such a large impact on my own life.  Clarissa and I will never be allowed to catch up on the phone, video chat or email again.  The sisters are a “low tech” group.  Although, there will be opportunities to visit Clarissa, for the most part, our only form of communication will be through hand written letters.  Although this is a large adjustment for me, I look forward to writing some really nice letters, and receiving some as well.

    Clarissa and I went to art school together.  We walked across the stage with our degrees in art & design, illustration together, and we had our senior thesis gallery show together too.  It’s an interesting end to the story of college, since we went in blind with a group of other girls, and in the beginning we did not even have the same major.  I could go on and on about Clarissa and all of our fun times.  Maybe they will come out in my blog periodically.

    I am looking forward to writing and drawing notes to Clarissa to send in the mail.  I can’t wait to see what she sends back–as she is a very talented illustrator.  These letters will be posted in my “snail mail” category, and are already beginning to serve as a great way for me to challenge myself.

    This first piece was sent to Clarissa to open on her flight to her new life in New York City.  It is signed at the bottom by my husband Cam and I.

    Below is the outside of the envelope I sent the note in.


    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Let the Journey Begin


    Another handmade card 🙂  This one is for one of my best friends, Clarissa.  My husband Cam and I sent here this card in the mail as she is preparing to enter the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal–the Catholic convent.  You can find more handwritten mail sent to her in my “Snail mail” blog category.


    I made the envelope out of scrap paper.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Snail Mail – Torch Age Birthday Collage


    **Warning: Profanity is used in this post**

    I finished another piece in my “Snail Mail” series.  It is another birthday card, as someone close to me had a birthday this weekend.  Not all of my snail mail will be for birthdays, or even for special occasions.  The person that I created this for was not particularly excited about their birthday, so this design seemed fitting.

    age-birthday-collage-web3I painted watercolor onto watercolor paper and cut them out.  I played around with their placement before gluing them down for the final collaged composition.

    age-birthday-collage-inside-webThe base of the card was once again, (like the last card I made for my Grandpa) made out of junk mail cut up and glued together.  I really enjoy the tactile feel of the layers of paper, as well as the hint of “homemade” style it gives it.  To me it is a way of expressing thoughtfulness.  The time I spent making this card was time I spent thinking about this person. I’m not usually a huge fan of profanity, but I wasn’t so sure that this is even considered offensive, and, well it seemed fitting.  My apologies if anyone is offended.  I really enjoy a little snarkiness.

    age-birthday-envelope-webSince the card was homemade and not a standard size, I needed to make an envelope to match.  I found a manilla folder in my stack of documents that need to be shredded and made the envelope out of it.

    age-birthday-collage-envelope-web2I had a lot of fun decorating the envelope using prisma colored pencils and some brand new micron pens.

    envelopeI had a lot of fun making this card.  Stay tuned for more “Snail Mail” 🙂

    age-birthday-collage-web2 copy

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

  • Snail Mail – My Grandpa’s 90th Birthday

    I am starting a new series in my blog called “Snail Mail.”  I will be posting about different handmade cards and stationary projects that I will be sending to people who are very special to me.  This series serves several purposes.  It allows me to express love towards people who I care about deeply.  It also serves as a wonderful place of inspiration for illustration.  This project definitely embodied that and I had a lot of fun doing it.

    Today is my Grandpa’s 90th birthday!  We currently live far away from my grandparents, so I am unable to celebrate with him.  I wanted to send him a special card.


    The base of the card is made completely from upcycled materials.  I took some junk mail and cut it to size.


    On the inside of the card, I covered up miscellaneous words with the interior design of an envelope and an excerpt from the church bulletin taken from this past Easter Vigil service.  The dismissal music seemed fitting to my Grandpa’s personality as he can be a bit rebellious.


    On the inside, I wrote a personal note to my Grandpa from my husband Cam and I.


    And I wrote a little note on the back too…


    Since the card was made entirely from scratch, I did not have an envelope to match, so I made the envelope out of another page from the church bulletin.


    The front of the card design was first sketched out in my sketchbook.  There, I played around with the color composition using colored pencils.  For the final piece, I painted different layers of watercolor paper and collaged them together.


    From the different patterns, I also created a bolt fabric design sample to put in my portfolio.


    This was a really fun project and I can’t wait to create more “Snail Mail!” I hope that my Grandpa enjoys his card and that he has the happiest of 90th birthdays.  Check out the invitation I designed for my Grandparent’s 65th Wedding Anniversary Party.

    Background floral pattern featured in these photos is designed by Silvia Dekker published in Flow Magazine’s “Book for Paper Lovers,” given to me by Illustrator Rebecca Green.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: