Before The Internet There Was Mail Order

Olden Days Before Internet Vintage Penpals Collectors Mail Traders Magazines

One day my kids will ask me what the world was like in The Olden Days, before the internet. They may struggle to understand that telephones were necessarily attached to the wall, that research was done in libraries and that if you wanted to make friends with someone in another country, you had to write a letter.

I look forward to showing them this old hand-printed magazine, which shows the trouble that people went to, seeking connections across the world.

Olden Days Before Internet Vintage Mail Order Magazine Pre Blog

Some of the ads seem very dubious:

Olden Days Before Internet Vintage Mail Order Magazine Sweetheart India

And I am dying to know if classifieds like these were successful, or even genuine? The expectations are high.

Olden Days Before Internet Vintage Mail Order Magazine Penfriends

And how did people cope before Ebay? The answer is mail order.

Olden Days Vintage Mail Order Collector Magazine We Buy Amulets

And naturally where there is money to be made, there are people seeking to make money from the desire to make more money.

Olden Days Pre Internet What Really Sells Mail Order Magazines

You could be rich. Things haven’t changed that much, have they?

Olden Days Before Internet Vintage Mail Order Magazines

It’s comforting to know that even if the internet breaks, an old typewriter, black marker and a few stamps can set you up with riches and international best friends.

Olden Days Before Internet Vintage Mail Order Magazine Asian Penpals


A Week’s Worth of Random Facts About Many Cha Cha

Inspiring Many Cha Cha Rust Vintage Book Collage

Many Cha Cha reveals a lot about me, despite the fact that I’ve always intended to keep a low profile here. Many of my interests, preferences and day to day experiences shape the content, obviously. So it’s a challenge to come up with seven new things about myself as required by the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. 

(Check out this post, if you missed it, to see a list of blogs that I find very inspiring).

Inspiring Sneakers Twins Toddler Feet Legs Beach

Monday: I guess I dress like my kids lately. It’s hard to tell who is copying whom.

Inspiring Crochet Woollen Hat Sailor Whale Wooden Toys

Tuesday: I like fluffy wool, I swear it’s not prickly. (No, I can’t really crochet but I’ve been trying).

Inspiring Bunny Fish Travel Notes China

Wednesday: My handwriting is shocking.

Inspiring Salvaged Antique Wood Green Fence Post Barbed Wire

Thursday: Most of my best stuff is salvaged. Many would call it junk.

Inspiring Many Cha Cha Rust Map Art Collage

Friday: I’m a book vandal.

Inspiring Sandalwood Extract Dita Glasses Wooden Comb Window Sill

Saturday: I often push imaginary glasses onto the bridge of my nose (when I’m not wearing mine, that is).

Inspiring Elephant

Sunday: I’m so pale I made an elephant squint.

Inspiring Many Cha Cha Rust Map Collage Detail

All Fired Up

Have you ever experienced a flash of inspiration that felt like an emotion, a physical sensation? I think it’s where the phrase “fire in the belly” comes from… a visceral reaction that fills you with a passion to go and do or create or fulfill.

Often the smallest or most unexpected things that can trigger the feeling. The sound of water dripping in a fountain has set me off before. A book about tropical gardens, a collage made of bus tickets, a comment from a quirky shop keeper. And a few years ago while reclining in a teahouse in Laos, I felt the feeling that led me on the path to Many Cha Cha.

I think we’re all seeking that feeling when we’re tumblring and stumbleuponing and pinteresting. We seek it from each other when we share through blogging.

Fired up Tree Branch Vintage Paper Book Page Indian Wall Hanging

I was nominated for a “Very Inspiring Blogger” award by one of my favourite blogs, Ajuma Alive, who writes “Travel Truths and Fiction” in South Korea. It has taken me a few weeks to respond. Thank you, I’m thrilled and grateful. (Ajuma Alive inspires me by always remaining fresh, by giving new perspectives and with thoughtful writing).


The rules for receiving this award are:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

And this is my chance to share with you 15 blogs that currently inspire me for a variety of reasons. They are:

Exploring Jessica Fletcher’s Closet is about the fashion featured in Murder, She Wrote. Sounds mad and it is. Brilliant.

MasonBentley Style seeks out the beautiful and stylish in all sorts of places.

DustJacket Attic provides a gorgeous daily decor spread.

Image a Day is exactly that, and each one is lovely.

Lucid Gypsy is a writer and photographer who always has something interesting to share.

An eclectic eccentric focuses on inspiration: especially design, archiecture fashion and music.

littlepoppits is a fun (and fit!) family blog.

Mr Walk & Talk is a sharp fella who knows fashion.

Moodboard is on the pulse for fashion and home design.

Very Purple Person completes impressive sewing projects.

J T Weaver writes warm, witty stories and histories for his children.

Liesl Made features crafty and gardening ventures.

pelly*made posts gorgeous photographs, usually in amazing locations.

Crochetbloke really knows his way around a needle and his photos are awesome.

The Vintage Traveller has a sharp eye for retro detail and style.

I often find myself fired up and motivated by something that catches my eye on these blogs so I do recommend you go and check them out!

(Stay tuned for 7 things about me).

Sculptures / Scattered

Marcus Tatton Laptop Mirror Sculpture Tasmanian Nature Technology

A satirical radio segment in very poor taste this afternoon suggested that an internet blackout in Syria was on par with other recent atrocities in that country. The mock-horror of the announcers reflected the way that our society views technology as vital, essential, indispensable.

Technology has become embedded in our lives (those of us who are lucky enough to have regular access, that is), and this has mixed results.

Marcus Tatton Technology Digital Binary Sculpture Tasmania

We have access to, and are also bombarded with, more information than any other generation in history. Tools for creation, such as recording and publishing, are widely available. Meanwhile, such tools develop and improve at such a rate that they are quickly outdated and relegated to trash. (I’ve raved about this before, in relation to phones).

Marcus Tatton Hobart Tasmania Botanical Gardens

The marvelous internet offers infinite connections between ourselves and others in faraway places, but can also entrap us in its addictive and furtive web. It collects and stores everything that we deposit into it, whether we like it or not.

Marcus Tatton Peter Lundberg Sculpture Wooden Arches Tasmania

The sculptures in these photographs feature in an exhibition by Marcus Tatton at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. The work begs questions about technology and the digital world and its place in, or relationship with, nature. The scale of the sculptures reminded me of the first computers (check out this NASA analog “computer” from 1949).

Marcus Tatton Vessel History Archaeology Sculpture Hobart Gardens

I’m currently experiencing some mixed reactions to my own increased interface with information and technology. My inputs are blown, my focus is scattered. I’m not complaining, because I’m not entirely sure that all this technology is really essential, only very desirable.

Marcus Tatton Laptop Sculpture Ten Days On The Island Nature Technology

I just wish there were more hours in a day, because I’m also bubbling with ideas, a phenomenon summarised in this excellent quote by Douglas Hofstadter:

“A deep immersion in anything makes you more creative.”

Marcus Tatton Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Derwent River Mountain View

Ten Things

The other day at the supermarket, a woman in a wheelchair asked me to reach up and pull down a sale-price DVD for her. It was “Ten Things I Hate About You”.

“That’s a good one,” I said, trying to be doubly helpful. “It’s based on a Shakespeare play, um, can’t remember which one.”

The woman raised an eyebrow like she didn’t believe me and I felt pretty stupid so I tried to provide more information: “It’s probably more a film for young people.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth I realised how awful they sounded and I scurried away without looking back.

Awesome Facts Shakespeares Works Old Vintage Book

The award that I mentioned yesterday asks me to name Ten (Awesome?) Things About Me, and that idea made me want to scurry away too but here they are:

10.  I was an A+ biology student at school and then I went on to major in Cinema Studies at university. No, I don’t know either.

Awesome Facts Boys Own Science Old Vintage Book

9. My hair is naturally red, becoming naturally white.

Awesome Facts Natural Redhead Raggedy Andy Doll

8. I have 347,982 freckles (approx.).

7. I am the one who takes spiders out of our house in a jar.

Awesome Facts White Tail Tip Spider

6. I’ve had more than 20 (wildly different) jobs, not including my present one.

Aeesome Facts Jobs File Vintage Computer Found Ephemera

5. I’ve written a play and directed 6 or 7, sometimes for money but mostly for fun.

4.Some of those plays were in Italian (I used to be able to speak it but now non ricordo).

Aeesome Facts Wedding Photo Found Italian Vintage Computer Found Ephemera

3. Someone once named a goat after me. Odd but true. (The goat in the sailor suit below is by Gyo Fujikawa).

Awesome Facts Vintage Animal Goat Illustrations Gyo Fujikawa

2. I’ve been cutting pictures out of magazines and collecting bits of paper (postcards, found notes, labels, other people’s photographs etc) since I was a child.

1. Not long ago, I walked –hobbled– around for a week without knowing that I had a sewing machine needle wedged under my kneecap.***

Awesome Facts Knee Needle X-Ray

Beware, all you Stunt Sewers!

Awesome Facts Knee Sewing MAchine Needle Injury

***What I mean is, I didn’t know what was causing the excruciating pain! (The radiologist went pale and stopped looking me in the eye after taking these X-Rays).

Awesome Facts Suitcase Cushions Raggedy Andy Doll Knitted Toys

Thanks for listening X


It’s become obvious to me that blogging is its own reward. A bit of introspection is surely healthy, sharing with others is definitely so. Aren’t we lucky to have this technology to help us connect with people, perhaps with similar interests, all around the world?

Having said that, there seem to be a bazillion blogger awards floating around at the moment. Which isn’t to suggest that they lack value: they’re a great opportunity to show appreciation, give encouragement and showcase the work of others. And it’s awfully rewarding to be offered an award!

Awesome Award Light Sticks Glow

I’m grateful to have been nominated for the “Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness” by Heather from bitsnbooks. Thanks so much, Heather! (Heather is a great one to recommend your next read and she can also show you how to bake a delicious treat to eat while you turn the pages).

My job now is to follow these rules for this award:

1. Write ten awesome facts about yourself.
2. Nominate ten other bloggers that you think are awesome enough to win this award.
3. Inform the chosen they have won

I’d like to start by letting you know about these blogs that I’ve really been enjoying. Please do go and check them out, I’m sure you’ll find that rewarding!

Lakshmi Loves to Shop brings home a little bit of India in her carry-on luggage to share with us.

Thirteen Red Shoes is a really attractive blog about life and family by a fellow blogger in Tasmania.

now and then is a collation of articles from the National Library of Australia’s archives. Very appealing to a history buff.

Dressed Up In Stitches is an inspiring blog featuring embroidery and other handmade sweetness.

A Kitschy Kitchen is written by an “apronista” who has the cooking and crafting skills.

Lois Elsden is a writer who (funnily enough) writes regularly about interesting ideas and things that cross her path.

Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves is a great blog about… exactly that. Cool collectible children’s books and favourite authors.

Ruby Canoe is an illustrator and Elvis fan who writes about Life and Art.

Ajuma Alive features the photography and writings of a Canadian expat in South Korea… and ace one-sentence film reviews.

Karma Voce shares her doodles and dalliances and they’re always gorgeous.

(I’ll let you know stuff about me in another post).