I’m Phe, blogger at Renaissance Magpie, dabbler in art, and currently working on building a freelance editing and proof-reading business.
Writing, writing letters, and creating things are my passions. I left Swap-Bot for a while (see why here ) but I want to tentatively dip my toes in again. My personal pursuits are my priority so I don’t expect to have a loaded dash or host many swaps, but occasionally, it’s nice to receive random mail art or inspirational writing, isn’t it?
Please keep in mind that this profile in no way reflects the entirety of the person I am, but here's a small glimpse into some other things that are my soul and centre.
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.
I am a solitary, non-theist Seawitch with a dash of Hedgewitchery thrown in for good measure. I am not neo-pagan or wiccan, and I don't spell magic with a "k". My non-deist belief system is best described as this definition of Hedgewitchery.
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.
Really Important - The Tolerance Paradox
One of the things that came up when I left Swap-Bot was a discussion regarding the diversity of swappers on this site, and therefore, the diversity of socio-political views. It was noted by many that this led to a lot of polite non-discussion so as not to rattle cages or ruffle feathers, even when racism and homophobic language became involved. To know me is to know this: If you are a conservative who supports the MAGA philosophy currently spewing forth from the White House and many conservative Christian churches, (or similar rhetoric from several politicians and governments throughout Europe as well) I will not tolerate it, or your views.
And before you start saying that's intolerant, consider this:
We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.” — Karl Popper
In other words, if a demand for unlimited tolerance suggests that we need to tolerate the most awful ideas and acts that occur within society (specifically, those that oppress others), we’re providing a tacit endorsement of those policies.
From "Deconstructing the Tolerance Paradox"
I do not support cultural appropriation, racism, gender-based violence or discrimination (to include such acts against trans-gendered and non-binary folk), Euro/US-centrism, immigration policies designed to oppress and terrorize, anti-LGBTQIA+ policies, laws, or speech, white power/neo-Nazi views, anti-abortion legislation or any other legislation that removes the right to bodily autonomy, and so on. This does not make me intolerant of "conservative Christian values". It makes me intolerant of crimes against humanity.
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 have won competitions and been published, much to my own shock!). 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.
Hot Glue Mixed Media Art
Handmade postcards. .
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.
Photography, most especially architectural and industrial decay.
Junk Journaling (extreme beginner here).
Now Hear This:
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 everything 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.
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 2 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 8 -10+ pages (1 sheet of letterset, both sides written on = 2 pages) at the shortest. Mine average between 8 - 12 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. : )
An A – Z of Interests and Likes Some people find these annoying, but I like to see them because it really helps when doing profile based swaps (my preference over sender’s choice). I have a more comprehensive list of likes/dislikes below, but here’s a few keywords for you!
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, (ethically sourced) 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, Galaxy
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, Moon Phases
N - Nautilus, New Orleans, NeoColours II, Nautical, Nika Rouss, Notebooks, New England, Nature Documentaries, Norse Mythology
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, Seawitch
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: If you're paired with me in a pagan or witchy themed swap, I'm open to receiving...
Ethically Sourced Stones (except clear quartz please! I have sooo much clear quartz...)
Herbs (no smudges please)
Pagan or witchcraft themed ephemera
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, especially oceanic/herbal/natural themed decks
Rings, earrings, or bracelets (no necklaces - I only wear one that never comes off)
Tree of Life
Celtic or Norse Art and Knotwork
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.
Dream Catchers, Sage Smudges, or any other items that have been culturally appropriated UNLESS they are specific to your ethnic heritage. In other words, if you’re a basic white girl, do NOT send me Native American goods. Cultural appropriation is a huge problem in witchy circles and I won’t accept it.
Crystals or stones that you can’t guarantee are ethically sourced. Semi-precious stones are one of the largest contributors of child labour, slavery, and pollution. It’s very difficult to find sellers who can trace their stones back to the country and mines they originated from. For this reason, I’m extremely selective about where and from whom I buy my stones and I don’t have very many.
Homophobic, trans-phobic, MAGA, pro-Trump, anti-LGBTQIA+, racist, or white power literature, sympathetic items, or vintage items.
Planner items. I am a Bullet Journaller and don’t use clips, tags, dashboards, post-its, etc. in my bullet journal.
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. :(
Unless I don't have enough postage or a package simply can't be posted in the blue bin, most of my swaps are 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 (EST in the US). 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 09:00 (9 am) Monday through Friday only. Please bear that in mind if you're someone who is meticulous about checking postmarks.
Rating and Non-Raters
A rating, to me, is 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 as bad as a flaker in my eyes, and not someone with whom I wish to swap.
My Swapping Philosophy
First and foremost, if you do not receive a swap from me, please be courteous and let me know. I will re-send. I take pictures of almost everything I send as proof of construction and sending and I always recommend that anyone who participates in any kind of swaps do the same.
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.
I also rate according to the Swap-Bot guidelines. I will always contact you before rating down because I don’t like rating down and want to work with you to see that I don’t have to. BUT, I was a NCO in the military for many years. If you don’t communicate with me and then reach out after the fact to try to beg, plead, cajole, wheedle, or threaten your way to a better rating, don’t bother. It’s impossible to guilt me into changing a rating that you earned. In other words, if I rate you a 1 and you do resend, you’ll get a 3 as your final rating, not a 5. I also ensure that I add detailed comments to my ratings to let other swappers know what’s going on.
On Hearts and “Extras” 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.
With that said, 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 a swap that requires “extras” as part of the swap description is…well…mind boggling because then they’re no longer extras – they’re a requirement, right? SMH. Well, moving on…
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.
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