Baking Up Some Happy Mail

It’s blueberry season and all I want to do is bake a pie. But I can’t.

Bowl of summer blueberries

Not because it’s too hot to bake, I just don’t want to heat it up to 350º (or 375º or 400º) since a stupid mouse wiggled its way into my stove, couldn’t wiggle back out, and died! I have taken the stove as apart as I am capable of, but cannot find the darn carcass. Since a service call would probably cost more than the stove is worth I’m trying to figure out what my options are. Trust me when I say roasted mouse is not an enjoyable aroma.

So instead of baking up some of summer’s bounty I’ve been making a load of non-baked happy mail. It requires a glue gun, but no oven. The genius behind these mailable treats is Sandra Denneler over at sheknows, and so far this summer I’ve made a whole bunch of popsicle postcards, ice-cream sandwich postcards and one fabulous watermelon mailing package. Basically I’d say just follow the links to Sandra’s instructions and you should be fine. My tweaks to her “recipes” are below.

Cool Summer Happy Mail

Popsicle postcard happy mail

Popsicle Postcards

1 or more pool noodles (I got mine at the dollar store and big lots)

Large popsicle sticks

Decorative Card Stock

Piece of plain paper for each “popsicle”

I found this was the one piece of Happy Mail that the USPS had trouble with. It ended up arriving in a protective plastic bag to some of the folks I sent it to. So what I started doing was putting it inside a popsicle package, much like you’d find in a box of popsicles (I was thinking inside the box for that bit of genius). It meant that I was better off with a slightly shorter popsicle which could be achieved by placing the sticks in further or making your cut at 5″ instead of 6″ on your pool noodle. That allowed me to use a regular sheet of plain paper, taping the back seam, pinking the edges, and adding a few tabs of tape or glue stick to close each end. The added bonus to enclosing the popsicle in a paper wrapper is that you can write a slightly longer note to the recipient since you won’t need to save space for an address or stamps. 

Happy mail popsicle in mailing wrapper

Too hot glue gun can accidentally eat popsicle happy mail

My friend Olivia suggested trying a really sturdy glue (gorilla glue perhaps?) instead of the hot glue gun so you wouldn’t melt the foam of the pool noodle. I had a few instances where there was not good contact between the card stock and shaped foam noodle so that is a suggestion I’ll consider when I make these again.

Ice Cream Sandwich happy mail

Ice-Cream Sandwich Postcards

Dark brown foam “paper”

1″ white upholstery foam

White ink pen

Denneler suggests you paint the foam white. Since I was able to find white foam I skipped this step. I also had a lot of trouble slicing the foam evenly (and my corners never looked good – they always had that nibbled-on appearance). Shawn finally handed me a box knife with a very long blade which allowed me to “saw” mostly straight edges. All the white ink pens I found were opaque, which meant I had to write and then re-write the whole postcard message and address since it felt too light to my eye.

Watermelon happy mail package

 

Watermelon Package

1 – 8″ smoothfoam 1/2 ball

Light green acrylic paint

Dark green acrylic paint

Mod Podge

Cardboard

Watermelon image (see original instructions for pdf to print out)

Glue Stick or spray glue

Clear packing tape

To get the mottled green watermelon skin you need to apply the dark and light paint together. I started with a thin coat of dark green, let it dry then did another coat of dark green and squirted on lines of light green which I smooshed in a wiggly zig-zag pattern. The mod podge really gives it the look of an actual watermelon and helps protect the acrylic paints too.

Both Shawn and Russell were convinced the watermelon package would be smashed or the lid would pop off so I put very few items in the package and after gluing the “lid” on I added 4″ strips of clear tape with cuts every 1/2 inch on the lid side to allow the tape flat to lie flat without ridges.

Watermelon mailing package with lid glued and taped on

The one I sent arrived in perfect condition (way to go USPS)!

If you happen to find yourself somewhere that it’s too hot to turn on your oven (or if you have a mouse-y problem like mine) try these recipes from the archives:

Watermelon “Cake”
Crêpes with Blueberries
Zebra Cake
Herbal Ice Tea or Plain No-Sun Ice Tea
Grilled Pizza

Blueberry crepes

8 Comments

Filed under In between

8 responses to “Baking Up Some Happy Mail

  1. Ahh, the aroma of baked mouse. Unfortunately I know it well. Why don’t they make stove openings screened to keep critters out? I’ve heard (from Jim) that an electric knife is the best foam cutter. Oh, and can you send Happy Mail to my kid, too, please? I am falling completely short in this department, read, no Happy Mail at all!

    • I have so many popsicle postcards it isn’t even funny (one pool noodle makes a lot of postcards). You’re welcome to have one or three to send to your kid…

  2. I’m convinced that you can solve most any problem and do it grace and creativity!

    • Happy mail I can do. Cooking for the rest of the summer on the stovetop of grill should be easy-peasy. Not so sure about getting the dead mouse/mice out of the oven walls, but thanks for the vote of confidence.😉

  3. Nancy

    As the lucky recipient of Popsicle mail I have to say: fabulous!

  4. Lisa Allen

    Truly awesome!

  5. How darn fun! Now this is the kind of recipe I can really get into!

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