Monday, November 25

Taking Some Time

Hello all!
I just wanted to put up a quick post.  I have been needed to work more hours and quite frankly between that, preparing for a long trip soon to see the family and just the general need to get back to creating fabulous mail, I am taking a vacation from blogging.  I have one small post I prepared and will try to get up during this time, but otherwise I am going to enjoy my mini-vacation for the computer and try to get back in the proverbial saddle again with correspondence.  Until then, those in the USA enjoy the food, family, and shopping, (if you dare)!

I would also like to take a moment to tidy up two things.
1) Lily (aka fatty foster cat) is down 4 pounds!  Man, she can move now when she wants to get away!

2) If you want your letter to become a song, consider watching this video

For whatever reason I cannot get the link to open a window player, but it looks like a neat project. 

With that said, I will be back soon with many ideas and projects!

Wednesday, November 20

Flat Daisy and a Mailing Adventure

Hello all!
I have a guest who will be heading out soon!  Meet Flat Daisy!

She's friends with Flat Stanley who has books all about his mail adventures.  Well Daisy has bee having adventures too!  She was sent to me via my long, long time friend Courtney via her little cousin along with a letter introducing me to the project.

address was on the back, so sorry I did not show it.
I had originally photographed these so that the address was hidden, but (and this is a big BUT!), I emailed the teacher about a mail call.  The teacher was surprised and okay with the concept.  So I would love it extend the opportunity to all of you to send postcards or notes from your section of the world and educate these youngsters on the amazing connectivity of mail! 

Here's the address and please share this with others!

Pianta Bella Elementary School
P.O. Box 397
Butler, IN 46721

Please mention seeing Flat Stanley when you were out doing things and remember this is a very young and impressionable audience.  One we can all take a part in turning to the bright side of mail and pen palling!  May we infect many with the mail bug!

I am also looking for some hosts as she now has a passport.  Her next few stops have already been slated and I am sure that she will be glad to say good bye to the Pennsylvania cold as she travels across the ocean to Nice, France!
One of the pictures of our adventures together!  She needed a sweater that day as it was rather chilly.  But I have to say nothing seems to crush Miss Flat Daisy's spirits and may she be an example for us all when it comes to having adventures in mailing!
Thank you!

Tuesday, November 19

More Mail

I hope to get a few posts in over the next few days of all the lovely October mail received, so please stay tuned!

 A lovely postcard made from original artwork by the sender.  A USA postcrossing
 A Postcrossing from Germany showing a brew house.
 A spices postcard and I forget which country it hails from
 A nice letter from Georgette, Congrats on your stickers making ingenunity!

 A great card from the Netherlands showing a vintage slogan.
 A postcrossing from the Netherlands that the sender made from photos
 A nice postcrossing from China with undeciphered poetry.
 A postcrossing from Russia of a local view per sender.
 Views along the river that runs through Berlin, a German postcrossing.
A postcrossing from Germany showing one of their national parks.
 A Canadian postcrossing of a local view per the sender.
 From the Nethlerlands, this is a crew that makes tasty pastries.
 Some hand made goodies from MC from SendSomething
 A Japanese card by way of Canada.
 A postcrossing from China also lacking any true translation other that this is an old poem.

More to come!

Monday, November 18

Make Something Monday: Circle Seed Envelopes

I found this cool project in a book from the library called the Artful Card.
I find the triangle shape to be very interesting and appealing especially since it folds out into a perfect circle.  The authors had made these envelopes out of glassine paper, and I am not 100% certain where to locate this type of paper, so I decided to experiment with a variety of papers.

 Now a disclaimer, you will need to use very basic geometry to make your templates! Sorry, but this will give you the freedom to make an envelope the size you want.  The book gave me a small template and recommended to blow it up to a 6 inch circle, but an internet search found me a video on how to make and isosceles triangle within a circle which was extremely easy and again, gives you the freedom to design your own thing.

You will need a protractor or a pin tied to string tied to a pencil, scissors, a variety of lighter weight (thin) paper.  Optional: a circle cutter and ruler
I was going to try to explain the how and I will still do the step by steps below, but first consider watching this short video as it explains so much so easily.

Now, I will go over it again in 3 pictures.

 1) Draw a circle with the center marked and a line through it.
 2) Find the distance from the center to the edge and draw a line where it intersects with the edges of the circle. 
 3) Connect those points and I would recommend you do this step twice so you end up with a circle and triangle template.  Although I found after creating a few of these, I did not need the templates and just used a ruler to fold the edges.
 Here's my first template.
 Once you cut your paper, you can insert the triangle in to fold the sides.
 Is that not pretty?  I will update this post later with the cost to mail these.
 I then used the triangle template to make a card that fits within the envelope.  You will need to shave this card a bit so it fits better.
On the back of the card, I used another envelope so I had a built in pocket to mail things!

I hope you enjoy this project because I sure did.  I think the person who opens this will be in love with the shapes.  Plus, once you do it one, you will find it to be very, very simple.


Saturday, November 16

On the Inbox

I made a promise after October first, I would start posting pics of all the mail received.  Well I have most of it pictured, now I just need to get it up for your viewing pleasure.  Here is the first of many to come!

A postcrossing from Belarus!  The sender was getting married the next day.

A nice postcrossing from Russia.
A nice tourist card from Germany.
A Wolfey sighting!  She lives and before long will be back to the states.
 A word:  This is not real.  This is no more than a hoax will not be in the the Guinness Book of World Records.  A quick Internet search revealed all this.  I am not opposed to starting a postcard or mail art chain, just not sending mail under false pretenses.
 A nice tourist card.  Postcrossing for the Netherlands.
 A very shiny Postcrossing from India.  I am sorry for the flash, but really happy to get the card.
 The flying Buddha, a postcrossing from China
A cute kitty/ fall themed card from Taiwan
A nice card from Juli notifying me that Enter the Haggis was in my area.  I just checked out their site and apparently they are doing a mail call looking for letters that inspire them to write their next album!  Awesome concept, swing by through the link and check it out!  I may have to blog on this again as I am not sure everybody reads these well.
A postcrossing from Germany
A postcard conversation I have going.

 A postcrossing from the Netherlands.
 A Postcrossing from the USA
And Juli's last letter.  I love mail too!  I guess that's why we get a long so well!
More mail to come!

Friday, November 15

My Late MSM: The Shard Card

Earlier this week, I posted that I was not able to complete my posts because of a missing cord that attaches my camera to the computer.  With a few mischievous four legged friends running around, I had my suspicions and lo and behold, it turned up. 

Now I can present a project that I found this weekend while making a search on YouTube in recycling projects.  I haven't been able to locate the link, but it was ridiculously long for such a simple idea which I nicknamed the shard card.

First grab scrap paper, scissors, glue, card stock or cardboard if you want to make a postcard and start cutting.

 Take the pieces, pick a center and cut triangles that fit in to it.  To give the card depth, you should make fatter triangles on one side and skinnier on the other.  I like the space in between, but perfectionist could overlap the edges so they touch.  The last piece placed may take a couple cuts to make it fit, but the rest fall into place super easy.

 Here's what it looks like before you cut off the edges. 
 Cut the edges down and add a centerpiece.  I chose a quote I got in a recent swap.  And just sent this card off to a friend that recently got engaged.
 But I always take it to the next level.  The cardboard was from packaging and the paper from insides of security envelopes that bills came in. 
Here's another version.  I used the thicker pieces on the long axis to play with the perspective and then used cheap office dots to outline the shards. 

What do you think?  I like the effect and ease of the project.

My Best,

Thursday, November 14

The Art of the Thank You 3: How to Write a Short Note

Thanks for riding this ride with me - notice you can be any height and age to come along on this journey!

Now we know why we should add some gratitude to our lives, let us look at the practical writing of a thank you note.  Everybody who stops by here has a different writing style and I am no queen bee of grammar!  No, no  - double negatives and tangents galore pepper my letters!  But almost all the sources I have checked out agree that brevity (get to the point already!) and a focused statements make a bigger impact than rambling.  Even if you have a huge space to write on and your hand writing is tiny, do not write a marathon!!!  Blank space helps the impact of what you have to say and lets face it, in this techno savvy multitasking global society we live in, brevity holds that moment longer than a note sloshing with too many words!

Here's the formula most agree upon:

1) Say Hello
2) State what it is you are thankful for
3) State how the item or action affects you (briefly!)
4) Mention the future
5) Thank them again
6) Sign it

Simple enough? It really is! 
I'll try to post some I wrote soon.

If you'd like to read more, check out this cute article.

Thank you for reading this, you are my motivation to continue blogging!

Wednesday, November 13

The Art of the Thank You 2: Why Write It???

Good to see you back! 
So let's review some surprising statistics today about people who carry gratitude in their hearts daily. 

First let's define gratitude



The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

gratefulness - thankfulness - thanks - appreciation

Okay, now that we are all on the same page of the dictionary let's see what the psychologist say about the subject.  In a quick search, I found references to spiritual contentment, positive brain function, general goodwill to others, and even weight loss (no joke - take a deep breath and say a thanks with every bite of that hot dog, and you may lose some weight, or at least not feel guilty about eating a questionable food substance).

To quote Psychology Today article;
"Studies show that gratitude not only can be deliberately cultivated but can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who do cultivate it. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy."

Things that make you go hmmm (and we are not referring to C&C Music Factory here).  I suspect if you try it, you will feel better!  But too much of a good thing is not a better thing, think of the post Halloween all-you-can-eat candy buffet and that sick feeling in your stomach.  Psychology Today's Gratitude Don'ts

When I first started to try to change my mental outlook on life, I would try to think of 5 things each night that I was truly thankful for.  Sometimes it was people, where I was in life, the natural word, or just something that made me smile.  At first it was hard, but now I can zip off a list and focus in on the important things in life.  It takes time and every day I work to be positive.  It's too easy to blame and point fingers these days.  I have that issue same as all the rest, but I realize it, and that is the crux for change.



Tuesday, November 12

Thanks a Lot - No Seriously! The Art of the Thank You

I recently read a book, A Simple Act of Gratitiude and was moved by how a simple idea such as writing and mailing a thank you note could change one's perspective on life and love.  I think this thought is one all people should all pause upon for a moment and think about.   I have been seeing the Facebook daily thank you's for this month, but you know what would be better?  Actually writing one and sending it!

Being the mailers that we are, I assume (and yes I do know what they say about assuming), that we have a higher ratio of thank you notes than the average person.
But still, when's the last time you wrote a short thank you note?

In the book, this man starts his year with a huge chip on his shoulder and a glass half empty mentality.  Somehow divine inspiration or a voice of conscience tells him, and I paraphrase, "Pull out your writing pen and tell a few people that you think they are the bee's knees!"  Find who your reason to smile is, and say "Gee whiz, I think you need a pat on the back for that!" or at least a piece of paper with something heartfelt scrawled across it - more tangible in the long run really!

He had some surprising results and found that the act of writing 365 thank you's in a year plus a bit, not only made him more content with the life that he already had, but helped him advance professionally, and added depth to the relationships that surrounded him both in work and personal life. 

What are you thankful for?  I think this was such a good book, that I am going to focus the next few posts to why you should say thanks in writing more often!  And not a brief thanks, but a few true sentences why you are grateful for what the person did.

And if you want to come along for the ride, consider writing a true and brief thank you to five people or businesses these next weeks!  Come on it's only 5.  You can do it!

Thanks for reading my ramblings!
Yours Truly!

Monday, November 11

MSM- Postponed

Hello all! 
A quick note to say I lost my camera cord and even though I did the project, it sits on my camera and awaits a way to unlock it!  I have a series I am still going forward with on gratitude starting Tuesday, but first 2 things.
1) My heart goes out to the thousands of people who lost everything in the Philippines and may they receive the aid they need as soon as possible. 
2) Thank you to all the veterans for their service.  We have a saying in the USA that "Freedom isn't free" meaning many lose their lives or limbs so that the rest of the county can live on. 

If you are looking for ways to give back, consider Operation Write Home - you can either make or mail an Any Hero letter.  I only make a few cards a year for the project, but I hope they send the love and heartfelt wishes I envision they will carry upon their inception.

I'll be back tomorrow and try to get the MSM post up as soon as the camera issues are resolved!

Sunday, November 10

Christmas Prep: Postcard Projects

I know I said the "C" word, please keep reading though, it was important to start some of these things so early!  I personally have a no Christmas before Thanksgiving belief system, but I had to let go of that this year. 
It all started with a postcard book and a Facebook post by one of my friends. 
I bought this Star Wars themed postcard book and decided that I would send the book to one of my friends as her Christmas present, but then I decided, "It's postcards!"

And so I am mailing her the entire book, one page at a time.  The cover will be the final surprise with a pocket and a small monetary amount gift card for a chain coffee shop she adores.  No worries, she never reads the blog, so the surprise will be still there.
But to achieve her getting all the cards sent, I had to start by mailing 3+ a week now!  I figure this will spread out the joy of receiving a great gift while making her smile.  She is in a very high stress internship right now, so any smiles I can add to her day make it all just a little bit better.

Secondly a different long time friend posted on Facebook that instead of giving her daughter gifts, she preferred I make memories with the child instead.  Examples were taking her to the zoo or stopping in for craft time and so on.  Great in theory, but what to do when she lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and I am hours and hours away from there!? 

Amazing high gloss, high detail postcards!

Well, recently, I just happened to have ordered this great Waldo collection on Amazon!  I do not have a lot of extra cash this year, so I decided to do the same project, but I am splitting the book into thirds and also sending to my oldest and dearest friend's boys and my nephews.  They will need to receive about a postcard a week to get them to Christmas.  The last mailing will be a make your own postcard kit including stamps so they can mail back to me or to somebody else if they so desire and an invitation for them to request more postcards from me.  I will try to tech them the golden rule of mailing "Send so you can receive!"  Not to forget, thank you notes are important!

Lastly I decided that the vast majority of people do not appreciate Christmas cards like they used to.  After the holidays, most of the cards are tossed, recycled at the curb, or otherwise disposed of.  So this year I am raising the bar and lowering my postage costs.  I will be sending postcards with heartfelt wishes on the backs instead of enveloped and embellished cards.

I found these Dover books fairly cheap!  I figure people may be more willing to tuck these away for the years to come as a keepsake of the season.  A few people will still get cards as I have a lot left from last year.  Who knows, maybe the postcard trend will catch on!  It will definitely curtail my after Christmas hoarding issue.  Maybe one of these years I will make a few handmade to send instead, but obviously not this year.

I am starting some other projects as well since this will mostly be a handmade Christmas with only a few exceptions.  This girl is poor right now and needs money for insulating this drafty house!  So invent-a-gift has started.  I have fond memories of all the hand made gifts of Christmas past although I am not sure my family can say the same, but they are stuck with me and the worst they can do is smile and say thank you before selling it on a garage sale later.  Muwahahaha!  The maniacal laughter of a crafty crafter with cash flow issues! 
I'm thinking I'll try ugly dolls, magazine/ newspaper baskets, and a scrapbook.
What are you making this year?  Any fab ideas to share for those on a budget?