Thursday, October 30

Happy Halloween! What's Been Keeping Me Busy!

Hello all!
I was hoping to get into a more regular blogging schedule, but my old frenemy bronchitis decided to zap my energies.  So it is, you sometimes have to get sick to remind us to be thankful when we are well!

I have been spending a bunch of time making things for work.  I did quite a few projects off pinterest and here are just a few of the ways I've been spending my time.
 Medicine bottles made from a variety of cast off materials and free printable labels from the internet.  Seriously just google the words Halloween Potion Labels and you'll find tons!  I ended up making about 10!
 I tried my hand at making some fun postcards to send.  I think they turned out petty well.
 Various cards and postcards with Halloween theme.  Sorry about the pic, it looked better on the camera.
Finally a bat wreath. It goes great in the new craft space, which I will unveil very soon!  It just needs some touch up paint. 

I also made some mummy jars, a voodoo doll, a potions mixing vase, bat garland, and shadow boxes for the wall.

I hope you got crafty!  After all it is TRICK or treat!
My Best,

Sunday, October 12

Weekend Projects

There are so many project I see on-line that I would like to do, that it is sometimes paralyzing.  When I get to those points, I try to step back and think of how far I have come in the years since I started the blog and tried me hand at collaging and mailart.
I have evolved from middle school level artistic skill, to somebody who feels they could start an Etsy shop and actually sell something, but won't due to time constraints.  But I feel as though I could!   And having some confidence in my own artistic interpretation of life is over half the battle. 

paper, washi, rub-ons, stamps, inks used.
 My style is still repurposing a variety of materials often tossed.  Or mixing inks and papers to create things.  I still cannot draw very well, and my painting is basic, but I try nonetheless every weekend and most nights to make something somebody else will love.
A wrapper from a Chocolate bar.

 A little glitzy for my normal style, thus the glare. 
2 envelopes made from an ad in a fashion magazine.  I wish I hadn't stamped the quote on the upper one, but I will probably cover it with a label instead.  Surprisingly the lower one I liked better.

Keep trying to create!  It will get easier as your brain lets go!

Friday, October 3

Where Was I?

Hello all!
I hope many of you are still out there and patiently awaiting my return.  I hold no grand designs that whether I blog again or not will make or break your day, nonetheless it is nice to be missed. 
So the question on your mind might be where did I go?
The honest answer is I needed a break.  I had other areas of my life that required my energies and letters and even creating had become a chore.  All the pen pals and postcrossings were neglected most of the summer.  I just needed space to breathe.  And think. 
~Insert deep breath here.~
When I made the determination that I wanted to continue to blog, and I truly did as I know it touches lives.  I occasionally get emails or notes from folks saying they saw something here and it resonated something within them.  Those comments are some of the biggest compliments I could ask for. 
In my mind floated the questions of what would I say?  Which direction did I want to take?  Mail was a topic I have warm affections for but was it my singular passion?
The answer was no.  Mail and I have a comfortable affection for each other, but I needed to jump into other hobbies and hope it will reignite the burning passion I once had for stamps and missives that carried words around the world. 
Therefore, future posts will revolve around things that make me want to create!  Things that inspire my soul whether they be tangible or not.  To start I overhauled some of the old blog links that were defunct and added some newer offerings. 
Expect art, crafts, a variety of mediums used, videos, and maybe quotes or poetry that somehow affect me.  To start, definitely check out this link on flat greeting cards that fold out into paper jewelry and let your brain imagine!
Photo borrowed from  Link to lower right.

Monday, June 16

Question: What Are Your Inspirations?

Hello all!
This weekend, I was looking at taking my collage techniques to the next level.  I often enjoy being in a creative environment and learning from others.  I thought I would look into classes or magazines where I could find ideas, not that I don't have enough floating around in my head, but I was never trained in arts and have questions about many medias and techniques.
The magazines look really cool, but many where close to $60 for 6 issues, therefore I will have to par down my want list to match my budget.  So I toss this out to you all, what magazines, sites, or classes are you taking that inspire you?
Any YouTube channels that you have found particularly helpful?
Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, June 15

New Mailers

Are you just joining us and looking to get into pen palling?  Well I thought it would be a great time to recap a few of the awesome groups out there that I have experiences with. 
Postcrossing:  This is probably the most international of all the experiences.  It revolves around being randomly assigned a person to send a postcard to and in return, you get one randomly sent to you.  Most people use it as a way to see the world without leaving home.  Although most people really would rather travel, but the price is prohibitive.
Postcrossing is very secure.  Your address is only available to the sender until a card is registered.  There are a few out there who place their addresses on their profile, but this is not the norm.  I've made a few pen pals through this site, but mostly just one time mailings.
It costs nothing to join.  Donations are welcome.

SendSomething.Net: A single person runs this low tech site which basically lists addresses and descriptions but no pictures.  This allows a fellow in the group to see the address, drop a comment and send out something!
This is my go to site to send things out into the world.  I use a PO Box to be secure as anybody can join.  You have to stay active though, or your profile will be deleted after 6 months.
It costs nothing to join.  Donations are welcome.

Letter Writers Alliance:  This is a great site for info on all things mail oriented.  They do have a members forum where you can connect with others and make pen pals that way.  I have to admit, I have been a bad member and rarely go on here, but those who love, love it!
There is a nominal fee to join and member perks like special stationery to purchase.

League of Extraordinary Pen Pals:  This is a more recent group.  I do not know the members perks or challenges, but I do know they had a nifty newsletter and other cool geekery available through their site. 
This is a pay to play site, but I have friends on it who adore it, so worth a look.

Swap Bot:  This is a site where people form swaps and everybody makes something to send to a randomly assigned member in the swap.  Somebody in the swap "hosts" the event.
This group is great if you are into making things and exchanging them.  I will say I have had friends love this group and friends hate it.  The negative comments have been from those who either A) felt like the project received was slapped together with no thought or B) the sender flaked on them all together and sent nothing.  Mostly B has really upsets people.  I only heard and A complaint once and I saw the object in question.  It would have taken 5 minutes to make.  My friend spent hours on hers, so there was a definite discrepancy in expectations. 
I believe this is a free group.

I am sure there are many other groups out there.  I know the Missive Maven had a list up that you are welcomed to look at for finding pen pals.  Biggest thing is, find people you think you will enjoy.  Mail takes awhile, so be patient.  Try not to over extend yourself, or you may burn out and that would be a tragedy.  I've had more than a few pen friends get started and then disappear.  It always leaves me wondering how they are and, as humans are often conceited creatures, did I write something they found they didn't like?  Many times I never know, but feel the loss just the same.

Go forth and write many!

My Best,

Sunday, June 1

Begs the Question

I recently watched a TED talks about how to influence people into doing what you wanted them to do.  It was very interesting.  Basically it said that people are much more likely to do an action when they see the action being done.  An example would be the best form of getting people to do what you want.  It's the science of conformity.  Unfortunately I could not find this video to relay it to you, but I did find this one.

What relevance does the art of persuasion carry in the letter writing community? 
If we could show that letter writing is NOT a forgotten art and a letter sent DESERVES a reply, then we would be a lot closer to saving the USPS and maybe influence some friends and family members into making another level of exchange and bonding with us.  Crazier ideas have caught on and spread like wildfire. 
For my part, I have started to read and write a letter or 2 a week in a public space.  Which is pretty easy since I have a farmer's market across from the post office on Saturdays.  I wish I had a badge that said, "letter writing was never dead, so stop trying to bury it" to show people when they say the infamous dying art phrase.
What are your thoughts on the subject? 

Saturday, May 17

Life and Envelope Rehash

Hello all the folks out there in cyber land who stop by for their dose of postal pleasure!  I have to say I know I will be posting less this summer as I am working extra hours on the house and job, but I will try to stop in as I can.
Today I am going to refer to previous posts as I did quite a series 2 years back on envelopes and how to make them or use pre-bought in a new way.  I had a recent discussion with a fellow mailer and paper person where they were discussing some of these different envelopes they say on Pinterest and they were surprised I had placed several envelope related post on the blog, so thus the post.  These are several old post that go through a lot of techniques for creating interesting envelops.  Take a look at these old links and let me know if you want any new tips or tricks!
(collage and selvage)
(folding paper)
(boxes, pamphlets and other recyclables)
(security envelopes)
(envelope books)
(basics of how to fold from a template)

My Best!

Monday, April 28

Never-Ending Life and Card

Hello all!  I hope you are having a fun Spring or Fall depending on which side of the equator you live on.  I am in the midst of a crazy schedule, but I was asked to make a card for a coworker.  I haven't completed it yet, but I am still feeling very accomplished as I got the shell of it together! 
Take a looksy at this design called the Never-ending or forever card - awesome sauce! and what a great look for a letter!
Really it is not hard!
My Best,

Tuesday, April 15

Beautiful Trifold Cards

Recently I have been making a lot of cards.  I am stuck on a particular design, and I unfortunately work at a place that needs a number of sympathy cards and my cards have become a favorite.  Although the one I pictured below is a fun quick Easter card for the nephews.

Yes this is the tape to attach the front cover.

The sparkly bunny is attached to the left side so it opens as seen in the first.

Here's a tutorial on the trifold card.  Although I usually make mine taller than the one demonstrated. (roughly 6 inches)  Above is the 4x4 version which is the one I originally saw made.

Now I must bid you a farewell as the table isn't clearing itself of crafting materials.
Remember a creative mess is better than tidy idleness!

Sunday, April 13

Fashionable Mail

The other day the ladies at work were talking about fashion and their amazing handbags.  Coach, Prada, on and on were mentioned.  I looked around and realized this is a conversation I could not join in until last week when I sorted through my stationery for the give away.  I found Jonathon Adler, Shabby Chic, Cynthia Rowley, Vera Wang, and Vera Bradley!
Ed Hardy - the box is full

Christian LaCroix postcards


  Even though I am not a fashionista, at least my stationery is rocking!  Here's to fashionable awesomeness!

 What's in your collection?

Friday, April 11

New Product: The Da Vinci Notebook

I was approached again to review a product and I really only mention the ones that I believe in.  I found this particular one to be of interest!
Nick was the same guy who did the envelope templates. Which you can buy here.
He recently asked me to review a new paper that is made from stone.  I was skeptical at first that it would be an improvement over my traditional paper but really the new paper was pretty cool.  The paper took all the inks and enamel, acrylic, and watercolor paint without distortion.  It took ink sprays and pigments extremely well with no smearing or buckling.  I punched pieces out of it and folded it, it took them all great!  But it did not tear, and I doubt it would sand.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because I believe folks looking for a great art media will love this stuff.  Here's another crafter who experimented with the project.  The video is pretty long, but she puts it through its paces.

I strongly recommend anybody interested in art journaling or looking for a terrific travel sketchbook should look at this product!  I do not impress easily, but this one was pretty darn cool!
Happy Creating!

Monday, April 7

Stationery Give Away Winners

Well I can honestly say that I expected more excitement when it came to my stationery give-away.  Those who entered had excellent odds especially ChewyTulip who was the only USA participant and there by the default winner.  And boy did she win!  Not only am I sending her the stack of stationery that I sorted out last week, but I am also tossing in some vintage magazines and miscellaneous materials for her usage.  ChewyTulip is a very talented stationery designer in her own right and a mail artist.

As for the 4 international contestants, I removed my long time pen pal Malyss from the running.  She's an awesome friend and just needs to ask if she wants something, therefore I'll send her a package just because.  If you ever need a soothing view of the world, take a look at her section of paradise.

That leaves us with 3.  What to do?  Well I let the cats decide.  First name out of the fishbowl is the winner.

 By the way these fishbowls are fun for the kitties to solve for treats, and all participant felines were rewarded!

And there you have it!  Paper Obsessed, if you could please leave a comment with your mailing details, I will get it in the mail and of course, not post your info. 
Congrats and enjoy!

Saturday, April 5

Letter Survey - Please take a moment to help out with research

I've been getting a lot of product requests and other miscellaneous offers, many of which I have ignored.  But I got a survey from a Miss Keanna looking for information regarding why and to whom do I write.

Excerpt of email

"We are Keanna and Nisha. We are students conducting a research study on human connectivity through different channels of communication. We're looking into letter writing/snail mail, social communities (Facebook, Twitter), and email pen-pal services as our sources of data. We'd love to hear from you about your experiences in writing to letters to other people. We recently joined the Letter Writers Alliance and were hoping to find contact with more letter writers to add to our data pool."

 They also went on to ask that I pass the survey along to my letter writing friends.  So here it is folks!  Please take this opportunity to tell somebody why letter writing is not now or in the near future an endangered species. 
Just click the embedded link (too long to post here) and lend your stats and opinions.

Please pass it along to your pen friends and see if we can get enough numbers to crash the site!  I know this would not be good for the researchers but it would say a mouthful about those who are of the pen and paper clan.

Monday, March 31

National Stationery Week Celebration

I was doing some surfing among people who travel in the circles of everything pen and paper and I came across a post about National Stationery Week.  I got all excited and even start to rock back in forth in my chair, then I deflated as I learned this was a British celebration.  But not very deflated, as anything that celebrates the written word and beautiful gorgeous stationery is newsworthy in this little world. 

So today I don my Wellingtons and go to the store for some tea and biscuits because I am going British for a week!  I already love the monarchy and have the phrase "Keep Calm and Carry On" proudly displayed on a stationery box, so why not!  For a few nights I can forgo my normal tele watching to start in on Downton Abbey on Netflix.  I've been meaning to add it to my queue anyway!

And in celebration of National Stationery Week, I think I will offer a give away.  Please make mention of this week on your blog or some social media and throw your name in the hat below in comments.  I will have 2 prizes - a large 8 by 11 envelope full of stationery goodness for the USA and one half that size for international mailing. 
If you are international, please let me know that too as that is not easy to track on the comments.  Winner announced April 6th - the last day of the celebration!  The winners will be randomly selected by a means to be determined.

Until then, I'll be playing catch up on my huge letter pile!

Saturday, March 29

Did You Know? Postcard Edition

Today I got a bit of an education on postcards as I talked with a client who happens to be a librarian at the local university and is in charge of that institutions historical collections.  I had found a card at the thrift store that I though he might like and he started to tell me several things I did not know.
1) Postcards started in the late 1800's
2) The only thing allowed on the address side of postcards was the address until March 1, 1907, when they introduced the divided back.
3) Most of the really early postcards were of pictures people took of each other.  But mostly only the upper incomes could afford such luxuries.
4) Once people were allowed to write on the postcards they often only wrote a few words.  And in his opinion they were often cryptic at best in their wording.  I've seen and own a few of these really old cards and I agree they can be nonsensical at best.  Maybe they were worried about people reading the cards?  Or maybe randomness was a prized commodity back in the day?  The cards still talk but who knows what they originally meant.

Things that make you go hum!

Thursday, March 13

Printable Stationery

Hello all!
How are you doing?  Somehow this month is flying by and I find myself ever behind!  But on a good note, I am routinely creating so I guess the trade is worth it in some ways.  And I hope to post one of the card designs I have fallen in love with in the near future. 
But before we get there, I want to point out a couple of sites where you can snag some printable stationery designs.

First my friend Tara-dactyl has a set that I somehow helped to inspire.  As I said before, I love having the ability to plant ideas and let others take them and make them their own.  To inspire anything positive is an honor!

Another site is an old one, but it has a variety of lovely designs.  Take a look and see if any tickle your fancy.

Lastly, if you are huge into printables, I recommend you think of becoming a member of one of several groups on Facebook that share printable stationery designs like "Penpal Friends Stationery Printables".

Have fun!

Saturday, March 8

And Now For a Moment of True Mail Geekery . . .

I just got this video link sent to me on Facebook from the folks in charge of the US Postal Museum.   It's a video by C Span where the curators of the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery of the National Postal Museum give a walk through tour.  It's a long video!  But if you have yet to go and are really interested in such, you should take a look!
Follow the link here!

Friday, March 7

Birthday Cards for Colin

Hello all!
I live far away from many friends and most of the family, so I use social media like most people do to keep in touch.  My sister recently invited me to join a page called "Send Cards to Colin" 
I am always slightly skeptical of things on Facebook that I do not know directly originated from an acquaintance.  I have seen things shaming people, encouraging people, and informing people, but if it's something I intend to share, I check the back story on it.  Turns out this is legitimate as best as I can verify in my short work of looking things up.
The whole story can be read here.  The synopsis is that Colin has felt isolated and that he has no friends due to his mild Autism.  His mother went to social media after asking him who Colin wanted to invite to his birthday party and his response was it was not worth it because he had no friends.  She wants to let him know that different is okay and that he has friends.
School can be harsh especially when you are deemed different in a less desirable way.  Life's hard enough, so I think I will use my hobby and send a little love!  Please join me in sending a card to Colin and taking a moment to remind him he's not alone.

PO Box 756
Richland, MI 49083

Sunday, March 2

Images for Postcards Contest

I have been on the Postcrossing site now for over 3 years and one of the things I get really excited about is when people send me images they have take in their regular lives and make them into postcards.  These are always among my favorites due to the personal nature of their content.  For me, it has an extra layer of sharing and camaraderie!
Postcrossing just announced a contest being held by a Dutch company, much like Zazzle but choosier, where images are submitted and they make them into postcards available for sale.  This year the theme of the contest is books.   
If you have some photography talent and want to participate, look here for more details.
Now here are a few photos I would like to turn into postcards some day!
 Taken at Bunratty Castle in Ireland
 Taken at my parents' home in Ohio.  I planted all those trees and many more!
 I would have this photo of my dog with a caption "I need another weekend"
Beautiful sunflowers from the parents' property with our red barn in the background.

Thursday, February 27

Paper Dresses

Did any of you catch this article? 
Four Year Old Makes Paper Dresses With Mom and They Get More and More Amazing
While paper dresses are not a new concept, this 4 yr old puts a new spin on it.  I found the article pretty inspiring from the standpoint that a Mother allowed and was involved in the creative process of her child.  I love that the girl wanted to create more and more challenging designs.  I hope that the process continues and we can continue to be inspired by simple ideas like making play clothes out of paper!

Wednesday, February 26

Remember to Play!

When I was at my friend's place this last Spring, (Oh to remember warmth and green!), she had a bag she was using from Teavana to carry miscellaneous stuff and it was a bute.  One thing about opening your mind to creating with all kinds of paper, is that you see envelopes and stationery everywhere.  I could use others' rubbish to create stationery and never need to buy more!!! Yea, right.  I just have a stationery habit I can't kick. 
Well the friend said she would send me the bag some time to tear up and that day came.  It was a snow day, which one, well we've had so many!  But I did remembered to take some pics to share.  So I decided to play and play I did.
 The beautiful outer raw paper and brick color of the bag.  The inside is a deep purple.
 I decided to make an envelope where I used paper straps to close it.  I cut holes and weaved the strips through and then taped them to the inside.
 I folded and glued the ends.
 Then I add a tag for the address.  When its ready to send I will fold over the straps and secure them to the back.  This will hold in a letter only, no smalls.
 For another I was inspired by a clutch purse.  I made a trifold and secured a strip around it that will meet and be glued under the square below.

 Lastly I made a postcard with strips of leftovers and security envelopes glued down. 
On the back, I decided to make a glassine envelope to put a letter in.  Due the postcards size, I will have to mail it as a letter anyway, so why not have fun!  I am sure the recipient will love this!  I know this because I know I would like this.
Now go forth with scissors and glue stick in hand and make something PLAYFUL!  You really cannot go wrong when you play because playing means a lack of plans, being spontaneous, and having fun.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? 


Monday, February 24

Accordion Card/ Book Project

Hello all!
I have recently been obsessed with making these accordion cards.  I started a few weeks ago after my friend lost her dog of 18years as a keepsake and since then I have played with the function. 
To start I recommend you should watch this little video that I found super helpful.

The only thing I do differently is I make 2 covers. Front and Back.
 I use a thin cardboard like what you would find in the back of a box.
 A tip on which type of paper to use, you may want to fold test a corner.  If it breaks like above, you may want a different paper.
 I worked in 4inch squares because the scrapbook paper comes in 12 by 12inches and cuts down into 3 strips that fold into three 4 by 4 sections.  I find 2 connected as seen above make a good size book.
 I like to use double sided scrapbooking paper for the center papers so you have 2 sides ready to use.
 This is the front side of the card and the front panel.

 This is the flip side and I attached a ribbon under the panel.

And this is a different book all bundled and ready to go!  They look like beautiful little presents! 
I could see these being mini scrapbooks, trade books for people to add and pass, keepsakes, or for fancy letters. 
Keep creating my friends!

Saturday, February 22

New Design

I decided to shake things up a bit and create a new design.  I have yet to be so bold as to incorporate my own pictures in the header, but I liked the paper look this design brought.  The cheery yellow background looks like a paper I would want to create with! 
I tried to pick colors and fonts that would be easy to read, so let me know if you are having any difficulties with them!  I promise to get a project post up yet this weekend.  Until then, if you are in the Northeast or MidAtlantic regions of the USA, enjoy the mild temps and rays of sunshine.  Something we have all been lacking for too long!

Sunday, February 16

Bold Heart Design

I promised more on the theme of the bold heart design.  When I first started to flirt with the design, I thought it would be one that lends itself to a variety of projects.  Found out I was right!  I made postcards and envelopes and Valentines with similar designs and I never got tired of it.

 Do you remember the shard card I did awhile ago?  The above was a bit of a take on that. 
 These are the cards I ended up making for my friends out of a small set of petal envelopes.  I cut varying sizes and thicknesses of paper in isosceles and right angled triangles.  I usually used  because there is a rule of odds being more eye appealing than even numbers. 
 I sacrificed myself and ate some Hershey Kisses to make this one.  Always a recycler!
The fruits of my labors!  Although the snow storms keep me from mailing them on time.
I hope you had a great weekend!


Friday, February 14

Cat VS Mail

I think we could all use a laugh.  I am working on a few projects one I hope to have up later this weekend. 

Until then, smile!

Saturday, February 8

Snow Day - Recycling Projects

Hello all,
Most of you in the Midwest and Eastern USA are tired of this winter and its depressingly cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls.  This week I got to stay home from work due to a wintry mix of freezing rain and snow.  Yuck!
Do you see the branch bending in the center from snow and ice?

But it did give me an opportunity to experiment.  I saved some winter themed Christmas cards that I received to turn into postcards and envelopes.  I thought I would share the results of what started that day. 

 Winter only themes, nothing too Christmas related were chosen.  I then cut the backs off of them.  Most held little more than a signature, so I recycled the backs. 
I did not take a picture of the one envelope I did by trimming 2 of the cards to the same size and washi taping them together.  But that is an option!

 What I did that I thought turned out neat was cut random pieces of security envelope and fold edges and glue them down as shown above. 
 I liked the uneven angular edges and had an idea of being more spiky.  Although I was thinking to keep them functional so as to use as an envelope.
Here they are all folded down. 
The idea is when the recipient gets the card, they can unfold the layers. 
This particular Christmas/ Winter themed card is going to a pen pal that I am way, way over due on mailing, so I decided to make the interior a Valentine.  I love the big heart theme I created!  More on this design soon.

Finally if you do something different that needs to be open in a different fashion, please let the recipient know!  You spent time to make something different, and it should be appreciated for what it is, mail art.

Keep creating my friends!

 P.s. I am planning on getting a new camera as I realize all the images are below par.  Please bare with me till the research and shopping can get done.