Outgoing

Mail, Outgoing

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I put together some nice little envelopes for some great pen pals! In addition to making some mixed media stationery, I also painted and collaged some envelopes! These are probably my favorite envelopes. I’m so happy with how they turned out. It’s so great to be inspired by my envelopes to include all sorts of goodies for the recipients. I’m diggin’ these painted backgrounds so much!

I love going through my stash to find the perfect things to send out. It’s also great for making room for new things! I have so much stuff saved for the day I think I am going to use it, and then I just don’t use it for years and years. Time to send it off to someone else! I’ve bought a lot of little baggies to put small paper bits in, and they are so perfect to send along with letters. Nothing too big or spectacular but nice enough, I think!

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Painting Stationery

Mail

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Remember my SCRAP Haul post from the other day? This is what I have been creating with some of the paints I purchased!

I’ve been obsessed with using paints as a background and just adding on top of it. This stationery started out as pages from a vintage encyclopedia I have. I used a makeup applicator sponge to apply different paint colors, as well as some alcohol inks. I realized I’m not too fond of alcohol inks so I’m trying to use up what I purchased years ago.

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For the set above, I used my little diamond rubber stamp and a square stencil to add the shapes. To draw attention to some of the shapes, I outlined them with my white Gelly Roll pen and my black Uni-ball Vision pen. I really love that technique! Since I’m a big fan of collage, I also punched out some circles of an old map I had to add to the page. I really love the look of the brown paint I picked up; in the light, it has a bit of a metallic shine to it.

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Of course I picked up some purple paint! Unfortunately a lot of the other colors I bought don’t go that well with it but I’m also a bit picky about what I color I pair with purple (I don’t know why!). I used basically the same elements for this set; paint, some rubber, stamps, alcohol inks, and outlining with pens! It’s a pretty solid way of doing things, if I say so myself. I’m really happy how these turned out and I’m excited to start writing letters on them!

One thing I really love about this technique is that it makes such a great background for everything! I did the same process for an envelope and then collaged on top of it. Most of it ended up being covered but the parts that were visible went so well with the collage! I think I will be stuck on this look for quite some time. It’s super quick and a lot of fun! I can’t wait to pick up some more paints to use. I really want some neon colors because I’ve been diggin really bright things lately.

Mail Artist Spotlight: Miss Polly

Mail, Mail Artist Spotlight

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I receive a lot of amazing things in my mailbox almost daily. I thought it would be nice to feature some beautiful mail art here and there.

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I just met Miss Polly in the post but I can already tell she is a super rad lady. I mean, she did send me a dinosaur envelope after all! Polly commented on a blog post awhile back and that’s how we ended up writing each other! I sent off my first letter to her a few weeks ago and she sent me this lovely letter in return. She sent a really fun letter, complete with beautiful handwriting and fun bits and bobs. I’m excited to exchange more mail with her!

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We may even have the chance to meet in person soon! I’m hoping to make an appearance at the Portland Correspondence Co-Op, which has it’s first meeting next Tuesday, and Miss Polly might be there.

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I don’t believe Miss Polly has a blog but she is welcome to correct me if I’m wrong!

SCRAP Haul

Personal

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The other day I took a bike ride down to the best store ever, SCRAP. I’ve been watching a ton of YouTube videos of people doing mixed media art and collages, and it inspired me to get some paints! I never worked with paints before because I’ve always figured they were for artists; you know, those that can draw, doodle, or do something other than take other people’s art and turn it into something else.

Since I wasn’t sure if I would really enjoy using paints, I figured I should pick up some super cheap ones to start with. Off to SCRAP I go! They have tons of collage bits; all the magazines you could imagine, papers of all kinds, maps, game pieces, and more. It was hard to resist but I know I don’t need any more paper bits right now. Especially after a pen pal just sent me 14 pounds of ephemera.

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The acrylic paint bin at SCRAP is full of mostly neutral colors but all the paints are just 25 cents. I tried to dig through and find some fun colors, and I picked out several that I thought I would use. I know nothing about paint or paint types so I’m not picky! I was really hoping to find a few of those spray-type paints that I see everyone using in their videos. They look like so much fun and create a really cool look. I did find one spray bottle, nearly empty and pink, but I picked it up anyway. It doesn’t quite create the look that I’ve seen but I figured I might be able to clean it out and put some different paint in it.

I also picked up a ton of Gelly Roll pens. I love these pens but they are often $2+ in stores so I never buy them. At SCRAP? These pens are 10 cents each. For 10 cents, I didn’t care if I bought a bum pen that didn’t write so I just picked up as many as I could find in their gel pen bin.

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The other random things I picked up was the x-ray (because how can you resist buying an x-ray?!), some glitter glue, and also packs of used postage. I totally forgot to put the postage in the picture but it’s pretty self-explanatory! The postage packs were $2 a pack but I had to get a few! All in all, my total came to $11 and some change. I love SCRAP!

Organizing

Personal

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One of my unofficial (or, didn’t realize it until I started doing it) goals for the year is organizing all of my mail. I’m pretty organized already as I keep a spreadsheet of all incoming and outgoing mail but, with all of the moves I’ve made in the last 3 years, I figured I might have lost a letter or two. If you didn’t know, I keep every piece of personal mail that I receive, and I have been doing that since I started sending mail in 2000.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been poking through all my letters and postcards and making sure I’ve logged them on the spreadsheet. So far, so good! I’m almost finished going through all of my mail. I will be happy once this project is over!

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The next step is finding a different way to store everything. I currently use those accordion file folders which worked out well when I didn’t have a lot of mail. Now that my collection is growing, I can’t shut any of the 4 folders that I have and I have a whole Trader Joe’s bag full of mail to put away! I’m dreaming of the day I will have the space and money to have one of these bad boys. If I ever got something like that, I would have a drawer designated for each of my pen pals, and drawers for the different websites I send mail through (like Postcrossing or Swap-bot). It will be the best.

How do you organize your mail? Do you keep all of the letters or postcards you receive?

Outgoing

Mail, Outgoing

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My, my! I’ve had these envelopes ready to go for over a week now but I was waiting on postage stamps! I run out of stamps all the time, mostly because I spend all of my fun money for the month before I realize I need stamps. Whoops!

In addition to these 4 letters, I also put together 11 more to be sent out tomorrow. I am officially caught up on all of the mail I received in 2014! I’m still hanging on to my goal of replying to every letter I receive within a week. I’ve already received 3 pieces of mail this week! Do you have specific days you write letters? I usually reserve the weekend to catch up on mail as my weekdays are filled with working, lifting weights, and rock climbing.

Oh, remember how I always run out of stamps? After getting 15 pieces of mail together, I now only have 10 stamps left out of the 36 I ordered last month. Yikes! Time to order some more.
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Mail Artist Spotlight: Mermeg

Mail, Mail Artist Spotlight

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I receive a lot of amazing things in my mailbox almost daily. I thought it would be nice to feature some beautiful mail art here and there.

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Mermeg is the best! I don’t know how else to describe her. Her name is Megan but she loves mermaids so she goes by Mermeg in the post. She’s a rad chick living in Wisconsin and sends the best mail. Her collages are always fun, and she always includes something special with her letters. I feel like it’s Christmas every time I get a letter from her!

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This is a special spotlight because I just hung out with Megan on New Year’s Day. We’ve hung out twice before but only for an hour or so each time. This time we got to hang out for hours! We had planned to check out SCRAP but they were closed due to the holiday. We headed up to Collage instead; a little bit pricer (ok, a lot) but it was open! We also watched Making Mail together and a bunch of mail art videos on YouTube. We yelled at the TV like we were watching our favorite sports team play. There really isn’t anything better than sharing your hobby with someone who is as passionate about it as you are. It was a blast and I’m so happy we had the chance to hang!

Megan doesn’t have a blog but you can check out her profile on Sendsomething! Send her some mermaids!!

Here is what I picked up at Collage!

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Let’s Talk About Stationery: Lettra

Advice, Let's Talk About Stationery

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Let’s talk about stationery! I’ve been on the hunt for the best paper for the stationery I sell. I recently ordered some paper samples from a company called Neenah Paper. I’ve been trying to find paper samples for ages and somehow came across their website. I saw that you could order samples of the paper they carry, and went a bit overboard. The catalog itself is completely free, you just have to pay for shipping.

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I was so anxious to receive the package full of samples. I love stationery; love it. I love finding the perfect paper to write on even more. I felt like it took forever for the samples to arrive but it really only took a few days. It was totally worth the wait though, the sample catalogs are gorgeous. They have a selection of every color that is offered for the specific paper type, the different weights they come in, and they just look awesome.

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Choosing the weight of paper is so important! I decided to write on the weight I thought would be best, with four different pens: Pentax EnerGel, Pilot Precise V7, Sharpie, and a fountain pen. I wanted to see how each pen felt writing on the paper, how much bleed there would be, and smudge-factor.

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Lettra is just a nice, heavy paper. It would make a great paper for envelopes! Lettra is smooth but it still has a bit of texture to it. Kind of like cardboard; a rough but smooth texture. I’m sure it would be amazing to use when doing letterpress, as that is what it’s advertised for. It’s not so great to write on with fountain pens but it’s nice and sturdy so there isn’t much of a bleed-through. The smudge-factor was low, the only pen that smudged was the fountain pen. I take that with a grain of salt, since I intentionally swiped my finger on the ink immediately after I wrote it. There is no smudging if you wait a few seconds before touching the ink!


Lettra

Pens used: Pentax EnerGel, Pilot Precise V7, Sharpie, and fountain pen.
Bleed-through: Low
Smudge-factor: Low.
Writability: Excellent for everything but fountain pens.

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