This weekend seemed busier than usual for me! Although most of it was spent indoors, I felt like I was constantly creating or organizing. Did you have a productive weekend?
One super fun thing I worked on this weekend was a zine! The amazingly awesome company I work for puts out a zine for the employees every quarter. I’ve submitted pages to the zine but, this quarter, I’m lucky enough to be part of the team! Everyone in the company are welcome to submit whatever they want to the zine, and the zine team makes the submissions pretty and puts the entire zine together. I had 4 submissions to work on! This is one of them. I decided to do all the pages digitally, as I have my entire collection of images scanned into the computer, and it’s so much easier to work that way. I had a ton of fun doing each page. It inspired me to get started on another zine!
Envelopes, envelopes, envelopes! I learned a new trick that makes my lift 1000 times easier when it comes to making envelopes: getting the larger sized envelopes, painting/collaging the entire front, and then folding it in half to make a normal-sized envelope. It’s a bit of a waste but I’ve always had so much trouble coming up with something to put on the back of an envelope. Now they are more cohesive and it saves me so much time!
ATCs! When I’m waiting for paint to dry on envelopes, I typically start making an ATC. I switch back and forth while I’m waiting for things to dry. Stephanie inspired me to start doing these little guys. When I was active on Swap-bot, I always wanted to make one but, for whatever reason, they always intimidated me. Anything other than an envelope intimidates me, really. I’m starting to branch out a bit! I have a bunch of little images that are perfectly sized for ATCs.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
One of my favorite things about sending mail is sending that first letter to someone. It’s so much fun to introduce yourself and your style to a stranger. I also love the first letter because I can send all these little odds and ends, and know that the person is receiving them for the first time. I often feel like I send a lot of the same things to the same people; not on purpose but because I don’t keep a very detailed log of the little things I include with letters.
The only thing I don’t really like doing in a first letter is describing myself. Like most of the population, I’m not too fond of talking about myself. Which is kind of funny because I learning things about other people. You gotta share to get that in return! I’ll get better at it, I promise. I often find that it is easier for me to describe myself using fun lists instead of the typical “My name is Tara, I’m 26 years old. Blah blah blah” description.
I inevitably always end up talking about mail in the first letter to. One of my favorite things to know about my pen pals is their mail story. I want to know how and why you first started sending letters, what your favorite type of letter to send or receive is, and how long they have been sending mail. We all have such different stories when it comes to our involvement with mail!
What is your favorite thing about sending, or receiving, the first letter?
I ended up not sending a lot of mail in 2014, and didn’t receive much because of that! This year has been the longest time I’ve been living in one place since 2011! I have no excuse for being such a flake. I didn’t send any Postcrossing postcards this year, and took forever to reply to my pals.
But, you know what, I received such fantastic mail. It’s never the quantity; always the quality. It is a great mail year even if I just receive one thing in my mailbox. That being said, I will always love keeping track of all my incoming and outgoing mail!
In 2014 I…
► Sent 82 letters and 3 postcards
► Received 88 letters and 23 postcards
Thank you to all the fabulous people who spent time to send me something beautiful!
I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never really been a goal-making person but there are a few things I definitely want to focus on this year.
► Send more mail (obviously). More specifically, I want to get back into Postcrossing again. I also want to set a standard for myself to reply to every letter I receive within a week.
► Less Netflix, more learning. If I’m at home, I’m usually always playing a show or movie through Netflix on my TV. Earlier this year, I started learning programming and German. Unfortunately, there isn’t much room to have two different things playing at once, and it is hard to learn if you have something else talking at you in the background! It’s one or the other and I chose learning!
► Start a paper journal. I used to journal allll the time when I was a teenager. I love going through my old journals but I just don’t do it anymore! I’ll start one but never keep up with it.
► 365 photo project. I read Kaylah’s post on her takeaway from doing the project this year and I’m convinced I need to get in on this. I’m sure I’ll forget some days but it’s more important to me to take more photos rather than take a photo every day.
Do you have any goals for 2015?