I say it all the time, letter writing is so much fun. There are so many components that go into it and everyone does it differently. I’ve always been very fond of mail art. I just love the idea of making something as simple as a letter or an envelope pretty. It’s great to know that my time and effort to decorate letter will make someone’s day and mailbox a little brighter.
I’ve always had pen pals that also like to spruce up their mail. It’s always nice to include a little something for those folks to use in their mail art. I love receiving new things for my craft stash, especially stuff that I maybe wouldn’t pick up or be able to find myself.
Here are a few ideas of things you can send off to those mail art pals!
► Die cuts
► Washi tape
► Magazine cut outs
► Scrap paper
► Stamped images
► Used postage
► Airmail labels
Holy mail! I’ve been drowning, in the best way possible, in letters. It’s been crazy! I’ve been getting mail from strangers or people I haven’t heard of, in addition to my regular pen pals. I don’t know where everyone came from! I blame Letter Writing Month 😉 It has been really hard to keep on top of everything and it certainly didn’t help that I basically took all of January off from writing letters. After my bike accident, I was in a super weird place and I had a really hard time putting pen to paper. Things are way better now and I’ve been slowly replying to everyone. As of this post, I only have about 7 replies left!
One thing that has been incredibly helpful for me in staying on top of my replies is my bullet journal. For February, I created a little spread to keep track of all the letters I had to write. It was a little daunting at first! When I created the page, I had about 15 people to write back. Seeing that on paper was like, “whoaaa, how am I ever going to write everyone back!?” but it proved to be really motivating for me. I find that I am really motivated by crossing things off. Also in my bullet journal, I create a task in my daily spreads that is “write a letter”. Just having that task there, and knowing that I want to cross it off, will motivate me to write at least one letter.
I was really hoping to complete all of my replies by the end of February but last weekend kind of got away from me and I just couldn’t do it. I was so close! But it shouldn’t be long before I get all caught up. I really hope I can do it this weekend.
It’s so great to include something nice for your recipient, in addition to a lovely letter. It can be hard to think of something to send so I wanted to make share some ideas with everyone!
There are so many things you can include in your envelopes. I recently posted about sending little surprises, mostly flat things that wouldn’t up the cost of postage. There are so many options!
Some of my favorite things to send out are things I love. It’s so fun to share yourself with a pen pal, new or old. I think that is something really special about snail mail; you are opening yourself up to this person you may have never met.
Here are a few ideas of ways you can share with your pen pal to give them a better glimpse into your life and your personality.
► Zines that you have made
► Mix CDs or handwritten playlists that include your favorite songs
► Recommendations: your favorite books, movies, or songs
► Art you have made
► Photos you’ve taken
► A list of your favorite things
► Local goodies
► Descriptions of your favorite places or things about where you live
► A list of things you are currently enjoying (food, movies, etc)
► Your favorite drink (sending along a bag of tea or hot chocolate)
Ever since I made the little booklet for my missive mission mail, I’ve been into making little mail booklets for everyone. It’s so much fun! I like that it’s kind of like mail art within mail art. I do like to include bits and things in the stuff that I do send out, although not all the time, but the booklet is kind of it’s own thing. They are a little more time consuming though.
I put this together for Supa’flous, or Sam. She sends me really unique mail so I thought I should return the favor. After she received it, she praised it on her instagram, which made me feel nice! I’m happy that it was well received. She deserves the best mail!
Currently, however, I’m sitting on 7+ letters. I can never seem to keep up! I had a nice momentum going at the beginning of the year but I quickly crashed and burned due to other life happenings and laziness. I think I really need to start making to-do lists! I can never remember all the things I’m trying to accomplish or complete when I don’t write them down.
I’ve been a busy bee adding some new stationery sets to the shop! These sets were all made from some mixed media pieces I did. This is probably one of my favorite ways to make new stationery sets! I’ve been having a hard time collaging since getting more into paints and stuff. With these pieces, I do a little something-something on a 4×6 blank cardstock. I actually buy those blank watercolor postcard packs and they work so well. From there, I use paints, stencils, alcohol inks, stamps, and basically anything I can find. Sometimes I add scraps of paper but most of the time I don’t. After I finish with the postcard, I scan them into my computer and manipulate them in Photoshop to fit my stationery templates.
Another thing I have been doing with mail art pieces is the same process but using that as more of a background for a collage. I finish the mixed media pieces in record time. Collage seems to take me 30 minutes to an hour, depending on inspiration and motivation. I love just throwing paints everywhere and not really caring how it turns out. Sometimes it’s terrible but most of the time it’s pretty cool!
Sometimes I am just completely in awe of the natural creativity of folks. For instance, this pen pal I met at the first Portland Correspondence Co-op, Supa’Flous. She wasn’t familiar with the world of mail art until that day, although she was familiar with sending and receiving mail. I chatted with her about the community that I have basically grown up with, the mail art community. I showed her some examples of mail art, letters that I had brought with me, and she seemed instantly hooked! We exchanged addresses and that was that.
The first thing I received from her, all I could think was that she was a natural! Her drawings are unique and she has some really awesome ideas of non-traditional mail. Here are some examples of the awesome mail she sends my way!
The majority of my pen pals are letter writing pals but Steph fits in a different category: mail art pal. I think she’s the only one (hmph! I need more). I received this amazing package awhile ago but it’s too good not to share. Steph has serious style. Like I-wish-I-could-be-her-style. Ok, maybe not that creepy. Specifically, her use of neon paints and bright colors is fantastic! She pulls everything together flawlessly. I don’t know how she does it! If you’re looking for eye-candy or inspiration, I definitely suggest giving her instagram a peek.
I can only imagine what her collection of images, ephemera, bits and bobs, scraps, and art supplies looks like. The various peeks she shares on instagram look overwhelming in the best way possible. Steph always sends a really great selection of papers and images. It’s always a treat getting mail from her!
Yesterday I posted a little bit about the missive mission I went on last month. As I mentioned, I was sent on a top secret mission through the post. I thought this was such a cool idea and I was so excited to see what was in store for me. The only thing I found out ahead of time was that the lady, Marissa, who sent me on the mission was going to send me a postcard with the briefing.
The postcard itself was a blurry picture of some buildings. It could’ve been any city, but it was probably Portland since it was from the UFO museum after all. The building’s name and address was listed on the back of the postcard. Marissa wrote that she was more interested in the surrounding neighborhood than she was of the museum itself. That worked out well since the museum is no longer operating! I was kind of stoked to go visit a UFO museum but, you know, you can’t always get what you want.
I completely lucked out on the location — I was instructed to explore my neighborhood! The museum was in an area that is just a few blocks from my apartment, an area I know very well and used to walk by every day on my way to work. It was exciting to think about my neighborhood in a different way, see it in a different light. I was anxious to get working on my reply to Marissa. I decided to send my reply in some sort of zine-y format.
My first order of business was drawing a map of the neighborhood. I love maps! You should know that I drew the goose and soccer ball all by myself.
I wrote a little description of the neighborhood, what the area was like, how it’s like living there, and my thoughts about my home. I also included prints of the photos I took while exploring.
I stole some soil from a near by tree as well as some leaves and flowers to share with Marissa. I felt like the dude from Everything Is Illuminated when I was carrying around the little baggie of soil!
As I’m not one to check in to see if people receive my mail, I have no idea if Marissa received my report; I haven’t heard anything from her since the original postcard she sent. I sure hope she received it! I’m also considering sending out these little missions to anyone who might be interested. I have tons of postcards of places I’ll never visit and need to do something with them.
I get a lot of amazing mail from my dear pen pal, Emilie. Not only does she send me really cool things, she also writes me the best letters. She is one of those people that I totally relate to (which is super hard for me to find these days!). Her letters always cheer me up and her thoughtfulness is just downright amazing.
Emilie and I have also met quite a few times. That seems to be a pretty common occurrence these days with pen pals. I can probably thank social media for that as well as just being an adult and being able to do things. Then again, even when I was a kid my mom drove me to California to meet a pen pal/online friend. Thanks, Mom! Anyway, I first met Emilie when I moved out to Rhode Island and she was living in Massachusetts. I think our first meeting was at an event at a local typewriter store in a suburb of Boston. I think! Correct me if I’m wrong, Emilie 🙂 After that, we met up once more when she hosted a letter writing social at a Boston bookstore. Now THAT was fun; it was just a few of us hanging out, cracking jokes, eating cookies and pretending like we were going to write letters. Emilie also opened up her home to me and my boyfriend when we drove across the country from Rhode Island to Oregon. Simply put, she is the best.
One of my favorite things about receiving mail from Emilie is how creative she is! I feel like she doesn’t use traditional envelopes often. She puts things in boxes, photo sleeves, chocolate wrappers, and bags. This package was no different! In addition to a very awesome letter, she sent me some rubber stamps, tree bark, stamps, washi tape, ephemera, and a pterodactyl! I’m pretty lucky, guys. Maybe one day I’ll convince her to send me one of her pies.
What am I working on? Stationery, of course! I’ve been straying a bit away from digital collage these days in favor of physical mixed media pieces. I’ve been buying little blank packs of postcards to make my creations. After I finish the piece, I scan it in and turn it into envelopes and stationery. As much as I love the convenience of digital collage, there is nothing quite like getting your hands dirty!
One thing I’m super into lately is patterns. I dunno what it is but I can’t stop stamping patterns on everything. I think it might be because of the ink pads I recently purchased through Stampin’ Up. Thank goodness for birthday money! I can’t get over the quality of those ink pads though. They are amazing.
I am, however, having trouble coming up with names for these designs! I’m calling the donut pattern “donut you love writing” but that is about as creative as I get with titles. Anywhoo, these guys will be in my shop soon! You know, once I get off my bum and take photos…