About Snail Mail…

Good morning dear friends! 

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m an avid crafter, and in my crafty journey, I’ve begun exploring hobbies such as snail mail and planners. I’ll soon be adding a cooking and baking segment to my blog. (Yes!! Keep an eye out for it! I’m just getting my poop in a group, first!)

But, have you ever wondered what inspired me to explore these hobbies- especially snail mail? (I’m going to throw you for a loop today, and share with you more snail mail goodness.) Say whaat?!

I am an active member of an online community called Scrapbook.com. If you’re obsessed with scrapbooking (like I am), you may have heard of it. They have an  amazing online store- the best I’ve come across yet- though Scrapbook Generation and Paper Issues are a close second.  

In addition, their online community is thriving and full of activity, from swaps and challenges to galleries for displaying your handiwork. It’s a part of this community that I regularly (try) to participate in. (With the kids out of school for the summer, it’s much harder to stay regularly active). 

A couple months ago, I was invited by another Scrapbook.com member to participate in a swap- my first ever- and after thinking on it for a bit, obliged. The swap was creating and mailing a Pocket Letter. Happily, the girl that invited me to play along also became my partner!

She loves chickens, so I created a PL that was both cluck worthy and farm worthy. (I discovered quickly that I didn’t have many chicken embellishments or stickers, so tried valiantly finding proper icons to decorate her PL using my cricut. I think I did rather well- its not a total flop!

I learned three things through this exercise- the last which will explain why I started smailing. First, not using the proper page protector is highly frowned upon, and honestly it put me off. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. 

Secondly, I really like the premise behind it. Combining swapping goodies and including a letter along with it- and making it creative and pretty is a fabulous idea. It makes me wonder why it took so long for someone to dream this idea up. Thank goodness someone did!

Lastly, and most importantly, I learned that this is something I could easily become obsessed with. Forget the PL, writing letters and making them creative and pretty on my own terms was something I could (and would) willingly and wholeheartedly support! Thank the Lord I also discovered mail folders and flip books because of it! I can certainly make those, and there’s no right or wrong way to create them!

(Side note- I have yet to make a flip book. I am researching them, though!)

I feel as though I’ve covered this topic before, so I hope this isn’t redundant. I believe it’s important to revisit topics occasionally- especially if you missed my previous post (if there is one) on this subject. Call it a refresher, if you will. 

Reviving snail mail and finding like minded pen pals was borne out of an attempt at pocket letters. Unfortunately, pocket letters failed miserably, but pen palling is happily and wildly successful. I wait long periods between letters, but I’m incredibly grateful for this extra creative outlet. 

What inspired you to snail mail and pen pal? How did you come to find this wonderful hobby? Let me know below in the comments!

Snail Mail Saturday

It’s smail time again! Thanks for joining me. 

Last week, I’d shared what a typical letter looks like. Find that post here. This week, I thought I’d share how I wrap my letter up. In short, it’s very simple. I either make my own mail folder or use a standard 4.25×5.5 (A5) handmade card to house my letters. Lastly, everything is sent in either a handmade envelope or standard A5 greeting card envelope. (More on that next week- watch for a simple tutorial, too!

Here’s a handmade mail folder I created. I’m thinking I could make a tutorial to create one of these pretties, too, if there’s enough interest! If you’re not creative, no sweat. If you are and want to start mailing these, let me know. I’m happy to indulge!

(The inside.)

If I don’t send a mail folder, I’ll send along a card that I’ve made. (You’ll know this well if you’re a regular reader. I’ve mentioned this fact a lot). I have a large stash of them; why not use them? I don’t see the point in hoarding them. (See all that yummy washi tape?)

(The inside, including a little inspirational quote card I made).

(I covered the address for privacy reasons)

My last/most recent outgoing snail mail. 

Unfortunately, it appears as though Canada Post is going/has already gone on strike, so after today’s post, I won’t have my own personal outgoing/incoming smail to share with you. I likely won’t have any until the postal strike is over. 

In the mean time, I’ll do my best to share what inspires me from around the Internet until things turn around. (I’m pretty disappointed about this inconvenient and absolutely unfortunate turn of events). I only learned of it last week. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed it doesn’t last long!

 But, don’t forget- next week I’ll share a tutorial for creating your own envelopes! (You can see them in the last two pictures above).

CTMH Monday

Welcome to another edition of CTMH Monday! Here are my latest projects made using CTMH; I hope you enjoy! This post is relatively picture heavy, so without further adieu, here they are!

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These last two pictures are one of the twins’ teachers’ thank you gifts. She is having a baby in October, and I thought this would be a nice way to thank her and congratulate her. (I shared the second photo to show what’s sealed inside the jar.) Everything to create this was bought from the Dollarama (yay!)- including the jar- and cost less than $10. (I had the kleenex on hand, as well as the clothes pins.)

I made the tag on my computer, and used some CTMH stamps to decorate it. I also tied the tag on with Lagoon twine. The white mesh ribbon came from the dollarama.

Snail Mail Saturday

Today, I thought I’d share how I typically write a smail letter. I’m sure there is room for growth and adjustment, but I’ve fallen into the groove of creating my letters this way, and I really like it! Maybe you’ll find inspiration through it, too!

There are literally tons of papers and stationery out there a person could use. It would make deciding which one (or multiples!!) you want difficult. That might even be an understatement. I’d want it alll. Who’s with me?! Lol

Since times are trying, and since I’ve had loose-leaf hiding in my cabinet for eons (probably since I graduated from college, which is a good 10 years, if not longer), I decided I would use it up before searching for anything else. Using something thicker would be nice, if I want to continue stamping, but this works for now. (I’ll share what I mean below). If you’re thinking of smailing, choose anything that suits your fancy and don’t feel guilty for it! I felt guilty for using plain old lined paper, but that lasted maybe three or four letters. Adding some “bling”- making it pretty, my own version of stationery, helped immensely. Lined paper can be functional and pretty, too! Now I don’t feel bad; I’ve found what works for me and that’s sufficient enough. Find what works for you and be happy with it!

As I mentioned above, I stamp in my letters. I have fallen into the habit of stamping the greeting to my recipient, then hand write the rest of my letter. Usually, the greeting is stamped with a brightly colored ink. (In this case, I used CTMH Whisper ink).

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I also choose a color scheme before I start that I try and adhere to throughout my creative process. For this particular letter, I used mostly CTMH Hollyhock, Outdoor Denim and Whisper. The gel pen I use typically coordinates with the remainder of the package I’m sending, as well.

Next, I always use my roller stamp to mark the date in the upper right hand corner. The date is important to note so that the recipient can see when the letter was written, and they can look back on it (or their descendants!!) and enjoy the past. Sometimes I’ll include a stamped image along with it, other times I don’t.  It depends on the mood I’m in! Lol

Oh, and by the way, all my stamping, in every smail letter, is done with CTMH! Just a friendly FYI.

Beginning with this letter, I stamped the bottom of the page with a flamingo image, making my own stationery, in a sense. I love the look! Now that I’ve stumbled upon this sweet little trick, I’ll keep doing it in future letters!

Lastly, I like stamping about me when I reach the portion of the letter where sharing more about myself happens. I like that it draws attention to the fact that I’m about to share something important, and that the direction of the letter is about to change. I’ll likely stamp other “tabs” in the same manner in the future. I’ve only ever written intro letters, so far, in my smail journey, so I’ll have to share an update again in the future!

So, now you know what my letters typically look like. I like making my letters pretty since I’m using such blah paper, and I love creating “sections” throughout the letter to break it up a little and draw attention to certain aspects within it.

How do you make your letters memorable and stand out? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Snail Mail Saturday

Last week, I received a mail folder in the mail from a new pen pal. It was the neatest bit of mail I’d ever received, and I had to try making my own.

I’ve found that it’s a really popular idea, and people respond really well to them. A friend asked me to bring the one I received over to her place today so she could replicate it for a smail letter her daughter wants to send. 

(Smail is the lazy way to say snail mail. I like it!!)

But first, what is a mail folder? I tried looking up the definition for you on Google, but it only wanted to define email folders, folders (in their traditional, office- type form), message folders, outbox folders, etc etc. That’s not what I am referring to, though it would be a logical assumption!

I would define mail folders as (simply) a giant card or mini album (any size, really, but generally 5×7 inches or larger. Basically anything that’s large enough to accommodate your letter) that’s filled with art, a mail tag, goodies (if you want), your letter (obviously), and other odds and ends or inspirational pieces. (Be creative! The more creative, the better!) Sometimes, they come as a flip book, or mini album. (Most of these are made from upcycled or found items- anything that’s relatively thin and is easy and not too expensive to mail. Think die cut tags, envelopes, coloring book pages, maps, vintage book pages…the list goes on and on).

I have a ton of 8.5×11 cardstock that’s purely for card making- I go through it quite a bit more slowly than my 12×12 cardstock, so it was ideal for creating my very own mail folder. (I used the one I received in the mail as a template, but I have lots of inspiration pinned to my Pinterest, as well).

Here’s what I created:

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Everything you see here came from deep within my stash- I’m so glad I’ve finally found a use for it! All the stamping and ink is CTMH, but the rest came from a variety of manufacturers.

I didn’t want anything falling out or getting lost, so I secured anything that would potentially flap open with a bit of washi tape. Washi tape is ideal because it’s re-positionable. (If that wasn’t a word before, it is now! Lol) That means, the mail tag on the left inside page is secured with washi, as well as the flap on the envelope on the right hand inside page. I also wrote open here so that my recipient would know it’s meant to be open. I didn’t quite know where to find the letter when I received mine, so I eliminated that mystery with my mail folder.

Wouldn’t you love receiving something like this in the mail? What would you do if you did get one in the mail? Have you ever made one before? Let me know below, in the comments section!

Snail Mail Saturday

The wait is finally {somewhat} over.

Some snail mail has finally come in. Waiting was an excellent lesson in patience, something at which I’m not always successful at.

But, I always remind myself that good things come to those that wait, and in this case, those things are very good!

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I’m loving the washi tape K added to the front and back of the envelope. It’s so pretty! Her letter was filled with adorable stickers, too!

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I’m loving the wrapping around C’s letter. I think I will replicate this in the future!

Note: wrapping paper can be for more than just birthday and Christmas presents!

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This is the icing on the cake. I have never received something as cool as a mail folder in the mail! Now I need to make one!

(More on mail folders next week!)