Snail Mail Saturday

Good morning! Welcome to snail mail Saturday!

I wanted to share some of the goodies I got in my most recent incoming mail haul. Maybe it’ll inspire you (it’s inspired me!)

The card I’m holding open- I think those are post it notes. Aren’t they adorable??!

There’s stickers, journaling cards, ribbon and washi samples, a bookmark and more!

I felt spoiled and I loved it! 

How do you spoil your penpals?

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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).

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!)

Snail Mail Saturday

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If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering where or how you can find pen pals. I found myself asking that question not long after writing and sending my first two snail mail letters. (To long-time, pre-existing friends).

A quick Google search turned up a few options, but I didn’t look too closely at them because I wasn’t interested in wasting my time by clicking through a bunch of drop down menus to select and ultimately find my perfect snail mail buddy. I wanted immediate results, without the runaround. 

So, then I turned to Facebook. Were there any groups out there in Facebook-land, and how safe are they?

The answer is yes, there are a few groups on Facebook, but the jury is still out as to whether they’re legit or not. At a quick glance, they seem to be, and so far, I’m satisfied with the groups I’ve joined. The best advice I can give is to be smart- only respond to posts that interest you, skip the ones that raise red flags, and creep on potential snail mail buddy’s Facebooks to get a feel for who they may or may not be.

If they have an absurd amount of friends- or very little- they may not be trustworthy. If they started their account only recently, they may not be trustworthy. Trust your gut and use your built in common sense!

Having said that, here’s the two groups I joined on Facebook. They may interest you, also:

1. Snail Mail Pen Pals
2. Snail Mail Pals

I took some reassurance that both these groups are CLOSED Facebook groups and require acceptance by admin before joining each group.

Please, also bear in mind that this is just a very initial search for snail mail groups, it isn’t comprehensive or final. My list of sites to find pen pals will likely grow and change as I get more involved in this hobby!

A couple other sites that may be worth looking into is Pocket Letter Pals (Janette Lane) and Swap Bot. I personally haven’t researched it yet (I just thought of it, actually), but it may be worth your time if you enjoy swapping goodies along with your letters. (I am not interested in pocket letters at this time, so have not spent time at Janette Lanes’ website).

Having said all of that, I have found a couple pen pals that I’m waiting on snail mail from. The wait is killing me. I’m literally sitting on pins and needles waiting to receive my happy mail! Can anyone else relate?!

The picture above is my most previous outgoing snail mail letter to one of my dearest friends (who I’ve mentioned in the past). I don’t have a picture of the letter she sent me, but she inspired me to send a picture of my daughters after getting one of her daughter along with her letter. The twins’ spring photos had just arrived, so it was perfect timing!

Join me again tomorrow for more layout inspiration!

Snail Mail Saturday

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I am a card maker, in addition to scrapbooking. At my last retreat (as in crop), rather than packing for layouts, I packed with card making in mind. I wanted to have a stash that was ready to go when special occasions called for it. Read about it here.

As I’ve gotten started in this additional new hobby of mine (Snail mail), I quickly learned two things.

First, if I’m going to send snail mail, why not include a handmade card with it?! I have lots already made, which means I have a lot I could send. If I send them, I’ll have an excuse to make more. It’s a win-win scenario! And, as a side note, in the card above, I left the inside of the card blank. In essence, I’m sending a small gift along with my letter! For just a touch more classiness, I used a bit of washi tape to secure the letter inside the card. (This particular card was an I’m thinking of you card.)

Secondly, I’ve learned since starting snail mailing that patterned lined paper is my friend. It looks pretty, keeps writing in a straight line easy, and it’s sometimes good to cheat. This is probably the only time cheating is allowed.

I am horrible at writing straight on a blank piece of paper, and I hate the time it takes to draw the lines with a ruler and pencil. Like, major time waster. I will do it in my scrapbooking, because I’m anal and that’s how I roll, but that’s where I draw the line. I want to make efficient use of my letter writing time, and lined patterned paper happily obliges.

Actually, I lied. I learned three things about snail mailing: I heart my Smash book date stamp. I like the fun and whimsical way it adds the date to all my letters! I may have found an excuse to buy more Smash products! I do believe I saw some at the Dollarama…my local Wally carries some Smash too…hmmm…the wheels are turning…

What are some of your favorite go-to methods when snail mailing? Share them with me below!

SMS- Letter Writing Ideas

Welcome to my first official Snail Mail Saturday post! I shortened the title to SMS- Snail Mail Saturday- so it isnt so long. I think I’ll adopt that from here on in…Are you ready- and excited- to learn something new?

Remember how I mentioned that my friend and I are thinking we’d swap the occasional recipe in our snail mail letters?

It got me to thinking about sharing some letter writing ideas- specifically, topics to cover in your letters.

Sometimes, thinking of what you want to say is difficult, especially if your pen pal is someone you didn’t previously know.  So, where do you start?

Here’s some ideas: greet your pen pal, share where you’re from, how you learned about snail mail (or pocket letters, if you’re including a Pocket page with your letter), what the weather is currently like, what crazy things your kids or pets are currently up to and what your hobbies are or what interests you. Help them learn a bit about the person behind the letter, and share as much or as little about yourself as you’d like. That coukd include sending a picture of yourself with your family, a selfie, or pictures of your pets. There’s no right or wrong topics to cover, just like there’s no right or wrong way to do things. Just use your imagination!

If you’re still struggling with writers block, maybe these articles will help:

Janette Lane Blog
Write Now
Mail Tag Suggestions

(Mail tags are explained in that last article, and believe it or not, there’s 100 suggestions there! The simplest definition of a mail tag is a tag (naturally), of any kind, with random questions jotted on it for your snail mail recipient to answer in their next letter to you. It’s a very simple- and genius!!- idea that’s intended to help keep communication flowing). So, if you get one and aren’t sure what that little tag is about, a Mail Tag is probably a safe assumption.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what mail tags are…I didn’t until I read this article. The very first snail mail letter I received in my adult life had one in it, and I had no idea what it was or what I was supposed to do with it.  Now I know, and now you know.

You’re welcome 😉

If you’ve decided to snail mail your close and personal life-long friends, the same principles apply, but it’ll probably be easier to think of things to write and funny anecdotes to share. You have a lot more history with that person. Recipes may be one of them. Your goals or deepest fears might be another idea. I’m confident you’ll rock your letters whether you’ve been friends your whole life or are forging a brand new friendship. Either way, don’t be shy!

I hope you found this post helpful! If I missed anything, or something wasn’t clear, please let me know so that I can clarify it for you!

See you again real soon!

Pocket Letters

Good morning from the sunshiny campground! The eldest twin and I are the only ones up, so I’m going to visit with you for a bit!

I mentioned a couple days ago, that I was inspired to get into snail mailing because I joined a Pocket Letter challenge at scrapbook.com. I had no idea what it was before joining, and was still fairly naive to it all up until the participants started displaying their letters.

Oh.My.WORD.

I am in way over my head. I enjoy scrapbooking, but this is way too complicated!

Do you know what pocket letters are? Have you ever heard of it before?

Google defines pocket letters as sending a letter to pen pals in pocket letter format, that is by filling and decorating a 9 pocket trading card page protector and mailing it to them.

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Here’s a visual example:

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Typically, pocket letters will have a theme that you and your pen pal will discuss and decide upon beforehand. As you can see from the image above, the theme was probably winter. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?

Creativity is key when creating your pocket page layout. Use any medium you’d like, get as messy as you’d like, or keep it as c+s as you’d like. No holds barred!

Behind each pocket is hidden little treats, trinkets and goodies that your pen pal sends to you, and you send back to them. Here’s the trick: use your imagination!

Send rhinestones, tea, ribbon, washi tape, metal trinkets, die cuts…the sky’s the limit!

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? I thought so, too! That’s why I joined the challenge at scrapbook.com. (Look under forums if you’re a member there).

If something like this interests you, here are some links to check out:

Janette Lane
Pocket Letter Pals
The Classroom

Plus there are many, many YouTube videos, Instagram pics and links to Facebook and Pinterest to inspire you, too.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Join me again soon for more creative inspiration!

Snail Mail

Good morning! My little girl is still sick, and this mama is worried. She’s had a fever for 3 days that won’t break…when the poor thing gers sick, it kicks the crap out of her.

We’re supposed to go camping this weekend, too. I don’t think that’s happening. 🙁

What are your plans this weekend?

Before I get too ahead of myself (tell you we’re going camping, but really we’re not, or making a special trip into the city to see a very dear friend, but probably won’t because girly is sick), I’ll tell you about something other than scrapbooking that’s added some additional sparkle to my day.

Is it possible?! Share something other than my beloved card making and scrapbooking? I’m here to tell you that yes, it is. What I’m sharing with you has become a lost art, but is experiencing a revival.

I hope I can keep up with it! I’ll sure try!

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So, snail mail.

I am nerding out and reminiscing about my junior high and high-school days- the days we’d write notes to our friends to pass the time when class was boring, then fold them up origami style before giving them to our bffls.

Joining a challenge at scrapbook.com inspired reviving snail mail in my own life. Because, why not? Who doesn’t like happy mail in their mailboxes?

Husband came home last night with the mail, complaining that it would probably just be bad news.  As in bills only bad news. He has a point. Why not change it, and look forward to checking the mailbox?

I learned that I’m not too crazy about pocket letters, but keeping pen pals sounds super exciting! I can keep my letters uber budget friendly, while pocket letters seems way too extravagant for my humble financial means.

Note: Pocket letters are INCREDIBLY beautiful. I will give them that. I got my first one in the mail yesterday, and it’s going to be framed. Like srriously. It’s a genuine piece of art. (Picture to follow when I get mine finished and mailed. After seeing the one I got, I have A LOT of improvements to make!) 😐

This particular letter is going to one of my closest and dearest friends in the entire world. We’ve been friends our whole lives. I figure getting love in our mailboxes will help brighten our days and encourage us in turn. After talking about it a bit, we’ve decided that we’d like to share recipes occasionally. We are both working on making lifestyle changes, and sharing our fave recipes will keep meal planning fresh and exciting.

Another dear friend and I plan to write since she’s quitting Facebook. We don’t want to lose touch- we’ve been friends for a good 15 years. She was one of my bridesmaids. (I am hoping to make a trip into the city on Monday to see her. It’s been well over a year since I saw her last). Joining this challenge at scrapbook.com was serendipitous. It was the springboard that catapulted me into this new art form!

Interested in learning more about letter writing and snail mail along with me? Join me in my adventure- I’ll share what I learn as I go, and if you’ve got any tips and tricks to help inspire creativity, then please share! Leave a comment in the comment box below!

In the meantime, I’ll share with you a Pinterest board (that I call Pocket Letter/Snail Mail Inspiration) that I created for this very topic. View it here. I’m thinking I’ll turn this segment into a weekly spotlight, entitled Saturday Snail Mail. I’ll share topics to cover in your letters, creative items to share with your pen pals, my own personal snail mail (sent and received), and pocket letter inspiration and traditional letter alternatives (such as folder letters).

Join me. It’ll be fun and informative. And maybe even addictive!