Month: April 2017

My first attempt at creating a Pocket Letter

I came across Pocket Letters while Pinteresting for some National Letter Writing Month ideas.

Pinteresting. Is that a word? It should be. There, I said it. Make it so.

Anyway, I was looking for letters when I came across Pocket Letters. I was curious so I dug into a few websites. The description was a little vague, but I was intrigued. Basically, what I got from this was that the sender get a baseball card holder and fill each pocket with various items like letters, washi tape, stickers, etc. The sender also decorates the baseball card holder itself with fancy paper, stickers, labels, etc.

I wasn’t entirely clear on the point of the items. Are they for making more Pocket Letters? Just for fun?

It also seems that, most often, the sender and the recipient don’t know each other, and these Pocket Letters are away of getting acquainted, much like a pen pal. In fact, there are Pocket Letter programs that match up recipients. It’s a whole thing.

At least that’s what I gather from what I read online.

I wanted to make one as part of National Letter Writing Month, but again, the point was really lost on me. If the person I was sending this to wasn’t interested in Pocket Letters, would it be pointless? Can the items be other things? What should the letter be about?

I ended up just writing the person a regular letter. My kids collect these ridiculous Pokemon cards so we had some of the baseball card sleeves on hand. I also know that she is really into using a bullet journal, so I filled the pockets with things that I thought she might be able to use with her planner. I made it clear I didn’t expect anything in return, as with all of my National Letter Writing Month letters, decorated the sleeves and sent it on its way.

My very first Pocket Letter. I didn’t really sit down and plan this out and go by the stuff. I sort of just started with what I had and tried to see where it went. In the end, I like it.

The awesome thing? Those little baseball card holder sleeve things fold into threes and first right into a regular business-sized envelope. I assume that’s why the creators picked that particular packaging, but, you know. Just pointing out the obvious.

So, what did I put in my Pocket Letter? I’m glad you asked. First, they all have decorate paper from my Project Life kits. They all had to be cut down to fit in the slots, but they definitely worked.

My first attempt at a Pocket Letter wasn’t as cute as some of those I saw on Pinterest and Instagram, but I’m also pretty proud of how it came out.
  1. The first slot is piece of decorative paper with the word Washi on it. There is a sample of some color-it-yourself washi tape that my daughter and I got from a Scholastic book fair recently. We haven’t used it yet, but I’m excited to that it out. I cut a piece of our role and put it on a waxy paper so that the recipient can use it again.
  2. This is a sticker monster. I included it because it was cute. The RAWR letters are actually on the outside of the baseball card holder. They are just little black stickers that I got from my Happy Mail kit.
  3. This is just a cute Bright Idea card with a thumbs up sticker on the outside. She can use the card in her planner or just toss it. Nothing really mind-blowing there.
  4. I included some extra large and pretty paper clips. These are great for just about anything, but I like using them to hold the pages of my journal so that I don’t have to waste time flipping around.
  5. As I mentioned above, I just wrote a letter. It was about writing letters, Pocket Letters and some other personal stuff. I write it on normal, lined paper and folded it up and tucked it into this pocket. The letters are on the outside of the pocket and, again, they are from my Happy Mail kit from A Beautiful Mess.
  6. This pocket contains stickers that are perfect for a planner. They feel like washi tape and they have little sayings on them. They are super duper cute.
  7. This is a stamp. All she needs is a stamp pad. It can be used to fancy-up a planner, a letter or basically anything else. And, if she’s really cheap (like me) she could just use a marker to “ink” up the stamper and then wash it when she’s done. Whatever suits her fancy.
  8. This is also just a cute little card. It says “such an awesome experience,” and I put some words over it in the black sticker letters I used above.
  9. For this pocket, I used one of the journaling cards from my Project Life kit and left her a little encouraging note with one of my Mama Mail buttons that says “The Snuggle is Real.” Cuz it is. Especially when you have little kids.

And that’s that. I wanted to jot this all down because I really didn’t feel like I was getting much help from other websites. Hopefully my description helps someone else who was thinking about doing a Pocket Letter, or provides a bit of inspiration for those looking for unique ideas.

For more information on National Letter Writing Month or what I’m writing for this year’s month, check out my series of National Letter Writing Month posts from the last few years.

Zeppa Studios offers unique note cards for pet lovers

Two of my children have unique names. They will never find personalized items available from a random souvenir shop. Everything with their name on it will need to be special ordered. It’s like that with our dog too. A Newfoundland isn’t a common breed. If we want something that resembles our dog, we have to special order it. That’s why I was so happy when Zeppa Studios contacted me about their note cards for pet lovers–and they had several sets of Newfoundland cards. It’s National Letter Writing Month so they sent me a set to try out. Some of my friends will be receiving notes on these fantastic cards. And, thanks to a giveaway on Zeppa Studio‘s website, you can get your own cards in any breed you fancy.

Zeppa Studios sent me two sets of Newfie notecards. They are beautifully, hand-designed cards on a thick note paper, perfect for letter writing. If you go to Zeppa Studios website, you can find just about any breed. For the Newfs, there were black, brown and landseer. Most of the time, we just see one. Well, that’s like having a product designed for black labs and alienating those with yellow or chocolate labs! We like to see them all.

These are very well done. The big, boxy head reminds me of both of my purebred Newfies. The long tongue is totally spot on. When we take pictures of our black dog, the details just don’t shine through, but these cards are are so carefully painted and designed to preserve of the details of the Newfies.

My note cards even came with these adorable matching stickers.

While I got two packs of cards featuring a black Newfie, you can get your own set of cards for free! Zeppa Studios is giving away cards throughout April. And one lucky winner will be receive the grand prize–a custom digital pet portrait. How cool is that? So head on over to Zeppa Studios and sign up to win a set of note cards.

When you’re done, be sure to let me know which set of note cards you’d buy. Which one most resembles your pet?

 

Writing letters is good for relationships

A friend recently sent me the following excerpt from something she was reading:

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First of all, I’m a writer. I always have been. Ask my parents. I’ve written short stories, essays, news stories, feature articles and even opinion pieces. I used to make my own newspapers, write letters to all of my friends and spend endless nights just writing out notes.

Writing has always helped me commit things to memory. I would write out my memory work for school. I would recopy notes in order to prepare for a test. I would jot down sections of books to etch it into the wrinkles of my brain. It’s way different than typing. In fact, I’ve typed most of this without looking at the keyboard. I’m barely looking at the screen. I’m watching Rachael Ray on TV (Helen Hunt is on) and watching some ground turkey brown on the stove. I barely have to give it attention other than to tell my fingers to press the keys according to the thoughts in my brain.

When I’m writing letters, I have to sit down, pick a pen, select a piece of paper or a note card. I have to think about what I’m going to jot down on the paper. It’s not like the computer where I can backspace-backspace-backspace over paragraphs and words that don’t make sense. I don’t want to waste that time or space. I want to fill it with the words and prose that will be delivered to my recipient. I think about the reader and what I’m trying to say. I craft everything carefully. Letters, for me, are more than just notes exchanged by mail.

I need to connect with the letter.

I hope that connection comes through to the reader. I honestly do this each time I write a letter, thank you card, note or just about anything else. The words in my letter can’t be conveyed properly through a text or an email. They can’t hold the same meaning if said over the phone. These are words that are meant to be written. Without saying it, I hope the reader knows the time, effort, mental capacity, love and attention I gave to that letter–all for them.

I understand it when I read a letter. Besides the writing letters, I realize that the person had to sit down and think about me. They had to take time out of their busy schedules to think about the message they wanted to convey to me. They had to sit down and focus all of their attention on the letter.

They had to go to the store to buy a stamp or hunt through their stationery to find the right paper (just me? okay, that’s why I love my mail from A Beautiful Mess). They have to dig out a stamp, which lots of people don’t necessarily keep in their house. They have to get my address. They have to put it in the mailbox.

All for me.

All for you.

Clearly, you wouldn’t do this for just anyone. There is a certain level of compassion and love that goes in to each letter. That connection is more than just what they did, it’s why they did it. They care for you! They care enough about you to do all of that work to send you a letter! The connection line is drawn. It’s up to you to reciprocate.

Some letters don’t require a response, like thank you cards, but if someone bothers to send you a note, consider all of the above before you just toss it to the side and forego writing them back. Send them a text, an email or a letter of your own to let them know that their letter (kindness, love, words, connection) has been received. It might make all the difference in the world.

A Beautiful Mess offers Happy Mail subscription box

It’s National Letter Writing Month and I’ve yet to send out letters! In my defense, we took an impromptu spring break trip and I was tied up with that. I intend to make up for it this weekend and I plan to start with some of the products from A Beautiful Mess.

This is some of my haul from A Beautiful Mess. I ordered the grab bag from their website a few weeks ago.
This is some of my haul from A Beautiful Mess. I ordered the grab bag from their website a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure how I found out about A Beautiful Mess, I really thought it was from a post on A Year of Boxes (which is seriously my dream come true), but when I went back to the site, I couldn’t find any mention of A Beautiful Mess or Happy Mail.

A Beautiful Mess is a sister team that, in their words, is “a women’s lifestyle company focused on creating happiness every day through a homemade lifestyle. On this blog we share home decor projects, recipes, and crafts, as well as bits of our life here in the Midwest.”

A Beautiful Mess offers two subscription boxes; Messy Box, which contains scrapbook and planner supplies, and Happy Mail, which is a monthly box of cards, postcards, stickers, etc. Of course I need Happy Mail, but it wasn’t in the cards. I’ve been waiting to try it for a while now, but I know my husband would balk at a $20/month box of cards and stationery.

However, a few weeks ago, I saw an Instagram post that they had a “grab bag” available in their store for under $10. I couldn’t resist, so I ordered one. Guys, this was the best money I’ve ever spent on letter-writing supplies.

I really wanted to do one of those unboxing videos that kids these days like so much (did I just say that?), but I was so anxious to see what treats my box held, I couldn’t wait. My box contained a large supply of beautifully happy cards and postcards, along with stickers and a stamp pad. I love them all.

My package from A Beautiful Mess contained note cards, postcards, stickers, a notepad and a stamp pad. It was a great variety of stuff that I will definitely use for National Letter Writing Month.
My package from A Beautiful Mess contained note cards, postcards, stickers, a notepad and a stamp pad. It was a great variety of stuff that I will definitely use for National Letter Writing Month.

The cards and postcards are all printed printed on thick, matte card stock. The stickers are artfully adorable and came packaged in waxy bags. I also got a stamp pad and a memo pad that looks like notebook paper. It’s delightful!

I can see myself using all of these things, in fact, I’ve already written out one of the cards to send to a friend. These aren’t something that you’d find in the Hallmark store or from your neighborhood shop. These are are uniquely designed, high quality cards that came right to my door!

Check out this little notepad from A Beautiful Mess. I love the stuff that they offer and I got all of this for under $10.
Check out this little notepad from A Beautiful Mess. I love the stuff that they offer and I got all of this for under $10. It totally makes me want to subscribe to A Beautiful Mess Happy Mail subscription box.

I really want a A Beautiful Mess Happy Mail subscription box now!

Imagine for a minute what it would be like to get cards and stickers right to your door every month?! How could you not send them out to your family and friends?!

I’ve contemplated some of the other mail subscription boxes out there, such as Nicely Noted, which not only sends cards and envelopes, but also stamps. I’ve also looked at Sky of Blue Cards, which is a seasonally-distributed subscription box of cards and Magnolia Crate,  a monthly box of greeting cards curated by CrateJoy. I’m hoping to give another one of them a try this month. We’ll see how things work out and if I can make a decision on which one I’d like to receive.

Whether you write a ton of letters or you just want to keep cards on hand for special occasions, I suggest giving Happy Mail a try, or at least watch for a grab bag from A Beautiful Mess. It’s hard to pass up all of that stuff for less than $10.