Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On my Writing Desk

Well, not literally. I don't actually have a desk, but I have been getting into the swing of letter writing again. In truth, more like letter doodling. I am having fun working on the art side of snail mail. It all began a few weeks ago when a friend from church and Instagram suggested a little swap. I jumped at the opportunity, who doesn't love receiving something fun in the mail?! I kept it fairly simple, but it kinda prompted in me happy memories of past pen pals and the fun letters we swapped. I would spend my allowance on stamps, stickers and stationary. I would ask for special stamps at the post office so that they'd be pretty on the envelope. It might seem a little silly now with technology making things quicker and cheaper, but I wrote a letter this week that made me slow down and think through what I was going to say. I carefully chose what I wanted to represent and how I wanted to introduce myself. It was fun. I think I took a whole week to put together a letter. I took my time with the art and heart of it. I recently signed up for The Snail Mail Project over at the Snail Mail Ideas website. It's a one time sign-up to write to someone somewhere and you receive a letter from someone else from somewhere else. I got a lady's address in Mexico. How fun!

I saw online that Moleskin has put out a mailable notebook and knew I could make one and it wouldn't cost me $9. I grabbed an envelope and used it to make myself a template. I sewed in the paper as my stapler isn't quite long enough. I then treated it kind of like an art journal. I included a paperclip banner and a couple paper embellishments, but mostly it's pen work. This keeps the postage costs down. At least in theory.

paper feather template found here

I had a package of permanent stamps and figured it would take three stamps to cover the cost to Mexico. I'm glad I decided to go into the post office and double check though because I learned some new things  about postage. Internationally, the permanent stamps are not recognized. They must have the cost printed on the stamps to be valid. The lady at the post office helped me to save my stamps and replace them. She helped me to pick out pretty stamps and made sure that everything was the right size etc. Sadly, my letter size board must have a tiny bit of give to it as my letter squeezed through the standard size slot on my board, but not the acrylic one at the post office. After working hard to keep it small, I ended up having to pay for an oversize letter in the end. I guess I could've taken it home and removed the tea bag or paperclip banner and it would've been fine, but I wanted to send it all. I need to be more careful in the future or I won't afford to send many letters at $5.90 a piece. The lady at the post office gave me one other helpful hint, don't use tape over top of your stamps (she was referring to the ones we saved and were now less sticky) or they will be rejected. Use a good sticky glue. Good to know. I like knowing the rules ~ I'm a bit of a risk management geek.

I've dusted off my doodling hobby. It helps to have great fine tip markers. I do lack original inspiration and for that I go to Pinterest. No need to re-invent the wheel. The other day Abby and I sat down at the table and doodled owls. The owl I sent in the letter was my third attempt. I don't really consider myself an artist in the tradition sense, but more of a crafter. I thoroughly enjoyed my side-by-side time with Abby, though.

Thank you for those of you  that signed up for my creative pen pal swap. I hope you have fun with it. Vive la Snail Mail!

bookmark inspired by this picture

free camera printable found here
I have a few people who have agreed to continue to write, so I am looking forward to more snail mail art. Yay! BTW, Canada Post, I'm for door-to-door!

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