Category Archives: snail mail

Everyday Card Making Workshop at FPPL

I taught another card-making workshop at the Forest Park Public Library in August. We used paper folding, rubber stamping, and watercolors to make four cards that could be used for all occasions. It was so much fun!

Have I ever told you the story about the time my manager at Paper Source kept insisting that I teach the origami class until I finally asked her, “Why me? Because I have a Japanese husband and I learn by marital osmosis?” (She dropped the subject.) Well, the joke’s on me because now, every class I teach has some sort of paper folding incorporated into it!

This time, we folded an origami watermelon and this dahlia. The watermelon was my favorite because it’s so easy, and who doesn’t love a pun? The dahlia is also pretty simple, but it looks so elegant, especially if you make it with pretty patterned papers.

Then we used watercolors and a black marker to make a simple cake card. I bought these cheap pearlescent watercolors from Michaels and I love them. They have a lovely little shimmer and nice coverage. (There is a fancier Japanese version, too!)

And finally, we used rubber stamp masking to make the last card. Have you ever done masking? It’s such a fun way to layer your stamps! (Should I do a little tutorial?)

Naoto was one of my “students” so he took some pictures of the class in action. It was a great group, with everyone helping and supporting each other! I know I’ve said it a hundred times, but I love our library and I love teaching workshops there.

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Stationery Store Day

Did you know Saturday was the very first Stationery Store Day? (Is Stationery Store Day a totally made up holiday? Yes. But so was Book Store Day and Record Store Day, so, why can’t paper sellers and fans have a day, too?)

When I saw that A. Favorite Design was a participating shop, I decided this was my chance to finally get up to the north side to see the shop. I’ve purchased things from them each year at Show of Hands, but I’ve never been to their shop.

In a total blogging fail, I didn’t take any pictures inside the shop. I haven’t been stationery shopping in so long–since we went to Japan in 2020! I was relishing every moment! Most of their offerings are their own letterpress designs, but they have a fun selection of vintage postcards, stationery, and wrapping paper, and they have other paper and desk offerings as well.

As you can see, I found plenty of treasures! I picked out some vintage advertising stationery (which I can’t wait to feed into my typewriter for a letter soon), some letterpress “Dennison label” cards, “Dennison Label” paper tape, vintage Chicago postcards, mail stickers, my new favorite pens, some greeting cards, a vintage ephemera and office supply letter set, a “Down the hatch” sticker, and (underneath it all) a sheet of vintage vegetable wrapping paper.

And, the picture at the top shows the Stationery Store Day freebies–a letterpress print I pulled myself, a Stationery Store Day bag and postcard, and a A. Favorite Design birthday card. (How great is that Etch A Sketch?!)

Before we went shopping, we stopped at Spinning J’s for brunch and pie.

I had a BLT, a strawberry rhubarb phosphate, and the key lime hibiscus pie with blueberry compote. (This is the meal I would recommend to anyone trying Spinning J’s for the first time, though their tuna melt is also excellent. Really…you just can’t go wrong with their menu!)

I brought out my letter purse that Naoto gave me last winter. It was the perfect accessory for the occasion! And, you can pencil in the next Stationery Store Day–August 5, 2023!

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Finally! A New Mailbox

We’ve lived here just over a year and we finally put in a new mailbox! Isn’t she lovely?

When we removed the old box, we made a discovery–the house’s original mail slot! It literally goes nowhere! There isn’t a slot inside. It has all been insulated and dry walled over.

Our house was a flip in 2016. Apparently the flippers cared enough about the mail slot to cut the siding around it, but not enough to clear out the mail that was left inside!

We pulled out the mail and found it was from 2016!

Part of me is a tiny bit bummed not to have a mail slot in our home, but I did love choosing a mailbox and I found one big enough for small to medium sized packages so it’s nice to have a little bit of extra security to keep our mail hidden.

More projects for the front of the house are planned–chopping down a tree and adding different plantings, painting the porch, and more! Hopefully it won’t take all summer before we get it all done!

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Dive Bar Letter Writers is Back

After a bit of a hiatus for the holidays and Covid, the Dive Bar Letter Writers are back again! We met last month for National Card & Letter Writing Month and I’m scheduling our summer meet-ups.

Naoto has been a regular at our meetings but this time he actually wrote a letter! (Usually he reads or just eats a burger.)

If you’re in Chicagoland, please join us for our next meeting, May 22 at 2pm in Goldyburger’s beer garden! You can sign up for email reminders here.

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Letter Writing Presentation with Lake Villa District Library

Have you been celebrating National Card & Letter Writing Month? I’ve been trying to work through my to-be-returned pile and get back into the habit of writing, but I’m a little bit behind my goal. I’m determined to finish strong next week!

Tonight I’m joining the Lake Villa District Library for a discussion about letter writing. It’s an online session and if you’re interested in joining us, here’s the link.

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Presley’s Valentines

This year, we sent Valentines from our cat to everyone on our Valentine list. (Unlike in 2016 when we just sent them to a few of Presley’s favorite fans.) I wanted to send a bunch of little Valentines this year, and I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work. (Also, confession–I think I have an old Paper Source Valentine kit somewhere…but I don’t know where.) I decided to see what Walgreens had in terms of photo cards and I found this design. They are basically a 3×8 photo card that is designed to be cut into classroom Valentines. I chose a serious Presley, a sweet Presley, and a family picture from last spring, sent them off and they were ready in less that thirty minutes.

I used 4bar envelopes from my stash, and some I made last year, and had fun playing with postage stamps. I am very tired of my love stamp selections, so I need to make a point to find something better at the next stamp show. (Also, I regret not buying more of the monster stamps–they are super fun to play with since they come with little accessories in the selvage.)

It felt good to make some mail again. Next up, Olympics mail!

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Origami Heart Valentines

Last year I taught a Valentine workshop online with the Forest Park Public Library. These origami hearts were some of my favorites. They are super easy to learn and they’re so versatile! You can tuck them in with a letter or a card or you can use them to build your own DIY Valentine.

I used this short video to learn the folds:

I folded a ton of hearts to prepare for the class. I used some thin, cheap origami paper and also some really fancy washi, like this purple one above. (Can you see all of the fibers in the washi paper?) Washi makes really dreamy hearts, but the thinner stuff is easier to work with, especially if you’re folding with kids.

For some of the Valentines, I tucked a little message inside the front where the two halves split. I just used thin strips of scrap paper leftover from another project.

I don’t have a better picture of the origami heart card I made because I mailed it last year! But if you wanted to send something more substantial than a tiny origami heart, you could always glue it to a fold-over card. I made a little banner for my message and adhered it with foam squares for some dimension.

I had most of these hearts packed away from last year since we were closing on the house and packing up to put our condo on the market. It felt good to find them again and release them into the mail world along with my cards for this year.

Have you sent any Valentines out this year?

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You’re Tweet Valentine

Last year, I taught a Valentine card making class with the Forest Park Public Library. It was my first zoom workshop and it went way better than I feared! All of the participants got a little kit with supplies and then they followed along at home as I talked them through paper crafting. It was so weird for me to make cards that didn’t involve rubber stamps but since we couldn’t share supplies, I was challenged to use only paper, scissors, and glue!

One of my favorites from the workshop is this bird. It’s based off of one of the first Paper Source kits I ever bought.

You’re Tweet Bird Valentine

Supplies:

A variety of colored card stock, including orange for the beak
Heart cards (or you can cut your own hearts using your card stock)
Scissors
Hole punch*
Pencil
Glue stick
Brads* (Michaels and Amazon have a nice selection if you want to get fancy colored brads.)
Googly eyes (or you can draw eyes with a marker)
Something about 2″ round to trace or a punch that makes 2″ circles (or you can freehand)

*If you don’t have a hole punch or brads, you can still make this card–it just won’t have moveable wings.

Take two hearts, ideally different colors but the same size, and cut one in half vertically. These hearts are from Paper Source but you can cut your own.

Next make a two inch circle and cut it out. It doesn’t have to be exact. Just find something in your house that is round and about two inches in diameter and trace it onto some colored card stock. You can also freehand a circle.

Glue your circle onto the bottom heart (the un-cut one.) Remember this is the head, so eyeball it to see how it looks best.

Next, lay your cut heart on top of the bottom heart and head and punch a hole at the top of each side, as shown above. This hole will go through the top heart, the bottom heart, and the head. (If you don’t have brads, you can skip this step.)

Poke your brads through the holes to make the moveable wings. (If you don’t have brads, you can glue the wings on. Remember to consider your envelope while deciding how wide to make your bird’s wingspan!)

Glue on your googly eyes (or draw on some eyes if you don’t have googly eyes) and then cut a beak out of some orange card stock. Glue on the beak.

Finally, write your message. I typed up some messages on the Royal Safari, but you can hand write a message on the bottom heart too!

Isn’t he so cute and easy? And for real, if you don’t have a hole punch and brads, a bird with glued wings is still very cute! You could also rubber stamp or glitter the wings to make him extra fancy.

If you make one, please tag me on Instagram or share on Twitter!

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Recap of the Workshop at Forest Park Public Library

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I taught a winter card making workshop at Forest Park Public library last month. It was a drop-in class so people could come at any time and make a card or two. I have taught in-person card making classes, and I’ve taught a card making class on zoom, but I had never taught a card making class where everyone wasn’t working on the same card at the same time. I was a little bit nervous, but while making my samples, I figured there were several places in each card where independent work would give me a chance to help someone else. And it all worked out just fine. I even got the highest compliment from a women who makes cards all the time. She said that she learned some new things at the workshop. Goal achieved.

I had six card options–two origami, two with other paper folding, a layered card, and a shaker postcard. The glittered vintage paper trees were by far the most popular, and the most challenging. It’s really hard to get the hang of the folds, even though it looks so simple.

It was especially fun to see everyone making the cards their own. This is an example of a snowcat card based on my snowman card. I love how Michelle used the little gems to make a holly accent on the hat and just the whole concept of a snowcat!

Has anyone started thinking about their Valentines? Too soon?

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A Very Presley Christmas 2021

May I present our 2021 holiday cards? I loved them so much and I couldn’t wait to show you, even though I think some may still be arriving or on their way.

Last summer, I asked Donovan if she would draw something for our holiday card and she agreed. I still love and use the stationery she drew for my birthday a few years ago. I asked her to draw a tree with ramen, cocktails, mail, and a tuna underneath–a few of our favorite things.

Then, I shared this picture of Presley on Instagram. She was looking very grumpy in a Santa hat and Donovan decided to add Presley too. We couldn’t have been more delighted.

I had the cards printed as flat cards (like a postcard, not folded like a greeting card) because I don’t write long messages in my holiday cards. It was the perfect little greeting. (And thanks to my friend Mark at Printing Plus for printing and delivering them to me!)

In addition to our cards, Donovan surprised us with these wonderful faux postage stamps. She was inspired by Presley to draw holiday stamps of a bunch of cats she knows for her Patreon supporters. (If you scroll back on her Instagram (@dovbee) you can see them all. Or you can join her Patreon and download them all!) I used our stamps to decorate the envelopes of our cards that went out to cat lovers and Presley fans.

I hope it was a good holiday season in your mailbox and I’m looking forward to writing some mail this week and I ease into the new year!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post–just genuinely love Donovan and her work and Mark’s print shop!

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