November 3, 2014

TRAVELLING NOTEBOOK: Smash my mailbox #3 - Ninni's notebook sneak peek

It has already been over two weeks since I sent Ninni's notebook on its way to Emilienne, but this project is too much fun not to blog about it! The front of Ninni's notebook says Journal, and so I used it that way. I rediscovered the fun of journalling, keeping a diary and just rambling away about your day, your feelings, etc. Writing is so much fun! Come and take a look.

In Ninni's notebook, I kept a journal for seven days straight. This was quite the challenge, just getting yourself to write every evening. But in sharing something about my day I cleared my head and felt more relaxed when I went to bed.

Next to my so-called diary, I filled some pages with lists, recipes and other things I just really like to write about. I also used a different colored fineliner each day, and I like to think the colors in the journal represent how I felt that day. Colors do that.

Yup, of course some doodling and handlettering went on in the notebook. And it wouldn't be a proper contribution with my name on it when I did not use washi (lots) and stickers (lots). Even though to me this notebook was more about writing than about artsyfartsy stuff, I still had a lot of fun just decorating some pages.

Like I mentioned in my previous Smash my mailbox post, this again triggered me to do something with (art) journalling for myself. Somehow I find it difficult to take the first step with that, maybe I work better with a certain assignment. When I open a blank notebook of my own the first page keeps looking at me very intimidating. Might be my perfectionism saying hi. Does anyone else experience this?

Well, just one last picture to drive Ninni crazy ;-) Who does not want to open this notebook and take a peek, right? I love how the pages wrinkle a little from the ink, paper crafts and glue. It gives the notebook character.

I wonder what my own notebook looks like right now, but I'm sure it's getting filled with happy things! Next up is Kaylah's notebook, hopefully it will arrive soon!


October 27, 2014

OUTGOING MAIL: Long letters

Hello you beautiful readers! It's been a while! Life kind of got in the way, I will be using a brand new mailbox very soon! Yes that's right, me and the boyfriend found ourselves a lovely new apartment, yay for that! (I am sorry for the exclamation mark overload, it's just that I'm THAT excited) The past few days have been about browsing both online and offline stores for awesome pieces of furniture, choosing laminate and the colors we want our walls to have, instead of paper craft and blogging.

Another thing that got in the way was stupid Autumn again, it's getting dark so early these days! When I come home from work, it's already too dusky to take proper pictures. So this has to wait until the weekends, and it's not really like I spend the whole weekend at home waiting for the perfect moment to take pictures of my mail.

Anyway, that's enough excuses for one blog post! The past weeks I have been into long letter writing very much. I always (ALWAYS) send my penpals a proper letter, to me that's what mail is all about. Ofcourse, the paper craft, the washi tape decorations and the bits and pieces you send are lots of fun, but really it's about writing. At least, to me it is.

On the other hand, I love sending things that make the postal system a happier place, so why not combine the two right? Lovely long letters and pretty handmade stationery with lots and lots and lots of washi. For Rinske and Joeylyn, I made a small 'envelope package', which actually is nothing more than two envelopes in different (preferably contrasting) colors glued together. I used the one envelope for my letter, and the other for some matching gifts and handmade goodies.

Like these two handmade postcards, so much fun to make! I have been very much into handlettering these days. It's so relaxing! I can use lots of practice (I am actually considering a calligraphy course!) but I am seeing some improvement, whoop!

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration for an easy but fun snailmail project. It's also a good way to prevent yourself from overloading your envelopes, just use two of them! I like the contrast of a plain kraft envelope and a brightly colored one, but it's so versatile: you can go wild with patterns as well.

Tell me: do you prefer long or short letters? Or maybe a combination, like a medium/short letter and some extra notes, mailtags and lists to go with your letter? What do you write about with your penpals?

I am happy I am back to blogging! Is there anything you would LOVE to read about on my blog? My head is almost overflowing with both creative and blog ideas and this weekend I have taken and edited lots of photos so visit back soon!


October 6, 2014

OUTGOING MAIL: Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower

Although autumn and I didn't start off as the best of friends this year (what's up with that flu, pal?!), autumn always makes a rewarding theme for a letter. This one went to my friend Aurelia in Poland.

I folded a piece of leaf-patterned cardstock in three to make a little folder (notice I've got a thing for folders lately?). Searched my stash for matching paper for writing sheets and mailtag, then I just decided to go for ocher because that's probably my favorite autumn color (ugly word though!) I decorated the writing sheets with some red patterned washi tape and used a dark green fineliner to write my letter. And phewwwww the ocher matched my cardstock! I do not only have a thing for folders, I also have a thing for matching colors and patterns. Might need to see someone about that.

For the mailtag, I used a leaf-patterned piece of paper by Flying Tiger (whew, I'm even matching patterns now!). I used one side of the folder for my mailtag answers and questions, one side to stick the letter (used golden washi tape for that), and I sent Aurelia a nice bag of autumn tea. Which I stuck to the folder with leaf-patterned (sigh...) washi.

One of my penpals sent me some beautiful fake flower leafs a while back, and since the colors matched the theme perfectly I used them as a decoration on the front of the folder. Baker's twine helped put it all together. Baker's twine always helps putting it all together.

My color-matching, pattern-matching heart is beating so fast right now! Hope you enjoyed, please share any links to your own fall-themed snailmail or crafts!


October 3, 2014

INCOMING MAIL: The cutest package in the history of snailmail

The past week I have been a bit under the weather, something I thought was 'just a cold' turned out to be a jaw sinus infection, I was not feeling well at all. I suck at being sick, I can't stand just lying around and not having the energy to do anything at all. So when this FAT envelope fell into my mailbox, I was soooo incredibly happy! It was such a joy to unpack everything, every page held a little surprise. 

This snailmail folder my dear Philippine penpal Joeylyn sent me has everything I love: pink, kraft, polkadots, lace, a button, it's just gorgeous isn't it? The envelope was also super pretty!

But the best was yet to come! Look at this beauty. Can't put into words how happy this made me. Look at all the work and love that went into it. This is exactly the reason I love snailmail so much: someone on the other side of the world puts love, effort and time into creating something beautiful for someone else, selflessly! Who needs social media when you can have a hobby like this? Sorry for being so melodramatic, must be the last flu symptoms speaking ;-)

Moving on! Let me show you the pretty surprises every page held. On the first page I found a, Captain Obvious alert, cute earphone holder. Oh and take a look at the neat stitching!

The second page held some Philippine recipes, because in my previous letter to Joeylyn I mentioned cooking to be a huge hobby of mine. These dishes all sound yum, will give them a try soon! I love receiving recipes from my penpals, and I send some of my own favorites around every now and then as well. It's an easy and fun personal touch to a letter I think.

On the third page I found a nice long letter, which kept me busy during my time on the sofa sipping tea and blubbering away kilos of tissues. Love the washi and all the cute decorations.

And then the last pages held some cute stationery and goodies, I especially like the wreath stickers! I already have a little project in mind I am going to use these for.

Bonus: a closer look at the cute charm bracelet Joeylyn made me! I loved the charms she chose, I guess the most fitting was the one on the left: "Made with love". 

Well, this whole post basically is a huge THANK YOU to Joeylyn, your package definitely made my day!


September 29, 2014

INSPIRATION: Mailtag questions #1

For those of you who can use a little inspiration for mailtag questions every now and then, here are some pictures of tags I sent along with my letters the past few months. I used paper by Flying Tiger and Paperchase, different kinds of washi and decotape for the decorations, black and white pens, that's it. If you have any original questions for mailtags, don't hestitate to let me know in the comments below!

September 26, 2014

OUTGOING MAIL: Handmade with love

Next to snailmail, I am a huge fan of crochet. I crocheted some larger projects, like blankets and bags, but (as many crocheters will recognize) I also have TONS of unfinished projects, piles and piles of granny squares and tiny bits and pieces I found on Pinterest and wanted to give a try. So I thought to myself, why not combine those two granny hobbies of mine and send some crochet around the world?

Oh yes, I do admit: no crochet in the picture above. But, when I was going to send some yarn in an envelope, the writing paper had to match, right? Probably the most lazy form of cross stitch in the history of embroidery, because I guess even my friend's 3-year-old could poke holes in a piece of paper and pull some colored thread through, but still! I like the effect of brightly colored thread on kraft paper.

As you can see, I did a simple cross stitch in pink, and an arrow 'pattern' in lime. I also used one of my favorite hot pink pens, it's a Pilot Choose in color 07. Go get one of these, they write like a charm and come in yummy colors.

Back to the main topic of this post: crochet. I glued a pink crochet flower to a kraft label to send as a tiny gift. Granny squares also make great envelope gifts; they're light in weight, and I have seriously never seen a granny square that didn't look cute. For this one, I used this pattern I found on Ravelry once, it looks harder than it actually is. Don't let the long text with sl st's, dc's and sc's scare you! Oh, and I made an envelope out of light blue "Made with love" paper, thought this went pretty well with the 'theme' of my letter.

And that's it! A light-weight letter with pretty accents, hope you like it! I sent this one off to my new penpal Jane, I am looking forward to her response!


September 22, 2014

TRAVELLING NOTEBOOK: Smash my mailbox #2 - Sarah's notebook sneak peek

Our travelling notebook round robin is fully up to speed, and last week I sent off Sarah's notebook to the next in line: Emilienne. I can't wait to show you the pictures, but of course I am not going to spoil the surprise for Sarah. So today I am just posting a little sneak peek, you will have to wait for the rest of the pictures until some time early next year I am afraid.

So Sarah gave her notebook the theme "quotes", such a great idea. Every now and then when I stumble upon a beautiful quote, I add them to my Pinterest board. This board definitely came in handy for Sarah's notebook!

I used Sarah's notebook in an art journal kind of way, I didn't do a lot of 'real' journalling (as in keeping a written diary for some days, notice the quotation marks: I DO consider art journalling REAL journalling!) In total, I decorated eight pages. And I had sooo much fun! It made me realise I should start my own art journal some time soon (as well as start learning Spanish, make a stew every weekend, work out three times a week...could I please please please add a few more hours to every day? Especially the weekends, kthxbai).

I decided to show you one page of the notebook! One I think turned out pretty nice. In the notebook, I wrote down an alphabet of positivity: 26 words that give you a positive feeling. This wasn't as easy as it sounds, even in Dutch it is hard to come up with 26 words like that! First, I started writing down the words that came to mind, and of course there were some letters left I could not come up with something for. I used this AWESOME list! Awesome blog as well, by the way. Guys, we should seriously fill up those dictionaries when it comes to Q, X and Z.

Well, I hope Sarah's notebook travels safely to Emilienne in France, and ultimately back to Canada! I received Ninni's notebook a couple of days ago, and will start filling it soon. When you think about it, it's so much fun to send something beautiful around the world! I wish I could travel with it. Wow, that would be one heavy package.


September 19, 2014

OUTGOING MAIL: I'm an open book

My dear penpal Rinske loves reading, so I decided to send her a letter using scraps from an old book. It somehow physically hurts to tear pages from a book (and I don't mean paper cuts, although they hurt too, and by the way, have you ever cut your tongue licking an envelop? Ouch.), but this book is very old and by one of my least favorite dutch writers (Simon Carmiggelt), so I did sleep at night.

I think decorating writing sheets is one of my favorite parts of snailmail. I rarely buy stationery in the store anymore (unless I accidentally step into Paperchase, but I protect myself from this happening very very often). For these writing sheets, I used two sheets of plain white A4 paper, which I cut in half. I tore bits and pieces from my book, and made some fringes. And cute yellow heart stickers from one of my new favorite shops Sostrene Grene (it's a good thing this store is a three-hour drive from Rotterdam!).

Again, bits and pieces and a hole-puncher do the trick! And the yellow cuties ofcourse.

And then for some goodies to send with my letter. I cut two pieces of about 9x5 cm from old bookpages and with double-sided tape I stuck them to white cardstock. I decorated the cards with a quote about reading. For obvious reasons (instant happiness) I made a garland from bookpage scraps, using baker's twine, glue and a flower-hole puncher.

I'm back to experimenting with handlettering again, so I wrote Rinske's name in huge polkadot letters on the envelope. Also pictured: some other snailmail gifts. A sheet of the cute yellow stickers, and decorated white labels (used that flower puncher again).

It went out like this, baker's twine always does the trick doesn't it? I have a thing for bundling up everything I send before putting it in the envie.

That's it, hope you gained some inspiration! Lesson of the day: don't be afraid to tear up an old book every now and then. Oh, and stick yellow hearts everywhere. Just because.


September 15, 2014

OUTGOING MAIL: Extended postcard to Bosnia

Hello lovely readers, it's been a while! After some time of radio silence, while I was relaxing my ass off on the wonderful island of Lanzarote, I'm back and here to stay! We had an amazing holiday! How have you been?

I came home to a very happy mailbox after our holiday! Among all of your lovely letters, was a very cool postcard of Sarajevo from my Bosnian penpal Amra. I brought some tourist cards back from Lanzarote, and wanted to send one of these to Amra. But instead of just putting a plain one in an envelope with my letter, I decided to put a little more effort into it.

Okay, I started selecting pictures for this blog post when I already sent my card away with Mr. Postman. Not such a good idea. Why not? I seriously forgot to take a proper picture of the front of my Lanzarote card. I was like "Are you freaking kidding me?" Nope, turns out I was not. This one above is the best one I have. You have to trust me on my word that Lanzarote is a beautiful place.

Anyway, the whole reason I am writing this post, is to show you that it's really easy to create some extra writing space on your postcards (remember?). I used two blue A4 sheets, adjusted the width to my postcard, stuck them together with double-sided tape and folded them like a harmonica. Yes, it's so easy I was seriously reconsidering this post.

Since  I did not use washi tape for a whole week (I nearly started peeling off random things), I obviously had to use it on this letter. By the way, you won't believe what happened to my previous letter to Amra! It ended up on BARBADOS of all places! Because you know, it was addressed to Bosnia & Herzegovina, which is so close to Barbados and sounds very much alike.

Well, I finished my letter off with some dark blue cotton thread and a label that nicely matched the theme of my letter and the postcard. Hopefully Amra will like the card!

I'm very happy to be back, crafting away, taking pictures, blogging. Expect some new blogposts real soon!


August 29, 2014

OUTGOING MAIL: Birthday booklet for Silvia

Something TERRIBLE happened to me last week. Somehow, I forgot my penpal Sylvia's birthday! To make up for it, I made her a happy birthday booklet in pink and teal. Let's have a look!

So, I took a piece A4 cardstock with a teal patterned outside and a blank inside. I folded the paper in half widthwise, there we have our booklet. I decorated the inside of the booklet with paper; on the left page I used light blue blank paper, on the right page I used patterned Flying Tiger paper. I made a pocket from plain white paper for the left page, to put some gifts in, and I stuck a transparent bag for my letter onto the right page.

For my letter, I used a page from a Flow notebook that came with the magazine once. It's naturel colored checked paper, the thin lines are pink. I used pink and teal washi from HEMA to make the writing sheet super happy, and I wrote my letter with a teal fineliner.

A close up look of the way I used the washi tape. And proof of my terrible mistake: writing my penpal a day after her birthday.

As mentioned, on the left page I made a little pocket for gifts. Some time ago, I received gorgeous polaroid-like cards, and those pictures are definitely birthday-worthy! I also made Silvia some personalized address labels on my typewriter.

I went a little overboard with the decorations. Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have a thing for bunting. So I made a bunting with Silvia's name and stuck it from one side of the booklet to the other with pink washi tape.

Just to sum up some other things I used for decorating the inside of the booklet: I made fringe out of paper I gave rainbow colors with watercolor paint, there's an overload of washi tape (but hey, what's new about that), some kraft paper flowers, watercolor heart-shaped stickers and a light pink label with an awesome birthday quote: "Keep calm and be crazy, laugh and live it up, because this is the oldest you've been and the youngest you'll ever be."

I kept the outside a little less over the top: just two watercolor heart-shaped stickers and a ribbon. Because, you know, ribbons are just awesome. I reinforced the fold of the booklet with pink polkadot fabric tape.

As I said, ribbons are awesomeballs.

Hope you liked this peek into the booklet I sent Sylvia!