Homemade envelopes from maps

I was digging out a local leaflet to include in letter when I found a few older map leaflets, and I’d also gained a few other map leaflets recently that I didn’t know what to do with either, tuen one morning I was inspired to make a few envelopes! I’ve got a couple of nice wooden envelope templates that make it easy.

The larger envelopes are made of maps of Derby, Shrewsbury, and the Science Museum in London, as well as the cover of an outdoor clothing catalogue. The smaller pocket envelopes are made from maps of the London underground, and Newstead Abbey gardens.

The Science Museum map is already on the way to a penfriend in the Netherlands who likes museums, and I’m planning to use the smaller envelopes to hold a few stickers or little flat gifts. It’s a really easy way to personalise a letter 🙂

Weekend round-up

Yesterday was my 2 year blogiversary, so here’s a round-up of my weekend. It’s been a quiet and lazy couple of days, I’ve done very little of what I’d planned… but I managed to do a bit of all of the random things I usually dump on my blog for want of a better recording system so it seems like a good enough celebration 🙂

Blog content type 1: random photos of random nice places, such as this view across Derbyshire viewed through the bus window on my way home from Nottingham.

And yesterday’s dramatic sunset.

Blog content type 2: post! I was in a postcard sending mood yesterday, so I replied to a postcard pal in USA, and sent postcards through Postcrossing and Postcard United to Russia, Sweden, and Japan. I’m missing receiving lots of cards at the moment, but I’m frustratingly at more received than sent on both sites, don’t like it when that happens. The bottom right card is an image of a fruit fly nervous system, they wanted to receive weird cards!

Blog content type 3: sewing, quilting, generally making stuff. And also Swap-bot swaps 🙂 I’ve now made the quilt block to match the one I sent out as a swap, with a minor change because some of my central strips weren’t long enough…

And tomorrow is the start of a new week, let’s see what happens next…

Outgoing mail art – watercolour butterflies

I’ve recently been getting back into drawing and painting, and I also agreed to start writing to a new penfriend who loves watercolours and butterflies, so why not combine everything into a watercoloured butterfly envelope?! It’s good practice without worrying as much about shape and colour, and a nice space to experiment. I’m not sure about the butterfly stamp shape, maybe next time I’ll raid my used stamp collection for something that suits the theme… I’m posting it in off along with a butterfly postcard and stickers in a clear envelope to protect it from any rain on its journey. I’ve got a big list of creative things I want to do at the moment, I think most of my letters will look much more normal and boring!

Recent post

All of a sudden I have a stack of postcards and letters to reply to! I’m slowly working my way through, but my message board is still full of letters…

Today I have a set of postcards to send (to Turkey, India and 2 to Russia), and a letter heading to Australia I meant to post before I went away for a few days. I had to open it up again and add another note and a postcard from Mallorca 🙂 I didn’t send any cards when I was away as I only had a few days to explore, so I’m sending a few from home instead. I’ve realised now I should have bought more cards, there’s only just enough to send to everyone I’d really like to… Also heading off soon are a couple of postcards accompanying a letter to Pakistan (once I’ve written the letter!).

And the postcards I’m replying to:

Flowers and a monastery from Russia; a postcard from the Postcrossing meet-up in Bangalore, India; and a view of Antalya from Turkey.

Problem post

Conspiracy theories and advice welcome! A couple of recently arrived letters have had me a little puzzled, for very different reasons.

The first puzzle is what on earth happened to this letter?!

A rectangular quarter of the envelope has been ripped away, and unfortunately that’s the corner the letter was in! Luckily only my postcode was torn away so it found me easily enough. It arrived in a Royal Mail ‘sorry it’s damaged but we found it like this’ bag so presumably it had a tough journey from the USA. I can half make out the letter but I’ll have to ask for the details to be repeated 🙂

The second puzzle is more of a social dilemma – what do I write letters for and when should I stop?

This letter came from a penfriend in Dominica who I found on the Postcrossing forum. I think this is the 4th letter. The first and second letter were almost identical as she’d clearly forgotten I’d written before. This letter has been redirected from my previous address, and I’ve been moved for 6 months now. (My redirection runs out in the summer and I think anyone who hasn’t written in a year probably never will.) In this envelope is a postcard, a short handwritten note, and a mass produced typed letter with basically the same message apologising for the late reply but that over 200 (?!) letters were a lot to deal with so in future everyone will receive a typed letter or possibly a written postcard. I don’t know if I’m reading it right that everyone will receive the same mass produced letter, and what she’s really interested in is swapping postcards/ magnets/ bookmarks etc. but I’m wondering how much effort I should put in when realistically she can’t have much time for everyone? Or should I keep replying as long as I receive something back? Would she notice if I never replied? I’ve sometimes had fairly numerous pen friends but I’ve made sure it’s no more that I can deal with because any type of friendship takes effort. Even snail mail has social dilemmas but I’ve never been great at figuring out what to do…

In more cheerful news, look at these lovely homemade and decorated envelopes 🙂 All awaiting reply…so that’s tomorrow’s entertainment sorted!

Month of Letters – 24th to the end

So Friday night (24th Feb) I did a load of of letter writing and swap sorting, spent a small fortune on postage of Saturday, had visitors on Sunday, then woke up on Monday and decided I really wasn’t well enough to do things like get out of bed. Probably explains my tiredness for the past week… But I have just about posted an item every day this month, with a couple of delays and make up days.

To finish the monthly report – outgoing post:

25th – My final item for the swap-bot ‘month of happy mail’ swap. I made a weeks worth of positive notes and little gifts – 7 notes and gifts individually wrapped. It’s based on another swap I once did and really enjoyed.

I wrote a few nice quotes and some hopefully cheerful notes on a variety of postcards and note cards, then put each note in separate envelopes with a little wrapped gift. I raided my little gifts stash, I hope they enjoy everything. I did forget to pack the chocolate raisins so I’ve eaten them instead!

26th – Technically posted the day before, I sent off a swap for a homemade pillow case. I’ll post about it separately soon.

27th / 28th – I started to recover from my cold/ flu type thing to realise there’s 3 birthdays coming up in the next week or so! So I dug out a few cards, and added a little gift and letter to one to a penfriend. There’s only 1 I’m fully confident will arrive in time!

The round-up:

In February I’ve posted 31 items to 10 different countries – UK, USA, India, Netherlands, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Russia, Turkey, and Australia. I’ve spent £47.32 in postage. I have one letter to write still outstanding that I feel a little guilty for being so slow to reply to, but it’s a first letter and I want to do a good job of it.

I don’t as fully track incoming post, just enjoy it and blog about it occasionally, but I’ve had a whole mix of stuff. I don’t think I’ve received more than normal despite sending nearly every day, but maybe that benefit will come as replies over time.
I’ve also realised I do much better at keeping to resolutions when I have a challenge to meet, even if there’s no competition or consequences. Maybe especially then, it’s just me trying to be better but not stressing over anything extra. I don’t have great will-power or determination so I need something else as well… The next challenge begins as the last one ends – now it’s Lent! Can I really fully give up milk instead of the half-way I’ve been doing for years? And will it make much difference? Let’s find out…

Lettermo 21st – 23rd

I’ve been writing, I’ve just been bad at updating…

A few days of incoming post:

3 of these are from the Swap-bot ‘happy mail all month’ swap – a colouring card with flower seeds, a selection of stationery items, and a postcard of a wooden bridge apparently common to certain areas of USA. The cat face card also comes from USA as part of the ‘postcard roulette’ swap.

Outgoing:

21st – I made this scrapbooked art letter thing I have forgotten the name of a while ago but never figured out who to send it to… the ‘happy mail all month’ swap seemed appropriate 🙂


22nd – a letter to a penfriend in Germany

23rd – I didn’t feel up to letter writing this evening although I have 2 I want to get out over the weekend… today I’m sending a postcard to Italy through Postcard United. She likes UNESCO sites so I’m sending Strutts Mill in Belper.

Lettermo – 3 in 1

Yesterday I had a visitor all day, and tomorrow I’ll be out all evening, so today I’ve written several cards and letters to keep me up to date 🙂

Outgoing:

A postcard from the V&A museum off to USA in reply to a Valentine’s postcard, I’ll write properly when I have enough brain power to do it well. A short letter off to Australia to an old penfriend who doesn’t really write anymore but I don’t want to give up on yet. She sent a Christmas card so I’m just saying hello. And a letter to a fairly new penfriend in the Netherlands, with my last Agatha Christie stamp.

(Yesterday’s) incoming:

A beautiful note card and tape samples from my ‘happy mail all month’ partner.

A great selection of goodies from the Swap-bot stationery supplies swap. Postcards, note cards, writing sets, envelopes, and some labels and stickers. I was very happy to receive this one 🙂

Challenging myself to send something every day is definitely keeping me on track this month…

Lettermo #16 & #17

I’m not sure what happened to yesterday…the days have all blurred into one! So here’s 2 days together. I’m glad it’s the weekend…

Received cards:

A fun illustrated card of the clock tower in Izmir, Turkey from postcard pal. And a possibly Valentines-ish type of postcard from a postcard pal in Russia, who I just replied to so I might wait before sending another card!

Sent cards:

The smile card is the next installment of my happy mail all month swap off to the USA. And the view of Chatsworth is a reply to Turkey 🙂

Also today, there was a lovely sunset. I can see the days getting longer now.

Lettermo – halfway and a bit

Today is also yesterday’s update because that never happened…so received yesterday:

A beautiful moonlit mountain view from Russia, and a Valentine’s postcard perfectly timed to arrive on Valentine’s Day! Reading beyond the fun illustration the butchered hearts idea is actually a bit creepy…

Sent yesterday:

A view of Winnats Pass (Peak District) at sunrise, to Russia in reply. Last time I was here there was a snow storm and we all slipped our way to the bottom of the pass in a desperate attempt to escape the hills…I’d like to go back in better weather sometime!

Received today:

It’s a view of the Virgin of Vallivana, a Postcard United card from Italy. I’m several cards in the positive on both postcard sending sites currently…when does the system figure out if I’m not keeping up?! Intriguingly, it appears to have a 1980 Vatican post stamp but the sender lives in northern Italy and there’s no postmark, so I’m not sure if this card went through the Vatican or not… I think the card might be fairly old too. It did take 54 days to reach me, maybe it is from the past!

Sent today:

A letter to a penfriend in Australia, I’m slowly working down the stack of overdue replies…

And the stamps from the last couple of days: