I took the inspiration for my Valentine's this year from a little video on the U.S.P.S. Instagram page. In it, they took a big heart and folded it around a card, forming an envelope. I loved it, but when I tried to recreate it, I realized that when you cut a heart from an 8.5" X 11" piece of paper, it makes an envelope on the rather small side; so small that I didn't want to chance mailing it.
Now, I could certainly have sized-up my outer heart, but instead, I chose to get smaller. I had a bunch of heart-shaped doilies in my mail art stash and decided this was a good time to use them. The heart-shaped doily is a sweet reminder of the season, minus all the calories.
I loved the idea of the heart shape appearing when the letter was opened. To create that effect, I made some tiny little cards, 2.5" X 3" and typed a short message on them. Then I folded the doily around the card and sealed it with a vintage stamp or cut-out heart. I put glue on the "back" of the doily envelope and affixed it to a 4.25" X 5.5" flat card for mailing. The cards are cut-down from card stock and so are thick enough for me to write a longer message on the back.
I've already sent out all the ones I made as part of my crazy letter-response drive during Month of Letters/International Letter Writing Month. What are you guys doing for your Valentines?
I confess that I am one of those people who carefully, oh-so-carefully, extract gifts from wrapping paper; so I can use the paper again for other things. It's pretty and I hate being wasteful and it drives my family nuts. Wins all around. Ashley Lurcott has a really simple tutorial on her blog about repurposing leftover gift wrap into envelope liners. If you're a weirdo like me, you could use the paper from the gift to line the thank you note for that gift! Thanks for the easy step-by-step, Ashley!
I was blown away by this project shared by Lindsey of The Postman's Knock. She has a step-by-step pictorial guide and free download to help you make your own gorgeous typography envelopes. What a lovely person, to share such beauty with the rest of us. If you are resolved to send more beautiful mail in 2015, this is a great way to start.
The Jet Pens blog has one of the best basic calligraphy guides I have ever seen. It covers everything I had questions about and then some. If you're intimidated at all by fancy lettering, but are really wanting to give it a try, I highly suggest reading through this post. Perhaps holiday cards addressing would be a great way to practice, no? It's full of handy links for ordering too. Jet Pens, you never disappoint!
I sincerely regret my decision as a 10-year-old to go as an X-ray machine and not a U.S.P.S. post box. Look how hilarious it is! You can "mail" candy to it which is genius. I love it. There's a rather cursory tutorial available here, but honestly, just get a box and paint and some posterboard and you should be able to put it together. My Internet search turned up a Canada Post version as well. Their box design is even simpler, lacking the rounded top of our blue boxes. I'm sure you could make all kinds of postal boxes into costume inpirations. Send me a picture of you or your victim friend in a postal costume and I'll send you a Halloween treat!
Donovan and I are excited to announce our second L.W.A. Laboratory: Fountain Pens! We've teamed-up with Greer this time around, so you know it will be good (and boozey).
If you are curious about fountain pens or always wanted to write with one but never knew where to start, this is the Lab for you! Expect to learn tips to tricks and understand the mechanics of fountain pens, from nib to end cap. I will also show you how various ink filling techniques which you can test out on your new Kaweco Sport. Yes, each attendee with get their very own Kaweco Sport fountain pen to learn all the techniques on during the lab and to experiment with at home.
Want to know more about inks and what is a good pen purchase? We will also discuss best inks for your writing style, share resources, and give you personal recommendations for your next pen. You will leave this class completely confident in your fountain pen use. Details are below--we hope to have you as our Lab Rat!
Fountain Pen Laboratory Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1-3pm Location: Greer, 1657 N Wells St, Chicago, IL Class limited to 6 people. $75 Lab fee includes Kaweco Sport (M nib, clear body) and ink cartridge
L.W.A. Labs are similar to our workshops, except that they have more specialized topics, smaller groups, and individual attention. For example, this Fountain Pen Lab is capped at 6 people, so get your spot now.
I'm a big advocate of thank you and gratitude letters, but sometimes, you need to write a letter about an unpleasant situation. Consumerist, a customer advocate blog, provides a lot of help and guidance along the complaint letter line. Recently, they posted a boiler plate letter to get you started. A well-written letter, rather than a rant, is more likely to get you the action you intend. Have you written complaint letters and had any success? Share your tips in the comments.
P.S. This story was brought to my attention by my friend Karen via text message. "Did you know your cat is on Consumerist?" It's cool; I publish my photos in Flickr under a CC license and they gave me credit. The system works. Also, my cat is super famous now.
When Kathy posted the fantastic cardinal stamp for download, one of the commentors asked about how to best glue it to their mail. This was an excellent question and one I get a lot since I post pictures of my collaged mail art on Instagram. So, instead of typing a lengthy reply to the comment which you all might not get to see, I decided to do a post. Viola!
From left to right, that is glue tape, a glue stick, and a glue pen. I use the glue tape 85% of the time, the glue stick 13% of the time and the glue pen 2% of the time. I get my glue tape and glue sticks from the regular old office supply store. The glue pen came from that wonderland known as Jet Pens.
If I have to pick just one, it's the glue tape. It works like a white-out runner and is sticky on both sides. It works like double-stick tape, but is thinner and easier to apply. It isn't liquidy; so it doesn't smear ink or buckle paper. I can do nearly anything with the glue tape. It is my go-to for constructing envelopes. It has a strong bond almost instantly. If I'm ever gluing down anything thick like cardboard or cardstock, I'm using the glue tape. You can find them in refillable and repositionable form as well.
I use the glue stick instead of glue tape for anything that's really fragile, such as vintage paper. The glue tape is so strong that it can rip up more delicate pieces. I'll also use the glue stick for uneven edges. The tape isn't so easily worked around a bunch of noodley-bits. The glue pen I only use if I have to affix something that is so weirdly shaped and so delicate to handle that I need minute control over where the glue is going. I like having it as part of my tool kit, but rarely use it.
I hope that answers everyone's sticky questions regarding glue and mail art! Thanks for reading and for asking. I'm always happy to share. Oh, and if you have favorite glues or glue techniques, please share in the comments.
Nole of Oh So Beautiful Paper recently posted this straight forward guide to three different envelope addressing styles. What a simple and elegant way to embellish your mail. It reminds me to order more brush pens. I love that flowing look.
In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters!
May 3rd (Sunday)
World-Wide Virtual Social
See our faces, listen to us nerd out on mail, enjoy the silence as we scribble letters, and ask us mail questions live. Live Video via Google Hangouts. Participate with #LWASocial on Twitter & Instagram. Video will be recorded and put on YouTube if you can't make it live. Event Page
June 7th (Sunday)
Chicago, IL Mix & Mailology
L.W.A. Clubhouse at 3:30-5pm
Old Fashions and Wax Seals, two old-timey things we love. Learn the secrets of mixing an excellent Old Fashion and making the perfect wax impression on your envelopes. We will also have other wax-like experiments for your mail art pleasure. Our solutions, both alcoholic and artistic, will surprise you. All materials, including liquid forms, will be provided.
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July 12th (Sunday)
World-Wide L.W.A. Book Club
Join Kathy, Donovan, and a special guest Margaret Haas (of Paper Pastries) via live video while we discuss Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. Discussion and further info can be found on the Goodreads book group page. Event Page
The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. These two ladies manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. The L.W.A. is a labor of love and we are happy you have joined us in sharing a love for letters.