resliced Happy Mail #5

I have been on a resliced happy mail hiatus lately – there has been a lot going on. Ironically, I feel like during that time I sent out even more mail than during the times I focus on sending resliced happy mail! Though some of that mail wasn’t as happy as I would’ve like (sympathy cards are never fun to send…), I did have a few fun pieces sent out (hello, Mother’s Day!) – but I’ll admit: some of those were Hallmark specialties (a girl only has so much time! And sometimes Hallmark says it best).

The fifth recipient of #reslicedHappyMail is a lovely lady who was nominated by a coworker. From reading the submission it was obvious that Audrey is fiercely loved, respected and appreciated at her office. Because the words were so sweet, I’ll share with you an excerpt from her nomination:

“Audrey is the most amazing person you will ever meet. She has always done everything she can for anyone. She recently has had to take a leave of absence from work to have a extensive surgery on her back. She has battled the pain and been uncomfortable for quite some time. I and all the employees at work miss her already and we are not even half way through the recovery time for her. […] this woman is so strong sometimes you would never know she was in pain. She has a grandson and another grand baby on the way. She is so excited and hopes that one day she will be able to pick them up again. Oh and dance – she loves to dance (or she did 13 years ago when I met her). She deserves a little bit of HAPPY in her life, for she always gives her HAPPY to other people!”

One thing came to mind after reading the nomination: In more ways than one, Ms. Audrey is one strong lady! And so, I got started on her card.

As you know, I’ve been dabbling with watercolors (of the very childish Crayola variety). The Postman’s Knock really  has me inspired to try more with watercolors (especially after reading her latest post: Painting with Watercolors for Beginners). When I saw this printable card from TPK, I knew I wanted to try my watercolors with it! Being that Audrey was described as liking all colors and being full of love, I thought this sweet floral design would be fitting for her!

And so, here is the card I sent to Audrey!

audrey

As you can see, my watercolor skills still need some work, but I had fun trying them out!

I hope this card reached Audrey and reminded her of how loved and appreciated she is!

I never get tired of reading these nominations. I love hearing all the wonderful things that people do and how they’ve impacted the lives of those around them for the better. My heart is just so full.

I also sent my penpal another letter (after a brief hiatus…sorry to keep you waiting Brenna!). I have been trying out sewing on cards since I have a load of fabric scraps that could use a new home. My penpal shared with me during a recent exchange that her word this year is “enough” so I used that as my inspiration.

penpal

The envelope is made from scrapbook paper. I glued a rectangular scrap piece of computer paper to the front for her address. I’m kind of digging the loosely sewn fabric scraps on the card. I am also loving the Sakura Gelly Roll pens I ordered. They are crazy smooth and the white looks great against the gray cardstock! I might have to invest in additional colors 🙂

You can read more about my #reslicedHappyMail project here. You can browse all of the #reslicedHappyMail creations here.

Handmade Envelopes from Last Year’s Calendar

My 2014 fridge calendar was so beautiful that I wanted to find a way to salvage / reuse the beautiful images.

At this point, you are probably well aware of my new love of making my own envelopes {remember that time I made envelopes from an old skirt magazine for the Bridal Tea party?}. I knew the weight and size of the glossy pages would be perfect for constructing envelopes so I saved a few of my favorites.

I saved some of my favorite pages from the calendar before recycling the rest. The pages had been sitting aside waiting patiently to be turned into envelopes for a few weeks now.

handmade

To get started you’ll need to gather these supplies:

  • Calendar pages (alternate options: magazine pages, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, etc)
  • Glue stick
  • Scrap paper for the address label (alternate: use a permanent marker if the design is light enough)
  • Permanent marker
  • Blank piece of paper (if you want to make a template to reuse later)
  • Envelope (used or unused – doesn’t matter)
  • Scissors
  • Strong liquid glue or clear tape
  • Washi tape
  • Paper for envelope lining – optional
  • A card that fits inside your envelope template OR make your own with construction paper, scrapbook paper or other colored paper pieces

Instructions:

Creating the Envelope template

If you have a used envelope whose size you like, deconstruct it by carefully detaching the sides and bottom of the envelope. Since you will be using the deconstructed envelope as your template, skip to the instructions for constructing the envelope.

If you have an unused envelope, you can create a template without deconstructing by following these steps:

1. Lift the top flap of the envelope (so that it is “open”) and align it with the top edge of the paper you are using to trace the template.

2. Trace the side edges of the top flap on the paper. Carefully hold the envelope in place on top of the paper and close the top flap. Trace around the rectangular body of the envelope (with the top flap down).

3. For the bottom of the envelope, measure the height of the bottom flap. On your paper template, measure the same distance (from the bottom of the envelope body outline) and draw a few marks. Connect the marks with a straight, horizontal line across the bottom of your template paper.

4. Measure the length of the top of the bottom flap (the area where the top flap would overlap when closed). It should be slightly less than the horizontal length of your envelope’s body.

5. On the line you have drawn at the bottom of your template page, draw notches that match the length measured in step 3 centered (as best you can) below the envelope body.

6. Draw a line from the bottom left corner of the envelope body to the left end of the line drawn in step 4. Repeat on the right side. The lines should be angled slightly inward.

7. Use the same method to draw the side flaps.

8. Use your scissors to cut around the outline of the envelope.

9. Fold the side flaps in then fold the bottom flap up. You can use a ruler to help with this by aligning the edge of the ruler along the folding line (outline of the envelope body).

10. Ensure that the side and bottom flaps overlap enough so that you will be able to glue them together. Also ensure that when the top flap is folded down, there is enough overlap so that you can secure the envelope.

If my directions are hard to follow, I suggest checking out these directions from The Postman’s Knock.

Constructing the Envelope

Once you have your template constructed (and tested to make sure the pieces align properly), you are ready to start tracing.

1. On the wrong side of the calendar pages (in our case, on the calendar grid side), trace the template using a permanent marker. Before cutting, make sure that the outline is lined up how you would like it on the image (pay particular attention to where the body of the envelope / middle rectangle aligns as this will be the front of your envelope).

2. Using your scissors, cut around the outer edges of your template outline.

3. Line your ruler up to the corners of the side flap (along the edges of the envelope body) and fold the flap towards the calendar grid (interior of envelope). Repeat for the other side flap.

4. Repeat step 3 for the bottom and top flaps.

5. Use your glue stick to coat the exterior of both side flaps where the bottom flap overlaps. Fold the bottom flap up so that it sticks to the side flaps.

6. Ensure that the envelope doesn’t glue shut by inserting your card or a piece of paper to separate as necessary. (Remove the paper or card / don’t leave the card inside the envelope while it dries.)

7. Set envelope aside to let glue dry.

8. Using a piece of scrap paper, write your recipients address and attach to your envelope using strong liquid glue or clear tape.

9. If you already have a card to use, go ahead and write a sweet note to someone you love. If you don’t have a card, cut pieces of construction paper / scrapbook paper / other colored paper slightly smaller than the body of your envelope. I found some colored 5×7″ card stock on clearance at Michael’s so that’s what I used 🙂

10. Put the beautifully written note inside the envelope and seal with washi tape. If you are feeling especially handy, you could try making your own envelope glue.

11. Send your lovely happy mail on it’s way! {Don’t forget a stamp!}

Here’s some envelope eye candy from my 2014 calendar…

e 1nvelope

Wouldn’t this be perfect for holding a handmade wedding card?

envelope 1a

Envelope interior with exposed calendar grid (no lining)

I kind of like how the calendar grid peeks through on the inside of the envelope. To me it screams: “Once upon a time I was trash, but now I’m treasure!” 😉

If you want your upcycling to be a little less obvious, feel free to add a lining to your envelope. Martha Stewart has a nice how-to on envelope lining here or you can download her liner templates with this tutorial.

envelope 2

I can’t wait to send this one in the spring!

envelope 5

I sent this one to my penpal and was able to write her address directly onto the front with a permanent marker.

I picked out my favorite one and sent it to my Mom 🙂

calendar envelope

I love how colorful this pattern is (and so did my Mom!)

A lesson learned: a glue stick isn’t quite strong enough to hold the address on (I glued paper scraps with the address directly to the front of the envelope). If it’s possible, I recommend using a permanent marker to write directly onto the envelope. For some of my designs (like the white flower), this worked, but for others (like above) that wasn’t an option. Next time I will try using my liquid glue or clear tape to keep it secure.

Luckily, the address piece didn’t fall completely off until it had reached my Mom (yay!), but I wanted to share a word of warning because it would be a real tragedy if your beautiful masterpiece didn’t reach it’s intended recipient!

envelope 4

When I send this one, I think I will try to wrap the address below the purple flowers.

A wall calendar is the perfect material for making envelopes. If you’re still holding on to last year’s calendar, give handmade envelopes a try!

Keep an eye out – these envelopes will likely make a reappearance in some future #reslicedHappyMail!


resliced Happy Mail #4

The fourth piece of #reslicedHappyMail was sent to a lovely lady that I’ve known for quite a while. She’s my sister’s best friend from high school (and our Mary Kay rep 🙂 ). My sister nominated her because her Mom had become very ill. Before I could construct her card, her Mom passed away.

Now this friend, at the age of 27, has lost both her mother and father (a few years prior). I can’t imagine the struggle of losing one, much less both, of your parents at such a young age. And to top it off: she has a toddler at home. The bright side: she has an amazingly supportive husband (oh, and a beautiful daughter!).

Anyhow, Christa’s Mom loved pineapples! They were everywhere in their house. At the memorial service, there was even a blue and white pineapple serving dish that I can only imagine belonged to her Mom.

That being said, I set out on a mission to figure out how to draw a pineapple because I knew it would be the perfect design for this card. I wish I had bought my Crayola watercolor set before this because there are some really lovely ideas for watercolor pineapples out there, but now that I have my made-for-a-child set, perhaps I’ll try again later!

watercolor

Watch out! I’m rockin’ and rollin’ with my new watercolor set 😉

I decided to use my calligraphy pen to draw the pineapple with simple details (aka: not many). It was a very easy (and fun) design to draw.

christa

resliced Happy Mail #4

If you know someone who could use a little reminder that they are special, nominate them for a piece of #reslicedHappyMail! Read all about it here.

View all of the #reslicedHappyMail projects here.

Spread Love Mail Swap: I’ve Got A PenPal!

A few months ago, two of my favorite local creative chicks (Rachel Tenny of A Little Bit Of Me and Paulene of Leen Machine Calligraphy & Design) announced a penpal exchange they would be hosting. I immediately jumped on that train! I have been longing for a penpal (you already know I love to send Happy Mail, but I love to receive it too! 😉 )

I’m so excited to be a part of the #SpreadLoveMailSwap! I’m really looking forward to being a part of this ongoing swap that will put me on the receiving end of a few letters 🙂

I sent off the first letter to my penpal last week:

penpal

Envelope calligraphy by yours truly, but I can’t take credit for the card: it’s a print from Leen Machine Calligraphy & Design – Paulene gifted it to us for taking her calligraphy class.

In return, she sent me a little note about her (she sounds super sweet!) and this beautiful watercolor card which I promptly hung on the wall of my office…directly across from me as a reminder 🙂

penpal2

I’m so excited to finally have a penpal and I can’t wait to learn more about my new friend through our exchange. I have lots of creative ideas for sprucing up the snail mail I send to her so I’ll keep you updated with my creations.

And as always, I’ll also keep you updated with my #reslicedHappyMail creations. There are some really great nominations whose stories I can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned!

resliced Happy Mail #3

Last week I ran across a story (via Snail Mail All Year on Facebook) about a boy named Bubby who is celebrating what doctors think might be his last (and 9th) birthday today!

His story (read it here) really pulled at my heartstrings and I knew he deserved to jump line for the next piece of #reslicedHappyMail.

He loves snail mail and stickers. I don’t have much of the latter, but I knew I could handle the former. 😉

I don’t have many birthday cards on hand and figured a soon-to-be-9-year-old wouldn’t be super thrilled about calligraphy so I decided some good ole cut-and-paste would do the trick. I used to cut letters from magazines to make funky wording on collages back in the day. I figured I’d dust off my collage skills for this card because the appearance would be more sticker-like and a bit more fun for Bubby to open.

I had picked up a copy of a local magazine, the Blue Fish Digest, at Cafe Strudel the other week because I thought the cover art was super cute (admittedly, that shallow reasoning typically drives my book purchases as well). I had a blank white card and envelope set handy so I didn’t construct the envelope from scratch. I just used the cover as an embellishment on the front.

bubby

All in all, the card and envelope took me about 30 minutes to construct. I made it entirely from material I had on hand. All of the letters and pictures were cut from the same issue of Blue Fish Digest magazine which I promptly recycled afterwards 🙂

I highly encourage you to dig through your stash and send something fun to Bubby! It may be late since today is his birthday, but I think it’d be worth sending so he can continue to feel special everyday!

You can send your card to:

Bubby Everson
P.O. BOX 1142
Graham, WA 98338

Read more about Bubby here.

If you know someone who could use a little reminder that they are special, nominate them for a piece of #reslicedHappyMail! Read all about it here.

View all of the #reslicedHappyMail projects here.

resliced Happy Mail #2

#reslicedHappyMail is officially in full swing (I guess sending the 2nd piece counts as “full swing”, right?!).

The second piece of #reslicedHappyMail was sent to a lady named Winter (is that not the coolest name ever?!). Winter is a pre-kindergarten teacher (bless her) who loves Starbuck’s and hanging out with her gal pals.

Winter’s sister nominated her, and you know I have a weak spot for sisters 🙂

In the nomination form, Winter’s sister said “My sister is amazing! She’s so kind-hearted and cares about EVERYONE. She is the person that makes your issues her issues and truly cares about the happiness of others around her.” Sounds like a pretty stellar gal, right?

In my mind, I had started to create some kind of inspirational card for her because it sounded like she may be going through a spell all us ladies can relate to. One that reminded me of an all-too-familiar quote…

comparison

Painting by Rachel Tenny – click the image to see it on Instagram.

The painting above is by a gal who is quickly turning into one of my favorite people. I’ve already fangirled about her on here several times, but a few weeks ago I finally had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Tenny in person. She’s just as sweet as I’d imagined and she generously donated a set of her Flower Cards to the #reslicedHappyMail project. Oh, boy was I beside myself when I received those! #HappyDance

Rachel’s posts always make me feel inspired, empowered and understood. Because of that, I knew one of Rachel’s Flower Cards was exactly what I wanted to send to Winter.

happymail2

Do you love these cards or DO YOU LOVE THESE CARDS?!

And so…off goes the second piece of #reslicedHappyMail!

In other news, I received a little happy mail of my own this weekend! My sister is a Reading Coach at an elementary school (where she taught 2nd grade for 5 years) and recently hosted a Donors Choose project to help raise money to buy books for her students. The best part about Donors Choose is that they will offer a code to match your donation at some point during the project (I always give during this window of time because it doubles the distance my donation goes…even if it’s only a small amount). I absolutely love Donors Choose – it’s a great platform for teachers to raise funds to help their students (and it’s an easy way for those of us not in the classroom to be able to help). From time to time they’ll even send me credits that I can “gift” to any project I want (how cool?!).

On Saturday I found a package in my mail box full of drawing from my sister’s students thanking me for my donation to her recent project (to get them books):

donors choose

Y’all know my feelings on thank you notes [always a must] so obviously these completely melted my heart.

You can see pictures of her amazing students enjoying their new books here – aren’t they so sweet?!

Ok, back to #reslicedHappyMail 😉 …

If you know someone who could use a little reminder that they are special, nominate them for a piece of #reslicedHappyMail! Read all about it here.

View all of the #reslicedHappyMail projects here.

resliced Happy Mail #1

I’ve finished my very first #reslicedHappyMail card and I’m so excited to share this story with you!

When I was first thinking of this project, I immediately started thinking of people I knew. I wasn’t sure what the traction would be or if I’d get any submissions at all so I wanted to make sure I had at least one to get started 🙂

Last year, a former coworker shared with me that her Mom had been having some health issues and because she lived alone (and out of town) may be moving into a nursing home soon.

No mother and daughter relationship is perfect and my coworker acknowledged this, but she couldn’t hide the worry and guilt from showing [ever-so-slightly] on her face. Since this conversation, thoughts of her Mom and how she may be doing have come to me several times. The last time just-so-happened to be as I was planning the launch of #reslicedHappyMail – and I knew she’d be the perfect first recipient!

I immediately reached out to my former coworker to check in. Yes, her mother had been moved to a nursing home. And YES YES YES she’d love to have a card. 🙂

After badgering her with a few questions, I knew exactly what I was going to create for her mother.

According to her daughter, Pat’s favorite color is green and she likes patterns you’d generally find on a quilt.

Well…y’all know my love of sewing! {And you may remember that I’m [very slowly] working on my very first quilt}

In my mind, I envisioned a quilted card with hues of green.

To get started, I mapped out the pattern so that I could fit this mini-quilt on the front of the card. I used a 3 inch square as my pattern template and cut six different fabric scraps. I pieced them together with a 1/2 inch seam – pressing them open as I went.

The “binding” for this mini-quilt was another story. It was good practice because I’m not quite (but almost!) to that step of my actual quilt. I’ve done a lot of research on how to bind a quilt. The intimidation of this process has kind of crippled my motivation for my actual quilt. The binding of this mini-quilt is far from perfect, but I convinced myself it was okay because it was [obviously] not going to be washed so I think it will hold up 😉

I literally stitched the mini-quilt directly to the front of the card without any trouble from my machine.

Here’s how it turned out:

happymail 1 card

Fabric story (from left to right, top row first): the shamrocks were given to me by my neighbor, the ladybugs were previously a scrub top/uniform, the plaid is from a pair of shorts, both paisleys are scraps from previous projects and the dark green floral print used to be a tea towel.

Last week, my friend Emily hosted a Craft Night. That was just what I needed so I could focus on addressing envelopes to finally send my first piece of happy mail. Since I’ve learned calligraphy, I have a very hard time allowing mail to be sent from my house (with the exclusion of bills) without having the address calligraphied (yep, I made that word up). That being said, there’s quite a production before snail mail actually exits my house and it can often sit around for a bit longer than I intend. Gathering with a few friends last week – all of us working on a different craft – was just what I needed in order to catch up on my address calligraphy.

I used The Lawrence style from The Postman’s Knock for Pat’s envelope. It’s by far my favorite way to address an envelope. It’s easy and it looks so stinkin’ fancy!

happymail1I won’t reveal what I wrote inside, but I’ll admit I tried very hard to brighten this sweet lady’s day! 🙂

In other news, I tried out Julie Blanner’s recipe for homemade oreos in honor of the Hubs’ birthday on Thursday. To be honest, I actually made the red velvet cookie sandwiches without the red food coloring (I substituted water) so that we could have the cream cheese icing filling (YUM).

oreos

This might be the only time I use my mixer for anything other than lotion-making 😉

I even bagged the icing and cut a corner so I could pipe it onto the cookies. Also discovered that we own a wooden roller (who knew?!). So fancy.

Ok, back to the happy mail…

If you know someone who could use a little reminder that they are special, nominate them for a piece of #reslicedHappyMail! Read all about it here.

View all of the #reslicedHappyMail projects here.