Author Archive for Anne Breck

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendar IdeasXA timeless tradition, Advent calendars go hand in hand with the anticipation of the holiday season.

The first evidence of Advent calendars was in the 19th century, when German Lutherans counted down the 24 days until Christmas by making a chalk line on their doors for each day.

The first printed Advent calendar was produced in 1908 by Gerhard Lang. He is credited with inventing today’s version. He came up with the idea of the 24 little doors, for which he created more than 30 designs until his business closed in the 1930s.

Perhaps the best-known Advent calendar today features chocolate treats behind its little doors. Chocolates sure help get us through the month of December when we find ourselves rushing around trying to get everything ready in time for the holidays.

Instead of opening a door filled with chocolate, though, what if we just took just a moment each day to hold a door open for someone? Embrace the season, spread kindness, and brighten another’s day!

A kindness Advent calendar works like any other, but rather than the usual countdown calendar of chocolates, rejoice in the true spirit of the season by performing random acts of kindness leading up to holiday celebrations.

A Google search will give you plenty of ideas for a kindness Advent calendar. Here is one I really like. Make it your own, do it yourself, share it with your family and friends, or maybe even make it a challenge! Join me in spreading a little kindness this holiday season.

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.—Howard Zinn

Wishing you a dazzling December and a fun festive season!

Anne


A Postmark’d Studio PostBox Subscription Is a Perfect Gift!

A subscription gift keeps the spirit of the season alive long after the holiday is over.

Consider gifting a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription to a special someone on your list.

December Special

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Use the code DECFS for FREE shipping in December!

Postmark’d Studio Gratitude Challenge

Postmark'd Studio Thanksgiving Special Delivery Box Golden Turkey Cardq For the entire month of November, I challenge YOU + ME to practice gratitude. I mean wholehearted, I-love-my-damn-self, I-love-my-family, I-love-having-coffee-with-you, I-love-being-outdoors-with-you, I-love-that-you-light-my-fire type of gratitude.

Gratitude is such a simple notion, yet all too often we forget to practice it. Why wait until the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving, duh!) to express your gratitude? Think of the impact 30 days of gratitude will have on the recipients of your notes of gratitude (and just as importantly, on you).

Let’s do this, friends!

The 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge Starts Now!

1) Each day for 30 days, write a note of gratitude to a friend, family member, former teacher, mentor, or even stranger!
2) Don’t overthink this. It doesn’t have to be a long note, maybe just a special quote or quick sketch.
3) Have fun with this challenge! If you miss a day, don’t sweat it.
4) Share about your notes of gratitude on social media using the hashtags #30daysgratitude and #lovedaily.
5) Still need some ideas? Check out these websites:

Join me on this 30-day challenge to put your gratitude in writing and change your life, one thank-you note at a time!

As we express gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.—John F. Kennedy
Postmark'd Studio Thanksgiving Special Delivery Box Turkey Fan Card

Black Friday/Cyber Monday

I know your email box is going to be “stuffed” as we head into Thanksgiving, but don’t delete Postmark’d Studio’s as there will be some fabulous steals and deals coming your way!

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The Pencil

Postmark'd Studio Pencils$ To those of you who’ve subscribed to Postmark’d Studio’s PostBox or purchased one of our Special Delivery Boxes: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am sure you have noticed every box comes with a pencil. Yes, no matter your order, it will always include a Postmark’d Studio pencil made in central California!

I absolutely love pencils and want to share my love of them with you. It is a nerdy obsession, admittedly, but when I am working, there must be at least three freshly sharpened pencils at the ready!

5 Fun Facts About Pencils

1) Did you know the hexagon pencil was created so the pencil would not roll off your desk?
2) Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips, while those sold in Europe do not. Perhaps Europeans are more confident scribblers?
3) Pencils can write under water and in zero gravity.
4) Before the invention of erasers, breadcrumbs were used to erase mistakes.
5) It is said the average pencil can be used to draw a line 35 miles long or write 45,000 words. This has not been tested … anyone up to the challenge?

2 Fun Pencil Projects

You may find you are at a loss for creative ideas to send your friends Happy Birthday messages during the month of September. Maybe that’s because September is the most popular birth month in America. It must just nudge out August ’cuz, whew, I personally have a lot of friends and family with August birthdays!

Here are two suggestions to get your creative ideas flowing:

1) Confetti Envelope

This is a super-easy project anyone can do. Using a new pencil eraser and either ink or paint, you can create a celebratory explosion of confetti!
Postmark'd Studio Happy Birthday Confetti Envelope

2) Cupcake Envelope

This is a simple sketch of a cupcake (of course always done in pencil first!) that turns an ordinary envelope into an extraordinary gift. You could add pencil eraser confetti to put this piece of mail art over the top. I used this Draw with Me Challenge for a little inspiration to draw the cupcake.
Postmark'd Studio Happy Birthday Cupcake Envelope

Old School PostBox Spoiler

Postmark'd Studio Old School Special Delivery Box
September is traditionally back-to-school time, and that means pencils! At Postmark’d Studio, the PostBox is going back to school … Old School.

$ave on 3-Month Subscription!

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$20 off a 3-Month Subscription!

Use code Newsletter20 at checkout

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Offer expires 9/30/17

Already a subscriber and want to take advantage of this offer? I can extend your subscription three additional months.

I had a photo shoot for the October and November PostBoxes last week, and they are amazing, according to me! I want to share the wonderfulness of each box with all of you.

Pencil me a note. I would love to hear from you!

Anne

Signed, Sealed, Q Delivered!

î Well, Hello! Summer is flying by. It seems like just yesterday I was returning from our Italian adventure. While in Italy, my love and passion for sealing wax on envelopes was reignited during a visit to una cartoleria (a stationery shop).

The use of wax seals dates to the Old Testament. The seal had two purposes:

1) It was a stamp of indisputable authenticity, like a signature.

2) Envelopes and documents were secured by a wax seal; a broken seal implied a breach of security.

During this time, almost everyone had their own seal, known as their Mark of Distinction. The seal was considered of high value. It was common practice to destroy a person’s seal upon their death.

A gold signet ring was a popular portable Mark of Distinction starting in the 17th century. In the 18th century, the signet ring (or fob signet for ladies) became more widely used to seal letters, even those of a lighthearted personal nature.

As literacy spread, seals were used less frequently. With the introduction of the gummed envelope in the 19th century, seals became more of a personal expression and decorative embellishment.

Letter-Writing SealIn her book Snail Mail (available at Chronicle Books and Amazon), Michelle Mackintosh provides some great tips on making a homemade wax seal. I tried it, and the results were great!

What you’ll need:

  • hot glue gun or superglue
  • button with a raised design
  • wine cork
  • sealing wax
  • paper and envelopes

Step 1

Glue the back of the button to the base of the cork. If your button has a shank and it is getting in your way, use jewelry pliers to carefully flatten or remove.

Step 2

Place the seal in your freezer to chill before you seal your letter. A cold seal is most effective as the wax is less likely to stick to the seal and create a mess.

Step 3

Remove your chilled seal from the freezer. Light the sealing wax and as it begins to melt, positioning it so that it drips onto your paper or envelope.

Step 4

Once the melted wax is roughly the same size as your seal, snuff out the sealing wax and set aside. Resist the temptation to stamp immediately! Wait 15–20 seconds, making sure your seal is positioned to your liking before gently pressing it into the melted wax. Hold for a moment, then lift the seal; it should come away easily if it was chilled for long enough.

Recycle-Upcycle: Envelope Liners

& I’m not sure if Recycling Day triggered this post, but recycling-upcycling has been on my mind today.

As a lover of paper, almost my favorite part of gift-giving is the wrapping: picking out the perfect paper and making sure it coordinates with the gift itself. Just ask my one and only how much he enjoys shopping with me for wrapping paper. I think he would almost rather do anything else!

How many of us had a grandmother, aunt, or mom who admired the beautiful wrapping on a gift, carefully unwrapped it, and saved it? I have fond memories of my grandmother carefully unwrapping her gift and then carefully folding the paper—or even asking us to carefully unwrap our gifts so she could save the paper.

Envelope lining is a perfect way to recycle-upcycle those beautiful bits and pieces of favorite wrapping paper, whether you bought it yourself or received it on a special gift. It is so easy to do, and what a perfect way to wrap the gift of a handwritten note!

    Envelope Liners, Step 1

  1. Use the envelope to trace on the backside of the liner paper of your choice. You can find plenty of sites where you can download free templates.

  2. Envelope Liners, Step 2

  3. Cut the liner.

  4. Envelope Liners, Step 3

  5. Trim the sides 1/8″, and trim the bottom the width of the glue band on the flap (the envelope flap used in the photo has a 3/8″ glue band).

  6. Envelope Liners, Step 4

  7. Insert the liner into the envelope and crease the flap.

  8. Envelope Liners, Step 5

  9. Place a small strip of double-sided tape at either edge of the liner.

  10. Envelope Liners, Step 6

  11. Secure to the envelope.

  12. Envelope Liners, Step 7

Envelope liners can be made from almost any paper: scrapbooking paper, wallpaper, book pages, and maps—anything printed that you don’t mind cutting up!

Hint: If you use a textured paper to line your envelope, be sure to address the envelope before inserting the liner into the envelope.

Have fun and get creative!

Anne

We would be honored to have you as a founding member of Postmark’d Studio. There are still a few of July’s PostBoxes available. Order by 11:59 PST on June 30, and it will ship on July 5!

Notes from S National Stationery Show: New York City

Once-a-Year Experience

Smith-Corona Typewriter with Postmark'd Studio Envelope and Postmark'd Studio Box on Art Books in BackgroundÏ As a first-time attendee, I put my super-organizer hat on and prepared as best I could prior to departing for the show. I reviewed the list of 800+ exhibitors and narrowed it down to a manageable list of 161 exhibits to visit over three days.

When I did the math, I quickly realized this was going to be impossible. I would have had to visit 53.6 vendors each day, which equated to spending approximately 8.5 minutes per vendor with no lunch, no breaks.

Plan B: Slow down, smell the roses, and enjoy the show!

My absurd planning paid off. I left NYC with precisely what I wanted—making connections with vendors, seeing a colossal assortment of greeting cards and lifestyle gifts, and gleaning so much inspiration. I cannot wait to present you with the best of best in your subscription box every month, delivered to your door.

Bonus: A balance of six cents on my Metro card—no better planning than that!

Memorable Highlight

Sponsored by the Greeting Card Association, the 28th annual Louie Awards—the stationery biz equivalent to the Oscars, Grammys, and Academy Awards all rolled together—are a big part of the show. This year’s theme, A Universe of Wonders, celebrated the brightest stars in the stationery industry. As many as 230 companies submitted entries spanning 61 categories.

News Flash: A “Blue Ribbon” Special Delivery Box may well be in the works!

Check out some of their amazing cards here.

Open Postmark'd Studio Box with Stacked Boxes in Background

Education @ the NSS

I learned about resources from a color expert so I can ensure every Postmark’d Studio box you receive is on trend or even ahead of the curve. What a joy it was to be in the same room at the same time with an extraordinary panel of top women retailers and makers sharing their heartfelt stories. This experience gave everyone in the room a renewed confidence, whether they had been in the business for six months or three decades.

Report Card: Learning never gets old or goes out of style!

I’m Already Thinking About Next Year’s Show

The NSS is considered the prettiest trade show, and I concur. As I walked the aisles of the show, I was energized by the community of warm and welcoming vendors and attendees. The creativity evident in the products and the beautiful displays awash in color were inspiring and almost overwhelming. It was hard not to get distracted by the abundance of “shiny objects” at every turn.

To-Do: Block calendar May 20–23, 2018

5 Steps to a Letter-Writing Habit

M We probably all start our days with a must-do list of mundane tasks rather than a cannot-wait to-do list of passionate pleasures. What if we could get into a habit of letter-writing that falls onto our cannot-wait list?

Here are a few hints to help make letter-writing your superpower!

1) Make It Easy

Keep your cards, pens, and stamps on hand. Keep them together where you are most likely to write. Carry a few cards with you, so if the moment strikes, you can write a note!

Postmark'd Studio Bag, Envelope, Pencils, Stamps, and Candy

2) Start Small

Don’t let the word “letter” overwhelm you. Letters do not have to be pages long. Use a beautiful postcard, write what you would convey in a text, send a favorite quote, or use a fun pun like, “We should ‘stick’ together!”

Cactus Card and Cactus

3) Hone in to Holidays

Birthdays happen every month. Inspire yourself during the month of May to send birthday wishes via snail mail to your friends and family instead of on social media. Think of it as sending a special heartfelt gift!

Happy Birthday Cards and Candles

4) Do It Your Way

When and where you write is up to you! Do you like to write before you start your hectic day, or would you rather pause mid-day and recharge with a 10-minute letter-writing break—or on the go in a coffee shop?

Anne Breck Writing Card

5) Make It Fun

What makes you look forward to mailing your note? Knowing you have chosen a beautiful or funny handcrafted card, sharing moments of your days, or turning the envelope into a work of art? Any one of these will make the receiver smile. That’s the power of a personal note.

Pink and Purple Envelopes with Garden Illustrations

Postmark'd Studio Logo

Letter-Writing Challenge

We had April’s Letter-Writing Challenge—30 letters in 30 days—to get some good habits started. If you participated, I am sure you are on your way to creating a strong letter-writing habit. If you haven’t started your journey yet, it’s not too late to discover your superpower!

Share your letter-writing superpower with us on our Facebook Page or Instagram. Don’t forget to use the tag #letterwritingismysuperpower.