Archive for Arts and Crafts

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

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