Archive for Letter-Writing

365 Days in the Blink of an Eye!

Happy Birthday Card>On June 1, Postmark’d Studio reached a milestone! It turned one year old! 365 of the best days. The year has flown by, and I have loved every minute of running this little business. Oh, it has been plenty full of challenges, but connecting with so many wonderful snail mail enthusiasts has been delightful! I feel so fortunate to be doing what I love, and the joy of connecting with you—from makers to subscribers to followers—has made this journey even more special.

Cheers to the next 365 days ahead, but most importantly, to savoring today and looking forward to tomorrow as we discover cool and modern ways to connect with snail mail!

Anne


Mailbox with Pink FenceSpeaking of 365 days, I want to introduce you to a wonderful friend I met this past year through Instagram: Rebecca Wilson. Rebecca has a blog called Touch and Go Paper, where her aim is to connect readers with some of the best paper and stationery shops with a bit of wanderlust inspiration tossed in. Her secret ambition is to one day open a stationery shop!

Take a look at @rbccawilson and @touchandgopaper on Instagram—you’ll love her feed.

Enjoy my conversation with Rebecca about her 365 days of a letter-writing journey.

Anne: On February 1, 2018, you set upon a challenge of sending 365 letters in 365 days. What made you decide to take on this letter writing challenge?

Rebecca: I first became intrigued by a 365 letter-writing challenge when I saw how @devotediarist on Instagram had completed one. I had participated in Write_On’s 30 letters in 30 days for National Letter Writing Month twice, so I decided I was ready for a bigger challenge.

Anne: To date, you have sent 120 letters! How do you keep yourself inspired and motivated?

Rebecca: As of now, I’m a little behind on my letters, actually, but I’m doing my best to enjoy the process. Every time I feel like giving up, I just sit down and crank out a happy pile of mail, and I keep going. Inspiration is easy with an Instagram feed full of fellow snail mailers who are crafty with their envelopes.

Anne: I am not sure I know 120 friends/family! Who do you write to?

Rebecca: I write to basically everyone and anyone, though mostly friends and family. One of my recent letters was a thank-you note to someone who works in PR for a sunglasses company. She brought sunglasses to the office, and everyone got a free pair! It’s easy to find people to write to when you think of the little things.

Anne: Do you have pen pals? Are you looking for new pals?

Rebecca: I would say I have one dedicated pen pal, and I’m working on a couple others. I have a lot of friends whom I try to reach out to and keep in touch with on a regular basis. And I’m always looking for new pen pals!

Anne: Do you have a close group of friends and family you write to every week?

Rebecca: I would say I have a group of about 10 people I write to regularly but not every week—maybe at least twice a month.

Anne: Who is the most unusual person you have written to?

Rebecca: I can’t say I’ve written to anyone unusual. However, one of my favorite things to do is find college acquaintances—people I barely knew whom I maybe had one class with—and ask for their addresses. It’s fun getting to know people that you barely had a conversation with but who you have maybe admired from afar through mail.

Anne: Do folks write you back?

Rebecca: I’ve been keeping track of responses during my 365 letter-writing journey, and so far I have about a 28% response rate.

Anne: Where is your favorite spot to write?

Rebecca: I’d say 99.9% of the time I’m writing from my desk in my apartment. It’s convenient because I have everything I need within reach—markers, stickers, washi tape, stamps.

Anne: What’s in your tote bag/writing kit?

Rebecca: I have a box full of sharpies as well as washi tape, a pile of stickers, and a humble rubber stamp collection.

Anne: What item would you be lost without?

Rebecca: The common denominators between most of my letters are a pencil and large eraser for creating pretty envelopes. Those are my necessities.

Anne: What person, dead or alive, would you send an invite to dinner?

Rebecca: Thomas Jefferson has always been my go-to historical figure that I’d like to invite to dinner. Mostly because he was a fellow redhead.

Anne: And would that dinner invitation count as a letter?

Rebecca: I count anything that has a thoughtful message longer than “Happy Birthday” as a letter, so yes!

Anne: What has been the most rewarding experience of your 365 letters in 365 days challenge?

Rebecca: Even though I’m often off-pace when it comes to numbers, I keep going, and that journey has been rewarding. Also, it’s always fun to write to new people and see if we click as pen pals.

Anne: Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! You have inspired me to think about taking this challenge on; look out, 2019! I wish you joy and happiness as you continue on your letter-writing journey!


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Make noteworthy gestures of kindness commonplace.

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Will Your Letter Spark a Bond?

US Flag Waving in Wind May is National Military Appreciation Month. Somehow, some way, all our lives are touched by someone who has served or is currently serving in a branch of the US Military. This month, I would like to highlight A Million Thanks. The goal of A Million Thanks is to provide support to service members and their families for as long as the United States has a military. This organization was started in 2004 by then–15-year-old Shauna Fleming with the goal of sending 1,000,000 letters of thanks and appreciation to US Military serving overseas. To date, A Million Thanks has distributed nearly 10,000,000 letters to US troops stationed around the world.

A letter can be so powerful. A note penned as a simple thank-you can turn into so much more for both the sender and receiver. I don’t know about you, but I just love to read about pen pal stories that evolve beyond that first letter!

I adore the story about Rachel, an elementary teacher whose goal was to improve her students’ communication skills through letter-writing to soldiers and who wound up with the pen pal of her dreams. Another favorite of mine is Jen. Her letter—out of hundreds anonymously sent through a community service project to soldiers serving overseas—landed in the hands of her now-husband Jeffrey. You can’t help but admire Sophie, a second-grader who turned her class assignment into a letter friendship that resulted in a trip to meet her pen pal in person. Livi’s story gives me chills every time I read it. When a friend was concerned a staff sergeant serving overseas did not get enough contact from home because he had few family members, Livi sent an email that ended many letters later with them falling in love.

I am in awe of the military correspondence stories of friendship and love that grow from a simple letter. Not all letters turn into stories, but remember that feeling when you open your mailbox and see a handwritten letter. It’s the same for those serving in our military branches when they receive your letters of thanks and appreciation. Take a chance, check out A Million Thanks. Maybe your letter will spark a bond.

Anne

Make noteworthy gestures of kindness commonplace.


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The Best Month of the Year!

A Did you know April is the best month of the year? Why? The promise of spring, my birthday (oh yay!), and National Letter Writing Month!

April Is National Letter Writing Month

You may be thinking, “Hey, didn’t we just do this in February?” Well, yes, but April is the real McCoy. In 2001, the USPS declared April National Card and Letter Writing Month in an effort to bring awareness to the value and historical significance of card- and letter-writing.

I love this story about the Goucher College Class of 1903 and the women who initiated the Round Robin. These women wanted to keep in touch with each other after they had graduated, so they began by having one person write a letter to the whole group. That letter would be sent to another group member, who would then write her own letter to the group and put in in with the other letter, sending it off to the next member. This let each member read the news of others and add her news to the chain. Sometimes it took more than a year for the letters to circulate through the entire group! The Round Robin project lasted over 50 years. A Round Robin would be a fun experiment to try anytime, but especially during April to celebrate National Letter Writing Month!

Not sure about a Round Robin? Don’t worry, there are so many other ways to share the joy of sending and receiving letters. I have put together 30 ideas, in no particular order, and I am sure you all have many more to share. I’d love to hear them!

  1. Skip the FB Happy Birthday messages and send real cards!
  2. Write a postcard instead of a text.
  3. Send your favorite recipe to a fellow cook.
  4. Decorate an envelope.
  5. Share a book recommendation.
  6. Host a letter-writing social at a local coffee shop, bookstore, or (better yet) a bar!
  7. Send a letter to your sibling on National Sibling Day (4/10).
  8. Thank someone in the military for their service.
  9. Share the best movie you’ve seen all year.
  10. Encourage a friend who’s having a tough time.
  11. Have your pet send a note to their best pet friend.
  12. Try a game—with a friend! You start and wait for the next move to be sent back.
  13. Congratulate someone on an achievement, big or small.
  14. Send an old photo and reminisce about the time, place, or funny fashion.
  15. Write a letter to yourself!
  16. Send a belated thank-you note. It’s never too late.
  17. Kids love mail.
  18. Celebrate an obscure holiday like National Grilled Cheese Day on 4/12!
  19. Invite a friend to join you for coffee.
  20. Write a neighbor to let them know how much you enjoy their garden, tree, or them!
  21. Connect with someone who is not on Facebook.
  22. Try an experiment. See what the USPS will let you send. A frisbee? Beach ball? Message in a bottle?
  23. Write your representative in the Senate or Congress.
  24. Share your card stash.
  25. Give your mail carrier a card.
  26. Thank a mentor, teacher, coach, or old boss who taught you something special.
  27. Send a fan letter. It doesn’t have to be someone famous!
  28. Share a moment with someone you can’t visit in person.
  29. Write to an elderly person, related or not!
  30. Join the Write_On challenge and send 30 letters in 30 days.

Join Our Letter-Writing Social!

Tuesday, April 10, @ 6:30 pm

Postmark’d Studio will be hosting a letter-writing social at Rebel Heart Books in Jacksonville, Oregon. If you are in the area, stop in and join us!

Seize the month! Gather your paper goodies; organize your pen cup; and pull together your stamps, washi tape, and stickers and start sending—because nothing cultivates a romance, nurtures a friendship, or helps us stay connected like a handwritten card or letter!

Let’s get ready to write!

Anne

Snail Mail Savings!


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20% off All Special Delivery Boxes!

In tribute to National Letter Writing Month, ALL our Special Delivery Boxes will be 20% off! Use the code APRIL at checkout.

Offer expires 4/30/18

Interested in our referral program? Reach out to hello@postmarkdstudio.com, and we would love to share the details!


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Partial to Postcards

p Do you know why I always include a postcard or two in our PostBox every month?

Postmark'd Studio Box of PostcardsI love postcards! In the midst of our current downsizing move, I came across my postcard collection from when I was young. I actually thought it had been tossed in a previous move. What a blast it was to reminisce and read through them again. There were postcards from my parents, grandparents, siblings, and now-lost pen pals.

Raise your hand if you collected postcards when you were young! Raise your other hand if you still tuck them away!! And stand up tall if you still send a postcard or two when you are traveling!!!

I am an avid fan of the Postcrossing project, which Paulo Magalhaes founded in 2005 as a side project while he was a student in Portugal. Paulo loves to receive mail—postcards in particular—from friends, family, or anyone in the world. He knew others did, too, but there was no easy way to connect. That’s when he hatched the idea of an online platform.

The goal of this project is to connect people across the world through postcards, independent of country, age, gender, race, or beliefs. The idea is simple: for each postcard you send, you receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.

Enjoy the journey of meeting new people through the magic of postcards!

Let’s make March Postcard Month! Can you send 5, 10, or even 30 postcards?

Happy mailing,

Anne


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Snail-Mail Revolution

Did you know that just one year ago I was in the infancy stages of developing Postmark’d Studio and the snail-mail revolution? The journey has been surreal—a dream come true! My goal for 2018 is to reach subscribers in every state!

The March PostBox will ship to 21 states! Only 29 more to go! Yay!

Postmark'd Studio Snail-Mail Revolution Map

We so appreciate your support in getting us to our goal in 2018! Spread the word about our funky, fun little snail-mail company with all the paper-lovers you know!

Interested in our referral program? Reach out to hello@postmarkdstudio.com, and we would love to share the details!


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Share your love of letter-writing using the hashtag #lettersmakeeverythingbetter

February: A Month of Letters Challenge

Pretty Mailboxesà In September 2010, Mary Robinette Kowal turned off her Internet access for 30 days and only corresponded via letters and postcards. It was life-changing. In February 2011, she launched the Month of Letters Challenge. It grew bigger than she ever imagined and is going strong seven Februaries later.

It’s a simple challenge with two parts:

  1. In the month of February, send at least one item through the mail every day it runs. Write a postcard or letter or just send a picture, newspaper clipping, or anything that fits in an envelope.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes you.

The commitment is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday in the month of February. You get to take those days off!

Send a Valentine, write a love letter or thank-you note, mail a birthday card, or simply jot off a note to say you miss an old friend. Share a piece of yarn from a new project, a feather you picked up while on a walk, a gift card for a cup of coffee. Whatever it is, step away from the hustle of the digital world and imagine the delight of sending and receiving handwritten notes. Think of it as sending 23 little gifts.

Sign up to become a member here. There are challenges, journals, quests, and badges (and who doesn’t like badges?).

We would love to hear from you if you take on the challenge; make Postmark’d Studio your 23rd note!

Postmark’d Studio
620 Woodlark Drive
Medford, OR 97501

Have fun, and enjoy your February letter-writing journey!

Anne


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Postmark’d Studio Snail-Mail Tip

At Postmark’d Studio, choosing the stamps for each month’s theme is an absolute blast. We try to feature plenty of variety, which results in single stamps that can sometimes be difficult to remove from the adhesive backing. We’ve had several subscribers reach out with this very question, so here is a little video of a solution that works for us.


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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!

Newsletter Special

Sign up for or upgrade to a 6-month subscription plan and get the seventh month FREE!

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!

If you have not yet subscribed, I want to you offer you:

$20 off a 3-Month Subscription!

Use code Newsletter20 at checkout

Click here for our 3-Month PostBox

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!

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.