mail

Mail | Sent


Here are a few pictures of some mail I've sent out recently. I don't get a chance to send out much mail for fun these days. The image above was a commissioned piece for a little girl's room that I finished up a couple of weeks ago. Would you like to know how long the illustration took to paint? I'm going to estimate 20 hours, but I really think it could have been longer. My eyes will never be the same! 

I decided that it was time to send my friend Pip a little parcel of goodies. She lives on a tiny island at the bottom of New Zealand and I sent her some chocolate, my favourite tea, a bracelet, a tea towel, some Body Shop moisturiser and a little letter.

My friend Mary is doing a fun puzzle piece art project at the moment which she asked me to be involved in. She sent me a large blank puzzle piece and I decorated it and sent it back. Unfortunately I lost the SD card for my camera for a short while, so these photos were all taken with my iPhone (which I desperately need to upgrade). 

I really love sending mail. I started my blog waaaaaay back in 2009 to document my life at the time, which mostly revolved around sending out a huge amount of mail. It is something I always enjoy revisiting.

Mail Tag

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When I was in high school I started playing a little game called Mail Tag. I was inspired by a great little Canadian TV show called

Our Hero

- Kale and her friend Gordon would send postcards to each other and request something of each other - usually it was pretty abstract.

I played Mail Tag with several friends in the mid 2000s and we would send each other letters with requests to respond to creatively. My friend Doug and I got a bit obsessed and would be sending something back and forth to each other every day or so. It was great fun.

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In 2009 I wrote up some rules for it that people could print out.

I wrote a lot of letters and played a lot of Mail Tag. It is a really nice getting-to-know-you kind of game and can often be quite exciting and challenging filling people's requests.

Though letter writing and Mail Tag have taken a backseat for me these days, other people keep it going (the #mailtag hashtag on Instagram has over 2000 posts) and it is so lovely to see that it has caught on and makes people happy and helps to keep the mail flowing.

I thought it was time that I redid those rules and made a nice new printable for them. I started making a new printable and then I thought, why not just make

a whole website for it

! It was really fun to make and I am still thinking of things I might add to it.

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The website has info about how to play Mail Tag, links and printables and my favourite part is this 'Random Mail Tag Request Generator' button. Clicking on it will provide you with a whole bunch of ideas for what to ask penpals.

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Here are the printables I made. Feel free to download, print and share them. If you click on the images it will take you to a bigger version of them to download and print.

I also thought it would be fun to make a 'Penpal Survey'.

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sent me one of hers once and I really liked the format. Sometimes it is nice to let that kind of information flow naturally through letters, but knowing some of the essential details can be good too and a great starting point for future conversations through letters.

Printable | Mandala Mail

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One of my zine idols, Vanessa Berry, asked me if I'd like to do a supermarket themed zine swap and I decorated this envelope to send my zine in. I am still going to sell a few copies of the zine but have decided to add a bit more to it and should have it finished by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

I thought I'd make a printable envelope based on the one above, so here it is.
Feel free to download it and print it and post it!

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I recommend printing it onto thin card stock, using a bone folder to make nice clean creases in the card stock and fastening the side tabs together with double sided tape or strong glue.

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You can access other free printable things I've made here.

Mail | Outgoing

A postcard for Maria
+ A hand-painted postcard on a piece of cardboard for a lovely lady named Maria.

A letter to Kate
+ A little letter for Kate. I love cutting out the letters of words and sticking patterned paper behind them.

A package for Mary
+ A package for the fantastic Miss Mary. I can't wait for her to receive this package. She has sent me many lovely things in the past and is such a sweet person. I hope she likes the contents! Also, it never fails to amuse me that Mary lives in Maryland.

A postcard for Monica
+ A painted canvas postcard for a sweet lady named Monica.

Remember when I used to send lots of mail? I really enjoyed it - it was a good time in my life and it made me be creative every day and I think about it fondly. However, I know I can never return to letter writing in that way again (writing 10+ letters per week) - it was a bit like a full time job and I didn't have a job at the time, so it kind of was my full time job! Very occasionally I still send a postcard or letter, but I don't put any pressure on myself to write them. Sending and receiving so much mail was (often wonderfully) overwhelming and it has taken me a long time to get back to wanting to send mail again. I see lots of lovely blogs about mail popping up (like Letter Loves) and it makes me happy to think about the wonderful correspondence they are having with people that they've never met, who live in other parts of the world. I loved playing mail tag - it was a game that I started based on a really great TV show called Our Hero and there are lots of people out there still playing it. Writing letters really made me feel more aware of the world - of the differences and similarities between places and people (and I am so much better at geography now). It gave me a social outlet when I was quite antisocial. There are some people I've written to (like Missive Maven) who I felt like were total kindred spirits. Letter writing is wonderful and so enjoyable and one day when I have more time I'd like to write regularly to half a dozen people (at one point when I was writing letters I had a backlog of over 100 letters to respond to). I still receive beautiful mail and when I can, I like to try to at least make a fun postcard to send back to people who write me ridiculously kind things (like Monica in Chicago) or send me ridiculously lovely things (like Maria in the UK). If you've sent me something and I've not responded, I do apologise - life at the moment is not very conducive to letter writing, but I really appreciate each lovely epistle that has been sent my way.
Who was the last person you wrote a letter to?

Mail | Outgoing

I thought I'd share some photos of a couple of items of mail I've posted recently. I don't send much mail any more, so I'm trying to concentrate on quality over quantity; writing to a couple of established penpals once every couple of months.

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A little letter for lovely Adeline. For the envelope, I cut the letters of her name out of cardboard and put different coloured paper behind each letter. The card was a fun, quick collage.

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I sent Ann-Marie a very overdue letter, some mix CDs, a paper pack that she kindly purchased from my shop and a painted canvas square sent as a makeshift postcard.

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Two hand painted canvas postcards for two ridiculously generous bloggers that sent me little packages over the last few weeks - I am so grateful. I am still obsessed with these little canvases!