Friday, 11 March 2016

Envelopes -- The Jane Austen Way

In a letter to her sister, Cassandra, Jane Austen wrote, 
I have now
attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth. 

Too often our words are stilted. We write politely, yet if the receiver couldn't see our return address or signature, they wouldn't know who wrote it. 

3 Ways You Can Shine through Your Letters

1. Write in the same voice in which you speak.

I wouldn't expect my friend Janene to write a letter that wasn't peppered with exclamation points. Whatever happens in her life is told through her excitement or dread. If you give hugs freely, create an atmosphere of closeness. If you are matter-of-fact, write your letters with a matter-of-fact voice.

2. Use stationery to match your personality.

If I open a teacup or teapot notecard, I immediately think it's from my sister, Melodie. Her home is filled with china teacups -- glowing with the flame from tea lights, artfully arranged on her antique organ -- and tea pots filled with fresh flowers. 

In the same way, I have a friend who writes on notebook paper. I'd know who it was from from the notebook paper and safety envelope. And I love it just as much because it is a reflection of her personality.

3. Choose your writing instrument wisely.

My Aunt Judy had the most beautiful penmanship. I'd recognize the flair of her words anywhere. My sister writes with an accountant fine pen and you have to use a magnifying glass to read her words. (Well, almost.) My mother wrote her letters with a blue pen -- never a black one. My daughter, Melanie, heard that and will only use a blue pen "like Grandma." My daughter, Emily, uses all colors of Flair markers. 

Here are some tips for making envelopes the Jane Austen way.

1. I used the Dear Jane Stack from DCWV purchased at JoAnns. The papers are 12x12 so you can make almost any size envelope.

2. If you have an envelope style you like, take one apart and use it for a template.

3. Line an envelope by tracing the envelope, then cutting 1/4" inside your line. Use a tape runner to keep in place.  

4. If a graphic you want to use is close to an edge, choose a  template with thin side flaps. (The book background is a paper in the stack -- don't you love it?!!)  

5. Reread your favorite Austen book. Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, or one of her other classics, to put you in the mood for letter writing. 

6. Share a quote in the next letter you write:

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

My sore throats are always worse than anyone's. Jane Austen,  Persuasion

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TGI Saturday

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Just Add an Artist

In spite of the fact that my mother was an artist, I have trouble with the simplest stick figure.  When my oldest grandson was three, he asked me to draw a horse. When I showed it to him, I asked if it was okay.  "Yes," he said, "But it's not a horse."  

But... I was smart enough to marry an artist. In the days we held Vacation Bible Schools (up to 10 a summer), I would write my own material -- which meant we didn't have visuals. I would go to bed at night, leaving a list of what needed made, and wake up feeling like the Elves and the Shoemaker when I saw poster-sized visuals for my stories, verses, etc.  

Last summer someone I loved was going through a hard trial. Part of encouraging someone is making them smile, so I called for the help of my handsome artist. All of these designs can be found on Pinterest, and you can find many, many more.  

I apologize for the photo quality. I didn't intend to use them for blogging. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

DIY Envelopes By the Book

DIY Printed Envelopes

Postmarking Vellum Envelopes

If tearing up books is a crime to you, don't read any further. But to send a book leaf envelope to a book lover makes me smile. I couldn't cut up one of my favorite books, or one I read to my children, but I ran into a Goodwill and picked up a couple for 69 cents.

Evidently musicians don't like you tearing up their hymnals either, so I'm in the market for some old sheet music.  For now I just printed one off, but in my mind I envision a musician finding a yellowing piece of music in their mailbox.

Here are some fun places to find wannabe envelopes:

Children's coloring books
Old books
Old sheet music
Old calendars

I found a couple envelope templates on Pinterest (I'll link below) and printed them. You'll want to move the template around on the page a bit to get what part you want to see in the right place. Then just cut out and fold like we did in the DIY Printed Envelopes. Add glue and you're almost ready to use.

I'll be happy to give this to either one of my daughters...
I'm sure I'd get it back. 

The last step is to affix an address label. And guess what! It doesn't need to be in the middle like we were taught in school. (Gasp!) The post office will take them as long as the address is on the front. So take care to not obscure the picture.

Now you're ready to fill your envelopes full of encouragement! 

Envelope templates

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Postmarking Vellum Envelopes

Vellum envelopes! What's the best thing about them? They're transparent! I love to use them. Morgan used them for her Princess Valentine Letters. It was cute to see the valentines, heart stickers and hair bands show through the envelopes. 

First you need fun things that will look good showing through the vellumn...                                                                                                                                                                                               a Shine bright glitter notecard, a Sparkle coaster, a paper heart doily, a shoe charm and some sparkly stars.
Put them all in the envelope and seal. Attach an address label, a bit of washi tape, and weigh it.

Aha! It can be mailed with one stamp.

And then repeat!

...perfume bottle glitter note card, matching notebook, a tiny envelope hold-a-heart-shaped Scripture verse, paper doily, pink flower confetti, and a shoe charm. Leave the emery file off -- it wants to tear the envelope.  

Weigh it...

It's over one ounce -- so it needs an extra-ounce stamp.

You may prefer using white envelopes. I may have fun using a variety of them. Each way gives the same amount of encouragement. 

Remember, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” — Booker T. Washington

Monday, 7 March 2016

Week 9 Postmarks

DIY Printed Envelopes

British writer, Tom Hodgkinson, said, "Alongside my 'no email' policy, I resolve to make better use of the wonderful Royal Mail, and send letters and postcards to people. There is a huge pleasure in writing a letter, putting it in an envelope and sticking the stamp on it. And huge pleasure in receiving real letters, too."

Our Postmark Team has been feeling that pleasure of writing a letter or card, putting it in an envelope and sticking the stamp on it. We are getting reports back of the pleasure people are feeling when they get one of our cards. It's a ministry, but we have fun doing it.

Some of us on the team love to play with paper. Combining paper love with ministry love makes our hearts smile. This week I'll be showing some fun ways to make envelopes -- five of them, one concept a day. There are many envelopes out on the world wide web -- free for the printing.  I chose four of them (links below) and printed them out. 

Just cut on along the edge -- easy peasy. 

Fold on the lines and, using a tape runner, glue them together. 

It's that simple. Creative people get bored easily.  Faced with a whole box of 20 notes with plain white envelopes, we want something different. And here it is -- something different. 

This Heart of Mine These are adorable for children.
Snail Mail Magazine Stationary, too.

Linked to: Homemaking Party

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Gifts in an Envelope for Cancer Fighters

There is a word that strikes fear in every heart. We don’t want to hear it connected to our name, the name of a relative or a friend. Cancer is a word that devastates the most optimistic heart. It fills hearts with questions, doubt, uncertainty, denial, fear, and hopelessness.

We often wonder, What can I say? Because of fear of saying the wrong thing, so often the card we bought lays on our desk, eventually buried from putting other items on top of it. To encourage turning our intentions into action, here are five gifts to consider tucking into an envelope:

5 Gifts We Can Write to Cancer Fighters

1. Hope -- for healing here or in heaven

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

2. God’s Presence – even on the hard days

God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:5b-6).

3. Distraction – a funny story or a memory

A joyful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 24:22). You will never believe what I did at the grocery store today…

4. Love – both yours and God’s

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again (Jeremiah 31:3-4).

5. Rest – for the body and soul

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:1, 8). 

Acknowledge the long and tough battle ahead of them. Instead of a blanket, “I love you,” say, “I love your sense of humor,” or “I’ve always loved your beautiful smile.”

Bow your head over your card, whisper a Help me, God, and then write – even if it’s I’m so, so sorry.

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