Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Month of Letters 2014 - Let the Missives Begin

It is February 1st, do you know where your letter writing supplies are? I know my stationary, stamps, postcards, and address book are all within reach while sitting at my desk. I am ready to begin the A Month of Letters Challenge. I introduced you to LetterMo last year, as the brainchild of Mary Robinette Kowal. It began as a challenge to herself to back off of social media and focus on a slower form of communication with friends and family. According to It’s International Correspondence Writing Month, letter writing is “vintage social media". I think that is a great line. I loved participating last year, sending 112 pieces of mail during the month, wow. I wonder how I will do this year?

To participate along with me, go to the LetterMo website and register. Then log your mail each day, try some of the challenges, meet a new pen pal, or just chat about letter writing on the forums. You might also check out the Month of Letters page on Facebook.

To get you all in the mood for letter writing I thought I would share photos of mailboxes around Disneyland. I spent one morning walking the whole park looking for mailboxes. I missed a few in Toontown, it wasn't open yet. Disneyland used to have it's own postmark. I wonder if they still do? I might have to put something in one of the boxes just to see how it comes back to me.

Please don't put off participating in A Month of Letters because you don't think you can write 23 LONG letters. You really don't have to make them long, a few thoughtful words in a card are more than enough to make someone smile. So often we only get "real" mail at Christmas, our birthday, or Mother's Day. Why not break that cycle? Come join me spreading a little postal joy.
Off to register the five pieces of correspondence I sent today. I will leave you with the video that seems to have spread like wildfire the past few weeks. I just know that this kitty loves his daily game with the postman. I am kind of glad I don't have a mail slot, or this might be a video of my cat.
Cat vs Mail  It made me laugh, I hope it brings a smile to your lips too.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quilting and Celebrations

This weekend seemed to be about quilts one way or another. We spent Saturday at our favorite quilt show, "Road to California" in Ontario, CA. There is always so much to take in and study. My ever supportive hubby went with me/ We have learned from our many trips to Disneyland (yes, this is a tangent - but stick with me) that the first hour is quiet, easy to get photos or go on rides. Dear hubby applied that lesson to our day at the show. We arrived early, were one of the first into the show area, and had many of the quilts to ourselves. Makes it so much nicer when you can actually spend time looking at details and handy work.

First up, another beautiful painted and stitched piece from one of my favorite artists and teachers, Patt Blair. I love studying her stitching on her quilts. They add so much of the detail.

We kept coming back to the dragon and his foe. He was quite beautiful. Her details were incredible.

This was one of the first quilts you would see as you came in the door. It was a big winner. The color and quilting technique was amazing. But this is not the side that you see first.

This was the first sight you were greeted with. The back of the quilt, which show cased amazing quilting, beading and crystal work.

I don't remember how many times we came back to study something about this quilt but it was quite a few. Every time we would find something else to oooh and ahhhh. My favorite is the variation on a Migrating Geese Border. I really have to figure out this one.

The show entries and even the vendor booths were inspiring. I came home excited to get back into my sewing room. I have finally convinced myself I need to bite the bullet and just start stitching my Sea Dragon I created in Patt's class.

Today, we celebrated  a first birthday with friends and family. Miss BL received a hanging height chart from me. Yes, I did cheat a bit by buying an adorable panel, layering it, quilting, and adding a bit to hang from.

I hope you all have something fun to celebrate this week. Find inspiration to create something.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book of Notes and Christmas Tea

Over the past two years I have been following the lovely Danni, and her blog "oh, hello friend: you are loved." One of her posts talked about creating a "Book of Notes." I found them intriguing, but I could never find much info on what these actually are. Then last year Danni and her husband opened a shop near me. It is a wonderful place, full of all sorts of goodies, many of which could be used in letter writing.

Opening Day, Oh Hello Friend. This is Danni welcoming her first visitors.

Danni recently started offering classes at her shop. So, naturally I signed up for the Book of Notes class. Danni is a wonderful, generous teacher. She is quick to help and praise those of us a bit unsure of what we are doing.
So on to a Book of Notes. All of my Book of Notes have started with 2 sheets of white card stock (8.5" x 11") folded in half, making two 5.5" x 8.5"halves. The two full sheets were stitched down the middle with a jeans needle on my sewing machine. Then to begin adding contents. The photos I show you next are photos of the Book of Notes I made in Danni's class.

Each page had various types of stationary, tags, stickers, gifts, and washi tape added.
Pages 1 and 2, with tag notes, a heart shaped sparkler, and a fun little note capsule.

Note capsule in glassine envelope. The plastic capsule has a very small note rolled up and tucked inside.

Small note card inside an envelope.

Page 3 and 4, more notes, cards, letters, and fun.

Pages 5 and 6, A few more notes, a greeting card, and a Fortune Telling Fish, for fun. That is me in the picture, holding the sparkler I sent my friend.

Envelope, ready to send.
After my friend received I learned a valuable lesson. When sending a Book of Notes, especially those with items like sparklers, capsules, and lollipops use a bubble wrap envelope. She opened the envelope to find powdered sparkler and crushed capsule and candy. Oh well, she still enjoyed it. I loved making this one so much, I had to make more. I made six more for Christmas. These Book of Notes were for 5 of my closest high school friends, and myself. We have known each other 35+ years.

But the notes were only part of the fun this time around. I have really wanted to get everyone back together, but we live in 3 different states. Only one of us is still in our hometown. I have had fun writing letters to each of these wonderful ladies for many years. I took an idea I had read about at Letter Matters, a "Virtual Tea," and made it work for us, but not all of us had stayed in touch in the same way. I wanted this whole idea to be a bit of a surprise, so I started by sending a private message to each friend asking if they could be available online on the specified date, no questions asked. Each answered yes, so the plan was set in motion. I created the Book of Notes with a group letter, explaining my idea, along with the invitation.

The rest of the pages were pictures of the group, and individual shots that represented various memories, such as weddings... Each Book of Notes also contained a personal note from me to the recipient.

Each Book of Notes was placed in a box, with a fun Alice in Wonderland tea cup and saucer, cookies, sweets, and several types of tea, hot chocolate, and coffee.

I made cloth napkins to make the set up even more special. The Book of Notes was laid in a place of honor, on top of all the goodies, packed up, and shipping them off. I had a great deal of fun creating this whole thing and kept my fingers crossed, that my friends would also enjoy my idea. You see, I added to the original idea I had read about, an online discussion with all the gang. As the boxes arrived I received all sorts of happy remarks. And a request for a second cup set so that a daughter did not steal my friend's cup. The night of our virtual tea, we all met up online, with our tea and treats.
My tea that night included Trader Joe's Decaf Candy Cane Green Tea, and a variety of Christmas Cookies.

We typed away, chatting over one another, just like old times. 2 + hours later, those farthest east had to call it a night, and we slowly logged off, with the promise to do it again soon. We are talking about doing a Skype this time. I am so glad I read Mrs. Duffy's post about the long distance tea. It was a well received Christmas gift that we all will remember for a long time. Consider "having" tea with someone soon. If you can't afford sending the cups and goodies, add a tea bag or two to a letter to someone special. That way they can enjoy a nice cuppa "with you" while reading your letter.