"Go to Your Studio and Make Stuff" Fred Babb

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mail Art and Penpals

Well, here I am, still enamored with creating mail art.  I've started working on Valentines to send.

I'm making my own envelopes out of a roll of brown Kraft paper that I got at a garage sale years ago.  I love recycling and being able to make something that I normally would have to go out and buy.

I'm cutting writing paper from odd sources of leftover paper.  I use only clean, unmarked pieces and trim it with a deckle edge scissors that I got at a craft shop.  (Trying to make it look a little pretty)

Then I draw something Valentine related on the outside of the envelopes with an ink pen and color in with colored pencils.  I may try using gouache paints.  Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint. It would hopefully hold up okay on this heavier paper.  Or acrylics. 

I'm also making Valentines on cardstock to stick in as well. But that's another post as I haven't finished those yet.  

I've discovered there are quite a few places online to find a penpal.  Of course, some are not particularly comfortable feeling - like those that have turned into a dating site.  But there are a couple of places where I've been comfortable finding a suitable pen friend.

 Letter Writers Alliance does have a one time $5 fee.

 Swapbot is a bunch of crafters that like to swap everything from letters to handmade items to favorite quotes.  It's free and there's tons of swaps to choose from.  

 Postcrossing is just plain fun!  You sign up and send out up to 5 postcards to the addresses that the site assigns to you.  Then you'll receive up to 5 postcards from somewhere in the world - you won't know from where until you receive them.  It's free. 

I've also found a few penpals from posting my hobby of letter writing on my Instagram account.  These fellow gardeners have been followers for a couple of years and I've come to know them and feel comfortable exchanging addresses.

You can always get a post office box and that way there are no worries about giving out your home address.  And of course, you have to use discretion and common sense about who you choose to correspond with.  No, thank you is perfectly acceptable.  Most sites take care to keep your address private and usually you ask by sending a private email to a person you're interested in being penpals with.  

There are plenty of sites, I haven't explored many of them and quite a few seem to have a lot of teenagers.  There's also a site on Tumblr that I haven't looked at, but sounds interesting called Handwritten Inspiration.  It allows people to send a card or letter to someone who is feeling lonely or depressed in hopes that it will brighten their mood.  The site might be a couple of years old, but I'm sure there are other like it.  It's something I will be exploring!  

I absolutely love getting mail again, and maybe I'm a bit overenthusiastic, but it's been years - and I mean years since I've looked forward to going to the mailbox.  And I've met some very nice people all over the world that are feeling the same way...happiness at getting the mail!  



daisy g said...

How fun! I do enjoy writing an old-fashioned letter or note.

Janice Taylor said...

Lynn, that's so cool! I was in 9th grade when I last had a penpal, and she and I were always in a state of commiseration over our 'lost loves' (LOL). It will be a absolute treat for anyone receiving your beautifully embellished stationery. _Janice

Lynn McIntosh said...

Hi Daisy and Janice! Thanks so much for looking at my art blog and for your very nice comments! I remember when I was thrilled to go to the mailbox and find letters from friends and relatives. And then there were all the freebies and samples that companies used to send. All I've gotten for the last decade is bills until now, lol! I hope this post inspires a few people to write again - who knows! :)