Would you like free mail art to download?

It has been a while since I shared some mail art with you so I thought I would show you my latest attempt. This American mailbox themed mail art above took a couple of hours to do. I would like to do more mail art but lack of time often prevents me from doing so. 

This got me thinking that there may be other mail art makers/fans who also lack the time etc to make mail art to. So why not, I thought, offer my own mail art (new and old) to download for free? The downloads would be in the form of an envelope template with the mail art on the front that you could print off at home, cut out, assemble and send out. Would anybody be interested in downloadable mail art?

The first free mail art download I would like to offer as a download would be this UK letter box themed envelope above. The brown envelope would be left blank so you could write the address you want to send it to and put your own stamp on. Is this something you would like? Please let me know in the comments section below and I will get to work making it into a free download for you.

Here are a couple of my previous mail art envelopes that could also be available to download. Any preferences or suggestions you have for new pieces of envelope art are very welcome.

Thanks so much for the continued support of my blog, I am really looking forward to replying to any feedback you may have.

SHOPS OPEN! Update and discount code.

Hello dear blog followers! Sorry for being so quiet lately, I've been working away trying to get things ready for my Etsy shop. I have had to deal with a heap of obstacles both business wise and life wise along the way and I've learnt a lot of lessons to (some quite expensive ones!). I am so pleased to announce that my virtual shop doors are now finally open, yay. 

My shop is called Thoughtful Types and I will be selling a variety of stationery goods especially designed with snail mail enthusiasts and stationery fans in mind. My products will include; postcards, greeting cards, prints, writing sets, stickers and tote bags.

A lot of the products in the shop will be illustrated my myself. Here are some photos of my product designing process, this particular design below is now a letter writing set available to buy in my shop.

I start out by making a sketch with pencil which I then I scan to my laptop. I open up the scanned image in Photoshop and make any adjustments and clean up any mistakes or marks.

I added the colours digitally with this particular letter set (below) so that they were more vibrant and crisp.

Finally, I save my image and send the digital file to a professional printers in the UK to be printed. I then wait impatiently for my products to be ready. There we have it, that's my product design process. The finished letter writing set is in the photo below and available to buy now here

My Etsy shop has just opened and currently has a couple of postcards, a greeting card, letter writing set and sticker set for sale. I will be adding more products very soon. 

As a special thank you to all of you lovely blog followers I would like to offer you a 20% discount off any purchase in my shop Thoughtful Types. Just enter the discount code: HAPPYMAIL20 (expires 01/05/16) at the checkout. I welcome any feedback on my shop or blog so please don't hesitate to comment below or e-mail me. Have a lovely day!

Shop news and a giveaway

     A very Happy New Year to you! I hope that 2016 is a peaceful and joyous year for everyone. 

The start of a new year is often a time to set new resolutions and goals. Whilst I am hopeless at sticking to resolutions I do have a few goals this year that I am to determined to make happen. One of my goals is to start my own business. I have been working away on a new business idea for the last few months (hence the lack of blog posts here, sorry about that) and think it is time to share with you a bit about it.

I am a keen letter writer as you probably know, but often have trouble finding letter writing sets and stationery that I like and can afford. It occurred to me one day that I should perhaps turn my love of drawing and designing into a small online business selling the sort of stationery that I and hopefully others would love to use.

My aim is to sell paper goods that cater for my fellow snail mail/stationery enthusiasts. I will be selling my products through an Etsy store and they will include; postcards, greeting cards, letter writing sets, stickers and prints. Some of the items will be illustrated, some will have typography on and others will include photography.

I have been really excited about opening up my shop and have enjoyed getting it all ready. As I am nearing the open day though some nerves have started to creep in and I've been asking myself over and over "will anyone buy my products?", "am I designing the sort of products my potential customers will like?". I was about to let myself be consumed with self doubt when I remembered that I have you, my loyal, supportive, creative (and patient) blog followers.

I am guessing that you also like snail mail and stationery because you follow my blog and that's mainly what I share on here. So just as you would ask a friend for advice and feedback I want to ask you, my special online friends for yours.

I want to know what your stationery likes are and what sort of stationery you buy so I can make sure I am offering the right sort of products in my shop. I thought the easiest way to do this would be to conduct a short survey, so I have put one together below (just press Start to begin). As an extra incentive for you to take part I have included an option at the end of the survey to leave your e-mail address and be entered into a giveaway.

Giveaway Prize

One person will be selected at random from the survey participants to receive a lovely goodie box of stationery items. These stationery items will include:
  • 3 x letter writing sets
  • 6 x postcards
  • 4 x greeting cards 
  • Stickers
  • A few little extras
Some of the items have been bought especially for the giveaway and a couple will be products from my new shop (not available to buy online until the end of January 2016). The giveaway deadline is ten days from today, on the 21st of January 2016. The winner will be picked randomly from a hat on the 22nd of January and contacted via e-mail. The giveaway has now closed and the winner has been contacted. Thanks to everyone who took part.

Thanks so much my dear blog followers for taking the time to do the survey if you can and for   continuing to support my blog. Your feedback is much appreciated and will really help me get my   stationery business of to the best start.

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Mail art: Opened present in the mail.

Hello, hello! It has been a while since I have done some mail art and shared it with you. I've been so busy setting up a new online shop and with my hectic family life that mail art has really taken a back seat. I forget how fun it is to just let my imagination loose and get creative with an envelope. 

For this latest envelope art I went for a ripped open present look, it seemed fitting for this time of year when so many presents are exchanged. I have used the ripped open envelope effect before with the dinosaur mail art I made. I liked how it looked, so thought I would try it again. This time though I am hoping it looks more like a person has ripped open their present rather than a dinosaur breaking through an envelope! 

Last year I also sent out envelopes in the guise of presents, these however, were made to look unopened. You can see them in the photos below.

This look is very easy to achieve with some washi/decorative tape and gift tag. Just make a criss cross with tape on the envelope to make it look like ribbon tying up the present and glue a real tag or draw one on to the envelope and write the address on it. Finally, draw twine with a pen so it looks like your tag is attached to the ribbon of the parcel. 

I ended up using this present style of envelope a lot last year. If I was short of time I would leave out the tag and just write the address on the envelope. 

For extra detail you could decorate the envelope with pen, paint, stickers or anything else you like to make it look more like gift wrap. You could also subsitiute decorative tape for patterned paper cut to size or draw the ribbon on using pen and a ruler.

Getting a letter can feel a bit like getting a present so why not dress them up like presents! 

Have you been decorating any envelopes lately? I would love to hear about what you do (no matter how simple or elaborate) in the comments section below or just tag me on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter. Also, I really welcome any stationery recommendations you may have.  

How-to turn a greeting card into a notebook letter.

I often see greeting cards that I think someone I know would like to receive. Once I start writing in a card though I find that I quickly fill up both blank sides with writing and am looking around for paper to write the rest of my correspondence on. 

Whilst there is no problem with having extra pieces of paper inside the card there is a way you can make the extra paper inside look more intentional and cohesive. You can do this by turning your greeting card into a notebook letter (I made that term up, if there is a proper name for it please let me know).

All you need to make a notebook letter is: a greeting card, sheets of plain or lined paper, scissors, a large needle and some thread or twine. Just cut the sheets of paper to the same or slightly smaller size of your greeting card and attach them to the inside. There are a couple of ways you can do it, I will share with you how.

The two methods both start the same way. Firstly, take a few sheets of paper (or however many you will need) and cut to size. You can use your card as a template by laying it flat on top of the paper then drawing around it and cutting them out.

Then make sure all your sheets of paper are neatly lined up and fold them in half width ways. Place the sheets of paper so they are in the centre of the card. The fold along the centre of the paper should be directly on top of the inside fold of the card.

Now you can do two different things:

Option 1. Tie up with twine

Make two small holes through the card and paper about one inch from the top and bottom of the centre fold with either a large sharp needle or small pointy scissors (a compass like the ones we used to use in maths lessons at school would also work). Thread the twine through the two holes so that both ends of the twine are on the outside of the card. Finally, tie the twine ends that are on the outside of your card together in a bow or knot.

As well as using the pages to write on you can also attach some little extras. I like to stick things like postcards or photos on to the paper with washi tape and put items, like stickers in small envelopes or glassine bags that have been glued onto the pages.

Option 2. Running stitch

The second option is to sew a running stitch along the centre fold using strong/embroidery thread. Depending on the thickness of the card you may need to make the holes to pull the thread through before you start sewing. Thread your needle and knot the end. Then decide which side of the card you want the knot to be, I tried having the knot on the inside and outside (see examples below). Sew a  running stitch along the centre crease and knot the end when finished.

The running stitch method is more secure than the twine method but takes a bit longer to do. Alternatively, a much quicker technique would be to use a large stapler and staple the card and paper together along the crease on the outside of the card. 

In addition to using notebook letters to send to others you could also make your own to keep. You could make your own collection of notebook letters to have as mini journals or scrapbooks to store memories and ideas in.

I used this notebook letter above to document my love of autumn, which I am going to keep for myself. I like the idea of having mini scrapbooks so will be making more soon.

There you have it, how to turn a greeting card into a notebook letter. I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, I would love to know your thoughts about it in the comments section below. 
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