Dreams really do come true. Keep dreaming!
I happen to be a fan of hug mail. I love writing it and sending it and receiving it too. I even love the whole process of selecting the right card to send and the right pen to write with, and then choosing the right colored or matching postage stamp, and occasional sticker(s) to finish the envelope.
Recently I was told that maybe the only reason I’m such an avid letter writer is because I love to write. Now while that may be partially true, since I do love everything about words, I also happen to be a huge fan of receiving letters too. Call it whatever you want – fun mail, good mail, hug mail; whichever way you slice it (letter, notecard, or postcard), to me there are few better ways to make a day special than finding some hug mail waiting for me in my mail box. It wasn’t by accident that one of my book illustrations includes mail.
In an average week, I generally write and send at least 2 – 3 cards. I still write an occasional letter, but I find that with my life and schedule, cards are my preferred method of correspondence. This week, I wrote and sent out nine cards. They included: 1 birthday, 1 bosses’ day, 1 encouragement, 1 sympathy, and 4 thank you notes. Five of them were mailed and four of them were hand or mail station delivered to co-workers at work.
To keep myself organized, I keep several different records of the cards I send out:
I probably shouldn’t admit it, but if there was a greeting card anonymous, stickers anonymous, pens anonymous, or TJ Maxx or Marshall’s anonymous, I might have to join. Case in point, this is a photo of my studio closet where I keep some of my cards.
I also keep an extra stash of assorted cards, including future gifts, in a couple different baskets and drawers too. The next photo shows a closet basket that holds some of my many supplies for making or embellishing cards.
Now I mentioned stickers anonymous and in case you are wondering, I’m just a big kid at heart when it comes to stickers. I use a rich assortment of stickers all the time for decorating cards, journals, and assorted gifts, so if you have them too, use them. I happen to love stickers, but only just recently came off of a self-inflicted grounding from buying any new stickers for 1 year. I made it and so far I haven’t relapsed. I’m also currently grounded (3 months left from a 1 year grounding) from buying any new pens or markers. That’s another store I could easily open or supply.
I’m not claiming to be an expert on correspondence. I just thought I would share some rules or practices I’ve learned along the way and that work for me.
The first rule I’ve learned is to let go of being a perfectionist. I used to write a lot of letters, but my life just doesn’t allow me the time to do it today. So I write cards instead. I used to make a lot of homemade cards. Only sometimes it took so long to make the cards that I didn’t have time to finish them, regardless of my good intentions. So I ended up sending many of my homemade cards either belatedly or not at all. Now for the most part, I buy cards. I buy a lot of cards. Over the years, I’ve become quite good at doctoring any mistakes I’ve made or words I’ve misspelled, by either adding some doodle or embellishment or sticker, and sometimes simply just crossing through it and writing the correct word in its place. Prior to that practice, my mistakes sometimes became bookmarks or something to doodle on, just because I had made a mistake.
The second rule I practice is always having a wonderful selection and variety of cards on hand. If you don’t already have your own stash, I recommend buying several boxes of cards – one or two of blank cards (which can easily become a one size fits all for every occasion), and one or two of thank you cards. I have seldom found a boxed assortment of cards where I’ve liked all the cards, so I prefer to buy individual cards for birthdays and get well and sympathy, etc. Many times when I find a card that I love, I buy several to keep on hand. Whether buying boxed or individual cards, choosing cards that I love, makes them cards I’m more apt to send.
The third rule is having some wonderful writing tools, especially a great pen or two (ha-ha…remember my pen grounding?) that I love using. Anyone who loves a nice pen will know exactly what I’m talking about; all pens are NOT created equal. I think a nice pen helps me have nicer penmanship too.
The fourth rule is knowing what the current cost of postage is (sending something postage due would be horrible) and always keeping a stash of stamps on hand. Not only do I have a plethora to choose from at my studio desk, I also keep some in my wallet and at my desk at work, for whenever the occasion or opportunity to send a card presents itself. I collect stamps too and hope to get a little more serious with this hobby when I retire.
The fifth rule is keeping a current and up-to-date address book. You might keep your addresses on a computer, but I prefer the handheld kind. My sister has a wonderful habit of only writing the person’s name in ink, and the address gets written in pencil. This is especially helpful for someone who tends to move a lot, like students or young family members. I haven’t yet adopted that practice, which may be why my Mary Engelbreit address book is overflowing and has no open spaces left to write in (especially in the S-section) and I have a new Vera Bradley address book ready to go.
I think my sixth rule of keeping all my supplies in one place, whether in a basket, container, or drawer, makes the whole practice of letter writing more efficient and it also saves me time. And just in case I’ve inspired you to write and send some hug mail – if you send some to my mailbox, I promise to send some to yours too. Until then… since I happen to have everything handy, here’s one final note I wanted to share.