spencedaniel

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A Mini Course in Hug Mail

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.

An illustration from my Book

An illustration from my Book

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:

  • At the back of my Moleskine journal is an alphabetized section where I jot the date and the name of the person I sent a card or note, along with a few added comments or tidbits. This became a helpful habit right around the time my daughter left for college, because I didn’t want to send her the same card twice.
  • Sometimes after spending more time than most people (besides someone who makes cards) would believe possible on making a card or decorating an envelope, I will make a photo copy of it as a record or to reference for making a future card or envelope.
  • In all my card boxes, I keep a little sheet of paper or a post-it note where I write down the date and the name of the person getting the card, sometimes with a few added notes.

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.

My Closet Card Stash

My Closet Card Stash

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.

Card Making Supplies

Card Making Supplies

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.

My New Favorite Thank You Card

My New Favorite Thank You Card

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.

A Pen is NOT just a Pen

A Pen is NOT just a Pen

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.

Choosing the Right Postage Stamp

Choosing the Right Postage Stamp

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.

New Address Book Waiting in the Wings

New Address Book Waiting in the Wings

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.

Thank You Dear Reader

Thank You Dear Reader

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6 comments on “A Mini Course in Hug Mail

  1. dianescheurell
    October 18, 2014

    I fondly remember getting notes from you at work. I always loved your smiley face with the round nose. The best I can do in this format is :o) Much Aloha, Diane

    • spencedaniel2012
      October 20, 2014

      Diane, I’ll take your :o) and your much aloha anytime. Thanks for the sweet words.

  2. Hilary
    October 19, 2014

    You are the sweetest neo traditionalist. Your mail brings out many smiles and feelings of being loved. xo

    • spencedaniel2012
      October 20, 2014

      I don’t know if I’m the only person who had to look up what neo traditionalist meant, but when I did, it made me smile. I like being the sweetest one too. :o)
      It also warms my heart to read that my mail brings out happiness and love. That means my mission was accomplished. xo

  3. Diane Hensley
    October 19, 2014

    I love all the notes I get from you and only wish I could be half the “note-hugger” you are. Your “burning barn” illustration Friday got me through my very important
    meeting 🙂

    • spencedaniel2012
      October 20, 2014

      Diane, we all share our hearts and spirits in different ways. Your acts of generosity and thoughtfulness are truly beyond amazing.
      P.S. Your burning barn comment cracks me up.

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