Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It is not yet New Year's here in Florida but in many other parts of the world it already is! Even so, I wanted to wish you all a very happy 2012 full of many wonderful prospects and of course many more letters from pals the world over! I hope that I may share more of my pen palling journey with you all soon and bring you more fantastic ideas for how to optimize your pen palling adventure.

May 2012 bring you much prosperity, love and joy!

Fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge. Photo: Chrissie Thoo. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A little bit of paper...

By now I am sure you all know that I love anything to do with paper! I was recently rearranging my paper collection (it's enormous!) and found some scraps that I had saved which of course I had to put to some good use so I'd like to share some photos with you:

First up, I found some scraps of winter/Christmas word paper and cut out the
individual phrases and then made this cute little envelope from some scrap red
paper and cut out individual letters and words from remaining scraps and also
snowflakes from some wrapping paper scraps. This is for my pen pal Christelle.
What do you all think of these? I also cut a few for my pen pal Maria Laura. 
Maria Laura's little word pack looks like this:

For this one I used a security envelope I'd decorated with swirls, each hand-drawn
and colored with markers, and wrote the message by hand in a gel pen I got at Target.
Lastly, I used up a few scraps making little paper hearts and Valentine's ephemera for the next big holiday. I love cutting hearts out and using up as much of my scrap paper as possible. Here are the hearts:

Those are just a few of the things I made, you can also check out some of the little paper scraps I decorated with small drawings on my other blog, Mes Petites Creations. Going through my scraps helped me to find more bits of paper to share with pen pals, make some extra stationery/cards, and see what supplies I have to use and also helped me see what else I needed to acquire. 

This New Year 2012 promises to be a very creative one for me! I can't wait to share more of these times with you!

Happy New Year 2012!


Nadia Marie

Monday, December 12, 2011

Haul out the holly...Christmas is near!

It's that time of year again and I've already received some beautiful cards and lovely little trinkets from pen pals (which means I need to get on the ball with the cards I am to send)! I just adore seeing what each person comes up with and was so excited to arrive home from work yesterday afternoon to see that I had received two gorgeous packages full of awesome paper goodies!

First let me show you what my friend Maria Laura sent me that made me all giddy inside! She and I both have such a love for paper crafts and items that we are always sending each other little finds...

My dear friend Christelle from France sent me this delicious eye-candy smorgasbord of paper goods, postcards, magnets, teas, and trinkets as a wonderful surprise too! Just look at the wonderful little things she sent me:
A package of delights: Parisian postcards, quote cards, samples, a lovely necklace
with two charms, lots of paper ephemera, personalised magnets, and teas! Thanks
to Christelle for such a beautiful surprise present!
I really do have some of the best pen pals in the world! I have received 5 beautiful Christmas cards so far as well! I would love to share with you some snap shots of these cards so you can see the diverse paperie that exists in this world...

Clockwise from left: Happy Holidays card from Maria Laura (US), Christmas Wishes
card from Andy (UK), Santa Claus card from Jenny (US) and Feliz Navidad card from Fany (Spain).
The last card is from my newest pen pal in Argentina, Caty and shows how diverse Christmas greetings can be from country to country. 

We've displayed them in the china cabinet along with all the other decorations for Christmas which I will also share with you here:

Well, I am sure I will have more to show you all in the very near future! Happy preparing for the holidays! May it be joyous and merry!

Kind Regards,

Nadia Marie

Friday, December 9, 2011

On my desk at this present moment...

I have always been one of those people who is working on 10 things at once and since I have a high volume of letters arriving each week I often have to put things aside to write back and then pick them up again. Here I show you a few things I have in progress.

I enjoy creativity and finding things to make for my pen pals such as the decorated paper clips pictured above and featured in my crafting blog Mes Petites Creations. What little things inspire you to be creative? What sorts of projects are your favorites?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's all in the packaging: The Art of Preparing a Package for a Pen Pal

Dear friends and readers,

Like so many of us who enjoy writing to other people across the globe, I too, enjoy participating in swaps or even just sending random little gifts to my pals. A couple of days ago I sent a few little paper goodies to my pal Christelle in France and I hope she receives them soon! I spent a lot of time picking out each card and goodie I would send her and then I spent even more time packaging the paper items with great detail. This latter part is what I wish to focus on today.

Packaging is an art form. It truly is. When you receive a package that has been put together with great care you feel that the sender regards you highly and wishes for the package to convey that regard and affection through how they have put it together. Since I am a crafter I have a LOT of things at my disposal---ribbon, card stock, paper bits, you name it! So, I make use of what I have on hand to put together visually pleasing packages and the more detail the better, in my opinion.

Here is how I put Christelle's goodies together:
Since the paper goodies were of various sizes I wanted to put them together
according to such so I made detailed bands to hold the pieces together. I used
bits of scrap white card stock which I had saved from printed projects and, with
colored pencils, added the writing and drawing details shown above in the photo
collage. "Autumn Tidings" was the theme of the band since it was already autumn
by the time I made it and the colors resound with the season.
Here you can see the detail of the writing on the band around the small
square note cards. I placed the cards near the mug holding my crayons for
you to see what size this cards are. They are mini notecards I printed from
the Creature Comforts blog, there are TONS of free printables there for you
to use. I've downloaded many and love them! *Remember to use them only
for personal use if you should download them.* They are another's work of
art and freely given for us to use and enjoy--so please do not try to sell their
work. There are many lovely things on that blog and others I will share with
you later on but...what do you think of how I put these mini cards together?
This band was larger and made to hold together a set of four flat notecards
or 4 sheets of stationery, also found at Creature Comforts. I took my cue in
black and blue color from the sheets I'd printed out and used three different
shades of blue colored pencils added a quote and some doodles and voila! 
Here you can see the stationery with the "For You" band wrapped around
it and on the end of the band I added a little personal touch. 
The most enjoyable thing about preparing a package is knowing that the person on the receiving end will enjoy it because as you've gotten to know them you start to ascertain their likes and dislikes. I chose these papers for Christelle based on my knowledge of where she lives and the things she's shared with me and I believe that she will enjoy them immensely. Putting together little themed pieces is a great way to make the moment of opening up a package last a little longer because each piece is a discovery in itself. Once each component has been placed one can begin to put together the entire package. I love to "bundle" things so for Christelle I bundled each component into a neat little ribbon tied package; like so:

As you can see in the collage, the first photo on the top left has the two
pieces I detailed for you earlier the photo next to it has a third little package,
some Anne of Green Gables quote postcards which I printed from a blog
called The Green Gal, the blog owner is from the UK and makes some lovely
sustainable pretties!. You can also print out your own set by clicking here.
The two photos on the bottom depict how I bundled the three different com-
ponents together to for the completed package using about a foot of pretty
red satin ribbon from my enormous ribbon stash.
Isn't that a lovely way to send off a package? And it did not take any extra money, all it took was some creativity and good use of the scraps you have on hand. You can beautifully package virtually anything with just a little creativity. 
Here is the finished bundle with the card I wrote to my friend and a little
something extra for her pleasure. 
I hope you have enjoyed this entry as much as I have enjoyed writing it for you! I look forward to sharing my next adventure in pen palling and letter writing soon!

Lots of love,

Nadia Marie

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Recent mail...

I know that those of you likely to read this blog are lovers of receiving letters and things in the mail! I received some pretty amazing goodies this week and just wanted to share a glimpse with you! My pen friends are the best in the whole world. We know what each other likes and so I am always blessed to receive gorgeous goodies and I am blessed enough to be able to return the favor as well! The first big surprise was a package full of paper goodies from my friend Christelle in France!

Aren't they gorgeous?? I am the luckiest and most blessed girl in the world!
Thank you, Christelle for such an amazingly beautiful gift! Bisous-Bisous!
Christelle had told me of this package being sent my way and we thought it had gotten lost in transit since it arrived about a month and a half after expected but at length here it was in my hands and a happier recipient there could not have been in all the world at that moment! They are an incredibly gorgeous array of flat cards, papers, folded note cards and little note papers. I love them all!

On the left: printed magnets from Christelle
On the right: the note accompanying the papers
and my new phone. 
I just love the magnets my friend sent me and am already thinking up how to create a station near where I have my letters to add a magnetic board where I can place these lovelies and remain more organized. Yesterday I also received a nice letter and little package from my pen pal Maria Laura whose blog is a total inspiration too! Just check out this little pen pal book she made for me:

Maria Laura is so creative!
You all MUST check her blog out! You can see more of how she made this sort of little book by clicking here. She's got such gorgeous crafts pertaining to letter writing and paper on that site, you'll want to sit there a while with some tea, coffee, or cocoa! It's great to have friends who are as creatively minded as we are, isn't it?? Thanks to Maria Laura and to Christelle for the precious gifts! I look forward to sending you ladies some great little finds myself! 

Love and laughter,

Nadia Marie

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Decorated letters...

Hello again dear friends!

Sunday evenings are the best for blogging, letter writing and the like. I find that sitting down to write while listening to classical music soothes the soul and gets the creative juices flowing. I wanted to talk about decorating letters today. Like most of you, I adore trying to find the cutest and most decorative stationery out there but I must admit that I rather like decorating my own paper and making unique forms of stationery.

This is a postcard I made using papers and ephemera I had lying around...
The postcard above was hand-made for a postcrossing swap I had done. You can see another example of a hand-made postcard by clicking here for my blog Mes Petites Creations. That one in the link was for a fall swap. 

Another form of decorative stationery is hand-made cards and I have seen some really gorgeous ones out there! I have a limited amount of resources right now so I make cards with what I have on hand. Here is another example from my other blog:

I made this one a while ago using up scraps of paper I had
around. To see more images click here.
Besides making and printing my own cards (I print my own photography onto card stock and make my own blank note cards) I like to decorate my letters with stickers or hand-drawn embellishments. I have an enormous sticker collection and find so many uses for all those stickers in letter writing.

Here you can see that I've used stickers to decorate plain white envelopes. 
Here you can see a couple of the stickers I've used. These were actually
images I'd printed myself onto sticky full label paper. Aren't they lovely?
Home printed stickers!
Sometimes I decide to get even more creative and include drawings in my
letters...this one unfortunately never reached it's destination, it has been
lost in transit...hopefully someday it will reach it's intended recipient...sigh!

So, those are just samples of what I've about you? How do you like to decorate your letters? Do you make your own cards? I'd love to hear from you! 

Lots of love,

Nadia Marie

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Letter writing inspiration...

Good Wednesday Morning to you all!

As some of you may have noticed besides speaking English I also speak Spanish and love it! I'm once again watching Despierta America while I write. I think it makes me feel closer to my relatives who are in Venezuela and whom I do not always get to see so frequently. It also makes me feel closer to some of my Spanish speaking pen friends who are in Latin America and the few which are in Spain.

So, as I was watching the show and thinking about pen pals I thought it would be interesting to go to Pinterest and see what people find inspirational for letter writing and I found some beautiful images which I will share with you here!

This was pinned by Kristy Schaffer and  I found it
to be just beautifully inspiring. Simple and pretty. 
Who wouldn't want to write a such a gorgeous desk
as this one? I love the simple set up and the chair is
exquisite! The flowers, small lamp, books and photo
give it a tranquil and familiar touch. 
A book to inspire us all to keep writing. I think I
will look for a copy of this one soon. What books
inspire you all to writer more?
This just made me want to create more of my own decorative stationery! Yes,
I occasionally make my own stationary. I've made some Jane Austen inspired
papers with lines on my computer and want to make more adding other images
or vintage ephemera. Wouldn't that be lovely? 
I would love to have a pink type-writer! I love the way letters look when
typed on one of these. It gives the letter an authentically vintage feel and
every now and then I like to be vintage. What about you? What are your
favorite styles of letter writing?
Hand made envelopes have always called my attention! They are always so
unique and interesting. I know that many of us make them so I included this
photo to remind us to keep reusing and recycling! When we reuse we conserve.
On Etsy you can always find the neatest stationery and letter sets! This vintage
one is just wonderful! One of these days I will buy some of these from Etsy! I
love them! Where do you get your stationery from? I buy mine from various
places (and of course you already know that I make some of my own as well. 

Well I hope these images will get you inspired to keep on writing and treat your pen pals to something special...a letter from YOU!

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

Lots of love,

Nadia Marie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Organization is key...

I have several pen pals with whom I am often in contact and have started collecting several letters from each. For this reason I devised a creative way of organizing my letters, and pretty at that too! Envelopes can be bulky and also I often cut out the stamps and whatever decorations my pals have added to them so I end up with a rather strange looking bunch of paper. I recycle whatever I can and discard the rest of the envelopes. This allows for my letters received to sit cradled well in my letter carrier. 

my little desk where all my creations take shape...
Above you can see my desk covered in stamps and decorations I was collecting from my envelopes, a few notes and letters which I was working on organizing, tools and ribbon in my jar (I need to get a couple more jars because that one is jam packed). My desk is probably my favorite place in the world to write and craft at. I paint there, write letters, draw, do pretty much everything at my desk--including writing this and my other blogs.

Organizing and Gathering:
1. My letter carrier is organized as such:
European pen pals in the first slot, followed
by pen pals in the Americas in the second slot
and the rest of the world in the last slot.

2. Detailed shot of the second slot with my
friend Maria Laura in front.

3. Ephemera I've collected from my envelopes.

4. Stamps I've gathered and my hole puncher. 
I love the way the ribbon looks bundling the letters and holds the little name tags I made for each bundle. It is simple and easy to do, not to mention aesthetically pleasing. I simply used enough ribbon to loop around each bundle three times before tying it off, giving it room to increase capacity when I need more space to add letters. My ephemera and stamps I placed in decorative soap boxes that the soap my family buys at Tuesday Morning come in. I love those French and Italian soaps! The boxes are so beautiful! I have lots of them filled with crafting supplies and little gifts that have been sent to me by my pen pals.

A bundle and letters waiting to be bundled...
Such a joy it is to send and receive letters! Yesterday I received a letter from Ida in England in a very cute Mini Mouse envelope. No mail today but I have TONS of letters to write back to! So, that being said, until tomorrow and happy posting!

Lots of love,

Nadia Marie

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paper craze...

Show or Song: Despierta America on Univision
Time: 9:02AM EST
Mood: Bright and Cheery

Anyone who love pen-paling as much as I do knows that a love of paper is pretty much a must in our lives. I adore paper and am always looking for the next best thing when it comes to writing letters and crafting. One of my favorite paper companies to look at is {papermash}, it's a UK company and someday soon I will be able to buy some of their lovely products. Granted, their paper products are not exactly letter writing papers but we all know that a creative mind will always come up with an ingenious way of using the product even for writing letters. Here are my favorites from {papermash} this week:

I love these retro style folk cards...

I also adore this pretty patterned Post-It Note...

Being a poet and writer in my own right, I just adore these
notebooks as well...

And of course, the Washi Tape craze did not escape me,
look at these gorgeous patterns...(can you tell I am into all
things retro??)
Those are just a few of the things which I can see myself using to decorate letters, cards, notebooks and more. Let me know what you all think! I'd love to hear from you! Here's to an excellent Monday and a fantastic week!

Lots of love,

Nadia Marie

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dear friends...

I was perusing my own pen pal Maria Laura's blog today and thought how very exciting would it be to have my own pen paling blog. So, here it is. I have created this blog not just as a place to share ideas but as an ongoing letter to you, my friends and readers, in hopes that I might share even more with you a little bit about my own letter writing journey and whatever else comes along. I have a great many other blogs which you will shortly be able to see here listed on one of the side-bars. I also hope to share with you other pen-paling and letter writing blogs I may come across as we embark on this journey. I hope to share creative letter writing ideas and how to recycle bits and pieces of your letters soon as well! I am thrilled and excited to being this journey!

Lots of love,

Nadia Marie