• #PostCircle

    Sad and Wonderful News

    PostCircle1-810x1024

    How can a piece of news be both sad and wonderful at the same time? Well pull up a pew, for this is how:

    After an extremely busy 2014, and a number of large but exciting challenges coming up in 2015, I have taken the sad decision to give up running #PostCircle. When I set it up on a whim almost two years ago I had no idea it would grow to the size it has, and I couldn’t be more proud. We have gained  hundreds of members from all over the world, created hundreds of friendships and generated hundreds of smiles  through happy post. The problem is that a lot of administrative work goes into keeping the project running, and unfortunately I just no longer have the time. I’m very sad to be letting it go.

    …But the wonderful news? I couldn’t be more pleased that my superstar #PostCircle Angel, Annee has agreed to take #PostCircle over, and make it her own. Annee has been a wonderful support since she volunteered for the project a year ago; she’s made many of the admin processes run more smoothly and has been so efficient. I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather hand the project onto.

    Annee

    So it’s goodbye from me – I’ll be spending the extra time on writing for this blog and tackling everything 2015 has in store. And please welcome Annee McBride, your new #PostCircle host! Annee has just created a shiny new #PostCircle Twitter account, so hop over and give it a follow

  • #PostCircle/ letters/ writing

    Appreciating the Envelope

    #PostCircle Make Time for the Envelope

    Have you ever prepared some post to send, whether it be a postcard while on holiday, a birthday card, a letter or a form… but then either taken ages to get around to finding and adding the address and a stamp or even never got round to sending that post at all?

    Whether you get your happy post through #PostCircle, lovely real life friends, or penpals you’ve had since that French exchange trip when you were twelve, everyone loves to receive a handwritten letter. And the temptation to leap onto the doormat when it turns out it’s a happy post day, rip open the envelope and absorb the contents can be all-consuming.

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  • #PostCircle/ #PostCircle Star of the Month

    Introducing the #PostCircle Angels!

    I come bearing good news with this blog post.#PostCircle launched nearly a year ago now (I have birthday plans too, watch this space!) and it all started because my friend Amy mentioned that it might be fun to reignite the lost art of letter writing and receive some happy post for a change, instead of tedious bills and circulars. We both live in Sheffield so it didn’t make sense to only post to each other, and so I casually agreed to gather together maybe three or five people to form a ‘post circle’, and we could send cheery mail to brighten one anothers’ days.

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  • #PostCircle

    A Guest Post by Laura: On #PostCircle

    My name is Laura, and I run a Tumblr crafting and lifestyle blog called LaLau Land.  I had the great pleasure of joining #PostCircle several weeks back, and have enjoyed it immensely ever since.  It’s taken me back to a time when I wrote to family and friends, and received replies.  We were taught this was common courtesy — that it was rude not to reply.  But then came the Internet and its illustrious email.  People seemed to have lost their letter-writing etiquette and eventually, forgot to write at all.  This bothers me — because it’s communication, and thus affects every aspect of life.  Communication is no longer as meaningful as it once was.

  • #PostCircle/ crafts/ DIY/ how to/ letter rack/ letters/ making

    Make Your Own Letter Rack

    If you’re one of the hundreds of lovely people to have joined #PostCircle, you’re hopefully getting a lot more happy post than you used to. But what do you do with your post once you’ve opened and admired it? How do you keep track of the people you need to reply to, and if, like me, you don’t live alone, where does new post wait for you until you have time to sit down and enjoy a good read?

    Enter your very own handmade letter rack!

    You will need: 
     
     
    • 2 sheets 1/8″ x 4″ x 36″ balsa wood – available from craft shops (I went to Hobbycraft)
    • Wooden letters (optional) – I got mine from the kiddies’ craft section in Hobbycraft for £1 for a pack of 20
    • A glue gun or wood glue
    • A craft knife and cutting mat
    • Paint in your chosen colour – I used white gloss spray paint for easy, even coverage but this is entirely up to you. I find spray paint is less likely to warp your wood when wet.
    • A pencil and ruler – use a metal ruler for cutting if you have one
    • Decorations of your choice – washi tape seemed like a fun idea for my letter rack
    1. Measure and cut five pieces of wood, 22cm long. Your wood is already about 10cm wide, and we’re working with this width right the way through, so no need to measure that.
    2. Cut two squares, 10 x 10 cm. These will be your sides. Take one of your squares and make a pencil mark one cm in from the left, and 4cm down from the top, on the right, as shown below. Draw a line between these two marks, then cut. Repeat with the other side in exactly the same way.
    3. Hooray, that’s all your pieces cut out! Now we just have to give them a trim so they fit together. Set aside two of the lengths you cut out. They will make the back wall and the base of your rack. Take the other three and one of your side pieces. Line up the bottom edge of one of your lengths with the bottom edge of the side piece, where you would like the first slot of your rack to be (my first is 3.5cm from the back of the side piece). Where the length sticks out from the top of the side piece, make a pencil mark. (See image below). We’re trimming the slots of your rack to line them up with the sloping diagonal of the sides.
    Draw a straight line across the top of the length at the height of the pencil mark, and trim. Repeat for one of the other lengths, again around 3-3.5cm apart from the last slot. The last length will be your front, so that will line up with the height of the front of the side piece.
    4. Next it’s time to glue the letters onto the front panel! I used my trusty glue gun for this bit.
    5. Paint time! Cover your work surface in newspaper, and work outside if you’re using spray paint. Give all your pieces an even coat of paint, on both sides, repeating if necessary. Try not to let your wood get too wet – it’s better to do more thin coats – so you don’t warp the wood. Go and have a cuppa and a cheeky biscuit while that lot dries. The paint has now strengthened the wood so your rack will be nice and sturdy.
    6. All we have to do now is assemble the letter rack! You can use a glue gun or wood glue for this bit. I used a combination of both because a glue gun got me strong, fast results, and the wood glue gave me more time on those joins that needed a bit of adjustment. Glue the front on first, placing the front piece on top of the base, not in front of it. The same goes for the back. If you need to do a little trimming at this point don’t worry, we’re going to give everything a last spray of paint to clean up any raw edges.
    Construct the actual ‘box’ first to give it structure, then glue in your slots last. Once you’re happy and the glue is dry, give everything a last coat of paint. I chose to spray my finished rack with a coat of clear varnish too, but that’s up to you, depending on the type of paint you used.
    7. The fun bit! Decorate your rack however you like. I used washi tape and printed some labels for the slots. You could paint flowers onto yours, or add stickers or stamps, whatever you wish!
    I’ve chosen to keep my rack on my desk, but it’s also lightweight enough to use sticky foam pads to attach it to a wall, bookcase or door.
    Another way I’m displaying my post is with a baker’s twine washing line in my workspace!
    Have a well organised week,

  • #PostCircle/ AnneApple/ etsy/ letter writing/ post/ stationery

    The New #PostCircle Stationery Range by AnneeApple

    When I started #PostCircle I had no idea that over one hundred and seventy of you would be as enthusiastic about sending and receiving happy post as I am. Neither did I know what other sorts of wonderful things could come out of it! I’d like to share one such thing with you today. Introducing the brand sparkly new AnneeApple stationery range!

    Inspired by all things #PostCircle, the talented Anne McBride has designed her very own range for fellow post lovers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; she has many more design ideas up her crafty sleeve!

    I love the idea of lettergrams (above), as after all this is how original written communications started out, with none of this separate envelope business! 

    Who wouldn’t love something so cheery to land on their doormat in a morning? (Much better than the tax return forms I received yesterday. Sigh.) Annee has cleverly merged bright, modern colours with vintage-style themes to make something for everyone.

    Annee’s stationery range will soon be available in her new Etsy shop (keep your eyes peeled for listings appearing soon!) with prices in the region of £6 for 20 sheets of writing paper, personalised linen writing paper (20 sheets) at £8 and five lettergrams at £5 (prices subject to slight change as the range is fully developed). For the latest on the range’s launch, and news of a giveaway soon, follow Annee at her blog and on Facebook.  
    Personally, I think my fellow otters are going to be very happy to get some of this #PostCircle stationery in the post very soon!

  • #PostCircle/ correspondence/ letters/ stationery/ writing

    On Stationery

    Sixty-six emails were sent out to #PostCircle members on Tuesday, confirming groups (the names of which are British wild animals) and partners for the first posting. It was really exciting to see people finding their groups on Twitter and introducing themselves… and all this inevitably led to lots of chatter about stationery.

    I’m something of a stationery addict, I’ll admit. I have a drawer dedicated to such things, and think putting a little thought into the paper and decorations you send with your warm wishes really helps to make post special.

    But this doesn’t mean stationery has to be expensive. While a lovely embellishment, stationery does play second fiddle to the words themselves, and I don’t want anyone making themselves bankrupt in communicating with their new pen pals. Here are some creative ways to craft up your correspondence on a budget…

    1. Try Claireabellemakes’ Washi Tape DIYS.
    2. Check out my post on making your own writing paper using fabric and a scanner. 
    3. Using the method in number 2 – stick stamps, stickers or draw on paper, scan and print.
    4. Shop for bargains! Markets and shops such as Wilkinson and The Works have bargainous lovely stationery. 
    5. Try Wrapped Up in Rainbows’ rubber stamp DIY
    If you’re happy to spend a little money, there is so much choice on Etsy. These are a few of my favourites:
    This is $4.00 by kayfish
    Pack of 10 postcards £2.00 by Patternalism
    Typewriter postcard £1.80 by typescale
    And as well as letters and notes here are some ideas for goodies to include in your envelopes:
    1. Recipes
    2. Teabags
    3. A crossword or sodoku puzzle
    4. Doodles and other artwork
    5. Card luggage tags
    6. Origami creations
    7. Crocheted doilies
    8. Pressed flowers
    9. Sheet music
    10. A polaroid style photo
    Decorate your postie creations with:
    1. Old stamps
    2. Stickers!
    3. Ink stamps
    4. That handwriting you haven’t practised since school
    5. Washi tape
    6. Cutout pictures from catalogues, magazines and old greetings cards
    7. Buttons

    Most importantly, have fun and don’t sweat it! You don’t have to feel pressure to write a long letter if you don’t want to – a short note or a postcard is enough to brighten someone’s day too!

    “The act of writing a letter has become akin to meditation in our fast-paced lives. It’s taking a moment and slowing it down, letting it become, transforming it onto paper and sending it to someone else. The receiver opens his mail and instead of finding a bill, there is a personally addressed envelope. Every letter from a loved one is a true gift, because that person decided to transmit that moment in their lives to me.” ~ Hope Von Stengel – rather fabulous Etsy seller. 

    PS: Another three #PostCircle groups will be started off by the weekend!

  • #PostCircle/ #simplepleasureschallenge/ buttons/ etsy shop

    #simplepleasureschallenge February and An Update

    February was a crazy busy month! I’ve had a to-do list as long as my arm written on my glass notice board every day lately, but I love having a full diary and lots to keep me moving and motivated. I always have more creative ideas when I’m busy, which can be irritating when I don’t have time to pay attention to them, but as long as I write them down in my trusty notebook I know they’ll be waiting for me when I’m ready. 
    I always breathe a sigh of relief when March arrives, a clock change is on the horizon, and Spring bulbs start to appear. The #simplepleasureschallenge keeps me noticing these small changes as the days and weeks speed by.
    Beatrix was absolutely thrilled to be featured in Miss Imogen Smith’s Doggy Doodles series, complete with my very favourite teacup. Imogen is so talented and I was gobsmacked at how well she captured Bea’s cheeky personality and smile. 
    Some new buttons have arrived in my Etsy shop over the weekend, and some very Spring-like energy seems to be flowing from my paintbrush, as there is now a march hare and a lamb available. I’m working away on some custom orders and new designs as well at the moment, including my ‘pouring teapot’ buttons in different colours. 
    February 2013 will go down as the month #PostCircle launched! The response has been incredible, with over 60 participants signing up. As you’ll appreciate this takes a fair bit of organising; I spent a few hours sorting us all into groups last night, and as soon as the last surveys are in I’ll be sending emails and we can get started! New members can of course join in at any time (and yes, chaps you are more than welcome too!) but I know you’re all eager to get posting, so please bear with me and I’ll be in touch in the next day or two.
    Lastly, the perceptive among you have contacted me to say that my navigation bar and social media buttons are currently absent without leave. I’ve been having a few technical issues but have decided to take this as an opportunity to freshen things up a bit. I’m going to be working on designing new ones myself over the next few weeks, along with giving the Creatives Unite, Recipes and Bloggy Pals pages a makeover. Thank you to everyone who answered my cries for web design advice on Twitter last week, I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew but with your help I’m well on the way to learning some new skillz innit!
    Oh, and speaking of new skills, the learning to crochet? Let’s just say that I’m grateful that Creatives Unite is now two hours long!
    Enjoy your Monday,

  • #PostCircle/ mail/ post

    #PostCircle


    “I’ve always felt there was something sacred in a piece of paper that travels the world from hand to hand, head to head, heart to heart.” ~Robert Michael Pyle

    When I featured this post recently on, well, post, and the joys of receiving lovely exciting post through the, well, post, a lot of you responded with great enthusiasm, which filled me with glee to see. (I cannot write today.) A conversation with @AmyFarry ensued on Twitter and suddenly I was offering to set up a post circle. As in, we all send lovely post and receive lovely post and are all happy and, well, avec-post. Good eh? So, would you like to be in  #PostCircle? Then read on, dear pen pal, read on…
    This is how it works (and thank you to Anna of Skin and Blister because your organisation of #heartswap made this so much easier to get my head around):
    1. If you would like to be a member of #PostCircle comment below AND email me at hellopostcircle@gmail.com. I will then send you a quick survey to complete. (We all love a good survey). 
    2. After a week I will be dividing those who want to take part into groups of six. That doesn’t mean no one else can join in – you can join any time – but I’ll need to get going on making up the groups. I decided to form sub-groups so that I’m not giving out, say fifty addresses to fifty different people, and I can keep track of things more easily.
    3. In the first instance each member will be assigned a partner just for the first time we post. This ensures that everyone receives nice post. 
    4. After that, you can post to whoever you like in your group. The idea is that every time you receive some snail mail, you then send some out. This keeps things moving. 

    The rules:
    1. In returning your survey to me you agree that myself and five other people will have your address, and you theirs. I promise that I will not use your address for anything other than #PostCircle (ie, selling it to nasty spammy marketing companies) and you agree to the same. After a few months I may shuffle round the groups to keep things fresh but I will not do so without your permission. (If you snap photos of your post to social media please just make sure addresses are not visible).
    2. When you receive post it’s time to send something out. You don’t have to post to the person who sent you post, you can send it to anyone in your circle. And don’t panic and think you have to post something that day!
    3. Please write #PostCircle on each piece of post you send.
    4. If you don’t receive any post for, say, three months, bob me an email and I will do a shoutout to your group to get things going again.
    5. You can of course leave #PostCircle any time. Just email.
    6. Your nice post can be anything you like, but please don’t feel any pressure to ‘spend money’ on your post. A postcard, a handwritten note, a full-blown letter, an autumn leaf, a sweet button you found in your stash or a photo of that cheerful-looking frog you met on your walk yesterday are all great. #PostCircle isn’t designed to rack up huge costs in ‘gifts’ to others. If you choose to spend money on a cuddly zebra because you know someone in your group loves them, that’s wonderful and generous, but it is your choice and no one is under any pressure to match your spending. The idea is just to receive something thoughtful and lovely in the post on a regular basis, not to make yourself bankrupt. Remember that the cost of a stamp is a thought in itself! (And second class is fine too!)
    7. International members – I will try to accommodate you but as yet I can’t promise until I know how many UK members are willing to spend the extra posting abroad. Please do register your interest and I will come back to you when I know more. 
    8. You don’t have to wait to receive some post before you send some out, but please do send some out for every one you receive.

    Here’s to exciting post!