a little letter keepsake

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I received this lively little box from one of my pen pals a few weeks ago and I’m still in awe by it. I haven’t replied to her yet because I feel like my reply should be just as grand. I started this blog in hopes of challenging myself to be more creative with my letters and wow did my pen pal challenge me with replying to this! Granted, I don’t have to repay the gesture with a box of my own, but I’m feeling the challenge and will definitely be thinking of what to send to her once I return from my three week vacation abroad. I’m hoping I find something just as lovely while I’m in Turkey to send to her, to thank her for this cute little box.

But that’s not why I posted this here. I wanted to share this because it’s another way you can experiment with your own letters. This little package sort of reminded me of The Love Parcel. It hasn’t even crossed my mind to think that I should send a cute little package like this to one of my regular pen pals. But alas I can and I will! I’m definitely going to try this out. Now to just come up with different ways to do it!

keep a pen pal smashbook

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I stumbled across this fabulous idea when I was looking for a way to organize all of my letters. They were just piling up in my desk draw to the point where they weren’t fitting. I ended up having to take them all out of the draw and had them piling high on my window seal. I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t want to throw them out because they were all my cards and letters from my various pen pals and I wanted to keep them. But they were driving me crazy just sitting there taking up space and collecting dust. I didn’t know where to put them.

So I did some Googling and came across this YouTube video by Kacy Grady.

Such a great compact way to keep and store all of your letters! It was kind of perfect for me because I had a brand new Smashbook that was just sitting with all my other scrapbooks, empty. I bought it two years ago with the intention of using it for something, but I never filled it up, finding other ways to document my life. You can find Smashbooks almost anywhere here in the United States: Michaels, Target, Walmart, sometimes Marshalls and TJ Maxx. They’re inexpensive and come in a bigger size if the normal size is too small for you. You can also substitute a Smashbook with another kind of scrapbook, as long as it serves the purpose of keeping all of your letters together.

I got a little creative with my Smashbook. For some letters, I took them out of the envelopes and taped them in in such a way that I can go back and read them easily. Lots of flaps and I used some of the envelopes so beautiful made or decorated by my pen pals as pockets to hold other things they sent, like postcards and ephemera. My pages aren’t done yet as I want to print out the photos of the complete package that I take when I get my letters before I begin sorting the bits and pieces into my scrapbook supply collection. That way I have what the entire letter looked like when I got it. But here are some photos of a few of my pages so far.

create a greeting card booklet letter

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After playing around with greeting cards to create little folders out of them, I decided to try making them into little booklets. I figured this would be a cooler more compact way of writing my letters to my pen pals as well as putting in little treats for them like Project Life cards, small pictures and stickers, etc. This booklet was fairly easy to make and looks super cute. Forgive me while I try my best to explain how I made it.

A Few Things You’ll Need
  • A greeting card. You can use any size you want. I’m just going to use a small card.
  • Paper: scrapbook paper, lined paper, graph paper, kraft paper…any kind of paper you want.
  • Some embroidery thread. Any color you wish.
  • A needle
  • Scissors or paper trimmer
  • A ruler

First things first, gather all your supplies. Once you’ve done that, grab your scrapbook papers and cut them to the size of the open greeting card. You’re going to fold these pieces of paper into the greeting card to create a booklet, so make sure you make the width of the pieces a little shorter so that they don’t end up sticking out when you fold them all into the card. I used various bits of paper I had lying around. Some patterned scrapbook paper, old book paper and some graph paper. You’re going to use this booklet to write your letter to your pen pal, so whatever paper you use be sure you’re able to write clearly on it. I’m going to scrapbook in my booklet, so I’ll be adding little pictures and such to it. I haven’t filled up this booklet yet, but hopefully it’ll all fit in the envelope. If not, I can always put it into a bigger envelope!

Once you’ve got your desired amount of pages, use your needle and poke two or three holes through the middle of the spine of the card and through the spines of the folded pages you want to add. Take your thread and make a simple bind. Tie a knot and trim the remaining thread or leave it as is. I left a bit of thread hanging lose on the outside just because I liked the way it looked.

I jazzed my booklet up a bit by adding a little folder pocket on the back. I basically did the same thing I did in the create a greeting card folder post, so that I can add a few bits and pieces of things I’d like to send. I also taped a Project Life card to the front inside cover, so that I can use that bit as a mail tag and have it right there, the first thing that my pen pall will see. I will write my letter on the pages of this booklet a little later on. I just wanted to show you how my finished booklet looks.

Play around with this. It’s a really fun little project and it makes your letters so different!

create a greeting card folder

posted to sydney, australia

My pen pal Mary once sent me a small greeting card which she turned into a little folder to hold the letter, mail tag, and other goodies. She made little pockets to fit on each side, then once she had everything in the folder, she sealed the card and it slipped so easily into the envelope. I thought it was such a great idea that I’m going to see if I can copy her and try it out!

A Few Things You’ll Need
  • A greeting card. I suppose you can use any size you want. I’m just going to use a small card.
  • Some scrapbook paper. Any design you want. I aimed for similar colors because I like things to match.
  • Clear Scotch tape. I guess you can also use washi tape if you want to mix n match patterns.
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • Ruler

Gather all of your materials. Once you have your greeting card and scrapbook paper in hand, measure your scrapbook paper so that the height matches the card’s height. Mark the height then cut your paper to size. You’ll need two pieces of scrapbook paper, one for each side of the card. Once you have two pieces of the same height, measure each against one side of the card to make sure the width of the paper is either exactly the same as one side of the card or a little shorter. The two pieces don’t have to be exactly the same widths yet because you’ll draw an outline of the fold on the back of each, making sure those match, then cutting the shape out to fix to the card.

Once you have two pieces of the exact size and exact (but opposite) shape, you can adhere it to the card on either side. I used clear tape so it looks like the card came that way. You can use washi tape if you like, as long as the two pieces of paper are fully taped to the card along the cards’ edges. Once the pieces are tapes to the card, your greeting card folder is done! You can now start stuffing it with bits and pieces…as much as you can that will fit! Be sure to seal your card with a nice sticker or piece of washi tape, just to make it something your pen pal would like to open!

Try it out and have fun!