Joy Break 5 | Scatter Joy!

Scatter JoyWhen I was in college, every Friday students were given an opportunity to write positive, joy-filled messages to whomever they wished. Someone would go around the cafeteria during the lunch hours and pass out minimally decorated colored paper entitled “Joy Notes,” give individuals an opportunity to write a message, collect them, and deliver them to the dormitory offices for distribution via students’ mailboxes.

It was such a pleasure to write these notes because I knew they would make the recipients feel loved and appreciated.

What a treat it was to discover a “Joy Note” in my own box–especially after an unbearable or stressful week.

I saved many of the Joy Notes written to me, and they still warm my heart. Among them are a note from my roommate, expressing her delight that we were rooming again and appreciation for my friendship; a note from one of my good friends that decried our busy senior-year life and that let me know she cherished our friendship though we didn’t have as much time to chat as we had in previous years; one from another friend, thankful for my support through a difficult time in his life; a lengthy “missive” from my bestie after she moved off campus about how much work she was getting done since she didn’t have our long talks, shopping sprees, one-on-one basketball games, and other adventures to distract her. But, of course, she was missing all of that! ūüėÄ

You know where this is heading.

This wouldn’t be Joy Week on Pics and Posts if I were to let it end without encouraging you to spread joy to others.

It’s always a delight to know that someone is thinking of us and that we are appreciated for simply being who we are. So…take a moment to write a “joy note” today. Write a note to your spouse, your child, a long-lost friend, your parents for putting up with you; a “thinking of you” note to a few individuals you haven’t heard from lately; a thank you to the neighbor who kindly drags your trash can from the curb each week or who cuts your grass as a surprise while you’re on vacation.

We shy away from such activities because we overthink them and try to do much more than is necessary. In this case, “less is more.” Even one sentence is sufficient to spread a little joy.

To make life easier, you can use the simple 4×6 printable I designed using one of my own doodled flowers. [Aren’t you proud of me?] The card prints nicely in black and white too and can be sent as a postcard if printed on card stock.

[Click the links below to access the freebies–one ruled, one unruled]

The “spread joy” flower was inspired by a coneflower drawn by my penfriend Christine for the Brooklyn Art Library Sketch Book Project. Her flower was inspired by a flower sketched by Jane M., another artist and Love Noter. One person’s creative joy led to another’s and that led to another’s. See how quickly the joy spreads?

Come on! Let’s scatter some joy this weekend!


Bonus: Check out the gorgeous “Scatter Joy” image available as a free download from Ashley at The Handmade Home.¬† Be sure to download the freebie and display it in your home to remind yourself to “scatter joy” each and every day.

 

Pretty Purple Postcard!

Squeals! Look at what was in my mailbox:

"Creativity, Light, and Love," by Tiare Smith Designs

“Creativity, Light, and Love,” by Tiare Smith Designs

Neither my hubby nor I checked our mailbox Thursday, so this bit of awesomeness was retrieved Friday morning as I was heading out to work.¬†Why the squeals? ¬†My friend Cy¬†and I “discovered” Tiare Smith Designs moments apart. ¬†I actually shared her Etsy link with Cy when I saw some AKA sorority-inspired art. ¬†As usual, I was¬†multitasking while shopping,¬†so the “Tia Collection,” one of the sets of postcards I placed in my cart, sold out before I could place¬†the order. ¬†I lamented missing out on Tia,¬†but who didn’t miss out? And who sent me this postcard? ¬†Cy!

Pause for the¬†“happy mail” dance.

According to her creator, “Tia is here to bring light and love into the world. ¬†She has many stories to share.” ¬†Besides her “purpleness,” I love the innocence, sweetness, and light Tia projects. ¬†She makes me want to skip through a field of flowers with nary a care in the world.

I initially went to Tiare’s shop to purchase a birthday gift for myself–a print¬†the artist posted in “Black Women Who Plan and Create,” a community of black women planners, crafters, and artists on Facebook and Instagram.

"Fearless Girl" by Tiare Smith Designs

“Fearless Girl” by Tiare Smith Designs

This print captured everything I was feeling in the few days after my birthday. Focused. Determined. Fearless.

There was¬†so much eye candy in the¬†shop that I couldn’t resist purchasing¬†other prints. Besides, I had gift cards to spend. ūüôā I purchased a total of 16 postcards, and Tiare included four extras, including three abstract still life prints and a multi-paneled print with tips for including it in¬†planner layouts. ¬†Here’s a peek at¬†the order:

A collection of prints by Tiare Smith Designs

A collection of prints by Tiare Smith Designs

Tiare is a mixed media artist and instructor who obviously has fun with her work, but she also takes her work and her customers seriously. ¬†She has great customer service–ships quickly, responds to questions, and¬†customizes orders. ¬†If you want to see more of Tiare’s art, check her out at Tiare Smith Designs¬†or at her Etsy Shop.¬†She’s also on Instagram¬†and Twitter¬†as @iamclassygirl and on Facebook: Tiare Smith Designs.

It’s always a treat to find a¬†random postcard from Cy in my mailbox, partly because the writing side¬†is always handled with simplicity and elegance. ¬†Her message included a quote sticker: ¬†“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”¬†A “truth” to¬†live by! ūüėČ

Thank you, Cy, for always having my “postcard” back.

 

 

Nine Little Pockets Full of Happy

Few things make me giddier than unexpected mail from a friend or an immediate written¬†reply to a personal letter. ¬†I went¬†on a letter-writing spree late last month. ¬†I expected to hear from no one any time soon. ¬†But within a week of my sending her a letter, my penfriend Beth wrote back. She didn’t send “just” a letter, but a pocket letter. ¬†Now, in case you haven’t heard, pocket letters are the latest snail mail¬†craze. ¬†I’ve done six¬†since I learned about them late winter/early spring. ¬†Two of my colleague-friends and I tried them out on each other first (see their first pocket letters near the end of the post).

Traditionally, pocket letters are put together using nine-pocket trading¬†card protectors. ¬†I make¬†mine with Project Life pocket pages. I prefer the larger “canvas” and the various shapes and sizes to work with. ¬†Besides,¬†I have boxes of PL pages screaming to be used.

Pocket letters have been “popularized” by¬†Janette Lane. ¬†On her blog, she provides instructions, tips, templates, and even a video for putting them together. You¬†can insert into the nine little pockets anything that will fit, but the “letter” is a must for one of the pockets. ¬†Enough chat. ¬†Here’s the pocket letter:

My Very Pink Pocket Letter

My Very Pink Pocket Letter from Beth

 

Pink, sparkly,¬†and cheerful!¬† And that’s just the front…

The Back of My Pocket Letter from Beth

The Back of My Pocket Letter from Beth

It is typical to stash items in the back of the pocket letter, so Beth tucked lots of fun goodies inside–tiny stickers and embellishments I plan to use in my planners and for making ATCs. ¬†Besides the letter, there are really no strict “requirements,” but I don’t think I’ve seen a pocket letter yet that didn’t contain a factory sealed¬†tea bag.

Here’s a closer look at the items tucked into the pockets:

Fun stuff!

But the best part of the pocket letter is…you guessed it! The letter! ¬†Beth wrote a nice long letter and used stationery recycled from leftover journal pages–something I also do with my leftover journal pages! ¬†I loved all the quotes and insights printed on the pages.

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Interesting side note about the¬†“do not follow” quote: It is usually attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, not T.S. Eliot. ¬†Investigation time!

The cool thing about pocket letters is that they fold neatly into a¬†business envelope–or in the case of the ones I make, an A7 envelope–and placed in the mail. ¬†I reinforce the edges with strong washi tape or clear packing tape. They usually cost between $1.50-2.00¬†to mail¬†(USA domestic).

Here are pics of the first pocket letters I received [click an image for a closer look]:

We’ve all improved tremendously since our first pocket letters!

Pocket letters are a fun way to share more than a letter with a friend or relative. Instead of dropping photos, tips, inspirational material, etc. into an envelope with a letter, you can incorporate all of those things into a unique and personalized pocket page.  They take a little more planning than letter-in-envelope, but they make attractive and unexpected gifts.

Try one out today!

 

I Did It!

I made it!¬† I completed the “Month of Letters 2013” challenge today with a postcard to a friend and colleague in Louisiana.¬† LV is a lawyer and an English professor. She has achieved much, but I admire her most for the three wonderful, accomplished, God-honoring sons she and her husband have given to the world!¬† Here’s the postcard I sent her:

Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979), by Betsy Graves Reyneau  (1888-1964)Oil on canvas, 1953

Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979), by Betsy Graves Reyneau (1888-1964)
Oil on canvas, 1953

Edith Spurlock Sampson was a lawyer and judge.  She was the first African American named to the permanent United States delegation to the United Nations (in 1950).  While working at the UN, Sampson went on several international lecture tours and held membership on the U.S. delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).   In 1962, at the age of 61, Sampson was elected a judge on the Chicago Municipal Court.  With that election she became the first African American woman in the United States elevated to the bench by popular vote.  Edith Spurlock Sampson retired from the bench in 1978 and died one year later in Chicago.

LV loves law and history and I know she will be thrilled to receive this postcard!

Yesterday, I finally sent a postcard from my Postcard 2013 Desk Calendar to my friend Lindy in Indianapolis.¬† The calendar is really neat.¬† There’s a beautifully designed postcard for each weekly strip (53 postcards).¬† At the end of the week, I perforate the calendar strip, and voila!¬† I have a postcard to send, complete with the address lines and a postage box on the back. The calendar sits in an attractive framed box.¬† This is the best calendar investment I’ve made yet!¬† ūüôā¬† Postcards make Lindy really happy, so she’ll be pleased to see this surprise in her mailbox:

From the Postcard 2013 Desk Calendar

From the Postcard 2013 Desk Calendar

If you’re interested, you can purchase the calendar at Calendar.Com.

I  wrote a few letters this week, sent cards, music, poetry and stickers to friends (and their kids).  I received a second letter this month from Tk, my awesome former research assistant.  She sent a nice long letter and photos of her beautiful family.  Her five-year-old daughter even enclosed a letter for my six-year-old.  Oh, happy day for him!  Tk is an amazing singer/songwriter with a powerful voice. You can check out some of her music here (HerStory) and here (Mellow Love).

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I thoroughly enjoyed the “Month of Letters.”¬† I don’t always have time to write lengthy missives, but it is a pleasure I would love to indulge more frequently.¬† There’s something about the “look” and “feel” of words on a page.¬† I enjoy musing and thinking about life in writing.¬† Letters are also journals, records of our lives, our hopes, thoughts, dreams.¬† Every purple moon or so, I run across my boxes of letters and piece together parts of my life based on letters written to me.¬† I find myself engrossed for hours.¬† Now, if only I could get more of my friends to WRITE BACK!

I was a bit obsessive about vintage writing and reading instruments this month, so I “designed” a very simple stationery set for my February letters.¬† I used a typewriter image from Books, Reading and Writing Illustrations, a Dover publication with 347 different copyright-free designs. The book comes with a CD for Macintosh and Windows that includes EVERY image from the book.¬† The stationery looks beautiful on parchment or any lightly textured paper–with a font that resembles that of an old fashioned typewriter.¬† If you’re interested in the stationery, here it is.¬† Click the¬† link to download.

Vintage Typewriter Stationery

While you’re downloading, you might also like this Victorian Rose stationery I designed almost two years ago using elements from Victorian Rose Spring Fresh, designed by Vicki Pasterik of Heritage Scrap.¬† Heritage Scrap has beautiful kits.¬† This stationery also looks great on textured paper–with burgundy or maroon ink!¬† Click the link to download.

Victorian Letter Stationery

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Use them freely.  Find a quiet place and write (or type) a few letters this weekend!