Resourceful letter writing With Andrea McLaren

We are thrilled to have Andrea back with a few resourceful letter writing tips, because you can never have enough! If you aren't already following her Write_On adventure check her out on  Instagram @andrea.mclaren. -Egg Press & Hello!Lucky

Hello again! Coming to you today with some tips on expanding your letter writing resources. Letterpress cards and personal stationary are beautiful and a delight to send and receive, but today I want to encourage you to look beyond conventional stationery and letter writing tools. I find that putting a letter together with what I have on hand creates a more personal and unexpected letter for your recipient and also saves a bit of money, which is never a bad thing. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do love shopping for cards, note paper and pens at stationery stores. I also scour thrift stores and antique stores for cards, paper and other post-friendly bits and bobs like pins, stickers and postcards. Pictured below are some of my recent favourites: 20 sheets of rose notepaper and 5 envelopes for $0.25. That’s right, 25 cents!! Also, I found the unopened stickers for 50 cents and the various pins for 10 cents each. I also found a stack of vintage postcards for 50 cents each. 

In addition to looking for pre-loved items at thrift stores, I really enjoy making envelopes and cards from old magazines, scraps of wrapping paper or pages ripped out of novels that have fallen apart. We made these snowmen for Willa’s best friend who adores Frosty the Snowman out of cotton pads that Willa found in the bathroom. Add a couple of construction paper details and a bit of glitter and you’re done. 

I think there is room for both intention and spontaneity in letter writing. Some of the letters leaving my hands this month will be sent with a specific purpose: engagement congratulations, a birthday card, or a note of thanks. However, most of the letters I will send will be spontaneous and “just because” – most of which will be addressed to people I have never met. 

Yesterday when we went to our neighbourhood post office to send a weeks worth of mail, the clerk candidly asked what we are sending all the time (it was our third time there in about 10 days) and I told her about the write_on campaign. She was like “That’s great, but what do you send to the people you have never met?” It’s a question I’ve gotten a few times, and honestly my answer is that I don’t overthink it. So here’s a list of a few things that I’ve sent/received over the years:

+ mixed cd’s (yes, people still appreciate them, haha)

+ movie or music show ticket stubs with a note about what I thought of the movie or performer

+ recipes

+ watercolour paintings

+ blank cards or postcards that the recipient can use

+ magazine or newspaper articles

+ flower seeds

+ homemade magnets (many stores/businesses/organizations give away promotional magnets which you can collect and affix your own image or photo over top of the original magnet.)

+ send an interview to a new friend that you don’t know very well. they can fill it out and send it back. 

+ use old pieces of thin cardboard from the back of a notepad to make bookmarks

I often keep an envelope going over a week or two and will jot down little notes, thoughts, questions or quotes that I’ve come across with a specific friend in mind. After a while I’ll pile it together, add a card and maybe a photo or two and wrap a bit of string or ribbon around the whole lot and send it off to that person. It’s my favourite kind of letter to receive. Spontaneous, genuine and doesn’t take a bunch of extra time for the writer and gives the reader a glimpse into a period of time in your life. Remember that there are no rules with letter writing. Keep it as simple or make it as extravagant as you like. Anything is better than the usual suspects (bills! flyers! yuck.) that make their way into our mailboxes.

I hope that these tips help you enjoy #write_on 2015! We will be sharing more about our experience throughout the month of April on my Instagram @andrea.mclaren so feel free to take a peek or send us your mailing address so we can send something your way.

Post by Andrea McLaren for #Write_On.