Thursday, October 30, 2014

Surprise! You've Got Mail!

I am always on the look out for mailbox magic opportunities and was pleasantly surprised to discover a recent house guest of ours had left her book behind.  She had texted me and asked if I would be able to send her book back right away, as she needed it for her weekly life group meeting. I was happy to send her some snail mail and was thrilled to include a little magic in the task of returning her book!

I wrote several small notes about my pen friend (who just happened to be my sister-in-law)...

  • My favorite memory of us...
  • In 10 years I see us...
  • When I first met you I thought...
  • A dream day together...
  • A magazine clipping of some cute hamsters...just because they were SO cute!
I tucked them into her book at various locations to increase the fun/surprise factor!

I also included a couple mail tag challenges because they are awesome and I am addicted to them and  I want to send them to all my pen pals!!

I hope she enjoys the little mailbox magic that I've included for her! I definitely had great fun creating it! 

Go postal, everybody! Surprise someone today! 

~XOXO Mrs. Murphy

Monday, October 27, 2014

Color My Mailbox ~ Tickled Pink!

Struggling to think of something to write about? I am often plagued by this dilemma. When it comes to my mailbox magic I try to think creatively.  You know, "out of the box."  Sometimes I even think out of the crayon box!

I recently wrote a letter with the color RED as my over all theme.  I decorated a piece of white paper with a RED and white polka dot tape border.

 I, of course, wrote with RED ink and added a few RED illustrations.  I wrote about everything RED in my life at that moment.  I described my RED t-shirt and the story behind it.

I wrote about the RED apple I was eating which segued nicely into my favorite aspects of fall.  I included a clipping from a magazine of a book review with RED in the title which I thought sounded interesting.  I also included an copy of a paining by Janet Hill of a woman in a RED gown that I found beautiful.

It was a lovely letter that I hope will tickle my recipient's mailbox mean pink! 
See? Anything can make a fun and interesting theme for a letter! Start thinking creatively! 

Go postal, everybody!! And color someone's day with magic!!
~XOXO Mrs. Murphy

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Time for Some Mailbox Magic!

People often complain about how long it takes for snail mail to reach its intended destination. Hence the term "snail" mail. But I feel the saying "Good things come to those who wait!" is much more applicable!!  So in honor of all things "time" related I've created a fun, little "time trivia letter."

I used that handy-dandy internet to research the durations of random events and whipped up a little card. My illustrations are not the most artistic, but remember perfectionism is NOT my goal. I want to send some fun, joy, smiles and encouragement through the post, in short...MAGIC!!

(Sorry for the blurry picture)

(Kind of sloppy...but's the thought that counts, right!?)

I sent this "time" letter to a pen pal I was extra slooooow in replying to.  Hopefully this little bit of mailbox magic will make up for it! 

Go postal, everybody! It's the perfect time!
XOXO Mrs. Murphy

Monday, October 13, 2014

In The Mood to Mail

I think I may have mentioned that I'm a recovering perfectionist. I often have an overwhelming desire to send the perfect piece of mail and/or the most amazing care package in the history of care packages! I confess I have "pinned" unbelievably awesome snail mail ideas and "blow 'em away" package examples in the hopes of recreating something like that myself.  But these projects usually require me to buy new supplies and package ingredients, making a special trip, and spending more money to do so.  Therefore, more often than not... I don't send anything. (Boo)

If there is one thing I know for certain it's this...the package or mail you do send is way better than the so called "perfect" package that simply remains an idea.  I'd been wanting to send the elder Murphy Brother another care package.  I'd carefully collected my thoughts and ideas for the perfect package.  But before I knew it, he was telling me about midterms coming up!! I decided to scrap the perfect package plan and send an actual package right away!! I wrote him an encouraging letter (I feel that the words you write are the best part of any snail mail! They can last forever!) and added a few little candy treats (with clever pun tags), a "lucky" pencil for writing midterms and a little bit of money (every college student's favorite item!).  I packaged everything up in a padded envelope I had in my snail mail stash and headed to the post office. In no time at all my actual package was actually mailed! Magic! 

Go postal, everybody...whenever the mood strikes! (He who hesitates sends no mailbox magic!)

XOXO Mrs. Murphy

Postal Box Office: Beaches

I was flipping through the television channels the other day and came upon "Beaches."  I hadn't seen this film in a loooong time.  I had forgotten it was an episilatory movie!! (Movies that have some reference to letter writing.)

The two main characters meet when they are children while on vacation.  Although they come from different sides of the country with varied backgrounds, they begin a pen pal friendship that lasts throughout their childhood, high school and college years. They are reunited for the first time again as adults.  Their friendship is filled with many ups and downs and is filled with both joy and tragedy but endures it all and lasts a lifetime.

I believe this movie celebrates a wonderful snail mail truth.  People from different places and backgrounds (and even with differing interests) can become friends through the exchange of letters! Opening your heart to another via snail mail is a special way to connect with someone and can forge a friendship that may last for a lifetime! Letters can be read and re-read, touched, saved and cherished.  They are a true symbol of friendship.  So go find a pen pal and write them a letter! Who knows?  You may make a friend for life!!

Go postal, everybody! (It's very friendly!)

XOXO Mrs. Murphy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tag! You've Got Mail!

Mail Tag is one of the most fun games you can play via post! The only real requirement for the game is this...
It must be played with a snail mail loving partner or the game will end after one turn! (Boo hoo)

The rules are simple.  

  1. Partner One writes a fun letter with a challenge or question for Partner Two.
  2. Partner Two completes the challenge (usually with photo documentation). Writes a letter describing the awesomeness of completing the challenge and includes their own task for Partner One to complete. 
  3. Repeat until one of you dies...or gets sick of mail tag...whichever comes first. (Probably death, because Mail Tag is really awesome and who wouldn't want to keep it going?!)
So what kind of tasks/challenges should you include in your game of Mail Tag?  Well, one is really only limited by imagination, but I do have a few, friendly guidelines to make your game of Mail Tag magical! 
  • Think postal friendly! It's often fun to request items from your partner. Choosing flat, easily mailable, inexpensive items is best. You don't want to make Mail Tag cost prohibitive.
  • Get creative but not crazy! You don't want your partner to get hurt or arrested! Challenge wisely, young snail mailer.
  • Use a hashtag (#MrsMurphyMailTag) and share a picture of yourself completing your challenge on social media for even more fun.
  • Can't think of anything? Check out this awesome Mail Tag idea generator on Bianca's fun Mail Tag website: Mail Tag
Mail Tag! Sounds magical, doesn't it?!  (That's because it totally is!!)

Go postal, everybody... because Tag! You're it!

XOXO Mrs. Murphy 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Buried Alive!! (or Too Much Stationery)

All hobbies require stuff. You know, supplies, components, things, gadgets, tools, equipment...stuff.  Sometimes one can have TOO MUCH STUFF! I don't know about you, but I like my snail mail supplies neat, organized, easily accessible, portable (if possible) and in no way overwhelming. I also love to go to Hobby Lobby, Target or Michael's and get the newest, cutest, amazing-est rubber stamps, stationery, Washi tapes, pens, paper, etc. Ah...therein lies the rub.

I WANT IT ALL!! (But I don't want...)
  • To pay for it all
  • To store it all
  • To organize it all
  • To try and find it when I want it and I can't remember where I put it all
  • To waste any of it!! (God forbid.)
So what is a (frugal) snail mail enthusiast like me to do?
My new mottos: Get creative! Use what you have! Recycle!

So,  I'd thought I'd occasionally share some fun ways I creatively use what I have, keeping my snail mail hobby going strong, without breaking the bank or collecting too much STUFF! So let's start with something very basic...PAPER!

I love letter sets and cute stationery as much as the next letter writer, but let's face it, one usually gets about 16 sheets of paper and 8 envelopes for $24.95! Not exactly economical. Or, you can get a pack of colored printer paper (500 sheets) from an office supply store for $6.49.  Much better!!

One of my favorite and simplest ways of perking up that plain printer paper is by adding a little decorative tape.  These marvelous tapes come in a multitude of colors and patterns, are inexpensive and last a long time! A simple border of tape makes a world of difference! 

Another fantastically free and easy way to spruce up our plain printer paper is a little cut & fold! One of my favorite folds is the "snake" fold.  Cut two sheets of paper into squares. Fold each square on the diagonal. Open and flip paper over. Fold in half horizontally and vertically. Pinch the folded corners and push together. The diagonal fold will engage and ... presto!! You have a square! Magic! Glue the two squares together so the opposite ends overlap. This folds up into an awesome letter with nifty little sections that are just perfect for letter writing. 

Last but certainly not least, I personalize my plain old paper with rubber stamps. Rubber stamps may cost a little more, but a small collection is worth the initial investment. They can be used over and over again in a variety of ways. My signature stamp is a small circle stamp that I use to make "circle people." A few lines and squiggles added in with a pen and my plain circle stamp is a cute little person doing awesome things! You don't have to be a world class artist to make these expressive little doodles! Magic!! 

I put them all together in a recent snail mail creation! I'm quite happy with how it turned out! A Mrs. Murphy custom creation without breaking the bank!! Magic!

Go postal, everybody! Just be frugal about it! 

XOXO Mrs. Murphy

Friday, October 3, 2014

Post Card Catalog!

Nothing is better than a full mailbox! However if you want your mailbox to continue to be full you must send outgoing post. It's imperative that you reply to all of your wonderful pen friends if you want to keep the magic going! Big piles of mail can be a little overwhelming, though, can't they?  Did I reply to this letter? What about that letter? Uh Oh! Did I send a thank you for that package? See what I mean? Overwhelming!

So in an effort to be more organized I have a little snail mail system that works pretty well for me. Allow me to share...

I start with a 3x5 card file box.  I call it the "Post Card Catalog." Inside this lovely container (really it's just an old, not-so-lovely, unused recipe box) I have placed alphabetical dividers behind which I file my pen pals by name. I created two custom dividers with an index card and a stick on tab. These are "To Reply..." and "Mailbox Magic". 

When I receive a piece of mail I find the pen pal's index card (or create one if it's a new pen pal). This card includes the name and mailing address of my pen friend. On the back of the card I've created two columns, "Received" and "Sent".  I write the date on the back of the card under "Received" and draw a little box under the "Sent" column.

I file the card under the "To Reply..." where it stays until I get a chance to write back.  After I've sent my reply I check the box and file the card alphabetically by name. Sweet! Organization! 

I do keep my incoming post in a small box so I can refer to it when I'm writing replies. (I purposely keep this box small so I can't get too far behind!) 
I also have a snail mail journal. I make a short entry about the post I receive...
"29 Sept 2014 Got some lovely post from a new pen pal from Australia! She included some snaps of a wallaby, koala and kookaburra!"

I try to avoid packrat tendencies so I only save extra meaningful post...things I feel future generations might enjoy love letters from Mr. Murphy!  

Oh! You might be wondering about that "Mailbox Magic" tab???  Well, that is where I place the "post cards" of people to whom I want to send some spontaneous mail. Magic!!

Go postal, everybody! (In an orderly fashion)
XOXO Mrs. Murphy