Friday, 29 April 2016

Winding Down

Well, I finally have broadband back after two weeks. Yay! Tomorrow is the last day of the Write on Challenge for Letter Writing Month. At first it started out a bit frantic trying to make sure I wrote something every day. I had quite a few letters to answer and it all felt so daunting. I was hoping this challenge would help me re-establish my flow and get back to enjoying the process of writing a letter to a friend and that is just what it has done for me. Now I sit down and feel calmer and more open to a paper chat without the angst of just getting a letter written. It took me a week to slow down and know that I would have time to write, because I planned for it, rather than just sitting down and trying to dash something off, which kind of defeats the purpose of writing a letter. It should be an enjoyable process, not something you dread because you haven't give yourself time to really have a conversation. I've managed to write at least one missive a day and sometimes two, and on the odd day, three! My desk doesn't look like a disaster area any more; everything has gone neatly back to order as my to-be-written pile got smaller. I still have a few letters to reply to but I'm looking forward to writing them.

Another thing that helped me along the way was the encouragement and input from others doing the challenge too. It's nice to have a community of friends to support you when you are frazzled and trying to get back to good writing habits, so thank you to all of my letter friends for your kind words of encouragement and for those who took the time to comment and/or write, these things helped me to continue on each day. They really made the difference for me staying committed to the challenge. I have come away from this with a deeper appreciation for my letter writing, and that is such a good feeling.

Friday, 22 April 2016

You Can't Stop Progress

Well, I was all set to sit down and write a post about making the half-way mark in the Letter Writing Month challenge and discovered we had no broadband. Then we discovered we had no phone line. Then my mobile/cell phone just decided not to do internet any more when I went to town, and while trying to ring the phone company, all available funds were used. That was Friday, mid-morning, it's Friday again and we have the phone back on but internet still eludes us for some reason. I am writing this on borrowed internet access in hope that the internet provider will keep their word in restoring our broadband to us later today.

It's been strange really, not doing the daily morning ritual of checking my mail while I boil the kettle for the tea. I have been spending more time writing, which is a good thing. I've been writing more than one letter a day for this challenge and I'm getting caught up on all my responses and that is a great feeling. Once the angst of replying to everyone in the to-be-written pile had lessened, I began enjoying the process of writing again. At first, I confess, I was writing in a frenzied kind of manner with the sole purpose of getting back on top of my correspondence, but now, I've got my flow and it's not so break-neck, but leisurely and I am enjoying that. That's a better frame of mind to sit down for a paper chat with a friend.

And so, the challenge continues albeit in a more calm manner.

PS.  Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

                   A Note From the Past

Restoring an old house is hard work but there are times when it all pays off. My son and I have been stripping wallpaper in one of the upstairs rooms and while it's not such a daunting job now that we have the wallpaper steamer, it still requires patience and stamina. As I work I contemplate who I will write to next and formulate part of the letter in my mind. It takes the tedium out of removing wallpaper for one thing and happily keeps my mind occupied which serves to help keep me on track with my Letter Writing Month challenge.

The other day while we were working away in Cynthia's room, so called as we found her calling card under the floor boards while doing some plumbing, my son shouted with delight as he began to pull away a strip of paper and discover there was something written underneath. It was just a small note but it made our day to find it. There was a circle with the signature and date of the man who had wallpapered the room.

Mr. Morris may have thought he was being cheeky leaving a secret message under the paper which only the next decorator would find, but for us it was a message from the past which gave us a little more insight into when the room had last been redecorated. There were other telling things under the wallpaper, like bits of wood put in at regular intervals that tell us there was some ornate valance above the window, but it was just that little circle of words that captured our imagination and our work became more animated as we wondered what else we may find as we scraped away.

We did find other writing, jottings from the builder who installed the sink complete diagram and the words Basin and Mirror along with arrows showing where they were to be set. They were interesting finds too but we still loved finding Mr. Morris' details which in turn inspired my son and I to write something of our own to be discovered by the next decorator.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

                                     Still Going Strong

Well, it's day 10 of Letter Writing Month and I'm still going strong. I have written a total of 19 letters so far this month and now the to-be-written pile is not so impending! Yesterday I wrote to a cousin and a former co-worker and it was nice to sit and catch up with them. I like to write in the mid morning, I seem inspired at that time of the day and it's when I do most of my writing. It's quiet and the sun isn't so direct. My writing table faces the window and the view is gorgeous and it's just nice sitting there putting pen to paper.

 Here are some photos of the crafts I've been sending out. I was recently in a couple of swaps to make snail mail flip books and I must say I do enjoy the process. What I like about it is each book has it's own style. Once I look at my partner's profile and see what colours and styles they like, that shapes what the book will eventually become. This first flip book is my favourite. Probably because it encompasses all my own favourite colours. I just couldn't stop adding things to it. I had to just wrap it up in the end or I never would have gotten it in the post on time! 

This next book turned out nicely. I was going for a minimalist look with soft colours and this came out just the way I wanted it to. I love the chalkboard tags I made for this. In fact I made some for myself too.

My third flip book was totally different from the first two, this one for a pen pal. I chose earth tones and a nature theme and just love the soft way this one looks. I hope my pen pal likes it too! She will have received it by now so I can show some photos.

How is your Letter Writing Month Going?

Wednesday, 6 April 2016


It's day 6 and I'm still happily writing. I've only managed to write a letter a day for the past two days but that is because I have been working on swaps that need to be sent out. I have developed a passion for making snail mail flip books and joined a few swaps to make them. I received two swaps today and I thought I would share them since they are so pretty. I love them both.   

This first swap was to be the size of a postcard. The first thing that struck me was that the pages were placed vertically rather than horizontally, which is how I did mine. I love the bright green colour my partner chose. Kath did a lovely job and I'm so pleased with this swap. I hope my partner likes my flip book as much.

The second book was made by Gabi, and it was a very visual book with lots of embellishments that added depth. This book was slightly bigger than the other and the colour was lovely.  You can't really see it here but it's very bright. It was definitely a good mail day today! I also got a package from my sister and an ephemera swap which had lots of goodies I know I will use.

Monday, 4 April 2016

                   A Walk in the Woods           

We took a little trip to day to walk in the Forest of Dean despite the rain. It's quite a drive to get there but it's worth it when you get to walk amongst the trees. We parked the car and walked across an old iron railway bridge, stopping midway to admire the scenery. It had stopped raining by then and even though it was still overcast it was warmish and a good day for a walk. Once over the bridge we came to a favourite pub called The Boat which is nestled right into the side of a hill and surrounded by numerous little waterfalls. The River Wye runs right in front of the pub and there are tables scattered about to enjoy the view. 

We decided to stop at the pub for lunch before our walk and discovered this lovely little post box in the front wall so I posted the letters I have written for the Write on Challenge. I'm still keeping up with my letter a day, and sometimes I manage two letters or like yesterday three letters. I'm still enthusiastic about the challenge and happily writing on, which I'm pleased about.  I feel a bit more organized now and not so overwhelmed and that is a good thing, really.  I enjoy writing to my letter friends and don't want to end up stressing about it all the time.  Once I get the majority of my letters answered I will feel a lot better.  Right now it's a steady process but I'm making headway. 

After lunch, we set out walking along admiring the many streams and waterfalls cascading down the hill. The further along we got, the quieter the sound of the traffic became and we finally could only hear the gentle steady sounds of the water and the birds who were very vocal today. The transformation is gradual, but noticeable as you progress along the path. Moss softens rocks and trees and there are ferns and bluebells underfoot. Suddenly, there is only you and the trees and it's a very peaceful feeling to have only the sounds and softness of nature enveloping you. We walked along for a while before turning back. The sun had returned and the sky was blue, making the scene in the distant hills pretty, even with winter's brown hues still clinging.   

Sometimes it just nice to get away from all the outside sounds and be quiet for a while. I began thinking about things to write about while I walked. It was a very inspiring day all around.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

                          So Far So Good

Well, it's day two of the Write on Challenge and I'm still afloat.  I managed to write two letters yesterday and one today.  Saturdays are always busy around here but I'm glad I made time to sit and write a bit.  I like Lettermo but I think the pressure to mail something every day creates anxiety so this chance to just write and mail when I get to town is much more relaxed for me.  I'm enjoying this process.  I get my tea, sit at my desk and have a nice chat on paper with one of my pen pals, no pressure.  Today the "to-be-replied-to" pile doesn't seem such a daunting task.