Birthday Pretties

I love pretty things!

So when my youngest turned one last month, I wanted a very pretty invitation for her birthday. If any of you are crafty and in need of inspiration, maybe this will add a little spark for you. Making invitations can be a very easy thing, and if you can’t find exactly what you want already made, consider creating a custom invitation.

I actually searched Pinterest first, which turned up more ideas than I even knew what to do with, but I love what happened when I combined a few favorite Pinterest ideas and did a few things of my own.

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The party colors were perfect for something pretty. Delicate pink. Sophisticated gold. And the tiniest touches of light turquoise.

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It’s fairly simple to print the text onto cardstock. I used a solid gold washi tape on the bottom of the invitation and made a sleeve to go around it with an intricate white and gold pattern.

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I loved the intricate design on this gold and white paper. It made the perfect sleeve around the invitation.

The envelopes were a little darker than I wanted, but I was at the mercy of what my craft store carried at the time. The closest store that had the light pink I wanted was about 45 minutes away – eek! I used wedding seals, heart washi tape, and ice cream stamps. Just enough fun stuff on the envelopes to make it a great find in the mailbox.

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Because I love all things paper, I also made the banners for the birthday party, including a mini banner for her high chair. Here are a few other pics of the color scheme. (Yes, the wreath is made from paper strips. It turned out pretty cool!)

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It was so much fun to put the party together, especially the invitations!

So, what do you think? Have you ever made your own custom invitations?

 

 

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Summer Fun for Kids

Summer is in full swing – more than halfway over for some kids – and parents are always looking for things to keep their kids entertained during these long, summer days.

If you are one of those parents – good news! I’ve got some novel ideas for you.

Check out the ideas below that you can do with your kids, or even let them do on their own. I’ve also added some new summer products to my Etsy shop, and they are so much fun for kids (and adults, too). Got friends whose kids are just as bored as yours? Have your kids send them some mail.

1. 3D popsicle postcards

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I made some of these last year and shared a tutorial by Sandra Denneler on how to make them. They’re pretty easy to make, but if you’d rather buy them instead, you can find them here.

2. beach ball

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You can mail a beach ball directly in the package like I’m doing, or you can blow it up and write the address right on the ball. Either way, the USPS will ship it, and it’s a fun addition to the mail. These balls are available at Walmart.

3. 3D ice cream sandwich postcards

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Summer just begs for ice cream, and these are such a fun way to let people know you’re thinking about them over the summer. While I’d rather have a real one, I’ve put some here in the Etsy shop for your convenience.

4. flag postcards

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Bright, sturdy postcards will grab their attention immediately. Whether it’s the 4th of July or not, these flags are a sure way to make that someone smile. Send them to men and women who have served their country. A thank you card is always appreciated.

5. fun envelopes

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If a colored envelope is better than a white envelope, then envelopes like these  (and these also) beat them all! Baseball, grass, pool water, sand, clouds, a picnic blanket . . . They’re cheap, and they’re just waiting for you to send them to friends, cousins, and everyone else!

Give your kids something fun to do this summer and maybe pick out some things for yourself. This is a great time to spread some summer cheer!

 

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A Challenge For You

Today starts InCoWriMo.

Inco-what?

International Correspondence Writing Month

We who write – and even some who usually don’t – know February as InCoWriMo. We pledge to write something to someone every day of February. (Read more about InCoWriMo here.)

I like to write, but I honestly don’t write something to someone every day.

2016 will be my first year to do this. It’s a challenge for me. And now, it’s a challenge for you, too.

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Use fun envelopes to grab someone’s attention as soon as they check the mail.

Even if you don’t write much, I want you to try to write now.

Write one something to one someone during February. And if that is really doable, then write two somethings. Or five. Or 29.

Don’t worry. I’ve got some helps for you below. And I’d love to hear from you if you choose to do this. Email me at lesliesleigh@gmail.com.

First, choose a recipient:

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Second, find something fun to send.

You could totally just write a note on plain paper and send it off in a plain envelope.

Or you could buy a greeting card. Try some stationery. Target always has great options. If you’re feeling really crafty, you can even make some.

If you’re feeling ambitious, attach your note to some 3D mail like a pack of gum, or a bag of tissues, or jumbo straws.

Now, write.

It doesn’t really matter what you write. Chances are that the recipient will just be glad to hear from you. Tell them how you’re doing. About family, the weather, your job. Ask them questions. Give them a compliment.

I’ll be updating my Instagram with all the outgoing mail this month. Keep up with me there (follow thelittleredflag), or come back here to see special things going out. I have some pretty cool things lined up.

So, tell me. Are you up for the challenge?

Friday Favorites

How many people actually use the 12-month flip-a-page calendars these days? I feel like most people probably use the calendar on their phone or other device.

Not me.

I enjoy the flip-a-page calendars. I used to have one in every room of our apartment because I couldn’t decide on just one.

These are one of my favorite items to upcycle. They’re the perfect clay waiting to be molded.

The 12″x12″ is the perfect size. They’re themed. They’ve got great pictures.

They make 13 envelopes. Yes, don’t forget the cover. It has sturdier paper than the calendar pages themselves and is not to be missed.

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I will admit that the landscape and black & white ones I actually bought new. I already had enough new calendars for our home, but I really loved the pictures and knew they’d make great envelopes, so I bought them. $1 each at Target. Gotta love Target!

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The two above calendars are true upcycles. They are 8.5 x 11 horizontal calendars which makes it a little more difficult to turn into envelopes. Sadly, most of the pages in these two were ruined while I was outside taking pictures. We had a storm come up with no warning, and in my rush to get my kids into the basement, I may have left my calendars outside in the sudden downpour of rain.

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This is probably one of my favorite envelopes I’ve ever made. I think the scene is breathtaking, and I was able to capture all of the colors on the envelope. I did have to cut it out upside down to get the scene exactly how I wanted it, but that’s not a big deal.

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In summary, making envelopes is a great way to upcycle your old calendars. Or if you don’t want to make envelopes, you can always send your 12 x 12 calendars to me, and I’ll make envelopes! {hint, hint}

Get the two different templates for creating envelopes on this page.

What other forms of paper could be upcycled into envelopes?

Friday Favorites

Upcycle Sheet Music

I was recently at a Goodwill looking for books when I came across a folder of sheet music. Remembering the suggestion of my friend Karen who has also been enjoying sending out fun mail, I snatched it up!

I’ve played piano for years. I love it! And I miss it. I haven’t owned a piano in my adult life, and I haven’t played one since my church replaced theirs with a keyboard.

This music was begging to be made into envelopes.

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How fun are these? I’m already thinking of so many people who would like getting musical mail. Friends who play instruments, or sing, or live in Georgia, or are Lady Gaga fans.

If you had sheet music envelopes like these, who would you send them to?

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Gift Bag Envelope

I’m finally back to sending mail! It’s been a long 2+ months of just enjoying my new baby, and I’m excited to share what new things I’ve been doing and have planned.

Last week I sent out some late back-to-school packages to kids I love. I don’t think I know a kid who refuses Smarties, so they seemed quite the appropriate gift for my clever young friends.

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Check out this awesome gift-bag-turned-envelope! I started doing this one day when I had no large envelopes but did have a plethora of gift bags. I mean … I have a lot of them. If you want to do the same, just cut off the handles (or tuck them inside), insert contents, and tape up the end and sides. Be sure to tape the bottom of the bag to secure it.

It’s way more fun than a regular envelope, and when you find gift bags on clearance at Target and buy them all because you’re sure you’ll find a reason to use them, this is a great use for them.

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Speaking of Target, this is my favorite new find! I love chevron, and this 2-pack was only $1. Woohoo!

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Did you send any back-to-school mail to anyone?

Share a Coke Across the Miles

I recently found my name on a Coke bottle!

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(Side note: this has got to be one of the best marketing campaigns ever! Kudos to the brain behind that one.)

I searched all last summer with no luck. None of my friends even saw it. Then twice in one week I found both my name and my nickname on bottles. What are the odds?!

Strangely, it wasn’t as exciting as I had expected it to be. It was like an open-ended friendship with nobody on the other side. “Share a Coke with … Leslie.” But I was drinking it all alone.

And I felt very lonely.

But then I had an idea. As fun as it is to find Coke bottles with friends’ names on it and send them pics of me while drinking said Coke, I figured it would be even more fun to send them some mail. I mean, that’s what I DO, right?

And so I give you …

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I also used this opportunity to try out some new washi tape I found. Added some labels and stamps, and the fun outgoing mail was done. I think it’s quite a fun way to use the Coke labels. (Can this count as upcycling?) I sure would’ve loved it IF someone would have found my name and used it as a label. But I’ll probably never see my name again now that I’ve seen it twice in one week. Haha!

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So, will you do it?

Who do you know that would love to get some mail and see their name on a Coke label, too?

Friday Favorites

Upcycling Wrapping Paper for Envelopes

I love me some pretty packages.

And brown paper packages tied up with string are cool and all, but I recently received birthday presents in such pretty paper that I just had to repurpose that wrapping paper into envelopes.

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I used both my large and small templates (which you can find here) to create envelopes out of this pretty paper. I avoided holes and tape marks, and I got several nice envelopes out of them.

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WrappingPaperEnvelopesThis is a great way to upcycle wrapping paper that doesn’t get torn to shreds during the gift-opening process.

Being green can actually be pretty and fun!

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Friday Favorites

Spruce up your Father’s Day mail!

Even if you don’t mail your Father’s Day cards and gifts, you can still decorate the envelopes to add an extra smile to Dad’s face.

It’s somewhat of a bittersweet holiday for me. Father’s Day 2011 was the last time I talked to my granddad. He lived a good, long life and passed away shortly thereafter.

Father’s Day 2013 was the last time I talked to my dad. While it was difficult for us to have a meaningful relationship in his latter years, I remember our conversation that day being so sweet. He was in the hospital and allowed himself to be vulnerable to me. He passed away a couple months after our conversation.

Father’s Day is a great reason to celebrate the men in your life – whether it’s your father and father-in-law or the father of your children or other father figures in your life. Men appreciate being appreciated. And what a great “excuse” to stroke a man’s ego.

Here are some ideas to get you started, but there are sooo many things you could do, depending on your man’s personality.

Sports

Whether Dad is an avid fan that attends events or a home spectator or a local team participant, show him you know what he loves.

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Give him the chance to see his name on a superhero envelope! If you’re not comfortable drawing a hero logo, try printing one out or cut one out from an ad or comic book. (Just make sure it’s not one of Dad’s!)

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Dapper Dad

Does Dad love to dress in his best? Is he a sleek business man? Then look no further than to draw a tie. This is probably one of the easiest things you could do.

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Hobbies

Is Dad the gaming guy? Or the grill master? Or the puzzle whiz? Incorporate his hobby right onto your card or gift box.

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Kids’ Art

Let your kids do the art! My son isn’t old enough to draw, but my daughter loved coloring this and picking out the stickers for her Daddy.

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I used a variety of mediums for the envelopes including Sharpies, chalks, and of course crayons.

You can also try these:

  • stickers
  • paint (watercolors are in!)
  • magazine pictures cut out and glued on
  • stamps
See something you want to try?
How are you going to decorate Father’s Day cards?

 

 

 

 

Pretty Thank-Yous

My birthday was a few weeks ago. I turned 30 – yay! 

My sister-in-law made me the world’s largest (and most awesome) birthday postcard! And here’s the best part … it was hand-delivered by my brother, their two sons, and my mom.

Seriously. Best birthday ever!

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Some people despise the impending doom of turning thirty … which is one of the main reasons I decided to embrace it. I have friends who have been told that they probably will not make it to thirty. So while thirty may make some people feel disappointed, I use it as a reason to celebrate life.

And my family and friends helped me celebrate, as well! I have some pretty darn amazing friends and family members who loved on me all during the month of April.

You know those April showers we always hear about? Yeah, my April showers were showers of love from everyone.

Today I am sending out my appreciation. These handmade envelopes and cards were fun and therapeutic to make.

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And they’re pretty! I kept the card fairly basic since the envelope was so busy.

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For these envelopes, I used the small template found in this post and made them out of scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. My three-year old picked out the coordinating cardstock for cards. (You can’t tell in the pictures, but it’s a perfect match. She did an awesome job!)

Handwritten letters and notes are becoming a thing of the past. If it’s been a while since you’ve hand-written a note, consider writing one to somebody today. Instead of texting or calling to say “thank you,” write a short note.

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If you don’t feel up to designing and hand-crafting your own A2 envelope and bazzill-cardstock notecard with custom lettering and embellishments (I mean, who has time for that, right?!), just grab some stationery from the store to write your note. Honestly. I have plenty of that on hand, too, for the times when I don’t have enough time or energy for a full-blown craft explosion in my living room.

I promise you that the person who receives your note will be glad you did!

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