Sunday, January 10, 2010

Have you written your letter yet?

January 8-12 is Universal Letter Writing Week. This is a great time to practice the almost lost are of letter writing. In this computer age, we tend to write short email messages,text messages or IMs. If we're not careful we may lose the art of writing a letter.

Everyone enjoys receiving mail. Sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door and says "I'm thinking of you." (that picture is kinda scary isn't ? but I just love it!) Don't your eyes just light up when you receive an actual personal letter in the mail? Mine do. Of course, I can't remember the last time I received a letter. Emails and text messages..yes...a The best way to get a letter is to send a letter. So, I suppose I need to start writing. Not wanting to do this alone, I invite all of you (yeah, the few who read this) to join me in sending a few letters out into the world. Hey, maybe we can start a whole letter writing resurgence! (the post office would love us!)

IF you really want to make letter writing and receiving fun, you can make your own stationery. Using paper bags to make stationery is simple and can usually be done with objects you already have on hand. If you want to get really fancy you can actually Make Your Own Paper by recycling scraps of paper that you have at home.
You'll find information on a simple ways of making paper at home at this link

To get started right away on your letters (I know you can't wait) try making Paper Bag Stationery

Materials needed:

* Paper bags (you can use brown grocery bags or bags from department stores)
* Scissors, if you have any with decorative edges they make very pretty stationery
* Paper punches, many paper punches come in shapes (hearts, stars etc)
* Colored Pens or Pencils
* Optional - Rubber stamps and ink; stickers

How to:

1. Cut pieces of the brown bag into rectangles, squares, hearts or whatever stationery shapes you wish. The size of the "stationery" depends on the size of the envelopes you'll be using.
2. The paper will look more decorative if you cut it using scissors with shaped edges. Or you can use regular scissors to round the edges of the paper.
3. Use the paper punch to decorate the edges of your stationery.
4. Draw designs on you paper using colored pens and pencils or decorate with stickers and rubber stamps.
5. Be sure to leave space in the center of the stationery to write your letter.
6. If you wish you can cut designs and patterns from old cards, wrapping paper or fabric with plain or decorative edge scissors and then use the designs to decorate your paper bag stationery.

Now that you gone through the trouble of making your own writing paper, why not make a few special envelopes too? You can make envelopes using leftover wrapping paper or attractive magazine pages.

How to make Envelopes from Recycled Paper

Materials needed:
* Pages from old wallpaper sample books, leftover wrapping paper, magazine pages, slightly heavier paper holds up better
* An envelope
* Cereal box cardboard
* Pencil
* Scissors
* Glue

How to:

1. Search your home or your friends homes for old magazines or wrapping paper. You can also go to stores and see if they have any old wallpaper sample books. Usually they give them away.
2. Take a small mailing envelope and carefully pull the glued edges apart. Use this as your pattern.
3. Trace the envelope on a piece of cardboard (cereal boxes work well) so that you have a durable pattern.
4. Place your cardboard pattern on the paper you have chosen for your envelope and trace.
5. Cut out the pattern.
6. Fold carefully and glue.
That's it! You now have a unique envelope ready for mailing!!

For parents and teachers, Universal Letter Writing Week is the perfect excuse to get kids to practice "traditional" letter writing which also includes a little work on penmanship, grammar, spelling and sentence structure (but you don't have to tell the kids about that). Need something to jumpstart their interests (or yours) in letter writing? Check out this list of Picture Books that Inspire Letter Writing that I put together on Amazon (don't ya just love Amazon?).
One of my fave "how to" books on this list is Messages in a Mailbox: How to Write a Letter by Loreen Leedy . It's a fun book but full of all kinds of information on letter writing, some of which we may have forgotten.

Happy Writing!!!

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