Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mail Tuesday

A few pieces of mail to share from the last week


Roses, outgoing I wanted to try something a little different with this one. The cutout with flowers is not something I do often, but that's exactly why I need to try things out. I think this one turned out nice, maybe I'll try out more similar ones soon.

I have to say, I'm very happy how the stamps worked out on this one!

Colorful birds, front
Colorful birds, back Another colorful one, this time with birds. I don't often show the back of the envelope, even though I try to add decorations there too. This one had some candy with the letter, as you can probably tell from the candy-gram text... (guys, it's a little early when I'm writing this, please excuse me pointing out the obvious) I just found those white letter stickers, so I had to try them out. They weren't super-sticky, so I wonder if they all made it...

black and white, outgoing Finally, a little black and white number. I like using the items I sell in my store.


Postcard from Norway, incoming This week was a bit more quiet on the incoming front, but I got this postcard from Norway! How pretty is it over there? I think I should visit some day.

Did you get something fun in the mail?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Repurpose - Button envelopes

Repurposing everyday items I recently went shopping for some new clothes. Not my favorite pastime, but I desperately needed some new summer gear. I found a few things I needed and as I got home, I removed some of the tags. A pair of shorts I bought had one of those little pouches for the extra button.

Repurposing everyday items I really liked the shape and size of it, so I wanted to make some for later use. You cant have too many tiny envelopes, right?

Repurposing everyday items I took the envelope apart from the seams and modified it a little bit. Basically I just thought the flap to close the envelope was unnecessarily long, so I just cut off a little bit. If you do something like this, just make sure to check that the flap still covers the opening.

Once you're happy with the shape, use THIS tutorial to make a template.

Repurposing everyday items If you like to save the buttons in the envelopes they come in, you can just glue it back together afterwards. These are usually very sturdy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Repurpose - the Stationery McGyver

I repurpose a lot of items at home. I am very much aware of the environmental impact things like excessive packaging has and I recycle and... you know... all that. It's important, but thats not what this post is about!

Click here to go to the shop! I love the challenge of reusing something old. Rescuing items that are falling apart and turning them into something new. I mean, I run an online store based on that thought! I do that at home as often as possible and use the same principles while I travel. Even though recycling and reducing waste is important, the challenge is equally important to me. And, let's be honest now, when I get an idea, I need to work on it *right now.* So, I will use whatever materials I have at hand.

 Click here to go to the shop! I do also like the idea that being creative doesn't require a huge budget. Don't get me wrong, I am more that happy to spend money on good quality stationery, go a little nuts about pens and don't get me started about what happens to me in bookstores... This doesn't mean that you *need* a lot of money to make things. Some basic supplies from the dollarstore (or the equivalent from your country) can get you pretty far.

 Click here to go to the shop! Reusing things is almost a second nature to me, so I wanted to start sharing some of the things I do. A lot of the things I make right now are snailmail-related, just because I have limited time on my hands nowadays. I have many projects planned that have nothing to do with mail, those are coming as soon as i have time to finish them.

 Click here to go to the shop!Photos on this post are of the vintage stamp sticker packs sold in my online shop! Click HERE to see them!

While I work on some upcoming projects, please share with us:

What's the repurpose project or trick you're the most proud of?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mail Monday

Woohoo! Current mail that was sent last week! Finally on track with that!


Outgoing, pink and purple This first one is a combination of Korean candy packaging and a pretty nifty envelope DIY (I'll write a tutorial soon). I like the stamps too, I think they definitely add to the look.

Outgoing, Pink and yellow patterns Second is a crazy pattern combo that somehow just works. Or at least I think so. This one didn't have stamps when I took the photo. I wanted to take it to the post office, since it was a little thicker than usual. They had to add one of those large printed stickers on it, instead of individual stamps, so I don't think the photo after that would've been very fun.

Outgoing, yellow and green Finally a bright yellow washi tape creation. Washi tape does add to an envelope even in a hurry, just like Caddi mentioned in the comments of a recent post.


Incoming postcards It was a good week for postcards.

Incoming, black polkadots Black envelope with washi tape accents, filled with chocolate. Double awesome! If you wonder about the handwriting, it's the result of a cast on the stronger hand and having to write with her left...

Incoming, book art And last, but not least, a large envelope with decorations cut from an old book containing a letter and a book sent by my favorite librarian! How amazing is that!?

Did you get good things in the mail in the last week?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mail Love - Letter from the beach

I live just up the street from the beach (yes, Toronto has them) and finally managed to go enjoy it a few weeks ago. We've been walking on the boardwalk numerous times and I've even gone jogging along the beach, but we've never really just gone to spend a leisurely afternoon there. We had a picnic by the beach a few weeks ago on Canada day and it was awesome. Will definitely do that again soon!

In that one afternoon I managed, besides eating a picnic lunch and strolling on the beach a bit, write one letter. I don't usually show the insides of the letters much, but this was a fun little collection of beachy things, so I figured I'd share it.

Outgoing mail, July 2014

Once I got home with my letter, I made an envelope out of appropriately patterned paper (see the tutorial HERE for how to make envelopes). I also wanted to add a little extra flair, so I made a teeny tiny string of flags to tie the letter with. It's very easy to make, but if you want a tutorial, let me know. I'll be happy to write one!

The beach here is mainly sand, but has some nice smooth rocks as well. I wanted to find a few nice pieces of sea glass to add to the letter, but it was practically nonexistent, I only found one tiny piece. I did find some tiny round rocks though.

Outgoing mail, July 2014 I didn't want to send a few rocks (and that one scrawny sea glass) just by themselves, so I made a little souvenir out of them. I went through my stacks of maps and found a small one of Toronto. I cut it to size, marked where the beach is and sealed it all into a little plastic sleeve. Finally, I tied the whole lot together with the string of flags.

It turned out quite nice, so I'll certainly use this for inspiration for future mail.

Out of curiosity, what's the most random thing you've either sent or received in the mail?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mail love - pink and aqua

I've been sending more and more mail recently, so I'm getting to more current mail with these posts. Once I get back to my regular pace again, I'm hoping there will be more and more interesting things to share.

Sometimes it's the color of the envelope and the stamps used that makes a piece for mail to stand out. I strive to make each piece of mail I send unique and fun, but sometimes the contents need to be sent out faster than I can make something time consuming. In those cases I still try to coordinate the envelope and the stamps if possible.

Pink Outgoing mail, brinnertime.com
Aqua Outgoing mail, brinnertime.com Even though these are fairly simple, I really like how they turned out!

If you're short on time but really want to decorate the envelope, what's your go-to trick?

Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY - Bright confetti mail

I really love transparent and see-through mail. I've sent some before, you can see examples HERE, HERE and HERE, and I felt it was time for more.

Transparent mail with confetti
This time I sent out a few birthday cards and some crazy-colorful beginning of summer mail. I found some hot pink flamingo cocktail sticks, so those naturally had to be included in the mail. I made envelopes out of the most colorful and summery paper I had.

Summer mail
For detailed instructions how to make envelopes check out THIS tutorial.

I wanted the theme to continue on the inside as well, so I used different kinds of colorful cards. I also cut out flowers and other pictures from the leftover paper, as well as used a paper punch to cut out tiny shapes from a neon paper.

Transparent mail with confetti, closeup
I finally packed the envelopes in a plastic sleeve. If you don't have any, you can also make see-through envelopes using THIS tutorial.

Seethrough mail with confetti This was a very simple project, but so much fun. I think the confetti really adds something special!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Canada Day celebrations

As you might know, Canada Day is celebrated on July 1st. It's a national day off, yet this year was the first one I've really celebrated what looks like "the traditional way". I've always enjoyed the extra day off, sometimes spent it moving (it's Moving Day in Quebec), usually though, just taking full advantage of the Montreal summer (read: at a terasse having a drink most likely)

A week before in Quebec it's St-Jean-Baptiste day, which is the bigger celebration, so I was quite excited to see what happens on Canada Day in Toronto.

The Beaches, Toronto Since it seemed the right thing to do, we went out for a picnic by the beach. Just some sandwiches and salad, but it was nice to be outside and by the water. I'm definitely more the 'by-the-water' than 'in-the-water' kind of a gal.

Canada day, 2014 In the evening we returned back to the beach since there were supposed to be fireworks. We had no idea that the entire beach would be packed. There were people everywhere and a ton of boats gathering in the same spot. The above photo is at the east end of the beach, which was much more quiet. As we walked west, more and more crowds were gathering.

Canada day, 2014 My priorities haven't obviously changed... "Oh, look! Food!"

Canada day, 2014
The fireworks were quite impressive.

All in all a nice Canada Day, it was fun to try the whole picnic and fireworks thing. Interestingly, practically everyone was dressed in red and white, with maple leaves everywhere (the pictures, don't think people being covered in actual maple leaves... Oh, you didn't?).

And, as Finnish person, I must say that I still enjoy fireworks in the summer. So pleasant! If you're not Finnish (or Nordic) please let me explain: it's really, really light at night in the summer. The sun doesn't set in the north and in the south it just gets dim, like dusk, not fully dark. So, we only get fireworks in the winter, namely New Years.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Travelling crafter - the bare essentials

When I travel I like to have the option to do a little bit of crafting if the creative mood strikes me. I use my daily planner as a scrapbook alternative and I try to send at least a few postcards, maybe even a short letter if I get the chance. Because of the potential for little crafting, I like to be prepared whenever I'm on the road, so to say.

I have written about a more extensive traveling mail art/craft kit before HERE

This time I'm only in Montreal, a city I lived in for 8 years, so I don't really feel like I'm *really* traveling. I am, however, away from my regular masses of craft supplies, so I put together a few essentials. I only packed a carry-on for my flight, so this means there is no extra room for things I might not absolutely need. This also means I had to  really figure out what are the absolute necessities. This is what I came up with:

Travel craft kit

Two pens (2 for pen related catastrophes or various writing surfaces, of course)
A pencil
Glue roller
Two rolls of thin washi tape
Scissors (which I realized later I couldn't bring after all. You know, because flying)

And, as before, everything is packed in the highly professional, not to mention adult-y, panda pouch. For street cred, obviously.

I'm thinking I probably could've managed without the tapes and maybe with one pen (but having only one pen is just madness..).

Anyhow, I'll report back how I did with this kit.
What do you think? Did I forgot something? Would you take more items? Less? What would you pack?

Friday, July 4, 2014

DIY - How to make awesome envelopes

I have several fun projects I want to share with you guys and I want to start with a tutorial for something I use all the time; DIY envelopes!

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com I make envelopes on weekly basis, some for my own use and some for my shop. They're super fun to make and I have to admit I sometimes make them just because I found a cool piece of paper...

There's probably a ton of different ways to make envelopes at home, but I prefer to use a template*. I have at least 10 different ones I've made for myself and will, for sure, keep making more. I am very particular about what kind of envelopes I like, so when I see a shape and type of an envelope I like, I make it into a template.

So, to get started, find an envelope (or a few) that you like**.

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com You'll need:

for the template
- envelopes
- scissors
- pen or a pencil
- cardboard (any sturdy material will work, I use a lot of cereal boxes) size depends on how large of an envelope you are making

for the envelopes
- paper (I'm using scrapbooking paper for this tutorial, but anything you like works; wrapping paper, book pages, etc)
- glue

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com First, take part your envelope by opening it from the glued edges. Do not cut it, just pull the glued sections apart. Don't worry if the envelope rips a bit, this is exactly why we're making a sturdy template, not using the original envelope. If the envelope that you're using does not come apart easily or if you're using one made from a very delicate material, you can always soak the glue***.

Once you have the envelope opened, trace the outline carefully on to your cardboard. If your envelope is badly ripped, made of very delicate material or you're not comfortable in your tracing abilities, then glue the envelope directly on your cardboard.

Cut out your template.

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com You now have a template to start your envelope-making with!

To make an envelope with you brand-spanking-new template is super easy (and really fun, be aware that you'll make a ton).

Start by selecting a paper. (So much fun!) Experimenting with different types will give you very different and cool results. Try small patterns vs. large images or gift wrapping paper for different effects.

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com Trace the template outline on to your paper. Depending on the paper you choose and your own preference, you can either trace on the 'wrong' side of the paper or on the pattern side.  Think about the direction of your pattern as well. You don't want someones face upside down on the front of the envelope (or maybe you do, that could be kind fun too). Experimenting is the key again, but if you're trying this out for the first time, I recommend tracing the shape on the side of the paper you want to be the outside of the envelope. That way you have more control what will be displayed on the front.

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com Cut out your envelope shape and fold the sides. Most envelopes are constructed the same way: first the side flaps and then the bottom one. Fold all sides before gluing just to make sure it looks the way you wanted.

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com Glue the flaps. Usually the bottom flap onto the side ones, but depending on the shape you might need to glue the side flaps together first (see the photo on the left).

Envelope template tutorial, www.brinnertime.com Apply some pressure to make sure they stick together firmly. If I'm not using the envelope immediately, I like to press the envelopes. Just put them inside or under a heavy book until the glue sets****.

There's so many things you can do with the templates. Check the transparent envelope tutorial HERE or the coloring book envelope tutorial HERE

I'd love to see the envelopes you make. Please share if you make some!

* if you don't want to make one, you can buy ready made templates at very reasonable prices. For example: check Paper Pastries Shop for one HERE

** If you don't have any unused ones at home, check mail that you received (yes, even bills). There are also plenty of free printables online.

*** To soak, just immerse the envelope in a little bit of water. As soon as the glue comes apart, take the envelope out of the water and on to some newspaper (or kitchen/paper towel) to dry. Once dry, continue with the rest of the steps.

**** Just don't use a book you still plan on reading. I have a heavy book that's slightly damaged I use to press my envelopes in. This way any spilled glue doesn't ruin your favorite book.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tinkering away

My head is bursting with ideas for projects and tutorials! I think it's the long creative drought I went through in the last year that is now over and the crafty ideas are coming back in a tidal wave of paper and glue!

The Beaches, Toronto
[See what I did there?!? What clever way to use these photos! Right? ... *crickets*]

I have a few already started, one with photos in the editing stage, so they're coming soon. I'm finding it hard to write an entire post in one sitting now, so I'm trying to learn how to work a little bit on several things at one time. It's a bit of a challenge, but I'm trying to get a hang of this new way of working.

The Beaches, Toronto
I'm also getting used to not only carrying my camera with me more often, but also trying to take a whole lot more photos. The ones for this post are taken on the beach just a few days ago.

The Beaches, Toronto
Hope you guys are well! And might I add, I'm still so happy to see so many people visiting my blog!

To see more up-to-date photos of what I'm working on, please check my instagram!