Counting Sheep

25 Mar

This time a few months ago, AKA Christmas, I got my P.O. Box, and one of the first things I did to break it in was hold a mail art contest. In honor of the Chinese New Year I thought “The Year of the Sheep” would be a fun theme, though since it was still technically The Year of the Horse, I welcomed other farm animals besides sheep/goats/rams. Long ramble short, here are the entries from the four people who weren’t sheepish about indulging me:

Contestant #1: Michael from Virginia

Contestant #2: Linda from Milano

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Contestant #3: Eva from Spain

There was a spiral letter on the opposite side :-)

There was a spiral letter on the opposite side :-)

Contestant #4: Lisa from New Jersey

6

Now that I’ve had the fun job of collecting these submissions and posting them for you here, it’s now your turn for a bit of fun!


And while I’m asking you things…


You’ll find the results to both of these polls in the my next post, but thanks in advance for your help! And Michael, Linda, Eva, and Lisa, thanks for humoring my request!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Sincerely Logan #2

20 Mar

I know when people see a post with Logan’s name in it they get all sorts of excited, so I thought I’d warn you now that this post is mostly just going to be of the mail he has received since the last post like this.

You’re still here? Oh good. In the past two months, Logan has gotten a lot more interested in writing the letters in the alphabet, especially the ones that are in his name. He sent out cards to Cole and Elliot around Valentine’s Day, and I got so excited when I saw just how well he did since I don’t force him to practice.

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With the exception of that card, I’ve gotten rather forgetful about taking pictures of what Logan has sent. When he decides he wants to “write” someone, he’s usually so excited that he/we can’t be bothered to pause long enough to take a picture before shoving it in the envelope I prepared. Though there are a couple outgoing things included below, most of what’s there is what came in.

Logan also received a few things from a couple of my pen pals (for his birthday) and the son of a fellow LEPeep (just because), but instead of showing you those things– mainly because I don’t know where the monkey guy is at the moment– I thought I’d share with you one of the pictures of Logan from this past weekend!

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Gabe and I took the Loganator to see Dinosaur Train Live and we loved watching him as much as he loved watching the show. Seeing his eyes light up was such an amazing feeling, similar to that of seeing a child see the loot Santa brought him, hehe. Logan could very well be a farmer and volunteer firefighter like his dad when he’s older, but knowing that he also seems to love the things his mom does makes me incredibly excited. Sure, he’s a bit too little for things like Phantom of the Opera and Spring Awakening, but there are still many a show that would be worth getting a third ticket for.

Well, I think Logan and I are going to work on yet another letter for Elliot now. Take care, Bleaders!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Love Notes Revisited

15 Mar

Last month I shared with you things I love in honor of the day of love, though that merely was the cliff-notes version. I have had plenty of time now to get my thoughts out of my head and into print. I’ll share both my original statements regarding the things I wanted to elaborate more on and the elaborations, of course.

I already got my presents… Well, at least the two things I really had my heart set on. The first was this Day-Timer planner:

The Day-Timer seems to be replacing my OCD book. Not only does it have a section for addresses, the calendar pages (1 week on 2 pages) have become where I log my incoming mail.

279 Here is the picture again since the first quote suggests there should be one ;-) Anyway, I have always liked having a planner, though I don’t like how difficult it is to find one that has the components I’m looking for whenever it’s time to get a new one. With some encouragement from the LEP, I decided to look into Filofaxes or something like it. I found the Day-Timer while Gabe and I were at Staples one day and immediately fell for it, and it had samples of each of the different kinds of calendars inside which made it even better yet. I picked the one I liked best to get more of, as well as new address book pages since the one that came enclosed were fugly. I wouldn’t say I quite got my money’s worth out of it yet as I mainly just use it to log my incoming mail and keep track of addresses, but since I have every intention to use this for the next several years at least, what I can say is that this wasn’t bought in vain.

The second present I already received was this custom mail monster, made for me by Meredith over at MoreToesThanNose. (There will be a more thorough post on Mystique sometime ;-) )

DSCF7886 Again, the quote suggests there should be a picture, hehe. I knew as soon as I saw that Meredith, a fellow LEP member, started making monsters holding onto mail I wanted to order one from her, and as soon as I saw that awesome fur of Meredith’s, I knew that I wanted her to use it for my monster. I could not be happier with how Mystique turned out. Meredith took all of the things I told her– skin to match the fur, for it to be a girl but not girly, and that her name was to be Mystique– and made it work in such an incredible way. She now permanently resides on my nightstand so she’ll look over me at night, wishing me sweet dreams full of awesome mail and creative ideas, hehe. You may be wondering why I wanted to name her Mystique, and that is in honor of the very first pen pal I had. Missie and I have met on several occasions, and I called her Mystique while she called me Roz :-D

Please, please, please check out Meredith’s etsy shop. The money she makes goes towards cancer treatments for Kai, her beloved pug. She has a Go Fund Me page — Kai’s Gonna Kick Cancer’s Butt! — if you’d like to read about Kai &/or make a donation without requesting anything in return… even if I think her monsters are amazing enough that you should order one of those ;-)

It was on Valentine’s Day, though, that I/we got something much better than flowers and candy:

There is a hamster in there. It took much deliberation, but we all seem to have settled on the name Buddy.

DSCF7880 Buddy has been such a welcome addition to our family. He’s not the cuddliest thing, but it sure is fun to just watch him do his thing. Hardly a day goes by where Logan doesn’t call Buddy a silly hamster, and I must say that Gabe and I agree that he is very silly. We can always count on him to come out of his little house if there’s food nearby, and to hear him in his wheel when we go to bed– the only time he EVER uses it, haha. Several months ago Gabe and I walked past the Planet Fitness in the mall and talked about how we could never exercise in a place where people can watch you as if you’re fish in an aquarium, and Buddy seems to feel the same way. For something so little though, the peace of mind he has given me has been huge. When Gabe and Logan are gone, I no longer feel as if I’m completely alone like I did when my cat passed away. I hope that with time he won’t mind us holding him without running across our hands like we’re a jungle gym, but for now he’s awesome just the way he is.

Manolo, my regular mailbox, is there for me practically seven days a week, and tries to make my day whenever I see him, though sometimes it’s out of his control.

As for Pablo, the P.O. Box, he is the one on the side. I only see him twice a week, but he knows how to make those two visits worth my while.

I still refer to my mailboxes as Manolo and Pablo, hehe. To those who don’t know me, it might seem like I’ve gone off the deep end by naming them, and maybe I have. Considering how I use both this blog and my FB group updated on what I’ve received though, saying things like “my regular box” and “my P.O. box” got rather tedious rather fast so this seemed like a fun solution. Plus it makes me giggle whenever I tell Gabe to check on Pablo after work, hehe. I still love having both mailboxes. It’s nice being able to see what random stuff I get from Pablo without having to worry about people I barely know having our address, but to still hear from my pen pals regularly thanks to Manolo.

Well, I think that’s everything I wanted to fill you in on a bit more. I hope you loved reading about these things as much as I have loved having them!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

 

Pen Pal of the Month- March

10 Mar

In 2013 I decided to have a Pen Pal of the Month series here on Sincerely Kate, and now that several people have come and gone, I decided it was time to do it again. Those who have stuck with me deserve to be acknowledged a second time, and those I have met over the past year or so have earned some of the spotlight as well. All of the pen pals I heard from in February were put into a raffle, and I pulled out Sarah’s name.

She's the one on the left :-)

She’s the one on the left :-)

11051133_10153206625304189_1394045107_nMuch like Jenn, last month’s Pen Pal of the Month, Sarah was one of the very first LEPeeps I started writing when I joined The League of Extraordinary Pen Pals last year. Well, sort of. Sarah writes several stories and likes the characters she created so much she likes to write letters as them. When I first started writing “her” last year, my letters actually went to a vampire named Michael (shown right). It was fun at first, but it started getting a bit too much like Twilight (something she since has been modifying), so I bowed out, offering to write her as herself instead. She was a bit resistant at first, but she accepted and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. She has definitely earned her spotlight here, so without further ado…

SK: How do you feel about being Pen Pal of the Month?

Sarah: Excited! It’s fun to be chosen!

SK: What has been your favorite thing about pen palling?

Sarah: Getting to know lots of new people, and introducing them to my characters/getting to talk to them about my stories. I love my stories so much and I love it when other people love them with me:)

SK: What, if anything, is your least favorite thing about it?

Sarah: Waiting for replies! Sometimes, with international mail, the transit times are excruciating! I want all the mail, right now! :-)

SK: Why do you like writing me?

Sarah: You write back quickly, you ask good questions and you’re laid back.

SK: And what do you like about March?

Sarah: It finally starts warming up! Especially after this winter — we are buried in snow and coming out of weeks of ridiculously cold temperatures! Also, Dairy Queen opens for the season. Mmmm, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard…

I wonder what Sarah will get first– one of those blizzards or this postcard I made. She selected the latter as her prize :-)

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I am really glad that Julie, the mind behind the LEP, once posted that Sarah responds to letters rather quickly, because I don’t know if Sarah and I would have started writing if she hadn’t. The past year seems to have been filled with a bit of trial and error, but I think we’re better pen friends now because of it. Looking forward to the next year’s worth of letters, and the first of her stories being published, hehe.

All the best!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

 

Vari-Kate-ions: 37-40

5 Mar

In May of last year I got the crazy idea to take this list of 100 themes and make some random mail out of each of them. This is still very much a work in progress, mainly, I think, because the novelty wore off. I went from stopping myself from doing more than 10 projects in a month to being lucky if I did more than five over a couple months. Because of this, I decided Vari-Kate-ions would no longer be a monthly post here on Sincerely Kate, but something I’ll do when I have 5 projects to share. Yes, I know this post only has 4, but A) I’ll easily be able to keep track of when I’ve done 5 projects after these 4, and B) I just had a birthday so roll with it.

The themes I tackled over the past couple of months have been Eyes, Abandoned, Dreams, and Rated.

DSCF7762With a theme like Eyes the decision to draw something for Allison came easily. I immediately started thinking about a three-eyed monster I could doodle, only to then think “I could make a monster on each page, using the number of eyes to number the pages!” With the exception of four-eyes, I couldn’t be happier about how they turned out.

DSCF7785Though I still want Othella to pick most of the postcards she uses for me via the March of Postcards, we also decided to send each other our own blank postcards that we wanted to keep for ourselves. When I sent mine for her to fill out, I also told her why I liked each of them, “abandoning” the stories before they were finished.

DSCF7875One morning I had this dream that woke me up because I had to write it all down– there was dialogue I remembered and everything. If a story ever comes out of it that would be fantastic, but for right now I’m glad I had those notes because I shared them with Allison in one of my letters to her.

DSCF7913My project for Rated also went to Allison. In our twisted way she challenged me to ask her 60 questions when I wrote her, and I decided that a chunk of them would be about stuff that’s rated. One question was “What’s your favorite G rated movie?” and “If your life was a movie what would it be rated?” was another.

In case anyone is interested in the 36 projects that were last year’s news, I put together an archive of sorts for you here:

You may be wondering why all my Vari-Kate-ions go to Allison and Othella these days, and the answer is simple: they’ve been the two people to consistently want them. I have sent things to other pen pals in the past per their one-time requests, but Allison and Othella were my “monthly subscribers.” Now that Vari-Kate-ions are on the back burner, it has been nice not having to ask who wants a project of mine, but to just do projects when I’m already sending something to Allison and Othella. If someone– like you!– were to ever want something though, all you have to do is ask.

All the best with whatever projects you’re working on!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

February’s Mail Call

25 Feb

Before we dive into February’s Mail Call, I have two more January dates to share with you. I suppose this is the downside of doing these posts in the mornings of the 30th, or in today’s case, the morning of the 25th.

January 30th: While the pizza keychain from Sonnia, a fellow LEPeep, was and is amazing, it would have been nice to get some letters to respond to. Fortunately, I still had a handful of these postcards to sent out:

junk

January 31st: The letter from Erika may have been written back in December, but at least I still got it in January ;-)

Now that we addressed that old business, let’s move on to the new! In January I acquired a Day-Timer planner that I adore, and by February it became the perfect vessel to not only log my incoming mail, but write what I want to say in these mail calls:

DSCF7902

So without further ado…

February 2nd: While I didn’t get any letters, I still had a happy mail day as I received Ashley and Brett’s save-the-date and some new address labels via vistaprint.

February 3rd: I was able to put two of my new labels to use as I got letters from Justine and Annie.

February 5th: Between both mailboxes I received Mystique, a new rubber stamp, three letters (from Jody, Stephanie, and Leslie), and a thank you note.

February 6th: I was happy to get Sarah’s letter as well as the beginning of our writing project.

February 7th: A much anticipated letter from Kyleigh came today.

February 8th: Pablo didn’t let me down as he had some pretty extraordinary mail for me– letters from Jenn, Jessica, and Laura.

February 9th: In addition to letters from each of them, Ashley also sent along postcards for me and the Loganator, and Kära enclosed a few souvenirs from Disney.

February 11th: The letter from Kari alone would have made me happy, but the stuff in my P.O. Box– three letters and a box from my dad– had me over the moon.

February 12th: This week started to feel like one where everyone decided to write at once. Jody, Kayla, and Kristy’s letters all came today.

February 13th: It was actually a relief to only receive Valentines from Emily today.

February 14th: If the 14th wasn’t already lovely enough, I heard from Justine.

February 15th: Gabe saw Pablo and came home with some extraordinary things like letters from Charmaine and Rose.

February 17th: I received some of my orders from Etsy as well as the USPS. The latter came in handy when I responded to the letter from Krista I also received.

February 18th: Manolo had nothing for me so Gabe paid Pablo– who had a Valentine from Jenn for me– a visit.

February 19th: Manolo still didn’t have any letters for me, but thanks to my dad there was summer sausage via Figi’s.

February 20th: Jody’s letter came along with some washi tape. I used said washi to decorate my letter’s envelope.

February 21st: The last of my Etsy and USPS orders came, as did a letter from Leslie, the inmate I’ve been writing.

February 24th: I received a birthday card… from our insurance company. Like a good stalker, State Farm is there.

I know it’s only the 25th, but without a February 30th I had to improvise. Like I shared my mail from January 30th and 31st above, you’ll see my mail from February 25th- 28th in March’s Mail Call. And you’ll be hearing from me again even sooner! All the best!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Books and Crannies

20 Feb

Welcome to my bi-monthly series! Anyone who knows me rather well can tell you that when it comes to me and my hobbies, I will always choose writing letters over reading for fun. Though that’s not to say I never read! These blog posts will be the occasional chance for me to tell you about the books I’ve read– the nooks and crannies between all of the pen pal-friendly stuff you usually find on here.

For some, the thought of this year’s resolutions are already long gone, but I have done something I set out to do since early December: reading at least one chapter each day Logan went to his grandparents’. Although there were some days I was a bit lax about this, I’m happy to report that I’ve read three books. Four if you count the book I would have finished already if it wasn’t for making this blog post (Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern). Fun fact: the three below were all sent to me by pen pals!

The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield. It is solely because of this book I made it a point to start reading on the days I was Logan-free. I think so highly of Othella that I knew she wouldn’t send me a book “just because” unless she thought it was better than good. It was such a relief when she agreed with me about the book taking a while to set up because, though it sucked that it took me so long, I feel like I was justified in not being enthralled until I reached the “Middles” part. The even bigger relief was telling Othella that the book exceeded my expectations. I was expecting Margaret to somehow be related to the Angelfields in a WTF kind-of-way since they really drilled the twin thing into our heads and that’s something that runs in families. Fortunately that wasn’t the case! I think there are things that could have been done differently and things that could have been left out completely, but overall I’m pleased with the book; so much so I passed it on to my friend Krista. Hopefully she’ll like that Aurelius found his family after all and that Margaret seemed to find something too.

A Certain Slant of Light- Laura Whitcomb. I wasn’t expecting this book to be an easy read, but I read it over three days and Logan was home on two of them. At first I thought Helen was going to be a bit of a stick in the mud as she referred to the people she haunted as “her knight” and “her poet,” and didn’t seem to mind spending her days reading over the shoulders of those who can actually turn pages. However, as soon as she talked to Billy James I wanted them together, and the more they were together the more I liked her as an individual. I don’t think I would have handled her “Jenny situation” as well as she did, so she definitely grew on me. I was left wanting to see what happened to both Helen and Jenny so I was so excited when Justine, the pen pal who sent me A Certain Slant of Light, said there was a sequel. I was also excited to read these two lines.

“This was becoming as curious as Wonderland.”

“I felt, just then, like the elder sister of Alice, sitting under a tree, watching her little sister lest she tumble down a hole.”

I’d definitely recommend this book and am pleased to announce that I’ll be getting my hands on Under the Light within the next few days.

Juliet Immortal– Stacey Joy. It was Kristiina, the person responsible for Letters, Postcards and a Cup of Tea, that sent me Juliet Immortal in exchange for my copy of The Last Little Blue Envelope. I had no idea “Juliet” was the Juliet Capulet when I made the trade, but of course that only intrigued me more. I feel like had this book been around my freshman year of high school, I would have appreciated Romeo and Juliet more knowing this “sequel” of sorts was to follow– perhaps it can still do that for 14 and 15-year-olds. In my opinion, Stacey Joy did an excellent job at creating a whole new story without doing any harm to the original. It’s because of that that I may look into her sequel, Romeo Redeemed, but at the moment I have no interest in learning what became of those who weren’t granted a happy ending in the first book.

I’d like to thank Othella, Justine, and Kristiina for sending these books to me– as you can see, they didn’t send them in vain! I’m always up for hearing book recommendations, though I do have a handful of books already waiting for me and a few more on the way, hehe. I’ll tell you about some, if not all, of them come April! Take care, bleaders!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

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