Footnotes: April Edition

25 Apr

Much like the January edition of Footnotes, this post is going to be my pen pal-friendly take on “If we were having coffee.” You see, I have several things I’d like to share, though they don’t necessarily need their own posts. At least not yet ;-) So without further ado…

Logan & His Little Cousins

The Loganator is officially registered for preschool. While I don’t think I’ll ever like the fact that my little guy’s no longer little, I am coming to terms with him growing up. It helps having a little nephew and another one on the way. Around the same time Logan will be starting school, my brother Tom and his wife will be starting their own ride with their own little boy. And let’s not forget about my nephew Christian. Exactly one year ago I posted this in his honor– it’s hard to believe he’s already one. Last year I said that the three of use were always going to be in his corner, and that’s still as true as ever. Over the past year he’s been through more than any baby should, but he has been so resilient. I hope that the little soldier holds onto that attitude as he grows up!

Gnome Work

On the same day that Christian turned one, I announced the new theme for my sporadic mail art contests via the post Gnome Work. The contest entails either making or decorating an envelope (or postcard if you’d rather) with gnomes on it and sending it to my P.O. box. I will share all the entries I’ve received on June 25th, which means you still have two months to participate if you haven’t done so already. Along with the entries there will be a poll where people can vote for their favorite. The winner will be announced in the following post (June 30th) and they’ll receive homemade prizes soon after :-)

The Con/Dom Gnomes

Speaking of gnomes, I thought I’d make two to send among my pen pals. They turned out a bit phallic so I decided to name one Conner and the other Dominic– the first syllables of each name are the syllables of the word “condom,” haha.

Conner will be paying Emily a visit soon, but first he spent time with Justine. She took a bunch of pictures so I’ll share a couple favorites along with her captions:

As for Dominic, he is still with his first host family. Jenn has yet to share any pictures, but given how much her daughter was enjoying the little guy, I’m expecting to see some cute ones very soon. Here is a picture I took of him before he left my humble abode with his travel journal:


The Pocket Letter

DSCF8041As I was sending Dominic to Jenn, she was sending me this pocket letter. In a nutshell, a pocket letter consists of a page protector with 9 slots (typically used for baseball cards) that have components tucked into them. The components can be anything from ATCs to a folded note to a small candy or tea bag. Jenn went the ATC route, though there are little notes tucked behind each one. The one I’m currently making for her will also feature ATCs. I really need to work on it some more… especially if I’m going to be making another next month ;-)

The March of Postcards

Last year I sent a postcard to Othella every day in March and she did the same for me. I originally explained it here, and once I got all of her postcards I shared them here. Othella and I enjoyed this so much we decided to do it again last month. She has had all 31 of mine for a while now, but many of the ones she sent me still have yet to arrive. Ordinarily I’d be convinced that things have been lost, but the ones I have received trickled in so damn slowly I’m not assuming anything. In May, at some point, I will post whatever managed to march to Michigan from Oklahoma since I’m getting especially impatient. This is the obsessive blog of a compulsive pen pal after all!

Well, I think that was everything I wanted to share this time around. Take care!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Books and Crannies #2

20 Apr

Welcome back to this bi-monthly series, bleaders! I am happy to report that when I wasn’t writing letters (or blog posts about writing letters), I not only finished reading Love, Rosie but another three books as well. It probably would have been more if I wouldn’t have gotten stuck on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but I’m not complaining. Like my previous post, I will take a break from writing about my pen pal hobby to tell you about the books I’ve read per my secondary hobby.

Love, Rosie– Cecelia Ahern. I have had this book for well over a year without looking at it, and if I wouldn’t have seen the trailer for the movie on youtube, much more time would have passed. I think I was intimidated because the book’s almost 500 pages long, but I now know not to judge a book by the space between its covers. The story is told through letters, emails, and instant messaging, so it’s definitely not the daunting read I was anticipating. If anything that concept just made this book appeal to me more considering how I love getting my own letters so much. The main correspondents in Love, Rose were Rosie (obviously) and BFF Alex. Their feelings for each other grew as they both grew up, though life had a way of making them never act on them. There’s part of me that thought it was a sweet read as they finally caught their break after so many missed opportunities, but there were a lot of things that were a bit bitter. That break, for example, came at the very last page of the book, so though I know what happens, I don’t know what happened. Despite that bittersweet feeling I’ve been left with, I’d recommend this book and am glad my copy’s no longer collecting dust but traveling among fellow members of the LEP.

Shoot the Moon– Billie Letts. Justine sent this book to me, and I’m glad she did because it was a good mix of self discovery, a budding romance, and whodunit. Within the first few chapters I already had my suspicions of who was responsible for Gaylene’s pregnancy, and who was responsible for her death. I am pleased to report that I was right about one thing (the former), but wouldn’t have considered the other. It was one of those things where I had an “I guess that makes sense” reaction while also thinking Letts just wanted to throw a curveball. Regardless, I liked it and would gladly watch it like Broadchurch and Secrets and Lies if it were to ever become a TV show.

Mr. Kiss and Tell– Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. Though I didn’t discover Veronica Mars until the show was off the air, I still consider myself a huge fan. I was so incredibly excited when the bulk of the cast reunited to make a movie last year, and the books that have followed have been just as worthy of my excitement. Click me to see the first book’s review. Just like the book that came before it, Mr. Kiss and Tell reads just like you were watching an episode. You can practically hear what would have been Kristen Bell’s voiceovers and see Enrico Colantoni’s facial expressions. It’s obvious that Rob Thomas, the show’s creator, really takes pride in this franchise, and has had fun finding ways to bring back characters who were insignificant before on the show along with other Easter eggs. If you like the show, I’m confident you’d like the books. You might even like ’em without the show, but I think you should watch the show first– you’d definitely enjoy the books more.

Under the Light– Laura Whitcomb. This book is the sequel to A Certain Slant of Light— a novel I reviewed in my first Books and Crannies post. Though I was hoping Under the Light would include what happened with Helen and James, I was not disappointed that the story focused on Jenny and Billy. Jenny and Billy, you see, were the people possessed by Helen and James when the ghosts fell in love, and when their souls intertwined, something happened with Jenny and Billy’s spirits. Even better yet, Helen, who stayed behind to make sure Jenny was okay, didn’t narrate the entire thing, but just what Jenny couldn’t very well describe. With James up in heaven, Helen was back to her stick in the mud tendencies, but that aside this book lived up to the one that came before it, so if you liked the first I think you’d like this too.

I am still slowly but surely making my way through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but I’m confident I’ll be finishing it before the month is over. *Knock on wood.* The next Books and Crannies post will happen in June, though you may see a book review or two before then ;-) Happy reading!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Junk into Treasure

15 Apr

DSCF7994You see this ATC (Artist Trading Card)? I made it using the package some note cards came in along with letters I cut out from a catalog. It hasn’t been the first card I’ve used scraps to make and I assure you it won’t be the last…

Especially if you have something to do with it!

Do you have random bits of paper you just don’t want to trash, or stickers that have gone unused for who knows how long? Well, if you send them to me, I will make you at least one ATC in exchange.

These are some of the ones my pen pals’ scraps have inspired me to make:

Here’s how it works! You send me scraps that fit into a standard flat envelope without requiring more postage than a letter would. Like I said before, I’ll make you at least one ATC in exchange so make sure your address is on the envelope or enclosed inside. My address should you need it is:


As always, if you have any questions you can ask them in the comments below. Looking forward to getting the “SKraps” in the mail and seeing what all becomes of them!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Pen Pal of the Month- April

10 Apr

One of the first things I did when Pablo, my P.O. box, came into my life was find a handful of LEPeeps around my age around the US who wanted to help me break him in. Charmaine came into my life soon after. Though we haven’t been exchanging letters very long, she has already earned the acknowledgment here. So meet Charmaine!


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

Charmaine: It’s an honor to be chosen as pen pal of the month; thank you, Kate! I’ve never been picked for one of these things so it’s pretty cool. And you’re such an awesome pen pal so I’m more than happy to answer your questionnaire.

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

Charmaine: My favorite thing about pen palling is personally connecting with someone who lives far away. It’s amazing how pen pals can establish friendships through written words which take time, effort, and meaning, rather than a quick text message or comment on Facebook. I also love getting to know someone else’s culture and lifestyle and exchanging little gifts (stickers, bags of tea, sticky notes), as well as picking out cute or elegant stationery to use with my friends. 

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

Charmaine: One of the things I don’t like about pen palling is when I don’t really connect with a person and I don’t know how to tell that pen pal that I’d prefer not to continue writing. I am really sensitive and try to be considerate of the feelings of the other person. Thankfully I connect with the majority of my pen pals! The other thing I don’t like is when a good pen pal hasn’t written for many months (or a year) and did not tell me why. I understand that life gets busy (for me, too!), but it makes me wonder if we’re still pen pals or not. I would rather know what’s going on rather than being left in the dark.

SK: Why do you like writing me?

Charmaine: I enjoy writing to you, Kate, because you’re sincere, prompt with your letters, and you ask me questions because you genuinely seem to want to get to know me better. Some of my pen pals just talk about themselves and don’t ask any questions at all, and that makes it a little harder to respond to them. We also have some things in common, which makes it even more fun to write to you, and it’s also interesting to discover our differences that make us unique. 

SK: And what do you like about April?

Charmaine: In the month of April I love celebrating Easter, because it is a joyous celebration and a fun, relaxing day with my family, and I also enjoy celebrating my older brother’s birthday. It’s also the last month of cool weather in Southern California before the climate starts heating up sometime in May. 

Something else (I could have sworn) Charmaine told me is that I should be getting another letter from her soon, and I know many more are going to follow. I also know that this will be enclosed with my next letter as she requested a bookmark as her PPOTM prize:


Wondering how Pen Pal of the Month works? Well, to find April’s honoree I put every pen pal I heard from in March (minus Jody, Jenn, and Sarah S.) into a raffle and pulled out Charmaine’s name. Those I hear from this month will be eligible for May’s raffle. The questions, including what homemade prize the winner would like, quickly follow the drawing. Congratulations to Charmaine once again, and to everyone else, I hope April is treating you well!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Gnome Work

5 Apr

I was torn about hosting another mail art contest since I received so few entries last time, but you voted that I should do these contests quarterly like I originally intended. I decided to pick a theme that I’d love receiving so much that I wouldn’t be bothered if there were only a few entries. You get your contest, and I get gnomes! This, my friends, is my idea of a win/win scenario.

Here’s how these contests work! Now that you know the theme, you can make or decorate an envelope or postcard that reflects gnomes. You will have until June 25th to get your creation to me, and I’ll post everything I’ve received on that day so my readers can vote for their favorite. The winner will A) be announced in the blog post that follows, and B) receive a prize!

The rules are simple!

  1. Make something that can be sent in the mail (enclosing a letter or note is NOT mandatory) that fits the theme.
  2. Include your name and email somewhere on/in it so I can notify you should you win.
  3. Send it to:


imageedit_4_8937604401All are welcome to participate! Should you decide you want to participate, know that you’re more than welcome to use things like fairies and/or woodland critters on your envelope or postcard, but there needs to be a gnome on it as well for it to qualify.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask, but the important thing is to just have fun with it like I did with this ATC once upon a time. Good luck!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

P.S. I hope your Easter is a happy one :-)

March’s Mail Call

30 Mar

The time has come yet again for me to tell you about the mail I got over the past month (and then some). First though, I must tell you about something else I received… the results from the polls on the 25th!

First of all, it was abundantly clear (76%) that you want me to continue doing these mail art contests this year. I’m glad I decided to ask because I was definitely leaning towards scrapping it considering how few sheep entries there were. Speaking of, Lisa received the most votes and is therefore the winner! I’ll be sending her prizes soon, and on April 5th I’ll announce the next theme.

But enough about April for now. Here is the mail I received between the 25th and 28th of February:

February 25th: I had a letter in each mailbox– Manolo had Amethyst’s and Pablo Laura’s.

February 26th: In addition to Kära’s postcard, I started receiving birthday goodies. I got two birthday cards and a few lil’ presents from my mom.

February 27th: Another birthday card came as well as Allison’s letter and three books I’ve been wanting.

February 28th: February ended on such a high note. Between both mailboxes there were letters from Jody, Erika, and Meredith, and a plethora of postcards from my dad.

And excluding the mail from today and tomorrow, here is what March brought me:

March 2nd: My first mail as a 28-year-old included another birthday card, Kayla’s postcard, Krista’s letter, and something creepy from someone who found my address in a Friendship Book.

March 3rd: Jenn’s letter came today along with some scraps she gave me to make these two ATCs:

March 4th: Neither mailbox had anything for me, though there was something for the Loganator in both.

March 5th: Like Jenn two days before, Ashley sent me scraps to turn into ATCs:

March 6th: I got my first two cards via the March of Postcards from Othella, and the components to make these ATCs for Allison:

March 7th: This time when I checked both mailboxes, it was me they each had letters for. Jody’s came via Manolo and Whitney’s Pablo.

March 9th: A couple postcards came as well as a letter from Kristy– someone who once asked to be my pen pal on a postcard.

March 10th: Manolo had nothing for me on this day or the one that followed, but fortunately Pablo had a letter from Leslie.

March 12th: I heard from Othella today… just not via postcard(s). I did get a postcard from Frida though.

March 13th: Pablo had some stuff for me once again when Manolo didn’t.

March 14th: Both mailboxes had a letter for me now– Jody’s was in one and Laura’s in the other.

March 16th: I’m pretty amazed that Nancy, my mail carrier, got all this to fit in my mailbox:

There were three packages, eight letters, and a postcard!

There were three packages, eight letters, and a postcard!

March 18th: I was actually relieved that all that came since Monday was a thank you note from a LEPeep.

March 19th: If three postcards from Othella and a purse wasn’t exciting enough, Gabe checked Pablo and came home with all sorts of fun stuff including letters from Jessica and Zoe and this awesome postcard:

Photo credit: C. Laws

Photo credit: C. Laws

March 20th: Another postcard from Othella came today along with a St. Patty’s card from Kayla.

March 21st: Yet another postcard from Othella came, and when Gabe checked Pablo there was a letter from Charmaine.

March 23rd: I was happy to get Jody’s letter and talk about the Glee finale.

March 25th: Just a couple random postcards between both mailboxes, like JCPenney ads from my dad.

March 26th: Every so often my dad sends me a big batch of postcards from California. This was one of those times.

March 27th: I heard from an LEPeep named Louise who shares my March 1st birthday, and I heard from Allison– she has an April 1st birthday, hehe.

March 28th: A couple things from a couple other LEPeeps came via Pablo as well as a letter from Leslie. As for my regular mailbox, there was a letter from Krista, a plethora of postcards– one from Justine, several from Othella, and some I ordered– and Logan got an Easter egg from my pen pal, Ashley.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me anything, and to you for still reading, haha. All the best!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

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


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


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 ~!~


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