Tag Archives: pen palling

26 Letters- New Year Edition

5 Jan

It’s been over two years since I’ve done a blog post like this, so allow me to tell you how this works! I take a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet, and build a paragraph around it (e.g.”a” is for alphabet). Since this is the “New Year” edition, the following will mainly be about things we have done in 2017 and things to come in 2018.

First and foremost, know that the boys and I have been doing well! Logan has been doing great in first grade; Gabe’s cardiologist recently decided he needed fewer medications since his mild heart attack last NYE; and things remain pretty “no news is good news” with me. Our Christmas, for the record, also went very well. Logan says his favorite part was getting his favorite presents like the guitar that was on the top of his list, but we had a handful of really nice visits that included some really yummy food, too.

Speaking of Christmas, since I barely found any time to make Change Cards before the 25th, I wound up making some festive ones after our festivities thanks to a handful of Christmas cards we received. Hopefully I remember they exist come next December, lol. My goal for ATC the Change in 2018 is to stop fretting over weekly phrases and coordinated sets to potentially sell, and just make what I want to make when I want to make it. As much as I’d love for other people to get involved, the key to my happiness belongs in my own pocket like the ATCs below suggest. The hope is that I’ll now make and distribute more Change Cards since I’ll feel less restricted, and therefore have more to share in my monthly “Two Cents” series here.

Another series is coming to Sincerely Kate. On the 20th of this month I’ll be posting “Dear January,” and the other months will follow suit. This series will basically be a take on those “If We Were Having Coffee” posts, but in a more pen pal-friendly format. At least that’s the plan!

If you’re curious about this sporadic series, here are the links to the Ghosts of Editions past:

As for this specific edition, I’m posting it today of all days because I wanted to start posting on the fifth of every month again. Though I haven’t missed the obsessive schedule where I posted on the 5th, 10th, 15th, etc. of every month, I never wanted my blog to just be home to mandatory series. Having one day each month where I blog for the fun of it–but just one day– will hopefully help make the blog more fun to keep up again. Posts about Little Cards or Postcards from Wonderland may show up on the 5th in some of the months to come should the timing work out, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

Something Gabe has recently gotten to with the help of his dad, brother, and maternal grandfather? Putting the drywall up in the basement! Sure, there’s a bunch of mudding and sanding yet to do, but considering the boys and I have lived in our house for over five years, we’ll take any progress down there we can get! I think I’m more excited for Logan’s upcoming playroom than he is, lol. I’ve made it no secret to my pen pals how much I’d love for the upstairs to stay more presentable!

Thanks to my Hail the Snail series, by the way, it’s no secret how much happy mail I tend to when I’m not tending to the house. I’ll continue these mail calls at the same regularity, though I’m omitting numbers like 2.43 because I think that count has become absurd.

I have now talked about my blog quite a bit, but for the letter “i” I thought I’d share with you my Instagram handle: sincerelykaterz. For the most part my page is full of a lot of posts per ATC the Change, but Logan and I make several appearances as well as Bridget, my Build-a-Bear buddy. Looking forward to seeing all the additions 2018 will have to offer, and you’re more than welcome to come see them, too!

I was hoping to have a few “kodak moments” to share via Instagram already this January, but sadly my mom needed to cancel her plans with me and the Logantor. We’re a bit bummed, but my grandparents’ needs are more important than our wants right now. There will be other opportunities to go to my mom’s, especially with Logan’s birthday around the corner.

Oh, if you were hoping for a fun NYE story, you’re about to be a bit bummed, too. The boys and I didn’t even try staying up past 10, nor did Gabe and I make a point to kiss at midnight. Our celebration basically consisted of having food at Gabe’s aunts’ for dinner on the 31st, and then during the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day– thanks Marilyn and Jennifer!

Though my post about Little Cards last year didn’t drum up much interest, we did get a few new members! There are 6 of us currently participating in the Legendary theme–a bonus “L!” Any day now I should have the rest of the ATCs from December’s Clothing/Accessories theme. Not that I’m expecting anyone to notice (or mind if they do), when I start sharing the Little Cards I receive in 2018, instead of including the month in the title, I will use the theme itself now that there are no longer two swaps a month.

While you’re excited for those upcoming posts ( 😉 ), Logan is excited for his 7th birthday less than 3 weeks away, and the Monster Jam show we’ll be going to in about 4 weeks in honor of it! Technically this adventure is his birthday present from us, but because of how big of a deal it is, spilling the beans was a Christmas present, lol. Should you like to read about that, I’m sure it’ll come up come my “Dear February” post next month.

Around the same time I’m posting that, I’ll also be preparing for the March of Postcards soon to follow. Once upon a time this endeavor consisted of me sending daily postcards to one of my pen pals, but when I did a postcard-friendly take on NaBloPoMo this past November, I decided to mesh that challenge with the March. I still have other pieces of the puzzle to fit into place yet, like whether to answer novelty questions rather than write about day-to-day happenings, but I still have a little while to figure that out.

As cool as it might have been to sell more of my Change Cards online, ultimately I’m glad I didn’t put the time or energy into setting up an Etsy shop. If you’re reading this, I adore the crap out of you, but you’re a member of a very minute fan club. It seems like no matter how many blog posts I publish, pictures I upload to Instagram, or Facebook groups I run, my audience will remain a small one– at least it’s loyal!

But enough melancholia– let’s talk about pizza since I have 3 things to say about the stuff, lol. 1) When Logan goes back to school next week, his reading calendar from December will go with him so it can be traded in for a BookIt coupon. For every month of reading we log, he earns a free personal pizza from Pizza Hut, and he has done so twice already. 2) The school’s annual Box Top contest is also about to begin. The class who brings in the most Box Tops by the end of it wins a pizza party, so we’ve been stocking up since last year’s contest. 3) Whether Logan’s class wins or loses, they’ll still get at least one pizza party. Logan isn’t into sweets so his Papa brings pizza for his class as his birthday treat, haha.

How Gabe and I celebrated our 7th anniversary last July? We saw Queen with Adam Lambert in concert! It was easily the best concert I have ever been to. Going in I was a bit worried that it was going to feel like Adam Lambert singing Queen covers, but not only did he gel brilliantly with Brian May and Roger Taylor, they incorporated past footage of Freddie Mercury seamlessly into the show so in no way, shape, or form did Adam come across as an imitation. I’d see him perform with Queen again in a heartbeat!

Technically I have used “resolutions” for “r” before, but this is a New Year post so I think a little cheating is warranted here! As you’ve already read, I have plans for this blog as well as ATC the Change. Other goals of mine include doing a deep clean of the upstairs once the majority of Logan’s toys move into the basement; writing fiction(!)–even if it’s just a paragraph–every day I have the house to myself for a few hours; and something else I’ll elaborate on when I get to the letter “w.”

But let’s get back to that goal about fiction. For a while now I have been wanting to flex my creative muscles via writing, but because of my other hobbies, it was never very high on my list of priorities. At least it wasn’t until I got an idea for a story. I’m not ready to give too many details away just yet, but I was inspired by a cute road name we drive by from time to time, and I managed to tie the characters in with my affinity for the Seven Deadly Sins. I have a pretty solid first draft of the first chapter, and the motivation to add to it once Logan goes back to school on the 8th.

The inspiration along with the motivation for the above was definitely a highlight last year; my mom taking me to Troy, MI the weekend before my 30th birthday was another. Knowing how much I wanted to A) go to a Wonderland-themed bistro called Mad Hatter’s and B) make a celebratory stuffed animal at Build-a-Bear Workshop, she arranged for an epic overnighter full of  yummy food, a handful of fun stops, and even 30 presents! We enjoyed the getaway so much…

We’re going back for another Unbirthday celebration! We have yet to finalize when exactly we’re going back to Troy, but so far we know that Mad Hatter and Build-a-Bear are musts again. For the record, I don’t plan on making another stuffed animal since there’s no topping Bridget; I just want to pick out another outfit or two for her. Here are a few cute pictures of her in some of the cute outfits she has already acquired:

I was hoping to have a visit from Sarah earlier this week to write about now, but sadly she hasn’t been back since Labor Day weekend 2016. With any luck she’ll be able to make the trip in 2018, though it’s hard to stay optimistic when all of our plans in 2017–mainly the one for this past Labor Day weekend–never came remotely close to fruition. At least we have our own stuffed animal, Chester the Dino, who can travel back and forth. He is currently visiting me and so we’ve been sending Sarah pictures so she can live vicariously though him.

Pen palling and my other hobbies will have to share me soon. Months ago my oldest brother encouraged me to offer my proofreading services on Wyzant, a tutoring website. I have since signed up and aced their little quiz, but that’s the furthest I’ve gotten. Since I’ve never proofread at any official capacity, I struggled writing a sales pitch because I don’t have experience to list, or know what sets me apart in this department, if anything. My mom has offered to help me, though, and so hopefully that means I’ll be able to help others in the near future and make a little money.

Though this girl with a knack for English isn’t one to write “Xmas” instead of “Christmas,” I think the letter “x” calls for a little more rule-bending 😉 I have mentioned some Christmassy things already, but one thing I didn’t share is what I received. For the most part I just asked for clothes for Bridget, but she’s not the only one who got new clothes since I got some Lularoe as well as a couple Wonderland-friendly tops. And oh, the other Wonder-ful presents! I received several ornaments, a 3D Cheshire Cat puzzle, and the Splintered series by A.G. Howard to name a few new treasures.

I won’t get this treasure until my 31st birthday, but my mom has been making me a temperature afghan that she started on my 30th. Usually these projects feature a rainbow of colors, but the yarn we picked out for mine include shades of pink to represent warm weather, shades of blue for the cold, and a light shade of purple for in between. Though it’s not the best picture of the corner-to-corner WIP, here is the most recent picture I took:

Bonus: my nephew Jack is with his daddy in the background, hehe.

It’s fortunate that “z” is the last letter of the alphabet because I have zip, zilch, nada left I think I need to add to this! I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together with a little help from my mom and Nicole. I also hope 2018 will be an amazing year for you and yours. Cheers!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

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Hail the Snail 2.26

15 Apr

Although this may be the first time I have “hailed the snail” since January, I assure you what I’ve gotten from Manolo and Pablo over the past couple months has still very much been “happy mail.” Below you’ll find everything I’ve received so far this month.

April 1st: The month started with a letter from my most consistent pen pal, Jody.

April 3rd: And then last week started with a letter from Kari and a random intro letter from someone in Germany. For the record, I only responded to the former since I’m not in the market for new pen pals.

April 4th: Thanks to Jenn, I had all of the Little Cards per my Enchanted theme.

April 5th: Pardon the bra strap, but the “perfect T” was a perfect mystery, hehe. It came in the mail along with a letter from Sarah:

April 6th: Not only did I get letters from Justine and Kayla, I got a “friendly reminder” it’s time to schedule another OB/GYN exam– joy!

April 7th: Joining the little reply pile I had was a letter from Ashley.

April 8th: Thanks to Sarah, the reply pile grew even bigger yet.

April 10th: This week started with another letter from Sarah, and one from Kristy, too.

April 12th: Though the hooks failed to come with it, I got a shoe organizer in the mail so I can store/ display my LulaRoe leggings, hehe.

April 13th: The more I got caught up on letters, the more happy I was to get the one from Jody. Also happy? Logan because he got a couple books in the mail.

April 14th: More books came for the Loganator, and a batch of Little Cards came per my current theme.

Whether there’s any mail today or not, it should be a good day between seeing my mom’s side of the family, and then seeing some animals per the MembersFest at the Children’s Zoo. Plus our plans this weekend don’t end there! I hope your Easter is a happy one!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Highlights from the Hiatus

7 Apr

In another week I’m planning to resume my Hail the Snail posts where I log my incoming mail, but for now I thought I’d log some of my happiest mail from during the hiatus, along with some of my happiest times, too.

February 8th: This was the 3rd day in a row Logan got books from my mom, and I got to listen to him almost read ’em by himself, hehe.

February 12th: For a little Valentine-friendly outing, Gabe and I took Logan pottery painting for the first time. Here he is painting his “calico cat.”

February 21st: Manolo had two packages for me. One had a rather belated letter from Allison, and the other had early birthday presents from Sarah.

February 24th: The weekend before my 30th birthday, my mom and I went to the Troy area for a bit of a pre-party where the main objections were to go to the charming Mad Hatter Bistro, and make a celebratory stuffed animal at Build-a-Bear Workshop. Not only did those endeavors not disappoint, my mom made sure the rest of the weekend was awesome, too. The quilt included in the pictures was just one of many surprises!

March 1st: My first letter as a 30-year-old was from Jody, and my first postcard was from Sarah.

March 3rd: Today was the day I got my new journal from Wonderland 😉

March 6th: Not only did I get some fun birthday presents from Nicole, both the Inchies and Boy Bands sets of Little Cards came from Jenn along with her Hearts batch per my February theme.

March 15th: I should preface this chunk by saying that having to have a tooth pulled was not a happy experience. What made me happy, though, was 1) saying goodbye to a month of agonizing mouth pain and 2) no longer stressing over the procedure and taking valium for the first time. In fact, I quite liked my sole valium experience since it made me feel nothing but content. I feel like it “calmed the waters” more that day than the weeks I tried Prozac and Zoloft years ago. I don’t know; I guess I was just thankful for the temporary peace of mind.

March 16th: Sarah went to Florida for a large chunk of March, and though I got postcards from her while she was gone, I was so excited to get a letter from her upon her return!

March 18th: Though Gabe had presents for me back on March 1st, he knew what I really wanted for my birthday was to see Beauty and the Beast. Though the movie was not without its faults, overall I was so incredibly pleased with it. I’ve been telling my pen pals how I believe the movie was not made for kids, but rather people like us who grew up with the animated classic. I feel as though that is why they stayed so loyal to the original, mainly only fixing what was broken and giving the characters more depth.

March 28th: For reasons irrelevant to this blog, a young lady from Sweden was visiting my mom. And when I say young, I mean she’s a young adult into things like Glee and Disney movies like me. It’s because of this my mom had the brilliant idea for us to go back to Mad Hatter’s– the bistro in Troy we liked, this time for afternoon tea. Though the tea party is not something I’d do again, I am glad for the memories and for the fact I found a tea I actually enjoy (hot cinnamon spice). And icing on the cake? I came home to leggings in the mail, hehe. Here’s a group picture, by the way, though those leggings are a more older pair 😉

March 31st: The last thing I got in the mail last March? This adorable ATC! Fitting, since this is the last ATC I will get via private trades.

More happy mail to be posted about next Saturday, and maybe some more happy times, too. Thanks for reading this if you are, in fact, still reading this, and for tuning in this week at all.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

 

Even Slower than a Snail

3 Apr

It’s a trivial pet peeve, but I have often been annoyed when pan pals will apologize for taking so long to write. Here I am, though, wanting to apologize for not writing here since January. I wish I could say the hiatus has been because I’ve been too busy living life to write about it, but the truth is that I fell into a depression. Like, if you thought this blog suffered, you should have seen my house.

In my last post I said that blogging just hadn’t been a priority, and honestly writing letters and making ATCs weren’t much of ones either. I only made Little Cards per my theme group, and letters were tended to over a week or two rather than a day or two like my pen pals have come to expect. I know no one but me actually minded, but when it comes to depression (with a side of anxiety), you just feel like you’re letting everyone down.

Thankfully over the past week or so, I’ve been feeling like I’m getting my mojo back. I’ve been staying caught up on letters, I’ve been making things for ATC the Change again, and I have more blog posts planned for the duration of the week (mainly Postcards from Wonderland ones 😉 ). A few things have changed to make this change possible. First, I dropped someone I didn’t enjoy corresponding with even before my depression, and second, I disbanded my Postcard Posse since despite starting over after some drama, my heart just wasn’t it. I think with any hobby there just comes a time where you feel like you’re doing it more out of obligation than enjoyment, and in my case, saying goodbye to what felt more like chores has helped reinvigorate me. I still have a ways to go, but I’m glad about how far I’ve come. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience.

Until tomorrow!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

A Mid-Vacation Modification

5 Jul

gooseWelcome to the second half of the year, Bleaders! This is a pretty exciting time for me for a handful of reasons. 1) I got to go to Wisconsin last weekend. 2) The boys and I celebrated the 4th of July yesterday. 3) My Christmas in July Secret Santa is happening in my group again. 4) There’s a new mail art contest theme to be announced. 5) It’s an opportune time to shake things up here.

Because this is a pen pal-friendly blog, I decided I wanted to start sharing my incoming mail, like that postcard above, more often. Because today is the 5th, you’ll find my recent haul below, and on the 15th and 25th of each month you’ll find my mail here as well. At least until 2016 rolls around, haha.

June 30th: I was able to see Pablo one last time before June was over, and it was worth the wait. There were letters from Jen E. and Laura, and postcards from three other LEP members.

July 2nd: I got a little note from Kära via Manolo, and when I saw Pablo, a letter from Whitney came too.

I’m still responding to some of the mail I mentioned above. I’d be further along if I didn’t send my pen pals postcards from my recent travels 😉 . Last weekend there was a family reunion on my dad’s side in Hayward, Wisconsin, and I joined my dad there. We drove through most of Michigan on Friday so on Saturday morning we could just focus on finding the resort. Below is a picture of the room we shared with my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Randy, and another from behind the cabin where we spent most of our time. It was a nice place to spend the weekend, and the company was even nicer yet.

THIS REMINDS ME! I need to announce a new theme should anyone want to make me any mail art via my latest contest. In honor of my travels, the new theme is Vacation! There are so many directions someone could take with a theme like Vacation. You could, for example, take the map you used to find your destination and make an envelope out of it. You could also make your own postcard from the place you visited (Note: store-bought postcards DO NOT count as mail art!).

Take the envelope or postcard you make– however you made them– and send it to me by September 25th. My address, should you need it, is.

addressI find it a bit funny that my new mail call technique looks a bit more like an “If we were having coffee post,” but now that we have our first pancake, the following posts will hopefully look a bit nicer. Thanks for hanging in there, and thanks in advance to my contest’s participants for whatever you’re about to send me.

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 ~!~

Vari-Kate-ions: December

30 Dec

This is going to be a rather anti-climactic post for the end of 2014, especially since I’m over at my aunt-in-laws’ house because our at&t uverse isn’t cooperating at mine. To be honest though, the internet’s hardly at fault for this particular post as I only have two projects from this month to share: Expectations and Precious Treasure.

DSCF7743When I started Expectations for Othella, I expected to add to a letter between every couple chapters of The Thirteenth Tale about what I wanted to happen, but once I got into the story enough I just wanted to keep going. It was such a relief to tell Othella that the book she sent me wound up exceeding my expectations.

20141221_150932I knew I wanted to use Precious Treasure for Allison, but it wasn’t until I was responding to her last letter that I knew what I wanted to do. I decided to take a few of the odds and ends from my desk and send them to her, as they aren’t necessarily special yet something kept me from throwing them away. There are tickets from the arcade Gabe and I went to since we had time to kill before seeing The Book of Life back in October, a sticker and random card people enclosed in their letters to me, and another card– “The world is made of stories…” one– that I just realized never made it into that blue envelope. Whoops. I guess that piece of treasure is staying with me.

I have every intention of continuing to make things from this list for Othella and Allison next year, though I won’t be showing them off monthly. My game plan is to use one of the theme’s every time I write my two consistent guinea pigs, though maybe not when I sent Othella daily postcards in March like we’ve done before 😉 . I’ll likely do these Vari-Kate-ion posts whenever I have five projects to share.

Until next year!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~