5 Easy Ways to Spice Up a Pen Pal Letter! || Pen Pal With Me + Announcement!

Hi friends! Happy Friday! One of my favorite things that I have done in quarantine so far is writing letters to friends. The whole process is so fun: connecting with people outside of the internet, being creative, and receiving letters! The other day, I filmed a bit of when I was writing a set of letters to send out, so there is a video at the end of this post that is a “Write Happy Mail With Me” video! I love watching these kinds of videos when I write letters, and it was super fun to make as well, so I hope you enjoy it!

As I’ve been writing letters and decorating envelopes, there are 5 things I use to make a standard looking letter look super cute and aesthetic, and I thought I would share them with you today.

  1. Stickers. They are the easiest way to add some color and a cute design to any piece of mail. Generally I use stickers on envelopes, but they also do well as the seal for a tissue paper wrapped package or as extra decoration on the letter itself. They are so fun and there are so many designs! They are also generally pretty cheap and are also easy to DIY (so I’ve heard: I haven’t actually tried myself).
  2. A bookmark or other little trinket. I read a lot of books, and a lot of my friends that I send letters to also read a lot, so a bookmark is always a nifty thing to include in a letter. I have also sent washi tape swatches, postcards, stickers, or photos. A little something in a letter makes it that much more fun to open!
  3. A tea bag. This is kind of along the lines of a little trinket, but this one is special to me, because I always drink whatever tea I receive in letters while I’m writing them. It just makes that tea and letter writing time more special and it’s one of my favorite little habits.
  4. Washi tape! I LOVE washi tape: there are just so many designs that are all so cute and add so much color and aesthetic and just. I LOVE washi tape, if you couldn’t tell. My friend Hailey (who I actually introduced to the world of washi, hehe #sorrynotsorry), makes GORGEOUS envelopes out of washi tape, if you want some inspo ideas.
  5. A piece of handmade art! This is my personal favorite (though a VERY close tie with washi tape ;). I love doing handlettered art pieces, and it is SO FUN to include one in the letters I write! It’s just a little tangible keepsake that can be kept around, and is just so fun! It doesn’t have to be hand lettered art, though; it can be a handmade bookmark, or a drawing, or just about anything that you made yourself. Having that extra hand-made touch just makes a letter more special, in my option. 🙂

Speaking of handmade art, I have a super exciting announcement! (Yes, this is my second big announcement in two weeks, hehe). I just opened an “Instagram shop,” called Coffee With a Side of Art! It’s not /really/ an Instagram shop, but it’s pretty much going to function as one. It works in conjunction with my Ko-Fi link, and basically, you get a hand-lettered art piece in exchange for the price of a cup of coffee ($3)!

It’ll be a fun way to get my art out into the world, and I’m really looking forwards to seeing what I can do with that space in the future as well! I’m so excited about Coffee With a Side of Art, and I hope you are too!

As an extra bonus, there is a giveaway happening on the instagram right now, where you’ll get a chance to win four custom hand-lettered quotes! Head to @coffeewithasideofart to enter!


Finally, like I promised, here is the “Pen Pal With Me” video I made! It was super fun to edit, and I loved learning more editing tricks as I made it! I hope you enjoy!


Do you like sending letters? Do you like receiving letters? What is your favorite thing to receive in a letter? THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: DO YOU LIKE WASHI TAPE? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Simple Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs || DIY Holiday Crafts || 2017

Oh look, a blogpost that I shot a whole year ago! *pats self on shoulder* LOOK, EVIDENCE OF PLANNING.


*incoherent babbling that was meant to sound like an intro*

Some materials that you will need arP1040056e-

  • Eggs (duh!)
  • White Tempera paint
  • Sharpies, black and other colors
  • A container to hold raw eggs

The first step is to determine what sort of eggs you plan on making. This usually involves Pinterest or the internet. For instance, I used these websites for inspiration (because I’m so not artsy, amiright?)

The raw eggs need to be blown out. (If you don’t know how to do that, google it. It’s essentially poking holes in both ends of the eggs and blowing through one hole to get all the slimy stuff out)

If you want to have colored eggs, prime the eggs with white [acrylic] paint. (However, learn from my mistakes, and don’t use tempera paint because sharpie doesn’t stick to tempera paint).

Because the sharpie thing just didn’t work, I ended up drawing on the (unprimed) eggs with sharpie and white paint, and they turned out fairly decently.

 

So there you have it, a blogpost that was in the works for a full year! (Also published only because I took aesthetic pictures that I wanted to publish XDD)

InCoWriMo 2017 || yet something else stupid that I’m doing

Having been in the blogging world, I’ve been hearing about InCoWriMo for some time now, but hadn’t really looked into it, until Grace Anne from Totally Graced wrote a blogpost about snail mail, and linked to InCoWriMo (because obviously I’m too lazy to have googled it).

And, because I’m completely sane and time-management savvy and all that, I’m going to try to do it!

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picture credits. editing feat PicMonkey

In case you haven’t known yet, InCoWriMo stands for International Correspondence Writing Month. It’s basically a challenge for people who hand-write a letter to someone every day in February, for a total of 28 letters.

So, yup, I’m trying to do this. Of course, it’s already February 3rd, and I haven’t done a single letter, but shhhh, no one needs to know.

So yeah…I guess, motivation?

But anyways, if I actually follow through on this thing, I’ll try to take some pictures of my letters and put them all in a blogpost at the end of the month.


Also if this post seems really incoherent and stuff, it’s because I’m currently NOT PROCRASTINATING on cramming for Anatomy.

Lots, and lots, and lots of hormones. (I’m studying hormones; I’m not hormonal) XD

The first SciOly competition is tomorrow, which explains things.


But anyways, are you doing InCoWriMo? How’s your progress coming? By goodness this is the worst blogpost that I’ve probably ever written oops.

Knit With Me: Chunky Socks {Gift Ideas} || Blogmas Day 6

Happy Day 6 of Blogmas! Today I’m posting about my knitted socks (because y’all obviously didn’t read the title. XD).

They are super fun and soft, and also they are quite easy! They are the first socks that I’ve knit, and I didn’t really have any trouble making them. They’re also quite simple: the yarn that you use is just the standard worsted yarn, which I have wAY too much of at any given point, so that was really nice too.

So far, I’ve knitted two pairs of these socks: one long pair, going up the knees, per the pattern, and one that was wider and shorter, per my modification. said socks may or may not have been presents for Christmas 2015, but who’s counting?

And because I’m a good knitter like that, I didn’t write down my modification for the socks….oops.

I got my pattern from the book Vintage Knit Knacks. (I don’t actually recommend the book: the socks are the only pattern I’ve used out of the 20, and the only one I think I’ll ever use.) As a result, I can’t post the pattern, because of copyright. (Why am I even writing this blogpost? BECAUSE BLOGMAS AND I DONT HAVE POSTS TO WRITE. I don’t know.) But if you have the book, I totally recommend using this problem!

Someday I’ll write out my modified pattern….someday.

This pattern was the first one that I used a cable needle with who am I kidding I didn’t even buy an actual cable needle I just used the 5th DPN. Also, as I mentioned earlier, it was the first pair of socks that I’ve made!

I like the (very) cable-y pattern…but then, cable anything is SO PRETTY.

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But anyways…here’s a really rambly random post in which you learn that I learned to cable knit a year ago. Here you go.

Merry 6 Days before Christmas!


Do you knit? What is your favorite thing to knit? I always like knitting little things, like socks and hats, because I’m too impatient to knit big things, haha! What about you?

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies || 2016 Holiday Recipe || Blogmas Day 4

Welcome to Blogmas Day 4! Today, I’m sharing with you all my recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, the Christmas cookies I baked this year. (If you want to see my Christmas cookies from last year, check here, and the Christmas recipe I made the year before, check here).

These were super easy, and also very good! I was really surprised at how easy they were to make, and they were just the perfect amount of sweetness as well.

recipe creds

Ingredients-ingredients.jpg

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter or vegetable oil (I used butter)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

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  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cocoa, granulated sugar, and oil on medium speed.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add 1 egg at a time until combined.
  3. Mix in the remaining ingredients in the order listed, with the exception of the powdered sugar. (I also added about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips)
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours. (I chilled it overnight maybe because I didn’t read the recipe right and started making the cookies at 8pm)chocolatecrinkle.jpg
  5. Preheat the oven to 350degrees F.
  6. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and coat with powdered sugar.
  8. Place on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Allow the cookies to rest on the hot cookie sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies are rather small: about 2 1/2 inches wide or so. However, they are SO. GOOD. They taste really strongly of cocoa powder, and they’re quite firm. As I don’t think I’ve ever had chocolate crinkle cookies before, I couldn’t really tell you how they compare, but they’re just really good. BUT ALSO THEY’RE COOKIES SO I MAY BE BIASED.

I ended up 3/2ing the recipe (as in, I halved the recipe and then made the half and the whole, to make a whole and a half…yeah, I don’t quite get it myself either) (thus the six eggs in the shot with the mixer), and made 7 1/2 dozen, making 8 gift bags of between 7 to 9 cookies each.


Are you a cookie fan? (How could you not be???) What is your favorite Christmas cookie/Christmas food? What are your favorite type of chocolate chips? Mine are the mint kind, but I also love cinnamon chips and also the standard milk.

DIY Holiday Canvas Decoration || Blogmas Day 9

Hello! So today’s post is a DIY canvas room decoration thingie.

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If you remember from my 17 Before 2017 Goals (because self promo), one of my goals was to redecorate my room. I had also seen this video from one of my friends, talking about a Christmas cursive canvas (and alliteration, because I ENGLISH GOODLY).

And…one of the easiest ways to redecorate one’s room is to add some highlights, such as a canvas.

So….I tried it out.

And it worked! …well mostly.

So…things you will need:

  • Acrylic paint (in RED and GREEN BECAUSE CHRISTMAS) in the color of your choice
  • however many canvases in whatever size you want
  • Metallic sharpies/Walmart permanent markers BECAUSE IM CHEAP LIKE THAT
  • Mod Podge
  • Glitter (opt)

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. Find a quote/song lyrics/phrase that you want to letter onto your canvas. If you’re pro and want to design your own, like me, design it on PicMonkey or editing software like that. Print it out.
  2. Coat your canvas with two/three coats of the paint. If you want to do the ombre thing from the video, do that.
  3. Wait until the paint is dry (DUH)
  4. Either do the chalk thing from the video, or else hand letter your thingie onto the canvas.
  5. Add some glitter, if you want.
  6. Mod Podge the entire thing, especially if you used glitter.
  7. Decorate your room and revel in the beautifulness of your room. Or not.

Here are my finished products.

 

I have one that says “O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord” and another that says “Joy to the World.” I think they turned out pretty okay, and I think I’m going to make more…someday.

 

Cranberry Sauce || Holiday Recipe 2016

For Thanksgiving, my signature dish is always cranberry sauce. It’s a very simple recipe that I simply got off of AllRecipes.

Ingredients-P1010247

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries

Directions-

  1. PlacP1010265e the sugars, orange juice, water, and cinnamon in a heavy saucepan, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cranberries and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop, about 10 minutes. Mash the mixture with a spoon to pop any unpopped berries and help thicken the sauce, if desired, and reduce heat to low and simmer P1010271until the sauce is the desired thickness, up to 10 more minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, pour the sauce into a bowl, and chill until serving time. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

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Since we were going to a Thanksgiving potluck, I decided to double the recipe, which resulted in-

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The sauce is pretty sweet, to the point where I don’t especially enjoy it much. I ended up using 3/4 cup sugar, instead of 1 cup of sugar, because it was just too sweet for me to enjoy, although it wasn’t unbearably sweet. It gels very well, and it is quite firm.

One thing that I dislike about this recipe, though, is its use of orange juice. This lends to an acid-y, sour, citrus-y flavored cranberry sauce, which is something I don’t appreciate in my cranberry sauce. The odd mix of tart and overly sweet made for an unpleasant jolt to the taste, and I doubt that I’ll try this recipe again in the future.

I’ve made cranberry sauce (not this recipe) every year for the past three or four years, and it’s always very well received. I recommend this recipe if you like orange-y tasting cranberry sauce, although if you don’t like very sweet cranberry sauce, then use about 3/4 cup sugar instead of 1 cup.

RockandMinerals4Him rating- 7/10

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DIY Melted Crayon art

In years past, I’ve made this cute melted crayon art for the fair and earned ribbons. I really enjoy doing it, so I thought that I’d make a tutorial.

Things needed-

  • A canvas, it can be whatever size you want it to be
  • A hot glue gun
  • Lots of glue sticks- I used 7 in this particular piece
  • 2 boxes of crayons, or the equivalent of 2 boxes of crayons. Basically, you’ll need two sets of the same pattern/set of colors. One box can be broken/old/used, but the other set has to look new.
  • A hair dryer
  • An utility knife
  • Newspapers or something of the sort

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Step 1- Sort out all the crayons into the pattern you want it to be in. Both sets. I just sorted them out into a rainbow-y sort of formation (I’m sure there is a word for it, just not sure what :P)

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Step 2- Peel the first set of crayons, then begin hot gluing them unto your canvas.

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Step 3- Set up the canvas so that it’s upright, and put something beneath it to catch drips. Melted crayon is pretty hard to get out of anything. I learned that the hard way.

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Step 4- Begin directing the blow dryer at the line of crayons, starting from the bottom ends of the crayons, then moving up as more crayon melts. Melt the crayon for as long and as much as you want.

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Initial; after about 20 seconds
After about 5 minutes
After about 5 minutes
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After about 10 minutes
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After all the touching up

Step 5- Since now all the crayons are pretty well melted off, they look pretty pitiful. Thus, peel off all the old crayons and the old hot glue, then glue on the second set of crayons. This step is optional, but useful for cosmetic purposes. It looks pretty amazing, though, since it looks like barely any crayon was melted to create the effect.

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Step 6- Blow dry the crayons a little, to create a little meltage of the crayon, just so they don’t look entirely brand new. The tops of the crayons will melt.

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The final product-

This is a project that looks wonderful almost anywhere a splash of color is needed. I’ve only done rainbow sequences in the past, but the colors can be changed to be any pattern to match color schemes.

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