I have a good selection of paper punches and rubber stamps, and sometimes I want to play with them, even if I don't have a specific project in mind. I just like to make things.
For instance, after I got the Paper Pastries label stamp in the mail, I spent an entire evening just testing out the stamp because I had to use it! It makes a beautiful impression on an envelope, but I wanted to try using it to make my own labels in several different colors. I stamped sheets of 8.5 x 11 label paper, let the ink dry, and then cut around each shape. Now I have lots of labels in a little pile waiting to be used or--I decided--shared with pen friends.
If you enjoy mass producing little paper things just for the sake of making, then you might enjoy this approach to creating snail mail treasures as well. For labels and stickers, stamping on label paper (or homemade sticker paper) is great. Just choose stamps you think your penpal would like and stamp away. Then cut around the edges of the design.
(Hint: Apparently almost all snail mailers are cat lovers, so a cat stamp is handy to have around, even if you are not one. Also, I am a recovering childhood cat lover who is slowly coming back around, thanks to my sister and Instagram friends.)
You can do the same on regular paper or scrap paper--stamp and cut.
Paper punching is pretty self-explanatory. I like to use heart punches on all types of paper because I have a thing for hearts.
Your penpal can use all of these little paper pieces for collage or mail art or journaling . . . there are lots of possibilities. (And you can do the same, but for now send these babies out because you are probably just going to make more anyway.)
Here are some things I mailed in a recent letter: paper punched hearts made of seed paper, stamped image cutouts, a paper bow cut from a free printable, a coin envelope made from a Paper Source template, a "patient penpal" award, and stamped label stickers. [Photo from my Instagram.]I think it's important to note that a letter in and of itself is cause for great celebration, no matter if there are extras inside or not. What's better than a letter? Not much. But--if you like sending extras (and you enjoy punching, stamping, and cutting) then this is an easy and inexpensive way to add a pleasant, tactile surprise without spending more money on supplies or paying extra postage (as long as the envelope doesn't get too thick!).
Have fun playing with paper and sending lovely mail! If you like talking mail, I'd love it if you paid a visit on Instagram (@amscarlson) or over on my blog. It would be a pleasure to meet you. :)
I hope you're having a great trip, Margaret. Thank you so much for having me!