Hey, y’all! Do you make Pocket Letters® (PL for short, also referred to as pocket mail)? Participate in a pocket letter swap? The Cards, Tags, & More Kits from Tres Jolie Kit Club are perfect for all your “smaller” projects! This week, I’m going to use my kit – or what I have left of it from previous projects – to throw together a quick, yet still fabulous, pocket letter!
Although it had been quite some time (pre-pandemic!) since I had made a pocket letter, I managed to remember my process! I don’t know if my process seems “obvious,” but it is what works for me and helps make the creation process a bit more streamlined [for me]! As always, make sure to check out my video if you want to see how this project came together and learn a little about pocket letters if you haven’t come across them yet.
The original Pocket Letter format was to use a 9-slot trading card protector then fill them with ATC-sized (2-1/2” x 3-1/2”) cuts of your patterned paper/cardstock decorated to varying degrees, then tuck in some bits and pieces as gifts (i.e. ephemera, washi samples, stickers, etc.) and your pen pal letter. I believe the first Pocket Letter was created “flat” so it could fold at the horizontal seams and still fit in a U.S. letter-sized envelope (#10 envelope).
Although I haven’t done it personally, I do believe some people will use Project Life® Page Protectors or even just create their own pocket pages (using the Fuse® Tool for example) so they can make their pockets a custom size! However, I didn’t want this project to get quite that complex; I wanted to keep it rather simple so I could highlight the origin of PL’s and have this project be a little bit more relaxing than last week’s lapbook!
After I had cut a few of the Paper Boutique papers down to size, I started playing around with how I would want them laid out – creating the layout on my work surface so I could see the “big picture.” Now, you don’t have to create a “big picture” Pocket Letter, you can easily create nine “little pictures” or create a scene for each row or column! It really is a very customizable and personal project! If you participate in a swap, there may be a theme to follow, or you may want to create your Pocket Letter using your partner’s favorites – but, overall, it really is a very customizable project!
After I had decided on which patterned papers I wanted to use as my card bases, I started sorting through all of my little bits of ephemera and flowers from all of the kits this month – and that led to the decision to use some of the chipboard pieces from the 3Quarter Designs papers found in this month’s Scrapbooking Kit. I kept the chipboard bare, and just used the Platinum Crackle Paste and the TCW stencil from the [February 2023] Mixed Media Kit to give them some texture. And, since I knew I wanted to use the Tres Jolie Chipboard Dragonfly somewhere, I coated the solid base with the Platinum Crackle and “smooshed” the dragonfly outline on top.
While my texture paste was drying, I got to work deciding how I wanted my overall design to look. I used some of the round punch-out pieces – and their negatives – to create the crescent moon look on the four cards made with pink with pink flower print patterned paper as the base. You can see in the photos that I cut the round pop-out pieces to create an overlap or continuation of the “big picture” on adjacent cards – and, I will admit, this is one of my favorite things to do with pocket letters!
Since Pocket Letters were originally intended to be filled with goodies, I tend to leave my cards rather flat (plus, the pre-made pockets don’t stretch all that much!!), so I picked out the pink flowers from the 3Quarter paper pack die-cut sheets (from this month) and used them to create some clusters along with the chipboard I had stenciled. I used a light pink thread in my sewing machine and stitched some simple straight stitches along the perimeter of each card, some zig-zag stitching along the round edges and some straight and zig-zag stitching through my clusters. I didn’t stitch my clusters to the cards – I opted to just glue them in place – because I didn’t want too much stitching on the back side! And, speaking of the backs, some crafters choose to make double-sided Pocket Letters, and some don’t! For me, it varies depending on what the back looks like. In this case, I kept everything single-sided because the back of the patterned paper was white and there was only a little stitching.
With my cards, all put together and ready to go, I turned my focus to the protector sheet! As it tends to happen quite often, once crafters and artists get their hands on an idea, we tend to expand upon it – and the protector sheet was no exception! The cards may not get to have too many embellishments or dimension, but that doesn’t mean dimension won’t be popping up somewhere! And of course, we can’t just leave the binder edge unadorned, can we? No! And, once again, the amount of decoration varies, I prefer to keep my edges simple most of the time, because some people keep the letters they receive in a binder, while some may opt to hang them up! The binder is also the reason I re-punch the holes (if they go covered) and insert 3/16” eyelets (they generally fit on binder rings, in my experience). For this project, I stitched on a bit of ribbon and some ricrac, added some pale pink, 1/8” eyelets for decoration, and popped in some brown flower eyelets for the binder holes.
After I put all my cards in the pockets, the only thing left to do was add a few bits of decoration to the outside of the protector. I finished off the flower pack from the Cards, Tags, & More Kit and the package I had opened for last week’s lapbook from the Scrapbooking Kit. For the peach-ish flowers from the Cards Kit pack, I wanted to pink them up a little, so I – more or less – washed every last drop of ink from the mini Worn Lipstick Distress Ink pad and let the flowers soak up the watery mess!
Once the flowers were (mostly) dry, I started laying my remaining pieces out on my pocket protector page and used some Gorilla Clear Grip to make sure everything stuck to the plastic! I added stitching through the quote (cut from the bottom of one of the 3Quarter papers) just to give it a little more visual interest and backed the strips with some light chipboard to help give them a little support. For the center of the chipboard flowers, I didn’t want to leave them empty, so I grabbed up some Nuvo Crystal Drops and filled them up.
And that is it! Pocket Letter complete!
Thank you for joining me here on the blog, I hope you enjoyed this project and it gave you some ideas of what you can create using the kits this month! (And maybe introduced you to Pocket Letters if you haven’t come across them yet!)
Stay Crafty, Friends
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In addition to this month’s Cards, Tags, & More Kit (& the few bits from the Scrapbooking Kit and Mixed Media Kit), I used (from previous Tres Jolie Kits):
Nuvo Crystal Drops “Carnation Pink,” We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile, ribbon and ricrac from my stash, Art Glitter Glue, Gorilla Clear Grip, UHU Stic, pink thread, eyelets, trading card protector