It's no secret that around here, we LOVE mail. Mail is my love language and a love of happy mail is at the center of everything I do. Every time I see a non-bill/non-catalog mail piece in my mailbox, I feel so delighted that someone remembered me. Over the years, I've participated in mail swaps with Heather from Design Roots and Bailey from Antiquaria, and getting mail back from both of them lit my heart up! (I still have my beautiful envelopes from them both). So it's only natural that it's now time to host my very own mail swap. Read on for the details--it's easy, fast, and nearly free.

holiday card swap long graphic.jpg

In celebration of our 4th birthday, I hosted an Instagram Live and shared a link for people to sign up for happy mail. I had to cut off the entries at 50 for sheer time's sake, but it was SO FUN to create little works of art to bless people's mailboxes. We're keeping the happy trail train moving. I'd love for you to participate in my first ever mail swap! Here's how it works:

1) STEP 1: Send a piece of happy mail to my shop before 12/18! That's TEN days from now!

Very simple holiday photo card from the drug store with a chicken scratch envelope? PERFECT. Fanciest envelope you've ever decorated with calligraphy and lettering galore? AWESOME! Letterpress with special Christmas vintage stamps? I'D LOVE THOSE! Simple happy mail or luxe happy mail--we don't discriminate around here. There's absolutely no pressure to get fancy--there's room for everyone. 

Mailing address at my studio:

Alex Bray, Prairie Letter Shop, 3230 E. 15th Street | Tulsa, OK 74104

2) STEP 2: Watch for your happy mail back from me! Make sure there's a visible name and return address on the back flap of your envelope so I can send you mail back, pretty please!

As mail arrives at my shop, I will mail YOU back one of my new holiday cards. (Again, please make sure there's a clear name and address!) If it's not too much trouble, can you please add the return address on the back flap? This will help me protect your privacy when I photograph the happy mail haul and will save a little time in not having to blur out addresses.

3) STEP 3: Keep an eye on my blog, and you may win a prize! 

I'm going to gather all of the happy mail, photograph it, put it on my blog, and let my shop mate Merritt of Merriment choose an envelope out of a bag. Whoever wins gets a prize pack including a $30 Starbucks card, a few surprises from my shop, a marble mug, a lettering journal, and some pens. I'll announce the winner and mail off the goods on 12/22. It will be a happy little after-Christmas treat for the winner. 

Remember, this is not a beauty contest (though fancy lettering and decoration is highly encouraged). The goal is to do my part to revive the art of sending snail mail (and selfishly, receive lots of fun mail in the process!)

Can't wait! Woo hoo! Let the mail roll in like thunder! :) (Can you tell I'm thrilled?)

OPTIONAL: Do you want a last-minute reminder on 12/15 to send your happy mail? I know you're busy! I don't want you to forget! Fill out this simple form and I'll nudge you to remind you!

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I created the Daily Lettering Journal after a few years of teaching in-person calligraphy workshops in my home community of Tulsa. I wanted to provide an opportunity to share my passion for lettering with people who were unable to attend workshops. In addition, I saw a need for a resource that would hold people accountable to practicing. The Daily Lettering Journal came first, and the Scripture Edition came a half year later. The original journal was meant to be used as a practice book, while the Scripture Edition was meant to be used a quiet time companion and a devotional tool. Since then, I've shared hundreds and hundreds of journals with folks around the country, and recently, the original version got a total makeover (partly because it was too heavy to ship first class mail).

Both lettering journals were made to be used with tracing paper to extend the life of the journal. The Original version contains instructional pages, multiple alphabets, twenty sessions of daily prompts, and a host of longer quote compositions to trace. The Scripture Edition contains some instructional pages, drills and alphabets as well, but it also has a bit more flexibility in the way that you can use the prompt pages. For that reason, I wanted to show an example of a daily session and a process for how I use each of the twenty Scripture Journal session pages to letter God's word creatively. Note that this is by NO MEANS exhaustive--and I'm eager to hear how other folks use their journals. Read on to learn more!

1) CHOOSE A SESSION AND READ THE VERSE: Each session page contains a section of Scripture contributed by 20 women in my life who I consider to be wise. Each shared her favorite verse in that particular season of life and shared a short commentary. I start by reading the verse and the commentary.

2) ASK YOURSELF, WHAT STANDS OUT? Once I've read the verse and commentary, I ask myself, "What about this verse sticks out to me right now?" In the example pictured above, the verse was from Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." In this verse, in the moment I read it, the concept of stillness stood out to me. I wanted to dive in a little bit deeper to the concept of stillness. I lettered a huge "stillness" in the white space above the verse. 

3) FIND ADDITIONAL VERSES: I used my phone to search for other verses about stillness to pull from a few other books of the Bible. While there is certainly a time to dig into full books of the Bible and deeply analyze every bit of the text, there's also room to focus on short segments of Scripture and repeat them to yourself as adorations, or use them to find patterns about the nature of God and His relationship to us. I found some connected verses and noted them on the lined portion of the book. 

4) ASK YOURSELF, WHAT DOES THIS TELL ME ABOUT GOD? WHAT DOES THIS TELL ME ABOUT ME? In reflecting on the main verse as well as the additional four verses, I started to see some patterns. At the bottom of the left-hand side, I made two columns: 1) What God does and 2) What I should do. As I thought about the connections in the verses, I noted the verbs: God stills, God calms, God reassures, God hushes, God quiets, God listens, God brings peace, God overcomes. I also noted that we should be still, we should wait, we should stop trying to control, stop trying to protect ourselves, we should focus, we should share our needs, and we should give thanks. 

5) USE THE BLANK PAGE TO DRAW AND DOODLE: One of the ways that I love to interact with Scripture is to simply write and doodle it. I wrote the main verse twice, and then I found a few other connected verses that I wanted to remember and added them there. I marked up the book with different lines and used my markers to highlight certain words. 

There are plenty of alternate uses for the space. The lined section can be used for specific prayers, the large blank space can be used for journaling, and you can lay tracing paper over the main composition on the left side to trace. There are SO many different options; this is simply one process that works for me as I use the journal to reflect on God's word. Whether you connect with Scripture with color or straight lines or doodles and illustrations or lots and lots of text--this journal can be a lovely companion for your quiet time. 

HOW LONG DID THIS TAKE? The process as pictured and described above took me about 10-15 minutes. While I did a separate quiet time this morning, I found the process to be a soothing way to connect with Scripture in a quiet moment after lunch when I needed a brain break. 

WHAT MATERIALS DID YOU USE? Every lettering journal is packed with a Crayola Super Tip, and this is one of my favorite markers to use in the journal. Brush markers are available as an upgrade, and here, I used the thin side of my Tombow dual-tip marker to doodle in black. I also used a Pilot V5 pen to jot notes. You can use a wide range of pens in the journal because the pages are delightfully smooth and designed to be happy with most markers. Permanent Sharpies will likely bleed, so if you love those, I recommend using them with tracing paper.

WHERE CAN I ACCESS JOURNALS? You can find everything you need to know about our lettering journals at this link. They make a meaningful gift for people who want to practice and reflect on Scripture.

Comments, questions, thoughts, ideas? Note them below! I'd love to hear from you. Keep your eyes peeled next week for a similar run-down for the original Daily Version. Happy lettering!