August Happy Highlights 2018 ~ Fun and games, books and adventures ~ Sunray Sister

Hello!

Welcome to my monthly ‘Happy Highlights’ post, where I reflect on the last few weeks and ask “what made me smile?” and “what am I proud of?”, with the help of my weekly gratitude lists in my bullet journal.

I hope you enjoy reading this month’s list, and I would love to read about your happy highlights from August – get in touch via Instagram or Facebook, or even comment at the end of this blog post.

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Reflections in the river Wye – between Ross and Goodrich/Kerne bridge.

My Happy Highlights for August 2018…

  1. Took another step on my low-waste journey by purchasing a reusable metal safety razor, so now I don’t need to use endless disposable razors.
  2. Lots of walks up to Lowe Hill and down to the ford beyond the steam-train-line – observing nature, collecting broken pieces of blue & white pottery, thinking about things… it’s wonderful!
  3. Visited friends in Bristol, enjoyed some vegan curry and vegan Chocolate sorbet, and melted in the extremely hot weather.
  4. Also visited family in Herefordshire and enjoyed my parents’ jungle garden – the latest addition is an extended ‘den’ over the stream, which you can access via a slide (up-cycled from an old play set)!
  5. Went canoeing with Fraz while we were in Herefordshire, on the beautiful river Wye, right alongside where I grew up. I love seeing nature from this unusual perspective, down low on the surface of the water. I also get mesmerised looking deep into the reflections on the water, and imagining the alternative universe below/above…!
  6. Drawing mini comics for my 365 day art project. I think this might finally be something to take further – combines my love of words, stories and characters, with drawing, and could also be developed to include mixed media in some areas.
  7. Watching and reading ‘Adventure Time’ cartoon and comics – I love silly things, including most cartoons!
  8. Reading ‘Watchmen’ graphic novel – a little darker… but I’m enjoying it so far.
  9. Playing cute, indie, video games – with Fraz (‘Don’t Starve’) and by myself (‘Fez’ and ‘Stacking’).
  10. Had a lovely date night with Fraz – saw the new ‘Christopher Robin’ film at the cinema, and got vegan pizza at our favourite place.
  11. Finished ‘Anne with an E’ season 2 on Netflix – the last few episodes were just so stunning, especially Aunt Josephine’s party.
  12. Also reading ‘Anne of Green Gables’ – I just adore Anne’s character, she is so romantic and enthusiastic!!! I also love how it’s set in the time of baking your own bread and sewing your own clothes, and it’s making me want to bake and sew more.
  13. Enjoyed having an extra day with Fraz for the bank holiday. We went to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, home to the 3rd largest steerable radio telescope in the world – ‘the Lovell Telescope’ – which was extremely impressive to see and learn more about.
  14. Made vegan Welsh cakes! These were actually one of my favourite treats in the days P.V. (pre-vegan!); the ones I made from Avant-Garde Vegan‘s recipe are literally just as delicious and are SO good fresh out of the pan!
  15. Sent cute packages to my mum and niece for their birthdays – I love digging through my hoard of papers, ribbons, tapes and other supplies, and putting together something to make someone smile.
  16. Listened to Frannerd on Andy J. Pizza‘s ‘Creative Pep Talk’ podcast – two of my favourite people in the creative world right now, talking together and sharing awesome advice! Wow!
  17. Noticing early signs of Autumn and enjoying the cooler, crisper days towards the end of the month.
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Paddling on the river Wye!

For September I hope to make lots of progress with my creative goals; stay tuned for more blog posts, Instagram content (including my 365 day project), and *fingers crossed* a re-launch of my Etsy shop!

Have a brilliant day and stay creative!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

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Origami Pen Pal Letter Tutorial for Valentine’s Day ~ Sunray Sister

Hello,

Today I published a new video on my YouTube channel, check it out below or head straight to my channel for more creative fun!

here is the video description as it appears on my channel:

☆ Send some creative love via snail mail! ☆ Click play to find out how… ♥︎
……………………………………………………………………….

In today’s video I show you how to make a cute origami heart, and then I share some crafty ideas for using your hearts in a fun and creative pen-pal letter!

I hope this video inspires you to get crafting and send something a bit different in the mail. Let me know if you try it out, I’d love to see your interpretation. Find me via my links below!

Check out all my other craft projects in this handy playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLstnzXE4MVTQuJZLpCnLESrWvlJKfvmVe

 

Thanks for watching, feel free to ask any questions in the comments or just say hi! ☺︎

✿ Peace and love ✿
Rachel x
……………………………………………………………………….

☆ My links ☆

♥︎ Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SunraySister
♥︎ Portfolio & blog: https://sunraysister.wordpress.com/
♥︎ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunraysister/
♥︎ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunraysister/
……………………………………………………………………….

☆ Music ☆

♥︎ ‘Water Lily’ by The 126ers
♥︎ ‘Lonesome Star’ by Unicorn Heads
From YouTube Audio Library: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music
……………………………………………………………………….

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Opening Pen Pal Letters ~ Sunray Sister YouTube

Hello!

Yes, I made it to three videos in three weeks! I’m back on track and feeling good. Check out my latest YouTube video below. 

This week I am sharing a few glimpses of what I received from two of my pen pals. Hope you enjoy!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

November Happy Highlights ~ Sunray Sister Monthly Favourites

Hello!

It’s that time again, the end of one month, and the start of another! At this time I like to share all the little things and moments that brought me joy in the past few weeks, and I call this list my Happy Highlights. (I’ve been using a ‘5 year diary’ to record how each day has been for the past few months now, and this helps me remember all these things that go into my list.)

I would love to read your list of happy things from November. Share it in the comments, or over on Facebook or Instagram.

My Happy Highlights for November…

  1. I started my 365 day art challenge! I’m now at day 33 and going strong. Plus I am really enjoying it, and discovering little things about my style and process.
  2. Went out to a local fireworks display, which was very DIY! It was exciting though!
  3. The following day me and Fraz had lunch at our favourite café in town, called Penguin, and walked around Rudyard lake. It was lovely!
  4. Had a good long chat with my parents; must do this more often!
  5. Went to London for a weekend. Fraz needed to go for work, which was so amazing, because he is doing so well in his new job. We also got to spend time with my sister and her boyfriend, in their new flat and neighbourhood, for a lovely catch-up. Additionally I had some time to myself; I treated myself to new art supplies and a visit to the V&A, (plus I successfully navigated the underground!)
  6. I got some of my handmade notebooks and Christmas cards stocked in a local shop, which is a big step for me!
  7. Had fun using gouache paint. I rediscovered the magic of colour mixing, and the freedom of using a brush and paint to flow around the page.
  8. Fraz’s sister had her second baby, called Alison Artesia. We haven’t met her yet, but she looks so cute and tiny in photos!
  9. One Saturday morning we had freshly baked cinnamon rolls (thanks to Jus-Roll!), and homemade pineapple, banana, almond & ginger smoothies. Yum, yum, YUM!
  10. I filmed two new YouTube videos! The first was published in November, and is all about my Etsy shop. I’ve also just released the second one at the start of December, which is a fun chatty video sharing my Autumn favourites. It feels so good to be back in the YouTube game! I have so many ideas and footage ready for lots more videos in December and the new year.
  11. We woke up to snow in Leek! I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen snow in November; it was so magical.
  12. I received a letter from my new pen-pal, Mandy, who contacted me after watching my pen-pal video. Her letter was so sweet; I’ve just finished my reply today, ready to send out this week.
  13. ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ was released, and I am obsessed! It is SO. DAMN. CUTE.!!! GAAAAAAH!

…and now – to celebrate the full moon – I’m off to have a special pamper night, including a bath and face mask! See you soon sisters.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

August Happy Highlights // Sunray Sister

Hello,

August has been a jam-packed and life-changing month for me! And today I am feeling so sleepy; perhaps you will see why when you read about all the brilliant things I got up to last month below…

What made you smile and feel alive this month?

  1. We watched the Perseid’s meteor shower with some friends – it was the first time Fraz has seen a shooting star!!! We saw so many; it was breathtaking and so magical.
  2. I’ve been getting creative with an Instagram art journal collaboration. Will share more soon!
  3. I got a postcard from one of my new pen pals, Stephanie in Puerto Rico. It’s not even her turn to write, so it was extremely sweet of her to send a postcard on her holiday! I love snail mail so much!!!
  4. My last work shift at Colston Hall was a Flaming Lips show. I got to watch almost the entire gig, and it was CRAZY AMAZZZZZIIIINNNGG!!! There were giant balloons, a huge inflatable robot, a light-up gong, a ride-on light-up unicorn, a giant bubble that the singer was inside and used to crowd-surf, glitter and colour and flashing lights everywhere… plus their songs are so cool! Highly recommend seeing The Flaming Lips live.
  5. We got some really thoughtful leaving gifts from our @Bristol work friends, including handmade flags, cute teddies, cards and a hamper filled with vegan goodies! Plus we’ve received some lovely cards from friends and family wishing us well on this new adventure.
  6. On our final night in Bristol we watched ‘Planet of the Apes’ on the big screen outside @Bristol (in the rain), with a good friend from BIMM who we hadn’t seen for ages. It was a bittersweet night, and it still doesn’t feel like we’ve really left Bristol!
  7. We moved to Leek in Staffordshire; new to me, but old to everyone else, since Fraz grew up here! But I feel so lucky to have a cosy home already, and have so much beautiful countryside to explore.
  8. We’ve had fun sharing vegan food with Fraz’s parents, with mainly positive results! I love sharing positive knowledge and actions with people.
  9. Fraz has a car!!! It feels so weird to be able to drive anywhere, just the two of us, without needing public transport or a lift from anyone else. It’s almost as if we’re adults now…!
  10. We went to the Big feast fest in Hanley with Fraz’s brother, his fiancée, and their two children. There were some amazing street performances/theatre shows, and we found a vegan café. Great company, great entertainment AND great food!
  11. Then we all went to Peak Wildlife park the next day with Fraz’s parents too. It’s a really nice open-style zoo in the middle of the countryside, and I even took the opportunity to do some sketching from life. Find some examples in my latest Instagram post, and look out for more in a blog post soon!
  12. The following day the adventures continued, as me and Fraz visited Cannock Chase, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (with a GoApe course which I am super keen to go on!) It was really hot and busy, but we still had a nice time wandering around the woods.
  13. After a day off we visited Castleton in the Peak District on Wednesday. We went inside the Peak Cavern and climbed up to Peveril Castle. This little village took me back to childhood/teenage holidays in the Peak District, Lake District and Snowdonia; quiet old villages, wild rolling hills and stunning endless views.
  14. Wednesday the 30th was also my mum’s birthday! I sent her a card and gift, and had a lovely conversation over the phone. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful mummy!
  15. I found some great creative books at Leek library; they are giving me lots of creative ideas, and are helping me to focus on what I really want to create. More on that soon too!

 

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A selfie at Peveril Castle, Castleton

…and that was August for me. Big changes and lots of adventures. What were your best bits from August? What were all the special moments and big achievements that added up to make your happy highlights?

Share your stories in the comments below, or find me over on Instagram or Facebook! See you back here for another Dear Diary post this Sunday, and possibly a YouTube video on a Wednesday sometime this month… fingers crossed!

Have a beautiful week sisters.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

July Happy Highlights // Sunray Sister

Hello,

I am feeling so positive and inspired right now, and busy doing all the creative things, that I’ve gone completely off course with my weekly blog posts. Sorry!!! The weird thing is, I’m not beating myself up about it, because in the last few weeks I’ve been so full of creative energy all the time!

I will share more of what I’ve been creating, and the things that have been inspiring me, in this Sunday’s Dear Diary blog post.

For now though, seeing as it’s August already, I would like to share my list of Happy Highlights from the last few weeks; all the little things that made me smile, and the slightly bigger things that I’ve achieved.

  1. My new day-job is going really well! I feel like I actually fit in for once, and I’ve been given a few extra responsibilities which I haven’t had in previous jobs.
  2. … But alas, I have to leave! If you read my last blog post, you will know that I’m moving half way across the country in just a few short weeks. This is also a highlight though, because I’m ready for a big change!
  3. My parents visited for a special weekend with me and Fraz. We took them out on some adventures around Bristol, and treated them to a homemade three-course vegan dinner, and then had a bit of a sleepover!!!
  4. I received replies from both of my new pen pals! They were both so sweet, and I am just itching to write my replies. I also plan to film a little ‘what I received from my pen pals’ video, since my last pen pal themed video was so popular.
  5. Speaking of which, my Pen Pal YouTube video now has almost 2,000 views! TWO THOUSAND!!! WHAT!? I am so grateful that so many people have watched my little video. Of course, it has given me lots of motivation to get more videos finished soon, and get back to my weekly schedule. First though, I need to move house!
  6. I have been getting creative offline though, mainly doing some collaging/painting, and making a ‘junk journal’, which is something new I’ve just discovered. I’m also taking part in a journal collaboration with some lovely ladies on Instagram. More on these things very soon!
  7. I started reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I absolutely LOVE it! Elizabeth opens your eyes to what creativity is, your relationship with it, and how you can change your view of it for the better. Everyone should read this book (and listen to her podcast and watch her TED Talk)!!!
  8. I completed the Yoga Camp 30 day home practice from ‘Yoga with Adriene’ on YouTube, and I feel great! I have really enjoyed spending time on my body, and connecting my breath with my movements, as well as discovering what I am capable of, and visualising what I could do if I keep working at it. Highly recommended.
  9. When I want to chill out, I’ve been watching ‘Anne with an E’ on Netflix. Based on ‘Anne of Green Gables’, it is a beautiful series, and the actor who plays Anne will blow you away! I love her!
  10. Fraz and I discovered a couple of places that do awesome vegan pizzas, and we’ve even been making our own from scratch! I’m super happy about this, because pizza is probably my favourite thing to eat!!!

It’s been a fun-filled month, and I know that August is going to be super crazy but fun too!

What were your happy highlights from July? Share them in the comments below, or find me over on Instagram or Facebook, and leave a comment there!


The regular ‘Dear Diary’ Sunday blog posts will be back up and running this month. In the meantime you can find me over on Instagram, where I post almost every day, sharing some colourful snapshots of my creative adventures.

Have a fabulous week sisters!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Change is Coming // Dear Diary #3

Dear diary,

I’m leaving. And now everything looks brand new. All the views I’ve become used to after five years; suddenly I am seeing them with new eyes. With eyes that know this will soon be over. The photo above is one of the first I took after moving to Bristol in 2012, and soon I will be taking my last as a resident in this spectacular city.

I’m turning the page at the end of the most important chapter in my life so far. The Bristol chapter. The title of the new chapter? The North. Me and Fraz are moving to Staffordshire. On Tuesday Fraz got a phone call with an incredible new job offer! Of course he had to say yes!

The funny thing is, Fraz received this chapter-ending, page-turning phone call on the first official day of my new job with @Bristol; I found out that I’m leaving on my first day…! What makes things harder is I don’t have one job to leave, but two. That means I have to say goodbye to two incredible teams of awesome people who I’ve been working alongside. I’m only just getting to know them, and yet I always feel so appreciated, and like I belong.

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A few of the first photos I took after moving to Bristol

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In other news this week I received a beautiful letter from one of my new pen pals! The white envelope was decorated with painted flowers, and inside I discovered some knitted treasures, delicious tea, photographs, craft supplies, an adorable enamel pin badge, and a handwritten letter with some personal recommendations. I can’t wait to write my reply, and gather some sweet gifts for her!

The letter I sent to this pen-pal featured in one of my recent YouTube videos; that video is now the most popular on my channel, with over 500 views! What’s more my subscribers are growing, I’m getting lovely comments, and my Instagram is growing too. I feel so grateful to be part of these supportive communities of creative individuals, cheering each other on, sharing all the little things that make us happy.

For my YouTube content in the near future I am going to make an ‘opening my pen-pal letters’ video, to show the cute things I received, as well as a fun craft project video, a couple of decluttering videos, (especially now that we’re moving! My wardrobe declutter is actually my second most popular video), and some sketchbook/collage/mixed-media process videos. I also want to create a ‘Farewell to Bristol’ video before I go, to remember all the places, and faces that I will leave behind.

That being said, iMovie has been playing up this week! I edit all my videos in iMovie on my MacBook (which is a few years old now), and I think it’s getting a little bit tired. Due to this fact – alongside working two jobs, and moving across the country – I’m not sure how many videos I will be able to finish and upload in the next few weeks and months. As you might guess, I have a million ideas for videos and endless enthusiasm, but time and resources are out of my control at the moment. So, I will be kind and forgive myself, and upload when I can.

 

Amongst all of this, Fraz and I found time for a little adventure at the start of the week. Using our @Bristol free entry, we hoped aboard the famous SS Great Britain! This is a Bristol tourist attraction not to be missed; I’ve been before and found it just as interesting on this return visit. I don’t always pay attention to all of the facts and figures, but I love to absorb all the visual aspects, especially on the ship itself, where you feel as though you are taking a step back in time.

Bristol has so many incredible places to visit, and I’ve always enjoyed playing tourist in my own town, yet in two months I will actually become a tourist; just a visitor. Of course that is the positive thing to remember, I can always go back to a place. Change always comes, but I can return.


So it’s not quite goodbye, I’m just preparing myself. Time and me still don’t see eye to eye, so I thought it would be best to start saying my farewells now. This way I will be ready when the time does come to actually leave.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Pen Pal Letter Ideas // Sunray Sister Shows You How

Hello!

On this lovely blue-skied Wednesday I bring you a brand new YouTube video! Recently I found a couple of new pen pals, and decided to share the process of making a pen pal letter.

This video includes five simple steps for putting together a cute letter, with lots of sweet crafty ideas for you to try!

Below is a summary of the steps and ideas included in the video for reference.

1. Introduce yourself

  • Write some basic facts about you in a pretty card.
  • Sketch a map of where you live/your country.
  • Draw a self-portrait and add labels, such as eye-colour and favourite jewellery.
  • Give some recommendations for films, T.V., music and books.
  • And of course, write a letter! Talk about what you’ve been up to and your dreams for the future.
  • It’s also nice to add stickers and stamps for a finishing touch.

2. Make something

  • I made a small notebook. You can see how I did this in my simple notebook tutorial video.
  • You could also paint or draw a picture.
  • Make a collage or mixed media piece.
  • Sew something small or weave a friendship bracelet.
  • …or make anything else that is easy to post and isn’t breakable!

3. Add cute art and craft supplies

  • Fun stickers.
  • Bookplates – these usually have nice illustrations and are self adhesive.
  • A washi tape sample.
  • Some sticky notes on a postcard.
  • Buttons and ribbon.

4. Wrap them up

  • Use pretty paper bags to make sweet packages for your pen pal to open.
  • Close these with washi tape, and write a label.
  • You could also use a wax seal on the envelope with your letter.

5. Put it all together!

  • Finally put everything together in a large envelope.
  • Make the package extra special by adding some doodles (this is easier when the envelope is still empty).
  • Add your pen pal’s address, as well as your own address (in case they don’t have yours yet, or the letter gets lost).

Then all that’s left to do is post your lovely letter! Let me know if you try any of these ideas, and what you thought of the video.

Have you sent any happy mail recently? Do you have a pen pal? If so what do you send to them? Share your stories and ideas in the comments below, or join me on Instagram or Facebook.


Coming up I will have a blog post this Sunday, and then (hopefully) another YouTube video next Wednesday! I’m taking things slow around here so I can concentrate on creating top quality content, rather than a large quantity of posts, and get back to drawing and painting as well.

Have a beautiful day sisters!

Peace and love,

Rachel x

May Happy Highlights // Monthly Favourites

Hello!

Around this time, every thirty days or so, I like to look back on the past few weeks and ask: what were my favourite moments, what made me smile, what were my happy highlights? And I like to share that list with you all! So here you go…

  1. Went to see ‘Wonderland’ the musical! The tickets were an awesome birthday present from Fraz.

  2. During a shift at Colston Hall I got to watch an entire Michael Kiwanuka show! (Whilst being very professional and making sure everyone was behaving themselves of course).

  3. Went on a lovely long walk with Fraz.

  4. Took a break from social media.

  5. Received some happy post from my brilliant twin big sisters! They both sent things in the same week; they must be twins!!!

  6. Wrote two letters to my new pen-pals and included some cute extras. (I’ve made a video showing what I put in one of the packages – look out for that this Wednesday!)

  7. Went on a couple of cinema dates –  first to see the new ‘Alien’ film, and then ‘Live and Let Die’ at a fantastic film club.

  8. Started using Spotify to discover new music and remember my favourites. I will share a new playlist soon!

  9. Found out Tesco do some delicious vegan bean burgers – good for the days when no one wants to cook!!

  10. There was an incredible thunder and lightning storm in the early morning on the 27th!

What were your happy highlights from May? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on social media.

It would also be great to hang out on Instagram! This month I’m taking part in a challenge from @adventuresandteaparties called #ColourMyEveryDay. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s helping me get my social media mojo back!


Coming up on Wednesday will be a fresh YouTube video, this week showing you what I’ve put in a pen pal letter! Stay tuned and have a wonderful new week.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Day 6: Send a Handmade Card to your Valentine // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love

Happy Monday sisters! It is the start of a brand new week, and a new chance to give yourself and others even more love than before.

So this Valentine’s, why not send a card to your loved one(s) to tell them how much you love them?! Just make sure it’s handmade; by yourself or an awesome independent designer. The featured image above is a card by Re:made. Below are a few more of my favourites for day 6 of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love.


Simple and quirky, with a fun pun. What could be better? Real Simple have lots of similar ideas on their website, including ‘we just fit’ with two jigsaw pieces!

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Image from www.realsimple.com

Place is everything, so find a map of the location that is important to you and your loved ones, cut it into a heart and put it on a card. Just like Swoon Studio did.

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Image from www.swoonstudio.blogspot.co.uk

Instead of maps, try cutting up old books and include your loved one’s name, like this card from Re:made. An alternative colour combination is shown in the featured image at the top of the blog, which just happens to use my name!

 

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Image from www.notonthehighstreet.com/remade

For the more statistically minded, try a pie chart of your heart. This card by Connie Clementine can be personalised with your own text.

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Image from etsy.com/uk/shop/ConnieClementine

 

These notecards are super sweet and easy to make with this tutorial by Little Birdie Secrets. There are ideas for other shapes for other occasions as well.

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Image from littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.co.uk

Get stitching to show someone you really care with this DIY kit by Stitch Kits.

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Image from etsy.com/uk/shop/StitchKits

Artist Brittany Davies has some awesome anti-Valentine’s cards! Her drawings are incredible too.

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Image from etsy.com/uk/shop/BrittanyDaviesArt

For similar humorous yet beautifully designed cards, try Fiona Clabon’s clever collage creations.

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Image from www.notonthehighstreet.com/fionaclabonillustration

If you make your own cute card, why not try this heart envelope to put your creation into?!

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Image from thecraftyblogstalker.com

One final recommendation, check out this book on the art of sending beautiful letters and cards by Michelle Mackintosh.

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Image from amazon.co.uk

I hope that’s given you some cool ideas to spread some love this Valentine’s, and not just in a romantic way; send them to your friends and family too! Maybe even give some out to strangers!!!

Come back tomorrow for day 7 of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love, where I will be talking about handmade and alternative gifts to give at Valentine’s and all year round.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x