Pen pals, Postcards and my Messy Desk

As a kid I had many pen pals. I wrote hundreds of letters up until around the age of 20 I think, but then I lost contact with most of my pen pals and my bestie moved closer to me. E-mail became available (and I remember how extremely exiting that was – a new form of super quick, private and immediate communication).

On my messy desk by iHanna #diypostcardswap #mailart

I guess I lost interest in the art of writing letters by hand, or at least found new interests that filled my time. And even back then, when I did write mostly by hand, I loved typing my letters up and printing them out, trying different fonts and making them look fancy like a magazine, so when it comes to communicating I think that computers and e-mail was my jam…

These days I write my letters on this blog, to all of you and those whom it may concern, about what I make and think about. My mail art has therefor always been of the handmade postcard variety, short and sweet, with the focus on the visual front rather than the words on the back.

I like postcards so much because they’re like a moving exhibition, where the postman and the rest of the family (and world when shared online) gets to view them too, without opening personally addressed envelopes or having to look into a private art journal…

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The Beauty of Withered tulips

I still think that withered tulips are beautiful. They are more fragile than before. Their colors muted, their petals wrinkled – and then they become almost transparent.

Withered tulips photo by iHanna - There is beauty everywhere if you care to look for #beauty

Don’t get me wrong, I love them when they are cute as buds, and all the way to full bloom too. But I don’t think their beauty ends there. I think they can stay on the table a couple of days more…

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DIY Happy Collage Postcard with a kitchy twist

I’ve started making happy collage postcards for the DIY Postcard Swap that I host. I opened it up so that you can join last week, and a lot of people have already signed up. A lot! It is thrilling to see so many returning participants each year, especially since making 10 postcards on a deadline can be a bit of a challenge, and it’s a big commitment. But I know it is doable because collectivly we create hundreds of postcards in this swap every time, and they’re all amazing.

If you’re someone who has been thinking about joining for the first time but still aren’t sure, or maybe you’re curious about the swap, feel free to read about it, browse my blog for some happy postcard inspiration. You can ask me specific questions via e-mail or in the comments below, or just check the FAQ – and then decide if this is something you’d interested in joining. I recommend starting to make the postcards, and then signing up in April if you feel you’re going to finish 10 postcards on time.

This year I’m going with collage postcards myself. Yum!

Making a Happy Collage Postcard with iHanna of the DIY Postcard Swap #diypostcardswap

There is plenty of time until we’ve got to be finished with 10 postcards, but I’ve already started. So I’m just sharing my first (almost) finished postcard today. I’m going to try to infuse my postcards with happiness and a little bit of humor. I will also be using lots of flower imagery - because well, flowers are always so lovely, and I long for spring oh so much

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iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap Spring 2017

I am pleased to announce the first handmade postcard swap of the year: It’s called iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap and it’s awesome. I will arrange two swaps this year as usual, one starting today for spring happy mail, and one later in the year, so that you can get some handmade postcards in the autumn too (or vise verse if you’re on the other side of the world from me in Europe).

Join this International Swap called iHanna's DIY Postcard Swap Spring 2017 - Create 10 handmade postcards this spring

It’s easy to join, and everyone is welcome to participate in this international swap and mail art event. You create 10 handmade postcards and send them to 10 people whose addresses I will e-mail you in about a month. Then after the deadline to send out your own postcards, you will start to receive handmade postcards from 10 other people, in different styles and hopefully with happy bright messages!

If this sounds like something you would like to be part of, please read more on the information page and sign up today!

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Frog Collages – A Series of Collages Started

I love collages and adore frogs… So why should I not combine it all into frog collages? While everyone else is still doing birds, I’m doing amphibians (!), hoping to find art lovers as in love with frogs as I am.

Collage artwork made by iHanna aka Hanna Andersson, Sweden of

In my stash of papers I found a print of a frog, altered digitally to be printed in a few different hues. My intention when making the print was to make a series of collages featuring this frog, and now I have finally created them. It’s a collage series started, or finished, I’m not sure…

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Inspirational Quotes – Free Printable for your Notebook

I made a printable with inspirational quotes that is free to download and use in your own notebook. It consists of three (3) PDF-pages filled with different quotes that you can use in your notebook, sketchbook, bullet journal, calendar or personal diary!

Because we can all need a pick-me-up of a thought-provoking quote at times, right?

Inspirational Quotes for your notebook - rainbow colors to print and use #free #printable

As humans we sometimes need empowerment, encouragement and inspiration from sources outside ourselves to cope with everyday life.

Personally I need to feel that the things I want to accomplish are not beyond my reach, that the impossible obstacles that seam to tower over me are not there for ever.

In my day of need, I often find solace and grace in great books and beyond the books, in the quotes that comes from great books. So I’m collecting them in different ways… Continue reading

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Coloring Books for Grown Ups – do we really need them?

Why would you buy a Coloring book for Grown Ups? Do grown ups really need silly activity books, don’t we have more important things to do? Or said in another way: what could be the benefits of trying this trend out for yourself?

Coloring books for Grown Ups, blog post on this trend from iHanna

In my dream world there are activity books and coloring books readily available in book stores – for grown ups as well as for kids. Wouldn’t that be just wonderful? Oh wait, that is reality these days! I think coloring books for grown ups, as seen just about everywhere, is (a very small) step in the right direction.

The right direction you ask? In the direction of cultivating creative thinking, beyond kindergarten and artist’s studios. In the lives of everyday grown ups, and their kids…

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Finding yourself in your Art Journal

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Zig Ziglar

On my desk an art journal by @ihanna

When you work in book format, like an Art Journal, or any notebook, each page is a creation on its own. You can tear it out and frame it if you want to, but the point of it is not to display it. The point of it all, is the act of making something.

The act of making something is healing and transformational, but also selfish and lonely. I love all these aspects of creating art.

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Inspiration from Syfestivalen in Stockholm

Syfestivalen is Swedish and means “Festival of Sewing”. These days it is actually called Sewing and Craft Festival, but I think I’ll just keep calling it the short and sweet Syfestivalen for ever. It’s arranged twice each year in Älvsjö, just outside Stockholm, in a big convention center there. We went this weekend, and those of you that follow me on Instagram and check stories there, got a little video peak of it all when I walked though the convention hall. But if you missed it there (it’s only available for 24 hours on instagram) you are in luck today.

iHanna at Syfestivalen (quilt, knit & fabric inspirations) blogged by @ihanna #syfestivalen

I took a lot of big camera photos, and thought I’d share Syfestivalen with you guys here too, because there were just so much yummy things to see there. Get ready for inspiration in colors, patterns, texture and crafts…

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Posted in Fabric & Sewing, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Before you Start, create a Warm Up Collage

If you’re feeling stale and uninspired, in body or soul, you need to start with some warm up exercises, to get you going. I think this is one of the stumbling blocks when making art (or trying to restart it as a practice), that we expect to be creating something awesome directly when we sit down.

Before you start Creating do a warm up exercise in a little notebook

Even if it’s been a couple of weeks, or sometimes months, since we last did something creative for ourselves (be it painting, collage, doodle or knitting), we expect our makings to be grand once we start again. Just like that. Not like our brain has been thinking about other things too?

We forget that we need to be gentle with ourselves. To have grace. And to warm-up our fingers and body before we start, but mostly to warm up our creative mind.

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Posted in A Creative Life, Creative habits, Notebooks | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments