What the heck is a pocket letter?

When I first heard the term “pocket letter,” I thought it might be something simple like a letter in a pocket. 

Or could it be . . . a letter ON a pocket?

I’m not seeing the craft possibilities yet. Oh, I know! It’s a letter that USED to be a pocket! I feel so smart.

Wait. What? That’s not it either? So what in the heck is this newfangled fun craft thing that so many scrapbookers are crazy about—and that has the unofficial endorsement of the United States Postal Service?*

My friend Jennifer sent me a link to a Pinterest folder: Pocket Letters. She suggested we try to make some and send them to each other. I was in Ohio and she was in Florida, so it was kind of a nice way to do a craft together—but apart—you get it.

So we did. And we agreed to photograph our PLs (we quickly created an abbreviation to keep from having to write or type the words over and over again) and to post them on Pinterest for others to share and adore. That was almost a year ago! We have had a blast. Let me show you some and give you some ideas for how to start your own #PLPenPalProject.

A Few of Our PLs

This one has a friendship theme. I made it very personal for Jennifer, the recipient. The middle row, far right pocket has samples of some washi tape I wanted to share with her. I wrapped 3-ft lengths around a piece of mylar I cut from some packaging. Good use for that mylar stuff instead of throwing it in the trash!















Jennifer sent me this one with a birds-of-a-feather theme. She included stickers for me to use (middle row, left) and some adorable feathers!

As you can see, coming up with a theme is half of the idea. Then you can have fun finding all kinds of things to add. Some themes we’ve used or seen others use include:

  • back to school
  • our home state (Ohio/Buckeyes for me!)
  • by the seashore
  • quotes about pennies, with a penny in each pocket
  • owls (whoooo doesn’t love owls???)
  • kitties (see above, but kitties)
  • fall/autumn
  • Christmas
  • patriotism–4th of July
  • summer fun
  • coffee and tea
  • sweet stuff (cupcakes, candy, etc.)
  • I could go on all day, but you get the idea. Check out the Pinterest link for tons of ideas!

Now that you can tell what PLs are, I’ll walk you through making one of your own in our next post.

P.S. Go get some baseball card protector sleeves:


*I made that up. But I’m sure they appreciate the increase in actual snail mail that’s hitting their inboxes—I mean, mailboxes—lately. Maybe they don’t like the lumpiness or the fancy, schmancy hand lettering on the envelopes. Hey, for 50¢ (so far, but who knows what with tariffs and such—just kidding!!!), it’s a heck of a deal to send these things. Maybe they’ll even get where they’re supposed to go–and in one piece!


Once a Teacher…

always a teacher, at least in my heart. I think that’s true of so many of us who spent a few years in the classroom but moved on to other careers or responsibilities, like raising our own kids. It’s been more than (ahem, garble, mutter) years since I stood at the doorway, greeting students on the first day of school. I was as nervous and excited as they were, maybe more so. But none of us looked nervous. No, that would have been so uncool—and a huge mistake for me. To teach a herd of teenagers, one has to be confident, a bit aloof even, and definitely able to deliver “the look” with deadly accuracy. I think it took me about 4 years to accomplish all that.

I loved teaching, loved the teenagers (really!), loved the subject matter (writing, literature, and American history), and loved the growth I saw from their freshmen through senior years. I didn’t like the drama, but that mostly came from other teachers and the administration. Honestly. Why did I leave teaching? Long story…that ended in Florida and began a new chapter working with children’s and YA literature. It’s all been very good.

So, what’s my craft du jour that dovetails with this post? How about something simple you can make for either your teen student or a teacher buddy? It’s fresh, functional, and fun!

  All you need is a small terracotta pot (with bottom), a bit of Styrofoam, a silk flower, and some school supplies. I used green paper clips, green pencil-top erasers, pencils, highlighter, scissors, ruler, Post-It notes, stickers, glue stick, red marking pencil, and pencil sharpener. Glue the pot to its bottom, sliding it toward the back so you can place stuff in front of the pot. Then shove the Styrofoam down into the pot. Glue a wooden clothespin to the back of the pot so it can hold notes and sticker sheets. Push down into the Styrofoam the pencils (sharpened is easier), highlighter, glue stick, scissors, ruler, and flower. Put a small Post-Note pad and sharpener in the bottom . Sprinkle the green paper clips and erasers around the objects, covering the Styrofoam. Voila! A desktop delight for teens and teachers alike.