Do you love getting Happy Mail? What do you think of when you think of happy mail? Maybe You’ve Got Mail, the charming 1998 movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?
I’m back with my friends Mary Ann and Cindy with Sunday Favorites and this week I had the chance to talk with Lori Christensen about her beautiful envelopes and her art. I’ve been following Lori for almost 10 years! She has an online stationery shop, called One-Per-week and a subscription option for monthly cards and stamps.
Lori and I chatted about her passion project which began at the start of the pandemic and is still going strong!
At first, Lori and her cousin started texting each other the subject they would draw the next day, and then she would post it on her Instagram. Soon others wanted to know the day before as well so they could join. She would then post everyone’s art from the day and tag each artist, beginning to create this community. Lori talked about how people sent her messages thanking her for the encouragement. Some had paints sitting in a drawer unused for 20 years, and they started to paint.
Getting to know Lori Christensen through her art & her “happy mail”
A: Tell me about this project? Did it start during quarantine?
L: When the pandemic hit and we were ordered to shelter in place, I needed more than letter writing, house cleaning, shrub trimming, and recipe books to pursue. It was going to be a long month (the first mandate!). Then came another month. I’ve always wanted to learn to draw and paint. Having already dabbled in envelope art (think 3rd-grade art projects), I considered myself able and willing to try and take it seriously.
A: On your other account One-Per-Week it looks like you are a very creative person, was adding sketching and painting something you had been thinking about?
L: I’ve dabbled in ‘envelope art’ for a long time. This is where I take an image or subject from the greeting card and paint it on the envelope…brighten it up a bit. My only rule: I couldn’t throw the envelope away. There was no judgment, no rules, no expectations. My paints and brushes were from the hobby store. Easy. Fun. And the recipients loved it. Hoping the mail carriers did too…that’s what I would tell myself.
A: How did you start?
L: From envelope art came the pandemic and the need for something more creative to do that I could ‘get lost’ in. So, I bought some How To Draw books, a sketchbook from Amazon, and started on page one. They were flowers and plants and I loved it. From there I bought more books, more pencils, pens, and paints. The community was a serendipitous moment that I’ll share over the phone – a great story. All to say – I realized others wanted/needed the same thing.
A: What would you tell someone that is interested in this process?
Approach it like a Nike ad: JUST DO IT. It’s pens, paint, and paper. No teacher, no assignments, no rules, and no grades. We aren’t opening a gallery. We’re just painting. And ‘practice makes progress.’ How can you turn that down?
A: What have you learned?
L: EVERYTHING!!! Most importantly, I’m in awe of the kindness of this watercolor/art community. I credit the kindness to one thing: there’s no money being exchanged in this group (generally speaking…plenty are real artists selling prints, etc., and I don’t take that away from them). I’m speaking of those, like me that approach this as art therapy. No more no less. Everyone is helpful, encouraging, supportive, and willing to share tools, tutorials, IG pages, tips, etc. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. NO competition.
A: Could you provide a list of materials that people would need to get started?
L: Absolutely. Like wine and sports equipment, the better the quality paint, the better the output. This has to do with the actual minerals used and paint making process. There are student grades – TOTALLY where I started and stayed for a long time. Then there are professional grade paints…where I springboarded to as soon as I realized the difference. Also, I’m somewhat of a collector. Gimme all the paints. HA. The same goes for paper. There is student grade / reasonably priced watercolor paper and then there is the kind all the real artists use: 140lb / 300g 100% Cotton. Can you tell the difference? 100%. But I didn’t start here either. You also need a good pencil – some use their kid’s #2 school pencil, others use mechanicals that has a fine tip and are easier to erase. I sell certain products in the OPW shop
A: Is there a community someone interested can join?
L: Yes and no. I started a new IG page and shared my journey by days/months. One to two posts a day. I posted what I learned, where I screwed up, and how I forged ahead and I learned to listen more, watch carefully and dig deep for acceptance and grace during the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day – neither will be my Artistic Voice…the one I’m hunting for.
Lori was so generous in sending answers to all of the above questions and then took the time to talk on the phone! Lori’s business, One Per Week takes the idea of expressing thoughts, emotions, experiences with pen, paper, postage, and paints. It’s so much more personal than an abbreviated text message.
If you have been thinking about starting to paint, I encourage you to follow Lori on her Instagram accounts and her blog! Thank you Lori for your generosity in sharing your art and what you’ve learned…so far!
Lori painted Madeline’s open shelving in her studio dining area
This was what started our conversation this week. When I posted a photo of Madeline’s open shelving in her new studio apartment, it inspired Lori to paint it! We are amazed at the detail. For example, her letter board with all the states in the order in which she has lived, a mug, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, her new Ikea lamp, her books, even the curves of a little hand made piece of pottery Madeline recently made. It’s hard not to be touched when someone creates this beautiful art from your open shelves that are filled with things that are meaningful. Lori has offered to send it to Madeline too! We will share as soon as it arrives.
You can see Madeline’s open shleves in this post on her studio apartment in Brooklyn.
The Balance Life FREE 5-day Refresh + Restart Challenge
I’ve been doing these workouts for almost 2 years and over the summer I got a little lazy and thought I was doing enough by walking, paddle boarding, gardening….but nothing takes the place of the strength you build even adding 15 minutes a day of Pilates to your daily workout.
The Balanced Life is offering a FREE 5-day Refresh + Reset Pilates Challenge. It starts on Monday, September 20th. Sign up here!
- Easy Ruffle Shirt // 2. Warby Parker Haskell Sunglasses // 3. Wingtip Oxfords // 4. White Jeans // 5. Tote
I found this shirt on Instagram and I love it. Then last weekend while in SoHo I noticed we were walking by the Alec Mill store and popped in. I bought the exact shirt I kept seeing on Instagram. It’s the perfect transition piece for summer to fall. The olive color says fall, but the fabric says late summer. Do you know the history and who is behind Alex Mill? I had no idea! Some of my favorites include the jumpsuit and of course the cardigans.
I saw this on my friend Sheri’s blog and have not yet made them, but they are on my list for the coming week! Another way to use essential oils and how cute are they? Perfect for a little homemade gift! Get the easy instructions here.
GUEVARA’S in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
The prettiest coffee & plant shop opened during the pandemic as a bight spot in the neighborhood where people could stop for pastries and coffee while sitting under the pink arched oasis with black and white patterned floors. Colorful café chairs and tables line the sidewalk and walls painted pink. Inside, a shop filled with plants, vegan pastries, and coffee. Guevara’s is a must-stop if you are in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn!