What Could You Give for Valentine’s Day?

Paper Engineering

Six of us learned the art of making fancy boxes at an eat-and-craft pre-Super Bowl party. We stuffed dainty portions of cookies or candy in them to make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Of course, we ate them right away.

paper engineering
This little box held a three-inch brownie. Perfect for a little sweet tooth.

In retirement our friend, Helen Bauer has taken up several crafts that she teaches to Boys and Girls Club Members. These activities align perfectly to S.T.E. A. M. or Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics as students solidify and apply their knowledge of fractions and three-dimensional geometry.

Helen donated her time and all the materials to make these boxes and all the goodies to go inside of them to the Woodlake High School Foundation. Thank you, Helen. We had a great time.

The creative part of our box making experience involved fancy papers and stamped designs. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this subject. There are lots of those. Stampin Up (SU) demonstrators give away their templates, measurements, but the products can be costly if you get hooked like Helen.

If you want to learn more about making boxes online check out Pootles, Sam Donaldson’s website. For advanced boxers try Julie DiMatteo, the Paper Pixie. Helen also recommended Mary Fish at Stampin Pretty. Jeanie Stark at Just Stampin, and Susan Itell at Simple Stampin. I also found a Pinterest site by Nancy Bates.

Equipment Needed

paper engineering
  • Instructions Type “stampin up youtube” into your search engine.
  • Cutting /Scoring tool
  • Tombow glue
  • double-sided, narrow sticky tape
  • scissors
  • paper clips
  • 80-110 lb cardstock
  • DSP or Designer Series Paper
  • Burnishing tool to crease edges – sharp fingernail works
  • a pad of 11 x 18 graph paper
  • something to put in the boxes as gifts

Our Boxes

Click LIKE if this brief post inspired you to do at least one of these things.

  • Have fun with friends and/or family
  • Work on your fractions
  • Be creative
  • Eat before you box, not during
  • Take a class where the materials are provided.
  • Laugh at your mistakes.

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Why Are Newsletters Important to You?

Organizations write newsletters to inform and build membership. Companies have newsletters to inform and sell products. If you are a hobby blogger why might a newsletter be important to you?

My email inbox is flooded with newsletters. Is yours? How many of them do you honestly read? Are you a regular reader of any of them?

Newsletters Provide Relevant Information

Recently, I’ve read Jon Morrow’s and Buffer’s newsletters because I’ve spent some time developing and building the Kiwanis Facebook presence and beefing up my Always Write page as well. Their headline which appealed to my passing interest in the topic grabbed my attention.

To be honest, my Always Write newsletter writing has been uninspired and basically a flop. The reason for that is that I have no purpose in writing it.

It’s All About The Reader

The Kiwanis newsletter is worth writing. First, Kiwanis activities and volunteer work appeals to various groups. So the goal is to target them. It’s easy to add people who participate in our events or work parties to the email list when they sign in at the event and include their email address. People open newsletters when it shows pictures or information about themselves. One featured reader opened nineteen times, another seven, another only three. A newspaper editor quoted in the newsletter opened it seventeen times.

The News is Visual

Next, use a lot of pictures and videos that honor people’s work or feature people who attend our large events. Trust me, these don’t have to be masterpieces. I get hundreds, even thousands of hits on some of the poorest videos because people know and love the people.


Key Club students learning to prune roses talk about their experience.

What’s Happening Includes the Future

Third, I list all the upcoming events. If I can get pictures from our speakers then I can design a FB page in Canva and email or message them a copy of the event as well as use it in the newsletter. Then I can email or message them the link to the newsletter. They never get mad about getting too many emails from me, and they pass on the information.

You Get to Know Readers Personally

Newsletters have to go both ways. Getting to know those who read your letters is just as important as getting them the information or publicity. Last month I started interviewing some of our Facebook followers. It was so rewarding. One of them is speaking to our group in two weeks. Good outcome!

Has it worked? Has our membership skyrocketed? Good question.

Speakers now come to me to schedule them to speak at our meetings. The club members are energized when their work is honored. Members of other organizations share our messages and thank us for honoring them as well.

“Kiwanis is everywhere,” one Rotarian told me when I asked to meet with him and his boss about supporting Kiwanis membership in his company.

Did We Reach Our Goal?

Have we increased in membership from the newsletter effort?

Frankly, not our membership goal – YET! That’s long range and requires a lot of commitment. After five months of newsletters, our membership is solid, but I feel encouraged and energized whenever I get an email thanking me for the newsletter. People know what Kiwanis is doing and volunteer to help us even if they haven’t joined yet.

Ask and Receive

Eventually, you have to ask for what you want, even if it’s an intermediary goal, not just blast them with newsletter after newsletter. That was my Facebook post on January 20. By that day we had one more like and as of Feb. 5 we have 359 Likes. The growth isn’t huge, but it’s steady. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. By the way, yellow’s a good color for that.

What is happening with your newsletters? Are they worth the enormous time it takes to create them in addition to writing blog posts, keeping up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram? What are your secrets and why are newsletters important to you?

And here’s my goal for this post. Would you press like when you read this? I’d love to have 50 likes. 🙂

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