Handwritten Notes

First of all, THANK YOU for holding me accountable this week. I could literally feel our arms e-linked together and your e-motivation made for great note-writing inspiration!

Secondly, I had so much fun with this project y’all. I mean, we have GOT to do this more often, for real! I ended up having a few different ideas for a few different notes, and I wanted to share them here today so that anyone who visits this post might be inspired to give this kind of thing a whirl, too.

I started my ‘Simple, With A Hearty Side Of Significant‘ mission by gathering up some art supplies…


…and this sticky note set I got last year from our friends at Live-Inspired.com:


The quote inside the circle reads, “Treasure and notice today“. How totally simple, with a hearty side of significant is that? I love it! Reading it made writing out my notes feel even more fun, and when I was finished, I set my sights on the mail center in our neighborhood. Everyone who lives in our (rural) community picks up their mail there, so I thought it would make for a great location to surprise a few different people at one time.


It turned out to be quite the little adventure. Because I wanted the notes to be surprises, I didn’t want anyone to see me leaving them. I had to be quick, and quiet, and covert! I staked out the area by car first, and when I was sure that the coast was completely clear, I scurried up onto the porch and quickly scanned the area for the perfect place to hang the first of my four notes.


The top of the rocking chair closest to the door felt good- so on it went!


Next, I quickly slipped through the front door, and tied my second note onto the back door handle.


Next up, it was sticky note time. There are mailbox rooms on the left and right sides of the building, and they’re separated by a center hall. I had decided the night before that I would go with my gut, and walk into one of the rooms and stick my note onto whichever mailbox my hand led me to first.

This is where the adventure started to get a little more…adventurous.

RIGHT before I stuck the sticky note to the mailbox, a mail man came walking through the door, and your girl panicked. I instantly entered a little state-of-being I like to call the Perspiration Station, and proceeded to blurt out something about a “photo project” before he even asked why I was standing there with a camera in one hand, and a sticky note in the other.

The next 3 minutes (a.k.a “eternity”) is sort of a blur. I think I just walked around and “worked on my photo project” while he finished up whatever it was that he had swung by to do.

I don’t know why I was feeling so sweaty about the whole thing, but he didn’t stay long, and I was still acting busy with my “photo project” when he turned to me on his way out the door and asked, “What kind of photo project is it?“.

Oh boy.

Uh…it’s about the power of a handwritten note, and hopefully making folks smile”, I blurted (again).

Oh!“, he said as he made his way out the door. (smiling!) #yay!

(Insert: “whew!” and re-cue Mission Impossible music, here.)

After that, I checked to make sure there wasn’t anyone else coming, and since there wasn’t, I went back to the mailbox I had chosen and stuck my sticky note on it:



The last note I wrote out involved finding a hiding spot for a “just for fun” little gift the note would lead to. I decided the note (a piece of cloud-covered paper, folded in half) should go on the bulletin board in the center hall.

The paper itself came from Hobby Lobby, and I used a Sharpie marker to write this message on the inside of it:

After I had it wedged into the bulletin board frame, I high-tailed it over to the gazebo to hide the surprise: a notepad, inside a zip lock bag- just in case it started to rain.

I raced home and ran upstairs to share my adventure with Kevin and Josh (who were working on their next Shoot Fly Shoot e-class at the time), and it was so much fun re-enacting the whole thing for them- ha! The whole experience made me feel cheerful and childlike, and I highly recommend that kind of “pausitivity”!

Later yesterday afternoon, while I was uploading all of those photos, my BFF sent me a text message asking if I was involved in the shenanigans…

…and after we got done screaming back and forth, I asked her how she knew about it. She said one of our other neighbors had posted about it on Facebook, so I scooted over there to see what she had written. Her message was so kind, and I was so excited to see these photos she posted of her little boy finding the notepad:

I hadn’t planned to let the cat out of the bag, but I wanted to ask her permission to post her son’s photos here, so I sent her a message and confessed. I’m so glad I did too, because I wound up having the most pleasant conversation back and forth with her last night, and I made a wonderful new cottage-lovin’ friend in the process!

If I hadn’t ever found out who found the notepad, that would’ve been okay too- ’cause like I said to the mailman: this whole thing was really just about the power of a handwritten note and (hopefully) making folks smile. And before I sign off, I also wanted to mention that throughout this process I started to feel a little bit uncomfortable about blogging about it because I didn’t want it to come across as a “look what I did” kind of a thing. But here’s why I’ve decided I’m not going to allow myself to enter the Perspiration Station after I hit the publish button on this post.

My blog is my playground, and passion pushes my swing posts. Sharing (and discovering) fun ideas and photos is probably my favorite thing about the internet, so I feel like this kind of inspiration is okay to put out there today…and any day!

And speaking of discovering: have you had fun with the handwritten note project this week? Instead of a Flickr group, I think it makes more sense for me to re-direct visitors to your blog so that you can share your experience and photos with folks there, too. How does that sound? Feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your blog post if you’re interested in doing that. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to link to the web page where your photos are stored, and again, thanks for encouraging me to have fun with handwritten happiness this week!

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  1. Lorrie says

    I no longer have a blog, but I do this all the time with post-it notes after the last sentence of my favorite books or cookbooks in the library or Barnes and Noble. Sometimes I say, “If you really enjoyed this book, I’d love to talk to you about it.” I leave my email. I have met some really neat people with the same interests. It would be a great thing for college students in the college library.

  2. Erin Dasher says

    I’m SO glad you shared this! What a wonderful gesture of kindness! And, how beautiful is the area you live in! Wow, the mail center is gorg!

  3. says

    Ah, my “happy” for the day, Layla! Now THAT’s the way to start what will be a very long day for me… thank you, sweet friend, for your adventurous spirit and sharing heart!
    xo heidi

  4. Whitney says

    This is my favorite post you’ve written. So glad you did. It is such a sweet idea.

  5. says

    What a great story, doing nice things like that really makes you feel good inside- it’s the whole giving back inspiration and how doing for others = happiness. Thanks for sharing…

  6. Leah says

    Dear Layla,
    Just wanted to reassure you that anyone who has followed your blog for any length of time knows that you are not a “look what I did” kind of person – your intentions are always thoughtful and loving..: )
    BTW #IGetSweatyNervousLikeThatToo!!

  7. says

    1. you are the ideal neighbor!
    2. i want to live in your neighborhood … and take part in these wonderful neighborly shenanigans. i make mean english toffee and always have leftovers. i’ll leave them on your doorstep and expect you to randomly stop in for a cuppa tea and a chat.
    3. i think this neighborhood was built for you and kevin. i mean, look at that house for your mail? the mail box? the rocking chair? the wood details? bulletin board? views? gazebo? built. for. the. palmers!
    4. thanks for making me smile this morning … love your heart, girl.

  8. says

    what a cool idea. I’ve often thought about writing up short notes and leaving them at peoples houses at Christmas time (to compliment them on beautiful displays) or in summer (to compliment them on beautiful gardens) but I never have. This is the impetus to actually go ahead and do it. Thanks for the idea and the fantastic story !

  9. says

    That is so fun- loved reading about it. Way to brighten the days of others in such a selfless & fun loving way.

  10. says

    Ah Layla, I love your heart! What a wonderful thing to do and how FUN for that little boy and his mama! I know you put a smile on a few faces. We never know the hard battles people are fighting and these acts of kindness may be more meaningful than we know.

  11. Nicola says

    I love, love, love, love, you mail center. I could actually live there. I wish my house looked like that. The trees outside make it so dreamy. I love the notes. That is so special. I will have to write one to my elder neighbor next door. Thanks for all the inspiration, spiritual and otherwise!!!

  12. Mia says

    I’m glad you posted what you did! it didn’t seem like you were bragging and it was good inspiration. I want to try something like this at my work :)

  13. says

    I love this idea! Im going to get to work on it, it’s such a fun way to find happiness and spread love, which is what this world needs more of. Thank you for the inspiration.

  14. says

    Oh my – what a perfect idea! The pictures of the little boy just sums it up, don’t they? What a lovely way to reach out to your neighbors with a human connection. Also – your post office is amazingly gorgeous! 😉

  15. Jennifer F. says

    Oh my goodness. You have such a beautiful heart. Your posts are always so uplifting. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Dawn says

    I love that you shared this with us! It is so inspirational. That little finder of the hidden notepad is too cute! He reminds me of my friends litttle (adopted)boy! :) I have also done the RAK thing in the past. I think you posted about it then and I started following Kelly over at Talk of the House. The RAK thing is similar but different. I love handwritten note idea. I sent out 4 handwritten notes the day you posted about doing it. It feels like I get the reward of sending it as much as the person that is going to receive it does! Thanks for sharing! Keep up the great blogging!

  17. libbywilko says

    This is such a sweet thing to do and look at that little mans smile, loved it. Inspiring .

  18. says

    This is a lovely idea – particularly the scavenger hunt. When I was in university, someone put happy messages on sticky-notes and spread them around the school. It was such a joy to find these little random happy ideas. Add in a scavenger hunt and there’s a new level of excitement! Congrats! ~Catherine

  19. Karie says

    I want to thank you for sharing your posts with us….What a wonderful idea and now I have ideas buzzing around in my head what I can do…If not for your post I might now have even given it any thought….

    I use my blog to post family stuff and share ideas once in a while…Feel free to stop by but I will say it is nothing like your wonderful space! The other fact is I am behind!

  20. Sindee says

    It’s so nice when someone spends time doing something sweet for someone else! I love it! :)

  21. says

    I smiled when I read this post. It reminded me of something I started doing when my oldest daughter lost her tooth (in her brother’s head after crashing into each other on his birthday… sigh – long story). Anyway, it was her first lost tooth – front one of course, and very traumatic. Seeing her big brown eyes all teary just tugged at my heart strings. So after explaining to her about the tooth fairy (it was a little early for losing teeth as she was only 3 1/2) and tucking her tiny tooth under the pillow, I decided I needed to add a little something to the quarters the tooth fairy left. I wrote her a note (in very stylish, swirly hand-writing) saying “Hello lovely girl. I don’t ever see teeth quite this tiny! Thank you for that special surprise! I’m sorry you had an accident :( I just want you to know that it doesn’t always hurt to lose your teeth. It is fun when they get wiggly and you can take them out yourself, so don’t be afraid. Here is a little extra treat that I hope makes you feel better. I love you, Sparkle (The Tooth Fairy)” The extra treat was a tiny little stuffed pink bunny. It worked – she was delighted. Over the years, the tooth fairy has left a couple little notes – I have 6 children (29 down to 2 @ 7 years old) and I’m sorry to say they haven’t all been as inspired… the last one? “SO sorry I forgot to stop for your tooth last night! Please forgive me, I love you, Sparkle” … 😉 Anyway, thanks for sparking my memories :) O’Dina