Thursday, May 19, 2022

what does this say?

 I can't figure it out.

Please help.


Today's regular post is below this one

Jessica Hische's latest t-shirt design.

OK -- I went to the IG page of the company who is selling the shirt and their name is 

Invisible Creature. So Rachael figured it out -- but now I am curious if she figured it out - or went to the IG page? I rather like that it is soooo hard to figure out.

KristineK - The Frailty Syndrome

 I always recognize Kristine's envelopes without checking the return. They are all different - but there is something about them that makes them recognizable. Each time one arrives I think that it would be fun to attempt my own version of her design. Maybe this time I actually will.


I don't want to devolve into too much chatter about aging - but, I know quite a few readers are my age. I figured the younger people would have zero interest in topics on aging. Then I realized, younger people might have some elders - so maybe these elder-care and elder-self-care topics are worthwhile.

I'll be brief - this was a topic that popped up and caught my eye. I've noticed how weak my hands are becoming and was startled to see that that's a sign of frailty. Google led me to this:

In the absence of a gold standard, frailty has been operationally defined by Fried et al. as meeting three out of five phenotypic criteria indicating compromised energetics: low grip strength, low energy, slowed walking speed, low physical activity, and/or unintentional weight loss 

Full report here:

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

From Rachael in Apr - more about the first trip

Oh, Rachael - another design that is begging to be appropriated. Thank you. And the frosting on the cake - a highly steal worthy card. It would have been fun to shoot a video of how this worked. And I would have - except that I'm lazy.

Top view

Front view - closed

Front panel being opened to show a circle opening.
The greeting slides into view on the white panel behind the circle opening


At the brain rehab place, I noticed that everyone who worked there made eye contact and did that reflective thing - trying to get onto whatever my wavelength is. Clearly, I need help because those words are clumsy.

They ran me through questions and some tests involving the copying of things shapes and layered shapes that I saw on the paper. On one, I turned the paper - because that's what I do. Sue was very polite when she told me that for the purposes of the test - I could not turn the paper. I was polite and complied with the request. I gotta tell you -- there is a huge temptation to do zany things - and respond theatrically. But, I'm pretty sure they expect me to take things seriously.

Then - she asked me how I felt about a giant 3' x 4' poster on the wall that was one of those geometric, very detailed drawings that people color in. It was an elephant with all kinds of patterns and designs filling up every square inch. It was so hard to find words to describe that it was aesthetically very unappealing - but I understand that lots of people like to color in things like that - so, they have their place. 

Then I was asked about 4 smaller pictures of owls, framed and colored in. I tried to be tactful about how they were not my cup of tea - but I really wanted to know what's behind talking about them. There were some other pictures - pleasant, stylized nature based things - and we did not discuss them.

Fingers crossed that they don't suggest that coloring in those geometric coloring book pictures would rehab my brain. I'm pretty sure the revulsion of looking at those kinds of images would be counterproductive to whatever the benefit might be of coloring them in. If I really need to do that kind of activity -- I hope they let me color in The Book of Kells.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

From Leslie - Apr - 1st trip to brain rehab


April was so much fun - having my birthday - and getting all this fun mail. I know I just used the word exuberant yesterday (actually it was 10 minutes ago - because I am trying to fill up May) but, I can't think of another word. SynonymsRus will have some.

ebullient, high-spirited, excessive, extravagant, overweening, lush, luxuriant, profuse, riotous, abundant, spirited, un-restrained.

Thank you Google -- some of those would work. Other are odd.

Apparently, brain injuries are tricky to treat. There are general areas that *control* certain functions. But, there are endless stories about people who *rebuilt* or *restored* all kinds of functions even when it looked like it was impossible. At the other end of the spectrum - there are people who just had one concussion and their *personality* flipped and stayed flipped. I hope I remember to ask if there is a difference in restoring mechanical things as opposed to personality things.

I waited patiently (as advised) to see how much would *restore* on it's own. On May 4th (May the fourth be with you - Star Wars day) I had my first visit to a brain rehab facility. I flunked the first test - by choosing door number 2 as the entrance. But, everyone who works there is geared towards making brain injured people feel OK. Even the guy who was mowing the lawn - stopped - and waved at me - as if someone told him that he had to be *cheerful* because the people who are coming and going will probably benefit from random pleasantness.

Monday, May 16, 2022

From Lynne - Vintage stamps at The Glam Pad

Exuberant is the first word that popped into my head for this one. Fun balloons and polka dots and the USPS added 4 more elements. The lettering is Gwen Weaver's Weaver Writing. This is the first time I have realized that I could come up with Wilson Writing. It doesn't roll off the tongue as well as Weaver Writing - but I think I need to come up with something. I remember naming something Jeanerian - as a spin off of Spencerian - but, I don't remember what it looked like. Probably just my own penmanship.

If you put Jeanerian in the search box - I've only mentioned it twice in 12 years. Both times in 2012. How bizarre to see the stuff I was prattling on about 10 years ago. Being lazy. Clearly there is some redundancy in my postings.

Some day - I hope to shoot a video of the exotic, paper, wind-up creature that came flying out of the card that was in the envelope. Or -- find a tutorial online. It's so cool.


Here's a fun website with some ideas for envelopes - if you have a stash of vintage stamps. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Leslie's Apr mailing - Layered paper anatomy book

As I recall, Leslie said these were press-on letters. Or maybe it's called rub-on. Neither of those sound right. I've never seen press on lettering that had variation like that. They're very cool. Her white on black penmanship is very pretty, too. Combining the fine white line letters with the chunky colored letters is using another design principle - CONTRAST.  Contrast is one of those tools in your design tool box that is  actually easy - or obvious. It is still late afternoon - and this will not be a well written blurb. Sorry.


This video might make up for the poorly written blurb.

No photo of this - it's a YouTube video - of some very old and very fascinating books. The most spectacular one is in the last 5 minutes. Many many layers of anatomical engravings. Mind boggling.

The channel - Objectivity - might be connected with The Royal Society. I can't figure it out.

I found this blurb -- and it's a lovely rabbit hole if you enjoy these kinds of topics.

Objectivity is a series of videos about science treasures. In each video we uncover amazing objects and manuscripts from the archives, tell you their stories, and discuss them with experts.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

JeanR's Apr env - Housekeeping

Spring green - or maybe it is more of a chartreuse. Auto correct did not correct that spelling so maybe my guess was correct. JeanR is highly organized, so maybe she has some suggestions for the topic of the day. 

 Housekeeping/organizing/hoard reduction might be included in the list or topics that I only allow myself to mention once a month. It's been a topic that has elicited some direct response from readers. I'm not the only one who struggles with sifting and organizing. This item seems like it might hit home with a few of us - and it needs to be updated to 2022:

I've been doing so much better at keeping my download folder in pristine order. There are currently only two items that are waiting to see if they deserve a spot on the blog. The first one is from the IG of Susie Beringer. It looks like she used Bister inks and one of those wedge brushes.

If I had time to be inspired - I would turn it a quarter turn to the right so that the fan was on the left side of the envelope and the letters were flung from right to left - in pale colors - and the name and address would be bolder, darker, and USPS-friendly.

This fun variation of an old favorite was sent to me by someone who is kind enough to send me stuff they know I will enjoy and I wasn't going to run it until I found the original email from whence it came so that I could thank the kind sender. I trust that the kind sender prefers I keep my download folder tidy and will forgive me for not expressing personal thanks.

I have a very creative excuse for why I'm not very good at personal thank yous. It's because I have So. Many. Thoughtful. People -- that it would be a full time job sending personal thank yous and then the blog would suffer - and nobody wants that.

Here's what I found when I searched the game. The details in the description are pretty darn cute.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Chuck's April flower - Duct tape prom dresses

Chuck's flower compliments the flower design on the stamp. It also coordinates with the flowers on the duct tape dress below. I'm tempted to add some subtle shading on the flower using a white *colored* pencil. And technically, you don't *shade* with white - you *highlight* with white.

 I'm writing this during prom season and just saw the winners of the annual contest that DuckBrand Duct Tape sponsors. They give out $20,000 in scholarship money to creative teenagers. It is nice to see that kids continue to turn out spectacular designs.

Link to all the winners and runner-uppers since 2019:

It's 4 pm and my last coffee of the day is at noon - so this is equivalent to talking in my sleep.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Sunshine from JeanR - Ice age landscape


JeanR spread some very welcome sunshine during the endless (and unusual) dreariness of April. Thank you, Jean. Jean lives within walking distance of my house. Sort of a long walk, but I'm thinking I might try walking over to see her when she returns to *the northlands.* She winters in the south. But, I'll need a ride home. There is a crazy long hill between us - and I'm sure it would be fun to walk downhill - but, I'd need a lot more practice to make it back up that hill. Who knew that there were such big hills in Iowa.

Funny you should mention hills in Iowa. I just ran across this a.m.a.z.i.n.g. video about these little pockets of ancient landscape in Iowa of all places. It blew me away. It will not be interesting to everyone. But, if you are fascinated by ancient plants - you'll like this a lot. Sadly - it is all too fragile to visit in person. But the description is sumthun else - and there is one closeup photo that is cool. I'm going to look for more photos.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Thank you, Leslie - more valentines (30 add-on topics) reminder to not fall

Leslie left a comment/question yesterday - wondering what Carolyn used on her envelope.
She used food coloring - although she does not recommend it. Her tool for applying the food coloring was a gum seed pod. She liked the built-in *handle* on the gum seed pod - as that made it less messy.

Leslie kindly sent more images of her outgoing mail. It's fun to see several at the same time. I'm pretty sure she left a note on the one I posted (mine) saying that she used a Posca paint marker. These are soooooo cool. Thanks for sharing.


I'm still not doing a very good job of making helpful design based comments on what I post - so I've been working on a list of 30 random topics for the add-ons. In my endless quest to be not-boring and/or redundant I'm thinking I might benefit from a list of 30 topics so that the readers who are tired of any particular topic can be assured that tomorrow will be different. And if any topic is highly annoying, you can be assured it will not pop up more than once a month.

One topic is going to be falling. There has been an epidemic of falling. Small boys just have to accept that part of life is running, jumping, falling, and enduring that first trip to the ER. I'll refrain from sharing a photo of the grandson's gash. Then my sister-in-law recently fell on a new piece of poorly designed pavement that had a difficult to discern change of levels. She's OK. And then a neighbor (my age) just had a bad fall at tennis. She is also OK. But, I figure I'll just have a monthly reminder to be careful. Sidewalks, new and old, are tricky. Staying active is tricky. 


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Kusama from CarolynE - ChuckS - Chapter 2


CarolynE knows me well enough to know I love all things Yayoi Kusama. If you don't know about her - just Google her. She had a heck of a time getting the recognition she deserved. There is a wonderful documentary about her.

I'm always wildly excited when CarolynE adds artwork to her envelopes.


A week ago, the daily post covered ChuckS and his quest for better penmanship. That post was getting too long, so I figured I would jump down a week in the line up and talk about Chuck's motivation for improving his penmanship. Chuck has to write things by hand at work. I don't know exactly what it is - but he thought that if the penmanship looked more polished - perhaps the words would have greater impact.

IMHO, that's an insightful way to look at handwritten communication. Several years ago I wrote a blog post about a jeweler who had no interest in penmanship and made a comment in passing (as I was painting a beautiful quote on a wall in his house - at the request of his wife). He knew I taught penmanship and his comment was: You could never improve MY penmanship. My response was that I could prove him wrong and I only needed an hour. He accepted the challenge and with his wife joining him - made an appointment for a private lesson at my studio - and I won.

My victory was almost *too much of a good thing.* The wife let me know that I had turned him into a bit of an obsessive and he was spending way too much time at his desk at home with his penmanship. They had small children. I'm not sure he was all that interested in penmanship - I think he might have been hiding from small children because small children are exhausting.

However, I did hear from him a few weeks later that everyone at the jewelry store was thrilled with his new penmanship because in the world of jewelry, people bring things in - orders are handwritten (usually on small envelopes) and they need to keep track of lots of different items - so - legible penmanship is essential. This was especially funny (to me) because prior to hearing this, the jewelry store had in fact - misplaced something that I brought in. They found it (after a couple weeks) - but, I did have first hand experience at the challenges of keeping track of all kinds of items placed in envelopes with handwritten labeling.

My goal with penmanship repair is not to force people into Palmer or some pre-designed style -- but to take the way they write and renovate it - keeping some of the original flavor - but adding some symmetry/consistency/rhythm - ending up with a personal style that is pleasing to the eye as well as fun to write.

Here is what Chuck sent on May 4. I see improvement. He has some very nice loops on the g's and the overall look is getting smoother. I sent him one quick page of capital letter - and will be sending a more helpful set of caps that show how some of them can be joined.

The number one thing I suggested - was to tighten up the word spacing. But, overall, I am so proud of Chuck's progress.

Leslie left a comment below - wondering how Carolyn did her envelope. Answer will be at the top of the post tomorrow. I can't figure out how to leave a comment on my own blog. Grrrrr.

Monday, May 9, 2022

B'day from Kate - A Brain Twister

Double Marilyn's from Kate. I like her arrangement and spacing. I can't figure out what that very faint shadow is. It must be whatever she put in the envelope to give it a little more body to withstand the postal machinery. At first I thought it was a shadow created by the general dust and whatever rubbing up against the envelope as it traveled through the machines - but was in the shape of the paper inside. That gave me an idea that I love-love-love -- to put some shape in the envelope and do a rubbing. How can I remember this idea? Does anyone else like the idea?
That's really nice gold. I wonder what it is? Will Kate remember and also let us know?


This is mostly for my BigHelpfulBrother - who has been out of town so he probably isn't in any kind of mood to work on a puzzle. But, it's such a good puzzle. I thought of it all by myself - although that doesn't mean anything. It might be something that I've seen before but The Big Thud deleted the part where I knew I had picked it up somewhere.

Here it is. A series of numbers - not in numerical order. So why are they in that order?

It is not random. There is a method. What is it?


Feel free to submit your guesses.

I know there are a couple other readers who like numbers and puzzles.

Also - how long it took to come up with the answer - in case more than one of you figure it out.

OK -- he figured it out really fast

and the answer is in the comment he left.


Sunday, May 8, 2022

Raindrops from Smash - The GIDH List

This is a very cool raindrop design. Nice combination with the stamps - friendly to the USPS. See how the shapes of the raindrops echo the shapes of the petals in the flowers? Here is your design lesson for the day. An element is a building block. That petal SHAPE is an element. COLOR is an element. REPETITION is a principle. The principles are the clever ways to work with the elements. SCALE is comparative size. The petals (raindrops) on the background are huge versions of the petals. 

Are there any scientists reading this who can give us a comparison where you have H and O - and they make H2O -- but if you have a different arrangement and quantity of H and O - you can blow something up or create something less friendly than water? Feel free to use any of the elements.


It's been nine months since I bonked my head and there are lingering unresolved issues - nothing dreadful - just a bit *off.* That Covid blip didn't improve anything either. So many people that I know are struggling with things that are far worse than what I'm struggling with - so it's not too hard to nudge myself out of feeling sorry for myself.

Since the bonk, I've kept a running list in my head of all the things I am Grateful I Don't Have (GIDH). And then it occurred to me that I should write the list down - because I was curious if it was a dozen or two dozen or what? It seems like I already put this in a blog post - but, I can't find it. Apologies if it is a repeat. I do know I shared it with a few people in emails -- so maybe that's what I am recalling. I sent it to MrWilson. I suppose he has secretly added *caring for a partner* to his list. He's too polite to tell me.

Things I don’t have

that are going around (and I literally know someone who has it or has died from it)

Dementia - Lewy body


Heart disease





Non-cancerous brain tumor

Detached retina in both eyes at the same time or macular 

Autoimmune disease (the one where your skin falls off)

Fractures and joint replacement (two broken ankles and a broken tibia)

Arthritis (advanced, painful, and slim chance of restoration)

Lung disease

Really bad shingles

Covid (back on the list - since we are having serious spiking here in DSM)

Malpractice - I actually know 3 people were hoping to have something fixed - and ended up in worse shape.

So - if you have something to add to my list - let me know. I bet there are many more things that will make me grateful to only have my scrambled brain.

This just in - scoliosis

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Springy theme from Kathleen - Bittersweet & Quiet

This is fun - nice arrangement - just the right amount of space. I love that bird. Even the unusual cancel is nice. The ground under the bird fits with the bar code. And the fun border around the stamp. Adorable. If I actually do that thing I keep thinking of doing where I let each in-coming envelope inspire the next out-going envelope I do - I can't wait to appropriate this one. 


 I can't remember if I mentioned reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain. It appealed to me because it is about the up-side to being introverted. I might insert some rants about the trials and tribulations of being an introvert. Ranting about my scrambled memory is tempting - but, I'll resist it for now.

In addition to not remembering if I mentioned Quiet, I can't remember if I mentioned Bittersweet, Susan Cain's most recent book. I highly recommend you do searches for other reviews by other people rather than go on my recommendation. Bittersweet is about taking the difficulties in life and using them as a springboard towards something less difficult.

It seems like there is an endless supply of books with suggestions on coping. One would think that at some point a person finds *one thing* that works. Maybe people do. Or maybe we keep learning the same thing over and over - but there are slight variations.

Maybe I am babbling. Tomorrow I am going to share my fool proof list for feeling better.

Friday, May 6, 2022

B'day from Maggie - Salsify - sandwich cookbook

I need to do some plaids. I need to dig out my pointed nibs. So pretty - thank you Maggie. Very springy - and spring was a bit slow showing up. I'll keep my yearly rant about weeds to a minimum. 

That was it.

Has anyone ever heard of salsify? I had never heard of it until I was flipping through an online book with 400 sandwich recipes. 

Salsify is a superfood worthy of the name, rich in fiber as well as nutrients like iron, vitamin C, thiamin, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. It has a mild flavor that some compare to oysters (thus its nickname). Others say it's closer to the flavor of asparagus or artichoke, while still others find it more similar to the nutty Jerusalem artichoke. 

Now I want to try some. 

Here is a link to the cookbook:

The whole Public Domain Review site is an epic rabbit hole that should probably come with a warning. I'm keeping a list of some other items to share if I run out of topics.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

B'day from Tom - Tipi - teepee talk


I have about 20 birthday envelope to share. This one has tone on tone shimmer ink on the envelope and is just lovely. I also like the little *apology* on the bottom. I've known Tom (through calligraphy) for a couple decades and his work is always gorgeous. He is currently providing many hours of eldercare so - that's why he is writing on a TV tray. 


Apologies if I am spending too much time on tipi-teepee talk - but a few years ago, MrWilson put in some tall pampas grass stuff along the driveway. He wanted a *visual screen.* He didn't say why - and the view has not changed in 43 years - so it struck me as an odd request. He found someone to do the digging of the perfectly good day lilies and replaced them with what must be the tallest pampas grass you can get. 

On a gorgeous nearly-spring day, I was looking at the dried fronds and mentioned that they were long enough to build a tipi. Maybe the grandkids would want to build a tipi when they come for their week at Nanna's house. Normally, I get zee-row enthusiasm for any of my building projects. But this time, he offered to cut all the fronds and save them. Wow. I might get to build a tipi. 

So, I did some research (looking for a pattern) and was startled to see how many options there are and how relatively inexpensive they seem to be. Much less than those geodesic domes. And the weirdest thing of all - the site that popped up first is from Germany. What's with that?

Then my memory was jogged. I recalled seeing a documentary about a group of French people who were wildly excited to visit the US and participate in some authentic powwows. As I recall, it was mentioned that there are French groups with a strong interest in Native American culture - who enjoy reenactments. Maybe there are groups all over Europe - not just France - like the way Americans like to dress up like *goths.* What would be the most unlikely culture to reenact?

OK - I promise - no more tipi or dome talk. I did start reading the reviews - and everyone was thrilled with their tipi - except the one guy who was steamed because it came without poles. Ooops - he did not read carefully. None of the tipis come with poles.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Leslie's snowflakes - A word about comments

Thank you Leslie for sending images. It's fun to see them grouped. The one I posted yesterday was a brush marker with hand drawn snowflakes. These are made with a rubber stamp and a silver calligraphy marker. The coffee stamps look really nice with the snowflakes. Many of us are hoping we've seen the last of the snow.

Here are some individual shots. It's fun to compare subtle differences.

Leslie left a comment a ways back - saying she did not know if anyone ever read the comments. I do. So that's all that matters. I appreciate hearing from people and when I ask questions - it means I am genuinely curious. Of course, I could email people directly with my questions - but, that would take too much energy to switch to email. I much prefer asking my questions in the body of the post. And then I get the answers. 

Does anyone besides Jean see the comments? I'm guessing they do. I already know that there are some people who are like me - make coffee, check blog, proceed with the rest of the day. I have no idea how many of you are like that - but, I do know that the coffee drinkers who have a blog checking routine are out there and several have mentioned it to me. Once again -- whether you drop me a note directly - or leave a public comment - or send snail mail -- however it arrives, the messages are most welcome.

Then there are the people who do random checking. Some people only check once a week - and some of them read the comments. I doubt the daily coffee-checkers go back and look for comments. But, if you are scrolling through a weeks worth -- you probably do see the comments.

So, Leslie -- feel free to keep the comments coming. 

To anyone who can't figure out how to leave a comment - it has to do with Google and Gmail. You have to have an account and be signed in - and probably not worried about them tracking us. They probably ignore us - but you never know. I'm always careful to mention my devotion to world peace to avoid being flagged as suspicious or dangerous.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

ChuckS's penmanship adventure (Leslie's snowflake)

This is a rather long - but you will just have to put up with me because it is something that warmed my heart on so many levels.

 I've mentioned The Flourish Forum, a forum that I belong to for people who are interested in calligraphy (mostly) and penmanship (sometimes). Anyone is welcome to join. There are lots of people who find the forum when they are new to calligraphy. Some of them (very few) share their progress. There are not very many old-timers on the forum - so I try to check in every day - and share information that's piled up over my decades of research, experimenting, and sharing. 

Whenever penmanship comes up on the forum - I'm all over it. In Oct 2020 - Lyric brought up penmanship and her desire to improve her everyday penmanship. I responded to her directly and offered to work with her, through email. I was thrilled with the progress she made. I shared some of what we covered in blog posts which you may find by searching. I have not heard from her in a while, but I was very impressed with how much her penmanship improved. She is definitely dovetailing calligraphy with penmanship - looking for something that is drop-dead-gorgeous - but also not painfully slow.

Back in February, ChuckS posted to the forum - wondering if there were any tips for people who had hit a plateau after working on the Consistent Cursive lessons. Lyric had gone through the CC lessons and I had reviewed them. The originator of the system (David) who posted the lessons (on YouTube) has put in a lot of time - and in theory - the lessons should be easy to follow and provide very good results. 

IMHO, the part that David does not address - is how to un-learn bad habits. I have a different theory on how to correct bad penmanship. It involves streamlining the letters to the bare minimum (eliminating loops) and using the natural slant that each person already has. 

ChuckS seemed like a perfect guinea pig for my approach. If I can work with people in person, I can always get them to make progress pretty easily. With ChuckS, I needed to figure out how to provide all the lessons through email. We had to work through a few different approaches - but we finally hit on something that IMHO is working.

In his off-time, he coaches weight lifters - so I found ways to dovetail penmanship *moves* to things that people do in weightlifting. Art and sports are kindred spirits.

Here is the page that he sent me at the very beginning:

He actually makes a lot of the letters clearly and there is adequate space between them. His slant is fairly consistent - and we could have gone with his natural slant - but ChuckS liked the look of no-slant and I thought that would be a good starting point.

We took all the loops away - and corrected the element that was in most need: the lack of *air* within the letters. A lot of them are very cramped, squished, pinched. At the same time - we introduced the concept of honoring the space between the letters as much as the space enclosed by letters. This is a basic building block in sooooo many disciplines. But - it can be challenging for beginners to see the importance of both kinds of *space.*

Lucky for me - ChuckS is a big fan of discipline - and he really stuck with it. There were a couple times I was a little nervous/worried that he would just give up. But - he stuck with it -- and I am thrilled to share his new and improved penmanship.

If you enlarge the image, you can see that it is not perfect. There are a few shaky spots and a few inconsistencies in spacing -- but overall - it has some style -- and the frosting on the cake --
some random person, just walking by, was struck by the loveliness - and stopped to discuss the penmanship.

Hopefully you read the whole thing so that you can imagine how excited I was about the recognition from a stranger --- getting unsolicited recognition for one's penmanship is equivalent to any kind of actual award or honor. 

So, let's circle back to the part where I mentioned that ChuckS coaches weightlifters. It's possible that ChuckS is disciplined in more than just penmanship. He might be one of those people who is devoted to keeping himself in shape - and maybe the person in the coffee shop was just using the penmanship as an excuse to get acquainted and she was really just mesmerized by his physique.

The coffee was nice and strong this morning -- so, I'd actually like to head off with a fun story about the two of them hitting it off and living happily ever after. And if you are pooh-poohing the idea of a penmanship-based romance - I assure you it is not that far fetched. I have three other stories about couples who met through penmanship. Perhaps they will show up in future posts.

Thanks for indulging me in this looooong story. If you want to improve your penmanship - let me know. I could re-post the lessons I sent to ChuckS.

Hopefully he will keep practicing and as the shapes get stuck in his muscle memory - he should be able to speed up - and eventually - he can add some loops in.

Here is an envelope - a teaser for what is popping tomorrow.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Nanski's and mine (heart stamps)

This is the third and final misfiled card and envelope - and if the postmark is Boston, I'm pretty sure it's from Nanski. As I write this - I'm still parked in Chicago - thinking I'll go home in a couple days. After I tested positive in Chicago (at a CVS) I had a phone call from my own county health department with lots of questions. They assured me that it would be fine to fly home on Saturday - so that's the plan. I really don't want to be coughing or sneezing and have people glaring at me.

My final comment on having covid is that I've had actual influenza and real flu was much worse. Obviously, I do not know if there will be any lingering effects. My son-in-law had a very good idea - to have some kind of positive effect from covid. We weren't sure what would be a positive effect - for me - it would be improved spelling. For him, I recommended better sleep. 

The misfiled cards and envelopes were in a folder with a stack of faux-mail that I addressed to my postal worker son's co-workers. They had a *promotion party* for him back in September when he changed both his job and his shift. It was fun to use cancelled stamps and just play around. None of them are spectacular. But - fun enough to fill the days as time marches on.

If anyone has any of these heart stamps - we have a pen pal who would like to trade - because they are no longer available online.
Please email me if you have some you would be willing to trade.


Sunday, May 1, 2022

May exchange - Chuck's been ready since April 12

I've never done this before - but some of you might enjoy seeing long-time-exchanger Chuck's process. He gets his envelopes ready ahead of time. Sometimes we chat about the ideas - gnomes. Earlier in April, he sent me a link to someone I had never heard of. I loved the designs and might even get around to doing my own. I'll post more about her tomorrow. If you sign up for the exchange, you might get one of these. I wonder which stamp he is going to use.

Sign up for the May exchange is May 1-4.

Send the following info in the format indicated to the new email address:

(CARDS) means you will also exchange handmade cards
(birthday means you have an May birthday
(2 lists) means you are willing to be on two lists if I need to make the lists come out even

Jane Doe (CARDS)
123 Oak Street
Ames, IA 50110
(birthday) (2 lists)

Additional info for new exchangers:


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Repeats from Lauren and JeanR?

I think this one might be a repeat. After spending way too much time looking for it I decided to just go ahead and run it along with the one from JeanR. A rainbow with an *unfortunate coffee incident* is ideal for today. On this - the 6th day of covid, I am supposed to be able to get on with my life and just wear a mask. While it's nothing alarming, I'm still dragging - and spilling coffee. 

Of course, anyone who has graduated out of living under the same roof as elementary aged kids - but finds themselves back in that situation - could just blame everything on them. Talk about flashbacks. My daughter took the kids out to get shoes and spring/summer clothes. Upon return - she discovered that they had not gotten all the correct items - so she is back out - exchanging. My flashback was to the year I got my daughter a credit card and told her to just ride the bus to the mall and pick out her own stuff to spare me the ordeal. She was probably 12 or 13. Her friends were incredulous - that she had a credit card. But, she knew that I had to OK purchases - and as we recall - she never had to return anything. 

Bear with with me - as I fill the daily posts during what is hopefully - the end part of the covid.

And in case this has been a very recent repeat - here is another one that was misfiled that I can't find on the blog. I do love the lettering - and the colors.


Friday, April 29, 2022

Q3 - CathyO's March envelope


CathyO sent this in March. And yes, we spent most of March anticipating some nice spring weather. There would be more to talk about - because there was more in the envelope - but it's in DSM and I am in Chicago - on the third day of quarantining myself in the guest room. 

The good news is that my daughter and I tested negative. Dad and the two kids are positive. My daughter offered to buy me a plane ticket home but I opted to stay. Even though I am all alone in the lower level and even though I have a negative test from a couple days ago - doesn't mean that I didn't get infected while I was riding home in the car with the two kids who turned out to be positive. I feel like it would be really easy to unknowingly take it home to MrW - not to mention spreading it around O'Hare and an airplane. 

That was written on Thursday. My daughter and I thought we had been keeping adequate distance and we went to confirm that we were still negative on Friday - and that evening we both started to feel symptoms. So, while waiting for PCR results, we did rapid tests at home and were positive. 

So - this will probably conclude the quarantine commentaries. Even though I know a lot of people who have had it without any lingering problems, I had been vigilant at avoiding it. It hasn't been much worse than a  regular cold - so, I'm relieved. I'm also going to credit the vaccine with reducing the severity - and will continue to boost as advised. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Q2 - J's March to Lynne and CathyO

Ho hum ideas that were sent right before I left for Chicago. Lynne and CathyO had sent me March envelopes even though I was not on their list. For April, I did not end up on any lists - but invited people to send envelopes and if they send one, I will respond. 


This will be the second covid-whining post - written about 2 hours after that first one. I'll try to space them out rather than bore us with daily whining. Obviously, I have my immediate family and friends plus 20-30 exchangers I could whine at - directly - but, I realized that it might be better to dilute the whining to the approximately 300 people who check the blog every day. 

I still don't know if I am pos or neg - so just hanging out in limbo.

My daughter had the kids make a basket of stuff to help me while away the hours. Rapid tests, coloring book, colored pencils, pistachios, crackers and one lonesome piece of chocolate. Now that I know there is chocolate in the house - I might need one more piece to get me through the afternoon. 

The note from the 8-yr old references being rude in the car. She wasn't all that rude. She just didn't understand that even though she had not tested positive - with a rapid test - she had to stay home until the PCR test result comes in. 

She also mentions a house -- we are working on a cardboard doll house. 
Nanna loves to make things out of cardboard. They are usually pretty wonky - but, it is nice to see how much her construction skills are improving.