Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kathleen's Birthday

Her birthday was back in March and this one was done prior to the past few I have shown. It was hiding in a pile and when I ran across it, it reminded me to go back to the PITT white markers. Why don't I have a big board with all my favorite ideas right in front of me?

The answer to that is because I make poor choices. You'd think someone who pinned this would be making better choices:

ornery pins

I'm warning you. Do not go to that link if you are ladylike and will be offended at really outrageous sayings. I know I seem all sweetness and light. But, I have my dark side. Lucky for me, other people do all the work of embroidering it.....

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

PITT white on vellum

After getting the hang of the PITT white marker on the blue envelopes, I ran out of blue envelopes, so decided to use up some vellum envelopes. The white gel pen did not like the vellum at all, so these aren't as much fun as the others.

The one below was the one I did first where I decided not to use gel pen on vellum. I already knew it wouldn't work. But....ya know how it know better...but you try anyways.

A bit of a hodge podge - but stamps out the door is the goal.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cathy's Snake

More fun with the FC PITT white marker and I did not goof up the zip code.

The snake just needed to be slithering along the bottom. It looked goofy up in the corner. I hope the PO doesn't make nasty marks on this one.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Using up Captain Cook

 This was for the March Exchange which I did all in one sitting, except I messed up Carroll's so I did hers the next day. I was surprised how well the FC PITT white marker did on such a pale blue. Captain Cook has the best expression and I was sad to see him go. I should have interpreted his glare as his disapproval of my stamp hoarding. I messed up the zip code....

Sunday, May 21, 2017

PO Redesign - Not to be

This was a very cool project that did not get off the ground. You can read all about it here.

Tieton Post Office

The design of the front of the post office is a nice idea for an envelope.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Love Contrail Stamp

The Limner sent me a very cool piece of mail and I needed to dash off a quick thank you. The expression to *wing it* seemed to go along with this stamp. Sooooo....with no planning, I did everything except the word lovely. There was an odd space left over and any number of words would have fit. I wish I had gone with a word that had only short letters at the beginning. The l in lovely really bothers me. Yes, if I did this one a second time, there would be a ton of improvements - but - for a *wing-it* - it's fine.

Would I have been happier with a perfect match on the blue? Yes. Am I going to let it bother me? No. How often do I have these conversations with myself? Perpetually. Is that the *inner-critic* that you are talking to? I don't know. I'd like to think it is the inner evaluator. There is nothing wrong with pondering how you would do things differently in the future. I don't think there is a danger in pondering and commenting. At the end of the day (or in this case - at the end of 2 minutes) I drop the items in the mail. The higher purpose is to send mail. Holy post office. She sounds like she is going all preachy on us. Don't worry - it's the coffee talking.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Hester's Birthday

It was fun to experiment with the big Faber Castell PITT white marker. Also fun to find a nice block of stamps that worked with the colors and helped with the stamp purge.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Five (or 10) Ships - March Ex

The next sheet of stamps to use up were these ships. I love them so much. But just have to proceed with the hoard reduction. At least the two stamps will cover the cost of sending a square.

On second thought, I have nothing inspired to do with ship stamps. All I can do is match the color and make it look like water.

So, I will just post all of them since they are seriously redundant. The envelopes are very nice leftovers from very expensive wedding invitations. And I am crazy about white space. So there are at least three things I like.

I guess it bothers me when I write things fast. It seems like they are not worthy when they don't take a lot of time. On the other hand, I think it took a long time to be able to scrawl in a way that satisfies my eyeballs. It bothers me when I get an envelope in the exchange and I know the other person spent way more time on their envelope than I spent on mine. But, I am going to get over that. I spend the time to keep the blog going and run the exchanges - so that should count for

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

To Finnbadger - TJ Bag - March Ex

Finnbadger and Eric are on a paper bag binge. I can't decide how far I want to delve into the bag thing with them. I am a severe bag-hoarder. Really severe.

Nuf said.

This is a placemat from Taco John's folded up inside a vellum envelope.
Nuf said about the TJ addiction as well.

Except the last time I went at 1 PM to avoid the noon rush, I noticed that everyone dining in - was a gray haired granny-type, just like me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

To KathleenRH - Truck - March Ex

I wasn't sure if it would work to do upper and lower case. At first, I thought it was a dud. But I added the heavier lines and started liking it. The smaller lettering bothered me, so I pulled out the colored pencils and it seems OK. Sadly, I had run out of trucks so ended this series. At the moment, it makes no sense why I had to quit the series. That style of writing should go with any stamp. I don't make sense - even to myself.

Monday, May 15, 2017

To Hester - Truck - March Ex

I loosened up a bit on the second one. and liked it a lot. It was hard to find a good green. The red would have been better. But, I had to use up all the trucks.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Singing and callligraphy

Chuck sent this link which has some fun calligraphy.

If you click on the name Calligraphy Masters you get to an option with many more videos or you can click this link. I wish I had time to post more videos...

On March 3rd, this was the most pinned envelope from my blog. It certainly isn't one I would expect to be so popular. I'm wondering if I am reading the stats correctly.

Time passes and Jean checks.
Yes I was not reading the stats correctly. This was just popular for a week or a month.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

To Florence - Truck - March Ex

There might be a Jean Larche alphabet that looks like this. Well, might be is wrong. There is. But, I have not seen it in a really long time and I am sure if I saw it I would feel bad that his is way better than mine. So, I am not going to dig around and find it. I'm just going to be happy because it was fun to do. I did two more that got funner. I know that is bad grammar. Sorry. I think we should be allowed to add -er and -est in consistent ways.

Friday, May 12, 2017

To Amy - Truck - March Ex

See, I told you I would go crazy in a day or two. This was a square envelope and I thought I had two trucks left, but I did not, so I had to fold it down to a standard size so that I only needed one stamp and then the AMY ran off the top, so I added the last name running off the bottom and just filled in with random words. I might add more. But, would run the risk of ruining it. I might restrain myself. But, I did have a lot of fun with that alphabet and hope some of you try it. Clearly you do not have to be too disciplined about how you draw the letters.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

To Jannie - Truck - March Ex

Super boring, but the color is so nice. I put in a fake address. I suspect I will do something much better when I actually write the real address on the paper. It's a really nice envelope. The turquoise marker is a Cocoiro.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To Janet - Truck - March Ex

Not vellum, orphan, nice paper. Black and silver markers. Minimalist. Maybe boring for the blog, but I like minimalism. Hang in here with me, I do go bonkers after a couple more boring ones. The good kind of bonkers.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

To Susan - Truck - March Ex

This one is out of order. There were more vellum envelopes with this style of writing. I did not know how well the white would work on this envelope. I only had one of them. This was an exercise in not letting myself rummage through the stacks of stamps to find the perfect stamp to go with this envelope. My new system is to just take things off the top of any given pile and in the words of one of my gurus, Tim Gunn, make it work. I would not win anything with this envelope, but I'm pretty sure I would not get told to go to the workroom and clean up my space.

Monday, May 8, 2017

To Rachael - Truck - March Ex

The C and E are on an exemplar on Pinterest. I mixed in some other styles. And the wheels are somewhat better.

The translucent envelopes are a little strange to write on. I like the somewhat geometric look of the letters with the design of the trucks. More trucks coming.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

U of Iowa Special Collection (of books)

I have been to the Special Collection part of the U of Iowa library a couple times. They have all kinds of fabulous things. I think I have posted about the collection previously. This time, I am linking to the blog because they have some animation showing flip books, etc. It's not mail, but it's pretty cool.

They have one collection of miniature books and also a very large collection of cookbooks. Also a page from a Gutenberg bible and a Babylonian clay tablet that is tiny and is a receipt for a goat.

This is the link to their website where you can surf. They do not have everything digitized.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

To Nancy - truck - March ex

There were several truck stamps left and I decided to use them up. It would have been fun to have a little tire tread mark going across the envelope - but I didn't think of that soon enough. The letters in Nancy's name are good for this style of lettering. It was blah, so I added tires. They are a little wimpy, so plan on seeing some progress with this idea on Monday.

Friday, May 5, 2017

To Alison - Jimi (March Ex)

I've done this alphabet before. I hope it is on my Pinterest board.

I colored in the letters with colored pencil.

The number of hits on my blog is now over 750,000 - unless I am not reading the number correctly. Thank you to all my loyal readers. You keep me going in more ways that one.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

To Chuck and Troy - Star Trek (March Ex)

For the March exchange, I gathered orphan envelopes and some stamps, markers and pens and was curious to see if I could do 25 in one sitting without falling off the wave.

As I have mentioned before, it always takes a few to warm up. Chuck's envelope was the one that appeared on April Fool's Day. It is too much like crochet to go with that stamp, but his name has the perfect letters for that shape.

Troy's needs more - and I will add another image if I don't forget.
I have a stack of those translucent vellum envelopes to use up.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

To Eric from the Other Phillip

I post a lot of envelopes from and to Eric and Phillip Lerche. There is another mail artist, Phillippe Charron who sent this to Eric. It was on Eric's blog. I have no idea how he made the original schmears of paint. The white outlines and lettering could be any kind of white ink or gel pen. 

I plan to steal this idea next time I am painting with my granddaughter. When she was visiting for Thanksgiving, I had her do a bunch of watercolor paintings on cards and then I dressed them up with some stars and tiny greetings. I do not recall if I posted any of them or not. I was very happy with how they turned out. It was really hard to part with them and I did not take very good pictures of them. She is only 3 so I hope we have one more year of nice abstract art from her. I guess kid art is pretty nice until about 7 or 8. It probably depends on the kid.  My own kids were not that interested in art projects so if the grand kids like art projects, Nanna will be over the moon.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mailable steak for Father's Day

If you start now, you can have this ready for Father's Day. It doesn't have to be just for Father's Day. And I would recommend making a few to have on hand. You wouldn't have to print out her image if you are comfortable with doing your own illustration.

It might be just as cute if it was made out of 3 or 4 layers of corrugated cardboard. Sometimes you can leave the details out and it still has all the impact.

the original blog where i found this link has more foody-mail

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Exchange Sign-up

blog with envelopes
That envelope is from a blog with several fun ideas. Nothing current. It looks like the blogger had a baby and that ended the blogging....

It is time to sign up for the May exchange.
I need the following information:

your email

Send it to

jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

If you are having a birthday in May, you may add that info to your email and participants have the option of sending a birthday themed envelope.
You will get a list of 4, 5, or 6 people to send to.
You might get one international address requiring $1.15 postage.
You will need to get decorated envelopes in the mail by May 31st.
That's it.
There are additional details at the top of the blog under a tab marked [exchange *RULES*]

Deadline to sign up is May 4. Lists will be sent on May 5th or 6th.
Let me know if you want to be on more than one list.
Sometimes I do not get an even number of participants, so it is nice to have some volunteers to be on two lists.

Any questions - email me.

This just in:
Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.
Josh Billings (unverified author) I found this while surfing after I had a comment from Dianne on the April 23rd post.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Feb Birthday to Carolyn - Star Trek

Carolyn is probably not interested in Star Trek. I can't remember if she has favorite colors. I can't imagine this is one of them. But, she is the originator of the term *sifting room* -the room one has where they sift (and resift) all the accumulated items from the past.

This is the Jubilesque style. You use different tools, but apply the same principles that Carol DuBosch used in her DuBosch Jubilee lettering style.

Back to sifting. I have learned that a gift may actually be a curse. I am gifted at fitting items into space. It is a curse. There is still too much stuff in my space.

Susan Branch on Inspiration

During a morning surf, I ran across Susan Branch's website. She has been around for a long time - designing all kinds of things. I clicked on her tab that said: Favorites and found that she has over 100 sites that she recommends as places to go for inspiration.

Once again, I remind people that ideas do not come out of thin air. They come from the things we look at. A few people just stare into space and get ideas. Or close their eyes and something comes to them. But most people are sponges and then their output is a mashup of things they have seen.

So go forth and collect and create.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

To Troy -Screenshot envelope

Troy sent me an envelope to tell me that he did not remember to sign up for the exchange. So, of course, I jumped on the opportunity to make an envelope rather than doing stuff on the to-do list.

But, being too lazy to go get an envelope, I figured I'd print something out and make an envelope since I can do that without getting out of my chair.

This was a screen shot of the website. You can type in any name and then it will show you that name in each font.

I'll put the address in tiny block letters in the white space.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Another one that was sent twice - from Grace

This was the outer envelope that held a piece of mail that was returned to sender. I was out of town when it arrived and my husband liked it so much he took a picture of it and texted it to me. He does enjoy seeing all the fun mail that arrives.

Below is what arrived. The original mailing along with a photocopy of the before and after. The BEFORE envelope shows that the street was 420 - 4th St
And my street is 44th
so - the PO corrected the ZIP to 50309 - which is correct for 4th Street.
But, there is no such address.

Thanks for the bonus envelope, Grace. They are both very nice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

B'day Candles (re-run)

You can never have too many birthday ideas. If I ever find another sheet of these stamps, I will allow myself to get them because two of them would cover the two-ounce rate.

This lettering was done very hastily. I think the main thing I would do if I were to do this again is to use a ruler to make the base line. The flames could be done better - but they are fine - going to someone who is not an artist with a critical eye. Not an applied artist. She has aesthetic talents in other areas.

This envelope was the most pinned envelope in February - which is when I wrote this post.

I also noticed that when you send someone a link to a pin, each pin is assigned a number.
That number has 18 digits. Of course, I needed to know what you call a number with 18 digits.

Google led me to this table:
Sets of 3 zeros Past 1,000NameNumber of Zeros
3trillion12 (1,000,000,000,000)
4quadrillion15 (1,000,000,000,000,000)
5quintillion18 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)
6sextillion21 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Teal - White Jubilesque to Rachael

It's hard to label this series. It's a little like the DuBosch Jubilee style, but that style is done with a parallel pen. It also has cross-over elements from the wrought iron style. This was done with a FC PITT brush marker and Uni-Ball white gel pen details. It looks better with the address not blocked out. Those white bars are too heavy. But, I am getting addicted to this style and keep looking for ways to do it faster...any suggestions on how to label or name these cross-pollinated styles? Hodge-podge. Melange.

Maybe Google can help out:

mixture, medley, assortment, blend, variety, mixed bag, grab bag, mix, miscellany, selection, potpourri, patchwork, bricolage, motley collection, ragbag, gallimaufry, hash, mishmash, jumble, hodgepodge

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


A while back I posted a quote that I had seen at this website. I'm not sure how I ended up at the site as it doesn't have much lettering or mail. However, I enjoyed reading about the artist. She talks about the connection between art and everything else.

I have had several discussions with some of my artists friends who are primarily scientists. They tend to  brush off the idea that they are *real* artists because they were a scientist -first. I always try to convince them that science and art are intertwined. Technically art is intertwined with just about everything. It's a catchall term that tends to be stuck in the world of pretty-yet-un-necessary-stuff. I disagree. I think art/creativity/inspiration are all things that are essentials and at the very core of our beings. And my big-helpful-brother agreed with me that there is a lot of *art* in science. And he's much better educated than I am.

So if you are drawn to making stuff, but you are sure you are not artistic - don't worry about it. It's not the content, it's the process. People are drawn to expressing themselves. If you are drawn to paper - go for it.

Here is what Joan Game had to say - along the same lines:

Bonus Post - New Envelope in No. 2 Spot on Pinterest

My effort to stop tracking the envelopes with the most pins has been going pretty well - until Sunday - when I read something about taking time for yourself - so I checked the stats. One of the kraft paper envelopes had been in second place for a really long time. But it is now down to 4th and this one has ZOOOOOMED to second place. It is such a new one. I wonder if it will hit first place.

That really pretty red one from Christy Robb is in 3rd place. It completely deserves to be there...even though I will be a bit jealous if one of my own envelopes does not end up being the all time winner.

Here is a link to it...
christy robb's red one

And Nancy Hills will forever be the all-time-winner - because it was her lettering that was the inspiration for both Christy and me....the filled in patterns. I need to check with Nancy and see if she gives anyone credit for that particular treatment.

i was looking at the stats for the past month
not the all time stats

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lady Bird Bird - Feb exchange outgoing

Desk/stack/stamp clearing. Lady Bird had been hanging out for quite a while. So had that bird. I remembered the series that Smash-Finn-Jean had going for a while with birds on heads and figured this was a good way to clean house.

I am quite fond of that bird - but I know it was straight off Pinterest - so I won't be using it again....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wrought iron variation - to Cher, Cheryl & Lynne

In the middle of doing the Feb exchange envelopes, I was finishing up the project of pinning the 3,000 envelopes on boards. This was one of the styles I ran across that I had forgotten about. Nobody seemed to like it when I was doing it before so I hope I don't get too hooked on it.

I like the double tulips stamps on the top one where they are not side by side - on Cher's - better than the way they are below - on Cheryl's. I just didn't think of doing it that way soon enough.

I spelled Lynne's last name wrong, but just corrected it with an arrow.

NOTE to anyone who is interested in my secret for folding those little books that I mentioned in the Friday post. I put a description of the process in the comment section.  I should probably go back to the link and click around on directions to see if there are any videos - but - I have a terrifying number of deadlines hanging over my head. So terrifying, I managed to get all my blog posts scheduled through July...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Best Lessons - No. 1

Starting today, there is a new label called BEST LESSONS. There have been other posts with links to articles from The Painter's Keys. This one is about a technique that has been around for a long time, but, it was new to me on Sept. 24, 2016 when I was filling up the calendar with posts for those of you who check daily. If time permits, or if I run out of ideas, I shall return to this post and go to the link and do some illustrations to show how they work. In general, they are the strategies I use all the time, without thinking. I'm not sure where I learned them, but they sure work for me.

Today is a re-run Saturday. I will now go play my game on Pinterest where I pick a random envelope, and see how long it takes for it to link to something off my blog.

Well, not surprising - one from that kraft paper series....
I wonder if I will ever post anything that stirs up more pinning than that series?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Here is another website with some freebies. I have made a ton of these little books and include the technique in pretty much every class I ever teach. She is calling it a mini-zine. Zine is the new word for little paper thing with some pages that needed a name.

For anyone who likes to letter, I recommend just doing your own headings on the pages.

I do have a really valuable tip for how to fold it and make it very precise - but I will have to make an appointment with my cinematographer to make a video....

I have also used this little format to make invitations and greeting cards.

The instructions for how to fold it are here:
how to fold mini-zine

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Outgoing Feb exchange - multi stamps

A grouping of random stamps and scroll tip marker names.

I have quite a few more of the stamps that are on Kathie's envelope...I wonder if I will think of anything more interesting to do with them...