Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Birthday Club - another opportunity to exchange

Yes, those are Christmas presents. Just use a different stamp and make them other colors and they will be birthday presents.

One of the regular exchangers asked about exchanging birthday cards. This was exactly one day after I was thinking about adding a birthday feature to the exchanges.

So, I am going to offer two opportunities for observing birthdays.

The first way is to sign up for the OPTIONAL birthday list. Send me your name and address along with the month and day of your birthday and I will email a list to people who are interested in exchanging birthday cards. It will be an honor system. I will not follow up to see if people are actually doing it. If you feel like you do not get as many as you send, just ask to be removed from the list. You have to be a recognized person from past exchanges for me to put you on the list. If you are new to exchanging you have to sign up for a regular exchange and show that you can meet a deadline before I put you on the birthday list. Not that anyone would sign up to get birthday mail with no intention of sending any. I know none of you would do that - but - I am the empress of envelopes and I get to set the rules.

The second way to get birthday mail will be to tell me the month and date of your birthday and I will add it to the regular exchange lists that go out. If you want to mention that you will be hitting a BIG ONE, you may do so. For example, I am hitting 65 on April 11, so, I might put that on the April exchange list and anyone who wants to add candles and Medicare to my exchange envelope may do so.

Again, it will be optional to turn your exchange envelopes into birthday greetings on the regular exchanges. In general, everyone gets all their mailings done on time. So, I do not want to complicate the process - just add a simple option.

If anyone has any additional  suggestions, let me know.

Otherwise, to be on the BIRTHDAY CLUB LIST - which is a new way to exchange - send me:

In the subject line of the email, please put:
In the body of the email, please put:
Birthday - Month/Date (add the Year, only if you care to)

I will send out the list by the end of the month and update it as necessary.

If you just want to add your birthday to the regular exchanges
DO NOT send that info now - just wait for the regular sign-ups.
I will have a reminder when the February exchange sign-up rolls around.

Oct Exchange - 2nd Layer - Faye & CarolC

Not much to say about these. They were pretty quick and easy and the colors were nice, so I thought I should quit while I was ahead. When I do 23 envelopes in one sitting, it is really easy to over-do the experimenting.

I guess there is one more thing to talk about. The two yesterday were just straight lettering with the white PITT marker. On this one, I added some outlining with a gel pen.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Oct Exchange - 2nd layer - Anne & Rachael

After the first layer with the white FC PITT marker I added colored pencil. There are various ways to choose which spaces you color in. Because some letters take up space, but others do not, you have to think about where you are going to fill in spaces.

Or, you can just fill in all the spaces as I did on the bottom one. It really depends on the letters involved and how compulsive you are about having a system.

I normally do not like the M when the two center strokes are short - but in this case, it works well to use up less space and that M complements the way the R-A-H-E are all high-waisted. On Anne's you can see how the crossbars are low waisted. I tend to be consistent, but it is fine to mix it up.

The dots between first and last name could tie in with the stamp. On the top one, the oval shape could be used instead of just a dot.

The addresses will be tiny white gel pen right under the names.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Dream Car - well, at least the idea is dreamy

The best part is that the artist has photos and tells how he approached the project. I guess I would do something more subtle. But, it is lovely.


Guest artist:
Viktor Pushkarev

Maybe I would like a faux-mail truck. The PO would not allow it to be too close to an actual postal vehicle. Way back in the 70's, I knew a hippie couple who bought a used mail van to turn into a camper. The PO required them to paint it in such a way that it was clearly not a mail truck. So they painted the red stripe - yellow - which was a fairly minor change. It was obviously an old mail truck. They removed all the postal wording - and off they went - camping and touring the country. When they got home, they said it was pretty funny in camp grounds when other campers would come knocking on their door with postcards to mail. There was enough of the original look that some people assumed it was still a USPS vehicle.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Re-run - Change holiday

I wonder if I can take this concept and morph it into a different holiday?

That odd border was to disguise the fact that I had not penciled in a base line. I still like the idea of drawing an envelope on top of an envelope.

And...I wish I could get more of those stamps.

Friday, January 13, 2017

October Exchange Envelopes from Jean - First Layer

 For the October exchange, I decided to choose one design and apply it to all the envelopes. Using a stack of colored envelopes and the Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen, which is a marker - and Post-It tape to mask off the bottom and give me a guide line on the top, I started writing names in my go-to-caps. Sadly, I did not take my own good advice to write each name once to figure out my spacing. I just winged it. You may call me Icarus. Although, Cathy had just sent me a very cool list of how to approach life/art and it's OK to just wing it and give yourself some drama to resolve. These are pictured in the exact order in which they were done. I only did three before I lost interest in caps and went to script. Then I reigned myself in and went back to caps.

Later on I had a couple more lapses into scripts. And halfway through, I got out colored pencils to see what I was going to do with the base lettering. I just chose random colors. I knew I was going to box myself in, so I figured I better dig out some stamps. The page of stamps - Wonders of America - Land of Superlatives was going to be perfect. After I chose stamps for the ones that were already lettered and the few that had colored pencil, I chose colors and styles of lettering that would go with the stamps. As usual, I think I do better when I know what stamp I am going to use from the very beginning. Over the next few days, I will show how these envelopes turned out - and if time permits, I will shoot a video about how to do this kind of lettering.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Final Details on Pitt Marker Dots

After trying both white and black for addresses, the white seems better. The bottom one has the addition of black shadow, which is nice. The top one was the last one, where I was getting looser. Fun.

The right stamps would make or break these envelopes. They are just demos with fake addresses, so I do not need to stress over the stamps. I'm actually writing these posts at the end of September when I am also having conversations with more than one reader about how to do really loose, wonky lettering and still make them fun. I hope they illustrate that you do not have to be a serious lettering artist to make very nice envelopes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Even More Pitt Markers - to Mimi

Another example of the Pitt markers. Love the dots. Don't really have to say more than that. The three envelopes show the progression from really inept lettering, to outlines, to dots.

Her address will probably be in white on the pink lines. It might be a little hard to read. But, I think white will look better than black. If I have time, I could do white and put in a black drop shadow with a very tiny line.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Pitt Markers - to Sara Rodgers

Another set to show how really dull and boring and inept you can be with the first layer and then how much more fun it is with a black outline. I just barely started the white detail. There will probably be a lot more of it.

Sara does not have an H in her name, so I will have to find stamps that fit to cover up the error. We'll have to see if there is a lot of improvement due to the happy accident of my bad spelling. I guess in this case it is bad memory more than bad spelling.

If I were the empress of the universe, I would command that there is only one spelling option for each name. Or, better yet - rid the universe of spelling consistency. Why exactly do we need it? I guess we need accuracy in our names for identity reasons. I'll never forget the time I called the lab to get the results of a pregnancy test, back in the days when it was not DIY. The nurse gave me some random info about my kidney. I explained that I was not being tested for kidney issues. She said, "Oooops. There are two Jean Wilsons with results today. The other one is 57. I guess she doesn't want to find out that she is pregnant. Congratulations.. You are pregnant." Best surprise ever. Well, I guess it didn't strike me as best-news-ever on that day...as I was 35 and thinking that the boy and the girl were a perfect number and variety of kidlets...but 29 years later, his two older siblings agree that he's clearly the primo offspring. When asked if I have children, I always say, "Yup. A girl, a boy, and a surprise."


Monday, January 9, 2017

F-C Pitt Big Brush Markers - to Miss Cathy

Last week there was a bit of a hot mess to Candy using the Faber Castell Pitt Big Brush markers. After I added the white dots, I thought I should do some more white dotty stuff. The first two (below) were awful. Although, they might be save-able. If I save them, i will repost them.

The top two green envelopes were slightly better. Then, when I went rogue, I was pleased. I think I am down to my last Ray Charles stamp. Might have to get some more

Sunday, January 8, 2017

@Jimbo Bernaus - Guest Artist

I saw this on Pinterest and knew it had to be blogged. I'm trusting the pinner that Jimbo is the artist. The pin led me to a place called Type Gang with tons and tons of lettering. It is on IG and I have not had time to figure out how IG works.

I usually don't nit-pick at guest artist's work - but I am not a fan of the H-E in THE on the top line. I would have done a little more of a  mirror-image of the flourish in the B off the top of the E.


I surfed a little more and found jimbo
and if you scroll down you can see three different pencil roughs of the same quote.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

ABC list of holidays

Can anyone fill in the blanks?
Or suggest better ones.
I've always wanted an ABC list of holidays.

Does anyone else remember these?

April Fool's Day
Cinco de Mayo
Day of the Dead
Fourth of July
Grandparent's Day
Ides of March
Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday
Labor Day
Memorial Day
New Year's Day (see below - might need something else for N)
Ostara - Spring Equinox
St. Patrick's Day
Rosh Hashanah
Summer Solstice
Veteran's Day
Winter Solstice
New Years Day (see above - might need something else for Y)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Svalbard Mailbox

My son was on a ski trip in Svalbard and came across the world's largest mailbox. A while back he sent me a postcard from Antarctica. The link to the article explains that this is just for fun, even though it is right next to the actual post office. It would have been fun to get real mail from Svalbard. If I had done a good job of parenting him, he would have sent mail from all seven continents. I suppose I could talk him into returning to all of the continents with the condition that he send mail.

Svalbard is the unincorporated island where the Global Seed Vault is located.


Here is an article about the mailbox.


Since this is an off topic day, I will add ancient photos of the Jean who does not need to find adventures on other continents. All I need is a local workshop with the illustrious Peter Thornton, the guy in the black shirt. This was my very first calligraphy workshop - at least 20 years ago. I had only taken one italic class and one pointed brush class. Peter launched my career. In the top photo, I am sitting next to Barbara Bruene. During lunch, someone asked me if I was intimidated sitting next to Barbara. I was such a beginner, I did not even know who she was. She taught calligraphy at Iowa State University and is very well known in calligraphic circles. That she was attending a class with Peter illustrates that no matter how far along you are on the learning curve, it is still worthwhile to attend a workshop with someone you admire.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Filler - Guest Artist - John Stevens

Filling up some random blank slots with guest artists because I'm so organizationally challenged and just discovered them. John Stevens is usually ranked as an icon or whatever the designation is that is above rock star. Maybe national treasure. His work is s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r. While this just looks like a scribble, if you have never seen his portfolio on Behance, take some time to surf around. I think you'll be wowed.

It warms my little heart to see some fun scribbling from the likes of John Stevens. (Picture Jean in her best Wayne and Garth *We-are-not-worthy* posture.)


Or here is his website:


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Galaxy+Pitt to Candy

The white Faber Castell Pitt brush markers are so cool - as are the others. I have about 30 of the 60 colors and was experimenting with something bold, that would look nice with a layer of white. The black outlines were too heavy. It would have been better to show a progression - so I will do some more experiments with these markers. I used a Galaxy marker for the outline which is more of a paint marker. They are more opaque. But, I do not know where to get them. They aren't the best in terms of durability. Some of the nibs fall off. Many places stopped carrying them. I'll try to do something that does not rely on black - or find a better opaque black marker.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Exchangers Phillip and Faye

The top one is from Phillip and so is the top one on the stacked set. These three seemed to go together. The third envelope is from Faye.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Exchanger Grace and a "no-name"

I think this was the first time Grace exchanged. She either has a lot of patience or a Xyron machine as there is a lot of cutting and adhering on her envelope.

The envelope peeking out from behind is from someone who did not want the envelope on the blog - but the colors are soooo pretty and these two went together sooooo well.

So, forgive me for letting it peek through.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Limner's Pole Vault

 Happy New Year. Nope, I did not turn over a new leaf. We are continuing a random hodge podge of mail that piled up on my desk. It's hard to tell if I will ever get to an orderly routine. It probably doesn't matter.

This is from Limner who had a hay-day during the olympics. One of the things I like about this envelope is how the stamp subject matter does not relate, but the colors and the cartoonishness of it goes well with her design.

The way it reads both ways is super fun.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

If you missed the January Exchange Sign-up

The exchange sign ups are usually at the first of the month. Since I am out of town, I had the sign up last week. If you missed it, I am sorry. February will be here shortly. If you want to exchange with me, just send me an envelope.

I watch the stats on how many hits there are on my blog. For a long time, it hovered around 10,000 to almost 15,000 hits per month, but never over 15,000. Then, on Dec 23rd (which is the day I am actually writing this) I checked the stats and saw that the blog views had hit 30,000 for the month. That's very exciting. Or maybe it is a mistake.

Re-run Saturday - John Neal's Ornament

Such a trip down memory lane. It seems crazy that I first had these markers in 2011. John stocked them for a while and I loved them. But they were not reliable so he no longer stocks them. I still have some that are working. Sometimes I think about choosing a brand in my collection and just using all of them until they are used up. Then I change my mind.

The style of writing is very beginner friendly. It is a bit like ribbon writing - but has elements of a style I call Two-Wrongs-Do-Make-A-Right. Both lines are a little off, but when stacked, they seem fine.
I guess you need to also leave a bit of space between each letter.

So - this is it. The official end of 2016. As I write this on Sept 9th, it is like leaving a time capsule for me to open. I'll remember this day when I read this post. It was the day I tried to get Kristin's wedding program launched. And the day I booked a marathon babysitting trip. Have I recovered?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Disorganized as ever

Yesterday I thought I had the last two. Then I noticed these two. Maybe I will be uber organized in 2017.

The top envelope is from Lucy. The bottom envelope to Wilma really confused her. It is from me, I was sending her something and I put the same address on the return flap. She only lived three blocks away from me. It was pretty funny when she described the envelope appearing - and looking at the front and back and told me that she was very confused.

I just noticed that on the top one, there are only two loops at the end of bustell - doesn't matter...just interesting to note how long it takes to spot some of the details.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last two combo

I guess these two do not have much in common, but I needed to finish up the 2015 holiday mail - so there you have it. 2015 is a wrap and we stagger forward or maybe some of us stride. Sure hope nobody is crawling or slithering.

2016 is a wrap, too. Now I have to decide whether to post the 2016 holiday mail in April or hold it until later in the year.

Carol on the top and Julia below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

From Lilli

Lilli had a lot of patience with this one. Her little dots are just perfect. Love the way she designed the stamp in the middle

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

From Kate (Last chance to sign up for exchange)

Another one from Kate who often times includes a zentangle design. Nice layout - I intend to find a different stamp and different texture to do a variation on this theme.

I'm guessing it is more effective with names that have only 4 or 5 letters - eh, Rehj?

But you could always stack a longer name:




There are 3 spots left in the January exchange - if anyone wants to sign up today.
I will send out the list tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2016

From Lucy

Another exuberant envelope that I intend to copy in a general way. I would not have thought of layering the address. Love it.
Thanks, Lucy from Canada.

Don't miss the rubber stamp from the PO that says:

The other day I ran across the website where US postal workers can order their uniforms and rubber stamps. Fun site - but you'll have to Google it if you are interested in seeing more.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bonus post - Cinnamon rolls

inside caption: I want buns of cinnamon.
I did a search for cinnamon roll envelope and did not find any envelopes, but thought this was a fun image. It's a card for sale on Zazzle. They have many very cute cinnamon roll images. I needed a visual to go with my cinnamon roll story that I have been composing while the rolls rise and then take to the oven.

The first annual Christmas story.

OK, Alyse says she enjoyed my circa 1996 Christmas eve story. Here’s how things are going two decades later. The younger of the two hockey players is going to be 29 in February. He has a degree in communications, not broadcasting/journalism, but actual clarity in communication between people. He agrees to show up and help me with the Christmas eve meal. When he was little, the Christmas eve gathering was at the paternal grandparents so all we had to do was get dressed and get out the door. Between 10 and 15 years ago, the grandparents had aged to the point that our family started hosting the Christmas eve dinner. 

I am a benevolent dictator in the kitchen. All my kids knew how to either follow directions to the letter or hide in their rooms. I don’t care if you want to help, but if you are in the kitchen, don’t even think about free lancing. Guess who - after 37 years hasn’t wrapped his head around THE ONE RULE of the kitchen? You got it, the guy who wins the Big Brain Award every year because he is truly smart and does a lot to keep all 5 wheels going on the Wilson Family Vehicle. The dad, the husband, the grandpa.

Keep in mind, 10 years ago, there were usually 11 people for dinner. This year we are down to four people: Jean, the husband, the 28-year old male offspring, and the 90-year old mom of the husband. Grandma will be able to join the crowd for Christmas brunch, but going out on Christmas eve would have been too much. So we pack up a nice surf and turf dinner and take it to her. We get home and the three of us are standing in the kitchen discussing the schedule for the morning. Jean needs to bake cinnamon rolls for 17 people to take to the family brunch at her sister-in-law’s house. Everyone knows to stay out of Jean’s way at the cinnamon roll portion of the holiday as dough is very time sensitive. And the year that she forgot to sprinkle the cinnamon on the dough before rolling, because nobody can ever locate a belt and think they can just waltz into the kitchen and ask me if I know where their belt is. Yes I know where it is. It is plain sight in your room and even though I warn them that if I leave my post and walk into their room and if the belt is in plain sight they will not want to be in the same room with me and of course we walk into the room and of course it is plain sight and of course Jean points to it and  Jean’s dagger-eyes flash a warning at the kid but she has to get back to the cinnamon rolls so they know they are getting off easy -a-g-a-i-n- but then when she gets back to the kitchen she forgets to sprinkle the cinnamon on the rolls and OK a decade has passed and Jean never holds grudges and she was pretty sure she could let this one go but every dang year when she gets to rolling of the rolls she has PTSD about the year that she forgot the cinnamon and I swear if one of you ever sends me a winning lottery ticket because you feel so sorry for me I will get some professional help….but I digress.

Back to Christmas eve 2016:
Jean is inserting the detergent tab in a loaded dishwasher to run it in the evening so it is empty in the morning. Mr. Wilson, who has just consumed a kick-butt surf and turf dinner that took all day to prepare and took exactly 22 minutes to consume - that Mr. Wilson - forgetting THE ONE RULE, starts rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher. 
Jean asks, “What are you doing?” 
Mr. Wilson: “Making room for more dishes.” 
There are no more dishes. They are all in the dishwasher. and Jean is clearly inserting the detergent tab which means she is ready to turn it on.
Jean states clearly, “ I have to run it now because I need it empty in the morning.” 
Well, I there must have been a tinge of something uppity in my voice, because Mr. Wilson decided to make some kind of obviously-attempting-humor remark - and included the label passive-aggressive. 
Hunter, the communications expert, sees the blood boiling behind Jean’s eyeballs and quickly defuses the whole situation with this remark, “Dad, I don’t think that was passive, I think that was just pure aggression.”

And a good laugh was had by all. 

So, the cinnamon rolls are in the oven. I don’t know how much iPhones cost, but they are worth every penny. All you have to do is ask the phone -by speaking- to alert you in 5 minutes or 10 minutes or whenever you want your next alert. Sadly, my memory is full or I would take a picture of the cinnamon rolls. 

Mr. Wilson has scurried through the kitchen a couple times. Clearly, he just needs a little refresher course every now and again. But it is only 10 am, so we aren’t going to hold our breath.

May everyone be enjoying this day as much as they enjoy every other day. Feel free to vent or share in the comment section. I know we all have warm and fuzzy memories as well as blazing inferno memories. Hopefully they all end up being funny s-o-m-e-d-a-y.

Today's regular post is right below.

Guest *Artist* - Edward Johnston - Sunday off-topic

I do not recall if I have ever posted this place as a resource for endless ideas.

Here it is Sept 9 - 8:30 in the morning and I have filled up every single Sunday for the year. I think I have all the Saturdays filled, too. All I have left are 6 weeks of Monday through Friday (30 days) and I'm done for the year.

Yippee. Speed-blogging. So tell me, does the quality suffer when I speed blog?

This book happens to be Writing & Illumination & Lettering, by Edward Johnston. One of the uber-basic books for scribes - unless you have something against Ed. I don't get into the history or politics of lettering. No time. Just thought it would be fun to have Ed as a guest artist. I doubt any of the purist or traditionalist calligraphers ever see my blog. All y'all are welcome to follow me like the pack of wild wolves we all long to be. Oh, you don't? OK, go swim with the fishes or soar with the chipmunks. Excuse my wackiness. I'm celebrating the filling of the slots.

When you get to this random page - flip through the book for endless ideas. I'm pretty sure it is all public domain material.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Favorite Xmas Eve Story - Sat/Sun off-topic

This is a bonus post. Regular post is right below.

Many years ago, my boys were hockey players and the fund raising opportunity for the team was a gift wrapping booth at the nicest mall in town. I happily signed up to work some shifts and I thought to myself, I bet the customers at that last shift on the 24th are a hoot, so I signed up for that shift. I had an ulterior motive for being away from my house on Dec 24th which I will explain at the end.

Sure enough, the people who arrived at the gift wrapping booth on the 24th were frantic, frazzled, and fun. Fun, in a *thank-heaven-that's-not-me* way. The most fun was watching them sigh with relief as you assured them you could get the wrapping done very quickly. Around 1 pm a man brought a large number of gifts and was eager to drop them off and pick them up later. I mentioned that unless all the gifts were going to one person he should probably fill out gift tags for us to put on the gifts, as once they were wrapped, he might have trouble remembering what was in them. He appreciated the tip and quickly made out tags and scurried off. I said to a co-worker, "He's headed to a bar to drink and he will forget to come back before we close up shop."

I could write another post about the number of times my intuition is spot on. Sure enough, we were 15 minutes from closing and his huge stack was the last order waiting to be picked up. We couldn't remember if we had even mentioned the closing time and were pondering what to do with the stack of gifts. Maybe there would be a helpful security person at the mall after closing. Fortunately, at the very last minute, he came racing in, not inebriated, but certainly very cheerful and *spirited.* Whew - and we all headed home to proceed with our own Xmas eve plans.

Why did I want to be gone on the afternoon of Dec 24th? Because it was always my job to shuttle the 4 other family members through the one shower and coax the boys into torturous *dress-up clothes* which pretty much deleted any enjoyment there might be to the holidays. Dress up clothes for boys did not mean suits and ties. It meant shirts with collars, like polo shirts, instead of t-shirts. Approaching the boys with polo shirts was like coming at them with medieval shackles or a noose. And I don't even want to discuss pants and shoes. So, I wanted my husband to experience the task. In previous years, he had chosen to shower last which meant he was avoiding the battle royale that went on after the other two were through the shower. I do not recall what I found when I got home. There is no family story about the time we had to go to the emergency room for stitches before we went to Grandma's for Xmas Eve, so they must have been ready to go.

Now that my kids are adults, I should ask them if they recall the ordeal of getting dressed on Xmas eve. Hopefully all y'all are having things just the way you like them during the entire holiday season. I am writing this on Nov 13th, so a lot can change in 6 weeks. I don't always get around to editing and updating posts before they pop up.

The image is the first thing that popped up when I did a search for gift wrap on Pinterest.

I would love to have my own booth at the mall - and offer just black or white wrapping paper. Of course the hand lettered gift tags would be the stars of the show.

Happy Holiday - 2010 Candy Cane Neuland - Saturday re-run


If you check this post from December of 2010, you will see I was just as rushed and disorganized as I am this year. My plan is to forget about trying to reform and just meander through the chaos with whatever art materials are at hand and focus on sending out some actual snail mail as well as ideas for anyone who feels like making some mail. Happy Holidays.

If you have never seen Neuland, there is a ton of it in the November and December posts of 2010. It is one of my favorite styles.

Rehj: Neuland is a really good style to use with your chisel markers.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sign up for January Exchange

Found on Pinterest. Was for sale from Papyrus but appears to be out of stock.
Today's regular post is below this one.

It's time to sign up for the January Exchange. Send me your info by Monday the 26th. I will send lists by Thursday the 29th. Get your envelopes done and mailed by Jan 31st.

Beginners are welcome. Any medium. Digital is welcome. Read more details by clicking the tab at the top, marked *rules.*

Lists will be 5, 6, or 7 names. You might get one name that goes out of the USA requiring a $1.15 in postage.

Send me this info - and please type it in these 5 lines (or add a line where appropriate if you have extra info):
Your email

Send to me at
jmwilson411 -at- yahoo -dot- com
I will respond that your email has arrived.
If you do not hear from me within 24 hours, resend your info.

Any questions - just ask.

Yet another hot mess for Miss Cathy

I have some kind of mental block with Cathy's envelopes. I keep making hot messes and then I owe her a make-up and then I make another hot mess. I wonder if there are any therapists who could analyze and get to the bottom of this. It's stressing me.

The only think I like about this is where I put her last name.

Above written many weeks ago.
Below written yesterday.

Rehj left this comment back on the Dec 19th post. We have a conversation going in the comment section - but I am going to bump it to the daily post because it might help others.

Rehj says: Thank you for the suggestions! My first two letters or so turn out great, then things go downhill from there - I think it is lack of planning on my part or something. I'm so used to slapping it on the computer screen then rearranging and fitting it just right - till it all seems so backwards to me to have to pre-plan! LOL

My suggestion was to turn the paper in different directions which is helpful. I didn't say anything about planning, and I'm glad Rehj already knew that was part of the problem. One of the most frequent questions asked of calligraphers is how we can write out whole pages of text or a poem or just a few lines and not make mistakes. The answer is very easy. Pencil. All you have to do is pencil in the words and then rewrite what is already written. Or, even easier is working on a light table and tracing over a perfectly proofed version of the artwork.

So, yes, Rehj, find yourself a pencil and do a rough sketch of the basic skeleton of what you want to write. Somewhere in the 3,000 posts I think I have a demo on how to fit long names on envelopes. I'll either find it or do it again. But I assure you that when I want something to turn out, I pencil it first. Some names that I have written numerous times are easy and I can just wing it. I often think I can do Phillip or Finnbadger - without penciling. Nope. Those are two names that I always need to pencil.
I guess if it is a very flush left based design and I don't care how much space is on the right, I would not pencil. But to get names of that length balanced on the envelope - it takes some planning.

If you look at the hot-mess-Cathy, I think you can see that the T is too wide on the right and the Y is too narrow. The lack of planning has contributed to the hotness of the mess. And the gold gel pen was acting up, so I had to add dots and for some reason they bother me.

If you have a name with 5 letters, it is fun to write the middle one in the middle and then add the other 2 on each end. I - M and W require some adjusting in spacing. The rest of the letters can be fairly equal in size - if you are doing fun, fast lettering.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Susan K's Trees

Susan does really beautiful holiday cards every year. They usually involve lettering and cutting and the envelopes are nicely lettered, too.

I like the multi colored ornaments on the trees. They came in a business sized envelope. Very pretty proportions.

Dec 22 additional comments:
So yesterday, I found a stack of envelopes that looked rather holiday. One was addressed to Susan - so I figured these would have been the envelopes I intended to mail at the very first of Dec, and then couldn't remember if I sent, so I must not have sent any early cards.

Then, yesterday afternoon, the 2016 card and envelope arrived from Susan - and she included a note - referencing the mail I had sent her this year. SO, I must have sent some early mail. But, I have no idea what it looked like - or who all was in that stack.

I'm not going to let it bother me. If I slowly lose my marbles and the result is that people get extra mail from me - that's probably not a bad way to go. My very first job, after babysitting, was working for a fashion illustrator who taught me how to fill in the plaids and patterns on clothing for newspaper ads. She had an elderly aunt who would call from time to time and talk non-stop. Sometimes, the lady I was working for had to leave the room to tend to other things and she would hand me the phone. I would rest it on my shoulder and continue working while saying, "Um-hum," as the elderly lady jabbered on. I do not recall anything she talked about and she never noticed any differences in the *um-hums*. My employer would come back, retrieve the phone, and continue to listen as long as necessary. I'm guessing random mail would be preferable to listening to me when I get on one of my rants, eh?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Exchangers Nancy and Carol - ice cream cones

From the August exchange. Remember summer?

Two excellent ideas to go with the stamps. I wonder if they are still available....

...as I have mentioned before, I watch which of my own work pops up on Pinterest and check the number of times it has been pinned. This one is at 7.5 (which I think is 7.5 thousand) so it might be the current leader. I did it very quickly last year when someone on Flourish Forum posted something similar, but wondered if his design could be improved. I could see a couple ways to tweak it, so did a quick pencil sketch and posted it. I know there are other similar designs out there. I'm just posting this so I can find in case I ever see one of my pieces that tops 7.5 on Pinterest.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Des Moines' Holiday Mailbox (2nd bonus post)

There has been conversation on the post about me dressing up like Mrs Santa - just below. I mentioned the cute little mail box that they put out at our main post office. I have not been down there this year. I need to see if it is there - and if it is, take a better photo so we can see what the sign says.

It would be fun to sit there and write letters with kids, although there probably aren't that many kids at the main post office. I probably need to do it at a mall. And probably right outside the Hallmark store. And I would have to get permission. Luckily it is too late to do anything this year.

Maybe a Mrs. Cupid outfit for valentine's day. I always love to be at a grocery store during lunch time on Valentine's day. There are always tons of guys standing there picking out the obligatory card. I've often thought I should do some fancy names on their envelopes because ladies love to see their names written fancy.

I just Googled *Mrs Cupid* and was worried that they would be too cheesecake for me. A LOT of the Mrs. Claus outfits are very cheesecake. Surprisingly - this was the first one that popped up and they were mostly very tame.

Image result for Mrs CupidI can't wear heels. I don't think anyone would even know what I was. I'd probably get arrested for having a weapon.

Bonus post

Be sure to scroll down to the regular post today.

My husband plays santa once a year for a private party. I always enjoy dressing him up in the borrowed santa suit and keep thinking I should get him his own suit. Then I remembered that one of my readers said she had a Mrs. Santa outfit and I thought - gee, I'd be a great Mrs. Santa with my whitish hair. So I did a search for Mrs Santas. A lot of them were not anything I would want to look like, but I thought this one was fun. I do not know who those people are, but my hair is whiter and could be styled that way.

Now I just have to figure out a way to tie it into the whole envelope thing. I wonder if kids would even understand the concept of sending an actual letter to Santa. I wonder how many little kids have never received a piece of mail.

Yesterday was a great mail day here. I am so tempted to post everything right now, but will proceed with the method that works best for me - scheduling posts that will appear in 2017.

Hey, Limner:
As I dropped an envelope in the mail yesterday, I noticed that I had not erased the pencil guide lines. Maybe you can erase them for me. My outgoing mail had been on my desk for about 4 days and I just couldn't let myself bring it home. Of course, now I realize that I forgot to record that envelope to you.

Limner and Smash-girl filling space

Limner (top) and Smash-girl (bottom) are both talented artists. While Limner was not in the exchange, the envelope ended up in the stack of exchange envelopes and I like to pair incoming mail - so these two seemed to go together. Both are good examples of filling up the space.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rehj and Sara Rodgers

I grouped these two for color. The top one is from exchanger Rehj, who busted out of her digital world into hand lettering. I hope she had fun. Looks like lots of fun to me.

The bottom one is from my pen pal Sara Rodgers - who is a pre-adult....the envelope arrived inside one with a stamp and I think she meant to put one of the ice cream or soda fountain stamps on it. So cute.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mid-afternoon rant

This is a mixed rant. I actually feel like I am at a tipping point with some of this organizational stuff. The tips and moral support some of you left on my last rant have been really helpful.

I just downloaded or uploaded (aaarrrgghhh - which is which) the photos and videos from my last trip. But now I can't figure out where they are. They sure aren't in the download file. And there is no upload file. End of rant.

Whilst searching for the up-down-load of stuff, I ran across this - and -dang- I can't see the artist's name to give proper credit. But it reminds me of how I approach my holiday mailings.....

An alert reader who knows I am always recommending *stealing* ideas - the same way Austin Kleon recommends stealing like an artist - noticed that there is an artist's manifesto on Brain Pickings today that states very clearly that one should never steal. The alert reader asked me to clarify.

I agree with everybody and nobody. You should do the same. If you get three artists together, you will have 5 or 6 opinions. Most of them can see things both ways. Don't blindly follow me. My opinions are simply things that work for me. Except when they don't. Of course I have a couple groupies who claim they followed my suggestions and are currently experiencing all kinds of good things. But, it would be silly to think that it was my suggestion that made a difference. It could have been a coincidence.

The artist who wrote the manifesto had a rough (to put it very mildly) upbringing. Art saved her. But, she's understandably a little edgier than some of the rest of us. Her perspective works for her - and if her perspective resonates with you - by all means, embrace it.

OK, back to my tilting with the computers.

Guest Artist - Celia Lister

Celia has been featured on the blog previously, but she deserves to be on multiple times. Very inspirational ways of using the basic shapes of letters to break up the page and then add some details. This looks very envelopish to me.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday Re-Run - Christy's House - Adoption Stamp

This was an all-time favorite stamp. Great colors and wonderful details to pull out. I should look at the current crop of stamps, find the one with the most details and colors and see if I can re-use this idea.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mid-morning Rant

These stamps are gloomy. Luckily I did not buy any. They seemed OK when I first saw the image online, but they are dull and lifeless on the envelopes I have been receiving.
This isn't the rant. I just wanted to have an image on the post - and this is the second post of the day. Scroll down to see the calm post.

I need to rant at myself because I think I sent some holiday cards before I left town on Dec 6th. But, now I can't remember if I actually did, or was just thinking about it. Has anyone received a holiday mailing from me? If you are in the exchange and received an envelope - that is not a holiday mailing.

If anyone can think of a system for me to remember what I have mailed, I am open for suggestions. In general, I have made huge progress in getting 37 years of chaos organized. I suppose I should just start over with the holiday mailings. I can't imagine anyone will think, "Oh, dang. Another piece of hand addressed mail. Why don't I get more junk mail?" It would also make up for 2015. I don't think I sent much last year.

Thank you for letting me rant. Feel free to add your own personal rant in the comment section.