Tuesday, July 14, 2020

From RIta to Ellen



Where are you?
This is cool.
You only exchanged once.
Just curious.
When I mentioned one-timers to someone who has been an every-timer for several years, she responded:
"What else do people have to do these days?"
I wonder, too.
Maybe Rita will leave a comment.

Note to self:
Check that spam folder --
to make sure there are no comments waiting for the OK.

Monday, July 13, 2020

From Trish to Ellen


This is fun.
I like how she combined the stamp with two other elements.
Ellen is a *pen-person* although not a calligrapher.
She could be if she had time.
There are so many thing that mommies do not have time for.
It is wildly exciting for me to have all kinds of time to learn all the computer stuff that I wished I had been able to learn earlier. We got our first computer when the third kid was still in diapers. A kid in diapers can (and did) learn how to turn on the computer and play the simple kid-friendly video games that were available in the early 90s. My grandkids are better at figuring things out than I am.
But, I am better at finding really old movies.
Like Swiss Family Robinson and Pollyanna.
And my favorite -- Matilda.
It was one of my fondest wishes - that I get to watch Matilda with my granddaughter for her first time.
Now I am excited to watch all the other Roald Dahl movies.

I apologize if I have already yakked about this.
Or if I have yakked about it on a post that will be popping up in Aug or Sept.

Starting in 2021
there will be no more jumping around.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Testing - bonus post

This lettering caught my eye on Friday morning.
I gives me a good opportunity to practice making new posts on the laptop.
It's not that I like it that much - but it would be something I could do while in this zone of helping with the kids and not having my studio.
I've been reading articles on the pros and cons of sending kids back to school in the fall and I offered to just move in with the grandkids and be a *home-schooler.*
I am so glad that I do not have school aged kids any more.
This would be one heck of a decision.

And then I thought of the option to turn my mom-dad-flop-house into a one room school for all the kids on the block whose parents may want to keep them in a bubble. I think there are about 30 kids on this block. That is more than I can handle.

Regular daily post right below.

From RachaelT to Ellen


Rachael did a gorgeous job on this one.

It is still Tuesday and the kids are still at camp.
Ben refused to attend camp on Monday.
On Tuesday, they made him an offer that he accepted.
Nothing like signing kids up for activities and then having them refuse to go.
I just peeked out to see what they were doing.
It is 90-degrees.
Ben has the hose and is hosing off the girls.
He is the only boy at the camp.
I'm pretty sure he would have gone yesterday if someone had told him he could hose off girls.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

From JeanR to Ellen


It will be a while before I get back to my studio and my white ink.
I hope I remember to scroll back to this one because I love the lettering and it would work for any month. The shamrocks go nicely with the Woodstock stamp.

I like the way Iowa and the zip code are tucked together.

Friday, July 10, 2020

From Lauren to Ellen


Current time words.
Swimming lessons were stopped - and now they have started.
Try telling kids that they have to start swimming lessons again.
Lockdown has been hard on everyone and now kids are hesitant to resume activities.

This is a fun envelope and I like all the women-themed stamps.
Ellen's generation didn't seem as rabid about women's issues as my generation.
Although, the mommy-daddy balance is still around.
Thankfully, the daddy at this house is super helpful.

He loves my idea to open a mommy-daddy flop house in the neighborhood.
A quiet space with lots of places to relax - where parents could go (one at a time) when they needed a break. I mentioned this idea to one of the neighbors who thinks it is a brilliant idea. Maybe I should pursue it. It could have an apt for me to use when I am in town. As luck would have it - there is a house for sale on the block. Sadly -- it has fallen into disrepair and I am not interested in a fixer-upper.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

From Heather to Ellen



Writing in nearly real time.
It is Tuesday - and I have discovered that I probably did not write any of the blurbs that show Ellen's 40th Birthday mail.
Ironically, I am sitting in Ellen's house - hoping she does not see her mail on my blog if she walks by.
As far as I know, my brother is the only person related to me who follows the blog. Ellen has the two kids, so she has no time at all.
Today the kids are at Corona-Camp. That's where a counselor comes to your house and the kids do camp stuff outdoors. A few other kids from the neighborhood participate. Everyone in Chicago is very good about wearing masks. So, knock-on-wood I won't be catching anything.

This is a fun envelope idea -- you could use all kinds of shapes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

From Patty to Ellen



If you checked the blog yesterday, before I woke up, all you had to read was --Chuck--
because I had posted images of Ellen's birthday mail and intended to come back and write blurbs.
And then I didn't.
So, now I am.
I recall Patty saying something about this one - to the effect that it might not have been one of her favorites. Maybe she was not pleased with the fold through the E - but that doesn't really bother me. The s in Powers is snipped off by the stamp. So it is symmetrical in that sense.
The one change I would have made was the top left stamp could have overlapped the line.
But, it's just fine the way it is.
And Ellen and her offspring will enjoy opening the mailbox on Nov 27th.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

From Chuck to Ellen


At 5:30 this morning, I found that I had not written a blurb for this envelope -- so -- I'm happy that I have the laptop and can swiftly add some words. But, I also have to check all the rest of the posts that are coming up this week to make sure that there aren't others where I posted the image and intended to come back and write about the envelope.

Chuck has endless patience with the little lines -- and white dots add just the right amount of sparkle.

Monday, July 6, 2020

From CathyO in May

It looks like Cathy used some tiny brush markers. Cathy has also been taking some online classes so this style might be from a class.
The colors are so fresh and springy/summery.

And the card inside is very pretty.

Time out while I complain about Blogger.
It is not letting me arrange things.
So - if the layout is goofy, it's not my fault.


July 5th
The July exchange lists have been sent.
I am getting comfortable with the new laptop.
Here is something that I have not had time to listen to.
I do not even know if it is visual or just audio.
Maybe someone will listen and/or watch one and tell us about them.

The blog can become a lot more interactive now that I have a keyboard with me at all times.

The Calligraphy Podcast

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Bonus post - training wheels - answer for Leslie

Regular post is below.
This one is just drivel -- except there is an answer to Leslie's question yesterday.

I have never had my own brand new computer. I always shared the family computer or used a hand-me-down from my mom. I have never had an iPad either. My iPhone is an elderly antique and too small to do blog postings. So, I treated myself to a new laptop so that I could continue blogging when I went on trips to help with the grandkids - which is where I am currently. I had the kids in Iowa for almost two weeks before we transported ourselves back to Chicago where I will help for another 2 or 3 weeks - while the mom does taxes.

I am trying to figure out how to blog on the new (mouseless) laptop -- and mostly it is going well. However, I am using Safari  and it will not let me leave comments. People have mentioned the difficulty of leaving comments and I thought you might have to use Chrome - so now I have to try that, but I do not even know where to start. 

This post is just to see if I can actually add a post.
And to respond to Leslie -- Yes you may send birthday envelopes to Ellen Powers at my address.
Envelopes are welcome up until Nov 1st.
Thanks so much.

The photo was one of my art projects with the grandkids. They wanted to do tie dye. I've never been interested and thought we should just start with indigo. I am now very interested in doing more tie dye with indigo. If you want to see some nice examples - Google shibori. Or try Pinterest. 

From Maggie to Ellen

Another gorgeous floral design from Maggie. The assortment of vintage stamps are so pretty. At one time, I had all of those stamps. 

As I write these posts that go with the birthday envelopes, I am waiting for someone to come jump my car. It looks like I did not have one of the doors closed tight, and now that I am hunkered down, I may not drive the car for several days at a time. 

July 5th - the entire battery had gone to meet its maker.
I am just practicing editing posts on the laptop.
It's working.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

From CaroleV to Ellen

I requested the 40th birthday envelopes for my daughter in March even though her birthday is not until November. Several people went with the St. Patrick's Day theme - which is fine. Her husband, Colin, is Irish and a graduate of Notre Dame, so Irish-ness is celebrated year round. My daughter always said she wished she had been part of a larger rowdier family. Scandinavians (my side) are too reserved for her. And we have no idea what the Wilson's are. So she got her wish.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Alex's Mermaid from Janet to Ellen

I posted Alex's drawing of a mermaid on the blog and Janet used it to make a birthday envelope for Ellen (Alex's mom, my duaghter) for the big 4-0.
I know Ellen will like it and Alex will be thrilled to see her artwork again. 
The stamps are perfect with the mermaid.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

From Shirley to Ellen

First time exchanger Shirley.
I think this is three first time exchangers in a row. 
This is another nice example of an abstract design that spins off from the stamp.
It's probably watercolor.
As usual, every time I see watercolor, I want to get mine out. 
And then I don't.
Broken record - plus I am in the midst of re-doing 100 posts.
Thirty done.
I might call it a day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July Exchange Sign-up (Ashley to Ellen)

First time exchanger Ashley sent this back in March when I invited people to create mail for my daughter's 40th birthday. I'm not sure if I mentioned that Ellen lives in Chicago - but - I know she will enjoy the drawing. At one time she had a job in the John Hancock building - the one with the X's.

Sign-up for the exchange is July 1st thru 4th and I send out lists on July 5th.
Let us know if you are observing your birthday in July - or if you wish to exchange handmade cards.
Also, let me know if you are interested in being on two lists - if I need to make the lists come out even.

Details are here:
Jane Doe (CARDS)
123 Oak Street
Ames, Iowa 50010 USA
(birthday) (2 lists)

Please send your info, in that format to me at:

jmwilson411 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Bonus post from Clover

Penpal Clover sent this article about the new hip hop stamps.

Hip Hop Stamps

There will probably be some very fun envelopes using these colors.
There are other articles if you Google -- I rather like the way they have the red and green images layered. It conveys movement.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

From Rivkah to Ellen

First time exchanger Rivkah.
She might have exchanged twice.
I don't keep a log of exchangers - although I get curious about the numbers.
This one is intriguing and it would be fun to do some variations. 
The pattern with the little dashed lines isn't exactly footsteps in the snow.
But, the whole pathway suggestion is very nice.

Monday, June 29, 2020

KathleenH's - gold - multi-vintage stamp

KathleenH had a fun way to use up several vintage stamps. I'm glad none of the stamps got the ballpoint or Sharpie scribble. Her little notation is fun. I especially like all the little white squares. Seems like a lot of correcting. Maybe there is a story behind them.

I just noticed that they are all 5-cent stamps.
It seems to me that when mixing stamps - if you stay within one denomination, they compliment each other. If you mix wildly different denominations, it is a little trickier. Color becomes a lot more of an issue. That is probably why it always frustrated me to work with vintage stamps. 

I'm glad they are mostly all gone.
It is still April. I have still not done any envelopes in a couple months.
Maybe May.
Maybe not.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

GraceH's valentine

There are several things I love about this envelope from GraceH.
She made me love that stamp, which doesn't happen very often.
I love the *occupant*
I love the huge house number.
And I just love the overall exuberance.

I also love Grace's everyday handwriting - soooo much.
If I had time, I would practice it.
Samples of it are in my collection of *best penmanship.*
Maybe I will share it with you someday.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Border and pink flower to Gloria

There is a thing you can write with called a fluid writer and I have had one for a really long time. I finally got it out and tried it. It is what I used to make the scrolly lines on the left. Spell check does not like the word scrolly - but is not offering any alternatives. Scroll-like? Is that better?

I put myself on the list with 3 foreign addresses for the May exchange. When I went to buy stamps, the station I was at only had the poinsettias - and with the pandemic, I did not want to do any more running around, so I took them. Then, I didn't get any envelopes done because I just couldn't wrap my head around red and green in May. Finally, I had to go to the PO to mail masks and chose a different PO and they had these. Whew.

I actually had a regular marker that matched the ink that I used in the fluid writer which was nice.

The fluid writer comes in two sizes. I have small. I wish I had large.

Here is illuminated L that went to Lauren after it arrived
Thanks for sending, Lauren.

Friday, June 26, 2020

RachaelT's valentine

There has been a catastrophe in the pre-scheduling of the blog posts. Catastrophic in the sense that there is no rhyme or reason to what you will see.
Although, there never has been - so what's the catastrophe?
I guess there isn't one.
The whole point of the blog is to jabber for a couple minutes and then send you off to do something creative unless you don't want to, in which case you may do whatever you like.

I'm reading another one of those books that explains how we have two different people in our heads and they have to work things out. It always seems like a good idea - but then they start debating something and eventually one of them yells - yin-yang. And then they just wander off.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Pinterest flowers to Inta

Because I was so late in figuring out what to do with my international mail, I resorted to surfin on Pinterest to find some flowers. The details are colored pencil. I usually use the colorless blender, but this time I went over the pink and gray with white to blend them.
Flowers are so easy to draw. Yet, I feel guilty when I just copy them off someone else. It's probably the neverending time crunch that messes with me.

I'm loving that stamp.
I've loved all the round international stamps.
Whoever came up with that idea deserves some kind of recognition.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Illuminated L to Lauren

This is a trip down memory lane. In the 90's I did a lot of illuminated letters. I did the whole alphabet. This was the only one I did on an envelope. It was meant for one of those people I lost touch with so it ended up in a box. The box is full of assorted *stuff* that seems too nice to toss but it is also wearing on me. So, I've been working my way through it. Some of the exchangers have received oddities in their envelopes. 

I penciled the name and address - and took the photo before I inked it.
Then I put a big sticker on the back that will be easy for the PO (or their scanner) to read.
Then I forgot to retake the photo.

Of course, I had a better idea after it was done. It needed a touch of blue somewhere else.
It would have been nice to put little blue squares between the numbers on the zip code.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Paint by number (off topic)

We are skipping an envelope today because this makes me happy.

A friend of mine sent me an image of a paint by number project she had just finished and it was gorgeous. I always thought that paint by number could be so much better than what it usually is and -voila- somebody read my mind and improved them. It makes me happy when someone implements one of my good ideas without me even asking.

If you want to paint photorealism, you learn some basic drafting techniques - or you use photographs and methods to transfer the outline. And then you learn some color basics. And then you do a type of painting that is very similar to paint by number. So -- this is simply streamlining the process and providing better art supplies.

If you think it is not-creative to just fill in spaces -- you should know that a lot of artists who come up with wildly creative ideas end up spending a ridiculous amount of time executing the idea doing activities that are 100% mindless. So - there is no shame in just cutting out the drafting and color mixing part of the process and filling in the image.

So -- if you have a lot of time to kill, here is the website.

Oh, I should link to my blog post about Sol LeWitt. You can find it by doing a search of his name. His painting were very much *paint-by-number* as were a lot of people in the colorfield camp.
So there.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Postcard from Cindy

A reminder that you are always welcome to send postcards. This was the first time that Ciny participated and she asked if it was OK to do postcards. I said up. 
I ponder doing postcards from time to time - and then I don't do it because I do not have a big stack of appropriate paper. I'd only want to do it on really nice, heavy watercolor paper.
Although, I am tempted to use cardboard from time to time.
I wonder what would happen if I did a postcard exchange one month - instead of envelopes.

Would that freak everyone out?

I already know there are at least two people who have their envelopes all ready to go on the first of each month and just wait for the list, so they can fill in names and addresses. If I decide to do a postcard exchange, I would have to announce it two months in advance.

And then I would forget.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Feb exchange from Chuck

Another favorite from Chuck. 
We are both very fond of arts and crafts era design.
Frank Lloyd Wright-esque.

I've done about 20 posts in a row today.
Can you tell that I get less chatty as I go along?
Unless I think of a good story.

It's mid-April as I write this.
No good stories.
Just gloom and doom and anxiety.

OK, here is a story.
I thought, maybe there are some good eyerolls on the internet.
Yes. Here is a whole page of them.
Hold your mouse over any of them to see the eyes roll.

I noticed a clip from Bad Grandpa. One of my daughter's friends from high school worked on that movie and the movie needed a scene where the bad grandpa fell into the cake at a wedding reception. My daughter's friend and his fiance agreed to participate in the filming of the scene at their own wedding. The studio paid for them to set up a reception and have the character fall into the cake - with NONE of the guests being warned that it was going to happen. After the grandpa fell into the cake, it was explained to the guests that they had just been extras in a film and they all moved to another room for the real reception. I think the couple might have warned their parents about what would be happening - which was a good idea. It would have been a nasty prank to pull on a mother of a bride.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Dreamy pointed pen from GraceE

This has to be one of my favorites from Grace E. I'm not sure I have ever used walnut ink on a very pale pink, but I know I will be using that combo. It's gorgeous. Obviously the addition of the flowers is what contributes to the spectacularity. Or is that spectaculariousness? One of you offered to be my editor. Feel free to weigh in.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Grids and loops from Janet

A fun front and back and vintage card from Janet.
Nice contrast between the geometric and the loop-de-loos.
It was hard to photograph the card, I couldn't get it to stand up on its own.

Janet always does such nice flip sides on her envelopes.
I can't quite make out the little figure. It looks a bit like drummer boy with two drums, or a postal worker. Maybe a drumming postal worker. That would be fun - if you could hear the mailman coming.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Feb from Gina

The next couple of weeks are going to be more hopping around and posting of things that piled up in Feb, Mar, and Apr.

Grrrr at the ballpoint scribble. The heart on a hand motif has always been one of my favorites. I doubt Gina knows that my skier-son, Skip has been itching to go ski in one of the __kstans. Maybe all of them. I cringe at some of the places he is interested in. But then I pull myself together and wish him well on his adventures.

Very pretty colors and I like the texture on the heart.

BigHelpfulBrother sent me this video.

It is the history of the font Cooper Black.
Anyone interested in fonts will enjoy it.
Thanks BHB.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Carole's patterned chicken-themed birthday greeting

I had a heck of a time - and never did figure out if Carole did that whole pattern on the envelope by hand. THe same pattern appears on the card - but it looks different on the envelope. THe back of the envelope is patterned. It is unusual to have just the back of an envelope patterned.
Maybe Carole will see this and tell us.

Carole signs her cards on a little removable tag so that I can reuse the cards.
Very good idea.
You can see the tag - removed - off to the side.

Design tip. The 5-petal larger flowers complement the little abstract 4-petal flowers. Different scales of the same thing is pleasing to the eye.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Birthday greetings from JeanR - Comments about comments

More pretty birthday greetings - this one from JeanR.
and then - wow -
what a beautiful azalea.
I keep forgetting to ask Jean if she is taking any classes. 
It seems like there are so many opportunities online these days. (mid-April)


Monday, June 15, 2020
Admin notes:

I forgot to check my spam and there were some comments in the spam awaiting moderation.
I will try to remember to look in the spam more often.

I hear from people that they have trouble leaving comments.
I am 99% sure that you have to have a gmail account to leave comments.
There may be another way to leave comments, but, I do not know what it is.
So -- if you would like to leave a comment, but do not want a gmail account, just send it to me and I will post it on the blog. We all love comments.

In addition to having the gmail account to leave comments, I think you might need to be on Chrome.
I am not 99% sure about that - but, I think it helps. 
There have been a few things over the past few months where being on Chrome made things work better.
So, if you are not a big fan of Google - I hear ya.
However, they are providing endless space for free - for me to keep the blog going -
so, I feel OK letting them have their way.

I will continue to delete any previously scheduled remarks (of my own) about current events.
Ignore any that may slip through.
While I am not oblivious to the importance of being an educated and responsible person, the point of the blog is to have a tiny oasis and ponder art - and maintaining that focus seems to be the right thing to do.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Chuck's flowers on kraft paper

Another pretty design from Chuck. That's one of the best stamps for kraft paper envelopes. We are not thrilled with the way the PO sent it through the machines. But, we're all struggling a little so we'll have to let it go.

I wish I had a video of my son doing a scene from life at the post office where he plays the role of himself and also the role of a lady who has been waiting for a book. He delivers in the suburbs where people either have a mailbox at the end of their driveway or cluster boxes. I think he was at a cluster box when a lady approached him, i.r.a.t.e. and ready to vent all her frustrations. He patiently listened to her and tried to respond appropriately. They actually have training where they give postal workers sentences to use. He tried one where he said something like, "I understand how you feel."


That was gasoline on the fire. Clearly a person who is out of the house, leading his normal life, does NOT understand how it feels.

He spent a good 10 minutes, maintaining composure and assured her he would look into the matter as long as she could come up with the tracking number.

By the end, she had calmed down enough to say that if she ever did get a chance to talk to someone she would recommend that he get a gold star.


This is April 15 as I write - just for my own frame of reference when this pops up.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday with John Stevens

I'm 99% sure this is something off John Stevens' IG. It would be a cool envelope if you wanted to send someone an exemplar.

He has the KL in red - to reflect that it is for a couple with those initials. I am so tempted to see if there is anyone on the exchange list who has a first and last name side-by-side in the alphabet. If anyone does, please let me know.

I can picture this on an envelope, with a stamp in the upper right corner. Where the names Kari & Leif are - either the town or state would look nice. Or a big zip code with the other info to the left and right.

Quick check -- yes, I see this image on John's IG
along with more stealworthy stuff -- not that any of us can even approach his level -- but we can have fun puttering in that direction.


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Flag+script from NancyL

White and colors on kraft paper from Nancy. Yes, the Nancy who remembered that I bad mouth flag stamps. This one doesn't bother me because the white in the stamp compliments the white lettering. It looks like colored pencil.
I always like using a variety of fonts, sizes, and variations on the address.
The information is very clear - but all that variety makes it a much more interesting design.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Vine cartouche from Maggie

Maggie included a note apologizing for filling up all the space because she knows I like white space. Actually, I like this a lot and I would have been fine if the vine work had gone all the way around the rectangle. But, it is fine just the way it is.
Nice vintage stamps.
Maggie usually has really nice details in shimmery ink and this time she has some 3D dots that look almost like puffy paints, but they are pretty small. Maybe she will tell us what she used.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

John Lennon from Janet

Ahhhh. John Lennon. So much to like about him. Actually, I found some of his music to be a little "???." I can't put into words what it was about some of his music. Maybe I liked the collaboration with Paul better than his solo stuff. Ignore anything and everything that I say about music. I am woefully ignorant about music. 

This is a nice design.
I know a bit about design.
The black line anchors the layout.
The black line would not be as successful if it was exactly in the middle.
Better to have a "horizon" a little above or below the center.
Most of the time. 
There ARE exceptions.

The centering of the colorful subject matter is nice.
It's balanced.

The echoing of the ombre is nice.
Echoing is good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Celebration circles from Lynne

This is a nice idea to go with the celebrate stamp. It looks like rubber stamps with gel pen details. Picking up on the round theme and nicely coordinated colors.
I wonder if Lynne did all of the them the same - or if there were variations.
I'd be itching to dig out my round rubber stamps and do something like this but I am still stuck in the world of sewing.

Also blogging.
It's Sunday, which is my traditional day to work on the blog.
Maybe after 5 weeks under house arrest, I am finding my way back to some kind of routine.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Sad mailman from Janet

Janet knew it was my birthday in April and sent this sad little mailman. His letter says:
Another cancelled birthday party on April 11, 2020.
You can say that again. I was supposed to be in Chicago celebrating with the grandkids. They sent me a care package from Chicago. Two Lou Malnatti's pizzas and a Portillo's hot dog kit.
My guilty pleasures which are usually off limits.

The front of the envelope and the card.
That's a stealworthy idea for the card.

Words on the card:
They come on one of April's most brilliant days...
a day as sparkling as a newly washed lemon...
a day when even the shadows were a melange of blue and orange and jade like the shadows that poured from the tipsy brush of Monet.
from A Thatched Roof by Beverly Nichols