Wednesday, July 31, 2013

lacy gray border

another one from the day a group of us were brainstorming picnic ideas. i also bought 9 gray pens to try to find good grays for one bride who wanted gray ink. i found one that worked. now i have a lot of gray pens to use up. it is hard to decide when to stop with some of these layering projects. i think this one needs a couple more layers. but, if i need to send an envelope - and did not have time to start from scratch- i would use this one and consider it good-enough. i'd probably go with a forever stamp....i don't think this envelope would look good with multiple stamps. it would be too busy for me.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

smash - pushing the envelopes

really beautiful stamps. i ran through mine so fast. and this is probably done with the parallel pen. soooo tempting.

nice bounce to the letters and very skillful at a design that fills up a lot of space. i am seldom successful at filling the space. but, i like it when i see it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

jan's copic white

another one done the day that jan brought her copic white stuff. i don't know whether to call it paint or ink. it is thick and needs to be thinned with water to use it like ink. i need to research and find out if there is a technical difference between ink and paint. or maybe an alert reader can tell us in the comment section.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

sunday guest artist

from the british museum, by artist edward burne-jones.

stealworthy - i need more time.
sorry to be a broken record.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

phil copic white

this was done with jan's black copic marker. it has a chisel edge, which means it is slanted, not square, and offers a different look to the ends. although, i did square these off and then added the copic white ink over the top, using a Nikko G nib. i could doodle white over black all day. maybe. i never tried it. i just know i have to tear myself away when i start it. i did not have any stamp in mind, but rather like the way these two look. but, need another 7-cents if i am going to actually mail this one.

Friday, July 26, 2013

robot on silver tape

this idea came from jan the junkie (do you like your new nickname, jan?) she is an art supply junkie. i had a blast when she brought these alcohol inks to play with. but i am vigilant about not getting into any new mediums.
i did not have this stamp in mind. but isn't it wonderful?
(need more time)
the tape is silver tape from the hardware store that might be for taping metal ductwork or something. the hardware store has as much enticing stuff as the art supply store.

smash - purple robot

smash put extra postage on this envelope but it doesn't equal the amount you need for non-conforming addressing. some postal workers would charge extra because the lines are not parallel with the bottom edge of the envelope.
but, it is certainly easy to read.
and it is fun...very stealworthy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

skips red plaid border

this was done during the picnic series. i love that stamp (with the pen and razor) and i hope skip remembers my favorite story about shaving. i asked him why he did not shave more often. he said "because it hurts."
i found out that nobody had told him to use water and shaving cream. he was just scraping the whiskers off with a razor. ouch. nothing much to say about this idea...except that it does not bother me at all to make plaids without any planning whatsoever. see...i am not compulsive.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

smash - think pink

this is an excellent way to do a very pretty envelope when you are in a hurry. of course, you need to have spent a few years learning how to write pretty :-)
and you need a pile of vintage stamps.

i like smash's stretched out script on the address.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

skip's lake tahoe birthday

dang, i wish i could have delivered some of these birthday cards in person. although the place is crawling with people in july. so maybe i can kidnap myself and end up in tahoe in september. that would be nice. the lake looks just like that, only bluer. watercolor pencils, G-tecs...and channeling my inner kid-artist.

Monday, July 22, 2013

upcoming loopy series

i was pondering ways to make practice fun. these are two layered names. reading from top down is e-l-l-e-n and over the top of those five letters i layered c-o-l-i-n.
i think the pattern has potential.
it would be nice if you had the exact colors in the stamp and chose the stamp first. on this one, i just used a few of the 17 markers from jan and then went looking for a stamp.

the address would be tiny
flush left, hugging the left edge of the envelope.
i might add some g-tec layers and rescan this one if it is an improvement.

the quality of the actual lettering is supposed to be child-like. after a 5+ year haitus from teaching a summer class (5 days in a row) for non-adults, i agreed to do so this year. i am fully expecting that the kids will have some great stealworthy ideas.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

bonus post

my morning surf led me to this envelope, which led me to the website of kim white
lots of funny cartoons.
kim is not kimberly
kim is a guy
so there is some locker room humor
just warning you....if you have delicate sensibilities.

sunday guest artist

this is from
they have a ton of illustrated envelopes.
this one downloaded, but the rest would not, so, you'll just have to surf on over and check them out. they list information about the envelopes as well as the prices realized.

this one went for 500 pounds, i believe....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

miss cathy

i have a new penpal, cathy from mississippi. you can't imagine how excited i am to send some envelopes to mississippi. cathy is the 4th person to find my blog and boldly send mail. smash was first, then finnbadger and there is a third person who did not leave a return address so i am not able to send mail. i think that person is from texas. so, my new goal is to have a penpal from every state. 
wisconsin, you are overflowing with talented mail artists. 
other states that are taken are, iowa, ohio, washington, new mexico, connecticut and california.
i suppose i could go through the archive [banker's boxs] and find a bunch more. do they count if i have not heard from them recently?

the scanner was messing with me and kept cropping the envelope, so, i put a yellow background and that seemed to make it happy. the lettering looks like one of those colored pencils that have 4 colors all at the same time. i like the hemi cuda. i remember those cars [car buff that i am...ha]

the address is pencil, but the zip had a layer of ink. i wonder if cathy did that or maybe someone in the postal system wanted to beef it up.

smash - domino

this is postmarked april . remember last spring when smash was doing all the fun postal code mailing? this was in the series. the numbers on the dominos correspond to my zip + 4 and my house number.

very fun...
it would be fun to do a whole series of envelopes based on games.

Friday, July 19, 2013

this just in

a nice little video with great comments making art [learning] - i don't want to spoil the punchline...just watch it.

his name is Peter Han.
you may google him and see lots more work.

smash - unscannable

every now and then, the scanner will refuse to scan an image. it is usually something with black and white stripes. i don't know why. but i tried 3 or 4 times and then i just gave up. it's a very pretty envelope. although the bird is a little *mutant* with an osprey head and dove-ish body. but who doesn't love a good mutant every now and then? the body reminds me of matisse flowers.

bonus post

this one appeared earlier when i was making a test page of all 17 markers from jan. i was wondering if writing her name over the top would tie it all together. it isn't awful, but it is not really a keeper, yet. i will try confetti and see if that works. people who know me, know i attempt to solve every problem with dots, but there are so many squares in this, i think it needs to be square dots, or confetti, rather than round dots. or maybe round dots would offer visual relief from all the squares. shall we vote? square or dots? or both? or something else?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


another one from the picnic series. the items on the kabob should be larger.
i have not finished the grill.
still pondering this whole idea.
i need to surf around and find some better images of kabobs.

 wow, this one is really close.
that grill is perfect.
the asterisks with dots on the end are nice, too.
i L-O-V-E doing searches on Google Images for
anything and everything....
remember, you don't click and paste and print
you just look at the image and draw your own. or you may print them off if you need to trace the image.
remember, you may only do this for enjoyment, you may not do it to start a business.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

skip - blue swirly

just messing around. first i used a watercolor pencil, then i did some layers of gouache. it was really awful. so i did the white gel pen railroad track over the top and now i love it. i will put his p.o. box in the center of the dot over the i - and his zip, and it should get to him just fine.

technically, i drew the railroad ties. the lines are the track.

[ a week later]
when i was looking for a stamp, the round one seemed nice in the circle so i change my plan.that is the forever stamp for send 1-oz anywhere in the world. it costs $1.10. that is the rate for a postcard or a 1-oz letter. and since they are now selling them as forever stamps...i wonder if this will be the only choice for a long time.

this stamp will also be enough for up to 2-oz on a letter going to canada - according to my newest penpal...stay tuned for a very fun piece of mail :-)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

skip - *cute*

i'm always looking at the trends for wedding invitations. this style is trendy right now. although none of my brides will do anything this far out. so, i did the border, then, the only birthday that i could think of that was coming up was skip's (my 29 year old son) he'll probably be scratching his head over this one. or maybe he won't bat an eye. rugged mountain men are hard to predict. a garden of love stamp will look nice. i know i have some of the doves left.

i drew the design with a very pale marker, then outlined with G-Tecs. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

smash pink plate

and i had to post something else...because my posts pop up on other peopl.s blogs
and i did not want the *BAD DESIGN* to be a representation of my blog....

isn't this gorgeous?
smash girl shared some images of her envelopes with us.
thank you!!

more about diagonals

there were two posts today
and while i discussed diagonals in finnbadger's...
an alert reader mentioned the diagonals in the one below.
yes...there are two elements that are tilted...
but, i would not say that it is a layout based on the diagonal.
we do tend to put stamps in corners
so the other element had to be somewhere to the left and lower.
and in some ways...that leads the eyes to the corners
but, the the whimsical tilting keeps the eye moving around.

it's hard to find good examples of the kinds of diagonals that i think
*don't work*
i suspect there is more going on that is hard to explain in words
as is my opinion

i googled bad design
and -oh, dear- lots of examples.
this one popped out
there is a funny story
and this person wanted to illustrate *bad design*
so they put the big red header on a diagonal
so...there is at least one person who agrees with me.

full story here

finnbadger 2

here is my second envelope from finnbadger. it is numbered 83 on the back. it has not been cancelled. plus it did not get the barcode printed or stuck on with a sticker which is pretty interesting. i wonder how envelopes slip through the system.

as i mentioned in a previous post, i am usually not a big fan of diagonals because a lot of people will tilt their lettering because they want something *eye-catching.*  well, it catches the eye, and then flings the eye off the page. diagonals are useful to show depth and motion. subtle or implied diagonals will lead the eye around the composition. if you have a nice composition with some verticals and/or some horizontals and then you slap a big bold diagonal across the whole thing, it can be very distracting. here, finnbadger embraced the diagonal, the stamp and address fits in nicely. his subtle use of the 420 placed ahead of the name is a clever homage to the block of copy that was already on the page. subtle is nice.

he also lined up the stamp and address with the left justified caption and painting below. a small touch, but essential. good design is not rocket science. it is just paying attention to the details and making the elements work together. yes, you can *catch-the-eye* with jarring elements. but, it is just as effective and might hold the viewers attention a little longer if you have some subtle connections within the elements. that is just my opinion, but i am right. (that is a quote from the illustrious mary jones, an artist. )

ruth's border

i liked ruth's border a lot.
i made mine more S-shaped.
and i used a gray gel glaze pen.
i haven't decided how to finish it.
choosing a stamp
would be the best way to go...
and then pulling out three colors from the stamp.

in the note in the envelope,
 ruth mentioned that she did not count
the squares so that the number of squares
was divisible by three so the pattern would
come out right. i don't think it is a problem to
have the color sequence have one inconsistency.
i did look for it, because ruth mentioned it, but
i don't think i would have ever noticed it.

it is hard to decide when to be compulsive. i think the key is to be as compulsive as you like, but then, don't *fret* if things start going off in some unplanned direction. relax and enjoy the unexpected. there is nothing wrong with setting the goal of making something precise. but, if it doesn't work's not a big deal.

the above comment is directed at envelopes. i am not making a broad statement. for all you neurosurgeons who are following my blog, you go right ahead and be seriously compulsive.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

sunday guest artist

this is another one from the

i like the way the lettering goes across the white space switching from black type on white to white type on black. very good idea...would be harder to accomplish than it looks.

i am still surprised that his envelopes are only $250

Saturday, July 13, 2013

elizabeth picnic

this is from the day we sat around thinking up picnic ideas. i'm not sure i can come up with an entire picnic alphabet. i'm sure you can google *picnic alphabet* and there will be some. i am going to control my impulse. my favorites are the catchup and mustard. i drew with G-Tec, colored in with colored pencil and anything that is metal was done with a silver gel pen.

oh....FinnBadger has struck again. he is not a one-hit-wonder. you'll have to wait for me to scan it. it's very nice. i like his design sense...which is surprising, since i am not usually fond of diagonals.

Friday, July 12, 2013

jeri - guest artist

a pretty card from jeri. i like the row of guys.

very simple - elegant.

making the S's long is a very nice touch.


those cool flowers are made with a Miracle Wedge 7900 brush
available from John Neal

White House calligrapher, Pat Blair, recommends them.
I recommend them, even though I don't allow myself to have one....I get so little done even with my modest supply of supplies.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

carol red EKG + ivory envelope

this looks like a loopy EKG or something. and the postmark is adorable and notice the extra lines that run across the stamps - i wonder how they were made - and by whom.

maybe we have kindred spirits at the p.o. who like to add-and-pass.

add-and-pass is something that is done in the world of rubber stampers. they have a list of participants. one person starts something, then mails it to the next one, who adds something and passes it to the next person on the list and so on.

carol sent some ivory envelopes and said she had no idea why she even had them as she only uses white. i think some of the stamps look really nice on ivory. this one, with the white border would look fine on white. as i recall, there was one stamp that looked really bad on white and only looked good on ivory. so...lesson for today... don't judge a color by its color.

i will try to remember and post a sample of the stamp that needs to be on an ivory envelope. maybe there is more than one.

and yes, that bunch of growing stuff on the L is hiding the fact that i made an r after the o, because i was talking. i have a small group that meets once a week to prepare items for the blog and i am learning that i reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally can't talk and write at the same time. but i sure enjoy fixing mistakes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


this is how i write straight on envelopes.
cut off the top part of the top of a file folder
insert envelope
write just above the edge
when you get to a letter with a descender or *tail* just skip the tail
after you complete the line, pull the envelope up and add the tails to f,g,j,p,q,y and sometimes z

you can make marks on the file folder at the top of the envelope
to keep the level of the starting line consistent.

jenni dots

this is one of my favorites. i peeled the stamp off of some mail because this isn't going to get mailed. i tried to do this lettering again and wasn't happy with it. i'll try again some time. the shimmery pink paper is really nice to write on. paper source sells shimmer paper.

first i drew the straight line, with a ruler. then i used the fine end of a ZIG Writer and then went over it in a few places with the bolder tip.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

skip's b'day plus sign

this is similar to the red one i did for chuck. i like the idea and this one is nice because the p.o. box and zip are clearly on the right side of the envelope and that is all the information the p. o. needs to deliver the envelope.

chuck's is better, but i can't mail it with only one stamp. i need to find a better stamp that is 66-cents or whatever you need for a 1-oz square.
 but this stamp is so perfect.
guess i better hand deliver it.

but can i part with that stamp?
i'm not the only one who has trouble parting with stamps.
i guess i can cut a picture of one out of the catalog the p.o. sends me.

jenni flower

another idea that i sent to ruth when she was working on the 40 envelopes for her daughter.

not a good stamp choice. not finished...
but, a good enough idea to share.

Monday, July 8, 2013

jenni - 4 ideas

4 ideas i did quickly for ruth when she was a little skeptical about coming up with 40 ideas for her daughter's 40th birthday. these are black galaxy marker on a paper source shimmer envelope. except the butterfly is either a g-tec or a pigma micron. the markers are easier to control on the shimmer paper.

jenni has a good combination of letters in her name. the three iiis, the two Ls, the double n, and the w - and the e can reflect the n-shape. the odd-ball letters are the J and S at the ends...and those two letters are usually odd-balls. J goes to the left and S goes back and forth. but you can still use the same kinds of arcs you used in the e-n-w.

i never finished these - maybe i should. the point is to look at the selection of letters in the name you are writing and see what kinds of shapes you have to work with. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

elizabeth's corn

this looks a lot like a beautiful herman miller poster invitation. i could not resist stealing the idea. this is the rough sketch. i am working on a real one with her real address and i like it a lot.

i think that link will take you to the herman miller poster and a bunch more highly stealworthy ideas. may only steal them for your own enjoyment. you may not sell any design that resembles this poster or envelope.

i've only had one job, in an office, working for a boss. the boss had the whole collection of herman miller posters in the office, so it was fun to run across them again after [yikes] 34 years. time flies, but good design lasts forever. i think the set of posters looks just as fresh as it did in the 70's.

sunday guest artist

a very nice drawing. it would be fun to do something similar, but just stick figures...

this is from the blogspot

Saturday, July 6, 2013

skip tiedye

not a good stamp choice. i should have gone to the vintage stamp store and found something better. note....there is tiny writing that says *happy birthday* as one of the layers on the tie dye. i've never done much graffiti lettering. it doesn't really appeal to me. but, i liked this one to balance out some of the too-girly ones that i did for him.i used the faber-castell big brush markers from jan. thanks again jan.

Friday, July 5, 2013

guest artist - smash patriotic girl

here is a bonus post, in case the two from carol are repeats.

isn't this adorable. i hardly ever like flag stamps, but i would totally steal this idea.

smash has made comments that she thinks her names looked *tacked on* and aren't integrated into the design. this one is fine. the pale blue lettering are cloud-like. so it totally works.

if you had done the address in one tiny line, off the end of her foot, so it formed the sidewalk, that would have been a nice touch.... some people are uncomfortable leaving a big chunk of white space...but, space is as meaningful as matter....

2 from carol

two from carol that i can't remember if i posted or not. she has a ton of envelopes at her blog.

i do not have the patience to do that much coloring in... carol says on her blog that she colors in with copic markers. they are wonderful markers, but, i can't allow them in my house/studio. if i did, i would be messmerized and never get anything done. i have invented this new spelling/word. if you mesmerized, you just lose your ability to refocus on what you should be doing. messmerized means you lose focus for so long that your studio (and house) are a mess.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

bonus - guest artist - smash parade

i have a whole stack of patriotic envelopes from smash that did not get posted this week


maybe she'll tell us more about this one....

love the white space.
tomorrow there is more chatter about space.

becca's purple flowers

becca sent an envelope that looked a little bit like this to jan. jan wanted to learn how to draw flowers like this. so, i started teaching her. it ended up taking a lot of time and i think we both let our minds wander. you can tell that the full flower on the left got a lot more attention than the others. but that pearl border is stealworthy. i know because i lifted it right off becca's although, i shaded mine with all the shades to the south and east. i think she had all her shades on the outside, which was fine. but, i like to put all my shading as though the sun was actually shining on the objects.

i'll be mailing this to marji :-)
(after marji tells me that she saw this post- marji plays *test the post office* all the time. so i am starting a new game *test marji*)

this is the stamp i would use if i had one.

and thanks to FinnBadger who left a comment on an older post alerting us to these wonderful new UK stamps:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

h.b. kafka

had to share this, in case anyone missed the picture on google this morning
it would make a great envelope. with the apple stamps