Thursday, March 31, 2016

eric's birthday (1)

eric has a call for entries on his blog as he is turning 50 this year. i thought these leftover stamps would be nice. not sure i will get 50 done, but we'll see.

if anyone else has a milestone birthday coming up, let me know. i tend to do better when i work in multiples. although, i have to like the letters in your name. so, if your letters are giving me trouble, i may not complete as many as you request. but i would certainly do enough to figure out that i was not getting inspired. lucky for eric, his name is very versatile.

NOTE to exchangers:
If you are going to be more than a week late sending your March exchange envelopes, please let the other people on your list know. last month, there were quite a few mailed on the last day. So be sure to wait 7-10 days before contacting the fellow exchanger about a missing envelope. thanks

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

my 2016 graceful envelope entry

here's my idea, my quickly done rough layout, which (sadly) was the one i had to mail since the deadline was monday. it was the very last minute and i just threw it together. the last little envelope i addressed was the one in the upper left corner. i had been interrupted by a client meeting, so when i returned to do the last address, i wrote *street* instead of avenue. the contest allows you to address the back of the envelope, using a standard, legible format and putting a stamp on the back - so i did that. i drove down to the main PO to have natalie do the cancels. mondays are soooooo busy at the main PO, but luckily, there were only two people in front of me. but no natalie. i saw the sign on the middle desk saying something like: *Please be patient with me - I am a trainee.* That meant Natalie was training a new employee. I was next in line and she walked in, with the trainee. They did not look over at me - and then turned to leave. So, I decided to call out - loud enough to get her attention, but hopefully, not loud enough to cause a ruckus.

Luckily, she turned and was very happy to see me. She put 5 cancels on the front. She kept telling me to go ahead and cancel them myself. But, I said that would be bad luck. The trainee was wowed. One year, I loved my idea, which was a clothesline. I did not get in that year, but there were a couple other clothesline designs that did get in and they were way better than mine. I know that anyone who pulled out real nibs and ink with the same idea as this will probably beat me out. I'm lookin' at you Jeri. Jeri has had a ton of winners using layouts that include many different styles of lettering. I should have insisted that she complete this idea, and enter it as Jeri Wilson (rather than her married name - Hobart) which would have been fine - since I believe Wilson is her maiden name.

So, the judging is in April, winners are posted in May... oh...the shading to make it look like a stack of envelopes isn't very good. It would have been nice to do a better job on the illustration. Maybe some day I will do another one. My one hope of getting in with such rough illustration and lettering is that I might be the only one with these tiny stamps.

So....Christy - Jeri - and anyone else who entered - it would be fun to see any other entries, ahead of time. Feel free to send scans to me and I will post them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

cathy's colored counters (feb-ex)

finally - one where the counters have some color. i used colored pencils and am fine with the result. two of the chair stamps might have been better. how i do the address and zip will make or break this one.

wish me luck.

Monday, March 28, 2016

lilli's brush stroke

way back when i started this experimental series, the first one was done in chunky squares with a brush marker. lilli's name always asks me to play around with the fence post nature of l-i-l-l-i
and so i do
this is not my favorite
not my least favorite...
the address will stack under the nn
wish me luck.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

off topic - andrea innocent

our third artist from the jacky winter group. andreas work is mostly illustration. all y'all know how much i like kid-art.

once again, any of you who think you do not have any artistic skill could be very inspired by this to just jumble some letters together with cut paper, yarn and stickers. the secret would be to make sure you have really nice colors. look at this carefully and pay attention to which colors are used more than others. i think the % of each color contributes to the success.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

bundle of works in progress

 three more in the series of experiments and using up excess stamps. we are nearly through with this series. thanks for your patience.

above is a link to all the new stamps that are coming out this year. i am not a trekky - but these would be perfect with this style of lettering.

Friday, March 25, 2016

elizabeth's alert

these were the letters that elizabeth alerted me to.

if i had time, i would make little bodies for mr and mrs eames. if you like movies about interesting designers, check out the film about them on netflix.

i plan on coloring this in using the colors from the stamps. but may not have time to repost...sorry...i just had my first wedding envelope job when bride season starts, i pretty much have to focus on them and the blog is my coffee break activity. (writing this on feb 25th)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

from carroll & amy g

once again, two exchange envelopes that arrived close together - share some colors and the design element of wavy lines.

and on a sad note, the mad-scribbler at the post office did not do a good job with their addition. aarrgghh.

thank you, exchangers.

amy-g also enclosed some cool vintage washi paper and one piece is cut so that you can *wallpaper* an egg. i am resisting the temptation to start wallpapering my eggs.

interested readers may see many fine examples by googling washi paper covered eggs in the image section - or - our good friend the pinterest has some good stuff

there were comments about where to buy vintage stamps on the post yesterday. you may want to go back and read them. or you may want to check out this guy's site.

if anyone has other sources for vintage stamps - at face value - please leave a comment.
or send me info at jmwilson 411 [at] yahoo [dot] com
and i will post the info to the blog

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

alison's eames stamps

the big swoopy curves were just perfect for those stamps. once again, i am tempted to add some color to the lettering. maybe a touch of the wooden color... are any of the blog readers going to try this style? i have about 5 more to post. if you are really tired of them, hang in there...i imagine there is a new binge right around the corner.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

janet's eames with apples

while doing almost 20 of these experiments, i was sure i would be coloring a lot of the counters, but when it came right down to it, i chickened out.

somehow the black and white with some dots of red was the right amount. you can see the pencil line where the address will go.

this just in
for people who like postcard projects:

Monday, March 21, 2016

eric's birthday


i was trying to schedule this to appear in april.

but now that it is up, it is easier to just leave it as foreshadowing...

susan's 4 owls (feb-ex)

after i did the chunky squares which morphed into the thinner chunkies, i compressed the idea into these. still in the series where i did all the lettering without looking at stamps, when i saw the feathers, it seemed the feather shapes went with the lettering. added bonus, smash-girl is a big fan of the owls.

the address will go between the 2nd and 3rd S's. might put a pale blue or green stripe in wide marker. seems like a horizon might add - hope i don't ruin it....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

off topic - allison colpoys + MAIL ART (the movie)

another lettering artist from australia, an associate of the one i blogged about last sunday. again, if you go to her website, you'll see a wide range of styles. many are quite scrawly and naive. so for those of you who don't think you can actually draw, go right ahead and do what you can do. this one caught my eye because it included that moment we have all had when we get frustrated and let lose with a mad-scribble. i have not done this in years....but i used to see my students do it.

there is a movie titled MAIL ART on YouTube. i have not had time to watch it. maybe someone will watch it and tell us if it is any good.

thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday. it's fun to know that there are people who share my design preferences. and....i always appreciate when you take time to leave comments.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


this probably won't be a crowd pleaser, but it is one of my favorites. not so favorite that i need to keep it. but i love the idea of it. the p.o. will not like it at all - so i will write his address on the back flap, just to make sure it gets there. maybe i should put another stamp on the back.

it's marker swoops with gel pen over the top.

i hope it is not a problem that uber has hijacked that word so that it now means a freelance taxi service. i trust you all know that it means *very-me*.
is there a better word for what i am trying to say?

Friday, March 18, 2016

from jeri - graceful envelope

 i think these are already on the blog, but i wanted to post them again, just so you can see how someone can be wildly creative with straight lines. the scrabble envelope was a first place winner.

we are getting down to the wire on the contest deadline. has anyone even started yet? not, me. there is a rich tradition of artists who get better ideas when the deadline is just a moment away. it's completely different from procrastination. i know this because, frequently, when i stay ahead of schedule and get things done, with plenty of time to spare -- as it gets closer to the deadline, i realize that i have a much better idea -- and then i scrap the one that is finished and go ahead and do the one that percolated up at the very last minute. (yes, i am repeating myself for no good reason)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

from lynne

this arrived in november and i will be sure to label it [thanksgiving] and repost it when we get back to thanksgiving time.

it is a splendid idea for any other word or name.

if you decide to do a portrait orientation, remember, you need to add some postage. you do not need double, but if you want to splurge, double looks great.

thanks so much lynne

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

lynne's eames+peto

another one where i did the lettering, then found a stamp, the upper one - which gave me a detail to use on the lettering. then i had to find one more stamp. it was very hard to part with that stamp. i probably have another one. i am completely stumped on where to put the street address. i might go rogue and put it in the bowl of the Y.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

from exchanger carol

this was carol's response to my story on nov 14, 2015 about how my kids' nickname for me was Mean Jean.

carol thinks that her name is the only one that is conducive to fun lettering. and suggests a list of non-conducive names.

sorry, carol, any name that starts with C does not get into the favorite category. i have trouble with Cs. but you are in the mid-range.

hardest and least favorite names....
anything with ggy or lly - L can be hard at the beginning.

favorite names....well, J is a great letter at the beginning, also A and E
but, i should probably go through the alphabet and really ponder this.
there are certain styles that are good for any name....
it's those picture styles that are tricky
but, you get an A+ for this one - very clever - thanks carol.

rachael's eames dots

this is a combo of a couple earlier ideas that i had for the feb exchange. square-ish, but with a thinner marker.

i did 20 envelopes without thinking of stamps. then, it was fun to find stamps that would work. i really wish i had two of the upper stamp. but the camera is OK. the dots tie the two together.

the address will go above the zip code.

Monday, March 14, 2016

would do more of this (curly roman-ish outline)

i would sit and do this kind of lettering all day if someone would pay me to do it. i don't remember if i saw a full font or just a word. you could build it from any serifed font.

if i had more time, i would have done the last name in the same style with a better pen.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

off topic - gemma o'brien

it was really hard to choose an image from gemma o'brien's site. she is from australia and has a wide range of style. many examples of huge wall sized work.

any stamp with details of growing things would look nice with letters drawn out of twigs, stems, leaves, etc

one of mine - an old favorite:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

unfinished feb exchange

another work in progress. this time i did some chunky/geometric writing with a fine tip. the street address is in red, under a piece of white tape. if i had time, i would pull some details off the zip code stamp and tuck them into the name.

Friday, March 11, 2016

from jeri - graceful envelope

jeri's 06 entry in the graceful envelope. another nice layout for practicing letters. you could use a person's initial to make this idea work for personal mail. the cartouche for the address could be an element lifted from the stamp.

will somebody please tell google-spell-check that cartouche is a word. it always underlines itself and then i go google it and it is there.

the fifth envelope to carolyn evans will pop up a little later. i stumbled across an idea that is currently in my too-pretty-to-part-with pile. such a problem, trying to make something worth sending to a design major and accomplishing the goal...then too insane to part with it. if carolyn hadn't moved away she could have staged an intervention.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

carolyn evans

the 4th belated birthday envelope for carolyn evans --made with the super wide copic marker. i need to buy a bottle of ink to refill it. once again, i like the puzzle aspect to thinking of ways to make the letters that also make the lines come out even.

the address will look like the blue lettering on barbados. i guess i could have done a fake address since that stamp isn't going to be mail-able.

tomorrow will be the official envelope that will envelop the first 4.
should i add - happy belated birthday?
i like the simplicity of this one and not taking risks today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

exchangers - additional note person emailed that their list did not come through.
and...I forgot to ask exchangers to confirm that the received their lists.
i am going to send another round of emails - asking if you received your list.

sorry for the extra work - this first month was bound to have a kink or two.

the envelopes to the right were for a bride who wanted personal notes to give to the people who were being invited to be in her bridal party. they were hand delivered. i wrote the notes inside, too. it's always fun when brides track me down and have a fun idea that is easy to execute.

AmyS, Marti, S and Eric - you will not get the second email asking for an RSVP because you already did.

Gloria:  I do have you on a list and i resent the list from a different email. Hopefully it will come through. I have responded to your emails - so maybe my emails are in your spam? If this doesn't work, I can just send you the list by snailmail :-)

I just had a good question from a new exchanger - wondering if we did all the envelopes the same style or not. It is up to you. Some people assembly line them and do them all the same. Others like to do 5 different ideas. Or if you start with one idea and after a couple, you want to switch to something else, that's fine. 

carolyn kelley evans

this is a style of lettering that i have never tried before. i saw it on pinterest and followed the trail, but could not find out whose exemplar it is. for some reason i think it might be ann or anne van tassel - does anyone know? i hope i find time to do some more. i need to loosen up a bit. it's lots of fun.

another fake address for carolyn kelley evans. if she lived in ames, we would still be *neighbors.* i did end up bumping the regular post for today to april 11. it is shocking how fast the time goes when you need to post 365 posts per year. it scared me that i was barely a month ahead on my posts. i like to stay about 3 months out. luckily eric is having a birthday and wants 50-themed envelopes. so, i am going to do a bunch. i always wanted to do the banner of envelopes - so this time i am actually going to get it done. yay.

and...there was a note to the exchangers added yesterday - if you missed it - scroll down.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

exchange lists have been sent

OK exchangers - i sent the lists.
if you do not get your list by noon CST - let me know.
i tried to send a BCC so that the emails did not clog your contact lists.

rather than number the lists, i needed to use A List, B List, etc.
DO NOT read anything into being on the "A-List" or "D-List"----
there is no grading on the exchange.
i pondered using other letters, but that would have taken too much time.

how the lists were decided?
finnbadger randomized them for me....
thank you finnbadger.

and thanks to everyone who signed up and is adjusting nicely to the new exchange system. it has been pretty easy. if only i had that chair, life would be perfect. although, i would want a different postmark and a different chair and i have done a ton of chair seat re-covers, so, as the little red hen said, "I guess I will have to do it myself." And so she did.  Anybody else remember that book?


patriotic finnbadger ( & comment from christy )

i love phillip's nom de plume which is finnbadger and i always forget to write it on the envelope. this is a use-up-all-my-stamps envelope. those two are really fun to arrange. the stripes are pleading for some red. my devotion to getting ahead of my tidal wave will probably win and if finn wants red stripes, i think he should have at 'em.

p.s. (on sun 3-6-16)
yesterday, i had a text from christy about her envelope that i posted on friday. she said:
Yes, 2015 was my first time entering the Graceful Envelope contest (felt I had to enter because I'd assigned my kids in class to enter). And, yes, the postmark deadline was March 30. So now it's 2016, 12 more students and again I'm procrastinating!

christy texted because she was heading out of town and could not post in the comment section on her phone. thanks for taking time to send a comment. looking forward to seeing your 2016 entry.

carolyn kelley evans

this started as random loops to test a set of sharpies to see if they were worth keeping. then i added the silver stems. i goofed up her name with the silver gel pen - so i used some non-see-thru sticker paper to cover it up and then used the sharpies.

carolyn kelley evans has been known to decorate envelopes. she is a busy person, so, i'm tossing this out as an idea that she might want to try.

2nd envelope - in carolyn kelley evans belated birthday week - bonus post.

Monday, March 7, 2016

inspired by sunday - for maggie

i tried to find a way to do the style of lettering on yesterday's post. the top line is plain block lettering with a tombo brush marker. less pressure gives you the thin strokes, more pressure gives you some weight. then i outlined in g-tec and was thinking i would bleed it by going over it with the tombo. but i picked up the wrong pink. so, it's a start, but it remains to be seen if i can turn it into something really fun.

all i could think of was a bunch of variations. it's not spectacular, but i think it could be fine with the right stamp. the red snowflake might work. and then write the address over the lower right last name.

today is the last day to sign up for the march exchange
so far, the new way of making the lists has been working.
thank you to everyone for following the new directions.
i will work on the lists in the morning and probably get them promptly.

carolyn kelley evans

carolyn kelley evans is one of those dear friends who always remembers my birthday, and i always forget hers. we were young mommies (a couple years ago) in the 'hood. she moved on to more exotic locales. the address on that envelope is a fake address. wishful thinking on my part.

i figured i would have carolyn kelley evans week this week and post 5 envelopes and mail them all inside a larger envelope with her actual address. so - here is number one. i think i will add them as a bonus post each day because it is too complicated to move pre-scheduled posts.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

off topic - sabrina lopez

tons of fun styles from sabrina.
if you want to see any name in any of the fonts
just type the name in the box that says
[Enter your own text] and click enter
and -voila- you will see the name you need in the font. much easier than just looking at the alphabet and imagining what the name will look like

P.S. on 3-5-16
as the editor of this blog, i can just go to the [comments] and see all of them in a long list. i check them once in a while to see if i missed a comment - and this one popped up. i'm guessing very few early risers have time to go back and check for comments. i really appreciated this one and wanted to share. someday i might go back and find all the comments that remind us about why we send mail, and put them in a tab at the top.

thanks for taking time to comment, thomas:

It's inspirational to see other's work and keeping up a blog as diligently as Jean is no easy task. Opening the mailbox at the end of a crazy beat down day to find a decorated Envelope...well, it just makes everything ok again. And Jan for the copious amount of email I'm sure she has gotten for all the exchanges in organizing them. As an Envelope exchange organizer myself I know it's a thankless job, Sooooo, THANK YOU, Jan!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

ribbon binge - a name

trying to bust out of my ribbon borders. i have had other examples of ribbon writing. this is by far and away the easiest.

last name and address will be tucked under the tail of the y - flush right.

also done on the day i was too lazy to go get an envelope. so i just wrote it on a piece of letterhead paper which was way better than an envelope because i could center the name by where i placed the folds. the back of the envelope is wonky.
to do a good job, you would need a little planning....and a larger sheet of paper would be helpful.

Friday, March 4, 2016

memory lane

i was checking the website to see what the deadline was for the graceful envelope. then, i thought i would look at the winners from last year - and i don't think i ever posted this one from christy robb, who is one of the people who exchanges and leaves comments on the blog.

she just left a comment a few days ago about how she, too, had mailed her feb exchange envelopes on the last day. i see by the postmark that this entry was postmarked on march 30 of last year. that must have been the deadline.

it reminded me of the very first time i sent something to the graceful envelope. it was in the early years when it was run by the smithsonian institution. it was not a contest, but a call for entries they were going to use to decorate a holiday tree. i crashed mine out on the last day - made some kind of boo-boo. drove to the store and bought glitter to hide the boo-boo and sat with my car door open, applying the glitter to the envelope and shaking the excess glitter on the snow covered pavement.

it's been a long time since i entered. i had enough winners to satisfy my need to have my work in the permanent collection of the smithsonian...but i just had an idea for this year's theme. luckily, i have lots of time to get it done. or...wait until the last day. christy...leave us a comment and tell us if 2015 was the first time you entered.

from jeri - graceful envelope

this one from jeri to the graceful envelope contest is inspiring to anyone who wants to practice their pointed pen lettering. if i have time, i will do something like this with a g-tec although a full 50% of the success of this envelope is that it is white ink on dark paper. i'm not sure it will look as good with colored ink on lighter paper.

this was from 2005. i wonder how many times jeri has been accepted to the graceful envelope. maybe she will let us know.

the deadline to enter the 2016 contest is march 28
topic this year is: communication
i have 25 old posts with the label [graceful envelope]
you may click on the label (over in the right hand column of the blog) and see more.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

from maggie

another new penpal from smash-girl's class. a very ambitious design. super delicate work. challenging to write in circles. uber-challenging to get song titles to come out even. good use of hearts and stars to fill in where needed.

thank you p.o. for the pretty round cancel and no additional cancel. (boo- p,o, for the nasty bar code at the bottom. why couldn't you have use the red ink?)

thanks maggie

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

desk cleaning - kate's pink flower + finn's black scribble

this was an envelope with the stamp on it. not sure why. nothing new. maybe i owe all y'all another one.

it did not have a black border, i scanned it on a black background.

soooooo...more desk cleaning. had started one for finn and messed it up, but figured it was worth trying a scribble solution. i goofed up the flourish and almost threw it away, but, tried erasing the metallic pen and voila, it erased all the metallic and left a nice color. so i was happy to discover that new technique. the gel pen was one that leaves a colored outline on either side of the glitter. so, you erase the glitter and you get just the color.

then, parting with my last johnnie cash stamp was pretty hard, but finn's been a good little grasshopper and he's gotten a lot of mileage out of johnny.  so, happy end of year.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

march exchange sign up

my feb exchange envelopes went in the mail yesterday. sadly, they are mostly empty. so many of you write such nice notes and i try to find time to reply - but it never happens.

a n n o u n c i n g
 the MARCH EXCHANGE - sign up

if you are new to the exchange, please read all the rules in the tab at the top of the blog. 

the rules in this post are just the rules that have changed

if you do not like the new rules, please do not sign up.

1. lists will have 6 people including YOU. send to the other 5 people and you will receive from the other 5 people.

2. emails will be included on lists. if you are missing envelopes, email the person on your own and if the missing envelope is not resolved, contact me - jean - please do not contact jan. if you do not want your email on the list that goes out to the other 5 people, please do not sign up.

3. lists will grow as they come in, the first 6 people will be on the first list, next 6 people on the second list and so on. at the end, if there are 4 people, i will add names of people who have requested to do 10 envelopes. you are not guaranteed 10 - but indicate if you want 10.

4. non-USA participants are welcome. i will try to keep only one non-USA address per list. if you are not willing to send outside of the USA ($1.20 postage) please do not sign up.

5. send your information to the NEW EMAIL (below) and send it by March 7th

pushingtheenvelopes  (at) yahoo (dot) com 


PLEASE put this in the subject line:  March exchange

PLEASE put the following 6 lines in the body of the email:

Your Name
Your Street Address
City-State-Postal Code  - or whatever order your country prefers
Your Email
5 or 10 envelopes (that is how many envelopes you wish to exchange)

I will reply to each email that arrives.
If you do not hear from me in 3 or 4 days, please resend.

PLEASE do not send EXCHANGE emails to my jmwilson(etc) email
I am keeping that email for personal emails.
I have to keep the exchange emails and personal emails separate or my head will explode
and then we won't have any more exchanges, eh?

Optional theme for march - a picture of jean's head exploding.
Maybe put Jan in the background rolling her eyes.