Thursday, May 23, 2024

APR (and May) to Mary - Mutant lettering

I hardly ever delete a post - but the red envelope to Mary was so bad, I had to do something. I did a better envelope for her in May which is this one.

It is still not very good. I should have done two ice cream cones for the M - where they were *splat* up-side-down - then a party hat for the A - and I could have done a much better R with 2 or 3 feathers - or maybe Band-Aids -- and why is there a Band-Aid on a party stamp?

Below is the April envelope to Mary which is an atrocity. I'm only including it because it was a series of problems that did not resolve on this envelope but it did offer some ideas that I ended up liking.

In theory, this could have been a happy hybrid of Wes Wilson and Jordan - instead it is a nasty mutant. I wish I had used a lighter pink marker for those little envelopes. I love the idea of the little envelopes with that stamp so much that 20 people will be getting something like this. I'll experiment with different fonts.

This new system where I write the blog posts before I send the envelopes might be the best thing that has happened in 2024. Of course - the superstitious lizard that is living in my head will not allow me to celebrate lest a celebration of something good sets off the inevitable balance-maker-of-bad-stuff.

For those of you who thought I could have come up with something better than *mutant* to describe the lettering, you are correct. I went on a mission to find a better word - and I found so many I just had to share the list. That's a doozie of a list.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

APR to Maggie - Jordan-style

I had fun trying the Jordan-style with a color - not because it looks good - but because I enjoyed writing a cryptic message to Maggie. I drew some light pencil lines and ended up leaving them in. As I wrote the message, I skipped each square using the lavender marker. Then I went back and used the open square and wrote the words in gray.

I hope Maggie lets me know if she could read it. Or perhaps I will ask her to let me know - in a note on the back of the envelope. This is the very first time that I have ever photographed and written the blog entries before I mailed the envelopes. Usually they are gone -- and I have to whine about what I wish I had written or done.

Is this a whole new level of organization? 

My only wish is that I had a marker that was closer to the stamp - bluer. But - we are still honoring our guru, Mediocrates - the god of good-enuf.

I promise something other than Jordan-style tomorrow - but, I do hope that some of you give it a try. Especially if you are not a calligrapher - since you do not need any calligraphic skills whatsoever. Does anyone want an exemplar? Would that help?


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

APR to Lynne - Jordan-style

It would have been fun to send this one with just this stamp. Instead I had to find an acceptable co-orphan and the teddy bear fit nicely into the Y. I do not have a photo of how this one looked before I squared it off. The LY is nicely wonky and then the NNE does not have enough *wonk* - but - I do like the white space and I found my chart where I was keeping track of which style each person had received - so new-improved-organized-Jean will be sending one of these to e.v.e.r.y..o.n.e (maybe). I've learned that bold statements about what I am going to do - is a pretty good way to make sure those things don't happen.

And speaking of the things I say I will do that I forget to do. HEADS UP!
If I have said I will do something - please don't sit around waiting for it to happen
and please do not hesitate to send me a reminder.

I never was very good at remembering to do stuff I said I would do - and it has only gotten worse.


Monday, May 20, 2024

APR to Christy - Jordan style

When I did the envelopes for the Hudson USPS clerks - there was one to Jordan that had this style. I have no idea where it came from. I think the point of it is to just chunk out a name and then put corners on all the strokes. Then fill it in with doo-dads from the stamps. Jordan's had doo-dads from the Day of the Dead stamps. 

I'm so close to using up all the orphans - and the hockey player taking shots at the priceless Pueblo art is a bit of silliness. 

I did have the foresight to take a photo of the chunky first step to what we are calling the Jordan-style. Is Jordan honored to be a *named* style?

You can see how I penciled to get the width of the letters reasonably balanced. There is no trick to squaring off all the strokes. It does take some time - and it is inevitable that some strokes will be wider than others - so at the end - go back and add random thick strokes here and there.

That is very good design lesson. If you have something a little off - exaggerate the *off-ness* and repeat it at least 3 times and then it is a cool design element.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

APR to Rachael and Juliana - Wes-style [May to Lynne]

This is a May envelope - inserted at 5 am this morning - because I just realized that I already posted Rachael's envelope - although it was not quite finished - here is the finished one - with all the deep regrets.

That blind spot in my planning is alive and well. It's 2-pronged. I either forget to plan for a stamp or I plan for a stamp and then forget the plan or misplace the stamp or stick it on the wrong envelope. 

The Deep Regrets:
1 - forgot which stamp I intended.
2 - decided that a solid black back ground was better than another flower - so I layered some white selvedge off the sheet of stamps
3 - discovering that the stamp paper is thin enough that the background shows through

I tried another name on a smaller envelope. It's clear that the number of letters and the proportion of the name is a big part of the success or deep regrets.

After I tried a few of these with colors instead of black - I returned to black - 
The Deep Regrets:
1 - those yellow dots
2 - not having a stamp in mind
3 - using a neon envelope

No regrets:
Trying something that was fun at the time - even though the results were 50-50

If you go back to the top - you'll see that I realized that I could fit in more letters if I tapered the wavy band. It helps - although -it would still take many versions to get it right. Lynne's N's are too narrow and the O at the end is too wide. In spite of all the deep regrets, I did [do] keep coming back to Wes Wilson.


Saturday, May 18, 2024

APR to Kristine

One more in this series. I named this style *Rachael's outline. I'll add something else to today's post because everyone might be really tired of this style and we can't let our readers get bored and restless. Not that I'm all that caught up in the amount of views I get. I hardly ever check. But I do check - from time to time - and it's been pretty consistent - but the last time I looked - I had hit crazy numbers - something went *viral*

Here is the chart:

There was that peak in 2017 - but other than that - things were pretty consistent at 25,000 views per month - until recently  -- when there are spikes up to 80-90,000 - that's just crazy. 

I'm still glad I never got into monetizing - with monetizing comes trolls - and we don't need that.

Here's a fun Mickey Mouse stamp from France. I like how it's just close ups. Mickey has been on a couple USPS stamps - but never a full page of Mickey.

When the French postal system wants to use Mickey on a stamp - I wonder who they call. I think there is a Disney theme park in France -- so Disney must have a relationship with France.


Friday, May 17, 2024

APR to Grace, Amy and Cathy - The Last Shower

Grace, Amy and Cathy received this style which was inspired by a set of 20 envelopes I did for a shower. I might end up doing more of them for the rest of the April exchange.

As mentioned on numerous occasions, I am retired. I did that one volunteer job a couple weeks ago that was only first names and vowed that it was enough of a learning experience that it would be easy to turn down anyone who found me and wanted to hire me to address envelopes. You know where this is going....

Yup, I had a phone call from someone who started in with a sincere amount of gushing - about the holiday envelope that she gets every year - and how she asked that person for my name - and how much she loves her yearly envelope - and she was wondering if I would be willing to address 20 invitations for a shower.

It was nice that I found a style that I had already worked out - and then it turned out to be fun to use it on exchange envelopes.


Thursday, May 16, 2024

APR to Alex and Ben - Kestrel


We've already seen a couple of this *Rachael style* that had just the name. This sheet of stamps came with all those little words and phrases. Rachael's envelope has the row of stars which might be washi tape - so, I thought this might be cute. It's OK. A different font might be better. It was fun to use them on something to my granddaughter.

This is what the grandson received. I put it inside Alex's envelope and asked her to hand deliver it. It has a cancelled stamp.  The silver gel pen part looked pretty good in real life and not so good in the photo. There is an oops on his name. For as long as I can remember I have had trouble remembering that there is no E on the end of Benjamin. It's such a weird thing - because I tend to be very phonetical with my spelling.

Here is the original inspiration envelope... I always forget how slender her strokes are. Also more rounded on the ends..... when I first posted this envelope I relayed Rachael's comment that she was not 100% happy with how this one came out - but, I think it's worth noting that it has provided a lot of inspiration for me - so - if we look at it that way -- it's 100% successful.


Here is a calligrapher with a blog that stays on topic - however, she does not post daily. I did a search on my blog for her name and nothing popped up. I'm surprised I've never linked to her before. 

LINK to Kestrel's blog

LINK to her IG

I wonder if I'll remember to give this a try. My favorite part is the little doo-dad-curl where the A and K loops are almost touching.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

APR to Jessica - Strands puzzle


This was the envelope that was supposed to have my favorite cloud stamp plus 2 special delivery stamps but they slipped onto a different envelope - so the only thing I could find was this lavender stamp. It's OK. I actually like this lettering and somewhere I had the whole alphabet - so maybe it will pop up again some day.


I can't remember if I have already posted this.

The NYTimes has a new puzzle called Strands. There is a grid - and you have to find words.

All the words refer to theme. Each time you find 3 random words that have nothing to do with the theme, you earn a *hint* which is when they give you one the theme words. And - there is one *big* word - that ties everything together - and goes from edge to edge. I love this game/puzzle. You have to look carefully at the linked letters to *read* the words. I hope my pitiful brain is benefiting from the workout it gets with all these puzzles - mini-crossword, Wordle, Connections, Letter-boxed, and now Strands. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

APR to Rachael - 1-yr calendar

This is the beginning of the Wes Wilson binge. Please note - Rachael sent this last year - so when the one from JeanR showed up - it must have triggered something in my memory that nudged me into thinking I should give this style a try.

When my April envelopes were not going very well, I decided to pull out my folder of inspiration and see what I could find. I had done a so-so version of Rachael's psychedelic flowers - and decided to try again. I have 10 letters in my name - Rachael has 13 - right there, I should have been more careful with the spacing. I should have pulled out an exemplar. 

There is still room for significant improvement in the flowers - but I need to ask myself if that is a good use of my time. So far - it was a good use of my time because it nudged me out of my slump.

I actually like it a lot in black and white - so I think I'll just send it this way. Or maybe this is my next
Fix-It-or-Wreck-It envelope. I guarantee if I try to color in those petals I will wreck it.


This is such a fun thing - but I can't decide how to use it . One entire year on a sheet of paper. I just wanted to store the address for it - in case I think of a way to use it.

LINK to one year calendar

Monday, May 13, 2024

APR to Devonte, Lili and Lorie - Angry Grammarian


Three more that went to clerks at my main post office. I was in a script mood. My favorite is Lorie's. 


Nobody has ever complained to me about my use of the Oxford comma. I ran across this item and have decided to drop the Oxford comma...or maybe *try to remember* to drop it. It might be hard to change. Perhaps nobody cares.

If anyone is a grammar and punctuation aficionado.... this looks like fun. A new musical. 

LINK to The Angry Grammarian

I'm doing a fairly good job of curtailing my surfing. Except when I read articles like the one at that link and it goes to the BillyPenn website. I deduced that it was a reference to William Penn - and thought to myself - gee - I don't know anything about him. It's always fun to do a quick Wiki-read about those guys who sailed across the pond (a few times) and ended up on the box of oatmeal. And by *fun* I do not mean to imply that it is actually fun. Eye-opening might be a better word.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

APR to Susan - Balloon fighters


Fix It -or- Wreck It?  Welcome to a new series where I spend a ridiculous amount of time on a name and I know that it's not going anywhere - but I seldom give up on the idea that I might be able to fix it. Below is what I had started - and I had started with the fatal mistake of not having a stamp in mind. After I put in all that work - I went looking for stamps and found the *aging together* stamps. I remembered that Susan and I are both April-girls - and I'm ready to get rid of all those stamps - so as much as I did not care for the name or the fact that the stamp is not quite the right color - I went ahead and stuck the stamps on. 

No matter what happens - it is going in the mail - but, you are left wondering - did she fix it or wreck it?

Somehow the final version ended up in the May 27th blog post.


I have an 8 year old grandson. I think we need to try to build this out of cardboard. 

LINK to website..... where you can see a video of them in action.

Apologies for such silliness - I'm using the blog as a filing system for ideas to entertain the grandkids. Each year, they are older - and I need to stockpile some ideas.....

Saturday, May 11, 2024

APR to Lovie - Typewriter art

If you are wondering why I have jumped to April envelopes before posting the March envelopes that arrived in the exchange - it is because the March envelopes were sent to a friend at her home - and it was the middle of April before I had a chance to photograph them. Those envelopes will start on May 29th. 

Two more to the nice lady at our main post office who helped me out with the effort to get my son's mail forwarded from Tahoe to Iowa. The top one is silver gel pen. I haven't done ribbon writing in a while - I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I've done better at that other idea - with layering of styles and colors. This one is ho-hum because I didn't literally layer anything. The names need to overlap.


Here's a quick look at typewriter art. 

LINK to typewriter art website

LINK to James Cook's IG

LINK to his *big* piece

Friday, May 10, 2024

APR to Chistanna- Umbrellas


This is one of Rachael's designs. I've done my own variations several times. In March, I sent 3 envelopes to the other clerks at Paula's station - and I spelled Christanna's name wrong - so I wanted to do a really good replacement. I liked it so much that I did a few more. 

This one is also to someone at Paula's station - and it's not spectacular - so maybe I owe Allison a better one. Allison needs to convince Paula to stay in the exchange so she gets more mail.

I should have added white drop shadows. Grrrrrr.


There is a guy in Turin Italy who makes custom umbrellas. His website is all in Italian - but - you can enjoy how good he is at matching the plaids.

This link takes you to the page on the website with a video - in Italian.

LINK to umbrella video

At the planning stage, Mr. Suino will typically spend an hour with a client, deciding the 50 details that will go into an umbrella. Decisions include which thread color and the style and finish of an umbrella’s “tips” — the canopy’s protective metal ends. Larger concerns determine fabric, size — eight or 10 panels measuring about 18 to 26 inches from the center to the tip of the rib — and the handle. Handle options include butter-soft woods and roots; hand-carved ducks, eagles and toucans; and a one-of-a-kind selection of hollow resin handles filled with whimsical items, including curls of blue and white paper depicting a small white boat on an azure sea.

And he keeps a file on every umbrella so that if you lose yours, he has all the details for making an exact copy.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

APR to Jordan -. Kit Davey


When Paula signs up for the exchange, if I have time, I enclose envelopes for the other clerks at her station and use stamps that I have collected off mail. I really like the way this one turned out. I had done a few envelopes that were wretched - and then I got into a nice groove. I hope I can remember to do some more of this style.


Lettering and handmade books go hand in hand. It takes a LOT of self control for me to not lapse into making little books. Here is someone who popped up on IG - and she claims that all of her materials are recycled. From what I know about books - it would seem like she'd need some predictable paper and card stock for some of the base layers. Or maybe she only starts a book if she has enough for a base - like in the one pictured - maybe she has a huge pile of some long black paper.

LINK to Kit Davey's website

LINK to Kit's IG

I had a hard time choosing an image to go with these links. She has a broad range - and occasionally veers into that lane that is popular in some circles - but not a lane I care for. Just mentioning so you won't be shocked if you have delicate sensibilities. It's nothing you haven't heard or seen if you've ever housed a teenage boy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

APR to Paula - Wes Wilson


I was so happy with the envelope to Patty that used one of these stamps - the one with the ice cream cone. There were 4 designs in this set. Patty's ice-cream-cone-P was very cute. I did not have any more of the ice cream cone stamps - so tried to make a P out of the shamrock. Yuck. The dreamsicle is the opposite of dreamy. The rainbow is OK. The kitten pattern is pitiful. The mutant cupcake gives me the creeps. 
Making letters out of objects is hit-or-miss. I do like the challenge of a stamp with 5 little images - and making those 5 images into letters - and if I had a staff of people managing my household - I would work on this until it was lovely. I would also pay my staff a ridiculous amount of money and I would be very easy to please.

I did not block the address because this is going to a post office for a display.

***Real time add on - I bought another sheet of these stamps - so we'll see if I can come up with a better picture-alphabet.


Back in late March, I posted an envelope by JeanR and didn't know the name of the style and then it popped up on IG - and lead to Amity Parks. She's been featured on the blog - and if you are interested in this style by Wes Wilson - contact Amity and see if it will be on her Zoom class schedule. LINK to Amity's class

To see more examples, Google *Wes Wilson lettering* - also keep reading the blog because I ended up with a full WesWilsonBinge. 

And here is a video about Wes - LINK to Wes Wilson video

Amity's exemplar

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

FEB from Phillip - Signatures


This Feb exchange envelope was hiding on my desk - so it's out of order. It is from Phillip - and he mailed in on Feb 29th - and enclosed a note saying that he hoped it ended up with a nice clear leap day post mark. It took about 3 weeks to make its way from Ohio to Des Moines. I need to find out if the scanners cannot see anything on red paper. I feel like that's a rumor I heard many years ago. There is a faint postmark on the back of the envelope. 


It was hard to choose which example to post from this IG. The videos of the actual pen in action are mesmerizing. 

I have not had a chance to look at much at the website - but will share this info. I hope it is legible. If not you may find it on the website.

Initially AlRasyid was the Founder, CEO and robotic engineer of the first underwater robot company in Indonesia. Differences in vision forced AlRasyid to retire and choose to become an artist. Finally he succeeded in creating a new type of lettering suitable for signatures and logos. In order to serve you, he founded the Alrasyid Lettering company. Company profits are reused to build art, education, technology projects and develop the younger generation. Now there are 18 young talents who have joined Alrasyid Lettering. All because of you, from you, and for you.

Monday, May 6, 2024

MAR to Grace, Cathy, Mia, Jessica

We have come to the end of my March envelopes. The DRC - Deep Regret Club. The only thing worse than the envelopes is putting up with my whining about it.

<deep sigh> I did just delete two paragraphs of detailed whining - because we all have better things to do.

Grace's is just boring - but using up orphan stamps is necessary - and we might even be close to getting it done.

The idea to use the lettering on the selvage of the sheet of stamps was an atrocious idea on Cathy's. It was hard to part with those orphans because they have been around for so long and are soooo pretty. I believe I sent a consolation envelope that has already appeared.

Next we have the Inverted Jenny - someone sent me two of these stamps. They came on a sheet with that big border. I was supposed to send an envelope to the person who sent me the stamps (in 2018) - and somehow I lost the name and address - so apologies to that person if she is still reading the blog. She is/was not an exchanger - she just sent the stamps out of the blue. So --- it's a $2 stamp - and I am out of international stamps - so I figured I would use it on an envelope to Mia - in Canada. 

In a perfect world, I would have made the lettering of her name and address in the style of the cartouche. Instead I botched some script - and printing - and stuffed it in another envelope - and forgot to photograph either one of them....grrrr

And finally - we have the wrong stamps on an envelope. They were supposed to go on a different one - so - hopefully Jessica likes the stamps - because they are all-time favorites of mine that were a hard to let go. I hope they are happy in FL.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

MAR to Mary

This is probably my final attempt to appropriate Mary's design. I did manage to loosen up and do some overlaps - but, I do not have any juicy white gel pens and that is a major frustration. I will refrain from a longer rant about how hard it is to find juicy bold white gel pens. Any discussion of art supply availability gets my blood boiling. Nobody wants to hear about that.....

I'm still on my ponder-fest about how worthless some of my blog posts are. I read one that was so inane that it was bothering me. Lucky for me, I have a whole posse of people who only know me through the blog so I can just pull up comments from them and it adjusts my perspective. 

The whole point of the blog - is to take a few minutes to do something to offset all the other stuff that is going on. Or, if you are a person with too little going on - and you need to fill some hours - voila - that's the whole point of the blog.

I feel like I need to make a flow chart.....


Saturday, May 4, 2024

MAR to Patty and Leslie

Patty used this stamp on an envelope to me (with items off the stamp turned into lettering) which inspired me to do something similar. Below is the practice I did because I knew it would be impossible to get it right in one shot. I wish I had done two practices or used a smaller envelope. The proportions are a little off - but, it's pretty good. I think the looser flowers are better on the practice one. That's one of the hardest parts for me - finding the balance between careful enough that it's not wild - but loose enough that it's not stiff. The final P is better because the scoop of ice cream needed to be larger. The tt is better on the final because I had loosened up and they fit together better. I can't decide which A I like better. Probably the practice - but maybe not. 

It's exactly like all those other places where you have to be tight and controlled and also relaxed and free at the same time. I like that I know that - but it is also frustrating to know how hard it is to be in that zone.

Which brings us to Exhibit B - I was loose enough that I liked 75% of Leslie's - but the balloons needed something - and I knew I'd mess it up - so I let it go - with moderately deep regret. <sigh>  I should probably buy another sheet of those stamps - the colors are yummy.


Friday, May 3, 2024

MAR to Caroline and Christina

Pointed brush was the style of lettering that drew me into the serious study of calligraphy. While penmanship fascinated me when I was 3 years old and just figuring out how words could be stored on paper using the alphabet and while I spent a ridiculous amount of time in college working on my penmanship - and while my first two or three classes in calligraphy (in my early 40s) were interesting - it was the class in pointed brush that tipped me into the full blown obsession. 

But there is little call for pointed brush in the world of envelope addressing - so I've let my pointed brush skills wither. Or is it whither. Spell-check is not underlining either. These were the last two envelopes for March and the colors were pleasing. 

I deeply regret that wimpy little *r* as well as the last stroke of the *h* which needs some shade.

 While I am cutting back on surfing, I have also been reviewing some of my blog posts - and I am in a quandary. Some of them are 100% goofy. Should I go back and edit and delete the goofy parts? Fourteen years of posts -- that's a lot of editing.....