Friday, December 31, 2010


you may be seeing some of these that look familiar. like that middle one. i think there is one to ellen that looks just like it. that is because, after christy told me how much she liked getting the envelopes at college, i started stockpiling a set to send to my daughter, ellen, who was going to be going away to college the following year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

multi christy

i guess i don't have much to say about these because they are all script and i don't really know how to teach script and pointed brush. i like to write with pointed brush and eventually, i think i got pretty good at it...but i sure do not know how to teach it or what to say about it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

my mail

this just in from my friend chuck. he drew every singe line on those trees by hand using the copic multi liner 003 and 005 markers. amazing.... thanks chuck

multi christy

more...practice practice practice

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

at last...the new stamps for 2011

they finally posted all the new stamps for 2011
you may view them here
click on
2011 program review
which is just below the row of blue, numbered buttons

there are some fabulous stamps coming out this year.
a couple clunkers
but, mostly....bee-you-ti-ful!!!!


when i scanned these, i put them in groups of similar styles of lettering. so they look a little redundant in this order. but, if i do not post them in numerical order, i 'll never figure out which ones are posted and which ones aren't. i am happy to report that my pointed pen lettering has improved a lot from that third example. yikes. and such a pretty stamp.

Monday, December 27, 2010


i'm going to post the rest of the christy collection in groups because they are not the best examples. the christy series was the very first series. i had no idea that i would become an envelope fanatic. when i look at these now, i just see creepy chicken scratching. but, i am willing to share it with the universe in the hopes that it will inspire others to send more mail. and it is worth repeating...the only way you get better at anything is by practicing. really good envelopes did not happen at the beginning. these were the ones where i was muddling through and figuring out how to improve.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

all you need

here is the envelope i believe i have mentioned that illustrates that all you need for an envelope to arrive is the street address and the ZIP. and below is the card that was inside...from carol, asking me if it arrived.

and below that are more of the leftover holiday scans.
one card where i punched out the ornaments on the tree
then saved the dots
and glued them onto the leaf on the other card.
i checked into a clinic and received treatment for that particular compulsion to use all the hole-punch-dots.
also one more gift tag idea that would work on an envelope

Saturday, December 25, 2010

my favorite card

still a favorite after 10 years. it is done on vellum (the translucent paper, not the real animal skin and the greeting is written, tiny, behind the layers of the tree. i'm sure many people have drawn trees like this. but, i thought it up on my own, at the time. it would make a darling addition to an envelope.

and below, a little more holiday lettering
because tomorrow, i need to start something new...
or maybe one more week of gobble-dee-guk
and then i'll start the new year with a plan and some organization and crutches for all of the people who just fell off their chairs laughing and broke their legs.
yes, 2011 will be the least likely year to be will be a year full of envelopes, that's fur shur.

Friday, December 24, 2010

keith's scribble / jean's poem

below is a leftover partial card that i did one year for keith. i scribbled large sheets of paper, cut them down, added small lettering. it would be fun to scribble a bunch of envelopes. i also sprayed them with glitter. they were sent the year that we had some nice snowflake stamps.

also below...for christmas is a reprint of a poem that i wrote one year and made fairly complicated little booklet cards. too bad i have not had time to draw stick figures to go with the story. i still like the story. the only explanation it needs is why i fell off a step into my living room. it is because there is one step down into our *sunken* living room. it's not really sunken. more like dippy, but i digress. and, yes, i often sleep in my shoes because i fall asleep before going to bed and nobody wakes me up to tell me to go to bed.


T'was the night before something, towards the end of the year,
I was stressed to the max, meltdown seemed near.
The stockings were hung by the chimney to dry.
The dryer was busted; I didn't know why.

The kids had been threatened to stay in their beds.
It was probably weird, what danced in their heads.
With George in his jammies and me in my shoes
I'd just settled down for my long nightly snooze.

When out on my desk there arose such a noise,
I jumped out of bed thinking, “It must be those boys!”
Away to the living room I trudged like a schlep,
Tore down the hallway, and fell off the step.

The light from the street gave a bit of a glow,
To the piles on my desk that do seem to grow.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
My favorite postman; he's really a dear.

He was dressed all in blue, his usual clothes,
Looking very official right down to his toes.
He spoke not a word, turned on all the lamps,
Went straight to work, finding all of my stamps.

I'd signed up to do the guild card exchange,
But my cards were unfinished, my life was deranged.
The ideas were no problem, they flew out of my head,
There was something else I was facing with the dread.

The stamps I had cherished over the years,
Would soon be inadequate, the worst of my fears.
Dave gave me a wink, and grabbed every card,
Stuffed them and stamped them on his way to the yard.

My stamps were all leaving, and not by my choice.
There was a tear in my eye and a crack in my voice.
He hollered at me as he drove out of the 'hood,
“The new stamps are coming, they'll be just as good.”

be sure to scroll down to the post below.
there are two posts today.


picture this as a valentine with the word LOVE and maybe not so red/green. or if you are doing an envelope to someone with 4 letters in their name, it would work. or maybe the top two letters are the first and last initial and the bottom two letters are the state abbreviation.

not apologizing, just noting....this one, and the previous one were just experimental so they are rough around the edges. note on yesterday how the letters are packed together pretty tightly. and on todays, that little extra black shadow is a nice touch

Thursday, December 23, 2010

clunky season's greetings

ok...i scanned a bunch of clunky stuff and you all deserve better, but, once i scan something, it just seems like it needs to be posted. so...picture this as a valentine. ditch the green. shadow it in pink or silver and make it a name. add an address and a stamp and mail it.

down to the wire

i have tons of holiday mail that i did not get the next three days will have some lettering samples that you may keep on hand for next year. this one was done with a brand new ZIG marker on the wide red strokes. the candy cane portion was done with the small tip of a ZIG *writer* and the green shadows were done with the bolder end of the ZIG *writer* and that green is not *pure green* it might be evergreen. zig's pure green is an icky green. i recently heard that zig is discontinuing some of their colors. too bad...they had a nice selection and i liked the non-bleediness of their markers. guess we have to switch to copic and deal with bleeding to get some good colors.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

more snowflakey neuland

again, old stuff, not envelopes, but fun styles that could have been done on an envelope. several people have alerted me to the fact that the sending of holiday cards is on a downhill slide. i'm included in the list of slackers...but, i am keeping up with the blog, so maybe that counts for something. thanks to all the people who sent me cards. i'll try to reply...but can't make promises.

i am adding these because the stacey group is not envelopes at all and i vowed i would not let the blog lapse into non-envelopes, but...i can't resist sharing the wedding ideas with the envelope people. ok, these aren't envelopes either...i just need to get the winter stuff posted.

stacey's wedding reception placecards

i wonder if there is a bride out there who would let me do a complete thought bubble wedding. thought bubbles and stick figures. there is a blog called offbeat bride that has some pretty offbeat stuff. maybe i need to advertise on their site....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

could be an envelope

i am trying to fill in this weeks posts with things that could have been fun holiday envelopes. i like the idea of big words in the background and the name and address would have been done in black, small, under the big words. this is just a sample from a long long time ago.

stacey's wedding invitation

not an envelope, but, this was in my stack of stuff that i was going to mail to stacey. i might not. she'll have to bid on my treasures at sotheby's just like everyone else.

Monday, December 20, 2010

keeping this one

this was going to go to my friend stacey who loves my stick figures and my real ink writing. this is only the second time that i have spilled a bottle of ink. i'm not sure who the fellows are on the stamps, but if they are

antarctic or arctic explorers, then this particular spill makes this a very special envelope. therefore, i will not be sending it to stacey. i'll just let her know the address to my blog.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

back to christy

christy's mom had to update the address because christy must have moved into a new that's not my penmanship on the address. i would like to blame the rest of the lettering on someone else too. but, it has some fun flourishing and doodling. so, as i keep saying, not every envelope on this blog is a masterpiece. i'm letting you see the arfy ones, too. there are always little touches that i think are good ideas. for example, those two little red squares on the caps are a nice way to add a spot of color.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

same old same old

this was from the pointed pen vinework phase. not too long ago there was one to jackie that looked a lot like this one. i think on jackie's, i had the clock stamps and did not like the colors with the ink color. on this one, i am happier with the colors. i have not seen these ivory envelopes in a while. i used to get them at officemax. they were about $5 for a box of 100. always good to have a big box of cheap envelopes for experimenting. although, in some ways, i regret that some of my best work is on really cheap paper. jackie's envelopes to me are often on really nice artist grade paper. her envelopes will be so much more valuable some day. she wins quality. i win quantity. although, it probably isn't a competition. or is it?
jackie-jean war. who can create the most valuable envelope? are they going to be more valuable if they stay all together? would somebody like to research the ray johnson envelopes and report back? he is the father of modern mail art. the movie *how to draw a bunny* available on netflix tells all about him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

techno - unfinished

three more of these unfinished envelopes before i return to finished hang in there with me. i have still not figured out how to create these blog postings. at least i got rid of that underlined type.
really simple techno. fewer curves than yesterday. actually, no curves. very simple. two colors of metallic gel ink. i had forgotten about this one. maybe it would be a good way to teach techno-style. start with *sticks.* maybe i could call this one chop sticks or pick-up-sticks. and that A has a goofy chicken foot on it. needs more doo-dads.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


i do not have a photo of this. wish i did. yesterday, while driving around on errands, and stopped at a stop light, i was thinking that i wished i could be getting something done while just sitting there. i happened to have some envelopes that needed stamps and to be sealed. so, i started sealing envelopes in the car. it was easy to do with one hand, so i just kept doing it after i started driving again. i really hope somebody saw me sending *real mail* while driving instead of texting while driving. by the time i had arrived at my destination (the p.o.), the envelopes were done. and i was able to get in line just ahead of a rush at the p.o. so it was an efficient day at my regular job.

i wonder if it would make national news if i caused a horrible accident with my snail-mailing while driving. we will never find out, because i vow i will never do it again. it was just a reckless impulse...

the ever popular techno

another reject....but people love the *techno* style. i can show people how to do it, but i think it is one of those styles that requires a lot of practice. i don't do it very often, but, i did find the very first envelope i ever did in this style. it's not that i invented it...i think that jean formo's versals were the inspiration.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

unfinished holiday

this is a sample for a holiday envelope. i recall that the stamp was the madonna and child with the black background and some gold. you'll just have to imagine it. this would have been better if i had outlined the black letters. but, it is a quick easy way to address a lot of envelopes. run through all the last names first. you'll get good at centering.
then run through all the first names. in gold.
do the addresses last.
i find it is easier and quicker to not change pens and styles and do all three parts on any one envelope. the only downside, is that you have to be careful when you are going through the list to get the right address on the right name.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

crossword puzzle inspired

these were unsent because it was back in the day when i would use actual envelopes to work out the designs. i liked the idea of stacking the letters. my friend, carol, had sent me a set of the gel pens that were glaze pens, i think. so i was looking for designs where i could use all the colors. clearly, it was difficult to write all the lines, one letter at a time. and being lazy...i didn't use a guide for the vertical columns. note to a better job with this idea. note to some stamps that are grid like. note to blogspot....send an apology to jean for this new improved method of posting blogs that she can't figure out......

Monday, December 13, 2010


i wonder if they have helpers at blogspot to explain this to me. i have no idea why or how the letters suddenly started to appear with out the line underneath this is why i am old-school...and prefer paper and pens...but i will not give up, because my fan base is so strong, vocal, and adorable.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

award winner

this one is to my mother from jeri hobart. jeri is a frequent winner in the graceful envelope contest. her work is really spectacular. i like the way she complemented the grid lines on the stamp and then the p.o. kindly used the wavy lines to cancel the stamps which added to the overall design.

Friday, December 10, 2010

holiday card

this was the holiday card i designed the year the monster stamps came out. on the inside, it said..may you find many helpers for the holidays. yes it is just a photocopy. this was back in the day when i would do all my designing at kinko's with my exacto knife and glue stick. pretty primitive...i added the little touches of color by hand.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


a very old one. early exploration of neuland shapes done with a monoline pen instead of a chisel marker. wouldn't be that hard to find a stamp to go with it....but, he's long gone from that address.


liked the idea. stopped working on it when i added the second shade of blue that clashed with the first shade of blue. might try to fix it to show that anything can be fixed. i still like the idea of writing a name over and over in tiny lines. and i know i did not have a stamp on hand....can't imagine what stamp would look good with this. only a flag stamp because they are equally ugly as the clashing blues...except that one flag stamp that was pretty.but, it was dark, so it would not go with this one.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

odds and ends

the top one was probably done when i borrowed joan gordon's parallel pen. i have never bought my own because then i would never get anything done.

the bottom one is unfinished because it has a bad over-all shape - drooping down and looking sad. hopefully, i will repair it and post the improved version to illustrate how to save things that are headed off on the wrong track.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

jackie - unsent

i never sent this because the lettering is so bad. i suppose i could paste a new address over the old one. might do that...i have started a pile of mail that i intend to send. maybe i will do that on snow-days, which might be coming.

Monday, December 6, 2010

jackie - unsent

after years of outlining, one day i had the idea to draw a line through the middle. in fonts, this is called an *inline.* so, it is not exactly an original idea. i guess i kept this one to help remember how i did it the first time. often times, when experimenting, i do things that i like and then have trouble replicating the technique. this one is opened, so i can see what i had to say. the one posted yesterday is unopened. i feel like tom hanks with the fed ex package that he held onto while stranded on the dessert that movie *stranded*??? i can't remember the name. anyhow...should i open it...or not?....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

my address

yesterday, blog follower, EG, said that he was thinking about sending me some mail, but was not sure what my address is. i said it was plastered all over the blog, but he seems to think that some of my addresses are fake. so, anyone who wants to send me some mail, be assured that it will reach me at:
430 44th street
des moines, iowa 50312

i know some people hesitate to post their street address on a blog. i figure that if some serial killer, who is out to eliminate mail artists, finds me and offs me, it will just make all my envelopes more valuable and that would please my family to no end. currently, i am not worth much.  i suppose i should decide who i want to play me in the film that will undoubtedly be made after the mail-art-murder incident. dustin hoffman is the first actor that comes to mind. he did such a good job as tootsie, and while i am not tootsie-esque, i think he could capture the essence of jean. steven wright would also be a good choice. or maybe whoopie goldberg. she would capture the sassy-ness. ok, it needs to be like that movie about bob dylan where there were several people who portrayed him...and not all of the same gender.

jackie - unsent

here is one that i never mailed to jackie. i went through a phase of drawing vines on everything with a pointed nib. this one is with gold gouache. it is no longer a keeper, but that is not her current address, so i guess i could put it in a larger envelope. the color on the name really looks bad with the stamps. i get lazy when it comes to matching colors...

Saturday, December 4, 2010


another in the series of unstamped envelopes. i do like this lettering. it seems so happy. again, there is no exemplar, you just build the letters using shapes that will end up being letters. then add lines and dots.

i should do a book that includes every style where i have two sets of lines to camouflage the inadequacies of one line.

Friday, December 3, 2010

ellen's office building

she actually had a job in an office in the john hancock building when she was in college. one of the high points was getting to go in the private grocery store in the hancock building for the people who live there. i guess it was a high point for me... hearing about it. then she moved to the sears tower which has been renamed, but i don't remember what the new name is...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

odds and ends

i only posted the bottom one because i like the idea of one big letter. that one should have had one of the film strip stamps, but i must have run out of them. those stamps were very black and white, so they would have looked dreadful on the ivory envelope.

the top one is a fun way to letter. square off the letters and then outline with a metallic gel pen. there is no exemplar for this kind of writing, you just have to make up the letters as you go along. and add some dots. i guess that odd top stroke on the first E was inspired by the headgear on the Flash.