Monday, February 28, 2011

there are so many stamps with guys on them. they make perfect envelopes for birthday cards for guys who may not be into the flowers.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

birthday envelopes

this is my own weird writing that evolved from a few different pointed pen styles. the next week will be birthday envelopes.

Friday, February 25, 2011


i'm pretty sure i posted a dot-to-dot envelope for jackie and one for ellen. this is one i started for skip and never mailed. it has the pencil lines, so you can see how to do it. pencil the name. you have to draw straight lines that go in the general direction of cursive. then put in the dots, number them and erase the pencil lines. i suppose you could write things other than names. secret messages.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

copying nancy hills

a week or so ago i posted a pretty pansy stamped envelope by nancy hills. it was on my desk and i was trying to come up with something different for a shower invitation
and i had these pale pink envelopes. so i did my quick brush stroke version of nancy's gorgeous versals. at first, i thought mine were awful. but i dropped them in the mail. and now i think they are fine. but, i would not put them on display right next to nancy's :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

50-50 stamp

i bought a big packet of stamps for less than face value. they were all 25-cents, but i only had to pay 20-cents. it seemed like a bargain, but, they are not really very pretty. some are. but this one seemed so bad, i didn't think i could make anything pretty with it. but, i love a good challenge.

what i really dislike about the stamp is the flag, the red and blue and that diagonal. yuk. but then i looked at that cool grid work on the left. i don't know what it is, but i love it. so, i did a loose interpretation on the lettering and now it looks just fine to me. the scan isn't very good because blue does not scan very well. so squint and pretend it is blue-er.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

new mail

the address will go below the line. joie took a lettering class from me. i needed to send her one more handout and was going to do it electronically, but her email bounced, so i am sending snail mail. i discovered that most of my ZIGs are drying up. big problem. not sure i can justify new markers. this might spell disaster for the blog. but, it would make my mom happy. she disapproves of how much time i spend blogging. i was thinking of posting her email address so you could flood her with your perspective on whether or not this blog is a good use of my time.

and joie, if you read this blog, email me :-) please
my email address is right over there under my mugshot.

Monday, February 21, 2011


never finished. should send it to her on her birthday this year. she is an event planner and i have done a fair amount of work with her over the years. she has a real appreciation for calligraphy. she even had me do a brush character in chinese. i had no idea what i was doing. she thought it looked great. maybe i will post it and see if anyone cares to critique it for me. are any of the followers of this blog qualified to critique chinese? lemmekno.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

clothesline ideas

the first one in the third row is a clothesline strung between the empire state building and the eiffel tower. the one below that is a clothesline being held by the two hands in the sistine chapel. (the hand of god, by michelangelo)

now if i can just find some more of those stamps, i can finish the series.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


there have been a couple from this series. so you can click on [clothesline] under the LABELS and see all of them. and tomorrow, there will be a sketch of 18 more ideas that i never got around to doing. the stamps came in a little folder with the little ones on the cover.

Friday, February 18, 2011

graceful reject

this one was not accepted into the graceful envelope contest. they did have a couple that featured clotheslines and one was definitely superior to this one. i had a good run with that contest and have not entered in several years, but i encourage everyone to enter if they are at all inclined. if not, it is still a great place to pick up fun ideas for envelopes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

jackie - unsent

yes, one more that i never mailed to jackie. never intended to because it has that 18-cent stamp. i made about 3 of these. they were made with leftover scraps and trimmings off a custom invitation job...that has a fairly long story that goes with it...for another day. the green square is a cover and there is an accordion that unfolds with the message. i layered the pink strips and then covered up the confluence of pink strips with a yellow square.

it is in a vellum envelope and the address was written along the legs of the spider and the zip fit on the square. i should have repositioned the spider/card in the envelope when i scanned it. but, i like it this way, too.

happy birthday to the blog. i started it one year ago, today. it is also my son's birthday. that is the only way i would have ever remembered. of course, i can always scroll back and look at the first post. anyhow...happy envelopes to you all...

i pondered what to post on the birthday. this one jumped out at me because i sent a similar one to a friend and one day she told me that she always leaves it on the top of her desk, as it makes her happy. so, every time i see it, i am reminded that a simple piece of mail...even one that is just a pile of scraps...(literally...i just used what was on top of my desk)...can become a keepsake to someone else.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

last sandy?

there are some others like this, no cap blackletter, done in pastels. if you have not tried is quick, easy and fun. there is also layering and a little shadowing. but both of those are very easy and beginner friendly.
i thought i was at the end of the sandies and then realized there are 10 more

Monday, February 14, 2011

sandy ??

the numbering system is all messed up...we are getting to the end of the sandy series
i'm losing steam on commenting on all of them. only a few days until feb 17...the one year anniversary of this blog. i have not missed a day. hope i can find something really fun to post that day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

sandy 37

the last of the cacti. i saw a whole page of these stamps the other day and did not buy them because i remembered that i was not able to do a very good job with them. maybe i need to travel to the desert and spend some time with the cacti and get to know them a little better.

sorry this is late
i did not reset the time to 1 am

Saturday, February 12, 2011

sandy 35 and 36

these two must have been the ones that caused me to get out the gouache. pretty stamps. not so pretty addressing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

nancy hills' pansey envelope

here is the rest of the story that i mentioned a couple days ago when i posted that wonderful envelope from nancy hills. the pansy artwork arrived in the mail. it is lovely, and it is just a thin piece of paper. i couldn't figure out why nancy would send me a piece of paper. it seemed pretty fragile. but it arrived with only one bent corner. a couple days later, she emailed that she had sent me an envelope that had a piece of paper glued to the front, but it must have fallen off, because she received the blank envelope, returned. her return address was on the back. so she slipped it in another envelope, and created that beautiful celebrate stamped artwork that has had so many people drooling.

what a happy (for me) accident that the original address fell off. and how interesting that having to redo an envelope inspired her to do something even more fabulous. although these pansies are really nice. and that versal is exquisite.

the versal inspired me to rip off the general idea for a set of invitations. yes, i invite myself to all the events that i address for...whether i am on the list or not.
have i mentioned the roommate that my daughter had in college who commented one day...gee ellen, you sure do get invited to a lot of weddings. she assumed that the wedding styled envelopes that i sent to ellen were actually wedding invitations. can see that my version is very quick and gestural. at first i thought mine looked like really blah scribbling, but they sort of grew on me. some of the others have better details. the paper is that ribbed stuff, so it was not that easy to write on and the scan is a little washed out. hard to pick up subtle colors sometimes.

there is a bit of a discussion over on the OP list about the ripping-off of ideas. i guess we are supposed to call it homage.

and your tiny writing, nancy....we want lessons. will you make us an exemplar, please and thank you. did you invent it?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

sandy 33

i remember getting tired of markers and pulling out the gouache. this is a little muddy. but it was fun to try something different.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

sandy 32

oh.....not the best replication of a font. too fussy for me...nice color combination

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

this just in

i have another part of this one to post. a couple weeks ago, i received a thin sheet of paper in the mail. it had a beautiful name and address. i found out that it had been glued to an envelope, but, had become detached in the mail, so the envelope and contents went back to the sender and i received the beautiful piece of paper, which i have been meaning to scan and post...or maybe i did and forgot...either way, it was beautiful and there is a longer story that goes with it.

and then....yesterday, i was commenting online back and forth with the artist...who mentioned that she had resent the envelope that was returned to her. i had been too sick to even go to the studio, so i was not aware that it had arrived. this morning, i called my mom to tell her i was recuperated enough to come to the studio. she said..."Oh, you have the most beautiful piece of mail that I have ever seen. It came on Saturday and I just wanted to stare at it all day."

i wish you all could see it in real life. it is gorgeous. and the best part is, i can take a little credit for the artist being so good. she took a couple of my zany lettering workshops and she picked up just the right amount of zippadeedoodah to make her very highly trained traditional lettering into something that is splendid.

i have vowed to not lapse into personal stuff...but the part about calling my mom to say i was coming to the studio might have not made sense....the reason my mom is getting my studio mail is because she lives in a duplex and my studio is the other half of the duplex. so, she brings in the mail when i am not there.

and back to the artist surpassing her teacher. i believe that her work makes me into a zen master, because only the zen masters are good enough to create students who are better than themselves. this is probably a little like fractured fairy tales. fractured logic, perhaps? anyhow...i'm just thrilled to get mail like this.

this blog is about, i hope this inspires people to outline and decorate...always a fun way to approach lettering.

Monday, February 7, 2011

sandy 50

this was the last one in the book. it is a favorite stamp and a favorite way to letter. this concludes the sandy series...unless i do 6 more because she has her 60th birthday this year....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

sandy 43

more scribbling. maybe today i can post a bonus envelope. i like the scribbling, but i don't think it is anything to aspire to. unless you are doing a lot of envelopes for one person....then you probably need a few scribbles to cleanse the pallet.

Friday, February 4, 2011

sandy 43 and 44

two today because they are a bit weak. i wonder why i put that mississippi stamp on going up and down. i should have turned it a quarter turn so that it was going left to right, same as the address.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

sandy 45

a little silly. in this case, it was probably better to just sketch the general shapes quickly and not be too literal. sometimes faster is fine.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sandy 46

the stamp collecting stamps are always so pretty. this one is part of a series. nice colors and back in the day when the printing process was engraving rather than offset. so pretty...again, should have taken a little more care with the drawing and lettering.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

sandy (48) 47

OK, we talked about pencil lines being helpful. i really should have penciled in something before i did this one. and if i did a little pencil, i didn't do enough. good idea, done too fast. such a nice stamp deserves a better envelope. envelope (48) is so ugly i can't make myself post it. i might try to think of a way to post a rogues gallery of the really bad ones.