Wednesday, November 30, 2011

more scribbles

again, this is just a scribbly layout. i used that border across the top of the stamp and did it all the way around. this would be fun to do if i had hours and hours and hours. again, i hope chuck wants to do an example of the right way to do borders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

scribbly upside-down

or maybe it looks better with the scrolly-doodle on the bottom. probably not. but, i have the scanner, i am not going to offend it by deleting anything.

scribbly layout

ann..this is one idea for the stained glass. i scribbled the general shape from the inside of the round window. at the bottom, i started doing a fine line. i;m not sure if i will do more on this, as it is just a layout. but, if you liked this idea, you could draw the idea once and then scan it and print it onto a bunch of envelopes. you would not have to redraw it each time.

now, if we can get chuck excited about drawing stained glass patterns, we'll have some spectacular examples of how this idea could be refined.

from chuck

my first holiday envelope. chuck has been making his own envelopes out of card stock. this is the alphabet we worked on at the last lettering get together that we have monthly at a shop in west des moines. any locals who do not know about may contact me and i'll put you on the list to get reminders about what, when, where. in my dreams, we film ourselves and do a webinar so you can all join us. we are very entertaining. (maybe not..but, we are if you like lettering)

Monday, November 28, 2011

scanner woes

 i did 5 envelopes for ann. the scanner scanned one, then it did this wacky tilt.
then it refused to read the colors.
honestly, i have no idea what i did to offend my scanner. i try so hard to be friends with it. anyhow, if i lived in canada, i might do envelopes like these.

the canadian stained glass window stamps are pretty, and i tried a few ideas. maybe tomorrow the scanner will want to scan.

beth's ribbon

another example of ribbon writing and i still can't find the blurring tool. i know i am at the right computer. i think this style appeared earlier. 

yesterday i did 3 or 4 envelopes to go with the canadian holiday stamps. i will post them later today if my scanner is in the mood to make some scans today.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

ellen's husband

this was done with a glaze pen. john neal sells them. they are a lot of fun. i'll write the address on in one line under the diamonds. i was just playing around. the big loops reminded me of the butterfly wings.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

dry markers

really dry marker. so dry, the layering didn't even make the presents green enough. the blue is blue G-Tec. gold dots are the Galaxy Markers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

nan - olive holiday

i do not do a lot of work with nibs and ink, but, i did have a job recently doing 245 sets of double envelopes. i used iron gall ink and ended up enjoying the job so much that i am pulling out all my envelopes from nan to try to inspire myself to improve my pointed pen work.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

jeri's ornament

this is the galaxy marker again, for the red. the green is zig or maybe even sharpie. looks layered. and the ribbon is gold gel pen. that is a pencil fake address. i'll fix it when i drop it in the mail. i'm getting to like the wavy lines more and more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


catherine is a new penpal who i met through this blog. she does not live in burlington, vermont. i put in a fake address in pencil and will correct this before i mail it. i just wanted to show some ideas for the holiday stamps. i used a gold from john neal. then i scribbled over it with a gold gel pen. the red is a Galaxy Markers from John Neal. i highly recommend these markers. they are more like paint, but not like paint pens.

the lime green highlight on the zip code is a zig marker, kiwi color.  you could get away with crayola for the green highlight. the galaxy colors are limited to 8 or 10 colors....not enough to match every stamp. but they are great for the basic colors.

i hope this link takes you to the markers. if not, go to johnnealbookseller and put markers in the search box.

anyone wondering about what size i really need to buy all the sizes. what works for one name or number might not work for another....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

from nan

this is from nan, president of my fan club. nan is the person who deserves all the credit for my 15 minutes of fame that has been extended for a decade now. she launched my career as a traveling teacher and while i enjoy my local teaching, it is lots of fun to travel to far away, exotic places :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

from jeri

jeri knows this is one of my favorite stamps. i think there is a post where i comment that jeri's envelopes are usually horizontal lines. so, i see she is busting out of the horizontal and doing some verticals, too. thanks jeri. and everyone should note the smeared lettering. i mentioned some nice un-intentional smearing on an earlier envelope from jeri, so she must have agreed. maybe march can be smudge month. too many good ideas.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ellen and colin

i was into the gold ink on the day i did this one. the outline is blue G-Tec. the green is zig marker, probably kiwi, although they have a lot of different greens. lime green sharpie works with this stamp.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

ornament - elizabeth

my favorite so far of the ornament stamps. the name took quite a while to do. first -write it, second -fatten parts of it, third -outline the whole thing with a red G-Tec.

i left in the pencil lines on the address. this is just a practice envelope. correction, it is not even an envelope, it is just a piece of paper folded in half.

Friday, November 18, 2011

ornament - evans

i'm liking this one. it is a rough layout on paper, not an envelope, with a picture of the stamp.

i like the big zip and the tiny little address. if i ever buy some stamps, i think i will redo this with the last name E-V-A-N-S in place of the big zip.
and i will spend more time on the bows.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ornament - tom

another attempt to do something with the wavy lines. the crossbar on the t is awful. the whole thing was awful with just on e layer of lettering. the over-scribbles helped a little. just not liking the wavy lines. tomorrow we will have one that i do like.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


i don't expect all of you (or even any of you) to like this idea. i had a nice holiday card from my friends and co-workers at the art center. the front of the card had an image that i knew my brother would like, and it seemed like a shame to throw the card out... but, i just can't keep every greeting card i receive, so, i turned it into this nice birthday card for my brother. it is not a mailed envelope, because it was hand delivered, but, i like the way i crossed out my name and wrote his and added a little something. you can imagine a stamp and address.

again, i don't expect any of you to like this idea...but, there is something about it that appeals to me. i suppose i also knew that my brother would not be offended. he's into recycling, too.

and now, because this post features mail for my brother, here is a story that he suggested i put on my blog. i try to keep the blog strictly about envelopes and i will not be posting any photos of my cute kids in their halloween costumes. but, some of you with a thing for pens and paper might relate to this story.

my brother, dk was at my studio getting instruction for how to take care of a couple things while i was out of town. he needed to write down the list of instructions. first he asked for paper and pointed to a tablet and i would not let him have it, i talked him into using some scraps that were beautiful rectangles of 100% cotton paper. then he proceeded to grumble that he did not see a clear surface on which to write. as he was grumbling, he picked up a pen, choosing one out of about twenty that were on the desk. as he started to write, i noticed that he had picked up a white gel pen, so it was not going to show up on the white paper. i told him he would need another pen and offered him a  box with another twenty pens. he chose one that happened to be dried up. my mom was watching and snickering. one of them told me that i needed to blog about the absurdity of finding paper and pen and clear surface area at my studio. they thought the readers would be amused. i can hear you all snoring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

elizabeth's second halloween

i'm pretty sure this is the last halloween envelope and it is the one i did for elizabeth, to thank her for sending me the alphabet in the first place.

i needed to do the H. and the Z. actually, this might be the first time i did the E. anyhow, i left out the A, and had so much time in it that i figured i would just put the A at the end with an arrow and i liked the name so much better with the A at the end. but, then, i saw how i had not penciled a base line and it was going up hill and i really could not live with it. so, i put in the wonky border and then found the stamp and then needed to do something else, so, the floral border took at least a half hour. so this is probably an hour on drawing and another half hour on staring. so when i am dead and all of these envelopes are really valuable because the blog lives on and we all know how valuable ephemera has become in a post apocoliptic universe so this one will be one of the most valuable ones of all.

every time i look at blogs where people babble on and on, i think to myself...don't do that. so the rest of november will be zen-like in its simplicity. but, i suppose the bizzyness of this post goes with the bizzyness of the envelope. the street and city/state/zip went in the two lower corners. and there is that W off the exemplar. i morphed it into an N for the nancy envelope. and i used the G-snake for the S.

this one was bumped after i received the spider web from jeri. so...this might be the last of the halloween envelopes, as i mentioned at the very beginning...but, i keep bumping things.

nov 15th additional note: yes, this one is bumped and there is one more after this one, so if you look at all the halloween envelopes, you will have all 26 letters. sorry for the confusion and lengthy post. i did have lots of excess yakking that i removed where it says

and... yesterday, after i posted the fun link where you can see the new stamps for 2012, elizabeth sent me an email with this link. thanks elozabeth, because i did not take time to look at all the links on that site. it is comforting to know that there are other people who spend more time than i do....looking at postage stamp sites.  it is a nice video-glimpse into the artists and art directors who design the stamps.

Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 stamps

i feel like steve martin in the movie -the jerk-
where he is wildly excited about the new phonebooks

the new stamps for 2012 are posted :-)

this is one of many pretty ones to be issues

ornament stamps - e&r

imagine waking up in des moines and discovering your cats had moved to ohio. that's what happened to one reader this morning. he was watching me create envelopes for the blog over the weekend, and was horrified to see that this was simply a piece of paper folded in half. it is not an actual envelope. he questioned the validity of all the other so-called-envelopes on the blog. there are very few fakes. so far...there will be more...because, alert viewers will see that the stamp is just an image of the stamp. i have not yet purchased any of these stamps. but, people are starting to think about their holiday mail, so i need to get some ideas posted. i figured these wavy lines would be a challenge for me. i'm not a wavy person. if you like this idea, go for it. personally, i do not care for it at all. maybe someone can do a better version and send the solution to me.

i do like the colors....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

from nan

trying to get to some holiday envelope ideas. this is some beautiful spencerian from nan. if you want to learn spencerian and use it on your holiday envelopes, shoot for the 2012 holiday. it takes more than a month to learn spencerian.

coming soon, some fun marker ideas to go with the current holiday stamps.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

cheryl jacobsen

another one from cheryl to the guild treasurer. i wonder if she intended to write up hill. or if it turned out to be up hill and she added the lines and then balanced it by putting the stamp on down-hill.

this is called gothic cursive. a very nice hand for envelopes. i don't really know anyone who does it much, other than cheryl. if there are others out there, speak up....or send me a sample to put on the blog. about some holiday would be fun to post 30 different scribes during the month of december... just a thought. i know you are all too busy. and it's not like any of you got any mail from me over the past year.

Friday, November 11, 2011

cheryl jacobsen

another example of a calligraphy guild member who was kind enough to send in her dues in an envelope that made the treasurer happy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


i thought i already posted this
but, now i can't see it on the list
it's really old and unfinished, but it seems to be a good time to tuck it into the line-up

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

from jeri to wilma

wilma is my mother. when there was a local calligraphy guild, we ran out of people to be treasurer, so we recruited the ledgerly-gifted wilma to keep track of dues, etc. she enjoyed the job, but lamented the poor penmanship on the checks and envelopes that arrived from the members. she could not understand why there was such poor penmanship coming from people who belonged to a club whose primary focus was *calligraphy* (greek for - beautiful writing) luckily, there were a few people who always took time to letter a very pretty envelope. this is from jeri. i think she used gouache and i think it smeared in the mail. but that smudge actually looks rather interesting. a couple people also did calligraphy on their checks and someday, i might find a photocopy of one or two of those checks and post the pretty parts (not the names and routing numbers.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

holiday - wilma

from my montana penpal. her pointed brush work is dreamy. it looks like it might be gouache rather than a marker.

the monochrome color scheme is very nice. since there really isn't a minor color in the stamp, it was best to just go with one color. i can't imagine dragging another color into this card and envelope and having it be any improvement. as the saying goes, less is more.

Monday, November 7, 2011

holiday - cris

this one is a good example of how nice it looks to use the minor colors in the stamp for the lettering. the amount of teal in the stamp is teeny-tiny. then the little flicks of red (same shade as the background in the stamp) are very nice. the splatters were made with something called a Blo-Pen. i wonder if they still make them.

this was done with a brush marker by cris birks

Sunday, November 6, 2011

tom's halloween

i did the T on Jeri's envelope, but i needed to do a C somewhere, so that is his last name and you can see the ameron part of Cameron if you look closely at the stars.

He might not have wanted me to post his address on the internet. Maybe you should all write letters to him and tell him that you saw his address on the internet and you would like to move in with him because your house burned down. He's the kind of guy who would probably take you all in.

also, this was supposed to pop up on the 27th, but when the envelope from chuck arrived, i bumped this one to the end of the line, so things are out of order, as usual. but, it makes each and every reader feel better that they know at least one person who is less organized than they are.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

mary grellner

i do not know mary. i received an envelope form her and a few random bits of paper and she said some other mail artist had suggested that if she sent me some mail art, i would return some. i made a little collage that i put in the envelope and now i wish i would have scanned it, but it is gone. if any of you want to exchange mail art with mary, there is here address :-) she'll be very surprised.

Friday, November 4, 2011

my mail

more mail from my pen pal. jeri. love the spider web.

also, note her clever use of the stickers. she cut up one and rearranged it to make the B and the white dots all the way around are a very nice touch. dots were used on decorated versals in old manuscripts. everything old can be recycled into very fun contemporary design.

maybe someone can dig up an image on the internet to show an example of dotted versals.

white on black is so nice. if you do not have a white gel pen and some very dark or black envelopes, treat yourself to one. then, use the pen up within a week. they are very temperamental. so, it is best to just use them up all at once rather than think they will work for you again one day. and that is a good excuse to just sit and practice your penmanship, if you have other chores nagging at you....

an added message:
i just checked the stats on my blog and i have had 50,000+ page views.
at least half of those are me, checking to see if anyone has left any comments :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

mimi's halloween

here is the D. if i had time, i'd do another one. this is already the second one. i think the D needs to be larger. wow, if i owned photoshop or InDesign, i could fix things electronically.  i added more colored pencil before i sent this. also added another stamp and her street address.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


i have never blogged in the middle of the day, but there are two stories that some of you might enjoy.

i tried to be polite when i mentioned that there had been a dolphin stamp on the frankenstein envelope from elizabeth. i did not want to sound overly critical. it really does not matter if the stamp does not coordinate with the lettering. it is just part of  my own routine.

this morning elizabeth responded in an email that she has given the envelope to a postal worker, along with payment and the postal worker assured her that an *appropriate* stamp would be applied to the envelope. well, some postal workers think that the correct amount of postage is what makes it appropriate and they are not concerned about the aesthetics. so, elizabeth suggests i find an old frankenstein stamp and apply it to the envelope, which, i will be happy to do.

then, while out on errands this morning, i ran into brad, the person who received the envelope that appeared on oct 29th. he thanked me for the envelope, but did not say anything about whether or not i was going to get a 2011 halloween print. he told me about how halloween was actually a 10 day event, but now i can't remember the details. clearly, i have another 10 days of halloween mail coming up, because i finally asked him if he had made a 2011 halloween print and he said, yes, he was just returning from mailing it to, we'll see if he decorated the envelope.

i have had a very good return of envelopes form my halloween mailings, so i think i will kick it into high gear and start sending some december-themed envelopes and see if i get some in return.

thanks to everyone who has sent mail :-)

i just googled halloween envelope. i only saw one of mine. this one popped up. it is from a blog called

i have not been to that blog. i am still curbing my surfing. i just thought i needed to add an image to this extra blog for today.

don't miss the blog below, if you think this is the only blog today.

beth's halloween

halloween is lasting well into november because i thought i had posted all of them, but, found some scans that i don't think were posted. if these are repeats, let me know and i will put up something new.
this shows the B and the H for those of you who are collecting the whole alphabet.

the postcard stamp looks nice. i'll need to put a second one on if i get around to mailing this.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

my mail

how cute is this? elizabeth (the scribe who sent the original 26-pc alphabet that launched the halloween series) sent me this alphabet, called frankenstein. behind the envelope is the card that came with it. the line at the bottom caught my eye. since i do not have that full alphabet, i will have to create the rest of the letters on my own.

the stamp was not cancelled, and it was the dolphin stamp which seemed functional, but not related to the rest of the envelope, and it was not cancelled, so i pulled it off to try on some of the unmailed envelopes i will be doing. i know better than to reuse a stamp for actual mailing purposes.