Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ccc yvonn

i like the name Yvonn and started the purple one. not sure if i like it that much. started the other one and like it better. but it will need a lot more work to be finished. neither of these stamps really work. i hope to have time to make something better for yvonn.

Monday, January 30, 2012

ccc lois

good for me, i made it through both names without a spelling problem. then i messed up the address. it looks terrible centered. i like the colors. goofy combo to do such a traditional stamp with such a wacky lettering style. maybe the address should have been wacky, too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

ccc linda

turning letters into people is fun. this is a nice break from straight lines. i like the way the address line goes a little longer than the people, but not too far. as i got to the state, i knew it was time to end that line, so i used the abbreviation for the state.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ccc diane (not diana)

i went ahead and finished this one to see how i liked it. the red should be a better match with the stamp. i like to do scribbley versions of the old engraved styles. i will do a different one for diane and spell her name correctly if she comes to the workshop.

hi barabara, i just saw your comment on a past post. i am looking forward to seeing you in march. your envelope is coming up on feb 1 st. :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

ccc sheryl

for the ccc members who will be at the workshop, your homework is to print out a copy of this envelope and decide where to add a design element. i will finish this and bring it along and we will see if we all came up with the same idea or maybe there will be numerous ideas.

does that l in sheryl look like an afterthought? yes it was. what percent of these ccc envelopes will have spelling errors? door prize to the person who guesses closest percentage without going over.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

ccc mellisa or melissa

i bet that is supposed to be melissa. i will have an improved one if she signs up for the workshop. and that S in street is dreadful. i will fix that, too. this is a new alphabet that i have never tried before. we might spend a few minutes discussing (or debating) the quirky styles that are so popular these days.

or we can start the debate right now.
comments, anyone?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

post xmas wrap up

from my montana penpal wilma
from my canadian penpal ann
from my iowa city penpal jeri
oh dear, i do not know how to rearrange these. sorry. these are things that arrived in the mail that i want to share. however, i am in the midst of my milwaukee workshop envelopes and i promised them i would have a ccc member featured every day. tomorrow we will be back to ccc members, unless i get way ahead of myself...and post an extra one today.

the navy envelope from jeri was not a holiday card. jeri...there are little dots of navy peeking through on the lettering. do you think some of the ink lifted or did you do built up letters and leave spaces?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ccc tricia

as i have mentioned, this is one of my all-time favorite stamps. leaving the whole thing white appeals to me, and yet, it might look better with the letters in tricia's name colored in to match the colors in the stamp. this is a really tough decision. tricia might get two envelopes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

trish's new envelope blog

trish taylor has a new blog, just for envelopes.

 s-o-m-e-d-a-y-   i will figure out how to move elements around in a blog post.
or maybe not

ccc phyllis

if phyllis is attending the workshop, i will redo this one. i like that kind of lettering and i like the placement of the stamp. the last name is OK. but there is something wrong with the overall design. if anyone wants to make a suggestion for an improvement, i would be happy to try something else. maybe the phyllis just needs to be larger.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

ccc laura

that shape in the lower left corner of the stamp inspired the elongated, pointy oval shapes in the lettering. pointed ellipse? and then it needed dots. and then i stayed with the pointy lettering for the address. sometimes you can just choose a shape form the stamp and use it two or three different ways. and monochrome is always pleasing. unless you don't care for monochrome.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ccc karen k

this one needs some more black. i started about 40 envelopes all at once. i keep flipping through and adding here and there. it's hard to know with some of these abstract ones when enough is enough. if i do  more, i will repost. i started with the pale pink and this is a loose neuland style. i should have chosen a different zip code. it would have looked better to put the red letters in the 3rd and 4th position in the zip.

Friday, January 20, 2012

ccc- karen g

this might be the decisions-decisions series. i can't decide if it will look better to put a hat on each of the little head shapes with the eyeballs.

i do like the set of ten colors of G-Tec pens that i bought from john neal. many of the colors coordinate perfectly with stamps. that little touch of blue is really nice.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ccc - betsy

in march, i am going to travel to milwaukee to teach a 2 day workshop on fun lettering. the local guild (cream city calligraphers) invited me and i thought it would be fun to address one envelope to each member of the guild. there are about 100 members. so, betsy is first. i am putting all fake addresses on the envelopes.

it is less than 100 days until the workshop, so i might have to feature more than one envelope per day. or, i might save some and post them later. decisions decisions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

collaboration fish

you really need to see this one in person to appreciate how nice it is.

rather than fit the address in a box, i liked drawing a line straight down from the left edge of the stamp and doing a flush left address.

if i had put the stamp on, i would have lined up the left edge of the stamp with the left edge of the N. the space between the stamp and the name is good. but, i am of the grid-school of design, so i always line things up. it probably isn't necessary, but, it works for me. if kathy had done the address, she might have done it in a way that her stamp placement would have been perfect for her. remember, this was not an intended collaboration, it was an after the fact collaboration. goodness, i wish i could video tape myself during collaborations. it is fascinating how people negotiate spacing, etc when they are working together on a project.

i wonder if kathy remembers the medium on this one? it's so pretty... looks like something other than markers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



i recall hearing that (in olden days) if you put a stamp on upside-down, it meant you did not want the person to write back. little did i know, there were numerous stamp positions that meant a variety of things.  thanks to chuck for finding this link.

collaboration - acorns

there are about 8 in this series and the way i added the address on this one is my least favorite. i probably choked because i like the acorns and needed something small, so i just stuffed it in the corner. stuffing things in corners is usually not a good design solution. if anyone has a better idea, let me know and i will redo this one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

collaboration - civil rights

i really like the JEAN on this one. if you only saw this one and not the other 50, you might not see the JEAN, but it really works within the group.

i drew left and right margins, straight down from the stamp. then i made the middle line rather tall to mimic that lower part of the stamp.

i like fitting addressed into blocks that reflect the shape of the stamp. it usually works unless you have some crazy long address. suburbs are using such crazy long names for their streets. somebody should have passed a federal law limiting the length of names of streets. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

collaboration - airplane

it was difficult deciding where to put the address because there is a soft pencil shade behind the name and while it was not hard to decide to add to kathy's artwork, i could not bring myself to write over the top of any of her work. so, i'm not sure this is the best place for an address. fur shur, if you are mailing an envelope, do not put the address in the upper right corner. it could go through the machines and be obliterated.

so, there is nothing to learn about design from this one.  the lesson to be learned on this one is to be inspired by the details on the stamp but not be a slave to them. the little lines on the letters are inspired by the detail on the airplane, but, she did not try to make each letter into a section of the wing. that would have been fine. but, it would have been a lot more work. sometimes you need to just take the easy route. remember she made over 50 envelopes when she was working on these and that is a lot of ideas to conjure up.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

collaboration - constellation

there is overlap on the strokes in the name and then there are some cool little dots that look like they might be diamond glaze or one of those super glues that dry really shiny. it is a nice touch that might not show up on the scan.

i used the width of the stamp to give the address a framework and put  just the zip code below the name. if i knew what kind of marker this was and had one, i would do the zip code in the same color, a little bolder, but not too bold.

no, i guess i wouldn't. i wrote the pp above yesterday and had to switch some of these posts around. so i am looking at this on a different computer and i would not like the zip to be bold at all. or maybe i would. it should be helpful to know that it can be hard to make decisions and sometimes there is no right or wrong. so don't give yourself a headache over decisions.

Friday, January 13, 2012

collaboration - cassatt

i found several envelopes from kathy that she made for me and mailed over 50 at once, in a box, so she did not think she needed the street address. but, they seemed so naked, so i added the addresses in pencil and i will use these as tips in how to decide where to put addresses.

this one was fun to do because the lettering on the stamp had a lot of space between the letters. so that inspired the spaced-out lettering in the address. the lettering on the stamp is also positioned away from the image, so i dropped the address down on the envelope. if i had done the address in ink, i would have written IOWA, in red ink to mimic the red USA on the stamp.

the best part of this envelope is on the flap. kathy mentioned the first time she attended one of our guild programs and credits me with giving her the love of letters. i would be happy to have that much power over kathy. however, i suspect she was always interested in art and had been absorbing all kinds of aesthetic images over the years and all i really did was point to something that we see every day that we tend to ignore. but, once it is pointed out that the letters are beautiful malleable symbols and they can be used for artistic expression, a person can suddenly fall in love with the alphabet.

back to the envelope, i should have spaced the address a little better. i should have done it once in pencil along the edge of a different piece of paper and then held that up to the envelope as a straight edge and adjusted it so that the spacing was even. it should have stretched further to the right so that it was the same length as wilson. when i have time, i will correct that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


this was a series of experiments. first, i was just doing mindless doodles on spare envelopes to use up some gouache before i washed the brush. then, i needed to send some quick notes to several people and the first stamps i came across were the garden of love leftovers. the blues were close enough. so i added some of that sage-y green and of course the little red hearts are a perfect pop of color. i had not been thinking of the vines in that stamp when i did the blue loopies. now, i feel like going back and doing more loops. luckily valentines day is coming up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

kathy floral

these floral letters were inspired by the LOVE stamp that was made out of flowers. these are a nice variation because they have lots more flowers. it made sense to make the letters fuller as it goes with the more compacted design of the stamp.

i also like the way she lined up the horizon line on the moon stamp with the edge of the botanical stamp.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

from ann

here is a bonus envelope for today. it arrived several days ago and is from my penpal in canada. this is a fun variation of a cursive style where you build up the thick with additional strokes rather than using a dip pen and ink and applying pressure to make the thick stroke with one pass of the pen.

i see that i have 99 people in the list of followers. it has been fun meeting new people through the blog.

also, back on dec 27th, i posted an envelope that had fake children's writing. cathy left a comment on that envelope that she used the child-like cursive when she penned thank you notes from her dog for the gifts they received. comments like that are so much fun to read. thanks :-)

jeri neg space

this one has been buried in a box for a while...i think...now i don't remember. anyhow, it is going in the jeri file. was there any one who didn't say *jeri* when the screen popped open this morning?

maybe jeri will tell us if she remembers what she used on this one. it looks like she penciled in the letters and then used watercolor in the negative spaces. so pretty...and two stamps look so nice together. especially when they are not exactly the same, but from a set.


big day...all the new stamps for 2012 have been released.. mostly gorgeous

Monday, January 9, 2012

kathy scribble

channeling the abstract expressionists and remembering jean's admonition:
when in doubt - scribble
kathy turns out another fun envelope.

although, she did ignore me when i said to leave the zip code on the line with the address, if it will fit. she's a bit of a rebel which is why we get along. i love to toss out *rules* but there are very few that i actually enforce.  which makes me wonder, which rules do i consider commandments. yikes. that is a good question and not a single commandment comes to mind.

i guess i do have one, but the last time i uttered it aloud in class, one student said, "i know you said to never do this, so, i just had to try it to see if you were right." and that made me vow to never utter it again. i have to think of some subtle way to keep people from doing it. are you dying of curiosity? i will let my students speak up. i am sure there are some people who know what it is and will post it in the comment section.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

kathy ram horn

another one from kathy. i forgot to post comments on all of these. and just discovered they are ready to post and no words...and...it's late at night (7:35 pm) seriously, i don't chit chat at night. maybe i'll have more to day when these pop up in the morning.

please note that the stamp on jan 6th featured a salamander. i called it a lizard. then i spent an hour reading about salamanders and lizards (both herpetiles) for those of you who didn't even notice....

Salamanders and lizards often look similar, but in fact salamanders are amphibians and lizards are reptiles. A few traits should help you distinguish between these two groups of herpetiles.

now, i must research the ram on this stamp, as it may be a goat.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

kathy postal slash

here's another example of what happens when you don't put the stamp in the upper right corner. some postal worker drew that diagonal line across the stamp. the buffalo didn't get a mark. not sure why. good use of dry markers kathy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

kathy lizard (salamander)

once again...
i love dots.
dots will carry an envelope.
the lettering is kathy's invention
inspired by the shapes in the lizard.
thank you to my brother for pointing out that the creature featured on the stamp is clearly labeled salamander.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

mail to myself

once in a while i have an opportunity to make an envelope for myself. this time, i had a lovely client who had me address her holiday envelopes and i enclosed this SASE with the bill. it is nothing new or different, but, i have a ton of new work coming up and thought you wouldn't mind a bit of a repeat.

seriously, if you think you are getting gypped, please leave a whiny comment. i don't have teenagers any more and i feel like it might be fun to hear a complaint, just for old times sake.


these two were in the stack of unfinished. i was playing with the glaze pens, which i love. and then, before i finished them, ellen and colin decided to move to a different hemisphere and live in smaller quarters, so, now, instead of sending them real mail, i think i might set up a new blog so they can open mail from me every day.

if they tell me that they like receiving actual mail, i might mail them actual mail, but not the artsy kind that is hard to throw away.
i like that loopy script with the butterfly.

i like the vine on the bottom envelope and it had no name for a while. i added the colin's wife to make it a set with the other one, but, i don't think it is entirely successful. maybe i would like it better with a stamp.

ooops. i am lining up a bunch of posts for the entire month of january and just noticed that the ellen envelope was already on the blog, nov 27th, but i am going to leave these up for now and add a second post for today.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

kathy's button alphabet

you should see this one in person to appreciate the subtle details. the alphabet is called button alphabet. according to the legend, peter thornton invented it. later, louie lemoine spent time with it and asked peter if he minded if louie taught it. peter said it was fine with him. kathy suggested we have louie come teach a workshop. it is a very fun alphabet. and the way peter has gifted it to the calligraphic community is a happy reminder of how much we all benefit from the generosity of the masters.

www.louislemoine.com/    to see  more of his work, also some student work if you click on workshops

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

j&j at iampeth

for those of you who do not know, iampeth is the organization for people who love penmanship. it is the international association of master penman, engrossers and teachers of handwriting. jeri, whose work you have seen on the blog and i met 10 years ago and someone kindly took a picture of us. and then jeri found the picture recently and made this cute card. note the tiny little border around the photo.

her envelope is another one from her signature style of - line things up and balance them, only without being compulsive. clearly, jeri is very well balanced and we all wish she would start a blog about how to be more balanced. step one is probably - move to iowa city.

Monday, January 2, 2012

two today

i still can't figure out how to add photos and be in control of whether they show up on the top of the bottom.

i added the top envelope because the bottom envelope was too similar to many of the others i have already posted. it would have been fun to plaster a bunch of ornaments all over an envelope and if i have an opportunity to do another envelope requiring a bunch of stamps, i will do it, with the ornaments hanging at different heights.

the other envelope is just an example of mixing cute little styles for baby announcements. after 10-15 years of doing weddings, i am getting more requests for baby announcement addressing and i am a bit stumped on baby ideas. all i can think of are tiny little letters, script or printing.

i guess i can think of some other ideas. hopefully, i'll get some ready to post one of these days.

and the math gods must like me. yesterday, on the fist day of the year, i noticed that it was my 900th blog post of all time. also, my penpal from pencilvania dropped in. so she beats out the cheeseheads who dropped in that one time. hey, canandians.....would you like to break the record? i better get a map and start putting pins it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

janet and mimi

thank you janet for the very fun envelope. great idea to make a pinecone in the shape of an ornament.

also, your loose script is very nice. i like no-caps.
and your address is tucked neatly underneath.

i found a stack of brainstorming half done envelopes with the ornament stamps. all to mimi, all at fake addresses.

this is done with red and blue galaxy markers. they are nicely opaque.  think we are all ready to move on from the ornament stamps, but i feel compelled to post everything that the scanner has agreed to scan. we are trying to get along....aren't we?