Tuesday, December 31, 2013

desk cleaning

i probably posted this envelope earlier when i was on the banner kick. i found a stack of 30 envelopes, unfinished...so, i am going to finish them all ASAP
and move on to new ideas for the new year

gingerbread - jan

using a detail off the stamp is a tried and true idea. i started with the house and was way off on the proportion. so, it bugs me and i'd toss it. except there are three things worth showing. 1) use different colors for each letter in the name. 2) instead of having the initial cap stand taller, drop it. this probably looks best on a name that has no descenders, so the caps are the only thing descending, but...it might work with names with descenders and 3) stuff everything together. the street address will fit into the space to the right of last name. i like space...but i also like things crammed together.

galaxy markers, uniball white gel pen, white *colored* pencil



i love it when i run across something that i saw, when i was just mindlessly gathering ideas off the internet...and then don't record the source so that i can't give credit to it when i post the envelope.

now you can go read all about this one...
and the best part is that the person who did this envelope gathered the idea for the fun borders off a menu...so...it validates what i've been doing forever
and what is recommended in the book Steal Like and Artist....
read it.

link to my original post

Monday, December 30, 2013

gel markers

annie posted a question on an older post asking which markers were my favorites that are discontinued.

sanford made a colorific gel marker, and they are discontinued. i liked them because they were inexpensive and on the rack - everywhere - grocery stores, office supply stores, etc. i tried the crayola gel markers and they are OK but not as good as sanford's.

the galaxy markers that john neal sells are wonderful. the only drawback is that i do not live across the street from john, so i would have to order them. the thought of living across the street from john and all those writing supplies makes my head spin.

to the right is a picture of sakura permapaque opaque pigment markers. it looks like they sell them at scrapbooking stores. i do not allow myself to go into scrapbooking stores. it looks like a set of 5 is over $15 which makes them pretty expensive. but, if you like to spend money on markers, these are really nice. i have a few which were samples given to me back in the day when i was designing fun stuff for a scrapbooking magazine. i had to give up designing for magazines because i was neglecting my family. they are now only half neglected. these markers have two tips, one is squarish, which is very nice for a change from the standard bullet point. the other end is a nice fine weight.

gel markers look great on colored paper. regular markers usually look awful unless you are doing tone on tone. otherwise, they just look like mud. you can save them with layering of gel pens...but if you want a nice opaque color, gel markers are the way to go...and the galaxy markers from john neal are my choice.

jan + 3 lady stamp

i saw some lettering like this. it would look great with a christo stamp. but, i don't have one. and i am cleaning off my desk and sure looking forward to the new year and the highly organized blog.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

xmas leftovers

in the stack of envelopes to finish up and send along was this one with more of kathy's green copic marker....and this one looked nice with the wreath stamp, so i added a little red ribbon writing. the address will be in gray. that space at the top is a little much, so i might add some stars or maybe a *kindly deliver to:*

finnbadger cookies

finnbadger sent an envelope filled with cookies. and the p.o. liked it so much they did not cancel it or put a bar code on it.
and my addresses is 420, not 440 and they didn't scribble any correction on the envelope. maybe they are becoming fans of mail art...

thank you, finnbadger.

and be sure to look at his blog for more envelopes.

this one is numbered 180
which means he has made at least 80 more since he found my blog and remembered that he had 100 in the basement.

i plan on featuring more hand made envelopes in 2014.

i have quite a stack of my own...just waiting for the right stamp. or, i could start using up my vintage stamps...

gingerbread - hobart

nothing spectacular about this one. but a lot of us like birds and birdhouses and it occurred to me that this stamp would make a darling birdhouse. so, there it is....quick and easy. i used the galaxy markers from john neal. very nice markers for all colors of paper. they act a little more like paint pens, but without all the problems. the shadow is a white uniball gel pen.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

gingerbread disasters

i liked the idea of this. i should have done jan's name. i shortened finnbadger to finn and then when i put the badger on , it was too straight, so i added another one and then some more scrolly-doodles and then it looked awful. but the finn part was NOT FUN to do, so i did not want to do it over, but did want to pass along the idea...so here is the idea ... write the name in chalk first and then patiently do a whole row of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees

i can tell that i like the large scale frosting on the sticker that comes with the book of stamps, so i will play around with large scale frosting writing.

 my first attempt with the large scale tool was the pentel paint pen. disaster. but, i like to fix things by just layering a bunch more and i rather like this one. it looks like a snow storm. i would also like to do one that has a bunch of smoke coming out of the chimney. i wonder if cathy has ever been in a snow storm?

the top is a scan the bottom is a phone photo. interesting how different the colors are. they are both the discontinued cobalt from paper source.

Friday, December 27, 2013

this just in

this just in.
new stamp design.
also, click on the tab above the posts
that says
award winners
to see the best envelope of 2013.
i ran out of time to have a bunch of awards
you are all *winners.*

from ann-margret

this arrived from ann-margret in canada. canada always has pretty stamps. the red and green on kraft paper is one of my favorite combinations. i also like her loose, marker script. and the flourish is just perfect. thanks, ann-margret :-)

gingerbread - amensen

in case i have not mentioned it - these cobalt envelopes are a discontinued color (from paper-source). the writing is done with a Sakura Glaze pen. it happens to be gray. it was a gift. they look great under artificial lighting - although they do not show up as well in natural light. they generally look nice on white paper. the ink comes out thick and it takes a while for it to dry. then it looks rather raised, like thermography. it's a slippery slope item. try to resist the urge unless you are pen-deprived.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

el presidente

this is from bill kemp, past president of IAMPETH - a calligraphy organization. i met him at the very first IAMPETH convention that i attended, in KC in 2001. i find it amusing that bill is also cleaning off his desk and catching up on correspondence he has been pondering for over a decade. (if you click on the image, you can read the note sticking out of the envelope) now, if i could just get my engrossers script to be as lovely as bill's. and his penmanship on his note is really beautiful. makes me wish i had not gone off on my quirky path. but, i don't think i would have many loyal readers if all my stuff looked like this. it's gorgeous, but it isn't something you can pick up by reading a blog once a day. my quirky stuff is pretty easy to imitate....and hopefully that makes more people think about sending some real mail.

kudos to the people who take time to write like this. thanks, bill. now i want to see what the alphabet book i made for him looks like?

big gingerbread house

i'm still scratching my head over why smash didn't see any possibilities with the gingerbread stamp. this one is just chalk. i don't know if i will finish it. i ran out of stamps. maybe i just like this one because of all the blue envelopes that i have....there is something wonderful about having 50+ envelopes that have no use. and they are nice paper. if you only practice on cheap paper, you need to allow yourself some really nice paper for practice. writing on nice paper is amazingly different.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


first gift this morning from the usps, a new stamp design, winter flowers. these are so pretty. looking forward to coming up with some designs. a couple days ago they sent and email to unveil a stamp with ferns, but the link said -never mind, this one is on hold for a bit. so, i am eagerly awaiting that one, too.

second gift was an email from
maria thomas, the originator of zentangles, a clever method of organized doodling that is very popular, sent an email showing that some of the gelly roll pens flouresce

""Sakura® Gelly Roll® Moonlight® pens. Certain colors of these pens fluoresce under a UV light.""

you may read the details at her blog, linked above.

i like the idea of writing secret messages. but it might be too complicated to assume that the recipient will have a UV flashlight. i guess i don't even know what a UV light is.

the nice thing about zentangles is that the are all over the place and fair game for *stealing.* nobody can own a doodled design, so, any time you need a pattern, just surf around the zentangles, and you will find ideas that you can copy exactly, or -even better- change them and make them into your own versions.


i have to spent the day looking for the winner of *best envelope of the year* - it has been on the top of a stack since may...and now i can't find it.

in no particular order

i will be posting all the fun envelopes that i recieved this year in no particular order.

this one from amy is adorable. sadly, it went through the machine upsidedown and a postal worker scribbled on the stamps. i love the zany penmanship.

jeri's is adorable, too, in it's tiny-ness. i love the long s shapes. it is a great way to add visual interest. also, a great way to solve the problem of making a nicely balanced regular s.

thanks ladies.

dm skyline

to show you that jackie's rendering of des moines' skyline was spot on. this would make a pretty envelope. not sure what stamp to use. i'm guessing finnbadger will suggest the butterfly.

this is a phone photo i took on my mom's balcony. i wish i would have thought to make it into a holiday card for her....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

pen testing

i started testing all my gold, silver, and white pens and markers to see if any of them needed to be discarded.
now i can't decide whether to stop or keep going.

xmas eve

lifted from somewhere :-)
i don't spend much time on holiday stuff, but a few years ago i participated in the holiday card exchange with my local guild. i wrote this poem and recently came across it during my desk cleaning. it cracked me up. i do not enjoy writing poetry, but this one was fun. mostly because it is so true.

a couple things to note...when i mention sleeping in my shoes, that happens all the time. i just fall asleep. and when i *fall off the step* - that is because, at the time, my desk was in the living room and there is one step down into the living room. it is a pretty accurate picture of my life...about 15 years ago. not much has changed. kids are gone. and dave (my postman) says he will be retiring. i'll miss him a lot. he wrote a poem response to this. i'll try to find it.

‘Twas 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 a 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 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.”
And I heard him exclaim as he made a few swerves.
“I hope that poor Jean gets the help she deserves.”


Monday, December 23, 2013

thank you janet

this arrived from janet. as i have mentioned, these were favorite stamps. this is a great way to do holiday envelopes. you can adjust the depth of the lines a little to allow for longer and shorter names...but it is a very flexible layout. stealworthy.

jeri - map envelope

jeri made this envelope out of a map and pinpointed my house exactly. i live under the 2 in 235, just under windsor heights. feel free to drop in during visiting hours. 11-noon on weekdays. bring lunch. i like to eat early.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

gingerbread ho hum

cute, fun , easy. not very inspired. but, it does show that you can have fun with dots. i used a sakura Pen-Touch paint pen, med point, 2.0, one that was in the drawer...and i was surprised it was not dried up. there will be lots more gingerbread stamps, unfortunately, they will be way past the holidays. but maybe the p.o. will still be selling them next year.

colorful grid

this was inspired by something similar. i doubt i'll ever find a u.s. stamp to go with it.
that red isn't a good color, but the image was perfect.
i have a name and address penciled in. but it would be fun to experiment with putting the address in the squares.

the johnnycash stamp would probably look nice. it seems to go with everything. sadly, i have run out of them.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

blog views

i haven't checked the stats on my blog in quite a while. in november, we came really close to hitting 10,000 views. and nov was higher than may, which had been the top month for a while.
everyone is distracted with the holidays so we won't break 10,000 this month, but thank you to everyone who is checking the blog :-)

here is one more envelope that i downloaded...and lost the source. i like the idea. i wonder if gordon still lives in stamford. wouldn't it be fun to pick some random person and have everyone who follows my blog drop a postcard in the mail that said *thinking of you* but not sign it...and just let the person wonder. or maybe it would scare them....

smash - abstract

i have no idea what she used to get that band of white on there. it has a very crisp edge so she must have taped it off. it feels a little gritty, like gesso. nice colors. it reminds me of the bird bones. but it arrived before i posted the bird bones.... thank you smash :-)

Friday, December 20, 2013

gingerbread - hester

ok, i'll make time to put some better stuff up...even though i have to use the phone camera. i've been having so much fun with the gingerbread houses that i have used up 40 stamps and the streets are covered with ice, so i am not going out to get more (yet)....

i used a zig calligraphy marker, fawn color, to make the houses and galaxy markers and white uniball for the details. a bit of gold gel pen to touch up the fawn. blue g-tec for the address.

jeri - johnny cash

i cut these letters out of paper in a class to demo. and then liked them enough to leave them in a stack of *maybe finish.* they reminded me of neopolitan ice cream. but when the johnnycash stamps arrived, i liked the way the square fit into the space. this one isn't really blogworthy, just cleaning off the desk.

gtec duds

i was experimenting and didn't care for how these were going. then after i could not find any u.s. stamps that helped them a long, i just slapped a vatican on one and will let this idea go for now. maybe i'll come back to it some day.
loopy and bouncy is always a fun place to start.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

carol's santa

carol always gives me permission to repost her envelopes. i didn't ask this time, so, i hope it's ok.

i like the evergreen branches. and also the square curly-cues.


bunch more envelopes on her website.

i'm pretty proud of the people i have lured away from other activities... :-)

t-day or any holiday

i should have posted this on t-day. but it applies to any holiday, or any mom trying to cook on any day, i suppose. it looks like a collage rather than an actual piece of mail. so i will add an actual piece of mail.

nice drawing. really nice.
there are just so many things i like about this one, i don't know where to start.
so, i won't.

i am just filling in all the days...on the way to being very organized starting jan 1st

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


this one is spectacular. it's all over the place -  in a good way. i have all of those same stamps in my own stash. now, if i can just get better so that i can lift the box and find them, i will make a *reply* envelope --- :-)

not gonna happen til next year

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

finn - pink fabric

in addition to not being able to lift my box of stamps, due to back problem, i can't lift the box of envelopes and i know finnbadger included a note with a comment about this envelope...i am writing this on nov 15, so, i hope to have recovered by dec 17 and have better comments on this one....
it's pretty
and i appreciate getting mail

i am recovered, but now i am in full blown panic about the end of year get organized goal.

Monday, December 16, 2013

blue outline

i saw this idea on pinterest, outline the envelope. the bottom one was my first try and i had a slip on the ruler, so i went around it a second time to make it rustic and then the slip, which was very large seemed like a good place to end the r, so, i tried writing finnbadger upside down in cursive - and i thought it would be a piece of cake to do it - and it was not - r -e was easy. my brain couldn't flip the g. so i wrote it on another paper to get the pattern in front of me and then it (the top version) was easy.

this is still from the series done when i hurt my back and couldn't lift my box of stamps and had to use my vatican-italian stamp stock. back is all better - and i am editing posts before they pop up.

i highly recommend that outlining. it was fun and easy and i think the effect is luv-er-ly.

italian stamps are loverly, too.


just found this. i don't see it in the archive. friday at the p.o. i saw they were still selling these stamps. i LOVE LOVE LOVE these stamps. the flowers are made with a brush marker. you just tap on the edge. the trick is to rotate the paper, not your hand. hopefully i can get jan to hold the camera and make a youtube video of how these are done. another video will show how to square off the ends of strokes.

if i already posted this one, lemmekno and i'll unpost this one

Sunday, December 15, 2013


my posts are all filled for the year and i am working on january. you'll see the rest of this one later. i wonder if smashgirl can tell where i got my inspiration.

chuck knows....

....about so many nifty things.

and i figured out a way to use the elastic. get a strip of mat board (about an inch wide) and two push pins and you can hold the ends of the elastic with the push pins. or you could super glue one end of the elastic to the one end of the mat board...voila.   if i get around to making one, i will post a photo.

and here is a video using the method posted a few days ago. this one only talks about finding the middle, but if you understand the ease of using numbers that make sense....you can do more than just find the middle.


envelope display

this is a group thank you to the readers who have left several comments reassuring me that it is OK to have lots of pens and paper. maybe if i posted a photo of the actual situation you would say *enough.*

if i can figure out the fold in this wall unit thing - and i really hope it is collapsible - it would make a neat way to display envelopes. plus, i could use up a lot of paper making it...

vintage - business shaped guy

another one where i lost the link. it seems like a stealworthy shape. you could make it into a different kind of person or creature.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

wreath - mike&doyle

this was a practice piece. if you wanted to do square holiday cards, you could use the international stamp. you would still be wasting money. and it would look better on a red envelope. this one is linen, which makes the lettering a little ratty. it would look better on a smooth envelope. still needs work, but it has potential.

marker addiction

imagine me standing at the front of the room saying, "my name is jean and i am a marker addict." no matter how hard i try to not buy markers i lapse. these are crayola gel markers. they are not as good as the all time best gel markers which i can no longer find. every now and then, i am in officemaxdepotstaples and i am there because i have agreed to do a job and something computer related has caused me to have to go to a store and i am no longer making a decent hourly rate and i fall off the wagon and think, well, since this job is no longer a gravy job, i might as well wallow in self pity with a new box of markers. then, i found out that these markers look great on kraft paper and i remember that the trunk (of my car) is full of kraft paper that i was going to get rid of and dang, my other addiction (paper) kicked in and i go retrieve the paper. isn't there someone out there who wants to stage an intervention? well, obviously my immediate family does....but none of them read the blog.


hester said she wanted the full bird alphabet. A was easy. B and C were so hard i gave up and started to write names. then i figured that other people had probably already made bird alphabets. i googled and there are a few, but nothing like this. one lady has an interesting bird bone alphabet. i will respect her request to not repost without permission. but you can view her bird-bone alphabet here:


or her website


i'll put this in the stack of *finish later*

Friday, December 13, 2013

measuring - step 3

 here is how you divide the envelope using a ruler.
decide how many spaces you need.
put *zero* on the left edge and the number of spaces you need on the right edge.
make a tic-mark at 1, 2, 3, etc
remove the ruler
and draw a baseline for your name
transfer the even spaced tic-marks to the penciled baseline

at this point, you can use the 7 spaces to write a name with 7 letters, putting one letter in each space  -or- you may write a name with 6 letters, placing one letter over each of the 6 tic-marks -or you could write a 5-letter name, leaving a space on each end and maybe adding a flourish at the beginning or the end.  below is a ruler where i renumbered on both sides. on one side, i renumbered by half inch so i have 24 spaces on the edge. on the other side, i renumbered every 3/4 inch and have it divided into 16 segments. an easier option to renumbering a 12-inch ruler is to get one of those triangular *rulers* that architects use to use. i think it is called a scale. but, it has a bunch of different numbers and you can always find a set of numbers to fit what you need. unless you are math phobic.  i checked youtube and did not find anyone who has directions for dividing envelopes. i did find some zany stuff.

peter max

more stuff from my stash without proper attribution. sorry. it is clearly the work of peter max. and that is his art on the stamp. nice compositions.