Friday, May 31, 2013

john's hat

i see john at family gatherings and he says he checks my blog every day (we'll see if he sees this one). he is multi-talented and multi-occupational. i think he loves his firefighting *hat* so i thought i would find the u.s. postage stamp that commemorates firefighters and


they did one to commemorate 9-11
and in 1949 (?) there was one to commemorate volunteer firefighters. but other than that, firefighters seem to be really neglected. and then i checked on policemen...and there are a couple. take a bite out of crime and law and order....neither focus on the people who do the work...
i don't really have time to start another campaign. but i think someone needs to alert the panel that chooses themes for stamps that policemen and firemen and firewomen and policewomen need commemoration on stamps.

maybe there are some that i, if anyone has seem them, please let me know and i will edit my post.


(second post for the day is below)

i used the big-brush faber-castell marker for the name and my little gray g-tec for the little lettering.

smash from london

smash-girl popped over to london. i don't post her envelopes in the order in which they arrive. she's back. this is so pretty and obviously took a lot of time.
i wonder if she actually took time to sit and draw in london or if she took pre-drawn envelopes.
maybe she will tell us...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

carol - graceful envelope

we have another winner to announce, carol dubosch. she saw the post yesterday with geri's envelope and sent this scan. there are 4 other winning envelopes on her website - along with a lot of other beautiful work.

and here is a link to jeri's website
where you may see some of her other entries

and this is the second post today, so be sure to check the post below. :-)

smash hen feather

how did smash-girl know that i love guinea hen feathers? i wish the p.o. would honor the guinea hen on a stamp. it must be the dots. love the dots. this is a window envelope.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

jeri - graceful envelope 2013

this just in....jeri hobart, whose work has appeared many times on my blog has been named a winner for the 7th time.  i will post a link when they have all the winning envelopes posted on their website.

congratulations jeri. :-)

it's a 3 post day and it is only 5:30 a.m.
don't miss the two posts below this one.

her is a link to jeri's website where you can see some of her other envelopes

annie - step 2

the second step of annie's envelope. it wasn't too hard to correct the depth of the  -nnie part so that it was level. now the bold stroke of the A is too heavy for the rest of the A. so i need to add to the wimpy side.

and i have to decide about the two leaves on the A. should they be the same? is one better than the other? should the lightness to darkness be a gradation? it was a stroke of luck that i found a stamp that looked nice with the colors. its difficult having such limited colors with G-Tecs and i am still bummed that they have discontinued colors. that just seems like some kind of torture. why would they do that? get us addicted and then deny us. is it part of a larger plot? i have a sci-fi book or movie percolating here.

to smash from alyce

a while back, i invited readers to send envelopes to smash, c/o me and i would forward them. this one came from alyce and i was so happy to have a new idea to copy. i wanted to take my time and do a good job, so i penciled it in and then completely forgot what i was doing and inked the wavy lines. so i just did something different and forgot to scan it before it left.
if smash wants to send a photo of it, i will post her photo.

alyce's looks better with three lines.
thanks alyce !!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

landscape doodle lines

monday thru thursday of this week are all posts of mail received and it seems like cheating if i don't show you some of my own stuff, too. so here is an idea in progress. i saw some lines like this, but they had more detail. looked lacy.
i have no idea where this is going.

check below for the other post today.

from chuck

these are the ones i mentioned that chuck hand delivered. i love the borders and he told me where they came from and where the alphabets came from and my teflon colander brain does not recall...they look like art of my favorite styles.

i have alway liked chuck's use of dots. but then i never met a dot i didn't like.

Monday, May 27, 2013

annie w.c. pencil

here is one i started for annie using watercolor pencils instead of g-tec. i think i need to switch to g-tec. also, the nnie went uphill and really bothered me, so i put in some level lines and have to figure out how to make the letters level. i started this a while ago, but now i need to finish it and send it to annie so she can see why the really good envelopes make such a huge difference.

here is a good talk on embracing the *problems*
which is what i will need to do here.

bd kathy

this was my birthday envelope and greeting from kathy. when i met kathy (more than 10 years ago) i'd jabber about how i really needed a MacArthur genius grant and was disappointed that they weren't going door-to-door in des moines looking for, i'm actually glad that they were lazy and didn't find me. it would have been too much pressure and i probably would have had to talk to people. blogging is so much better...impulsive. no strings. all the attention is from people whose company i am sure i would prefer over grant-hander-outers? so, if they show up, do you think i'd have the guts to say no-thank-you? i probably don't have to worry about having to make that decision.

and she did this way before i was on this flower kick
so, clearly, it was stealworthy.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

second layer

i added some colors. then i added some silver gouache. i took a phone photo and can't get it to flip. but, you don't need to read it to see that it needs some darks. this is a really cheap envelope and i am not sure i want to spend more time on it. i might start over on a good envelope and sacrifice this to some extreme experimenting.

look below for the official post for today.

sunday guest artist

Tony Ross worked with Francesca Simon to create the art for the Horrid Henry books. His best-known character is the Little Princess, the star of I Want My Potty, I Want My Dinner, and I Don’t Want To Go To Bed.

from the klaus flugge collection 

if you are in the mood to read about another topic
i posted a robert genn article on my other blog

it is about the purpose of critiquing our work. some readers tell me that i am too hard on myself. i think i do a good job of being balanced. i always mention the things that i love. when i see something i don't like, i am always looking for ways to change it so that i will like it better. some people like everything i do. but, if i asked you to pick your favorites, you would probably start to see that some are *better* than others. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

ABC flowers

a while back i had some flowers where the petals were the letters of the alphabet. after doing a couple of those, i knew i had to do the whole alphabet.

these are all G-Tec. except the yellow centers of the flowers are a fat ZIG writer tip. any bullet tipped marker would work or you could draw a circle or there are 17 other ways to make the centers of flowers.

i did not think too hard about where the centers were. then i wrote the letters around each dot.

then i drew the stems using a ruler and triangle to make them exactly perpendicular to the edge of the envelope.

the addresses will maybe float in the air or go over the stems.

here is a little work in progress

Friday, May 24, 2013

amy's - hillerian env

if you click on it and look closely, you will see that it is sloppy. i was experimenting.
and trying some new brushes. i am a big fan of the windsor newton series 7 brushes. they are expensive. i tried the windsor newton sceptre gold II
and.. i was not disappointed. i still think series 7 are better, but, students aren't always eager to buy the most expensive supplies.

amy is getting a dee-luxe envelope because she helped me when i had the final big fat sale to empty out my studio.  i am almost done with the big move and i have been scanning again. the phone photos will soon be a thing of the past.

i added some more white dots after i took this photo. and sadly, i do not have time to do a rescan. too many new ideas coming up. this one is so *last week.*

Thursday, May 23, 2013

chuck - hillarian

here is a riff on nancy's hillarian flourishing.

thank you nancy :-)
for the inspiration

you need to click on the photo and enlarge it to really see the detail.

the address with be stacked on the left. i used a .25 G-Tec...

in the comments yesterday, Smash mentioned that her Crane's envelopes are not holding up with watercolor. I prefer William Arthur to Crane's and it has to be the kind used for engraving or thermo NOT letterpress. Crane's just bought Wm Arthur and I am pretty nervous that the primo William Arthur paper will be phased out. IMHO...there just isn't anything like it.

Of course, you can always buy watercolor paper and make your own's very easy.

Jackie: i am pretty sure you could tell the difference between my envelopes and Nancy's if you saw them in person. her colors are much brighter. mine are a bit muddy. Nancy uses more colors than i do. I think my dots around the letters look different....but she might start copying mine when she sees the one i did today (not this one - one she hasn't seen)

Nancy: i don't have any trouble with .25's clogging. but, i am vigilant about putting the caps on. i am very impressed that you have been getting such fine lines with .3s. very impressed!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

hillarian jackie

here is my thank you to jackie, done in the hillarian style. oh-my-goodness. i can't begin to tell you how ugly this one was. i did not think i could save it and then it all pulled together. so, lesson for today, don't ever give up. i was not able to fix the c. it is too small, but, i can live with one mutant per name. the space inside the a is nice and it would have been nice to have that much air between the other letters. yes, all those green blobs were added to hide the one that was an accident.

and here is a scan of the gem i posted a few days ago because scans are better than phone photos.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

thank you to alyce

i just did some angular oversized script (with a black ZIG Writer) and squared off the ends (with a G-Tec). Then i looked for a stamp and liked the way the shapes in the photo were similar to the shapes in the letters. the two different fonts and the two vertical red lines were the most logical way to tie the address to the stamp. and as i keep saying, i like contrasting BIG and little.

Monday, May 20, 2013

stella - greek key

hey stella...i think this is the last in the stella series
and i think it is my favorite
it is pretty simple
and it probably needs more
but, i just love the way it all fits together
and looks like a greek key design
(or maybe a greek key after too much ouzo, eh?)

some day...i want to do this in a blind emboss

the address will go in tiny letters, just above canada. it was done with a navy ZIG writer and then carefully outlined with a G-Tec so that the ends and corners were squared off and crisp.

it would also look nice to move the stamp up to the corner
and stack the address in three lines, further down on the right.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

mystery solved

yesterday i showed the two envelopes that arrived with JEAN on one and 420 on the other and a bar code. they were inspired by the ZIP + 4 + 420 that Smash sent. there was no return snail i wasn't sure we would hear from the sender. below is the transcript of the comments in case readers don't go back and look at comments:

  1. So this means both postcards arrived to you by way of the barcode alone, pretty much?! You people are serious postal gamblers! lol
  2. yes... it must have been the bar code.
    now.....we have to figure out who the texan is.
    please drop us a *howdy* in the comment section :-)
  3. IMb. Intelligent Mail Barcode. USPostal Service
    This is the smartest address ever...
    My guess is that this code was taken from a posted envelope to Jean
    Scanned into the computer and printed onto a new envelope and dropped into a mail box
  4. I have been “pushing the envelope” of the post office for about 4 years now. Having sent out well over 100+ post cards with less than a 5% failure rate, I am very impressed with the ability of the Post Office and the carriers to deliver the mail. This particular test was to see if a post card with the least amount of information on it could be delivered. As you can see it did.

    The IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) was created using the USPS online encode/decode program. Jean’s address decodeed to:


    After downloading the USPS IMB font, I just needed to print the IMB on the post card.

    How did it make it to Jean? The IMB was able to get the post card to the post office in Des Moines, then into the tray of the postal carrier, but if was up to the carrier to figure out the rest:)

    If you use a readable address, a zip+4, and either a POSTnet barcode or the IMB, you will have a 99.999% chance of that envelope being delivered. A readable address and Zip+4 might bump that percentage down to about 99%.
    so...thank you SMGH - i need to let dave know that i appreciate his participation. it they had arrived on saturday, i'm not sure they would have made it to me.
    and...if you would like one of my old school thank you envelopes, just send me the old school info in an email to jmwilson411 (at) yahooDOTcom 

    the only other genius method i can think of would be carrier pigeon or perhaps a *fox* like the one they used in the Princess Bride. we do see a fox in our yard from time to time, but he doesn't seem to have any mail for me.

sunday guest artists

from the flugge collection

Philippe Dupasquier has written and illustrated over 25 books for children, including My Busy Day and No More Television!.

notice that some of the watercolor goes out of the lines. that should remind you to not agonize over perfection. when things are a little off, sometimes they are also a little more interesting. not always...but it is nice to note that sometimes it works. it's subtle. 

and today is a red letter day...because we have our first guest artist from the youthful category. she is sue mashman's granddaughter, stella. they were in london and stella sent an envelope home to the usa.

super stealworthy idea!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

this is cool

these two postcards arrived a couple days ago.

the message on the back says: I'll see Smash's ZIP + 4 + house
and raise her a name+IMB
Greetings from Texas....

so - here is the new
Postal Hall of Fame


who's next?????
don't miss the post below...
this is the second post today

jackie's gems + jean's junk

top shot: the envelope from jackie that i had to disect to read. she has a message on the flip side of the paper, then it is all neatly folded into an envelope.

middle shot:
the post office kindly delivered it without cancelling any of the stamps.
i need to scan it and repost it so you can see it better. i did get back to scanning, so, in june, you won't have to put up with photos any more

my envelope, to the right, is a hot mess.
i was stealing the ribbons and dangles from alyce.
there are just too many things going on.
first i left the t out of stella, that P is too big, the dangles are too flat. so, ignore this and enjoy the artwork from jackie...

bear with me...
re-organization and move is progressing
and some new stuff is almost ready to launch....

Friday, May 17, 2013

stella -tornado

i was practicing *the line of infinite beauty* and it started to look like a tornado. i hope i have time to draw little pieces of furniture and cows and such in the swirls before i send it. the blue name and line must have been a ZIG Writer which has two ends, one is .5 and the other is larger. you can get a little variation in the big end with pressure and release. also, speed will make the line a little lighter, if you are not pressing very hard.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

hb tom - and jeri

tom sent this for my birthday last month. thank you tom. i love the button alphabet. it is a style that peter thornton invented. he was in town one time and i asked him to write it out for me and somewhere.....i have it. next time i see it, i will post it.

i do not recall if i have posted this one
and picasa has changed so that i can no longer scroll through my 900 see what has been, here it is. and it is pretty enough to run twice. thank you jeri. she sent it to my mom at mom's new address. you are all welcome to send mail to my mom.

it is a little hard to see the street address - it is 4111
jeri used one of those double tipped nibs.
and those red birds are stealworthy!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

jan's markers

 here are some flowers using jan's faber-castell big brush markers. i loved the envelope - until i added the stamp and address - luckily i used pencil.

i think the address belongs in that wider space between the stems.

note to ann-margret who asked what the ZIP+4 means. it is an additional 4 numbers, optional, that will route the mail to a more specific area. so, the ZIP+4 plus the house number, is technically all the information that is needed to get the mail to the house.

and note to carol and sue regarding my thoughts about my idea or an envelope where i write one name, using each and every pen and marker that i own....i think i have to do it. and yes, it will be a large envelope.

jan's donation

this was so much fun to do. you just tap the brush marker on the side to make the petal, but you have to tap each stem once, then turn the envelope and tap each one again then keep going around in a circle. it is the only way i know to make them come out this way. i am not going to waste my time showing you that if you do the flowers one at a time, they aren't as cute. go ahead...try'll see.

these are the faber castell brush markers that jan donated to my teaching supplies and which will probably drive me into rehab. i can't stop experimenting.

beth flower thank you

beth and i enjoy little dot flowers. she asked how to make the Os smooth. you probably need to move your whole arm. your arm doesn't have to slide anywhere, but if your arm is on the desk, you can actually move the bone, inside the skin. that sounds a little creepy. but there is some sliding back and forth that you can accomplish. you need to do that on some letters, instead of just moving your fingers or wrist. some people try to keep the finger movement to a minimum. this is hard to describe in words. i need to start shooting some video.

i really like those three letters that are nudging outside the lines - the T, N and Y
and the black is nice touch on the thank you.
and i like the way there are little strips of white peeking through.
they act like a highlight.

thank you for the thank you :-)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

jan's donation

i have a real dilema. jan donated some faber-castell big brush markers to my teaching supplies to share with students...because she said she didn't care for them. i assured her that they were going to be fabulous markers and that she would regret giving them away. so...this is the first envelope i tried. that first big J is an ugly J, but, i'm fine with the rest pf the Jans. one thing about have to work to find the good color combinations. you hardly ever have the perfect combo for a certain stamp.
tomorrow, i will show one that i like a lot and it was so easy. i think jan will want them back and i suppose i can part with them, but it will be hard.

smash butterflies + robots

another one from smash where i just have to guess how she made that cool lace pattern. i like the way it is sketchy and not a perfect print. but i have no idea how she did it. the butterflies are so pretty. i wish i had some...

 elizabeth sent this fun shot of the robot valentines she made with her grandsons. she sent it after i posted smash's robot envelope. hopefully, i will have time to make some robot butterflies.

my new *thing* is going to be cross-pollinating ideas. along with eliminating all the bothersome chores to devote more time to this obsession....

 so this is my first robot rip off. i forgot to make a butterfly. i didn't look at smash's robot. but i did google *robots* and there are tons of cute robots out there. i did not see any that were letters. so, that's my own thing.
the first layer is galaxy metallic marker - then some gelly roll silver and the last layer is G-Tec. the address is in pencil in case i decide to actually send this one and use her real address. i think *we* should all get post office boxes so i don't have to go through all these gyrations to post envelopes and then re-address them to mail them. but, trekking to the p.o. box would be a chore. if you have never read the eudora welty story *why i live at the post office* be sure to find it and read it - or listen to it on the tape with eudora reading it herself. it's a fine piece of writing.

i love that stamp. it's interesting how some very serious stamps blend nicely with silly cartoons.

oh...i just took the time to google *robot alphabet* and there are TONS of robot alphabets. many of them are as cute as anything i could, i don't think i need to spend any more time on robots. although i did not see a robot butterfly, so i might have to do that one.

Monday, May 13, 2013

janet's birthday - favorite

last week, i posted the really quick cupcake envelope i made for janet and mentioned that my first attempt at something very quick was one that i liked too much to give away that day, so i made a second one. i still haven't finished this one because i have too many ideas. so, i suppose i should make copies and show how many different ways i can finish it...which would be a lot....decisions, decisions.

the two main places for the stamp are in the crook of the J and under the crossbar of the E.

here is my reply to the envelope from smash that i showed yesterday

 i took one of her creatures and turned it into the S and another creature made the last name with his footprints. it is all done with the G-Tec .25 - in the blue-black color that i just love. maybe john neal will stock them. they are pretty spectacular. the ink seems to be more cooperative in the wash technique that i have been loving. i used a little gouache or watercolor for the pale green.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

sunday guest artist + smash

from klaus flugge collection

Max Velthuijs was one of Holland’s most important creators of children’s books. He became famous for his stories about a character called Frog. He died in 2005, aged 81.

 and this just in from smashgirl.
i will be posting my *reply* soon.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

teal wedding

THIS JUST IN - JOHN NEAL has G-Tecs on sale - see below)

 i helped design this invitation and did all the addressing for my son-in-law's sister. the top photo is a little blurry, the rectangle in the upper corner is teal. it was letterpressed. the response card had a blind embossed chevron pattern that also appeared on the envelope liner. i thought the parents of the bride would enjoy a variety of envelopes on the response cards, so i hand addressed them and tried to come up with 125 different ways to address them. but, i ran out of time and did some repeats. they did tell me that their letter carrier mentioned that he/she had really enjoyed delivering all the pretty envelopes.

stacey of PinkFineStationery did the actual design. the bride and i just offered copious suggestions.

 we weren't wild about the stamps, but they were ok. the bottom photo shows the blind emboss a little better. i love blind embossing.

yes, i lined the envelopes by hand

here is the link (hopefully) to the G-Tec page on John Neal's website