Sunday, August 31, 2014

from finn

nice piece of repurposed mail turned into mail to jean from finnbadger. he knows that smash girl and i have a series of birds on heads. now i have to decide if the original of this image, which was enclosed inthe envelope should be mailed to smashgirl or back to finnbadger. decisions decisions

Saturday, August 30, 2014

mail art entry 4

after being less than satisfies with the first three, i pulled out my giant copics. then i found some stamps that i like. so this is somewhat satisfying. but not so wonderful that i will be tempted to keep it forever.

anyone who checked the blog on sunday, aug 3rd between 12:30 and 2 pm CDT might have seen this. i was trying to schedule posts to pop up and accidentally posted it in real time.

then i deleted it and reposted it.
too much information.
i'm going to try to brief-erize my comments.
or is that brev-erate?

Friday, August 29, 2014

mail art entry 3

since the one i posted yesterday was not spectacular, i thought i should return to a tried and true concept and see if i could make the letters into something i loved. i was liking this until i spelled the name of his town wrong. but, i hesitate to throw anything away and i had some forever stamps, so this one is heading off to germany.

and don't miss the post below this one.
i announced a new envelope exchange for anyone wishing to exchange envelopes with other blog readers.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Next Envelope Exchange

yesterday jan reminded me that we were going to do another envelope exchange. she even volunteered to do the organizational portion which elevates her to the position of COO, Chief Operating Officer in the PushingTheEnvelopeCorporation, LTDbut.not.very.

I googled *envelope exchange* to find an image. there were many from finnbadger's blog. but, i chose this one from here:

Here is how the exchange will work:
Send your info to Jan by September 10th.
Jan will distribute lists by Sept. 15th and you need to get your envelopes in the mail by October 15th.
So decide how many envelopes you can decorate in one month.

Theme: whatever you like (fall, Halloween, farmers market stamps, Janis Joplin stamps, anything else) Decorate the envelope....nothing inside, just blank paper, unless you are compelled to write things, but it is entirely optional. 

Medium: pen and ink, markers, typewriting, digital art, photos, chicken scratching, calligraphy is NOT required. This is a beginner friendly exchange. Feel free to wow people with your skills if you do have nice penmanship, but if you do not, wow us with the type of decoration that you enjoy. Just decorate the envelope - and make sure the P.O. can read the address.

Copy and paste the following to make sure you send all the info to Jan.

Your name:
Your address:
Your City/State/Zip:
Your country:
Your email:
 How many envelopes you would like to exchange:

Send this info to:  janhardt (at) mchsi (dot) com


If you want to receive two envelopes, you will get a list with your name plus two others. You do not have to send one to yourself. You send two envelopes and receive two envelopes.
Yes, I am participating, and will send as many envelopes as there are people on the list.
It's a good way to generate some fun ideas for upcoming posts.

THANKS to a bunch of you who sent birthday cards to my mom and also have been sending me some great envelopes. I am currently scheduling posts in October. I like to stay ahead of the curve, so you will be seeing your mail on the blog in a few weeks. If you do not want me to post your envelopes, you need to tell me.

mail art entry 2

i thought i could draw the house. i didn't have any left over patience. it turned into scribbling. but, i am going to send it anyway.

i like the idea of all white on kraft paper. and i like that stamp. if i had holiday mail coming up, i would consider this color scheme.

anyone who wishes to enter the exhibit could send mail to the address shown on the envelope to the right.

or you may send mail directly to roland on yesterday's envelope,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

nib lessons

if you go to this link and download the PDF and go to the last page, you will find this page

this is the exemplar we will use when i start the lessons for writing with nibs and ink. i thought i already posted this, but, now i do not see it in the archive. i might put nibs and ink on a new blog.

the envelope for today is posted below - scroll down -

mail art entry 1

roland put out a call for entries for an exhibit of mail art that will happen in 2015. he asked for interpretations of this house - a hot spot for sightseers in marktbreit germany.

this is just an image off the internet that i converted using easy clicks in my Word program.

i did a few more that were a bit more creative. but, this request came in at a time when i am overloaded with jobs and all the juices are being used up on jobs.

the stamp will go in that dark spot on the left.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

never again

phone photos vex me. they look correct on the screen, but show up like this on the blog. this is off topic but i wanted to offer a warning to any readers who are doing wedding jobs. if a very nice mother and father of a bride show up and are dreamy clients during the envelope portion of the job, but then later, they ask for band logos to be written in silver on black sparkle paper because the groom is a musician in a band and because the groom is really only getting this one request honored -- just say *no.*
part of me feels sorry for the poor groom who isn't getting his dream-event. i am sure he will be happy to use band names rather than table numbers for the reception. but these were really hard to do and they don't really look that good up close. luckily, they will be used after dark, in a dimly lit dining room after happy maybe nobody will scrutinize them. i was so tempted to throw in the captain and tenielle. *we've only just begun....white lace and promises...yaddayaddayadda....* but, i'm just happy to be done with them.

look below for the envelope of the day.

blackwing update

jeri sent me some blackwing pencils. she'd heard people raving about them. i tried one and didn't see anything too special. later, i picked one up because i had to avoid some chores and noticed that it is super soft and the more you write, the wider the tip gets so it is ideal if you want to make some really bold statements. i could love these pencils. however, they are schmeary and i can't handle schmeary. so....i will pull them out to enjoy when i need to avoid my chores. i had to cover up an ugly name with a sticker.

the idea of writing a message down the envelope and then squeezing in the address appeals to me
although, i need a system to do lettering that fits nicely.
figuring out a way to do this where i like the outcome will be a challenge.

that left margin was clumsy. i used it to make notes, but am not too pleased with the whole thing.
maybe something better will evolve.

Monday, August 25, 2014

mixed font elephant

another sample envelope for alexis showing mixed fonts. it's a popular way to address invitations. you can do a nice job with regular pens. i suppose it works to rotate through the options of:
all caps
all lower case
but i like the state to be in a script
so i throw in caps for the city

you would want to allow variation if you had a really long line

and with any of them, you have the choice of standard width, skinny or extended width.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

better sox

a better idea to go with the striped sox. there are more cool details on that clown. the last name is colored pencil. i love colored pencils.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

bonus post

ruth wondered where i worked in the address on the one with elizabeth's name filling the envelope. i am pretty sure i put in a red line with a gel marker making it two or three strokes to make it wider than the tip. then after it dried, i wrote the address in white gel pen. on this one, i did a little bit of squaring off on the stokes that bothered me. as always, i have better luck with the name elizabeth. i suppose i will get better at alexandra after i write it enough. but elizabeth will probably be my *favorite* name to write forever. i should have written the bottom line first. although, if you look at the quality of the shapes, you can tell that i started at the top and the bottom lines are better because i had warmed up a bit. it suffers from too fast. but, i have a lot to do. enough people responded that they would use the nib lessons, so i have to get going on those.

striped socks

i was pondering some choices for a baby shower invitation. it wasn't circus-themed. but, after a different envelope style was chosen, i figured i could play around with these for the blog. those striped socks could be used a dozen ways on an envelope.

i spent a lot of time moving that stamp around, deciding where to position it. never did decide what i liked best. since this is a fake address, i'll be using the stamp on a real envelope at a later date.

the name is a tiny version of dubosch jubilee.

Friday, August 22, 2014

mary katherine's doodly envelope

mary katherine said that this was another *doodly* one. it's a very cool pattern. i think it is a step above doodling. but, that's splitting hairs. it's way fun.

she also says that she does not do any writing with dip pens, just faux-calligraphy where she writes in script and then fattens the down strokes. i am going to try to lure her into the world of real nibs and ink.

if any other readers of the blog are interested in a long distance lesson - or series of lessons, let me know. it's really fun to write with nibs and ink. you just need to know a couple secrets and i am happy to let anyone and everyone in on the secrets.

send me an email at jmwilson411 at yahoo dot com so i know how many are interested. then i will start the lessons, mixed in with the envelopes. or -on the envelopes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

thoughts for brenda

brenda is the nice lady at meredith publishing who handles the paperwork for the free lance artists who do jobs for midwest living magazine. i have done some super fun projects for midwest living. if i can think of a way to tie them in to envelopes, i will post some of the projects. they are collaborative. editors and art directors decide what they want and then i have to execute. it is always interesting to see the complicated process that goes into a magazine article. in some cases there is food, too, and that means there is a food stylist making the food look good. and a photographer. sometimes there are 6 or 7 people involved in making decisions about really tiny details.  anyhow, brenda emails me the contract which i sign and return to her....and this time i had the urge to do something fun on the envelope. i wish i had written the words in the thought bubbles in maybe i'll send her another envelope. abe and his son are referring to two other meredith publications. john muir is referring to the gardening magazines and books that meredith publishes. smoky is talking about the test kitchens where they test all the recipes for publications including the classic better homes and gardens cookbook.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

hot mess

i am including this hot mess because that's my policy. i show everything, even the hot messes. i like the M. obviously, i used a stamp to cover up a mess on the P. and there was an unsuccessful last name on top of the A that had to be deleted.

i still like the idea and while there have been a dozen envelopes that i did not like over the past two weeks, it was worthwhile to slog through the disasters because i finally hit on some ideas that i liked.

and, i figure people are happy to have some real mail...even if it isn't award winning.
Brody Neuenschwander sent me a friend request on facebook. brody is a rock star in the world of lettering. i wonder if he has actually seen my blog? or maybe he uses me as an example of what to NOT do - in his classes....even if i am only a warning...i'm OK with that.  there are enough rock stars. i'm pretty sure i would not enjoy stardom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

am i color blind?

i must be going color blind. after many (wretchedly unsuccessful) attempts to do something with the winter flower stamps, i finally figured out why i was having so much trouble. the background color is purple. all i could see was blue. i can't figure out why i saw blue. but, it was fun to resolve that issue. this is just one layer. i like the idea of filling up an envelope with the name. so, this might evolve into a series.

Monday, August 18, 2014

natalie's jimi

so, when i took the envelope posted yesterday to the main p.o. in des moines to have natalie, one of my p.o.pals hand cancel it, i had the jimi envelope for josh, too. she liked both of them, so i thought i would send her a jimi. i really should send more mail to natalie. she goes out of her way to be helpful to customers. she is super calm and super patient. and believe me, i've seen some challenging customers at the p.o.

i think i also saw an actual *bouncer* at the main p.o. he was big and he showed up after a customer started to get more than slightly upset. i really do need to do a better one for natalie.this one is OK...but i think the name and the zip do not harmonize very well.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

josh and jimi

i had to send something fast. the stack of envelopes from miss cathy is right here. the green looks nice on the tan envelope. i thought it was going to be muddy. i enjoy making the texture of jimi's hair for detail. although there are a ton of other good detail on that stamp.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

off topic saturdays - sock font
should i star doing something off-topic on saturdays?

chuck sent me a link to the fried egg font - and i discovered that there are some uber-kindred spirits out there who have done pretty much every found object alphabet that i have ever thought about. is a huge sampling of fun alphabets that you could use for inspiration.

Friday, August 15, 2014

wilma's birthday

her birthday is aug 19th so anyone who feels like sending her an envelope may do so. she's my mum.

this envelope is foreshadowing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


so then, after the blue envelopes were not stellar, i tried the gray envelopes and i was liking these. although, i felt like i was just doing the same old lines and dots and they just didn't seem blog worthy. then i remembered that if i tried to make something blogworthy every day, i would have to be institutionalized. that's too much pressure. these aren't finished. but jan will be here on wednesday, so i thin i will just give them to her.

i have to make a new *rule* for myself that if i like a vintage stamp and it is not enough for the envelope then, too bad, i just leave it with insufficient funds and figure out a new way to mail envelopes that work with just one vintage stamp.

i have an idea for how to do that...keep checking in....

the composition on the lower one is clumsy.
but i have seen worse. remember how i keep saying that i am not good at filling all the space.
i'm not.
maybe i'll figure it out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

a little better

if you are following the progression of what i did with the blue envelopes. the past two days showed how i tried to use the winter flower stamps. i decided that wasn't working, so i tried a new tool. blue and purple frequently works for me. i did the lower one first and the white script is written twice because the first layer was u-g-l-y. i was pretty happy with how the second layer improved it. then i thought of the dubosch jubilee font and used the giant copic on stella and was pretty happy with how it turned out. no planning. the first L is weak. and then i was THRILLED when i found those stamps. and i actually put them on and peeled them off twice...and where they ended up is a-w-f-u-l --but, i can't peel them again, so will hope the cancels resolve the issues i have with them.

then, i liked the gem stamps, but did not have three, so i added the bird stamp and am not thrilled with the choices....i hope smash-girl will photocopy the gem stamp and put it over the bird stamp after it arrives
or i guess i can send a photo copy for her to adhere to the envelope.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

smash deserves better

i was disappointed in these two. the top one was inspired by some very cool 3D lettering. i will try to find the link. i was trying to do a very sloppy version of the original. sometimes, that works. sometimes it doesn't. when the letters looked bad, i figured i could make them into people and i was rather liking them and then i was super happy when i found the stamps. and then i was really disappointed when i put the harold lloyd stamp on. it would have been so cute (although unmailable) with just the keystone cops. so, smash-girl, i need you to steam that harold lloyd stamp off after this arrives. thank you.

the blue one is a lesson in what not to do. red does not look good on blue paper. at a certain point, you just have to stop trying to correct a bad design with white gel pen. on the up side. i like the use of little leftover sticker paper to pull some green out of the stamp. i also like those wispy white marks. but there are too many clashing elements and the lettering is overworked and the scale of everything is too blah. my excuse? i'd been on a three or four week break from doing anything creative (due to a bunch-a-jobs) and it took a while to warm up again.

Monday, August 11, 2014

ty - cathy

cathy sent me a big stack of leftover envelopes. i thought the blue ones might help me figure out some ideas that go with the winter flower stamps. i liked the while lettering on cathy's. but i botched the address. then i tried some giant-copic purple. the script *moore* does not go with the stamp. i have 7 more in this series that i will post - two at a time, because i am OK with sharing the disasters and pondering what went wrong and on a couple, i found stamps that saved the day. not sure what the lesson is for today. i guess you can feel comforted that even jean-who-seeks-solice-in-envelopes sometimes just finds an extra layer of frustration. and what do i do when that happens?
i'll let people guess what my last ditch effort to soothe my frazzles is.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


a while back myra posted her address in a comment and i sent an envelope to her and then i saw her post on her blog about receiving the envelope and then i scanned through some of her old blog posts to get a feel for what she blogs about and i ran across this - an excerpt from a post where she talks about how she enjoys my blog every day and sent me a thank you envelope:

I guess it's to say to Jean, thank you for helping me find a fun thing to do on a day full of earthquakes. I'm going to make a card with the tree on it to say Hi and this is my hobby, and I love your blog.
I think by now you know I live in Southern California and I live close to Brea, LaHabra, and Fullerton, which is where the earthquakes are coming from. On Friday night we had a really bad one and one of my favorite glass picture frames hit the floor and broke. Pictures fell off the walls and the cupboard doors came open and lights blinked. Then I tried to sleep since I had to be on the freeway at 3a.m. to clock in at work at 4a.m. It's been a shaking weekend and have felt some good one's today.  I feel a little sea sick from the movement. Just happy to have a home that is still standing, along with the electricity still on.

i'm glad my blog has offered at least one person something to do during earthquakes....
myra's blog post about receiving the first envelope from me mentioned that connie, her postal worker admired the i thought i would send a co-envelope to them.
there are instructions on the back to fold it back and forth and crease it and then tear it. i hope they follow my instructions. or better yet, i hope they video tape themselves ceremoniously tearing it in half

Saturday, August 9, 2014

killing time

i did this one while killing time in an airport. and then i smudged it. but alex won't care. she just crumples up her envelopes and chews on them. maybe i should add a layer of contact paper to this one....
i liked the idea better than the result. airports aren't very studio-like. the street address will go in the open banner.

Friday, August 8, 2014

8th of month - artpostal

the 8th is our day to visit a blog with more envelopes. some of the ones on this blog are popular and reposted all over the internet. this one was new to me, and had to be the one for my post, because of the bird on the head theme.

also, there are a couple on the blog that are just a tiny bit eye-brow raising. nothing outrageous, just worth mentioning in case you have a 5 year old kid sitting on your lap enjoying envelopes.

i found the above link, by clicking at the blog below, which has some nice stuff. the above one is all in french, but, if you find the words *Les enveloppes* at the top, toward the right, there is a drop down menu and he has his envelopes organized into categories.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

philippe charron

here is one that finnbadger pointed out. it's from a blog. the artist is phillippe charron.

it is a-dor-a-ble

here's the link to the blog where it was posted. i did not ask permission to repost. i figure anyone with an etsy account is happy to have links directing people to them.

 if i figured wrong and you are chewy tulips and you want me to remove this...just say so and *poof* i will make it disappear

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

smash - animals

more stealworthy ideas. i like the way the animals echo the images on the stamps in scale. i'm not sure why she has her name twice. it doesn't bother me...just wondering if there was a reason...and as always, i like white space and grids and dots :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

hugs from smash

this is a stealworthy idea.
draw a rectangle, fill it with tall, skinny letters and then put in some shapes. i need time to do a bunch of these. i'm behind on everything, but in between jobs, it is nice to take a break and go through my stacks of emails and find all the gems that smash sent - way back when....
thanks, smash-girl :-)

Monday, August 4, 2014

introducing tome

i need to introduce tome hope. here is a link to her website

i met her about a year ago. she had studied calligraphy with cheryl jacobsen in iowa city at the u of iowa. and has had time to create a very nice website.

i finally have someone to cover for me when i am out of town which is fantastic.

her work is very nice and i imagine i will be referring everyone to her when i get around to retiring. that will be a while. but in the mean time, it has been wonderful to have someone who will take on whatever i throw at her. i need to lean a little harder on her to get her to fill my teaching shoes.

i did not ask her for permission to post this. if it's not OK, tome, let me know :-)

and yes, her name is tome, like a book. isn't that a cool name?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

from cathy

this was on the pkg of envelopes that cathy sent. it was level. i had to tip it to get it to fit in the scanner.

she had my zip code wrong, so it went on an adventure.

very pretty *rainbow writing*  that's what i call lettering where you have ink or paint that you let co-mingle while wet. and her tiny little italics are dreamy.

thank you, cathy. there will be several posts coming up where i experimented on the envelopes and it's a good thing i learned how to call disasters -learning opportunities-  yikes...i am way off my game.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

krafty virginia

every time i see DuBosch Jubilee Script i am tempted to pull out my parallel pen and a dozen envelopes. but, after the black ink ran out and carol assured me that it was just fine to fill the entire barrel with ink - just skip the cartridge....i have been unable to fill it. it just seems like it is going to make a mess and i dread messes so much, i am sacrificing something i LOVE...because i dread ink messes. that is just nutty. where are the people who do ink-interventions?