Tuesday, March 31, 2015


more of my obsessive cocoiro disorder. the *ma* on this envelope was an error on a job, so rather than just toss the envelope, i tried to fill the whole envelope up with a fake address because i look for any excuse to write with cocoiros. and i am wildly excited about the new rameriez stamps.

as always, i am not that good at filling up space...but i had fun, which is more important.

Monday, March 30, 2015

jim's fern

i need to use up a couple of these fern stamps that are 49-cents. i hear the rates are going up.
i used the faber-castell pitt big brush for the green. the darker green is cocoiro and the white is gel pen. i was not too literal with the ferns.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

another blog


if you click on the link above, it will take you to a blog where the blogger posted *16 really cool ways to address an envelope*

the Ellen envelope is mine. and there is one done by carol turznik, addressed to me. i love looking on pinterest at people who collect mail art. i like to scroll through and see if i spot any of mine. and i find quite a few.

i was happy the blogger included the name of my blog. i have nearly 200 followers and i am getting over 10,000 hits per month

Saturday, March 28, 2015

carolyn - hischelope

i added a couple things to the hischelope style. first i added tiny tassels with a cocoiro. then, because i messed up the A and the N at the bottom of the heart, i had to make a bunch of angled lines on all but the initials. and then i added some small cross hatching to them. the mess-up was simply that there were two strokes that needed to be vertical. i did not want to start over, so, i just messed up all the previous letters. that is a one example of solving your problem by just making the mistake on every letter. the address will go in a straight line. but i might look for a place to insert another tiny heart (or 2 or 3).
and there are some dots, too.
that C bothers me. it should have been rounder.

Friday, March 27, 2015

from smash - heldish

heldish means inspired by heather held. you may google her and you will see this style of flourishing. it is done with a pointed pen, although, it reminds me of the flourishing i was doing with the Cocoiro markers. i am inspired to do more.

thank you smash-girl

and those stamps are perfection.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

jan's calligraphy stamp

the green was done ages ago. probably on the day jan brought her re-inker bottle and refilled my giant copic marker. it took forever to find a stamp i liked and then i did the calligraphic design with a gel pen. i wish i had been a little more detail oriented when i did the flourishing. maybe i'll find time to redo this one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

happy birthday louise

i saw a really pretty versal L with an overlapping script L and wanted to do my version. then i saw that louise is a mail artist and requested 55 decorated envelopes to observe her 55th birthday. so, i gave it a try. the gel pen did not want to work. then i had no stamps that went with the teal envelopes and i have a lot of them left over, so i need to find a teal stamp. but i do have a ton of the winter stamps left over. i also want to make a whole alphabet of versals layered with script.

anyone who wants to send an envelope to louise - here is her address. she posted on the IUOMA site and wrote that she was fine with people reposting her request.  click on [read more] to read her entire blog post

Louise Heroux  (accent the e in the last name)
33 des Acores  (dangle something on the c in Acores)
Gatineau, Quebec  (accent on the first e in Quebec)
J8X 3G5

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

chuck's cream-style rose

this is another one from chuck. very nice ligature where he linked the R and W.

there have been several comments left on the envelopes with this style. one asked for the full alphabet and you can get most of it on the March 11th post:


i still have to write to the designer to see how he feels about us appropriating his design - before i post a full alphabet.

also, karen left a comment on the friday envelope where i layered the i and e in Schneider - she thought i might have layered them on purpose. nope. it was a mistake - and i did not notice til i was done. i'm always too lazy to redo anything. i always have to find a fix. plus kathy is the queen of happy accidents. i'll never forget her comment, "it's not burnt, it's caramelized." we had become a bit distracted in the kitchen. that's become a well used phrase in my kitchen.

Monday, March 23, 2015

jan's hische (coco)

red Cocoiro marker - my new obsession

ocd-obsessive cocoiro disorder

john neal will be happy to send you one in every color


Sunday, March 22, 2015



i do not send him cards any more because we are having a contest to see who can get rid of the most accumulated stuff. i am going to win. if i had sent him a card, this is the font i would have used.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

pidgeon post

another off-topic post. the letter writers alliance has been around for a while. their focus is sending mail so the artfulness of the envelope is not that important to them.

they offer this kit to mail an actual plastic penguin. yes, you can send objects like this through the mail.

for details, check out the website. it is a fun idea. no, i do NOT want one of my own. although they are reusable, so, if anyone sends one to me, i will return it to you.


i imagine smashgirl is tempted to buy one of these and turn it into a hat. explanation for new readers: smashgirl and finnbadger and i have a series of envelopes of birds on heads as well as heads on birds.

Friday, March 20, 2015

cream-style kathy

now i have to decide if i want to come up with all the lower case letters, too

i was trying a pigma micron pen on this. still looking for something i love that does not involve a bottle of ink. but, in my heart, i know that a nib and ink would be the best way to go with this style. or a rapidiograph.

the street and zip will go under the last name

Thursday, March 19, 2015

new exchange - sign up by march 28th


just for fun, here is a link to some cool free downloads for envelopes in case anyone wants to make their own envelopes.

the next exchange is:
open theme
any medium, any style, digital is ok
does not have to be calligraphy
envelopes may be empty

you will send 5 envelopes
you will receive 5 envelopes, but not necessarily from the ones you send to.

send your info to
janhardt -at- mchsi.com
by march 28th
jan will send out lists by march 31st
envelopes should be mailed by april 15th

send this info to jan
city-state-zip code
your email address

thanks jan, for doing all the organizational work

new envelope for today is below.

from janet

i usually don't include the cards unless they are hand made, but this one was so cute and there is such a nice tie-in with the stamp that i had to include it

and...there is a new twist on the
bird-on-head theme that a few of us are hooked on.

i love the envelope LOVE IT
will definitely be stealing the idea.
that's washi tape - making the packages. i do not own washi tape....and must figure out a way to do this without buying washi tape...

thanks janet

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

off topic

so imagine being on your hands and knees to the left of the boot and then reaching over to write by the toe of the shoe but you can't get your hand anywhere near the surface of the table because that chopping block and the bowls are right where your hand needs to be. there is no way i could have done this, and yet i did.

sadly, i can't find the photo of me perched on the table. it was very funny and documented that i am not making any of this up. i suppose you think that they just moved all the stuff. but you can't do that. you have to leave everything where it is.

as they were setting up the shot, they suddenly decided that the bowls were looking odd because there was nothing in them. it was the last shot of the day and everyone was tired. people started listing items - like apples - and i don't remember what else. all food things. but they did not have any food handy. my little brain kicked in - and i thought - what would they have in the studio that related to something in the shot...and i looked at the hammer...and i thought - nails. so i said "nails." and everyone said "yeah." and someone ran and got some nails and it just made the shot. i love when i can be more than just a scribe.

so, i probably make this sound like it is fun and glamorous. it is fun when you get to do it about 6 times a year. i can't fathom how people do it day in and day out. when you pick up a magazine and flip through and look at the photos, you have no idea how much time it takes to put an article together.

the new envelope for today is right below.

cream-style robert

sadly, i smudged this one, so it turned into a sample envelope. i like the addition of little diamonds and the double stroke on the tiny lettering.

i do better on this when i draw pencil lines. it's time to make an enlargement of the original and really study the proportions.

or, i might be too lazy to do that. 2015 was the year devoted to laziness (or maybe the whole millennium?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

off topic

to the right is a photo of a page in Midwest Living magazine. it is published by Meredith Publishing, here in Des Moines. from time to time, the art directors call me to do some hand lettering. this project included writing on the wall in an architect's style of printing. the lower photo shows a detail shot. it takes about a day and a half to set up and shoot these kinds of photos. the table top photos were c-r-a-z-y difficult because everything had to be set up, on a table and then i had to climb on top of the table and write on the table without touching anything. technically, that is impossible. but the art directors are always so perky and encouraging and give me the confidence to do the impossible.

i made sure to have someone take a photo of me perched on the table and asked them to be sure to make my rear end look as large as possible. i guess i'll save that shot for tomorrow.

these are in the March/April issue of Midwest Living. i highly recommend the magazine for its recipes. i have worked on several articles that have lettering with the food shots. Meredith publishes a lot of food related magazines and books, including the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. it's funny to walk into the huge corporate head quarters, which looks huge and corporate...but the minute you are inside the front door, it smells yummy...just like grandma's kitchen.

 don't miss today's new envelope, right below

miss munster - hanukkah

this is not beginner level lettering. but beginners can take note of the size of the name - big- and the size of the address - little -
and the stamp tucked in very nicely.

then she goes to the p.o. and supervises the cancel. that's a true mail artist in action.

so pretty
thank you, miss munster

one other thing, i like how the block letters are at a slant. i forget to do that. i usually write my block letters with no slant. but, i can see how much better it looks to have them at a slant with the name at a slant
that cross bar on the A in IA is sweet

Monday, March 16, 2015

cream-style to j&m

the more i do this one, the more i like it. i wonder if i am doing enough changing of the original to make it my own? there is a certain percentage that you have to change something to declare it your own. but i don't know what that percentage is. and it's not like i am going to make a font. this is a style where you make a lot of decisions as you see which letters fall next to which others.

is anyone going to try this style?

march 12th comment:
a couple days ago, chuck left a comment telling us that the artist on the cream poster is Stanley Mouse.
you can read all about him on wikipedia...and now that i know he spent his life as an artist and had some real ups and downs, i think i need to write to him and ask him how he feels about us copying this style. it's not like we are making money off it....but, if it peeves him, i think i might have to stop posting this style....even though i will still be obsessed with it.....and how ironic that he spent so much time doing grateful dead art....maybe the fact that i married a deadhead and spawned another one will set well with him.....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

from smash - drum+heart

smash might have just chosen this stamp randomly, or she might have chosen it in response to my multiple blogposts where i describe how much i like this stamp but how disappointed i have been in my own attempt to design something pretty to go with it.

so, this is not anything i would have tried. i'm not sure if the scan really picks up the colors in a way to show how complementary the heart is to the stamp. you'll have to trust me, it's really pretty.

thanks, smash

Saturday, March 14, 2015

cream no. 2 - to karen

on the second one, using a tiny G-Tec, i just did an outline. the poster has 20 letters of the alphabet, so i only have to figure out the F, P, Q, V, X, and Z
chuck added this to the comments:
There is an F in Fillmore, P & Q are easy, 1/2 of the W makes V, Y makes a good X and the T in sweat makes a good Z.

not the best stamp choice.
i have no idea which stamps will work with this font.

any suggestions? keeping in mind i am writing this in january and by the time you read this post, i will have moved on to something entirely different.
or not.

i am sneaking this in
karen clearly wrote  *to the trash* on the back of this one
she thinks the J looks like and F and thinks it says Fean
I do not see the F
but what i do see that looks a bit off is that zip code 50318
thank you to the PO for not making an ugly correction on the envelope and seeing that it got to me.
it is worth posting because karen always arranges her elements very nicely.

thanks karen

Friday, March 13, 2015

bonus post

don't miss the envelope for today that appears below this post. i was on a trip and returned to find this beautifully coordinated stack of mail. thank you to everyone. these will be appearing after the next 30 pre-scheduled posts appear - which will be sometime in april

from smashman, aka smashgirl

so, smashgirl went a little crazy with the batman stamps. that's what i like about letting the stamps inspire the envelope. they lure you off in directions that are wildly different than one would expect.

really fun and good use of selvedges selvages. [thank you to finn for helpful editing]  i'm not sure that is the correct term for the extra sticky stuff that we get on the edges of the sheets of stamps. if anyone knows of better word, please let me know.

thanks, smashgirl

Thursday, March 12, 2015

chuck's cream lettering

ok, i allowed myself an hour to play withthis font. yesterday, i cut off the top of the page that chuck sent. it was a poster for a cream concert. so i will call this style cream and there is a signature to the right of the word *BLOOD*
maybe chuck can make out the name so we can give credit to the designer. i'm not sure about the ethics of stealing this font.

i totally messed up the first C, then i did not find the U on the poster until after i did a very bad U. i will be figuring out a whole alphabet at some point.

and i had to tip the envelope to disguise that i made the two lines at the bottom crooked. this was with gel pen. it would be more successful if i got out ink and nibs. not the best stamp choice - but - i'm too preoccupied with this lettering.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

from chuck - and by the way - thanks

i go to sleep, vowing-vowing-vowing i will get up and stay focused on the tasks that should be done and then, in an instant, i see this font and
i have no willpower.
you'd think by confessing my font-addiction to all y'all, i would be able to control it, but you would be wrong

thanks, chuck
no really, thanks.....
seriously, thanks.....

Oct 4, 2019
I am adding an edit
so that I can find this exemplar when I want it.
The search function will find it if I have these words in the post

Stanley Mouse

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

from karen - odd couple

the top one is from karen. i paired it with one that i addressed to myself, for a client, who happened to have me on the guest list. i paired this odd couple because my blog is about inspiring people to pic up a pen or marker and make envelope art and karen is uber-educated in calligraphy and i don't think you can just pick up her skill by looking at it.

on the other hand, the stuff i do is uber-easy, which means you could probably pick it up just by looking at it. it's just regular penmanship with some variety in slant and some little secret curves here and there.

thanks karen - i am a big fan of orange and pink.

Monday, March 9, 2015

from ann-margret

another jan envelope. i can't tell what the base marker is. it has a bit of shimmer and i really like how it pulls out the pale blue in the stamp. it is such an adorable small stamp. i wish we had more tiny stamps.

i am also a big fan of  the whole name and address fitting into a rectangle. by adding a job title line, it improved the overall design. more is good when doing these mixed-style designs.

and i like how she left the larger spaces between the house number, street number and street.

very nice ann-margret - thank you

Sunday, March 8, 2015

batman + big nib

i ended up adding some gold gel pen to this and it was not an improvement. it did not destroy it, but, i did not bother making a new scan.

this is a modified neuland - one of my favorite styles. i prefer packing it in very tight. it is a fool proof way to make a solid chunk of something to anchor the composition.

and to anyone who knows neuland, note my s. i think it is a very nice alternative to the s designed by rudolph koch. if i am admitted to the scribal section of the next world, i hope i get to chit chat with people like rudy.

i'm not sure if this is a repeat....if it is, i will add something today. 

this isn't an envelope. it is a giant nib at one of the interstate rest stops along I-80. and yes, my name is on the plaque of people who contributed to the project. the A on the building in the background is the A in IOWA. some day i will post all the photos and the whole story.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

christy's winter exchange

this arrived in early january, but, as you probably know, i schedule things far into the future and don't coordinate the actual calendar with the envelope topics.

you could steal this layout and make it into easter with eggs.

blue and white - always a crowd pleaser.

thanks christy

Friday, March 6, 2015

ornaments with blue ribbon

old favorite stamps. recycled ideas. new combination of markers. i never used dot-a-rific on this type of lettering. not my best work, but i do think we need an exemplar that shows the whole alphabet done in circles.  stay tuned.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

cathy's winter exchange

sooooooooooooo clever. really clever way to tie wilt the stilt into a holiday envelope. the jean and wilson ornaments are adhered over the top of the tree which looks like some kind of sprayed on paint or ink. the gold is on top - looks like pointed nib.

i'm really disappointed that the PO did not honor these two athletes together. the two wilt stamps are rather redundant. they never call me and ask for my ideas.

thanks cathy

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

improved snowflakes

a month ago i posted this one and mentioned that i did not like the purple snowflakes. and wondered if i was crazy enough to go over the purple with something else. i tried white gel pen and it dissolved the purple, not good. then i outlined and added small radiating lines. and i outlined the mittens. now it is just an experimental mess. so as a bonus i will post something i found while i was surfing.

it is from grosvenor's auction website. stealworthy.
the lady could be a stick figure and
she could be opening anything, not just a book

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

dubosch holiday

carol dubosch is in the rock star category of scribes. and lucky me, i'm on her mailing list.

as i keep saying - black and white with a touch of red is bee-you-ti-ful.

her lettering is dreamy. that -s-o in wilson is one of the best s-o's i've ever seen

thank you, carol

Monday, March 2, 2015

foreshadowing (alyce- cream)

this style is coming up later this month. i just discovered that i had missed some days in my pre-scheduling. so this is a sneak peak at a style that chuck sent that i became obsessed with. my numbers are pitiful. the original has a nice 1, 8, 9, and 7. i need to figure out a better 2345 and 6.

these remind me of gnarled tree branches. too bad i am done with the harry potter series. this style might have been perfect. the swoopy skaters clash with the lettering, but, i wanted to send alyce a thank you, so she gets an experiment.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

winter exchange - officially complete - maybe

for some reason, the exchange envelopes kept getting mixed in with other holiday mail and at a certain point, i just had to say - this is it.

if i missed your envelope, i apologize...
i know i am missing a couple that were on the list, so they may arrive later....

they are all pretty, and most welcome....and while i love exchanges, i might have to rethink how i incorporate them into the blog

or i may just embrace my favorite law of thermodynamics (since i am a closet physicist doncha kno)

e   r 
 t                                    o    n   

y      p

and i might not have that right - but my faithful brother will leave a correction because he knows exactly what i am talking about....and so do some of the rest of you.