Wednesday, September 30, 2015

cindy's birds

cindy is one of our newer exchangers. lucky people who received envelopes from cindy. so pretty how the two different bird stamps coordinate. nice foliage to tie everything together. it looks like watercolor. in case you did not know, you can always load a nib with watercolor and write. you do not have to have ink. you just need paper that is not prone to bleeding.

thanks for participating in the exchange, cindy

several people have told us about problems with envelopes being delivered to the return-address....and it might be that the scanner is reading the return address and using that for the barcode.... 

one solution/suggestion is to write the return address, small, in one line at the top edge of the back of the envelope. 

or - if you turned the envelope - still writing on the back, but turning it so that it was in the orientation shown here...then maybe the scanner would not pick up the address at all.

this envelope - in non-compliant orientation required extra postage.

when i announce the next exchange, i will post an image that shows the return address orientation that i am going to start using....and if people try it, we will see how it works. of course that means that people who have been having trouble need to sign up and test the PO

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

off topic - sheep letterer

Taras Makar is a Ukranian calligrapher that i discovered on Behance.
she collects sheep and decided to write *sheep* in a different style for each one. it's an impressive array of lettering styles.

scroll down past all the words and she shows each word with its owner.

it's hard to pick a favorite-
this one jumps out at me.

2 penpals

kate (top) and nancy (bottom) both sent thank yous to me. the p.o. really did a good job of adding to the design on kate's.

the daisy topper on the J that nancy did is very cool. i wish i had thought of that. i will be stealing it.

thanks to both of you for the thank yous. i would be sending thank yous, but then, you'd have to send thank yous and where would it all end?

Monday, September 28, 2015

bonus post - return address issues

one of the penpals who signed up for the sept exchange reported that 3 of her envelopes were returned. the return address was at the top, center of the back of the envelope. she has had this happen with regular (non-decorated mail, too) we can't figure out why it has happened. if anyone else has this problem, please let us know. if you are a postal worker and you have any suggestions, please share them with us.

the image to the right is a pretty stamp. i posted it for my mathy-brother because he recently discovered the joy of making images using a pencil and paper. he showed me his first drawings and exclaimed..."gee, i can see how someone would want to just keep making more of these"  -duh- he's trying to explain to ME how mesmerizing pen&paper can be. is anyone besides me LOLROF?

so, brother, do you know what gauss's contributions were? off the top of your head...

check the post below for today's post

BE SURE TO READ THE COMMENTS: there are two good suggestions. thank you to cathy and alyce for responding.

elizabeth week - 7

this is pretty brilliant. i'd love to know how she came up with the idea to put the stamps on at an angle. angle stuff does not usually catch my eye, but i really like the way this one turned out. the way the name is tucked in holds everything together.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

to eric

this was a reject until I fixed it. The base lettering is something I posted earlier.

elizabeth week - 6

another variation using the 1776 stamps in between two flags.

the lettering on marti's name is called *Bones* -i think. i've never had an exemplar of the whole alphabet so i have never tried it, but every time i see it, i think - gee, i need to try that. sadly, it is on my B-bucket list. the one that i never look at. i have to concentrate on the A-list.

if you are young and just starting out in broad edge lettering, i recommend learning some Bones while you are young. i think you'll get a lot of mileage out of it.

chuck-m just told me that Bones is in the Jackie Svaren book - so now i know that i have it and will have to try it....which means i have to load my pilot parallel pen with ink which means all progress on all other projects will be -uh- re-gressing.  what is the opposite of progress?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

elizabeth week - 5

i have a set of these stamps and now i have in idea for how to use them. thanks, elizabeth.

i will also be stealing the little lines and dots that add so much to the word bubble.

sadly, i will not be able to do italics as well as you do them.

Friday, September 25, 2015

video on a rooftop

chuck just sent me this really cool video of large scale calligraphy.

today's regular post is below this one.

elizabeth week - 4

the stamps are so cool. i would get a headache figuring out how many to put on an envelope. my combinations of vintage stamps never work out this nicely. if i could, i would get elizabeth and jeri together for a *stamp-throw-down* jeri is the other person who is masterful at putting together combinations of vintage stamps.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

elizabeth week - 3

on this one, even though there isn't much red in the stamp, those two red lines are a great addition to the design. there is never a *best* way to design an envelope - so even without the red lines, it would have been a pretty envelope. just remember that simple horizontal lines are your friends. they are a nice framework for stamps and words.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

elizabeth week - 2

i forgot to mention yesterday that elizabeth had mississippi stamps for cathy. today we see that she had an ohio stamp for finn.

her subtle colors on the *Lerche* tie the two stamps together.

she didn't center all the lines, but did line up the three smaller lines on the left. when you don't center, it is nice to have the other lines anchored by an invisible line.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

elizabeth week - 1

the next few days will feature a set of envelopes that elizabeth did for the exchange. someday we should have a blog post where we all share a photo of our collections of vintage stamps. i suspect elizabeth would have an impressive stash.

centering is such a classic way to go when arranging your elements.

Monday, September 21, 2015

wasting time

i am re-running this one of mine because it is a favorite. i forgot all about it until one day when i was looking for something on pinterest and found one of those boards that had a ton of mail art and of course i had to surf through and see if they had any of mine. yes, lots.

but then i noticed that they had boards devoted to stamps and if you ever want to browse stamps, it's a nice set of boards

top link is to the mail art inspiration board
bottom link is to all the boards

this envelope would not have enough postage if i put the address on in the vertical orientation. it looks like i cropped, maybe the address went the other direction.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

chuck's line of work

chuck's line of work is super fine lines. everyone who receives an envelope from chuck is amazed to see one in person. the scan is great, but in real life, they are remarkable.

thanks for letting me post this one...even though i didn't ask permission. :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

skip's hotrod

quick, very rough, marker version of a lovely old vintage font.

hope to have time to do the whole alphabet and see if it gets better when it is a little looser. it reminds me of the wrought iron binge i was on earlier this year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

natalie's rainbow

another one in the series that goes to my favorite postal worker in dsm.

the pens are sakura silver shadow. they are very juicy and have a wide tip. when the ink dries, it divides into a line of silver with an outline of colors.

not easy to find perfect stamps to go with glittery pens.

loopy script, touching once in a while.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

chuck k and finn

i hope chuck doesn't mind that i added some outlines to his lettering. i mentioned outlining yesterday and then noticed this envelope that was next in line. it was just fine, but, i thought i would use it to demonstrate how a little outlining can make the letters pop. i like the use of three colors and adding a little black to the lettering pulls everything together. it might even be fun to add a little black and lavender to the fish.
thanks for participating in the exchanges, chuck k.

and finn sent this from the UN. such a beautiful stamp. even the postmark is pretty. thank you.
as you can see, i am just getting the jun mail scanned and posted for sept (and it is getting done in late july)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

sept exchange - don't stress

 jan suggested that i mail to all 30 people who signed up for the sept exchange. i decided to get out nibs and ink and just play. it was a lot of fun. i can't say that i was impressed with the results. but at the very end, i made some designs with the nibs and ink that were really fun.

then i ran out of time to scan these to post on the blog. but, at least they are in the mail. remember, the exchange is about having fun and experimenting.

don't stress - just address your envelopes and get them in the mail by the end of the month.

thanks to everyone who participates.

today's regular post is right below this one

when the practice one is better

carolyn noted -and enclosed- her practice design to show that it turned out better than the actual envelope. i know the feeling and it happens all the time to me. jack had it happen to him and sent the better practice page a while back. i don't know why that happens. i think sometimes we just tighten up when it is the-final-one. there was no pressure on the practice one, so the lines are more fluid. the antidote is to buy a box of 1000 envelopes and decide that you are not going to care about how many you waste. once in a while i buy cartons and it is dreamy. they are only a nickle apiece when you buy them in a carton.

tempting, isn't it.

another option is to find 3 friends and split a carton. then you only have 250, which is plenty to make you treat every envelope like it is just a practice. even if you mess up on the first one, you can save it and use it for experimental fixing. some of the ideas that i come up with to fix something are really useful. like outlining. i think i can fix almost anything with the right kind of outlining.

thanks for sending carolyn.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

another uncial option

another whimsical variation of uncial to see if scarlet can warm up to it.

hard to find the right stamp to go with this one. all my ZIG calligraphy markers are pretty dry. i layered uniball silver and then G-Tec colors over the top

READ the post below - if you signed up for the envelope exchange for a few additional details.
thank you.

exchange update

jean and jan on a sunny fall day in DSM.
jan and i got together to discuss a couple details on the envelope exchange.

while a few people would like to exchange emails, we decided that we will not include emails on the lists of addresses because of all the issues with email hacking. we appreciate that some people would like confirmation and a thank you that their envelope has arrived, but, the two of us are on the side of *keep it simple.*

please assume that your mail has reached its destination. if you are missing mail, let jan know and we will confirm that the mail was sent and we will send make-up envelopes.

ALSO...if a sender wants to include their email, then the receiver may let them know that the envelope arrived . That way, each participant is deciding whether or not to share their email address.

if you are going to post scans/photos/images of the envelopes you have RECEIVED - on your own blogs, please blur the names and addresses that may appear in teh form of a return address. once in a while i get spammy comments -in the comment section- which is unfortunate. i don't like the idea of the troublemakers finding my blog and making trouble. if it continues, i will disconnect the comment feature.

the best way to keep your address off the internet is to put your return address on the back of the envelope. i only post addresses of people who have specifically told me that they are fine with their address being on my blog. they are grandfathered in. i will not be posting any newcomer's addresses, even if it is OK with you.

while i wish that was a photo of jean and jan - it is actually a photo from this blog:

the exchange lists went out yesterday. if you did not receive yours, contact jan. thanks

Monday, September 14, 2015

from nonnie

i love the name and city-state on the banners and the crazy little red K being tossed around in the air. good eye direction on the N. nice assortment of feet. way fun.

thank you nonnie

natalie's counter

someone asked for a photo of natalie's mail at the p.o. she changes them from time to time - and on the day i was there, she had the latest ones from me. i'll have to see if i can get a photo of the ones she has received from those of you who sent them.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

scarlet's uncial

scarlet blue is usually annoyed by uncial. i like to find ways to make annoying styles like-able.

it needs more lacy detail. i also need to find her address....

Saturday, September 12, 2015

from karen and the p.o.

karen took this in for a hand cancel, but someone in carol stream is sifting through the mail and finding the ones that will be enhanced by a second cancel in just-the-right-spot.
and they put it in the no-bar-code-sack.
thank you karen.

BTW, do you give credit to anyone in particular for the style of lettering?
it was one of the very first embellished styles that lured me into my obsession.
there are several scribes who teach styles like this, i am wondering if there is anyone who did-it-first. and these remind me of some of the lynn slev-something (john has two spellings) lettering. i do not have her books, but i have seen them. they are wonderful.

here is one of two - available from
B2559. Marker Lettering Vol I/Selvinskiy
Marker Lettering Vol. 1.
By Lynn Slevinsky. 8.5"x11". Spiral.

with the versals that every one calls sheri-kiesel-versals, i know for a fact that i was copying off someone whose name escapes me way before sheri started doing them. jean formo, maybe.

check below for an extra post regarding the exchange that i posted yesterday, and you would have missed, if you are an early bird.

Friday, September 11, 2015

sept exchange - list are almost ready

the cut off to sign up for the sept exchange was yesterday. jan will get the lists sent out in a day or two.

if you signed up for the august exchange and did not get all the mail you were expecting, please let me know - by email- to:
jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

if you have not sent your sept envelopes, please let me know. jan and i are always happy to fill in if you are overbooked and can't get them done.

the post card above said *postcard to jan hardt*
it is a thank you for running the exchanges
i saw that tombo markers liked to be dissolved with water, so i gave it a try and added some white gel pen on top. i will stamp and address the flip side.

thanks to everyone who signed up for the september exchange
remember - the lists are not exactly back and forth. you send to 5 or 10 people and you receive from 5 or 10 other people who may not be the ones you sent to. we think maybe some of you are responding to people who sent you mail, even though you did not have them on your list to-send-to. that's fine - you are free to send extra mail.... but we just wanted to make it clear that the lists are not strictly back and forth - i hope that makes sense. maybe i should have jan explain it.

today's regular post is below

it's never to early... start holiday envelopes. in my quest for tidiness and organization, i am sending this along to miss cathy and she can finish it. somewhere, there are stamps with gingerbread men. but, i do not have any of them.

it is white gel pen outline with colored pencil fill in and those red buttons would look great if you wanted to find a red glaze pen. glaze pens leave a shiny blob of thick ink that dries like a little bead. i'd have one (some) if i didn't have my pen addiction under control.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

from and to smash

the top one arrived from smash back in the middle of july. then at the end of july, when i was (am) in a big loopy off the edge mode + using up orphan stamps - i tried the tone on tone. i suspect nobody else will enjoy this phase as much as i am enjoying it unless i can think of something uber-clever to add.

i wonder what i will be doing in september? i love posting ahead. by the time i read my own blogs, they are completely new and interesting. or maybe i need to have a test for early onset forgetfulness.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

longer names work, too

a couple days ago, i could hear elizabeth say, "rats, i won't get one like that because my name is too long. so, i figured i'd try doing it with just a few letters large and it's ok. it's not ok if the nickname liz has always annoyed her. i could have used the a-b-e

the rest of the address will be tiny printing

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Alphabet Project

Penpal Catherine Hunter is our guest blogger today. You will want to click on the two links.
The first one will take you to the entire alphabet. The second one is about the artist.
Catherine and I both like the g - and I look forward to being inspired by many of the letters.

THE  ALPHABET is a spectacular project for the city of Fitchburg, MA, revolving around the daily newspaper, a collaborative alphabet, an embedded visiting artist, a special group of reporters, and 26 typographers from around the world. The aim was to assemble the most diverse and far-reaching collaborative alphabet that has ever been created for a daily newspaper. The text highlights news stories, poetry, contributors bios, and the typographical history of each letter. 

Artist Anna Schuleit Haber proposed and received permission to take over the front page of the city’s daily newspaper, the Sentinel & Enterprise, for 26 week days from June 13 to August 11. Each typographer was encouraged to make the letter as idiosyncratic and unusual, as legible or abstract, as colorful or monochromatic as is inherent to his or her style and wider creative approach. The art is the newspaper, and the newspaper is the art.
Supported by an ‘Our Town’ Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the project was commissioned by the Fitchburg Art Museum.
Anna Schuleit Haber  
Thanks Catherine.

Monday, September 7, 2015

mail art purse

i reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to make one of these. the hardest part will be deciding which envelope to use.....

Carol asked in the comment section how to go about making the transfer.
1 will print images on fabric
You can buy iron on transfer paper at any office supply store.
You can go to a digital sign maker and depending on how many options they stock, you can have them print images on canvas or Tyvek. There are different weights of each.
You can research other online options by Googling *image transfer to fabric*  

There are lots of options - many DIY

Sunday, September 6, 2015

tom's happy face

i like the idea, but that face is a little creepy. the right-eye-c looked odd without a pupil, so i added one, but it just made it creepy. another idea that needs further exploration. also better stamps. but i am using up my orphans. those are the ones where i only have one or two left.

address will go above and below that line. and i can tell you that this idea will be best with names with only 3 or 4 letters.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

shout out to the stampers

i have some loyal readers who are rubber stampers. i assume they already know about rubber stamp madness. i saw this envelope on pinterest and can see that it is a perfect idea to steal. you'd have to love math a little bit. or you could do a very sloppy version of it.
that's what i love about stealing. you can be super sloppy and then i guess it isn't stealing - it's being inspired - or paying homage.

see those 7 rectangles at the bottom, the 5 middle ones could be the zip code.

Friday, September 4, 2015

jan's shattered glass

i saw an ampersand on pinterest that looked like shattered glass. so i did the name and thought both of the G-Tec inks would bleed. Only the lighter blue bled. so it turned into an unsuccessful experiment, but, i'm tossing it on the blog because i like the idea of the lettering and layout.

i did not intend to put a bow at the front of the h, but the curl looked like a c so i had to add a bow. it also looked better to pull the red over to the width of the n and i would have liked it even better if the red went as far left as the n is to line up with the red address.

does anyone have one of the love/globe stamps?
if so, email me, please
 jmwilson411[at]yahoo [dot] com       

{and scroll down to the post below for Sept exchange sign-up}

Thursday, September 3, 2015

september envelope exchange

sorry this image is so tiny and blurry. i just love the idea of the stair stepped stamps.

it's time to sign up for the september exchange.

if you participate you might see your envelope on the blog. i will blur the street address. i've been asking permission to post images of envelopes, but, it's taking up too much time, so, i'm just going to warn you ahead of time, that you might see your work on the blog. i trust everyone is fine with that. the whole point of the blog is to share ideas. i will just use first names. if you are a regular reader, you will know who's who.

1. beginners are welcome.
2. calligraphy is fine, but not required.
3. digital art and rubber stamping is fine.
4. you get 5 names and you mail a decorated envelope to each of those people.
5. you receive 5 envelopes, but they might be different from the people to whom you send.
6. you may sign up for 10 names, and if there are enough participants, you will get a list of 10
7. envelopes may be empty. just write *empty* on the back. if you want to enclose a note or something, go right ahead - but write *open* on the back.

sign up by Thur, Sept 10th
jan will send you a list by Tues, Sept 15th
mail your envelopes by Wed, Sept 30th

to participate send your info to
janhardt [at]mchsi [dot] com

your name
your address
your city-state-zip-country
your email