Saturday, October 31, 2015

oct exchange - to rehj and smash

i've been sitting here bumping the regularly scheduled posts to put in my halloween stuff, but, it is taking too long, so you will just have to put up with halloween envelope in november and december.

these were done by googleing *halloween cards* and then doing my own interpretation of little drawings, doodads and rubber stamps.

once again, i'll mention that i had problems finding stamps - so these might seem like odd choices, but, it is helpful to just use up all the tail ends of sheets of stamps and move on.

Friday, October 30, 2015

sept exchangers kate and carol

kate's envelope on top has the white lettering on black paper, which is then adhered to the green envelope. that's a really good idea. i like the way the bold stripes pick up the subtle stripes in the watermelon. she also took some ideas from the stamp for fitting the wilson-letters together.

carol also took shapes and colors from the stamp. the p.o. gave her a double cancel which -in this-case - is actually a fun addition to the overall design.

thanks penpals for participating.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

eva & rosie

a few days ago when i posted the envelope to jan with the cat hanging on the clothesline, my brother left a comment that his two cats had issues with the cat hanging on the clothesline. so i told him to tell his cats to watch their mail box. i hope they are relieved to see that the clothespins have been removed and these cats are clearly enjoying themselves and exploring their creative sides.

it made me think of the guy on shark tank who got a deal with the sharks for his website called *i want to draw a cat for you.* i remember thinking - what a great idea. just let people pay you to do really bad drawings. why didn't i think of that. i suppose i could start a website called *i want draw a cat hanging on a clothesline for you*

i just checked and his website says he has drawn 19,214 cats.
he has a $10 cat  x 19,214 = $192,140
a $30 cat x 19,214 = $576,420

so he's made between those two figures.
maybe i should just offer to draw anything for you, on an envelope and mail it.....

your thoughts?

p.s. i like my cats better. his have human faces - which i find a little disconcerting.

if anyone is interested in participating in a traveling art journal group, please contact jan at janhardt-at-mchsi-dot-com. if you don't know what a traveling art journal is, she will explain it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

bonus post - bridget's oct exchange

the bottom one was the first try, but i spelled her name wrong and those two fonts did not go together. i liked the second one better, but the G is weak. the weird assortment of stamps is 66% OK. that car doesn't really go very well.

the bottom one would be better if the letters were colored in. i need to find someone to color in for me. adult coloring is all the rage....why can't someone just come over and color in some real art.

this is a bonus post in case the post below is a repeat.

repeats? from an earlier exchange

i'm pretty sure these are not repeats. if they are. oops. i found the scan in my computer and it would be challenging to find the actual envelopes so...i know that the bottom one is probably from janet. wavy lines are always a good way to start. drawing the beverage in front is another good idea. she colored in between the lines, which is one option, you can also color in between each letter.

the top one must be from cathy, since it is from madison. that white really pops on the envelope. the thin line of color around the edge of the envelope is a nice accent and ties in with the stamp design.

thanks penpals

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

postman pat - bonus post

i just found a series of videos about Postman Pat, an adorable British postman.

i don't have time to watch the whole thing, but if i ever break my right arm, i'm happy to know i'll have something to keep me entertained.

today's regular post is below.

lessmore - 3

i'm calling this style lessmore. a couple of these are oct exchange envelopes. i am wildly crazy about this style. maybe i should think of some variations so i can do more.

Monday, October 26, 2015

jan's clothesline

jan sent me an adorable card with some witchy stuff on a clothesline. she thought it would inspire me and i could hardly wait to have a go at it.

it would be much cuter if the cat was just the *t*. but, i was way short on time. hope i can do a second one with a cuter h-a-r-d

thanks for sending the idea.

this is the envelope i am sending to jan for the oct exchange.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

exchange progress

i decided to take my envelopes and 3 black markers on my october babysitting/visiting trip. i was happy with all the fun halloween things i did - until i got home and tried to finish them. yikes. what a nightmare. worst part was that i had no stamp plan. but, i just bit the bullet and finished them.

please don't stress over your exchange envelopes. spend a reasonable amount of time trying to figure out what you want to do and if you are not all that thrilled with the results, don't worry. it's not the content, it's the process. it is better to just get them off your desk and gear up for the november exchange. i don't have time to tabulate how much i love or don't love my output, but i suspect i only love about half of what i do. maybe less. i'm not sure it is realistic to love everything. and because this is our putter-time --- we need to just putter.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

jeri likes orange

i was trying to find my stack of orange envelopes and only found the orange ZIG cocoiro marker - honestly, those things are addictive.

i added some gold dots and then looked harder for some good orange stamps. not enough to mail this one. maybe i will put it inside another envelope.

my new thing is just mailing envelopes with another envelope inside -instead of a note. i'm not good at writing notes.

Friday, October 23, 2015

smash candy corn flowers

i was going for candy corn, but the colors were too light and i couldn't find any good stamps so switched to a flowery look. this is a variation of that one i posted two days ago. that address line doesn't go. i feel like tim gunn telling myself to edit-edit-edit and use the wall of u.s. postage stamps very thoughtfully.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

chuck's layout

i thought this was worth sharing because it is also worth stealing. the idea of starting with an oval and putting something in the corner.

this one is especially nice because the oval picks up on the oval of the cantaloupe and that ties in with the oval of the pumpkin.

5 lucky people received an envelope similar to this in the october exchange.

i'm sure he erased the pencil lines. they were used to get the oval in the right place. he probably has some templates used in drafting. youngsters probably don't learn how to draft anymore. another wonderful activity lost to the world of computers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

nancy's phlox

the concept of these letters is easier than actually doing them because it is hard to get the spacing right. the red brush strokes need to be done very quickly to look lively, but then it's hard to get them in the right place. it's probably one of those ideas that just needs time - as opposed to those other ideas that are instant. i put colored pencil over the red tombo to try to pull it together with the stamp. not very successful. note to self: pick the stamp first.
the letters just look like drippy blood to me. i need some of those dracula stamps. the curls don't even work to lighten things up.
the whole alphabet if anyone is interested

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

metallic doodles

i had a post about my september exchange envelopes. i had so much fun, but they were not blog worthy. at the end, i did one for natalie and then i just started doodling and i ended up liking the doodles. so, once again...don't forget to just make random doodles.

the ink is Dr Martin's Iridescent - 13R Nickel
the nib is a Hunt 56. i am going through my stash of nibs and using up random ones that i normally do not use. i actually liked this one a lot and i used a straight holder, not an oblique.

i did not bother with any straight lines on the envelopes. it was fun to just see how well i did without guidelines. i think i did about 20 like this and while i maybe got a little better as i went on, the first ones weren't too bad. that background is a pillow. they sell fabric that has writing on it. i resist the temptation to make clothing out of it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

cathy's grasshoppers

cathy shared this with me back in sept. the border went all the way around the envelope and the address was in one line along the bottom.

cathy has a couple new penpals in her guild. there was a wonderful note enclosed expressing how much they were enjoying the lessons.

this comment from the note makes me so happy:
"it (lettering) has really allowed me to tap into the creative side i never knew i had."
isn't that cool?

thank you to cathy for sharing (and thank you for taking time to participate in the guild and sharing your talents with your community)

i found out that this style of lettering is by Sylvia Kowal and she says she was inspired by Lynn Slevinsky's Neuland.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

betty locke's graceful envelope

the graceful envelope archive is a great place to look for inspiration. this one jumped out at me because it would be a good way to practice your tiny little capital letters as well as some very pretty flourishes. notice that they are super simple. if you are just starting on flourishing, you would do well to master simple S curves before you move on to loops.

many of the graceful envelope winning envelopes are super complicated. i always like when they pick a winner that is very simple and beginner friendly. betty is not a beginner by any stretch of the imagination. but, she can see the value a very simple idea.

if you are not familiar with the graceful envelope, you may check it out here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

holiday mail kick-off

the end of the calendar year is a traditional time to send mailing. i usually get some great jobs to help out others and then my own mailings are late. a few of my 2014 mailings are still not done, so i am going to do my 2015 mailing extra early. to kick off the season, i am reposting this envelope from chuck m. it is one of the most pinned envelopes on Pinterest. i have mentioned the game i play - when i find a new pin board of mail art, i compulsively scan through it to see if they have anything off my blog. then i note if it is one of my envelopes or one of my penpal's. the most recent board i scanned had only one image from my blog - this one - although the person wrote a blurb under it including the name of the blog and mentioning that there were tons of ideas. i downloaded the image and blurred my house number since this was from the olden days when i had a spare house just to manage my addiction.
and why is this envelope not in the upper right corner? because blogger is messing with me today.
 this envelope first appeared on nov 29, 2011.
thanks chuck m.

p.s. my house number is 420.
in case you want to send me an end of year envelope :-) although, i must warn you, it might take me a while to send a return one. but i promise to respond before oct 2016.

Friday, October 16, 2015

catherine's cosmos

i did the dividing in pencil and then did the zip that is just the number, not an outline. then i did the outline of the name and did not like how the two styles of lettering looked together - so i outlined the zip. now i have to figure out how to make them go together. and i may give up. or i may show this one again, after it is resolved. sometimes it is good to have a record of the process so you can go back to the point where it had possibilities. or maybe after i put the address in, it will will be fine, because there are three styles. it all depends on if i choose the right style for the address.....

Thursday, October 15, 2015

janet's cake

a stealworthy idea. this would look good with any color and in any kind of marker, gel pen, pencil, nibs&ink. i really need to get organized so that i have ideas like this in a section called - easy and fool-proof.

thank you janet
(and wilma thanks you)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


y'all probably think i have given up doing any of my own envelopes. i haven't, at some point, they will reappear. in the meantime, i have to drink coffee and surf and when i find things like this i simply have to post.

there is a new trend where people give themselves labels rather than names....

this person is *craftmakesmile*

so, you can go to this place and see everything she has posted on instagram. i am resisting the temptation to become an instagrammer. it just seems like a slippery slope and i am already dwelling on a pretty steep incline.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

karin erickkson

karin erickkson is a designer in sweden and she has a penpal from toronto who sends her mail with birds on it.

you may see all kinds of lovely things on her flickr account. probably not a good idea to steal any of her ideas.

i suppose you could have a different animal holding an envelope and that wouldn't be stealing. as always, i wish i had more time

link to her flickr images

if you do not want this link on my blog, karin, just let me know and i will remove it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

elizabeth w

elizabeth w saw these letters in a book and knew that jan and i would love seeing them. they were inspired by a children's book
by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields

I have not found the book yet, but, i know i will....

thanks so much for sending, elizabeth

and of course, we love the s in wilson

Sunday, October 11, 2015

cathy and janet (DUPLICATE POST)

i grouped these two because they both have the summer produce stamps. i'm still looking for time to do some envelopes using those stamps. i just love them. i hope they don't turn into stamps that i love but never come up with an idea i like....that always drives me crazy.

both very good ideas
thanks penpals

be sure to notice the way janet crosses her A with a little loop. very clever.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

from cindy

the colors on this one are just perfect. also, cindy knows how to sling ink with a pointed nib.

very pretty.
thanks for participating, cindy

Friday, October 9, 2015

from gloria and chuck k

 ok - this might be confusing. the style of the flowers on these two were similar, plus they both decorated both sides of the envelope.

gloria (on top) did a traditional address on the front and return address on the back.

chuck did his art on the front and left it as art and then did the address with a return address stick on the back.

both fun ideas

thanks to gloria and chuck k for participating.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

from elizabeth w and finn

these two came at about the same time. top one from elizabeth w, bottom one from finnbadger. i live in the middle of sweet corn territory. love the stamps. have not purchased any yet. still focused on clearing off the desk and getting everything organized and up to date. i know, broken record....but i seriously think i have made some progress.

elizabeth enclosed a note that this was not her best effort. she used a stencil and prismacolor pencils over a printed page - uncoated paper. i think it would have been just fine if the address line had been a finer tip sharpie. the way the white pencil looks over the picture is very cool in person. so, thank you for sending something that might not have been a favorite. the technique is a really good one and we thank you for sharing.

finn-hopper, have you invested in some artist quality colored pencils yet? i suspect you will have a lot of success layering them on your uncoated printed papers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

wendy's washi tape

washi tape would be so much fun if i allowed myself to have everything i want. if you are in your collecting years, go ahead and dive off the washi tape slope and start collecting. then you can make fun envelopes like this. way cool.

thanks wendy

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

october exchange sign up

It's time to sign up for the October Envelope Exchange.
Send your email to Jan by October 13th and she will email the list out on the 14th.
Please mail your envelopes by Oct 31st.

Send your email to
janhardt [at] mchsi [dot] com

Please include:

Your name
Your street address
Your email, for Jan only- we do not pass emails along.

Indicate the number of envelopes you wish to exchange - 5 or 10.
Do you want USA addresses only, or are you OK with foreign addresses.
1-oz mail from US to foreign countries is $1.20

To read through all the guidelines, if you are new to the exchange, click on the words that say:  READ MORE ( right below) and they will appear.


at the top, right next to the [Home] tab, the *rules* are now listed on their own page.

from lisca's cave

lisca is new to the exchanges. she enclosed a very nice letter telling about how she is retired and lives in a cave house. cool in the summer, toasty in the winter. she did some nice zentangling on scrapbook paper and made the envelope.

welcome to the exchange lisca

Monday, October 5, 2015

rehj - exchange envelope

rehj does digital designs. i've seen the font in the address and have it in my stack of inspiration-fonts. i can't tell if the name is a font or if she constructed it. either way, i'll be doing a variation of it.

i like the pale shade in the background. that's something that the computer can do -easily-
but it would be much harder to do by hand, unless you had an air-brush and a whole lot of patience. or i suppose you could smudge chalk or pastels...but then you'd have to clean up.  computers are so tidy.

thanks rehj

Sunday, October 4, 2015

elizabeth O

elizabeth o
has a tutorial on how this envelope was made - see the link above

i accidentally deleted today's post that had an envelope just like this one - only addressed to jan

and one of my computers is down
i will try to resurrect the original post later...


Saturday, October 3, 2015

tv show about postal inspectors?

i just saw this notice----and it is a surprising topic. not sure if i will remember to look for it. if i do, i'll report back

“The Inspectors,” a new CBS dramatic series about the Postal Inspection Service’s efforts to fight crime and protect the mail, will debut Saturday, Oct. 3. Most stations will air it at 10:30 a.m., although times may vary.
The half-hour show aims to educate viewers on how to guard themselves from identity theft, email scams and other mail crimes.
The series stars Jessica Lundy and Terry Serpico as Inspectors Amanda Wainwright and Mitch Ohlmeyer. Other characters include Amanda’s teenage son Preston (Bret Green), an intern in the crime lab, and Georgia Darby (Charmin Lee), a forensics expert.
Each episode will conclude with a crime-prevention message from Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell, similar to the messages Efrem Zimbalist Jr. delivered on the 1960s series “The F.B.I.”

today's regular post is below


i usually use first names, but have misplaced the name on this, if you prefer your first name, please leave a comment and i will edit.

this is a stealworthy idea to have the lines radiating out of the circle for words of various lengths.

the blue-green-purple design looks like glaze pens.

thanks for participating in the exchange

Friday, October 2, 2015

martha's watercolor

this envelope qualifies martha for the over-achievers club. it is a watercolor that is adhered to a hand made envelope. maybe she can whip these out in just a few minutes, but i rather doubt it.

thanks, martha, for participating.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

more about return addresses + exchange envelopes in the mail

jan told me what her experience has been with mail being returned to her and now i forgot what she said. it had to do with the difference between a handwritten address and one that was typed or printed on a label. she thought one or the other caught the attention of the scanner.

and marti sent me an email saying she's had quite a few envelopes returned to her due to confused scanning.

i don't know that there is any super-sure way to make the scanner read the address (and not the return address) but, i'm going to continue the suggestion to use a vertical edge on the back.

i bet an embossed return wouldn't get scanned...

this lovely envelope was found on pinterest.
which linked to this site:

exchange reminder:
today was the day to get your envelopes in the mail. one of our exchangers let jan know that there will be a delay due unexpected circumstances. if anyone else is going to be delayed more than a few days, please let us know. i'll post the next exchange on the 6th. thanks again to everyone who is participating. scans will be popping up in late october.

once in a while exchangers enclose a note that says they hope their envelope is *up to snuff*
trust me....there is no critiquing. it's not the content, it's the process. beginners are welcome.

don't miss today's regular post right below this one.

the other jean and chuck m

jean has been a penpal for a few years. she's local, so sometimes i get to see her. this was her first time signing up for the exchange. welcome aboard. it was really sad to see that the po did a grease marker scribble. maybe jan can research some kind of stain remover.....

these two make a nice pair. black and white -touch of red-
we all recognize the line-meister, chuck m

thanks, penpals