Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Holiday motifs from Lynne and Rachael

Two of our regular exchangers.
Thank you both for participating in exchanges and sending steal worthy ideas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Botanicals from Phillip and Jeri

I am so proud of grasshopper Phillip. He's tried his hand at watercolor and it's a very cool layout. Love it.

Jeri always sends something lovely, with vintage stamps.

Looking forward to the 2016 December mail.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Xmas 2015 from Janet and Maggie

More from 2015 - if time permits, I will come back and write more, but this time of year we all tend to be too busy - so maybe extra words would just be a distraction.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Guest Artist - Vintage McCall's Patterns

Getting a jump start on next Thanksgiving. The layout would be good for an envelope because the corner is open for the stamp and there is enough room on the pumpkin to write the name.

Definitely going in my follow-up file.

This is where I found the image. I have done no further surfing on the site to see if there are other useful images.

The Rest of the Exchange Envelopes

Blogger is not letting me arrange these, so I will use the caption feature and see how that goes. Happy Holidays. I will now return to the task of scheduling post in advance. I am well into February. 

This is what most of the exchange envelopes looked like. 

I was trying to do the DuBosch Jubilee lettering with a Parallel Pen, but I think the pen needs to be disassembled and cleaned. s-o-m-e-d-a-y

The note at the top is from Florence and it's been pestering me to try an imitation.
It would have been better if I had pulled out some different pens and markers. I know I will be doing more of these. It was loads of fun.

These are the flip sides of the ones pictured below. Top one is part of a  Trader Joe's bag and the bottom one is part of a Potbelly's bag. I thought it would be fun to morph Potbelly into Phillip, but my brain was asleep and I started doing Finnbadger - only with a Ph.  I hope it doesn't ruin it for Eric to see his envelope before it arrives in the mail. 

While I had fun making these envelopes the lettering is very ho-hum. I'm not going to let it bother me because I just read an article about how making really bad art is part of making really good art. Whew. That alleviates a lot of pressure. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday Re-Run - Scribbling

Here is some of what I wrote about this one the first time it ran:

fast is sometimes just fine. this is another one that would have been done in the middle of a series and it was when i was warmed up but had not yet dissolved into sloppy or bored.

everybody has permission to get sloppy to see where it goes. then, when it has gone too far, stop. there is a good rilke quote about you never know how far you can go until you've gone a bit too far. although i think he mentions going right up to the edge, maybe not going overboard. 

2016 comment:
I hope nobody actually listens to me. It's fine with me that you are curious to see what I say - but I wouldn't go so far as to actually retain anything I say.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Bonus Post - Thank you from Kristin H

It would be nice to hire a copywriter to do a better job of expressing my delight at receiving this envelope. It is from Kristin H, a fellow Iowan who found the blog and took time to create and send this envelope along with a thank you to me for sharing my ideas on the blog. I know the postmark says South Dakota, but her return address was Iowa. I'm guessing she lives near SD or perhaps she is on a trip.

Remember, I only have a smattering of ideas. Many of them are seriously borrowed from others. I assume Kristin knew I would post this and share her idea with the other blog readers. It's a really fun envelope and I'm sure it will inspire several other blog readers. The map is peeking through a window. The envelope is a recycled window envelope.

I love maps. I always scored in the 99th percentile on map reading in the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. I lived in Minnesota from K through 12th grade (when I was subjected to the testing) and I think we all hated Iowa because of their stupid tests. I wonder if they even exist any more. I'm not going to research the topic as it would just get my blood boiling. Standardized testing makes my blood boil. Not that I did poorly, I just didn't like the principle of telling people they were *bad* at something. If they were bad, they just needed someone to explain it differently. And I am sorry if I have offended people who love standardized testing. I'm sure they have their fan club.

Thank you, Kristin. I will be sending a snail mail thank you - hopefully pretty soon.

Karen and Jean R's Red Envelopes

It was fun how almost all of my December 2015 mail fell into nice pairs. I have about 40 envelopes to share - and thought it best to post them in pairs.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Xmas 2015 from Amy & Rehj

Two more from the stack of mail. The PO corrected the zip code, but not the house number. My letter carrier seems to be a very agreeable person.

Both layouts are fun and steal worthy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Grinchy Story from Carol

Here it is early Sept 2016 and I am just getting around to opening the mail that arrived in late Dec of 2015. This was from Carol. I opened the top envelope and found a note stating that the grinchy PO had returned the brown envelope with the yellow sticker over the top of the address. She said - I will leave it to you to see what is under the sticker. So, I peeled off the sticker and saw that she put Columbus Ohio instead of Des Moines, Iowa. The PO must not have a rubber stamp that says *Your city-state does not agree with your ZIP* -- I thought they always went with the ZIP first and only used the city-state, if the street and ZIP was not a clear destination.

Also - they did not cancel those pretty vintage stamps at the top.

There was quite a stack of unopened mail (in Sept of 2016) from Dec-Jan 2015-2016. I left in a big rush on mid-Dec when my daughter's new baby decided to arrive earlier than expected. I stayed until until early Feb - so it was a long time to be gone....and then when I returned there was a lot going on.

Enough jabber - the brown envelope is steal worthy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Uber Favorite - Leaves from Miss Cathy

These have been lined up to appear for quite some time. I was going to include where Miss Cathy found them
But, the note that told me where she found them was hiding.

She says to Google
abecedaires feuilles
or this might work

Sooooo pretty. But then I am a leaf lover. I also think the brown envelope is perfect.

Uber ironic that I am filling the last 28 slots on the 2016 calendar and I am doing it in order. I just noticed that the note from Cathy is dated, Nov 22, 2015. Exactly one year ago. Nee-nee-new-new-nee-nee-new-new. That's the Twilight Zone music.

World Domination

Somebody must have cleared out something on the shared computer because I could not get my blog to pop up this morning - so I had to go to Google to find my blog. After I typed in
-pushingtheenvelopes- my blog was  the TOP hit. It popped up ahead of the generic definition of -pushing the envelope-

Does that mean it happens for everyone who Googles *pushing the envelope*  - or just on my computer where it is clear that it remembers where I go. I wonder if there is any way to know. I have over 600,000 hits and am looking forward to hitting a million one of these days. I do not do anything to generate readers. Props to the 185 people who have gotten me to 600,000. Although some of you may not have signed on as *followers.*

This is a re-run envelope. It's one of those styles that I have forgotten about. Plus, I need to write to the guy who designed it. I wonder how old he is. I wonder if I will be able to find his name again. Speaking of old guys - here are 3 documentaries (from Netflix) about old guys who are artists. Very inspirational films. They reinforce why it is not a waste of time to pursue the thing that has fascinated you since you were a kid. In my case it is the alphabet.

Line King: The Al Hirschfield Story (charicaturist)
Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (Disney-HB-Pixar animator)
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (also animators)

I should also mention that the first two movies are really easy to watch if you are interested in listening to artists. The third movie is subtitled and it's not as dynamic as the other two. The punch line at the end of the movie made it worth it to me.

Then, if you like Wallace and Gromit, there is a movie about that studio on Netflix, streaming, and I loved it: A Grand Night In. Another peek into the lives of people who are obsessed with something that might seems tedious to others, but I totally get it. Addressing envelopes is about as exciting as watching paint dry. And I actually had a job where we had to watch paint dry and it was one of the coolest jobs I ever had. I shall write out the whole story for New Years Eve as a companion to my Christmas eve story that is popping up on Dec 24th. And - spoiler alert- this year, Thanksgiving will be on Thursday.

And for those of you who were going to get up really early to get your shopping done, don't bother. A lot of stores don't open until 8 - some don't open until 9. I thought that one that is at the corner of Happy and Healthy was open 24/7. Nope.

Monday, November 21, 2016

3 Make-ups for Miss Cathy

Oct 20th, I posted a hotter-than-hades mess to Miss Cathy and told her I owed her some make-up envelopes. This is what I came up with. All done at the end of a long day when I was tired but had earned some time to putter about. When I am tired, it's best to just re-surf and find things to try. The flowers were easy to lift - the other one tucked in the back was too complicated to fit while tired. Then I saw an envelope that had a big arrow with those words pointing to a rectangle. I thought it needed something bold, so went with the bold Miss. The first and last name underneath aren't quite right. But I was thrilled to find that 5 of those stamps worked nicely across the top. So, some of the exchangers will be getting variations on this theme.  I will put the arrow a little lower. The street address will be in white along the black wavy line at the bottom.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Guest Artist - Lynn Vaugh Allen

Last week I had Joanne Fink as the guest artist. This is by someone who does Joanne's Zenspirations. I found it through Pinterest. Imagine this with letters dangling.

It is by Lynn Vaughn Allen and you may see more of her work on her Flickr account.  She calls this one spilling over with happiness.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nancy, Christy, anyone else who wants to exchange just one envelope

Nancy and Christy both left comments that they regretted not signing up for the Nov-Dec exchange. Anyone who wants to exchange with me may send an envelope and I will send a reply envelope. I already have yours made, Nancy.

For fun, why don't you address it to my husband instead of me:
George Wilson
420  44th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

I was out of town for 3 weeks and most of the Oct exchange envelopes arrived while I was gone. George really enjoyed the mail even though it was not addressed to him. He was so impressed with one of them that he texted me a photo of it.

And remember, you do not need to have anything on the inside. You may write *empty* on the back. I enjoy enclosures, but the whole point is fun mail - so, empty envelopes are just as much fun.

There are a couple new people in the Nov-Dec exchange. In case you missed that detail about exchanges - that enclosures are optional - please be aware that you do not have to put anything inside. I write *empty* on the back, if it is empty -or- *open* if there is an enclosure.

All of my exchange envelopes are in the mail. Only one of them looks like this one. This is a style I appropriated from Florence and it is addicting.
Onward thru the fog.....

Saturday Re-Run - Flower Landscape

Oooooooo. I loved these stamps. Landscapes are one of my go-to designs for envelopes. This one has a really fun cancel, too.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kathie & Troy - Red Square Snowflake

The address went between the name and zip in tiny gray G-Tec. I wish the Kathie was as wide as the last name. The 4 is leaning too far to the left. I suppose a bunch of snowflakes could have masked the problems, but, I like the open space, too.
Troy's address went between Brooks and Houston.  The zip code ended up being out in the white space to the right, tiny with lots of space between the numbers. Again, I liked the space on the envelope and love this style of writing a lot. So many ways to fit letters together.

And I believe this is the end of September exchange envelopes that I sent out.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Eric's Red-Blue-Ornaments

Third one done with the Faber Castell markers. I need to do a better job on Eric's envelopes which means I have to pick stamps first. By the third one, I was thinking about a specific checkerboarding thing I could do, so this will be flagged to follow-up and we'll see if we can come up with something brilliant and better.

I added words to the gold lines mentioning that I like paper sacks, too. Eric and Finnbadger have a back and forth thing using paper sacks. As a reforming bag-hoarder it's been fun to get some of them out the door.

Jean's Nov-Dec Exchange Envelopes.

This year, because my calendar is over loaded, I thought I would save time by doing all the exchange envelopes the same. I also thought it would be fun to pull out real nibs and ink - and yes - it was fun - even though I am pretty rusty.

I wrote all of the names and full addresses, so I will not be showing any individual envelopes on the blog. You'll just have to get a general impression of them. I ran out of the teddy bear stamps. So there are four exchangers who will get something different.

I had most of a full sheet and they were one of the unusual stamps that did not have a value printed on them. The nice man at the vintage stamp store told me they were 20-cents. I hope he was correct. I put three on each envelope.

After I did the red lettering and chose the stamps I thought the envelopes needed one more element so I ran over to Jan's and borrowed the coolest rubber stamp and one of her ink pads. And she gave me the stamp because she had two of them. Thank you, Jan.

I noticed that some of the lettering is smearing a little. So, I hope these go through the mail OK. I'll mail them tomorrow. Please let me know if yours does not arrive.

Debbie, Florence, Phillip and Eric - I have not done yours yet. They will be done soon.
Thanks to everyone who participated. I look forward to seeing what arrives in my mail box.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rachael's Red-Blue-Ornament

Second one with FC brush markers. The street address will be done with a fine red G-Tec. I wanted to do gold, but thought it would annoy the post office. I love these stamps so much. Rachel's super long city and state can be challenging. I need to get over my *thing* about spelling out cities and states and just go with

I might have added some white horizontal lines on this one to mimic the pale blue lines on the stamp.
The exchange envelopes usually sit around for a day or two - and I keep adding details...then I mail them and never have a record of the final envelope.

***comment added yesterday****

The thing that really bothers me is that I do not want to post people's actual addresses, so you can't really see how nice this looks with the third element, which is the tiny street address in between the last name and the city. I am toying with the idea of making all my exchange envelopes using fake addresses and then sending them inside another envelope. I just finished my envelopes for the Nov-Dec exchange and I did all of them with a pointed nib and I did the full name and address - so none of my Nov-Dec envelopes will be on the blog. I guess I could post the top half - or figure out a way to blur the addresses....something else to try to learn. The harder I try to catch up, the *behinder* I get.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kathleen - Red-Blue Stack

From the September exchange.
I had these stamps in mind when I did the lettering - so thought something angular would be better than a script. This one doesn't have much wow, but it's fine. Tomorrow will show what happened when I tried a script. And then the third one will be back to angular - with some checkerboarding.
The main tip I see on this one is how it's nice to let the letters touch. The UR in Durham and the NC doesn't touch. I've learned that it doesn't work to connect a C to a straight stroke. It looks like K. And I'm fine with a few places that break the rule, if you have decided to make every letter touch.
Lettering rules do not have to be hard and fast.
Do not pour liquid into a hot Pyrex dish is most definitely a hard and fast rule. Add to not EVER set a hot Pyrex dish on anything that might have some moisture. Ever. I think the sound of exploding Pyrex is almost more upsetting than the mess you have to clean up.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nancy's Birthday Candles

When Nancy signed up for the exchange she mentioned that her birthday was in September. So, it was a no-brainer to make some candles. This idea has been on the blog previously. The new detail is the swirly gold spirals. I was not crazy about how I did the flames. I need to do flame research. One thing to note - there is a space between a flame and the actual candle - on a real candle. It is optional to leave that space on a drawing - but I thought I would let everyone know that once in a while I learned something in a science class and then once in a while, I retained that knowledge. Not that it has been of any use. Useful knowledge seems to be both unable to enter the brain and even if it wiggles in for a second, it quickly dissolves.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Guest Artist Joanne Fink - EXCHANGE deadline

Shout out to Joanne Fink. I met her many years ago when I taught a workshop on Long Island. She is one of the editors of the Speedball Textbook. She also has many books for sale and a blog. I just picked a random image that I would enjoy trying. You may find other images on her blog to try. Or buy a book.

This would make a fun envelope - putting the name and address in the oval.

LAST DAY to sign up for the End-of-Year Envelope Exchange.

Here is a link to the details in case you missed the sign-up 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday Re-Run - Kathy's Tornado

The first time this was posted (in 2010) I said:

this one is going on my wall chart, too. i need to use this idea again.

I must have had the idea of making a wall chart with my favorite ideas. That was a good idea. I will now re-label it with my follow-up label and someday I may actually create a wall chart with all my favorite ideas.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Contemporary Fraktur

I woke up this morning and saw the fraktur-ish envelope that I had posted and it really bothered me, so I removed it from the blog.

I found this image - which is a much better example of how to do a contemporary version of a fraktur design.

Here is where I found it:

Finding Strange Things

Sometimes when we are sifting through the flotsam and jetsam we run across things like this post - the part below where there is a bunch of editing. It could be from 2017 or 2016. It is just random babbling. Feel free to ignore the babbling and just click on the link - at the bottom. I suspect anything I link that is alphabet related is worth looking at - if you are obsessed with the alphabet. I'll never know how many people read the blog or what your obsessions are. Maybe you are like me and are parked in front of the computer, putting off the things you should be doing. I know I do that. I'm convinced there is some value in procrastination. I'm not sure what it is but I just feel like it must exist for a reason. Reminds me of a favorite Rilke quote - something about don't worry about finding any answers - just embrace the questions. Yeah. I could easily do that.


Third of three.
I refolded this so that there was less white space on the bottom. Remember the offer to redo any envelope that was deemed unworthy. This one is unworthy. I hope I remember to send Anne a bonus envelope. Maybe I should make a list of the ones who deserve better, then come up with one idea - so I can crank all the make-up envelopes out without the pressure of coming up with a new good idea.

This post was scheduled quite a while ago. This paragraph is being added on Nov 11th to pop up on the 12th. I just returned from a 3 week trip and had a glorious time opening all the mail that came in the October exchange. Almost all of it was seasonal - Halloween. I realized that Halloween is a really good holiday for mail art. I love the envelopes - and will probably hold them and post them next September so you can all steal ideas from each other.

I'm tempted to remove the envelope today - it really bugs me. But, I have been pretty good about showing the duds. I should redo the duds and make them lovable. s-o-m-e-d-a-y

Three weeks without surfing - I will probably stay up all night. This was the first thing I found on Pinterest.

I could probably stay up all night just on this one website.

Removed an envelope - added a surf spot

Third of three.
I refolded this so that there was less white space on the bottom. Remember the offer to redo any envelope that was deemed unworthy. This one is unworthy. I hope I remember to send Anne a bonus envelope. Maybe I should make a list of the ones who deserve better, then come up with one idea - so I can crank all the make-up envelopes out without the pressure of coming up with a new good idea.

This post was scheduled quite a while ago. This paragraph is being added on Nov 11th to pop up on the 12th. I just returned from a 3 week trip and had a glorious time opening all the mail that came in the October exchange. Almost all of it was seasonal - Halloween. I realized that Halloween is a really good holiday for mail art. I love the envelopes - and will probably hold them and post them next September so you can all steal ideas from each other.

I'm tempted to remove the envelope today - it really bugs me. But, I have been pretty good about showing the duds. I should redo the duds and make them lovable. s-o-m-e-d-a-y

Three weeks without surfing - I will probably stay up all night. This was the first thing I found on Pinterest.

I could probably stay up all night just on this one website.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Alison's Purple Fraktur

Second of three.

When I took the photo, I cropped off some of the left side. I intended to refold this and crop the right side, too. Then, I forgot. SO it ended up with extra white space on either end and I actually liked it better that way. The address was in gray G-Tec under the line at the bottom, in one line. I like the dried up marker look. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nov-Dec Exchange Sign-up

Cool, eh? It's from Troy for the September exchange.

Today is the day to sign up for the end of year exchange. As previously announced, I am combining Nov and Dec. You may sign up for 5 envelopes or 10 envelopes. Deadline to send the envelopes is Dec 31st. Deadline to sign up for the exchange is Nov 13.

If I do not have even numbers of people signing up for 5 or 10 envelopes, I might have to juggle the numbers to make things come out even.
So, don't hold me to exactly 5 or 10. It might be some number - close, but not exact.

If you forget to indicate 5 or 10, I will put you down for 5(ish)
Lists will be sent by the 15th.

Please send info in these 6 lines:
address - (if you have a two line address, then use an additional line)
city, state, zip
 your email
5 or 10 envelope

Details about how the exchanges work may be found by clicking the tab at the top:
envelope EXCHANGE *rules*
No theme, any medium, digital designs are fine, enclosures are optional.
Just decorate the envelope.
Put your return address on the back and indicate *empty* if there is no enclosure or *open* if there is an enclosure.

Any questions, email me:
jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

and that is the email address where you may send your info

There is a regularly scheduled post for today, right below.

Grace's Fraktur birds

First of three that were inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch or German fraktur drawings.

In the clear-out-stacks mode, I found a stack of penciled fraktur ideas. They seemed perfect for the exchange after I used up all the pet stamps. The top bird's head is too small. I like the proportions on the bottom bird. I am drawn to fraktur designs because they are so un-trained. I loved these stamps because they have pale gray which is perfect for the addresses. Somehow, black would be too strong.

I filled in the drawing with markers that are nearly dried up. Colored pencils would have been lovely as well. Of course watercolor or gouache would be dreamy. S-o-m-e-d-a-y.

I had to rescan this one because I like the way the birds are talking. Once again, an accident was an opportunity to make it a little more fun.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jannie's Pressureized Robots

Well, no, there aren't any robots. I can't come up with any word to describe what I was thinking when I saw how many problems there were with the letters and had to start adding stuff. Doo-dads?

After this one, there are 3 frakturs, then 3 red-blues. Then a couple in this series that did not have problems and have lovely space. TMI. TMUI. TOo much useless information. Different from TMI for that makes people uncomfortable, eh?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Limner's Snowflake Jubilesque

Carol DuBosch came up with a style called Jubilee. She used a Pilot Parallel pen which allows you to make broad edge strokes as well as monoline - but only one thickness.

This is similar in that the thought process is the same. It has no broad edge. Instead it has a variety of thicknesses in monoline. I am calling it Jubilesque.

I added gray G-Tec after I took the photo and it helped a lot. This was not on my list of favorites. But, it gets to be on the blog so that I can make a note-to-self to follow up and do more along these lines.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guest Artist - Rabiscosem ??

Still having trouble finding guest mail artists. No trouble finding other things on Pinterest. I found the leaf first.

Not much English.
I tried to surf around and find the main site as it looks like a professional illustrator. I got to the main page by clicking History at the top and -voila-
look what I found - way cute  alphabet - but, I am warning you - there are other illustrations of lovely ladies that would not be family friendly images. So, surf at your own discretion. Not overly you-know-what - I am trying to explain without using any words that will flag this post. The link has such a wide range of styles that I am wondering if maybe it is not the work of just one person. Whatever. I am mesmerized by these little alpha-creatures.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday Re-Run - VerseAddress

This is the blurb that ran with this envelopes when it first ran in 2010.

i posted about these verse-addresses a while back. nobody seems as excited about them as i am. except for ashleigh. it was his idea. i figured i would send one to him. i imagine it is ok to post his address on the internet. he has it posted at his website. he also has directions for how to get to his house. so....if you are in the neighborhood, drop in. buy a postcard or two or ten. he's a charming fellow. you can also commission him to write a verse address. you can commission me, too. but his are much better.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Rehj's Jubilesque

All the photos of the envelopes I made for the Sept exchange are appearing in a group. I probably didn't explain when they were starting. It was easier to photograph each envelope, post it in a blog, without the blurb, and then go back and write all the blogs at once.

This process was time saving for me, but, some of the blurbs are confusing because some are a sequential conversation. Others are re-written.

As it gets closer to the time that my pre-scheduled posts will pop up, I look at them to see if they still make sense. If they don't, I edit them. This is all useless information.  But, I didn't really have anything to say about this one - other than that I enjoyed remembering the concept of mixing up styles of lettering.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Phillip's Wonky Quilt

Grids make me think of quilts and from here, I was happy with the direction I went.

Tune in tomorrow for something that I like a lot.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Jean's Red Pressurized Snowflake

I like people who have helpful numbers of letters in their names and also live in states that dovetail. This would have been great with an IOWA at the bottom.

Follow-up note to myself to do that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nancy's Snowflake & Pink Banners

Parts of this one make me very happy. Other parts are cringe-worthy. But, as a whole, I'm OK with it. The main thing it did was get me to pull out all the extra snowflakes and some of the ideas that followed this one - as I did the September exchange envelope aren't too bad.


So, it is November 1st. Normally, I would start the sign up for the November exchange today. But, I am out of town and the next two months are full of more travel as well as visitors. So, the November and December exchange lists are going to be combined.

Sign up will start Nov 9th and you have the option to sign up for either 5 or 10 envelopes.
Deadline will be Dec 31st. By the time I get the lists sent out, it will be mid-November. Don't sign up today. Please wait. I will post the details on the 9th.