Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wrapping Up Halloween

From Karen, Shana, Karen
While scheduling the posts (currently it is Dec 2 and I am wrapping up the Oct exchanges) I get to a point where I am confused and just need to move on to other things - so I'll lump all the rest together.

My apologies if I have missed anyone. I'm pretty sure that I have had multiple posts about how I have embraced the disorder and randomness of my bloggy life. I'm confident it is making me healthier and I assume none of you want me to drop dead from stress, right?

Thanks to everyone who exchanged and continues to exchange. Sign up for March Exchange starts tomorrow.

From Nancy D
This envelope is currently hiding. The bottom one was returned and was resent in the top envelope. I can't figure out why the PO couldn't figure out the address. It looks perfectly clear to me.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Jannie and Heather - October Exchangers

Day of the Dead sculls are fun. I like the way Jannie used the BIG skull with the tiny skeletons.

On Heather's, I like the pie :-) And of course I like the vellum envelope. I have a huge box of them, but tend to save them. Not sure why - I can always get more.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Polka Dot Oct Exchange

Pairing off the exchange envelopes that arrive is one of my favorite parts of the exchange. Seems like an odd activity. But, I think I have always felt odd. Does anyone else feel odd? Do I seem odd? Or are we all odd? Is odd just another word for unique? Why do odd numbers have to be considered odd? Maybe it's time to research. I'll wait to see if anyone can leave a comment to clarify all of this for me.

Was the coffee a bit strong today?

Yes, it was.

This just in:
creative people have figured out a way to make ink out of the pollution in air.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kate and Rachael's October Envelopes

Two more examples of how much fun October is. Janet and the DOD skeleton make a fine pair on Kate's envelope.

The border and fun little drawings are adorable on Rachael's.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cuteness from Maggie and Kathleen

A pair of cute-alicious envelopes from Maggie and KathleenRH.


Both envelopes have stealworthy ideas. The candy corn columns could be any motif. And any image could be sitting in front of a circle.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Grasshopper Alexis


This is from one of my best grasshoppers. I think she only had about 3 quick lessons. Then she moved to  the Twin Cities to launch her grown up life as a wife. She'll probably want kids, too. But she'll always have her penmanship to keep her sane. I'm still bitter that she didn't fall in love with my younger son. They were in the same class in high school. Alexis would have been the most perfect daughter-in-law. But my son says her husband is a really nice guy. So, I'm happy for her. I think he proposed in Paris. And not the one in Texas.

And here is the envelope liner. She bought lots of different papers and lined the envelopes herself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thomas and Eric

Two more from the October exchange. Thomas, on top used the technique where you write with white gouache or white ink and then -before it dries- you drop black ink on top of the wet white and it makes really cool puddles. The second color will never go all the way to the edge, it leaves a very tiny line which is so cool. S-o-m-e-d-a-y I will scan and post some of my work using this technique.

The moon on the background is sparkle-y. I love how these two look together. Eric's design is digital - so no sparkles - but still a very nice glowing effect.

You may watch Seb Lester drip color into clear water here:

seb lester

There is a triangle in the middle of each photo. Click on it and you see a video of each word being written.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sept Exchangers

Jannie's pretty leaves were most welcome in Sept. Great stamp choice. It is Everglades National Park. I do not recall seeing that stamp. The stitching border is stealworthy. The photo made the metallic edges go white, which emphasized the 3-D appearance of the leaves.

The next one, from Anne, would have had me putting it under a microscope to see if she painted the large flower on the left or if it was printed on the envelope and she added to it. I know where my magnifying glass is, just too lazy to get a step stool to reach it. Maybe she will leave a comment and tell us.

And finally one from Marti. It's always fun when the postmark ties in so beautifully with the design of the envelope. All y'all know I am going to comment on how I like the white space, eh? Repeating shapes is good design. Circles in all sizes from dots to the max size allowed by envelope. Then a variety of rectangles. Three sets of two items. I wonder how many of her choices were conscious. Three sets of three dots. Two sets of two dots on the large circle. And the single yellow line grounds all the other elements. While I jabber a lot about dots, do not forget that a single line can be your best friend.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Florence Flap and Enclosure

I always like Florence's flaps. She does a big loopy name and has a variety of ways to fill it in.
 I also thought the dear JEAN on the enclosed note was very nice and I am a big fan of the Write on! that she usually adds.

Black and white is just as nice as colorful.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Guest artist - Nancy Dickson

Surprise, Nancy, you get to be guest artist twice in a row. This is a very clever take off on the painting, The Scream. Get it? Cow screaming for ice cream. That painting must be second in line behind American Gothic in the number of times it has been re-invented. Makes me want to figure out something. Screaming peacocks? I have not done a peacock in quite a while. Very challenging as peacocks do not have hands. But they sure do scream.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gothy and the Grasshopper

Lynne went gothic-y for the October exchange and Grasshopper Finn used a cool sticker and impressed me with his hand lettering. Since I am compelled to do a little critiquing, I hope Finn is OK with these comments. You have a nice amount of bounce and variation in scale. If you want to spiff things up a bit, start the second stroke on your R and D at the top of the first stroke, rather than having an overhang. The overhang would be OK if you were going for serifs. I'd shorten the horizontal stroke on the L. Also, shorter crossbars on the T, and make sure they are connected.

Again - I hope my comments do not sound like nit-picking. I am so impressed with how well you are doing and would not want you to stop. In case it is not obvious, I have had a couple incidents where I thought I was just making helpful comments, but it turned out I came across as critical and insensitive. So, I am uber-cautious about making suggestions.

There are a few people who have expressed an interest in  more tutorials on the blog and this is one style that is very beginner friendly - so, if anyone wants a more specific set of tips - let me know. I do have the giant tub of exemplars that I keep thinking would be fun to post on the blog.

Friday, February 17, 2017

October Exchange - Crow and Cauldron

Happy Birthday to the blog. Seven years old today. These are from the October exchange.
Top from Carol. Bottom from Nancy L. I probably say this too many times - Halloween is the best holiday because it has so many different images.

I would have liked to schedule these to pop up in September - a little closer to the time when you need ideas. But, I will label all of them so they will be easy to pull up later in the year.

Daily rant.
These are being inserted this week as I sit in my tiny studio room with a space heater waiting for a new furnace.

My rant about spelling led to an email exchange and commiserating with one of my pen pals who has the same problems that I do with spelling. And that lead to more surfing and I ran across this:

Yes, English can be weird.
It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sept Exchangers

Top one from Finnbadger looks like he bought a set of alphabet rubber stamps. One of my favorite fonts.

And below, the colors in Lynne's patterned paper go very nicely with Finn's envelope.

Inserting my Valentine's Day rant.
My son works at a restaurant and I saw him on the 13th. He was bracing himself for the 14th. He said they had already had a ton of calls for reservations and he knew it would be a very stressful evening. What's wrong with people? Why do they all have to go out on the 14th. Why can't we set aside the whole week for celebrating. Wouldn't that be easier on everyone. Or maybe just 4 or 5 days. Why is the exact day so important? Obviously, I am not picky about the exact day - not even for birthdays. But can someone explain to me why some people are so attached to the exact day? I just don't get it....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

George says, "Thanks for the birthday greetings."

A few days before George's birthday, I mentioned it on the blog and invited people to send greetings. The first one that came was a post card from Pittsburg, not mail art, but a very welcome greeting.

Then a couple days later he received 4 more and was very happy. His first question was, "Should I open them, or are these the kind with nothing in them?" I pointed out that my loyal pen pals have learned how to write -open- or -empty- on the back. It might be in pencil, so you might have to look closely, but it's there.

I'll show two today and two on another day.

Thank you pen pals - real mail on birthdays is not as common as it used to be - and I know he enjoyed receiving it.

Top one is from Cathy and bottom one is from Hester. He got a kick out of Hester's note about the envelope being glued to cardboard. We both got a kick out of the label on the candle. Hester and I are kindred spirits when it comes to spelling and the tricky l-e or e-l. You can't imagine how many times I struggle with words like that.
Lable or label  is the hardest one for me.
Ladel - ladle.
So similar in sound, but I'm pretty sure they are inconsistent in spelling.
I have to stop now. It's never pretty when I head off on a spelling rant.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sept Exchangers - Troy and Nancy D

 Troy was lucky this one came through without a surcharge. Normally, they charge extra when the envelope is in portrait orientation.

It looks like Nancy D was inspired by Carol DuBosche's Jubilee letters. Or maybe something else.

These are Sept exchange envelopes, grouped by color.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Florence's Exchanges and Notes

Florence is a pretty regular exchanger. I always enjoy her experiments. I also like the idea of having some get togethers.

I have been pondering a couple road trips....don't worry, I'll give all y'all plenty of warning...


Just saw this quote during my sift-and-purge session this morning:

I don't like to think of it as procrastination. I like to think of it as allowing my work to accumulate urgency.

New category under the Labels - Quotes
Every time I find one of those quotes that I'll never remember, I will park it in a blog post.

Another quote for my list:

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

 Eric Hoffer 

The name Eric Hoffer rang a bell, so I enjoyed doing a search and learning a bit more about him.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Guest artist - Nancy Dickson

Nancy is an exchanger and included this photo when she signed up for the September exchange. I met Nancy through an art class. This is what she said about the cool numbers:

"I'm addicted to making envelopes now and MORE. I had a 50th high school class reunion this summer. I made a picture of our graduation year out of twigs and sticks, photographed it, had it printed at Staples into a poster. We had it over the fireplace in the dining room of the cottage where we held the reunion. It was a big hit!  So...taking one class with you has yielded hours of contented time playing with pens, markers, envelopes and my beloved watercolors."

It makes me so happy to get people hooked on healthy addictions. Thanks for sending this Nancy and I hope it was OK to repost. I could have asked permission, but I thought it would be more fun for you to get a spot as a guest artist. Hopefully it will inspire others to send me pictures of things they have made - beyond envelopes - that utilize their lettering skills.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Launching the New Pinterest Boards

I don't know if this envelope is a repeat. Maybe someone can tell me if they have seen it before.

I just finished pinning all the envelopes from 2010 through 2016 on a new Pinterest account so that people can find ideas by category - instead of trudging through the blog.

I still have a lot of work to do. There are over 100 boards and I need to go through each one and edit. I also need to arrange the boards in some kind of logical order.

But, if you are looking for ideas, it should be helpful. If anyone has any suggestions, please forward them.

Here is the link. Happy surfing.


Some of my artists friends have a board of their own. For example, there is a Finnbadger board.
Finnbadger should go to his board and see what is on it in case I made any mistakes. Anyone who wants all or some of their items deleted may send me the dates of the images and I will be glad to delete them. You need to click on the image and go tot eh blog and find the date. I can't do anything if you just give me the image or say ---the blue one with snowflakes....

Friday, February 10, 2017

Desk cleaning [Pinterest *More* Button]


Thursday a.m. I got up, made my coffee, hit the surf board (That's means started my morning surf on the computer)  I noted that Pinterest -who tries to anticipate what I want to see- had tossed up several items that were off my blog. Then, something made me go to the mouse - and when I hovered over an image from my blog, the regular red-dot Pinterest icon [the pin button] was in the upper right corner. But there was also a new button in the lower right corner that is black and shaped like a vitamin capsule - and it says (- More). So I clicked on it and -voila- more of my envelopes popped up. I Googled to see if there was anything about this new feature online and -nothing. It's a great feature. Has anyone else seen it? I did start a business account with Pinterest, so maybe the feature is only on business accounts.

Returning to the regularly scheduled post today:

I found one of those spider writers and was trying it out, then I forgot to send this to Anne.

And the bottom 2 envelopes are hiding, so I can't tell you who sent the orange one. I do know the other one is from SmashGirl.

There are a lot of exchangers whose work I recognize right off the bat - other times - I have to check the flap.

Does everyone know mine when they show up, or sometimes are you surprised?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

September Exchangers

Clever ideas from exchangers.

Something crazy is going on with my stacks. Four of these are right in order and one is missing.

Envelopes by:
? Florence - in Michigan?

The PO worker with the mad marker went more than a little overboard on Cindy's adorable little mouse. There is a postmark from Lincoln Nebraska. And on the back, there is a bar code that is heavily marked out. I guess some of the postal workers are not fans on non-conforming placement of stamps, eh?

Motherlode Pin Board (bonus post today)

Every once in a while I feel like Pinterest has burned out as a source for ideas. And then a few days later I run across a pin board like this one. Tons of new ideas. Not every envelope appeals to me, but I had to play the game where I kept scrolling through to see if there were any pins that linked to my blog. It took a while for me to hit one - and then there were several of my really popular ones. It's hard to pick one representative envelope off a board like this as there is a lot of variety. This is not a favorite for the design, but I had to go with it because of the message. It is from here:


Eileen is a retired pharmacist in the UK.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I am not allowing myself any new stamps until i clear out the hoarded stash.

The top one is an image off a USPS site. I put a stamp over whatever the little girl was holding.

Then, I stressed over finding a stamp for Limner that went with the image of the Dorothy stamp that - again - is an image off the USPS site.

Nothing special about these two. The  idea that you can copy-paste-print any image off the internet is one to keep in mind when you are in the mood to putter, fold, glue rather than letter.

Back to archiving the second half of the 3,000 envelopes on the blog.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

To Eric in October + add-on stamps on the entire exchange

This is probably the last one in the October exchange series. I debated about using 3 stamps from the series that included the frog, but then I thought the cowboys looked better. It was really hard to part with the cowboys. I love them dearly. But, I have made a note-to-self that Eric appreciates stamps. So, I will now feel better about sending the ones that have a deep hankering to stay at the 420.

This one might have run earlier, with just the frog stamp. And I might have said that I was not going to re-photograph all the envelopes after I added enough postage to the 39-cent stamps. And then, I forgot to stop at the PO so the envelopes ended up back at the 420 and I went ahead and photographed all but one - because it hid. And now I have to decide how compulsive I am. Can I let it go? It had a cute twist. The number of deadlines hanging over me are scary.

Here are the rest of them.

The gem stamps were better on the sparkle envelope than the other stamps.

That stamp with Sidney would have been fun with a thought bubble.

The 13-cent, tiny stamps fit between the first and last names, but, I'm not happy with how distracting they are.

Ho-hum but not wretched.

The Indian head penny looks great with the buffalo and the color of the envelope.

Three more where the add-on stamp ended up in the bottom right corner.

The rest of them except for Troy's. His Y in Troy looked like a martini glass and I put the ZIP code stamp, tipped, in the martini glass. Cute, but distracting.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Exchangers Eric, Alison, and Carol

To top one is from Eric - I can't steal your ideas becauseI don't do any digital art.

The middle one is from Alison - I can and will be stealing that idea.

The bottom one is from Carol Cramer. Maps make wonderful envelopes.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Feb Exchange Sign-Up Deadline

Bonus post - off topic. Just wanted to remind you that today is deadline to sign up for the Feb exchange.

Also, I ran across this photo of a tree at the White House from 2016. The preamble of the constitution is written on the banner. The leafy *rope* is also cool, instead of the standard velvet rope.

One year our guild decorated a tree for our local Festival of Trees. Maybe someday I will run across some photos of it. We had a ton of cool paper stuff. I worked on the skirt which was Redi-Shades and Christmas carols were written on the folds.

I should make a valentine tree. Or spring tree.

Regular post of the day is right below.

Guest artist - Mateusz Witczak (deadine for Feb Exchange)

Let's all paint on our walls.


Lots of yummy lettering on his IG page. The link to a website did not work for me.

Last day to sign up for the February exchange

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bonus post

Reminder that the Graceful Envelope contest has been announced. Google it for details. I doubt I'll have time or attention span to enter. This is from the 2005 contest by someone with Davis as last name. Sorry, no time to do full research. Just had to insert a bonus post to big whiny rant about Pinterest. I'm addicted to Pinterest and it has started messing with me. I'll sit down to pin all 3,000 envelopes on the blog to boards so that readers can do easier searches - and -poof- the pin option is gone. Pinterest does have a really good help page with a whole list of suggestions for how to fix it - but it tells me to empty my cache, and all kinds of other things that might as well be telling me to repair my car or furnace all by myself.  
I really like this use of leftover stamps - plus, the shading to make the stamps look like they are floating is stealworthy. And penguins. Who doesn't love penguins, eh?