Friday, March 31, 2017

Exchangers Heather and Carol

The top one, from Heather, was from the December exchange. I thought it paired well with the bottom one from Carol. Strings of lights and banners. Fun, colorful, casual.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

January Exchange - Cathy and Lynne

A couple more from the January Exchange.
Top one from Cathy features walnut ink written with a ruling pen and the bottom one from Lynne has some very subtle pointed pen work.
Both coordinate the colors with the stamp very well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rachael's January Exchange

It looks like Rachael has been carving shapes to construct some really fun letters. I'm a bit jealous of people who have time to carve rubber stamps. It's something I enjoyed very much, but had to put on the back burner. I look forward to starting up again when my grandkids are old enough. I hope they are slightly crafty.

I REALLLLLLY like this and might have to start a new label for UBER-stealworthy.

And I like the M in Moines.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Amy - How did you do those backgrounds?

Hopefully, by the time this pops up, I have gotten the answer to that question from Amy....

More of the bird stamps that I like so much. I wonder if anyone has kept a log of subject matter on USPS stamps so that we know which subject matter appears most often:
or something else.....

I Googled and did not find an answer.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Kate R and Phillip - inspired by Candy

There was an envelope with splat birds on Candy's blog a while back. I do not recall if I also ran one. I still haven't figured out an efficient way to search through the images on the blog.

As I mentioned yesterday - birds are so cool.

I should have grouped these closer to the January exchange envelope from Smash - as it featured birds, too.

Here is the one that Candy sent. It is fun to see how each person has their own variation. I'll label this one *follow-up* and hopefully will find time to do my own variation.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lots of Lines in January

There were 4 envelopes in January that used lines as their design element.

Top one, from Carol, used the stamp for inspiration. That was such a nice series of stamps.

Next one, from Grace, looks like she was having a whole lotta fun with every single marker and pen on her desk. Then she used her experiment to layer on a colored envelope. Somewhere in there, she found the perfect stamps.

Then we have a random linear pattern from Hester. Looks like she might have found an old stencil for some of the lettering. The two dark strips on the ends and the dark in the butterfly stamp are nice together.

And finally there is Faye's envelope. The lines are bold swipes of color - maybe watercolor and a squiggly, linear border. That cedar waxwing stamp is so pretty. Cedar waxwings are one of my favorite birds. Not that I like to have favorites, since all birds are pretty cool - but cedar waxwings do stand out. Always munching on the red berries. So sad when they accidentally eat the berries that have fermented and get drunk and crash into windows. Worse than sad. But, I digress.....

Saturday, March 25, 2017

From Alison

I think this might have been from the December exchange, but arrived while I was out of town. I like the bold flourish on the envelope and how it is inspired by the really delicate design on the card. Keep that idea in your tool box.

Alison's pale blue shadows are colored pencil and she had some pale blue guide lines for the address. As I have said many times, colored pencils can be your best friend.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Eric and Jannie - January Exchange

I have to group some of the exchange envelopes or there would not be enough open slots to post anything else. These two make a very fun pair. Sunny yellow and casual styles of lettering...two of my favorite design elements.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

exchange list mix-up

Somehow, I managed to mix up the lists for the exchange.
I sent at least one person a list - and it was not her list.
She was not on it.
So, she has received envelopes from people who were not on her list.
She sent to people who might not have her on their list.
So, this is really confusing.
It would take me hours to sort out what I sent and to whom.
And - since I am out of town until the end of the month, I would not be able to figure this out until I was home - and when I get home, I have to start working on the April exchange.
So..... if you are not getting any envelopes...let me know.
If you get 5 envelopes, and you sent 5 envelopes - you should be fine.

Anne is the one who had received two envelopes from people who were not on her list....
so she contacted me. She has sent to those 2 people...but the people who receive envelopes from Anne might be confused, because she was probably not on their list.

I can't even figure out how to remedy this.....
hopefully - everyone sends 5 and receives 5.
If this doesn't happen.....let me know what you need.

Sorry for the mix-up.
Hopefully April will straighten things out.....

Thank you for your patience.

Shana and the USPS Scribbler

Shana missed the January exchange sign up , but sent this anyway. If you look through the mad scribble at the bottom, you will see she had a typo in the zip code. 05312 instead of 50312. So a postal worker did some scribbling to make sure it arrived.

Fun layout Shana.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Birthday BigHelpfulBrother

As I have mentioned, my brother is Grade A Prime Top Gun Rocket Scientist Michelin Starred Champ of the Universe when it comes to -uh- so many things. A true renaissance man. Am I buttering him up because I am his everasking little sister who is pitiful at so many things and needs so much help. Why, yes, I am.

I don't have anything specific in mind, just doing a little preliminary buttering for whatever I need/want next.

Happy Birthday, DK.
I would have sent an envelope just like this, but I know we are in the midst of a contest to see who can me the most minimalistic, so, today, I win.

This is from Smash for the January exchange. Love it Smash-girl. Putting a stealworthy label on it. The little rectangles could be filled with an infinite number of things...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

From Kathy - layering

This is a great idea for a couple reasons. First, this is a large 9x12 envelope so it is a good way to break up all that space. The green panel is some nice art paper. Finding ways to use up the random scraps of paper is always nice.

Then the name is layered on top. If you stress over getting the name just right on an envelope, writing it on regular paper and layering is a way to get a perfect name for the envelope.

Who knows, if I dissected the layers, I might discover that there is some *mess* under the green panel and the whole thing was inspired by something that did not please the artist.

***later**** 1 minute later
Yup - there was something else under than green panel. Not a mess - it is a recycled envelope.
Sometimes my intuition is spot on . Other times, not so much.

That $1 stamp in the center is one of my all time favorites. The way she tied the colors together is very nice - simple and effective. It's not rocket science folks.

Now, let's ponder the exuberance of the cancels. A bit over the top - or wild - but it's a nice organic counterpoint to the streamlined envelope.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Adrift Cathy

One more from the series of using up orphan stamps. It would be wonderful if I had time to take cartooning lessons. I wonder where the best place to take cartooning is.
As I recall, I have already blogged about that school that recruits students with the *Draw Me* pirate. I think they are still in business.

I think the rest of the address will go in tiny wavy lines.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Birthdays and Using Up Stamps (Kathy's)

It occurred to me if I worked ahead on my birthday greetings, it would be a good way to use up stamps. I started with my go-to markers the Faber Castell PITT Big Brush markers. In the lower image, you can see how i just filled the space with fairly wonky letters. There is a piece of Post-It tape across the envelope. Peeling it off left an open space for the last name.
Then some outlining.

I could get carried away with additional doodling. Hopefully it is obvious how you can turn sow's ear lettering into a canvas bag. It is not a silk purse, but it is quite functional.

The address will be in the space between the two chunks of red on the Y

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kathie's Birthday

An idea from Pinterest.

Below is a link to the original. The non-candle strokes on the original look like bent wire. It would be fun to do something closer to the original, but for the sake of copyrights, it is probably better to stay a little further away from the original.

And yes, all those extra crossbars on the t are because the very first one was the one that slants down, and it looked sad and droopy, so I added all the other frou-frou.

and lots more alphabets

Many of them look like they were inspired by other pre-existing's hard to track the origins of designs and ideas. You can click through on each alphabet and get all the letters of the alphabet in both upper and lower case. I pondered making my own version....but probably won't get around to it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Selvage design for Cheryl (Creativity Rant)

The bold border on these stamps was a logical way to add a design element. I think Cheryl is a more traditional style calligrapher so I enclosed a  note with some more traditional penmanship. While I like to address envelopes with nibs and ink, I was having a string of bad luck - so decided to go with my trusty PITT brush markers.

A Morning Rant

OK, someone left this comment on an old post:
What kills me is that I see other peoples' work on envelopes and think, "why couldn't I come up with that?" And i certainly don't want to copy anyone. I feel like the creative gene skipped a generation.

The comments come to my email and I have to OK them before they post and sometimes, the commenter does not have a name - so I do not know who said this. Comments that appear on old posts probably don't get read very often as I doubt any of the regular readers go back to look for comments. This particular comment is one that I keep hearing or reading over and over. I feel as though I need to make a point of reminding readers that those of us who SEEM to come up with good ideas are almost always recycling ideas that we have seen. 

There are endless books and articles about how the creative process starts with your eyeballs. Everything you see has a chance of being stored. Later, when you start to make something, those things that you have seen start coming out. You may re-run something consciously -or- ideas might filter through without you even knowing. So please don't DON'T don't say anything like "I feel like the creative gene skipped a generation." I just watched the PBS program on Carole King and there was a ton of talk about how much musicians are influenced by the things they hear. After a few years of work that is influenced by earlier music, they start to find their own style. That is just the most recent example I've seen - but it's the basis of pretty much every story about someone who grew their love of something into a creative career.

People who think they have to create something completely original from the very beginning are setting up an impenetrable brick wall. You have to start with copying ideas and merging ideas to figure out where your natural talents are centered.

Yes - there is the occasional genius who is just born with all kinds of original material. But that is the exception. Most of us have to copy the stuff we love and explore everything that catches our eye - and eventually we find some ideas popping up that are original. 

I hope I have some readers who will chime in and agree with me. If someone (or everyone) wants to voice the opposite view - go ahead and do that. Maybe I am completely off my rocker.  

As always, I recommend the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
And of course, when you are copying ideas, you do not take credit for them.
And you do not turn around and sell things that are exact copies.
If you want to tap into your creativity that you think you don't have - a good way to start is by copying the things that you love the most. So - go forth and copy.

There is always one-more-thing to add to this rant. Everyone has seen a picture of an artist with a canvas in a museum and they are making a reduced size replica of a masterpiece. It is a completely valid and respected method for learning. So if they are doing it at the Louvre, it's just fine for us to do it on envelopes. So there.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

January exchange - decorated paper

I have a huge stack of paper like this - each sheet is different. I can't decide if I want to use it all to make envelopes or find a new home for it.

I was very happy with this orphan stamp combined with the paper. The photo shows how it is one of those folds where you take a letterhead sized sheet of paper and fold it into an envelope that has a tab that folds over the top and you seal the envelope with the stamp. So clever.

I'm not sure where the address will go. I think it needs to be on a label. The label might need red stripes on the top and bottom.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More stamp purging

Three more. I don't show addresses, so had to stack these. I do show Phillip's because he has a blog and posts his address.

The bottom one, to Karen, is channeling my inner 3-year-old. Fun to do that once in a while.

The paper was left over from a project where I needed some antiqued paper. It was fun to have large sheets of paper to allow plenty of room for the stamps. I could decide what size to make the envelopes -AFTER- I chose the stamps. Ten times better than trying to find stamps to fit on a specific envelope after writing the name.

I did start the project of putting all the envelopes on a new set of Pinterest boards. They are organized by the name on the envelope. So all the Kathy's can go look at all the envelopes to anyone named Kathy. Or whatever your name is.

I pinned the March 2017 envelopes and then went back to the beginning in 2010 and started pinning. This is going to take a lot of time. I will be out of town for a couple weeks and will not be doing any pinning. I will post here when I get all of the envelopes pinned. We'll have a party.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

bonus post

Limner has been talking about pencils on her blog this week.
Here is a pencil fence for her.

There is another one (a gate) if you go to this link and scroll down.
Yard art

Stamp purging for Phillip

The walnut ink and nibs were out so I was able to finish this one. It was very strange how the ink was darker and then got lighter.

The stamps were giving me fits until I realized that I could use selvages to please my eye. I'll lump all the rest of the orphan-stamp envelope in the post tomorrow. They aren't my favorites because I am not good at filling up space. But, I am fond of them because the act of getting all the orphans out the door is very beneficial to my overall creative output. I am currently working on some other projects that are beyond envelopes and might have to start another blog.

I am writing this on Dec 28th, so when I see this post in March, it will be interesting to see if the new project worked out or was a miserable failure.

March 3rd:
I usually glance at the scheduled posts right before they pop up and do some editing. Sometimes things have changed by the time the posts pop up. In this case, a wave of concern came over me because I have no recollection of what I was taking about. None. And Dec 28th was not that long ago. Lesson learned. Don't talk about anything other than stamps, markers and design.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Amy's half birthday

I forgot to write 1/2 between Happy and Birthday. Her birthday is in July, but she avoids telling me exactly which day. I started this in 2015, missed 2016, and figured it should head out the door with all the other half done envelopes that are getting the boot.

I was wildly excited about how this stamp worked with the lettering.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wonky but I like it fraktur for Florence

This one is super wonky. But I like it. I like the way the stamp which is from an entirely different culture complements it. I like the two colors. I like the way I discovered that flOrence vOgel has two Os in her name. I will be doing more with that discovery if she signs up for the next exchange.

I keep thinking of filing all my envelopes by the name on the envelope so that I could compare all the different ways I have written each name. If I saw them side-by-side, I bet I would discover things that would be helpful going forward.

Some names give me fits. But if I went back and looked at every time I wrote a particular name, I might figure out what the problem is and how to proceed with more confidence.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jan exchange envelop to Eric - fraktur

There have been some other fraktur envelopes. Sadly, I do not keep track of who gets what kind of envelope. It would be really cool if I could click on a name and see everything I have sent to each individual person. A tempting project. Not on a front burner.

If time permits, there will be more color on the drawing.

Time permitted:

I (heart) fraktur

Friday, March 10, 2017

Last Althea Gibson stamp - to Smash girl

Is there a term in tennis that includes smash?

I like how the letters in Susan all cooperate with the general idea of the seam on a tennis ball. If you want to kill time, Google how tennis balls are made. There is a very interesting YouTube video.

I might add some colored pencil to this one if time permits.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pinterest surfing

Like your garden variety drug addict, I just can't stay away from Pinterest and I see things like this that are as cute as a button and then I print them out. And then I reform and convince myself that I can't keep collecting images on paper and I make it into an envelope for the exchange. I have not decided who gets it yet. I have to match the person with the least amount of information as I want to keep it all in a very small line in the middle.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kate's quilts - January exchange

I have one more set of these stamps. I'll have to figure out if 52-cents is enough for a square envelope. This envelope was in the stack - and I was OK with these two going together.

The address will be somewhere in the border on the bottom. Although, I might split it and put the city state at the top and the street and zip at the bottom. This will be testing the patience of the postal workers.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pencil Quilt > Envelope

Limner has been talking about pencils on her blog. This jumped out at me on Pinterest and it's a great idea for an envelope.

Hopefully, I will get my version posted promptly.

This is a bonus post. Scroll down for today's regular post.

That quilt is from here:

January exchange to someone

This was a piece of paper that had been in the stack for at least 20 years. The goal for my January exchange envelopes was to make a huge dent in the orphaned paper and orphaned stamps.

The name and address will be in small white lettering in the general area of the blank white rectangle. Although, it might look better to have three white rectangles. The zip code could be in another white rectangle bursting forth from the bottom. If time permits I will insert the finished envelope.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stealing from Carol

Here's an idea - when I like an idea that arrives in my mailbox, I steal it and return it to the person who sent the idea. Good idea or bad idea?

I like her stamp placement.
I filled up my rectangle with the address, so I will have to put a stamp in the upper right corner. Her stamp placement is better.

My variation on her theme was to make a rectangle that went off the right edge.

I do not live in Columbus, Ohio. This envelope ran a while back - with a note about the address. I believe the PO returned it to her...
which is strange - the street and zip should have gotten it to me.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Off topic - Fraktur

Some time ago there was a post about one of my favorite jobs, creating a fraktur-esque broadside for a client. I delivered it during one of the summer months and then a couple weeks before Christmas, the client called and wondered if I could do another version in a smaller size. Luckily, I had plenty of time and it is a-l-w-a-y-s fun to do a job the second time as there are almost always things I would tweak.

So, that sent me off looking at fraktur art again and I ran across this cool piece. It is just under 8x10-inches and sold for $53,125 at Sotheby's. It warms my heart to see funky little designs on paper go for prices like that. In some ways, it's absurd. But, in other ways, I get a kick out of such humble work by anonymous artists being valued.

I do have a fraktur label, but it only shows two marker envelopes. I'll try to go back and find the other fraktur items.

If you want to read more about this piece:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

First hit on Pinterest when you search *Mail Art*

I thought it would be fun to see what popped up when I did a search for mail art on Pinterest. This was the very first item:

It is from my blog. Then I wondered how many envelopes from my reader/exchangers would pop up before one of mine did.
The next one was this one - and I did not post who it was from - one of my Candian penpals. I'll try to find it so I can give credit. Or maybe the artist will leave a comment.

Then this one from Christy.
pushing the envelopes:
And finally one of mine.

white gel pen and colored pencils on this teal envelope.  Mail Art  <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23mailart" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23mailart&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#mailart search Pinterest">#mailart</a> <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23snailmail" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23snailmail&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#snailmail search Pinterest">#snailmail</a> <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23happymail" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23happymail&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#happymail search Pinterest">#happymail</a>

It's fun to see which envelopes get pinned the most. I see these 4 frequently.
I did some checking to see if I can get the stats on particular pins - and I think I can if I convert my account to a business account. I think I will do that. [I wrote this blogpost several weeks ago. Since then I have converted to the business account and can keep tabs on my most pinned envelopes. I have some kind of tabulation gene. There will be mindless chatter about popular envelopes in future posts.]

I am also pondering Vlogging. I did not even know what it was. But, I am intrigued. It's where you post videos. I could post tutorials on how to use your markers, Rehj. Something else to research.... 

Today is the deadline to sign up for the March exchange.
You may see details about how to sign up on the March 1 blog post.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Finn's Monkeys

I think Finnbadger was asking for monkey envelopes for the year of the monkey. In Dec I ran out of time and just filled this envelope with all the unfinished ideas and sent it on its way.

This is fur shur the easiest way to make a fun envelope. No fancy lettering. Just plain block letters.

If you did not receive an envelope from me in February, please let me know. If you have not sent your envelopes for the Feb exchange, please let me know.
jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bonus Post - de la Renta stamps

I had seen the photo of Oscar several times - but I did not realize that there would be 10 other stamps in the series...
so pretty. I don't spend much time on pretty clothes, but I have always liked fabric.

I like the way there is a subtle checkerboard of 5 skirts and 5 close-ups of fabric. I bet it was fun coming up with the design of the page of stamps.

As much as I want to use these stamps on the exchange - they are screaming to me to keep them....very distressing to try to de-hoard and then just hoarding more.

Shoulda called this a mid-afternoon rant.

George's Birthday Mail - 2017

Thanks again to the pen pals who sent birthday greetings to George. Top one from Maggie and bottom one from Jannie.

I'm wondering about Maggie's versals. They look a bit like Sherri Kiesel's - but different. Really nice variation. Plus - good use of dots.

The vintage feel of Jannie's is just perfect for George. I think next year, I (we) need to do a whole George Wilson themed birthday mailing. Remember in Dennis the Menace - the next door neighbor was George Wilson? And remember how much my mom loved the Wilma Flintstone mail? I'm pretty sure my Mr. Wilson will love a Mr. Wilson themed birthday. Please - don't anyone spill the beans.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Exchange Sign-up

This was the February envelope from Smash-girl, aka Susan Mashman - one of my most loyal exchangers.

March exchange sign-up starts today. There will be 5-6 or 7 people on each list which means you mail to 4-5 or 6 people. If you want to do more envelopes, ask to be put on 2 lists, although I do not guarantee you will be put on two lists, I only use that option to make the lists come out even.

Beginners are welcome. Digital, collage,  and rubber stamping are all welcome, although we do have quite a few people who are into lettering and calligraphy. No theme - just decorate the envelope.

Enclosures are optional. Please put your return address on the back of the envelope and add -open- if there is something in the envelope or -empty- if you are sending an empty envelope.

Send your info by Saturday, March 4th and I will send lists out on the Monday the 6th.
Any questions, please email me. Additional tips and info may be read in the tab at the top of the blog labeled Exchange *RULES*

We added the *birthday* option. If your birthday is in March - put the date after your name.
Exchangers may do a birthday themed envelope to the people with birthdays, but it is entirely optional.

Please email the following information to me:

Name (March birthdate)
City/State/ZIP - add address lines if necessary
Your email

Email to:
jmwilson411 -at yahoo -dot- com

I will be out of town until the 3rd, so, my emails letting you know that I received your sign-up email will be slow.