Sunday, April 30, 2017

Feb Birthday to Carolyn - Star Trek

Carolyn is probably not interested in Star Trek. I can't remember if she has favorite colors. I can't imagine this is one of them. But, she is the originator of the term *sifting room* -the room one has where they sift (and resift) all the accumulated items from the past.

This is the Jubilesque style. You use different tools, but apply the same principles that Carol DuBosch used in her DuBosch Jubilee lettering style.

Back to sifting. I have learned that a gift may actually be a curse. I am gifted at fitting items into space. It is a curse. There is still too much stuff in my space.

Susan Branch on Inspiration

During a morning surf, I ran across Susan Branch's website. She has been around for a long time - designing all kinds of things. I clicked on her tab that said: Favorites and found that she has over 100 sites that she recommends as places to go for inspiration.

Once again, I remind people that ideas do not come out of thin air. They come from the things we look at. A few people just stare into space and get ideas. Or close their eyes and something comes to them. But most people are sponges and then their output is a mashup of things they have seen.

So go forth and collect and create.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

To Troy -Screenshot envelope

Troy sent me an envelope to tell me that he did not remember to sign up for the exchange. So, of course, I jumped on the opportunity to make an envelope rather than doing stuff on the to-do list.

But, being too lazy to go get an envelope, I figured I'd print something out and make an envelope since I can do that without getting out of my chair.

This was a screen shot of the website. You can type in any name and then it will show you that name in each font.

I'll put the address in tiny block letters in the white space.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Another one that was sent twice - from Grace

This was the outer envelope that held a piece of mail that was returned to sender. I was out of town when it arrived and my husband liked it so much he took a picture of it and texted it to me. He does enjoy seeing all the fun mail that arrives.

Below is what arrived. The original mailing along with a photocopy of the before and after. The BEFORE envelope shows that the street was 420 - 4th St
And my street is 44th
so - the PO corrected the ZIP to 50309 - which is correct for 4th Street.
But, there is no such address.

Thanks for the bonus envelope, Grace. They are both very nice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

B'day Candles (re-run)

You can never have too many birthday ideas. If I ever find another sheet of these stamps, I will allow myself to get them because two of them would cover the two-ounce rate.

This lettering was done very hastily. I think the main thing I would do if I were to do this again is to use a ruler to make the base line. The flames could be done better - but they are fine - going to someone who is not an artist with a critical eye. Not an applied artist. She has aesthetic talents in other areas.

This envelope was the most pinned envelope in February - which is when I wrote this post.

I also noticed that when you send someone a link to a pin, each pin is assigned a number.
That number has 18 digits. Of course, I needed to know what you call a number with 18 digits.

Google led me to this table:
Sets of 3 zeros Past 1,000NameNumber of Zeros
3trillion12 (1,000,000,000,000)
4quadrillion15 (1,000,000,000,000,000)
5quintillion18 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)
6sextillion21 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Teal - White Jubilesque to Rachael

It's hard to label this series. It's a little like the DuBosch Jubilee style, but that style is done with a parallel pen. It also has cross-over elements from the wrought iron style. This was done with a FC PITT brush marker and Uni-Ball white gel pen details. It looks better with the address not blocked out. Those white bars are too heavy. But, I am getting addicted to this style and keep looking for ways to do it faster...any suggestions on how to label or name these cross-pollinated styles? Hodge-podge. Melange.

Maybe Google can help out:

mixture, medley, assortment, blend, variety, mixed bag, grab bag, mix, miscellany, selection, potpourri, patchwork, bricolage, motley collection, ragbag, gallimaufry, hash, mishmash, jumble, hodgepodge

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


A while back I posted a quote that I had seen at this website. I'm not sure how I ended up at the site as it doesn't have much lettering or mail. However, I enjoyed reading about the artist. She talks about the connection between art and everything else.

I have had several discussions with some of my artists friends who are primarily scientists. They tend to  brush off the idea that they are *real* artists because they were a scientist -first. I always try to convince them that science and art are intertwined. Technically art is intertwined with just about everything. It's a catchall term that tends to be stuck in the world of pretty-yet-un-necessary-stuff. I disagree. I think art/creativity/inspiration are all things that are essentials and at the very core of our beings. And my big-helpful-brother agreed with me that there is a lot of *art* in science. And he's much better educated than I am.

So if you are drawn to making stuff, but you are sure you are not artistic - don't worry about it. It's not the content, it's the process. People are drawn to expressing themselves. If you are drawn to paper - go for it.

Here is what Joan Game had to say - along the same lines:

Bonus Post - New Envelope in No. 2 Spot on Pinterest

My effort to stop tracking the envelopes with the most pins has been going pretty well - until Sunday - when I read something about taking time for yourself - so I checked the stats. One of the kraft paper envelopes had been in second place for a really long time. But it is now down to 4th and this one has ZOOOOOMED to second place. It is such a new one. I wonder if it will hit first place.

That really pretty red one from Christy Robb is in 3rd place. It completely deserves to be there...even though I will be a bit jealous if one of my own envelopes does not end up being the all time winner.

Here is a link to it...
christy robb's red one

And Nancy Hills will forever be the all-time-winner - because it was her lettering that was the inspiration for both Christy and me....the filled in patterns. I need to check with Nancy and see if she gives anyone credit for that particular treatment.

i was looking at the stats for the past month
not the all time stats

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lady Bird Bird - Feb exchange outgoing

Desk/stack/stamp clearing. Lady Bird had been hanging out for quite a while. So had that bird. I remembered the series that Smash-Finn-Jean had going for a while with birds on heads and figured this was a good way to clean house.

I am quite fond of that bird - but I know it was straight off Pinterest - so I won't be using it again....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wrought iron variation - to Cher, Cheryl & Lynne

In the middle of doing the Feb exchange envelopes, I was finishing up the project of pinning the 3,000 envelopes on boards. This was one of the styles I ran across that I had forgotten about. Nobody seemed to like it when I was doing it before so I hope I don't get too hooked on it.

I like the double tulips stamps on the top one where they are not side by side - on Cher's - better than the way they are below - on Cheryl's. I just didn't think of doing it that way soon enough.

I spelled Lynne's last name wrong, but just corrected it with an arrow.

NOTE to anyone who is interested in my secret for folding those little books that I mentioned in the Friday post. I put a description of the process in the comment section.  I should probably go back to the link and click around on directions to see if there are any videos - but - I have a terrifying number of deadlines hanging over my head. So terrifying, I managed to get all my blog posts scheduled through July...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Best Lessons - No. 1

Starting today, there is a new label called BEST LESSONS. There have been other posts with links to articles from The Painter's Keys. This one is about a technique that has been around for a long time, but, it was new to me on Sept. 24, 2016 when I was filling up the calendar with posts for those of you who check daily. If time permits, or if I run out of ideas, I shall return to this post and go to the link and do some illustrations to show how they work. In general, they are the strategies I use all the time, without thinking. I'm not sure where I learned them, but they sure work for me.

Today is a re-run Saturday. I will now go play my game on Pinterest where I pick a random envelope, and see how long it takes for it to link to something off my blog.

Well, not surprising - one from that kraft paper series....
I wonder if I will ever post anything that stirs up more pinning than that series?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Here is another website with some freebies. I have made a ton of these little books and include the technique in pretty much every class I ever teach. She is calling it a mini-zine. Zine is the new word for little paper thing with some pages that needed a name.

For anyone who likes to letter, I recommend just doing your own headings on the pages.

I do have a really valuable tip for how to fold it and make it very precise - but I will have to make an appointment with my cinematographer to make a video....

I have also used this little format to make invitations and greeting cards.

The instructions for how to fold it are here:
how to fold mini-zine

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Outgoing Feb exchange - multi stamps

A grouping of random stamps and scroll tip marker names.

I have quite a few more of the stamps that are on Kathie's envelope...I wonder if I will think of anything more interesting to do with them...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Heather's Five Guys - Feb exchange outgoing

After I did the 3 guy stamps on the envelope that ran yesterday, I found these 5 for this envelope. Of course, 5 guys made me think of the Five Guys Burger shop. I prefer In-and-Out burgers. Sadly we do not have In-and-Out in Des Moines. Five Guys recently opened here - but out in the suburbs and I hardly ever go out of the city limits.

And now that I am 65 I have to be extra careful when I am driving. I know my reflexes aren't what they used to be. Any talk of seniors driving reminds me of this column written by a local person of note.

Today's blog post has nothing to do with envelopes....and I promise I will not turn the blog into personal rambling...but the column linked below really is worth reading.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Debby - 3 guys - Feb exchange outgoing

I often use a row of guys on birthday cards and have them each thinking or saying something.

The name was done when I was enjoying the like-new ZIG scroll tip marker. It is always nice to find a good color match.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Finn's teapot Trader Joe bag - Feb exchange outgoing

I have a whole stack of bags for Finn and Eric.

It was fun finding orphan stamps to use up. Parting with some of these stamps is so hard.... idiotic... but hard.

I wonder how or why someone can be so attached to stamps??? Anyone care to offer some insights?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Stealing from Flo - Feb exchange outgoing

I have never met Florence, but she often writes a big loopy florence on the flap of her outgoing mail. I like it and steal the idea from her. I do not know if people feel honored or peeved when I steal from them.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Feb Exchange Outgoing - Alyson and Grace

I had 6 of these stamps left. Somehow I can't bring myself to do silly things with such pretty engraved stamps.

I also wish I were better at fixing photos. The color on these looks very strange.

In addition to using up my stamp hoard, I am using up my really old markers. I hardly ever used the scroll tip on the ZIG markers - and I just love them. I think I was saving them because they mush down pretty quickly. So it was a treat to do big swoopy script with a like-new marker.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thomas, birthday, black borders - Feb exchange outgoing

This one was so bad I almost tossed it out - but guess how I fixed it? Yup. Dots. Without those dots it was wretched. I'm still not sure I lke the colored pencils with the really strong marker name - but I think it will be fine when I add the address. I will probably make a pretty bold zip code.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Using up the black bordered series - Feb exchange outgoing

A couple days ago I mentioned that I had used up a whole page of stamps on one of the exchanges. Here are several from that group.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jean/Kathy

Happy Birthday to me. Thanks to everyone who has sent birthday greetings -and-
BIG THANKS to those who have sent greetings to my granddaughter who is visiting. She was thrilled with all of the mail that arrived today.

This one was done in January for Kathy's February birthday. It was an experiment to see how fast I could do this Florentine style of lettering. I stole it from Florence. Maybe I should call it Florenesque, as Florence, Italy already *owns* the style known as Florentine. Florence-esque? Florenceilated. Florific.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Amy's hearts, Jean's selvage - Feb exchange outgoing

This font caught my eye and I thought it might be fun to use it on regular paper, make my own envelopes and then color in the hearts. But I couldn't find any stamps that I liked - from the hoard that I am determined to use up - so I used these and really like the black and white.

Then I went cuckoo after I used up the page of those black border stamps...and did a really wacky one for Jean.

Her address will go on top of that yellow bar. Her name is made out of the selvage off the sheet of stamps. I'm thinking this one needs something else...but what????

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Return to Sender - thepostwhisperer

I found this image on Feb 5th, on Instagram, which means it may be buried behind new images, depending on how often she posts. There were several very clever ideas for cartoons asking the Australian PO to return the envelopes.

The envelopes are by Tara Johnson and this is a link to her IG:

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wreath - pink to Alex

In late January, I was catching up with a local penpal who had sent me an Xmas card but it had been returned to her. So, she hand delivered it. It was/is spectacular and I ran home to do a valentine version of her wreath. This is the first try. Anything going to my 3-year old granddaughter is something that is very much a dry run.

It is sweet, but the swirly-doodles are clumsy. Then there is a huge stamp problem. I would never mix a wedding cake with a valentine unless the colors were perfect matches. All I can say about this one is that it does not clash. I need to choose the stamps before I do the wreaths.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cut paper - Message for April Exchangers

Yesterday there was a bonus post - so scroll down in case you were an early viewer of the blog.

This one is a bit off topic, but we need a label for cut work and this is a fine example.

The artist charges $232 UK dollars, and it says it is cut by hand. That seems too low.  But she also makes prints of the cut work, so maybe it only takes her 2 or 3 hours to cut the original.


As frequently mentioned, I am trying to clear out excess stamps and envelopes. When I start my envelopes for the exchanges, usually about 25, I look for sets of stamps to use up and grab a stack of envelopes. I may find a dozen matching stamps to use. With envelopes, sometimes there are 6-8 of the same kind, but often times there are just one or two. Then I find colors of pens and markers to go with the stamps. After that I ponder styles of writing or possible layouts for envelopes.

This month, I had more than a dozen green stamps and my first 3 envelopes were uninspired. I have way too many actual jobs hanging over my head so I thought I would just blast off a bunch of envelopes in Akim and would not put them on the blog as I would be using the full addresses as the design elements. They were OK - nothing spectacular. Then, I had an idea for filling up the whole envelope and the idea went beautifully with the Oscar de la Renta stamps. I love the idea. The actual envelopes are a bit rough - and I can't post them as they have full addresses of exchangers. However, I do want to share the ideas with you, so I will try to make some samples that I can post at a later date. [Update: I did make a new post - just gray - no colors - but it was a bonus post yesterday. I'm somewhat obsessed with filling the space - after so many years of being addicted to white space.]

And what is the point of this post? It is a warming to the half of the exchangers who may look at their envelope and say - yuk- this is boring. And a few people will receive neither green stamps nor Oscar stamps. There was another idea that went with the red Jessica Hische valentine stamps that I love and will be sharing.

So, if you get your April exchange envelope and are disappointed - it's nothing personal. We have to put up with some of the less than spectacular envelopes because I can't spend 100% of my waking hours making each envelope a masterpiece. In a perfect world, I would be doing that. Anyone who wants to adopt me and pay for my care and feeding may do so. But, I imagine there will be few, if any, the mixed bag of envelopes will continue.

I should get some bonus points for mailing them so promptly. Although, it is hardly difficult for me to put mail at the top of my to-do list.

Onward through the fog....

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bonus Post

Tomorrow there will be conversation about this.

Today's regular post is below.

Poppy Mail

Once again, I do not recall if I have posted any of my Poppy mail. My granddaughter is now 3 and has finally grasped the concept of mail. So, I have started sending her mail from Poppy. She saw the movie Trolls, and it is refreshing that there is a worthwhile character who is not a princess.

To make Poppy mail, I copy and paste an image onto an 8.5x11" sheet of paper. On some, I folded and cut and made an actual envelope. On this one, I just folded it in thirds so that there was about a 2-inch overlap on the back. Then I ran a strip of glue along the left and right edge - on just the bottom that would fold up to become the back of the envelope, folded up the bottom section (now the back) and adhered it. Inserted the message. Folded down the top flap - and ran glue along the edge that would normally have the closure adhesive.

The envelope is 4 3/8" tall and 8 1/2" wide, if that helps to visualize.
The flap is 2 1/4"

Then I drew the image of the envelope - etc.
Easy - fun for kids....or could be for anyone depending on the image.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

From Kate - Dec Exchange

This is from the December exchange. Really nice lettering - and nice spin off the stamp.

The card inside featured zendangles. You may find more of them on Pinterest and Google. They are lots of fun. and may be tailored to fit any holiday - or they may be generic.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Finn's KFC Bagelope/Sackalope

Finnbadger and Eric are into making envelopes out of bags or sacks. Finn is also celebrating the year of the poultry. I never know if the rooster year includes chickens. So, while out on errands, I suddenly needed a snack and the first food I spotted was KFC. The instant I realized that I would get a bag or sack for a poultry envelope for Finn, I made a beeline. As much as I like the little drawings, I will not be going back for more. And I do not like the C on Chicken. And I do not like the shorter cross stroke on the F.

What is the difference between a bag and a sack?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Rest in Peace MamaCJT

You will see this envelope (on the link above - and scroll down) as well as Carol's comment about it. She ran across my blog and sent me the envelope. We exchanged a few times and this particular envelope was included in a compilation of envelopes to inspire people to decorate envelopes. It is one of the images I see almost daily on my pinterest-surfing. I did not check Carol's blog every day. Maybe once a season I would think to check. Sadly, the last time I checked it (last fall) her daughter had posted that Carol had passed away after a short illness. I wasn't going to post anything about Carol until I ran across this original post and then figured it was worth sharing. It also made me realize that I need a plan for my family to post a last post if something happens to me. Now I have to figure out how to make that happen. Since nobody in my family reads my blog, it's up to the Big Helpful Brother to post my obit. And he's a bit older than the PLS (Pitiful Little Sister), so, I really need to figure out a back up person - in case he gets *Returned to Sender* before I do. Any suggestions?

And yes, my tombstone will be an envelope - which I need to design - and it will be stamped, return to sender. I really don't want a headstone. But, I'm so fond of the idea that I might have to go with it.

Don't be using that address. I used to have a studio at 430. My house is 420 - 44th Street, which is 2 houses away. I'd blur the address, but that would take time. Besides, my letter carrier knows me and knows to bring the 430s to me.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Thank you from the BHB

The BigHelpfulBrother opened his birthday mail yesterday (he had to wait for me to get home and then deliver it) - he was very pleased/impressed with the variety. Thank you to everyone who sent mail....I am currently filling up May and June with posts - you will see all of them then.
After looking at the mail, he showed me a few of his favorite pictures of late - including this one. How can I be 65 and have never heard of tardigrades?

One person reported being April Fooled by my blank envelope yesterday...made my day. Can't wait for next year...seems like a neglected holiday...but maybe that's good. Pranks can get way out of line, way too easily.

Guest Artist John Ed De Vera

I love this whole series of ideas based on layering the word RUSH using a rubber stamp. He applied it to the Xmas Rush. It's a great idea that would be fun using any word.
This would have been so pretty with the snowflake stamp.

He has lots of other nice artwork

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A.F. + April Exchange Sign Up

This seemed like a good envelope for April Fool's Day.

And it is time to sign up for the April Exchange.

For anyone sitting on the fence about signing up for an exchange, I am sharing part of a note that was enclosed in an envelope I received.

"Thank you again for organizing the exchanges. They are so fun. Years ago, I signed up for my first one and I was so nervous I couldn't sleep! In the morning I emailed Jan to cancel but she said everyone is at different levels and it would be OK. I'm so glad she did!"

So, there you have it from an actual exchanger. It's fun and there is no pressure to be at any particular level. If you have been pondering participation, maybe this is the month to give it a whirl. Just send me the following information:

your email

Send it to

jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

You will get a list of 4, 5, or 6 people to send to.
You might get one international address requiring $1.15 postage.
You will need to get decorated envelopes in the mail by April 30th.
That's it.
There are additional details at the top of the blog under a tab marked [exchange *RULES*]

Deadline to sign up is April 4. Lists will be sent on April 5th or 6th.
My birthday is April 11 - and my granddaughter is coming to help me celebrate. So, if you want to send an envelope to her, that would be fun. She is 3+ and loves pink, hot pink, purple, and sparkles. Let's turn this into a contest [with a prize] and see who can send sparkliest pink/purple envelope to:
Alex Powers
420 44th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50312
She leaves on April 14th, so it would be best to send things promptly, although, I am happy to forward things to her. She loves getting mail.

Double points if it has the Troll Poppy on it.
If you sign up for the exchange, you may use the envelope to Alex as your envelope to me.

I'm not sure what the prize will be....I'm open for suggestions.

This envelope popped up on Pinterest. I went to the website and there is a ton of stuff. I never found this exact envelope - but there is plenty of other stuff if you like to surf. She is Dutch, and a graphic designer, requesting that we not steal her designs.... so - no stealing. Just be inspired. She does say that she is always looking for inspiration...

It looks like she has not added anything since May of 2016....