Friday, June 30, 2017

Off Topic - Slightly - Hiromi Tango

For my surfer pals: Here is one example of the work done by Hiromi Tango. I spent too much time looking and reading. Her perspective is similar to mine.

Hiromi Tango

You can also go to an image on Pinterest and scroll down to find all kinds of people who share similar feelings about stuff. Using up stuff. Feeling a benefit from engaging in art or craft-like activities.

Hiromi Tango - Pinterest

As I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of hoard-reduction, I ponder some envelopes filled with a bunch of the excess stuff - and then the big Completion Party.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

FPMB 8 and 9 - to Grace and Chuck

I thought I was done with that sheet of stamps, but I forgot that the portrait of Oscar was its own stamp. As luck would have it, I had just discovered how much I liked the gray marker.

So - these two are favorites from the whole series.

Chuck's envelope was the last one to do for the exchange, so I had to dig into the stash and find something that looked good with gray.


As you may recall, there was one more after this one. I posted it the day that I did these as a bonus post because I was so excited by this series and couldn't wait to share it. Now, I have to wait and see if anyone else likes the idea. I love it and have so many more variations I would like to try.

Mostly, I wonder how much it annoys the postal workers. I'm truly sorry for adding to your stress. Especially after seeing what happens sometimes.

My last trip to the PO was terrifying. A man was having a problem getting his mail and he launched into a tirade that I'd have to say was the most intense public tirade I have seen since the episode at the Toronto airport customs - and none of that was in English, so it is hard to compare. Sadly, it actually flashed through my head- at the DSM post office...what if he has a gun. I pretended to be needing some priority boxes over in the corner until he decided to leave. How ironic would it be for me to be gunned down at a PO? I bet it would make all my envelopes a lot more valuable. See - there's an upside to everything, eh?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

FPMB 7 - to Jannie

I saved this stamp for the end as I thought it would be a lot of fun to use a bunch of colors. And yes, it was. Although, I started loving the gray....

That Jannie is odd. I intended to connect the strokes - but the more I looked at it , the more I thought it was interesting in a more disjointed fashion.

Once again, it would be way more fun to have a bunch of those stamps and do a whole series to figure out what works best.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

FPMB 6 - to AmyB

There were 3 stamps left in the Oscar series where I could use pink and gray. After I made such a mess of the first two (posted a couple days ago) I reined myself in and did this one. There's a lot I like about it, but to be honest, it's a little boring. Sometimes reckless is better.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Stealworthy - My Version of Wavy Lines

We are taking a one day break from the FPMB envelopes.

Previously, there was a post of an envelope that was similar to this. I recall that it was green and had birthday greetings to the BHB. I did not go back and look at it before I did this one, so I will be interested to see how close (or far) I am from the one that I labeled *stealworthy.*

It was lots of fun, done under a time crunch with other should-be-doing projects nagging at me. Sometimes it is easier to face the dreaded chores when you give yourself 5 minutes of playtime. I will reward myself with the next batch of exchange envelopes -outgoing- after I get the chores done.

Is it just me, or do I sound like I am making pitiful excuses to my HA (Hoarders Anonymous) sponsor?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

FPMB 4 and 5 - to CathyO & Carol

I really goofed up her name and am not happy with the attempts to save it. More time and better details might have helped, but the wretched script isn't fixable. My problem was not testing the marker before it hit the paper.

The Carol below was an even worse disaster. Why didn't I toss these and start over? Because it's better for y'all to see that it's OK to mail your hot messes.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

FPMB 3 - to AmyS

The option to use many green markers and pens made this one fun to do. It's frustrating to only have one stamp of each design. I should have done some planning on her name. First name is too wide - so I had to squish the last name.

Friday, June 23, 2017

FPMB 2 - to JeanR

On the first one, I was not sure if it would be better to use a ruler or to freehand all the borders. I was too rushed to do pencil lines and erase.

I loved the boldness of her name and I liked the FROM - but the rest of the lettering was a little ho-hum.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

FPMB 1 - to Carroll

So...this is the first of a long series. It happened after I had a very poor start to the April Exchange envelopes. Three complete duds, followed by 12 ho-hum Akim envelopes and then I took a break and surfed. I saw a bunch of borders and somehow this idea popped into my head. Normally, I do not fill up space.

And I can't remember what made me think of using the Oscar de la Renta stamps...but I loved this one. I decided to just use up the entire page of Oscar stamps...and they will appear in order...over the next few days.

FPMB= Full Page Multiple Borders...just a way for me to group my scans....

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Undecided to Troy - Apr Exchange

This was one of the first three I did for the April Exchange and I thought it might be unsalvageable. I don't love it - but in person, there was something about it that appealed to me. Maybe it needed more layers. I dunno.

I have some very interesting conversations with penpals about how to work through things that are headed towards hot-mess. But, I don't know how to transcribe the conversation to the blog.

The stamps are not a good match with the colors....
but sometimes close is good enough.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DuBoschish - to Eric - Apr Exch

This is inspired by Carol DuBosche's Jubilee style of lettering. She uses a broad edge pen. I used a ZIG Writer which has a big fat bullet point and a fine tip.
In a perfect world, someone would hire me to address a lot of envelopes in this style.

I might have to do an entire set of exchange envelope like this....

Monday, June 19, 2017

Green Akim - Apr Exchange

 Back in early April, I posted an apology to the people who were to receive these envelopes. I was under a time crunch and none of my ideas were working out. I love Akim and hope to post a tutorial some day. If you Google it or search Pinterest you can find quite a few examples.

Phillip has his address posted on his own blog, so I assume it is OK to post this. The others have the addresses somewhat blotted out.
Hopefully you can see the fun and variety that is available with this style.

I wonder if the PO was annoyed by theses?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Off Topic Sunday - Leaf Animals

Leaf Amimals
After I saw the How to Draw Flowers video that I posted last week, I clicked on the next fun image which led me here. It's not fall, but it might be fun to do some of these with green leaves. You could make the leaf collage, put it in a color copier and make copies, then fold those pieces of paper into envelopes. I'm tagging this follow-up for myself and hope to do something like this....someday....

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Another Mail Art Exhibit - Finland

Details about the next mail art exhibit I am promoting are here and reprinted below:

The mailartprojects blog has all kinds of opportunities to participate in mail art exhibits.

Here are details on the Finland exhibit. I'm 1/4 Finnish which is why I want to participate in this one. My Finnish quarter rules the wimpy Swede-Norskee half. The other 1/4 we don't talk about.

Hello all artists all over the world !

You are kindly invited to congratulate Finland. Next year 2017 Finland is celebrating 100 years of independency. The whole year will be full of celebrations all over the country.

One way to congratulate celebrating Finland is to participate in this mail art project. I wish you want to be a part of team which is making this exhibition which will be in November 2017. The exhibition will be in Mainlibrary Arkki, Pälkäne, Finland.

Techinic is free on paper or cardboard.
Size is european standard A4, ONLY horizontal.
Every participant can send max. three art works to this project.
Add also your name, address and e-mail address. All information and the documentation will be sent only by e-mail.
Please, send with stamps in an envelope by snail mail. Do not bend.

No participation fee, no jury, no return.
Please, remember that in public library visit people of every age.

DEADLINE 31.8.2017  (August 31, 2017)

It would be a pleasure if you want to invite also all your artist friends to this project. It would be wonderful to have the whole gallery room full of congratulations.

Hundred years is something very unique. I will send the next independency celebration invitation only when there will be hundred years more.

Please send your artistic congratulations to:
Anja Mattila-Tolvanen
Jahkoontie 70
FI-36600 Pälkäne

Waiting for your response.
Thank you!
This envelope has nothing to do with the Finnish mail art call. It's just filing the space incase I don't get around to sending anything to Finland. My granddaughter did the watercolor which I turned into an envelope I thought the stamps were nice - but think the clown's talk bubble is a very unfortunate miss. There were two nicer envelopes inside and this was just a wrapper. I was using up vintage stamps, but did not want multiples, so the inner envelopes were not mailable. I have no idea if I took pictures of them. Dang.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bonus Post.

A new set of stamps from the USPS.
Eight different balls - total of 16 stamps on the page.

Uber fun. I can't wait for the Feb exchange.

Regular post for today is right below.

BHB Birthday Wrap Up

Six days of BHB's birthday is enough, time to move on to something else.

Red and green from Kathie McC (top) and SmashGirl (bottom) - to the right.

Celebratory fireworks from Troy (top) and music from Lynne (bottom) in the photo below.

There will no doubt be some more to post. I'll add them as they arrive - or as I discover them in my random piles of mail.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

BHB Birthday Envelopes

The BHB liked these stamps, especially the bat. It has little feet that are wrapped over the top of the envelope.

Top from Kathy S, bottom from Tina, a penpal in England. We hope she sticks with the exchanges because England has some fabulous stamps.

Below the bat, two more - top from Faye and bottom from Phillip. More fine stamps. We always like the vintage stamps and the national park stamps are very nice.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bonus Post - Eclipse stamp

You can pre-order this stamp which will be issued on June 20th. I am within driving distance - a couple hours - of the path of totality. I traveled a lot farther than that back in 1979 to witness the path of totality and it was pretty cool.

These stamps have another interesting feature:

The Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp is the first U.S. stamp to use thermochromic ink, which reacts to the heat of your touch. Placing your finger over the black disc on the stamp causes the ink to change from black to clear to reveal an underlying image of the moon. The image reverts back to the black disc once it cools.

Like a mood ring, I guess.

Regular post for today is right below.

Link to buy the stamps online:

Solar Eclipse Stamps

BHB Birthday Envelopes

The BigHelpful Brother refused to choose a favorite, but I did note that he came back to the ALL HAIL the birthday boy - on the top one from Rachael. I'm labeling this one a stealworthy idea.

Bottom one from Eric.

Below are the St. Patrick themed envelopes from Maggie (top) and Jean R (bottom)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More BHB Birthday envelopes.

I need to double up the doubles if I am going to get all of these posted in one week.

Kate R (top) and Janet (bottom) both did some nice pointed pen work.
The post office was very creative with the cancellation, putting it vertical. Looks very planned.

Below, top one from Hester and bottom one from Kathleen RH.

Monday, June 12, 2017

BHB - Outer Space and Ransom Note

Top one from Jannie.
Bottom one from Cathy O.

I already posted Jannie's - and somehow did not get a photo of Cathy's alone. I paired these because I really liked Cathy's stamp with Jannie's envelope.....

Sunday, June 11, 2017

May Exchange from Phillip

Smurf stamps from the UN. Fun to see that combo.

June Exchange from Chuck

BHB Birthday Week

 This week will feature all the fun mail that arrived in the March exchange when I put my brother's name on the exchange list so that I could take him a big stack of mail. I had them sent to my house so I would not have to deal with blurring his address. I imagine he is afraid he would be inundated with my penpals asking him for help.

First ones up, Anne on top and Florence on the bottom. Doing a border along one edge is a good idea - shows that a full 4-sided border is entirely un-necessary.

The wavy lines with name, address, greetings filled in is stealworthy.

Saturday, June 10, 2017 - How to Draw Flowers (stylized)

I'm pretty sure I have spotted these on Pinterest and done my own version. When they popped up again, I went to the site and was happy to see a video along with examples of some kid's versions. I have not surfed through the rest of the site, but it looks like there are other fun ideas.

How to draw flowers

June 8, 2017

Yesterday I was doing some admin on the blog. That's where I go into the stats to see things like...what kind of devices my readers using.
50% - tablets
25% - phones
25% - desktops
Then I saw where I had about 35 comments that were unposted. I have no idea how they ended up in a file. Normally, I get an email with the comment, and I OK it, and it gets posted. So, if you left a comment and it did not appear - it is now wherever you left it.

Part of me would like to make more of the blog...then I start clicking on things...and then I realize I am too old to figure this out.
As mentioned previously, I schedule my posts 2 to 3 months in advance, then I check them right before they pop up to see if they need editing. I had been struggling with the exchange envelopes for this month. Luckily these flowers were just what I needed to give me something fun and mindless to finish up the list. Some days we need a challenge. Some days we need mindless. I'm definitely going to focus on turning the blog into my method of coping with the daily annoyance of being too old to embrace all the cool technology that just keeps getting better.

Friday, June 9, 2017

First Birthday Envelope for the BHB

In March, I put my BigHelpfulBrother's name on the exchange list so that I could forward him a bunch of fun mail because it is his birthday month. This is the first one that arrived, from Jannie.

Layers and layers of what looks like watercolor or ink followed by splatters and dots and some sparkles.

Really nice. I know he'll enjoy all the mail. I have to decide if I save it all up and give it to him in one stack - or let it dribble in...decisions - decisions....

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mail Art Exhibit - Canada

This is from the April Exchange and I was surprised that it made it through the PO machinery so well because the ribbons are actual 3D ribbons. Maybe it did not go through the machinery since it has a sticker rather than stamps. Great idea for a birthday card. It is from Amy B. The tracking number is a bit distracting.... maybe I can peel it off carefully.

I like to send in envelopes to people who are having mail art exhibits and I especially like to send when it is a kid organizing the exhibit. Here is an opportunity to support a third grader's project. If you have time - drop something in the mail.

Canadian Mail Art Exhibit

Here are the details from the Facebook page:

This year, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday. We asking artists or anyone out there to create & submit a small postcard sized piece of mail art. “Canada – Celebrating 150 Years Mail Art Exhibit” will run in conjunction with the Ninth Annual Art Among Friends Exhibition – September 30th & October 1st, 2017. The exhibit is being organized by Grade 8 student Dakota Brann, whose older sister has ran 3 other successful Mail Art Exhibits over the years at Art Among Friends. The event will be held at Laurentian Lodge, just 25 minutes north of Elliot Lake.

What is Mail Art? The simplest definition of mail art is that it is any art that’s created with the intention of sending it through the mail. Mail art can include postcards, faux postage, decorated envelopes, friendship books, etc. But you have to mail it to complete the creative experience, it’s mail art! The received mail art is collected from around the world and displayed in an exhibition.

There will be no jury, fees and no returns of artwork! – All received pieces of artwork will be displayed and viewed by the approximately 1,200 visitors during the Art Among Friends weekend. Everyone is invited to submit your artwork…no matter your artistic skill. Teachers out there – Classroom submissions are very welcome too. This mail art project is all about having fun. No one will be judged. The theme is Canada, so let your imagination go wild and have fun creating something awesome.

To Take Part in the Exhibition:

• Artwork submitted should be postcard sized (approximately 4 inches X 6 inches)
• Artwork can be a postcard/illustrated envelope, short poem or story etc. but must stamped and mailed through the postal system.
• All submitted pieces will be viewed by all ages , so it must be in good taste.
• Deadline for submissions will be September 27th, 2017
• Submissions are to be mailed to: Canada – Celebrating 150 Years Mail Art Exhibit, c/o Dakota Brann, 69 Central Avenue, Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada, P5A 2G3.

Please print your name, city & country on the back of the postcard also.

Thanking You
Dakota Brann

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bonus Post - Vanishing Trades Stamps

Yesterday I mentioned the stamp on Cheryl's envelope and I just had to look for the whole series. I can't find any high-res images. This one shows calligraphy way over on the right. The red one.

If you Google Singapore postage stamps, you can see lots of really pretty stamps.

Feb Exchange - Brodie and Hester - Recyclers

This pairing is the recycled pair. Brodie made an envelope out of handmade paper. The address is on the other side. She stitched it closed on her sewing machine.

Hester recycled a piece of newsprint. Every time I see Hester's writing where she writes along the edge of a ruler, I think to myself, "Self, do that." So perhaps I will remember to do that one day. Like the next exchange. I am writing this on March 9th and it is a couple days after I tossed out the idea of making envelopes that riff on the ones I receive and sending my versions back to the originators of the ideas.

So....let's see if I can remember to do that for the April exchange.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Feb Exchangers - CarolC and Cheryl

Carol, on top had a nice little print tucked in her envelope which is made out of a brown paper bag that had red printed stripes. Cheryl had some nice pointed pen lettering along with a note on the cutest note paper.

I will never outgrow my love of cute. My temperament is not cute at all. I'm truly snarky. But I love the cute stuff. I wonder what's with that. I must be very well balanced.

Hope none of the people who know me in person fell off their chairs laughing at that last remark.

Sorry about the non-cropping. Maybe I would not be so snarky if I had a better relationship with technology. Maybe I would not be so snarky if my scanner didn't make me reboot every time I needed to scan.


And do not even get me started about the ordeal of transferring photos to the computer.

One more thing....the stamp on Cheryl's is from Singapore and reading the very fine print tells us that it is commemorating a vanish trade - the ice ball seller. Google Singapore ice balls and you can read all about them and also see many images....if you need to surf a bit more today :-) It is always fun to see the stamps from other countries.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Feb Exch from Maggie and Jannie

Abundance of cuteness from Maggie (top) and Jannie.

Tomorrow I will continue with my rave about cute stuff. Today we will just grin from ear to ear.

Valentines bring out a lot of cute. Halloween and Valentine's Day are two holidays which are loosely based on some Christian stuff (St. Valentine and All Saint's something) but mostly they are an excuse to eat candy. And sell stuff that is as far removed from necessity as possible.

So why are they so popular? Because we simply need a break from routine? For me - every day is like a holiday because at any given moment, I can take a holiday break and do something entirely un-necessary. Make an envelope. Or just write stuff on paper.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Congratulations - Christy Robb

This envelope arrived and was posted in 2015. It has tons of hits on Pinterest. Christy is a very talented artist and has been entering the Graceful Envelope Contest for a few years and I think she gets accepted every year. She also teaches classes for kids and several of her students have been winners or honorable mentions. Christy received Best in Show this year. While I did not see all the entries, I was really happy that Best in Show had some white space. The judges tend to feature envelopes that have a lot of illustration and fill up all the space. Maybe they are not getting more than a couple entries with white space....
at any rate, you may see the winning entries here:

Today's regular post is right below.

Feb Exchangers Kate and CathyO + Lynne and JeanR

The top two are together for general design elements and also these two are both talented calligraphers who get out their nibs and ink. I think about doing that more than I actually do it....

Cathy's has a faint shadow swoosh which is the insert showing through. She had some dreamy sparkle ink. And there is more sparkle on the heart that might not show up.

The next two are also real live calligraphers. Lynne on top and JeanR on the bottom. Two more good ideas for valentines.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Feb exchangers Grace and Lynne

Once again, I couldn't get the photo cropped...
Grace did a very cool job recycling some striped paper. I'm pretty sure it is an envelope that has been turned inside out.

Lynne found the right kind of markers to use on silver paper.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Feb Exchangers Kathy and Kathie

These two were the most nature inspired envelopes.

Note to Kathy -top- my house is 420, not 440. The postman must look at the envelopes and figures out which ones are mine.

Bottom one from Kathie - I can't figure out if she created the image or if it was something she found.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Exchange Sign-up

This was a birthday greeting and I wish I had swapped the places of Happy Birthday and her name. Her name is really lost. Plus, I do not like the script on leonardo - but I did this one without much planning - to see if I had found my groove yet. Nope.  But will keep working on it. Peggy is a quilter and I had just seen her stack of very cool blue and white textiles that are going into the next quilt, so this is an homage to her stash... as I clear out my stamp stash.


It is time to sign up for the June exchange.
I need the following information:

your email

Send it to:

jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

If you are having a birthday in June, you may add that info to your email and participants have the option of sending a birthday themed envelope.
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 June 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 June 4th. Lists will be sent on June 5th or 6th.
Let me know if you want to be on more than one list.
Sometimes I do not get an even number of participants, so it is nice to have some volunteers to be on two lists.

Any questions - email me.