Thursday, August 31, 2017

Big White Flowers - Shandra's June Exchange

Another one from the June 10th inspiration. The stamp doesn't look like it really goes. I'm wishing I would have put all the big white flowers together to compare - but sitting here and recomposing all my blog posts is not a good use of time.

It's June 10th and I have filled up the blog through the end of August....
time to celebrate.
Only 3 months left to fill.

What's the big rush?

It must be some weird contest to see how far ahead of myself I can get.

And what would be the point of that?

I have no idea.

I think, deep down, I imagine that if I were a year ahead of myself, I could create a blog with a narrative. There would be a theme each month and lessons and videos. I love that idea.

And then she returned to the real world.

Entropy rules.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kate's Birthday - Step 4

A while back I posted this with the stamps turned into candles. Then I thought of candles, gifts and balloons - and liked that idea better.

Part of me thinks it needs a lot of confetti....but I am going to resist that urge. Maybe - if I can find some actual confetti to apply, I will do that....I am writing this on June 10 and have at least a week before it needs to go in the mail - so, I might do more...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

June Exchange to JeanR and CathyO

These are the tail end of these envelopes. I had fun with the border on Jean's but it seems like it needs something else - or maybe it needed different stamps....once again, I have something done with a stamp on ...and I am toying with the idea of adding something which I keep saying I am not going to do....

and Cathy's has a big note on the back about how bad it is - I was going to send it inside another envelope, but then I ended up liking it ....

Monday, August 28, 2017

May Exchange to Chuck and Rachael

The top shows step one and the bottom shows how it looks with details added. It's a variation on Carol DuBosch's Jubilee lettering - which I call Jubilesque.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

June Exchange to Chuck

This one was fun - although I would not put it in the stellar pile. It would be fun to take the idea of multiple first names horizontal and multiple last names vertical - and try some variations.

I need a better selection of white pens and markers with more variation in the size of the line - something in between these two. Maybe a paint pen...

I did a bunch of flourishing to fill up an odd space.... not sure that's working....will label this go-back....and maybe work out some better methods.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Nancy Hills Friday - 2

Here is the second one. There is a certain instructor who teaches how to make those 3-dot flowers. Do any of my readers remember her name?

And I forgot to mention...the email I found in my quagmire of emails on too many different devices was from 2013. I wonder if I will ever get caught up....not that I even care...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

To Kathy & Tina- June Exchange

I was ho-hum on this one. It was done last month when I was on a faux-Flo binge. I still like that style a lot. This particular version is just a bit too condensed.

The bottom one is going to Tina, who lives in England and they stack everything and end up with 6 or 7 lines in each address. That many lines will fit nicely in the space between the two clumps of flowers.

It was done on June 10, 2017 which was the day I posted some fun flowers and mentioned that they pulled me out of a black hole when my June exchange envelopes were not going very well.

fun flower post in case

I'll get one of the pretty round moon stamps.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Resolved Amy Spencer - June Exchange

Once again, I had zero hope for these two. They were so bad I did not even post the fist layers when I posted all the other blue envelopes with just one layer.

I have no idea if they look decent in the photos, but in person, I was very happy with the effect. The stamps are not stuck on, so I might end up deciding that I don't actually like them. I definitely like the bottom one better than the top one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Resolved Rachael and Grace

I think I posted these when there was just one layer, the blue ballpoint pen. I had serious reservations and zero faith that they would turn out. So it was a pleasant surprise when I added some ball point shading and white and *voila* they were fine. Again, not award winners - but goodinuf.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Four Loopy Exchange Envelopes

Random doodles done while on the road for the June exchange. Fun to do - nothing special.... but I am a big fan of fun.

This is it - Eclipse Day

I don't think my husband, brother, and sister-in-law will take any pictures today. They are heading down to Chillicothe, MO - or possibly further south, if the traffic isn't bad to see the eclipse.

I should ask them to reenact this photo....except my sister-in-law should leave her shirt on.

I'd love to hear if any of my other readers are going to be in the path of totality.

I'm pretty sure that SmashGirl lives in the path of totality - it would be fun to hear from her.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Resolved Owls for June Exchange

There were 6 envelopes with white on blue. Two did not make the cut. These 4 were fine. Not award winners - but not wretched.

The white is Faber Castell PITT markers and the colors are done with colored pencil.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bonus Post - Eclipse +2018 Get-together

Bonus post today because the regularly scheduled post (below) did not have an envelope and because lots of us are getting excited for the eclipse. This is only one of several eclipse themed envelopes that have arrived in the August exchange. I chose the one that was on the top of the stack - because I am rushing about.

Also, I need to let everyone know that there is a Pushing the Envelopes Get-together in the planning stages.

Yesterday, a pre-scheduled post mentioned that I should just drop in on my pen-pal Nancy. And then Nanski ( a different person with a similar name ) left a comment encouraging me to do the drop in -- to which I responded - that I actually had been in contact with Nancy and we would be meeting up in August of 2018 for the IAMPETH Conference that will be in Milwaukee - Aug 6-11.

Sooooo----anyone interested in attending the conference ----I'll be there, and will figure out a place to set up shop - so that I have my own table and we can have our own little mini-conference. I will be posting more details about the whole event - in case anyone is truly interested in attending. I have attended several times and it's pretty interesting. It's not for everyone - but - it's a good place to rub elbows with some of the rock stars in the world of penmanship and calligraphy.

The main thing to know is that in order to attend, you need to be a member of IAMPETH. You would need to join this year to be eligible to register for the conference and then you would need to renew your membership in July of 2018 to actually attend. They have a goofy membership year - but - the membership fees support a very worthwhile organization and as I recall - there are no paid members on the board. It is strictly volunteer. So you are supporting the preservation of a lot of penmanship history. Their website has a ton of information. I am very fond of the list of instructors on the conference page as it includes me.

Also--- note the way a postal worker decided to cancel the stamp...a big black Sharpie swipe. Normally, that would peeve me -- but this time, it looks like a fun addition because it looks (somewhat)  like the path of totality.

Limon font

This was a new font from MyFonts that came out in June. It reminded me of the raging arguments that some of the calligraphers get into about the dreadful new loose styles of writing. And the raging can turn rabid when the subject of faux-calligraphy comes up. Faux -calligraphy is where you use a regular pen, but you create the appearance of thickness by adding width on all the places that a nib would be flaring out - and creating the thicker parts of *real* calligraphy.
Personally, I do not have a problem with faux-calligraphy. It has become so popular that there are people making fonts. This one is $179. Of course, if you have a pen or marker, you can just write like this and you don't need no stinkin' fonts.

What movie is that line from?
We don't need no stinkin'  __?__
If I could remember what they didn't need, I could probably remember the movie...
but, I am sure at least one of my readers will remember.

Of course, I am headed straight to Google to see if the answer will pop up....


1 minute later.
stinkin' quote

I had no idea that the Blazing Saddles version was appropriated.
But, I will take this opportunity to put in a reminder that it's OK to do some stealing...just depends on how you do it - and what the product is....

and getta load of these fun dingbats that come with the font:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Nancy Hills Fridays - 1

While slogging through all the confusing stuff on my electronic devices, I found 4 envelopes from the fabulous Nancy Hills. Usually, when I see one of her envelopes I have to drop everything and start doing my own version of Hillarian lettering. I have not heard from Nancy for quite a while. I hope she is OK. I have her address...maybe I should just drop in???

Thursday, August 17, 2017

June Exchange Chicken Stamps

There were just a few of these envelopes left and they looked great with the stamps. Obviously there will be more to these....not sure if I will post them after they are further along.....

Below shows Jean's a second time with the stamps in a slightly different spot.

The alphabet is from Pinterest and I think it is from a site that sells templates for sewing machines that do fancy stitching. I bet there are machines where I could do lettering, scan it, and then the machine would stitch the lettering. That would be fun to try.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Natalie Project

Congratulations to Maggie for being the first person to address an envelope to Natalie. Maggie sent me a photo - which helped me realize that I need to ask my pen pals who are going to make envelopes for Natalie to please send me an image to post on the blog. It will be really complicated for me to get together with Natalie and get images at a later date.

Thank you so much Maggie....
I have not done any yet - after a very slow wedding season, I had a flurry of jobs recently - and so on and so forth....

Thanks again, Maggie. Who do you think will be next?

For anyone who missed it -
Natalie is collecting mail that will be put on display in post offices throughout Des Moines to inspire people to send fun mail.

Here is her address:

Customer Relations Coordinator
United States Postal Service
7900 Hickman Road
Des Moines, Iowa

I suppose you could send the mail to any name you like...
and just send it C/O Natalie....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How many PITTs do I have?

I decided to use the PITTs and write one letter with each color. By the time I got to the U in Columbus, I had used all of them. So, I repeated. I thought it would look very fun with a bunch of stamps but could not find an assortment that worked. I ended up liking this stamp a lot. But, it needed something else so I started filling in with all the little stickers that came with the stamps. Now my dilemma is whether to add more to this one. I like it the way it is - but - more doodads or something might be nice.
NOOOOOO. Stop. The stamp is on. Do not mess with envelopes where the stamps are already on. What's wrong with you? You just blogged that you did not know why you had not learned your lesson.

Will she stop - or will she push it further and ruin it - or push it further and discover something fabulous.....

I think Finnbadger posted this one on his blog and I think it looks the same. Now that I see it on the blog----I think it could have used some highlight (white) dots.

Monday, August 14, 2017

June - On the Road

Done while on the road - nothing special - using up stamps.

Yesterday - I had the pleasure of helping a grasshopper with her first BIG piece of work. Some part of our conversation wandered around to something that led her to alerting me to this mighty fine video.

Allow yourself 2 minutes and 44 seconds of surfing today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lynne's Idea - June Exchange

The lower envelope is one I received from Lynne and I always liked the idea. At one point, I got around to doing the purple version. Then it got lost in a stack. Eventually, it popped up and I decided to put her name inside the squares. I was lucky to have those stamps. It was a challenging envelope to find a stamp for. The purple heart would have worked....probably. But, I was happy with the fern.

Thanks for the idea Lynne :-)

See comment below---original idea came from Smash.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wildly Exciting News - Natalie and Jean's New Mission

This envelope ran in September of 2015. There are quite a few envelope on the blog addressed to Natalie. You can see them by doing a search for *Natalie* in the search box.

I met Natalie years ago at one of the USPS branch offices. Eventually she moved to the main post office and we stayed in touch. I started mailing envelopes to her *at the front desk* and she displayed them under the glass on the counter.

A few months ago, I stopped in and asked if she was in and was told that she had moved to training for a while. I did not get the impression that it was a permanent move. I thought she would be back at the main PO at some point.

Yesterday I had my stack of August exchange envelopes to mail and a little extra time so decided to drive down to the main post office, hoping to see Natalie. She was not behind the counter - but I stood in line and hoped that if I asked to see her, maybe she was just in the back. As I waited, I happened to glance over by the post office boxes and THERE SHE WAS. I literally yelled - Natalie!!!
She said, "I've been meaning to contact you - I have a new job - Customer Relations Coordinator.

What was it that made me just happen to go to the P.O. yesterday. I still had a few envelopes left to do - but, I felt like taking a break - and remembered that it had been a long time since I had seen Natalie. Her new office is not at the main building - so it was a very chance encounter that she just happened to be there. The new people at the counter might not have even known who I was asking for or known where she had gone.

Natalie and I proceeded to brainstorm all the exciting displays of mail art that we will be able to put up at the various post offices. Obviously, I will be inviting everyone to send more mail to Natalie. I invited my readers to send mail to her once before and several people did. You may start sending mail right now - if you wish.

Customer Relations Coordinator
United States Postal Service
7900 Hickman Road
Des Moines, Iowa

Because these will be used for displays, I think we should conform to their preference for stamps in the upper right or along the top -and- addresses should be clear - horizontal - and towards the bottom. I don't think they want to advertise that you can do outrageous stuff and they will still deliver it. The point is to give the public ideas that may inspire them to decorate their envelopes and send more mail.

If you are a skilled calligrapher, I know that they will enjoy having examples of *fancy* writing. But don't feel you have to be a great calligrapher to send fun ideas.

From time to time, I may toss out some other ideas for people who want to participate. If any of you are friends with your postal workers and notice that your local post office has an empty or boring display case - I will post pictures of our displays that you may want to replicate at your own post office.

Friday, August 11, 2017

June Exchange - Blue Slow Starts

I pulled out leftover envelopes and chose stamps from the hoard that should have looked just fine.
The first two did not look promising even though  I was using a favorite pen. So I switched to the big fat PITT white markers and none of those look very promising. If I resolve any of them, I will post the revised versions. As I have said before - sometimes I need to do about 10 envelopes to warm up.

The idea of gridding off the whole envelope is pretty stuck in my head. Maybe something else will show up to replace it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

KateR's Red One - Step 3

After checking the list, I was reminded that June was Kate's birthday month, so instead of spacing the stamps out in landscape orientation, I figured I could put them in portrait mode and turn them into birthday candles.

The candles are labeled - past, present, future. I like putting 3 candles on a cake (for adults) with one candle burned all the way down, one candle lit, and one brand new candle, not represent past-present-future birthdays.

I did not care for the way these candles looked - so ended up doing something different that will appear in a few days....

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

6 Red - Step 2

Here is step two.

I found some red stamps to use up. Remember - these are the dreaded shimmer envelopes and not much sticks to them except Sharpie. Some of the other markers do OK - but you have to wait for the ink to dry.

The one to Florence is OK - but the doodads look a little like something growing in a petrie dish.

Susan's has just fine silver gel pen drop shadow. I'm struggling with that one.

Alison's lettering had gone a little too loose but I am OK with the doodads.

Grace's is driving me crazy. No amount of layering seems to be fixing it.

I thought Troy's was the worst, until I found that stamp and then I loved it. It looks better in person.

Kate's - I'm undecided. I think I might be OK with it if I tear the stamps apart and attach them so that they line up with the top and bottom of the block of copy. But then I have to get the stamps on straight and that is usually beyond my skill level. Seems odd that I can't attach stamps neatly. Sometimes I can - maybe I just need to focus....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bonus post - Correction Question and Disorganization

Three items popped into my little pea-brain. The regular daily post is right below.

Item one:
The BigHelpful Brother and I were having a conversation about something he saw in a old book - a manuscript book, which is what we call the handwritten books that came before the printing press. I started bombarding him with the tidbits I know about manuscript books. And then went looking for examples. This image is one of the examples of how silly/fanciful some of the images are. What I had hoped to find was a famous image that depicts a very clever *fix* when the scribe had omitted an entire line of copy. He or she wrote the line at the bottom of the page and then put it on a little platform with an illustrated pulley, like window washers would use. And the reader is supposed to haul the missing line up and insert it where it should have been. Is there any chance that one of my readers has seen that image and can send us a link?

Item two:
The August Exchange lists have gone out. The first item on the list asks participants to please let me know that they received their list. If you have not received your list please let me know. Thank you to all the very prompt people who have responded.

Item three:
For people new to the exchanges - I schedule my posts waaaaay ahead. Yesterday I was filling up the first two weeks in December with the July exchange envelopes that I had received. I post most of the envelopes that I receive. So, if you are waiting to see your envelope on the blog, be patient. If I have not posted your envelope, I apologize. I have tried all kinds of ways to keep the envelopes organized - but they come dribbling in - and I am always waiting for a few stragglers, so it does not work to have a chronological filing system. Then there are the images on my computer - and it is very hard to scan or photograph the images and get them on the blog in the same hour. If the images wait for later - then I have no way of remembering which are posted and which are not. I have a new idea on how to be more organized but I have no idea if it will work. In the meantime, you will just have to put up with (or enjoy) the random chaotic style of this blog. Hopefully, there are highly organized people who read the blog and feel energized and gratitudinal because they can look at my mess and think, "There but for the grace of God go I." Gratitudinal is not a word, but it should be. Or maybe there is another word that would work - lemmekno if you have a suggestions.

Random Link - Pinterest Old Timer

An aside:
While surfing on Pinterest, I found this blog post that linked to two envelopes off my blog.

I have no idea where that link leads. I started this post and left it hanging....
in the meantime, I was Pinter-surfing - and noticed this envelope which is one of the envelopes I recall seeing on the very first time I signed on to Pinterest. It gets repinned a lot:

I thought I would run it again , as I have no idea if I ever posted it - and I still think it is interesting.

What do you think the animal is?

Monday, August 7, 2017

June Exchange from Florence

I like the way Florence put the three different styles of writing on the card. It is a very nice -quick'n'easy- layout to remember if you like to tuck items in your mailings.

I regularly steal ideas from Florence. Thank you Florence for the *fan mail.* My *bestness* is reserved for a couple very narrow areas. The rest of me is hopelessly average and in some areas I am deficient ---and then there are those areas that are missing entirely. I can't think of the right word. Devoid?

I wonder if there is a chart somewhere with all the different characteristics of people. The part of me that fills in charts and graphs is above average. If anyone knows of such a chart, please share. I will attempt to resist the temptation to Google *characteristics of humans.* But you know I am heading there in two clicks. I will let you know if I find anything. I suspect some of my most devoted readers are devoted because they, too, share the love of charts and graphs.

* two minutes later*
OK, there are tons of hits - to lists...
This might take a while.....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Spiral Pairing - May Exchange

How fun is this? Two spiral designs. Technically, the bottom one, from Rachael, is concentric circles and not spirals. The top one, from Grace, has some words...

at the top it says *it's*

over to the left is an *A*

and at the bottom is and *ing*

I was really surprised how long it took me to figure it out...

Leave a comment if it took you less than 15 seconds to figure it out.

Or, I guess leave a comment, if it has been three days and you still can't figure it out....I won't post the answers until day 4 - so everyone will have a chance to play the game.

I think this is the end of the May exchange envelopes. I am writing this on the 7th of June - so my next batch of exchange envelope are starting to arrive. More than one person mentioned that participating in the exchange really seems to make each month fly by. I agree. I'm sitting here pondering that the year is almost half over. Might be time to start on the Halloween ideas....

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Flowery Pairing from the May Exchange

Maggie above.

Nanski below.

In addition to flowery compatibility, they both have nice border ideas.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Random Pairings - May Exchange

Debbie above, Chuck below.

These two didn't have anything in common - other than being welcome additions to the blog.

And I will add Troy - as I did not have a logical pairing for his and came up with an odd number for the exchange. The stacks tend to fall over and blur themselves.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Black and Kraft - May Pairings

The top one might have arrived in April, as it is a birthday envelope. It's from Rachael.

The bottom one is from Shandra.

And there were two kraft colored envelopes in May.

Smash above. Another envelope in the *bird-on-Head* series. It along running series - and I wish I had tagged them so I could pull them all up at one time....

Lynne below. Clever to pair sewing directions with the Oscar stamp.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Color Pairing from May Exchange

Nancy, above & Jannie, below.

I always love the pretty combinations of vintage stamps. The yellow one is a perfect spot of interest. I think the envelope would have been a bit understated without it.

You might see a really giant tear in Jannie's. The PO put it in an outer envelope with an apology for getting it caught in the machines.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Exchange Sign Up

Another one in the series of FPMB - Fill Page Mixed Borders. The metallic pens and markers are hard to photograph.
It's time to sign up for the August Exchange.
Please send the following information:

your email

Send it to:

jmwilson411 [at] yahoo [dot] com

If you are having a birthday in August, let me know what day in August 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 July 31st. August 31st.
That's it.
There are additional details at the top of the blog under a tab marked [exchange *RULES*]

Deadline to sign up is August 4. Lists will be sent on August 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.